Book review: The Embroiderer by Kathryn Gauci

I love historical fiction set in Greece and Asia Minor, and this book was not just a fine specimen in my opinion, but one of the best and most memorable books I’ve ever read in this genre. If you loved ‘Birds Without Wings’ by Louis de Bernières, this is unmissable! I was amazed by the intricate detail in the author’s descriptions of all different eras and places. I can only imagine the kind of thorough research this feat must have taken. The story was both compelling and enchanting, and I particularly enjoyed the parts in Smyrna and Constantinople. The atrocities of war chilled my blood and the drama the main characters were constantly faced with was heart-wrenching. By the end of the book I felt overwhelmed by the journey and also felt that I’d been given a wonderful gift: the chance to experience in vivid detail life in Constantinople and Smyrna during precious times for Hellenism that came to pass long before I was born. It was therefore enthralling for me to experience all that so vividly. For example, I could almost feel the sea spray on my face as the characters walked along the Smyrna seafront! This is a truly unforgettable book and I urge all lovers of historical fiction to read it. Gauci’s story still stays with me vividly, and it’s been over a week since I finished it. Well done, to this amazing author with a uniquely lyrical style. I can’t wait to read her next book!


My rating


A lyrical, enthralling journey in Greek history


Do you enjoy historical fiction set in Greece or Asia Minor? Trust me, you do not want to miss this gem of a book!



The paperback is also available in Greek! Visit the site of Okeanos Publications, HERE



Read my interview with Kathryn on this blog and find out all about her amazing artistic skills!



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Interview with author, John Manuel

Today, I am pleased to welcome British author, John Manuel who lives on the Greek island of Rhodes. I met John on Facebook, where he runs A Good Greek Read, a flourishing Facebook group for people who love Greek books. Make sure to check it out if you like your reads soaked in Greek sunshine! I recently read John’s book, Eve of Deconstruction, loved it, and highly recommend it for your reading pleasure. And now, let me introduce John – wuhoo! – and he’s brought a few photos, I see. Stick around to take a look!

Chippenham UK, present day. Eve Watkins is a fairly average modern woman in her early forties with two teenage kids, a loving husband with a steady job and career of her own. It looks like her average life is fairly uneventful, yet secure. Following the death of her mother she discovers things about her own past that come as a complete surprise to Eve. These lead her eventually out to a small village in mainland Greece, where developments soon lead to her life beginning to deconstruct before her.

Ought she to have let sleeping dogs lie? Yet she knows she has to find out. She has to know who she really is. Whatever the cost.




Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you, but occasionally it comes back to bite.

Dean and Alyson are two young people who come together in a bar one evening in their home city of Bath, UK. Alyson’s mother once worked with Brian, a musician who never quite “made it”, but ends up playing guitar and singing in a Lindian Bar. Quite how Brian and Christine (Alyson’s mother) come to have a devastating effect on their daughter’s relationship with the man of her dreams will have you gripped, both with emotion and with intrigue.




When Lewis and his Greek wife Katerini return to the island of her birth for a visit, neither could have predicted the series of events that would unfold, resulting in both of them coming to wonder if they’ll ever see each other again. Katerini, though, wonders if she’ll even live to see anyone at all…

The story revolves around a sensitive social issue that is perhaps surprisingly a problem even in small family-oriented communities in Greece. Most people have a conscience that will make them pay for wrongdoing, even if the law doesn’t…




Hello John and welcome to my blog!

Thank you, Fros, it’s great to be here!

What was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?

I won a school competition when I was probably only about 8. I’d written something about, wait for it, what I did during the school holidays! Although I was primarily best at all things artistic, I did even then derive a lot of pleasure from writing. When it was time to make my career choice though, I opted for graphic design. Never quite gave up the desire to write though.

Tell us a little about your published work so far.

I’ve published four Grecian memoirs, which I like to call “lighthearted”, and four novels.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters, or do any of them have traits you wish you had?

