What I did today.

I had a “startling” revelation a few weeks ago: I live in walking distance of one of Canberra’s biggest public libraries! Now, this is definitely a revelation I should have had years ago, but I hadn’t actually used a library since I was at university, and so here I was, happily walking to and from the nearest shopping centre every week, and forgetting I could have access to seventy-gazillion books and magazines and newspapers.

So, last Monday I finally went in and got myself a new card ($3 for library access definitely seems fair), and today I walked back (blue sky, sunshine, and temperatures in the mid-teens – not bad for mid-winter!) and took a look at everything I’ve been missing out on all this time.

My timing could have been better. It’s the first day of semester two in Canberra, which means there were teenagers everywhere (it also functions as a college library). However, I was in Heaven all the same!

Now I’ve figured out that the fancy new laser-scanner devices you have to use to check your books out are actually ten times easier to use than an ATM, I’ll go back and pick up another stack of books.

For now, here’s my stash:

Books Library Julia Quinn Miranda Neville Josephine Moon Jennifer McQuiston Lisa Kleypas Stephanie Laurens Sonya Heaney 22nd July 2019

The Week: 30th April – 6th May

Blue Sky Autumn Sunshine Canberra Australia 24 Degrees Sonya Heaney Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree 1st May 2018 Garden Nature

Still looking beautiful in Canberra, even though it’s the last month of autumn!

My review of A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #2) by Madeline Hunter

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

My review of Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

Baby on Her Doorstep by Rhonda Gibson

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Care (Westcott Family #4) by Mary Balogh

Tribeca Film Festival Gives Russian Propaganda Film Major Award

Make Tribeca Film Festival Deprive Anti-Ukrainian Movie Of The Award Phone Duty Russian Propaganda Movie

Fund in Honour of Miranda Neville

Miranda Neville Frances Mallary Historical Romance

Release Day for How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

How I Resist Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

Fund in honour of Miranda Neville

You may remember that well-respected historical romance author Miranda Neville died in October last year.

Now a fund has been set up in her (real) name: the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund. You can donate through the link above; I’ve posted the full information about the fund at the bottom of this post.

 

Miranda Neville Frances Mallary Historical Romance

On October 26th, 2017, Frances “Fanny” Mallary, also known as Regency romance novelist Miranda Neville, lost her two year battle with colon cancer. Her death left a hole in many communities, from the tiny village where she grew up in Southern England, to Romancelandia (where her future novels and witty tweets are sorely missed), to her champion trivia team, to her adopted hometown of Newbury, Vermont. 

Fanny was easy to love—in no small part because of her charm, wit, and her breadth of knowledge that seemed to touch on almost every subject—and we all miss her every day. That’s why we’re asking you to help us create a lasting tribute to her at the Tenney Memorial Library in Newbury, where she was a board member.

Anyone who knew Fanny knows that she loved books. Not just romance novels like the ones she wrote, but all books—children’s books, young-adult books, mysteries, gigantic non-fiction tomes, 19th century historic novels (come on, did anyone love Jane Austen more than Fanny?), and everything in between. Which is why we felt there should be a way to keep her name, and her spirit, and her passion for great books, alive in her Newbury community.

We’re establishing the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund, which will allow the Tenney librarian to purchase books, audio books, or e-books in Frances’ name with a particular focus on the genres she loved most like history, historical fiction, and romance.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 by what would have been her sixty-third birthday, August 26, 2018. Reaching this figure would allow the Frances Mallary Memorial Fund to become an endowment—a self-financing vehicle that will continue to buy books in her name for as long as the endowment survives.

So please, think about how much you loved Fanny, how much Fanny loved books, and how much a fund in her name would have meant to her. We’d love for you to contribute as much as you can by making a tax-deductible donation here, or by mailing your donation, designated for the Mallary Fund, directly to the library: Tenney Memorial Library PO Box 85, Newbury, Vermont 05051

We all loved Fanny, and we all miss her. The Frances Mallary Memorial Fund is just a small way of paying some of that love back.

