Sal

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Release date May 8, 2018

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Canongate Books for allowing me an advanced cooy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This one was a really tough book to rate… I will warn everyone that it is FULL of triggers.

This is a story of something like survival.

Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.

And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.

Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.

A story of two young girls Sal (13) and Peppa (10) who are hiding in the wilderness from the Police (Polis to them) after Sal kills their mother’s boyfriend after years of abuse.

It is a dark tale of abuse, alcoholism, and the lengths Sal will go through to keep her sister safe. It reminded me of “My Side of the Mountain” and the descriptions of surviving in the wilderness were very authentic. I think that I would have rated it higher if the content weren’t so uncomfortable, so please, check it out for yourself.

All of the characters are very well written. Everyone will fall in love with Peppa’s unflagging spirit and spunk, she’s definitely a riot! And Sal’s unwavering strength and intelligence.

I was unsure of the narrative. It is told though the words of Sal, so it is full of slang and run-on sentences, which is realistic to being written by someone so young, but at the same time could get tedious and off track. It was sometimes hard to follow the changes in thought pattern. She tends to repeat herself and overlap her thoughts numerous times.

“When I woke up I started to worry straight away that it was four days since we ran and this was the fourth day here and they would definitely be looking for us all over. I think it was our fourth day here. I think they would’ve found Maw in the room by now and she had a phone so she could phone out. But the room was locked from the outside and the key was on the carpet and there was no way she could’ve killed Robert and then locked herself in there from the outside so that proved she didn’t do it. And they would’ve found Robert on my bed and all the blood from his throat where I stabbed him three times. And blood up the wall too, on the wallpaper with monkeys on it. And Peppa gone too and her room just normal. They didn’t know about the school uniforms we wore or the rucksack or the backpack Peppa carried or the hockey stick case with the gun and the rod in it, so if they looked for things missing they wouldn’t know what was and wasn’t there. I knew what was there and what we’d taken but the polis and social workers wouldn’t know that. They’d find my T-shirt and jeans and knickers with Robert’s blood all over them in the washing in the bathroom so they’d know it was me. They’d find the lock on Peppa’s unlocked door and the key on the floor so they’d know I locked her in and it wasn’t her.”

A story full of honesty and strength and the hardships even a little girl will go through to keep her family together.

I do highly recommend it but beware of a great amount of very uncomfortable subject matter.

If anyone reads or has read this book I would really love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it as I a very difficult time figuring out what to do with this book and I’d love to hear what others thought… It would make an amazing book club read!

Onwards to my Apology

I’m sorry, but there is no drink to pair with this one at this time… I have some ideas and feel free to check out the Mountaineer Margarita from Wild and Wonderful Tailgating, but as some of you may have noticed I haven’t been posting or commenting over the last couple of days which is very unlike me. I have been sick and unable to make my drinks. I also didn’t feel comfortable pairing this one with a drink due to the subject matter. I hope you all understand!!

Three Last First Dates

three last first dates

2 out of 5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Wild Lime Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Marissa Jones and her friends have made a pact. To have their LAST first date and to find “The One”. It started out as a bit of a joke, but when it works for 2 of her friends, it’s not so much of a joking matter.

Then Marissa notices that her ex-boyfriend of 7 years is engaged. The love of her life. The one she waited for who had left her bereft and broken hearted. Now, that last first date is looking pretty good!

Three men, one day and one will be her last First Date. But, who will be the lucky man??

Excerpt

“What’s stopping you?”he asked, punctuating my thoughts.

“Singing in the shower? I already do that!”

“No,”he said with a chuckle, “what’s stopping you pursuing singing, like say, for an audience?”

Me, was the simple answer. I hadn’t always been the slim, confident woman I was today. No way, José. Not too many years ago, guys like Nash and Coleman and Blaze wouldn’t have given me a second glance. I was shy, totally lacking in confidence, and I was a little on the plump side of the equation. Heck, who was I kidding? I was F. A. T. fat. And I hated it. Some women embraced their size, loving their curves. Like Bailey. She was curvy and looked like some sort of Italian screen goddess from the fifties. Not me. I had been a major comfort eater, and every time I looked in the mirror, I wanted to slap my chubby face. Hard.

Then, once I’d graduated high school and was studying at college, I decided it was time I changed—no one was going to do it for me. I didn’t want to spend my life hating what I saw. So, I got into running and I cleaned up my diet. There was no overnight, miraculous change, no “big reveal.”It was gradual, my mindset about myself changing slowly as my body became stronger, healthier. I began to like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

But, to this day, I still knew, deep inside of me, that shy, overweight, unhappy girl lay dormant, ready to rear her head.

Rather than delving into my most private of thoughts about myself, in response to Nash’s question about what was stopping me, I simply shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

“Then there’s nothing standing in your way, right?”

Ah, if only it were that easy.

First thing I will say is that this is the third book in the “Cozy Cottage” Series and I have not read the other two books. Somehow, I don’t think that this would change my rating for this book. But, Marissa’s friends seemed far more likeable and level headed, so I may have enjoyed THOSE two. I will also say that this book has received very good feedback on Goodreads… so, maybe it’s just me! I suppose you’ll have to read it yourself to find out!

I just couldn’t do this book. I finished it, because I can’t review a book that I haven’t finished. But, I didn’t really want to. The main character was SO unlikable! All she does is complain about other people and freak out over everything. Especially as someone who grew up overweight with low self-esteem, she just came off somewhat picky and judgemental.

I understand that she’s supposed to be commitment phobic, and that’s supposed to make her “quirky” but, she breaks up with people because “they have a pimple on their nose”, because “their dog licks their face”, etc. The most ridiculous of reasons. She’s whiny, she doesn’t really think of others, she treats these men who are going on these dates with her like they should know how privileged they are for being the chosen ones to go out on this “Last First Date” with her when all I could think was “… These poor guys. They could run… But, they’re not doing that. I feel sorry for whoever gets stuck with her!”

She also doesn’t seem to have any remorse for leading these guys on. I mean, they take her to nice places and plan this stuff for her and she doesn’t even bother to reach for her wallet or something when she knows she’s going to run off on them! If you’re going to be a jerk, you can at least pay for your meal yourself!

All I could picture is her strapping these guys to a big wheel like “The Price is Right” or “Wheel of Fortune” and spinning them, throwing darts to try to pick which will be “lucky” enough to be with her.

The guys were written pretty well. The attractive, level-headed, but artistic mortician Coleman, the cute, outdoorsy dog rescuer, Nash, and the sexy (but maybe not the brightest) body builder, Blaze. But, I just couldn’t get behind any of it.

Three Last First Dates is Best Served With

A Chilled Glass of Chardonnay

I went with a nice 2011 Chardonnay from one of my local wineries “Ravine Winery” of which I am a wine club member. Their wine’s are fantastic and they have a beautiful rustic restaurant with “Farm to Table” style food made from local products.

Out of the Madhouse

out of the madhouse

3 out of 5 Stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for a copy of the boo in exchange for an honest review.

This is the story of the Maitland family and their battle with metal health issues. Notice that I don’t say Michael Maitland’s battle. With mental health it is a battle for the whole family and everyone involved in Michael’s life.

The story is a mix of excerpts from Michael’s diary from when he is brought into the Priory to start to deal with his issues with depression, anxiety, OCD and anorexia after he reaches a low of 44 kilos (97 lbs) as a 6′ tall male and has an oedema and a collapsed lung. With insight from his father and the fallout within the family and dealing with Michael’s problems.

It is explained best in the preface of the book itself

Out of the Madhouse tells the story of Michael Maitland, and that of his family –dad Iain, mum Tracey, younger sister Sophie and younger brother Adam, plus Bernard the family   dog. Michael went to university in 2007 to do a degree in Illustration and, whilst there, he suffered from depression and anxiety which led eventually to anorexia and, finally, hospital and the Priory. That’s where our story begins, in the Priory in the late autumn of 2012. It is a story with a mix of happy and sad times, highs and lows –and tragedy. The story comes to an end in 2017. The book is divided into three parts –Into the Priory, Back Home and Inside the Maitland Family. Michael’s diary and notes form the backbone of much of the book and let fellow sufferers and their parents and loved ones see inside the head of someone with mental illness and understand how they think and feel. Alternating with Michael’s words, I write about the effects upon and feelings of the family –if you have a loved one with mental illness, you are not alone and will recognise much of what the Maitlands experienced over the years. I also offer self-help thoughts and ideas through the book that will help those with mental health issues, and those who love them, to manage depression and anxiety and related issues. This is a memoir, a self-help guide and more –happiness, sadness, stupidity, regret, pain, shame, embarrassment and so many other emotions are all here. So too is love –angry, frustrated, irritated, worried and more –but always love. It is a strong and golden thread that runs from the start, right the way through to the end, and beyond.

I liked the personal touch in this book with the actual diary entries from Michael and his thoughts and feelings at the time of his lowest points. It was good to have a book that actually had that point of view. But, I don’t think I was the targeted audience for this book because, being a sufferer myself this book seemed to be written more for the families and friends surrounding those suffering from depression and anxiety than the actual person suffering.

There is some insight from the family about how it was hard to understand what was happening with Michael. He stops going to University, but won’t get a job and barely leaves his house. They just think that he’s a freeloader and they’re being too nice helping him pay his way in the world and they don’t think about how there could be a bigger problem.

They have some good tips for family members to help them recognize that something may be going on with someone close to them

“Look for patterns of changing behaviour”

“Watch for changes in demeanour”

“Keep an eye on physical changes”

And the biggest one being “DON’T KEEP QUIET!” I know that no one wants to push a loved one away by prying, but if you don’t confront this person they may not get the help they need before it’s too late. Sometimes this person may not even understand what is going on with them, and sometimes they may even be hoping you take notice and help them. I think that was the best advice that they gave in the book.

My issue with the book was some of the advice they gave to deal with the symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially their tips on panic attacks. As one who has suffered from many I found myself getting angry at their advice to “Think ahead” , “Learn to relax” and the best one, “breathe deeply” . Now, again I say that this is actually good advice for family members who might witness a panic attack as it gives them something to say to try to soothe the person suffering… but, telling someone having a panic attack to “just breathe deeply” would be like if I shoved your head underwater and told you to “just breathe deeply”  ….it isn’t as easy as this book made it seem.

The other issue that I had with this book was that when it came towards the end of the book and giving suggestions on where to get help they were all based out of the U.K, as that’s where the family was from. This in and of itself wasn’t my main problem, it was the fact that Iain (as he was the one writing this portion) didn’t even seem to TRY to do any research into other organizations in North America, where much of his audience will probably be from, as his publisher also had a branch in the U.S.A. He would say “Just contact the NHS, or dial 999” and when he does refer to how references in different places will be different he just says “your GP can direct you to the Community Mental Health Team, or whatever it is called where you are” . Now, I don’t expect him to come up with all of the names. But, either a few from main places where people may be reading your book, or an appendix at the end of the book to refer to for other possible help in different places would have probably been helpful and not a huge amount of work. It really would have made the book seem a bit more authentic and helpful.

I do really like the description Michael uses as the mental health issues as a tentacled monster. The stories written about this and the analogies were very fitting. It is definitely a beast that can easily strike a person with many arms but stem from the same problem.