I’m definitely partially in the character Dean, the “hero” of my first novel, “The View From Kleoboulos”. Not wholly though!

What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).

I’m working on a memoir covering ten years of living on Rhodes, warts and all.

Sounds interesting! What genres do you read mostly, and what are you reading now?

I like virtually anything that’s intelligent. I’m currently reading a Philippa Gregory and I’ve just finished “Six Years” by Harlan Coben, who is new to me, but I’ll definitely be checking out his other work. I do enjoy C. J. Sansom’s historical novels too, set as they are around real events in history. Of course I intersperse such reads with some good Greek ones. Books I’ve read in this “genre” recently include “100 Days of Solitude” by Daphne Kapsali, “Homer’s Where the Heart Is” by Marjory McGinn and something by someone called Effrosyni something-or-other called “The Necklace of Goddess Athena”. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Yeah, rings a bell (*chuckles*) Thank you for the kind mention, John. And I love the works of Daphne and Marjory! Do you have any author advice to share?

Loads, but one of the most important things is to make sure your books have well-designed covers. In this business it may be sad, but people will judge a book by its cover. If your cover looks amateur then you’ve already lost a huge chunk of your potential audience.

So true! Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

The website’s a fairly exhaustive look at all my work as a writer, with extensive background info and photos, especially from the factual memoir books. The blog attempts to be a thorough reference point for anyone visiting Rhodes who wants to get the absolute best out of a visit here. I’ve posted info about things to see, places to stay, where to eat and drink, how to visit the other islands that are within easy reach, stuff like that. It’s become a gargantuan task keeping it current – there are so many links in it now.

Oh, I love your blog, John. It provides a wealth of information, indeed, and with such beautiful photographs! Lovers of all things Greek will find it a delight, I am sure. Tell us John, being an author involves a lot of sitting around. What do you do for exercise?

My wife and I walk. We do very long walks during the winter months. We also care for a very large garden.

Oh, look at the blue of the sea! Where are you in these photos?

My wife is photographed above the Acropolis of Lindos in the first photo. In the second one we are in Kiotari beach near our home. And in this one below I am in Vlicha, which is near Lindos…


I love Rhodes! Thank you for sharing these. On to the next question: what do you enjoy the most as an indie author that you imagine you wouldn’t if you were traditionally published? If you had a choice would you still go indie?

I enjoy the total control of being an indie, but if I’m honest I’d rather like just one of my works to be picked up by an agent or publisher. It may even put me back in the tax bracket income-wise!

I agree… Hybrid authors have the best of both worlds – i.e. you can be indie/independent with most of your books but can benefit at the same time from the marketing boost a publisher can offer with a book or two. I wish it for you, John! What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

John in Naxos, his favorite Greek island for a holiday escape.

My health, my wife, having had wonderful parents. Music: my iPod is always by my bedside. I’m an old prog-rocker, plus I love electric and acoustic blues music. Partial to a little Laika too, especially Vasilis Karras, Stratos Dionyssiou, Pascalis Tersis. My absolute favourite Greek musician though is Nikos Portokaloglou, who I’d describe as a Greek Paul Weller.

(*Chuckles*) I’d never thought of Portokaloglou as Paul Weller! I don’t follow his music though, so I’ll take your word for it! Any other photos you wish to share with us today?

Just a couple more…

Oh, wow. This looks so serene. And I love the view… Is this your big garden at home that you mentioned earlier?

Yes, that’s right. We particularly enjoy the serenity early in the evening when we sit outside with a drink in the summer months.

Delightful! And this beautiful boat? Where is that?

This was taken in Halki, the inspiration for the fictitious isle of Spilos, where the action takes place in “Sometimes You Just Can’t Tell.”

Wonderful. Thank you for your time, John. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my work, Fros!



