Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Blog Tour: An Italian Island Summer by Sue Moorcroft


Ursula Quinn needs a change. She has endured a divorce, her parent have split up and now her employer is closing down. But she is done with being a tattoo artist. Her heart is calling her to go to Italy to learn more about traditional ceramics. Luckily her uncle has some connections and so it is that she finds herself working at the small family hotel that is owned by the Tringali family. Little does she know the connection is a little complicated, something that will blow up badly later in the book


In exchange for working in the morning helping guests with breakfast, Ursula gets to stay in a small attic room with a balcony, and in the afternoon she is free to learn all she can from Fabio, a local ceramic artisan.


When Alfio Tringali has a foreboding dream, he makes the sudden decision to return from Barcelona to his family hotel. His mother has recently had surgery and still doesn’t seem herself, and his sister’s husband deserted her when she was pregnant and now her small baby also requires surgery, all while trying to run the hotel. He asks his English girlfriend to come home with him and is quite surprised by her negative response.


When he returns he is somewhat miffed to find that not only is his family coping well enough, thanks in no small part to Ursula’s assistance, but the Irish woman is staying in the room he thought would be his for the duration of his stay.


Gradually though, as they are forced to spend time together, Ursula and Alfio begin to feel a growing connection, but both of them have complications. Neither of them know what their future hold. Ursula is in Sicily for the summer, and Alfio doesn’t know where he will be living in the future. And then there is Ursula’s possessive ex husband who is being a nuisance, contacting her friends and family in order to try and find out where she is. And now Alfio’s ex girlfriend is wondering if she was too hasty in saying no to him.

I really enjoyed reading about Ursula and Alfio. Ursula has had a lot to deal with. There was a traumatic event which led to the breakdown of her marriage, and she didn’t cope well at all. As a result of that, her  family are always worried about her, about her mental wellbeing. She also has no intention of having a relationship, knowing that she would find it difficult to trust a man after everything that happened. 

Ursula finds great satisfaction in learning as much as she can into her new career in ceramics, where she is combining her tattoo designs with traditional motifs. I loved the sound of the ceramics that Ursula and Fabio make. I found myself looking at ceramics online. Who knows I might still buy something


Alfio just sounds like a really nice guy. He wants to do the right thing by his family, not just now but for the future. And as a family they have to decide if they want to keep the hotel that has been in their family for generations, or if it is time for all of them to find a new direction in life.

 Earlier this year we went to Italy. Originally the plan was to go to Sicily but we ended up cutting that out of the trip so that we wouldn’t be rushing around so much. Now, I really want to go to Ortigio. It sounds like such a lovely place. It would be fantastic to stay at the kind of family run hotel that is described in the book, although I would require lifts. My husband would kill me if I booked into another hotel which would require hefting bags up stairs!

 I have been thinking about why I enjoy reading these kind of escape/travel romances. A lot of it is to do with my love of travelling, learning about new places and feeding that hunger to visit these places.I have also determined that I really enjoy these stories when both of the characters are unsettled. I do like it when someone goes to a new place and meets a local, but I prefer it when they both are having to work through the process of settling into a new life. I know that Alfio’s family is from the town but he is having to reestablish his life there after living away for many years.


Sue Moorhouse has written a lot of books, many of them set in Italy and France. I will be reading more! I did wonder if maybe Ursula’s best friend’s story might have been told in a previous book. If so, I will be starting with that book. If not, there are plenty of other options. (It is now confirmed that this story was in Under the Italian Sun)

Rating 4/5


About the book

An Italian Island Summer

Will one summer in Sicily change her life for ever?

After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.

At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.

But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another. Can she face her past and he his future, and together make the most of their Sicilian summer?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK EB

Amazon UK PB

Kobo UK EB

Amazon US -

About the Author

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US and Canada. She writes two books a year for publishing giant HarperCollins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.

Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses appear around the world.

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Twitter [@suemoorcroft]

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Weekend recap

Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book (what are your immediate turn-offs or dealbreakers when it comes to books?). However, this weekend I went to Rachael Johns Reader Retreat so my theme this week is ten things I liked about the retreat!