The Week: 23rd – 29th October

Misty the Cat Sonya Heaney Spring Flowers 26th October 2017

This week has been stressful and upsetting as I spent it trying – and succeeding – to keep the neighbour’s cat alive after she had a stroke while visiting us on Sunday night.

What we didn’t initially know was that the neighbour was in Queensland for the better part of a fortnight (the son of another neighbour was being paid to feed her). We went to his door with her just after 2am, and then tried again at 6:30am.

When we found out where he was I spent Sunday night to Friday morning with her, sleeping on the couch while she slept on the rug (because she kept falling off everything), giving her water through a dropper thingy, trying to get her to move again…

She improved a lot, but now – and she is back visiting for hours a day instead of living here full-time – she has lost her purr. She used to purr more loudly than any cat I’ve ever met before, and now she is eerily silent. She also sleeps a lot more.

The picture above was from Thursday, when we got her outside for a few minutes.

She is already so old she has gone blind and deaf, and I was given permission to have her put down, but there’s no way I could have done that unless she was really suffering. There I was, on the floor with her, crying buckets on Sunday and Monday…!!

She spends so much time here I sort of feel she is as much my cat these days (as I type this she is back here, napping next to me).

Also: another possum has moved into the tree just over a metre from my bedroom window. Hearing Exorcist screams all night (possums are cute, but terrifying!) is not much fun…

Enlighten Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th March 2017 National Library of Australia Canberra Women's History Reflection Night

This week Lonely Planet named Canberra the third best place in the world to visit in 2018. I agree – I love this city. However, the nasty newspapers in other cities here will be churning out editorials insulting us (it’s a favourite Australian pastime to insult the national capital). Australians are weird like that. It’s like each state and territory is a different country instead of being part of the same one.

IMG_20170829_175529_165

They also named Seville #1 – and I also agree. It is my favourite city in the entire world, and I’ve spent anything from a week to a month there at a time on many visits over the years, including a ten-day visit only a couple of months ago. I hope it doesn’t now get totally ruined by touts and illegal traders and tour groups like Barcelona etc.

R.I.P. Miranda Neville

Frances Mallary

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Out Next Week

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

Amazon’s Forums Now Closed

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Buffy for Halloween

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Colouring Book Cover

Tiny Bookcase

Paper Art - Miniature Library with tiny books - Diorama

The Week: 5th – 11th June

Canberra Australia Winter Evening Lake Burley Griffin Sonya Heaney 11th June 2017 National Carillon Reflection Nature SunsetIMG_2045

Sunday afternoon on the lake in Canberra. That’s Defence on the other side of the water, with the American Eagle statue.

Enjoying the winter sunshine on Tuesday morning.

The neighbour’s cat has basically moved in now. So much for her being timid!

The trip from Queanbeyan to Canberra on Friday anfternoon.

I read a couple of good books this week (not reviewed here yet). One was a contemporary story about the daughter of an overly ambitious US Republican family, and the other was set in 1825 London – but not about aristocrats. However, I’m really struggling to take books about American politics seriously now, considering what is going on at the moment.

Terrible week in the aftermath of the London Bridge attacks. I honestly don’t understand how a man can just walk up to some innocent young woman (or older man – you know what I mean) and murder her like that. Donald Trump’s childish, ignorant responses only added to the disgust we outside the US feel for him.

The anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba

My review of A Tailor-Made Husband (Texas Grooms/Turnabout Book #9 (Love Inspired Historical) by Winnie Griggs

My review of The Second Seduction of a Lady (The Wild Quartet 0.5) by Miranda Neville

Another Behind the Scenes Cover Video

Oh, the subtlety!

 

 

 

The Second Seduction of a Lady (The Wild Quartet 0.5) by Miranda Neville

Eleanor Hardwick and Max Quinton shared one night of incredible passion…that was shattered the next day, when Eleanor learned of a bet placed by Max’s friends. Now, five years later, Max still can’t get Eleanor out of his head or his heart. He has a single chance to make a second impression—one that will last forever.

