The Week: 26th February – 4th March

The National Library of Australia in Canberra last night, on the first night of the Enlighten festival. It was a gorgeous night, and I have never seen crowds like this at the event before.

Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery near Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 28th February 2018 Blue Sky end of Summer

Visiting my grandparents’ graves on the last day of summer.

Kangaroos Queanbeyn Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 28th February 2018

Canberra’s kangaroo plague – a blurry picture from the car window!

Summer ended this week, but the temperatures haven’t dropped. Many people say autumn is the best season in Canberra – warm, but not too hot, and with all the autumn colours.

I cannot believe all the snow in Venice. this time a year ago we were sitting out in the piazzas in the sunshine, drinking wine. What a difference!

Russia Annexes Crimea Ukraine 2014 little-green-men russian special forces

This week marked the fourth anniversary of Russian Special Forces invading and overtaking Ukraine’s Crimea. Putin waited until his showcase event – the Sochi Olympics – was done, and then sent his troops in. Four years now, and the Crimean Tartars are experiencing the sort of persecution they suffered under Stalin, and the Russians are pulling down historic palaces on the peninsula.

My review of Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

50th Anniversary of Romeo and Juliet

Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet 1968

The Flooded Library

 The RUC at Turner was drenched in floodwater on Sunday Canberra Flood 25th February 2018

Release Day for Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

The Week: 3rd – 9th April


Driving from Queanbeyan to Canberra on Thursday afternoon. A few hours later there was a terror attack in Queanbeyan, and this road was the one the attackers used to escape interstate (the state border is at the rise up ahead on the road). Now I’ll always think of that when I see this gorgeous picture.

More of that lower in this post.


Visiting the Treasures of Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery yesterday. Canberra has had an exclusive exhibition from Versailles for a few months now (including stuff like Marie Antoinette’s harp and Madame de Pompadour’s furniture), but because I was overseas I didn’t get there until this weekend. We actually tried to visit last week, but it was so busy everywhere we couldn’t even find a place to park! Yesterday the queue to get into the exhibition was so long it ran the entire length of the building, but we were determined to visit! It ends next week.

Dropping my brother home in the city yesterday afternoon.

Gorgeous, sunny autumn afternoon.

Parrots everywhere in Canberra now the autumn berries are coming out.

There was an Islamic State-inspired terror attack here overnight from Thursday to Friday this week. Of course – because nothing makes the news unless it happens in Sydney or Melbourne – it was barely reported.

The details of it are appalling, and I won’t go into them, but two teenaged boys went on a fourteen-hour rampage. The final stabbing happened on my aunt’s street, a few metres from her front door – it could have been her.

The house one of the attackers lived in and that was raided by police is a few doors from the house my grandmother lived in until she died in 2015. The murder at the service station happened close to where I’d met people for lunch a few hours earlier, and near our Ukrainian hall. The two guys were caught across the border here in Canberra, a few streets from my house, on a road I’d been down twice that day.

Literally every location a crime was committed during the rampage was somewhere I’d been on Thursday, and also somewhere I had a personal connection to.

While Canberra is the capital city, Queanbeyan is basically a country town, a small community just over the state border, and it is so shocking that now terrorism can literally happen anywhere.

I’m so angry that it barely made the news, because things only get reported if they happen in “known” cities.

A Visit to Dr Johnson’s House

Meet the ‘Grammar Vigilante’ of Bristol

My review of A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

My review of Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World (Jane Austen Regency Life #2) by Maria Grace

Make a Date with Harlequin – Viking!

Make a Date with Harlequin – Cowboy!

The Week: 26th September – 2nd October


Stormy sky on the way home from Queanbeyan, NSW on Friday afternoon.

We had a public holiday on Monday, and I went out to the pub on Friday, so this seemed like a very short week! We have ANOTHER holiday this coming Monday, too!

I spent the public holiday visiting the Australian War Memorial, and then the Kingston Foreshore. It was a nice (if windy) day, but then the craziness started. South Australia had this freak storm, and the entire state lost power – South Australia is 1.5 times the size of Texas. The tail end of the storm reached us a couple of days later, which meant our Floriade spring festival and night festival had to be closed for a couple of days.

This time last year I was in full summer dress!

Congratulations to my cousin, who danced her final National Irish Dance Championships yesterday, held in Hobart this year.

This article disgusts me. Having been to school through the early John Howard years, where public education was stripped and stripped and stripped of money, to the point they couldn’t even afford to maintain the toilets, and all our textbooks were fifteen years out of date hand-me-downs from the private schools… I’m so angry about this:

Some private schools receive nearly three times the funding they are entitled to

In other countries it’s illegal to use government funding for private education!

That’s my rant for the week!

Australian War Memorial Canberra


Lisa Kleypas’ Upcoming Book

Devil in Spring (2017) (The third book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas

The thirty-second anniversary of…

Ghost of a Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz

My review of Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York


My review of A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski


Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday

1832 portrait of English writer and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65)

The Week: 28th March – 3rd April

Canberra Australia Sunset Sonya Heaney Autumn

One of our (unedited!) sunsets in Canberra this week.

