The Week: 13th – 19th May

When this post goes up I should be in Sydney. It’s just an overnight trip to see The Australian Ballet’s closing night performance of Giselle at the Opera House. It’s my favourite ballet, and the last one I ever danced.

This week was all about edits on my upcoming book. I’ve almost reached the point of I hate this thing and never want to read it ever, ever again! Quite normal when you’ve already read it eleventy-billion times in the past six months!

R.I.P. to Bob Hawke, who was Prime Minister of Australia for a big chunk of my childhood. I was so surprised to hear he’d died, as he’d been active in the election campaign these past few weeks.

On that note: happy day-after-election day to Australia – ha ha. I have zero confidence in the result (though, by the time this goes up we might already have a result). The world has become a lot crazier over the past decade, and – as the US proved in 2016 – anything can happen.

My father has been working at a pre-polling station for the past three weeks, filling in the time before starting a new management job (he doesn’t understand the concept of “retirement”), and he now has zero faith in the average Australian’s intelligence. A lot of people go to vote and don’t even know what the election is for! Voting is compulsory in Australia, and that’s something I have very mixed feelings about.

Book Feature: Jade by Jill Marie Landis

jade by jill marie landis

My review of First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

Cover Love

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie

Eurovision

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

I’ve got to say this first: I’m really embarrassed about this cover. I’m not a “topless cover model guy” fan on a good day, but this guy is totally naked!

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

Just a weekend…

Laura Nilsson knows what she wants: a successful career as a broadcast journalist—and a little fun between the sheets now and again. What she doesn’t want is marriage or kids. When a ripped and sexy stranger intervenes to stop a couple of drunks from harassing her in a hotel bar in Dubai City, all she can think about is spending the rest of the weekend with him—in her bed. There’s just one little problem. Unmarried sex is illegal in Dubai.

… of no-strings sex …

Navy SEAL Javier “Cobra” Corbray is on his way home from a rough deployment in Afghanistan when he finds himself having dinner with “the Baghdad Babe.” What she wants from him—sex with no strings—could land them both in prison. Still, he’s more than happy to oblige her. She’s confident and sexually assertive, and he’s secure enough to lie back and let her make the first strike. But, as she’s about to find out, he’s more than her match.

… or the beginning of something more?
Yet, neither Laura nor Javier has any idea what lies ahead—or how this weekend of mind-blowing sex will impact their emotions. Will they act on their new-found feelings in time, or will they let something special slip away… perhaps forever?

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

First Strike is a novella with a cliffhanger of an ending, but it’s a really well-written one, steamier than I was expecting (but I probably should have got that from the cover!) and one that shows you the quality of Pamela Clare’s writing (in my opinion she’s one of the best authors around).

This was originally the opening of the sixth instalment in the I-Team suspense series, but it got too long and had to be cut from the book.

Set in Dubai, I’m very glad that Clare makes a thing about the restrictive laws there, because I was dubious about something steamy set in a country where even rape victims are locked up for “having premarital sex”. In fact, women’s and girls’ rights are the whole theme of the heroine’s work, and now I really need to find time away from my review book mountain to pick up Striking Distance, the book this is the prequel to.

I don’t know if the author has spent any time in the United Arab Emirates, but she seems to know her setting inside-out. It was Dubai as I recognise it, down to the different nationalities and ethnicities, to the expat scene… Except I don’t know anyone who calls the place “Dubai City”.

The UAE is not a country you want to get caught doing – well – anything in. You can buy alcohol all over the place, but if the authorities don’t like the look of you you can be put in prison for drinking it. It’s such an oddly hypocritical melting pot of people from the world over, and that’s what worked so well for me in how the author captured it.

A good read – but be prepared for steam!

The Week 22nd – 28th April

Happy Easter – again! (I know – those aren’t pysanky in the bowl, but at least the embroidery is from Ukraine!)

The way the calendar works this year, it’s all too much in one go. Four days of Easter a week ago, and then Anzac Day here in Australia on Thursday, and now four more days of old-calendar/Ukrainian Easter – and then it’s Mother’s Day here a few days after that!

