The Week: 30th January – 5th February

canberra-summer-sunset-australia-sonya-oksana-heaney-31st-janaury-2017-sky-clouds-nature-heatwave-2

Tuesday sunset in Canberra

I am heading to Venice on Friday, and I have NOT packed! I am off to Spain again a few months later, and have just been in Europe for two months, and I’m becoming a bit blasé about it.

We are ALMOST at the end of our nonstop run of present-giving events for another year. We have two Christmases (old and new calendars), and then almost every family birthday – all in the space of a month and a half. By the end it is nearly impossible to think of anything to give.

We finish with my birthday on Tuesday, but when we get back from Europe in March we start up with Easter (again – we have two)!

ukraine-conflict-evacuation-planned-in-frontline-town-of-avdiivka-in-freezing-temperatures-31st-january-2017-2

The war in Ukraine FINALLY made it back into the news this week, because Russia picked the Donald Trump distraction as an excellent time to step up their invasion of Ukraine. Now the media is calling it “Europe’s forgotten war” – and here I am thinking: no European should ever have “forgotten” that thousands of people are dying on their own continent while they pay attention to others!

whod-have-thought-it-was-possible-to-blow-the-us-australia-relationship-its-childproof-but-not-trumpproof

Donald Trump is on a roll. He is making enemies of pretty much everyone on the planet, and again took a swipe at Australia this week. Not that he needs to work hard: we already hate the man!

My review of Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

My review of Wed by Necessity (Smoky Mountain Matches #10) by Karen Kirst

wed-by-necessity-smoky-mountain-matches-10-by-karen-kirst

Coming up for Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

New Cover for Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Book to watch out for?

a-note-yet-unsung-belmont-mansion-3-by-tamera-alexander

Cover Love

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Week: 23rd – 29th January

canberra-sunset-australia-summer-24th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature-dscn0492

canberra-sunset-australia-summer-24th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

Some of our amazing skies in Canberra this week.

Canberra: summer is making it hard to achieve much. It’s too hot inland, where there obviously is no sea breeze. The winter weather in Europe in less than a fortnight is going to be a shock!

canberra-australia-summer-weather-forecast-january-2017-heatwave

I am behind on my review books because the Australian branch of Amazon has gone down, and I cannot send ANYTHING to my Kindle, nor download a lot of it on my computer. I had a book I was really excited about that was just released, and I can’t access it! It’s driving me insane.

trump-putin-russian-aggression-us-inauguration

This has been a horror week for the entire world. Anyone with sense and a skerrick of world knowledge was aware Trump would screw things up for all of us, but I think many were shocked by the speed with which it happened.

Trump sent all of us (including Australians) a strong message: WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE. Not even to visit.

Day One: axe the trade deal with the Pacific region (including us). On Australia Day on the 26th, Trump sent some rubbish message about us being great friends of America – at the same time as discussing dumping the visa waiver program, which means it will be difficult for us to even visit the US as TOURISTS!

c3p4yaaxaaaecfy

If he wants to only let Christian refugees into “his” country now, perhaps he might consider helping the two million displaced Ukrainians. We had lunch with friends from the Ukrainian embassy again this week, people waiting for orders to join the war against Putin.

For something better: historical costume site Frock Flicks has been hosting Snark Week again. If you are a reader who cannot stand all the anachronisms in too many historical romances, you’ll appreciate it. They analyse all the crazy – and sometimes hilarious – liberties film and TV take with historical costumes.

snarkweek2017_site5-focrk-flicks-snark-week

 

carnival_venice_2015_160-9th-february-2015

I am a little bit freaked: I’m heading to Italy in only a few days, and I have literally not organised a thing yet. We were only just in the country, and soon will be spending time with friends who are locals, but I still think I should have planned something – anything! Everywhere I’ve been in Italy in recent times has been hit by horrific natural disasters, and I can only hope there are no more; how many can one country have?

It’s too hot here to bother trying on any winter clothes to pack, but I really need to.

I will be in London only briefly after that, with no idea whether I’ll be there longer-term in the near future or not. However, because of my historical fiction reading I have so much I want to do, and not enough time.

I did live in London for quite a while, but have not been back for years.

Moving a Library

ghent-library-moves-home-via-human-chain

My review of Lost in Shadows (Lost #2) by Anita DeVito

lost-in-shadows-lost-2-by-anita-devito

Kissing or Hitting…?

the-princess-bride-1987-westley-nearly-slaps-buttercup-domestic-abuse

100 Objects – Victorian Tea Set

wedgwood-tea-set-made-in-stoke-on-trent-staffordshire-england-early-victorian-1840-45-100-objects-british-museum-canberra-visit

Is there ever a point?

ditter-kellen-oz-enigma-book-five

This Disturbing Book Cover…

penal-colony-eliza-callaghan-by-robert-s-close-eliza-callaghan

 

The Week: 16th – 22nd January

canberra-australia-summer-sunset-18th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

canberra-australia-summer-sunset-18th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

Wednesday evening in Canberra

canberra-australia-hot-afternoon-16th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-blue-sky-eucalyptus-tree-gum-tree-garden-nature

Canberra’s heatwave continues…

canberra-summer-too-hot-for-roses-australia-sonya-heaney-17th-january-2017-garden-nature

And kills our garden!

So, apparently the new thing people do when they turn seventy is go on trips to Europe – or, at least my relatives seem to think so. With two people in my family turning seventy this year, both decided to celebrate that way – and take me along!

This week we booked a trip to southern Spain and Barcelona for August. I get to spend more time in one of my favourite places in the world: Seville. The trip came completely out of the blue. I still have to go to Italy in a few weeks, and to London after that!

national-museum-of-australia-canberra-21st-january-2017-sonya-oksana-heaney

We went to the National Museum on Saturday to see the visiting exhibition from the British Museum: A History of the World in 100 Objects.

We had to queue for over an hour – I don’t even want to know what it’s going to be like when we go to the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery!

It is much more “the history of the world according to the British Empire”. There’s so much from certain parts of the world, and NOTHING from the whole eastern half of Europe (including the Black Sea and the whole of Slavic civilisation – none of my heritage!), huge parts of Africa, etc.

bushfires-australian-capital-territory-new-south-wales-18th-january-2017

The fires active on Wednesday afternoon.

Our region of Australia has had bushfire, after bushfire, after bushfire this week. Hot weather and strong winds make the worst fire conditions.

Firestorm in Canberra, Australia. 18th January 2003.

This week was the fourteenth anniversary of the firestorm that destroyed huge parts of Canberra. The picture above is what my city looked like for a whole day (except the sky turned black after a while – and then bright red). We had those water-bombing helicopters right over us. They saved our street.

trump-putin-russian-aggression-us-inauguration

I could go on about the terror of Trump – but what’s the point? I am TERRIFIED for Ukraine.

His wife steals Obama speeches, and the man himself steals an Obama cake!

pastry-chef-duff-goldman-of-charm-city-cakes-suggested-on-twitter-that-someone-copied-the-cake-he-made-for-the-commander-in-chief-ball-in-2013-without-his-permission

We’re a day ahead of the US (so I’d done this post before the Women’s Marches across the world), so I’ll just add this on at the end!:

gettyimages-632287522

boston-womens-march

chicago-womens-march-becomes-too-big-for-actual-march

this-is-texas-yall-an-anti-trump-march-this-evening-in-austin-on-the-ann-richards-bridge

Recommended Read

BurningLiesFrontCoverLR1

Victoria the Great – for fans of anything Victorian

anna-neagle-victoria-the-great-1937-coronation-scene

My review of A Woman of Spirit by Kate Loveday

a-woman-of-spirit-by-kate-loveday

Cover Love

The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts

Reindeer Romance?

blitzens-fated-mate-arctic-shifters-1-by-r-e-butler

Recommended Read

Burning Lies

With yesterday being the anniversary of the Canberra firestorm, I was thinking about natural disaster books, and remembered there’s one that actually begins with that particular series of bushfires.

Hélène Young‘s Burning Lies features Canberra on that insane, terrible day in 2003.

It’s so hard to find any suspense books with romantic elements set in Australia, but Young is one of the few -and is a reliable bet for a good read.

Burning Lies

Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband’s death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Ryan O’Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn’s world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.

With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.

The Week: 9th -15th January

canberra-australia-sunny-afternoon-summer-pink-flowers-12th-jannuary-2016-sonya-heaney-blue-sky-hot-day-garden-nature

The only surviving flowers around here, after our heatwave. It was a gorgeous, sunny week.

What a ridiculously hot few days! Every day went into the mid-30s to 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit), and it always feels so much hotter here inland, where it’s still and you don’t get a sea breeze – or much in the way of rain.

julian-calendar-new-year-is-celebrated-in-parts-of-eastern-europe-from-13-14-january-this-is-a-2003-ukrainian-new-year-stamp

2003 stamp for Ukrainian New Year

Happy Old New Year (14th January). Saturday was the day for New Year until the new calendar was brought in, and Ukrainians still recognise it.

40-of-65-killed-in-europeas-extreme-winter-weather-are-in-ukraine

Speaking of Europe, 40 of the 65 people killed in Europe’s extreme winter weather are Ukrainian. And yet I’ve not heard the word “Ukraine” mentioned once on any news story here…

It’s like Europe’s biggest country doesn’t even exist…

Here is the baby magpie I call “Sticks” (because he is still tiny and skinny after months!). This week, and like his other family members, he was so hot he couldn’t close his beak. I fill up bowls of water, front and back, for them every day.

sonyaheaney40-degrees-in-canberra-baby-magpie-too-hot-to-close-its-beak-summer-australiananimals-australia-nature-birds-cbr

It’s going to be a big shock in a few weeks, when we go to Europe, where there’s record snow… EVERYWHERE.

sonyaheaney-cloudy-and-hot-canberra-summer-ontheroad-australia-queanbeyan-cbr

Driving home from Ukrainian New Year drinks (I wasn’t driving!) on Friday afternoon, just before the freak storm hit. You can see how weird the sky already was.

Following the worst of the heat, we were hit by a brief, freak windstorm that brought down trees all over the city, including at Australian Parliament. We’d only just arrived home when it happened – thank goodness we weren’t on the road. This news story about it shows a trampoline go flying through a suburb, and someone’s roof blown off!

a-tree-has-hit-a-car-on-northbourne-avenue-during-a-sudden-windstorm

canberra-windstorm-fells-trees-causes-havoc-across-city-emergency-services-inundated

That’s Federal Parliament in the background!

In other news, I found this story pretty shocking this week:

Pennsylvania school set maths homework on sex abuse of girl.

a-us-school-has-apologised-after-setting-a-maths-questions-that-asked-students-about-a-girl-being-sexually-abused-by-family-members

I’m not even going to start on Trump’s latest acts of stupidity (because, UGH – gross), or the latest nonsense the Kremlin has been on about…

My review of Ruby (Landry #1) by V.C. Andrews

ruby-landry-1-by-v-c-andrews

My review of Slow Dance with the Best Man by Sophie Pembroke

slow-dance-with-the-best-man-by-sophie-pembroke

My review of One Grand Season (A Willowbrook Manor Romance Book 2) by Sarita Leone

one-grand-season-a-willowbrook-manor-romance-book-2-by-sarita-leone

If you want your book reviewed…

Old book bindings at the Merton College library.Old_book_bindings BOOKS

The Golden Globes

claire-foy-at-an-event-for-the-74th-golden-globe-awards-2017

The Week: 2nd – 8th January

preparing-for-ukrainian-christmas-in-canberra-australia-sonya-heaney-varenyky-5th-january-2017

Cooking hundreds of varenyky (Ukrainian dumplings) – just one of our trays – for Ukrainian Christmas.

hydrangeas-summer-flowers-canberra-australia-1st-january-2017-sonya-heaney-garden-nature

Summer Flowers on New Year’s Day.

So, it was another week, another Christmas for us. Now I have a few days to sort out birthdays for both my parents (and me!), have Ukrainian New Year, and then we’re off to Italy and London. It will be Easter straight after that – and we have two of those, too!

It has been very hot here, and it is going to get hotter in the next few days. I need to exercise because I have long-term knee problems related to my years as a ballet dancer (I have a talent for dislocating my right knee every few months!), but who can exercise when the temperatures are up around 40°C (104°F)?!

Speaking of ballet, I found an old photo of me backstage during a season of Giselle (Andrew, if you ever see this, I hope you don’t mind me posting your picture!). It was 1999, and – obviously – my night off from performances.

giselle-backstage-1999-sonya-heaney

canberra-summer-sunset-new-years-day-sonya-heaney-1st-january-2017-sky-clouds-australia-nature

First sunset of 2017

According to the lovely pussy-grabber, only stupid people oppose Russia. I’m guessing that means “stupid people” like my family and other friends in Ukraine, who are in the process of being invaded and slaughtered.

I was hacked by Russian trolls again on Saturday evening.

America: I know Russia rigged your election, but many millions of you still voted for this. It is unforgivable, and deeply upsetting for me on a personal level.

trump-and-putin-propaganda-in-montenegro

Pro-Trump and Putin propaganda appearing in Montenegro. Serbia and Montenegro are almost totally anti-Ukrainian and pro-Putin. This is Hitler and Stalin take #2, and nobody seems to care.

Some of my favourite authors? I can no longer read their books. Anybody who supports Trump… It’s shocking we live in a world with people who think like that. This isn’t a difference of political opinion; it’s literally supporting mass murder.

I don’t even want to know what is going to happen to the world in the next four years.

Revisiting Old Books

ruby-1992-the-first-book-in-the-landry-series-a-novel-by-v-c-andrews

My review of The Workhouse Children by Lindsey Hutchinson

the-workhouse-children-by-lindsey-hutchinson

Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Cover Love

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover