Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Unread Books on My Kindle





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

Unread Books on My Shelves I Want to Read Soon (Bonus points if you tell us how long it’s been sitting on your shelf waiting for you.). I don't know about you, I could probably do this topic every week for a year and still have some books left to share about!

I thought I would go to my Kindle an see what books are the oldest on there however, there are a lot of books on their that I would have bought for a reason but now I have no idea. So these are the books that caught my eye as I scrolled through. Books that I would potentially still buy!

The War Bride Club by Soraya Lane - I have several Soraya Lane books on my Kindle but I have never actually read any of them

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman - I was reminded of this authors books when we visited Hawaii last year.

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia - I think I picked this one up as part of a World Book Day promotion or something like that!

The Tea Planters Daughter by Janet Macleod Trotter - I think I have all the books in this series.

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen by Julie Caplin - I have read another Julie Caplin now so I will read more from her. Maybe I will start from the beginning which is this book!

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton - I have heard such good things about this book!

The Lady's Guide to Celestial Maintenance by Olivia Waite - I picked this book up after a session at Melbourne Writers Festival a few years ago.

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis - Fiona Davis is one of those authors that I have been meaning to read for year!

The Cottage at Rosella Cove by Sandie Docker - Another author I own several books by but I haven't read yet

The Orphans Tale by Pam Jenoff - Pam Jenoff wrote WWII before it was cool. I have read a few of her books but it has been many years!

I could definitely do this topic a few more times without trying too hard.Do you recommend any of these books

Monday, April 22, 2024

This week....

I'm reading

I am quite sure how I had enough energy but I did finish a couple of books last week. Maybe it's the reading I am doing in the middle of the night when I can't sleep thanks to work issues.

This week I read two books that I am going to review later this week. The first was A Single Act of Kindness by Samantha Tonge. I have read a number of this author's books and this is up there with the best from her!

I also read The French Cooking School by Caroline James. It should be pretty obvious why I was attracted to this book. I mean France and foodie reads! My idea of a good read!!

Speaking of France and food, I started Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge. This is the current Cooking the Books selection and it features Julia Child as one of the characters!

I'm Watching

Masterchef Australia is back baby! I will be very interested to see how this season goes as there are three new judges this year.


Whilst I am collapsing into bed each night and therefore not doing a lot, we did manage to have a fancy lunch. One of my step-daughters is moving to the UK for a while so we went to a lovely buffet restaurant in the city yesterday. There will be several other farewell events this weekend 

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

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Meliz's Kitchen by Meliz Berg

I have been buying quite a few cookbooks over the last year, mainly thanks to the Jamie Oliver Cookbook Club. This is one of those books. Some of the books get used a lot, and others not so much but I still like having them all. When I first got this cookbook, I wasn't sure how much I would use it, but it has turned out quite a lot.

I have decided that I really like cookbooks that represent the people of a specific culture. In this case, the author is of Cypriot descent and so she is sharing stories of going fishing with her uncle or cooking with her aunts, of barbecuing on the mangal and more.

Now, I am pretty sure that I couldn't have named a single specifically Cypriot dish before getting this book, but it turns out that Cyprus, like so many of the islands in the Mediterranean is a bit of a crossroads for different cultures and this is well and truly represented in the food. Being in the Mediterranean we know that we can expect lots of tomatoes and seafood, but there is also reliance on herbs and spices such as cinnamon and mint which make it a bit different from other food in the region. There are also quite a few lamb dishes in the book. Unfortunately my husband doesn't love lamb so not sure we will get to make those but we'll see. 

The author also points out that whilst she learnt many of these recipes from her mother and aunts, every family will have slightly different versions of the same dishes depending on which village or family they come from. She has also adapted them to reflect our modern lifestyles.

The book is broken up into several different sections including Breakfast, Dishes & Salads to Share, Easy One-pots and Slow Cooking, Quick Cooking for Busy Weeknights, Traditional Stove-top Dishes from Meatballs to Dolma, Hearty Dishes from the Oven, Barbecue Dishes & Accompaniments, Homemade Breads, Doughs and Pastries and finally Crowd-pleasing Sweets

We have really enjoyed the recipes we have tried from the book so far, which include

Dad's Tomato and Rice Soup

One-pot Halloumi and Tomato Pasta

Chicken, Tomato &Parsley Wraps

Mum's Chocolate & Coconut Cake (pictured)

There are still quite a few recipes that I am keen to try, and these vary from being very simple to much more complicated. An example of a really simple one is a toasted cheese and halloumi sandwich. I am intrigued to see how two different types of cheese along with some cinnamon and mint can really transform a normal toasted cheese sandwich. 

At the other end of the scale, I am also really keen to try the Creamy Moussaka recipe. I love moussaka and would really love to have an amazing recipe for it! I have a Greek friend who gave me her recipe for both moussaka and pasticchio so I just need a weekend where we can have the time to make at least one of these recipes.

Other examples of recipes I am keen to try include a Cypriot-style Pasta & Chicken, Egg Halloumi and Sauteed Vegetables, Baked White Fish in Tomato Sauce, and Chicken, Potato & Tomato Roast. I am sure next time I flick through the book I will find others!

Given that the weather is cooling down here now, I thought I would share a recipe for a soup. We had this a couple of weeks ago and it was really, really good! I can see this getting made quite a few times over the coming months

Dad's Tomato & Rice Soup


200 g (7 oz) short-grain white rice
6 large tomatoes
50 ml (2 fl oz) olive oil
1 large onion , finely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
500 ml (18 fl oz) boiling water
1.5 litres (2½ pints) cold water
25 g (1 oz) fresh parsley , finely chopped
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon caster sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra to taste

Wash the rice in a sieve with cold water until the water runs clear. Leave to drain.

Place the tomatoes in a deep heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover and leave for a minute or two. Remove the tomatoes from the bowl, peel off the skins, discard, and then finely chop the flesh. Leave to one side.

Pour the olive oil into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and soften for 10–12 minutes until lightly caramelised.

While the onion is cooking, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water, then top up with the cold water.

Stir the parsley, paprika and tomatoes into the caramelised onions and let everything sizzle for a minute or two before adding the rice, giving the grains a good stir so that they get fully coated in the tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle in the sugar, then gently pour in the stock and season with the salt and pepper.

 Allow the soup to simmer over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add the lemon juice a couple of minutes before you remove the pan from the heat and serve with crusty bread, adding a little more lemon juice to taste.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Roast pork with leeks and mushrooms
Sunday -  Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday - Beef and Broccoli Noodles
Wednesday - Spanish Tuna Pasta Bake
Thursday - French Onion casserole
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, April 19, 2024

Blog Tour: Making Memories at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash


When I was thinking about how to start this review, I contemplated saying something along the lines of my destination not being as exotic as some of my recent reads which were set in Greece and Italy, but that probably isn't really fair. I mean, if I got offered a trip to Cornwall I wouldn't really say no!

This is the third book in the Cornish Cove series and this book stars Lydia, who is the mother of Meredith (aka Mere), the main character in the second book. Lydia has moved to Driftwood Bay from America after her fifth marriage failed. However, Lydia has spent quite a bit of time working on herself and so finally finds herself settled in the town and building on her relationship with her daughter.

She enjoys her routine in town, which includes yoga on the beach and spending time with her neighbour and other friends including Martin, who Mere's partner's father. What she knows is that she has no intention of getting romantically involved with anyone - five husbands is more than enough for her, thank you very much!

When she receives a box from her ex-husbands house in America, her memories of her younger life come flooding back. A life where dance was important but one she gave up when her life was turned upside down.

Parts of this book are like a mix between a show like Strictly Come Dancing and The Repair Shop.When Martin asks Lydia to be his partner in a dance competition, her competitive streak is revealed. Soon Martin and Lydia are spending time together practicing their dancing. They also work together in comfortable companionship as they repair several beloved items in Martin's workshop which is a converted church. We love the TV Show The Repair Shop so this part of the book was a real pleasure.

This book was interesting to me in some ways. One of the things that I really related to in the last book was the difficult relationship between Mere and her mother. This book is all about the repaired relationship between the two. Whilst there clearly still room for growth, great strides have been made in their relationship. It's not something I see happening in my own life really.

Once again, I have enjoyed my time in Driftwood Bay, and will read the next book from Kim Nash whenever it becomes available!!

I am sharing this review with the New Release Challenge hosted at The Chocolate Lady's Book Reviews and British Isles Friday hosted at Joy's Book Blog

Thank you to the publisher, Rachel Random's Resources and Netgalley for the review copy. Be sure to check out other reviews on the blog tour at the stops below.

Rating 4/5

Making Memories at the Cornish Cove

It’s never too late…

After five husbands and five broken hearts, Lydia feels like she’s always been chasing something. But now she’s found her purpose, and having moved to Driftwood Bay to spend more time with her daughter Meredith, she’s happier than ever.

But there’s still life in these old bones yet! With her newfound sense of identity, she’s keen to re-explore the things that made her happy as a younger person. Lydia’s passion was dancing – she used to compete in her younger years, and there’s no place she’s more at home than on the dancefloor.

So when widower and antiques restorer Martin tells her about a big dance competition, she’s ready and raring to bring more joy into her life. But while making memories with Martin, the more she realises that both of their hearts need restoring too...

Purchase Link - https://mybook.to/memoriescornishsocial

About the Author

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction and has wanted to write books since she was a little girl. The Cornish Cove series is set in the fictional seaside village of Driftwood Bay in Cornwall and is published by Boldwood Books. She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (a division of Hachette UK) and is a book blogger.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kim.nash.10

Twitter https://twitter.com/KimTheBookworm

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kim_the_bookworm/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/KimNashNews

Bookbub profile: Kim Nash Books - BookBub

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blog Tour: Invitation to Italy by Victoria Springfield

Last week I was in Greece! This week I am in Italy! Not literally, but through the pages of the books I am reading. 

When Abi's daughter Chloe goes to Italy for the summer with her father, his fiancee and their little girl, she feels a bit lost. What happens if her daughter needs her and she is so far away? It doesn't take a lot of convincing by her friend to convince Abi to go visit. 

Abi checks into a beautiful boutique hotel which has been run by Loretta for years. She takes great pride in the little oasis that she has created on the island of Procida, which is situated in the bay of Naples, but she is beginning to wonder if maybe running after her guests, cleaning and her other duties are getting to be too much. 

Among the other guests are Bill, who is trying to relax from a busy job as an importer and Salvo who turns out to be an old friend of Loretta's and who knows at least some of her secrets.

I am not sure how my son would have liked it if I had of turned up while he was staying in Adelaide with his dad, but I guess it was different because Chloe was going to be gone for an extended period. Chloe is at that tricky age where she is almost a teenager and therefore thinks she is old enough to be independent but also needs her parents. There were a couple of awkward moments for Abi when she is invited to dinner with her ex husband's new in-laws and a couple of other times, but I guess that is something that we all need to deal with as we navigate the extended relationships that come after parents re-partner. 

Whilst Abi needs to be available for Chloe, she also gets to experience the island of Procida and surrounding areas. What this holiday is really good for Abi is in helping her realise that she can begin to find a new life for herself, and to accept that she doesn't love her ex anymore. This gives her the freedom to explore a fledgling friendship with Bill. He too has some growth. His marriage had fallen apart several years before and he wasn't as confident as he could have been.

As much as I enjoyed Abi and Bill's story, I also liked Loretta's story, as she began to face the demons from her youth. These days she would never swim, but back in the day her nickname had been the dolphin, and she even achieved some great feats as a swimmer. Slowly we began to see why she had so many trust issues, and why she had moved away from her home at such a young age. Despite this, she has managed to make a success her life as a hotelier, and she needs to protect the life she had built.

When we visited Italy early last year, our plan was to visit the island of Procida. Whilst it is a much lesser known island than it's neighbours Capri and Ischia, it was also named as the Italian Capital of Culture in 2022.  Unfortunately, we couldn't make it work during the short time we had in Naples and now I am really disappointed that we didn't get to see the sites and sounds of the island. The author really brings the setting to life through the words on the page! I was totally intrigued by the descriptions of the island, of the ceramics and more.

I haven't read Victoria Springfield before and I was really pleased by how much I enjoyed her storytelling. From looking at the backlist titles, it is clear to me that she has a real love for Italy and it shows through her writing.

I am sharing this review with the New Release Challenge hosted by The Chocolate Lady's Book Review

Thank you to the publisher, Rachel's Random Resources and Netgalley for the review copy. Be sure to check out other stops on the blog tour below

Rating 4/5

About the book

Invitation to Italy

Abi is distraught when her ex-husband Alex takes their twelve-year-old daughter, Chloe to spend the summer with his glamorous fiancée Marisa and her parents at their home on the beautiful Italian island of Procida. Persuaded by her best friend to book a holiday at the island's Hotel Paradiso, Abi finally meets the woman she's been avoiding for so long. Will the two women's strained relationship survive the summer?

