^Aren't the nods to continuity the point? Isn't that what exploring the beginings of the Federation is going to be like? That was always my take on it, and the reason they got Christopher to write it. He's the best at tying stuff together. Just like Manny Coto on season 4 of Enterprise. I'm guessing you also aren't a fan of season 4...
There's a point where you simply go too far and the book hit that point for me. You can't win them all.
And that point is different for everyone. I've had similar complaints about other TrekLit and am particularly unfond of "small universe syndrome," but I enjoyed this book completely. I guess we all have our threshold set at different levels.
Like you said, you can't win them all.
"Canon is only important to certain people because they have to cling to their knowledge of the minutiae. Open your mind! Be a Star Trek fan and open your mind and say, 'Where does Star Trek want to take me now'." - Leonard Nimoy