Book Review: Melt…Ramble

Melt by Selene Castrovilla (Release Date: November 6, 2014)

I’ll stop the world and melt with you. I’m glad that song is referenced in this brutally violent tale of love and abuse. Melt reminds me more of Romeo & Juliet, than The Wizard of Oz, which is meant to be the backdrop to the story. Perhaps, that is because the author’s favorite writer is Shakespeare. The family strife, the forbidden love, the two souls loving each other so much they hurt and nag the other person to protect them from pain, and the self-doubt of that fragile love is definitely akin to Shakespeare’s tale. It’s a story I’ve never liked very much, even as a hormonal teenager. Replace the deaths in that story with violent abuse in this one.

This was an extremely hard book to read, tales of abuse are not what make it to my summer must reads, but I was given an ARC and found it a fast read. Perhaps, it’s the way the prose are used to express the Joey, the main character’s point of view, that make the book both intriguing and disturbing. He’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks kid, who’s family has been held hostage his whole life by a cop, his father.

Dorothy, named after Dorothy Parker, is the strong, but also self-righteous main female character, who holds herself above the new friend, Amy, she has made, because she grew up in Manhattan so she will do whatever she wants in her new home in the suburbs. She wants Joey, allows her hormones reject any of the obvious warnings of his darkness, his own violent tendencies. She wants to save him but she comes off as being a nag to me. She gives Joey a copy of Catcher and The Rye for his birthday because Holden Caulfield reminds her of him. Aside from the economic differences between Joey Riley and Holden, it’s a huge insult. I would never give that book to someone I was in love with – we all know Holden is a broken mess.

Joey, of course, hates the book but reads it because she gave it to him.

Overall I found this book used the poetry device well, but it drove me crazy the amount of times the word “melt” was used. We get the point. Would I have picked this book up on my own? No. Did I find it interesting? Yes. It’s a dark tale. I liked the Joey and dated a guy like him. When guys tell you they are bad news and they are not going to change, they usually don’t, which is why I found Dorothy’s nagging him after he was upfront with her so annoying. The last guy I dated manhandled me once, we’re done. He was a fireman with more than a foot taller, with 50 pounds on me. It’s not okay to grab a woman. That’s real life, in this fictional tale, based on real life, Dorothy still pines for Joey. Naturally she would, he was her first love, but she doesn’t learn, she inserts herself again into harm’s way for a front row seat to more violence.

Dorothy likes to think she knows more than other people at sixteen, more than her parents, which is typical, but the first serving she gets of violence shatters her. Is this book advocating not giving up on someone? Saving someone who doesn’t want to be saved? There can be no positive ending to this tale in life or in fiction. No one is innocent, but inviting violence into your world because your hormones are on fire is avoidable and irresponsible for your own safety.

Am I happy to move on to Daniel Levine’s adult fiction novel Hyde next? Absolutely. Take me to Ole London Town to hear another kind of monster’s tale.

Summer Reads For Everyone…Ramble

I read. A lot. As a writer you there’s a saying ‘you can only write as well as the best book you’ve read’. I’ll read any topic matter as long as the story interests me. Here are my suggestions for summer reading:


Wonderland by Stacy D’Erasmo – a densely literary ode to the life on a rock tour, D’Erasmo’s vivid descriptions of creating music, the intricate characters who feed off the industry and the struggle for the main character to make a comeback as an artist, is inspirational. I’ve personally written a chick lit (oh I can feel the daggers of your judgement publishing industry) manuscript (I have several interested parties in publishing, not everyone wants or rejects the same thing), about a rock star manager, and found this a realistic portrayal of how an artist’s brain works. Sex is something that comes naturally, love is always complicated and not enough. Living up to her famous father’s artistic imprint, the main character Anna is in her 40’s, taking one last shot for breaking through the indie scene into the mainstream. Anna reminds me of a red headed version of Liz Phair who’s “Exile in Guyville” was well-received and commercial pop was widely rejected. If you like music and don’t want to read another biography, this is really amazing and well written.


Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloise James is charming. The seventh in her Desperate Duchesses series, (they stand alone), the extraordinary Ms. James builds tension between the two main characters to the point of extreme delight. Thorn is a ‘bastard’ and Lady Xenobia, left an orphan of a free-spirited Marquis. Forced by her circumstances to raise her own dowry, Lady X became an interior decorator. She decides it is time to retire and marry, but accepts her final job to transform Thorn’s new estate, as well as him, into the ideal English Gentleman’s prize in order to win approval for marriage to the sweet, dimwit, Lala. The banter between Thorn and Lady X will have you laughing out loud. It’s like indulging in your favorite dessert and finding out the ingredients are more beneficial to your body than vegetables (sign me up for that).


#GIRLBOSS by  Sophia Amoruso is her memoir of her rise from a shoplifting dumpster diver to heading up a multi-million dollar fashion company, Nasty Gal. She keeps it real, and you won’t be able to stop laughing. While other career books tend to be dry, Amoruso shows off real-world tips that will help you achieve becoming your own GIRL BOSS!

More tude than Iggy


Soundrop launches, a kind of for digital music promotion


Tons of streaming services- do you pay attention to new ones or just say ‘great, time to turn on INSERT WHATEVER SERVICE you use’?

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Norwegian digital music startup Soundrop launched a new service called that wants to help musicians promote their latest releases and grow their email lists. is kind of like an for digital music – a very minimal and clean site with a basic player that gives visitors access to a track right away.

Once you hit play, you gain access to additional cards that offer access to additional content in exchange for an email address, prompt you to subscribe to a YouTube (S GOOG) channel or follow the artist on Soundcloud, Twitter (S TWTR) or Facebook. (S FB)

Artists can also redirect users to streaming music services like Spotify or Deezer or offer an option to buy digital downloads on iTunes, (S AAPL) Amazon (S AMZN) or elsewhere. can be used as a standalone mini-site, or embedded into other websites. Check out a embed below:

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Darling, It’s Time To Enjoy The Hamptons…Ramble

Summer is upon us, and though technically we have a week before it officially begins, the season kicks off on Memorial Day Weekend. If you are looking for wild nights, then you’ll want to head to The Hamptons on the weekends. If you are looking to relax, enjoy the beach and the wineries The Hamptons area has to offer, then I’ve got a plan for you.

My friend and I decided to take a ‘dogcation’ to The Hamptons, planting ourselves in Sag Harbor. Zooming out to Sag Harbor to the dog-friendly, Forever Bungalows, we arrived to find the hotel had been taken over by Camp Kate Spade. Kate Spade has a new store in East Hampton and redecorated the bungalows. It took a few extra hours for our bungalow to be ready and in the mean time the Kate Spade staffers were unbelievably sweet, saying hello to our three dogs, giving us a bottle of Wollfer Estates Rose. Well, hello then, we’re happy to wait. The Forever Bungalows staff was also quite sweet and knocked off the extra dog fees and gave us a Bungalow upgrade free of charge. Well, hello Darlings, this is why I love The Hamptons, people are top drawer.

Lucky for us, MINI Coopers are abundant so we fit right in with the locals, and who doesn’t want to be a local in such a plush, fabulously relaxing seaside community? There is a lot of driving to do in The Hamptons because it’s a suburb, so have patience and expect drives from 15-30 minutes as part of your time, during which you can soak up all the lush, farm stands offering fresh veggies and fruit, as well as find yourself in the midst of the six-mile wine trail. Oh, do we happen to be pulling into Channing Daughters Winery for a flight of wine? Does that happen to be Chris Tracey the winemaker chasing his dog Remy around the vines? Is that really an entire wall of Roses showcasing grapes from Merlot to Syrah? Yes to all of the above, I’m falling in love.

