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text 2017-04-24 16:05
LIFT 4 Autism 2017 Auction is LIVE!

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It’s LIVE!! The LIFT 4 Autism Auction is open for bidding!

 

charityauction.bid/lift4autism

 

Win a $25 Winner’s Choice Gift Card in the LIFT Celebration Giveaway!

 

The Lift 4 Autism Auction is a bookworm’s dream! Featuring hard-to-get, much-sought items from romance favorites like Nicola Yoon, Kristen Ashley, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Corinne Michaels, T.M. Frazier, Marie Force and more than 200 others in celebration of Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month.

 

Authors Ginger Scott and Kennedy Ryan founded LIFT 4 Autism a few years ago as a charitable initiative rallying the romance community around autism. All proceeds go to this year’s charitable partner Kulture City, who is doing amazing things for the autism community. Learn more at kulturecity.org.

 

Specifically, LIFT 2017 will benefit Kulture City’s lifeBOKS program, which provides families with free kits to curtail wandering, a common and potentially life threatening challenge. Proceeds will also benefit Kulture City’s tablet program, which provides iPads to improve communication for non and limited verbal children on the spectrum to families who cannot afford them.

 

Learn more about the mission of Kulture City and the dangers of wandering in today’s USA Today HEA feature here.

 

Watch the lifeBOKS video: https://www.facebook.com/AutismOnTheMighty/videos/1591316364511099/

 

 

HOW WILL WE RAISE FUNDS?

 

  1. Online Auction, featuring many of your favorite romance authors!

Browse all the amazing items up for bid here: charityauction.bid/lift4autism (Must register to bid)

 

Auction Frequently Asked Questions: http://lift4autism.com/auctionfaq

 

Find the full Author list here: http://lift4autism.com/contact.

The auction is LIVE until Friday, April 28, 8:00pm.  

 

  1. Make a financial donation through the LIFT Campaign.

DONATE here: bit.ly/LIFT4AutismGIVE  

 

  1. Buy LIFT Wear (T-shirts, totes, mugs, etc…)

https://teespring.com/Lift2017

 

 

LFIT 2017 t-shirt

 

 

4. Buy the YA Fantasy Anthology Ever In the After for 99¢

 

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Amazon (Kindle) ~~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~~ iBooks/iTunes ~~ Kobo

 

*All proceeds go to Kulture City!  

 

 

Connect with LIFT!

 

*Subscribe to the LIFT mailing list at lift4autism.com.

*Join the LIFT Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/1705524696326889/

*Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/lift4autism/

*Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/LIFT4Autism

 

 

 

   

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text 2017-04-03 13:01
Charity - LIFT 4 Autism 2017
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LIFT 4 Autism Online Auction: Monday, April 24 - Friday, April 28
 

Autism. A mystery to some. A way of life for others.

 

A cause for all since it is now the fastest growing and most common disability in the US. 1 in every 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. Many of these kids will rely on their parents to some degree, depending on severity, all their lives, with estimated costs between 5 to 7 million dollars in services and care over their lifetime. Many of the services those living with Autism require are not covered by insurance. It is an expensive and difficult lifelong diagnosis to navigate.

 

Authors Ginger Scott and Kennedy Ryan started LIFT 4 Autism a few years ago as a charitable initiative rallying the romance reading community in April, which is Autism Awareness/Acceptance month.

 

All proceeds go to this year’s charitable partner Kulture City, who is doing amazing things for Autism families. Discover more about them at kulturecity.org. Specifically, LIFT will benefit Kulture City’s lifeBOKS program, which provides families with free kits to curtail wandering, a common and potentially life threatening challenge. Proceeds will also benefit Kulture City’s tablet program, which provides iPads to improve communication for non and limited verbal children on the spectrum to families who cannot afford them.

 

HOW WILL WE RAISE FUNDS?

 

  1. Online Auction, featuring many of your favorite romance authors!

Find the full list here: http://lift4autism.com/contact. If you are an author and want to donate, sign up here.

