Monday, August 15, 2022

This Week....

 


I'm reading....



I really struggle to find time to listen to audiobooks, so when I do listen it takes me forever to finish one. For example, I started listening to Love Stories by Trent Dalton months ago. Fortunately this is a series of short stories so it didn't matter that it took a long time to listen to it, but I am glad to say that I finished it this week! Yay! Now to choose the next one. I do think it will probably be the latest Jenny Colgan book because I have listened to that whole series on audio but we will see.



I also am struggling to find reading time at the moment becasue there is a lot going on, but I did start reading The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer last week.




I'm watching....



The main thing I have been watching over the last couple of weeks is the new series of My Kitchen Rules. Manu Fiedel is back but he has a new co-host, Nigella Lawson, the domestic goddess herself. It's funny because usually it is Manu that everyone goes wild for, but it is almost a case of Manu who when Nigella turns up.



I am not feeling great today so I ended up watching a very odd, no let's call it quirky, movie called Lost in Paris. I also finished watching the second season of Sweet Magnolias. Now I think I can find some viewing time to watch Virgin River, or Outlander, or Emily in Paris or...well there's a lot I could be watching.



Life...



Well we were supposed to be moving over the weekend just gone, but once again our situation changed and so we have had to postpone for two weeks. We did still go and lay down the grass in the backyard, which is an odd order to do things in but that was one of the things we couldn't change at the last minute.



We are gradually taking things over so the longer it takesto actually move the less the movers will have to move.



It's  all a bit stressful really.



Posts from the last week


Weekend Cooking: International Scone Week
Historical Fiction Reading challenge - July stats

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

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - July stats

 

 

 

 

 


This year as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge I am intending to provide some stats after each month and then at the end of the year I will do an overall wrap up for the year. That's the plan anyway. And today I am sharing a few stats about July.

During June there were 78 reviews shared by 25 participants. There were lots of people who shared multiple reviews, including 5 people who shared more than 5 reviews. Thank you to everyone who has shared! I think I have visited everyone this month, and there were some fascinating titles, and I added more than one book to my TBR list!

In terms of the books, there were 75 individual titles reviewed, written by 73 different authors. 

There were 3 books that were reviewed twice for the challenge. They were:


That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn - This is one of the books that I added to my TBR list after reading reviews at What Cathy Read Next and She Reads Novels.




The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth - I am always excited when there is a new book by Kate Forsyth! Reading the reviews from Bree at All the Books I Can Read and Yvonne at A Darn Good Read reminds mme that I need to make some space in my reading life for this book!





The Lost Sister of Fifth Avenue by Ella Carey - The last book that received multiple reviews this month was another book by an Australian author. This is a book that I read as did Yvonne at A Darn Good Read.


The other author who was reviewed more than once, but for two different books was perennial favourite Agatha Christie.


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

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Weekend Cooking: International Scone Week


It's not an exaggeration to say that for at last three years I have been bloghopping around this time of year and found posts about the fact that it was International Scone Week and I had missed it. This year I was determined to be ready for it, so I saved a draft of this post around a year ago!



International Scone Week was created 11 years ago at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, but now it is hosted by Tandy from Lavender and Lime.



The idea is to share a scone recipe with other bakers from around the world.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to make. I thought about making Scones with Lemon Myrtle, but then I realised that we had blueberries, so I decided to make blueberries and white chocolate scones. This recipe comes from Australian Women's Weekly website



I only made a half batch and that was enough to eat them still warm out of the oven with jam and cream and then we had the remainder for breakfast the next day sllathered with butter.



As you can probably tell from the pictures, the answer to age old question is that it is jam and then lots of cream in our house




White chocolate and blueberry scones

4 cup (600g) self-raising flour
2 tablespoon icing sugar
60 gram butter
90 gram white chocolate, chopped
60 gram fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cup (375ml) buttermilk
3/4 cup (180ml) water, approximately



Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Grease 20cm x 30cm lamington pan.

Sift flour and sugar into large bowl; rub in butter with fingertips. Add chocolate and blueberries.

Make a well in centre of flour mixture; add buttermilk and almost all the water. Use a knife to "cut" water and buttermilk through the flour mixture, mixing to a soft sticky dough.

Press dough out to 2cm thickness. Dip 4.5cm round cutter in flour; cut as many rounds as you can from piece of dough. Place scones, side by side, just touching, in pan.

Gently knead scraps of dough together; repeat pressing and cutting of dough, place in same pan. Brush tops with a little extra milk; bake for about 15 minutes, or until scones are just browned and sound hollow when tapped firmly on the top with fingertips.


Here are some of the other scone recipes I have shared over the years:

Sally's Scone

Weekly meals

Saturday - Out for dinner
Sunday -  Out for dinner
Monday - Beef Chilli with sweet potatoe wedges
Tuesday - Green Curry Chicken Pie
Wednesday - Spanish Tuna Pasta Bake
Thursday - Beef, broccoline, mushroom
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

Sunday, August 07, 2022

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

 

Welcome to this month's edition of Six Degrees of Separation, which is a monthly meme hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best.  The idea is to start with a specific book and make a series of links from one book to the next using whatever link you can find and see where you end up after six links.  I am also linking this post up with The Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz. 

 





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






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





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

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




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





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

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




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




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


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

Saturday, August 06, 2022

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

 

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






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

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






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


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

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


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

Weekly meals

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







Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Friday, August 05, 2022

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

 


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



Rating 4/5



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





About the book



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


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

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

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

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




About the Author



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


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



Social Media Links –


https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor


www.twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum



Tuesday, August 02, 2022

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


 


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





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

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





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


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





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

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

The Winter Dress by Lauren Chater - recently bought this.




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

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






From there the plan is to head to Southern Italy.


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


The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella - Set in Naples!




We will stop in Singapore on the way home



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





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



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





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



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



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


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