Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl

“Saved!” meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl

Over the Christmas break I took a bunch of books with me on holiday, but—instead of the Regency romance I was planning on finishing—I ended up reading this young adult book about a couple of non-Christian teens who go to church camp with ulterior motives.

I actually bought the much-hyped Have a Little Faith in Me because of the author’s first name (I’m shallow like that), but while it’s not a perfect book, I’m very glad I read it.

YA fiction has turned on its head since the Twilight days, when misogyny and slut shaming was so often the norm, and the female and sex-positive themes in a book set in the unlikeliest of places was a wonderful surprise. I was a little worried about how it would play out, but the way the heroine and her Christian cabinmates bonded and stuck up for each other was fantastic.

The story plays out as most readers will expect from the outset, but it’s the journey the heroine and her best friend go on together to reach that happy ending that makes it worth the effort. There were some hilarious bits—“If you don’t have any condoms with you, I have, like, a billion in my cabin.” (This at a Christian camp!)—and there were some nice emotional moments.

I had a couple of issues:

While it’s true many teens these days have serious discussions about consent etc., there were times the characters acted more like adults would want them to act than like real teens. Everyone (except the “baddies”) was a little bit too responsible all of the time.

I also don’t believe that all the kids at the state’s most conservative Christian camp would have such progressive, sex positive views. Thanks to the politics of the last few years, the whole world has been exposed to the misogyny and bigotry behind the evangelical Christian movement, and these kids all acted like extremely progressive left-leaning activists. It would have been nice to have some more conflicts of values to make it a bit more realistic.

Despite those issues I raced through this book and enjoyed it a lot. I’m sure I’ll read it again.

Book Feature: Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to review. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley

Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley

By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragon’s divorce as you’ve never heard it before – from the eyes of their daughter, Princess Mary.

More than anything Mary just wants her family to stay together; for her mother and her father – and for her – to all be in the same place at once. But when her father announces that his marriage to her mother was void and by turns that Mary doesn’t really count as his child, she realises things will never be as she hoped.

Things only get worse when her father marries again. Separated from her mother and forced to work as a servant for her new sister, Mary must dig deep to find the strength to stand up against those who wish to bring her down. Despite what anyone says, she will always be a princess. She has the blood of a princess and she is ready to fight for what is rightfully hers.

The Week: 14th – 20th October

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Pink Purple Garden Sonya Oksana Heaney 16th October 2019

Spring in Canberra

Big week as far as my writing went. Things are really starting to move ahead with my next book.

I started a new history/book Tumblr blog a few days ago. If you’re interested, it’s here:

Sonya Heaney Author

Also this week:

Book News!

Escape Cover Brief Header Sonya Heaney Second Book March 2020

Recently Reread: Virgin River and Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr Virgin River Series

Book Feature: The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

Book Feature: The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to do a review for. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

the light in the labyrinth by wendy j. dunn

I’m always excited to see young adult books with historical settings. So many very young people were at the heart of major events in history, and I think it’s an underrepresented genre.

The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

A Queen fights for her life.
A King denies his heart and soul.
A girl faces her true identity.
All things must come to an end—all things but love.

IN THE WINTER OF 1535, fourteen-year-old Kate Carey wants to escape her family home. She thinks her life will be so much better with Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and the aunt she idolises. Little does Kate know that by going to attend Anne Boleyn she will discover love and a secret that will shake the very foundations of her identity. As an attendant to Anne Boleyn, Kate is swept up in events that see her witness her aunt’s darkest days. By the time winter ends, Kate will be changed forever.

The Week: 7th – 13th October

Back to normal here – crazy cat is still crazy…

So, here I am, back home from Europe. Even though my unpacking still hasn’t been completely successful, I already feel like I’ve been here for a year!

Now the “fun” begins. I’m doing some huge edits on my next book, which at the moment my editor and I are calling “The Landowner’s Secret 2” (because I don’t want to come up with a title, and she hasn’t yet, either!). I plan to add several thousand words into the manuscript to expand on a few things, which is going to be a big task to have done over the next two weeks.

I also have the third book to finish, and I want that done before Christmas (which is frighteningly close now!).

Harlequin’s Free Reads

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Book Feature: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

silver silence (psy-changeling trinity, #1; psy-changeling, #16) by nalini singh

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is a favourite of mine. Though now she has sadly given writing away, I’ve loved every young adult book she put out. Her characters react like human beings, not Book Characters, and her teens actually behave like people their age.

The Unwritten Rule is no different, and enough time had passed for me to enjoy the book like it was new all over again.

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she’s thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It’s wonderful… and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…

Coming Up This Year

Inkyard Press (Harlequin Teen rebranded) seems to be willing to take some risks. Rebel Girls by Elizabeth Keenan is due out in 2019, and is definitely on my to-read list. I’ve heard it is set in the 1990s.

Here’s what it’s about:

A rumour is spreading in Baton Rouge. Helen Graves, the freshman that leads her Catholic school’s Pro-Life Alliance… had an abortion.

When it comes to being social, Athena Graves, Helen’s older, punk-rock sister, is far more comfortable writing down a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys, or anyone for that matter.

So when someone starts this malicious rumour about her popular, pretty, pro-life sister… she has to summon all her strength to push through her social fears, and become the champion Helen needs, even if she doesn’t want one.

Athena and her radical feminist riot grrrl friends come together despite their wildly contrasting views, to save Helen’s reputation and rescue her from being expelled… even though their punk-rock protests, with buttons and patches emblazoned with powerful messages, might result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.

Out Now: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross uS Cover

Released elsewhere in 2018, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – is out in the United States now.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume.

On classic children’s and young adult author Judy Blume‘s eighty-first birthday, I’d like to remind people of the importance of “controversial” books for teens.

For some young people, these books – that conservative groups try their best to get banned – are the only way they learn about important issues in their lives. Blume’s Forever, published in 1975, taught some teens things they needed to know about sex when their parents and teachers refused to fill in the gaps.

A few years ago, in the ballet world, I came across a group of homeschooled Christian ballet students from America’s Mid-West.

These young teens had been blatantly lied to by their parents, and told that: #1 only gay men could get AIDS, and #2 that AIDS could only be contracted by men having sex with monkeys.

And this is a perfect example of why we need authors like Blume, and why libraries shouldn’t be pressured to ban them.

A side note: dance is possibly the world’s most gay-friendly profession. The parents might have been in for a surprise!

Here’s The Australian Ballet onstage, openly campaigning for marriage equality during curtain calls (before the law was passed):

The Week: 21st – 27th January

canberra summer heatwave sunset australia sonya heaney 20th january 2019

Summer heatwave sunsets in Canberra.

A very scruffy red wattlebird trying to cope with the heat (this bird lives on our back deck), and what it looks like most of the time (second image from Wikipedia).

Rome: City and Empire

In Defence of the Unlikeable Heroine

I Kissed a Rogue (Covent Garden Cubs #3) by Shana Galen

Out Now: All is Fair by Dee Garretson

All is Fair by Dee Garretson

Out Now: Prisoner by Jason Rezaian

prisoner my 544 days in an iranian prison—solitary confinement, a sham trial, high-stakes diplomacy, and the extraordinary efforts it took to get me out by jason rezaian

Australia Day