The Second Seduction of a Lady (The Wild Quartet 0.5) by Miranda Neville

 Oh, I loved this novella, and for these reasons: #1 reunion story, #2 skilled author, #3 maturity in both characterisation and characters’ actions, #4 the author knows England, and it shows.

The Second Seduction of a Lady has been sitting on my to-read list for years, but I rarely have the time to read for fun when I’m so overwhelmed with review books.

Set in the late Georgian era (a generation before the Regency), this is apparently an introduction to a series, but it reads as a complete story in its own right, and you’d never know it was anything else.

There is something… I can’t explain why some historical romance authors are different; I wish I could. These smart, damaged, historically accurate characters are the reason I read this genre nonstop, even though these features are becoming harder and harder to find.

Some reviews have complained about the heroine’s anger, but I am GLAD the author went that way, and – honestly – it was hardly anything. Female leads are NEVER allowed their deserved anger, whereas we always seem to let male leads get away with almost anything they say or do.

Imagine even now, when virginity is not (at least where I live) the prized possession it was 2.5 centuries ago. Imagine finding out the man you thought you’d marry had seduced you on a bet. That everyone knew what was going on.

Yes, the hero took one look at her and decided he really wanted to marry her. However, he still betrayed her. She earned that anger.

I also really liked that the very young secondary female character wasn’t turned into a cliché. She was young, naïve, desperate to be in love no matter what, and screwed up pretty badly (as did her young lover). But they were good people nevertheless.

What I REALLY disliked were the multiple comments that the heroine – at thirty – was somehow on her way out, with a falling apart body. References to her droopy boobs and her flabby stomach, for example.

She must have some pretty terrible genes, because I don’t know anyone who’s sagging and on her way out at thirty!

Anyway – and apart from that – I loved this story.

Despite being a novella, it reads as a complete book. And I am glad I was bored on the weekend and decided to mine by 600-book to-be-read list for something I’d skipped over in the past.

**(At $5 in Australia for a novella, I never want to see overseas readers complaining about book pricing ever again!)**

The Week: 22nd – 28th May

Saturday afternoon at the lake in Canberra.

Midday in Autumn Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 22nd May 2017 Sunny Day Blue Sky Garden Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Nature IMG_1767

Midday in Autumn Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 22nd May 2017 Sunny Day Blue Sky Garden Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Nature IMG_1770

Monday in Canberra

Here is our neighbour’s eighteen-year-old cat, who is TOTALLY blind, almost totally deaf, and yet still climbs all the way up (a fence, and then two flights of stairs) to our back deck on a daily basis, just in case I have some chicken for her.

The Monte Carlo (Monaco) Formula One Grand Prix – the most prestigious event in the whole world of motorsport – is on this weekend. It’s the ten-year anniversary since I first attended that race. I remember it was supposed to be raining all day, but instead it was sunny and hot, and I got a terrible sunburn to match the red dress I had on!

Above is a (rather blurry) picture I took of one of the TV cameras. I’m better with heights more than anyone I know, but I’m pretty sure that would terrify me!

If you watch the race, imagine where your footage is coming from – it’s THAT!

What a bad week for the world. The terror attack in Manchester. Nicky Hayden died, and then Roger Moore died… Russia’s war in Ukraine has escalated again this week – worse than it’s been for six months. And because Trump is such a Putin supporter, Russia is now emboldened to kill so many more… The mass murder of Christians in Egypt. The Islamic extremists in the Philippines. Gorgeous Sri Lanka’s most recent natural disaster (because my family was based in India, I used to travel through there about four times a year). 😦 😦 😦 😦

Also this week: “artist” Jeff Koons has blatantly stolen a Ukrainian artwork, and now his plagiarised sculpture is on display in Rockefeller Center in New York:

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

And: Bonus content from Madeline Hunter

Books for the Weekend

Cover Love

scandal-in-spring-wallflower-book-4-by-lisa-kleypas

Books with McDonald’s!