The Week: 16th – 22nd July

What a week for the world! Everyone is insane. Huge pride for Pussy Riot, for being almost the only people at the entire World Cup willing to protest instead of pretending everything was wonderful. We need more people like them.

R.I.P. Denis Ten

My review of Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Am I the only one who thinks this might not be a good idea?

WelcomebacktoDownton!We_rethrilledtoannouncethat_DowntonAbbeyiscomingtothebigscreen_Filmproductionbeginsthissummer_The folks

Four Years

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Twenty Years

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

You’ve got to love the timing of Dictionary.com!

Quisling Dictionary.com 17th July 2018 Trymp Putin russia Treason

Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

Canberra woman Cate Shortland is set to smash records and become Marvel's first solo female director.

 

R.I.P. Denis Ten

2017 Shanghai Trophy

Horrifying news from Kazakhstan that ground-breaking figure skater Denis Ten, a world silver medallist and Olympic bronze medallist (both firsts for his country) has been murdered by two men trying to steal his car’s mirrors.

Ten was only twenty-five, and competed at the Pyeongchang Games this year.

The Week: 9th – 15th July

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th July 2018 Garden Nature Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree

Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th July 2018 Garden Nature Eucalyptus Tree Gum TreeIMG_6781

Gorgeous winter sunshine in Canberra to start the week.

The ice skating rink in Canberra’s city centre (this is from last weekend). Another session was about to start, which is why there’s nobody on the ice!

Scruffy, our biggest local magpie, hanging out by the kitchen window on Wednesday afternoon. (He has two legs – magpies just like to rest one every so often!)

This hasn’t been much of a week as far as this blog goes. Usually I have some sort of post every day, so it feels weird to have posted so little.

In truth, I’ve had enough of the world this week. Please remember the evils of Putin’s Russia while you’re watching the soccer over the weekend. Slava Ukrayini!!

Currently Reading

The Heiress He's Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O'Riley

 

It’s okay to not win!

Winter Olympic Gold Silver Bronze Medals Pyeongchang Korea 2018

Partially because of the recent Winter Olympics, and partially because I’m just interested in it, I’ve recently read quite a few books about Olympic athletes. Some have been young adult books, some new adult, and some very adult. They’ve been about figure skating, snowboarding, swimming…

One thing they all have in common: every character who wants one ends up winning an Olympic gold medal.

Now, readers might see this as the only acceptable end to a book about an aspiring Olympian, but I beg to differ. In fact, I find the gold at the end of many of these books eyeroll-inducing.

I know most authors have no experience with an elite discipline, be it sport of dance or whatever. Nobody – not even the most talented person in history – goes into something ever expecting to make it anywhere near the top. Hoping, yes. Expecting, no.

To be an Olympic champion, all the stars – and then some – have to align. An athlete maybe won’t peak at the right time. They might get injured. Something well beyond their control might mean they miss out.

Many of the world’s best athletes – people who have been world champion multiple times – never win Olympic gold. Many don’t win an Olympic medal of any colour. Some never even make it to the Olympics. I would rather read about a hero or heroine who overcomes struggles in the book and finishes happy with Olympic silver or bronze than to read these impossible fairy tales coming true.

This is especially the case in a romance, when reading about a heroine ending up with gold, multi-million dollar endorsements, AND the perfect guy often reads more like a sixth-grader’s fan fiction fantasy than a book set in the real world.

Here are some real-life stories:

1. US gymnast Shawn Johnson arrived at the 2008 Olympics as the reigning world champion in the all-around, floor, and team events, and was the favourite to bring home a bagful of gold medals. The pressure on her was enormous.

However: she won silver in every event she was expected to take gold in. At only sixteen the media wrote story after story about how she’d failed her big test.

She pulled herself back together, and then – in the very last event on the very last day – surprised everyone by becoming an unlikely champion on the balance beam.

2. Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko came into the 1998 Olympics as the world champion from three of the previous four years.

However: Secretly sick, injured, and unable to take painkillers because of drug testing, he ended up in second.

3. US figure skater Michelle Kwan won eight world medals – five gold – and is considered one of the best skaters in history.

However: she managed silver in her first Olympics, bronze in her second, and then got injured at the third and didn’t make it onto the ice.

4. Ukrainian gymnast Oksana Omelianchik, competing for the USSR, is considered one of the best in history, and her floor routine is still famous. She is a three-time world champion.

However: she went through a growth spurt, lost some of her technique, and by the time the Olympics came round she was only a reserve and was left off the team.

^^^^^^^^^

For me, these are better stories.

These are amazing athletes with amazing achievements, but their stories are much more interesting and believable. I don’t want to read a book in any genre where everyone is perfect and gets everything. And it seems that authors are frightened to write a book about sport where everything doesn’t turn out perfectly in the end.

I wish they would take a chance.

The Week: 19th – 25th March

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Moody sky at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.

First autumn leaves in Canberra.

