Posted in book reviews, bookit, history

Book-it Review: 22.4 Champagne:

Title: Champagne: How the World’s most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times.
Author
: Don & Petie Kladstrup
Published: November 1, 2005
Final grade: 5/5

You are all probably surprised to see a review from me that isn’t a romance novel. Its not even a fiction novel. This is non-fiction, a walk through the history of the Champagne region. And its not only for wine drinkers, but for history lovers as well.

The couple who wrote this book, Don & Petie Kladstrup, are a pair that love the region of Champagne. They talk about their travels through out the book as it relates to the complex history of the region. They have also written several books about the history, including one about Charles Heidsieck, a man they mention briefly in this book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It talked around the actual process of champagne instead talking about the people, the area, and the rich history that they all have. I honestly learned more about French involvement in WWI & WWII from this book then my high school history classes.

The book starts with Attila the Hun, who visited the area in 451 CE/AD and continues the tale through to the Great Depression and WWII. Some of the interesting stories include that of Dom Perignon, who despite the legend did not invent sparkling champagne. The legacies of women such as Barbe-Nicole Clicquot and Louise Pommery. How George Washington and Woodrow Wilson both effected Champagne.

One of the stories that sticks with me was the chapter covering early WWI, where Reims, the capital of Champagne, was bombarded with German missiles for over 3 years. The city was utterly destroyed. The Cathedral which had stood for hundreds of years, and had been used for the coronation of French kings (including Louis XIV, perhaps their most famous), was left in ruin. People were forced to evacuate further back from the front lines, or to seek shelter underground in the limestone caves that were transformed into the storage area for champagne. Schools were taught underground, concerts were given underground. For close to 3 years the community had to use the tunnels and caverns and hope the bombs wouldn’t disable the ground and cause cave ins.

So I highly recommend this book, not just to those who want to know more about the history of the wine, but those who want to know the stories of the people who live there.

Posted in book reviews, bookit

Bookit 22.3 : On the Honey Side by Staci Hart

TitleOn The Honey Side
Author:
 Staci Hart
Published: February 24, 2022 (My copy was issued as an ARC)
Final grade: 4/5

Honestly, I meant for this to come out back in February, but things got in the way of that. I received this novel as an ARC back in mid February but the book itself was released for public availability on February 24th.

This book was an enjoyable read. It was the second book in the series, but I had not read the first book when I read this novel, so that may affect my review. The main character in this book is Daisy (as this series is the Blum Sisters), but you get chapters in both her and Keaton’s POV. Both characters have backstories that build up to them being together. One aspect that surprised me (in a good way) was that the characters are shown as having previous loves and those loves not being shown in a bad light. Too many romances lately have to show the ex as being a horrible person to show that the main couple in the story are right and each other’s “true” love. In this novel, its different. Both Daisy and Keaton had love before, and neither of the past relationships are shown to be horrible relationships.

Another interesting aspect of this story (and perhaps the series) is that it covers an interesting side plot of a town dealing with an homeless population. There is a sense that to get the full backstory of all the events of town, its best to read the previous book, but there is enough information that this novel can be read on its own. Its not an usual side plot.

I have read Staci Hart before (Bet the Farm) and I like her style of writing. The banter between her characters is always fun, and she veers away from too many tropes and clichés. Genre fiction in general is full of them, but its always nice to see when its twisted in a different way, or there is a balance. Hart’s books have a good balance.

The only issue I found with On the Honey Side was the background of the villain of the piece. This is however the second book in the series of three, so perhaps to understand more I need to read the first book (Which I plan on doing shortly). The third book comes out later this year.

Posted in book reviews, bookit, Television shows

Bookit 22.2: Flowers on Main (Sherryl Woods)

Title: Flowers on Main (2/14 Chesapeake Shores series)
Author:
 Sherryl Woods
Published: Kindle Edition was published October 26th 2020 (first published April 28th 2009)
Final grade: 4/5

For those of you who missed the review for Book One, this is part of a series that was the inspiration for the Hallmark Channel Series Chesapeake Shores which is on season 5. Elements of this book appear in the series, but unlike Abby’s book, Bree’s book has really little to do with the television series

NOTE: This book, and therefore this review, mention miscarriage. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, please do not click on the read more.

Continue reading “Bookit 22.2: Flowers on Main (Sherryl Woods)”
Posted in book reviews, bookit, Television shows

Bookit 22.1: The Inn at Eagle Point (Sherryl Woods)

Title: The Inn at Eagle Point (1/14 Chesapeake Shores series)
Author:
Sherryl Woods
Published: Kindle Edition was published October 12, 2020; Originally published in 2009.
Final grade: 4/5

I came across this series after watching the Television series based on it from the Hallmark Channel. I always like to read the book when I find out that is the source. In this case I actually found a series that I have quite enjoyed. A Caveat though before we begin – The show is based on the books, but takes its own direction pretty much a few episodes in. Both however are good, but don’t read the books expecting just a more in depth guide to the series.

Continue reading “Bookit 22.1: The Inn at Eagle Point (Sherryl Woods)”
Posted in American History, book reviews, bookit, general, history, movie reviews, Original Writing, Rewatch, tv reviews, writing

State of the Blog 2022

Happy New Years Everyone!

I figured I would map out what I have planned for this blog in the coming year today.  Many of you have stopped to read for many different reasons.

If you like my rewatch series, that will continue (I’m far from finished!).  The Rewatch project started as a project to keep me focused during a lockdown where I was actually sent home from work for a whole month back in 2020.  There was no clue when they would reopen but they did after 3 or 4 weeks (depending on your status).  So, it ended up taking a lot longer than anticipated.  Its still called Rewatch 2020 even though its 2022 and I’m only 4 series in (For context there is…10 I think).   However, I am in the process of moving and redoing my budget as I am contributing to two sets of bills so it may be slower as my access to the show is behind a paywall.  I plan on trying to get ahead and post 2-3 rewatches a week but there may be delays.  I hope to be on Enterprise by the end of the Year and then I can start watching the *new* Star Trek content.

For those you who came for the book and/or movie reviews, they will be making a comeback.  I plan on trying to restart my bookit goals (50 books in a year) and getting some new movies in.  Honestly part of the reason I do my reviews is to keep writing when my fiction writing brain takes a vacation, but I find them fun to write.  You can expect a movie review in the next coming days.  These won’t all be new to everyone movies, but something new to me.  So, expect classic film movies as well as theatrical releases.

History posts will also continue, although I am currently moving them to their own blog, so they are easy to access and sort for those who want specific information.  When I get it, all set up, I’ll make an update post here to direct those of you here for that to the new blog.  I feel they got mogged down by the Reviews and rewatches, which are considerably easier to write then an essay I need to research.

Thank you all for sticking with me these last couple of years.  I hope you enjoy the content of this blog, both previous and new entries.

I hope everyone’s 2022 is uplifting, inspiring and happy.

EDIT: Just editing to add that apparently this is the 600th post on this blog.

Posted in American History, book reviews, bookit, fanfiction, general, history, Original Writing, writing

Writing Analysis Update (among others)

Back in 2009 (gosh, was that really 12 years ago??) I wrote a summery of my history in the world of fanfiction. Today I was going through my old posts, trying to make sure that the categories/tags were correct and deleting some minor posts that really never felt like they fit on this blog. It made me think of how I was doing in the fandom world today.

I’m not going to do an as in depth timeline of fanfics. I have over 100 fics on AO3 now (and I haven’t moved over all my FF.net ones. I should, and probably will sometime soon). There are way too many to do that for, and I doubt anyone is interested anyway.

I haven’t had any more award nominations for my fanfic, but I don’t sense alot of fandom awards anymore, at least not for the fandoms I write, which are getting older. I still write many fandoms (Too many as some of my friends say). Currently my major project is finishing ‘”Looking After You”, an Avengers AU story I started to write back in 2012. Its clearly AU now, because that is what happens when it takes you a decade to write a fic on a series of films that keeps pumping out movies every year. But I am determined to finish it. Its probably one of my longest fics, and I’m kinda of proud of it, despite my embarrisment that I’ve taken so long.

I’ve tried to switch over to some original work as well. For Camp NAno this July, I will be working not only on LAY but on an original story based off a Marvel fanfic I started to write in my head but will no longer work in canon. But I still like the idea, and since many of the characters are not based on actual Marvel characters it is not that hard to transfer them to the original realm. And the two characters that are are not that hard to change either. Hopefully one day I’ll be saying that one is complete and getting published.

I plan on getting things together before the end of this year to make changes to my writing (better organization etc) and to this blog. Right now it has become mostly a review blog, as I work through my pandemic project of a complete watch of Star Trek. However, I will be posting periodic posts about my writing, and book reviews as well as I get things better organized in my personal life so I have the time to meet deadlines when it comes to the blog and writing.

