Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Greece or bust!!




Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Characters I’d Like to go on Vacation With (Pretend you’re going on vacation and can bring 10 of your closest friends with you. Pick your vacation spot and tell us who you’d like to bring! Bonus point if you tell us why. Or maybe you like the idea of traveling in small groups, so plan 10 trips or 5 trips!).

As is my tendency, I am twisting the topic a little bit. I actually started this post for last week's freebie topic but ran out of time to finish the post and then I looked at this week's topic and went....that works!

I do read a lot of books set in France, and quite a lot set in Italy as well, but just recently I have read a couple that were set in Greece, so that is my theme this week - Books Set in Greece.

Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - I really enjoy reading Rebecca Raisin's writing, particularly her descriptions of food, books and locations and this was no exception. (review)

Widows on the Wine Path by Julia Jarman - I read this a couple of weeks ago. A fair portion of the book is set in Greece! (review)

Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot - I have read a couple of books by Mandy Baggot. A lot of her books are set in Greece. (review)

The Forgotten Palace by Alexander Christie - This is a multi timeline story set in Crete. It also tells the story of the minotaur from Greek mythology (review)

The Thread by Victoria Hislop - I  have read several of Victoria Hislop's books and enjoyed them all. (review)

The Maverick's Greek Island Mistress by Kelly Hunter - Ah, those wealthy Greek shipping billionaires who just need a wife! I don't read a lot of Mills and Boon but I will occasionally make an exception for Kelly Hunter.

The Clover House by Henriette Laziridis Power - I read this years ago and had forgotten all about it. (review)

A Greek Island Escape by Kate Frost - I will be reading this in the not too distant future.

The Captive Sun by Irene Karafilly - Another book I read years ago and had forgotten about. (review)

YiaYia by Anastasia Miari - This is a Greek cookbook that I bought earlier this year. I haven't cooked much out of it yet. This was a selection of the Jamie Oliver Cookbook Club.

And it's not just movies. Over the weekend I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. It wasn't a great movie but the scenery was stunning

Have you visited Greece, or have you only visited through the pages of a book like me?

Monday, April 15, 2024

This week....

I'm reading

This week I finished reading Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin, which I really enjoyed. I reviewed this last week. 

I also started and finished Invitation to Italy by Victoria Springfield which I will review later in the week. Lets just say that after finishing this book I might have gently mentioned to my husband that we didn't make it to Procida so maybe we should think about going back to Naples. Don't like my chances anytime soon though.

After a few books set in locations like Italy and Greece, I started reading Making Memories at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash. This is set in Cornwall and is part of the Cornish Cove series. 

I can definitely see an escapist theme in my reading at the moment, which is probably understandable given how stressed I am at work. 

On the audiobook front, I finished Before the Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi which counts as a bookclub selection. Last week I mentioned that the theme for our next read on a theme bookclub is related to Writers Festivals,  which could be an author you have seen at a festival before or one who is coming to a writers festival soon. I have tickets to see Toshikazu Kawaguchi at Melbourne Writers Festival in May.

Another author who is appearing at Melbourne Writers Festival is Shankari Chandran. I wasn't lucky enough to get tickets to her session. That didn't stop me from starting her latest book Song of the Sun God on audio, which will also count for bookclub. This audio is around 12 hours long which is longer than I have been listening to given that I have such limited listening time. I imagine it is going to take me a couple of months to get through this book.

I'm watching

This week we watched the first episode of a couple of series. We started Three Body Problem and also Nell Renegade. Two very different series.

Continuing on the escapist theme, I also watched My Big Fat Wedding 3. It was entertaining enough but does rely on the same old jokes. I did laugh out loud once.


Like most of Australia, I have been shocked by events in Sydney over the weekend, and I think that this is just another example of events around the world that are affecting my stress levels. Work is very intense and then when you hear of events like this happening it just makes things worse. 

We had a very quiet weekend. The only thing that we did was going to brunch when we did the food shopping. I don't know if not doing anything was just what I needed, or if it gave me too much time to think about things.

Posts from the last week

Weekend Cooking: Figolli (Take 2)

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - March statistics



For the last couple of years I have been sharing statistics each month for the Historical challenge, and my plan is to continue to do this again this year. I find it interesting to see what are the books that people are reading and reviewing! I think I have visited almost all the reviews submitted and have added a couple of books to never ending TBR list

In terms of the books, there were 56 reviews linked up for the challenge, shared by 17 participants. There were 56 titles reviewed last month too! This is less than for the same month last year but I am sure we will catch up!  There were 53 individual titles reviewed, written by 53 different authors. There were 5 reviewers who reviewed more than 5 books each. Thank you to everyone who shared their links whether it be 9 or just 1.

So which books were reviewed more than once in March? This month there were 3 books which were reviewed twice. 

The Book of Secrets by Anna Mazzola was reviewed by both Helen at She Reads Novels and by Cathy at What Cathy Read Next.

Hidden Yellow Stars by Rebecca Connolly was reviewed by Davida at The Chocolate Lady's Book Reviews and by Laura at Laura Reviews.

The last book that was reviewed twice was The Tower by debut novelist Flora Carr. This book, which is about Mary, Queen of Scots, was reviewed by Sarah at Reading the Past and Helen at She Reads Novels.

Somewhat unusually this month we don't have any examples where one author had different titles reviewed!

If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late! The sign up post is here and you can add your links to the April link post here.

I am linking this post up with Sunday Salon hosted at Readerbuzz!

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Figolli (Take 2)

On the Easter weekend I attempted to share a post about my experience of going to a cooking class to make a Maltese Easter treat called Figolli. We were away that weekend. Unfortunately I was about 45 minutes away from home when I realised that I hadn't even thought about taking my laptop with me. I had been so tired on the Thursday night that I didn't just finish off my Saturday post so I thought I would just use the Blogger app to just do the last bit. That was a mistake. That removed all the photos and added in about 50 paragraph lines for each time I wanted a break which made it unreadable. I am therefore reposting it this week!


Recently my friend and I attended a cooking class run by the Maltese Community Council of Victoria. The class was to make a traditional Easter treat called Figolli which consists of a layer of marzipan sandwiched between pastry and cut into various shapes. In our case we made rabbit shaped figolli!

We started with all of our pre-measured ingredients

We were then shown how to make the pastry. The recipe we were given includes the instructions on how to make it using a mixer but for this occasion we made it using the time honoured technique of using our fingers to mix the flour and butter until it became like breadcrumbs and then adding in the extra ingredients to form a dough

From there, we rolled out our pastry and cut out the rabbit shape. One handy tip we were given was to cut the dough into halves, and then cutting out the shape. When re-rolling, take a bit of the second half of dough so that it helps keep it more pliable.

We then made the almond filling using a mixture of ground almonds, caster sugar, egg whites and almond essence

The figolli is formed with a layer of pastry, the almond paste, another layer of pastry and milk wash.

And then off to cook in the professional kitchen ovens

Once the creation was baked and cooled it is time to ice. We used the biggest batch of royal icing I have ever seen as a base, and then we coloured small amounts of icing and used various decorations that we were supplied to decorate. You can also use melted chocolate to decorate

Given that I had never even seen figolli, let alone knew what they tasted like, I tried to stay pretty close to the shapes and decoration that was suggested. Other people in the group obviously have more experience and so there were a variety of other shapes and decorations being used. 

The class was held in a a cooking school kitchen, so there were proper commercial ovens, all the equipment you could possibly need, stainless steel benches!

It was very cool and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Oh, and it tasted delicious!!

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pizza 
Sunday -  Tuscan Chicken Pasta Bake
Monday - Tomato and Rice Soup
Tuesday - Pepper Beef Stew with rice
Wednesday - Spaghetti Bolognaise
Thursday - Green Curry Chicken Pie
Friday - Out for dinner

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Blog Tour: Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin

Today is the release day for Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin. Hooray! I have read a number of this author's books so I was always going to read this one!

Rebecca Raisin has written books with a wide variety of settings and what I know from the books that I have read is that there are always going to be great descriptions of several factors - the place where the book is set (wherever that might be), the food and books, and that is once again the case with this book.

Evie loved her job as a book scout right up until the time the business was taken over by a new owner, who promptly made her redundant. There aren't all that many opportunities to find another book scout job. What exactly is a book scout? It is someone who reads books and tries to identify stories that could be made into movies. In other words, Evie gets to read books for work! Absolutely a dream job right?

When her mother realises that Evie is at something of a loose end she packs her off to Santorini with strict instructions to work out what is going on with her quirky grandmother. Floretta has led a colourful life. She has been married multiple times, apparently lost and found several fortunes. Most recently she has married a Greek man and settled down to open a bookshop. The only problem is that she can't afford the rent which has led to an altercation with the landlord.

It isn't long before Evie is called into help soothe the frazzled tempers by dealing with the landlord's gorgeous grandson, Georgios. They just need to keep Georgios's grandfather from either kicking Floretta out or from selling the building long enough to finish the renovations for the bookshop and for it to start paying for itself. What better way to delay either of these eventualities than suggest that Evie fake date Georgios. It's the perfect plan!

Whilst Evie and her grandmother work towards a glamourous opening of the bookshop, Evie begins to realise that fake dating Giorgis is going to be much harder than anticipated. When exactly does it cross the line from fake to real?

