The Week: 18th – 24th March

So. I have news. BIG NEWS. However, I’m not going to share it until everything is finalised. In the meantime, here are some silly pictures:

From my home office window in Canberra on Thursday afternoon. One of Australia’s scruffiest baby birds (that is about half a metre in length – so not so little). What a cute mess!

St Patrick's Day Dancing Canberra 2019

St Patrick’s Day dancing in Canberra last weekend.

Out Now: The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

My review of What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

My review of Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family

10 Romance Clichés

Uh, Book Depository?

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Out Now: The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

One I’ve been excited about for months now, Susan Meissner’s The Last Year of the War is out now.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathiser. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

In Defence of the Unlikeable Heroine

I Kissed a Rogue  (Covent Garden Cubs #3) by Shana Galen

No commentary; just an article from a few weeks ago that I thought I’d share. I chose the cover above because Galen’s book features a heroine who fits this theme perfectly.

In Defence of the Unlikeable Heroine

If you meander through the reviews of most romance novels, you’ll find certain terms showing up again and again in relation to the heroine. Unsympathetic. Bitchy. Slutty. Not good enough for the hero. Unlikeable.

The very traits that we so love in heroes—bold, uncompromising, dominant, sexually experienced—are the exact same ones that we pick apart in the heroines we read. We will forgive the hero many sins, but the heroine must stay inside of very specific parameters in order to gain our love. Or at least our tolerance.

(Read on at the link above.)

Article: How I fell in love with romance novels

Good article from The Guardian’s :

How I fell in love with romance novels

‘But that stereotype is wrong, both about me and about the novels. Many of them are genuinely good. Not just good romance novels: good books. And it’s time to break my silence publicly, if only to better be able to enthusiastically recommend my favourites to people I barely know and receive their recommendations in return.’

The Week: 31st December 2018 – 6th January 2019

Sunset on Friday – the hottest day this week.

Happy New Year. But – just as important – Merry Christmas again!

Making varenyky yesterday afternoon. We made ninety-five in the end (not all in this picture).

Today is Ukrainian Christmas Eve, which is The Big Day for Christmas in Eastern Slavic cultures. This evening is the time for kutyaborschtveranyky, and more presents.

Our resident baby magpie is having trouble with the heat

This time of year is always so hectic for me. Apart from anything else, it has been Really Hot in Canberra for weeks, with a “cold” day being about 35 Celsius. We’re constantly sweaty – and getting some absolutely massive spiders in the house!

Wish List for 2019

Book Feature: Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

End-of-Year Escape

Christmas Reads: Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.

When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.

Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.

As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.

The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?

An utterly gorgeous Christmas romance about the importance of family, freshly baked biscuits, and learning to trust your heart. Perfect for fans of Phillipa Ashley, Debbie Johnson and Debbie Macomber.

Christmas Reads Feature: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

Welcome to Thornwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…

Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy chaos of the busy vicarage.

After several years away from home, Anna returns for Christmas… and an important announcement from her father. As much as she once loved the village, coming back is hard and puts Anna’s social capabilities to the test.

Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, she heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!

Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?