I have also decided to create a second blog for my history posts. I feel they get a little lost on here, so if you have been waiting for more of those posts, I will be announcing the new blog soon, and I welcome you to come read them over there. I will be revising my old posts as I transfer them over so they should be fresh and perhaps have more content then the original. Any posts that have comments will be kept, but if there are no comments I may delete the originals on this blog just to tidy up and kept it from being double posted.

Thank you all for sticking around for whatever topic you came for – be it my writing stories, fandom posts, book reviews or history essays. As always, I welcome your comments.

Good luck to anyone writing in Camp Nano.

Posted in book reviews, bookit

Bookit 21.2 : Bet The Farm

Title: Bet The Farm
Author: Staci Hart
Published: February 23rd 202
1 – ARC (via Kindle)
Final grade: 4/5

So I know that on my bookit page, this is actually 7th down the line, but since I promised to post it today, I’m moving it up a little bit before the others. I’m going to preface this review by stating that I received this book through an ARC program, and therefore got access to it before it was available for purchase.

This was a cute read. I was intrigued to find out the main character deals with design- in particular social media and media marketing – which gave me something in common with the leading female character, Olivia. She comes home from New York to help run a farm after her grandfather passes away. This book did well with the idea of grief and trauma and how it effects our decision making and how we see things. Particularly in the leading male character, Jake. Jake holds the farm dear to his heart, having been the ‘adopted’ son of Olivia’s grandfather, Frank. The two of them both have strong reasons to want the farm to succeed, but their differing ideas of what that means cause them to butt heads…and hit walls they put up against one another.

Despite the sad start to the book, there is a good deal of happy and fuzzie scenes, featuring all kinds of baby animals, feisty goats, a cow with particular ideas about where she lives, and two puppies with some rock history names. There are also a few background characters that I can see being developed more in the future if Ms. Hart decides to continue this into a series (which it appears she will, as the book list mentions one coming later this year).

She also did a good job in not making me hate any particular character – or if I do, its not for long. I enjoyed reading it, and was quite happy with how she took some troupes and made it unique to her novel. The only issues I really had was the formatting of the e-book which had random drop caps in the middle of the chapter, and not always for a scene change. But that is a minor problem. Overall the book was a good read, and I am glad I got the chance.

Most of my other thoughts on the novel are a bit spoilery so I’ll end it there. If you like second chance romance (or enemies to lovers), and troubled main characters whose affection for one another helps them both heal in a way, I think you will enjoy this novel.

Also my favorite pun of the book?

Credits:

Images were given to me for use in review by Staci Hart/ her publishing agent

Posted in book reviews, bookit

Bookit Review 21.1 Cupids Anonymous

Ah, fresh book reviews. I’m once again doing Bookit, and once again going to attempt to review the books I read. Also, I am going to try to very the genres I read as well. Lately its been mostly romance novels and novellas (as is this review) but I’m going to be reading more non-fiction and perhaps some non-romance sci fi as well. I’ve also joined a book club and shall be giving my thoughts on books someone else choose for me.

Now onto today’s review:

Title: Cupids Anonymous (Cupids #1)
Author: Lila Monroe
Published: July 16, 2019 – Kindle Edition.
Final grade: 3.5

Continue reading “Bookit Review 21.1 Cupids Anonymous”
Posted in American History, book reviews, bookit, essay, general, history, Original Writing, Rewatch, Star Trek, Television shows, tv reviews, Women of history, writing

August News

I would like to thank all of you who continue to check here for updates.  I know this year has been a bit spotty in the posts, but i plan on changing that. I hope everyone is doing well, and staying safe. I know I’m definately not the only one having a really weird year.

Starting in August there will be the daily Trek post, but i will also be reintroducing Women of History and Writing Wednesday along with some old features.  I also plan a few civic history posts. So there will be a post daily that is a review, plus a sprinkle of a variety of topics. The WOH and the history posts may be here only temporarily. I’m still debating putting those on their own blog solely (and proudly) dedicated to being a history nerd. Depends on fiancies and other factors, as is many things these days.

For those of you new to the blog (or those who want a refresher), here’s a rundown

Writing Wednesday

Starting the first Wednesday of August I will be posting short writing exercises and updates on my writing.  I have not been writing much this year.  As I’m sure is the case with many of you, its been a stressful year overall.  I’m hoping these posts will help me get back into something I love.  I am accepting prompts, if you have a suggestion. Just leave a comment on this post, or any of the writing wednesday posts. I’m also on Twitter.