 

Browse all the amazing items up for bid here: charityauction.bid/lift4autism The auction will be LIVE and open for bidding Monday, April 24 - Friday, April 28.  

 

  1. 1-Click the YA Fantasy Anthology Ever In the After for 99¢
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  *All proceeds go to LIFT 4 Autism!  
 
  1. Buy LIFT Wear! (t-shirts, mugs, totes, etc...)

https://teespring.com/Lift2017 LFIT 2017 t-shirt

  1. Make a financial donation through the LIFT Campaign.

DONATE here: https://www.kulturecity.org/lovewithoutwords/lift-4-autism/#lwow-donate  

Don’t miss a thing this month!

*Subscribe to the LIFT mailing list at lift4autism.com.
 
*Follow us on Instagram:
*Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LIFT4Autism
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review 2017-03-26 23:02
God's Easter Miracles (Sea Kids #6) by Lee Ann Mancini
God's Easter Miracles: Adventures Of The Sea Kids - Lee Ann Mancini

In God's Easter Miracles, the sea kids learn that Easter isn't just about the Easter bunny or candy. It's about Jesus Christ giving up His life for all of us, and how we are to sacrifice ourselves for others. Paul, who is autistic, struggles with relationships. Jimmy doesn't want to share and Lenny clings to life due to a terrible boat accident. 

~from back cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Easter Sunday, the day that celebrates Jesus Christ rising from his mortal death, and all the kids in the coralhood (rather than neighborhood) are coming together for celebration and fellowship. Sunday school brings the kids a lesson on that most important day for Christians, but it also leads to your standard Easter celebrations such as Easter egg hunting. Sunday school teacher Miss Linda has made this hunt extra special. She has told the children that anyone who finds one of the special eggs with a cross on it gets to pick a special gift from the classroom treasure chest as an extra treat! Naturally, all the kids are over-the-moon, excited! 

 

When the kids get back to the classroom with the baskets brimming with candy-filled eggs, autistic student Paul finds he does not have one of the cross eggs in his basket, causing him to have an emotional meltdown. Miss Linda discovers another student, Jimmy, has found two of the cross eggs and suggests Jimmy should give one to Paul. Jimmy is not immediately down with this idea but the whole scene is temporarily forgotten when manatee Brian gets word that his brother, Lenny, has been most seriously injured by a boat propeller. While Lenny's life hangs in the balance, everyone in the coralhood is quickly called together to begin a prayer vigil in hopes that Lenny will make a speedy recovery.  Though Jimmy attends the prayer vigil with everyone else, he still has an inner struggle with what the right course of action to take is, regarding Paul and the egg. Along with healing for Lenny, Jimmy also prays for guidance with his own struggles. 

 

 

 

I've adored this series from the very first book (and I've written up reviews for them all), but this one I struggled with a bit more than the others. The illustrations are still top-notch, but the plot left me with mixed feelings, at least until I got to the end. The ending brought everything together nicely and made it all make sense, as an ending should, but even so, I still had that thin vein of "I dunno, man.." continuing to linger. 

 

I applaud Mancini for incorporating a character with autism into the series but I'm not sure I entirely agree with how the teacher, Miss Linda, worked with Paul. First with the egg, I thought it unfair to put the responsibility of calming Paul's meltdown on his classmate, Jimmy. Jimmy was right, he found his eggs fairly, and it should be his natural choice whether to share or not. Though Miss Linda outwardly makes it sound like a choice, she is very heavy-handed with pressuring Jimmy to make the "right" decision. This causes Jimmy to have his own day of emotional upset thinking he is in the wrong for even debating giving up his honestly won prize. In my mind, I felt the responsibility of calming Paul should have been the teacher's alone, perhaps keeping extra cross eggs or a different kind of prize for such situations. I felt bad for Jimmy having to carry the weight of that situation on his shoulders. But I liked that Jimmy's father later comes in with the voice of reason that heals Jimmy's heart, basically telling him that if you want to do a kindness for someone, make sure it is truly a calling from your own heart, not because you're guilted into it. 

 

(Also, check out the wall art behind Jimmy's dad -- it's the cover from Sea Kids #3, I'm Not Afraid!)

 

 

Then there was the scene where Paul is struggling to write a get well card for Lenny. Miss Linda suggests she just write it for him. Again, not sure I like the message of just doing things for those with disabilities rather than teaching them how to best work with their physical or mental challenges. But as I said earlier, the book closes on a strong message: that generally speaking, giving ultimately provides the giver with a much richer and more satisfying experience than receiving a gift. 

 

I also liked the introduction (I don't recall seeing him in previous books, anyway) of Mayor Hammerhead. Hope to see more of him in future installments! 

 

 

And can we just talk about this illustration of Paul praying -- I can't get over how adorable it is! 

 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: GLM Publishing and ebook tour coordinator Susan Barton both kindly provided me with complimentary copies of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

___________

 

My reviews for the previous books in this series:

 

#1 Fast Freddy

 

#2 What A Bragger

 

#3 I'm Not Afraid! 

 

#4 A Servant Like Jesus

 

#5 God's Gift

 

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review 2017-03-04 13:32
Wish by Melina Gerosa Bellows
Wish - Melina Gerosa Bellows

When your entire life has been one long search for that mysterious "something" that will finally make you happy and complete, what you want changes faster than the fashions in Vogue. But that doesn't mean you stop wishing, does it?  This is Bella Grandelli's heartbreaking, hilarious, and seemingly hopeless quest-from her days as a pudgy, insecure eight-year-old in the seventies, to a Madonna-worshipping Notre Dame co-ed in the eighties, where she tries on boyfriends as if they're leg-warmers, to a martini-sipping entertainment journalist in the nineties. The only constant through her love-life chaos is her twin brother, Bobby, whose mysterious illness has been a source of both triumph and tragedy-no matter how hard Bella tries to wish him well. But it's only when her family faces a devastating crisis that she finally realizes the painful truth about herself and her life. And no one is more surprised than Bella herself when that journey leads her to the only person in the world who holds the key to her heart.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Bella is searching for that special little something that will finally make her feel happy and complete... that one thing that so many of us feel like we can't quite name but we just know is out there waiting for us. Bella's trouble is that her definition of happy seems to keep changing. Especially when she considers how her autistic twin brother Bobby plays into that idea. Bobby, most days anyway, has a "joy in the little things" way about him. He has a sunny disposition, a love of patterns, and a unique way of speaking, relying almost entirely on dialogue from tv shows he watches -- Star Trek / Yosemite Sam / Batman when he's happy, Bugs Bunny quotes means bad news. 

 

Bobby's upbeat nature often puts Bella's troubles into perspective, even when she'd prefer to, you know, kinda just enjoy wallowing in those indulgent moments of self-pity. She's also always felt a sense of responsibility to Bobby, sometimes more of a parent to him than their actual parents, teaching him things like how to do acceptable eye contact (2 seconds = too short, 5 seconds = too long). All of this factors into how she defines happy, what she wants for herself, what goals she thinks she can accomplish guilt-free. She also contemplates what she needs for her own soul's happiness, regardless of what the world might say it requires of her. 

 

Spanning from an introduction to 8 year old Bella in the 1970s to Bella as a grown female journalist in the 1990s, the format of Wish is set up in a way similar to that of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary (author Melina Bellows even notes the similarity in her author interview at the back of this book) . At each chapter's beginning, the reader is given a rundown of what year it is, Bella's age that year, her favorite song and celebrity idol of the moment, and a noting of her best pair of shoes and prized possession for that year. The plot itself though reminded me a bit of a grown up version of Rules by Cynthia Lord.

 

When Wish was first released back in 2005, I remember seeing it here and there on a few recommended reading lists in magazines I would casually peruse. Since then, I've heard a fair share of less than stellar reviews about it, so it quietly got pushed further and further down on my own mental "to get to one day" reading list. So glad I decided to finally take it home after finding it in a local used bookstore recently! I went into it hesitantly (those reviews in the back of my mind) but came out completely moved by this little story. I saw SO many parallels to my own life in Bella's journey it floored me.

 

Some of those neggy reviews mentioned how cliche it all is and how predictable the romances play out but real life does play out that way too sometimes. Sometimes it IS the most obvious answer once you get out of your own way! But it wasn't even the romances that resonated with me (though I was very much entertained seeing the various situations Bella gets herself into!). For me, it was Bella's inner monologues and overall thought processes that bonded me to her, faulty though they may be sometimes! I loved watching her go through the process of figuring out the reasoning behind ideas like taking care of yourself so you can be better for others, or as Bella's therapist puts it at one point, "Inside every rescuer there is a victim." Bella realizes she doesn't really know how to define herself outside of various levels of caretaker roles within her own family. That's something I struggle with myself to this day so I was definitely rooting for her on her journey and cringing when I knew how badly some of her choices would end up (having been there myself). 

 

 

If you've ever felt overwhelmed with being "the responsible one" in your family (who is then maybe unfairly and harshly judged when you just try to freakin' live a little) then Bella's story may be for you. Hers is a reminder that we're ALL here just trying to figure it all out the best we can and yes, every one of us is going to get the proverbial pie in the face now and then, but we push through and keep going anyway, don't we? :-) I'd also recommend this for anyone gearing up for Autism Awareness Month in April! 

 

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review 2017-02-27 00:43
Alien Refuge (World of Kalquor #7) by Tracy St. John Review
Alien Refuge (Clans of Kalquor) by Tracy St. John (2013-03-12) - Tracy St. John

All Iris Jenson wants is a safe place to raise her autistic six-year-old Thomas. She thinks she’s found it on Haven, an Earther colony located within the Kalquorian Empire’s borders. Making a fresh start under the watchful eyes of Earth’s former enemy has its challenges, but it also possesses opportunities to live free of fear, something Iris hasn’t had in a long time. Love is an added surprise when Haven’s governor Dramok Ospar and his clanmates Nobek Jol and Imdiko Rivek enter the young widow's life.

Trouble is brewing on Haven Colony, however. Insurgent Earthers want to free themselves of Kalquor’s influence, and Kalquor itself is on the brink of a revolt, led by the shadowy figure known only as the Basma. Then a violent ghost from Iris’ past reappears and threatens to snatch Thomas from those who love him. Ospar’s clan races against time to save Haven from a bloody rebellion and Thomas from the grasp of a monster.

Mild BDSM, including anal play/intercourse, bondage, Dom/sub play, forced seduction, and multiple sexual partners (m/f/m/m).

 

 

Review

With this series, the plot arc for the whole series often interferes with what are really tender (albeit erotic) love stories.

 

If the book was more nuanced about the villains and the cultural issues and spent more time on the romance and the cultural world building, I would likely adore this series.

I tend to like it.

 

The heroine has been abused and is raising her son with autism on a colony world sponsored by the Aliens Earth was at war with just a few years ago.

 

All the parts with the begining of education and therapy for her son and the falling in love with the child for the heroes of this book are wonderful.

 

The falling in love with the heroine is nice as well. Especially the parts with the clergy hero. Well, the warrior hero is pretty sweet too.

 

Why when these men are bisexual don't we get sexy times with each other? Sad about that in terms of really looking at a bisexual (at least for the males) poly culture.

 

All the other stuff is a lot of drama and I get a little sick of the zealotry and and hate and wish the series would settle into the two culture assimilating instead of the continued clash.

 

So, I will keep reading and enjoying and being annoyed at the same time.

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