Our crazy resident brushtail possum and her baby curled up in the tree outside my room on Tuesday afternoon.

kaetlyn-osmond Canada_s Kaetlyn Osmond. 2018 World Figure Skating Champion.

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Huge congratulations to Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, who just became the 2018 World Figure Skating Champion. I am SO disappointed this wasn’t the result at the Olympics a few weeks ago. Osmond is a complete skater, not a jumping machine with zero artistic merit.

This week the world’s last male white rhinoceros died. The species is about to become extinct. And the United States is run by a family who goes to Africa to trophy-hunt endangered animals…

One week until Easter, and March is basically over. What happened?! I am going away over the long weekend.

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

My review of First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) by Mary Balogh

First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) by Mary Balogh

My review of Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

My review of Running Blind (Men of Steele #4) by Gwen Hernandez

Running Blind (Men of Steele #4) by Gwen Hernandez

Make a date with Harlequin: Prince

Harlequin Publishing Logo

The Week: 19th – 25th February

^^^^

I have no idea why it keeps starting partway through!

Plenty of Winter Olympics-watching happened this week. The best moment was Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir winning ice dance gold.

R.I.P. to Emma Chambers

Kyiv Ukraine Euromaidan Memorials Sonya Heaney May 2016

This week marked four years since the pro-Russian snipers opened fire on the public in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The war rages on, even though I haven’t seen it in the Australian, European, or American news for a long time.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko won the men's aerials freestyle skiing gold medal to break Belarus' dominance in the event at the Winter Olympics..

Ukraine did win a gold medal in Pyeongchang, however!

My review of Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Lisa Kleypas News

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Out Soon

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Reread: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Bombing of London Library

On 23rd February 1944 The London Library came within a few feet of being totally destroyed. Bombed Second World War Two0241_-_The_Art_Room_19440238_-_

Yay, Canada!

Olympic Ice Dance Champions 2018 Tessa Virtue Scott Moir Pyeongchang Korea Canada

Sorry to everyone who comes here for the book reviews! I promise I’m back to regular stuff tomorrow.

However, how can I not have a little celebration for Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for their incredible (third!) Olympic gold medal win only minutes ago?

Olympic Ice Dance Champions 2018 Tessa Virtue Scott Moir Pyeongchang Korea Canada.

I want to shoot Australian TV executives, who this year have decided to show all the skating on a three-hour delay. However, at least I’m not going to have a breakdown watching it as it happens. I  follow the live scores, and then watch on television, content knowing the results before I see them.

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

This is a “young” new adult book about a Russian/American girl hoping for figure skating gold at the 2014 Olympics. By “young”, I mean it’s a sweet story (no sex, for example), and the heroine is believably sheltered because of the intense training she has been doing most of her life.

It seems this is the daughter of characters from the author’s earlier series, but that doesn’t matter – I haven’t read those other books yet, and you won’t need to either.

The best thing about Jennifer Comeaux’s writing is that she is a figure skating expert. The author knows *everything* about the sport, and it makes such a difference. I’ve read some other Winter Olympic-themed books recently, and it was great to see how much better Comeaux is at getting the sport right.

The love interest in Gold Rush is a little too perfect to be believable, and the ending is a little predictable, but this would make a great read for young adult fans who are inspired by the current Winter Games.

The Week: 12th – 18th February

IMG_5664 Canberra Australia Summer Sunset Sonya Heaney 12th February 2018 Australian Capital Territory Tuggeranong Sky Clouds Nature

IMG_5673 Canberra Australia Summer Sunset Sonya Heaney 12th February 2018 Australian Capital Territory Tuggeranong Sky Clouds Nature

Monday summer sunset in Canberra.

Another hot week, which has made watching the Winter Olympics an odd experience!

The National Multicultural Festival is on here in Canberra at the moment, and we braved the heat and the crowds yesterday afternoon to pay a visit. Should have worn something traditionally Ukrainian!

The Middle Eastern/Gulf section was very strategically organised this year, including the Palestinian part, which has Trump to thank for the slightly awkward Jerusalem billboards. Also notable: Qatar was nowhere near countries like the United Arab Emirates.

We finished it all off with drinks at a Hawaiian bar.

My review of Medal Up: A Winter Games Duology by Nicole Flockton and Fiona Marsden

 Medal Up A Winter Games Duology by Nicole Flockton and Fiona M Marsden

Recommended Olympic-Themed Read

Walk on the Wild Side (One Hot Fling #2) by Natalie Anderson

Fifty Shades is still going?

Fifty Shades of Grey Fifty Shades Freed 2018 Reviews IMDB 3.5 out of 10

Go Canada!

Tessa Virtue Scott Moir Team Event Ice Dance Figure Skating Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 12th February 2018

More Olympic Stuff

Ukrainian Aljona Savchenko and Frernch Bruno Massot of Germany won gold. Pairs Figure Skating Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Korea 2018

Second Sport Update

Jarryd Hughes

I think everybody should know…

Diaper Duty Vampire (Vampires of Amber Heights Book 1) by R E Mullins