Saturday, November 26, 2022

Weekend Cooking/Blog Tour: The Great Christmas Cook Off by Helen Buckley

I am a big Bake Off fan whether it be Great British Bake Off, Great Australian Bake Off, Great Kenyan/Kiwi/Canada/Professionals or any other variation. So when I was offered a blog tour for a book set during a bake off like competition at Christmas it was a no-brainer for me.

When "Queen of Chocolate" Beatrice Wodehouse is invited to participate in The Great Christmas Cook Off alongside other well known bakers she knows that it will be great for her public profile. Whilst she had a wealthy (but unhappy) upbringing, she has built her successful business and online profile by herself. 

One of the other participants in the competition is Beatrice's social media nemesis Charlie Simmonds. The two are known for their clashes which all stem from their fundamental differences in their opinions about baking. Beatrice is all about the decadence of chocolate, sugar and butter, whereas Charlie is determined to show the world that you can have healthy bakes that taste amazing! Charlie has his own reasons as to why he is so passionate about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

The Cook Off is being filmed at a luxury hotel owned by one of the judges, so Beatrice and Charlie, along with the other four contestants and judges have to spend a lot of time together, both during and outside of filming.

When there is an unfortunate incident occurs on the first day of filming, no one thinks too much of it. Accidents happen, especially when you are under the pressure of being filmed and competing against other talented bakers. However, as more incidents occur, it appears that there might be a saboteur in the group. Could Charlie be sabotaging Beatrice in the ultimate quest to win, or maybe it's the other way around?

Over the course of the week, the bakers are asked to make their own version of Christmas classics, ranging from mince pies to trifle and Christmas pudding. Most of the dishes sound absolutely delicious, although to be fair I definitely sit on Beatrice's side of the argument. For example, when Charlie makes his Christmas Pudding it features sweet potato as one of the ingredients and I couldn't quite figure out how they would taste. 

As the week of filming progresses, Charlie and Beatrice begin to realise that maybe their enmity is actually hiding something different, especially once they begin to understand each other's past and motivations

This was such a fun read with lots of delicious sounding Christmas food. I was, however, surprised that there were no recipes included.  I think that maybe this was explained by the author note where the author admits that she isn't a baker herself although she is more than happy to eat great baking. I was also a bit surprised to see that this is part of a series, but this is definitely standalone. All the books in the series take a reality TV format and use it as the frame for the story.

This was a lot of fun! And good to help get into a Christmassy mood!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Netflix  and  Rachel's  Random Resources for the review copy of this  book.

About the Book

The Great Christmas Cook Off

It’s the festive showdown to end all festive showdowns …
“Queen of Chocolate” Beatrice Wodehouse, known for her decadent desserts, is ready to go head to head with her social media nemesis, clean lean baking machine Charlie Simmonds, in the Great Christmas Cook Off TV show.
Beatrice is fed up of Charlie’s sanctimonious attitude and is ready to show him that food is there to be enjoyed. Surely she’ll blow his keto, low sugar, low-carb mince pies out of the water with her chocolatey creations?
Except filming for the Cook Off turns out to be anything but sugar, spice and all things nice when the contestants realise there’s a festive saboteur in their midst – leading to melted ice cream, trifle mishaps and private stories leaked to the press.
As the countdown to the final commences, suspicions run high and sparks are bound to fly – and not just from the flaming Christmas puddings!
Part of the Spotlight series but it can be read as a standalone story.

Purchase Links

UK -

US -

About the Author

Ever since I was little I wanted to be a writer, to turn daydreams into books. I'm fascinated by fame, in love with Happy Ever Afters, and enthralled by slow-burn romances. I squeeze in time to write around looking after my two sons. Find out more about me on my website

Social Media Links –




Weekly meals

Saturday - Out for dinner
Sunday -  Pressure cooker spaghetti bolognaise
Monday - 
Tuesday - Beef Stroganoff
Wednesday - Chicken Kiev, mash and beans
Thursday - Chicken Enchiladas
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

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Blog Tour: Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull

Right now we seem to be going through a golden age for historical fiction set during WWII. Now, I am still more than happy to read it, but I know that there are plenty of people for whom there is such a thing of too much of a good thing. I therefore bring you a review of Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull which brings us some of the familiar themes such as the struggle of surviving war but this time it is the late 1900s through to WWI. And whilst a portion of the book is set in France, the rest of it is set in Madagascar and Bradford in England. I am not sure I have every read a book set in Madagascar. 