Location - The venue was in a small town called Hahndorf which is in the Adelaide hills. The town has a German heritage and is a great tourist destination. There is a strong foodie vibe in the town. I will say it was very rainy, particularly on Saturday night and during the day Sunday. I could have done with the flight changes on the flight home on Sunday but that was a minor inconvenience.

Venue - Luckily I managed to get to share accommodation with someone I hadn't met before so it was just a case of walking up the hill to the venue. Above is the view from the balcony. I can see this as a wedding venue

Car -  Because I was going to see my brother and mother before going to the venue I hired a car which was a Toyota Corolla.  It was a hybrid car which I have never driven before. It was a bit weird to not be able to hear the car when it started.

Merch - There was plenty of goodies in the goodie bag. This is just what we got on arrival and there was more during the weekend.

Pink - The theme for Friday night cocktail party was pink, but there was a whole lot of pink everywhere all weekend! I have realised I could wear something pink for a week and still not run out of clothes.

Food - The food was pretty good, especially the morning and afternoon teas and lunches although I forgot to take photos on Sunday. The Saturday night dinner was ...okay but it was another opportunity to dress up. I went the sparkles route.

The other attendees - Over the weekend I meant a load of new people, but also got to spend some time with people I have known for years!

Speed Dating - One of the sessions was author speed dating. The authors moved around from table to table. Some came bearing gifts of bookmarks or chocolate, others asked us questions. All of them were interesting!

Book club  - There were two book club sessions. I hadn't read one of the books, but the session for the book I had read was really interesting, which was The War Nurses by Anita Hodgson.

Hearing what's coming next - There were lots of conversations about what comes next with all of the authors. We got to see some upcoming covers. For example, this one by Meredith Appleyard which is so gorgeous. I know I want to read this book based only on the cover. There were many others.

I have already paid my deposit for next year!

Have you been to an author/reader retreat?

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Weekend Cooking: Granny's Melting Moments

A couple of weeks ago I was in my home town of Perth. One of my aunties had some recipes for me that my grandmother used to make. One of them was a recipe for Melting Moments, and it was written in my grandmother's handwriting. It gave me quite a jolt to see that as she died a couple of years ago now during COVID so we weren't able to go to her funeral. She had, however, been in care for a number of years now and as a result I hadn't read a letter from her for many years.

Last weekend, I invited my sister and her family around for Sunday afternoon. Ostensibly it was to celebrate my husband's birthday, but I thought it would be fun to make them for her, which is what I did! I also made some scones )lemonade and cream version) and a couple of loaves of banana bread. You can find the recipe for the scones here, and for the banana bread here. I added cream cheese frosting adapted from one of our favourites which is this Carrot, Walnut and Ginger cake. Instead of ginger juice I added lemon juice

Firstly though, here is the recipe that my grandmother used to make

For me though, I definitely need a filling for melting moments, so I went and found a filling which was 60 grams of butter, and around 80 grams of icing sugar mixture and a splash of lemon juice to give it a lemon zing. They were a big hit. Well, let's put it this way. There were no leftovers. Here are the finished product

As usual, not pretty but certainly tasty

This was the whole spread

Do you have any recipes that have been passed down to you?

Weekly meals

Saturday - Chicken enchilada
Sunday - Scrambled eggs on toast 
Monday - Sausages, mash and gravy
Tuesday - Mexican chicken and rice
Wednesday - Out for dinner
Thursday - Out for dinner
Friday - Canapes

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, May 23, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors going to the Rachael Johns author retreat this weekend

Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book (these can be auto-buy authors, tropes you love, if an author you love blurbed it, settings, genres, etc.). However, this weekend I am going to the Rachael Johns Reader Retreat so my theme this week is authors attending the retreat

Rachael Johns - Of course I had to start with the host!

Anthea Hodgson - I am currently reading this book in anticipation of the book club discussion 

Victoria Purman- I've read a few of this author's books now.

Tricia Stringer - I have been reading this author for years, right from her initial book.

Penelope Janu - I have only read one of this author's books but I know people who love her

Emily Madden - When I read The Lost Pearl I was inspired to make a lemon crunch cake

Sandy Barker - I love the idea of this author's books which are all about fun locations and romance. I have read this book but I am very much looking forward to getting in on her next series from the first book

Leonie Kelsall - This author is local to where the retreat is being held and has been super helpful

Kim Lock - I haven't read this author yet.

Meredith Appleyard -  Or this one.

There are more authors going, but here are ten!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Weekend Cooking: First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson

Tomorrow is World Baking Day, so it is only right that I should talk about a book about baking today.

Emelia Jackson first rose to prominence in Masterchef Australia back in 2014 when she came third in the season. At that time she became known as the "Queen of Choux". She returned in 2020 to win the Back to Win season. Since then, she has gone on to be an ambassador with one of our baking companies, online and more.

Late last year, Jackson released her first cook book which is called First, Cream the Butter and Sugar and it is amazing! As I have mentioned previously, I tend to try to borrow cookbooks from the library before buying them which I did with this week. I then sat and went through the book highlighting all the recipes that I wanted to try. It didn't take long to realise that this was a book that I needed to own! And that it is a book that I am going to be able to use as a baking guide for many years to come. In fact, the other day I was thinking about how many recipes I have bookmarked. If I make one recipe a week, I think it will take me at least 3 or 4 years to get through them.

The book is broken in to six sections - cookies, cakes (both everyday cakes and celebration cakes), tarts, choux, yeasty bakes and finally fillings, sauces and toppings. Each section is comprehensive. For example in the cookie section alone there are more than 25 different recipes. More, if you count that there are seven different variations on macaron flavours. Each recipe in the book includes both metric and imperial measurements and using alternate names of ingredients. For example, where the recipe below calls for caster sugar it also says superfine in the book, making it accessible no matter where you live.

The recipes vary in complexity from easy to much more complicated. For example, the recipe I am sharing today is called a Lazy Apple Pie Cake, also known as Lenja Pita. This is a cake of Serbian origin. The idea is that there is a layer of butter cake, topped with a layer of apples, and then another layer of cake. It's a very simple idea and it is definitely a winner. And it doesn't only work for apples. The author suggest that you can use the same technique for pears, apricots, peaches, berries and cherries. T/he hardest thing about this particular cake is peeling and slicing all the apples!

To give you an idea of the variation in the complexity, here is another option for an apple cake. I haven't yet made spiced apple layer cake with brown butter cream cheese icing, but it is on my list. 

I can't wait to continue to explore all the recipes in this book. I am sure that you will hear more about this book over the coming months! The next recipe I will be making is banana bread. The plan is to combine it with a cheesecake cream cheese frosting which comes from the red velvet recipe in the book.

Lazy Apple Pie Cake (Lenja Pita)

200g caster sugar

150g unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract

2 eggs

300g plain flour

200ml full-cream milk

icing sugar for dusting

750g green apples, peeled and sliced

120g caster sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a 23cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

To make the apple filling, combine the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl and toss together.

Using an electronic mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the caster sugar, butter and vanilla until light, creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until completely combined.

Whisk the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Add the flour and the milk alternately to the butter mixture, stirring until completely combined but being careful not to overwork the butter.

Spread half of the batter in an even layer over the base of the cake tin and top with the filling (it will look like a lot of apple, but it will cook down and balance the sweetness of the cake). Gently spread the rest of the batter over the apple. The batter will be quite thick so it will some gentle guidance to spread it in an even layer. Bake the cake for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the apple is soft. All the cake to cook completely in the tin.

Liberally dust the cake with icing sugar to serve.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pork chops, mash, broccoli
Sunday -  
Monday - 
Tuesday - Birthday dinner (meatballs)
Wednesday - Takeaway
Thursday - Steak, broccolini, mushrooms and potato
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, May 19, 2023

Blog tour : The Memory of You by Samantha Tonge

Alex Butler is a very successful author. She has it all. A sleek modern apartment, a buzzing social media presence, and of course all the luxury items a woman could want. She has also the kind of attitude where you know that she has uttered the phrase "do you know who I am?" at least once in her life.

