Curious Zelda in a Book!

Curious Zelda The Cat

There are plenty of people who try to make their pets “social media famous”, but few are as fantastic as Curious Zelda, the black and white cat from London. Owner Matt Taghioff runs a funny and clever Twitter account, and it has got publishers’ attention.

It has now been announced that Zelda is going to have her own book. Unfortunately it won’t be out in time for this Christmas, but will be released in 2019.

International Cat Day

The 8th of August each year is International Cat Day.

Cats appear as side characters in plenty of books, from the companion of bookish heroine Amy in Toni Blake’s Willow Springs, to the kittens (and, later, grown cats) in Anne Gracie’s Chance Sisters series, to the stray that moves himself into Lucas Maxfield’s apartment in Easy and Breakable, to those in Beatrix Hathaway’s menagerie in Lisa Kleypas’ Love in the Afternoon.

So, celebrate the day with a book with cats in it!

By the way, the cats at the top are gorgeous stray Jemima, who moved herself into my late-grandmother’s shed in 2014, and two of her three kittens: grey scaredy cat Charlie, who was terrified of everything, and his smaller sister Pheobe, who looked after him (she’s hugging him!). It was lucky we found a home for the two kittens to go to together.

This Cover…

I’m not into “hot firefighter poses with insert-cute-thing-here” images. Not on calendars. Not on book covers.

However… The other day I downloaded this book to review without even reading what it was about because of the cat.

I’ll be starting In Love with the Firefighter soon. The cat had better be a big part of the book!

In Love with the Firefighter (Cape Pursuit Firefighters #1) by Amie Denman

The Week: 16th – 21st April

Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Sonya Heaney 20th April 2018 Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Blue Sky Sunny Afternoon Autumn Heatwave Garden Nature

Blue skies, summer temperatures, and autumn colours in Canberra this week.

This has been a beautiful week, weather-wise. Why we’re still having summer temperatures when it’s almost winter is very confusing!

We went out to lunch on Saturday (fantastic Spanish restaurant!), and we knew there was going to be back burning in the centre of Canberra, but we weren’t quite prepared to be driving past active burns RIGHT NEXT TO Federal Parliament and the US embassy! I don’t have a proper picture, but here is one from later that afternoon. You can see a sole fire engine on the right, but a few hours earlier the whole place was full of flames and fire engines with lights etc.

The Russian authorities have been making a joke out of everything they’ve done recently. This week they tortured several Crimean Tartars to death. Don’t expect to see it on the Western news…

They’re turning the Novichok assassination attempts in England into a joke, and they now have a food brand named after the poison (“Новичок” is the Cyrillic spelling for the nerve agent – it’s on the labels on the bottles here). And I’d love to know why people think the hammer and sickle symbol tens of millions died under is okay. Imagine if they used the swastika.

This week Twitter *finally* banned Russia’s Kaspersky from advertising on their site. Several years ago I had awkward conversations with young men working at computer shops (JB Hi-Fi – I’m giving you the side-eye!). They were all told to push customers to buy Russian internet security, and I got dirty looks and muttered comments when I told them that – under no circumstances – would I buy Russian-branded security software.

Now, of course, everyone says it. But I am so freaking tired of people refusing to listen to Ukrainians. It’s only been since America and England were touched by Russian misbehaviour that people stopped thinking I was discriminatory and alarmist. It breaks my heart how little everyone listens to people who KNOW.

Recommended Book: The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

The Road to Unfreedom Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

Coming Soon from Theresa Romain

Lady Rogue (The Roguish Runners Duo #1) by Theresa Romain

Cover Love

Lady Eleanor's Seventh Suitor (The Sutherland Sisters #1) by Anna Bradley

My review of How Do Cats Do That?: Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do by Peter Scottsdale

How Do Cats Do That Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do by Peter Scottsdale

Getting Back on Track

Marry in Scandal (Convenient Marriage series #2) by Anne Gracie

Nineteen Years

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How Do Cats Do That?: Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do by Peter Scottsdale

How Do Cats Do That Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do by Peter Scottsdale

How Do Cats Do That?: Discover How Cats Do The Amazing Things They Do by Peter Scottsdale

It was 1am. I was looking for a book to read. Instead of something in the realm of fiction for grownups, I saw the crazy cat on the cover of How Do Cats Do That? and downloaded this book instead.

Written in simple language in order to appeal to all ages, the book does exactly what you’d expect: it explains everything you would want to know about cats and their behaviour.

After having a gazillion stray cats turn up in my life in recent years, I’ve already read everything I could find about this particular topic, but this is a good summary for people who need to know a lot about cats in a hurry.

A quick, easy read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Misty – and the end she didn’t deserve

Ricky the Cat Sonay Heaney Oksana Heaney 9th June 2017 Fluffball Tabby Calico Cute

This isn’t the blog post I meant to put up today, but here it is anyway.

Misty, the neighbour’s cat, who would have been twenty this year, died this past week. This is the cat who I singlehandedly nursed back to living after she had a stroke last year, sleeping on the couch with her for a week when the neighbour was away. This is the cat who lived over here most of the time, pretty much only going home to eat, as the neighbour was hardly ever around. This is the cat who had her own set of cat bowls, a special blanket, and a brush for her here.

She didn’t die the peaceful death in her sleep she deserved.

No. She was killed by one of the neighbour’s son’s bullmastiffs. She was so old she’d gone blind and deaf. She didn’t have a hope against a dog I know from personal experience has no business living around people or other animals.

When your dogs are so dangerous you have to put warning signs up everywhere, it’s time to rethink your priorities.

Blind Calico Cat Canberra Australia 26th May 2017 Sonya Heaney Cute 1

I am fed up with dangerous dog apologists, whose chant of don’t blame the dogs, blame the owners sounds too freaking much like gun apologists’ guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Both are ridiculous statements that get people and animals hurt.

Guns DO kill people, and vicious dogs DO kill people and pets. Just recently a woman here was killed by her own pit bull. And Misty, who this dog had known her whole life, is the latest victim of people picking dogs for penis enhancement instead of pets.

Bubbles’ Tale – One Cat’s Story of a Forever Home by Colleen Sheehan

Bubbles' Tale - One Cat's Story of a Forever Home by Colleen Sheehan

Life is tough when you are a little stray kitten. Bubbles, a beautiful black and white cat, shares the antics, challenges and fun in her life that make her part of the eternal cat story. After being abandoned as a kitten, this little stray persists until she finds her forever home.
This brave little warrior diligently keeps her chosen helper happy, protects her boundaries, and faces her fears. Ensuring that there are lots of brushes and naps along the way, she never gives up. Her optimistic approach to life and the love in her heart touches all who meet her.

Bubbles’ Tale – One Cat’s Story of a Forever Home by Colleen Sheehan

This was an odd book choice for me – and this blog – but it was short, and about cats! I read it while spending the better part of a week caring for the neighbour’s gravely ill cat, and it seemed like a good choice to read while I was napping on the couch and not having a chance to concentrate on a longer book.

A memoir, but from the author’s(?) cat’s point of view, this is definitely one for younger readers – or to be read with younger readers. It’s a fast read, humanises the cat, and… Well, it is what it is.

I’d say it is the sort of book families who are considering getting a cat might choose.

Clearly written with love, this simply-written personal little story is also one for cat lovers who can identify with the different stages of a pet’s life.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 23rd – 29th October

Misty the Cat Sonya Heaney Spring Flowers 26th October 2017

This week has been stressful and upsetting as I spent it trying – and succeeding – to keep the neighbour’s cat alive after she had a stroke while visiting us on Sunday night.

What we didn’t initially know was that the neighbour was in Queensland for the better part of a fortnight (the son of another neighbour was being paid to feed her). We went to his door with her just after 2am, and then tried again at 6:30am.

When we found out where he was I spent Sunday night to Friday morning with her, sleeping on the couch while she slept on the rug (because she kept falling off everything), giving her water through a dropper thingy, trying to get her to move again…

She improved a lot, but now – and she is back visiting for hours a day instead of living here full-time – she has lost her purr. She used to purr more loudly than any cat I’ve ever met before, and now she is eerily silent. She also sleeps a lot more.

The picture above was from Thursday, when we got her outside for a few minutes.

She is already so old she has gone blind and deaf, and I was given permission to have her put down, but there’s no way I could have done that unless she was really suffering. There I was, on the floor with her, crying buckets on Sunday and Monday…!!

She spends so much time here I sort of feel she is as much my cat these days (as I type this she is back here, napping next to me).

Also: another possum has moved into the tree just over a metre from my bedroom window. Hearing Exorcist screams all night (possums are cute, but terrifying!) is not much fun…

Enlighten Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th March 2017 National Library of Australia Canberra Women's History Reflection Night

This week Lonely Planet named Canberra the third best place in the world to visit in 2018. I agree – I love this city. However, the nasty newspapers in other cities here will be churning out editorials insulting us (it’s a favourite Australian pastime to insult the national capital). Australians are weird like that. It’s like each state and territory is a different country instead of being part of the same one.

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They also named Seville #1 – and I also agree. It is my favourite city in the entire world, and I’ve spent anything from a week to a month there at a time on many visits over the years, including a ten-day visit only a couple of months ago. I hope it doesn’t now get totally ruined by touts and illegal traders and tour groups like Barcelona etc.

R.I.P. Miranda Neville

Frances Mallary

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Out Next Week

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Amazon’s Forums Now Closed

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Buffy for Halloween

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Colouring Book Cover

Tiny Bookcase

Paper Art - Miniature Library with tiny books - Diorama

Goodbye, 2016.

Good stuff first, because when I get to thinking back on the year I realise I was sick or injured for much of 2016 (more of that near the end), and unfortunately Putin and Trump still exist!

One good thing: I did quite a lot of travel this year, both nationally and internationally.

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One of the houses we rented in Southern Italy. Having breakfast and then evening swims there, on a massive property just for us…? A definite highlight of my travels in recent years. Especially after two months of being sick and injured!

Cool things happened, like the fact we accidentally ended up in Spello in Italy during one of the country’s most famous festivals – the Infiorate, where they decorate the entire town with flower petal designs, and well over a hundred-thousand people attend. And we were there by accident, staying in a building that is actually a tourist attraction and part of the event (we didn’t know that when we booked, either!). So odd to be eating breakfast and having tourists coming in with their cameras!

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Beautiful Lviv, Ukraine. What a pity I was extremely sick for this whole visit!

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Hanging out with soldiers in Lviv. They were on a few days’ leave from the war for Easter, and then heading straight back to the warzone. It’s Ukrainian Easter, as you can see by the giant Easter egg in front of the Opera House!

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Memorials to Ukrainians killed by pro-Russian and actual Russian snipers in the 2013-2014 revolution in Kyiv. The snipers were above the big clock on the ground, and near those trees, and they shot dozens of unarmed civilians.

Building the memorial to the Ukrainians killed by pro-russian and russian dsnipers in Kyiv. Sonya Heaney OKsana. 2016.

More memorials to the dead (it is just being set up in this picture; the Canadian Prime Minister visited soon after). There were also snipers in the hotel on the right of the picture. The brown, wooden, traditional Ukrainian church at the back of the picture is new – part of the memorial – and they had a collection for the war.

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Plus, Ukraine shocked everyone and won Eurovision while I was in Kyiv – which means Moscow is VERY upset and threatening a boycott for 2017. The winner is a Crimean Tatar who absolutely considers herself Ukrainian.

And literal cool stuff happened: Europe had a shocking summer, which meant we got snow both in our month in Ukraine AND in our month in Italy. It was an interesting “summer” trip!

Rex

Gorgeous, SOFT Rex. I miss him very much!

As I seem to every year now, I had some unexpected animal experiences. Rex and Trixie, two gorgeous cats, moved in next door to be looked after by our neighbours for a year, and for months there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t wake up with Rex sleeping on top of me (the strangest one was being sound asleep and dreaming about something weird and heavy on my stomach, only to lift the covers and find someone else’s cat sound asleep there!).

Rex Burmese Cat Cute

You can literally SEE how soft he is!

I’ve spent the past few years looking after stray cats – and now these cats – but I’m still yet to have a cat of my own. It would be irresponsible when we travel so much.

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Of course, there were also all our crazy native, wild birds who adopt us every spring and summer. Australian magpies (not the same birds as magpies overseas) live for two to three decades, and they think we are part of their family. If I leave my bedroom curtains open they stand there and stare and sing and bash their beaks on the window at me from about 5:30am, to try and get me up to give them a snack.

And – despite all the racism and anti-immigration sentiment in the world at the moment – my cousin’s Turkish fiancé was granted his Australian residency, which meant they could finally marry.