Clara Haycroft was just a young girl when she and her missionary parents fled the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar due to an uprising against French colonial rule. When the boat sinks, Clara is separated from her younger sister and her parents and she is the only one to survive. Sent to recover from her injuries to her extended family in Bradford, Clara really isn't sure exactly what happened to her family. Clara's surname is changed to Thornton and she is bought up by her protective guardians, but she is reminded of her past every time she looks in the mirror and sees her scars.

When she is jilted at the altar, Clara decides that the time is right to find the truth, but her strict aunt is against the idea. Luckily, through business connections, she is able to arrange her journey accompanied by her maid. If only it wasn't also with an irritating, uptight and arrogant French man named Xavier Mourain. 

Clara returns to Madagascar, but it does seem as though revisiting the past is raising more questions than answers. What did happen to her mother and younger sister?   The trip does also bring some answers though, particularly as she warms to Xavier and soon they fall in love. They return to Xavier's home in France and settled down in married bliss, until reality interupts in the form of the German invasion of France.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the settings were out of the ordinary. I also enjoyed reading as Clara and her family overcame the challenges that were put in front of them through their tenacity and resourcefulness. 

I hadn't heard of Suzie Hull before I was offered this blog tour. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book which will be partially set in Malta, and her debut novel, In This Foreign Land sounds good too!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book for review purpose.

About the Book

Far Across The Ocean

Don't miss the next achingly romantic read from Suzie Hull, winner of the RNA Joan Hessayon award 2022

December 1913. Clara Thornton won't allow being jilted at the altar to squash her spirit. Against the wishes of her aunt and uncle, Clara decides to travel to Madagascar to learn more about the tragic shipwreck that took the lives of her missionary family, and marked her forever.

Clara is escorted abroad by Xavier Mourain, a handsome young merchant who works with her uncle. The two of them start off on the wrong foot, but Clara can't help but be drawn to the mysterious Frenchman who helps her unravel the mystery that has always haunted her. But as their love blossoms, war begins. And the world will never be the same again.

For Clara, all the answers seem to lie far across the ocean. But some of them might be closer than she thinks...

Purchase Link -

About the Author

Award winning author Suzie Hull lives in Northern Ireland with her family and numerous rescue cats.

As a child she dreamt of being a ballet dancer but instead trained as a Montessori Nursery teacher and has spent the last thirty years working with children in a variety of settings. Suzie has always had an enduring passion for reading and history.

Suzie HulI won the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2022 with her debut novel, In This Foreign Land.

Social Media Links

Monday, November 21, 2022

This Week....

I'm reading

Last year at about this time I listened to the audio of Hogfather by Terry Pratchett and I thoroughly enjoyed it. After having a 5 star audiobook experience last week, I really wanted something that would be really enjoyable so I have started to listen to it again. Maybe this will become something that I do regaularly at this kind of year.

I did start reading another couple of books. The first Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull, which I am reading for a blog tour later this week. It is partially set in Madagascar. I think it's fair to say I've never read anything even partially set there!

I also started reading One More Croissant for the Road by Felicity Cloake. I really enjoyed the first chapter, although I am concerned that maybe I am going to have to return it to the library before I can finish it.

I'm watching...

I was looking for something fun to watch over the weekend, so I ended up watching Book of Love. Whilst it wasn't the greatest movie you've ever seen, it was definitely fun rom-com. The premise is that there is a British author whose debut novel is a dismal failure, so it is very strange when it becomes a bestseller in Mexico. It turns out the interpreter has made some changes to the book and turned it into a steamy novel.


Last week I went down to Geelong to see Australian author Rachael Johns speak about her latest novel Work Wives. When I was not really reading a few years ago, Rachael was one of the few authors I was still going out of my way to read.

The other thing this weekend was that we went to a music event called One Electric Day. The weather wasn't great in that it was a bit rainy. We had to keep alternating between needing a rain poncho and then having to take it off and then put on sunscreen. Temperature wise though, it was 19 celsius (66 Fahrenheit) which was actually pretty pleasant. At least not too hot to sit out in the sunshine all day.

