The Week: 15th – 21st May

Such a spectacular week in Canberra! Well, we won’t mention Friday (but there is something nice about a rainy autumn day, as long as you can spend it somewhere like a pub – as I did!), but the rest of the week was gorgeous.

I always say summer is my favourite season, but this autumn has been incredible. I might have to change my mind.

This week was the anniversary of Stalin’s ethnic cleansing (some call it genocide) of the Crimean Tatars. It’s yet another Kremlin atrocity nobody ever mentions.

Massive Harlequin News

Born Sexy Yesterday

Catching Up

My review of The Disappearance of Lady Edith (The Undaunted Debutantes #1) by Christina McKnight

My review of No Other Highlander (The McKennas #2) by Adrienne Basso

My review of Claiming His Highland Bride (A Highland Feuding #4) by Terri Brisbin

Massive Harlequin News

Stunning news out of Harlequin in the past day or so. It’s not uncommon for them to close book lines and open others, but they are closing FIVE lines in one go – some of them what I would call significant lines.

Amongst them is the staple of quality contemporary romance: Superromance. The first Harlequin book I ever read was from this line, and with its longer word count and more complex and realistic storylines, it always turned up some interesting books (and some of my favourite authors!).

The one that is causing the most drama in America is the cancellation of the Kimani line, as that is essentially an African American line. I am guessing the argument (if not the reality) will be that these books can be integrated into the general contemporary romance lines, but I doubt that will happen very often… I am actually just finishing one now.

One I’ll also enormously miss is the Love Inspired Historical line, as – despite the random praying – it has shown consistent quality for lighter historical romance. In the past few years I’ve gone out of my way to download ALL books in this group that have turned up for review. It wasn’t usually TOO religious, and so you were left with sweet Western romances that I really did so often like.

The other two? I think it’s incredibly shortsighted to discontinue Nocturne, the only paranormal series the publisher runs. Sure, it’s not the money-maker it was in the days of Twilight vampire stalkers, but surely it will be back in fashion soon. Could they not have reduced the number of releases each month instead of eliminating an ENTIRE genre of books?

And Western (was it not recently renamed “American Romance?”). It was revamped recently, and I was a bit annoyed about that. There have been some good books, but I was angry that they went from accepting general “Western” books to only accepting books from the United States. Suddenly even Canadians were too “foreign”, apparently. I think they ruined the line, but I don’t think this was the way to go…

Here I was, hearing for years that nobody reads their Medical line anymore – where is that in this drastic action? I admit to being too squeamish for some of those books, but there was some high quality there. Perhaps the original Mills and Boon (in the UK) had a say, as it’s one of their older series? I’m only guessing about that.

Harlequin stays on top of the world, it seems. However, this cull seems brutal. I know I – someone who is auto-approved to basically review whatever they put out – am going to lose MANY of the books that drew me to that publisher.

I was going to ask:

What in the world is going to replace these?

However, I then saw Courtney Milan had shared most of the official announcement, and discovered they’re NOT replacing them with anything:

Scary that entire subgenres are just gone forever.

If they discontinue the Historical line (which has been discussed before), then I might just be done.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

I have an Irish surname, so…

For St Patrick’s Day, here are some books I can think of with an Irish main character, or are actually set in Ireland:

The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

IGNORE the AWFUL cover and trashy title! It’s a very good book.

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

Secrets in Scarlet by Erica Monroe

Secrets in Scarlet (Rookery Rogues Book 2) Erica Monroe

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

Finally: If you want a book with a hero who came from Ireland centuries ago, you could always try this very popular vampire read!

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

The Week: 6th – 12th March

Bright Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Autumn 6th March 2017

First day back home. Blue sky, sunshine, summer temperatures – and half a new deck!

We went to Canberra’s Enlighten festival last night. The national buildings (National Library – above, National Science and Technology Centre, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House etc.) are lit up. There are also bars and food stalls and opera performances and a whole lot of things.

I will find some better pictures tomorrow.

This possum has moved in (not our first one, but the smallest so far), right outside my bedroom window. The night-time fights with other animals kept me awake all night a few nights ago!

It has been absolutely gorgeous in Canberra this week. Temperatures up around thirty degrees, bright blue skies, sunshine. It feels more like summer than autumn most of the time.

Chris Miller 11th March 2017 Russia invaded Ukraine

A timely reminder from a very respected journalist in Europe.

A Ukrainian woman is behind bars in the United Arab Emirates at the moment because doctors found out she is pregnant to her fiancé. They are “testing” her to find out how long she has been sexually active, which sounds like an appalling abuse of a woman’s basic rights.

You’re not allowed to have premarital sex in the UAE, and women are imprisoned for reporting rapes. Please be aware that just because Dubai and Abu Dhabi look shiny and tourists love them doesn’t mean it isn’t an Islamic country with some terribly restrictive laws – especially for women.

I have to travel through there are few more times this year, and I really wish I wasn’t. Qantas sends their flights through there a lot now, and codeshares with Emirates, which is one of the worst airlines I have ever experienced.

Also on my list of “things that annoyed me this week”, this article:

Pope may allow married Catholic men as priests

The reason it annoys me? Ukrainian Catholic men – married, soon to be married, planning to be married – have ALWAYS been able to become priests. For centuries. Most of the priests I’ve ever known have been married – with children.

This is allegedly such a groundbreaking idea, but once again people totally ignore the fact this is already, and always has been, a thing.

Nobody knows anything about Ukraine, but you’d think a journalist or two might mention this extremely relevant fact!

And then there’s:

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at US airport for second time

He’s a flipping US citizen! What is wrong with Trump’s version of America??!

My review of Outback Cowboy (Hot Aussie Heroes Book 1) by Margareta Osborn

My review of Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of A Temporary Family by Sherri Shackelford

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

Excuse me, cover designers…

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

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Silence Fallen, the tenth book in Patricia Briggs’ hugely popular Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, is due out now.

Briggs is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, and if you haven’t tried her books yet, I’d highly recommend going back to the beginning of the series and starting there. This is a complex world with ever-evolving characters and a strong relationship at the centre.

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Coyote shapeshifter Mercy Thompson is attacked and abducted in her home territory. Fighting off a crazed werewolf, she manages to escape, only to find herself alone in the heart of Europe, without money, without clothing and on the run from the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world.

Unable to contact her pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, but first she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy needs to be at her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves – and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise. . .

The Week: 16th – 22nd January

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Wednesday evening in Canberra

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Canberra’s heatwave continues…

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And kills our garden!

So, apparently the new thing people do when they turn seventy is go on trips to Europe – or, at least my relatives seem to think so. With two people in my family turning seventy this year, both decided to celebrate that way – and take me along!

This week we booked a trip to southern Spain and Barcelona for August. I get to spend more time in one of my favourite places in the world: Seville. The trip came completely out of the blue. I still have to go to Italy in a few weeks, and to London after that!

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We went to the National Museum on Saturday to see the visiting exhibition from the British Museum: A History of the World in 100 Objects.

We had to queue for over an hour – I don’t even want to know what it’s going to be like when we go to the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery!

It is much more “the history of the world according to the British Empire”. There’s so much from certain parts of the world, and NOTHING from the whole eastern half of Europe (including the Black Sea and the whole of Slavic civilisation – none of my heritage!), huge parts of Africa, etc.

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The fires active on Wednesday afternoon.

Our region of Australia has had bushfire, after bushfire, after bushfire this week. Hot weather and strong winds make the worst fire conditions.

Firestorm in Canberra, Australia. 18th January 2003.

This week was the fourteenth anniversary of the firestorm that destroyed huge parts of Canberra. The picture above is what my city looked like for a whole day (except the sky turned black after a while – and then bright red). We had those water-bombing helicopters right over us. They saved our street.

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I could go on about the terror of Trump – but what’s the point? I am TERRIFIED for Ukraine.

His wife steals Obama speeches, and the man himself steals an Obama cake!

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We’re a day ahead of the US (so I’d done this post before the Women’s Marches across the world), so I’ll just add this on at the end!:

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Recommended Read

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Victoria the Great – for fans of anything Victorian

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My review of A Woman of Spirit by Kate Loveday

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Cover Love

The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts

Reindeer Romance?

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