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text 2018-08-09 06:10
The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style -- Written by Joseph Strickland with B.J. Patterson and Cat Ellington

 

The Making of Dual Mania: "Filmmaking Chicago Style" is coming soon, baby! In fact, the literary work of nonfiction paying homage to the upcoming motion picture, Dual Mania, will drop on the same day as Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2.

Stay tuned, baby!

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text 2018-07-30 20:37
In Skates Trouble By Kate Meader Free!
In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5) - Kate Meader

He'll give her what she needs . . .

Addison Williams isn't looking for romance, but when she encounters an eavesdropping stranger on an adjoining hotel balcony, she figures she's due a little fun. She just hadn't reckoned on the "fun" escalating so quickly to "out of control." One minute she's flirting with a whiskey-graveled voice in the dark, the next that same voice is telling her to do things. Hot, wicked things.

Cup-winning hockey player Ford "Killer" Callaghan can't believe he let the anonymous woman who blew his mind slip away into the night. He'll track her down because once could never be enough--even if discovering her identity places her strictly out of bounds.

Stolen kisses. Secret hook-ups. Deliciously forbidden in every way. Can a passion that started in the dark find a lifetime of love in the light?

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review 2018-07-26 15:19
Hockey Romance
Irresistible You (The Chicago Rebels Series Book 1) - Kate Meader

I don't read much romance, but I go into these periods where I want romance.  I admire romance writers because they seem to work the hardest.  I picked up the prequel to this series when a friend said it was free.  I read it and enjoyed it, so brought the first book.  Nine months or so later is when I get around to reading it.

 

The premise of the books is that three half sisters (including one long lost, just discovered sister) have inherited a hockey team from their dearly departed dad, who was really a smuck to at least two of them.  This, the first volume, is about the eldest sister, Harper, who while not a  hockey player dreams and desires to be a hockey manager of some type.  Part of the conditions on the will is that the three sisters who inherit the team must get the team to the playoffs in the first year or it will be sold.

 

Honesty, I picked this up because I liked Harper in the prequel.  She is somewhat more insecure here, which is okay because we tend to be more insecure in our hands than we let show.  Her true love is Remy, an older hockey player who really wants to win the Cup before he retires and plows seeds into a woman because he really wants that family.  Sadly, he finds himself traded to the last place Chicago Rebels, and that is not in his plans.  He doesn't care that the owner and acting GM is a woman, he just wants to be on a winning team.

 

The sex scenes are hot, even if the initial romance feels more like lust than anything else.  There is not real example of instant chemistry (though we are told that both feel it), but when they actually talk, the relationship works better.

 

For me the problem is the ending.  I know this is the first in a series, so the whole bit about the championship would be unresolved.  It's just the ending feels very, very rushed.  I get that's romance, but some of the decisions seem a bit slightly out of character - i.e. Harper giving up the amount of control that she does, there is no discussion of children, while his mother likes Harper she doesn't respond to Harper as a would be wife to her son and this is totally dropped.

 

It's not a bad book, but the ending was off.

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review 2018-07-05 15:05
My one-hundred-and-eighth podcast is up!
Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago - Roger Biles

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Roger Biles about his biography of the 1980s Chicago mayor Harold Washington (which I reviewed here). Enjoy!

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review 2018-07-02 16:24
A detailed political biography of a legendary Chicago mayor
Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago - Roger Biles

From "Big Bill" Thompson to Rahm Emanuel, Chicagoans have had more than their share of larger-than-life personalities as their city's leaders. Yet even among this august group Harold Washington stands out for his dramatic victories and tragic end. Winning office in 1983 after an unprecedented mobilization of the city's African American voters, as mayor Washington faced an unprecedented series of political clashes with the city council that frustrated his efforts to implement his progressive agenda. Though Washington overcame these difficulties and won a second term in 1987, he died just a few months later, leaving much of the promise of his mayoralty unfulfilled. Roger Biles underscores the tragedy of Washington's tenure in his biography of the mayor, one that charts his dramatic rise and stormy tenure.

 

In many ways politics was in Washington's blood. Born and raised in Chicago, his father was a minister and precinct captain in the local Democratic Party organization. Even before he left law school Washington joined the organization, working for a local alderman. Elected to the Illinois legislature, he walked a fine line between loyalty to the political machine of Mayor Richard J. Daley and a principled independence. His reputation was such that after Daley's death in 1976 local African Americans recruited him to run in the special mayoral election that followed, one which ended in his defeat. This did little to hamper his career, however, as Washington won election to the United States Congress in 1980, where he emerged quickly as a rising star in the House of Representatives.

 

As Biles notes, so promising was his future in the House that when he was approached to run again for the mayor's office in 1983 he set impossibly high conditions to do so. It was a testament to his stature that these were met, helping to pave the conditions for an unexpected victory in a three-way Democratic primary. Yet despite his historic win, from the start Washington faced opposition from a majority within the Democratic-dominated city council. Led by Alderman Ed Vrdolyak, the "Vrdolyak 29" prevented Washington from passing many of the measures he proposed during the election, and it was not until a federal judge forced a redistricting that led to the defeat of six of its members. The new council majority and Washington own reelection heralded the triumph of Washington's vision, his death from a heart attack just months after winning his second term brought many of his plans to a premature end.

 

Biles makes it clear that Washington's life was consumed with politics, and he has written a book that reflects this. His book concentrates almost entirely on Washington's political career and its context, passing over the details of his life before politics in a few pages. When it comes to politics, while Biles covers Washington's legislative career capably his main focus is on his time as mayor, which he addresses in considerable detail with analyses of Washington's reform proposals and the conflicts that characterized the "Council Wars" of Washington's first term. The juxtaposition underscores the sense at the end of the book of a mayoralty that ended before it could really begin, making for a biography that doubles as politically tragedy. It's a work that should be read by anyone with an interest in Washington's career or the dramatic politics of America's third-largest city.

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