I’ve been reading a lot of books recently and a couple have really stood out. Like this one.

Want to give a quick shout-out to Pigeonhole. I tried to download the book after it had finished it’s serialisation.  But the app was letting me download it but it never appeared in my bookshelf. I shouldn’t have been able to get hold of it, but Pigeonhole let me because they are wonderful. This is what I thought of Lies by T.M Logan.

Blurb

 When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

My Review

Sometimes, secrets are best kept that way.

T M Logan’s debut novel ‘Lies revolves around the decisive moment where everything changes, when you find out something you didn’t want to know. The YES or NO choice that seems harmless but causes your life to dissolve into hell. Well maybe.

Joe Lynch is pretty normal. He has a lovely wife and an adorable son, and a normal job as a teacher. He spends his days pottering around doing all-together adult things. Until one day his son spots his mum’s car, somewhere where it shouldn’t really be. Following his wife Mel he finds her with their friend Ben at a hotel. From this moment everything begins to collapse. It looks like Joe is going to be arrested on suspicion of murder and he quickly realises he doesn’t know his wife, Mel, at all.

Character wise I loved Joe. Yes, he’s very naive, yes it takes him a long time to catch on but that’s why he’s so great. The trial by social media that he is forced to withstand is excruciating. Ben, (as described in the blurb,) dissapears but not for long. He taunts Joe, leading him deeper into the hell hole that’s been created. I wanted Joe to succeed, especially as he gets more and more desperate.

The writing is exceptional. It’s not gritty, but it is very engaging and clean writing with bite. The demise of Joe is wonderfully done. I felt like throwing the book on the floor a number of times. It’s not often that a book manages to make me desperate to read and piss me off at the same time. The writing is very cat and mouse, back and forth.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a super good read. I would say the ending was a brilliant twist but a little over the top. Saying that I didn’t guess it at all and was very, very shocked. If you love a thriller definitely get a copy. Thumbs up.

Medium has become a big part of my life. (Reading wise.)

It’s the website I check in most too each morning. There’s always something to get stuck into. Always something to read. I wrote a post when I had just started exploring the mammoth of writing there is on Medium. I’m a little more tuned into Medium now and I’ve been scouting about for the BEST reads. Here are 5 more I certainly recommend.

Vomit, bleeding nipples, and hallucinations on a 150-mile running race

I LOVE READING ABOUT RUNNING.

Over the last 12 months I’ve convinced myself there’s 3 extreme walks/runs I need to do. This may or not have been inspired by the film Wild. (Sorry not sorry.) This article is all about running the Spartathlon as part of the grand tradition and fascination with classical Greece. It’s a stunningly written article that I loved reading. It also makes me mad my knees fail to work (most of the time.)

A statistical analysis of the art on convicts’ bodies

Tattoo’s are another thing I’m fascinated by. I’ve wanted one since I was sixteen, but never had the conviction to pick one. I know I only want one, so I’ve got to make it the right decision. (ONE DAY.)

This article delves into the data of prisoners with/without tattoos and how that correlates to the crime committed. It’s a really analytical but interesting look into how tattoos affect and influence certain crimes. It also discusses tattoo removal, and whether criminals are likely to re-offend based on their tattoos, but with real figures. It is a long article, but make a cuppa and read all the way through.

What Running My First Triathlon Taught Me About Life

11 unexpectedly meaningful life lessons from an impulsive decision.

I was just going to say read anything by @tre but this one might have been my favourite. (Slowly followed by his essay on fasting.) Tre’s writing is beautifully detailed and exploratory of how his first Triathlon taught him a hella lot of things. The writing is fun and full of humour but it taught me a lot. Tre assigns each of the things he’s learnt into a way you can improve/learn from him:

4. Action informs theory.
Whenever we are in the process of starting something new, it’s dangerously easy to get caught up in the research, tools, techniques and methods,
“This meditation thing looks cool. Let me just download 23 apps and read these 5 books and 9 articles first.” 3 days later… “Fuck. It’s too much.” *Rage results to Netflix and Ben & Jerry’s (peanut butter cups btw)*
Tre looks into ways that you can put his understanding into practice:
Takeaway:
We need to cultivate a default bias towards action, because everything else in the process serves as a multiplier of the effect of taking action.
From trying out new things, you gain a whole new layer of contextual knowledge, which you can then combine with the theoretical knowledge to build an informed perspective and approach towards the activity at hand.

There are 11 lessons to learn, read them all.

“No-Spend November”: A Social Experiment

This essay follows Sophia as she attempts to maintain a social calendar without spending money on anything that she didn’t want. Struggling with consensus that you have to spend money to hang out with people Sophia puts her foot down. I hate spending unnecessary money too; during the Winter if you want to sit with a friend why do you need to buy a coffee? WHERE DO PEOPLE GO. Sophia details her experiment beautifully. All her writing is stunning to boot.

The Cost of Putting Down My Cat

Just read this. (Makes cry faces.)

There you have it 5 more articles I know you should read from Medium.

Have you read anything reaaaally good online recently?

It’s been mentioned recently that book reviews are a little low.  Or maybe just book related bits and bobs. Apologies; I’ve been getting really into my Friday/Saturday posts. However, expect a lot of bookish bits because I’ve read some really bloody good books recently. Like this one – Death Message by Kate London.

Blurb

October 1987: the morning after the Great Storm. Fifteen-year-old Tania Mills walks out her front door and disappears. Twenty-seven years later her mother still prays for her return. DS Sarah Collins in the Met’s Homicide Command is determined to find out what happened, but is soon pulled into a shocking new case and must once again work with a troubled young police officer from her past, Lizzie Griffiths.

PC Lizzie Griffiths, now a training detective, is working in the Domestic Violence Unit, known by cops as the ‘murder prevention squad’. Called to an incident of domestic violence, she encounters a vicious, volatile man – and a woman too frightened to ask for help. Soon Lizzie finds herself drawn into the centre of the investigation as she fights to protect a mother and daughter in peril.

As both cases unfold, Sarah and Lizzie must survive the dangerous territory where love and violence meet.

My Review

As the blurb suggests the novel centres on two Met Police Officers DS Sarah Collins and PC Lizzy Griffiths. Sarah is tasked with solving the dissapearance of Tania Mills, Lizzy is returning to work at her new posting within the Domestic Violence Unit. The case Sarah has taken on is a complex case; Did Tania run away/have an accident? Or is it something more sinister? PC Griffiths is working with a young mother in dire need of help but refusing all attempts. How far will Lizzie go to protect the victim?

I really enjoyed this novel and it definitely throws up some conversations about the use of social media, texts, CCTV etc. I liked the discussion of the way the justice system operates. This would definitely be a brilliant book to debate and discuss at a reading group maybe. The writing is tough, gritty and edgy. It really throws the reader back and forth and gets you involved.

The characters are brilliant. Sarah is this cold, quite difficult character to get to know but that only makes the search for Tania more interesting. Sarah has to emphathise with Tania’s parents/friends/acquaintances and it’s fun to engage with that. I liked Lizzie less (despite sharing her name.) I found her confusing as she was both very weak and at times putting herself in terrible situations. However the constrast with Sarah was brill.

The writing is punchy and emotional with moments of great tension, it’s set in London after the great storm of 1987 and there are excellent twists and turns. I do love gritty female detectives!

Final Thoughts

I think something to note is that the stories don’t really interfere with one another that much which is a little frustrating. More correlation might have helped but both stories are brilliant stood alone. The author of the novel is an ex-met detective and it really really shows. The writing definitely questions and tries to understand what makes people commit crimes and what makes certain people more vulnerable to abuse.

Death Message is a banging novel – well worth a read.

I guess I should point out 2017 isn’t over so it’s not QUITE over. So I haven’t failed the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2017 yet.

Goodreads is something I use very rarely. I’m not sure whether it’s because of the clunky format, or because I don’t like rating books. It’s just not pivotal to my reading life/experience. However, this year I decided to try and read 100 books using Goodreads to document my books. Quite a tough number – and by May, almost half way through the year I’ve read 17.  Or maybe 18. But nowhere near the 50 I should be getting towards. At first I panicked, however, today it feels pretty good. Here’s why.

I’m reading more ‘difficult’ books

I guess difficult might be the wrong word. Basically, I’ve been reading quite intense books and it’s been harder to get through them. I’ve borrowed T’s Miklos Nyiszli’s ‘Auschwitz A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account.’ As you can imagine the writing is incredibly intense, difficult to read and v v emotional. It’s been best to read it in small chunks, but I’ll get there. (Review to come soon.)

I’ve joined a book club!

This probably shouldn’t be an excuse but I joined a lovely group of ladies and we read a book a month and then discuss over wine/gin/beer. (Also if you’re in Greenwich you should definitely come and say hi. First Wednesday of the month – Greenwich Union Pub, 7.30.) Anyway, the books we’ve read so far have been quite long and I’ve been writing questions, and notes so it’s taken longer to read the book. Saying that, I’m finding I’m doing it with all my books – which is a good thing.

I’ve started writing again

Well journalling mostly but writing as well. Although blogging is wonderful I’ve wanted to note down some bits but not online. Although it’s only a V small part of my day it’s eaten into my reading time. But, it’s a lot of fun so I’m going to keep it up. I might just fit the reading in before bed. Which brings us to the next point.

Sleep

I’ve started using a sleep cycle app and it’s basically said most of the sleep I get is crap. If it’s not crap, it’s just not enough. Which is a double whammy for Lizzy. I’ve also fallen asleep on the sofa a couple of nights last week and that’s a triple nope. So I’ve been going  up to bed earlier and sleeping earlier.  Seeing that a lot of my reading happens before bed it’s another cut in my reading time. But my sleep is definitely improving.

I’m watching too much Netflix

This is probably the main problem. Sue me.

(Also if you haven’t watched it yet – 3% is really good.)

You can follow my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2017 here. 

Perhaps you are already aware of the healthy benefits of coffee. From lifestyle diseases such as diabetes to complicated cardiovascular conditions, coffee has been scientifically proven to contain antioxidants that keep such diseases at bay. Unfortunately, you can still brew your perfect cup from fresh roasts but ruin it by using unhealthy additives. Here are some of the things you should avoid adding to your java.

Sugar, Milk, And 5 Other Things That Can Ruin Your Coffee Brew

Sugar

While sugar makes your drink sweet, it is not the best sweetener you need for your java. In fact, coffee is at its best when served without any additive. What sugar can undo the benefits of coffee. It is associated with all manner of health complications such as type 2 Diabetes, weight gain, cancer, and heart diseases. So, if you make your java as sweet as candies, then you are doing more harm to your body. Use healthier options such as natural honey and stevia extracts to sweeten your drink.

Skim Milk

This highly processed milk is fat-free. Compared to full-fat milk, skim milk has been found to increase the risk of getting type two diabetes. On the other hand, full-fat milk contains healthy fatty acids that can protect from the disease. So, there you have it. If you have to add milk to your java, then using full-fat milk is your best option.

Artificial Creamers

Non-dairy creamers used as coffee additives are synthesized to look like dairy creamer. One of the downsides of using these creamers is that they have trans fats which trigger the increase of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in your body. They also suppress the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol which offers protection against heart ailments. This increases the risk of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular complications, including stroke. This is clearly not what you want to consume on a daily basis as it can end up by damaging your health.

Artificial Sweeteners

While artificial sweeteners do not cause blood sugar spikes, they are associated with impaired glucose breakdown. This can lead to skewed cravings which can adversely affect your eating habits. In essence, these sweeteners eventually alter the way your body reacts to sugar’s taste.

Synthetic Coffee Flavors

There are several flavoring syrups in the market today. While it is fun to flavor your java, it pays to do so in a healthy way. Most of the synthetic flavors are laden with chemicals such as propylene glycol and potassium sorbate.  Propylene glycol is widely applied in the cosmetics industry as an antifreeze. It is highly linked to cancer, stunted growth, and reproductive complications. On the other hand, Potassium sorbate is commonly used as a food preservative. Some of the known side effects of this chemical compound include nausea and stomach upsets. To protect yourself from such, it is wise to use natural unprocessed extracts to flavor your coffee.

Butter

You may be familiar with this common practice of adding butter to coffee. While it is arguably health to do so, it is important to choose your butter wisely. It comes in two forms: salted or unsalted. Also, it can be organic or grass-fed. These variations differ significantly in flavor and nutritional value. Salt is used to keep butter fresh for longer. Also, the fresher the butter, the better it will taste. So make your choice wisely to make sure you maintain a great taste of your java.

Canned Whipped Cream

Whipped cream comes in many versions. In most cases, they contain artificial creamers and harmful chemicals such as nitrous oxide. Unknown to many, nitrous oxide can cause serious cognitive impairment and also affect your vision. To protect yourself from such chemicals, avoid these creams and rather stick to healthy habits of preparing your brew.

Taking too long to drink your coffee

Coffee is best taken while fresh. If you let your brew settle for long, agents of nature such as oxidation start working on it.  In no time the acid levels in your coffee start to rise. If you drink that brew, you ingest more acid to your body and with that you are increasing the risk of getting heartburns. The bottom line is to brew your java when you need it and in small quantities.

Are you ruining the best coffee of your life?

Sugar, Milk, And 5 Other Things That Can Ruin Your Coffee Brew

Sugar, Milk, And 5 Other Things That Can Ruin Your Coffee Brew

Sugar, Milk, And 5 Other Things That Can Ruin Your Coffee Brew

Rudy Caretti has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK and G Coffee Pod with a group of friends, who share the same passion.

Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many different distinctive flavors we all love.
As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role played by coffee in most people’s social life and he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog

He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.