One-time teenage swimming sensation, Loretta, has run the Hotel Paradiso since leaving Capri broken-hearted. When childhood friend Salvo comes to stay, Loretta is forced to confront her past and the fears that have kept her away from the water for forty years. But just as she finds the courage to open her heart, she discovers all is not as it seems with Salvo...

It's a summer of new beginnings for Abi and Loretta - and one they will never forget.

Take a trip to Italy with Victoria Springfield for a summery getaway any time of the year!

Purchase Links



About the Author

Victoria Springfield writes contemporary women's fiction immersed in the sights, sounds and flavours of Italy. Victoria grew up in Upminster, Essex. After many years in London, she now lives in Kent with her husband in a house by the river. She likes to write in the garden with a neighbour's cat by her feet or whilst drinking cappuccino in her favourite café. Then she types up her scribblings in silence whilst her mind drifts away to Italy.

Social Media Links –


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Greece or bust!!




Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Characters I’d Like to go on Vacation With (Pretend you’re going on vacation and can bring 10 of your closest friends with you. Pick your vacation spot and tell us who you’d like to bring! Bonus point if you tell us why. Or maybe you like the idea of traveling in small groups, so plan 10 trips or 5 trips!).

As is my tendency, I am twisting the topic a little bit. I actually started this post for last week's freebie topic but ran out of time to finish the post and then I looked at this week's topic and went....that works!

I do read a lot of books set in France, and quite a lot set in Italy as well, but just recently I have read a couple that were set in Greece, so that is my theme this week - Books Set in Greece.

Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - I really enjoy reading Rebecca Raisin's writing, particularly her descriptions of food, books and locations and this was no exception. (review)

Widows on the Wine Path by Julia Jarman - I read this a couple of weeks ago. A fair portion of the book is set in Greece! (review)

Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot - I have read a couple of books by Mandy Baggot. A lot of her books are set in Greece. (review)

The Forgotten Palace by Alexander Christie - This is a multi timeline story set in Crete. It also tells the story of the minotaur from Greek mythology (review)

The Thread by Victoria Hislop - I  have read several of Victoria Hislop's books and enjoyed them all. (review)

The Maverick's Greek Island Mistress by Kelly Hunter - Ah, those wealthy Greek shipping billionaires who just need a wife! I don't read a lot of Mills and Boon but I will occasionally make an exception for Kelly Hunter.

The Clover House by Henriette Laziridis Power - I read this years ago and had forgotten all about it. (review)

A Greek Island Escape by Kate Frost - I will be reading this in the not too distant future.

The Captive Sun by Irene Karafilly - Another book I read years ago and had forgotten about. (review)

YiaYia by Anastasia Miari - This is a Greek cookbook that I bought earlier this year. I haven't cooked much out of it yet. This was a selection of the Jamie Oliver Cookbook Club.

And it's not just movies. Over the weekend I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. It wasn't a great movie but the scenery was stunning

Have you visited Greece, or have you only visited through the pages of a book like me?

Monday, April 15, 2024

This week....

I'm reading

This week I finished reading Summer at the Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin, which I really enjoyed. I reviewed this last week. 

I also started and finished Invitation to Italy by Victoria Springfield which I will review later in the week. Lets just say that after finishing this book I might have gently mentioned to my husband that we didn't make it to Procida so maybe we should think about going back to Naples. Don't like my chances anytime soon though.

After a few books set in locations like Italy and Greece, I started reading Making Memories at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash. This is set in Cornwall and is part of the Cornish Cove series. 

I can definitely see an escapist theme in my reading at the moment, which is probably understandable given how stressed I am at work. 

On the audiobook front, I finished Before the Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi which counts as a bookclub selection. Last week I mentioned that the theme for our next read on a theme bookclub is related to Writers Festivals,  which could be an author you have seen at a festival before or one who is coming to a writers festival soon. I have tickets to see Toshikazu Kawaguchi at Melbourne Writers Festival in May.

Another author who is appearing at Melbourne Writers Festival is Shankari Chandran. I wasn't lucky enough to get tickets to her session. That didn't stop me from starting her latest book Song of the Sun God on audio, which will also count for bookclub. This audio is around 12 hours long which is longer than I have been listening to given that I have such limited listening time. I imagine it is going to take me a couple of months to get through this book.

I'm watching

This week we watched the first episode of a couple of series. We started Three Body Problem and also Nell Renegade. Two very different series.

Continuing on the escapist theme, I also watched My Big Fat Wedding 3. It was entertaining enough but does rely on the same old jokes. I did laugh out loud once.


Like most of Australia, I have been shocked by events in Sydney over the weekend, and I think that this is just another example of events around the world that are affecting my stress levels. Work is very intense and then when you hear of events like this happening it just makes things worse. 

We had a very quiet weekend. The only thing that we did was going to brunch when we did the food shopping. I don't know if not doing anything was just what I needed, or if it gave me too much time to think about things.

Posts from the last week

Weekend Cooking: Figolli (Take 2)

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

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - March statistics



For the last couple of years I have been sharing statistics each month for the Historical challenge, and my plan is to continue to do this again this year. I find it interesting to see what are the books that people are reading and reviewing! I think I have visited almost all the reviews submitted and have added a couple of books to never ending TBR list

In terms of the books, there were 56 reviews linked up for the challenge, shared by 17 participants. There were 56 titles reviewed last month too! This is less than for the same month last year but I am sure we will catch up!  There were 53 individual titles reviewed, written by 53 different authors. There were 5 reviewers who reviewed more than 5 books each. Thank you to everyone who shared their links whether it be 9 or just 1.

So which books were reviewed more than once in March? This month there were 3 books which were reviewed twice. 

The Book of Secrets by Anna Mazzola was reviewed by both Helen at She Reads Novels and by Cathy at What Cathy Read Next.

Hidden Yellow Stars by Rebecca Connolly was reviewed by Davida at The Chocolate Lady's Book Reviews and by Laura at Laura Reviews.

The last book that was reviewed twice was The Tower by debut novelist Flora Carr. This book, which is about Mary, Queen of Scots, was reviewed by Sarah at Reading the Past and Helen at She Reads Novels.

Somewhat unusually this month we don't have any examples where one author had different titles reviewed!

If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late! The sign up post is here and you can add your links to the April link post here.

I am linking this post up with Sunday Salon hosted at Readerbuzz!

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Weekend Cooking: Figolli (Take 2)

On the Easter weekend I attempted to share a post about my experience of going to a cooking class to make a Maltese Easter treat called Figolli. We were away that weekend. Unfortunately I was about 45 minutes away from home when I realised that I hadn't even thought about taking my laptop with me. I had been so tired on the Thursday night that I didn't just finish off my Saturday post so I thought I would just use the Blogger app to just do the last bit. That was a mistake. That removed all the photos and added in about 50 paragraph lines for each time I wanted a break which made it unreadable. I am therefore reposting it this week!


Recently my friend and I attended a cooking class run by the Maltese Community Council of Victoria. The class was to make a traditional Easter treat called Figolli which consists of a layer of marzipan sandwiched between pastry and cut into various shapes. In our case we made rabbit shaped figolli!

We started with all of our pre-measured ingredients

We were then shown how to make the pastry. The recipe we were given includes the instructions on how to make it using a mixer but for this occasion we made it using the time honoured technique of using our fingers to mix the flour and butter until it became like breadcrumbs and then adding in the extra ingredients to form a dough

From there, we rolled out our pastry and cut out the rabbit shape. One handy tip we were given was to cut the dough into halves, and then cutting out the shape. When re-rolling, take a bit of the second half of dough so that it helps keep it more pliable.

We then made the almond filling using a mixture of ground almonds, caster sugar, egg whites and almond essence

The figolli is formed with a layer of pastry, the almond paste, another layer of pastry and milk wash.

And then off to cook in the professional kitchen ovens

Once the creation was baked and cooled it is time to ice. We used the biggest batch of royal icing I have ever seen as a base, and then we coloured small amounts of icing and used various decorations that we were supplied to decorate. You can also use melted chocolate to decorate

Given that I had never even seen figolli, let alone knew what they tasted like, I tried to stay pretty close to the shapes and decoration that was suggested. Other people in the group obviously have more experience and so there were a variety of other shapes and decorations being used. 

The class was held in a a cooking school kitchen, so there were proper commercial ovens, all the equipment you could possibly need, stainless steel benches!

It was very cool and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Oh, and it tasted delicious!!

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pizza 
Sunday -  Tuscan Chicken Pasta Bake
Monday - Tomato and Rice Soup
Tuesday - Pepper Beef Stew with rice
Wednesday - Spaghetti Bolognaise
Thursday - Green Curry Chicken Pie
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


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