The Latest Romance Genre Insult

You know what? I’m not even bothering to read the original article that sparked a huge backlash from authors, journalists, bloggers etc. I’ve read MANY quotes, and he doesn’t deserve the traffic.

All that needs to be said is that yet another man with a big audience behind him took a big swipe in a major publication at books written for and by women.

I did, however, read a number of responses, including this one (written by a man):

All the Dumb Things You Can Say About Romance Novels, In One Convenient Place.

Here is the response to the original writer claiming that a successful marriage in fiction is to women what being James Bond is to men:

Third, let’s note that ‘courtship and female self-empowerment’ are positioned as fantasy objects roughly as attainable for the modern woman as a life of ‘violence and danger’ is for the modern man. When, in fact, relationships that unfold in emotionally and physically fulfilling ways and self-empowering development on both the personal and professional level should probably be considered baseline expectations for the modern American woman, not dream lives. (And, for that matter, they should be baseline expectations for the modern American man, but that’s another topic for another day.)

Kissing or hitting…?


I love you so much I have to hit you in the face!

I’m seeing so many book blogs and history blogs going all crazy over The Princess Bride at the moment. It is the thirtieth anniversary of the movie adaptation’s release, so I suppose that’s why.

However, I’m still troubled that I’m the only one who seems to have huge issues with William Goldman’s 44-year-old book.

You know the part in the movie version where “hero” Westley raises his hand to hit heroine Buttercup in the face, and she flinches away from it? This movie came out when I was FIVE, and even then I knew there was something very wrong about that scene.

The book is worse.

Here is the scene as it is in the book the movie is based on:


“I am no one to be trifled with,” replied the man in black. “That is all you ever need know.” And with that he yanked her upright.

“You’ve had your moment.” Again he pulled her after him, and this time she could do nothing but follow…

…“I have loved more deeply than a killer like you can possibly imagine.”

He slapped her.

“That is a penalty for lying, Highness. Where I come from, when a woman lies, she is reprimanded.”

“But I spoke the truth, I did, I–” Buttercup saw his hand rise a second time, so she stopped quickly, fell dead silent.


I’m being told all over the place how FUNNY the book is, but the way I read it, it’s not so much funny as pretty horrible. I am also not a fan of making Buttercup so stupid so that her man can spend an entire book patronising her.

However, I would have thought the abuse alone would’ve been enough to at least raise a few eyebrows.

Apparently not so much… It may famously be called a kissing book, but it is also a hitting book!

I was going to take a week or two off this blog…


That is how angry I am about the way the world has gone. But I have too many posts scheduled, and too many review books, and so I’m not going to do that.

However… The last review book I finished went on and on and on about how much more Texan men respect women than any other men. And it was eye-rolling then, but now it has taken on a whole new level of crazy.

Men who respect women don’t vote for the pussy-grabber! Respecting women isn’t about waving a gun at your daughter’s boyfriend, or buying her a “purity” ring (ugh).

How did the world go from 2012, when disrespecting women cost elections, to 2016, where misogyny WINS them?

I am struggling with romance fiction in general at the moment, seeing as it has been largely men who have been voting for the far-right fascist parties the world over, and treating women’s basic human rights as unimportant. I’m struggling with the knowledge there are THAT many men in the world who disrespect women this much.

Recently I just keep thinking: is he a ‘locker room talk’ kind of guy? Is he the type of guy who’d ‘grab me by the pussy’ if he knew he could get away with it? I know from personal experience it’s so, so common.

Remember four years ago, when Todd Akin’s entire political career was over the moment he claimed women couldn’t get pregnant from rape? A few years ago, Trump’s behaviour would have been career-ending. What has happened to us?

How much of Ukraine is going to be left at the end of a pro-Russian Trump presidency? ANY of it? I’m thinking the US has just given Putin a free pass to continue his invasions and occupations of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova… Obama did nothing to stop it, but Trump will be a million times worse. This election was about the world, not just the United States.

