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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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review 2018-06-22 04:14
Hold On
Playing Hurt - Kelly Jamieson

This is book #6, in the Aces Hockey series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To avoid spoilers, and have a better understanding of this amazing series, I recommend reading these books in order.

 

Chase is definitely off this season.  Then it hits a bright spot when he strikes up a social media conversation with a celebrity.  His life now appeared to be on an upswing.

 

Jordyn is a busy person in her own right.  Also a hockey fan, she loves the Aces since she grew up near them.  Talking to Chase is a bright spot in her life too.

 

This was such a sweet and sexy story.  I loved the characters, and honestly did not want to let go of them at the end of this book.  I found this to be a prefect fit for the series, and a great hockey based romance.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher, in return for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-08 13:01
Blog Tour w/Review - Julien

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Confessions: Julien, book two in the steamy contemporary MMM Confessions Series from Ella Frank, is available NOW!

 

 

Confessions JULIEN AMAZON copy.jpeg

 

 

Synopsis:

 

People are complex.

Love a double-edged sword.

And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time…

 

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about.

 

To the outside world, he has it all.

A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life.

 

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi.

 

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out.

 

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did?

 

Only time will tell.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

Chapter One

 

CONFESSION

 

 

Those who are meant to be yours will always find you. “WE MEET again, Mr. Thornton.” A shiver of awareness raced up Julien Thornton’s spine as he stood in the jail cell of a downtown L.A. police station where he’d been thrown around an hour ago for public intoxication. He didn’t need to turn to know who was on the opposite side of those steel bars. That voice was the one he’d been hoping to hear when he’d made his “one call” and left a message after a generic voicemail. That voice? It had been on his mind since the last time he’d heard it, nearly two weeks earlier when he’d met—and attempted to steal the car of—a man who called himself Priest.

 

Julien pivoted on his heels, and when he did, he realized that he’d grossly underestimated the impact that Joel Priestley had had on him the first time around. Oui, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him, that was true, and oui, he might’ve purposely provoked the police officer tonight hoping he’d end up needing a lawyer. But Dieu, he’d forgotten the way Priest made his body respond. Like an inferno was licking through his veins. With auburn hair, stormy eyes, and a presence that Julien gravitated toward like a magnetic force, he didn’t think anything could prepare a person for the powerful energy Priest exuded. Not to mention that cool, judgmental stare of his. But Julien had no one to blame for that judgment but himself. Maybe if they didn’t always meet at the end of one of his week-long benders, he could have the upper hand with this man for once. And wouldn’t that be délicieux, he thought, as he looked at the lawyer who’d dropped him home two weeks before, instead of at the police station like he’d originally threatened. Priest was as put together now, at three in the morning, as he had been that afternoon in the alley. Suited up in a tailored navy number that framed his broad shoulders and emphasized the rich color of his hair, he looked sharp, controlled, and dangerous to Julien’s already unstable state of mind as he stood there sizing him up with an unreadable expression.

 

“I’m curious,” Priest finally said, as he clasped his hands behind his back and took a step closer to the cell where Julien had spent most of the night sobering up. “Did you not understand me the last time we spoke?”

 

Julien clenched his jaw and wondered if Priest realized how condescending he sounded when he spoke—or just how much it turned Julien on. “Non. I understood just fine.”

 

“Then what part of ‘I won’t be so lenient next time’ made you think that calling me to bail you out of here was a good idea?” Julien was still trying to work that out himself, but thought it might have something to do with the fact that he was drawn to this man. There was something about Priest that made him feel alive, when all he’d felt for months now was dead inside.

 

When Julien didn’t respond, Priest cocked his head, studying him closely, the disapproval rolling off him in waves. “Are you that hard up for a date that this was the only way you could think to get one?”

 

Putain, the man was arrogant. But for reasons Julien couldn’t explain, that seemed to make him all the more appealing. “You’re the one who gave me your card the last time we met. Perhaps it’s you who are hard up for a date, monsieur. Giving your number out to—”

 

“Criminals?” Priest frowned. “No. That’s called smart business acumen, considering I’m a criminal attorney.”

 

Julien scoffed. “I’m hardly a criminal.”

 

“Really?” Priest said, and took his time examining the six-by-eight space Julien currently stood in. He then leaned forward and said in a lowered voice, “Your current situation tells a different kind of story.”

 

Despite his “current situation,” and the reason he’d gotten himself into it, Julien felt his lips curve, and he realized exactly why he was drawn to Priest. He possessed the one thing that Julien had been looking for—the ability to take his mind off the black hole his life had become. “Maybe it’s le destin.”

 

“And what does that mean? Destiny?” Priest straightened and brought his arm around to check the time. “I doubt destiny has anything to do with it. A more likely scenario is that I was your only option.”

 

“Even if that’s true,” Julien said as he wrapped his fingers around the bars, “you came anyway.”

 

“As I said before, it’s my job.”

 

“At three in the morning?”

 

“At any hour of the morning,” Priest said, and then looked down the hallway that was devoid of anything other than dreary off-white tiles and horribly bright fluorescent lighting. “I’m going to go and see if I can get you out, and then you and I are going to have a talk.”

 

Something about the way Priest said you and I made Julien’s pulse race, and as Priest went to walk away, Julien whispered, “J’ai vraiment hâte,” and the ever-so-serious lawyer stopped in his tracks and looked back. This time when those eyes roamed over Julien, his breath caught. There was nothing cool about that stare now. There was heat, interest, and an intensity that made Julien’s fingers tighten around the bars before Priest cut the connection and walked away.

 

Julien watched him go until he disappeared around the end of the hall, and then he released his breath on a rush. Merde. He’d never been so attracted to someone in all his life, and as he stood there waiting for Priest to save him yet again, Julien knew he needed to stop what he was thinking. There was no way in hell he deserved someone like that. Non, no way at all. That didn’t, however, stop him from counting down the minutes until Priest returned to him…

 

 

Julien-AN.jpg

 

Download today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LYB8Wq

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/ConfessionsJulien

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2HKj17D

 

 

 

 

Julien (Confessions #2)Julien by Ella Frank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the Confessions series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. To avoid spoilers, and have a better understanding of the series, I recommend reading this series in order.

Julien has past that still haunts him. The family parts, the career decisions, and more. Now, with his relationships with Priest & Robbie this year may have a silver lining in it. Now, if only he can find it before he loses all that he has gained.

This book moves quickly. The story is so compelling, both with the relationships and the pain from before that must be overcome. I love watching these characters come together and learn to be in sync. I cannot wait to see the next installment about Priest!


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

Julien-Teaser1-AN

 

 

Start the series with Confessions: Robbie today!

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2HdQ7IU

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/confessionsrobbie

Add To Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EWp3Aq

 

 

EllaFrank.jpg

About Ella:

 

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!” Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips. 

 

Connect with Ella:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ella.frank.31/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EllaFrank2012

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellafrank1/

Mailing List: www.bit.ly/1hEYtgn

Website: https://www.ellafrank.com/portfolio

 

 

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review 2018-06-05 05:59
Haunted
Julien - Ella Frank

This is book #2, in the Confessions series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To avoid spoilers, and have a better understanding of the series, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Julien has past that still haunts him.  The family parts, the career decisions, and more.  Now, with his relationships with Priest & Robbie this year may have a silver lining in it.  Now, if only he can find it before he loses all that he has gained.

 

This book moves quickly.  The story is so compelling, both with the relationships and the pain from before that must be overcome.  I love watching these characters come together and learn to be in sync.  I cannot wait to see the next installment about Priest!  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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