Travel Reads

I haven’t read the first two in this new series by J.R. Ward (of Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire book fame), but have this third instalment as a review copy.

I’ve heard the series is pretty misogynistic, and I’m not sure if I’ll have any idea what’s going on(!), but this is one of the books I have to read while in Spain.

Devil’s Cut (The Bourbon Kings #3) by J.R. Ward

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale to her Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.
 
At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.
 
Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.
 
As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing is for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

The Week: 4th – 10th April

Autumn Leaves Garden Canberra Australia 6th April 2016 Sonya Heaney Nature

I was hoping to get some good autumn pictures before we head overseas and have another summer, but there’re very few changing leaves because of the hot weather… We had our hottest April day for thirty years on Wednesday (exactly twice Melbourne’s temperature, for example!). I’m never going to break in my new boots.

There’re only days to go now, and I’m not at all ready. We’ll be gone for about two months, which means there’re two months of life to sort out in advance. We are also scrambling to get all our bookings done for our next trip to Europe in February before we go on the first one!

Russian Team Replaced On Eve Of Hockey Championship, Failed Drug Tests Cited.

Russian Team Replaced On Eve Of Hockey Championship, Failed Drug Tests Cited.

It just doesn’t end, does it.

Which leads me to this.

The Netherlands did something very, VERY pro-Putin and pro-Kremlin in their referendum this week, and I am VERY angry about it. Apparently thousands of Ukrainian lives lost to terrorism sure don’t matter, whereas dozens of French and Belgian lives sure do… The world has a very established hierarchy for how much value a life from each nation has.

Hey – remember Russia shooting down MH17, and how all those Dutch people died?

I read Sylvia Day’s new book this week (which was VERY long, for some reason), as well as finishing a really good historical fiction novel about slavery in the US South during the Civil War. Both to be reviewed soon.

Release Day for J.R. Ward

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

My review of The SEAL’s Second Chance (Alpha Ops #3) by Anne Calhoun

The SEAL's Second Chance (Alpha Ops #3) by Anne Calhoun

My review of Want Ad Wedding by Cheryl St.John

Want Ad Wedding by Cheryl St.John

My review of Fortune Favours the Wicked by Theresa Romain

Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain

My review of His Forbidden Debutante (Regency Charms #4) by Anabelle Bryant

Deep space

Release Day for J.R. Ward

The Beast is out today. It is the second Black Dagger Brotherhood book featuring (my favourites) Rhage and Mary.

Initially I thought I might not read it, but early reviews are suggesting that it is a big change from recent books (such as the one where she killed the heroine!). Apparently this is going to be very much focused on Mary and Rhage, and is going to be very romantic.

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

Buy links:

The Book Depository (with free shipping).

Amazon US

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect – or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand – or control – the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him – as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities – and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from…

The Week: 21st – 27th March

Easter 2015 Sonya Heaney.

Happy Easter! This is not “our” Easter; Ukrainian Catholic (and Orthodox) Easter is on the first of May. I will be in my grandmother’s village in Ukraine on the day, so I doubt I’ll be getting a post up then!

We just booked another trip to Europe. It sounds like an insane thing to do when we’re leaving on the other trip in a month, but if we wanted our preferred flights and accommodation, we had to do it now.

Carnival_Venice

X

We will be in Venice for the duration of Carnival 2017 (in February – winter!), and then spend the better part of a week in London on the way home. I used to know every nook and cranny of central London, having lived there for years, but I haven’t visited for a while and have been desperate to go back (must be all those historical romances I’ve read!).

We went to the Tom Roberts exhibition at the National Gallery yesterday (because it’s always a good idea to wait until the last days of a months-long exhibition to visit!). It was very warm and sunny, despite being almost halfway through autumn. Here was Parliament House on the way home:

Parliament House Canberra Australia 26th March 2016 Sonya Oksana Heaney.

Coming Soon: The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14)

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

A series to look out for.

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna ShupeMagnate (The Knickerbocker Club #1) by Joanna Shupe

My review of Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club 0.5) by Joanna Shupe

My review of The Unforgettable Hero: A Playful Brides Story (Playful Brides #4.5) by Valerie Bowman

The Unforgettable Hero A Playful Brides Story (Playful Brides #4.5) by Valerie Bowman

My review of The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers #1) by Danelle Harmon

The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers #1) by Danelle Harmon New Cover

Coming Soon: The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14)

Surely one of the most anticipated books of the year, The Beast will be released in two weeks.

Will I read it? I’m not sure yet. I love Rhage and Mary, but I think maybe I’m happy as they were after the first book they featured in.

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect – or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand – or control – the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him – as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities – and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from…

 

The Week: 23rd – 29th November

christmas-lights-canberra-australia-world-record-20th-december-2014-sonya-heaney-oksana-heaney2World Record Christmas Lights Canberra Australia 21st December 2013 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaneychristmas-lights-canberra-australia-20th-december-2014-sonya-heaney-oksana-heaney-1

This week in Canberra – for years in a row – we broke a World Record for Christmas lights. It’s a bit scary, because now we feel like we have to break the record every year! The pictures above are ours from other record-breaking displays before this year.

I foresee a lot of decorating and present-wrapping in my coming week! I actually love the whole Christmas thing, but I doubt I’m going to get much else done, and then I’m away on holidays almost until Christmas.

Here is  a popular romance writing blog‘s take on guns, explaining that if people London and Madrid JUST HAD GUNS they would have survived their terrorist bombings…

As an Australian, I am beyond horrified.

Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney Sun Sky 18th November 2015

We had another hot week. This sunset is actually from last week, but here is it anyway! I haven’t played around with it in Photoshop – like so many do – but it was actually bright pink, not red. I think I need a new camera!

DSCN5138

Not even a good picture – but one I’m finding all over the internet!

On Tuesday my mother discovered that people have been using my pictures – no credit, and wrongly credited as Sydney instead of Canberra – on various (including tourism) sites. This is theft, and is especially annoying for me as I make an income from some of those pictures!

Daniela

Because White Ribbon Day (a campaign to stop violence against women) was this week, the media trotted out images of women who were murdered by their partners in 2015. As ever, the woman, Daniela, I’d known for twenty-five years, who was murdered by her boyfriend in late April, was all over the place again. Maybe because she was so gorgeous (that sounds really creepy), but whatever the reason, when they want a photo for a campaign to stop violence against women, they use her.

Magpie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 17th November 2015 Bird Garden Spring NatureUntitled

We have picked up a fourth magpie here (This isn’t it! This is the new girl magpie who thinks she’s my pet dog!). It’s a little baby one that seems to have lost its family and is hanging around the family that lives here. Poor little thing… However, watching it trying to eat without help makes you laugh. I know I shouldn’t, but I never really thought about birds not knowing how to use their beaks! Stupid little creature…

Since the weather is so good, I’ve been working outside quite often. But the silly magpies see my laptop and think it’s a great place to perch. And then they sit on it and close my laptop, and accidentally turn it off. I laugh, but they’re really inconveniencing me! The idiots!

Wild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners, #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

This was definitely not my best reading week! I’m still going through my crazy paranormal phase, but was disappointed by a favourite author’s newest book, and horrified by all the skinny shaming and misogyny in one by another author.

I’m not sure how the romance genre reached a point where it’s considered acceptable to refer to slim women as “bitches” for no reason whatsoever (while going on ad nauseam about the man’s perfect body), and using “skinny” as a gleeful insult… It’s hardly the Girl Power!, feminist thing they think they have going on!

Russian airstrikes target Turkish aid convoy in #Syria. 7 killed, 10 wounded.

This week Russia decided to punish Turkey by bombing their humanitarian aid conveys in Syria. Nice  of them…

Cindy Gerard’s Upcoming Book

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

My review of Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

 Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

My review of How to Bewitch an Earl (How To #2) by Ally Broadfield

How to Bewitch an Earl (How To #2) by Ally Broadfield

My review of Turbulent Sea (Drake Sisters #6) by Christine Feehan

Turbulent Sea (Drake Sisters #6) by Christine Feehan American Cover

My review of The Holiday Courtship (Texas Grooms) by Winnie Griggs

The Holiday Courtship (Texas Grooms) by Winnie Griggs

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world—to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers…

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him…

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

You know, after rereading Lover Revealed for the first time in years, I think I’m going to revise my statement that book two is my favourite in the series. I think this one is.

As always, I’m in the minority. There’s something about beautiful, feminine and sometimes sheltered heroines that has most readers immediately hating them. I’m the opposite.

What I like about this book is that there’s So Much to the plot. So much happens, so many dramatic and unbelievable things unfold. Whereas other books in the series make use of some utterly ridiculous deus ex machina or another to make it possible for hero and heroine to be together forever, Lover Revealed actually has a brilliant twist to it.

As for that heroine?