Except that it is all an illusion. Her career has taken a nose-dive after receiving a scathing review from an influential blogger, and there is no guarantee that she is going to receive a new contract. She is broke and the bank is chasing her for the arrears of her mortgage payment. She has a matter of weeks to get her agent the first part of her next book, and it has to be good.

She is also alone. When her marriage fell apart and then her mother died, Alex threw herself into her work, alienating her former colleagues and friends. 

And so it is that she finds herself alone in a bar in Manchester. What she doesn't know is why is alone in a bar and crying. Hope is also alone in that bar and crying. She is crippled with fear. She is supposed to be leaving on a dream trip around with the world with her daughter in just a few days. The idea of going to strange countries scares her completely.She hasn't told her boss that she is going and she knows that if she does go she will also lose her home as it comes with her job, but if she doesn't go then she will disappoint her daughter

Somewhat impulsively Alex and Hope agree that Alex will fill in for Hope working in a cafe. Hope tries to tell her what makes the cafe unique, but Alex being Alex she doesn't listen. And so it is that Alex finds herself at the Wrong Order Cafe.

The Wrong Order Cafe is a special place. It is owned by good hearted Tom - a man with a penchant for wearing odd socks. He owns a cranky, opinionated parrot by the name of Captain Beaky. The thing that really makes The Wrong Order Cafe special is the staff. Many of the employees have varying degrees of dementia. They are each still able to work but on occasion they may get the orders mixed up, hence the cafe name. Tom works hard to ensure that his team is allowed to feel safe in their workplace and that they feel valued and useful. He knows how hard dementia is for both the person with dementia and for their family. as his own father was diagnosed with the condition.

Alex realises very quickly that this is not the place for her. She has no patience and she doesn't have time. Her deadline is fast approaching. But she does feel a bit guilty that if she doesn't fulfil her part of the bargain that Hope will lose her home too. In due course, she begins to see beyond the superficial, to see the strengths of the other people at the cafe. Even the parrot. 

Whilst dealing with dementia is one of the major themes of the book, there is another, and that isthe dreaded M word for women my age - menopause. After realising that she has skipped her period for months, Alex is shocked to be told that she is peri-menopausal. This is not something that is talked about very often so it was interesting to read as Alex begins to relook at her life over the last few years to see how her changing body might have impacted on her life.

Alex was a difficult character to read about. She is very self contained and isolated from everyone. It is only as the book progresses that she begins to thaw. I am not sure that Alex is ever going to bel ight and fluffy but she does get better.

The strength of this book is in the issues it deals with. I loved the Wrong Place Cafe and the team that works there. They each are at different stages of their condition and each need different things to ground them in reality for as long as possible. They, and their families, know that it is only a matter of time before their condition worsens. There were lovely moments all through the book with each of the characters. Even the people in the cafe who are do not have dementia are given the space on the page for them to blossom.

And to read about two women discussing how menopause is affecting them? Unheard of. Or at least I can't remember reading one any time recently.

I had read one book from this author before, and I have another here waiting for me to read.  I am looking forward to seeing what issues the author is going to explore next.

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


About the book

The Memory of You

A gorgeously uplifting story about memories, storytelling, love and friendship, about the journeys we take and the people we meet, what we remember and how there are some things we can never forget.

Alex would like to believe she’s a woman who has it all. Or that’s what she tells everyone, including herself. But this is far from true. Actually she’s on the cusp of losing her home, her dream career as a writer is in tatters, her ex won’t speak to her, and her mother’s gone forever.

But then a chance meeting with a stranger named Hope gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, when Hope jokes that perhaps Alex should take over her job in a cafe while she goes travelling.

Just at that moment, it sounds like the answer to all her problems. So Alex persuades Hope to let her step into her shoes for a month. She brushes away Hope’s attempts to explain about the café, instead demanding to know more about the owner Tom.

But she should have asked to know more. Because the ‘Wrong Order Café’ isn’t like anywhere she’s ever been before. And Alex’s life is about to change forever…

Purchase Link -

About the Author

Samantha Tonge is the bestselling and award-winning author of over 15 romantic fiction titles published by HQ, and most recently Aria. Her first book for Boldwood, Under One Roof, was published in February 2022 and her move to Boldwood marks a broadening of her writing into multi-generational woman’s fiction. She lives in Manchester with her family.

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Sunday, May 14, 2023

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - April Stats


Last year I started sharing statistics each month for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, and my plan is to continue to do this again this year. I always find it interesting to see what are the books that people are reading and reviewing! This month I haven't had time to come and comment on all the reviews, but I will try to do that this week. I am, however, starting a new job, so time and tiredness might affect my ability to see everyone. We'll see.

In terms of the books, it was another really good month for reviews with 84 reviews linked up for the challenge, shared by 22 participants. This is 3 more than for the same month last year. There were 77 individual titles reviewed, written by 74 different authors. There were 7 reviewers who reviewed 5 or more books each. Thank you to everyone who shared their links whether it be 7 or just 1. I even managed three reviews. Go me!

Let's move onto the books. There were 7 books that were reviewed twice during April. I think that is the most books we have had which have been reviewed more than once in a month!

Good Town by Mary Louise Wells was reviewed by both Susan at Reading World and Shirley McAllister over at Goodreads.

A new book from Kate Morton is very exciting to me so it is no surprise to see more than one review for Homecoming, which was released this month. Both Tracey at Carpe Librum and Shelleyrae from Book'd Out linked up their reviews. I do, however, happen to know of at least one more review which was counted to the challenge but not linked up. I am looking forward to reading this one myself.

Rivers of Treason by K J Maitland is the third book in the Daniel Pursglove mystery series which is set in the 17th century. This was reviewed at both What Cathy Read Next and at She Reads Novels.

The next book to be reviewed twice was Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie which was reviewed at Shellie Loves Books and at Laura's Reviews.

The House is on Fire by Rachel Beanland was reviewed at Becky's Reviews and also at Laura's Reviews. At first, I didn't recognise this author's name until I saw the cover and that she wrote Florence Adler Swims Forever

The War Nurses by Anthea Hodgson is a book that I need to read in the next couple of weeks, and I can't wait! I am somewhat familiar with the true story it is based on so it will be great to read how the author has treated the story. The book was reviewed by Shelleyrae at Book'd Out and Bree from All the Books I Can Read

The final book that was reviewed twice this month was Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly which was reviewed by Shirley at Goodreads and Davida at The Chocolate Lady's Book Review Blog.

There was one author who had 3 reviews this month. I have mentioned above that Sparkling Cyanide was reviewed twice, but in addition to this, there was another Christie book reviewed by Laura's Reviews which was The Moving Finger.

There were two other authors who had two individual titles reviewed. Roberta Kagan had the first two books of her Blood Sisters series. The first book is The Pact which was reviewed at Rosepoint Publishing. The second book is My Sister's Betrayal which was reviewed by Shirley at Goodreads

Lastly, Barbara at Stray Thoughts reviewed two books by Roseanna M White. Ring of Secrets is the first book in the Culper Ring series (reviewed here). Whispers from the Shadows is the second book in the same series and it was reviewed here.

It's not too late to join the 2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. The sign up post is here, and you can find the March linky to add your reviews here.

I am looking forward to seeing what people share during May.

I am also sharing this post with Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Weekend Cooking/Blog Tour: A Taste of Italian Sunshine by Leonie Mack

In this week's Weekend Cooking post I am sharing a review  of A Taste of Italian Sunshine which is all about life in the hills of Veneto. There's lot of information about making prosecco and grappa, and plenty of delicious sounding Italian food!


Jenn Park has a nose. I mean, most of us have noses, but Jenn has a particularly fine sense of smell which is exactly what she needs in her job as a successful wine taster. Her boss, Filippo, has sent her to the hills of Veneto in Italy in her first solo gig as a buyer. Her tasks is to get an in with the producers of prosecco wine and make a deal so that their wine’s can be stocked in the hotel’s locations around the world.

The only problem is her nose is very sensitive. And bubbles are something that doesn’t agree with her, causing her senses to explode. She therefore doesn’t like tasting prosseco. She also is great at tasting, but she is something of a lightweight when it comes to drinking. She also doesn’t have a drivers licence which is going to be a problem getting around the various wineries she needs to visit. She was never going to tell Filippo that though, given that she has had an unrequited crush on him for a long time.

Jenn is booked into stay in an old farm house where Tiziano lives in a converted out-building, helping out his Nonna as she needs, as well as numerous other friends and family. Tiziano gives every impression of being a bit of a layabout. He lives in his grandmother's barn, spends his time doing a bit of farming, a bit of fishing, a bit of this and that. But Tiziano isn't exactly what he seems. He has secrets from his past that still continue to impact him.

Jenn tries to bulldoze her way into the various wineries in the area, Tiziano tries to show her the way of the locals, the importance of relationships, of understanding the history and the traditions of the town, and of the vineyards.

After initially being resistant to her surroundings and to Tiz, uptight Jenn begins to loosen up, with Tiz by her side in various situations, often secretly shielding her from the things that trigger her, and yet fully respecting who she is. They both know that Jenn is going to need to go back to her life in London, so they have a limited time together, but it could be that this short time is going to prove to be a catalyst for them to both move on in their lives. The question is, will they move forward together or separately.

I have to say I loved Tiziano. When you read a fair amount of romance novels, you begin to think that a lot of male love interests are somewhat cookie-cutter. They are always tall and muscular, with great abs/pecs yada yada. Tiz is somewhat wirey, with a tongue piercing, a sparkle in his eye and a bit of a mischievous attitude. 

Last year I read Leonie Mack’s Twenty One Nights in Paris. I was impressed with her sense of place, the way she described Paris. Now, she has turned her focus to the vineyards of Veneto and once again she took us right there. There are the hills covered in vines, the river, the food, the people and a lot of interesting information about the production of both prosecco and grappa and I found it all fascinating. For example, did you know that there is a type of prosecco which has a lower fizz factor?  We also get Jenn's tasting notes for some of the wine throughout the book

I wonder where Leonie Mack is going to take us next? Wherever it is, I will be joining her through the pages of her book.

Check out other links on the tour for their thoughts.

Rating 4.5/5

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

About the book

A Taste of Italian Sunshine

Jenn has always prided herself on being a city girl – she insists on easy access to good coffee, great food from around the globe, not to mention an easy commute. So, when her job takes her to one of the most famous Italian wine regions in search of the perfect Prosecco, travelling to meetings on a tractor is a bit of a culture shock.

Tiziano hates the city. He was made for the mountains and vineyards of Veneto, and generations of his family have earned their living from the land. But times are changing even in the Italian countryside, and the arrival of Jenn at his grandmother’s B&B opens up a window on a different world.

Jenn has two months to persuade the Prosecco producers to trust her with their business, and Tiziano has one summer to persuade Jenn that there’s more to life than the rat race. But can a city girl and a country boy ever find enough in common to see a future beyond one long summer of sun…

Purchase Link -

About the author

Leonie Mack is the bestselling author of romantic novels including My Christmas Number One and Italy Ever After. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

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Facebook: Leonie Mack - Home | Facebook
Twitter: Leonie Mack WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE VENICE (@LeonieMAuthor) / Twitter
Instagram: Leonie Mack (@leoniejmack) • Instagram photos and videos
Newsletter Sign Up: Bookbub profile: Leonie Mack Books - BookBub

Weekly meals

Saturday - 
Sunday -  
Monday - Chicken Schnitzel, chips and gravy
Tuesday - 
Wednesday - Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Bolognaise
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff
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

Blog tour: Escape to Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen

Ali West has spent her whole working life in academia, teaching about women’s rights. When one of her students accuses her male professor of inappropriate advances, Ali is shocked at the university’s reaction, and even more shocked when it is suggested that she might need to take some time off.

Neil Simpson has issues in his career too. He has been inadvertently implicated in a financial scandal at the prestigious boys school where he is principal. Although he has been cleared of any involvement, his reputation has been affected and he has been directed to take paid leave until the matter goes to court.

Both Ali and Neil find themselves in Bellbird Bay. Ali comes to visit her brother, Adam, who has recently settled with his new partner. Neil and his daughter, Bronte, come to stay with his father, Harry, who runs the local bookstore. Lucky he does return to Bellbird Bay because it turns out that Harry is having some health issues and is going to need some support for a while.

Both of them are looking at what comes next for them in terms of their career. Neither of them are looking for love, but Bellbird Bay has something of a reputation for being a town where love comes to those who least expect it.

I have reviewed multiple books by Maggie Christensen now. I always look forward to reading the next book in her series. There are many recurring characters from previous books in the series, but they don’t get in the way of the current story. Bellbird Bay sounds like a really great place to live. Sun, surf, good people. What more do you need?

I really enjoyed this instalment in the series. I liked that both Neil and Ali were escaping, not just one of them. Both of them are navigating the challenges that face you when you are in a new place. For Neil, he is returning to the place where he grew up, but he was never one of the surfie guys, so he has past acquaintances rather than close friends. Ali has her brother, but they were separated during childhood and had only recently been reunited, so there is work to be done there.

One aspect I really liked of this book is Neil’s daughter Bronte. She is young, only around 20, and she is struggling to find a direction in life. Her mother is ambitious for her, pushing her into university courses that she isn’t really interested in. When she comes to town, she finds her own direction, one that is different from the one her mother would want, but one that she can call her own. The reason why I really liked Bronte is that, on occasion, some of the grown kids in the previous books are sometimes a bit annoying in their selfishness.

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of this series, and this author. I think she is the author I have read the most books from over the last two or three years. I am already looking forward to the next book. And the one after that. And after that. You get the picture.

Check out other stops on the tour to see what they thought.

Rating 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the review copy

About the Book

Escape to Bellbird Bay: A heartwarming story of second chances

When successful university lecturer Alison Wells’ life unexpectedly falls apart, she follows in her brother’s footsteps and escapes to the coastal town of Bellbird Bay on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Neil Simpson loves teaching and his position as principal at a prestigious boys’ school in Brisbane. But when scandal rocks the school, and he learns his father’s health is failing, he has no choice but to return to his hometown of Bellbird Bay.

Determined not to be a burden to her brother and his new partner, Ali is considering her options when her world and Neil’s collide. Having avoided commitment all her life, Ali is unprepared for the force of her attraction to the man who is trying to come to terms with the upheaval in his own life.

As fate conspires to keep them apart, can this small town work its magic on these two lost souls?

Purchase Links

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!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Have you read this?



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is Books I Recommend to Others the Most.

I am going to mix the theme up a bit. I am going to do some books that I recommend to others, and the rest are books that were recommended to me.

Books I recommend to others

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley  - I have recommended this author to so many people!

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley  - I have recommended this author to so many people!

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke - Most recently I recommended this to my boss.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry - I also recommended this to my boss. She has since read more Emily Henry books than I have!

The Island of MissingTrees by Elif Shafak - Love this book

Virgin River by Robyn Carr - Back in the day pushed this book on multiple people

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder - I was looking back through my blog and found a post where Bree and I from All the Books I Can Read talked about me recommending this book to her years ago.

Dressmakers of Yarrandarrah Prison by Meredith Jaffe -This was so good!

Books recommended to me by Bree

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast by Danielle Hawkins - Bree and I often recommend book to each other. This author is one that she recommended to me as a great read!

Act Like It by Lucy Parker - And this one!

The Drifter by Anthea Hodgson - We went to an author event, and this was not one of the authors, but it was a book that we talked about while there.

There are plenty more but that's for starters!

Have you read any of these books? What other books would you recommend to me?