Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Most anticipated books in 2020

Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is the most anticipated books still to be released in the second half of 2020.

Without further ado....

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr (October)- I wasn't really expecting a new Virgin River book but it makes sense to build on the success of the TV series. I really loved this series, and I also glommed the whole series in a reread frenzy a few years ago. I am wondering if maybe I should start another reread. I would have to rebuy the whole series again as the last time around was years

The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal (July)- I first read Barbara O'Neal when she won an award that one of my favourite author's was also nominated for. Since then I have read most of her books and find them very readable.

You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume  (August)- I have known Jenna Guillaume online for a long time, so I was excited when I enjoyed her debut novel last year and I will definitely be reading her second novel.

Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns (November) - I am a big fan of Rachael Johns, whether it is her rural romance, or her contemporary women's fiction!

The Survivors by Jane Harper (September) - I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Jane Harper's books, and I am sure this will be no exception!

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (September) - This is the next Cormoran Strike novel. I have listened to these all on audio and I can't see that this one will be any different. The narrator on these books is so good!

Return of the Thief  by Megan Whalen Turner (August) - The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner was a blogger favourite about ten years ago. It was a bit of a surprise to see that there is a new  book coming out after so long, in a good way!

Deadly Hours (September) - Susanna Kearsley is one of my favourite authors (even if I still haven't read her latest book) so I am excited at the prospect of a short story which connects to several of her other books. The other authors in this collection include CS Harris, Anna Lee Huber and Christine Trent

The Ringmasters Daughter by Carly Schabowski (July)- I want this just for the cover. Although the blurb sounds pretty good too.

The Women's Pages by Victoria Purman (September) - This was actually on my list in January but the release date was postponed until later in the year due to COVID. So now I am posting it again!

What books are you excited about that are due to be released in the next few months.

Monday, June 29, 2020

This week.....

I'm reading....

What I learnt this week is that if you don't sleep at night you can read entire books! Actually, this isn't a new lesson for me, but it has been a while. Normally I play some games and then I can get back to sleep but it wasn't happening this week. The book I read over the course of two sleepless nights was The New Beginnings Coffee Club by Samantha Tonge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I possibly would have benefited from sleeping instead of reading but never mind!

I have also started reading Tiny White Lies by Australian author Fiona Palmer. I have known about this author for a long time but this is actually the first time I have read her.

This wasn't the book I was intending to read just yet but I had an odd experience this week. When I got this book from Netgalley, I also go a book that also had the word Tiny in it. I sent both books to my Kindle, but when I went to open the Kindle this book kept on opening instead. So even though I had two different titles featuring the word Tiny, I really only have the same book twice. I've never heard of it happening again. I've requested the other Tiny book from the library so hopefully I will get to read it soon.

I'm Watching.....

I worked late every night last week so there wasn't really much time to watch anything, although I did watch the first couple of episodes of Sanditon. I have had it recorded on our Foxtel box for more than six months so it was probably time to start.


It's been a rollercoaster of a week emotionally. The things that were going on last week were still ongoing. In addition it was end of financial year and I have worked probably about 15 extra hours this week, (not counting the full day on Saturday) and most of those days have been stressful, or super stressful. At one point I am sure I could feel my heart racing on Thursday as I tried to get everything done.

In addition to that, my husband had to have a small procedure done on Wednesday which resulted in an overnight stay in hospital. I think that is only the second night we've spent apart since he moved in a couple of years ago. I didn't like it.

On the plus side of the ledger though we became the proud owners of a nearly new car this week. I have never owned a new car in my life. This one is about 6 months old and has only done 6000kms so far so it is close enough to new. The bonus was that because it isn't brand, brand new it was around $10000 less than a new car. We love the colour and it has all the bells and whistles! The salesman was going through all the features and we said you need to understand that our current cars only have a horn so we are already impressed!

And when you have a new car, you have to go for a drive right? So on Sunday we went for a drive to a town a couple of hours from the city to have a look at the painted silos. I have posted before about the silo art that is springing up across the country, and this is a town where they now have 5 different painted silos. It turned out there was another town half an hour away that has some painted silos too so we had to go and visit them seeing as we were so close!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Salon: Bestsellers around the world

I recently started following quite a few British book bloggers and noticed that many of the books that they read are different from those in other countries. For the group of bloggers I am following, there are a lot more WWII novels, particularly focused on the life off women on the home front and lots of those escapist, moving to somewhere new and starting again type books..

