The Week: 18th – 25th September

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This was about 5pm yesterday. Taken straight after stepping out of the car at the local shopping centre. Pity about the football stadium lights ruining the view!

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Thursday evening in Canberra.

Weird week. I actually got my days all mixed up and forgot it was Sunday!

I’ve been doing a lot of rereading, and am falling so far behind with my review books. If you’re seeing fewer reviews on here, that is the reason. However, I have a bunch of books I could read a thousand times and still love, and sometimes – especially when I’m too busy to invest in a new story – it’s a comfort to read those.

What have I been rereading? Anne Gracie, Lisa Kleypas… favourite historical romances mostly.

I have not been *sick* this week, but I’ve been something strange. In the past, back in my ballet days, I was so anaemic (or “anemic” in America) that when they did the tests I’d dropped off the bottom of the chart. In high school there were days I was more or less unconscious at my desk, so I got sent home to pass out in bed! And imagine trying to do professional ballet training when you have NO energy whatsoever. None!

I’ve been a bit like that in recent days.

Basically, I’ve been almost fainting when I stand up, and I nearly passed out when walking to lunch with my brother and parents yesterday afternoon. Also – just now – twice I fell asleep at the computer and woke myself up when I dropped forwards and bashed my head on the keyboard (someone should probably film me doing that, because I’m sure it looks hilarious!!).

It’s a good thing my brother’s partner runs a number of pharmacies, so I get information on the super-duper iron supplements that help me a bit!

However, I’m dropping a bit behind on everything at the moment.

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Floriade all sunny and hot last year.

We’ve had some pretty weird weather in the past few days. Some days are gorgeous, and then others are weirdly cool and rainy – it doesn’t usually rain much in Canberra, so it’s a real shock. As Floriade – our massive flower festival near the lake – is on now, it’s not ideal. The last time I went to it there was a serious heatwave, I got sunburnt, and I was dressed for the tropics!

My review of The Rancher’s Texas Match by Brenda Minton

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My review of Kiss, Kiss, Bark! by Kim Williams Justesen

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A Downton Abbey Movie?

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Seven reasons to read historical romance.

Christmas Historical Romance Cover Art by Jon Paul Studios - Copy

For the romance reader…

Book Boyfriends Funny Graphic T-Shirt

Kiss, Kiss, Bark! by Kim Williams Justesen

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Mattie has a couple of dilemmas. First (sigh), her parents are making her babysit her humiliating younger brother nearly nonstop. What could BE more awful than the constant company of a 4-year-old brother who acts like a dog? Then, her best friend’s brother begins to show serious interest in her. Mattie thinks all her prayers have come true, that is, until her best friend Livvy stops returning her phone calls. Is this how a best friend should act? Will she have to choose between her best friend and a budding romance, and who should it be? A family crisis will force Mattie to make some difficult decisions. This very funny and very relatable story will appeal to broad swath of young teen girls.

Kiss, Kiss, Bark! by Kim Williams Justesen

Firstly: I thought this was a great book! But why am I reviewing a tween book, you ask?

Because I was doing some research into Middle Grade fiction, and as this one was freely available for anyone with a NetGalley account to download for review, I decided to go for it. With the childish cover I wasn’t expecting much, but I actually enjoyed it A LOT.

Kiss, Kiss, Bark! is very well-written, is entertaining, and I think it would appeal to a much broader audience than the childish pink princess cover would have you believing. It might be that I needed a break from my usual type of books, but I really did like this one.

Our female protagonist is a likeable teen, with a younger brother – a truly unique character – who drives her mad (but he’s very cute!). She has good friends, is crazy about her best friend’s older brother, and is so realistic it was really refreshing after reading a lot of romance. Middle Grade fiction isn’t scared to feature realistic kids.

There’s a little sweet and funny romance here, and this type of fiction comes with a happy ending, even though the book deals with some emotional issues. I loved that even when the friends run into problems over boys and other girls, nobody says anything misogynistic.

I liked the characterisation of the family members, and I liked that nobody was a stereotype.

Basically, I just liked it! If you enjoy Young Adult books, this one doesn’t read that much different. It’s a bit sweeter, but the excellent writing makes up for it for older readers.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

A Downton Abbey Movie?

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If you look around the internet, people are talking about a Downton Abbey movie like it’s a forgone conclusion, and they seem to be excited about it.

While I’m thinking: BAD idea.

I know it’s hard to let go of something, but whenever people reunite for a movie, it always results in a half-hearted job that loses the tone of the original. It always ends with a piece of work that tries so hard to give every character something that it ends up bland and gets bad reviews.

From The Inbetweeners to Absolutely Fabulous, the movies always seem like a “Greatest Hits” reel rather than a movie in their own right.

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I only ever watched Downton for the costumes, so I’m not hugely invested in it. However, I really hope people kill this idea before it actually gets made!

For the romance reader…

By Raven Chic Studio.

Book Boyfriends Funny Graphic T-Shirt

The Rancher’s Texas Match by Brenda Minton

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A Rancher’s Mission

As a volunteer at the Lone Star Cowboy League Boys Ranch, Tanner Barstow helps the troubled young residents turn their lives around. When a local rancher dies and leaves his large property to the boys ranch, Tanner finds himself spending a lot of time with Macy Swanson, whose orphaned nephew, Colby, lives at the ranch. Tanner’s attracted to the newcomer, but she doesn’t fit his plans. Macy longs to have Colby come home with her, but the former city girl worries she won’t be the mother he deserves. Can Tanner help her see that the future she and Colby need is right here—with him?

The Rancher’s Texas Match by Brenda Minton

This is an easy read, set in small town Texas and dealing with troubled young men.

Author Brenda Minton sets up quite the cast of characters here, so if you’re looking for a town with lots of people to get to know, this might be your sort of thing. I have a tendency to get confused by meeting too many people at once, but I know some readers love it.

I think The Rancher’s Texas Match is heavier on the religion than some other books in the Love Inspired line, with Christianity definitely a focus in general conversation as well as in the way characters live their lives. This is something totally alien to me, living in Australia.

I think this is one for Christians who want a bit of romance. It might hold up for secular readers, but not as much as some other books being put out in this series.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

A note…

A few hours ago a man called my mother, wanting to speak to me. This number has been calling – and being ignored (caller ID exists for a reason!) – for days, and finally someone picked up the call.

Apparently they got to me through one of my blogs, and I have no idea which one.

If it was this one: PLEASE DON’T CALL ME OR MY FAMILY.

It’s creepy. It’s weird.

Hopefully it’s something less creepy than it seems, but if it is I still don’t understand.

Seven reasons to read historical romance.

Christmas Historical Romance Cover Art by Jon Paul Studios - Copy

I could have done without the editor’s reference to ripped bodices, but other than that there’s a great article about historical romance over on Pop Sugar.

It’s written by historical romance superstar Sabrina Jeffries, and well worth a read. It’s been around a few months now, but people were discussing it online the other day, and it’s the first time I’ve read it.

 

Is it just me…

…Or are cover designers cashing in on the Outlander craze?

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Highland Chieftain (Murray Family #21) by Hannah Howell

The Week: 12th – 18th September

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Driving from Canberra to Queanbeyan on Friday. Those are “watch for kangaroos” signs, but you can’t really see them here.

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Remember how I said the local magpies come and knock on the front door every day…?? They’re so tame, every time I open the front or back door they try and fly in the house. One DID get in the house a few months ago, and it was… imagine a big, panicking wild bird in your house!! Cleaning up afterwards took a long time!

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I saw this article in the news yesterday, and I’m horrified. THIS is how the media writes about a murder victim?? I don’t know, and have never heard of this woman, but I am very upset that people describe her like that. It sounds to me like they’re trying to justify her murder.

This has been a bit of an odd week. Again, the beginning and end were gorgeous, but other years it has been about ten degrees warmer at this time than it is now.

Chesapeake Shores

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Behind the scenes of a Western Romance cover shoot

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My review of Kentucky Confidential (Campbell Cove Academy #1) by Paula Graves

Kentucky Confidential (Campbell Cove Academy #1) by Paula Graves

My review Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

My review of Texas Cinderella (Texas Grooms #8) by Winnie Griggs

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Chesapeake Shores

Because I’m not in America, and don’t have access to most of what is on the Hallmark Channel, I wasn’t aware that Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores books had been turned into a TV series.

It has Jesse Metcalfe in it!