I hope everyone around here remembered about daylight saving! I know it’s easier now with so many devices updating themselves, but it seems every year I hear of a funny mistake!

Apparently we’re not going to have autumn this year. It’s still in the high twenties (Celsius) and the leaves aren’t really changing colour.

I had a dismal reading week this week. So many historical romances I tried to read, but couldn’t cope with; some I could not finish. Maybe that means I’m due for some good books now!

Parliament House Canberra Australia 2nd April 2016 Sonya Heaney Back-Burning..

Smoke over Australian Parliament during fire reduction burns in the city over the weekend.

The entrepreneurs bringing the Great Moscow Circus here – again – have been obscenely spamming the streets with advertising, and paying many people to put huge signs up on their own houses. Whole streets in Canberra and neighbouring Queanbeyan are lined with the things – three signs per house. Sad that people have already forgotten Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and Georgia, and the bombing of civilians in Syria, and the human rights abuses, and the extreme homophobia, and the… you get the picture) and will do anything for a few dollars. Even the house next to my late (Ukrainian) grandmother’s has them.

So some people who will remain unnamed have been adding some things to a few of the signs:

 protest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisementsprotest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisements.

The collapse of the Wisconsin State Capitol

In one of history’s more successful April Fool jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed. 1st April 1933.

One week until One With You

One With You by Sylvia Day

No more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey!

But now it looks like everyone’s love affair with Fifty Shades of Grey is well and truly over.

My review of Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

My review of The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

My review of Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

The Week: 5th – 11th October

Floriade Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 5th October 2015 Purple Flowers Garden Nature

At Floriade on a very hot Monday afternoon.

Qeanbeyan New South Wales Australia Queanbeyan River Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Spring Nature

And on the Queanbeyan River on Friday.

This week started with another public holiday, and we went to the Floriade flower festival and then out to lunch. It was too hot for the flowers, and very hot walking around!

Friday and Saturday we went out to dinner and to various theatre shows. In all, I haven’t achieved all that much this week!

2013 Noosa Long Weekend FestivalMACQUARIE Day 7Tourism Noosa© 2013 Barry Alsop PhotographerEyes Wide Open IMAGES

The show we saw on Saturday night.

On the way back from the theatre (the hugely underrated and spectacularly fantastic Expressions Dance Company’s production) in Queanbeyan on Saturday night, we had to pass my late-grandmother’s house. The new owners have moved in, and apparently don’t have curtains yet.

We were so horrified by what they’ve done to the place we circled back and went past again! Yes, it was stalkerish, and yes, we know we can’t control what they do!

However, the house was built by a bricklayer, with all special, expensive, handmade bricks throughout, and a big feature – REAL – fireplace. It’s all gone, and instead now everything is plastered over, and the lounge room wall now has the biggest flat screen television I’ve ever seen (it must have cost about half the price of the house again!). That’s it. Plastered walls, knocked down walls, covered-up fireplace, and a giant TV playing the football.

Poor Baba. Her house has been ruined!

Release Day for Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

So, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the ten year anniversary of Twilight…

Life and Death Twilight Reimagined (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

Cover Love

Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Jane Austen

My review of A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

My review of A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

The Week: 6th – 12th July

Kangaroos Lawn Cemetery Queanbeyan Australia 11th July 2015 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Winter

Kangaroos Lawn Cemetery Queanbeyan Australia 11th July 2015 1 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Winter

Visiting the cemetery yesterday. The Canberra region has a serious kangaroo plague, and it’s getting worse and worse!

Winter Night Ice Skating Canberra City Australia Civic Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 5th July 2015

Outdoor ice skating in Canberra a few days ago

On Monday the Christmas review books started appearing. Even for review books is this not a little premature??!! All the same, I’ve already started reading them. I guess at least it’s winter here, so all that talk about snow and fires makes a bit of sense.

For some reason I don’t seem to be getting notifications from a lot of sites anymore. For example, no matter how many times I switch my Pinterest notifications back on, I don’t get them! So I’m having a little trouble responding to people all over the internet at the moment…

I seem to be reading a million Western historical books at the moment, and a glance at my review books shows I have another thousand lined up. I have no idea how that happened.

I’ve written multiple times about how racist a significant portion of Anglo Australia is. This week, Australian “legend” Dawn Fraser went to the press with extremely racist comments about the children (not even the actual immigrants) of European and Asian immigrants. This woman lives on the same street as my aunt. The next time I see her…

Apparently “real Australians” are 100% British blood. I wonder what these equal opportunity racists think of Aborigines…

Things that do NOT make your romance heroine better than other women


Clichés of Attraction


Pride and Prejudice Adaptations: BBC’s 1980 Production

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Elizabeth Garvie David Rintoul Elizabeth Bennet Mr Darcy

My review of The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

My review of The Marriage Agreement (Charity House #9) by Renee Ryan

The Marriage Agreement (Charity House #9) by Renee Ryan

My review of Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

The Week: 3rd – 9th November

 Spring Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia 24th October 2014 Sonya Heaney 1

Canberra sunsets in spring = fantastic!

