Monday, 27 August 2018

Review: Baltic market

Hello my lovely lot! I recently surpassed my 24th Birthday. I know, the lady lord above only knows how I made it this far! I debated writing a 24 at 24 post but my love of lists couldn’t stretch me that far(soz).
Instead I want talk about where we went! It’s someowhere close to where I live that I’ve been wanting to go for ages now! 

So, with a group of friends in tow we descended upon the highly recommended Baltic Market.

Now, if you’re not local to Liverpool, or likely to pop by any time soon then don’t turn away just yet. 

The Baltic Markets are an all in one package for a good time. Set in Liverpool’s up and coming Baltic triangle on the edges of the city centre lies an old brewery turned edible hotspot. 

Inside, there’s rows of benches, bustling people, a bright stage and tons of food and drinks vendors. For me, the food I most wanted to try was the Halloumi fries! I treated myself to a salt and pepper version, and then later shared some mac’ncheese bites and pulled pork fries with the group!

Drinks wise there’s a main bar and separate vendors. I couldn’t help but be drawn to “Gin Lane” and their fantastic cocktails! 

The only down side was that it was so busy by the time we were ready to follow up with some dessert (either bubble waffles or doughnuts!) they’d all sold out. Still,  just an excuse to go back again! 

If you want some serious food porn then check out their Instagram here.
All round, I had a lovely birthday evening with my friends!

Abi x

P.s. sadly this is just my honest review of my experience at the Baltic market, but if anyone fancies paying me in halloumi fries hit me up.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Book blog tour: Blood of the Red Rose by P.J. Gray

Hello fellow bibliophiles and assorted other readers of this blog! Todays post is taking part in a book tour for the recently released Blood of the Red Rose! I've been trying to branch out a little more with my book reviews, as I feel that although I read a variety of styles, I don't often write about them. So when this novel landed on my doorstep (literally) I was happy to take part in the blog tour.
Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, finds himself exiled in France when Warwick the Kingmaker puts Edward IV on the throne of England. Desperate to return the throne to the rightful King Henry VI, Beaufort finds himself caught between Henry's bitter wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French 'Spider' King Louis until Edward and Warwick fall out in spectacular style and, at Louis' urging, Warwick becomes their unlikely ally. Set on the rich stage of the Wars of the Roses, this is a tale of intrigue, love and war that can only end in tragedy.
About the author:
Philippa was born in Chichester and developed a passion for history whilst growing up in Cyprus and then North Yorkshire. She began writing when she was at junior school, winning the school prize for English, and wrote and illustrated her own stories which she read to her long-suffering friends. She started her first novel, Blood of the Red Rose, when her elder daughter was a baby and finally completed it twenty-eight years later. Philippa has two daughters, four grandchildren and a grand-cat and now lives in Cyprus with Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, three dogs and four cats.
I actually quite enjoy historical dramas, its just not often I think to grab one. I liked the viewpoint we had on the War of the Roses in this piece, it just seemed like a new story of a well known historical event.
It took me a little while to get into the book, particularly to get the story arcs clear in my mind. I'll hold my hands up, it was truthfully the second time I read that everything really fell into place for me. This might not necessarily be a reflection of the book but myself, as I always seem to need to do that with period work. By the second read though I was fully invested, and I could see all the nuances I'd mostly missed on my first run through.
For me I 'd give this book 6/10. Its well worth a read and even a second if you're someone like me who likes to understand everything that's going on plot wise!
About the Book
Title: Blood of the Red Rose
Author: P. J. Gray
Release Date: 14th August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.
Facebook page.
Abi x
p.s.: I received a copy of the book for free in exchange for my review and participation on the blog tour.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Portugal photo diary

The end of June saw me jet off to the lovely Porto in Portugal for 5 days! It was a desperately needed break, I've been working crazy hours saving for a car. Even a work horse needs a break now and then!

Now, unfortunately the trip wasn't quite how I expected. Anyone living in the UK wil know we re having an unprecedentedly hot summer. We were away for the first week of the heatwave, but the weather in Portugal was "okay" at best. A bit sunny, a bit warm but not the glorious sun ridden haven everyone back home experienced.

The other wee surprise was that we weren't actually in Porto as I'd thought. Instead we were about an hour or so outside of Porto in the gorgeously quiet Douro wine region. It was filed with stunning hills and veinerys stemming from the steep banks of the Douro river. It was dead AF though. So one day was spent exploring (and exhausting) our hotel and the rest of the holiday we got the hour and a half train into Porto.

The city itself was brilliant. Full of gorgeous old tiled buildings, cute winding streets and a stunning river. I really loved exploring the city with my boyfriend.

Overall, I'd visit Porto again, but try and stay within the city itself. Maybe an Air BnB job and a chance to enjoy the nightlife we missed out on.
I was a bit nervous about going away for five days with my boyfriend as it was the longest amount of time we've spent together in one go. Should have known better cos I had a wale of a time and was sad to see him off at the end of the week...even if it was only for a day or so! Soppy idiot me haha.

Have you ever been Portugal?

Abi x

Monday, 23 July 2018

Book blog tour: At The Dark Hour by John Wilson

Heyoo, welcome back! Or just plain welcome if you've somehow found this page and aren't too sure how that has occurred exactly.
Either way, you've made it to today's book blog tour review of At the Dark Hour by John Wilson.

A moving story about the nature of love and redemption set amidst the worst of the London Blitz and the destruction of London’s hallowed seat of law, the Temple

Adam Falling is a failing, sick barrister married to Catherine but conducting an affair with the glamorous Julia, who happens to be the wife of his Head of Chambers, Jeremy Pemberton.

Julia, fearful of losing her children, suddenly ends the affair. But it is too late. Pemberton discovers it and Adam is kicked out of his home and his chambers. Unable to work without a chambers and facing ruin, salvation comes in the unlikely form of the brilliant barrister, Roland (“Roly”) Blytheway. Blythway, held back in his career because of his sexuality, befriends him and invites him to join his chambers at Lamb Building.

It is there he finds himself defending a Czech refugee, Tomas Novak, who has been accused of treason and who is facing the gallows and becomes mired in another contested divorce case for one Arnold Bateman, where he, on the recommendation of Pemberton, represents the co-respondent whilst Pemberton represents the petitioner - a piece of cruel psychological torture on the part of Pemberton.

Whilst the Blitz rages on around, can Adam save Novak from the gallows? Can he get Bateman off? Will he ever discover why Julia suddenly broke off their affair? Can he succeed in resisting Jeremy’s claims against him personally? He has been told that only one man can possibly save him and that man is Roland Blytheway.

At the Dark Hour is the story of ordinary people caught in the horror of war whilst the city is destroyed around them. It features many of the most notable real life events of the Blitz such as the bombing of the Café de Paris.

Some books fall into your lap and they are simple to read. There's a start, a middle an end. With At The Dark Hour, there is those crucial components but also so much more. It has detail left, right and centre. From the plot twists to the characters actions, thoughts, pasts. This novel was a joy to read for someone like me that has such a deep love of detail. I won't lie, I've read it twice.

It seems that the majority of book blog tours I take part in are mostly crime thrillerish style pieces(which I love) so it was a welcome change to step into Wilson's blitz struck world.
Overall a solid 9/10 read for me.

Author Information
Originally from Wigan, John Wilson is a QC at 1, Hare Court, London who was called to the Bar in 1981. He has written or contributed to a number of academic text books, written very many articles and is a published poet.

Wilson drew on his many years of experience of family law (and in the early days criminal law) and upon the misogyny and homophobia which were characteristic of the law at the time the novel is set.

When not working in London, Wilson spends as much of his time as possible in the South of France, where the novel was written, and travels extensively.

Check out the fellow blog tour participants!
Abi x

ps: I was kindly sent a copy to read for free but all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Book Blog Tour: More Than Us by Dawn Barker

HI guys! Long time no see! Bringing  this blog back to its roots  a good old book review, as part of the More Than Us book blog tour!

A little background about this book for y'all:

Title: More Than Us
Author Name: Dawn Barker
Previous Books (if applicable): Let Her Go
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Drama
Release Date: 21st May 2018
Publisher: Canelo

Now for the More important parts: (aka what's actually about?).

Book Blurb: When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?
Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.
When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.
While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.
Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

Aaaaaaand my review:

The story wasn't massively grabbing me at first but persevering past the first few chapter  saw the characters begin to gain a lovely bit of depth.

The character that stood it to me by far was  Tilly, perhaps because she reminded me a lot of my youngest  and similarly aged sister. I often wonder how much is left under the surface and her story a  told very well throughout.

The character of Paul I found hard to grasp. The way in which he abandons Emily is hard to believe, but it is for Emily too so it fit well in the arch of the plot.

The book concludes in a really gripping way after all the build of the over arching plots....but don't expect any spoilers from me here!

Well worth a read, landing a solid 6/10 from me.

Abi x

Author Bio:
Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She grew up in Scotland, then in 2001 she moved to Australia, completed her psychiatric training and began writing. Her first novel, Fractured, was selected for the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme, was one of Australia's bestselling debut fiction titles for 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier's Book Awards. Her second novel is Let Her Go. Dawn lives in Perth with her husband and three young children.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Book blog tour: The Wrong Man by Kate White

Helllooo! So I have been lucky enough to be invited to take part in the book blog tour for Kate White’s The Wrong Man by performing a lovely little Q&A about this great  thriller released last year by Canelo .

