Rereading Old Favourites

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

I know I’m not the only one who’s been rereading a lot of favourite books in the past few, pandemic-stricken months.

One book I picked up (well, opened on my Kindle!) is Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry, which was published ten years ago, and which is the book that convinced me to read more category romances.

The book is due to be rereleased in a few months.

A recent discussion amongst authors showed the general consensus is the Superromance line was amazing and should never have been discontinued. Australian author Mayberry and Kiwi author Karina Bliss were two of my absolute favourites, writing realistic, complicated characters.

Her Best Friend is about a woman who stayed in her hometown to pursue her dream of buying and restoring an Art Deco theatre. It used to belong to her family and is now under threat from developers. Amy has been in love with her best friend for sixteen years, but he married another woman from town and moved away to live in the city and have a big, flashy legal career.

Cue angst!

What makes this book stand out is how real the characters feel – from their conversations to their choices to their mistakes. I’ve read more books than I can count, but this one still resonates with me.

My only complaint: how heavily the editors Americanised the language and terminology. There’re a lot of words (and systems of measurement!) we don’t use here!

The Week: 9th – 15th December

Bushfire sunset in Canberra

Merry Christmas! I know it’s too early, but we’re celebrating today because we’re going away next week.

Canberra Smoke Heatwave Bushfires December 2019

The bushfire haze in Canberra has been horrendous. It’s hot, and for days there was smoke in your eyes and your throat even if you stayed inside. I live surrounded by mountains, and the smoke was so thick I couldn’t see them anymore. Now the west of the country is on fire, too.

The volcano disaster in New Zealand dominated the news here this week because the majority of the people killed and injured were Australian. It’s horrific.

Virgin River Episodes 1-3

Virgin River Robyn Carr Books Netflix Adaptation

Cover Love

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING SECRETS by Lynette Eason

How’s this for a neighbourhood library?!

Woman Transforms Rotting Tree In Her Yard Into Charming Neighbourhood Library Winter

Cover Love

What a pretty Christmas cover for Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason!

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING SECRETS by Lynette Eason

A man from her past is back—

to help her solve a holiday murder case.

A friend is missing and presumed dead, and detective Jade Hollis is determined to track down the killer. To do that she must team up with private investigator Bryce Kingsley—who doesn’t know he is the father of her child. But she’ll have to put personal secrets aside because the killer will strike again to keep the truth from being exposed.

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

The Week: 29th July – 4th August

 

Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales Australia near Canberra Australian Capital Territory Sonya Heaney 2nd August 2019 2

Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales Australia near Canberra Australian Capital Territory Sonya Heaney 2nd August 2019 1

A trip to the cemetery in Queanbeyan, just before the border with Canberra, on Friday afternoon (my grandparents are buried there). If you ever wonder what landscape inspires my writing, take a look at it.

Sonya Heaney Library Books Santa Montefiore Christy Reece Sophie Barnes Historical Costume

Sonya Heaney Library Books Mary Balogh Julia Quinn Lisa Kleypas USSR Ukrainian Costume

I visited the library again on Monday. After figuring out the scary returns scanner, I sent two (of six) books back, and came home with eight more!

Yes, I’ve already read Marrying Winterborne, but I wanted a look at the hardcover version. I’m going to return it for someone else to borrow at the start of next week.

The USSR book is actually a 1980s encyclopaedia of Eastern European costumes, and the section about Ukraine was so fantastic (and strangely accurate, considering Russian propaganda – the only information crossing the Iron Curtain to get to the west – was [and still is] so anti-Ukrainian) I just had to borrow it. I actually want to buy it!

Flock of Galahs Australian Birds Queanbeyan near Canberra Australia 2nd August 2019 Sonya Heaney Grey Pink

Lunchtime at my aunt’s house in Queanbeyan the same day I visited the cemetery.

Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Blue Winter Sky Sunny Warm Afternoon Sonya Heaney 30th July 2019

My amazing writing view in sunny Canberra this week.

New Cover for Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) (2020) (The sixth book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas US Cover 2019

Happy 201st Birthday, Emily Brontë!

Emily_Brontë_by_Patrick_Branwell_Brontë_restored Emily Brontë, as painted by her brother Patrick Branwell Brontë (died 1848), from a portrait with her sisters.

My review of Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

A scorching encounter in the Cuban heat…

Now she’s carrying her boss’ baby!

The wild vibrancy of Kitty’s new home in Havana must be infectious. Why else would the naturally cautious rum distiller have succumbed to the sudden desire to seize one night with a stranger? But if it’s shocking to learn that César is actually her powerful, elusive boss, it’s nothing compared to Kitty’s latest bombshell—she’s pregnant!

Lose yourself in this sparkling pregnancy romance!

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

This was a good little book, and has the most sensible, mature (in behaviour, not age) characters I’ve ever come across in an instalment in Harlequin’s Presents line. There was no manufactured melodrama. However, it gets a bit hard to believe in a “sexy billionaire” story set in a communist country.

Perhaps some readers will find the lack of major conflict in Consequences of a Hot Havana Night a little too tame, but it was nice to come across a Presents hero who didn’t go around treating the heroine like garbage and accusing her of random things she didn’t do. Even though he had a “bad ex” in his past, he also didn’t take those issues out on the current woman in his life.

Also, this was a heroine with an interesting career, which was a nice change!

Now…

I love Cuban culture – who doesn’t? And Havana is a colourful, exciting choice to set a Presents instalment.

However, Cuba is also one of only five communist countries left in the world (alongside North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos). And the realities of communism are ugly – very ugly. This story could never happen, because Cuban citizens are unable to live the lives depicted in the book. It doesn’t matter how pretty Havana looks in the tourist brochures.

There is a review on Goodreads by someone who is actually Cuban that succinctly illustrates why the setting is problematic.

On the other hand, I doubt the communism issues will enter the minds of most readers (my family escaped the Soviet Union; it’s a touchy subject for me). Don’t let that dissuade you from reading this book.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 8th – 14th July

I did something spectacularly stupid on Wednesday: I tripped and fell onto the glass corner of a piece of furniture – WITH MY FACE! I’ve spent the rest of the week with the right side of my jaw badly bruised, and also sliced in two places. It’s made going out in public pretty embarrassing! I’m very lucky I didn’t do something much worse – or kill myself – so a funny-looking face is definitely the best option.

Lots of work this week – and the realisation I want to change something in my first book, but it’s far too late now! I’m having a bit of trouble balancing historical accuracy with not causing offence to twenty-first century readers:

Writing colonial Australia, and talking about Indigenous characters.

I’m also wading through the seventy-gazillion websites authors are apparently supposed to be on, such as BookBub.

Some of my travel plans have changed, and it now turns out I’d have been able to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne next month, but it’s too late. (However, I definitely had an “Oh my God, I’m a published author!” moment when Harlequin emailed to ask what parties I’m attending. Apparently you get special – free – perks when you write for them!)

I’d like the opportunity to speak to certain people face-to-face about things, but it’s not going to happen this year. Instead, I’m busy stressing about pitching future books…

Oh, and here’s my review of Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice.

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice