Bookit Review: Blue-Eyed Devil

Title: Blue-Eyed Devil (Travis series #2)
Bookit #8
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2008
Medium: Kindle E-book

WARNING:  This novel covers topics that may cause triggering effects on those who suffered from physical or mental abuse.

Blue-eyed Devil is the second novel in the Travis Series by Liza Kleypas.  I was looking forward to this book, because Hardy had been one of my favorite characters in the first book I read, Brown-Eyed Girl, and he is the hero in this novel after being the one who lost in book 1, Sugar Daddy.

The main character in this novel is Haven Travis, the youngest sibling of the Travis Clan.  It starts soon after the closing of Sugar Daddy in that they are attending Liberty and Gage (the couple from book 1)’s wedding.  It is there she meets Hardy, and it leaves a lasting impression on her.

This book is a little different from romance novels that I have seen in the past, because it involves a couple who faced domestic abuse.  It also deals with the problems children who have faced domestic abuse might have as adults.  I was glad to see that for the most part Haven ends up saving herself, rather than her love interest.  Often times I have seen this written as a ploy to get the two main characters together, and in this novel it’s not.  She is also allowed to get help when she needs it, and not having it forced on her or denied her like some narratives are prone to do.

In fact, their romance, baring the moment at the wedding, doesn’t even start till after Haven removes herself from the abusive relationship.  It also doesn’t look down on therapy, and has really good sibling relationships.  One of the stronger themes in this series is the relationships between the main character (always female) and her siblings.  Book one was about Liberty and her sister Carrington.  This is about Haven and her relationship with her brothers.  Brown-Eyed Girl (book 4) is about Avery and her half-sister Sophia.

This series also has a good record in showing mixed families.  Not everyone’s family is perfect, and not every perfect family is a bad family.  There are single parents, distant parents, parents who were both there, and parents who realised they couldn’t care for their children so they gave them up for adoption.

I also found this relatable because I have dealt with people who are narcissistic in nature, and I have seen the problems they cause for the people around them. I’m not sure I believe the therapist in this story who says abusers are always narcissistic.

Overall, I give this a A, because it had good pacing, the main character manages to save herself half the time, and people deal with their issues instead of having instant cures. However, this book has references to domestic abuse, both physical and mental, as well as rape.  Therefore I suggest you avoid this one if any of those subjects might be triggering for you.


Bookit Review: Sugar Daddy

​​Title: Sugar Daddy (Travis Series #1)
Bookit #7
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2007
Medium: Kindle E-book

A few weeks ago I reviewed a book called Brown Eyed Girl.  I found out later that the novel was in fact the last book in a four book series about the Travis Siblings.  The first book in the series was Sugar Daddy and was focused on Liberty Jones, a woman who grew up poor and ended up having to raise her baby sister.  She gets torn between her first love – Hardy Cates, and the man she has started falling for – Gage Travis.

I like this book better than Brown-Eyed Girl because it seems to have more details and more consistent pacing. Liberty’s story has a strong backstory.  I had to admit I found the fact that Gage didn’t show up till about 2/3 thorugh the story odd for a romance, but it put more emphasis on it being Liberty’s story.  She’s the narrator (and its in first person) and the story is more about her moving on.  Given the information in the ‘description’ I thought both Gage and Hardy would have showed up more then they did.

Reading this novel was helpful in improving my thoughts on Brown-Eyed Girl simply because some of the information I found lacking in that novel gets explained in this one (and the two others).  So while each book can stand its own, its a good idea to read the series in order to get the full story.

Final Grade:  B+

Happy St Patrick’s Day

I decided to take a break from my usual friday essay on Women of history this week as tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day.  The Day is celebrated differently in different regions of the world, and by various people within the US.  For some it is a religious holiday, a feast celebrating Saint Patrick, and for others it is simply a day to celebrate Irish culture and heritage.

