The Week: 3rd – 9th December

Bright blue summer skies in Canberra.

How is it the ninth of December already?! It’s been a crazy-hot weekend in Canberra; inland it’s a good ten degrees warmer than in the cities on the coast.

I went to the sale at the National Library yesterday. If I have time I’ll write a post about it!

Twentieth Anniversary of Shakespeare in Love

Bad Sex Writing Awards 2018

Recommended Christmas Read

Out Now: The Story of Us by Lana Kortchik

Book Adaptation for Christmas

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Recommended Christmas Read

I didn’t discover the existence of this novella until after Christmas last year. So I am now recommending it as a Christmas read for this year!

Joanna Shupe’s books set in New York’s late-19th century Gilded Age are special because it’s such an underused theme in historical romance.

My review is here.

Miracle on Ladies' Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

After losing his beloved wife, department store owner Alexander Armstrong seems incapable of anything other than work, despite his ache to be a better father to his daughter.

When he encounters Grace, a charming shop girl designing the store’s holiday window displays, he struggles to accept that perhaps miracles do happen in the most unlikely of places…

The Week: 23rd – 29th April

 

Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin on Saturday afternoon. Blindingly bright sunshine and black swans. What a beautiful weekend.

Autumn Colours Autumn Light Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Anzac Day 25th April 2018 Garden Nature

FINALLY, some autumn colours! It’s been too hot!

What a week. Here, it was beautiful, and we had a public holiday on Wednesday, which we spent outside at an old pub, watching military guys – fresh from the national Anzac Day parade at the Australian War Memorial – getting increasingly… festive…

I am gradually catching up with my reading, but I’ll have more commitments in the coming months, and then will be away in Britain and Ireland for a month and a half, and I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

Then we had the good, the awful, and the downright weird in the world this week. An unusually-named royal baby on Monday. An outspoken misogynist going on a killing rampage in Toronto. Macron’s utterly bizarre visit to the White House.

Roland Scahill Korea Tweet

Before people start celebrating what’s going on in Korea, they should consider the words of people like Garry Kasparov.

I’ve been sick most of the week, so missed a farewell lunch with Ukrainian embassy staff who are finally going home after a decade, but was given a book as a farewell gift (because – duh – it’s me!). On the topic of Ukraine, there are still some 4.4 million Ukrainians in desperate need because of the ongoing war with Russia. I simply do not understand why it never makes the news when Syria, Yemen, Palestine etc. do on an almost daily basis. It is because people don’t want to admit there’s a war in Europe?

Apologies to authors waiting on reviews. They’re on their way! Sort of…

Anzac Day

Military_cross_and_othersMilitary cross and bar, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, 1939-45 War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45 (L-R) - Australian War Mem

My review of Marry in Scandal (Convenient Marriage series #2) by Anne Gracie

Marry in Scandal (Convenient Marriage series #2) by Anne Gracie

Release Day for Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Release Day for Joanna Shupe

A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred Series #2) by Joanna Shupe

World Book Day

wbd2002_cmyk World Book Day United Nations

Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush

Release Day for Joanna Shupe

A Scandalous Deal, the second book in Joanna Shupe’s The Four Hundred series, is out now.

You can read about the first book HERE and HERE.

Read more below. An excerpt is HERE.

A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred Series #2) by Joanna Shupe

They call her Lady Unlucky…

With three dead fiancées, Lady Eva Hyde has positively no luck when it comes to love. She sets sail for New York City, determined that nothing will deter her dream of becoming an architect, certainly not an unexpected passionate shipboard encounter with a mysterious stranger. But Eva’s misfortune strikes once more when she discovers the stranger who swept her off her feet is none other than her new employer.

Or is it Lady Irresistible?

Phillip Mansfield reluctantly agrees to let the fiery Lady Eva oversee his luxury hotel project while vowing to keep their relationship strictly professional. Yet Eva is more capable—and more alluring—than Phillip first thought, and he cannot keep from drawing up a plan of his own to seduce her.

When a series of onsite “accidents” makes it clear someone wants Lady Unlucky to earn her nickname, Phillip discovers he’s willing to do anything to protect her—even if it requires A SCANDALOUS DEAL.

The Week: 15th – 21st January

Saturday sunset in Canberra. One of many 39-degree days we’ve just had or have forecast for the next week. The garden is dead!

Blue sky and heat on the anniversary of the 2003 Canberra firestorm.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo watches me water the garden at sunset. Look at the orange summer light…

This has NOT been a productive week, but is has been very hot! We have a serious heatwave around here at the moment – forty-ish degrees every day.

After days of high temperatures, I didn’t really need to see this on Saturday night: Canberra will be the hottest city in Australia on Sunday and Monday.

There are a few authors I was supposed to be in contact with, and I am sorry for not doing that.

I became sick at the end of last week, with something that reappears every so often. From there I became sick in general. For a few days this week I was literally only eating a third of a piece of fruit a day, and struggling to keep that down. As you can imagine, it didn’t exactly leave me with the energy to get out of bed! In the end, all I could do was drink sugary drinks to try and get some energy out of them.

I am sure people have heard of the enormous paedophilia story going on in US gymnastics at the moment. It’s a long read, but this is an important article about it:

The U.S. Gymnastics System Wanted More Medals, And Created A Culture Of Abuse To Get Them

Also, this horrifying development – silencing victims by threatening lawsuits:

USA Gymnastics won’t seek fine if McKayla Maroney discusses abuse

And:

Hear Larry Nassar’s victims in their own (powerful and brave) words

This week marked fifteen years since the horror of Canberra’s 2003 firestorm. It was even hotter that year, and we had a severe drought, and – combined with the dangerous winds – there were never “better” conditions for a catastrophic fire.

The rest of this week:

The West just does NOT get it.

MKR-russian-ad-social Hammer and Sickle Communism

My review of Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

My review of Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Miracle on Ladies' Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Cover Love

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill #1) by Julie Klassen

Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Miracle on Ladies' Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

After losing his beloved wife, department store owner Alexander Armstrong seems incapable of anything other than work, despite his ache to be a better father to his daughter.

When he encounters Grace, a charming shop girl designing the store’s holiday window displays, he struggles to accept that perhaps miracles do happen in the most unlikely of places…

Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

It’s no secret I love Joanna Shupe’s books set in Gilded Age New York. I rave about them nonstop.

Criminally, I was unaware the author had a Christmas novella out for the end of 2017 – set in New York in the Gilded Age, of course!

I finally got to this short historical romance while on holiday over the New Year period, and I thought it was such a nice little read. There are ways to do Christmas books, and then there are ways to do Christmas books.

A story about a man who has to learn to show he loves his ten-year-old daughter, while also falling in love, has the potential to be cheesy as hell. This one isn’t. The daughter is perfect for a “book child”. Definitely not annoying, and with her flaws even when she is cute. There’s a scene near the end with father and daughter, and it was one of the best parent-child scenes I’ve read in fiction, because it felt real. I felt it could have been ten-year-old me with my father. It didn’t feel fake – or overly cute.

As for the heroine? She is great. I loved quite a lot of things about her, but the bit that stands out the most is when the hero is trying to say something nice and she assumes he’s insulting her.

She is a progressive sort without being too modern for her time. She is willing to do some outlandish things, but I can’t see her (unlike many a historical romance heroine) taking foolish risks that would literally ruin her.

Shupe’s love of late-nineteenth century New York equals my love of late-Victorian London, so she not only knows her history and her cool little facts, but also brings the era to life.

Oh – and, this book is not too “Christmassy” for those who don’t like that stuff.

One thing: what is it with authors always making Frenchmen villains? It’s even a joke in many American sitcoms (Everybody Loves Raymond – you are the worst offender!), and it’s always awful.

Genuine question: in the 1800s did Americans really already call Christmas “the holidays”? As a non-American it sounds wrong to me…

Otherwise, I loved this little novella – of course!

Best of 2017

In no particular order: my favourite reads of 2017:

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten at least one book!)

Edge of Truth (The Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Lost Letter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society #1) by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess-herriard-3-by-louise-allen

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

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

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

(To be reviewed in a couple of weeks.)

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Marry in Haste (Convenient Marriage series #1) by Anne Gracie

marry-in-haste-marriage-of-convenience-by-anne-gracie

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

And – to be released in early 2018:

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: a Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Goodreads review.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews