Family and Community Day

Spring Blossoms Canberra Australia Garden Flowers Blue Sky Sun Sonya Heaney 5th September 2016 IMG_0283

Today in the Australian Capital Territory is the totally random public holiday: Family and Community Day. I’ve been told it replaces a November holiday that used to fall around the time of the Melbourne Cup.

And apparently Western Australia celebrates the Queen’s Birthday today (we did it back in June; her actual birthday is in April – there is actually a reason for all these weird dates!).

Whatever it is, it’s a day off. Maybe I can catch up on some books!


The Week: 18th – 24th September

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 21st September 2017 Garden Nature Red

Spring in Canberra

Mostly gorgeous week here. We had temperatures up to 30 degrees, which makes it nearly ten degrees warmer than Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. The difference? In Barcelona everyone dresses for summer. In Canberra a lot of people dress like it’s mid-winter. People are weird.

We booked a group family trip to Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains this week. We’ll be going over New Year. It will be summer here, so hopefully the mountains won’t be too snowy at that time of year!

Yesterday the highway between Canberra (as in Australia’s capital city) and Sydney (as in Australia’s biggest city) was closed because of a bushfire. We knew people who had to turn around and come back to Canberra.

In September.

Just after winter.

We also had the hottest September day in history, and they are predicting a catastrophic bushfire season (yes, here “bushfire season” is actually a thing) for us. But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist…?!

Floriade is in full swing, but I haven’t been this year (so far). I really need to go earlier one year before half the flowers have died!

New (AWFUL!) cover for Lisa Kleypas

My review of Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea


Pride and Prejudice Anniversary

Pride and Prejudice Anniversary

Tomorrow is the twenty-second anniversary of the premiere of the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice (otherwise known as “the one people love because Mr Darcy jumps in a murky pond”).

This is the Jane Austen adaptation that changed everything.

It’s not my favourite, but it’s a gazillion times better than Pride and Prejudice and Pigs – I still enjoy it a lot. And it is definitely the favourite version of most true Jane Austen fans.

New Cover for Lisa Kleypas

The much-anticipated fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series now has a cover.

And it’s AWFUL!

This series is set in the 1870s. *1870s*, not at the 2017 Academy Awards!

The covers have been getting progressively worse and more modern as the series has gone on. It’s a terrible way to market books set in the Victorian era. Anybody who doesn’t recognise Kleypas’ name won’t pick this up if they’re looking for a historical romance.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to this book. The blurb is below the cover.

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

A woman who defies her time

Dr Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumoured assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

Amish Christmas Twins Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

The Widower’s Christmas Wish

With Christmas just around the corner, widow Willa Chase will do anything to retain custody of her twin girls and unborn baby–even if it means escaping to her childhood Amish home. After her grandfather turns her away, Willa finds herself stranded at the home of blacksmith John Miller. A widower, John buries himself in work–until Willa’s vibrant twins become impossible to ignore. And before long, John is smitten with their beautiful mother, too. But when Willa’s past secrets are revealed, will they prevent John’s Christmas wish for a happily-ever-after from coming true?

Amish Christmas Twins: Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

Yes, the Christmas books are now out!

Due to my aversion to books with kids on the cover, I skipped this one initially – and then noticed it was written by Patricia Davids, who I consider to be one of Harlequin’s best authors, across all of their lines.

I am glad I read this one. Davids focuses more on Amish culture than their religion, so her books are interesting reads for Christian and secular readers alike. She also knows this world inside-out, and it shows in the detail she includes about the world the characters live and work in.

It was also interesting to have a heroine who was dragged out of an Amish lifestyle as a teen, and so returns as someone from a totally different culture. I liked hero and heroine, and I liked that there were characters rediscovering – or just discovering (in the case of the twins) – the Amish lifestyle.

This was one of the better Amish-themed books I’ve read, with so much more to it than kids or Christmas. But then I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea

Twilight star Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen

This news is actually from a few weeks ago, but in case you didn’t see it before:

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea

Of all the book-movie franchises to choose! One is about kids fighting to the death, and the other is about an obsessive vampire stalker!

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth.

The Twilight and Hunger Games film franchises may have come to a close, but movie studio Lionsgate will soon offer fans a new way to engage with both thanks to new theme park expansion lands. Today the studio announced that it will be opening Lionsgate Movie World, a 1.3 million-square-foot theme park in South Korea dedicated to its various movie properties.

The park will be part of Jeju Shinhwa World, a luxury resort on South Korea’s Jeju Island. Movie World will be made up of seven different “zones,” each devoted to a different Lionsgate film. Along with Twilight and The Hunger Games, the magic-themed Now You See Me franchise will receive an area, as will the studio’s upcoming Robin Hood remake. According to the press release, guests will be able to “experience actual movie scenes” with a combination of rides, recreated environments, themed restaurants, and live performances. The park is scheduled to open sometime in 2019.


I found this quote online the other day. I don’t know what book it is from:

Men writing romance versus Women writing romance.

The publisher-specified definition of a “romance novel” says that hero and heroine (or heroes or heroines) must all be alive and committed to each other at the end of the book.

However, then you have romantic fiction, and everyone from Shakespeare to Nicholas Sparks to John Green comes to mind. Lotta death and misery there…