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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 2017-04-01 00:54
New April Releases That Are On My TBR
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Boss - Tracy Brown
I See You - Clare Mackintosh
Gone Without a Trace - Mary Torjussen
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier - Tatiana de Rosnay,Sam Taylor
Under a Sardinian Sky - Sara Alexander
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli - Alyssa Palombo
Seized by Seduction - Brenda Jackson
Her Secret Life - Tiffany L. Warren
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

There are so many new releases in April. It's a big release month. I'm super excited for all of these. I have quite a few mystery books on the tbr and I don't read many mysteries. I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. I even have a nonfiction. Usually these slow me down, but the early reviews of Killers of the Flower Moon lead me to think otherwise.

 

Can't wait to get to three reads by trusted 4-5 star rated Authors; Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano, Boss by Tracy Brown and Seized By Seduction by Beverly Jenkins. Tatiana De Rosnay has written a biography about Daphne Du Maurier. I know so many who absolutely adore Rebecca. I haven't read it, but am eager. However, once I learned that it may be plagiarized and that some feel none of her other books ever lived up to Rebecca I felt some kind of way about it.

 

What are your most anticipated April Releases? Do tell. Happy Reading!

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review 2017-01-02 22:05
Fun read for "behind the scenes"
Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey - Gareth Neame,Emma Rowley

Still making through the pile of 'Downton Abbey' books and have moved onto this book that talks about the costumes, sets, etc. It's interesting book that goes through season 4 (so it's more up to date than some of the other books that are out there).

 

We see the different sets, the props, the costumes, etc. Fantastic pictures of the cast/crew (what we don't see on TV for the most part). It's not as text-heavy as other books are and would make a fantastic coffee table book.

 

That's just about it. Having read a few other books already this felt a bit repetitive but I certainly learned tidbits that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I also happened to put on the 'Manners of Downton Abbey' special on in the background and I thought that made a really nice compliment to the book. That DVD was more about the historical context and was narrated by the historical adviser but it was fun to listen and read this book at the same time.

 

I'd say if you're one of those people who likes the nuts and bolts of how productions like this come together (if you're someone who enjoyed the appendices to 'The Lord of the Rings' films for example) or maybe even a drama student this might be a good read. I wouldn't buy it though, unless you're a hardcore fan. I borrowed this from the library and that felt it was definitely most appropriate for me.

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review 2016-10-30 05:31
Book Review: Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet
Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet - Christine Temin,Wally Gilbert

Book: Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet

 

Author: Christine Temin

 

Genre: Non-Fiction/Dance/Ballet

 

Summary: In 1958, a determined suburban dance teacher founded the New England Civic Ballet. Today, that company is known as Boston Ballet - a company that has faced head-on challenges of remaining true to its mission while attracting the audiences and financial support necessary to maintain live performances by these dedicated artists. For centuries, ballet companies have transported audiences beyond the workaday world, one performance at a time. Someone who sees a ballerina perform beautifully in Swan Lake may be impressed, but many who appreciate ballet remain unacquainted with all the logistics of sets, people, and money that must come together for a world-class company to complete a season of performances. Beyond the glare of lights onstage lives a world of physical trainers and fund-raisers, artistic directors and executive boards, and endlessly rehearsing dancers and musicians, all laboring to create memorable performances that inspire, thrill, and entertain. In its relatively short history, Boston Ballet has faced charges of racism; cases of dancer anorexia; a young dancer’s death; and the precipitous, publicly embarrassing departures of one director and one director-elect. The real story, though, lies not in these occasional public incidents but in the daily challenges of preparing and performing a repertory that spans almost two centuries, from La Sylphide (1836) to world premieres created specifically for the company. Boston Ballet’s story highlights the tremendous amount of work and energy applied to each show before the curtain can be raised. In this unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the life of a company, former Boston Globe dance critic Christine Temin and photographer Wally Gilbert present a compelling portrait of Boston Ballet. Their evocative prose and penetrating photography turn the spotlight on all the elements - from toe shoes and costumes to rehearsals and revenue - that come together (or fall apart) in a season. - University Press of Florida, 2009.

 

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review 2016-05-23 00:00
Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China - Rachel DeWoskin I loved this book. It was the perfect cure for the book hangover I had when I begged a group of friends for recommendations.

Even though the author's experience takes place about 20 years prior to my own, her descriptions are SO relatable - even though she was in China and I'm in South Korea. Of course the political scene is quite different, but that's only touched on a few times in the book (mostly over the bombing of the Chinese embassy). She's honest and entertaining.

"The meeting reminded me that I was not qualified to do anything other than write academic essays." (the author, after she graduates with a B.A. in English) Yep. Been there done that. Oops, what did I do with 4 years of my life?!?

This, along with so many of her feelings as a foreigner trying to make her way in a new country. Also her descriptions of trying to be sexy for a Chinese audience. Priceless.
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