The Week: 24th – 30th July

Monday sunshine in Canberra

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Thredbo landslide. I remember the aftermath of the disaster very clearly, and all the media attention surrounding it. Because people tend to pass through Canberra to get to the Snowy Mountains, it had quite an impact around here.

My review of A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante by Laura Martin

A Repost

This Book!

Cover Love


Just Because

The world has been revolting this week. I was supposed to finish and review a couple of books yesterday – I didn’t. So, instead, here is the ten-year (sort of) anniversary of Ukraine’s fantastically crazy 2007 Eurovision performance.

Fun fact: I was in Helsinki in Finland that year, attending Eurovision! You can actually see me standing with my brother in the live broadcast (not this video; we were up close in the telecast that ran that night.).

The Week: 17th – 23rd July

Gorgeous Sunny Winter Afternoon Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 17th July 2017 Garden Nature Gum Tree

Gorgeous Sunny Winter Afternoon Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 17th July 2017 Garden Nature

Winter sunshine in Canberra on Monday afternoon.

This week marked the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death.

Three years since MH17 was shot down.

There was another major service at the Ukrainian Orthodox church in Canberra on Saturday, with more ambassadors attending than three years ago (now more countries are worried about the threat from Moscow).

Canberra MH17 Service 26th July 2014

Congratulations to Canberra cyclist Michael Matthews for continuing to win stages in the Tour de France. He is not only from this city, but also from my high school, as was Michael Rogers, former Tour star of my generation, as well as a world champion in the sport. Despite almost zero funding for our public high school from the Federal Government, Melrose High kids achieve things! I doubt there’s any other school in the world that has produced TWO Tour stars. Forgive me for my pride. 🙂 🙂

Devastating news about John McCain’s cancer diagnosis this week. US politics has become so polarised that both the far-left and the far-right are losing their minds, and in the midst of it all you had a decent man who stood up for a lot of things I believe in, even though I’m not on his side of politics. He is one of the ONLY Republicans to have ever stood up against Russian aggression and meddling, and for this alone he’d have had my respect. He stood up for Ukraine from the beginning of this horrific, current war the rest of his party no longer cares about, and has even gone to the frontlines to visit the troops. However, even before then he had my respect on most things, and had a decency to his politics that is sorely missing in the 2010s.

My review of The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean

Jane Austen around the world.

TV Adaptation for Sylvia Day

Beverly Jenkins Launches GoFundMe to Bring Novel to the Big Screen

Three Years

Today marks three years since Russia shot down flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Above is a news photo of the Australian service for the event, which was held by the Ukrainian community in Canberra, with embassy staff (USA, Malaysia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Georgia, Romania and so on) and state and federal politicians attending. To the left of the picture are the Ukrainian vice consul and the Dutch ambassador, who were two of the many speakers at the service. (I was behind the vice consul, but Mykola is a big guy, and you can’t see me…)

Dozens of Australians were on the flight, and were killed.

HERE is powerful piece from the American lawyer representing families of Australian, New Zealander, Dutch and Malaysian victims in their case against Vladimir Putin.

The war rages on, and perhaps the media will remind people of that fact as we mark the anniversary of this stupid, senseless disaster.


I’m just going to leave this here…

'On brand' Helen Dale accused of plagiarising tweets

‘On brand’ Helen Dale accused of plagiarising tweets

My scheduled book review has been moved to tomorrow, because I want to share this story!

A couple of decades ago, a woman masquerading as a Ukrainian published a book that became an overnight sensation, a multi-award-winning book that allegedly was a mostly-true story about Ukraine in the Second World War, based on “her family history”.

It was all fake. The woman’s family is 100% British, and her parading around in traditional Ukrainian dress, with a fake Ukrainian name, was such an offensive, gross appropriation of a culture.

Her real – non-Ukrainian – name was eventually revealed to the press, and her lies about all Ukrainians being Nazis crumbled around her.

However, a lot of damage was already done (I tried to discuss this at university a few years later, and got attacked by a know-it-all Anglo-Australian man who’d done his thesis on this particular book – and believed every word of it). The Kremlin has been running that particular Nazi propaganda line since WW2 began.

For the record: Unlike many of its neighbours, Ukraine NEVER collaborated with Nazi Germany.

My grandmother was taken by the Nazis in their invasion of Ukraine in Operation Barbarossa in 1941. She was taken to Germany, stripped naked, hosed down, and literally sold on a slave market. She was a teenager at the time, and ended up trapped in Germany for eight years.

