Writing on the Go

Three things I love and use every day:

  1. My iPad Mini
  2. Scrivener 
  3. Stationery (Especially the delicious lure of NEW stationery)

In this post I get to combine all three of some of my favourite things.


Writing Essentials: iPad mini/Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard + Macbook + Scrivener/iOS + Paper Notebooks (Nanami Seven Seas Crossgrid + Moleskine + Hobonichi) + Bag full of Pens/Pencils + Coffee + Water + Private Writing Space + Spacious Desk + Ergonomically comfortable chair #onmydesk #onmydesktoday #inkslaying #drafting #writersdesk 


Scrivener iOS + iPad Mini

This month I finally downloaded the Scrivener iOS app on my iPad Mini. I adore my Macbook but my iPad mini is never far from my side. I have had the “MacGyver of Writing Tools” Scrivener on my MacBook for 6 years now and it is hands down my favourite writing software. But it had one drawback, it did not have an iOS app. Until now. So until now, and because my iPad mini goes everywhere with me, I wrote on the Write for iPad app and then copied and pasted from the Dropbox sync folder into my Desktop Scrivener. Until now. Until this month. At the beginning of this month I finally downloaded the magical Scrivener iOS app. WOW! I’m not sure what I was really expecting but I had thought the iOS version would be a bared-down-minimal version of the desktop version. I was right and wrong. 

Minimal: 

  • Yes. In that it is a minimalistic, distraction-free and beautiful digital writing space. 
  • No. In that this is the Full Monty of Mobile apps. This is not a “mobile” version in that it lacks from the desktop. It is a “mobile” version purely because it is 100% Scrivener on a smaller screen.

Finally I can write on the go, anywhere and it is synced through to my MacBook Scrivener. No more copying and pasting. All my research/drafting/edits/notes at my fingertips whether on my MacBook at my desk, or on my iPad on the go.

As much as I love Scrivener and love my digital technology, I can never say no to the delicious lure of new stationery. For me paper and pens are my essential favourite things. I am especially obsessed with the magic of Tomoe River Paper. Since getting into the world of fountain pens I realised the many different qualities of paper. My first experience with Tomoe River Paper was through my favourite planner: Hobonichi. Tomoe River Paper has three amazing features: It is all Ink/Watercolour friendly, it is very thin, smooth Paper and it shows off sheeting fountain pen inks. 

Then I heard about Nanami Paper. An online maker/supplier of notebooks and stationery, most importantly they made big notebooks full of Tomoe River Paper. The only issues were the limited quantities available. These notebooks are so amazing that the minute there is availability they are sold out by the second minute. So I have waited patiently until there was stock available. Finally I was able to snag one of these elusive notebooks for myself: The Crossfield.

Nanami Seven Seas: The Crossfield

There are three different types of Seven Seas notebooks. The Standard, the Writer and the new Crossfield. The Standard is blank Tomoe River Paper. The Writer is lined Tomoe River Paper. Both of these options are an ivory coloured paper. The newest Seven Seas notebook is the Crossfield. This is an open-cross-grid Tomoe River Paper and the colour of this paper is white. I tend to choose either blank or grid paper and prefer white paper over any other colour so the Crossfield was the perfect option for me. Another fantastic feature of this notebook is that it is a 480 page notebook but the magic of the Tomoe River Paper is that it is exceptionally thin paper so the notebook itself is not much thicker than one of my hard-backed moleskine notebooks. The Crossfield comes in the A5 size which is my favourite drafting notebook size.

Related Links

On Mornings like these, and a new travel tradition #Soulfood #Poetry #Journaling

Bliss is found on mornings like these…

Today has been spent eating Poetry for Breakfast and Journaling in my heart space ~ my Zenkraft traveller’s notebook. I bought these two stunning poetry editions while in the UK last year. Poetry and music were my healing spaces in 2016 and continue to be this year. I also decided to start a new personal travel tradition. Instead of keychains or other travel keepsake ephemera I have decided to buy myself books of poetry every time I travel somewhere. These are my first two poetry mementoes and what stunning eye candy for the senses and soul food for the heart and mind they are.