Winter just refuses to arrive in Canberra. Nearly two-thirds of the way through autumn, and the temperatures are still in the mid-twenties. No rain, either – which I’d be really happy to see at the moment…

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^^^^

At the Australian War Memorial (which is here in Canberra), after the national Anzac Day service. That’s my Vietnam veteran father, and in the second picture you can see me looking at a Vietnam War display inside the museum with him. (I need to brush up on this stuff; I’m currently editing another veteran’s book!)

It was shocking this year to see all extra security and all the concrete barricades along the length of Anzac Parade (the giant boulevard that connects the War Memorial to the rest of the city, and the place the service happens). Terrorism is changing the world very fast.

Autumn Colours Autumn Leaves in the Garden Tuggeranong Canberra Australia April 2019 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 3

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Some autumn colours in Canberra.

New Book for Mary Balogh

and

Another Cover for Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh's next book Someone to Honour the sixth book in the Westcott family series UKAustralian Cover.

Nora Roberts sues Brazilian author, cites ‘multi-plagiarism’.

Cristiane Serruya has plagiarism scandal 1

Anzac Day Reads: Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement by Karina Bliss

Anzac Day Reads: Helene Young

Wings of Fear (Border Watch #1) by Helene Young

Anzac Day Reads: Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Out Now: A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

Anzac Day Reads: Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

With Anzac Day coming up on the 25th, I’m recommending some Australian and New Zealand authors who have written about war veterans.

Anzac (“Australian and New Zealand Army Corps“) Day is our main day to commemorate those who served in the military.

Today I’m recommending Brynn Kelly, who writes romantic suspense books set all over the world. She has a book featuring an Australian soldier, and one featuring a woman who was in the New Zealand military (Kelly is a Kiwi).

Anzac Day Reads: Helene Young

Wings of Fear (Border Watch #1) by Helene Young

With Anzac Day coming up on the 25th, I’m recommending some Australian and New Zealand authors who have written about war veterans.

Anzac (“Australian and New Zealand Army Corps“) Day is our main day to commemorate those who served in the military.

Shattered Sky (Border Watch #2) by Helene Young

Today I’d like to recommend Australian author Helene Young, who has written romantic suspense books featuring military and former military characters.

You can read about her books HERE.

London Calling by Veronica Forand

London Calling by Veronica Forand

Small town police officer Emma Ross loves her simple life––but it takes a hard turn into crazy when she’s kidnapped by MI6 and is put under the protection of an over-bearing, albeit sexy, Scotsman. A man who believes she’s lying to protect her father—a father whom she had no idea worked for British Intelligence and is now missing.

Liam Macknight’s partner was assassinated and he’s certain Emma’s father had something to do with it. But the stubborn woman isn’t talking, and she’s determined to get herself killed trying to find out the truth. Locking her in a room does no good––he tried that. So he’s forced to work with her, even if he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to trust her.

When he’s assigned to kill her dad to protect the identity of British spies in the Kremlin, he knows what little trust they’ve gained is about to be destroyed forever…

London Calling by Veronica Forand

I haven’t read much romantic suspense lately, but I’ve been meaning to change that, and the plot of London Calling sounded pretty interesting. Espionage? Kremlin shenanigans? London? Great.

Veronica Forand has a knack for writing suspense stories, and – honestly – it’s a hard genre to get right. Getting those action scenes you have in your head onto the page so they read the way you’ve imagined them is SO much harder than it seems, but Forand can do it.

The author has also done some good research. Some authors in the genre don’t bother with all the little details, and write about their settings and the government agencies their characters deal with in very bland terms, but that’s not the case with this book. The details are there, and a look at the author’s blog tells me she takes her research seriously.

However, I feel the need to do a bit of nitpicking: WHY do all the British characters speak in perfect American English? It’s the basic stuff that’s wrong: vacation instead of holiday, asshole instead of arsehole, windshield instead of windscreen, cookies instead of biscuits, pants instead of trousers. And “buddy” is a term of endearment I’ve only ever heard in North America.

This is just British English #101, and I feel like an editor should have noticed if the author did not.

However, I’ll forgive her the mix-up with Eastern European naming customs (different gender; different surname), as it wasn’t a major thing in the book.

That aside, I’m always happy to dip back into the romantic suspense genre to find someone who knows how to write their action and adventure, and this was an original plotline borrowing from present-day events – exactly the sort of suspense I want to read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.