This event usually has a lot of Australian acts. This time it was Bo'ness, Chocolate Starfish, The Screaming Jets, The Baby Animals, The Angels and Noiseworks. The final act was Suzie Quatro who is still rocking at 72 years old.


Max graduated from Basic Manners class this week. 

Posts from the last week

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

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Weekend Cooking/Cook the Books: Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Patterson

It's fair to say that if this book hadn't been chosen as a selection over at Cook the Books, I probably would not have read it.  I don't read a lot of satireor farce at the best of times and I wasn't familiar with the bitter Italian digestif named in the title. Having read the book I am not sure that I am in a hurry to try the drink when we head to Italy soon. However, there were times when I smiled and even laughed so you have to call that a success for a book that is aiming to be funny.

Professional writer and quintessential Englishman Gerald Samper has moved to the Tuscan countryside in search of one things - solitude. His plan is to be as creative as possible - whether it be experimenting with new recipes, getting ready for his next job, redecorating his house all the while singing with great gusto. Gerald believes he is a great cook, a great writer, and a great singer. 

His neighbour Marta has similarly been promised peace and solitude whilst she work on composing a film score for a very famous Italian director who may or may not be making a very raunchy movie. Marta is the daughter of a crime lord from the former Soviet area known as Voynovia, and as the novel progresses her family ties begin to impact her life in Tuscany. Marta does not think Gerry is a good cook or a good singer. I suspect the jury is still out on his writing!

It doesn't take long for the neighbours to take issue with each other. She thinks he is rude and arrogant. He thinks she is persistently drunk on Fernet Branca. A series of mishaps and misunderstandings keep bringing the two together, constantly butting heads, particularly when the arrival of a helicopter scares off the subject of Gerry's next biography.

This is a book about food. It's just not edible food. Actually, that's not precisely true either. A better way of describing it is probably that it is just not food that many people would choose to eat. There are so many examples of disgusting sounding food, but a lot of it is based off of normal recipes. For example, here is what Gerald's had to say about his Fish Cake:

Fish Cake

No - we are not talking about exquisite fish and potato patties rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, that classic of English cuisine. This is a good deal more exotic, a Gerald Samper creation designed, as any work of art must be, to remind us that the world is an unexpected place full of unfamiliar challenges. I perfected it while compiling a small volume provisionally entitled The Boys' Reformatory Cookbook whose witty asides proved too much for the fifteen hidebound UK publishers I tried to interest before I lost faith in the project. (The typescript joined many others in my bottom drawer that together constitute the graveyard of my literary hopes. These include the libretto for a delightful and lubricious operetta, Veitato ai Minori, that I now despair of ever seeing set to music, ditto my ballet Jizzell.)


377 gm self-raising flour
151 gm semolina
62 gm cornmeal
149 gm granulated sugar
83 gm unsalted butter
1 1/2 eggs
1 tinned mackerel (about 74 gms)
Grated peel of 1 lemon
99 gm freshly ground almonds
26 gm sultanas
Pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt (optional)

Needless to say, even with icing made from "226 gm icing sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons Fernet Branca" Marta was not a fan. And that's by far not the worst thing that he makes. There are recipes that include various household pets, exotic animals and more.

I must say I was somewhat surprised to see that this is the first book in a trilogy featuring Gerald Samper. This book was also nominated for the Booker prize back in 2004.

When I was thinking about what to make from this book, I did contemplate doing a fish cake. No, not the recipe above - more a normal cake shaped like a fish, but I ended up deciding on making something that I have never made before. 

He is stuffing greedily from the plate of mavlisi I have given him, the last of the ones Ljuka brought me from home. I suppose you might say they are the Voynovian equivalent of florentines, although that scarely does them justice. These are the very best, from Mrszowski's in Voynograd. He selects the one we call "acorn": a pigeon's egg pickled in spearmint water, its base nestled in a delicate pastry cup, and pops it into his mouth.

I don't have a ready supply of pigeon's eggs to try and recreate an acorn mavlisi so instead, I have made florentines. I did recall that I have seen them made on Great British Bakeoff at least once, so this is Mary Berry's recipe:


50g/1¾oz butter
50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
50g/1¾oz golden syrup
50g/1¾oz plain flour
25g/1oz dried cranberries or glacé cherries, finely chopped
50g/1¾oz candied peel, finely chopped
25g/1oz almonds, finely chopped
25g/1oz walnut pieces, finely chopped
200g/7oz plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line three baking trays with baking parchment or silicon sheets.

Measure the butter, sugar and syrup into a small pan and heat gently until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the flour, chopped cranberries or cherries, candied peel and nuts to the pan. Stir well to mix.

Make 18 florentines by spooning six teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to each of the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room for them to spread during cooking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Leave the florentines to cool before lifting onto a cooling rack using a palette knife (if the florentines have been baked on greased baking trays, then allow them to harden for a few moments only before lifting onto cooling racks to cool completely). If the florentines become too hard to remove, then pop them back into the oven for a few minutes to allow them to soften.

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, without letting the bowl touch the water. Temper the chocolate by breaking half of the chocolate into the bowl. Stir until the chocolate reaches a melting temperature of 53C/127F. Meanwhile, finely chop or grate the remaining chocolate.

Carefully remove the bowl from the pan, add the rest of the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has cooled to 26C/79F.

Spread a little melted chocolate over the flat base of each florentine and leave to cool slightly before marking a zigzag in the chocolate with a fork. Leave to set, chocolate side up on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

I am really looking forward to the next Cook the Books selection which is Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman.

I am also sharing this post with Foodies Reads over at Based on a True Story.

Weekly meals

Saturday - 
Sunday -  Roast pork and gravy rolls
Monday - Mexican Chicken and Rice
Tuesday - 
Wednesday - Pork chops, mash, gravy broccoli and carrots
Thursday - Chicken Massaman Curry Pie
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

Monday, November 14, 2022

This Week...


I'm reading...

I made a bit of a strategic mistake this week. I started listening to Book Lovers by Emily Henry on Wednesday morning, thinking I would listen for an hour or so. However, it was so good that I found it very, very distracting. And then the same thing happened on Friday! I really enjoyed the performance of Julia Whelan, the narrator and I loved the story! I have read Henry's last three books now as they came out but I will now be going further into her backlist!

Today I started listening to Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. I did listen to it last year but I feel the need to listen to it again

I'm watching....

On the good side of the equation, we binge watched the full first season of Only Murders in the building! what a fun series. I fully expect that we will be watching season 2 this week, and then we will be eagerly waiting for season 3.

On the less good side of the equation, we also watched a movie called Uncharted. It had a big name cast - Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas for starters -  but it wasn't great. The movie is based on a video game. I did find myself wondering whether it is the same for gamers as it is for readers with the sentiment that the book is (pretty much most of the time) better than the movie.


We did something a little different on Thursday. We went to a candlelight and music event which was held in a former church in the inner city. We listened to a string quartet playing the music of Hans Zimmer (plus a couple of John Williams songs). It was such a lovely way to spend an hour.

Posts from the last week

Blog Tour: Christmas in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen
Weekend Cooking: La Cena Perfetta

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

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - October


This year as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge I am intending to provide some stats after each month and then at the end of the year I will do an overall wrap up for the year. Today I am sharing a few stats about October.

During October there were 57 reviews shared by 19 participants. There were lots of people who shared multiple reviews, including  people who shared 5 or more reviews. Thank you to everyone who has shared! I am part way through visiting everyone this month, and there were some fascinating titles, and I added more than one book to my TBR list!

In terms of the books, there were 54 individual titles reviewed, written by 54 different authors, although a couple of the books were co-authored and I am never quite sure whether to count those more than once! 

There were two books this month which were reviewed more than once.

The first was Mimi Matthew's The Belle of Belgrave Square which was reviewed three times. It wouldn't surprise me if Mimi Matthews is near the top of the list of authors reviewed when I do the stats for the whole year. It's not the first time she has appeared on my monthly wrap up. This month she was reviewed by Yvonne at A Darn Good Read, by Laura from Laura's Reviews and by Susan at Reading World

The other book that was reviewed more than once was Hester by Laura Lico Albanese. Susan at Reading World reviewed this, as did Terrie at Bookshelf Journeys.

One thing that did surprise me this month. No one reviewed an Agatha Christie book. It's not the first time this has happened, or not happened I guess, but it is unusual.

Technically, it's not too late to join the challenge this year. You can find all the sign up details here and if you have a link to add to the challenge the November Linky can be found here

I am very much thinking about next year's challenge. My plan at this stage is to have the sign up post for next year's challenge up in late November (just have to find the image that sings to me for the button). The December Linky will be up on 1 December, with a wrap up post Linky shortly after for those of you who like to do challenge wrap up posts.

This post is also being shared with Sunday Salon hosted at Readerbuzz.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Weekend Cooking: La Cena Perfetta (The Perfect Dinner)

Recently I decided that I wanted to take advantage of the many foreign film festivals that run here so I have decided that I want to see at least one film from each festival. For some festivals that can be enough, for others it is difficult to narrow down to just one film.

When the Italian International Film festival was running, there were two films that I wanted to see. One was called Breaking Up in Rome and the other was this film. In the end, I was only able to watch this one, but it was really good.

Carmine is a member of a Camorra, a crime syndicate based in Naples. Problem is that he is really too nice to be involved in that life. After he messes up one too many times, his godfather (who is also the head of the syndicate ) gives him one last chance. Pasquale is sending him to front a money laundering operation. Carmine is to run a restaurant, the syndicate sends cash to him, he makes it look like it comes from the restaurant and the money is now clean.

Whilst the restaurant is supposed to be just a front, heating up frozen food, it doesn't take Carmine long to want to do it better. That is especially true once he meets Consuela, the chef at the previous restaurant that was located in the premises. Consuela is a great cook, talented, tempestous and determined. But she hasn't yet managed to crack the big time. Technically, she has all the skills, but it seems that her food lacks heart. 

When Carmine agrees to refurbish the restaurant and let Consuela run it her way, it isn't long before he finds himself needing to dip into the money that he is currently cleaning, and that is never going to end well.

With Carmine having too much heart to be part of the gangster world, and Consuela not having enough, can their partnership bring them both what they want?

There are a plethora of movies out there which follow a fairly familiar formula - temperamental chef has to start again and meets their love - queue a bit of comedy, a bit of romance, and lots of great looking food. The Perfect Dinner certainly has lots of those elements, but it is sufficiently different to mean that it doesn't feel the same. It is marketed as a dramedy and it is a gangster film so you do have to take that into consideration when deciding if it is a movie for you, but it was funny and foodie and we enjoyed it.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Fried Chicken Mash and beans
Sunday -  Cheesy Steak melt
Monday - Roast pork and veggies
Tuesday - Pork Nachos
Wednesday - Chicken kebab, baked potato and coleslaw
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

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Blog Tour: Christmas in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen

It's always a pleasure to spend time in the small country towns that Maggie Christensen has created and Bellbird Bay is no exception. And Bellbird Bay at Christmas, even better.

When Libby Walker and her husband planned their sea change move, they had no idea that it would be only Libby who actually made the move.  A couple of years on, Libby is mostly settled. One thing that she knows she  has no interest in is men. Which is lucky, because her daughter has just separated from her husband and is spending the summer in Bellbird Bay while she sorts out her life.

Adam Holland is only in Bellbird Bay for a few weeks. He needs to fulfil a promise to one of his best friends to spread his ashes in his home town on Christmas Eve. Adam has avoided commitment his whole life, and this trip is well timed to give him some space from the woman he has been seeing. It  is also giving him a chance to clear his mind. Adam is a successful author, albeit somewhat reclusive,  but the longer he spends in Bellbird the more he realises that what he really wants is to take his writing in a different direction. Now he just has to convince his agent that his established fan base will follow him with his new character.

When Libby meets Adam, her daughter Emma makes it clear that she would disapprove of any type of romantic entanglement with any man, but seemingly especially Adam. Libby enjoys spending time with him though and that is the first time she has felt anything since her husband died.

With so many difficulties  navigating the complexities of the relationships on the peripherals, can Adam and Libby give themselves time and space to explore their growing feelings. Of course, the course of true love never runs smooth.

My only slight issue is really with Emma. I love reading these mature romances where older people meet and fall in love. I do sometimes find the older children a bit irritating and selfish. Having met my husband when we were older, I am well aware that it can be a bit difficult. A couple of days ago we were having a conversation with my son who lives with us. We were talking about this and he asked what would happen if he said that he disapproved now, bearing in mind that Robert has been living with us for 5 years. My response was that he could move out but he would have to leave the dog!

So many Christmas books are set in the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas means snow and darkness, for us it is about warm weather and if you are lucky sand and surf, and this book really gives a taste of that.

I really enjoyed spending more time in Bellbird Bay and I am already be looking forward to the next book!

Rating 4.5/5

Thanks to Rachel's Random Romance for providing a review copy of this book.

About the book:

Christmas in Bellbird Bay

Libby Walker never imagined she’d be moving into the dream house she and her husband had purchased for their retirement as a widow. Intent on making a new life for herself in the quiet coastal town of Bellbird Bay, Libby’s life is upended by an unexpected call from her daughter.

Adam Holland’s unhappy childhood and broken home has left him scarred. Content with the life he has built for himself as a journalist and author of political thrillers, Adam arrives in Bellbird Bay to fulfil the deathbed request of an old friend.

When Libby and Adam meet, there is an initial attraction. But Libby is grieving for her late husband and trying to help her daughter sort out her life, and Adam has no intention of forming a relationship, wary of commitment because of how his family was torn apart.

Will the peace and tranquillity of Bellbird Bay help these two move on from old hurts and make this a Christmas to remember, or will events conspire to keep them apart?

A heartwarming tale of family, friends, and how a second chance at love can happen when you least expect it.


Purchase Link -

About the Author

After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations, and historical fiction set in her native Scotland. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.

From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!

Social Media Links –


Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Would Like to Start, Catch Up On or Finish


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

week the theme is Series I’d Like to Start/Catch up on/Finish. A couple of months ago, I did TTT which was about the series that I kind of, sort of, just stopped reading. In order to stretch myself I am going to to try to avoid choosing any of those series this time, which might be harder than I think but let's see.

Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley - I still haven't read the latest book in the Seven Sisters series. I really should get on to it given that Pa Salt's story is going to come out next year.

London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker - l recently read Act Like It, the first book in the London Celebrities series. I am really waiting for the next book in the Palace Insiders series but I am happy enough to read the next books in the London Celebrities series.

The Kiss Quotient trilogy by Helen Hoang - I've read the first book but I need to read the next couple of books too.

Murderbot series by Martha Wells - I've read the first three books in this series, but still need to read more.

Eleanor of Aquitaine series by Elizabeth Chadwick - I listened to the first book in this series a while ago but I do need to get back to the second book.

Discworld series by Terry Pratchett - I really, really need to get back to this series.

Harold Fry series by Rachel Joyce - Does a duology count as a series? I am counting it! This is an author who I have been meaning to try for the longest time. I did read a short story by her the other day which does make me want to read more.

Outback Babies series - There have been a couple series set in the small country town of Wirralong. I have read the first two books in the current series, but I haven't yet read the last two.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold trilogy by Toshikazu Kawaguchi - This is the third book in the series. This time the setting has moved to a new location so I am excited to see what happens next.

Bunyip Bay series by Rachael Johns - I honestly can't believe I haven't read this yet.

So there's just some of the series that I would like to start, catch up on or finish!

Monday, November 07, 2022

This Week...

I'm reading.....

This week I started two books. The first was Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson which is the current selection for Cook the Books. It's an interesting book. It is full of humour and inedible food. We'll see what else there is as I progress on the book. 

The second book I started is With Love From Wish & Co by Minnie Darke. Darke's previous book The Lost Love Song was one of my favourite books of last year so I waas very excited to find out there was a new book coming. The book features some moral ambiguity which I think may end up affecting how I feel about it, but it is very readable and I am enjoying it.

I'm watching.....

My Sunday night viewing was Enola Holmes 2. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours

I also started watching From Scratch on Netflix this week. Whilst we are not visiting this part of Italy on our upcoming trip, I am more than happy to spend some time soaking in the vibe. The first episode of the series was full of the sights of Florence!


I had to go to a funeral today for a friend who passed away. We used to work together many years ago. To be honest, I can't quite believe that she has gone. The last time we spoke we were talking about having brunch. She had talked about perhaps having to have it at her place and she would still be in her pyjamas. I insisted that if she was, then so would I be. RIP my friend.


The weather is warming up so we took him to the beach again after puppy school. He does love it so. One thing he isn't so keen on is the other dog who lives in our house. He follows Max around, has the same toys as he does and everything.

Posts from the last week

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - November Linky

Top Ten Tuesday: Weddings

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


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