“Time cannot be cut

with your weary scissors,

and all the names of the day

are washed out by the waters of the night.” 

excerpted from Too Many Names | Pablo Neruda



I have always wanted my own edition of exquisite Pablo Neruda poetry. This edition is truly exquisite. The cover is stunning, symbolising both a sensuality and a vulnerability that is embraced in the words contained within. 


“In the name of the lost who glory in

The swinish plains of carrion

Under the burial song

Of the birds of burden

Heavy with the drowned

And the green dust

And bearing

The ghost

From

The ground

Like    pollen

On the black plume 

And the beak of slime

I pray though I belong

Not wholly to that lamenting

Brethren for joy has moved within

The inmost marrow of my heart bone…”

excerpted from Vision and Prayer | Dylan Thomas

I have always wanted to own The Complete Works of Dylan Thomas. This centenary edition stood out to me because the waves on the cover are deeply symbolic to me and a beautiful echo of my journey.

How do you fill your well? 

Tell me what brings you bliss?

#Travel Edition | These are some of my Favourite #OnTheGo Things #2017 #EDC 

For the last 5 months of 2016 I was on the road, in the air, on planes, trains, underground trains, cars and mostly living out of a lightweight suitcase + a backpack + a crossbody travel bag. So I had to minimise my favourite things into portable Every Day Carry (EDC) options; those which would take the least amount of room, be highly functional, be minimalistic but still give me pleasure. When travelling, especially long-term, the key-words are Minamalism + Functional. I would add my personal motto of Yo-No-Bi: Simplicity, Function, Beauty. 

  • Yo-No-Bi 

This principle is known as yo-no-bi. Common among the older generation of craftsmen in Japan, yo-no-bi consists of two kanji, yo (用) which means use or application, and bi (美) which means beauty. Together they aim to balance the aesthetic and the functional – not only must a technique/item be functional, but it must be pleasing to the eye.


So here I’ve summed up my Favourite On-The-Go EDC things, all true to the principle of Yo-No-Bi, that I ended up carrying with me all over Australia/Hong Kong/UK/Greece for the last half of 2016.

Write It Down

Hobonichi 

  • Hobonichi Weeks [Wallet-Size]

Hobonichi Weeks

Hobonichi is hands down my favourite planner. I have waxed lyrical about my love for Hobonichi before. Hobonichi come in 3 sizes: Original Techo/Planner -A6; Cousin – A5; Weeks – Chequebook/Wallet size. I have all 3 sizes and use all three for different uses. But my favourite that is always with me is the Hobonichi Weeks. This is the Hobonichi I chose to carry with me while travelling overseas.

Traveller’s (/Traveler’s – USA) Notebooks aka TNs

Favourite Brands:

Chic Sparrow Maverick – Pocket

    Zenkraft Appalachian Trail Trifold Logbook

    I adore my collection of traveller’s notebooks [Current count = 7] but in 2016, while travelling for 4 months, my constant companions were my hardy Chic Sparrow Maverick Pocket TN + my rustic Zenkraft Appalachian Trail Trifold logbook. These were the two I chose to carry with me. My little Maverick (Water-Buffalo leather) went everywhere with me as my notebook-on-the-go. My gorgeous Zenkraft Appalachian Trail- this leather is stunningly soft and pliable – embraced my journal.

    Notebooks

    Pens

      Fountain Pens

      TWSBI Vac-Mini Fountain Pen + Visconti Travelling Inkwell + Chic Sparrow Maverick Pocket TN


      My favourite on-the-go fountain pen is designed with an ink shut off valve for easy carry and no mess on airplanes. Although it is a mini fountain pen, because it is a vac filler it holds a large amount of ink so it is both functional and portable. Along with the handy Visconti traveling inkwell, I can travel with these with ease and still have the pleasure of writing with fountain pen.

