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text 2017-06-23 18:23
Friday Reads - June 23, 2017
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Ellis Island - Kate Kerrigan
Hell on Wheels - Julie Ann Walker
A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo) - Sarah Mallory
Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson

For the last week of June, I have a full load to read. All new, fresh reading to juice up my reading mojo.


Friday Free Read/COYER Summer 2017: The Bull Rider's Homecoming by Allie Pleiter. This is on my COYER reading list so I figured kill two birds with one book. I have read another book by this author that I enjoyed so I am hoping for another great read.


BL-opoly Read/Pop Sugar Challenge: Ellis Island (Ellis Island #1) by Kate Kerrigan. Irish immigrant to NYC during the 1920s satisfies the prompt "book written/about refugees or immigrants".


RB Bingo: Hell on Wheels (Black Knights, Inc #1) by Julie Ann Walker. Still trying to find a book that fits in the "Never read genre/subgenre" square. I bailed on the rock star series when it became clear the series was about all the other employees of the band and not about the band members. This book is a combination of motorcycle club and military romance, which are other niches I don't read. Thank goodness for OverDrive.


COYER Summer 2017: A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo #1) by Sarah Mallory. This is the first in a trilogy. I am kicking myself for reading that kidnapped romance when I could have just waited for COYER to start and used this book instead.


Random Pick: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson because it is due back to the library at the end of the week.

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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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review 2017-05-25 08:13
Allie and Bea
Allie and Bea - Catherine Ryan Hyde

By:  Catherine Ryan Hyde 

ISBN:  978-1477819715

Publisher:  Lake Union 

Publication Date: 5/23/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 Stars 


Master storyteller, Catherine Ryan Hyde returns following Say Good-Bye for Now landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 with another emotional thought-provoking saga ALLIE AND BEA – two protagonists from different generations caught up an unfair system find they may learn something from one another.

The best and worst of humanity.

Bea a senior barely making it on her small social security check. Her husband is deceased and she resides in a mobile home with her cat Phyllis. Her savings is nearly depleted trying to make ends meet.

Then a phone scammer saying he is from the IRS to collect back taxes. Quickly her money is gone. Wiped out. She has nowhere to turn and nowhere to live. Even her rent check will bounce since someone wiped out her bank account.

Feeling stupid and helpless, she has to change her direct deposit bank account and decides she has no choice but to live in her old van with her cat; and leaves her things with a friend. She barely has enough money for gas and food for another month until she receives her next social security check.

Then she is faced with the impossible and begins doing things she never thought she would do in order to survive. Bea does not have any knowledge of cell phones, nor the internet. She never had the opportunity to do much traveling nor see the world. She is rough around the edges, and over the years she has learned not to let others in or get too close. She does not trust easily, cynical, and now a loner. How will she continue to survive sleeping in her van and too old for a job?

Told from two points of view, we meet Allie. Allie is a teen and wise beyond her years. She is smart and has strong principals and integrity. She is a devout vegan and very strict with her food and lifestyle.

She has just discovered her mom and dad are being arrested for tax fraud and being sent to jail. She is left with a social worker, and has to leave her home, friends, school, and all her possessions -
taken to a group home. Allie has no clue of the evil of this world.

All this is foreign to Allie. She soon learns people in this world are not so nice. Some of the girls are very dangerous at the group home and things get out of hand. She has nowhere to turn and no money. Then her only hope is a friend who helps her escape and soon finds herself in another nightmare even worse than what she left. Human trafficking.

She has one shot in order to escape a madman. Soon an unlikely old woman and a runaway teen connect. Two lives both desperate. They soon discover they may learn some hard life lessons together.

As always, Hyde takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure. It may not be an easy road; however, her characters always find a way to connect with someone on a different path to change their lives. Fate intersects. They may not know the reason for the encounter, but you can be assured they were meant to take the journey.

Even though I could relate to Bea being a senior, had to think of my recent experience with my dad, age 86 yrs old with this crazy healthcare system and a recent phone scam. Luckily he did not get sucked into this and lose his money.