As an American, I am more familiar with the secular version of the holiday then the religious. The day has become a day known for celebrating Irish/Irish-American history and culture as well as a food and drink holiday.  I have Irish ancestry on both sides of my family, but I don’t think that has much to do with why I like Saint Patrick’s day.  However, it’s a day for family and friends to gather around and share good food (most likely Irish in nature) and each other.  The area I live in has a large amount of people of Irish and German descent, so just about everyone can say “Kiss me, I’m Irish.”

So who was Saint Patrick?  And why was he connected to Ireland and March 17?  Well, that is what today’s post is about.

St Patrick was a Briton born during the Roman occupation.  While his actual time is debated, it is largely agreed that he was active as a missionary and bishop during the late fifth Century.  According to his own writings, he was not christian until his late teens, when he was taken prisoner in Ireland.

His hometown of Bannavem Taberniae has no modern equivalent so it is hard to say where he was from, except that it was from the British Isles or Northern France.  Many believe that it was southwestern Scotland, near the coast facing Ireland.

Patrick, from his own accounts, was born into a Catholic family.  His father Calpurnius was a deacon as well as a member of the local government, and his grandfather a Catholic Priest.  He himself wasn’t a strong believer, that is not untill he was 16.  At that time, he was captured by a crew of Irish raiders and taken to Ireland.

He lived in Ireland for about six years according to his Confession, before escaping back to his native land. He had spent his time on Ireland as a Sheppard, and strengthening his new-found faith in God.  He believed that God had led him to a ship that would take him home to his family.

He then became a cleric, studying christianity and eventually was ordained as a Priest, possibly by another saint, Germanus of Auxerre.  He claimed to have seen a vision of the people of Ireland calling out to him to lead them in their faith.

He came to Ireland as a bishop, replacing the outgoing Bishop Palladius. It is possible that the two men’s stories have intermingled over the centuries, and the legends of Saint Patrick is actually more a melting pot of Palladius (who was known as Patrick by some) and Patrick.

At some point during his ministry, he was put on trial by his fellow Irish Christians, which prompted him to write his declaration.  He, according to legend, banished snakes from the island, as Ireland was not known to have snakes.  It was more likely a naturally occurring absence.

Some of the common imagery on Saint Patrick’s day are legends in themselves.  The Shamrock,  also known as a clover, was credited as part of a parable that Patrick told to explain the holy Trinity.

Most of Patrick’s life is left to be guessed, due to the loss of any contemporary accounts of his activities other than his own writings, and the possibility that accounts that do remain might be confusing Palladius and Patrick together.

However, the legend of the man might be more important.  He has come to represent Ireland, being one of their patron saints, perhaps the most well-known.  His feast day is celebrated on the day he supposedly died, March 17, and at least in the United States its a day to celebrate being Irish (even if it’s just for a day).

It wasn’t always that way, and the United States has a history of prejudice against the Irish.  But it has come along way.  Saint Patrick’s day has taken a life of its own in the United States and Canada.  In Ireland however, it was only in the last twenty years that the day started to be more than just a religious observance.

So whether you celebrate this day as a religious observance or a cultural one, may you have a great St Patrick’s Day.

Further Reading:

Saint Patrick’s Day (US)

Wikipedia: Saint Patrick

Wikipedia: Palladius

Confession of Patrick – Saint Patrick

Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus – St Patrick The History of St Patrick’s Day


Bookit Review: Brown-Eyed Girl

Title: Brown Eyed-Girl
Bookit #6
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2015
Medium: Large Print Hardback

My grade: B

I found this book on a stroll through Ollies, a discount surplus store with a huge book section. I thought the summary on the back looked interesting and got it.  My first reaction was surprise at just how huge the large print was.  It seemed bigger than the usual large format I’ve seen in the past, but its been awhile so I could have been wrong.  I found it actually takes a bit to get used to the different size when you aren’t used to it.

