The Week: 15th – 21st July

WinterVention Canberra Austrlaia OutDoor Ice Skating Canberra Theatre Centre Sonya Oksana Heaney 20th July 2019


Winter outdoor ice skating and fairy lights in Canberra last night.

Blue Sky Sunny Winter's Day Queanbeyan to Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 19th July 2019 Nature

Crossing the state border from Queanbeyan (NSW) to Canberra on Friday afternoon.

Crazy Cat Grey Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 19th July 2019

The neighbour’s cat napping in my office on Friday. Despite what it looks like, he does actually have a head. And he’s so big he fell off the couch just after I took this picture!

My book is on NetGalley!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Five years since MH17


The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

Book Feature: London’s Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

London's Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

Book Feature: London’s Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

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!

I loved the concept for this one, and read the beginning before life took over and I ran out of time to finish it. Unfortunately the guy on the cover has a mullet, but ignore that!

London's Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

London’s Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

In Anabelle Bryant’s latest novel of ardour and ambition, a lord will stop at nothing to possess the woman of his dreams . . .
In monetary matters, Jeremy Lockhart, Viscount Dearing, is used to being in control, but from his first sight of Lady Charlotte, his carefully cultivated world is rocked to its foundations. Determined to best her other, more eligible suitors, he goes to great lengths to ensure his betrothal to Charlotte. A locked black leather box holds the dark secret that has assured his success.
Innocent Lady Charlotte is baffled by her new husband’s behavior. Why does Lord Dearing seem so distant one day, and so attentive the next? Her family’s dire financial straits did not allow her the luxury of an extended courtship. If only she could entice him into the marriage bed! When at last Charlotte’s efforts are rewarded, she revels in Jeremy’s unexpectedly bold possessiveness. But outside of their bedchambers, her groom’s guardedness quickly returns. Passion is no longer enough for sweet Charlotte, who vows to unlock the mystery of this complicated man. The truth, however, might be more than her principled heart is prepared to handle. . . .

The Week: 4th – 10th April

Autumn Leaves Garden Canberra Australia 6th April 2016 Sonya Heaney Nature

I was hoping to get some good autumn pictures before we head overseas and have another summer, but there’re very few changing leaves because of the hot weather… We had our hottest April day for thirty years on Wednesday (exactly twice Melbourne’s temperature, for example!). I’m never going to break in my new boots.

There’re only days to go now, and I’m not at all ready. We’ll be gone for about two months, which means there’re two months of life to sort out in advance. We are also scrambling to get all our bookings done for our next trip to Europe in February before we go on the first one!

Russian Team Replaced On Eve Of Hockey Championship, Failed Drug Tests Cited.

Russian Team Replaced On Eve Of Hockey Championship, Failed Drug Tests Cited.

It just doesn’t end, does it.

Which leads me to this.

The Netherlands did something very, VERY pro-Putin and pro-Kremlin in their referendum this week, and I am VERY angry about it. Apparently thousands of Ukrainian lives lost to terrorism sure don’t matter, whereas dozens of French and Belgian lives sure do… The world has a very established hierarchy for how much value a life from each nation has.

Hey – remember Russia shooting down MH17, and how all those Dutch people died?

I read Sylvia Day’s new book this week (which was VERY long, for some reason), as well as finishing a really good historical fiction novel about slavery in the US South during the Civil War. Both to be reviewed soon.

Release Day for J.R. Ward

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

My review of The SEAL’s Second Chance (Alpha Ops #3) by Anne Calhoun

The SEAL's Second Chance (Alpha Ops #3) by Anne Calhoun

My review of Want Ad Wedding by Cheryl St.John

Want Ad Wedding by Cheryl St.John

My review of Fortune Favours the Wicked by Theresa Romain

Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain

My review of His Forbidden Debutante (Regency Charms #4) by Anabelle Bryant

Deep space

His Forbidden Debutante (Regency Charms #4) by Anabelle Bryant

Deep space

The dance she never dared to dream…
One year after a carriage accident killed her parents and left her seriously injured, Lavinia Montgomery has finally learnt to walk again – just in time to make her societal debut. Yet while the beautiful debutante’s body may have healed, she hides a broken heart.
Before her injury, Lavinia had exchanged letters with a man she knew to be the love of her life – despite never having set eyes on him. But when she feared she’d be crippled for life, she made the heart-rending decision to let him go…
Randolph James Caulfield, Earl of Penwick, is betrothed, but cannot forget the words he once received from a woman whose name he knew, but who he never had the chance to meet. So when, at a ball, his dance partner is introduced, he can’t believe his luck. One thing is certain: if this really is his debutante, he won’t lose her a second time.

His Forbidden Debutante (Regency Charms #4) by Anabelle Bryant

There’re aspects of this book I thought were great, and (as a contact lens and occasional glasses-wearer who is BLIND and would not be able to cope a couple of centuries ago) I loved that this heroine wore glasses, and that no big deal was made of it.

I also loved that our hero is in love, and is pining a bit, and is wary of marriage not because he doesn’t want it, but because he wants it to be with a woman he can’t have.

Anabelle Bryant doesn’t write objectionable books. She has a nice atmosphere, and some nice ideas. However, it took me a little while to warm up to this one. Hero and heroine barely have anything to do with each other for so long my interest was waning a bit by the time they finally had some scenes together, and I thought the heroine was downright rude a few times. Sure, it probably fits with her aristocratic background, but seeing as the Romancelandia version of Regency England doesn’t have much to do with reality, I thought she could have been a bit friendlier!

However, what attracted me to this book, and what kept me turning the pages was that the whole concept of the story was full of angst. From loss to illness to a disappearing love.

If you like the sound of the plot, maybe give it a go.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 19th – 25th January

Canberra Australia Sunset 22nd January 2015

Canberra sunset on Thursday.

My father’s birthday today! And Australia Day tomorrow. This time of year is a never-ending mess for us. Two Christmases. Two New Years. My grandmother’s, aunt’s, father’s, mother’s and my birthdays. The amount of money that goes into the start of the year…

For Ukraine, what a horrible, horrible week this was. Some 300 Ukrainians were killed by Russian terrorists. CafePress is now selling merchandise with the symbol of the Russian terrorist organisation responsible for the war. Many of us have reported their products. MORE people should report this. It’s sickening to see.

It’s no different to selling Nazi-themed merchandise. Or Al Qaeda t-shirts. Or ISIS-pride things!

Also, I was offered a review copy of Kresley Cole’s latest Russian mafia romance. Because that’s totally something to romanticise.

Shame on you, Kresley Cole. Shame on you.

It has been hot and muggy in Canberra this week. And our cat – that isn’t actually our cat – just keeps coming for visits!

What I want to see in 2015: Historical Romance

When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

Defending the Indefensible

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Book Sale Stuff

Customers in the Book Department at Selfridge's department store in London during 1942.

My review of The Rogue’s Folly by Donna Lea Simpson

The Rogue's Folly by Donna Lea Simpson

My review of The Midnight Rake by Anabelle Bryant

The Midnight Rake by Anabelle Bryant

My review of A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian

A Touch of Midnight (Midnight Breed #0.5) by Lara Adrian

My review of Ace’s Wild by Sarah McCarty

Ace's Wild by Sarah McCarty

The Midnight Rake by Anabelle Bryant

The Midnight Rake by Anabelle Bryant

A gentleman by day…

Phineas Betcham, Viscount Fenhurst is one of the country’s most eligible bachelors…which – to the heartbreak of each season’s new debutantes – is the way he intends to keep it. Because the broodingly handsome Viscount has vowed to keep emotions out of the bedchamber. And he is a man who always stays true to his word.

So when Penelope Rosebery arrives at his home, impoverished and in need of help, Phin is every inch the gentleman. But, beneath the surface, Penelope stirs a protective and passionate instinct within him. With her untamed beauty and lack of social ties, she’s something of a wildflower – delicate, spontaneous, and rare. And before long, Phineas finds himself tempted to abandon his rulebook…and leave etiquette behind until daybreak.

The Midnight Rake by Anabelle Bryant

I think I’ve reached a point where I’ve binged on so many Regency romances I expect something… more… when I read. The Midnight Rake had an interesting premise, and I really appreciated that more effort was taken to use British English (something too many authors in this genre overlook). However, there were a few points in the book where I asked myself if I wanted to continue reading – I felt like I’d already read this story dozens of times in the past year.

There’s a reason the Regency is still the preferred setting for historical romance. It has the elegance and the manners and the balls and the pretty clothes. This book delivers on all those counts, and throws in the usual gang of titled hunks to boot. I liked the heroine and felt for her plight. Many people will really enjoy the story.

Something that annoys me in historical romance is the titled gentleman who doesn’t want to marry. It’s an anachronistic attitude; every man with a title knew he had to marry and he was raised to believe in protecting the title at all costs (so, a wife and a houseful of sons!). It wasn’t as if it hampered a man’s lifestyle in any way – he still carried on with his socialising and mistresses!

Our hero was one of those anachronistic men allergic to marriage…

I feel bad blaming this particular book for my genre fatigue, but there you have it! I just felt that there was nothing here that made The Midnight Rake stand out from the crowd. The language was a little more formal, which was a nice change, and made scenes feel more period-appropriate. Though there were still gottens all over the place, and speciality became specialty, a great deal of care was taken to eliminate other Americanisms (pavement/sidewalk, for example).

I suppose these days when I pick up a historical romance I’m looking for something original, and there just wasn’t enough originality for me here.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.