Born in Bath, UK, John Manuel has been living and writing on the Greek island of Rhodes since 2005, when he and his wife arrived there from the UK. During his working life he was a graphic designer, but was also a perpetually frustrated musician and writer. Having always loved words and reading, one of his goals on arriving to start a new life on Rhodes was to begin writing his memoirs about his Greek experience.

John’s wife Yvonne (known to her Greek friends as Maria) is half Greek, her mother having been born in Athens. Thus John’s writings reflect the insight gained from the contact he’s had with his Greek relatives, especially during his early visits to the country when he and his wife would often stay with them in Athens.

John contributed several articles to the glossy “Greece” magazine in the UK and has also had a brief article published in the EasyJet in-flight magazine in 2013.

Since February 2015, John also is the administrator of a Facebook group called “A Good Greek Read”, which is growing very quickly into a global community of avid readers of literature with a Greek connection.



Amazon page:  US   UK

Facebook group, A Good Greek Read:  (Unmissable if you love Greek books!)

NEWSFLASH: John recently hosted an interview with yours truly on his beautiful blog! There, I talk about my seaside town near Athens, my granny’s cooking, and how plotting my books helped increase my productivity! Check it out here



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Book review: Eve of Deconstruction by John Manuel

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. It is not often that a non-Greek author manages to capture the Greek psyche – as well as life in Greek villages – with such a great measure of authenticity and I was really impressed by that. The heroine, Eve, faces a huge shock to discover that she has ancestry in Greece she never knew of. As a reader I found myself following her eagerly and excitedly along her journey through uncharted territory, both in a mental and physical sense, to find the truth about who she was. I found the style of writing compelling, with just the right measure of description, and it certainly motivated me to keep turning the pages. I highly recommend this book for its beautiful story, the delightful way in which old secrets were revealed, but most of all, for the feeling it gave me of actually being there and witnessing it all first hand – a precious talent that this author surely possesses.


My rating:


A compelling story beautifully told


Are you looking for a Greek holiday read that offers a spot of family drama instead of the usual light-hearted romance? Are you drawn to stories about old family secrets or adopted children looking for their truth origin? Give this intriguing tale a try today!




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Sharing some exciting news

Hello peeps! Sorry for disappearing for a while. I’ve been mega busy with the launch of The Amulet and the promotion of the giveaway of Team Effrosyni at the same time. The work has paid off. The Amulet has had a successful launch and even hit Amazon’s #1 in Greek & Roman literature last weekend!



As for Team Effrosyni, I’ve had a boom in signups in the past month seeing that many bookworms and Greek lovers were after the FREE PDF copy of The Amulet on offer for a while, as well as the giveaway prizes (Greek kindles, Greek-themed kitchen sets and tote bags.


The giveaway has now ended and I am already working on the next one – a Christmas kindle giveaway this time. I am teaming up with successful authors (both indies and traditionally published writers). Watch this space! Or, if you just want to take my word for it that it’s going to be a blast, no need to wait! Go here to read all about Team Effrosyni and sign up today so you can be one of the first to enter the upcoming giveaway. A total of 12 authors are participating this time! Dozens of Christmas kindles will be up for grabs so entrants will have more chances to win than ever before!

Now, on to the main reason for blogging today. The Lady of the Pier trilogy has brand new covers now, for both kindle and paperback. To refresh your mind, these are the original ones:

And these are the new ones:

I am very pleased with the result of my efforts to make the covers as eye-catching as possible. Many of my readers commented on Facebook enthusiastically about them and a few said the new covers will attract younger readers too. I hadn’t thought of that, so it was exciting to hear. As for my super-talented graphic designer, Alex Saskalides of 187Designz, he is a dream come true and a breeze to work with. Highly recommended!

That’s it for today, folks! If this is the first time you hear about my work, now is a good time to pick up one of my reads and see what you think. On my Amazon page you will find 3 kindles of an overall 5-star rating! And two of my kindles are 99c at the moment. Whether you pick The Ebb or The Amulet you’re bound to drift to a sunny, blissful summer paradise in no time…

Remember, by signing up to Team Effrosyni you’ll be getting my future books for free. And did I say membership is FREE?


Effrosyni has some exciting news... #ASMSG #IAN1 #IARTG Click To Tweet
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Now is the time to sign up to Team Effrosyni


This is a digital proof of the finished article. Three tote bags will be up for grabs in the next giveaway.

Hello peeps! I haven’t blogged in a while but I’ve been very busy throughout September. This month I’m giving it my all to prepare The Amulet in time for a launch early November. Feedback from my beta readers has been wonderful and my eagle-eyed British husband is currently giving it a last edit. I’m pleased to say he’s nearly done and hasn’t found a single typo yet – a first! I must be getting better, it’s official 😛

I’m blogging quickly today to let you know I’m choosing prizes for the next exclusive giveaway for Team Effrosyni members. There will be tote bags, cute little prizes relevant to the content of The Amulet (i.e. angels and Greek food – yum!) and e-books, of course!

I’ve teamed up with six wonderful authors, whose books I personally adore, and they will be gifting two copies of their kindles each to the lucky winners of the giveaway.  So that’s 12 kindles up for grabs! One lucky reader will get all six books, and six others will win a kindle by random. Feast your eyes at these tantalizing book goodies:

Scroll down for Amazon links to these kindles

Now is the perfect time to sign up to Team Effrosyni! Why? Because by joining the team now, not only will you be able to enter the forthcoming giveaway, but you’ll also be in my mailing list to receive a FREE, Advance Reader’s Copy of The Amulet as soon as it’s ready, and before its official launch.

Wuhoo, right?


Still mulling it over? Download this FREE exclusive chapter from The Amulet and see what you think!



Interested in the ebooks up for grabs? Visit their Amazon pages now:

Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot

Fate Captured (Clean Version – there’s also a Spicy one!) by MM Jaye

Evanthia’s Gift by Effie Kammenou

An Octopus in my Ouzo by Jennifer Barclay

Girl Gone Greek by Rebecca A Hall

My Map of You by Isabelle Broom



Now is the perfect time to sign up to Team Effrosyni! #ASMSG #chicklit #bookworm Click To Tweet
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Book review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom

My Map of You FINAL

I was drawn to this book before I even started reading, first because of the stunning cover and secondly because I love the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante). When I was offered a free copy in return for an honest review, I jumped at the chance hoping to recapture some of the beauty of this island.

As it turned out, the writing exceeded my expectations tremendously on this score. Reading this book actually felt like I was back in Zakynthos and I could see and feel it all down to the last enchanting detail. The heroine went through an incredible journey of growth and healing. Out of the blue, she finds herself in an unknown place in a foreign country where she winds up finding her roots, new love and even deliverance from resentment and pain that had been blocking her advancement in life, denying her happiness.

The awkward situations between the two main characters felt real and down to earth, and the romance was utterly sweet and delightful. Actually, this book offers a number of delights: a wonderful romance, a host of lovely, lifelike characters, and a well-structured family story that added drama in the right measure, just enough to enrich the plot. More than anything else though, I enjoyed the wonderful way in which Greece and its people are portrayed in this book. Being Greek, this is always a delight and a huge compliment.

The love of this author for Zakynthos, its people and the way of life there shines through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who shares similar passions for any place in Greece. And I’ll definitely read more from this author.


My rating:


Exquisite writing that made me feel like I’m on the island!



Do you enjoy Greek island romances? What about stories about old family secrets, redemption and healing? If this sounds like your cup of tea, then definitely give this book a try!

Visit Amazon  US   UK

And check out my interview with Isabelle Broom on this site!


A glowing review of My Map of You by @Isabelle_Broom #ASMSG #Zante #Bookworm Click To Tweet

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Hot offer: The Lady of the Pier trilogy only 99c!

historical paranormal fiction england

Good morning peeps! Today I’m excited to announce a major promotion in my paranormal/historical trilogy, The Lady of the Pier. As you can see from the image, two of the books are FREE and the other is 99c, but only for a limited time!