This book apparently is the fourth book in a series about the Travis family.  I wasn’t aware of that before I read it, so that might have affected how I read the book.  There seemed to be bits that seemed rather shallow and under developed and that might just have been because the assumption was you’ve read the previous three books.   The book overall was not bad.  The story focuses on Avery, a fashion designer turned event planner who focuses on Weddings.  She is a bit guarded due to a really bad break-up and the memory of her father’s tendency to never stay committed.  Joe Travis wants to change her mind on relationships, but he can only do so much.  With Joe and Sophie (her sister)’s help she ends up finding more confidence in herself and allowing herself to open up and trust others.  It does have its clichéd moments, but then what romance novel doesn’t?

I think I may try to read the earlier books and see if it changes my mind on the book.   Till then its a good light read.

Women of History: The First US Senators

This week we are going have a double feature, the first two women to ever serve in the US Senate:  Rebecca Felton and Hattie Caraway. Women having the right to vote was passed with the 19th amendment to the constitution in 1920, but it would be quite a while before women started taking office in the highest offices in the government.  In fact, Rebecca Felton was appointed to be a Senator for a day in 1922, but Hattie Caraway, the first woman to be elected to the Senate was sworn in November 1931, almost a full decade after Rebecca served her day.

Several of the next female Senators would be widows  of Senators who died in office. The first time more than 2 women served at once wouldn’t be till the 1990s. Even in the current congress, women only make up 22 percent of the elected body.  Only 29 states have ever had a female senator, and only 51 women have ever served in Congress.  The current congress is actually the highest percentage ever of women.

Rebecca Felton was born Rebecca Ann Latimer on June 10, 1935.  She grew up in Decatur, Georgia with three siblings. Her father was a general store owner and merchant, and was able to afford to send his daughter to live with relatives in Madison so that she could attend Methodist Female College, where she graduated at the top of her class in 1852 at 17.  The college at the time was set up to provide a foundation education for the women who would one day be the wives of the businessman and planters.  However, the war between the states would soon see the educational facility closed down.

A year later Rebecca married William Felton and moved with him in Cartersville, Georgia. William was, like her father, a planter and owned a plantation.  Her experiences during the civil war, both as a resident of Georgia who saw the results of Sherman’s march and her life as a slave owner influenced her later political life.  She saw slavery as mainly economical, a investment.  However, she felt that she would have rather have given up ‘domestic slavery’ then have seen the detriment of the war on Georgia.

After the war,both she and her husband became more politically active.  Rebecca herself focused on prison reform and women’s suffrage.  However, she was not a intersectional feminist by any means.  She pushed against the right to vote for black citizens, claiming education and voting would lead to more black crime.  She was in favor of lynching and was otherwise a supremacist in attitude.

Her time in the senate arrived as an appointment.  in 1922, Sen. Thomas E. Watson died.  The governor of Georgia, Thomas Hardwick, decided to appoint Rebecca as a placeholder till a special election could take place.  However, congress didn’t meet again until after the special election was held.  Hardwick had been running for the position, but ended up losing to Walter F. George.  George decided to allow Rebecca to be sworn in on November 21, 1922.  She was the Senator from Georgia for 24 hours, as George was sworn in on November 22.

Rebecca continued her activism after she left office.  She passed away on January 24, 1930 at the age of 94.  It would be another year before another woman would take office in the US Senate.

Hattie Caraway would be the first woman elected into the Senate, but like Rebecca it would start as an appointment.

She was born Hattie Ophelia Wyatt on February 1, 1878 in Bakersville, Tennessee.  Like Rebecca, she was the daughter of a farmer who owned a store.  The family as a whole moved to Hustburg when she was four.  She would remain there till her college years when she would transfer from Ebenezer College to Dickson Normal College where she would earn her bachelors of Arts degree in 1896.

She went on to teach for about eight years prior to her marriage to Thaddeus Caraway.  She had met Thaddeus in college, but the pair didn’t marry until 1902.  The pair would move to Jonesboro, Arkansas with their three children and set up a legal practice for Thaddeus and cotton farm.