In the book before this one, the heroine, Bella, spends the entire book flopping around being a useless damsel in distress, and leading two brothers on. I dislike her immensely, (just like every other Bella in vampire fiction from a few years ago – they all look pretty much the same, too!).

And yet, she is the fan favourite.

While Marissa in this book does some silly things, and is incredibly naïve in many ways (she has no choice in that, coming from the sexist vampire aristocracy and being banned from doing pretty much everything), she grows so much throughout the book.

She works at the clinic and then starts her own shelter for abused women and children of her kind. She is literally thrown out of her old life with not even a place to stay during the dangerous daytime, but finds her way and grows stronger because of it.

However, she is beautiful and traditionally feminine, and apparently this is a real deal-breaker for readers!

Another reason Marissa is disliked is because the author set up an almost homosexual love plot between hero, Butch, and his closest vampire friend. We spend a great deal of time watching Vishous pining, and the story is swayed for the reader to have sympathy for him over Marissa. While I don’t necessarily dislike this subplot, I do dislike that it set readers up to hate the poor heroine!

I prefer my paranormal and fantasy reads to have a tie to the real world. I’m not a big fantasy reader, so I like that connection to the familiar. I think the Black Dagger Brotherhood has that tie for the most part, but there are some aspects (the mystical Scribe Virgin, for example) that I find a little over-the-top for me.

I also REALLY wish these vampires couldn’t dematerialise and magically travel from place to place. If it’s that easy to travel somewhere, then every single dangerous situation the characters face could be easily fixed! Plus, it’s just silly.

As I have been doing with these rereads, I’ve been skipping some of the bad guy parts. Villains called things like Mr O and Mr X are… well, there’re not my idea of cool names!

Rereading this onde reminded me why J.R. Ward got so many people addicted to her books. Even when I’m not a hundred percent in love with something, I can’t put the book down.

The Week: 9th – 15th November

Paris attacks Canberra lit up in solidarity with people of France Australia 14th november 1024 National Carillon Night

The National Carillon in Canberra. One of the multiple buildings lit up here in the colours of the French flag on Saturday night.

Well, what a week this has turned out to be. Terror in Paris, Russian doping, more arrests after the terror attack here in Australia… The last time I was in Paris there were two shootings. One was in a school in the centre of the city, and the other was actually in Notre Dame.

It is frightening what is going on at the moment.

Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney 13th November 2015 Garden Sky Clouds Nature

Friday evening in Canberra

Spring Canberra Australia 6th November 2015 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Garden Flower Nature.

We had a few moments of sunshine and heat, but I’ve never seen so much rain in Canberra in my life (well, the whole country was raining). Hilarious that Prince Charles and Camilla came, and got rained on through a full day of outdoor activities. We’re not much for the monarchy here, and a little tired of being symbolically ruled by some people 17000 kilometres away.

ROYAL TOUR AUSTRALIA

They attended our Remembrance Day ceremony on the 11th. I’m astonished every year by how many people overseas don’t realise the date is commemorated worldwide, and not just in their own country.

Father Christmas waves to the crowd in North Terrace, November 14 2015.

WHY did Adelaide have their Christmas parade yesterday?? It was utterly bizarre to turn on the television and see people singing Christmas carols, and floats with Mary and Jesus and all that.

A little premature there…

I’ve been working 12+ hours a day to try and get things up for sale in time for Christmas. I’m so sleep-deprived, and have taken more painkillers than I should have because of all the headaches! However, people are already saying their Christmas shopping is almost done, and then you factor in shipping times, and consider why people shop so early, and… ARGH!

On top of that, I’m going to be away for a week in mid-December, so I’m trying to get more books read and reviews written and history posts prepared before I go.

The Clandestine Betrothal by Alice Chetwynd Ley

I read a really good traditional Regency (written in the 1960s) this week, but there probably won’t be a review up here until after Christmas! I do have a review on Goodreads. It really drove home what it is I’m missing from many historical romances being written at the moment.

British Writer Tracks Down Teen Who Gave His Book a Bad Review, Smashes Her With Wine Bottle.

British Writer Tracks Down Teen Who Gave His Book a Bad Review, Smashes Her With Wine Bottle.

Coming Soon

His Christmas Countess by Louise Allen

Cover Love

Laid Out by Sidney Halston

My review of The Rancher’s Christmas Proposal by Sherri Shackelford

The Rancher's Christmas Proposal by Sherri Shackelford

My review of Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

My review of An Amish Noel by Patricia Davids

An Amish Noel by Patricia Davids