Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Resurgence of Blogging

Oh hey...I have a blog!

Well, the Pop Tarts have really been slacking, eh? I'm not sure what Jen's excuse is, but I have in the past couple months, interviewed for and gotten a new job, moved half way across the country (back to the midwest), and started said new job. So I've been slightly preoccupied. However, now that the school year has started and I have settled in to my new humble abode, a concerted effort will be made to blog more often. Starting with...Right now!

Part of the problem with moving is that I have been ignoring most things Pop Culture related. I watched a wee bit of the Olympics (mostly track & field events, some of the swimming/diving, and the men's tennis final) and have kept up on watching all the best in reality tv cooking and design shows. And...that's about it. So instead of commenting on pop culture type things, I'm going to do a fun fact blog! Which really is generally more fun than pop culture anyway.

Fun Fact number 1: I now live in Ohio! Related Fun Fact: Small-town Ohio life is much more exciting than small-town New Hampshire life. Further Related Fun Fact: Moving to Ohio would have been considerably harder had Dad not driven the moving truck. Seriously, the levels of badass coming off of Dad are unmatched. Were it I driving the moving truck, the 13 hour or so trip would have probably taken closer to 26 hours. Seriously, Dad wins.

Ohio is the 7th most populous state in the United States. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania are the only states with more people.

Ohio was the 17th state admitted to the Union and was the first under the Northwest Ordinance, the ordinance that established the Northwest Territory.

The Northwest Ordinance banned slavery in the new territory thereby making the Ohio river the boundary between free and slave territories between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River.

Though President Jefferson signed an act of Congress that approved Ohio's boundaries and constitution on February 19, 1803, Congress never formally passed the resolution making Ohio a state. Though not technially required, this was an oversite, which was rectified on August 7, 1953 when President Eisenhower signed an act that officially declared Ohio a state as of March 1, 1803.

in 1853 Ohio and Michigan "fought" in the Toledo War, which was a mostly bloodless war for the Toledo Strip. Michigan lost the Toledo Strip when Congress intervened to say that the original boundaries of Ohio would stick, but gave Michigan the Upper Peninsula as a consulation. The UP proved to be extremely profitable to Michigan due to copepr and iron deposits along with timber.

During the Civil War, Ohio provided more soldiers per-capita than any other state in the Union.

Ohio is known as the birthplace of aviation. This was made official in June 2003 by a U.S. House vote, ending the argument bewteen Ohio (the Wright Brothers are from Dayton, Ohio) and North Carolina (the first flight from the Wright Brothers was in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina).

Ohio has produced 24 astronaunts, more than any other state, the most famous being John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Reviewlet: "Devil in Winter" by Lisa Kleypas

I'm really enjoying Lisa Kleypas' "Wallflower" series, but, so far, "Devil in Winter" is my favorite.

There's just something about a reformed rogue, after all.

The Wallflowers are four young women who enter London society and band together to catch suitable husbands. In "Devil in Winter," it's Evangeline Jenner's turn.

Evie is incredibly shy, with a stutter and a serious lack of confidence. Her father is a rich gambling hall owner, but Evie lives with her horrifically abusive extended family. They want her to marry her portly cousin, and she suspects that once they get their claws on her sizable inheritance, they'll kill her for her money.

In "Secrets of a Summer Night" and "It Happened One Autumn," Evie comes across as very shy, meek girl, but her inner strength comes out in "Devil In Winter," when she sneaks out of her family's house and proposes marriage to a notorious rake: Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. Sebastian agrees because he needs the money. Evie does have one condition: They can consummate the marriage, and then they are to never have sex again. (You can guess how well THAT works out ...)

"Devil in Winter" is a darker book than "Secrets of a Summer Night" and "It Happened One Autumn," and that depth is part of what I like about it. There is more of a feeling of danger and of redemption for the characters. Evie must learn to harness her inner strength and do a lot of things that are terrifying for a shy young woman, and Sebastian is a pretty damaged individual who must forgive his family and himself for the things that have led him to his wild lifestyle. The interplay between Evie and Sebastian is fantastic, and the way that they help each other is romantic and touching.

There is also a lot of excitement, and although I was sure that things were going to turn out OK for Evie and Sebastian, there was a lot of tension throughout the book. Since the bulk of the action in "Devil in Winter" takes place in Jenner's gambling club in London instead of on a country estate, there is a different feel that I really, really like. There are also some great new side characters, my favorite being the half-gypsy Cam Rohan. (I was thrilled, then, when Kel and I were discussing Lisa Kleypas' novels and she assured me that Cam shows up in the Hathaway novels.)

The story is sweet, sexy, exciting and romantic, and I couldn't put the novel down. I'm still fairly new to the romance novel trend, but thus far, "Devil in Winter" might be my favorite I've read!