      Ballpoint Pens

      Archival Ink Pens

      Pencil Case


      Devices & Apps

      • MacBook 13″ Aluminium 2008 Laptop 

      This laptop has been my faithful companion for 8 years and is still going strong. But I can no longer update the OS so this year it will be a time for an upgrade. I have decided, after lugging around this MacBook in my backpack through airports, that I need a more portable laptop. So this year I will be downsizing my MacBook 13″ and getting the new 12″ ultra-light MacBook. These (1) + (2) articles had me lusting over the 12″ MacBook. But it was when I went into my local electronics store and tested one out for myself that I was 100% convinced this will be my 2017 laptop. And Yes, I can’t resist that gorgeous rose-gold option.

      • Apple iPad Mini

      Hands down my favourite on-the-go EDC device. I can write on it, I can communicate on it, I can be entertained AND it is extremely portable.

      • Apple iPhone 5c

      My favourite mobile phone is actually my Blackberry Storm 9900. But although I took it with me on my travels, it was not playing nice with the different overseas networks. Thankfully I had my backup iPhone which ended up being my main phone. 

      These ear-phones were a godsend on my ultra-longhaul flights + numerous underground/overground train trips. Excellent audio quality and excellent external noise-cancelling qualities but allow in just enough external ambience noise so that you’re aware of what is happening in your surroundings – vital for travelling.

      Favourite Apps

      • Dropbox – My favourite cloud backup.
      • Scrivener – Hands down my favourite writing/editing word processing app.
      • Swipes – My favourite to-do list app.
      • Netflix
      • Spotify Premium



      Travelling/ On-the-Go

      Although I have travelled a lot in the past, the longest those trips were, were 1 month. In 2016 my travels were for 5 months. On top of that I travelled from the…

      Southern Hemisphere Winter: New Zealand (Home) – to Australia 

      To

      Northern Hemisphere Summer + Winter: Hong Kong – U.K. – Greece

      To 

      Southern Hemisphere Summer: New Zealand (Home)

      So not only was I crossing hemispheres but I was travelling to countries with vastly different climates to New Zealand’s. So I had to plan both my luggage + wardrobe options very carefully and precisely as well as take into account that I would be changing seasons while on my travels as well. I was also travelling by myself which meant I had to carry everything. If nothing else, this journey made me an even better traveller. With all this in mind, I did my pre-travel research – we writers love any excuse for research – very thoroughly, both on what to pack and what to pack everything in for long term travel. Here is what I ended up with…

      Luggage

      These PACSAFE bags were two of the best purchases I have ever made. Extremely durable, all-weather-proof, brilliant anti-theft features and the clincher for me, both were extremely comfortable to carry.

      Favourite Clothing Items (for longer-term travelling across seasons)

      • Black Leather Jacket + black leather gloves
      • Kathmandu Isograd All-Weather Waterproof 3-in-1 Jacket
      • Skinny Jeans [Day + Night] – In 3 colours, classic distressed blue, classy indigo blue + dressy black.
      • 3 * Cotton Cargo Trousers – My preference are the ones that can zip off into shorts.
      • Tank tops in multiple colours
      • 2 * Boho-inspired maxi-dresses + 2 * maxi-skirts 
      • Little Black Dress (LBD)
      • LED Little Everything Dress – not black, but something that is a colour version of the LBD
      • 2 * Pashmina Shawls – Brilliant as knee-blankets, scarves, shawls, replacement cardigan/jumper/jersey
      • Monokini Swimming Costume – One-piece swim-wear costume with cutouts + a good beach towel
      • Underwear + Socks (Took the basics but ended up buying what more I needed while travelling.)
      • Pilates work out pants/top – Triple use as casual day/wear and/or Workout clothing and/or Pjs (sleeping).
      • Havaiana Flip-Flops
      • Flat-heeled Knee-Length Boots – Tip: make sure your boots’ soles are thick, especially if in Europe/UK cobblestoned streets.
      • Platform/Wedge Heeled dress shoes (They look good, are comfortable and good for cobblestoned streets.)
      • A good water-resistant pair of running shoes
      • A good pair of ankle hiking boots.

        Tell me, what are some your Favourite EDC On-The-Go Things?


        Capsized | Writing through the Fog, Emerging from under the Wave

        The Uses of Sorrow | Mary Oliver

        (In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

        Someone I loved once gave me

        a box full of darkness.

        It took me years to understand

        that this, too, was a gift.


