The Week: 1st – 7th August

Winter Sunset Caberra Australia Sonya Heaney 3rd August 2016 Sky Clouds Nature

Wednesday evening sunset.

I will be in Sydney to attend my cousin’s wedding when this post goes up, but I will add to it when I get home.


Okay, so I’m home after a few days in Sydney. 🙂 I am going to share a bunch of pictures from the last few days. My cousin, who is eight years older than me, married a (Turkish) man she met in Turkey a few years ago. The ordeal of getting visas, crossing religions (she is Catholic; he is Muslim) etc…

It was an outdoor (in cold, rainy winter!) wedding, where dogs took part in the ceremony. My whole weekend was “animal-y”. We rented a house in Rozelle, and it came with a cat and a tank of fish. Another cat came visiting. My cousin’s dog was the “bridesmaid”! I got home this afternoon with cat scratches and a blood blister from a totally accidental dog bite on my hand (that’s what happens when you spend an hour wrestling with a Staffie!). But I loved every moment. 🙂

We stopped at Berrima on the way home, and had lunch at the oldest pub in Australia. I love Berrima so much, and always want to stop there when we’re on the highway. It’s a very early convict town, and pretty much every building there is pre-Victorian or early Victorian.

Rio results.

So – for about five minutes – Australia is at the top of the Olympic medal table. I said I’m not watching the Olympics – and I’m not – but we’ve been so bad at sport recently, this is nice news.

Rio 2016 Men's Gymnastics

Also – congratulations to Oleh (I am so freaking sick of everyone translating the Cyrillic alphabet from Russian – many countries use it, and in Ukrainian “G” = “H”!) from Ukraine for qualifying first for the men’s gymnastics final. He won’t win – gymnastics is so unpredictable, and I am being pessimistic and saying that on the day someone else will win. I want him to, but I don’t want to curse him!

Sonya and Billy the huge cat. Sydney Australia 5th August 2016.Erol and Nadia's Wedding. 6th August 2016.

Me + cat. Bride and groom.



My cousins.

Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Mia Jacyshyn Nadia's Wedding. Sydney Australia 6th August 2016.

Me (looking enormous for some reason!), my mother, one of my aunts. Plus the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 🙂

Billy the cat waiting for us. Sydney Australia 5th August 2016.

The house we rented – with cat waiting for us!

Billy the cat. Sydney Australia 5th August 2016.Cute half-grown ginger cat. Sydney Australia 5th August 2016..

Cats everywhere!


Dogs everywhere! That idiot black dog spent the entire ceremony toting branches around. In that picture they’re exchanging rings, but Hugo decided it was time for a game. 🙂  He’s so nice, but also so ridiculous! He is the one who gave me the blood blister. My fault – not his.

Can Cinderella stories still work?

The Cinderella Governess (The Governess Tales #1) by Georgie Lee

Disney’s Newest Movie



Anne Gracie Chance Sisters Series Covers

National Underwear Day

build your own Harlequin hero

My review of Miss Morrison’s Second Chance by Janis Susan May

Miss Morrison's Second Chance by Janis Susan May

My review of The Ballerina’s Stand (A Chair at the Hawkins Table #4) by Angel Smits

The Ballerina's Stand (A Chair at the Hawkins Table #4) by Angel Smits

The Ballerina’s Stand (A Chair at the Hawkins Table #4) by Angel Smits

The Ballerina's Stand (A Chair at the Hawkins Table #4) by Angel Smits

Love reaches far beyond words 

When she was growing up, a deaf child in foster care, dancing gave Lauren Ramsey a sense of belonging. Now she’s a prima ballerina with her own dance studio; everything’s finally going right. And then lawyer Jason Hawkins turns up and drops a bombshell: Lauren’s unknown father has left her a fortune. Well, Jason can take that money and shove it. Except…he can’t. Once he sees Lauren dancing, he can’t stay away…

The Ballerina’s Stand (A Chair at the Hawkins Table #4) by Angel Smits

If this had been a book about a former dancer-turned social worker, I think this would be close to a five-star read. The author clearly knows social work, and has clearly done a HUGE amount of research into sign language and the day-to-day issues a deaf person faces. I didn’t know how she was going to have a hearing hero who doesn’t know how to sign with a deaf heroine, but she pulled it off.

However, the book shows a lack of understanding of the sacrifice, dedication, and time it takes to be a professional dancer or athlete, which ultimately meant I could not love it.

The good? Heaps of it, if you forget the heroine is supposed to be an international ballet star.

The author finds a perfect balance in the communication. She creates a hero who cares enough to enrol in sign language lessons. He considers the obstacles, is frustrated by them, but is determined. It really makes you think, and makes you aware of all the different little ways a deaf person lives on a day to day basis.

She then adds layer upon layer of complications, giving the heroine an injury that totally takes away her ability to communicate, which terrifies her. She raises the stakes so well, and throws so many obstacles in her characters’ paths, but it never feels melodramatic. (Though sex straight out of the emergency room seems a little unlikely.)

She also makes use of so many different kinds of people, adding all sorts of diversity without making it preachy.

And it is always really nice to come across a hero who is a genuinely decent guy. He has fallen into this serious relationship before he even realises what has happened.

My problem with the book is this: the alleged world famous ballerina heroine NEVER trains!

Ballet is more than a full-time job. You dance from 10:30am to 10:30pm SIX DAYS A WEEK. And you do not do it on your own. You go to work the way other people go to the office (but put in double or triple the hours). You sign in at your “office”. You take company class in the mornings, rehearse with the company through to the evening, and then dance onstage with the company at night. You have teachers and coaches, whether you’re five or fifty-five.

And in between those dozens and dozens of hours of hard work there are costume fittings and photo shoots and media calls to attend, Pilates classes to take, physiotherapy appointments.

The hero  of this book was always working, but the heroine never did a thing. She spends the entire book meeting people for lunches, and hanging out with foster kids, and teaching children, and running her own business. Not once does she have anything to do with the ballet company she allegedly dances for.

Start this video at 1:40 to begin to get an idea of what it takes:

A day in the life of a principal dancer:

This book’s heroine goes weeks at a time without checking in at work! Nobody can do that, no matter how easy or mundane their job. She would always be considering her health, her diet and her fitness. You’re straight out of hospital? On crutches? Dying? Nine months pregnant? You still go into the company studio, and you still train for hours.

There are plenty of little mistakes about ballet throughout (little children don’t dance en pointe, and nobody has danced on a wooden stage for decades). A ballet career certainly doesn’t end at twenty-five, as implied here. Most of the ballet stars in the world today are over thirty.

Ultimately, this is a very good book about a lawyer and a *social worker*, not a book about a lawyer and a ballet dancer. I wish someone who knew the ballet world had given this a proofread, because it could have been a much more believable book.

The Week: 18th – 24th July

Kingston Foreshore Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 17th July 2016 21

On the lake in Canberra late Sunday afternoon.

Canberra Lake Burley Griffin 23rd July 2016 Australia Winter Nature Sun Sonya Heaney.

And driving over Lake Burley Griffin yesterday afternoon.

I have been reading for fun in the past week or so, and loving it. There are times when the review books I get are amazingly good, and other times I find myself thinking reading is homework! So I’ve bought some books and am rereading some favourites, including books by Toni Blake and Lisa Kleypas. I also picked up books by new-to-me authors Janice Preston and Angel Smits.

The aeroplane that landed with no fuel, no engines and no power.

On the 23rd of July, 1983 Air Canada flight 143 landed on a racing track in Gimli, Manitoba after experiencing both a fuel shortage and the failure of both engines.

‘London’s most expensive apartment’ on sale for a cool ÂŁ150 million in Admiralty Arch

'London's most expensive apartment' on sale for for a cool ÂŁ150 million in Admiralty Arch

Another week of terrible news in the world. I’m sure everyone’s talking about Munich (HOW many attacks will they get in the space of a few days?) – my aunt was just there.

My The World Is Terrifying rant of the week:  How about Trump all but announcing he won’t fulfil America’s NATO obligations, and will essentially let Putin invade NATO countries?! (He already supports the invasion of Ukraine, but this is the first time most people paid attention to that fact.)

Something that won’t make the news is the car bomb assassination of a Belarusian journalist who lived in Ukraine and wrote against Putin, and other violent Russian/pro-Russian attacks on Ukrainian journalists in Kyiv.

Trump supports Putin

This needed to be reinforced:

Photo souvenir gladiators who work at Rome’s top tourist attractions have been banned by the city’s new mayor

Photo souvenir gladiators who work at Rome's top tourist attractions have been banned by the city's new mayor.

The Unofficial Top of Summer

So glad people are FINALLY acknowledging that those “peasant tops” everyone has been wearing for a few years are actually Ukrainian designs! Some brands (cough-Valentino-cough) were actually using traditional Ukrainian and Belarusian patterns, and not acknowledging it!

Ukrainian tops in fashion.

The RITA Awards

Romance Writers of America (RWA) announced the winners of the 2016 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards on July 16 in San Diego, California.

Book Cover Trends: The Man Holding Stuff

Rock Solid by Samantha Hunter

My review of Sawyer’s Rose (The McCades Of Cheyenne #1) by Kim Turner

Sawyer's Rose (The McCades Of Cheyenne #1) by Kim Turner

 My review of Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt