Bookit Review: The Wedding Dress

Title:  The Wedding Dress
Bookit #3
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date: 2012
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A-

I really enjoyed this book, which is actually the first in the series.  However, none of the books appear to be interconnected other than a few minor things.  The third book, which I’m not reading at this time might have some more connections, however.  Basically, you can read this book and The Wedding Chapel in any order and not be out-of-place. Continue reading

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Women of History: Bessie Coleman

For this edition of “Women of History”, I’m going to get out of the Medieval period and journey back into the 19th century.  Our topic today is Bessie Coleman, a woman who broke barriers and was a pretty good pilot to boot.

Bessie was born on January 26, 1892, so today just so happens to be the 126th anniversary of her birth.  She was born in Atlanta, Texas to George and Susan Coleman but raised in Waxahachie, Texas.  When she went to school due to her mixed racial heritage (Native American and African-American) she was forced to go to segregated one room school. She excelled in school, completing all eight years offered at the time.  When she wasn’t at school, she helped her mother harvest cotton.  Both her parents were farm laborers, but Bessie grew closer to her mother after her father left when she was 12 to find more opportunities in Native American Territory.

When she got older she was awarded a scholarship to the Missionary Baptist Church school.  She later enrolled in Langston UNiversity (then known as the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University.) but only was able to complete a single term due to not being able to afford it.

When she turned 23 she and a brother moved to Chicago, and it was there that she found her calling.  While she worked as a manicurist she would hear stories about flying from returning pilots from WWI.  She decided she wanted to earn her pilot’s license and got a second job to save up for it.  She hit a large obstacle when she found out that American flight schools would not accept her (due to her race and gender).  However she found support in publisher Robert S. Abbott and Banker Jesse Binga and was able to study abroad.  She attended classes to learn french so she could attend aviation school in France.

She arrived in France in 1920 to attend flight school and seven months later on June 15, 1921 she earned her international aviation license.  She was the first woman of African-American heritage to earn her license as well as the first Native American.   She then went further and took advanced piloting lessons, and made visits around europe to different aircraft designers to better learn her craft.

To earn a living, she became a stunt pilot, going by the stage name of “Queen Bess” and was quite a draw at aviation shows. She saved up and opened her own beauty ship in Orlando, Florida to save up money to fund her new dream of having her own aviation school.

She found herself still facing racial issues.  At the height of her fame she was offered a role in a feature film, but the scenes she was asked to film contained racial stereotypes she refused to propagate.  Her strong stance at not allowing race determine her future helped inspire future pilots and activists.

Sadly, Bessie never lived to see her aviation school open.  She was killed in an aviation accident on April 30, 1926 in Jacksonville, Florida.  She took to the air with her assistant William D. Wills piloting so she could oversee the field for a show.  A wench got stuck in the controls, causing the plane to flip over.  Bessie was thrown from the cockpit, and fell to her death.  Wills crashed nearby was killed by the impact.  Matters were further complicated when a distressed friend of the two accidentally tossed a cigarette where some gasoline had landed and the crash site went up in flames.

Even in death she fought against racial inequality.  The Florida Times-Union out of Jacksonville, Florida reported the death of Wills, and had Bessie as an afterthought and put the article on a back page despite the fact the crash happened within its limits.  The Chicago Defender had it as front page news and equally honored both pilots while recognizing the racism that defined some views of Bessie and the crash.  The Defender, known for its positive reporting of African-Americans was actually banned in some places.

In 1929, Lt. William J. Powell established an aviation school named in Bessie’s honor.  The Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles, California would later host the first all-African-american air show in 1931.  Powell continued to be a civil rights activist though his life.

Bessie would also be honored by an annual flyover on the anniversary of her death (since 1931), an US Postage stamp in 1995,  inductions to the Texas and National (2006) Aviation Hall of Fames, several schools, and was runner-up in the 1998 decision to make a $1 coin (she lost to Sacagawea ).  Last year, she was honored by Google with a doodle on their search engine homepage on her 125th birthday

Bessie leaves behind a legacy of can-do behavior and not letting others keep you from getting your dream.  She worked hard to accomplish her dreams, and she found a way to get it, despite the very real obstacles that were thrown her way simply because she was biracial and female.

Further Reading:

Wikipedia: Bessie Coleman

The Florida Times-Union image of the article announcing the death of Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman: Flying the Blues (blog)

The Official Bessie Coleman Website

Moonlight Mint: Bessie Coleman 2001 “golden dollar”

The Independent:  Bessie Coleman: First African-American woman to get International Pilot License

Bessie Colemen (National Aviation Hall of Fame)

Bessie Coleman (Texas Aviation Hall of Fame)

Bookit Review: The Wedding Chapel

Title: The Wedding Chapel (book 2 of the Wedding series)
Bookit #2
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date:
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A

I picked this book up at a discount item store the other day, not realising it was the second book in a series.  However it seems that the books are connected by theme rather than storyline so I think I’ve done alright.

This book has four point of views (done third person) including Collette, Taylor, Jimmy and Jack.  It is about a family and finding out some hard truths.  At the start of the book, we are introduced to Jimmy, who is an 83-year-old football coach who built a wedding chapel for his girlfriend back in the 50s.  It ended up not working out and he’s finally deciding to sell after interest spikes in the property.

Taylor is a photographer sent by a magazine that heard about the chapel and wanted to photograph it.  She happened to grow up in the same home town as Couch Jimmy, and is amazed by the chapel.  She later finds out the chapel was made for her Great-Aunt Collette.  So Taylor stays around to find out what is going to happen to the chapel as well as deal with her grandmother’s belongings.  It brings out a lot of secrets the family has kept for decades.