        …And today I felt like I was drowning in this ocean wave of grief and pain and lostness. I felt overwhelmed and raw with too many emotions trying to come out all at once…Then I knew I needed to quiet the ocean of noise in my brain. The only way I know how to do this is to Write! So here I have been writing in this journal on and off all afternoon/night. I don’t think the noise in my brain has died down yet. But it feels cathartic to see my thoughts and feelings in black permanent ink on a white page…-I need my poems to truly expel all this grey emotion. I’ve been purposely staying away from working on my poetry because I don’t want to actually face all these emotions. But I know I’m drowning beneath all my emotions/thoughts…the only way I know to come up and out from under all of this is through my poetry. It is my own life-raft. I need to get back in my life-raft… | excerpted from my journal ~ Greece, September 2016

        “From the Sea” [Image by Bojan Jevtić]**

        capsize

        kapˈsʌɪz/

        verb

        1.(of a boat) be overturned in the water.

        “the craft capsized in heavy seas”

        “gale force winds capsized their small craft”

        antonyms: right

        cause (a boat) to overturn.

        “gale-force gusts capsized the dinghies”

        Origin
        late 18th century: perhaps based on Spanish capuzar ‘sink (a ship) by the head’, from cabo ‘head’ + chapuzar ‘to dive or duck’.


        A new country called Grief

        I am a traveller in a new country called Grief. For much of last year I was lost in a place-less Fugue. I went through the motions automatically relying on muscle memory rather than being present in the moment. There was no need to be present in the moment, this Fugue state carried me through this isolated country of Grief. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on much else than normal daily surviving requirements. Fiction, my own and others, was no longer an escape or a refuge. For the first month and a half after losing A, I just barely existed. But slowly as I got acclimated to this Grief, I started looking for ways to communicate; to express myself more clearly and to process this emotion that remained nameless in its immensity. Music and Poetry were the two life-rafts that rescued me from this storm-ravaged place.

        A New Project

        Newton’s law of motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. Grief capsized me completely but through the twin life-rafts of Music and Poetry I was slowly Emerging: Emerging into a new direction, an altered me. When you sink, the equal and opposite reaction is to finally rise and emerge. I have found a way to breathe again. I have a way to stop drowning in this Grief. 

        The only way I was going to emerge from this Fugue state was to truly give in to the terrible emotion. To let it embrace me without fighting it. The only way a drowning swimmer can be rescued is if they don’t fight or struggle but simply relax and let themselves be rescued. In much the same way, I needed to just let this Grief encompass me in her watery depths before I could be rescued. Slowly I started rising up from these depths and as I began to rise, words started rising with me. At first I could not grasp the words so I just let them rise around me. But slowly the words became clearer to me as I immersed myself in others Poetry; poetry by Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen and Rupi Kaur, and let Music be the soundtrack to drown out the cacophony that was the silence of this Grief. Slowly I could grasp enough words to form a line then enough words to form a verse then enough words to form a stanza. As I journaled I realised that these were my emotions becoming words becoming poems. Poems that expressed what I could not, did not want to verbalise in conversation. 

        What was emerging from my immersion into Poetry, Music, Art and through my journaling was a collection of emotions in words: a collection of poems. Suddenly I could focus again creatively. I had stopped struggling and in my surrender to this emotional drowning I had found a way to rise up and to begin emerging again. So this is what I have been working on for the last few months and will continue to work on for the next few months. A new project. An anthology of poems that could finally name all these unnameable emotions that Grief drowns one in. An anthology that I am calling…

        CAPSIZE

        Every year for the last five years I have chosen One Word to theme and propel my New Year. Last year my word was ironically RISE. But although most of last year felt like the opposite of Rising, felt closer to drowning, it was the gift of words in the form of Poetry that did have me eventually Rising. 

        2016 has forever changed me. I’m carrying a box of loss that is forming a new version of who I am. So for 2017 I have chosen a new theme, a theme of hope. A new word for a different me. A me that is navigating an altered topography of where I am going, who I am now and who I want to be. I am ready for a new dawn.
        So this year my Word of The Year is: 

        EMERGE

        ɪˈməːdʒ/

        verb

        verb: emerge; 3rd person present: emerges; past tense: emerged; past participle: emerged; gerund or present participle: emerging

        1. move out of or away from something and become visible.

        “black ravens emerged from the fog”

        synonyms: come out, appear, come into view, become visible, make an appearance; turn up, spring up, come up, surface, crop up, pop up; materialize, manifest oneself, arise, proceed, issue, come forth, emanate

        2. become apparent or prominent.

        synonyms: become known, become apparent, become evident, be revealed, come to light, come out, transpire, come to the fore, enter the picture, unfold, turn out, prove to be the case; 

        3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

        Origin

        late 16th century (in the sense ‘become known, come to light’): from Latin emergere, from e- (variant of ex- ) ‘out, forth’ + mergere ‘to dip’.  




        [**PostScript: The image of “From the Sea” by the Serbian visual artist, Bojan Jevtić, helped inspire my theme for my new W.I.P poetry anthology: Capsize. I found that this particular image was able to vividly portray how this loss, this Grief makes me feel. It was the picture that has inspired my new words.]


        Devastation | The Daily Post

        2016.Bitter.Sweet.

        …Today is a difficult day I feel overwhelmed by pain: emotional waves of grief and emptiness that keep on breaching my foundations; foundations weak from physical pain-migraine! I’m angry at myself for being a mess today. I’m angry that I feel so broken and I’m doing all I can to hold onto the broken pieces…but really I just want to throw away all the brokenness and wipe the slate clean and start again, build myself back up…I’m still in Migraine Hell. The pain has dulled but the nausea is now kicking in with full force. I slept better last night but took a while to fall asleep…too much noise in my brain again. But I put on my headset and drowned the noise with music. There is a numbness today after all the emotion that poured out of me yesterday…This is not the End of me…This is the beginning…For so long I had caged my heart, told it to keep quiet. I have lead solely with my head. But I have only survived, I have lived a life half-lived. But losing A so soon, too soon, opened that dark lock-box where I had hidden my heart. Suddenly it was no longer just a lock-box but it had transformed into Pandora’s Box. Suddenly I couldn’t contain, couldn’t constrain, couldn’t control all the emotion that came pouring out of this hidden place. Grief, rage, death, loss skinned me of all my protective layers. I was left unformed, raw, vulnerable, unprotected from the elements, all my dam walls broken in millions of pieces…this journey was a part of my destiny. It would take something tragic, something devastating to move me from the grey places I had walked into when I shut away my heart. The worst thing happened. Someone I loved, someone who was part of my history, part of my story, part of my identity…Left. Not only did she leave but I lost my chance to see her in person once again. She was ripped from my life, taken away with not enough warning. There are moments in life and death that define us, shake the very core of us, change us. There are moments in life that are defined by what came before and what came after. This is my moment. This is the moment, the fragment in time, where I decide to either stay the same or change direction. This journey has freed my heart from the martingale I had constrained it with. Then my heart, now raw, free and untethered suddenly found a reason to wake up…It was both the most painful trip I have ever had to make but also the most clarifying journey filled with sweet pockets of unexpected joy…I cannot help but think that A is still being my BFF and arranging circumstances and moments to bring me joy, to remind me what it means to truly live, not just survive but thrive. Seeing A go through the Cancer with courage and yes even with joy and still believing in love, in spite of the Cancer or perhaps because for her the Cancer clarified how short and precious life is and how rare joy and love is…| excerpted from my journal ~ 2016

        I’ve been away, both from this blog and from my own life. I’ve come back from a life-changing, life-altering journey. A journey that I never wanted to take but one that is now part of my story. The journey started 26 years ago when two adolescent girls met one morning waiting for a school bus and said “hello”. One of these girls is me at 12, just moved to a new town with no friends. The other girl is A: a girl who stands with her ballet dancer’s elegance, her feet meeting at the heels and toes pointed in opposite directions. That first “hello” changed my story and opened the chapter of a life-long friendship. In 2016 that long chapter changed with the last words I told my friend, the ballet dancer, the daughter, the sister, the mother, the woman, the nurturer, the compassionate one, the warrior, my anchor; when I told her she could let go now, she could rest. 

        In 2016 I lost one of the cartographers of my past. In 2016 I lost my oldest friend, my soul-sister to Cancer. I then travelled thousands of miles, a journey that was delayed and complicated by a category 8 typhoon, to do my final duty as a best friend. We had been best friends for 26 years but for 20 of these years we had lived many thousands of miles and two oceans apart. This distance did not weaken our bond. Instead it deepened our bond because holding onto each other was a part of holding onto our youth, our land left behind, our past. I was planning on going to visit A in 2016 anyway because I wanted to help her fight Cancer by holding her close and being in the same physical space together. But we ran out of time. On July 1st, A’s journey ended. On August 1st, I left on a journey I never wanted to take. A journey that would bring a close to a 26 year long chapter of my story. 

        “Give it all or don’t do it” | Celine Cassone, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal

        2016 has changed forever who I am. In a way I am learning to discover this new version of me. I am back “home” and have been for a month; seeing out both the dying breath of 2016 and welcoming the new breath of 2017. But I feel untethered in so many ways. I am not the same person who started the year in January 2016. I am not the same person who left on a journey both physical, emotional, and mental on August 1st. There has been a plot-twist to my story. But I am the same person who was best friends with A for 26 years. And now I need to continue on my journey wherever it may yet take me. I need to map out the altered, changed, new cartography of the next chapters of my life-journey. There are massive exciting plot-twists ahead for me in 2017. Chapters that will end and new chapters to begin. Old spaces to farewell and new spaces to welcome. Old words to end and new words that have already begun. There are many changes ahead but I am ready to put the Bitter away and to embrace the Sweet. I am ready to continue living out my story and to continue writing. I am ready to chase after, cherish and embrace joy, love and friendship, unafraid of the risks but to embrace them in spite of the risks and because of the risks. I am ready to truly live each present moment boldly and to own each chapter of my story. For that I know is what A wanted.

        2016.Bitter.Sweet.Goodbye.Hello.2017.

        *Feature Image courtesy of NYC Dance Project | Celine Cassone * 

        What I read in April| #KimsKaffeeKlatsch #amreading

        I would like to thank Netgalley, the respective publishers and the respective authors for the copies of the following books in exchange for my honest review. 


        As always on #KimsKaffeeKlatsch, I have paired up my reads with my recommended coffee recipe. After all what is a good book without the decadently delicious aroma of strong coffee. So curl up on your favourite couch, light the fire, brew your favourite coffee and lets klatsch delicious books and thrilling coffee. 

           

        Summit Lake | Charlie Donlea

        [Kensington Books | ISBN: 9781496700988]

        Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea’s suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.

        “No suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

        Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled. 

        At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the determined efforts to keep the case quiet, all hint at something far more than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper into the mystery, pushing on despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and the secrets she was keeping—the more convinced she becomes that learning the truth about Becca could be the key to overcoming her own dark past…

        This book surprised me in more ways than one. Initially the blurb and the cover had me interested but not completely intrigued. But the moment I opened up the book and began to read, the author had me intrigued. I loved the main character Kelsey Castle. Kelsey Castle is the type of female fiction lead that I love reading about. She is smart, witty, resourceful and has a wonderful depth to her that this story has only begun to peel back. I also loved that she is a flawed character with her own demons to fight. She is not a cookie-cutter protagonist but then again Summit Lake is not a cookie-cutter mystery. She is an interesting and original fully-layered character that I doubt, at least I hope, we have seen the last of. I like smart writing and layered characters especially in my mysteries and thrillers. Charlie Donlea has both of these elements in this story. 

        The premise of the story seems fairly simply and straightforward but with the turn of each page, more layers are pulled back to reveal a story that is plotted well and a cast of characters that keep surprising the reader. The story is told smoothly and seamlessly in two alternating viewpoints: Kelsey, main protagonist, and Becca, the victim. There is never a clear antagonist and each time I thought I knew who the killer was, another layer was peeled back for me and I was in the dark guessing again. I love a good twist or two in my tales but I especially love it when the twist comes when you least expect it. This story has more than a few twists to the tale yet the clues the author gives us are so well-drawn and so subtle that you don’t feel like you could know the ending until you get there. I love it when a climax surprises me and this story’s climax definitely did that. 

        ☕️☕️☕️☕️

        This is a book about secrets. Secrets the characters keep from each other, secrets they don’t want to face, secrets at the heart of a small town. Summit Lake earned a solid 4 stars from me. This was a a very strong debut and I can’t wait to see what Charlie Donlea writes next. I know I’ll be first in line to read his next book. 

        Author’s Website

        Buy the Book

        Add it on Goodreads

        For Summit Lake I recommend 4 sweet mugs of Chocolate Coffee Kisses



        Recipe | Chocolate Coffee Kiss

        Ingredients

        3/4 fluid ounce coffee liqueur

        3/4 fluid ounce Irish cream liqueur

        1/2 fluid ounce creme de cacao liqueur

        1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier(R))

        1 cup hot brewed coffee

        2 tablespoons whipped cream

        1 1/2 fluid ounces chocolate syrup

        1 maraschino cherry

        Directions

        In a coffee mug, combine coffee liqueur, Irish cream, creme de cacao and Grand Marnier. Fill mug with hot coffee. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

        ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️



        The Lion’s Mouth|Anne Holt

        [Scribner | ISBN: 9781501123238]

        From the internationally bestselling author of 1222, called the “godmother of modern Norwegian crime” by Jo Nesbø, the next book in the Edgar Award–nominated mystery series: Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the case when someone murders the prime minister of Norway.

        Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge?

        Hanne Wilhelmsen, Chief Inspector of the Norwegian Police, is on leave in California but when the death shakes the country to its core, she knows she can’t remain on the sidelines of such a crucial investigation. The hunt for the Prime Minister’s killer is complicated, intense, and grueling. When secrets begin to unravel from the Prime Minister’s past, Hanne and her partner, Billy T., must piece together the crime before a private tragedy becomes a public outcry, in what will become the most sensitive case of their career.

        Filled with lies, deception, and the truth about government, The Lion’s Mouth questions who truly holds the power in Norway, and how far they will go to keep it…

        This is my first Anne Holt novel. For the last three years or so, I have been introduced to Scandinavian noir and I have quickly fallen in love with these cool thrillers and mysteries. I had not heard of Anne Holt but the moment I saw this book on Netgalley I knew I wanted to read it.

        From the opening of this book, I was intrigued. I love locked room mysteries and I do like political intrigue and this book opens with both. For all intents, it looked like I was in for another enjoyable read. But as I read on, I was disappointed. The premise of this book was brilliant and the characterisations of each character was done very well. But this story quickly became clunky and confusing to me. There seemed to be too many characters for me to keep interested. I didn’t particularly like the main investigator, Billy T, either. I have never taken more than a day or two to finish a Scandinavian mystery/thriller but I took weeks to finish this story. As for the political intrigue, the politics of this books seemed a little too dry for my own tastes.


        ☕️☕️☕️

        I’m in two minds on this review. The characterisations were well-written and there were definite moments that grabbed me but ultimately there were fewer page-turner moments for me. This left the plot feeling clunky with too many dry political details and too many characters, and muddied what should have been a really good read. I give this book a sober 3 stars. 

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        For The Lion’s Mouth I recommend three strong, rich shots of espresso-ristretto.


        Recipe | Espresso Ristretto

        INGREDIENTS

        1/4 oz (7 g) ground espresso coffee, pod or capsule

        INSTRUCTIONS

        It is the smallest of them all, but it commands respect. Dedicated to those who don’t like half measures, Espresso ristretto has a strong character where everything is focused on a single goal: pure, decisive pleasure. Served without sugar, it is the passion of those who prefer coffee without distractions.

        To prepare the smallest coffee of them all, follow the classic method, using your Espresso machine as usual with a capsule, pod or ground coffee. Only one thing changes: the extraction time is shorter.

        Start the machine and stop it when you have 20 ml (1 tbsp plus 1 tsp) of Espresso and in any case not before 25 seconds have passed: this is the minimum time necessary for obtaining a cup rich in aroma.

         So tell me what books have you been curling up with, and what’s your caffeine indulgence of choice?