The Week: 30th October – 5th November

Halloween Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 31st October 2017

Our version of being ready for Halloween: limoncello and wine!

Saturday sunset in Canberra.

What a week in the news (don’t even get me started on Australia), but it was significant (for me) for another reason: Halloween was the 30th anniversary of my father’s father’s death, and the next day was the 40th anniversary of my mother’s father’s death (he suffered badly resisting the Nazis and the Russians in World War Two, and his health never really recovered).

Yesterday I saw that some neighbours already have their Christmas lights up, and… what??

I’ll just say this: Ukraine bloody well told and told and TOLD America about Russian lies, propaganda and online trolling from at least 2013 (you know, from around when RT News – the Kremlin’s worldwide “news” channel – was reporting that Ukrainians were making mothers watch as they crucified Russian babies).

Nobody in the West cared until it affected them because they see Eastern Europeans as nothing more than a punchline to a joke.

Now, look at the mess that ignorance has created. Trump. Brexit. Cataluña. Neo-Nazis. Bernie or Bust. Violent riots in the streets of a number of countries. And on and on and on.

On the terror attack in New York, and Trump cancelling the Green Card Lottery: does he (or anyone?) realise that the “diversity” visa is the way people like Australians are legally able to move to America? You won’t be keeping “yucky terrorists” out of the country; you’ll be keeping all of us out! Maybe he should just build his wall the whole way around, seeing as he hates all of us…

Other than that, I’m so far behind with my reading. This isn’t helped by the fact NetGalley (review book site) is chock-full of glitches, and half the books aren’t accessible for some reason. They’re aware of the problem, but weeks later still haven’t fixed it.

100 Years Ago

#OTD in 1917 Light Horsemen charge Turkish positions at Beersheba & seize critical wells enabling the British to break the Ottoman line #ww1 Australian War Memorial Canberra First World

My review of To Love a Scandalous Duke (Once Upon A Scandal #1) by Liana De la Rosa

To Love a Scandalous Duke (Once Upon A Scandal #1) by Liana De la Rosa

Sylvia Day’s Afterburn/Aftershock

jax_and_gia-1a Filming of the Afterburn-Aftershock movie begins Friday 7th July Sylvia Day.

Hotel for Book Fans

restaurant-tlm

Watching: The Age of Innocence

Winona Ryder as May Welland in The Age of Innocence (1993)

TV Adaptation for Sylvia Day

I don’t know how I missed this. I enjoyed Sylvia Day’s two-part, pre-Crossfire books, Afterburn and Aftershock. Set in New York, they follow the relationship between the rich son of Republican political family and an Italian-American Democrat.

Now it is being made into a movie, to be released in November.

I have to admit, the casting doesn’t look right to me. The actors are NOTHING like I imagined them. However, I’ll give them a chance!

jax_and_gia-1a Filming of the Afterburn-Aftershock movie begins Friday 7th July Sylvia Day.

jax_and_gia-1a Filming of the Afterburn-Aftershock movie begins Friday 7th July Sylvia Day. caitlin_gia-1.

jax_and_gia-1a Filming of the Afterburn-Aftershock movie begins Friday 7th July Sylvia Day. Tyler_Jax-1.

So – how did they go?

 I have finished all of the books I listed or discussed as my most anticipated reads of 2016. It was never a comprehensive list, as I tend to read what comes up for review rather than keep track of favourite authors’ newer releases.

Now I have read all of those I mentioned either here or separately – was I disappointed? Not really. Even though I was excited about all of the books below, some I was aware were going to be a little bit of a let-down; it was the series rather than the individual book I was excited about.

There were some great reads, however.

Now, what books are being released in the second half of the year that I have forgotten all about?!

Review: Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne (2016) by Lisa Kleypas

Review: Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Review: One with You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

One With You by Sylvia Day

Review: The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

Review: The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters #4) by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

Review: Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs International Cover

Review: The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen UK Cover

Review: The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen

The Unexpected Marriage of Gabriel Stone (Lords of Disgrace #4) by Louise Allen mills and Boon Cover

Spoilers in Reviews – or not having them without a warning…

One With You by Sylvia Day

It’s common sense, right? It’s rude and inconsiderate to publish a book review on or around the release date with major spoilers without any warning, giving away major character deaths and essentially ruining the book for most readers.

You’d think so, but by God, have I seen some major spoilers splashed across people’s reviews recently, and the book that prompted this post was Sylvia Day’s final Crossfire book, One with You.

Now, this was far from Day’s best book, so I wasn’t completely devastated, but as a mildly obsessive fan of the series, to have the ending completely ruined before I was halfway through was… not good.

I didn’t set out to read spoilers; it’s just that so many people thought nothing of spoiling the book for everybody else that I read it by accident.

After that, I thought: hey, it’s already ruined, so I’ll read some more reviews. Turned out about a third of the reviews I read – only ONE DAY after the book was released – spoiled every single plot twist.

