Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy Review + Giveaway

Amazon Link: Yes, I get a little bit of money every time someone buys a book through an amazon link on here. The total will take awhile to add up where I get anything though.

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

Review by: Lauren

Book From: Kay Cassidy, part of the 1 ARC tour

Summary from Kay's Site: What’s a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn’t want to wear it anymore?
Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it’s like something out of a fairy tale. Swept up by the Cindys’ magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she’s finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds–led by Jess’s arch-enemy–begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there’s more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.
Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn’t want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?
Stay tuned for details about CINDY ON A MISSION, book two in the Cinderella Society series coming Spring 2011 from Egmont USA!


Review:
 
First off, I am very thankful that Kay allowed me to take part in the TCS blog tour. It was great fun reading about Jess and her new life. This does have an unrealistic quality to it as The Cinderella Society is an underground mission to help the Reggies and defeat the Wickeds. However, it's nothing that gets in the way of the novel and actually makes it more fun to read. If you imagine the main plot-line of The Princess Diaries and add in the real-life drama Mia deals with, you have Jess and the Society.
 
Jess is definitely an everygirl who is relatable. She doesn't always feel secure in her own skin, she has boy troubles that don't end in 'happily ever after' right away, and much more. The Society is in place to help her learn to love herself and grow, as well as take down those who are Wicked in nature...like her enemy Lexie. Fighting the Wickeds isn't always easy, especially if you are trying to stay true to yourself and be a good person at the same time. It's something a lot of us face in life, whether you are bullied or just dealing with unfriendly people.
 
The Cinderella Society is a fun, quick read that will definitely appeal to a lot of young girls out there...read this yourself, get it for a younger sister, give it to a daughter, show a Girl Scout troop. We all need to learn to live the best lives we can and this book definitely shows some girls that it can be done if they have the right support system of friends and family in place.
 
I'm definitely excited for the sequel. I hope it gets better from here and more action within the Society will take place now that Jess has a bigger role.
 
Now for a fun giveaway, courtesy of Kay Cassidy:
 
Prize: 1 Glass Slipper Bookmark

Open to: U.S.

Ends: May 7th

How to Enter: Jess has a complete makeover with her sisters to find the true Jess within. As such, iff you could change one thing about your look, what would it be and why?

Extra: Leave a NEW comment if you follow this blog

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IMM 5

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Alicia here for another IMM. Vlog time!



For Review:
Prophecy of Days - Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire by Christy Raedeke
The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
The Daughters by Joanna Philbin
The Daughters Break the Rules by Joanna Philbin

From Chelsea:
The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa

From Erica:
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Hourglass (Evernight, #3) by Claudia Gray

From Sarah:
Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells by Cameron Tuttle
The Evil Within: A Possessions Novel by Nancy Holder

Won from Steph Su Reads:
Numbers (Numbers, #1) by Rachel Ward

Bought:
The Sight by Judy Blundell
Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti
The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, #3) by Kelley Armstrong
The Line (Line #1) by Teri Hall
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories by Holly Black
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Broadway Lights (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #5) by Jen Calonita

What did you get?

Alicia

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blog Tour: Kay Cassidy Guest Post

AUTHOR BIO:
Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. She is the founder of the national Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM reading program for kids and teens and the host of the inspirational Living Your FiveTM web project. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, movies, music, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. She hopes her debut YA novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (April 13, 2010 - Egmont), will help girls embrace their inner Cindy.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB:

What a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?
Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it's like something out of a fairy tale. Swept up by the Cindys' magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she's finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds--led by Jess's arch-enemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there's more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.

Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn't want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?


BOOK TEASER:


I opened the card, my hands trembling in dread and the faint remnants of what I used to call hope, as a tiny silver high-heel pin bounced into my hand.

I juggled the pin for a second, barely managing to keep it from falling, and flipped open the note with my other hand. The words inside were not a message but an invitation that sent shivers down my spine:

Your presence is requested at The Grind.

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Wear the pin.

Discretion MANDATORY.



GUEST BLOG:


The Five-Point Star meets Living Your Five

When Lauren asked me to blog about something related to her Five-Point Star theme, I immediately thought of my Five ala Living Your FiveTM. Living Your FiveTM is about choosing the five ways you want to make a difference in the world. Once you know what they are, it's amazing how easy it is to keep those priorities on your radar and find ways to make your mark on the world in a positive way. The opportunities are there if you'll set your filter on auto-pilot to be on the lookout for them!


