Sunday, August 07, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation: From The Book of Form and Emptiness to The Good Earth


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's starting book is The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.

I chose to use the phrase "The book of" as my first step and which led me to The Book of Lost Threads by Tess Evans

The word threads made me think of sewing and tapestry, which lead me to the book 

Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bowers which is partially features a story of one of the women who worked on the Bayeux Tapestry.

My next choice is The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani, a book I read and loved a number of years ago now.

My next two choices are because of the name Anita. First, there is 

Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by indigneous Australian author Anita Heiss. My review is here.

My next book by an Anita is Weight of Water by Anita Shreve, which I read way back in 2008 because it was chosen as one of the Oprah Book Club books.

My final choice this month is another Oprah book club choice, The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. This is one that I read along with along with other readers on the forums. I met so many other passionate readers on those forums!

The starting point for next month we need to start with the book we finished this month, so I will be starting with The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Weekend Cooking: What I Baked (In My Kitchen) in July


The first Saturday of the month is when I share all the things that I baked in the previous month. I was intending to make something last weekend too, but it didn't happen so I only have three bakes to share.

I have a friend who LOVES Christmas. Really loves Christmas! And so this year, for the first time since 2019 we were able to come together to celebrate Christmas in July.

There was so much food, and my contribution was these Soft Gingerbread Chocolate Cookies,which are based on German cookies called Lebkuchen! It doesn't hurt that this is her favourite thing that I ever took to share when we worked together! They were so delicious! I have shared the recipe for these cookies on the blog previously.

I have been thinking about making something super chocolatey for a while now, so I decided to make my go to brownie recipe. I have only made these a couple of times in the oven that we have now and so I forgot that, unlike my previous oven, I really needed to give these 5 minutes less than the recipe, and then check it. My previous oven used to take a lot longer than the recipe time. It's not long now until I will have to work out the individual personality of my new oven!!

The new recipe that I tried this month was a Sicilian Whole Lemon Cake (recipe here). The tree in the backyard is absolutely loaded with lemons, and then we have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree too, so I wanted to try using some lemons. 

I am thinking that I might need to make a big batch of lemon curd before we move house and leave all these lemons behind! The dwarf tree is coming with us, but the heavily laden lemon tree will become someone else's bounty.

I am sharing this post with In My Kitchen hosted at Sherry's Pickings.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pressure cooker spaghettie bolognaise
Sunday -  Nasi Goreng
Monday - Chicken enchiladas
Tuesday - Beans and rice
Wednesday - Slow cooked pork enchilada
Thursday - Out for dinner
Friday - Takeaway

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

Friday, August 05, 2022

Blog Tour: Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin


Ellie Astor is living the dream. She is part of a wealthy family who owns Astor Publishing, she goes to glamorous red carpet premieres, and is being groomed to take on the family company. Her future is golden.

Except, it's not what she wants at all. She doesn't want to fill the role that her mother has planned for her. She doesn't want the media spotlight, the pressure. She doesn't want any of it.

What she does want is to find out what it is like to live the life she dreams of. When she sees a news story about a town whose local library is about to close, she sees it as a chance to finally use her librarian studies and to see what her life could be like if she could start again.

Using her real name, Elodie Halifax, she moves to the village of Willow Grove. But saving the library is not going to be easy. There are no funds, there are no new books, there are very few members and Elodie only has a few short months to recruit 507 new members or the library will close for good. Her reception is somewhat cool. Her assistant librarian, Maisie is sullen and hostile. Thankfully local journalist Finn is more welcoming.

Whilst Elodie tries really hard to recruit new members, she realises that there are some very entrenched ideas in the town, and not just about the library. There are numerous people in the town who live on the edges. There is Homeless Harry who is not even allowed to enter the library before Elodie arrives. Most people in the town know who he is but not many deign to speak to him.  There is 9 year old Alfie who is now being home schooled after many years of being bullied at school due to his autism. His single mum, Jo, obviously wants the best for Alfie but is the best just to keep him away from other kids for his own protection? There are also Pilfering Pete and Sofia, the ex-wife of a man who fraudulently stole money from the local council....and more.

Elodie knows that traditional library activities are not going to get the necessary numbers without coming up with something special, and that something is human books. The idea being that people can borrow the 'book', to find out who those previously invisible people are, and what their story is.  And yet, Elodie is not quite being honest about her own story, and she is having to balance the work that she is doing in Willow Grove, against the familial demands that she can only hide from for so long.

I have to say, I loved the idea of a human book. I am sure that I have been guilty of assuming that I know someone's story without actually talking to them. And I know that there have been many times when I have felt invisible, or judged, or both by strangers and acquaintances alike.  And yet we all have stories from our life and how what has happened in our lives shapes us to form who we are now.

I have read a number of Rebecca Raisin books now. I always love the way that the writes about the subjects that she is passionate about - books and food in particular. Given that this a book about a librarian there is plenty of book talk which is a bonus.

It is a cliche to say that an authorwrites 'feel good' books, but to me that is exactly what Rebecca Raisin's books are. I know when I pick up one of her books I am going to find plenty of passages that make me smile and this book is no exception. I enjoyed how the group of previously socially isolated books are drawn together around the library and soon form a friendship group that you can see going from strength to strength into the future.

I have a number of books from this author's backlist still to read. Lucky me!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resource for a review copy

About the book

An uplifting story about fresh starts, new beginnings and the power of stories, from the bestselling author of Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop!

When Elodie applies for the job of librarian in peaceful Willow Grove, she’s looking forward to a new start. As the daughter of a media empire, her every move has been watched for years, and she longs to work with the thing she loves most: books.

It’s a chance to make a real difference too, because she soon realises that there are other people in Willow Grove who might need a fresh start – like the homeless man everyone walks past without seeing, or the divorcĂ©e who can’t seem to escape her former husband’s misdeeds.

Together with local journalist Finn, Elodie decides these people have stories that need sharing. What if instead of borrowing books readers could ‘borrow’ a person, and hear the life stories of those they’ve overlooked?

But Elodie isn’t quite sharing her whole story either. As the story of the library’s new success grows, will her own secret be revealed?

About the Author

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She's been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Social Media Links –

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit (real places or fictional)


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit (real places or fictional). This is a topic that I feel like I done recently but it is actually a couple of years ago now! So this week I am going to share some books set in places that we plan to visit soon.

We are planning a weekend away in Adelaide for my brother's 40th birthday soon.

Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson (review) - This book is set in both Adelaide and Sheffield in the UK, which is a place I lived in for four years back in the late 1990s.

At some point this year I need to go to Perth to see the family over there

Taking a Chance by Deborah Burrows (review) - Deborah Burrows wrote a couple of books set in war time Perth!

We have a big trip planned for the end of the years where we will start in The Netherlands to see my brother in law and his family.

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach - we won't be there for Tulip season but still

The Winter Dress by Lauren Chater - recently bought this.

From there we will go to Northern France -We don't know exactly where we are going to be staying so I am choosing the following two locations. What we do know is that there will definitely be some Normandy beaches experiences. After that we will head to Paris. Given that I only just did a French themed TTT post a couple of weeks ago,  I am going to only share one book for all of France.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - set in St Malo

From there the plan is to head to Southern Italy.

The Postcard from Italy by Angela Petch (Review)- I was inspired to want to visit Puglia after reading this book!

The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella - Set in Naples!

We will stop in Singapore on the way home

Tanamera by Noel Barber - I read this in my late teens or early twenties. I also read numerous other books by this author. Not sure they would stand the test of time!

The next year we are planning to spend some time in New Zealand

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins - Such a fun read!

And then looking even further forward we are thinking about heading to Hawaii which will include a visit to Pearl Harbour for sure.

The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden - This book is set both in Hawaii and Sydney.

I love travelling but I am always grateful to travel via the pages of a book too!

Monday, August 01, 2022

This week....

 I'm reading...

I don't always read the emails I get from Book Riot, but every now and again a headline catches my attention. And so it was that a couple of weeks ago there was an article titled The Best Romance Books You've Never Heard Of introduced me to a book called Along for the Ride, which I had never heard of. It was the debut novel of Mimi Grace, and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely try to read more from Mimi Grace.

After finishing that book I was thinking about what I might read next, contemplating several options, until suddenly I realised that I have a blog tour post coming up. Probably should read that book then, right?

That means that my next read is going to be Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin!

I'm watching...

It's another weekend of Sail GP so we watched some sailing. We have now booked our flights ready for Christchurch in March which is super exciting! And slowly I think I am beginning to understand the sailing a little bit. Certainly I can appreciate the speeds, the crashes, the near misses and more.

Otherwise, I have so many things to watch and yet nothing is really catching my attention. We watched a couple of episodes of Umbrella Academay, I watched the first episode of Call my Agent, I still have Virgin River, Outlander, a few episodes of Sweet Magnolias, the second season of Emily in Paris and so many more to watch, but I can't really settle on anything right now.


It's been a frustrating week. We thought we were getting a dog, but now we aren't. We thought we would get the keys to the new house on Thursday, and then Friday, but we didn't. And we still haven't sold this house.

Posts from the last week

Weekend Cooking: French Onion Casserole
Paris in July: Le Fin!
Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: August links

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

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - August

 We had another great month in the challenge with around 65 reviews shared in July. Thank you to everyone who shared! I can't wait to see what you all share in August.

I will also be sharing the stats for July in the next couple of weeks. If you didn't catch them, here is a link to the stats for June.

If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

Just to recap what participants need to know. At the beginning of each month I will put up a post which will have a Mr Linky embedded into it for you to add your link.

Please remember...

  • add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable
  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (fantasy, young adult, graphic novels...)
  • if you have time, have a look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!
I have created a group on Facebook which you can find here and don't forget to use the #histficreadingchallenge hashtag on the socials.


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