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text 2017-05-26 00:03
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Three
Secret Agent Under Fire (Silver Valley P.D.) - Geri Krotow
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis
Midnight Unbound - Lara Adrian
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
The Bollywood Bride - Sonali Dev
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole

Day One

Day Two

 

Thursday morning (May 4th - and yes, there were a lot of Star War t-shirts worn by attendees) dawned and I again skipped the work outs in favor of tea and banana bread. Then I headed to the Make A Date with Harlequin author signing breakfast. I got books signed by Geri Krotow (a fellow military veteran and fellow military spouse!) and Melinda Curtis. I sipped on my peach mango smoothie and mingled. A mellow way to start day three.

 

With my registration, I was given one ticket for a trip through the goody room (just free books) to select any two books in the room. I picked up Midnight Unbound (Midnight Breed #14.6) by Lara Adrian and The Bull Rider's Homecoming by Allie Pleiter. I've read both of these authors before, so I was pretty pumped to get their newest releases. I heard people complaining the books in the goody room were not as good as in previous years and I wondered why there was diet and cook books in that room, but figured they were remainders the publishers wanted to get rid of.

 

Then I went to another author signing event called Books! Chocolate! Authors! sponsored by Christian/inspirational romance publishers Revell and Bethany. This was just an embarrassment of riches for me. I got books signed by Elizabeth Camden (To the Farthest Shores), Tamera Alexander (A Note Yet Unsung), and Jen Turano (Behind the Scenes). Turano was nice enough to take a picture with me. I also ate some of the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries and brownies. However, one observation I had about this signing/publishing event was how (and I hope I am putting this as delicately as possible) WHITE HOMOGENEOUS the author/audience was. There are a lot of talented POC/LGBT+ writing inspirational romance, but none could be found here. This is not a slam against the authors present, but this was also a promo for the publishing companies and that kind of one-note branding was noticeable.

 

It became even more noticeable when I went to my next author panel, Expanding Our Idea of Inspirationals (I swear I did not mean to make each day a particular theme, it just happened that way, LOL). The panel was moderated by Sarah Wendell (founder and head Bitch at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), who wrote a contemporary romance with Jewish characters (I read the book for Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar challenge). The panel included Tamsen Parker (author of Craving Flight, a BDSM with Orthodox Jewish characters), Vanessa North (author of Blueberry Boys, a contemporary rural m/m romance featuring a devoted Christian MC), LA Witt and all her aliases (writes romances with a variety of religious characters who are also on the LGBT+ spectrum), and Piper Huguley (writes AA historical romance). Ms. Huguley talked about how ostracized POC writers are in Christian romance circles and conventions; she made note to tell us about a FB group called Black Christian Reads dedicated to promoting POC writers and readers of inspirationals. Very enlightening panel.

 

After that panel I went to the Romance, Bollywood Style reader event, hosted by authors Sonali Dev, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, MK Schiller, Sienna Snow, and cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj. This was a lot of fun! They played trailers from Bollywood movies and the audience had to guess what trope(s) were being used in that film. The swag bag at the end was GORGEOUS and included a lot of goodies; my bag included a print copy of The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. She stayed afterward to sign my copy and take a pic with me. She is as sweet and funny in person as she is in interviews. Vikkas Bhardwaj was also very funny and very easy on the eyes....very, very easy.

 

As I was leaving the reader event, I saw a line forming for the pop-up signings. This one was for Beverly Jenkins, so my butt hurried to get in line (funny enough, behind RedHeaded Girl from SBTB). I got a signed copy of Breathless (Old West #2) and a quick word with an amazing author just because I was in the right place at the right time. Score!

 

Took another break from people and then headed to the Kensington Peaches & Cream author signing. These organizers were smart and handed out maps so you knew where your favorite author was sitting and could immediately get in that line. They also gave each attendee a pashmina scarf. I got a signed book by Lynn Cahoon (The Tourist Trap Mystery series is a favorite of mine) and  Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union. Again, way too many people in such a small room - you could not even turn around the room was so full of people and it was so hot in there. I bailed after meeting Ms. Cole; I learned not to care if I seemed rude for leaving an event so early if RT staff doesn't provide adequate facilities for hosting events.

 

 After the last signing I got dinner and settled into my room for the night. I also learned that is okay, good even, to skip events you are not 100% excited about - because standing in lines and crowded rooms is the price to pay for attending the event. I felt today's events were great and worthwhile and didn't feel the need to fill the entire day.

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text 2017-02-28 22:47
February 2017 Wrap Up
To Defy a Sheikh - Maisey Yates
The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Craving Temptation - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Courting His Countess - C.J. Archer
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell

My NOOK and Kindle got quite a work out this month. I am so glad to have participated in the Romance Bingo, as I was given an incentive to read a lot of books from the very bottom of my TBR.

 

Highlights, Lowlights, and Challenges

Best books of the month: The Just Desserts set from D.F. Mello were great. Highly recommend. Really loved To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates as well.

 

Worst books of the month: Celtic Viking - Danish Celtic Viking having coffee before plundering a barely formed England in 876 AD...and puts the "mis" in "mishistorical romance". His Ring Is Not Enough by Maisey Yates was just a waste of time.

 

Disappointment of the month: Key of Knowledge - Nora why did you put me through that?

 

Romance Bingo: 10/25

Library Love Challenge: 1 - but will be making it up come March

Diseases and Disasters: 0 this month, as I concentrated on bingo

BL/GR Reading Challenge: 32/150

Pop Sugar Challenge: 4 this month

 

Re-cap 

1. To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire) - 4 stars

 

2. Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan (Romance Bingo - Rogue) - 2.5 stars

 

3. His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Virgin) - 0 stars

 

4. The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Free Space; Pop Sugar Challenge - Author is POC) - 4.5 stars

 

5. Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Eyeshadow and Bosom; Pop Sugar Challenge - MC is different ethnicity than reader) - 4.5 stars

 

6. Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe (Romance Bingo - Fairy Tale Re-telling) - DNF

 

7. Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts (Romance Bingo - Key to the heart; Library Love) - 1.5 stars

 

8. Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door; Pop Sugar Challenge - holiday setting other than Christmas) - 2.5 stars

 

9. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates) 2.5 stars

 

10. Celtic Viking by Lexie Timms (Romance Bingo - Man in Kilt) - .5 star

 

11. Courting His Countess by CJ Archer (Romance Bingo - Gothic) - 3 stars

 

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review 2017-02-02 21:55
Review: Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell

Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door square

 

I liked everything about this book except for the romance. There is a strong sense of community and it was wonderful to read about people who only get together once or twice a year picking up friendships right where it left off. I also learned so much about Hanukkah, especially the rituals. Gen was a decent female character, but she sometimes was too horny to act smart; she also had this weird fetish with the summer camp and not wanting to know about people when they are outside of the camp. Jeremy was a better character, showing a love of life and laughter but also being a serious grown up when needed. There is no sex scenes, but it did have a NA feel.

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text 2017-02-01 18:37
February 2017 Reading List
To Defy a Sheikh (Harlequin Presents) - Maisey Yates
Dangerous Allies - Renee Ryan
The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Beauty and the Rake (The Rookery Rogues Book 3) - Erica Monroe
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
Celtic Viking: Historical Romance (Heart of the Battle Series Book 1) - Lexy Timms
Courting His Countess - C.J. Archer
Craving Temptation - Deborah Fletcher Mello
The Johnstown Flood (Paperback) - David McCullough (Author)
By Starlight - Dorothy Garlock

Halfway through Romance Bingo and I am behind in my goal to black out the card. Time to prioritize romance over any other challenge until the card is complete. Luckily, some romance will satisfy other challenges, so I can kill birds with not as many stones.

 

1. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (Diseases and Disasters challenge)

 

2. To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire)

 

3. Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan (Romance Bingo - Rogue)

 

4. By Starlight by Dorothy Garlock (physical TBR)

 

5. His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Virgin)

 

6. The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Free Space; Pop Sugar Challenge - Author is POC)

 

7. Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Eyeshadow and Bosom; Pop Sugar Challenge - MC is different ethnicity than reader)

 

8. Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe (Romance Bingo - Fairy Tale Re-telling)

 

9. Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts (Romance Bingo - Key to the heart; Library Love)

 

10. Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door; Pop Sugar Challenge - holiday setting other than Christmas)

 

11. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates)

 

12. Celtic Viking by Lexie Timms (Romance Bingo - Man in Kilt)

 

13. Courting His Countess by CJ Archer (Romance Bingo - Gothic)

 

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review 2017-01-31 00:12
Hanukkah Bear
Hanukkah Bear - Eric A. Kimmel

Hanukkah Bear is an adorable story about old Bubba Brayna, who accidentally hosts a night of Hanukkah for a bear. It is incredibly silly and gives a taste of what Hanukkah is like. 

This book received a AD370L on the Lexile scale, and would be most appropriate for fourth graders and up. This book would be a great way to introduce a class discussion about celebrations from other cultures. The recipe at the end is a nice touch, and would be fun to share with a class. The book itself is silly and fun and would make a great addition to a class library.. 

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