5-star review from San Francisco Book Review!

Easily one of my favorite reviews so far! As of right now, I’ve only seen it on amazon, but I’m hoping they add it to their website and even the print publication. If it does make it into the print publication, I’m going to be prevailing on some kind SF-ista to pick up a few copies for me!

I especially love the Carmen comparison line. It’s something that hasn’t been mentioned quite enough– maybe I was too subtle with it? But give that there’s a slew of Carmen books at the moment, I wouldn’t mind STARS getting a little more press from that standpoint.

Anyhow, the review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting tale of talent, determination, and love, March 2, 2011

By San Francisco Book Review (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

This review is from: When the Stars Go Blue: A Novel (Paperback)

Soledad, a talented and strong-willed Miami teenager with a Cuban heritage, is about to graduate from a competitive high school for performing arts. She has a promising professional dance career in front of her, and while she is deciding on what to do after graduation, a male classmate makes her an offer she cannot resist.

Caridad Ferrer gives an honest and intense portrayal of the often mind-altering experience of first love, and she shows us how first love can make the most determined and dedicated young woman question herself. In //When the Stars Go Blue//, Ferrer invites us into the passionate world of professional dancing, a world where even the strongest dedication of talented dancers cannot always conquer the physical demands of the profession.

This is a riveting young adult novel that puts a new twist on the classical story of Carmen. It will keep you reading until the end, as it is full of suspense and unexpected surprises. The Spanish dialogue scattered throughout the novel gives it a very authentic feel of the multicultural life in South Florida, and it also gives the reader a peek into Soledad’s connection to the Cuban community.

Reviewed by J Rodney

Oscar fashion recap

Oh, there are so many places to begin. From my early perusals of the fashion round-ups, I’ve come to the conclusion that either the paid fashionistas have far better taste than I do, or they’re blind. Because the gowns I love are uniformly winding up on the Worst-Dressed lists and the ones I find myself going “WTF?!?” over are on the Best-Dressed lists.

But yanno, my blog, my opinion, so here we go.

Oh, and let’s get this out of the way– James Franco… not during a major awards telecast, man! Seriously.

Anyhow…

I know everyone was wondering what Helena was going to wear. She went with a slightly Elizabethan all black number with a Union Jack garter and what I’m guessing was a Lulu Guinness purse. But while she looked fairly well put together (for her) I simply don’t care. Because this was just the cutest picture I saw all evening:

Now, co-host Anne Hathaway sported an array of looks during the telecast from gold fringe to stunning burgundy to an inexplicable blue foil, but my favorite look of hers during the evening was in vintage Valentino. I mean, this is a gown you can take one look at and know that hours of work went into crafting it, probably by little Italian ladies named Philomena and Giuletta and Carmela who will cut you if you don’t stand up straight. Anne played it right with her lipstick taking center stage with the makeup. And she wasn’t orange, bless her!

Anne certainly wasn’t the only one sporting shades of red on the carpet. Sandy Bullock looked absolutely smokin’ and all “Jesse James, who?” in a beautifully fitted Vera Wang.

Now, for a new mother, Penelope Cruz looks amazing. The color was spectacular on her. The gown itself, however? Oh, sweetheart. Just… no. The sequins drew attention to areas where you really didn’t want the attention wandering. And the Girls are a bit more bodacious than usual– you came close to a couple of wardrobe malfunctions walking down the red carpet just because the strap wasn’t fitted quite snugly enough. I will reiterate again, though– we should all look so good a little over a month after giving birth. (Of course, she also had quite the nice accessory as well…)

Jennifer Lawrence was also in red, but it was boring. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great, it was just sort of… there. Apropos for a country club party in Florida, not the Oscars, IMO.

Now, I’ll freely admit, I don’t like Jennifer Hudson. She grates on my nerves and every time I see her Weight Watchers commercial where she’s torturing “Feelin’ Good,” I imagine Nina lunging out of her grave and slapping her stupid.

However.

That’s besides the point. I think she does look fabulous and the color of this gown is tremendous on her. And the fit was mostly good. Mostly. Because oh, God, I could not stop staring at her boobs and flinching. The Girls just shouldn’t be put through that. There are so many seamstress tricks that could have helped with that and no one did anything? Once again (like the year she won the Oscar), I have to think she pissed someone off. They let her go out the door saying, “Yeah, girl, you look bangin’,” while laughing quietly in the background.

Moving to the purple end of the spectrum, oh, ScarJo. And this is one of the ones where I’m seeing various lists putting her on the Best Dressed side of things while I’m going, “huh?” Because seriously, it’s a tablecloth. Or drapes. It’s just wretched. I’ll freely admit I’m way, WAY picky about my lace, but this is just wrong. And I won’t even touch her hair. Apparently, no one else did, either. The one saving grace for this gown was the open back. I’m a sucker for the beautiful open back and this one is framed beautifully.

Now, wearing the same color and finally looking comfortable is Natalie Portman. It’s graceful and flowing– a gorgeous color and it looks like it might have actually been comfortable for the pregnant lady. And unlike most, I loved her tassled earrings. I also thought the ruched and beaded detailing on the neckline was stunning, showcasing her lovely shoulders.


Also in a shade of purple, albeit toward the lighter lavender end of the spectrum, was Mila Kunis. This was half a dress. In a lot of respects. Again, unlike many, I loved the peekaboo bodice, but I thought that the boudoir look went too far with the skirt. It should’ve ditched the lace panels in favor of all chiffon and it would have made the bodice that much more striking. Otherwise, I thought the color was fabulous with her coloring (and again, no spray tan look there, thank goodness).


Also in a very pale lavender/pink shade with a healthy dose of WTF is the normally incomparable Cate Blanchett. I know she’s fearless with fashion and normally, I applaud that and God knows, she can wear things that mere mortals simply can’t, but in this case, I have to wonder if she lost a bet. Because I just can’t imagine any scenario where she thinks wearing this cross between a Viking maiden & a Mr. Bubble ad campaign costume would be a good idea. Oh, and let’s not forget the horseshoes on the hips.


Another one that’s going to be on every Best Dressed list and that I’m going to be left lukewarm on is Gwyneth Paltrow. Like Jennifer Lawrence, I don’t hate it or love it, it’s just kind of there. It’s classic Calvin Klein, but just didn’t work for me. Interestingly enough, I think Cate could’ve pulled this sleek minimalist look off with major panache, but Gwyneth just missed it.

However, I think one of my biggest WTF moments was reserved for Melissa Leo. Who was utterly charming and fabulous when she won and I’m so glad she did, but holy cats, did she have to win in this gown? Again, a tablecloth, but in this case, it was a tablecloth draped over Jiffy-Pop foil. With short sleeves. (What was up with that trend? I hate it.) And a big, stiff collar. And a plunging neckline. Just too much going on and none of it working really well for me. But she gave a F*%#in’ awesome acceptance speech.


Amy Adams was an “almost” for me. Love the color. So much. I wish her hair had been a deeper red. Love the jewelry because I’m a sucker for green against that deep deep blue. Love the fitted column. Loathe the cap sleeves. A lot. So much, that it distracts me from the good things.

Almost, Amy. Almost.

Most people are going to hate Nicole Kidman’s gown, but I don’t. I don’t love it, either, but in terms of being a couture, off-the-runway look, I much prefer hers to Cate’s. What I noticed about Nicole’s was that it was a gown that looked better from some angles than others. (Looked terrible from the side, but lovely from the front and three-quarters, I thought.) I also really loved the fun pop of the red/orange shoes. So not quite a win, but not quite as head-scratching as Cate.

So, some of my favorite looks of the night…

While I’m not much for feathers as a general rule, I really liked Hilary Swank’s gown. Again, the ombré shading is something I’m always going to be a sucker for and I liked the silver to deep, pewter gray shading. I also liked that it was sleek but growing to some volume which gave the gown some movement without being completely over the top. Well played, Hilary.

Marisa Tomei rockin’ the navy blue 1950 vintage Charles James Couture. Yes, I love it. Yes, I’d totally wear it.

And winning the totally appropriate gorgeous look, 14-year-old Haillee Steinfeld in a gorgeous tea-length gown that was totally Audrey Hepburn/Grace Kelly inspired and just looked lovely on her.

(Pics via HuffPo & WireImage.)

Lil’ snippet o’ somethin’

Just came to me and I scribbled it down. It might be the beginning of a new project:

“Don’t look back, somethin’ might be gainin’ on you.”
~Satchel Paige

New Orleans, Louisiana August 28, 2005

His entire life he’d heeded those words. His daddy’s mantra, borrowed from the great Satchel. “That’s as good advice as any given by a man, no matter what color his skin is.” So no, he’d never looked back. Always looked forward. Always forged ahead. But the joke was on him now. Because that thing that was gaining was coming from ahead, rushing headlong towards them with speed and fury and an unforgiving wrath that roared and howled at the injustice, but refused to let up, to divert its course. Oddly, he wasn’t frightened. No, if anything, he was hopeful. Hope. A simple word holding so much weight. There was hope it would all be swept away—the dirt and filth and lack of decency. Hope that the demons and monsters would be swallowed whole and erased—leaving nothing in their wake but perhaps the merest spun sugar dust sparkling in air washed clean and new. Evidence that once, they’d been good.

Despite appearances to the contrary, they’d been good.

Once upon a time.

It had all once been so very, very good.

Sunday Adventures

Been meaning to get up to Deception Pass for some time. The last couple of days have been so glorious, I finally decided to shove crowbars under everything and get them and out on an adventure. Once there we hiked a couple of trails, the Diva and I making our way down to North Beach so I could take pictures of the bridge from that perspective. Down there, we made a lovely discovery: several roses left scattered on the beach, presumably in memorial.

There's a story there...

Close up:

Rose on North Beach

Shot of the bridge from the beach:

DSC01326

Totally glorious day ending with pizza, dark chocolate brownies, and puppies cuddled on at the foot of the bed. Good day.

Whatever happened to impartial reporting?

Rhetorical question, btw.