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

Hanging out after the wedding on Sydney Harbour (duh!). Me, my mother, and one of my aunts.

Even if most elections in the world (USA, Brexit, and Australia’s federal election, for example) all took a sharp turn to the extremist, far-right, at least here in Canberra we voted for sanity and progression. There don’t seem to be many places left in the world where that is the case. It’s the 1930s again, with the fascist attitudes just before the Second World War on the rise again, and nobody seeming to care.

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Me being excited and taking a BAD picture of the TV on Canberra’s election night.

Here, the “Liberal” Party is actually our right-wing, conservative party. Our country is weird. And we spell it “Labor” instead of Labour because more than a century ago some US politician came here and told us we have to use American English if we want to be progressive. And so we did…

Andrew Barr is one of the few openly gay political leaders… well, anywhere, as far as I know. I am proud to be from Canberra when most of Australia is so fascist these days.

I AM thoroughly tired of voting, however. It is compulsory here, and so I have been voting, or been spammed by politics, all year. Even on our trip to Italy they were campaigning for the local elections, and I got caught up in it!

Now, the BAD stuff…

People have called 2016 “the worst year ever”, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. It was a terrible year for people in English-speaking countries who aren’t fans of fascism, but for the people really suffering in the world at the moment, it all began long before this year. The war in Syria has been going a long time. Russia invaded Ukraine 2.5 years ago, and there were already millions of refugees (including in my own family) long before the year began. It’s old news now, but people never care until it is all about THEM, and 2016 was the year bad stuff touched the countries people consider to “matter”.

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However, what a frightening year! I’m thoroughly sick of the whole topic of Trump, Putin and all their cronies. People are becoming more misogynistic, bigoted, and racist. People are becoming more selfish, and care nothing at all for anybody beyond their own countries’ borders.

But hey – I’ve been saying that for years!

Norcia Italy Sonya Oksana Heaney June 2016

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Poor Norcia, before and after earthquakes. It is one of my favourite places in the world, and now it is destroyed (the top picture is mine, from June this year.)

What makes me sad about 2016 is the destruction. The natural disasters. I am starting to think I’m a curse on famous landmarks around the world. I was in Christchurch in New Zealand right before the city was destroyed in an earthquake. Before that, (though this one isn’t a natural disaster), I was living in Korea right before a madman burnt down their most famous landmark, the Namdaemun gate, a place I visited about every second weekend.

And now? All those earthquakes that destroyed the centre of Italy happened in all the places I visited this year.

2016 wasn’t all bad, but it seems as though my months in Ukraine and Italy happened years ago, not months ago. My family in Ukraine is suffering very badly, and the older ladies in the family are sick or have just died. The Russian invasion continues.

The more I think about it, the more I remember I was badly sick and/or injured for almost the whole year, from a dislocated knee in Sydney, to a broken hand in Italy, to a ruptured eardrum that left me deaf for the whole month I was in Ukraine, to a terrible disease (the Kremlin is importing illnesses into Ukraine as part of their warfare), where I literally could not speak AT ALL for weeks – that made meeting strangers fun (and at a few points it was incredibly embarrassing)! Plus, I had some painful eye problems (my eyesight is so weak, and my contact lens prescription so strong, that optometrists just about have a heart attack every time I go to a new person). Then on top of all of that I’ve started eating a gluten-free diet because I was becoming nauseous and faint from eating like a regular person. I miss all my favourite foods and drinks!

What a mess! I sound like a drama queen…

I guess the best word to describe 2016 is “dramatic”. Or maybe even “melodramatic”. I think we all learnt a few upsetting, hard truths about our fellow humans. From the neo-Nazi murdering Jo Cox – and it still not having any influence over the Brexit result, to the Russian football hooligans who went on violent and murderous rampages in France, to the terror attacks pretty much everywhere, to the fact so many millions of Americans who disrespect women so much they voted for “grab her by the pussy”, this year we learnt that the average human being isn’t as decent as we’d hoped they were.

I’d like to say 2017 will be better, but I’m not so sure about that… I do wonder where all these monsters are, however. Because, from the people I see regularly at my favourite cafés and bars, to the American tourists I met in Italy who are ashamed of Trump (including those from Republican states), I seem to mostly meet decent people. Where is this silent majority ruining it for the rest of us??