My New Favourite Place

15:24 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

When it comes to keeping secrets, I am terrible at it. Particularly if it’s anything exciting, I always have the most incredible urge to share whatever secret I may be keeping. If indeed it is something that I feel everyone can get enjoyment from then I am afraid some secrets are meant to be shared. 
About two months ago I moved to the Liverpool area from Southport looking for a better way of life and a way to fill my desire for creativity and culture. Liverpool is a wonderful city which offers all that I want and more in terms of cultural stimulation and fulfilment. As a writer, I often find my existence a solitary one being confined to the four walls of my office so I often like to venture out in search of somewhere I can stretch my legs, feed my stomach and continue on my path of literary creativity. It had been a long known stereotype that writers like to venture into coffee shops to sit pretentiously typing away on our laptops. While that statement may appear to be true the real reason behind this is full of anything other than pretention. We need to watch the world go by, we need visual inspiration and for me personally I don’t want to think about making food for myself. This is the reason that I was extremely happy to discover a relatively new café with a very new concept.
I have no recollection when or where I first discovered Ziferblat, it was almost like a random magical discovery when I looked into what it was all about. Ziferblat is the name of a wonderful coffee shop that I still can’t believe many people haven’t heard about. It is very easy to dismiss an idea as a new coffee shop because we have so many already, but what Ziferblat does is new and I must say it is an innovative approach to socialising and getting your coffee on in a new and affordable way. If you check out their website you will see that it informs us of its amazing Wi-Fi, newspapers, piano, record player, board games, their own brand of coffee as well as 43 kinds of tea. They also have different kinds of cake, pastries, cereals, and toast with jams and spreads galore. But would you believe me if I told you that all of this was free? Trust me, I was shocked and not exactly inclined to believe such a glorious concept but it is in fact exactly as it says on the website. All you have to pay for is the time that you spend there, you can literally treat this place like your own living room. Kick off your shoes, relax and help yourself to whatever you want to eat and drink. The only rule is that you tidy up after yourself which is a perfectly reasonable request. It also only costs 6 pence per minute. That’s it. Just 6 pence for every minute that you spend relaxing and filling your face. For an hour that works out at about £3.60. The longest I have spent in their so far is about 2 hours, and I must say it is a wonderful place to be.
Not only is it super affordable, with amazing food and beverages, but it also has a wonderful vibe to the place and it is a lovely environment with a positive atmosphere to go and unwind. What I also love about this place is its location on the Albert Dock. It is a 2 minute walk from the Liverpool Tate and maybe 5 minutes or so to the Museum of Liverpool. So I can get my culture on and when I am tired and can fill my face with copious amounts of tea and cake. It is my idea of heaven. On a solitary level for a writer or any creative individual it is a wonderful place to go because no one will disturb you, and at the same time it is a great place to socialise with friends because should the conversation dwindle then play a board game or gather round the piano for a song or two. 
This isn’t just a great spot for us locals either, it is a wonderful place for anyone who is staying in this incredible city to come and visit. If my love of Ziferblat and Liverpool have encouraged you to come and visit this wonderfully cultured city then you can check out some of my recommended places to stay HERE.
So next time I feel stifled by my own four walls, I pick up my iPad and my kindle and hop on the train and head to my new favourite spot to sit, eat, write and have a lovely and relaxed few hours of escapism and people watching. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading, get up and head to Ziferblat Liverpool now. Go on. Now. Do as you’re told. Trust me, you will be glad you did.


Book Review: The Broken Hearts Book Club | Lynsey James

12:51 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Secrets never stay buried for long…

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…

Luna Bay hasn't changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!

Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also 'The Broken Hearts Book Club', Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can't wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

One way or another, Lucy must finally face the past she left behind – or spend the rest of her life on the run…

The Broken Hearts Book Club is the second novel by Lynsey James – don’t miss her brilliantly funny debut Just the Way You Are

My Review

As many of you are probably already aware, I was suitably impressed with Lynsey’s debut novel ‘Just the Way You Are’, so much so that I had a difficult time remaining patient for her next book. As Lynsey will probably remember, we had many lovely conversations about her writing progress and just how excited I was to read ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’. Well, what can I say other than I was not disappointed in the slightest.

For her second novel, Lynsey takes us into the world of Luna Bay where our leading lady Lucy Harper has had to return to attend to the details and memories as a result of her Nana Lily’s funeral. What was originally intended as a brief visit, resulted in a slightly extended stay. From the start of this book I was completely immersed in the world and I really liked our leading lady Lucy. We are pulled into a heavy amount of drama over something that happened 8 years ago. What that event is left a mystery, but there are many residents of Luna Bay that insist on reminding Lucy of the effect it had on the town.

