REVIEW: FIFTH STREET CAFE AT THE COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT WORLD TRADE CENTER HOTEL

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to a menu tasting at a recently opened dining outlet in Abu Dhabi. The Fifth Street Cafe is part of the Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center Hotel, which opened late last year, and is currently in its “soft launch” phase. Needless to say we were very pleased to accept. Continue reading

EATING OUT IN ABU DHABI 2014

When we lived in the UK we ate out occasionally, but not often. I suspect it was a combination of the fact that we tended to live out of town, the lack of quality eating places in our area, and the cost of taxis if one wanted to enjoy a drink or two. I don’t need to look at my spreadsheet to know that the situation has changed completely since moving to Abu Dhabi.

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BOOK REVIEWS: JUNE 2014

I’ve always loved reading. I remember getting certificates for being a “book worm” at Padiham library from an early age, and the passion has stuck with me ever since. I find it a fantastic way to escape from reality for a while and to unwind before going to sleep. As part of my “quantified self” project for 2014 I decided to start tracking how many books I am reading. This is partly to help me remember where I am up to with the various series I am reading, but also just to see how much I am reading. I am using the “goodreads” website and iPad app to track how I am doing, and have set myself a target of 50 books for the year. As you will see from the picture below I am ahead of schedule halfway through the year.

Reading Challenge I’ve decided that on a monthly basis I will post short reviews of each of the books I have read. I’ve been using reviews on goodreads and various blogs to identify books to add to my “to read” list so I figure its the least I can do to try and help others find books they may not normally read. So please find below my reviews for June 2014. The books listed demonstrate that I am not a “high brow” reader, I read for pure pleasure. They also illustrate how the books I am reading at the moment tend to fall into three main categories:

  • CAN DO NO WRONG AUTHORS. The best example of this category is Stephen King. I will normally read any new book by one of these authors as soon as it is published because I have liked them for so many years. Their books aren’t always perfect, but I know I am almost certain to enjoy them greatly.
  • TICK THREE BOXES BOOKS. If a book ticks the following three requirements I will almost certainly give it a go: (1) It is the first of a series of crime novels. (2) The series is based in the UK (bonus points if it is the NW). (3) The first book is on offer for Kindle at less that £2. I’ve discovered numerous excellent series in this category over the last couple of years, which either illustrates there are many good authors out there, or I am an undiscerning reader. You can decide which.
  • YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT BOOKS. These tend to be new books from authors of the series in the “tick three boxes” category, but they are standalone books, or the first books in a new series from the same author. Because I’ve enjoyed the series I will almost certainly demonstrate loyalty to the author by trying their new works.

This approach means that for the foreseeable future I am unlikely to run out of reading material. The main challenge is keeping track of new books that fall into these categories. Amazon is scarily good at recommending books for me based on my previous purchases. The goodreads website provides further assistance, as does registering for updates from authors’ websites, or following their twitter feeds. Of course I then have an excuse to compile everything into my own lists, with colour coding and everything, to get an overall picture. Anyway, before I get too carried away with telling you about my lists I present to you my reviews for June 2014. Continue reading