I hope that someone who has a family member or loved one with mental health issues will read this book as I think it will be more helpful to them than it was for me. I’m thinking of getting my man to read it for his opinion because it did have some great tips for dealing with your loved one and with dealing with yourself. The one thing that I really took to heart to remember for the future (because those with mental health issues seem to be the ones who need to be taken care of) is that your family dealing with you need to take care of themselves as well! Sometimes they need to walk away from the person in need of help and take a breather and some time to themselves, because their health mentally and physically matter too!

Out of the Madhouse is Best Served with

A Shirley Temple

I know, I know… a MOCKTAIL?! Nicole, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!

I just couldn’t get behind recommending a cocktail or alcoholic beverage with this book as it is very important to remember that alcohol IS a depressant and those with issues should really try to keep their consumption in moderation or it could be a slippery slope! (I would know!!) So, what better than that childhood favourite, the Shirley Temple!!?? I’m not a fan of sweet things, or grenadine, but this drink took me right back to those nights where I would go out for dinner with my grandparents and they would let me order one of these and I felt like the fanciest girl in the world!! (And I forgot how much it almost tastes like an ice cream float!!)

Anyways, on with the show!!

shirley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • 8 oz ginger ale or lemon lime soda (or 4 oz or each if you like a mix!)
  • maraschino cherry to garnish

Directions

  1. Fill glass with ice
  2. Pour in grenadine
  3. Top with soda
  4. garnish with cherry if you wish
  5. CHEERS!!!

They’re all Incidental…

 

incidentals.jpg

3 out of 5 Stars

This was your typical ‘hit by a meteor and get super powers’ comic… been there, done that. The characters were ones we’d met before.

The rich guy recruiting them and running the show who recruits the others into a group,

bo vincent

the girl who has her life turned upside down with her new powers causing her to lose love,

shannon

and the jilted lover with the bad past…

shannon 2

it was fairly run of the mill. The  art was really well done, I like that gritty older style of it being detailed, but at the same time simple (more focus on a background with the face of the person less detailed, or vice versa) it really brought your focus where it belonged.
The actual dealings with the meteor and what happened to cause them was the highlight of the read and I would be interested to check out more for that,  but the story itself has definitely been done before.

Incidentals is Best Served With

Superman

I know, I know… Mixed superheroes… and not even superheroes with the same origin story!! But, Superman being shot to Earth and the Meteor being shot to Earth just made me think of this! And I invented this one myself from Superman’s colours in his uniform!! Red, Blue, Yellow and White

SUPERMAN

Ingredients

  • 1/3 oz Grenadine
  • 1/3 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1/3 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 1/3 oz Coconut Rum

Directions

  1. Layer each one, in the order listed over the back of a spoon into a shot glass
  2. CHEERS!!

Woman Last Seen in her Thirties

woman last seen in her thirties

4 out of 5 Stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

This book is released on February 27th, so remember to check it out!!

“It’s an age-old story: woman meets man, man woos woman, woman spends her best years believing their love is the everlasting kind. The pair watches with teary eyes as their progeny take flight from their suburban nest, knowing they’ll return in times of crisis or when their laundry needs to be washed and folded. Woman embraces aging with hair dye and ample amounts of wine . Man faces his impending mortality by convincing himself that a younger woman is the answer to his waning energy and flagging libido. Certain their sparkling future is worth the collateral damage, the May–December duo ride into the sunset as our heroine stands in the shadows, stunned by this unexpected rewrite. Yes, mine is a tale as old as time. Beauty replaces the beast.”
When Maggie’s husband leaves her later later in life, she has to figure out once again who she is without him. How do you find yourself after decades of marriage when you’ve always been an “us” and never an “I”? How do you make people see you again as the person you were? How do you make people see you AT ALL??
“When had I ceased to be a human and metamorphosed into a windowpane? Maybe people had been looking right through me for years, and I was only now realizing it. Ladies and gentlemen, the Amazing Invisible Woman has been spotted!”
Now in her 50’s with grown children and a husband who no longer thinks he loves her she has to wonder, “Where was the bright-eyed girl who had dreamed of a happy nuclear family and actually lived to see her dream come true?”
So, Maggie decides to go on her Anniversary trip to Rome that was already booked to try to find herself as her own person again. Learning to put down the bottle and be her best self… or, at least the self that is recognizable once more.
“After seven months of numbing my worst feelings, I was ready to feel them, even the ones that made it seem like life was nothing but a big fat cosmic joke.”
This book is equal parts “Eat Pray Love” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary” all at once touching and funny. I loved the character of Maggie as she was written very real. She wasn’t perfect, but she was strong and she was weak all at the same time. It wasn’t a pretty transition from wife and mother to single woman again, and it wasn’t one of those books where she just fell into the arms of some hunky man who sweeps her off her feet and they live happily ever after. It’s messy and it’s up and down as we follow Maggie on this beautiful journey where she learns that you can always change your mind because “Life is nothing if not full of twists and turns.”

Woman Last Seen in her Thirties is Best Served With

A Negroni

NEGRONI

Maggie’s trip to Rome inspired me to make a Negroni for this book, as she drinks them and I had never tried one.

*WARNING! When you purchase the Campari DO NOT OPEN IT UP AND TAKE A SWIG TO SEE WHAT IT TASTES LIKE!!* 

Campari is VERY bitter, as I learned by doing exactly what I just warned you of above. I will warn you here. Wonderful in this cocktail… DISGUSTING on its own!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 1/2 ounces Campari
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • Orange slice or twist for garnish

Directions

  1.  Pour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Garnish with an orange.
  4. CHEERS!!

A Night at Kill Creek

kill creek

4 out of 5 Stars

This is your typical night in a haunted house horror, but DEFINITELY not your typical writing for it. In very vivid prose we get a story of 4 very different horror writers brought to a supposed ‘haunted house’ to be interviewed for a horror fan blog called Wrightwire.

The Mainstream Hack Sam McGarver-

“He had started this new novel at least a hundred times. He had exhausted more first sentences than he could remember. They were single lines on one-page documents, saved on his hard drive in a folder named, appropriately, “Crap.”
And perhaps Sam’s most inspired first sentence: Sam, you suck as a writer and will never write anything that anyone cares about because you are a fraud and your books are shit.”

The decrepit Old Has-Been Sebastian Cole-

“the golden days of Beaver Cleaver and Good Humor Bars and ‘There’s nothing to fear but fear itself’ are over . They’ve been raped and tortured and left for dead. The only thing to fear these days is everything.”

The Christian Bullshit Artist, Daniel Slaughter-

“Do evil, and you will be punished. Only the characters that are pure of heart triumph in the end. Evil never wins in my books. Good does, because it’s from God.”

And the Unforgivably Brutal T.C Moore-

“Horror no longer goes bump in the night. Horror stuffs the bodies of dead hookers in his crawl space and then pulls a twelve-hour nursing shift taking care of your sick mother. Horror sits in his cubicle and fantasises about sucking the toes of the high school cheerleader he plans to strangle after work. Horror stays awake at night dreaming up ways to hurt you and your family and your pets and everything you hold dear. Horror is perversion.”

They all have very different views of what horror means to them…Until that horror starts to prey on them in very REAL ways..

Breathing. It’s like the house is breathing. But softly. Like its realxed. Content.

Content to what? he asked himself.

To be here with us. To listen.”

I think that Sam expresses it best when he says “In horror, there’s no such thing as ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ That thing will be back, and it will take over your life. That’s the root of all fear: the loss of control. Not being able to stop the evil.”

Also, everyone who reads or has read this book HAS to tell me I’m not crazy and that if this is ever made into a movie Wainwright HAS to be played by Matt Smith… Right??Any Doctor Who fans?!?! Skinny pants, wavy brown hair, U.K accent (ok, so they say Irish.. We can work with it) and a weird smooth clay face?? COME ON!!

If you’d like to learn more about Scott Thomas and his writings feel free to check out his twitter account:

@ninjawhatever

Kill Creek is Best Served With

A Modern Cocktail

Well, after reading this book all I could think of was whisky, because it’s mentioned a lot! Lol! (A man after my own heart!) I’m pretty sure that every character in some point in the book drinks some whiskey. So, at first I thought… well, I love me a good ‘ole Whiskey Sour!! But… that was just a little boring for this book.

Then I stumbled across this PERFECT COCKTAIL on Sipsmith London it’s like a whiskey sour with a crazy twist! (just like this book!) It’s ALSO a modern take on a classic (JUST LIKE THIS BOOK!!) So, here we go!!

modern cocktail

Ingredients

  • .25oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1oz peaty Scottish whisky
  • 1oz  Sloe Gin
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Brandied cherry, to garnish

Directions

  1. Add the lemon juice and sugar to a cocktail shaker and stir to combine.
  2. Add the whisky, sloe gin, absinthe and orange bitters
  3. fill the cocktail shaker with ice
  4. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass
  5. garnish with a brandied cherry. 
  6. CHEERS!!

A Dance With the Devil

the devils claw

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Dorey has returned home from London to be with her mother after the death of her father, a fisherman who fell overboard off his boat.. or she tells herself that this is the reason.

“I’m not afraid of the darkness. Only what hides in it.”

Returning to her childhood home in Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel,

There was a joke about it: something about sixty thousand people clinging to a rock. At twenty-four square miles it wasn’t quite a rock, but it wasn’t far off.”

she thinks she will slip into a quiet reporter job at the Geurnsey News. Then a girl is found dead on the beach and everything changes…

When Jenny starts to find similarities between this girl and other girls who had drowned in the past she thinks that maybe they are more alike than she’d like and begins to delve into the folklore and history of the island and those who have been living on it

Le Table des Pion, or the Fairy Ring as everyone called it, was a rough table hewn into a grassy plateau, surrounded by a ring of stones. On one side, dense foliage of bracken and gorse formed a natural windbreak, and on the other, flat, grassy headland led to sheer cliffs and beneath them, the sea.

Built as a picnic spot for officials who’d inspected the island’s roads hundreds of years ago, locals preferred the other stories surrounding the place. About witches. And the Devil. The Devil came here, disguised as a goat or a wolf, or a big, black dog and danced with witches. There was a tunnel somewhere here too. Not a real one, at least as far as Matt knew, but according to legend all of the Devil’s cronies used tunnels to get around”

As Jenny delves deeper into the deaths of these girls, with only Detective Chief Inspector Michael Gilbert to listen, she realises that the Devil may never have left the island… and he may be one of the sixty thousand still clinging to that rock closer than  she thinks. Only

This was a nice cosy mystery. It was a little predictable, but I really enjoyed the descriptive way that it was written. It had some very beautiful descriptions that really made me feel like I was actually there:

“London, two years ago. An unpleasantly hot summer, untempered heat absorbed by roads and pavements and then thrown back up in hazy, iridescent waves floating above the sticky Tarmac. No breeze. No whisper of sea spray in the air to cool hot cheeks with its fresh, salty touch.”

“He parked up and walked down to the shoreline , which was swathed in slick brown ribbons of vraic, the islanders’ name for the local seaweed. It covered the wet, leaden sand in thick banks, lighter-coloured branches reaching up out of the piles, like emaciated arms searching for daylight. In the summer, the smell was overpowering, rotting and stale, and the flies were legion. Now, in November, the smell was bearable, almost pleasant, a sea-earth hybrid of salt and vegetation with only the odd sleepy bluebottle taking a break from the tip down the road to hover around a dead fish, scales shimmering between the seaweeds’ fronds.”

My main complaint was some of the mentions that went nowhere. DCI Michael and his affiliation with the Christian Fellowship Foundation, everything that made Jenny leave London, etc. I understand that Lara Dearman was leaving these things open for more books… I assume, and I would like to check out another one if she writes it, it was just that there were things that I felt didn’t have to be mentioned in this book that probably could have waited until they were going to be a focus of some sort.

All in all though it was an enjoyable read for a rainy night!

The Devil’s Claw is Best Served with

Fisherman’s Folly

Ok, so I’ve been told that it may be in bad taste to base my drink of choice off the death of Jenny’s fisherman father… but, it was just too perfect to pass up!! And before you look at the ingredients for this drink..

  1. I did not some of with this one!! I have to give credit where credit is due and I found this on “Tasting Table” at https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/fishermans-folly-cocktail-funky-fish-sauce-pickle-juice
  2. Yes. I really did try it!! It’s not as bad as it sounds!!

fishermans folly

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • One 2-inch-wide strip grapefruit peel
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Ice
  • 1½ ounces sake
  • 1 ounce gin
  • ½ ounce pickle juice
  • ½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • ¼ teaspoon matcha tea powder

Directions

  1. Place the salt on a small plate. Rub the grapefruit peel around the rim of a rocks glass. Rim the glass with salt.
  2.  In a small spritz bottle, combine the fish sauce and water. Spritz the bottom of the rocks glass once with the fish sauce solution. Fill the glass with ice.
  3.  In a cocktail shaker, combine the sake, gin, pickle juice, grapefruit juice and matcha powder. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake and pour into the prepared rocks glass. And serve.
  4. CHEERS!!

An Elevator Ride Straight to Hell

elevator quest

4 out of 5 Stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for an Advanced Read Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think we’re in the office building anymore, Arnold!

What can I say about this book except, Wow…. just Wow.

An elevator full of people who work together in an office building plummet and find themselves? Where? Is this Hell? Some kind of Game? A part of the building we’ve never seen? They all must work together to fight and escape or die trying.

“Is this hell? Maybe, but who knows for sure? What I do know is that there is a path ahead of us. We can choose to take that path and see where it leads,” Arnold motioned towards the patch, “or we can sit here and die.” Moving back to pick up the crest on the ground before picking it up and tossing it to Jiro, who caught it and slid it into his pocket. “I, for one, refuse to die here.”

They each come across a weapon that calls out to them: the rogue, the black mage, the healer, the monk, the berserker, etc. taking on RPG (role playing game) roles like they are within a live game (with deadly consequences) and acquiring skills they didn’t know that they had. Working through the levels they must defeat the monsters and bosses they meet in this hellish place in which they find themselves.

I had a love hate relationship with this book. While it was an amazing story, it was a little confusing having about 14 characters from the beginning all doing things at once. It was a long time before you really got to know any of the characters with any real depth as well because there were just too many of them. The fight scenes seemed jumbled because there was just too much going on at once to follow everything, and there were SO MANY fight scenes that the book almost became exhausting, BUT WHAT A RIDE!

I will warn you readers now… don’t become too attached to any characters! You may have a rude awakening if you do! This story is definitely for those who can handle things like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” There are many twists and turns and it’s definitely not a “And they all lived happily ever after” sort of novel. Which, I actually loved! It is a great thrilling read, I highly recommend it. I would have given it 5 stars if it was just a little better organised and edited!

Released on Feb 6 2018 it’s something everyone should be putting on their TBR list!!

Elevator Quest is Best Served With

Health and Mana Potion Shots

health and mana potions

Ok, So maybe it’s a vodka cranberry and a hypnotiq martini… But, It definitely cures what ails me!!

Ingredients for Health Potion

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • Top with Cranberry Juice

Directions

  1. in a highball glass (or a potion bottle) pour in vodka and grand marnier (I like the Grand Marnier for a little twist!) and top with cranberry juice!

Ingredients for Mana Potion

  • 2oz Hypnotiq Liqueur
  • 2oz Vodka

Directions

  1. Fill a shaker with ice
  2. Pour in vodka and Hypnotiq
  3. shake for about 20 seconds until cold
  4. Pour into martini glass (or potion bottle)

It’s definitely Magic!! CHEERS!!

 

 

 

Let’s get THEATRICAL With Fire!

theatrics

4 out of 5 Stars

What would you do if you lost everything? I you were at the end of your rope and the bottom of your bottle. That is what happened to Broadway actor Rudy Burns. One night, everything was taken from him. His only option? To become someone else entirely. To REALLY put his acting skills to the test and become a professional boxer because,

“If you want to get rich, sell to the rich. If you want to get FILTHY rich, sell to the dirt poor!”

world champion

I absolutely love the old 20s looking graphic style. Set in the prohibition era it was a great story of love, loss and a man trying to get his life back after it is brutally taken away from him at the top of his game. I highly recommend this and can’t wait for further instalments to see Rudy’s (or the Count’s) life come together.. or come apart.

Theatrics is Best Served With

A Flaming Asshole

Pardon my language! Lol! But, I couldn’t help myself! With the story being called “Theatrics” I felt that I needed a THEATRICAL drink! What is more theatrical than LIGHTING THINGS ON FIRE?! And with Rudy’s new vicious persona  I thought what better drink than a good ole flaming asshole?!

Disclaimer* PLEASE, BE VERY CAREFUL IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE THIS DRINK. I AM A DRINKING PROFESSIONAL (yes, that’s a thing… lol!) BE SURE THAT YOU BLOW THE FLAME OUT OR LET IT GO OUT ON ITS OWN BEFORE DRINKING. USE A LONG LIGHTER SUCH AS A BBQ LIGHTER FOR SAFETY, OR JUST GO TO A BAR AND HAVE A PROFESSIONAL MAKE YOU THIS BEVERAGE.

Now, with the legalities out of the way… HERE WE GO!

flaming asshole

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz grenadine syrup
  • 1/2 oz green creme de menthe (if you want to change things up, I accidentally used
  • melon liquer and it was delicious! Lol!)
  • 1/2 oz creme de banane
  • 1/2 oz high alcohol rum (minimum 40%)

Directions:

Layer in this order: grenadine, creme de menthe, banana liqueur, white rum. (Layered over the back of a spoon lightly dipped in the previous layer) Ignite rum before serving. (May take a little while as the alcohol has to heat to a certain temp before igniting)

 

 

 

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank…

4 kids

5 out of 5 Stars!!

I loved this graphic novel!! 4 nerdy, misfit, Dungeons and Dragons playing kids (Paige,Stretch, Berger and Walter) get sucked in to a plot to rob a bank to save Paiges’ father from doing it. It’s illustrations and dialogue are written almost like an 80’s friend flick (like Sandlot or Goonies)

4 kids berger stakeout

And because of their wild imaginations and constant gaming they are always imagining things in gaming, pop culture terms.

4_kids_walk_into_a_bank_1_rosenberg_boss_black_mask_studios_02-628x981

This graphic novel was hilarious, dramatic and a read I would recommend to anyone! ESPECIALLY lovers of those old 80s movies and heist movies! It definitely did not go the route that I thought it would and I was very impressed with how authentic and interesting it was. It’s hard to say more than that about something that was 210 pages. So, all I will say is READ IT! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

4 Kids Walk Into a Bar is Best Served With

A Bank Robber

bank robber

This is a rough shot. It is not for the feint of heart for sure. It will ROB you of you logic, your money and your dignity…. I kid. But, it will be a lot of alcohol!

Ingredients

  • ½ oz Creme di Casis
  • ½ oz Brandy
  • ½ oz Dry Gin
  • 1/3 oz Rum
  • 1/3 oz Vodka

Directions

  1. Mix in order listed as best you can trying to layer the vodka on top
  2. CHEERS!!