When Lucy learns of her inheritance of her nana’s cottage and the book club, things are shall we say a little more eventful and dramatic than Lucy had originally hoped for. There were many occasions where I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happened next, in regard to the people of the book club finding out the conditions of Lucy’s inheritance. Dramatic stuff for sure. 

Luckily through all of this Lucy has her mum and dad and her two best friends George and Elle, they are all wonderfully written characters and the bond between them all is clear and wonderfully constructed. Not only does she have her family and friends, but Lucy also happens to meet a very handsome chap in the form of The Purple Partridge’s sexy landlord Jake. The relationship between these two is real and raw because they are both trying to enter this new relationship while still dealing with their own baggage. As we get towards the last third of the book, their relationship has to deal with a few big bumps along the way and it gripped me to the point of frustration. That is only a good thing because I felt every single emotion that was portrayed in this book, and I was left feeling extremely satisfied with how the book ended.

This is a wonderfully romantic and gripping read that goes really well with a snuggly blanket and a squishy sofa to curl up on. 

I give this fab book a lovely 10/10

Buy the Book:

About The Author

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She's an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad - and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she's sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn't a "good option" and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left her job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven't looked back since.

When Lynsey's not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she's daydreaming about the day Dylan O'Brien FINALLY realises they're meant to be together. It'll happen one day... 

Follow Lynsey


Industry Interview: Kim Nash | Bookouture

08:28 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Hello folks, today I have another interview but this time it isn't like  m normal interviews where I talk with writers and authors. This one is an industry professional from the world of publishing, and I think it is great to be able to see things from a different perspective. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the lovely Kim Nash.

So tell me a little bit about yourself Kim, where are you from and what do you do?

Oooh it feels like Blind Date! I live in Hednesford in Staffordshire with my son Ollie who is nearly 8.  I’m Bookouture’s publicity and social media manager, I work with a couple of clients on a freelance basis and I have a Swiss premium skincare, make-up and healthcare business (Arbonne).  Oh and in my spare time, not that I get much these days, I’m a book blogger!  My job with Bookouture is to connect our brilliant books and authors to readers, reviewers and supporters. 

What can you tell me about your typical working day, what do you get up to?

I’m an early bird so I’m up around 6am so I can try to get some work done before my son wakes up and it’s that hectic hour before going to school.  I do check Facebook and Twitter but try very hard to limit my time to messages and mentions and respond and share the things that are necessary. It’s so easy to get sucked into social media and hours fly by! Then I check NetGalley to see whether bloggers have requested any of our books, it’s important to us to react quickly to requests as most readers are impatient like me and when they want to read a book they want to start it RIGHT NOW!  

After the morning school run, I grab a coffee and settle at my desk and get stuck into whatever needs doing at that time.  Sometimes, that might be uploading books to NetGalley, preparing for cover reveals, ordering paperback copies for our authors, liaising with bloggers, reviewers and press arranging radio interviews and generally doing anything I can to tell the world about our books.   I aim to get as many online reviews as I possibly can, introducing new readers to our books if they’ve never read one of our authors before, building relationships with new bloggers and keeping our brilliant relationships going with our Twitter and Facebook communities.  I try to encourage reviewers to leave reviews on Amazon which is SO important for authors.  At some point around 2pm my stomach normally grumbles reminding me I haven’t eaten yet today and I try to throw some lunch together. 

I cram as much work in as I can before I go to do the school pick-up again, which always seems like five minutes after I’ve done the drop off.  Then I am normally dragged outside somewhere to play football with my footy mad son! I’m quite a good juggler! I have been known to do cover reveals and launches while cooking tea and playing football! Multi-talented!

I aim to keep my authors happy and content at all times and pander to their every whim.  And you wouldn’t believe some of the riders they have! Such divas! No seriously, MOST of them are no trouble at all!  ;-)
It’s my job to manage social media for Bookouture so I get to talk to the world on Facebook and Twitter at all times of the day and night.  

I’m not a big TV watcher so evenings normally consist of story time for Ollie then I might spend some time booking one-to-one Arbonne consultations, or arranging events to share the products with people who want to learn more about them and the business and talking to my team.  Then it’s settling down with a good book.  I’m not late to bed because I get up early, although when I do get a book I can’t put down I can be found reading late into the night.   

You are the publicity manager for the wonderful publisher Bookouture, what are they like to work with?

I can honestly hand on heart say that I LOVE working with Bookouture. Olly Rhodes is someone that I learn from every day, he’s very wise and he’s very patient with my rubbish technical abilities and daft questions!  Claire Bord and Keshini Naidoo are so fabulous at spotting amazing talent and polishing stories so they are the best they can be for our readers.  And the authors – what can I say! They are all amazing and write such fabulous books.  I feel very blessed and at times am very smug!  

What is the best bit(s) about your job?

