The Week: 2nd – 8th December

It’s nearly Christmas, and I really think I need another month to get organised! The fires here have got worse and worse. The fire has burnt all the way to the sea, and there’s really hot weather on the way in the coming days.

After the strife superstar author Christine Feehan got in, first for filing to trademark common words, and then for defending her actions, she seems to have pulled the application. However, it seems everyone writing vampire fiction could do with reading this:

Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

And this Tweet pretty much sums up the situation:

KJ Charles Twitter Christine Feehan Trademark Carpathian

Virgin River Premiere!

Virgin River TV Series

My review of Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Ивано-Франковская_область_Горно-лыжный_курорт_Буковель Bukovel Carptahian Mountains Ukraine

Ukraine’s Bukovel ski resort in—you guessed it!—the Carpathian Mountains.

I’ve been too preoccupied with other things to bother posting about this, but now Christine Feehan (as in the NYT-bestselling author credited with inventing the paranormal romance genre back in the 1990s) has now confirmed it: she has personally filed applications to obtain trademarks for all the words associated with her various books series. (#Cockygate, anyone?)

The word everyone has gone mad over (for obvious reasons) is “Dark”—as in, she’s trying to ban anyone from using Dark in their book titles from now on.

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Me on a farm in my grandfather’s village in the foothills of the—you guessed it!—Carpathians. The woman is his cousin, Pani Anna, and that’s her farm.

However, I’m here to rant about the issue of her also filing to appropriate the word “Carpathian”.

The Carpathians are a mountain range in Eastern Europe, covering seven countries: Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary and Serbia. My family is from the Ukrainian Carpathians, and have a distinct culture and fiercely proud heritage. Now, if I wanted to write a series of any sort with the word Carpathian in it, Feehan can take me to court. (Feehan is estimated to be worth millions.)

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A bear I saw in the Carpathians in September this year. Because—yes—the Carpathians still exist, and they still don’t belong to Christine Feehan.

On Twitter I mentioned that the situation has shades of the American bar owner who obtained the trademark for the Fijian word Bula, forcing the Fijian Government to take him to court to try and get the rights to their own word back.

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

The Ukrainian Hutsul people of the Carpathian Mountains.

People randomly trademarking stuff is disgusting, selfish, and totally bloody unnecessary. Having some author in California claim ownership of my heritage just because she named her rapey fictional vampires after my family’s homeland makes me sick.

The Week: 20th – 26th May

My book is up for preorder, complete with new title and blurb. See it on Kobo.

A note: I am spreading the posts I already have scheduled out over the coming months, rather than posting pretty much every day as I have been for ages. One of the main reasons for this is that this blog now feeds into my Goodreads author page, and it’s starting to seem like spam!

How is it only a few days until winter – we’re still having t-shirt weather! (It’s due to change in the coming week, however.)

R.I.P. to Niki Lauda. The Formula One paddock won’t be the same. I used to sit near pit lane at every Australian Grand Prix, and he was always, always there.

Here are some pictures from last weekend. The first is Victorian architecture in Goulburn, New South Wales, where we stopped for lunch on the way home from Sydney (Goulburn features in my books). The second is the approach to the Sydney Opera House the night before:

Happy 20th Birthday to Notting Hill!

NottingHillRobertsGrant Movie Poster

Book Feature: Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Book Feature: Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

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 read the early books in Christine Feehan leopard shifter series years ago, and remember enjoying them. I’m not sure if you can skip ahead to book ten, but Feehan’s books tend to work fairly well as standalones.

Leopard's Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan

Though born into a leopard’s lair in the bayou, Joshua Tregre’s fighting skills were honed in the rainforests of Borneo. Sleek and deadly, he’s the perfect man to take over a crime syndicate back home in Louisiana’s lush swamplands. His razor sharp instincts give him an edge in the violent underworld he knows so well, but even the watchful leopard inside him isn’t prepared for the threat that comes from the girl next door…

She is a woman who can create beauty out of thin air—and out of the ruins of her own life. The games that dangerous men play have taken their toll on her, but she is bent, not broken. And it’s her fierce spirit that’s like a lure to Joshua, a temptation he can’t resist—even if it means bringing his true nature into the light…

 

The Week: 11th – 17th March

Happy St Patrick’s Day! (And happy birthday to my uncle, whose middle name is – you guessed it – Patrick!).

What a terrible week for New Zealand. I don’t think there’s anything that can be said about it that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over. Since I first visited Christchurch nearly a decade ago they have had a really rough time with earthquakes, and now a terror attack.

Canberra Day and Canberra Kangaroos

kangaroo-dog-and-man-810x520 ‘Only in Canberra’ Bizarre stand-off between kangaroo and dog caught on video

New Cover for Mary Balogh

My review of St. Patrick’s Journey by Calee M. Lee

Browser the Library Cat

Out Now: Toxic Game by Christine Feehan

Remember “Romantica”?

Out Now: Toxic Game by Christine Feehan

It has been ages since I read anything by Christine Feehan, but I’ve read the earlier books in the GhostWalkers series, and the blurb of this new one really interests me.

I think these books generally work okay as standalones, and I’m planning on reading it without going back to catch up with the others.

toxic game (ghostwalkers #15) by christine feehan

Toxic Game (GhostWalkers #15) by Christine Feehan

On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

The Week: 11th – 17th September

Spring Blossoms Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th September 2017

Monday Afternoon

Home after a month! We arrived in Sydney on Sunday night (with the Brazilian football team!), and had to stay overnight because we got in so late. The five-star hotel was lost on me because I lay there wide awake for a few hours and then gave up. Stupid jetlag.

