Friday, March 31, 2023

Blog Tour: Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash


If you have a look at my past and future list of contemporary romance reads, you will see that I have a strong tendency to read books set in France and, more lately, Italy. So when this tour was announced I thought I would expand my horizons and read something set in Cornwall in the UK instead. The other reason was there was much excitement at the announcement of this tour and my FOMO kicked in, so I volunteered. And I am glad that I did

I am not sure I have done a lot of internet shopping while I was somewhat tipsy. If I did, I am not sure that I would buy a new house, or more specifically a lighthouse that needs some work to make it into a house. I do understand the attraction of living right on the coast in a historical lighthouse, but the thought of those steps would be enough to put me off. But it doesn't put off Meredith Robinson. Once she gets over the shock, she decides that a new start is exactly what she needs.

However, Mere was in for more shocks when she arrives in the small village of Driftwood Bay. Firstly, there is the surly man who steals her car park, and then a very frosty reception from the locals. But the biggest shock is the condition of the lighthouse. Whilst the ad had said that there would be some work required that is a big different from the completely uninhabitable condition that it is in.Luckily for him, the real estate agent seems to have disappeared completely. Given the situation, Mere isn't sure that Driftwood Bay is the place for her in the long term, but it is her place for now, and she is going to make the best of it.

Luckily not all the locals are so unfriendly. Before too long, Mere has made friends with several people. The most fortuitous relationship is with Clem, who has all the necessary woodworking skills that are needed to convert the interior of the lighthouse into a lovely home. And as much as Mere enjoys spending time with Clem, it is clear that there are secrets, but he is helping her get her house ready before her mother arrives. Mere's relationship with her mother is somewhat difficult so she hopes to be able to impress her for once.

Mere has a heart of gold and before long she is involved with her friends and neighbours, even volunteering to walk Gladys the Labrador. Now, I only became a dog owner (kind of) 6 months ago, but I have become one of those owners. My Insta feed is full of reels of labradors getting up to all sorts of hijinks, so just the mention of Gladys is enoùgh to bring a smile to my face. But even then, there is still animosity from some of the locals and Mere has no idea why. 

The thing about these kind of new start stories is that they are feel good books, and so it is with this one. I really enjoyed this story, the setting, most of the characters, and of course Gladys! I also could relate to Mere's mother issues. I am also really enjoying that a lot of these books feature women who are my age, who are taking steps to live the lives they want to live instead of what is expected of them. I still wasn't convinced about the wisdom of buying a lighthouse. Maybe if you could install a lift up the middle I would consider it!

It was only after I finished the book and I read the author's bio that I realised that she is also a book blogger which is awesome!

And now I will need to go back and read Kim Nash's earlier books! Check out the other stops on the blog tour to see what everyone else thought of this fun read!

I am also sharing this review with British Isles Friday at Joy's Book Blog.

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy.

Rating 4/5

About the Book

Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove

A perfect new start in Cornwall…

Meredith's life is at a standstill. She's stuck in a dead-end job, approaching fifty, and her dating life is a string of disasters. But one evening, while browsing the internet, she sees an ad for a lighthouse, and in a moment of impulsiveness, she makes a ridiculous bid for it.

With the help of local handyman Clem, she sets about renovating. And as they work together, a bond begins to form. But when Meredith finds out that Clem is keeping a secret from her, it changes everything. Will they find a way to build something more meaningful together?

A delightful story about community, friendship and having the courage to start over, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Lucy Dillon

Purchase Link -

About the author

Kim Nash is the author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction. She lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (division of Hachette UK), and is a book blogger at When she's not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog at Cannock Chase, reading, writing and binge-watching box sets on the TV.

Social Media Links –




Bookbub profile:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: A new start


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is Books for People Who Liked Author X

Rather than talk about a specific author X, I am sharing ten authors who write escape fiction. That probably isn't actually the right name for it, but generally it is books that feature someone making a new start in a new location. Often there are foodie elements, but not always. The covers are often cartoony in style, so it is relatively easy to pick them. I have a lot of books set in France or Italy so I am going to resist the urge to just have those on the list!

Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash - Read this a couple of weeks ago. Will have the review up later this week.

The Little Venice bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - Read this a couple of days ago! Will have a review of this one next week.

One French Summer by Gillian Harvey - Read this one a couple of months ago (review here)

Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas - I have read a couple of Jo Thomas books now. One was set in France, another at Christmas markets in Germany. This one is on my Kindle to read at some point

The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin - I haven't read either this author or the next one, but I do have both of these books on my Kindle.

Tilly's Tuscan Tea Shop by Daisy James - Tea anyone?

A Cottage Full of Secrets by Jane Lovering
- This one is set in Yorkshire!

An Escape to Remember by TA Williams - This is another book set in Italy, this time near Turin.

The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke - I'm not entirely sure where Seashell Cove is!

Snowflakes and Secrets in the Scottish Highlands by Donna Ashcroft
- Scotland! Yes, please!

Can you believe I haven't got a single Jenny Colgan book on this list and there are plenty of other authors that I have missed too! Do you have any recommendations for this kind of read?

Monday, March 27, 2023

This week....

 I'm reading

I don't often read much when I am on holidays, but over the last week I did manage to get some reading done. I finished reading Without Further Ado by Jessica Dettman which I loved! This was such a good read!

I started and finished reading The Little Venice Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin. I will have a review in the next couple of weeks but let me just say that I think this is the best book I have read by her yet!

My next book is going to be The Forgotten Palace by Alexandra Walsh.

I also finished listening to The Martian! I am so glad that I chose to finally read this book. You may recall that this was something I chose to read for my read-on-a-theme bookclub. We met on Saturday and there was an interesting mix of books. 

Next month we are going to read the same book which is the new book from Pip Williams who wrote The Dictionary of Lost Words. Her new book is called The Bookbinders of Jericho. The plan is that we will all read this and then hopefully a few of us will go to the Melbourne Writers Festival to hear her speak in May. We'll see how it goes!

I have started a new audiobook which is Sweet Talk by Cara Bastone. So far, this is an enjoyable listen. I particularly enjoy when the male narrator, Chris Brinkley, is narrating. He has a lovely voice! My main reason for listening to this now was that it says that this is leaving Audible soon so I need to really commit  to listening to this during this week. I didn't realise that it is the second book in a connected series which is a bit of a pain but oh well.

I'm watching

It's only a three and a bit hour flight to New Zealand, it is just long enough to watch a movie. On the way to Christchurch the screens didn't appear to be working particularly well so it wasn't possible, but on the way back the screens were fine. I started to watch The Menu on the plane but it didn't feel like a plane movie  (too intense and need to watch on a bigger screen) so I watched George Clooney and Julia Roberts instead in Ticket to Paradise. It wasn't terrible.

The same could be said of Two Tickets to Greece which I saw on Saturday. This is one of the current French Film Festival films. It is about two old friends who go travelling in Greece. One is very uptight and conservative, and one is not! 


The highlight of last couple of days of our trip was definitely visiting Milford Sound. This is a place that has been on my list of places to visit for years. It's not the easiest place to get to. It's a 4 hour drive there and back and then we were on the boat for a couple of hours. It was, however, totally worth it! What a place.

We did have a bit of an odd situation when we were coming home. We were sitting in the departure lounge, and we could see the bags still being loaded, boarding had started and then we got a text message saying our flight was cancelled! Perhaps someone pressed the wrong button? When we got on board, it turned out that we needed to make a previously unscheduled stop in Christchurch to refuel. When I got back to Melbourne I checked my phone and had another text message from the airline saying that they were trying to contact us to rebook us so that we could get home! I am not sure who knew what was going on but it clearly wasn't everyone!

On Saturday night, we went to see British comedian Rob Brydon's A Night of Songs and Laughter tour. It was a good night without being a great night. It felt a bit like an old fashioned form of entertainment. It was ostensibly a light hearted look at his life through story and song, with a few impressions along the way. All the songs were pretty old, and so were some of the jokes!


I think he was pleased to see us when we got home! He had been outside all day so maybe it was coming inside that he was excited by!

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Kiwi Authors
Best Sellers Around the World: New Zealand

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

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Bestsellers Around the World: New Zealand

I have an infrequent feature that I call Bestsellers around the World, where I take a look at what the current bestsellers in a specific country. Given that I have just spent a week on the South Island of New Zealand, it seemed like a good opportunity to look at what is selling there at the moment!

Here's the list:

Kāwai by Monty Soutar

Eddy, Eddy by Kate De Goldi

Kāwai by Monty Soutar (hardback)

Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly

The Doctor’s Wife by Fiona Sussman

The Wrong Woman by J.P. Pomare

Poor People With Money by Dominic Hoey

Auē by Becky Manawatu

Nightshades and Paperwhites by Sophie Rogers
Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick

The first thing that caught my attention was that the same book is on the list twice! I am not sure that I have seen that before. It is common to see an author with more than one book on the list but not the same book. My attention was therefore piqued and it turns out that Kāwai is a book that I would like to read! Listen to this for a description.

This is a story of a period in NZ history that has never been told . . . It’s 1980 and a young Māori man is compelled to return to his marae on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand to learn about his family history. What follows is a fascinating insight into life in Aotearoa before the white man arrived as the young man’s elderly grand-uncle recounts the story of their ancestor, the fearsome warrior chief Kaitanga.

We first encounter Kaitanga’s father Tāwae as he awakens on a battlefield in 1734 AD, buried under a pile of corpses. Miraculously, he escapes being slain, dismembered and eaten by his enemies, though his father and uncles are not so fortunate. It is this battle that defines the future for a people whose need for retribution to assuage their grief infects multiple generations to follow.

The young chief Tāwae returns to a broken tribe, and it is his job to rebuild the strength and the fighting spirit of his people. We follow their first-born son Kaitanga as he trains hard to become one of the most incredible warriors in Māori history.

Kāwai: For Such a Time as This is not just a story of family and tribal warfare, it is also a story of love, of friendship, of a proud and resilient people who have developed a sophisticated way of living in harmony with the Gods and with the land.

Eddy, Eddy does sound interesting too! This is a novel set in post earthquake Christchurch and according to the blurb it loosely follows the plot from A Christmas Carol. One of the reviews on Goodreads also compares it to Still Life by Sarah Winman.

Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly is a debut novel set in Auckland. The title characters are brother and sister navigating the world together. It sounds really good! And interestingly, this book has also been compared to Still Life in a Goodreads review. Has that book become the book to compare too now?

The Doctor's Wife by Fiona Sussman is a crime novel by a South African born but now New Zealand author. The Wrong Woman is another crime novel, written by J P Pomare who is originally from New Zealand but now lives in Australia.

Poor People with Money by Dominic Hoey sounds grim so I am not sure it is for me.

I was already aware of the book Auē by Becky Manawatu. I first heard of it when I attended a digital session of Melbourne Writers Festival back in 2020. At the time, the book was already a year old so it is possibly a bit surprising to see it still on the bestsellers list

If there is one book on this list that I would love to read it is Nightshades and Paperwhite which is set in the New Zealand Gold Rush! Or is it Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick who writes historical fiction set in the early days of colonisation in New Zealand? Actually I would like to read both of these books. 

Have you heard of any of these books?

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Weekend Cooking: What We Ate on Holiday - NZ edition

We just ducked over the Ditch for a week for the last week,by which  I mean we meticulously planned a week long trip to the South Island of New Zealand. Our main reason for going was to attend the Sail GP event in Christchurch. we also took the opportunity to cross another thing off of our to be done list by visiting Milford Sound! 

After a pretty average flight, we arrived and headed straight to our hotel and then went for a walk into town. Christchurch is a city that is still in the process of being rebuilt following the devestating earthquakes of 2011. One of the things that they have done really well is to create various zones in the city which are full of great eateries. There is still quite a bit of construction happening, including the repairs to the cathedral. I am looking forward to visiting again to see how much progress has been made in a couple of years.

Whenever I visit America, one of the first things I do is have a classic margarita. However, given that I wasn't in the US, I decided to compromise further and had an apple and elderberry frozen margarita! It certainly hit the spot!

On both the Friday and Saturday nights we ended up eating near the river. There were so many options it was hard to choose, and I don't mean from the menu. In the end, we ended up sharing a few items (top pic)  and then on the Saturday night we literally had a sharing platter from the Irish pub in town

Because I was in New Zealand, I really needed to have some ice cream, because they do make great ice cream. The first time I ever visited NZ I tasted Boysenberry ice cream and I still eat it, whether it be in ice cream form, or in yoghurt, or wherever! Don't ask me what a boysenberry looks like because I have no clue, but they taste good! This trip tried some new flavours from a chain called Rollickin - the first was salted caramel and Girl Next Door which is "Playful yogurt whipped with pretty pomegranate gelato & dollops of sweet lemon & passionfruit curd. With flirty flickers of raspberry."  The second time we went I got a scoop of Yogi Bear ice cream which is "Whippin yogurt gelato with dollops of thick gooey ooey caramel." What they both were is delicious!

We did have tickets for both days of the sailing. The first day we were on a boat which was moored out near the start finish line, which included food and drink. I did fully intend to take some photos of the food, but it didn't happen! It was a nice day out and we really enjoyed the experience but we were pretty far away from the sailing. Then the next day we were in the grandstands with tickets that we were only able to get the week before the event, and the view was spectacular! If we had of been in the grandstands and then on the boat, it might be have been a disappointment! 

On the Monday, we drove to Queenstown, which is another spectacular place. On our first night there, we had dinner at Skyline which is a restaurant at the top of the mountain which overlooks the town and Lake Wakatipu! It is such a spectacular location.

I can't remember the last time I had a buffet! There was plenty of great food available, ranging from a lobster consomme, all the prawns you can eat, roasts, and more! and some delicious white sangria!

This was a super quick look at some of the dessert bar!

Along the way, we also took the opportunity to try a few NZ treats. For example, this is lolly lake, a chocolate slice which has a specific type of lolly/candy in it. I don't think you can get the specific lollies here, but there is a version using pineapple lumps which you can get here! Look for this coming up at some point in the future!

On the Tuesday, we drove about an hour out of Queenstown, where we met my friend Sally who lives a bit further south  - another fantastic drive!

One of the other major things that we did while we were away was a trip to Milford Sound. This is a place that I have wanted to visit for years, and it was spectacular! It was more than a three hour drive each way and then two hours on the boat. We had thought about driving ourselves, but it was a definitely a better choice to take a bus tour and let someone else doing the driving. We also had a buffet lunch on the boat but there was no time for photos. There was practically a stampede as soon as everyone got on board the boat, so it was a case of find a seat and then elbows out while you fought to get access to the food. Maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but still.

 Look at this place though....

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Kiwi Authors


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is TTT Rewind (Pick a previous topic that you missed or would like to re-do/update.) However, I am currently in New Zealand so instead I bring you ten Kiwi authors. 

Nalini Singh - I read quite a few of Nalini Singh's paranormal romance novels back in the day!

Deborah Challinor - I visited my friend in New Zealand a few years ago and bought this book. Challinor is a Kiwi author but this book is set in Australia's colonial past.

Danielle Hawkins - I have read a couple of this author's books. I really need to read the rest of her backlist!

Lucy Parker  - Lucy writes amazing contemporary romance novels. I can't wait to read the next book in this series which is due out in August. 

Lloyd Jones - I had completely forgotten that Lloyd Jones was a Kiwi author until I was looking through my reviews

Murray Ball -  He is more a cartoonist than an author, but I am including him on my list because my grandfather loved his books!

Ruth Park - There needs to be at least one controversial choice on her. Park was born in New Zealand but lived in Australia for years and wrote some Australian classics like Harp in the South.

Eleanor Catton - I went and saw this author talk about her breakthrough novel The Luminaries. It sounds fascinating but I still haven't read it.

Heather Morris - It was only when I was in a bookshop here and saw her books on the NZ author shelf that I remembered that this author definitely had a Kiwi accent when I heard her speak a few years ago. She does live in Australian now though!

Soraya Lane - I have had this author on my list of authors to read for ages!

Monday, March 20, 2023

This Week...

I'm reading

I started reading Without Further Ado by Jessica Dettman on the plane and so far I love it. It is smart and funny and it has made me want to rewatch the Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson version of Much Ado About Nothing. I hope I can find it somewhere to watch! I have booked in to go to a library event to hear Jessica Dettman talk. I am very much looking forward to it now!

I also finished reading Hopeful Hearts at Cornish Cove by Kim Nash. I will have a review of that one in the next couple of weeks.

I am still listening to The Martian and really enjoying it. I think it is really helping me that I have watched the movie so many times because otherwise the science might be too much.

I'm watching

Nothing much really!


On Tuesday night I went to see Jon Stevens, Cyndi Lauper and Rod Stewart in concert. I wasn't intending to go but then there were cheap tickets so I changed my mind, and it was a really great show! I thoroughly enjoyed all three acts. Jon Stevens is always great and when Cyndi Lauper hit the big notes - oh my goodness! And then Rod Stewart was awesome too.

We flew to Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday and have spent the weekend at the SailGP! What an experience to see those boats doing speeds of around 80kms, racing against each other! The weather has been perfect for sailing, the event well organised and the city is buzzing!

Posts from the last week

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR
Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Front

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

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Weekend Cooking/Cook the Books: The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

When I saw the current list of selections for Cook the Books, I knew that this book was definitely going to be a must read. I mean, it's a foodie novel set in WWII. And yet, if you think about it, that can't be that easy to write, given that there were strict rations in place. However, that is really what this book is about. How to eat well when you have such limited access to ingredients.

The story revolves around four women who find themselves competing against each other in a cooking competition in order to win a coveted role as a co-presenter in a radio show called The Kitchen Front. The show exists to provide information and inspiration to women, talking about creative ways to cook taking into consideration the limited food resources that they currently have.

Two of the women are sisters but Audrey and Gwendoline are estranged. Audrey's husband has been killed in the war and she is barely managing to keep her family house from falling down around her. She needs to keep things going in order to look after her sons.

Gwendoline married well and is now a titled Lady living in the big house. Everything she does is designed to ensure that her position in the community is enhanced and maintained. Gwendoline also has a massive chip on her shoulder about Audrey being their mother's favourite, and it has lead to the sisters being alienated from each other. However, for all that Gwendoline is meant to be living the dream, it isn't all sunshine and roses. She has secrets that really need to stay secret.

Nell works in the kitchen of the big house alongside the cook who is almost her substitute mother. Nell is a shy young woman, but she  is a very talented cook. She sees that she is assisting Mrs Quince but really Mrs Quince knows that winning this competition is going to give Nell the opportunity she needs to get away from working in the big house and making her way into the world.

The final contestant is Zelda. She currently works as a cook in the pie factory which is owned by Lady Gwendoline's husband. She has her own secret, one that isn't going to be able to keep a secret for too much longer. She needs to win this competition so that she can get back to her real life being a chef in London.

As the competition continues, we get insights into each contestants thinking about each of the 3 dishes that they need to make, where they get their inspiration from\, and how they manage their day to day lives in the midst of the turmoil and challenges of life in WWII. The unexpected outcome of competing against each other, is that they actually started to become closer to each other

I enjoyed watching the relationships betwen the women evolve and another highlight for me was the fact that there really was a show called The Kitchen Front on the radio in WWII, and there really were cooking competitions which were designed to help lift morale

As you would expect, there are many food references in the book and there were even some recipes. Some of the recipes are not recipes that we would want to eat now. An example of this would be the Sardine tart in which the pastry is made using the oil from the sardine tin - ugh!. But there are definitely some that would definitely still be tasty! As soon as I saw it mentioned, I had a penchant to cook Chicken Cacciatore, and there is a recipe included in the book so that was my plan to cook, but then I saw that Amy from Amy's Cooking Adventures had already made it, so I have ended up sticking in my swim lane and making an Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake.  

I have had an idea to make a WWII cake since I first read about a one agg cake in a Viola Shipman book a few years ago, but I hadn't been able to find a recipe for that cake so instead this was a good substitute.

Now, I wouldn't call this an unqualified success! I ended up making the recipe twice because the first time my cakes came out looking very much like giant cookies! They tasted fine, especially when I dished them up broken into pieces with lashes of cream and berries,  but I was wondering if maybe I didn't measure it properly as I am not used to cooking in pounds and ounces. The second time I made the recipe, it was better, mainly because I only cooked it in one cake tin. I also added a bit more milk to the mixture. It still wasn't pourable but it was better. Texturally it still looked a bit like a giant cookie from the top, but it was at least a giant cookie that had depth and was spongy like cake should be!

Gwendoline’s Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake 

Serves 4 to 6 

For the cake 

1¾ ounces sugar 

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

4 fluid ounces milk and water mixed 

3 ounces butter or margarine 

1 tablespoon golden syrup or treacle 

6½ ounces flour 1½ ounces cocoa 

½ teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

For the icing 

2 ounces butter or margarine 

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 ounce powdered milk 2 tablespoons sugar 

½ teaspoon vanilla essence 

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and bicarbonate of soda in the milk and water. Add the butter or margarine and syrup or treacle and mix slowly but well. 

Sieve the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the mixed ingredients from the saucepan and mix well, again slowly. Pour into two cake tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When cooked, leave the cakes in their pans until cool. 

Next, make the icing. Melt the butter or margarine, then mix with the cocoa powder, powdered milk, sugar, and vanilla essence until soft and shiny.

The next Cook the Books selection is Lessons in Chemisty by Bonnie Garmus which I am very much looking forward to reading!

I have also linked this post up with Foodies Read hosted at Based an a True Story, British Isles Friday (hosted at Joy's Book Blog) and for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted here at The Intrepid Reader!

Important note:

l am away this week and can't access Mr Linky so for this week only, please add your links in the comment!

Weekly meals

Saturday - Out for dinner
Sunday -  Out for dinner
Monday -  Out for dinner
Tuesday - Out for dinner
Wednesday - Butter chicken and rice
Thursday - Meatballs
Friday - on holiday

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


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