Highlights include:

1) DOG BEACH: Taking our fur babies to the dog-friendly Road D in South Hampton (can you believe that name? It’s worse than ‘Blank Street’ – these people may have funds but they are not creative when it comes to street names- I’m talking to you Upper and Lower 7th Street.) Tip: Before going to any beach with your dog check the rules, they vary wildly in South Hampton let alone the other beaches. Road D is off-leash heaven and has 30 parking spots. We went on a Monday morning at 8 A.M. and we were the only ones there. Pre-season is the bomb dot com Dolls!

2) CAFFEINE: Jack’s in Amagansett- I’m mentioning this early because I was super cranky trying to get some decent cold brew. I hail from the land of Hipsteria, there are coffee shops on every block (see my prior post on my 10 Favorites in Brooklyn), so several times I did comment “Doesn’t this place have any hipsters? We need CAFFEINE!” and we did make it to Jack’s on our last day. Tip: Buy a bottle of the Cold Brew there for $20 so you have it on-hand for your stay. It’s worth and it’s fabulous. Leave the t-shirt shopping for elsewhere because there are better things to spend your money on than an uber soft beach bag for $185.00, like their pressed juices, treats and bags of coffee beans. Jack’s is a treasure trove.

Locals also hit up The Golden Pear, which has some delicious fresh food and is right next to a juice store.

3) WINERYChanning Daughters Winery – for a mere $10 you get a six wine tasting, extremely great conversation on wine, and a beautiful spot to enjoy it. There is a ‘horse and dog crossing’ so drive slow when you turn up the enchanting driveway. It gives one an immediate desire to press the gas pedal down, so as to enjoy the wine and surroundings as quickly as possible.  You might also like to take one of their Yoga classes. Yes, Yoga – In. The. Vineyards. I told you this was The Hamptons Darlings, weren’t you paying attention? We like being outdoors and being one with all things zen. BTW, there are also three Soul Cycle studios (East Hampton, the original mothership my fellow Spinners; Bridgehampton and Watermill) and two Fly Wheel studios (Sag Harbor & East Hampton). Yeah, yeah Crossfit, Babydolls we are being fab, not chiseling our bods during a relaxing holiday.

Other wineries of note: Duck Walk, (Water Mill right next to The Parrish Art Museum – start there and then you might just happen to find yourself enjoying a few bottles at Duck Walk.

Wollffer Estates, which also offers Yoga onsite. BTW, they have a winery and a drive-up tasting site. If you are lucky enough to drink the rose “Summer in a Bottle” and bring it to dinner, it’ll secure you on the dinner guest invite list for fall and winter because your host will know you have excellent taste. Local tip: Drink Rose in the summer, just like white it’s gosh to drink after Labor Day, so enjoy this refreshing wine from local wineries, they do it right. Rose week is June 22-29th!

4) BAKERY: Oh, Dear, Tate’s is no mere bakery, it’s the very reason a dream was filled. If you happen to drive 90 miles to be in South Hampton, you will fulfill your own dream to eat at Tate’s Bakery in South Hampton on North Sea Road. That green and white building has outdoor seating, a tempting bread pudding, ice cream sandwiches with chocolate covered chocolate chip cookies holding it together, cakes for days, bakery items, frozen pies to bake at home, and of course, the very reason you happen to love it, COOKIES in abundance. Tip: Skip the healthy cookies, they are awful and that’s not why you came to Tate’s, the Tiffany of Bakeries.

5) FISH & CHIPS & LOBSTER ROLLS: If you want to go local, hit up Dock House (8 Wharf St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963). It’s packed out and limited seating, but then you wanted to go outside to sit and watch the boats go by anyway, didn’t you? You’ll see plenty of dogs on boats going by, happy as can be. And if you want to go more upscale, relax you high-maintenance city folk, right next door is Ritchie Notar’s Harlow.


Crush of the Week: Maleficent The Magnificent…Ramble

We’ve all checked in to the Heartbreak Hotel. Some people sabotage the other person, others prefer to take action but hold the root of the betrayal close to their hearts because it is too painful to voice the actions out loud. Maleficent suffers from the former predicament, betrayed by the man she considered her true love. 