In the end, the two couples in the story – Jimmy & Collette;  Jack & Taylor – have to figure out how to get over what has happened to them in the past and make new beginnings.

I enjoyed the story, although sometimes the timeline was hard to follow.  It took place mainly in 2015, with flashbacks to when Jimmy & Collette were younger.  I do admit I wish that Peg had been a point of view, but that might have given away the ending too soon.    I also liked the references to other novels that Rachel Hauck has written, although I only knew they were references because I saw a list of her books one day when searching for the publishing info on this novel.

I’m reading the first book in the series now, called The Wedding Dress.  Its most likely going to be the next book in my book reviews.

Bookit Review: The Last in Love

Title: The Last in Love  (Book 5 in the Ardent Springs series)

Author: Terri Osburn
Release date: 2017
Medium:  E-book (Kindle Unlimited)

My grade:  B

I believe this is the last book in the series, though the end of it hints that if the author could make it a six book series if she wanted to.  This one focuses on Abby Williams, a widow of two years who ends up falling for a man five years younger than her – and someone she used to babysit back in high school. Justin Donovan is recently home after having lost his job, his fiancée and best friend. Both Abby and Justin have some issues to work through.

The book in general is good.  The pacing is a little off, but not so much that it really bothered me.  It was a nice lazy morning read.  Some of the accessory characters (such as Justin’s former fiancée and best friend) are a bit flat as well.  It did well to tie up some loose ends from previous books in the series, as well as tie up overall arcs (such as the Ruby Theater, and Carrie’s women’s shelter).

I did like the theme of women discovering themselves, and building each other up.  Other then Victoria, most of the women in this novel are friends or at least friendly towards each other.  Sometimes when you pick up novels (and definitely tv shows) there is this inclination to make cat fights or have a love triangle where the two women don’t get along because they are fighting over a guy.  This novel stays free of that for the most part.

So if you enjoy low-key romances, I can recommend this book.  Terri Osburn in general is a good author and I have enjoyed both the series that I have read from her.  Many of her novels are available on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that service.

Women of History: Isabel la catolica

Isabel la Católica-2

While researching my last featured woman of history, Catherine of Aragon, I came across stories of her mother Isabella of Castile (also known as Isabella The Catholic) and decided that she should be my next featured Queen.

Note: Some of the words used should have marks on them but don’t due to me not remembering how to open my character map on my PC.

Isabel (Isabella being the anglicised version of her name) was born on the Iberian peninsula, the modern home of Spain and Portugal. At the time, however, it was the home of several different kingdoms.  She was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres in Availa, a providence in Castile located almost center in modern Spain. Continue reading

Movie Review: Rough Night

Title: Rough Night (2017)
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Director: Lucia Aniello
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and Paul W. Downs

This movie is awful.  Honestly, the highlight of the movie was seeing Colton Haynes dressed like a stripper since I’ve been watching a lot of Arrow lately.

The funniest person was Paul W. Downs. Actually, his Peter might have been the only funny bit about the movie. Demi Moore is randomly in this movie and comes off kind of creepy rather then the sexy they were going for. Kate McKinnon failed to wow me in this movie like she did in Ghostbusters.  Scarlett Johansson didn’t wow me either, and I usually like what she does.  I know she can do comedy – The Nanny Diaries proves that.

The movie has some ridiculousness to it that is weirdly next to moments when they reference real things.  Honestly it doesn’t work.

My final grade is a D-

Movie Review: The Last Jedi

Note:  I haven’t written anything for a while due to being extremely busy with my day job, and various illnesses.  Starting next week I hope to get back on a regular schedule. Now to the post

Title: Star Wars:  Episode VIII The Last Jedi (Or as I call it, Empire Strikes Back Anakinized)
Released:  December 2017
Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy
Grade:  C

I saw this several weeks ago, but held off reviewing it because I was a bit confused by my own reaction.  I loved the movie, yet at the same time was oddly disappointed.  It took me awhile to figure a few things out.

I love Star Wars.  I’ve enjoyed the films, and the books and eventually plan on watching the animated TV shows.  I’ve seen each one in theaters since Attack of the Clones came out.  So seeing this movie was important as a lifetime fan.

Yet, after the awesomeness that was Rogue One, this movie failed to really impress me.  While it wasn’t as direct in its channeling of Empire Strikes back as the Force Awakens was with A New Hope, you kind of could see it following the same basic plotline. Our heroes are separated, the Jedi apprentice seeks a mentor, while the rebel members of the trio deal with gamblers and the bad guys while trying to save the alliance.  The characters were rather flat, which surprised me.  Even Leia, who I expected more from, was a bit flat.  Snoke was a disappointment because for a villain he’s rather flat.  Palpatine had more character in his scenes in the original trilogy and he barely had any scenes.

Also, Luke for all intents seems out of character for the man we saw in the last trilogy.  The only characters with any real sort of development was Luke (meh quality) and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.  And even then it seems rather a let down.

I feel like JJ Abrams & Company are trying to recreate the Original Trilogy, yet with some of the Prequel style effects and characterization.  Kylo/Ben comes off as whiny as Anakin does in the prequels.

I have a few more specific problems with it, but I’m trying to make this as spoiler free as possible.  So my thoughts basically are this:  Enjoy the movie, but don’t expect something amazing.