Category Archives: Dabney AAR

another amazing Sam Smith cover

I listen to Whitney Houston covers with a judicious ear. The only one I think improves on the original is Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You because I think it undersells the song in a gorgeous way.

But this cover by pop crooner Sam Smith who, thus far, appears to be able to do no vocal wrong is so elegantly spare, I think it might be an improvement over the exuberant original. Maybe. Both are pop music at its best.

Not that I need more, but here are two extra reasons to love Patrick Rothfuss.

My love for the words of Patrick Rothfuss is well documented. I think his Kingkiller Chronicles–The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and the to be released some day in the far too distant future Doors of Stone–are better than Mr. Martin’s far more famous fantasy series. I, and my four new adults, have read both books several times and listened to the audiobooks and, every time, discover new greatness. Continue reading

The 2014 Goodreads Choice contest has begun. What will you vote for?


The 2014 Goodreads Choice Contest is open. If you’ve never participated before, it’s a readers’ choice contest featuring competitions in twenty categories. Romance is a single catetory–there’s no sub-genre separation–and this year, like like last year, is heavy on New Adult picks. There is one straight historical romance: Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Duke. Also representing romances with a historical bent is the latest by Diana Gabaldon, Written in my Own Heart’s Blood.

You can go here to begin voting:

Sherlock: “I’d know exactly how to please a woman….”

Sherlock-Molly-Kiss-BBCGreat gods almighty. Have you read Benedict Cumberbatch’s interview with ElleUK about what sort of lover Sherlock would be? It’s, well, beyond hot.

Mr. Cumberbatch says, among other things, that Sherlock’s focus would make him a god in bed.

And then I would be devastating. I’d know exactly how to please a woman, I’d know exactly where to put my fingers, where to put my tongue, where to put my – his I should say – his fingers, his tongue. Think about violinists, think about what they can do with their fingers.

Whew. There’s even a part two where he talks about whether Sherlock had sex with Irene Adler and what made Sherlock’s kiss with Molly so hot. Read at your own risk.

Confessions of a life-long Barbra lover.

One of my first musical memories is listening to Barbra Streisand with my father. He’d fallen under her spell after seeing her on Broadway in Funny Girl in 1964. We had every album she’d recorded and, even though they were my parents’ music, I kept listening to them as I grew older. I went to movies and marveled at her in Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, and What’s Up Doc. To this day, I can’t watch the last scene in The Way We Were without sobbing so hard I can barely see. (The same is true of my husband–he doesn’t cry quite as hard–which is one of the many things I love about him.)

In high school, I performed Barbra songs when I sang for an audience–I once sang both parts of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” in front of my entire school. In college, I played her albums despite the scorn her pop performances drew from my punk listening peers.

So, it was a given I’d buy Partners, her latest album. It’s an album of many of her greatest hits all sung as duets with male singers. (There’s a rumor she plans to make a similar album with all female singers.) Not all of the remakes are fabulous. But, a few are wondrous: “What Kind of Fool” with John Legend, ” Somewhere” with Josh Groban, “How Deep Is the Ocean?” with her son Jason Gould, and “People” with Stevie Wonder. Her voice is still astonishing–she hasn’t sounded this good in several years and it’s a joy to hear her work her vocal magic.


A winning combination: Pride and Prejudice, P.D. James, and the BBC

PEMBERLEYMrMrsBenn_2767241bAs Austen fans probably already know, the BBC has filmed a mini-series based on P.D. James’s mystery tribute to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley. (You can read our review of the book here.)

The series airs on PBS beginning on October 26th. Here’s a first look.

Thus far, the reviews are exceedingly favorable.  I suspect this will not be the last of new versions of Austen’s adored novel. (For a fun take on the many version currently out, read this article from A.V. Club.


Dabney Grinnan