April 16, 2014

Rock Novel Reading Club: Spring 2014

I am a book groupie. This is the realization I've had this week as I've tried to categorize, alphabetize and jam every last piece of my 600+ book library onto my formerly monstrous book case as part of my new apartment organization process. (And that 600+ count is after weeding out about 75 books I've read and didn't like or now know I will never read...)

I will finally agree with my family: my book buying habits might be a bit out of proportion with my reading habits as of late.

To curb that problem, I launched my Rock Novel Reading Club at the start of the year. The idea was simple: read one "rock novel" (any book with a story based in the world of music - and fair warning, most are YA novels which I unapologetically love) every three months this year and ask you guys to read along with me.

When I announced the Rock Novel Reading Club, I was overwhelmed by your excitement and response! It was a silly little blog series idea I had on a whim, and I figured I'd see how it went for a year. I never expected so many of you to jump on board, anxiously find the book and then come back and share your thoughts. So if you participated in the Winter 2014 reading club - thank you.

I think we were all a little disenchanted with that first pick, so hopefully the book I landed on for our Spring 2014 reading club will be a little better. (And hey - if you're a book groupie too...feel free to Tweet or email me your suggestions!)

Our Spring 2014 Rock Novel Reading Club pick is...

Amplified by Tara Kelly
Not long ago, I went on a quest to make a list of every rock novel I could find. Tara Kelly's "Amplified" was one of the first I ran across - and one that immediately went on the list.

About the book:
When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it.

Let's rock!
Now it's your turn: find a copy and read (or re-read!) along. We'll meet back here Wednesday, June 18 (that's nine weeks from now) when I'll write a short review and throw out some discussion questions. Don't forget to Tweet your thoughts and Instagram your copy using the #GGrocknovel hashtag.

Happy rock reading,

April 14, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 Wish List

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you're a vinyl-lover, that is. This Saturday is Record Store Day - a day devoted to visiting your neighborhood record store and supporting them by buying a couple exclusive releases. My love for records is fairly casual, and I'll be honest - my personal vinyl collection has grown in recent years for one simple reason: I really like vinyl for all the pretty colors. Yup, I'll admit it - I'm that girl.

Of course, I can appreciate that everything sounds better on vinyl. The first piece of music I remember "owning" was a record (Sesame Street, if you must know), and I remember watching my parents carefully flip my black wax disc for me so I could continue my four-year-old dance party and sing-along in the living room. I had a record player for a time growing up, but it wasn't until about seven years ago that I got one for my birthday and started to delve back into seeking out music on vinyl.

My vinyl goal is simple (and predictable...): to own every Beach Boys album on vinyl in listen-able condition...and not spend a fortune acquiring them. But aside from that, I'll buy records from time to time and always enjoy seeing what's on the Record Store Day release list. I won't be at my local record stores bright and early Saturday morning, in line and eager to acquire new music - I'll leave that to the vinyl experts and die-hards. Instead, I take a pretty casual approach - I'll go later in the day or even in the days following and see what's left over. For me, it's more fun that way - it's like a true treasure hunt, being pleasantly surprised what gems I can score after the fact rather than standing in line, stressing that I'm not going to get that one thing I simply cannot live without.

Here's what's on my Record Store Day wish list this year:

  • The Animals - The Animals EP
  • The Civil Wars - Live at Eddie's Attic
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - The 1969 Singles
  • The Everly Brothers - Songs Our Daddy Taught Us
  • Haim - Forever
  • Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke
  • Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart
  • Regina Spektor - You've Got Time
  • Sun Records Curated by Record Store Day (Vol. 1)
  • The Wild Feathers - Got it Wrong/Marie
  • Sam Means - Blue Jeans

What's on your Record Store Day wish list?
Check out the list here. You can also read about my 2010 RSD adventure, how Cactus Music saved my life following RSD 2011 and my 2013 finds.

Happy vinyl hunting,

April 11, 2014

#bestsongallweek - "I Feel Weird" by Steel Train

I feel weird. It pretty sums up my week. I've spent the past five days living in a half un-packed apartment that I love but isn't quite home yet. My living room is an un-configured mess of second-hand vacation home furniture and books. My closet barely has any clothes in it, and my kitchen is stacked high with boxes full of dishes and kitchen items me plus three friends could use to each stock a house and then some. I'd really love for an unpacking fairy to stop by and work her magic.

In short, it's been weird. I was so excited about making all these things happen, I honestly never stopped to think about the big life change moving would be - sure, I only moved 25 miles...but it's a change all the same.

And every time I thought, "This feels weird," the jangly, happy opening of this Steel Train song would immediately pop into my head, so it only seems appropriate to make it my #bestsongallweek.

What's your #bestsongallweek?

Trying to feel less weird,

April 7, 2014


Something had to give. If you read my #bestsongallweek posts every Friday, you know 2014 has been a little on the chaotic side for me - all good chaos (is there such a thing?) but chaos all the same. That chaos (hopefully) culminated this weekend with my big move into a new apartment - high five for eight minute commutes to work instead of 1.5 hours!

But that big move is also why I'm writing today - in all the things I've been juggling lately, something had to give this week in order to get my life re-organized in my new space...and that thing is the blog.

So just for this week, I won't be posting anything new as I try to get my new living space together - washing dishes, organizing clothes and trying to find the perfect TV stand because my free-from-the-neighbors entertainment center wouldn't fit in the apartment building doorway, try as a geophysicist, a lawyer and a marketing specialist might. I'll be back Friday with a #bestsongallweek pick, and I'll still be around on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this week - so if you aren't already following me on one of those, this is the perfect week to do so!

Here's to new beginnings,

April 4, 2014

#bestsongallweek - "It's Better to Spend Money" by Quiet Company

This is it. Tomorrow I move - this time for real. It's been a slow process, but I'm excited it's finally happening. (Though if you ask me, I'll just sigh and say I'm ready for it all to be done. Once I'm in my new place, I'll be excited.)

To get ready, I made a playlist. Of course I did - I make playlists for everything anymore. I asked my Twitter and Facebook followers for their "moving playlist" suggestions, and dumped a ton of my favorite songs onto it. I've been listening to it on and off all week, and somehow all the songs seem to be about change.


But my favorite of the week has to be "It's Better to Spend Money" by Quiet Company for these lines in the chorus:

You better stop and smell the roses
You better love the life you live
And you better take note of when it's killing you
We all end up in the cemetery

That pretty much defines 2014 so far.

What's your #bestsongallweek?
Share it with us on Twitter using the hashtag - doesn't matter what it is as long as it's the very BEST song of your week.

Loving the life I live,

P.S. If you're in Houston, Quiet Company plays tonight at Warehouse Live. Show is just $8, and you'll have a chance to meet their two new band members and hear a ton of new music live before I do. Please go! And tell them I sent you.