The series has received some glowing comments from readers, but don’t just take my word for it: I invite you to visit Amazon and read some of the reviews. My readers say The Storm is their favorite – and its average rating of 5 stars on Amazon reflects that! This is a rare opportunity to emerge yourself in the dramatic world of WWII and the sweet nostalgia of the 80s in one series! Transporting yourself to the heavenly paradise of Corfu will delight you, but in the world of Brighton, England a mysterious haunting awaits to shift your mood. The Lady of the Pier will be sending chills up and down your spine as she slowly discloses her secrets…

This August, The Lady of the Pier comes to haunt us all! Make sure to not miss out…

greek island romance corfu

Start from The Ebb and recapture the sweetness of first love! You can also enjoy it as a standalone read. It’s a lighthearted book, unlike the rest of the series where the haunting intensifies and a compelling drama begins to unfold. The Ebb is FREE today and only for a couple of days!

Please note: The Flow is discounted only in the USA and the UK, but the other two books are FREE worldwide.


Read The Lady of the Pier trilogy for only 99c! #ASMSG #booklovers #Bookworm Click To Tweet
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Book review: Truly Madly Greekly by Mandy Baggot


I loved this book for two different reasons. The first one is that it transported me effortlessly and swiftly to the Greek island of Corfu, my favorite corner of the world. The second is that Mandy Baggot kept me interested with her lifelike characters that were full of surprises. I loved the suspense in the beginning where you were given only hints of the characters’ past. These sparse tidbits of information certainly kept me interested to keep reading as to find out more. There are both funny and dramatic elements in this summer read, which makes it anything but your typical chick-lit novel set on a Greek beach, but  the story-telling was exquisite and I lapped it all up.


My rating:


An enjoyable beach read with funny and dramatic elements



Do you enjoy books set in Corfu? Are you looking for a romantic, beach read? Give this sizzling hot romance a try! Visit Amazon.

Check out my interview with Mandy Baggot on this site!


A review of Truly Madly Greekly by @MandyBaggot #ASMSG #IAN1 #Booklovers Click To Tweet
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Do you love Greece? Check out our guide to Corfu! For delicious Greek recipes, go here. Sign up to the newsletter for Effrosyni’s news and special offers (sparse emails) NEW: To read Effrosyni’s books for FREE (yes, free!), sign up to her team of loyal readers here. It’s free to join!
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Old photos and memories from Corfu

Today, I thought I’d share a couple of photos that my author friend Stephanie Wood sent to me recently. One day, Stephanie saw one of my posts about Moraitika, Corfu and the name rang a bell. Next, she was going through old photo albums and found evidence that confirmed her suspicions: she’d spent a holiday there back in the 80s but, over the years, had forgotten the name of the Corfiot village she stayed at. When she wrote to let me know, and to send the photos she found, I felt delighted. If I could re-acquaint her with such a blissful part of her past and, what’s more, stir in her the desire to return there one day, I felt my work was done.

It’s been a year now that I’ve been shouting it out from the rooftops of Twitter and Facebook that I am mad about Moraitika and Messonghi, the villages I set my romance trilogy in, and called them Vassilaki and Messi respectively in the books. It gives me great pleasure when people write to me to say they’ve been there in the past and that my posts caused them to start dreaming about them again, spurring them on to return!

So, to keep the fire inside your hearts kindling, this post is for all of you who, like me, adore these two quaint, heavenly corners of the world. Those among you who’ve been visiting since the 80s may enjoy remembering how these villages looked back then. You’ll need to forgive the low resolution, of course. These are grainy, as they should be, otherwise they wouldn’t be so precious, right?

Corfu 2

This picture from Stephanie was easy to identify as a picture of Moraitika beach.


Corfu 3

Now, this one gave me a hard time. It took me a while to identify the place and finally I realized it’s the road heading towards Moraitika as you come from the river bridge. Actually, this spot is very close to the bridge but it’s missing the big roundabout that’s in the middle of this road today. Back then, there was no roundabout and, depending on when in the 80s this photo was taken, there’s a chance the Messonghi river bridge wasn’t even built yet!


Corfu 1

Throughout the 80s, there were many restaurants offering live syrtaki dancing every night in Moraitika but only one had its dance floor by petrol pumps! And that was Paizanos petrol station on the main road (a petrol station still operates there today, and it’s situated near the bookshop/post office).


Corfu 4

This one is the last of Stephanie’s snaps and it’s my favourite, simply because it’s a picture of Martaouna, the pyramid-shaped mountain on the right that I can’t get enough of marveling at when  in Moraitika or Messonghi. Visible from both the villages, it houses the village of Spilio. Next to it, the Chlomos mountain is missing the two tall masts that are visible on the top today.

You can see a similar view of these mountains from the 80s in another picture courtesy of another Messonghi lover, my friend, Julie Reeves:

Messonghi beach 1982 by Julie Reeves

This was an utter delight for me when I first laid eyes on it. At the time, there were few touristic businesses in Messonghi and this photo reflects this. I used to stay at my aunt Rini’s house (aunt Rini was the sister of my grandfather, Spyros Vassilakis) for a few days at the time back then and would spend the whole day with my cousins Rini and Sofi Tsatsani. The house was just behind the building in the foreground. Seeing this photo caused a myriad of precious childhood memories to flood into my head.

Thank you Julie Reeves and Stephanie Wood for bringing back these memories!

I hope you’ve also enjoyed this short trip down memory lane. If you have similar old photos that show how these villages used to be in the 70s or 80s feel free to contact me as I’d love to see them. If I have a nice selection, I’d love to post a similar post in future again.

Before I go, to let you know that the terrific site Tripfiction asked me to contribute to their blog and, you know me, I came up with an article about my favorite place in the world – Corfu. Read it here and find out, among other things, what is the best time in the year to visit Corfu town and where on the island you’ll find freezing cold waters even in the summer! Ok, so I’ll spoil the surprise on the second one because I feel compelled to share the below pictures! Just look at these gorgeous views of the bay at Paleokastritsa that Julie Reeves took the other day:

In case you haven’t heard of Tripfiction before: If you search for your favorite locations in the world on this site, it will show you books set there! Nifty, huh!

Have you holidayed in Moraitika, Messonghi, or anywhere else in Corfu? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!


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Only on Amazon

Click here for the book trailer and a free excerpt of The Ebb.


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Find novels set in your travel destination on Yonndr

reading beach summer

Are you an avid reader? A writer? Or both? Doesn’t matter. Whatever you are, this tip is bound to get you directly to Yonndr looking for books!

Yonndr is a book site with a difference. It won’t list any books, but only the ones based on your selected LOCATION. Say, what? Yes.

Think about it. You’re off to Corfu, Greece for the first time and wondering what books there are out there set on the island. Now, with Yonndr, the perfect reads for you are all in one place. Yonndr doesn’t sell books, but you’ll find on there the links to Amazon.

If you’re an indie author, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve searched various travel destinations and could only find a couple of indie books I recognized. On the contrary, I identified plenty of traditionally published books on there. I wonder if this little gem of a site is a shared secret among the trad publishing world but still waiting to be explored by our fabulous indie universe. So, what are you waiting for? Get there first to add your books, why don’t you?

I just added my books (set on Corfu and Athens in Greece, as well as Brighton, England). Now, it’s your turn!

Get to Yonndr now and don’t forget to spread the word!

Many thanks to my wonderful friend and supporter, Tina Tomlinson, for giving me this tip. You rock, girl!

In this post, I recommend Tripfiction, another site where you can search for books by location! Here, you can even add reviews!

Find novels set in your travel destination on @Yonndr #ASMSG #IAN1 #Booklovers Click To Tweet


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