Thinking about this made me contemplate doing a semi regular post where I would have a look at the bestsellers list for two countries and see if there were any interesting similarities or, indeed, interesting differences. So, for example, I might take a look at the Australian and British bestsellers list and discuss the differences, and next time it might be Australian and American, or perhaps even all three, or another country all together. We'll see. It could be that there really isn't anything all that interesting to comment on!

One of the first challenges in trying to do this is trying to work out what the definitive bestseller list is. Is it the New York Times or USA Today in America? Should it include both fiction and non fiction, kids books or not? Some lists are broken into hardcover and other types of editions. It's actually a bit harder to find like for like than I thought it would be! In the end, I decided to be a little flexible about this and just make it whichever list catches my eye at the time I am writing the post, with no hard and fast rules. I will try, where possible to do a like for like comparison.

Given that this idea sprung from the fact that I was seeing different books on British based blogs than I do on Australian or US blogs, I would start with looking at the British vs Australian lists.

Here is the current list of top 10 Australian fiction bestsellers from Betterreading.com.au from week ending 13 June.

  1. Fair Warning by Michael Connelly (Alle & Unwin)
  2. Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Hachette)
  4. Hideaway by Nora Roberts (Hachette)
  5. Daddy’s Girls by Danielle Steel (Macmillan)
  6. Wrath of Poseidon by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell (Michael Joseph)
  7. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Affirm Press)
  8. Tom Clancy’s Firing Point by Mike Maden (Michael Joseph)
  9. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (Harper Collins)
  10. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin)

And the current list of top 10 Australian non-fiction bestsellers from Betterreading.com.au

  1. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (HarperCollins)
  2. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape (John Wiley & Sons)
  3. Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books)
  4. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (Vermilion)
  5. Epic Air Fryer Cookbook by Emily Paster (Harvard Common Press)
  6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson (Macmillan)
  7. The Pie Maker (Bauer)
  8. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking)
  9. A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull (Hardie Grant)
  10. Ottolenghi SIMPLE by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press)

And here is the Sunday Time hardcover top 10 list from All Top Books. There were no numbers on this list so I assume that they are  in order but I don't know for sure!
  • Be Your Own Best Friend : The Glorious Truths of Being Female by Chessie King
  • Camino Winds by John Grisham
  • Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton
  • Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  • If It Bleeds by Stephen King
  • Lancaster: The Forging of a Very British Legend by John Nicol
  • Me and White Supremacy : How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla Saad
  • Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  • Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

It is interesting to me that the non fiction books on these lists are so different. I do wonder if they use different criteria because while there are three cookbooks on the Australian lists, there are none on the UK list, or maybe they are just further down the list. 

Perhaps it is that non fiction lists are far more representative of what is going on in the individual country. For example, Dark Emu from the Australian list is about the indigenous Australian experience and A Bigger Picture is about a former Australian prime minister so would really only be of interest to Australians.

I do think, though, that my husband would be very interested in reading the book about the Lancaster bombers.

Where I expect we will always see similarities in the fiction lists is in relation to the big name authors, so it is no surprise to see names like Stephen King or Danielle Steel on these lists.

On the UK fiction side there are two books in particular that stand out to me.The first is Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton. I lived in the UK in the late 1990s and at that time Fern Britton was the host of the TV cooking show Ready, Steady, Cook. I know that the later series of the show that were hosted by Ainsley Harriott got shown here in Australia but I have no idea if the early ones were, and therefore if anyone here would recognise her name. What I didn't know was that she was now an author. This book is a triple timeline book with events taking place in 1918, 1939 and 2020. And just like that I am keen to read it! It turns out that Fern Britton has previously written 8 other books and my library has some of them so hopefully if I read and enjoy this one, I can work my way through her backlist.

The other book which caught my attention was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. This book is actually the reason why I started thinking about doing the post, because as soon as I heard about it I knew I wanted to read it, even if I don't really know what it is about, but I think I have only seen it on one non British blog so far! Or at least that I can recall. This book did come out last year, so maybe I am just late to the party with this book.

Is there anything on these lists that catches your interest?

I am sharing this post with Sunday Salon, which is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Weekend Cooking: June Bakes

It's the last Saturday of the month and that means it is time to share my baking for this month. I started doing this earlier this year because otherwise every Weekend Cooking post would be about something sweet, which might be a bit much.

Lemon and Blueberry crumble cake - This was the first of Queen Baking Club Challenges for this month, and it was definitely a winner! I'll be making this one again.

Sausage Rolls - I know that this isn't sweet but it is still baking. I have never made sausage rolls before. They have always been on my want to make list but never got  there, until now. These were a big hit in my house. The leftovers disappeared into the man-child's bedroom never to be seen again. I am planning to share the recipe for this in the next couple of weeks.

Easy Pain au Chocolate - I had a sheet of pastry leftover from the sausage rolls so I whipped up a few of these. This is a recipe that I originally found in a novel by Barbara O'Neal

Chocolate and Raspberry Self Saucing pudding - Another Queen Baking Club Challenge, this one was my birthday dessert. It was easy, and delicious, although there

White Chocolate Cheesecake - This is my go to dessert when cooking for friends. One that I have been making for more than ten years, and that my friends all fight over the leftovers.

I am also linking up to In My Kitchen hosted by Sherry's Picking

    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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Library Loot: June 24

Over the last few months I have started following a lot of British bloggers and it has introduced me to a lot of new to me authors.

This author is one of those authors, so I thought I would try reading the only book I could find in my library's ebook catalogue. There do seem to be a lot of these new beginnings books around, and a lot of WWII saga style books as well.

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: 10th Birthday edition

Happy birthday to Top Ten Tuesday! 10 years this week. That's quite a run. Top Ten Tuesday originally started at The Broke and the Bookish but then moved to The Arty Reader Girl in 2018. This week there are a couple of suggested topics, but there is also the freedom to improvise a bit.

While I had been aware of Top Ten Tuesday, I didn't actually start participating until this year, and even then it isn't every week. So, in total, I have participated eleven times. So I thought that what I might do is post one book from every Top Ten Tuesday I have participated in, so in effect a Top Eleven of Top Tens!

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan - This was one of my choice for the first time I participated when the theme was most anticipated releases for the first half of 2020. I picked this book for today's because it is one that I have read and loved.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Featured on my 10 newest additions to my TBR pile post back in February. It also featured on a couple of other lists which is why I have included it today.

The Sweet Life by Kate Bracks - For the book cover freebie topic in February I chose to spotlight some cookbooks off my shelf. This book has one of my favourite recipes in it -  Lemon Syrup Cakes. So lemony. So delicious..

The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley - The theme this time was the books on my TBR I think will be 5/5 reads. I am currently listening to this book so the jury is still out. It's definitely good though. The question will be how good.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes. by Elizabeth Bard -  This was a love freebie and I chose to do books with a variation of the word love in the title. And the reason I chose this today? Because I would love to be having lunch in Paris today. Even though it isn't possible for many many reasons.

Circe by Madeleine Miller - Featured in my list of books with one word titles. So good.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - Just one of the many books I highlighted in my post about the top 10 reasons I love historical fiction. One of my favourite books of all time.

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke - The theme for the week that I chose this book was opening lines and I am sharing it today as this is probably my favourite book of the year. The opening line for this book is

The love song began it's life, not with a fanfare or a crash of cymbals, but instead with a knock at a door.

The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden - my theme for this post was I want to go there. In this case, there was Hawaii which has been on my visit list for a long time.

Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys - This book featured in my list of books which had been lingering unread on my bookshelves and I couldn't remember why it was there. My post title was Maybe I should read it. And guess what. I did. And it was good!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo - This was one of my books on the winter 2020 TBR pile. It's still there, but I will get to it!

So there you go. A selection of books I have mentioned in the eleven times I have participated in Top Ten Tuesday.

Monday, June 22, 2020

This week...

I read...

I started reading The House on Boundary Street by Tea Cooper for review. It is set in 1920s Sydney in the aftermath of the Great War. It's interesting because the book was originally published under the title Jazz Baby but has apparently been revised and expanded. I do find it interesting when this happens to a book because I wonder how the author goes about such a process. Were there scenes that were left out the first time around, or has the author thought of something new to add? What was taken out? Or is it a chance to fix some anachronisms? What makes them look at an old book and think I am going to have another go at that story?

Otherwise I am still reading Henrietta's War and listening to The Moon Sister.

I watched....

I finished watching two things this week! Hurrah!

The first was Sweet Magnolias which was based on the books by Sherryl Woods. It's interesting that the series ended on such a cliffhanger when as I understand it there is no guarantee of a second series. I hope that there is because it was easy watching.

The second was Normal People.What a good adaptation this was of the book which I listened to a few weeks ago. It's full of angst and emotion and is very watchable. It feels like it sticks to the book pretty well, including the structure, skipping forward months at a time and the looking back, and the ending, which I think made more sense in the TV show than it did in the book.

Wait, we actually finished watching three things. The third one was Bake Off: The Professionals, which is a show that we love watching. We will never be able to recreate any of the creations at home because they are super complicated but it is amazing to watch what the professionals are able to create in a limited time, and we love watching the judges as they taste and critique the bakes in a very entertaining way.