My Five are:

1. Embrace gratitude and pay it forward

The more I work with gratitude and find ways to pay it forward, the more I realize that these are often two sides of the same coin. More often than not, the things I do to make a difference in one also make a difference in the other.

2. Choose kindness and harmony

One of Alyson Noel's Living Your FiveTM posts last year really got me thinking about how we relate to the world around us. It's not just about what we do, it's about how we do it. The how matters in a big way. This part of my Five is my reminder that practicing kindness and encouraging harmony are two of the most basic, but profound, ways to make an immediate impact on the world around us.

3. Put family and friends first

Sometimes we spend so much time giving to others--often to people we may never even meet--that we lack the time or energy to give back to the people we love most. As I looked back on what I accomplished in 2009, I was happy with the ways I paid it forward to the outside world. But when I looked at how much time I was able to devote to the people I care about most, it made me sad.

While it's wonderful to make a difference in the greater scheme of the world, it's just as important to make a difference to the people closest to you. As HGTV says, "Change the world. Start at home."

4. Seek out inspiring stories and share them with others

This is something I do naturally because I LOVE a good heartwarming story! I have a lot of fun incorporating them into my tweets. But I want to do more of this. Including stories on my You 2.0 blog, sharing them with my email buddies and my family... just spreading the word about all the great things people are doing to make their world a better place.

So much of the news we hear is about what's wrong with the world. That's one of the things I love about Living Your FiveTM: it's all positive, all the time. :-) We might not be changing the world every second, but we're making a difference in ways that matter to us. Lots of people are doing the same thing, day in and day out. I want to find those stories, cheer them on, and share the inspiration they offer to everyone looking for a bright spot in the world.

5. Live a greener life

This is a big one for me. I love finding new ways to cut my carbon footprint and embrace the reduce-reuse-recycle way of life. Every little bit helps, sometimes more than you would ever imagine!


So those are my Five. If you want to join Alyson Noel, Tera Lynn Childs and I on the Fiver journey and become an Honorary Fiver yourself, check out  Living your Five for all the details and get started today!


Note: If you buy The Cinderella Society through the Amazon link, I do get money once it adds up to enough. My review of TCS will be up later!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Susane Colasanti's Blog Tour + Giveaway

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti is coming out on May 4th, which isn't too long now! I'm part of the blog tour to let others know about this fun new book. I haven't had the shot to read it myself yet but I hope to soon. For the summary though:

Best friends Lani and Erin couldn’t be more different. Lani’s reserved and thoughtful; Erin’s bubbly and outgoing. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. There’s no possible way they could be interested in the same guy.


So when Erin starts dating Jason, Lani can’t believe she feels such a deep connection with him—and it may be mutual. The more Lani fights it, the more certain she feels that it’s her fate to be with Jason. But what do you do when the love of your life is the one person you can’t have?

Doesn't this sound like fun? It looks like the perfect summer read as well, so you definitely need to pick up a copy!! It reminds me of the Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott as well so fans of her should think about picking this one up too.

-Lauren



The blog tour's theme focuses on fate related topics that are mentioned in the book, so make sure you check out all the stops to learn more about Susane and Something Like Fate. The full list is here!




Susane Colasanti's Guest Blog-

Topic 4: Shamanism

I moved to New York City after graduating from college. There’s just something magical about this place that I always knew would be here. It’s cool how every neighborhood has its own unique energy. If you’re open to this energy, you can really feel it. Shamanism is all about the energy. Shamans act as an intermediary between the natural and spiritual worlds. Urban shamans focus on elements of city environments to enhance the lives of residents. Soon after I moved here, I participated in an urban shaman’s vernal equinox celebration. It was held in the plaza that used to exist next to the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers held a lot of the magic that I felt existed here, so going to this event was the obvious thing to do.

There’s a myth that at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, you can balance an egg on its end. The shaman gave us all eggs and told us to get ready. We held our eggs up along the concrete and waited. When she told us to let them go, most of the eggs fell over, including mine. I tried to balance it a few more times. And then it worked! My egg balanced for like two whole seconds! Of course no one else was looking, but I swear it happened.