So this morning I read a press release/article on Josh Groban’s upcoming world tour that began “Cat ladies get our [sic] your credit cards…” before proceeding to actually impart the useful information on the tour. As well as the fact that when Groban last toured, four years ago, he sold out all 81 dates on his world tour. But I kept coming back to that first line. Way to perpetuate a stereotype. Curious, I googled the author’s name- Amy Sciarretto, apparently a music journo of some renown in the heavy metal/alternative circles. Well, okay. So maybe she got slammed with the assignment and went WTF? But you know, even if the music isn’t to her taste why on earth did she feel the need to begin the piece with a backhanded slap at who she assumes are going to be the first in line?

Key word there, “assumes.”

Because she’s wrong. Wrongity wrong wrong wrong with a side of wrong sauce.

Are there stereotypical “cat ladies” who also follow Groban and have inappropriate fantasies about him? Probably. But you know, when I was at American Idiot on Broadway, I saw just as many women who could also fit that particular profile in the audience, slavering over the fact that they were about to see Billie Joe Armstrong performing. In fact, the woman who sat in front of me was a diehard Green Day fan, traveling from California for this performance. She happened to have with her in attendance, her twentysomething daughter who in her tight, lowslung jeans, rib-tickler corset top, long, straight hair, and shoulder-grazing hoop earrings, looked “the part,” if there is such a thing, of a Green Day fan far more than her Chanel and Gucci-clad mom.

Am I going to be lining up to get tickets as soon as I can should Josh announce a date anywhere near my neck of the woods? Probably. Given that I’ve been following him for over ten years now and have watched the evolution of his career with a huge amount of interest, bemused by the parallels of his journey within the music industry to mine in publishing (except, of course, without the massive success *g*).

The only thing that might stop me are the variety of hardcore fan that I’ve encountered at Josh’s concerts. They’re of a different ilk altogether, Deadheads for the new millennium, following him from concert to concert, knowing all the lyrics to every song, and the stage patter, and feeling a certain superiority/sense of entitlement from this perceived closeness to the band/act and being utterly obnoxious about it, ruining it for the people around them. Just bad concert-goers from an etiquette standpoint.

Thing is, though, I’ve seen fans of this type for many acts. They’re certainly not exclusive to the Groban camp. And I have no idea if any of them have cats.

Oh, and for the record, the sole cat in my house happens to belong to my son.

And I’m just as likely to line up to be first to buy tickets to a concert by Sting or U2 or Mumford & Sons or Chris Botti or Metallica or Sara Bareilles or Bruno Mars or Eric Clapton or Red Hot Chili Peppers or…

You see where I’m going with this?

These days, especially, music lovers are difficult to categorize. There’s so much genre/boundary crossing and bending. Hell, Groban’s latest album was produced by Rick Rubin. You know, same guy who produced Metallica & Chili Peppers & Beasties.

One would think that would’ve been good enough for a music journalist who has her roots in the heavy metal/alt world to at least stop and take a second look/listen. But I guess preconceived stereotypes just make her job easier.

Back home, Valentine’s, and Grammy Fashions… oh my.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

After a week in the wilds of New York, I’m thrilled to be home. Love visiting New York, love coming home. It was a great visit, introducing the Boy to the joys of the city, visiting with Lovely Agent, hanging out with , meeting , and generally having a FABULOUS time. Also, American Idiot is an absolutely slammin’ show and I am more in love with Billie Joe than ever before. Skinny little rocker boy just owned the stage.

So today is Valentine’s Day and true to form, the Hub got me the most perfect thing ever. No, no swan butt jewelry from Kay, but definitely much better. Custom M&Ms in varying shades of green with the phrases “Try not,” “Do or do not,” and “There is no try,” inscribed on them and housed in an old-fashioned gumball dispenser.

Yes, the Hub got me Yoda M&Ms.

Finally, the Grammy fashions. Y’all, I can’t even cope. I mean, trying to deconstruct some of these is like saying, “Wow, Helena Bonham Carter showed up in something wacky.” It just kind of is. Yes, Gaga showed up in an egg and her acceptance outfit had nipples and defined butt-cheeks. Rihanna wore something constructed of crumpled up tissue paper that looked like something my kid made for a Christmas project in kindergarten, and Nikki Minaj’s hair was probably housing an entire family of wombats. But it’s the Grammys. You sort of expect nothing less.

Jewel did look lovely and I found myself oddly fascinated by Nicole Kidman’s gown in that, “There’s no way that should work, but it somehow does.” I didn’t care for the ruffle across the top of the bodice, but I loved the colors and their graduated scale. It looked rather stunning with her skin tone and hair.

Oh, and Bieberbots who spammed Esperanza Spalding’s Wikipedia page because you were stricken… stricken, I tell you, that your boy didn’t win Best New Artist?

Get.

A.

Grip.

Your boy showed some major class in how he dealt. Take a page out of his book. Oh, and you could maybe take a page out of Esperanza’s book too—she admitted to not being as familiar with some of her fellow nominees as she could be, but acknowledged that a) it’s just as tough to be commercially popular as it is to be popular with the music cognoscenti and b) that she’s going to make it a point to learn more about her fellow nominees.

Expanding horizons. What a novel idea.