Under George W. Bush it was decided foreigners were so bad we all now have to get fingerprinted and photographed like criminals when we enter the country. How much worse is it going to get now, under a man who has told his country it’s fine to be openly racist, a man backed by the KKK?


As both a woman and a Ukrainian – I just CAN’T anymore. No more pretending I’m okay with what has happened to the world in the last few years. The entire world (bar Russia, and UKIP and One Nation voters) is horrified by what happened yesterday.

It has been pointed out time and again in the last few years: this is the 1930s all over again, everything falling into place in the build up to a major war. Fascism and the far-right on the rise. A dictator in Moscow committing mass murder in the east of Europe. Nazism becoming more accepted in English-speaking countries. US leaders who are increasingly indifferent to international suffering. People need to be more frightened about all of that.

I made a few comments on Facebook after the US election result came in and immediately lost friends on Goodreads. Well, you know what? I do not and never will support fascism. I do not and never will support misogyny. And I do not and never will support the likes of Putin and North Korea (unlike Trump). So please feel free to stop reading this blog if you think those things are fine.

This is a real book…

The Feminists by Parley J. Cooper

Published in 1971, The Feminists is apparently some fear-mongering futuristic nightmare sort of thing where women got rights and ruined the world.

I wish it was funny, but it just pisses me off.

“1992: To Be A Man Is A Sin, To Take A Woman Is A Crime…They rule the world, and top dog is a bitch! A small band of men and their women go underground to fight the final battle of the sexes!”

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

Walking-Disaster-Cover-2 by Jamie McGuire

I read this book and then and reviewed it on Goodreads back when it came out. However, I never reviewed it here, even though I frequently use it an example of misogyny in the romance genre.


And here are some quotes from the book’s “hero” (and one or two from the “slutty women” characters – meaning not the heroine!):

“I heard that, skank.”

She had the hair of a porn star.

I nodded. “Ladies.”
They hummed and sighed in harmony. Vultures. Half of them I’d bagged my freshman year, the other half had been on my couch well before fall break.

She leaned forward on her elbows to make better eye contact. I felt the urge to shudder with disgust.

No way was she a slut, though. Not even a reformed slut. I could spot them a mile away.

Did women deserve to be treated like sluts? No. Did sluts deserve to be treated like sluts? Yes.

However, if I took that whore home, bagged her, and released her strings-free, I was suddenly the bad guy. Nonsense.

“First of all . . . I have standards. I’ve never been with an ugly woman. Ever.”


The Week: 8th – 14th February

National Library of Australia Canberra Sonya Oksana Heaney 12th February 2016 Sky Summer Architecture Nature

At the National Library on Friday. We were there for sparkling wine on the terrace overlooking the lake, not books!

The Sydney news claimed we had thunderstorms in Canberra all day (they say that a lot, and it’s never true! This was as cloudy as it got!). And here was sunset the same day:

Friday Sunset Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 12th February 2016 Sky Clouds Nature Summer

Look at all that rain!

We dropped our passports off at the Ukrainian embassy on Friday, which means our trip to Europe is getting close. Luckily the Vice Consul of the embassy is a long-term family friend, so we might get stuff processed faster!

Another hot week. I keep forgetting we’re going to be in Italy in the northern summer, so we (hopefully) won’t be getting too much winter weather this year.

Coming up for Patricia Briggs

Release Day for Patricia Briggs

Sexist Book Titles?

The General's Daughter by Nelson DeMilleThe Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy TanThe Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

My review of A Visitor’s Guide To Jane Austen’s England by Sue Wilkes

A Visitor's Guide To Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes

My review of Ready To Rock: A Rock Star Romance by Cara Connelly

Ready To Rock A Rock Star Romance by Cara Connelly

Would you buy a book with this cover?

Spider Game (GhostWalkers #12) by Christine Feehan US Cover

Cover Love

Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Week: 1st – 7th February

Rex the Burmese Cat Sleeping in Summer

Rex’s tough week!

I’m lazy this week, (and it’s my birthday – after my mother’s, and ANOTHER lunch with Ukrainian embassy staff on Wednesday), so here are some links instead:

Let the ironic male tears fall The “make rape legal” guys cancel meetups because they don't feel safe

Let the ironic male tears fall: The “make rape legal” guys cancel meetups because they don’t feel safe

Aurélie Dupont in Don Quixote

Aurélie Dupont Is Named Director of Paris Opera Ballet

(This makes me very happy, because Natalie Portman’s husband was given the job, and he was totally wrong for it! He lasted fifteen months!)

Need some drama in my book? I’ll rape the heroine (or hero)!

Shades of Gray by Maya Banks

Book Adaptation: Bitten 1×01 to 1×04

Bitten - Season 1

My review of Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

My review of Bound to Darkness (Midnight Breed #13) by Lara Adrian

Bound to Darkness (Midnight Breed #13) by Lara Adrian

My review of The Best Laid Wedding Plans (Magnolia Brides #1) by Lynnette Austin

The Best Laid Wedding Plans (Magnolia Brides #1) by Lynnette Austin 


My #1 book wish for 2016

Walking-Disaster-Cover-2 by Jamie McGuireWild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners, #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

Stupid Girl by Cindy MilesWicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

In 2016 I don’t want to read any more romances with things like this in them:

The busty blond wearing a too-tight tank top squeals as she approaches my table.

Most of these women have no shame and will flop their tit out on a dime.

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

Or this:

The question came from the skinny waitress who’d just stopped beside his table, blocking his view of Skye. The woman’s perfume was so heavy it almost made his eyes water, the hungry way she was looking at him was so blatant he was surprised she didn’t lick her lips. ‘Because I’m willing to offer you something a heck of lot better than anything you’ll find on that menu.’

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

Or this:

She instantly scowled. “Your loss,” she muttered, before cattily adding, “Especially if you’re saving it for Skye. That girl wouldn’t know how to please a man even if she had a sex manual for fat chicks.”

unlike the scrawny bitch who had been so rude about her

Wild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

Or this:

‘That’s Pop’s type- dive bar skank.’

The lady’s hair screams, “just been fucked,” and she hops from one foot to the other, tugging on a stripper-girl shoe…

…My skin crawls.

Only for Him (Only #1) by Cristin Harber

Or this:

It was always so noticeable when girls flirted, and it always looked and sounded stupid and immature.

“Ladies,” he said. They all walked away, giggling and whispering.

“It was quite apparent I was having a good time, hanging all over Kelsy and acting like…” I shrugged. “Like so many other girls do at parties. Like a complete fool.”

“I know I’m atypical, Brax. Most girls my age are having casual sex like there’s no tomorrow.”

Stupid Girl by Cindy Miles

Or this:

The WAGs – a selection of vacuous anorexic Wives and Girlfriends.

Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards (a book I otherwise liked)

Or this:

I nodded. “Ladies.”

They hummed and sighed in harmony. Vultures. Half of them I’d bagged my freshman year, the other half had been on my couch well before fall break.

She leaned forward on her elbows to make better eye contact. I felt the urge to shudder with disgust.

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

The romance genre so far: empowering for women as long as they’re not thin, blonde, or wearing makeup or a dress!

Try to kill a book reviewer? You get imprisoned.

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

I have been checking for updates on this horrific story for weeks now. I’m late with the news because I’ve been away on a trip to the beach.

However, I can happily report that Richard Brittain has been imprisoned for travelling to Scotland to smash a wine bottle over the head of a teenager who gave him a bad book review.

Occasionally the justice system works. On the other hand, a sentence of thirty months isn’t much for attempted murder (which is what it was, regardless of what a lawyer might argue).