By admin | July 22, 2009 - 4:31 pm - Posted in Oyster.com, Reviews

Oyster_Homepage

For the past year (well, from April 2008-July 2009), I have been a reporter at Oyster.com, a travel site that just launched this June. Like most startups, Oyster’s origins were shrouded in mystery until recently. For starters, we didn’t want the competition to know what we were up to. Also, it took us about a year to decide on a name (I fought for “Sherpa” and lost).

As one of Oyster’s first reporters, I got to travel all around Aruba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Miami and New York, reviewing and thoroughly photographing 45 hotels in my wake. Here, in no particular order, are my favorite reviews from a year of whirlwind reporting:

Shelborne Beach Resort

Shelbourne_Thumb

What the The Golden Girls would look like if the cameras kept rolling 20 years on — everything was a shade of yellow, sometimes several all at once. At best, buttercup; at worst, buttermilk. On the plus side, these quiet and affordable digs are in the heart of raucous South Beach party scene.

Ritz-Carlton South Beach

Ritz_ThumbRemember Hector Elizondo’s hotel manager in Pretty Woman? Remember how nice he was to Julia Roberts, even though she was clearly a prostitute? I rolled up to the Ritz-Carlton in dirty jeans and a rumpled shirt expecting to feel out of place, but everyone made me feel like I belonged.

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Cashmere Lipstick


When I joined The Huffington Post earlier this year to work with media editor Danny Shea and entertainment editor Katherine Thomson, this was my first assignment: an editorialized compilation of reviews pitting “Cashmere Mafia” against “Lipstick Jungle”. I had seen Cashmere’s pilot right before I put together the article, but hadn’t yet seen “Lipstick Jungle.” This is because (a) it hadn’t aired yet and (b) I was too busy watching “Gossip Girl.” Sad but true. Anyway, ever since GG went on hiatus, I needed something else to watch during my nightly dose of lasagna from the Italian take out place down the street. “Lipstick Jungle” worked perfectly. But, that is now. This was then:

Lipstick Jungle Reviews: Living in the Shadow of a Hit Series

With the official ‘Sex and the City’ movie coming out this May and two shows vying to claim its place on television, 2008 seems like the fabled year that SATC fans could stop watching re-runs. Or not. The trailers for movie are undeniably lame, and ‘Cashmere Mafia,’ the brain-child of SATC’s producer Darren Star, has been universally panned.

So ‘Lipstick Jungle,’ the new series premiering this Thursday on NBC, is the season’s last remaining hope. It’s major selling point is that it has Candace Bushnell fighting in its corner. The author of ‘Sex and the City’ was devastated when Star, whom she’d known for over 20 years, beat her to the punch with ‘Cashmere Mafia.’ Mafia’s been floundering for several weeks. Question is, will Lipstick join them at the bottom of the Hudson?

Salon.com’s Heather Havrilesky gives the show its most glowing review:

Lipstick Jungle” isn’t perfect, but the dialogue is sharp and funny, and for once, we’re given female characters who don’t sacrifice their dignity or personal power for the sake of another lovable, goofy story line that’s guaranteed not to intimidate female viewers. These women are making tough choices, they’re good friends to each other, and they feel fairly genuine in the show’s first two episodes. Here’s hoping the show’s producers will stick to their guns (even if their overbearing network bosses disagree) and stay committed to these unapologetically strong female characters.

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By admin | March 31, 2008 - 12:59 pm - Posted in Published, Reviews, Salon.com

Temple Shore


My review of Peter Temple’s “The Broken Shore” appeared in Salon.com’s “Summer Reads” for 2007.
Peter Temple Broken Shore Amazon

I thought it was a pretty gripping thriller. And the writing was just beautiful — Temple really is a master of the English language.You can read my review here. And you can purchase “The Broken Shore” from Amazon.com by clicking on the thumbnail of the book’s cover on the right.

And, as always, here’s a pdf of my review:

Broken Shore Review Cover

“The Broken Shore”

By Peter Temple

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25

It may be summertime in America, but it’s winter down under. In Peter Temple’s “The Broken Shore,” big-city detective Joe Cashin returns to his hometown on the South Australian coast to recover from a run-in with a felon that nearly claimed his life. He busies himself by playing with his dogs, taking walks in the country, and restoring the house his grandfather ruined when he blew himself up on the premises. This could be a novel in itself, with Cashin confronting the skeletons — literally — in his closet. But when a local millionaire is brutally assaulted and the three aboriginal youths accused of the crime die in quick succession, he is pulled back into the sleuthing biz.

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