A moment of pleasure leads to a deadly game of cat and mouse in this slick and suspenseful thriller.
Kit Finn meets handsome sculptor Matt Healy on a business trip and the two share a night of passion. They arrange a second date, but when Kit arrives at Matt’s apartment she is greeted by a stranger claiming he is the real Matt and that his identity was stolen.
Realising she has been duped Kit decides to put the encounter behind her. Shortly after, the police ask her to identify a man killed in a hit and run, carrying only her business card, and she is shocked to find the dead man is the person she knows as the genuine Matt Healy.
Kit fears she has become unintentionally embroiled in a sinister web of deceit. With no real evidence to take to police, Kit resolves to unravel the mystery herself. But can she do so before more lives, including her own, are put in danger?
For fans of psychological suspense and compulsive mysteries, don’t miss this tense and page-turning novel.
Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve works of fiction: seven Bailey Weggins mysteries and five stand-alone psychological thrillers, including most recently, The Secrets You Keep. For fourteen years she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate on being a full-time author and speaker
Hi! I really enjoyed The Wrong Man, how did you come up with the idea for the story?
Thanks so much for saying that. I usually start a book with a germ of an idea, a tantalzingitem I’ve read somehwhere or simply come up with in my own head, and then I play the “What if....?” game with it, seeing if that germ will take me someplace scary, twisty, and mysterious. That was the case with this book. I was stopping by someone’s apartment in New York City one day and before he swung open the door, I found myself wondering what it would be like if the person who appeared on the other side of the threshold wasn’t the person I was expecting but had the same name. How creepy and unsettling that would be. 
 And then I was off and running with that concept.

The characters are so detailed, who was the easiest to write? I never find anyoneeasy to write, much to my despair, though I’m certainly drawn to some characters more than others . You have to think about each character so much, even about aspects of his or her back story that you might not even end up putting in the final pages.

  In the end, if you’ve done your work, the characters can feel so real to you. I really liked writing about Kit Finn, the protagonnist in The Wrong Man, because she faces challenges many women encounterShe’s uncertain about the kind of risks she needs to take in life. And uncertain about what type of man she should be drawn to. Of course, ultimately she ends up in the kind of danger most women fortunately never face, and she has to try to navigate her way out using all her nerve and ability.

  She not perfect, but she’s also not a trainwreck either. Frankly, I’m a little tired of that type of female character in books. There have been so many of them in thrillers lately.

 Where do you enjoy writing? I love writing in small spaces, where it’s very,very quiet. Beware the death stare I will subject you to if you’re making noise!!! My husband and I live during the winter months in a little beach town in Uruguayand he was surprised when I told him he could have the office with the view of the ocean. That kind of setting would offer too much distraction for me. My office has a view of only tree tops. And though there are lots of large parakeets jabbering all day long, it’s just white noise to me by this point.

The story begins in The Florida Keys, have you been there personally? I had heard about the amazing Florida Keys and researched it a lot onlinebut finally decided I needed to actually to travel there to make sure I got the setting right in the book. I stayed at this small, enchanting, Carribean-style hotel called Casa Morada,with lush jungle-like grounds. I was in heaven. But I swear I managed to find the time to research when I was there. 

Who are your favourite thriller authors?I’m a big fan of Americans like Karin Slaughter, Michael Connelly, and Linda Fairstein. I also adore so many British thriller writers. Currently I’m absolutelyhooked on British author Susie Steiner, who’s only published two booksMissing, Presumed and Persons Unknown. Please, Susie, write faster!

How long did it take to write The Wrong Man?. Just a year but that’s only because I’m under contract to produce one book a year.

What’s your least favourite part of writing a book? The last two chapters. I have them mapped out in my head, but I’m alway so eager to get to the finish line that it can be excrutiating. I love starting a book. When you have this delicious idea and you can’t wait for it all to unfold. 

Do you have plans for your next novel? I just turned in my eighth Bailey Weggins mystery and am now at work on a new stand-alone psychological thrillerI love the plot and it’s making me a little giddy.

Your work includes both stand alone novels and a series. Which do you prefer to write? Do you think that your writing style differs between themthoroughly relish doing both because it offers nice variety in my work life. My BaileyWeggins mysteries have quite a bit of humor. Bailey is totally irreverent. My psychologicall thrillers are darker, though there’s some humor in The Wrong Manthanks to this one charcter, Baby Meadow.

Lastly, what advice would you give aspiring writers? I say this a lot but I feel it’s worth repeating. Know roughly where you’re going. Some writers don’t plot things out, but I think in the early years, it’s very helpful. That way you don’t find yourself boxed into a corner. 

  Give your protagonist a big, seemingly unsurmountable challenge to overcome. Jessica Knoll, the author of The Luckiest Girl Alive, which has sold over a million copies, used to work for me when I ran Cosmopolitan magazine in the U.S. and it was clear from the beginning that she would be an awesome fiction writer. She told me recently that the best advice I gave her was to go big or go home,” and she’s sure done that with her books. But don’t make the twists ridiculous. I just read a book this past weekend with twists so preposetrous I was tempted to ask for my money back

Finally—though there’s tons more I could say--don’t try to write too much in a day. It can be defeating to set super big goals in the beginning. Aim for a certain number pages and adher to that. If you feel stuck, it often means you haven’t done enough thinking or research for that section.

Hope you enjoyed reading the Q&A, it’s the first I’ve ever done! 

Abi x