I also related to Allie in so many ways. She is wise beyond her years. She has integrity. I am also a vegan and some of the reactions are ones I face daily. I had to laugh when I went to a shelter during our last Florida hurricane evacuation. I could eat nothing they had. It was good I packed some healthy snacks and was able to go home the following day. Being a vegan is foreign to many in our world. Lots of laughs between the two.

I admired Allie for her strong principals; however, it also demonstrated how when faced with survival, how people get desperate enough to cross moral and ethical lines. A heartwarming story of the kindness of others. She taught Bea so much about herself.

No one can take you on a better road trip adventure than Catherine Ryan Hyde— mixed with life messiness, emotion, heart, and lots of humor. I think we have all been close to living in our car at one time or another, in our lives when things have looked hopeless.

A good look at our broken system and how it fails the young and the old in different and similar ways. When this happens, we may not always have a family; however, there may be a guardian angel where we least expect through the kindness of a stranger.

The highs and loves of life! The cracks in life let the light through. After reading a CRH book you want to rush out and do something good for someone, or volunteer at a homeless shelter. Help someone less fortunate. You want to give back. Life changing moments. Inspiring.

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Lauren Ezzo and Janet Metzger with an engaging performance for both voices. Loved the journey along the Pacific Coast. One of my favorite cities: Santa Barbara, CA! I was curious to see how these two souls from different walks of life would connect - fans will enjoy this one.

From an online interview with the author we get a glimpse into what’s coming next:

“After Allie and Bea will come a novel called The Wake-Up, about a former cattle rancher who becomes so sensitive to the emotions of others that his entire life is turned upside-down. And all this just as he’s trying to find his way with a seriously abused new stepson who can’t be trusted around his animals.” Read more

Ironically, have read many of CRH books ; however, realized this evening I have never watched or read, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s international sensation, Pay It Forward, the moving story of Trevor McKinney, a 12-year-old boy who accepts his social studies teacher’s challenge to come up with a plan to change the world. Rented it tonight on Amazon Kindle- highly recommend if you have not read the book or watched the movie. (have some Kleenex handy).

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/01/Allie-and-Bea
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review 2017-05-03 20:41
Allie and Bea - Catherine Ryan Hyde

I have only recently discovered Catherine Ryan Hyde. However, since that discovery, I have read about four of her books. I have not been disappointed by any of them. This book reaches right up there with the others.

I loved these characters. Bea so grouchy and pissed at the world, her deceased husband and how she has ended up at her age with really nothing. And then there's Allie, so young and innocent, honest and trustworthy. Allie literally runs into Bea while she is driving her van and just jumps into the van. Bea is frantically trying to push her out thinking she's about to be carjacked while Allie is telling her that a man is after her and that Bea needs to drive away and do it fast. This is the beginning of the Allie and Bea story.

This was such a great story, I absolutely loved it. Their bickering and fighting over what little money they have together as they decide to travel up the coast of California to the Puget Sound. You will definitely need tissues for this! And I guarantee you will love these characters at the end of the book. I know I did and was not even close to being ready to leave them when I read the last page. I want an Allie and Bea series! HA!!

Huge thanks to Lake Union Publishing for approving my request to read this book and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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review 2017-04-21 15:18
Rezension | Licht von Anthony McCarten
Licht - Anthony McCarten,Gabriele Kempf-Allié,Manfred Allié



Licht. Eine der bedeutendsten Errungenschaften der Menschheit, die Dank des Erfinders Thomas Alva Edison den Weg in die Straßen und Häuser der Menschen fand. Die fesselnde Geschichte auf dem Weg zur Elektrizität verbindet zwei der unterschiedlichsten Männer überhaupt: Thomas Alva Edison, der Erfinder der Glühbirne, Besitzer von zahlreichen Patenten und den reichsten Mann der Welt, J. P. Morgan, der seine Genialität an der Wall Street unter Beweis stellte. Zusammen wollen sie die Welt erleuchten. Im skrupellosen Wirtschaftskampf setzt sich der Erfinder einer Welt aus, der er nie angehören wollte und die seine Moral und Überzeugungen schwer in Mitleidenschaft zieht. Der Kampf zwischen Macht und Geld machen es Edison immer schwerer sich selbst treu zu bleiben.


50 Jahre nachdem Thomas Alva Edison die Glühbirne erfand, soll ihm zu Ehren eine Parade statt finden, doch an Edison haben mittlerweile die scharfen Zähne der Zeit genagt und er findet die Menschen sollten ihn nicht für seine Forschung und Erfindung im Bereich der Elektrizität ehren, denn diese hat neben dem Guten auch eine Menge Schlechtes, ja sogar den Tod hervor gebracht hat.


Meine Meinung


Aus eigenem Antrieb hätte ich mich mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit nie so richtig mit dem Erfinder Thomas Alva Edison auseinander gesetzt, doch Anthony McCarten ist es in seinem neusten Roman „Licht“ eindeutig gelungen mein Interesse zu wecken und mir das Tor zu der spannenden Welt der großen Entdecker und Erfinder aufzustoßen.


"…immer die gespannte Erwartung auf das, was dieser großartige Verstand als Nächstes hervorbringen würde-, denn nur wenige waren geboren und wandelten auf Erden, um etwas Gutes aus dem Fluss ihrer Gedanken zu bergen, und nur eine Handvoll davon machte aus dem Ergebnis etwas, das von Nutzen für die Menschheit war." (Seite 335)


Der Schriftsteller Anthony McCarten verwebt in seinem Roman historische Fakten und Fiktion zu einer mitreisenden Lebensgeschichte über den berühmten Erfinder Thomas Alva Edison. Am Ende seines Lebens angekommen wartet Edison an einem einsamen Zuggleis und lässt sein erstaunliches Leben Revue passieren. Ohne jegliche Schulbildung ist es Edison mit Verstand, Erfindergeist und harter Arbeit gelungen Großartiges zu leisten. Seine größte Erfindung, die Glühbirne, zieht die Aufmerksamkeit des Unternehmers und Privatbankiers John Pierpont Morgan auf sich. Dieser wittert die große Chance, Geld und Ruhm mit der weltweiten Elektrifizierung zu erlangen. Trotz Edison’s Bedenken an einer Zusammenarbeit und seinen Vorbehalten gegenüber der Unternehmerbranche willigt er in die Zusammenarbeit mit J. P. Morgan ein.


"Gerade erst hatte er beschlossen, Geschäftsmann zu werden, und schon spürte er in seinem Inneren die Aufgewühltheit, die Nervosität des modernen Lebens." (Seite 120)


Atemberaumbend gut wurde die Atmosphäre die den Geist der Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft während der Industrialisierung einfängt zwischen den Zeilen untergebracht. Der Wettstreit zwischen den Teams Thomas Alva Edison/J. P. Morgan und Nikola Tesla/George Westinghouse bietet genügend Stoff für eine mitreisende und fesselnde Geschichte. Dies hat Anthony McCarten perfekt aufgegriffen und in Szene gesetzt.


Anthony McCarten hat einen wunderbaren Erzählstil gewählt und verleiht den einzelnen Szenen eine Dynamik und Spannung, die einen das Buch gar nicht mehr aus der Hand legen lassen möchten. Ehrlich gesagt habe ich das Buch fast in einem Rutsch durchgelesen. Vor allem die Hauptprotagonisten Edison und J. P. Morgen sind fein gezeichnet, dabei sind sie so unterschiedlich wie Licht und Dunkelheit. Etwas zu kurz kam mir dabei die Persönlichkeit von Nikola Tesla, die trotz des wirtschaftlichen Wettstreits moralisch und menschlich gesehen wahre Größe bewiesen hat.


"»Damit, dass man die Welt verbessert, verdient man kein Geld. Nur mit ihrer Zerstörung.«" (Seite 21)




Fiktion und Realität in perfekter Symbiose. Dieser Roman über große Erfinder und die Macht des Geldes lässt einen garantiert nicht mehr so schnell los.


Source: www.bellaswonderworld.de/rezensionen/rezension-licht-von-anthony-mccarten
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