My grandfather – a resistance fighter against both Russia AND Germany – was finally captured by the Nazis in 1944, beaten badly, and put on a train to a concentration camp. He and a friend managed to escape, and spent the rest of the war in hiding in record-low temperatures. His health issues from that time killed him early. I never met him.

Because America dominates the media, everyone (especially younger people who live on sites like Tumblr) see cultural and race relations *only* as how they relate to the United States. This is dangerous – and WRONG. Every part of the world has different, specific issues.

Everyone forgets the hate crimes being committed against Eastern Europeans on a daily basis in Britain (one of the main reasons for Brexit was to keep us out!). The ethnic cleansing in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine happening *right now*. The Holodomor. The way my non-Ukrainian relatives still refer to us by the racial slur “wogs” (I was told recently that “wogs” shouldn’t be allowed to finish school, because we might bring the scores down!).

I’m glad this horrendous author is in trouble for something else. If she’d slandered another ethnic group the way she’d slandered Ukrainians, she’d be hated a great deal more than she is.

To Australians (and everyone else!): what not to do this weekend.

Oliver Stone illegally hanging out with one of the world’s most wanted men.

Please don’t watch Oliver Stone’s pro-Putin propaganda “documentary” that is starting in Australia this weekend (and I believe is on about the same time in other countries). Please just don’t.

It is no different to watching and supporting a film praising Hitler.

And, for the love of God, don’t become one of those authors who watches the well-crafted lies, gets all turned around, and recommends Stone’s propaganda to their substantial fanbase on Facebook!!

Stone is a Western mouthpiece for the Kremlin, and has close family connections to Moscow propaganda network “RT News” – previously known as Russia Today, but they don’t want you to remember that.

(By the way, it’d be nice if authors stopped sharing RT stories on Twitter and Facebook – just because it’s in English and comes up on top of search results doesn’t mean it’s safe, or *true*.).

RT is already illegal in some countries because it spreads dangerous lies.

There’s heaps to do on a Sunday. But watching this nonsense about Putin should not be one of them. It’s immoral, and SBS TV – allegedly Australia’s champion for truth and justice and human rights – should be ashamed for allowing it on their station. Despite years of campaigning by the Ukrainian community, they also refuse to remove RT News – with its endless fake news stories about Ukrainians crucifying Russian babies and flying swastikas in the streets – from their network.

Read a book. Have a glass of wine or four. SLEEP!! But please have some morals this weekend and boycott SBS.

The Week: 29th May – 4th June

Driving past Australian Parliament on Saturday afternoon (taken from the back seat of the car). Canberra’s winter has a lot of sunshine!

First day of winter in Canberra.

A colourful last day of autumn on Wednesday.

Above is our neighbour’s ancient, blind, deaf cat this week. For some reason she has just now (at nearly nineteen years of age – in her nineties as a human) decided to move into our house. The problem is, her blindness means she often misses our back door and instead sits there and stares at the brick wall! We had to put a mat out for her because she sits there for hours…

In five days I went from frightening her at every turn, to patting her for the first time, to – on Friday – having her walk into the house, climb on top of me, and settle in for the evening. I felt a bit triumphant to gain the trust of such an unlikely cat.

We began winter with some gorgeous weather, but I’m terrified it’s already June!

So much – not all of it good, some of it hilarious – happened this week.

UPDATE: Yet another terror attack in Britain. 😦 😦

Yesterday Russia deployed 60 000 MORE troops to Crimea. Something else for everyone to ignore. People talk about how bad it was people ignored Hitler, but when Hitler started wars, the world started reacting. Putin has been invading countries for a decade now.

My cousin’s house burnt down – I kid you not. It made the news, and because it’s in the country and he was in Sydney it makes it all so much more difficult to deal with.

The ridiculous thing is that he was renting it out, and the renters basically blew it up by putting embers in a bin near the gas and electricity. However, there aren’t many laws protecting landlords from their tenants’ idiotic behaviour, so this is going to be costly for the innocent party in this mess.

Olivia Newton-John announced she has cancer again. My mother did costume work for one of her tours a few years ago, and apparently she is one of the most genuine, normal, nice celebrities behind the scenes.


Winter Reads

Thought for the end of the week.

My review of When to Engage an Earl (Spinster House #3) by Sally MacKenzie

My review of The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

My review of What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing #1) by Robyn Carr

Nice Hat!