The Week: 5th – 11th February

Friday sunset in Canberra

Australian Parliament all wrapped up in scaffolding for refurbishment yesterday afternoon.

2018 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

2018 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

Kim Yuna lighting the Olympic torch.

Misty – and the end she didn’t deserve

Blind Calico Cat Canberra Australia 26th May 2017 Sonya Heaney Cute 1

We’re not a country??

Flags across the country have been lowered to honour one of Australia's former governors-general, Sir Ninian Stephen, who died on October 29. Parliament House Canberra 8th November 2017

My review of The Marquess Tames His Bride by Annie Burrows

The Marquess Tames His Bride (Brides for Bachelors) by Annie Burrows

My review of Shakespeare for Children: Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare for Children Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Must monsters always be male?

Cinderella Disney.

Cover Love

Carrying the Gentleman's Secret by Helen Dickson

The Marquess Tames His Bride by Annie Burrows

The Marquess Tames His Bride (Brides for Bachelors) by Annie Burrows

‘I have just announced our betrothal.’

The Marquess of Rawcliffe has always found his feisty childhood friend Clare Cottam enthralling. Forbidden by her strict father to pursue a relationship, he’s kept his distance. But the couple is embroiled in a heated argument that puts Clare’s reputation in danger, and Rawcliffe is forced to declare her his fiancée! It will be his pleasure to tame his independent, innocent bride…

The Marquess Tames His Bride (Brides for Bachelors) by Annie Burrows

I need to begin by saying this: don’t let the title put you off. I hate any romance title where the word “tamed” is used – it’s so bodice ripper era!

I enjoyed The Marquess Tames His Bride for a number of reasons. There were quite a few plot points that would have turned me off in the hands of a different author, but somehow Annie Burrows turned things around.

The hero has been in love with the heroine for years, but when he proposed she thought he was mocking her and was joking. She is ranked far below him, and has been emotionally abused by the men in her family her whole life.

Since then, he has disguised his hurt feelings by being indifferent and sometimes even unkind to her, so when they find themselves stuck in a socially disastrous situation and he announces they’re engaged, she thinks he’s mocking her all over again.

Now, I do NOT enjoy scenes where the heroine hits the hero. It’s a terrible double-standard. However, this is the only book I can think of where it seemed *almost* justified. I was not okay with it at first, but as we learnt more about the situation I softened a bit.

I am also not always okay with a hero who is unkind to the heroine for no good reason, but I think the author did a pretty good job of showing how mixed up both characters were. Both thought the other was repulsed by them. Sometimes a scenario like this can drag out for too long, but I think it was pulled off nicely here.

I also enjoyed the change of pace of the characters visiting a few out of the way places that took them away from other aristocrats.

Overall, this was not a story without its issues, but I really, really liked reading it, and found the author’s ability to create two flawed characters fascinating.

I think the hero redeemed himself at the end.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 18th – 24th May

   End of Autumn Red Berries Garden Tuggeranong Canberra Australia 20th May 2015 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 2

Sunny, warm and lots of berries at the very end of autumn.

Busy week. After years of posting pictures online and having them shared all over sites like Pinterest, I’ve finally decided to do something with them (by “decided”, I mean a few days ago – at 5am – I had a light bulb moment!), and am now selling cards and key rings and phone covers and postcards etc. It has taken me DAYS to upload just a few things, but I hope to soon have all sorts of things for sale, on at least three different sites.

I figure that everyone is already sharing my pictures, so I might as well make a dollar or two out of them! That is more than I’ll actually make per product. The royalties the artist gets are so miniscule it’s hardly worth the effort!

At the moment, I have the basics of a Zazzle store up and running, with others to come… Some of my featured images:

Tulips at Floriade 7th October 2013 Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana HeaneySt Michael's Kyiv UkraineDSCN5541wpid-dscn0467DSCN3281

Writing personal, handwritten thank you letters after someone has died sounds great in theory. And then you actually have to sit down and write them, and it takes DAYS! Especially so when Ukrainians tend to go by a few different names in Ukrainian (Maria, Marusya, Marika, Mia – all the same person), and then an entirely different one in English (Jackie!) – plus a different married surname. Written in two different alphabets. Good luck tracking the people down!

