Exciting Stuff

Book review! – Dark Black by Jessica Germaine 

When my wonderful husband and I were in Savannah we meet a lovely young author called Jessica Germaine…


It was a very windy day… 

Now I love reading and I especially love reading new books from people I can actually talk to, so to come across Jessica whilst walking along the riverfront was great!

She is (ok this is a first impression as we only met the once! But in my experience first impressions are usually correct 😊) a very genuine, lovely young woman with a totally adorable daughter!

It takes a lot to set out your stall and sell your own work, I’ve done it myself so many times selling my art and it can be demoralising when people look at your work and walk away saying things like “well I don’t like the look of that” whilst still in earshot! Just rude!

So when I see someone starting out and obviously passionate about their art I make an effort to talk to them and if I’m intrigued/interested I will buy their work… Jessica totally fitted the bill!

I bought a copy of Dark Black (which Jessica kindly signed) and on a plane in July started to read…

Before meeting Jessica I had no idea ‘urban street’ was a genre. I’m a big reader and i had never heard of an Urban Street Novel – ever. It is possible that we don’t have the same branding of genres in the U.K…

Anyway I start to read…

Initially I was a little put off by the introduction being written in capitals, I can’t get away from the image of someone shouting at me! 

Also the type setting of the book is similar to a poetry book with the writing in the center of the page with large gaps either side – I know, I’m being picky, however I have since learnt that Jessica originally started writing lyrics and poetry which fits with that style 😊

I start the main novel and I have to say it took some getting into, again this had nothing to do with the novel and more about me, as a middle aged British woman… 

It’s written in what I assume is street language and to be honest a lot of the time in the first few chapters I had no idea what the characters were saying!! It’s also a little on the racy side but appropriately so for the story. It made it ‘real’ – once I got over my middle aged British woman thing, or should I say ‘tang’ – and I apologise if I got that wrong!!

I’m not going to say any more about the story – you need to read that yourself… a very brief synopsis (courtesy of goodreads) is as follows…

Charlytte Black is young girl who runs away at age fifteen, trying to escape her abusive Aunt JoAnne. In the streets, she struggles to survive on her own and does whatever it takes to make sure she never has to return home. Ever.

Once I got into the language and stopped trying to correct the spelling – again that was an English to American thing, way too many ‘z’s!!! 

I really enjoyed the book, it’s not like anything I have read before and had we not met Jessica it’s not something I would’ve picked up. It was refreshing and I loved the way she brought everything together which made for a very satisfying ending. There’s nothing worse than a book that leaves you dangling! 

This book leaves you with a message that will hopefully inspire young girls who think there is nowhere to turn that actually with some hard work, determination and learning to accept help that there is always a different path.

Would I recommend Dark Black? Totally! And I will look out for Jessica’s next books too 😊

Exciting Stuff

‘Pack up + go’ – a mystery holiday! 

Now this is an amazing concept! 

In the U.K. it’s what we would call ‘marmite’ – marmite is a yeast extract which you can have on toast or put in stews etc. but the key thing, which the company used to market it, is that you either love it or hate it – personally I love it! 

My wonderful husband found this site on one of his Facebook feeds and curiosity got the better of him.

This is a holiday company with a twist, the twist being…

Until you get to the airport/train station etc. you have no idea where you’re actually going!!! 

Now you see where the ‘marmite’ comment comes from – one of my best friends nearly had a panic attack at just the thought of going somewhere that she hadn’t completely organised!

The deal:

Tell the company when you’d like to go away for a short break (we chose two nights) and set your price, the range was between $250 per person to $2,500 per person – as it was to celebrate our first wedding anniversary we went for $650. 

You then fill out a questionnaire about interests and tell them where you’ve been before (so they can send you somewhere new!).

Pay your chosen price and wait…

The count down begins:

A week before the date we received an email telling us to be at Bradley Airport at 8:30am on the Friday morning and to pack walking shoes, a swimsuit, sunglasses and sun cream along with a weather forecast with the place name removed – it was going to be hot with a chance of thunder! 

The next day an envelope arrived – not to be opened until we got to the airport! 

The temptation to peek was almost unbearable but we didn’t! To say we were excited is an understatement!!


And we’re off to…..


Savannah!!

Being new to the states we’d never heard of Savannah… we were excited and intrigued!

The holiday:

First impressions were good (that’s an understatement!) the envelope contained a brochure, city map, suggested itinerary, where we are staying, how to get there and a handwritten note to wish us a wonderful stay in Savannah – nice touch!

We arrived at our hotel, a fabulous boutique inn called the East Bay Inn – our first taste of southern hospitality and we love it! There’s even complementary wine and hors d’orves in the evening!

   
What to say about Savannah…

It is a truly beautiful city, full of art, amazing food and fabulous people. 

It is a city with a soul!


Our itinerary was spot on – every suggestion, from where to eat to what to visit was amazing!

We especially loved B Matthew’s for brunch, my first taste of fried green tomatoes and I’m hooked! For dinner Circa 1875 was also top notch!

For a bit of fun we discovered Wet Willies Bar – slushy cocktails, what a fabulous idea – especially in this heat!


While we were supping our slushes we started chatting to a rickshaw driver called Juan who offered us his ghost tour, he was such a cool character we could hardly say no so agreed to meet up that evening… 

It seems everyone in Savannah has a ghost story but Juan was brilliant! Two hours and two bars later we knew nearly all the stories from the civil war to old family feuds via architecture, film sets (I’m sure you’re aware that Forrest Gump was filmed here!) and the odd Ferrari! He also introduced us to Abe’s – a fab bar covered in napkin art, it turns out it was also one of our Pack up + Go recommendations!

          

There are also some amazing cemeteries – it’s not as morbid as it sounds! 

If you love sculpture mixed with a bit of history and a good ghost story – I did say they’re everywhere – Take a tour of Bonaventure Cemetery with Shannon Scott, he is a great storyteller and you’ll get to learn all sorts of things!

      
I’d love to tell you loads more but you really have to go and see for yourself!

It’s also got a few famous past residents, did you know Johnny Mercer founder of Capital Records and amazing song writer is from Savannah? You probably did… I didn’t realise he was a lookalike for my wonderful husband!


In summary, go and visit this amazing city.

But if you want an adventure….

Pack up + Go!!!