It has been a lesson in the unexpected this week.

A family lunch turned into the discovery of these gorgeous little babies in the shed:

 Kittens Qeanbeyan Australia 2nd November 2014

We have a home for the one at the back definitely, the one on the left probably, but the little one at the front on the right is still on the lookout for someone! If you’re in Queanbeyan or Canberra and want a sweet little cat… They’re about six weeks old, so it will be a few more weeks before they can go.

A lunch date during the week was cancelled because two people were sick.

And then my aunt was at work, had a fall, and needed surgery.

Stalinist parades in Moscow 7th November 2014

Meanwhile, in Moscow this week

 Russian Putin Propaganda in Eastern Ukraine November 2014

Ridiculous Russian propaganda is appearing in invaded parts of Ukraine.

Don’ even get me started on Australian politicians and their wilful ignorance! *cough*Tony Abbott*cough*…

As for books? I accidentally scheduled only historical romance reviews this week! It was a big release week for books in that genre.

My review of To Love and to Cherish by Leigh Greenwood

To Love and to Cherish by Leigh Greenwood

My review of A Rake by Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe

A Rake by Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe

My review of Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek

My review of The Traitor by Grace Burrowes

The Traitor by Grace Burrowes

My review of Madeleine’s Christmas Wish by Ella Quinn

Madeleine's Christmas Wish (The Marriage Game #5.5) by Ella Quinn

The Week: 27th October – 2nd November

Sunset Canberra Australia Halloween 31st October 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

Our gorgeous Canberra Halloween sunset.

When I started typing this, I was going to say: Nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened this week. And then Russian hackers made an appearance in my life again. GRRR!!!!

The weather has been insane. Hot, hot, hot, then windy, windy, windy! Friday was the anniversary of my father’s father’s death, and Saturday was the anniversary of my mother’s father’s death. A trip to the cemetery in Queanbeyan was so windy all our lovely lilies blew over multiple times, and my grandmother was nearly blown away!

 Halloween Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2014

Nobody turned up for Halloween, so I’ve been eating a lot of lollies myself! I’m jealous of my aunt who had dozens of people come by! Some miserable joy-killing Australians are still harping on about, ‘We don’t do that American garbage!’ to which I say: what’s wrong with celebrating so-called “American” things when we celebrate everyone else’s things? I also say: Halloween IS NOT American! And I also say: why do you celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, then??!!

Ronda Spain September 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

Our rooftop in Ronda, Spain.

Still only one of ten postcards I sent (from three or four different cities) from Spain has arrived, after more than a month, and even that one came really late because the Spanish postal service sent it to MALTA instead of Australia! And Spain has more post offices than anywhere I’ve ever been. I love you to death, Spain, but what the hell?? I ordered something from Latvia and it arrived in only a week!

I should have read more this week. I should have typed more this week. It wasn’t a complete waste of a week, but I’m feeling a little unproductive…

My thoughts on Outlander 1×08

Outlander 1x08 Claire and Jamie after the attack Sonya Heaney

My review of Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

My review of The Healer by Allison Butler

The Healer by Allison Butler

My review of Juliet by Anne Fortier

Juliet by Anne Fortier

My review of Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs

Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs

My review of The Rake’s Handbook by Sally Orr

The Rake’s Handbook by Sally Orr

The Week: 30th December – 5th January

Kangaroo Queanbeyan 1st January 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

A visitor in the garden on New Year’s Day!

Well, 2013 is over – THANK GOD! It wasn’t the greatest year for me, that was for sure!

My Best Reads of 2013

The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr is only $1.99 at the moment.

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

A Grosvenor Square Christmas is still free.

A Grosvenor Square Christmas

We had our first look at the Outlander television adaptation.

Outlander Television Miniseries Still Claire and Jamie

My review of Shatter by Joan Swan

Shatter by Joan Swan

My review of The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell

My review of Stolen Chances by Elisabeth Naughton

Stolen Chances by Elisabeth Naughton

My review of Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott

Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott

Church Anniversary

Yesterday St Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Queanbeyan hosted an anniversary lunch. It got into the newspaper, where the stupid journalist took it upon herself to edit my aunt’s “direct quotes”, changing Ukraine to The Ukraine every time.

That is completely wrong everyone! *Never* put The in front!

Anyway, I’m not a hugely religious person, but this is a church my grandfather helped to build, my family donated the chandelier above the altar for, and – like in Ukraine – it’s at the centre of the Ukrainian community.

The service went for a full two hours (marathon church, maybe to make up the fact I never go at other times?), followed by the four hour lunch. So that killed my plans for a 4000-word NaNo writing day!

Here’s a singing Priest! Our priest is cool – ponytail and all. And Ukrainian Catholic priests can marry – that’s his son at the bottom of the picture.

Queanbeyan is practically part of Canberra. Below you can see Black Mountain Tower in the middle of Canberra from the suburbs of Queanbeyan (and from our car!).

And the ACT border – just because the sky looks good!