3 Point Q and A with Susane

1. What songs do you think would fit Something Like Fate?

I love creating playlists for my books! You can find them all on my website. Here’s the Something Like Fate playlist:

“Northern Sky” – Nick Drake
“Dice” – Finley Quaye
“Move On” – Jet
“Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake
“In Your Room” – The Bangles
“Transatlanticism” – Death Cab for Cutie
“Do You Know Me” – John Mayer
“Bring on the Night” – The Police
“Nightswimming” – R.E.M.
“Maybe I’m Amazed” – Paul McCartney
“Let Go” – Frou Frou
“Helplessly Hoping” – CSN&Y

2. Do you personally believe in fate and what do you think was meant to be in your life?

I believe that we are the architects of our own destiny. This is why creating your ideal life is totally possible, regardless of how bad things are. Additionally, I believe fate to be a force that works with us if we’re moving towards our goals. If you are determined to achieve your goals and refuse to give up, fate will help you with your journey. My purpose in life is to help teens in some way. Hopefully, my books make them feel less alone or somehow help them deal with their problems. This sense of purpose is what inspired me to become a high school science teacher. Although it was a difficult decision, I resigned from teaching three years ago when I realized that I could reach more teens as a full-time author. I absolutely believe that I’m doing what I was meant to do. Loving my job is a bonus!

3. What are you currently writing now, if you can talk about it?

Right now I’m revising my fifth book, which should be out in May 2011. All parts of the writing process are challenging for me, but I do like revising better than writing a first draft. At this point my editors have given me their feedback and I’m figuring out how to make this book the best possible version of itself, which is something I could not accomplish without their guidance.


If you would like to read the first three chapters of Something Like Fate then you will want to go here!

Giveaway!

Prize: signed hardcover giveaway of Something Like Fate (donated by the publishing company)

Open To: U.S.

To Enter: Do you believe in fate? Why or why not?

Ends: May 8th

Extra:

NEW comment if you follow

NEW comment if you repost the Blog Tour Icon

NEW comment if you repost the e-book for others to see!


Note: Again, the book was donated for this giveaway. I did not buy it. I was given an ARC of my own for the tour. If you buy the book through the amazon link, I do get money each time someone does,  but I figured it makes it easier to find the book to post.

America: The Story of Us Giveaway


America: The Story of Us Giveaway

America The Story of Us is an epic 12-hour television event that tells the extraordinary story of America with highly realistic CGI animation, dramatic recreations and thoughtful insights from some of America's most respected artists, business leaders, academics and intellectuals. Elaborate, ambitious and cinematic, America The Story of Us will take you into the moments when Americans harnessed technology to advance human progress, from the rigors of linking the continent by transcontinental railroad--the internet of its day--to triumphing over vertical space through the construction of steel structured buildings to putting a man on the moon. Visit the official site to take the Ultimate History Quiz, watch videos and get more info. Follow HISTORY on foursquare to unlock the HISTORY in your city. You'll discover tips about America, unlock our limited edition badge and be entered into the AMERICA THE STORY OF US SWEEPSTAKES!




Enter to win a HISTORY Duffel Bag filled with:

-Umbrella

-Stainless Steel Desk Pen

-Ceramic Mug

-Track Jacket

-Golf Balls




Contest Details:


-Open to residents of the U.S. who are at least 18 yrs of age or older

-Prizes courtesy of HISTORY

-Prize package valued at $75

-To Enter: Why are you interested in this special?

-Extra: Leave ONE new comment if you follow the blog and Leave THREE SEPERATE comments if you watch this Sunday and tell me what you liked!

-Ends: May 15th

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Swap Extended: Spread the Word



The "My Favorite Things" Swap has been extended. You now have until May 8th to sign up and we'll all send out our packages hopefully by the end of May. Sorry for any confusion but I want more people to have the chance to sign up/take part. So please spread the word and post this on twitter, your blogs, facebook, etc. Wherever!

The original link: http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-favorite-things-swap-sign-up.html

Thanks and I hope this is fun for everyone!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tribeca Film Festival: Cheap Way to Bring the Films and More to YOUR Home!



TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL VIRTUAL

The 2010 Tribeca Film Festival Virtual (TFF Virtual), a new online

extension of the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), supported by founding partner American Express, has

announced the full film slate for its inaugural edition. Eight full-length 2010 Official Selection TFF

features, running the gamut from adventure documentary to mystical drama to uproarious teen comedy,

will be available to TFF Virtual premium passholders to screen from their computers, anywhere in thecontinental United States from April 23–April 30. Premium passes are available to U.S. residents for $45each and are on sale at www.tribecafilm.com/virtual.


Tribeca also announced that passholders will have the opportunity to vote for the TFF Virtual Best

Feature Film Award (which comes with a $25,000 cash prize for the best film) and the TFFV Best Short

Film Award (which comes with a $5,000 cash award). Both TFF Virtual Awards are sponsored by

American Express.



TFF Virtual will bring the experience of Tribeca outside of New York for the first time via the Internet.

Complementing TFF’s theatrical screenings in New York City, TFF Virtual premium pass will enable a

broad online audience to experience the following:



· Eight full-length 2010 TFF features, which will screen day-and-date with each film’s


· Festival premiere. Following each film’s TFF and TFF Virtual premiere, passholders will be


· able to view it an unlimited number of times until TFF Virtual ends April 30


· An eclectic collection of TFF 2010 short films


· Conversations with filmmakers and fellow audience members both online and at the Festival


· Panel discussions featuring top voices from the world of film


· Exclusive filmmaker interviews


· Live coverage of red-carpet premieres



The first-ever TFF Virtual will open April 23, with the world premiere of Edward Burns’ Nice Guy

Johnny, which will play simultaneously with the film’s premiere at TFF. Three additional films in the

TFF Virtual slate are world premieres, while the other four are making their North American premieres.

All visitors to www.tribecafilm.com/virtual now have access to a robust array of free content, including

selected short films from previous editions of TFF, conversations with filmmakers and industry experts

and, when TFF kicks off on April 21 – footage from the TFF Opening Press Conference, a daily highlight

reel of the day’s biggest moments and live streams of Festival red carpets.



A key feature of both the premium and free sections of TFF Virtual is the opportunity to join the

conversation unfolding online. Those conversations will include real-time dialogue with fellow film

enthusiasts around the world, Q&A’s with filmmakers and thought-provoking panels streamed online.

These new forms of interacting with TFF will give audiences globally a chance to share in the Festival

experience.


All feature titles have been previously announced in their respective sections as part of the 2010 TFF

program and the short films will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lauren Says: All this information was sent to me in a press release. I think it sounds amazing though to be honest. If you can't actually attend the Tribeca Film Festival and I'll wager that most can't, then this is the next best thing. You get a chance to get up close and personal with the filmmakers as well as see all the amaing films being presented at the actual festival. I have to say, some of these sound really interesting and I'd love to be able to watch them. For only $45 (if you're in the U.S.) you can get access to the website and all the fun, exciting goodies coming NEXT WEEK. So do not wait...Monday-Friday: 23 to the 30, I believe. Now on to the movie's being shown...


The complete list of feature films showcased at TFF Virtual is as follows:


Nice Guy Johnny, directed and written by Edward Burns. (USA) – World and TFF Virtual

Premiere, Narrative. A master of the modern relationship dramedy, Edward Burns crafts a

summery gem centered on baby-faced 24-year-old Johnny Rizzo, who’s about to trade his dream

job in talk radio for some snoozeville gig that’ll pay enough to please his fiancée. Enter Uncle

Terry (Burns), a rascally womanizer set on turning a day in the Hamptons into an eye-opening

fling for his nephew. Nice guy Johnny’s not interested, of course, but then he meets Brooke….



Elvis & Madona (Elvis e Madona), directed and written by Marcelo Laffitte. (Brazil) – North

American and TFF Virtual Premiere, Narrative. The lives of a beautiful biker babe and a tall

blonde trannie intertwine in this vibrant Rio-set romantic comedy. Elvis is an aspiring young

photographer delivering pizzas to make ends meet. Madona’s plans for a spectacular drag show

have just been dashed when her rotten sometime lover steals all her money. When they meet by

chance, Elvis and Madona’s unlikely love will help them chase their dreams and deal with the

obstacles that arise along the way. In Portuguese with English subtitles.



Spork, directed and written by J.B. Ghuman, Jr. (USA) – World and TFF Virtual Premiere,

Narrative. Junior high isn't easy for anyone—especially if you're a frizzy-haired, pink-cheeked

hermaphrodite like Spork. But when the talent show shines a chance for Spork to show up Betsy

Byotch's mean girls gang, her recently best-friended trailer-park neighbor, Tootsie Roll, steps it

up to coach her in booty-poppin’ moves. This ’80s-inspired dance send-up is littered with colorful

dialogue from a tween cast with mouths beyond their years.



Buried Land, directed by Geoffrey Alan Rhodes and Steven Eastwood, written by Geoffrey Alan

Rhodes, Steven Eastwood, and Dzeno Medanovic. (Bosnia and Herzegovina, UK, USA) – World

Premiere. The small town of Visoko heralds to the world a remarkable discovery: A valley of

ancient pyramids predating Egypt exists under the hills of central Bosnia. Tourists flood the warscarred

region, and locals are caught between the real and the imagined (mirroring the film’s

vacillation between documentary and fiction). With the help of a young man returning to his

homeland, an American film crew determines the role of faith in capturing what can not yet be

proven. In English, Bosnian with English subtitles.



Into the Cold, directed by Sebastian Copeland. (USA) – World and TFF Virtual Premiere,

Documentary. The absolute top of the earth is a place few try to reach on foot. Even fewer

succeed. With the vast arctic ice vanishing rapidly, photographer, extreme adventurer, and

environmental advocate Sebastian Copeland sets out to reach the North Pole on the centennial of

Admiral Peary’s reach in 1909. This inspiring documentary follows their tumultuous two-month

trek—not just through piercing cold and merciless terrain, but straight into the depths of the soul.



Possessed (Bool-sin-ji-ok), directed and written by Lee Yong-ju. (South Korea) – North

American Premiere. College student Hee-jin returns home in the wake of her younger sister’s

disappearance, only to find her mother a fanatical religious convert and the family’s neighbors

offing themselves in increasingly bizarre and grotesque ways. Together with detective Tae-hwan,

Hee-jin must unravel the tangled web of connections between the victims that will lead back to

the missing girl in this eminently creepy horror show. In Korean with English subtitles.



Freetime Machos, directed by Mika Ronkainen. (Finland, Germany) – North American and TFF

Virtual Premiere. Matti and Mikko play for Finland’s worst amateur rugby team. Overworked

and domesticated, the two men long for a space to revel in their masculinity and bond with other

men. Following the two friends and their teammates on a quest to end the season with just a

single win, award-winning writer/director Mika Ronkainen (Screaming Men) crafts a genuine and

disarmingly funny love story of modern male friendship. In Finnish with English subtitles. Part

of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.



The Sentimental Engine Slayer, directed and written by Omar Rodriguez Lopez. (USA,

Mexico) – North American and TFF Virtual Premiere, Narrative. Reality and fantasy entangle in

the semi-autobiographical tale of a twentysomething misfit’s loopy trip through manhood in the

dusty US-Mexico border town of El Paso, Texas. While director/writer/star Omar Rodriguez

Lopez’s psychedelic sonic sensibilities are most well-known for fueling the Grammy-winning

rockers The Mars Volta, it is piercingly clear that he is also a riveting and rare voice for

independent American cinema. In English, Spanish with English subtitles.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easter Swap Goodies!!

So I was a part of the Easter Swap at the Mommy Files and my partner was Sarah from http://sarahsblogoffun.blogspot.com/. She sent me some amazing items. Just look at that picture above!! I'm sorry that it took me so long to post this. I'm really bad with pictures so it takes me awhile to get it uploaded (my sister does it) but I did take the picture...not so bad, if I do say so myself. hahaha But yes, look that cute little bunny basket and the reese's pieces carrott and an adorable (soft and fluffy) bunny stuffed animal. Adorable!! I just loved it all. Thank you!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

CSN Store's Future Review + I Love These Sites!

CSN is full of  items and other sites, from bar furniture to cooking items like this. You definitely want to check out these sites if you are looking to redecorate, buy a mother's day gift, buy a wedding present, etc. etc. So many options!

I will be doing a review for CSN stores soon and this is the item I will give my thoughts on:

http://www.csnstores.com/Snoozer-Pet-Products-64-X-SZR1054.html

I'm really excited! I've had my dog for years now and she has the same bed she had then. It's about time we upgraded, though finding the perfect one was really hard. CSN has so many options. We finally decided on this and I hope she enjoys it. She's a cuddly dog that loves soft things and her bed is a favorite spot.

CSN is full of othe items though too and other sites, from bar furniture to cooking items like this. You definitely want to check out these sites if you are looking to redecorate, buy a mother's day gift, buy a wedding present, etc. etc. So many options!

I'll be back soon with my review so please keep a look out. For now, be sure to check out the sites. What do you like?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Music Review in the Mirror

Music Review in the Mirror
By: Rob Bardnell

Shooting Stars Mag would like to welcome a guest post from Rob Bardnell. It's been awhile since we've had many music posts, so hopefully this will be the start to more. Leave your comments for him below!

Rock fans, I find, are trivia nuts through and through. The smallest bit of information is the purest of gold, don’t you agree? So, to make it interesting, let’s start today’s column with a “Can you name this band?’’…okay, here are your clues…

A survivor of three record label changes, this alternative/rock/pop quintet (originally signed by Atlantic Records in 1993) has the following credentials: Seven #1 hits, four platinum discs, twenty-one video releases, airplay on one of America’s most viewed television series, an acoustic CD and a live DVD with a youth orchestra.

Need another hint or two? Let’s throw in a few more … with a fan base and album sales in the millions, this hard-touring group has been featured on two highly successful movie soundtracks and despite recent (and past) line-up changes, continues to stay true to their progressive and creative roots, celebrating over fifteen years of music by releasing their eighth studio album in 2009 called…..well…..Rabbit 2009….and hey, there’s some mystery to that, too.

So if after all that, you’ve guessed Collective Soul, you’ve guessed correct. Collectively Right for Collective it is and Collective it shall be as Rabbit brings to life the old days of “Energy”, “Listen”, “She Said” and “Heavy” while mixing in the feel of the discs Youth and Afterwords…..and thus it is Collective indeed. The problem is just where to start with this CD so Song #1 it is.

The disc debuts with what will certainly be a show-opener called “Welcome All Again”. The riffs are hot, the breaks are incredibly clean and it once again shows the dynamic recording technique that Soul fans have so long become accustomed to. Next up is an entertaining “Fuzzy”, something you could easily have found on the Beatles’ White Album. The back-up vocals and harmonies are outstanding. Drummer Cheney Brannon (no Ryan Hoyle on this CD) wraps this tune up with a spirited mini-solo that leads into Song #3 called “Dig”, which not only embodies Brannon’s heavy-hitting style, but also the entire band as guitarists Dean Roland and Joel Kosche cut loose and front man Ed Roland begins to lyrically set the tone for the rest of the disc. This is good old fashion Soul and good old fashioned Ed Roland songwriting. The lead sizzles and Will Turpin’s thumping bass line keeps this listener wanting for more.


In typical Soul fashion, the band follows “Dig” with a lighter tune, this one aptly named “You”, which plays to Ed’s consistent spiritual undertones and highlights the group’s ability to once again produce clean and meaningful music, a characteristic that at times can be overlooked. “You” is followed by a Zep-like “My Days” and proves to be a very strong song on its own. Raw in sound but full of guitar melodies and runs, “Days” brings back memories of the mid-point of the Youth CD and is a great lead into Song #6, “Understanding”, the band’s first real collaboration as co-writers. This tune has it all, from a bit of Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” to some of Pink Floyd searing riffs as well as solid back-up vocals and effects. “Staring Down” is next on deck and does not disappoint. Once again Brannon’s influence can be felt here and the well-placed keyboard parts and lyrics set this song apart from the other tunes on Rabbit.

“She Does” follows “Staring Down” at #8 and revs the CD back up as Kosche, Dean Roland and Turpin hit their groove behind Brannon’s beat and they pull off the classic Soul sound and progressions. Extremely good stuff. If you like AC/DC’s sound (tempered with a tad of CS) hang on for the next one, which is penned “Lighten Up”. With a solid beat and strong bass lead-in, this song just sneaks up on you until you’re playing it again. As usual, there’s the full sound, special effects and vocals everywhere. “Love” checks in next at #10 and it’s just plain fun. Fueled by a thumping beat, phase-shifting guitar, strings, keyboards, vocal overlays and a Magical Mystery Tour bridge, “Love” is just that and more. Rabbit ends with a piano-dedicated gospel song in memory of the Roland’s father called, “Hymn For My Father”. It only seems right that “Hymn” should end this CD and Ed’s vocals are as strong as ever, his voice remaining the signature for Collective Soul and its many fans.

