The Week: 26th October – 1st November

Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sunset 28th October 2015 Sonya Heaney Gowrie Sky Clouds Spring Garden Nature

Wednesday’s sunset in Canberra

Halloween Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin Orange Glitter Sparkles

Halloween… We’re trying in Australia. This is the first year younger generations won out over the older generations’ “We’re not celebrating that American holiday!” whingeing! In the Canberra region we actually did some decent Halloween celebrating on the weekend!

I was so thrilled last night. We went out to dinner at Italian & Sons for a different reason, but while dropping people off on the way home I saw plenty of Halloween parties and decorations. We’ve finally embraced it!

Even though we were out all evening, we did a few decorations:

Halloween Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 31st October 2015

Shameless self-promotion: you can buy my Halloween designs HERE.

It’s a little late for this year, however!

Magpies Tuggeranong Canberra Australia 29th October 2015v Sonya Heaney Birds Native Animals Nature

Here are our idiot magpies I accidentally tamed, and now they hang around ALL day like they’re pet dogs or something! Whenever they want a snack, they turn up, do this, and then look at me and wait for their reward:

I complain about romance authors and readers who say I don’t watch the news because I don’t like hearing bad things. Because, seriously, that’s pathetic, and I bet when something bad happens to them they want people to care!

I can’t care about everything, but two things that matter very much to me are Ukraine, and the treatment of women in India (my family was based there for some time, and while the women were begging us to raise awareness of these issues, Westerners were too busy loving Bollywood dancing to listen or care). People probably remember all the fuss made about that gang rape case a few years ago, but what most don’t realise is that that sort of thing happens EVERY DAY.

This week, some men in India dug up the body of a woman who died from complications from a miscarriage, and raped her, and then left her body naked and twenty metres from her grave. I’m so sick and bloody tired of any little thing in certain countries making international headlines, but nobody ever hears about this sort of stuff! Articles about it: #1 #2

A very good site to read more about female infanticide and dowry deaths and general misogyny in India is 50 Million Missing. The blog’s name refers to the number of women who have disappeared from India’s population. It’s a shocking statistic, and is the number one reason I’m totally against legalising sex-selection for parents.

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

I reviewed A Noble Masquerade recently, but here is another review of it that I think is spot-on. Especially important is the mention of the North American evangelical Christianity forced into Regency England. This is something Christian publishers do all the time, and it’s ridiculous. Different country, different era, and a different sort of Christian!

My review of Forever His Texas Bride (Bachelors of Battle Creek #3) by Linda Broday

Forever His Texas Bride (Bachelors of Battle Creek #3) by Linda Broday

My review of Wait for Me (The Outback Bachelor Ball #3) by Sarah Mayberry

Wait for Me (The Outback Bachelor Ball #3) by Sarah Mayberry

My review of Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Cold-Hearted Rake (2015) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of Forever and Always (Cactus Creek Cowboys #3) by Leigh Greenwood

Forever and Always (Cactus Creek Cowboys #3) by Leigh Greenwood

Cover Love

The Lodger by Louisa Treger

The Week: 7th – 13th September

Spring Blossoms Queanbeyan Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 8th September 2015

Spring Blossoms Queanbeyan near Canberra Australia 12th September 2015 Sonya Heaney Flowers Nature

Spring in my late-grandmother’s garden X

Cat Queanbeyan Australia Sonya Heaney 12th September 2015

Stray Cat Cooma Street Queanbyean Sonya Heaney 11th September 2015 (2)Stray Cat Cooma Street Queanbyean Sonya Heaney 11th September 2015

We are literally cat magnets these days. Here is yet another starving stray, who had the bad sense to move into my grandmother’s house right when contracts were being signed to sell it (the house, not the half-grown kitten!). This is possibly the most gorgeous, lovely-natured animal I have ever come across – and she is half the size she looks in the pictures!

sonya-heaney-oksana-heaney-canberra-13th-july-2013

In Canberra on Wednesday night they closed off half the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge (which connects the city with the Federal Parliament buildings) to film something involving guns and Chinese spies and a man jumping into the lake. The half of the bridge on the right of the picture is where some James Bond-type is going to be jumping from! (That is one of our pictures from 2013. You can’t really even tell it’s a bridge over water!) I guess I’ll have to watch this thing when it comes out!

Found alive Canberra family's prayers answered

Want an amazing story? On Friday a young woman missing in Canberra was found. After almost seven full days of everyone thinking of the worst possible reasons for her disappearance it turns out her car had crashed and she’d rolled down a slope, hitting all sorts of things. She’d been waiting for rescue for almost a week! It looks really remote, but here in the nation’s capital you have bushland like this even in the city centre! She must have been so frustrated.

Fifty Shades of Grey in Eighteen Minutes

Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Cover Love

My American Duchess by Eloisa James

Cover Love

Midnight Captive (2015) (The sixth book in the Killer Instincts series) A novel by Elle Kennedy

My review of A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

My review of Rescue Me by Christy Reece

Rescue Me by Christy Reece

My review of An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

An Amish Harvest (The Amish Bachelors #1) by Patricia Davids

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned. 

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

I do wonder why talented authors limit themselves to Christian publishers when their books – exactly as they are! – could be published mainstream and find a much bigger audience. My favourite thing about Christian historical romance is that even when it’s preachy (this one isn’t; there’s about one mention of a Bible, and that’s about it) you get characters who behave more appropriately for the era. I’m more than a little over anachronistic silliness and endless sex in an era when that meant endless babies!

A Noble Masquerade is an imperfect read, but it is definitely a different book to what I was expecting. There is really no way to tell this story is supposed to be religious. I requested it for review before I even read a blurb, just because I loved the cover!

Now, it’s true this story incorporates many tropes I despise. The “duke is a spy” is one of the silliest trends to ever happen in historical romance, and it is present here.

However, when it comes to other things the blurb suggests, and I was worried about: don’t worry! I HATE love triangles, but this isn’t what you’d expect from reading the book’s description.

I did have a bit of an issue with how obvious the twists and turns were, but then the author was smart and didn’t drag it out for ages, and so in the end I thought it was fine. The “secrets” were really bleeding obvious, but she seemed to acknowledge that and didn’t treat us like idiots.

I read a number of reviews before starting this book, and people were accusing the author of being anachronistic. Yes, sometimes this book is, but it’s better than most Regency romances around at the moment! The biggest issue is with the modern, non-British dialogue.

One problem I had was that the author (and it didn’t help that I read her website in advance) strongly admires Julia Quinn, and – like many authors before her – has tried to emulate her. She is a THOUSAND times better as a writer when she’s not trying to be slapstick funny (like Julia Quinn) as she is when she decides comedy is in order.

As I said, this is an imperfect read. However, it is also a satisfying read, and unless you knew in advance, you would never know it was a Christian book. If – like me – you are attracted to the gorgeous cover, you could do much worse.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Cover Love

Though this book is officially a Christian romance, I’ve read it and can say it reads just like any other Regency romance. I’m not even sure why it has to be marketed as Christian!

I requested this book for review as soon as I saw the cover, and before there was even a blurb. Pretty silly to take a chance based on the pretty cover of a review copy of an EBOOK, but I did!

A Noble Masquerade will be out in a few days.

A Noble Masquerade (Hawthorne House #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter