The Week: 6th – 12th March

Bright Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Autumn 6th March 2017

First day back home. Blue sky, sunshine, summer temperatures – and half a new deck!

We went to Canberra’s Enlighten festival last night. The national buildings (National Library – above, National Science and Technology Centre, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House etc.) are lit up. There are also bars and food stalls and opera performances and a whole lot of things.

I will find some better pictures tomorrow.

This possum has moved in (not our first one, but the smallest so far), right outside my bedroom window. The night-time fights with other animals kept me awake all night a few nights ago!

It has been absolutely gorgeous in Canberra this week. Temperatures up around thirty degrees, bright blue skies, sunshine. It feels more like summer than autumn most of the time.

Chris Miller 11th March 2017 Russia invaded Ukraine

A timely reminder from a very respected journalist in Europe.

A Ukrainian woman is behind bars in the United Arab Emirates at the moment because doctors found out she is pregnant to her fiancé. They are “testing” her to find out how long she has been sexually active, which sounds like an appalling abuse of a woman’s basic rights.

You’re not allowed to have premarital sex in the UAE, and women are imprisoned for reporting rapes. Please be aware that just because Dubai and Abu Dhabi look shiny and tourists love them doesn’t mean it isn’t an Islamic country with some terribly restrictive laws – especially for women.

I have to travel through there are few more times this year, and I really wish I wasn’t. Qantas sends their flights through there a lot now, and codeshares with Emirates, which is one of the worst airlines I have ever experienced.

Also on my list of “things that annoyed me this week”, this article:

Pope may allow married Catholic men as priests

The reason it annoys me? Ukrainian Catholic men – married, soon to be married, planning to be married – have ALWAYS been able to become priests. For centuries. Most of the priests I’ve ever known have been married – with children.

This is allegedly such a groundbreaking idea, but once again people totally ignore the fact this is already, and always has been, a thing.

Nobody knows anything about Ukraine, but you’d think a journalist or two might mention this extremely relevant fact!

And then there’s:

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at US airport for second time

He’s a flipping US citizen! What is wrong with Trump’s version of America??!

My review of Outback Cowboy (Hot Aussie Heroes Book 1) by Margareta Osborn

My review of Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of A Temporary Family by Sherri Shackelford

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

Excuse me, cover designers…

Ukraine offers free metro rides for poetry buffs

Taras Shevchenko (centre) died in St Petersburg in 1861, after a long period of exile imposed by the Russian authorities

The metro in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, is offering free rides to people who can recite a poem by Taras Shevchenko.

Shevchenko died in exile in Russia after being convicted of using the Ukrainian language in his work (the Imperial Russians seriously disliked people using their native languages).

Ukraine has a massive literary heritage – some of “Russia’s” most famous literary figures are actually Ukrainian.

I cannot imagine this poetry-for-free-trains idea working in most countries! One article about it is here:

Free metro rides for Kiev poetry buffs

(One day – probably in about 1600 years – the Western media will catch up with post-Soviet Eastern Europe and start calling Ukraine’s capital city KYIV instead of “Kiev”!)

Bitter Harvest

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While everybody knows about the Holocaust, there was another major genocide in Europe in the 20th century that is almost unknown.

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The Holodomor, Stalin’s manufactured famine/genocide, is believed to have killed up to ten million people in Ukraine in the 1930s. Still denied by Moscow, this genocide has received little to no attention from the West, and none whatsoever from Hollywood.

A new film is due out now which tackles this topic, focusing on a Ukrainian Cossack couple. Keep an eye out for Bitter Harvest this month.

The Week: 30th January – 5th February

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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)!

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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!

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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

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

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Coming up for Lisa Kleypas

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New Cover for Madeline Hunter

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Book to watch out for?

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Cover Love

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The Week: 23rd – 29th January

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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

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Kissing or Hitting…?

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100 Objects – Victorian Tea Set

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Is there ever a point?

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This Disturbing Book Cover…

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The Week: 2nd – 8th January

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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My review of The Workhouse Children by Lindsey Hutchinson

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Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

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Cover Love

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