Upon review, Collective Soul’s Rabbit is an extremely entertaining and well-produced CD. It is also a time-stamped photograph of the group and where they are at this point in their careers. Successful? They are. Talented? You bet. Slightly forgotten? Possibly….but they will remain what they always shall be and that is Collective Soul.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead Release

INDIE VAMPIRE COMEDY
“ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD”


SET FOR THEATRICAL RELEASE ON JUNE 11, 2010
Opening Weekend in New York City;


Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle to follow on June 25, 2010


With Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki and Ralph Macchio, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD has an all-star cast with an original score written and performed by Sean Lennon. An audience favorite at The 2009 Slamdance Film Festival, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD was also an official selection at dozens of festivals around the world including AFI Dallas Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, ICON Science Fiction, Fantasy Festival and numerous others.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD is the debut feature film of Director Jordan Galland, who also penned the original screenplay, which is a hilarious romp featuring the characters from Hamlet, a tip of the cap to Tom Stoppard, and a two thousand year conspiracy involving vampires and the Holy Grail. The film was one of the first ever to be shot using the Red Camera, the revolutionary camera known for its jaw-dropping imagery which has leveled the playing field for independent filmmakers.

Summary:

Living in the back room of his father’s doctors office, broke and frustrated ladies man Julian (Jake Hoffman) scores his big break when he lands the job directing an off Broadway version of Hamlet. Except it’s a bizarre adaptation written by a pale Romanian impresario named Theo (John Ventimiglia) who is actually a master vampire. Theo hopes to lure the real Hamlet (Kris Lemche) out of hiding so the two can end a century’s long feud over Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Meanwhile, Julian pines for his ex-girlfriend, Anna (Devon Aoki), who is dating Mobster Bobby Bianchi (Ralph Macchio). Added into the mix is a dimwitted detective (Jeremy Sisto) and a terrific score by Sean Lennon.

Lauren's Thoughts:

Personally, I think this looks like a good movie and if I lived where it was first coming out, I'd be really excited. However, the closest city to me s Cincinnati...though it is supposed to come out in other theaters in the future (most likely if it does well, but I'm not sure). Go and see it now if you can and let me know what you think. I mean, come on! It has The Outsiders' Johnny/original Karate Kid Ralph Macchio AND Sean Lennon did the music. Can you say awesome??

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Favorite Things SWAP: Sign Up

Photo Source

I've been a part of a few swaps in the past and I've loved them all! I recently just finished one for Easter and it was tons of fun...I will try and make a post about that ASAP (need to get a picture of my things!!!) Anyway, I don't believe there will be another swap for awhile...I can't think of a holiday/reason coming up all that soon that would fit, so I figured it might be fun to make my own swap.

My Favorite Things Swap

Instead of focusing on what your partner enjoys, I thought it would be fun to make a basket with all of YOUR favorite items and giving them to someone else to enjoy/experience. A lot of my swaps have the partners be the same and I think I'd like to stick with that. Meaning if I had "Tracy" then "Tracy" would have me. Make sense? No surprise, but you can talk to each other via email if you need and that helps! And you can always check out their blog and see what you have in common, so you can think of adding something you KNOW they will like...but it's not mandatory. Just make it fun.

Favorite item ideas:
-book
-magazine
-candy
-movie
-color
-jewelry
etc.

make it interesting, make it fun, be creative!

Now if you would like to be part of this, please leave a comment below and put your EMAIL. I will have sign up end Saturday, May 8th I will then email everyone and figure out partners for you all so we can get started. I'm thinking the baskets will be due about end of May (meaning you mail them to your partner) but I'll figure out a set date later. Right now, I want to know who all would like to take part so get commenting and spread the word!


Open to BLOGGERS only. International swap. We'll see who is willing to mail out of the country after we all sign up!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Remember Me, Alice!



I'm a contributing writer for my college's newspaper, though all my posts go online since they don't deal directly with the school. Rather, I focus on the Arts and Entertainment out in the rest of the world...such as movies. Since I haven't written a review for a movie on Shooting Stars Mag in awhile, I wanted to share the links to two that I have done elsewhere so you can check them out...if you wish.


Alice in Wonderland Review

Loved this. I really want to see it again...this time in 3-D since I wasn't able to the first time around.

Remember Me Review

I really enjoyed this one. I think Robert Pattinson did show that he can act. I don't see a ton of movies more than once in theaters...tickets are more and more expensive now...but I saw this one twice and loved it both times. His best friend in the film is hilarious too, so you'll love him!!

COMMENT!

Did you see either of these movies? What are your thoughts?