Romance authors, misogyny, and conservative conversations about men.

In light of recent developments in the US (which are being reported in real time across the world), I have a request.

Everyone read the Twitter thread below. Everyone, but especially men and conservative women. Read it, memorise it:

Jeremy C. Young

(Alternate link.)

And then, if you’re still having doubts, read this article, too:

The Anatomy of a Lie: Reflections on the Enduring Myth of Women Who Cry Rape

Yes, of course men are also sexually assaulted, but right now? Conservative politicians have turned this into a men versus women thing, and so that’s what I’m running with.

I’ve written – and deleted – seventy million versions of this post, and now I’ve decided to keep it shortish. I have to say something here, especially when a former favourite author of mine is currently plastering Facebook with far-right memes in support of sex abusers.

I know multiple women who have been raped, and I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been groped and/or harassed in their lifetime.

The only attacker I know of who suffered any consequences for his actions was the man who also murdered his victim – a woman I grew up with, a woman I’d known since I was eight.

Men claiming they’re the real victims these days (and the women who support that lie) disgust me.

Some points:

  • The rise of Donald Trump (and his equivalents in other countries) has, generally, inspired the romance writing (and reading) community to become stronger, more resistant to misogyny, and to create better books. E.g. Sarah MacLean.
  • However, extremist politics are polarising, and certain authors – including one of my all-time favourites – have gone the other way.
  • It has only got worse in the past few weeks, with the narrative from the far-right turning its focus to women who have been sexually assaulted. The new narrative: all women lie about assault to destroy men’s lives. It’s working. I’m sickened by how many men are jumping on that bandwagon and using it as yet another excuse to hate women.
  • This particular author I’m thinking of – a woman who in the past wrote about rape survivors in a positive way – has taken to posting Facebook memes about how girls are looking to destroy boys’ lives with false accusations.
  • It makes me sad. Yes, her politics have leaked into her books for years and years, but never before has she been so publicly open with it. I’ve lost an author I know I’ll never be able to read again.

One final point: if you support an avowed misogynist and self-confessed sex abuser, and if you’ve chosen to hate your own gender because your President told you to, then you have no business being in the romance industry, an industry that not only touts itself as feminist, but as being “by women, for women”.

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.

Best of 2016

I get the impression I’m missing out on a lot of good books in my attempts to keep up with my review books! However, I did get to read some fantastic books by some of my favourite authors this year.

Yet again, I read more historical fiction than I intended to. I wonder if this is something that will ever change!

In no particular order, here are my favourite reads of 2016:

Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne (2016) by Lisa Kleypas

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters #4) by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3) by Jayne Fresina

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles Society #3) by Jayne Fresina

Sister of Mine: A Novel by Sabra Waldfogel

Sister of Mine A Novel by Sabra Waldfogel

Kiss, Kiss, Bark! by Kim Williams Justesen

(Yes, I enjoyed this Middle Grade book enough to buy a copy after finishing my ARC!)

kiss-kiss-bark-by-kim-williams-justesen

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All #3) by Kate Noble

the-dare-and-the-doctor-winner-takes-all-3-by-kate-noble

The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen

The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen mills and Boon Cover

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble

Someone to Love (Westcott #1) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-love-westcott-1-by-mary-balogh-australian-cover

Plus, one that isn’t out until next month, but I have already read and enjoyed:

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

So – how did they go?

 I have finished all of the books I listed or discussed as my most anticipated reads of 2016. It was never a comprehensive list, as I tend to read what comes up for review rather than keep track of favourite authors’ newer releases.

Now I have read all of those I mentioned either here or separately – was I disappointed? Not really. Even though I was excited about all of the books below, some I was aware were going to be a little bit of a let-down; it was the series rather than the individual book I was excited about.

There were some great reads, however.

Now, what books are being released in the second half of the year that I have forgotten all about?!

Review: Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne (2016) by Lisa Kleypas

Review: Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Review: One with You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

One With You by Sylvia Day

Review: The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

Review: The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters #4) by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

Review: Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs International Cover

Review: The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen UK Cover

Review: The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen

The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen mills and Boon Cover

Reading for Fun

Old book bindings at the Merton College library.Old_book_bindings BOOKS

I am in the middle of taking a fortnight or so off my review books. I decided to do it after realising I was dreading reading – it had become like homework!

Some of the best books I’ve read this year have been review books – e.g. – however, recently I’ve found myself staring at the offerings one too many times and wondering why a publisher would put out ten near-identical books about cowboys and their surprise babies in one month!

So, I am reading books I have chosen based on originality, have bought, and have paid for. It is going to set me back with my ARCs even more than before (because of my two months in Europe, I could not keep up as it is!), but too bad. 🙂 🙂

At the Edge: Alpha Crew Part I by Laura Griffin

At the Edge Alpha Crew Part I by Laura Griffin

Dive into Part One of this heart-pounding romantic suspense story, which continues in Edge of Surrender: Alpha Crew Part Two!

When Emma Wright’s government plane goes down over the Philippine jungle, she’s forced to survive alone until an ultra-elite SEAL team goes in after her. As the leader of Alpha Crew, Ryan Owen is no stranger to challenges, but he’s never tackled anything quite like this sexy, smart, and resourceful woman. The mission is to get Emma home safely, but danger is everywhere, and Ryan’s unexpected desire for Emma could be a deadly distraction.

Back home in California, Ryan’s mission is over—but Emma’s has just begun. She knows her plane crash was no accident, and she’s determined to uncover the truth about what happened—even if her quest for answers puts her at risk. Torn between duty and desire, Ryan searches for a way win Emma’s heart while protecting her from an invisible enemy who wants her dead.

The thrilling conclusion to this Alpha Crew romance is just weeks away!

At the Edge: Alpha Crew Part I by Laura Griffin

I have always loved Laura Griffin’s writing, from her first novel on, and I really liked this one. However: BEWARE! This is only the first half of the story, and if you want the conclusion you’re going to have to buy the second book.

No matter what, this is a very well-written story, and it is superbly researched. Griffin constructs believable characters and situations that you can buy would happen in the real world. She’s up there with other favourites of mine like Cindy Gerard, and I really need to get back and catch up with her backlist.

One of my favourite romantic suspense books takes place in the islands of the Philippines, so it was good to find another one in the genre with the same setting. Also so great that this book is similar in that there’s a great balance of action, danger and character development.

I do think it was a bit unnecessary for these navy SEALs to be from a special branch of an already exclusive branch of the military! They didn’t need to be THAT cool! But that’s a minor issue.

In the end, when something is written this well, I can forgive little things that might complain apart from another author.

I do think it’s a pity that this author – along with so many others – has jumped onto the serialised story fad, because it’s a pain authors and publishers seem to love, and every reader I’ve ever come across hates. Apart from anything else, I read so many books, I’m not going to *remember* to go back and buy later books in a series!

However, I still very much, highly recommend this one.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week

I will be in Sydney when this post goes up, but plan to add to it when I get back!

storm-sydney-harbour-bridge-circular-quay-australia-6th-december-2014-sonya-heaney-christopher-heaney-1

UPDATE: So, back in Canberra and the heatwave that won’t seem to go away! Weirdest thing that happened in Sydney: I dislocated my right knee for (I think – as far as I can count) the eleventh time. It is a very common ballet injury, where is why it started happening to me. It’s not as bad an injury as it was the first few times, but still annoying and stupid.

The Razzies

Jamie Dornan Dakota Johnson Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Catholic school tells gay author Will Kostakis his speaking visit no longer ‘appropriate’

Young Adult Author Will Kostakis

10 Romance Covers Reenacted by Real People

gallery_nrm_1416581996-nrm_1416522476-gentle-rogue Johanna Lindsey Funny Romance Cover

My review of Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

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

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

My review of Wedding Night With the Earl (The Heirs’ Club of Scoundrels Trilogy #3) by Amelia Grey

Wedding Night With the Earl (The Heirs' Club of Scoundrels Trilogy #3) by Amelia Grey

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

BETRAYAL, RETRIBUTION, REDEMPTION?

Six years ago, tough-as-nails military contractor Bobby Taggart met the woman of his dreams in war-torn Kabul – a sexy, whip-smart war correspondent who approached him at a local bar, took him to bed, made him fall in love … and then mysteriously disappeared. In her wake, the terrorist leader he’d been mining for valuable intel was assassinated .. then Bobby discovered his phone had been bugged. And he’s pretty damn sure he’s been played for a fool.

Now, a covert security mission for the U.S. Embassy in Oman unexpectedly reunites him with Talia Levine, the woman who betrayed him and broke his heart. And there’s one more secret she hasn’t told him – one that will change his world. But as the heat of anger mixes with their still-simmering passion, dangerous forces close in, their sights set on Talia. Trust is the only way they will survive – but with their lives in the balance, can Bobby risk trusting her again?

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Cindy Gerard’s books are everything I want in romantic suspense. She writes in the real world rather than trotting out a gang of super-duper, interchangeable male stripper lookalikes as her heroes. She uses her realistic characters to tackle real world issues, rather than the more popular route authors in this subgenre take: inventing over-the-top convoluted situations.

I haven’t read all of the books in this series yet, but this one is self-contained enough for it not to matter, and Gerard doesn’t force lots of past couples on us to distract us from the story.

Taking Fire is full of angst and anger and danger and real human emotion, and it reminded me exactly why I have always considered this author one of the best at what she does. Even through the extreme situations the characters are in, there’s an element of reality to it, so it doesn’t seem ridiculous. Our characters deal with real-life terrorist groups and real-life secret agencies.

Our hero and heroine in this one have made huge sacrifices, and there have been huge – necessary – lies between them as they worked for different agencies. The conflicts in their relationship are massive, and yet it never slips into melodrama.

I don’t really know what to say without giving the plot away, but this is the author you should be reading if you want to understand what the romantic suspense/military romance genre is all about.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.