There is an endearing cast of colourful characters led by Floretta but there are others, ranging from the man who comes in and rearranges the colour coordinated shelves, the goat farmer, as well as a group of stray dogs with various bad habits. The book is filled with humour and I found myself smiling the whole way through it. In fact, I think this is my favourite Rebecca Raisin novel so far. Until the next one at least.

Is this a bookshop I would love to visit if I ever made it to Santorini - Absolutely! 

Thanks to Netgalley, Rachel's Random Resources and the publisher for the review copy. I will be sharing this review with the New Release Challenge hosted at The Chocolate Lady's Book Reviews and the Bookish Books Challenge hosted at Bloggin' Bout Books.

Rating 4.5/5

About the book

Summer at the Santorini Bookshop

A Greek island holiday. A fake-dating pact. A chance at true love?

After losing her job as a book scout, hopeless romantic Evie needs a fresh start. So when she hears that her eccentric grandmother has just taken on a small bookshop in Santorini, Evie jumps at the chance to visit her.

But life on the island is not as idyllic as it first seems. Gran has a tempestuous relationship with her landlord and he’s threatening to take the bookshop away from her. So when Gran asks Evie to fake a romance with her landlord’s Greek God of a grandson, Georgios, to keep the family on side, she reluctantly agrees.

As the sun sets on Evie’s Greek holiday, can she save the bookshop – and fake date her way to love?

Purchase Links

US: amzn.to/40rvToW

UK: amzn.to/3u4QJOY

Aust: amzn.to/3QOc6x1

About the author

Rebecca Raisin writes heartwarming romance from her home in sunny Perth, Australia. Her heroines tend to be on the quirky side and her books are usually set in exotic locations so her readers can armchair travel any day of the week. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous heroes who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true, once in a lifetime love. Her bestselling novel Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop has been optioned for film with MRC studios and Frolic Media.

Social Media Links –





Monday, April 08, 2024

This week....

I'm reading

This week my reading is taking me to Greece, more specifically to Santorini. I am reading Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin and really enjoying it! I will have the review for this one up later this week.

We had our read on a theme bookclub meeting last week. The theme was Crime: Fact or Fiction and there were lots of interesting books that were read. Here are just some of them. 

My two books were The Thursday Murder Club and The Woman Who Walks in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith, which is part of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The next theme is related to Writers Festivals,  which could be an author you have seen at a festival before or one who is coming to a writers festival soon. That gives a lot of scope for authors. Not sure who I will choose yet.

I'm watching

Last week we watched the finale of Great Kiwi Bake Off. I don't think we have any new Bake Offs to watch at the moment but I think there should be a new Aussie version soon. Hopefully.

I also managed to watch a few movies this week, and they were all very different from each other. The first one I watched was Love at First Sight movie which was based on the book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith. It is a meet-cute rom-com where our two main characters sit next to each other on a flight from the US to London. It also featured Jameela Jalil as an almost fairy godmother like character. It was a lot of fun and just what I need on that particular day!

We met up with some friends for a long lunch on Saturday and during the course of a wide ranging conversation the movie Leave the World Behind based was recommended. This was based on a book of the same name by Rumaan Alam. I don't normally watch this kind of thriller, but it was definitely watchable. I did find the ending very...abrupt. It felt like there should probably be more movie! I did also find it a bit odd that the Obamas were connected with the movie. They were Executive Producers.

I also finally got to watch the French movie The Taste of Things. If you look up the phrase food porn in the dictionary you will be directed to  watch this movie. There is very little dialogue in the first 39 minutes. It is literally a well choreographed sequence of chopping and cooking, the various characters working in sychronisation as an amazing meal is prepared

I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Six Degrees of Separation: Lonely Planet: France to Christmas Pudding

Welcome to this month's edition of Six Degrees of Separation, which is a monthly meme hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best.  The idea is to start with a specific book and make a series of links from one book to the next using whatever link you can find and see where you end up after six links.  I am also linking this post up with The Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz. 


This month the starting point is a bit different. Kate's instructions are to "look to your bookshelf – do you see a Lonely Planet title there? Or an Eyewitness Travel title? Or any other travel guide? That’s your starting book."

So, quelle surprise, the only travel guide we own is this one

I wasn't really sure what direction to go with this one. I mean, I have read dozens of books set in France over the years.

Let's see how this goes. Let's go on a French Adventure.

Of course, before we do any kind of planning there is definitely dreaming about the trip!

But before we go on an adventure maybe we should start with some French Lessons. I have started using Doulingo to learn some French. Not sure I will be conversational next time we get to France, but I will have some idea what is going on at least.

When we are planning things to do, then maybe some cooking lessons at The Paris Cooking School might be one of the options.

Maybe I could buy a cookbook from a little Paris Bookshop.

We were in Paris just over a year ago, and this is the book that I actually bought form Shakespeare & Co.

Next month the starting point is The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop


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