As soon as I stepped off the plane in Canberra on Monday all I could smell was blossoms. It was such a change after Barcelona.

I think I’m catching up pretty fast with books and reviews and all of that, but I’m having a bit of trouble finding space for my shopping…

It’s not all rainbows and roses, however. I have come home to a country that has gone all Donald Trump. They have just RUINED our beautiful Parliament House (as in *the nation’s* parliament – this is the capital city) with a metres-high fence around it that is so ugly it makes me want to cry (thank you, terrorists).

And we’re in the midst of a national marriage equality debate that has resulted in some appalling acts by some people. The “gay marriage survey” everyone over eighteen is being mailed arrived here first – maybe because we’re in the capital city. I have done mine and posted it, but that doesn’t stop me being subjected to disgusting, homophobic TV ads for a couple more months.

Ugh. Australia used to pride itself on being progressive! Second country in the world to give women the vote. I am SO happy to live in Canberra, a progressive bubble in a backwards nation!

Rereading Now

To the Brink by Cindy Gerard

My review of Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

My review of Courting Danger with Mr Dyer by Georgie Lee

Courting Danger with Mr Dyer by Georgie Lee

 My review of A Rake’s Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden

A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden

Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and died in 1976.

Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan continues her new series, as the Ferraros—a Chicago crime family—use their power as shadow riders to protect their empire and the ones they love…

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood – but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own…

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her – a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She’s someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco’s embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them…

Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

I hardly read any paranormal books anymore, but Christine Feehan is pretty much the queen of the genre. This is a second book in a series with a totally new “world” (no vampires, werewolves etc.) but I think it isn’t a series you can dive into at any place.

This is trademark Feehan – a little more updated than the earlier series that made her famous – with all the powerful male characters and engaging plotlines.

However, I had no idea what was going on!!

It’s a pity I read this out of order, as I could really get into this world. I assume it was explained well in book one, but book two is the review book I received. I wish we’d been given a little more information about who and what these people are. I didn’t need it all, but I did need *some*!

With MANY male characters (and a woman) who all look to be having books of their own in the future, it seems this is a series that will go for some time.

I did struggle with all the violence (and some of the super-long scenes). As I read so little in the paranormal genre now, I’m not sure if the violence is getting worse, or if I’m just not used to it anymore. Maybe my tolerance for unnecessary scenes that exploit horrible things is waning.

Did I really need to read about entire families being cut and killed with swords? Women being raped? Children being stomped on to have their bones broken?

I think the fact it was gratuitous is what got to me. In the real world terrible things *do* happen, but in a made-up world it is the author’s choice to include these things.

I also didn’t need the scene with the token “slutty waitress” trying to come onto the hero. WHY is this scene in so many books?

I know I’ve mainly stuck to the negatives, but I had *issues* even though I was enjoying it!

On the plus side… There are plenty of pluses.

Feehan’s writing is the same – and also not. The basics are familiar, such as her larger-than-life men, but there is a new humanity in her work. These felt more like real people than her previous characters. Just little touches: a hand gesture, a dish cooked.

I also like the way she writes power. You got a real sense these people were important.

Basically: read the first book first!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 5th – 11th September

Spring Blossoms Canberra Australia Garden Flowers Blue Sky Sun Sonya Heaney 5th September 2016 IMG_0283

Spring!

The start of the week in Canberra was so bright and sunny. Perfect for walking, as we have so much bushland and nature threaded throughout the entire city.

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Canberra’s Saturday Sunset

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One of our friendly neighbours hanging out at the back door on Friday.

The only problem with an Australian spring is that we have magpie swooping season (if you look at the map on the link, I live in the middle of the worst part!). Around here, I know the magpies well enough that they come knocking at the door with their beaks (there aren’t many things funnier than hearing a knock, going to answer the front door, and there’s a bird standing there!), but I’m a little wary of walking on paths I’m not too familiar with!

The first Christmas present (I kid you not!) was purchased this week. A bit scary!!

Victoria – great costumes, terrible history?

victoria_promo_003-600x900miniseries

My review of The Earl’s Return (Marriage Mart Mayhem #7) by Callie Hutton

The Earl's Return (Marriage Mart Mayhem #7) by Callie Hutton

My review of The Governess Was Wicked (Governess #1) by Julia Kelly

The Governess Was Wicked (Governess #1) by Julia Kelly

What I’ve been reading…

Safe Harbor (Drake Sisters #5) by Christine FeehanDangerous Tide (Drake Sisters #4) by Christine FeehanTurbulent Sea (Drake Sisters #6) by Christine Feehan American Cover

Apprentice In Death

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by J.D. Robb

What I’ve been reading…

Safe Harbor (Drake Sisters #5) by Christine FeehanDangerous Tide (Drake Sisters #4) by Christine FeehanTurbulent Sea (Drake Sisters #6) by Christine Feehan American Cover

I have fallen back a long way with my review books this year, after a few months overseas, and then a weird compulsion to reread old books instead of picking up new things.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been rereading Christine Feehan’s Drake Sisters series (published between 2005 and 2009). For those who don’t know it, it’s set in a coastal town in California and is about seven sisters with magical abilities (and the Feehan-style über-Alpha men they end up with).

I don’t know if I’m going to review them all here, but sometimes there’s comfort in reading books you’re already familiar with, even if there are faults.

It seems that almost every time I do rereads it is of books from the 2004-2010 era (there are exceptions). I’m not sure why that is. Have books changed so much in recent times?