It’s a bit like that Simpsons episode where Homer emerges from a screening of The Empire Strikes Back and announces to the people in the queue for the next session who Luke’s father is. Now, Homer is *supposed* to be ignorant and more than a bit stupid, but I don’t know what all these readers are thinking when they do the same thing.

Goodreads has a very easy to use function where you can hide the spoilers in your review so people have to click on them to read them.

It’s perfectly easy to add something along the lines of: **SPOILER WARNING!!** before you drop a bombshell in the middle of your Amazon or blog review.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more reviewers were considerate enough to do those things? 🙂

The Week: 11th – 17th April

Tuesday Autumn Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 12th April 2016 Sun Sky Trees Nature DSC09517DSC09515

Unedited shot of Tuesday’s sunset in Canberra.

I have NO idea what happened, but half a version of this post came up on my blog a few days ago, and I only just noticed! Whoops.

Only a few days left before we head overseas for two months. It seems like such a big effort – maybe I’ll stay at home! I am absolutely not organised, and while we’re still having near-summer temperatures here, over there it’s still almost as cold as winter. I don’t have room in my suitcase for winter stuff!

Maybe someone will sneak in the house and get all my things organised for me…

I’m also going to really miss the cat (Rex) the neighbours are looking after, who thinks he lives here and comes visiting for hours every morning, lunchtime, afternoon, night…

Rex Burmese Cat Cute

Rex

Seriously, I’m not that depressed about going! We will be back in the Ukraine for the first time since the revolution (which happened straight after we flew out the last time) and the Russian invasion immediately afterwards, so there’ll be some big changes. And then I’m hoping the sun will be out by the time we get to Italy!

Speaking of Russian invasions…

This is what Russian aggression in the Baltic Sea looks like

It’s always such an ordeal just getting to Europe from Australia. Flying to Sydney, then a ten hour flight to Asia, then hours in the airport, then a twelve hour flight to Europe, then hours in the airport, and then a few more hours on another flight to reach our destination. *SO* much fun!

I have been trying to get as much reading done as I can before I go, because I have a mountain of review books, but I’m not going to have them anywhere near finished. Hopefully I’ll get some reading done while I’m away, but you never have as much time as you think when you’re constantly on the go with other people in multiple countries.

On This Week

RT_Convention_2016Vegasbanner_v2-reduced

What goes into creating a cover for historical romance?

Duke-of-Pleasure-by-Elizabeth-Hoyt-300

My review of Mad For Love by Elizabeth Essex

Mad For Love by Elizabeth Essex

My review of One with You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

One With You by Sylvia Day

My review of You Can’t Always Get the Marquess You Want (Masters of Seduction #2) by Alexandra Hawkins

You Can't Always Get the Marquess You Want (Masters of Seduction #2) by Alexandra Hawkins

My review of Heir to the Duke (The Duke’s Sons #1) by Jane Ashford

Heir to the Duke (The Duke's Sons #1) by Jane Ashford

One with You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

One With You by Sylvia Day

Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.

Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.

 

One with You (Crossfire #5) by Sylvia Day

The Crossfire series, that started off with two spectacular, addictive books, was supposed to be a trilogy, and then got extended – and extended. Were five books necessary? In a word: no.

One with You is getting mixed reviews, for obvious reasons. It reads like a first draft that has been patched together haphazardly.

While I still love the world Sylvia Day has created: wealth and power in New York City, with people who (unlike in the Fifty Shades series) are convincing in their lifestyles. They work, they wield that power, and they truly live that lifestyle. What gave Eva the edge over Fifty’s weakling Ana is that she was in every way an equal to her man.

In this book, however, the characters waffle around doing nothing, rehashing issues that were dealt with and put to bed a couple of books ago, attending lengthy, boring psychologist’s appointments, picking fights with each other and arguing like immature teenagers.

And what the hell is with that important engraved bangle that disappears after one scene??

One thing I was SO glad of: the author didn’t rush into babies and rainbows. I know many readers like their pretty bows and endless pregnancies in every book; I am the opposite. Who starts having babies after only being together a few weeks? Wasn’t it bad enough Eva has already given up her career?

And then, just when you feel like the book isn’t going to have its own plot, the author hits you with a sledgehammer. (See spoiler #1 at the bottom of the review.) It comes totally out of the blue, and by the time it DOES happen there’s no time left in this overly long book (apparently the longest book the author has ever written) to deal with it.

So, because the author has to drag us back to some sort of happy ending after that sledgehammer, she has characters bizarrely laughing and joking and screwing and discussing other things when they should be dealing with the tragedy instead.

Some of the times the characters think about sex is just weird. At the lowest point in the entire story, instead of just caring for Eva, Gideon seems to have sex on his mind:

“I knew a bath was a risk considering how rare it was for me not to join Eva when she took one.”

Eva, who cries so frequently throughout the series she is really starting to annoy me, had next to no reaction to the most dramatic thing that has happened in the entire series.

Day has shocked me before in a good way (see spoiler #2 below). It was one of the best twists I have ever read in a book, and happened in book two. I think she was going for something similar here.

This entire five-book series happens over the course of only three months. The author only introduced Gideon’s social circle recently – where were they in the earlier books? And it’s very odd that Eva’s wedding is all about her acquaintances she’s just met since moving to New York, instead of people from the other twenty-something years of her life turning up. I don’t know why the timeframe had to be so truncated.

Apparently One with You was rewritten a number of times (which would be why it was released more than half a year after the promised date, and seventeen months after the previous book), and the book does have a feel of a story the author could just not pull together no matter what she tried. There’re so many threads left open, there’s so much left unresolved. And an editor should have insisted Day chop out all that rehashing of psychobabble so that there was time to tie up all the loose ends. Even taking a pair of scissors to the overly flowery – and constant – declarations of love would have helped:

“There aren’t words to tell you what you mean to me.” He opened his hand again. “But I hope that when you see this ring on your hand, you’ll remember that you shine as brightly as diamonds in my life and you’re infinitely more precious.”

Look: I’m Australian, and we’re sarcastic. We’d laugh hysterically if a man spoke like that, using that much cheese!

Additionally, like some sort of BDSM master, Gideon fastens a bangle onto Eva using a screwdriver – so only he can remove it. It’s mentioned in one scene, and then never again. In fact, later on she mentions she isn’t wearing any jewellery, and I’m thinking: what about that thing that was fastened onto you and you cannot remove?? (One of the many examples of non-existent editing in this book.)

Then we reach the end, which seems (? I have no idea) to jump forwards in time so that everybody is more or less over the main drama.

WAS there an editor? I’m not joking when I ask. Did the author even proofread it? Because it looks like one of my manuscripts when I’ve been writing out of sequence and intend to go back and edit it – only this one was never edited!

I guess, in the end, the author wrote this in a hurry, and with no proper outline of the book’s structure. Stuff, happens, and then it’s forgotten forever. And then other stuff happens, and it’s forgotten forever.

I think the first and second books in this series are amazing. I don’t usually go for the Fifty Shades-type books, but the first two were special, superbly-written, and surprising at every turn. However, as the series continued to be extended and extended it lost its way. I feel sad that people will remember these books as average to poor instead of how they were at the start.

 

****SPOILERS****

#1 The big thing that happens in this book is that Eva’s mother turns out to have a secret identity – but before this is tackled, the woman is MURDERED! It comes completely out of the blue and makes no sense considering the rest of the series.

#2 In the second book, Gideon murders Eva’s long-term stalker and childhood rapist. She doesn’t know this until the very end of the book.

The Week: 28th March – 3rd April

Canberra Australia Sunset Sonya Heaney Autumn

One of our (unedited!) sunsets in Canberra this week.

I hope everyone around here remembered about daylight saving! I know it’s easier now with so many devices updating themselves, but it seems every year I hear of a funny mistake!

Apparently we’re not going to have autumn this year. It’s still in the high twenties (Celsius) and the leaves aren’t really changing colour.

I had a dismal reading week this week. So many historical romances I tried to read, but couldn’t cope with; some I could not finish. Maybe that means I’m due for some good books now!

Parliament House Canberra Australia 2nd April 2016 Sonya Heaney Back-Burning..

Smoke over Australian Parliament during fire reduction burns in the city over the weekend.

The entrepreneurs bringing the Great Moscow Circus here – again – have been obscenely spamming the streets with advertising, and paying many people to put huge signs up on their own houses. Whole streets in Canberra and neighbouring Queanbeyan are lined with the things – three signs per house. Sad that people have already forgotten Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and Georgia, and the bombing of civilians in Syria, and the human rights abuses, and the extreme homophobia, and the… you get the picture) and will do anything for a few dollars. Even the house next to my late (Ukrainian) grandmother’s has them.

So some people who will remain unnamed have been adding some things to a few of the signs:

 protest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisementsprotest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisements.

The collapse of the Wisconsin State Capitol

In one of history’s more successful April Fool jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed. 1st April 1933.

One week until One With You

One With You by Sylvia Day

No more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey!

But now it looks like everyone’s love affair with Fifty Shades of Grey is well and truly over.

My review of Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

My review of The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

My review of Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

One week until One With You

One With You by Sylvia Day

One With You, the final book in Sylvia Day’s incredibly popular Crossfire series, is out next week.

Pre-order Links:

The Book Depository (free shipping!)

Amazon Australia

Amazon US: Paperback Kindle

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

The final chapter in the global blockbuster Crossfire® quintet.

Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.

Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.

We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws … and all the beauty I couldn’t see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.

But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free … or break us apart.