We also started watching a New Zealand show called The Casketeers. I thought it was a specifically written comedy but it is actually a reality series which follows a funeral director as he goes about his daily business. While it doesn't sound like it would be funny, it really is because of the people who work there. And it is delightful because of the way that he deals with the people he is taking care of. He is very respectful of the people concerned, both those who have passed and those that are left behind.

On Saturday night, we sat and watched the movie Gladiator. The funny thing about that is that this was the first ever DVD that I bought back in the day,and yet I had never, ever watched it. It is one of my husband's favourite movies ever so I guess it was only time before I watched it.

In Life

The number of COVID cases here has increased so they are reimposing some of restrictions that were starting to be lifted.

It has been a very average week in lots of ways. Less said about that the better.

One of the things that I did have to celebrate this week is that I completed 500 playlists on Songpop. This is a music game where you listen to a piece of music and have to choose either the artist or song title from a list, and be faster than the person you are playing. It's taken me a very long time to get to 500 so that's something small to celebrate right?

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

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Weeking Cooking/Alphabet 2020: K is for Kitchen Gadgets

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly two years since our kitchen reno was done, and I still love it, especially the stone bench.  Because we have no intention of redoing the kitchen again any time, now we need to start looking at the inside of our cupboards!

Over the last couple of weeks we have acquired a couple more kitchen gadgets. Now my challenge is to learn how to use them.

I will freely admit that it takes me a long time to come around to a trend. Do you remember the days before ballet flats first became a thing? Yeah, it took me about five years to start wearing them. And now, I don't wear anything but ballet flats. Well, not at the moment because I only wear ugg boots most days. That's me with most trends. This means that in five years time I will finally think about starting to make sourdough bread. It also means that we just got a pasta maker! So I am about 10 years too late on that one?

We've used it a couple of times now. Once for fettucine and once for spaghetti and oh my goodness the pasta was good! We are planning to try make ravioli soon as we got a mould to use for that, and now we get to play around with a few sauces.

The other gadget that we got is a combined slow cooker/pressure cooker/steamer thingy. Well, I guess what it is is a Crockpot combo. We have only made a chicken curry so far, but I think that the plan is to try to do pork belly this week of some description.

I am really curious as to how much we are going to use the pressure cooker function. If the current series of Masterchef is anything to go by then we should be using it for just about every cook to make broths and stocks and add depth and FLAVOUR!. Or maybe we will just use it to cook dinner every now and again. I guess it will depend on how long it takes us to figure out what all the buttons do.

We have had a slow cooker for a long time, so it will be a case of just using this one rather than the other. I do love that this one has a time delay function which we will be taking advantage of when things get back to normal.

So, do you have a favourite new kitchen gadget in your life? Or a favourite recipe for either of these new gadgets in my life?

By way of explanation for the title of this post, I have been writing a weekly series of posts each starting with a different letter of the alphabet. This week, we are up to K and K is for Kitchen Gadgets.

    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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Library Loot: 17 June

As I mentioned on Monday, I recently borrowed Aria's Travelling Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin from the library. Our physical libraries are still closed so the only way is to download via one of two apps. While I am okay with reading it, I do find it a little frustrating because I can only read it on my phone.

The other thing is that I don't remember seeing a notification. The only reason I realised that the book was available was because I logged in to see if they had another book and then realised that I need to read this one!

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my 2020 Winter TBR

Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme is Books on our Winter TBR pile. In terms of pure numbers this year has been my best reading year for about four years so that's something to be celebrating isn't it? So these are books that I aim to be continuing my renewed reading mojo with over the next few months.

Something to Talk About by Rachael Johns - This is the follow up to Talk of the Town which I read not too long ago. Rachael Johns is always a good read.

Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams -This book has been on my radar ever since I heard the author talk about it! I need to read it!

500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan - I listened to the previous book in this series not too long ago so I am keen to given this one a go now.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo - I loved reading With the Fire on High earlier this year so I am super excited to read this one.

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah -  This is the next book in the Cook the Books bookclub.

Rosewater & Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran - This is the last book that I borrowed from the library before it closed that I haven't read yet, so I want to read it before the library opens again

The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins - I read a couple of Danielle Hawkins books earlier this year and now I intend to read them all.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - I have seen and heard so much about this book recently. Even when I was out for dinner recently someone talked about it.

The Goldminer's Sister by Alison Stuart - This is a review book that I have coming up and the follow up to

Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder - After reading the original trilogy in this series, I am now going to read the next trilogy which focuses on a character that we have already met in the previous book.


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