The Razzies

Okay, this is mean. However…

Jamie Dornan Dakota Johnson Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Fifty Shades of Grey won! And won! and won! And won! And won!

See how Fifty Shades would look if Christian Grey was made from CAKE

Go, Twilight fanfiction!

Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

“Fifty Shades of Grey may have been largely overlooked in the Oscar nominations, but it was a big winner at this year’s Razzies.


The awkward adaptation of author EL James’s erotic novel nabbed five prizes at the Golden Raspberry awards, including a share of the year’s worst film award with the superhero flop Fantastic Four.


Jamie Dornan picked up the worst actor award and his co-star Dakota Johnson took worst actress. The pair also pinned down the worst screen combo award. Fifty Shades also won worst screenplay.”


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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!

The Week: 12th – 18th October

Friday Sunset Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 16th October 2015 Spring Sky Clouds Grey Pink Orange Nature

Friday sunset in Canberra.

Garden Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Spring Lilac Sonya Heaney 16th October 2015 Flowers Purple Nature

The gorgeous lilac is coming out in the garden. It smells so nice!

1999 Ballet Giselle Act Two - Sonya Heaney

Sixteen years ago this week since I danced the full-length version of Giselle for the first time. Wow, that’s a long time! The picture is from the dress rehearsal the night before, and the one the newspapers ran with in the end.

I guess you could say I like serious books now because I always preferred ballets where my character faced a tragic end!

Hotel Hotel Canberra Australia Entrance Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 25th July 2015

We had lunch with Ukrainian embassy staff on Thursday, at Hotel Hotel. Got news on the war everyone has forgotten about…

Russian propaganda in an occupied region of Ukraine this week, explaining why Russia should be fighting and killing in Syria.13thOctober20152

Russian propaganda in an occupied region of Ukraine this week, explaining why Russia should be fighting and killing in Syria.

Surf life savers rescue drowning kangaroo in Lake Burley Griffin

On Friday morning, Canberra-based surf lifesavers rescued a drowning kangaroo that had been swimming in the lake in the city centre. I have no idea why the kangaroo was in the water!

Reasonable expectations of authors.

Sylvia Day Crossfire Series Books 1-4

Twilight Take #2 – Take #2!

Stephenie Meyer E.L. James

Cover Love

Falling at the Surgeon's Feet by Lucy Ryder

How to annoy a Jane Austen fan!

How to annoy a Jane Austen fan in three easy steps.

My review of Tall, Dark and Wicked (Wicked Trilogy #2) by Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

My review of The Amish Midwife by Patricia Davids

The Amish Midwife by Patricia Davids

Twilight Take #2 – Take #2!

Stephenie Meyer E.L. James

Just to add a little extra to last week’s post about Stephenie Meyer’s new book. Or, should I say Stephenie Meyer’s attempt this month to revive the Twilight franchise on the ten year anniversary of the first book’s release…

Many fans were upset that instead of her releasing the long-awaited Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward’s point of view), she rewrote Twilight with the characters’ genders reversed.

Well, I’ve read read a little more on the situation.

According to interviews, Meyer was all set to finally (since her promise a hundred years ago in 2008) get Midnight Sun finished.

And then Fifty Shades author E.L. James came back again, releasing Grey, her version of Fifty Shades written from HER hero’s perspective!

That’s right, folks, E.L. James even plagiarised Meyer’s half-finished idea!

Stephenie Meyer has no plans to release Midnight Sun after EL James' Grey

Meyer gave up.

Ever since the mainstream media got their claws into Fifty Shades of Grey (at least a year after readers knew all about it!), people have been asking: why didn’t Stephenie Meyer sue E.L. James? James became a gazillionaire from unethically publishing fanfiction of Meyer’s books.

Meyer (whose books I do not like, by the way, but who I think has been wronged here) played the nice guy (girl) and just said she was happy for James’ success and that was that.

Now, though, I think she’s starting to feel a little differently.

She listed her reasoning as a lack of time for Midnight Sun, but during New York Comic-Con, she gave another reason - Grey.

I reckon the average reader would much rather have read Midnight Sun than Grey. I cannot stand the Twilight franchise, but I guarantee you I would pick up Meyer’s book over James’.

And now, it seems, because Meyer didn’t want to be tough about it, readers will never have that book.

The Week: 5th – 11th October

Floriade Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 5th October 2015 Purple Flowers Garden Nature

At Floriade on a very hot Monday afternoon.

Qeanbeyan New South Wales Australia Queanbeyan River Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Spring Nature

And on the Queanbeyan River on Friday.

This week started with another public holiday, and we went to the Floriade flower festival and then out to lunch. It was too hot for the flowers, and very hot walking around!

Friday and Saturday we went out to dinner and to various theatre shows. In all, I haven’t achieved all that much this week!

2013 Noosa Long Weekend FestivalMACQUARIE Day 7Tourism Noosa© 2013 Barry Alsop PhotographerEyes Wide Open IMAGES

The show we saw on Saturday night.

On the way back from the theatre (the hugely underrated and spectacularly fantastic Expressions Dance Company’s production) in Queanbeyan on Saturday night, we had to pass my late-grandmother’s house. The new owners have moved in, and apparently don’t have curtains yet.

We were so horrified by what they’ve done to the place we circled back and went past again! Yes, it was stalkerish, and yes, we know we can’t control what they do!

However, the house was built by a bricklayer, with all special, expensive, handmade bricks throughout, and a big feature – REAL – fireplace. It’s all gone, and instead now everything is plastered over, and the lounge room wall now has the biggest flat screen television I’ve ever seen (it must have cost about half the price of the house again!). That’s it. Plastered walls, knocked down walls, covered-up fireplace, and a giant TV playing the football.

Poor Baba. Her house has been ruined!

Release Day for Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

So, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the ten year anniversary of Twilight…

Life and Death Twilight Reimagined (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

Cover Love

Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Jane Austen

My review of A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

My review of A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

So, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the ten year anniversary of Twilight…

Life and Death Twilight Reimagined (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

…By releasing Twilight, rewritten with almost all the genders reversed:

A celebratory release from an international bestselling author – with new anniversary material, “Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined,” the gender roles of the series’ main characters are reversed, turning Bella into the male lead Beau, Edward into Edythe and Jacob into Julie.

This is apparently her attempt to stop people calling her original lead female character weak – she said so in interviews.

How did I not know of this until days after the book’s release? Is that a sign that dead horse has finally been beaten down, or am I just so out of the loop these days?

What infuriates me is Meyer’s insistence she’s a feminist and that her characters are feminists because “it’s all about making choices”. Because here’s the thing: feminism isn’t about writing a series full of slut shaming, stereotyping, and blonde “jokes”.

I will not be reading this, but the current Goodreads rating sits somewhere around 2.5 stars – even with the diehard fans’ input – so that probably says all you need to know.

The most important thing though: imagine the fanfiction E.L. James will make out of this one!

My Mistress Film Movie

Fan Longevity

Bared to You by Sylvia DayA Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

Now, clearly there are books that stand the test of time. There have to be, because otherwise my literature degree was a waste of time!

However, with genre fiction things seem to move fast and date fast and then you look back and wonder what you were thinking a few years ago when you loved a book.

I find this a bit sad, and I was thinking back on books that have lasted for me. I’m talking about books about a decade old here, not from many decades ago. Perhaps the mid-2000s was a stellar era for genre fiction, but whatever it is I still have plenty of books from that time that I can still call favourites.

The reason I started thinking about this was because I was checking out Sylvia Day’s Pinterest account, and she has a board dedicated to pictures of fan tattoos. It reminded me of other Big Name series where readers went and got permanent markings because they enjoyed a book so much.

For example, Lara Adrian’s heroines in her Midnight Breed series all have a crescent moon and teardrop birthmark, and fans now have that tattooed all over themselves.

And surely nothing beats the infamous Twilight tattoos, the most infamous of all perhaps being this one:


However, fads are fads for a reason. Beards can be shaved off, but all those stretched ears young men are sporting these days are probably not going to be considered great few years down the track. Permanent changes probably aren’t always the best idea!

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa KleypasTo the Brink by Cindy Gerard

Secrets of a Summer Night (2004) is still a precious historical romance for me. To the Brink (2005) still remains my idea of the perfect romantic suspense. I didn’t catch any sleep flying from India to Sri Lanka to Australia in 2005 because I was so engrossed in The Tea Rose, a book I still love. I’m lucky I passed my final university exams because I was so caught up in Into the Wilderness, and I still love that book so much.

However, series I can still look back on fondly – the Black Dagger Brotherhood, for example – are no longer on my OMG Squee! list of books, and I’m certain I’d have regretted getting a tattoo about them.

Remember that infamous Twilight Moms group with their super-active site? I visited there a couple of times out of sheer curiosity, and there were women my age and older saying there will never be a day in their life where they won’t pick up and read part of a Twilight book, and how depressed they feel knowing there will be no more of Bella and Edward. Now the message board doesn’t even exist, and I’m quite sure those women have got on with their lives just fine.

I have no idea what I’m trying to say here. Maybe wait a decade before you get a tattoo declaring your love for a fictional man?

I suppose most people have that select group of long-standing favourites. I suppose they also have a long list of books they were crazy about once, and now can’t remember why that was.

The “Mean Girls” Thing…

That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale

I think I’m developing a problem, but I’m actually not at all sorry for it.

My problem? That I’m becoming more and more – and more – aware of misogyny. Particularly in romance fiction.

Recently there was an article in RT Magazine about wallflowers in historical romance. It’s a hugely popular trope for obvious reasons. We’ve all felt overlooked at some point, and the idea of the wallflower rising up and “stealing” the hero for herself is a heady one.

However, the article referenced multiple people – both authors and readers – and their reasons for their love of this particular trope.

And this was where my problem began.

For example, the article quotes one reader as saying (about wallflowers):

“They are observant, keen, perceptive. That usually make(sic) them smarter than those hollow airheads with only good looks to recommend them.”

The term “mean girls” is used multiple times throughout the article.

May I point out that the standard operating procedure in romance is for every attractive woman to be horrific, but the male villains are almost 100% of the time the ugly ones with the bad teeth, the balding head, the tubby figure. And short…

Here are some actual 19th century aristocratic men for you:

 19th Century Royalty Aristocrats

The article references a brilliant book: The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. It talks of shy Evie with her unfashionable red hair and her stutter. Evie is one of historical romance’s most memorable characters.

The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

However, what the article (deliberately?) fails to mention is that one of the other “wallflowers” in the series is Annabelle Peyton, who Kleypas describes as the most beautiful woman in England. Because beautiful women can also have major problems, and Annabelle’s are enormous. Being beautiful doesn’t make her a bad or stupid person, and being beautiful doesn’t prevent her from being very, very good friends with Evie.

Growing up, I was a slim thing with waist-length blonde hair (I make no claims on being beautiful, but I fitted the criteria most romance authors use for their villainesses). According to the entire romance genre, I was the stupid bitch the wallflower is taunted by.


I was also so shy I had a lot of trouble even speaking to people I didn’t know extremely well. My ballet teacher actually took me aside for lessons in how to look at someone while you spoke to them! After our Year Ten formal (basically the prom for Americans) we had a sleepover at a friend’s house and I didn’t speak the entire night. People started having a conversation about me because they thought I’d gone home – they didn’t even know I was in the room!

My point is: girls and women are far more nuanced than most romance writers give them credit for. Blonde and thin does not equal “stupid bitch”. Brown-haired and clumsy does not equal “kind genius”. If you feel the need to insult someone else to feel good about yourself, well…

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I can remember only one truly awful girl growing up, and as I went to primary school and high school in different districts (not to mention my ballet school) I came into contact with a bigger range of people than most. Yes, there were popular girls, but most of them weren’t the school’s “beauties”. Most didn’t fit the stereotype authors like Stephenie Meyer stirred up in the Twilight series – nastiness that continues in Young Adult and New Adult fiction today. A couple were in the accelerated classes. Yes, sometimes they were mean, but other times they were as friendly as anybody else.

Nobody is black and white.

Why do we have to mock women who are not the heroine of the book? Why does there need to be a gang of evil bitches in so many books? Why do we have to portray attractive and/or well-dressed women as nasty and shallow and stupid? Why does taking pride in your appearance make you an awful person? Why does the term “airhead” ever have to appear (and where in the holy hell is the male equivalent?!?!)? Why does the historical romance hero always have to go out of his way to express how much he hates the society women and explain that the heroine is the only woman he can stand to be around (why romanticise a misogynist??!!)?

Why do we never do the same thing for the men…?

Why is it the hero of the book is always dashing, gorgeous, popular and rich? How come he’s allowed to have these things in his life and be considered desirable, but a woman having even one of these traits is considered a crime?