Women of History

For those of you new to my blog I used to regularly write short essays on various women in history. History is one of my favorite subjects, and I love learning about the women who have shaped our world. I plan on writing one or two posts a month for this. I plan on lengthening my posts for nanowrimo this year, as well. So perhaps for 2021 I will be able to present a book version of this series.

I hope to feature various cultures and be diverse as possible. I have an ongoing selection list but am always glad to add more names if you think there is a woman of history I should feature. The only rule I have at the moment is that it not include women who are currently shaping history. So no Hillary, AOC or Beyonce. Not for a while yet we all hope.

The Rewatch

This started as a fun way to spend my unknown amount in Quarantine. I’m back at work (we only were closed a month) and so i’m not binging my way through it as much as I started. At the moment I have a month of reviews ahead to post and ill try to keep ahead of that. There are over 700 episodes so there is a long way to go. Some days I may post two, particularly on Weekends. I always enjoy comments and once and awhile may live tweet my rewatch.

Bookit

I have taken a pause on writing reviews this year, but dont be surprised if one or two pop up. I’m hoping my Trek reviews will make my book reviews better as well. My goal this year is different as I’m not working towards my normal 50 (I may reinstate that next year) but I’m trying to finally finish some long unfinished books, such as Fiery Cross (the Outlander book the recent season was based on), A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones), Anne of Green Gables, and the newest Hunger Games novels,

History Essays

I used to write random history essays on American government (and early American history as thats what my minor focused on) and also random “This happened today in the past” entries. I plan on starting that again because those were fun, and as with the writing exercises I really want to get back into my writing. Might as well enjoy the material I’m writing about.

On my main page is my past essays, although I still need to go back and catalog some of them. I may revisit some of the topics. I also don’t plan on sticking strictly to US History, although that is my main base of knowledge. Learning about other countries is always fun too. But for the first couple, I’m pretty sure its going to be US bound.

Posted in book reviews, bookit

Bookit Review: Vision in White

(Blogger’s Note: I am behind with my June posts, so you’ll be getting 3 posts today to catch up. I apologise for the wait)

Title: Vision in White (Book 1 of the Bride Quartet) 
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: April 28th 2009
Edition/Format: Paperback  (Larger size, regular print)
Genre: Romance
Rating: B
Bookit 2009 # 8

Nora Roberts seems to be one of the bigger names in romance novels, and I’ve read several of her novels.  In fact, I have read this book before, but it was years ago around the time of its initial publication (I believe I got in after book 3 was printed but I can’t remember exactly).  She is a prolific writer, and one of my favorites of the romance genre.  She does however fall into the formula issue when it comes to genre writers as prolific as she is.  She often writes book series featuring a group of friends and or siblings who all find love in the subsequent books.  This series is no exception.

The Bride Quartet focuses on a group of friends who run Vows, a wedding consultation and venue buisness.  The first book focuses on Mackensie (Mac), the photographer of the group (hence the the ‘vision’ in the title).  She has a difficult relationship with her parents,in particular her narcissistic mother who manipulates her daughter a lot.  At the time of the story Mac is slowly growing the courage to finally cut her mother out of her life (to a point) but still has many hold-ups in regards to love, relationships, and expectations of herself.

Another trope that Nora Roberts likes to use is the childhood love reignited one.  The male lead of this story is Carter, who had a crush on Mac when they were in elementary school, and having met her again falls for her once more.  He has some heartbreak in his past as well, but it kind of takes a backseat in the story, and is really only touched upon in regards to Mac’s own issues.  Which makes sense to a point:  Mac is the feature character.

The story takes place over 3 months (January to March) and I feel some of the angst/drama elements were a bit too quickly resolved to fit into that time frame.  Macs issues with commitment and expecting things to last seemed to be fixed fairly quickly to give us the Happy Ending we all expect in this genre.  Given the time since I last read the series, I am wondering if perhaps some of these issues will show up as a background detail in a later book to fix the artificial convenience in the first book.

This book isn’t a hard hitting story, its light, fluffy and fits into the romance genre as one would expect.  I enjoyed the story, even if parts seemed a bit too contrived/fixed.  I’m giving the story a B.  I can suggest this book for a rainy afternoon or any time you just want a happy ending. 

Now onwards to book two:  Bed of Roses.