Women of History: Jeanette MacDonald

Author’s Note:  This was originally meant for two weeks ago but I had trouble writing it.  I’m still not very happy with the outcome, but it is complete.  I may revisit Jeanette in the future and rewrite this better.

In the United States, we celebrate our Independence Day on July 4th.  This month’s theme is going to be American women of history.    While Canada also celebrates Canada Day in the month of July, I’ll be doing Canadian women of history another month.

Our first WHO is Jeanette MacDonald.  Jeanette MacDonald is an American Actress from the 1930s.  About a decade ago, my grandmother and I, who liked to watch old classic films together, started watching operettas, in particular the ones done by Jeanette and her frequent Co-star Nelson Eddy.  We collected movies, stills and other things relating to Jeanette and Nelson.

Jeannette Anna MacDonald was born on June 18th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The year of her birth is somewhat of a mystery as different records say different things.  According to a baptismal record, the year of her birth was in 1903.  However, later in life Jeanette would change her name (dropping an n), and her year of birth (Saying it was 1907).  Even her gravestone lists the 1907 date, and her widower, Gene Raymond, would continue to insist it was 1907.  However, several sources now list the 1903 date as accurate. Continue reading

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Bookit Review # 18: My Best Friend’s Ex

Title: My Best Friend’s Ex
Author: Hazel Kelly
Publication Date: June 8, 2018
Format: Ebook (Kindle Unlimited)
Grade: C

This book was not horrible, but it was pretty underwhelming.  There was very little plot, most of which sets up a possible series.  None of the characters were particularly developed past the main two, and some significant parts of the back story were never really brought closure.  Perhaps that will happen in the books that follow.    I’m assuming this is the start of a series as it is listed as “Beta Brothers #1”.

The premise of the book is that Zoey and Logan are adopted siblings.  Their parents have adopted several children over the years (and continue to adopt).  Logan was adopted as a sixteen year old while Zoey was much younger when she was adopted.  Therefore she feels more like they are her parents while he sees them as parent-figures.  Oddly enough this is not their awkward obstacle.

Apparently for them, it’s the fact that Logan dated Zoey’s life-long best friend.  There is a back story there but it’s unevenly reveled and the two main characters never really directly talk about it.  They don’t really let it affect them long either.  The romance is pretty much developed pre-story.  This story is just how they ended up actually hooking up.

I feel this is one of those books that perhaps will be better once a sequel is out.  Perhaps things were left vague to be developed in another segment.  I’m not sure if I will read the next book or not.  I tend to prefer plot and development over simple hook up stories.  However if you like uncomplicated (despite the background) love stories it might appeal to you.

As I said, it was not horrible, but I feel like It could have used more space devoted to developing the characters and the background story then to the love scenes.  It reads more as an early dating to their first time story rather than a romance.  For being their big “obstacle” Piper doesn’t show up very often and is underdeveloped as a character.  This feels like a rough draft to a longer story and I hope the rest of the series helps develop the background characters and setting.

Bookit #17: Kenzie & The Guy Next Door

Title: Kenzie and the Guy Next Door (Scandelous #4)
Author: R. Linda
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format:  Ebook (Kindle Unlimited)
Grade: B.

In the fourth book of the Scandalous series (Find them at Book One Book Two or Book Three), we are focused on Kenzie, the twin sister of Ryder from Book One.  She is now 23, and her son Cole is five.  She lives on her own in a apartment near her mother and Brother, and is going to school to become a nurse.  However her life gets pushed a bit off the rails when Chace, the bad guy from Book One, shows up once again.   Chace wants to see his son, which would be alright if he wasn’t doing it creeper Stalker style.

In the last book we were introduced to Harper’s brother Jeremy, who has recently gotten out of prison after he accidently ran over a child when he was 17.   This story explores more the backstory of Harper and Jeremy’s childhood and what happened the night Jeremy went to prison.  Jeremy also gets to act like the white knight for Kenzie when Chace goes too far.

This romance seems a little fast, but it also moves the background plots further.  It has some interesting aspects that I did not expect.  However listing them here would be rather spoilery so I won’t.

Not the strongest in the series (I still feel that might have been book one), but still an enjoyable read.  I do find the publication schedule a little interesting.  She seems to publishing a book every two months or so, less then between book 3 and this one.  In fact according to GOodreads (which is where I get my data from) its only been a month.  Which makes me wonder if we will see book #5 sometime this month. The next book is about Brody and Audrey, minor characters in the last three books.   According to a recent Q&A the author is working on book #6.  I hope the fast pace won’t make the quality suffer.

Camp Nano Mid-way Update

The halfway mark for Camp Nano: July 2018 edition has arrived.  Word count wise I’m doing good, with an expected (according to them) end date of the 26th.  However, in actually accomplished projects I’m not doing as well.  I’ve been writing my blog posts which accounts for much of my word count, as well as some shorter stories that have come to mind.  However I had two projects I wanted to complete this month that have yet to be completed.

One is a multi-chapter fanfiction that I’ve been working on several years now (2012) and its starting to get a little ridiculous that I haven’t finished it yet.  Especially as I have several chapters mostly written.    However on the other hand its been one of my more popular works in fanfiction so perhaps the long time working on it paid off.

I also had a project from April where I had 30 songs that I was going to translate into writing prompts.  I have yet to work on this at all.

Mostly I think it’s an issue of time management, which I’m apparently bad at, but also inspiration.  There are some days where just nothing will come out (which ends up being the days I get more work done on my essay series for this blog.

I’m hoping that when I give my end of month update I’ll have a lot better news to share.  I plan on trying to manage my time a little bit better and getting the stories done I wanted to get done.  I also plan on finishing some of the essays that I have that are left incomplete – including one WOH essay that was meant to be posted over a week ago.

I’ll be posting the end-of-Nano post on the 30th.  Not actually the last day (as July has 31 days) but it’s the last posting day for this blog for July.

Women of History: Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross

Perhaps one of the most fabled females of early American (ie United States) history is Betsy Ross.  Legend has her designing the American flag, consisting of a ring of stars representing the states as well as thirteen stripes representing the colonies that started the fight.  Debate over the actual designer remains, as its largely thought that Ms. Ross did not in fact design that flag.  Still, I thought it would be interesting to look into the life of the woman legend has claimed. Continue reading

Bookit #16: Harper & The One Night Stand

Title:  Harper and the One Night Stand
Author:  R. Linda
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format:  Ebook (Kindle Unlimited)
Grade: B-

This is the third review of the books in R. Linda’s Scandalous series.  (Book One and Two are reviewed previously).  In this book we get the point of views of Nate and Harper.  Nate is the older brother of Book 2’s leading lady, Indie.  Harper was a guest at the wedding, and Kenzie (sister of Book 1’s Ryder)’s best friend.  She also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Nate’s cousin Brody.

Nate & Harper have a one-night stand at the wedding, and then for three months keep showing up at each other’s houses, having a string of one-night-stands.  Harper finally ends it when she realises that they are perhaps not as stringless as they had begun.

I have to admit I found Brody’s part in this story puzzling.  In this book he is written as being still a bit in love with Harper, yet in the previous book he was pretty much brushing the relationship off as something in the past and that they were just friends.  So it seems a little weird that in the six months that seemed to have passed since Book 2 that Brody suddenly is persuing her again.

Like the others I enjoyed this as a light and fluffy romance.  The angst was there, but almost brushed over.  I wouldn’t call this book very deep or meaty, but it was a fun way to wile the afternoon away.

I do like that this book has carried over some of the background plot points of the previous books.  Johnny and Julie, the two restaurant owners who helped Ryder when he needed it are woven through the book as they are Harper’s Aunt and Uncle.  The other two couples from Book 1 & 2 are developed more in these books as they return from college.

The couples tend to prefer having odd nicknames for each other.  I felt that the use of Friend here just seemed a bit weird.  I can’t say exactly why, so maybe its just a personal preference.

Bookit #15: Indie & The Brother’s Best Friend

Title:  Indie & The Brother’s Best Friend (Scandalous # 2)
Author:  R Linda
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Format:  EBook (Kindle Unlimited)
Grade:  B-

This is the second in a series by R.Linda called The Scandalous series (although I’m not entirely sure how any of these stories are particularly scandalous…).  The first book was about Bailey during her last year in high school.  In the second book, the author turns to Bailey’s best friend Indie as she deals with her long abiding crush on her brother’s best friend.

The author also takes a POV turn, this time deciding to do it from both the POV of Indie, but also Lincoln, her love interest.  In Bailey’s book (which I reviewed here) it was solely in Bailey’s POV.  The characters are also aged up 3 years and are in their final year of college.

I found this book just as enjoyable as the first one.  The author seems to slip more into Australian terms more oftne in this book, but unlike the first book she never mentions the setting country so Its easier to just assume its in Australia.

I will admit that I found Jack’s play acting a bit much at times.  I find the “Oh, don’t worry, he’s gay” plot a bit overused.  At least in this story Jack remains gay, unlike a book I read a few years ago that had a surprise twist that somehow the supposedly gay best friend had fallen for the main girl (The novel was a bit of a train wreck to be honest and I can’t remember the title).

There is also a bit where the happily ever after came (which I’m all for) but I found it less satisfying because there were issues the two had that they never seemed to discuss and seemed automatically resolved because they were suddenly together.

This story does incorperate more of the minor characters of the first book, even though The POV has changed.  Kenzie, Ryder’s sister returns, as does Indie’s brother Nate.  I’ve read both of them and shall be reviewing them soon.

I think it has a bit of the idealism of the first book, which may or may not be a good thing going forward.