In 1912, the couple made a second home in Maryland after Thaddeus was elected to the US House of Representatives for Arkansas.  He would hold that position for 9 years before he was elected senator in 1921.  In 1931, Thaddeus died suddenly from a blood clot while the couple was back home in Arkansas.  The governor decided to appoint Hattie to hold the seat till an election could be held.  She won the special election to finish out her husband’s final term.  She won an election on her own right in 1932, and then proceed to hold her seat until 1945.

During her time in office, she became the first woman to preside over the Senate, to chair a committee and to win a re-election.  She was given the responsibility of presiding over the senate twice.  Once in 1932 (although it was not officially noted down) and again in 1943. She was a great supporter of Franklin Roosevelt and his new deal programs, although she, like Rebecca before her, was against any anti-lynching bill.  She was focused on issues dear to her state,  requesting to serve on the agricultural committee.  She earned a reputation as “Silent Hattie”  for her lack of speeches made on the floor.  She tended to reserve her opinions for committee meetings and rallies instead.

After loosing her re-election campaign in 1944, she served both Roosevelt and Truman on their Employees’ Compensation committees. She suffered a stroke in early 1950 while still serving on the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board , and died later that year on December 21.

Further Reading

Women in the US Senate

Rebecca Felton

Wikipedia: Rebecca Latimer Felton

History of Madison Georgia

The History of the First Methodist Church of Madison

Country Life in Georgia – Rebecca Felton  (Ebook available free from Google Play)

Georgia Encyclopedia: Rebecca Latimer Felton

House History: Felton, Rebecca Latimer

Hattie Caraway

Wikipedia: Hattie Wyatt Caraway

House History: Caraway, Hattie Wyatt

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas: Hattie Ophelia Wayt Caraway

US Senate: A Woman Presides over the Senate


Master List

Bookit Review: My Hero

Title: My Hero
Bookit #5
Author: Debbie Macomber
Release Date: 2018 (current copy, originally printed by itself in 1992)
Medium: Paperback

My grade: D

In the second novel published together in Looking for a Hero,  we have novice novel writer Bailey who decides to essentially stalk someone to get inspiration for her main character.  Somehow the main guy, Parker, finds this intriguing rather than not and decides to go along with it and ends up taking her on dates disguised as ‘research’.   I found the main character paradoxically likeable and not.  She had many similarities with me, at least writer wise, and we even share a cat with the same name.  But other than that I find the whole thing just odd.

Who goes from “Why are you following me?”  to “Will you marry me?”  in just a few months? We learn so much about Bailey, whose the point of view character, but Parker remains hardly there except to fall in love with Bailey.  Like with its partner novel, Marriage Wanted, I feel like we are getting the first draft, with missing bits.  I feel this story misses a lot by doing a single point of view, and I find myself just not getting the characters or the situation.

Both novels were alright – I could finish them without throwing the book.  They helped me get through a very boring day of waiting in an office.  However, I was disappointed that this came from an author I have seen do better in the past.

Bookit Review: Marriage Wanted

Title:  Marriage Wanted
Bookit #4
Author: Debbie Macomber
Release Date: 2018
Medium: Paperback

My grade: D

I was actually fairly disappointed in this book.  I usually like Debbie Macomber, finding her books light and easy reads for days when I really could use light and fluffy.  This book however was not up to her usual fair, and has the signs of being a “well, I need to write something” type of story.

The premise of Marriage Wanted (part one of the duo in the paperback I bought) was that Savannah was a wedding planner who felt that Marriage was the thing to achieve, while Nash (a divorce) lawyer thought it was simply an outdated institution and nothing good came out of it.  He challenges her to marry him and test the theory out.

Or at least that is what the back of the book states.  It feels like a rough draft of a longer novel.  The pacing is awkward.  It’s slow at first, building up the characters (except at the same time taking jumps of time to not really understand their inter-character relationships at all). The second half of the book rushes everything, from the wedding, to the falling in love bit.  Issues that develop to give drama to the story are brushed over towards the end as if she was in a rush to get this story over with.

This is not the worst thing I have read, but as a story it needed more.