I get to do something that I love every day.  What’s not to love about that! My job is extremely cool!

Any particular career highlights / fond memories that you would like to share with us?

A few.  Some of the authors we’ve taken on at Bookouture have been people who I’ve been reading for years.  I was introduced to Bookouture through Sue Watson whose first book I reviewed on my blog.  I’ve always been a massive fan and love her to bits!

Louise Douglas for instance is someone who I’ve admired since I discovered her books.  So you can imagine my delight when I was told that we were going to be taking on some of her US books and we’d be working with her.  Mel Sherratt, I’ve known for a while and when the opportunity arose for us to sign her, I thought I’d burst with excitement!  Especially when I had to keep the whole Marcie Steele secret to myself! That was worse than when I was having a boy and couldn’t tell anyone! And Nigel May is someone I’d worked with as he was self-publishing and when we decided to publish him, I was beside myself! 

Milly Johnson is someone whose books I adore!  In fact she is the reason I began blogging! If you want to, you can read about that here! The day I met her was a dream come true for me.  When I first met Carole Matthews I was so in awe of her as she sat at my table at an event and had a coffee with me.  I remember sneakily texting my sister saying “OMG! You’ll never guess who I’m drinking coffee with!”  I’d devoured every single one of her books and have now met her several times, been for various afternoon teas and to different events, and even been to a party at her house! What a lovely lady! And when another favourite all-time author of mine Belinda Jones invited me to her Sunlounger 2 cocktail party, that was pretty damn cool.  And meeting Miranda Dickenson is always pretty cool too as I’m a massive fan and as a fellow Midlander, we have get-togethers too with authors and bloggers that have become really good friends. 
And I have so many fond memories of meeting so many bloggers and reviewers who I’ve talked to on line.  When I met Rea from Rea’s Book Review last year, it was like meeting a celeb.  I bloody love that girl!   I love to talk to people about books so getting us bloggers together is awesome! 

Is there much you can tell us about the acquisition process for Bookouture?

We invite submissions through the website, and are looking for something really special that we know our readers will love. 

We're looking for great writing and great stories that really grip you with characters that you can connect with and don't want to say goodbye to. We're essentially open to most genres with a great story to tell, and an interesting, original voice.

You can find out more on the official Bookouture website HERE

We always hear great things from authors about the relationship they have working with Bookouture. Do you have any thoughts on this from the perspective of a publicity manager?

We have a closed facebook group which is hilarious at times.  Being an author is quite a solitary occupation and it’s great to have a sounding board to ask questions of, say hi and get a virtual hug if you’re feeling a bit lonely, or share something funny that’s happened! I try to look after our authors as best as I can, helping them to achieve their goals and keeping them happy.  I think (hope) we all have a great relationship and truly want to help each other to succeed. There is no competition between the authors or anyone at HQ, and everyone is extremely genuine.  We all want the same things, which is to bring the best books we can to our readers.  

Any advice or hints and tips for aspiring authors?

I’m sure it’s easy to say but don’t be disheartened if your work gets rejected.  If you send it to us and we feel it’s not right for us, don’t give up.  Keep writing!  Sometimes it’s just not right at that particular time.  And you can always resubmit to us.  It might be the right book at the wrong time or the other way round.  I’m a big believer in things being meant to be and they’ll happen at some point with the people that they are meant to happen with.

So what’s next for Kim Nash?

Oooh that’s an interesting question.  Short term - I’m VERY excited that we’re having a Bookouture meet up next weekend.  Quite a few of the authors and the team from HQ are meeting up which will be awesome. And long term, I’ve always wanted to organise some book events in the Midlands as everything that happens, happens in London and I’d like to see more happening in the middle of the country as I feel that we really miss out. 
I’m really looking forward to continuing to share amazing books and fabulous authors with the world and our fabulous team growing even more.  And you never know, I might even write a book of my own one day! 

The Fun Stuff:

What is your favourite TV show right now?

I don’t watch much TV but Right now Devious Maids! Nigel May and I compare notes all the time! I also love Stella but my favourite all time program is Sky 1’s Hawaii Five 0.  Oh and I’m a massive X-Factor fan too! Sorry!  

Who is your ultimate celebrity crush?
Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five 0 (aka Alex O’Loughlin).  I LOVE him! I truly do!  One day he will be mine (I may have to write him into a book!)

Who are your favourite authors?

As mentioned above, Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson, Louise Douglas but since I’ve been blogging and involved in books I’ve discovered so many more than I could possibly mention.  Amanda Prowse makes me cry every time, and of course I’m so very proud of every single one of our Bookouture authors and count my blessings every day that I get to read their magnificent work and share their books! 

What are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Letting You Know by Anouska Knight.  It’s very powerful.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kim. As always you are a superstar.