We all keep going to pick up the phone to call Baba, and my aunt is travelling next week and I started to ask who was going to look after Baba. I’ve never before had this thing where you actually forget someone is gone. Robyn Carr dealt with this in a book a few years ago, and I thought it was unrealistic. I know better now! I also found out people from the shopping mall came to the funeral. Is there anyone who DIDN’T come?!

As for the rest of the busy week: Restaurant dinners, and a trip to the theatre to see the ballet Giselle (my favourite ballet, and the last one I ever danced – a romantic tragedy!). I worked with this company for years, and grew up with the senior dancers, so I’ll just say… (in romance terms!)… Hero = FANTASTIC. I fell in love with him. And that’s coming from someone who knew him as a skinny little kid, and joked about how he’d never be a romantic hero! Heroine = … I could use a lot of words, but they’re too mean to type, so… (as much as I like her as a person, she should never have been cast in this). Soloists = some great, some not so much. Corps de ballet = great. Production = emotionless and disappointing. Costumes = act one – horrific (WHY are the peasants dressed the same as the royals?!). Act two – FANTASTIC. That fabric had to cost a fortune.

The #1 thing you’re taught when dancing the romantic lead is to look into your partner’s eyes at every moment you possibly can. Look like you’re actually in love. I counted ONCE that the lead female dancer last night looked into her partner’s eyes. He was acting his heart out and she was in her own little world. And they should never have cast a dancer a decade younger than her as her mother!

I wish I had a ballet blog where I could discuss this in detail, because I found the entire production very problematic and a little bit upsetting, and I need to write an essay about it. However, I left the ballet world a few years ago and no longer have an audience for it!

You see (and I have a blog post about this coming soon)… growing up in the ballet world, you learn to be honest. God knows, I’ve been called everything under the sun since my first professional performance at age eight. I HATE being accused of being mean in romance reviewing when I’m just being honest. You’re selling something. Make it good.

The Historical Romance Revolution

Jon PAUL - Cover Art for Romance

Does this kind of thing bother you?

It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas Stepback

Rape in Book Adaptations on Television

Outlander 1x09 The Reckoning Claire and Jamie Sonya Heaney

These Covers…

Wish Upon a Duke by Eva Devon

My review of A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

My review of Defiant by Pamela Clare

Defiant by Pamela Clare

My review of Rosie Rinkstar by Janet Rosina West

Rosie Rinkstar by Janet Rosina West

A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

His virgin mistress!

Major Tom Bartlett is shocked to discover the angel who nursed his battle wounds is darling of the ton Lady Sarah Latymor. One taste of her threatens both her impeccable reputation and his career!

An honorable man would ask for her hand, but Bartlett is considered an unrepentant rake by polite society; sweet Sarah would be spurned as his mistress and even as his wife. He demands she leave, but Sarah is just as determined to stay by his side—and in his bed!

Brides of Waterloo

Love forged on the battlefield

A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

The fist line of this book’s blurb is horrid! And inappropriate for the story!

I liked the cover of this one, and have loved most of the historical romances produced by Harlequin/Mills and Boon (why more people don’t give them a chance I will never understand). So I was a little shocked when I started it and saw it had a couple of horrific early ratings.

Especially so as I enjoyed the opening chapters so much. Starting off a trilogy to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, this book goes into the sort of detail historical romances tend to gloss over and romanticise.

I suppose the reason opinion on this one is divided is because almost the entire book is set in one room. Normally I’d have had a real problem with this – there are some other authors who write lengthy scenes I lose patience with. However, it worked for me in this book most of the time. Annie Burrows must be a good writer to keep me turning the pages in something I might not have enjoyed by another author!

Because our heroine makes the snap decision to nurse the hero back to health alone, her reputation is essentially ruined from the outset, so some liberties with behaviour can be overlooked. I liked how the two fell in love.

I think by the very end things were drawn out just a bit too much. Too many scenes of the two agonising over why they couldn’t be together. I also got a little bit tired of the heroine’s insecurities, though I had to remind myself the timeframe of the story was quite short. However, I only found it dragging at the end, and then there was the happy resolution.

I like the idea of this series, and Louise Allen – a favourite of mine – is writing the next book, so I’m generally happy about this concept!

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Christmas Reads: A Scandalous Regency Christmas

A Scandalous Regency Christmas

Reviewed HERE

A Scandalous Regency Christmas

5 short stories by various authors, previously only available as ebooks, collected for their Christmas theme.

TO UNDO A LADY
Christine Merrill

Danyl Fitzhugh vows he can turn any woman, even innocent Sarah Branford, into an actress. But Sarah is more than she seems…

AN INVITATION TO PLEASURE
Marguerite Kaye

Captain Fergus Lamont has invited Susanna Hunter to spend Christmas with him in the Highlands. He suggests she pretends to be his fiancée…

HIS WICKED CHRISTMAS WAGER
Annie Burrows

Lord Crispin Sinclair will come home for his brother’s Christmas nuptials only if widow Lady Caroline Fallowfield will share his bed…

A LADY’S LESSON IN SEDUCTION
Barbara Monajem

Notorious rake Camden Folk, Marquis of Warbury desires beautiful Frances Burdett. And Yuletide at his country estate is perfect for her seduction…

THE PIRATE’S RECKLESS TOUCH
Linda Sky

Juliana Wright needs the help of devilishly handsome Captain Rawden Wood, a renowned pirate. But he could dishonour her or reveal her biggest secret!

A Scandalous Regency Christmas

A Scandalous Regency Christmas

Five short stories by various authors, previously only available as ebooks, collected for their Christmas theme.

A Scandalous Regency Christmas

 

I probably should have paid more attention to the ‘sexy’ on the cover, because these are not ‘sweet’ Regency stories!

This anthology was cobbled together with contributions from authors on both sides of the Atlantic, and not all of the offerings had the American English edited out of them – strange for a British publication!

 

TO UNDO A LADY

Christine Merrill

This one I thought was going to set the tone for the rest of the book, and it started with sex in an alleyway! I have enjoyed some of Christine Merrill’s writing before, however, and I have rather a lot of faith in stories with theatrical settings, and I did enjoy it a lot. As is so often the case, I would have loved to see this one as a full-length novel. There’s more than enough material for it!

 

AN INVITATION TO PLEASURE

Marguerite Kaye

I really enjoyed this one. For historical romance, England is my go-to setting, and I find Scottish historicals to be more of a mixed bag. However, I was thrilled with this story, and will be tracking down more by the author. I think it helped enormously that she actually is Scottish, and the way the culture was threaded through the romance made this a special read.

 

HIS WICKED CHRISTMAS WAGER

Annie Burrows

This was a nice, solid read. I love some angst, the theme of lost love found again. Some of the themes in this one were a little similar to the story before (which is in no way the authors’ fault), so I think I should probably have not read them back-to-back.

The heroine spends much of this story naked!

 

A LADY’S LESSON IN SEDUCTION

Barbara Monajem

Another nice little story, which (with the short word count) turned steamy pretty fast. I liked the atmosphere the author created, which was helped by the fact the characters were fairly isolated from society, with a private, more intimate Christmas setting.

 

THE PIRATE’S RECKLESS TOUCH

Linda Sky

I’m going to have to admit I’m not fond of pirate stories, not even when a favourite author like Sabrina Jeffries writes them. I think of rotting teeth and bad body odour, rather than anything sexy and romantic!

I got the feel from this story that the author captured – for those who like this type of story – the charm of old school pirate romances. If this is your kind of thing, I know you’ll enjoy this one.