Angelina Jolie takes on this role as a villain/hero, a complicated character who addresses some real life concerns. How far would you go for revenge? How much can you give yourself over to a broken heart, spreading the despair to everyone around you, until fear replaces the love and laughter you once shared? What would it take to get over a betrayal so unspeakable, it causes others to weep while you wreck your havoc, losing a piece of your soul with every action? 

I went in with little expectations, after seeing headlines saying even Angelina couldn’t save this clunker. Oh critics, how wrong you are and how wonderful a film it is. Strong females, betrayal, madness, revenge and, of course, the truth about ‘true love’. How marvelous. 

The Coldplay ‘Ghost Stories’ Campaign…Ramble

Yes, I’m a huge and I mean huge Coldplay fan. I don’t like them ‘ironically’ as one recent fellow I dated (see that’s past tense) remark. However, that doesn’t preclude me from being able to analyze their campaigns. Their sixth album ‘Ghost Stories’ is a beautiful and haunting in honesty. Note, I was not a fan of ‘Mylo Xyloto’, though a few songs grew on me, and though I loved ‘X & Y’ it was about three or four ballads too long, a fact that is also noted by the band.

When I first heard the lyrics to ‘Magic’ about how ‘I just got broken, broken in to two, still I call it magic, when I’m with you’ red flags started to wave in my head. Of course, I ignored them because the lyrics were all too relatable to me. March saw the debut of other new songs from ‘Ghost Stories’ during their globally broadcast performance as part of the iTunes Festival at SXSW. “Another’s Arms” told the tale of having broken up and the oddness of moving on, still wishing for the person already gone. Now the red flag was as large as Russia’s, and my heart was concerned. The following week GP and Chris Martin announced their ‘conscious uncoupling’, which is also brilliant timing from a marketing standpoint of an album launch.

Woah, is that cold? Fair enough. You can say that but the moments I took to mourn their relationship, also produced even greater depth to the lyrics of ‘Ghost Stories’. Friends commented I might be rushing out to buy the album but they were sure Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t listening to it. I disagree since Chris told the BBC’s Zane Lowe in an exclusive interview it was the most truthful album they have ever made. The word ‘true’ appears in several of the songs. It’s also really about heartbreak, not being over someone who was ‘True Love’ but having to move forward. Even in “A Star Full of Skies” he mentions in out of all those stars “I think I saw you”, do you get more literal? Or on “Magic” when he sings “and with all your magic, I disappear from view.” Well damn.

The global Coldplay campaign didn’t need the press of a breakup because it included hand-written lyrics for all songs hidden in libraries all over the globe, hints given away via Twitter, TV shows including Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon in the US (let alone the countless ones overseas), and The Voice, as well as live shows in five major cities globally.

Tickets in NY were hard to come by unless you work in the music industry or are willing to pay scalpers.

Personally I’d rather shell out a few extra bucks for the deluxe version at Target, a multi-million dollar campaign #MoreColdplay across social media, television and in-store promotions. The fan incentive? Signed paper stars from the adverts, which also were part of the set dressing for their SNL appearance.

Let’s not forget the continued support of iTunes post-SWSX which included a pre-order, an exclusive track, immediate downloads from the pre-order, social media support and dedicated newsletters and homepage banners.

What I love about Coldplay is the imperfection of it all, the inclusion of fans and the music, of course. I once got into a discussion with a senior level exec at Sony about why Kings of Leon, also releasing their fourth album at the time, were not as successful as Coldplay. He said there was no way and then that album turned out to be KOL’s most successful album and he had to buy me an expensive dinner. Music, when it’s brilliant can still go unheard if it is not marketed properly. Team Coldplay always delivers some new way of connecting with the music, making it fun and inclusive of the fans. Look for their TV special as well:

SNL WINS the It Ain’t Hova Til It’s Hova-Solange Leaked Video…Ramble

Disclaimer: the way America deals with hard issues is humor. Really. I’m no condoning violence, but that sometimes happens amongst siblings. And, what entity is better to take a hot topic and turn it on it’s ass than Saturday Night Live. This is the final word in arachnophobia: