✈ #TravelGuide Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NonFiction @dkeyewitness Portland Like A Local: By The People Who Call It Home #TuesdayBookBlog

Portland Like a Local: By the People Who Call It HomePortland Like a Local: By the People Who Call It Home by D.K. Eyewitness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 A DK Eyewitness 2022 travel guide to Portland, Oregon. Just shy of A5 size this would easily fit into a travel bag.

With a mix of information, tips and maps, it provides ideas about where you can eat, drink, shop, see culture, take part in the nightlife and what to do outdoors. There’s a breakdown of seasonal activities and, more importantly, insider tips from the locals!

I liked the upbeat narrative style which felt very welcoming; I also appreciated the ‘nearby getaways’ section, for places of natural beauty.

This felt more than just a tourist guide because of the friendly presentation. I would happily recommend it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Orange rose book description
Book description

Keen to explore a different side of Portland? Like a Local is the book for you.

This isn’t your ordinary travel guide. Beyond Portland’s iconic food trucks are hidden comic stores, eclectic dive bars and quirky galleries that locals love – and that’s where this book takes you. Turn the pages to discover:

– The small businesses and community strongholds that add character to this vibrant city, recommended by true locals.
– 6 themed walking tours dedicated to specific experiences such as vintage shopping and waterfront walks.
– A beautiful gift book for anyone seeking to explore Portland.
– Helpful ‘what3word’ addresses, so you can pinpoint all the listed sights.

Compiled by three proud Portlanders, this stylish travel guide is packed with Portland’s best experiences and hidden spots, handily categorised to suit your mood and needs.

Whether you’re a restless Portlander on the hunt for a new hangout, or a visitor keen to discover a side you won’t find in traditional guidebooks, Portland Like A Local will give you all the inspiration you need.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #TravelGuide NOT COOL: Europe By Train In A Heatwave by @JulesBrown4

Not Cool: Europe by Train in a HeatwaveNot Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave by Jules Brown

4 stars

Not Cool: Europe By Train In A Heatwave is a travel guide. Written by professional travel writer Jules Brown, this is about his journey through nine European countries in nine days during the summer of 2019. He travelled through Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Italy.

I’m not a big fan of cities, so the highlights for me were the rail trips, particularly the Semmering Railway between Vienna and Graz and The Bernina Pass from Switzerland to Italy. I enjoyed reading about the second one the most; the scenic route over the top of the Alps sounded particularly amazing.

In each capital city, Jules had just a few hours to visit the sights and partake in the local food and beer. He sought out some unusual places to visit rather than the main tourist attractions which I appreciated. As a seasoned traveller, Jules had already visited some of the popular attractions in these cities, while the oppressive heat was often a factor in where and what Jules chose to do.

The itinerary is heavily interspersed with Jules’ humour, opinion and life experiences; at times I found that the style smothered the delights of the travel experience, while on other occasions this was easily offset by some very enjoyable descriptive passages about the joys of train travel.

As a travel guide the book contained a sprinkling of travel tips which added to the delight of the rail trips; I can almost see the appeal of Interrailing.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

9 cities, 9 countries, 9 days
1 ridiculously hot summer
What could possibly go wrong?

The latest travel memoir by Jules Brown – author of Takoradi to the Stars (via Huddersfield) – is a hot and steamy adventure (no, not that kind) by rail across Europe.

In the European-wide summer heatwave of July 2019, while sensible people stayed indoors, put their heads in the fridge and watched endless re-runs of ‘Frozen’, Jules spent nine days on trains across Europe, visiting nine cities in nine countries.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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VACATION Thoughts #FridayFiveChallenge Would you BUY or PASS? Fodor’s Utah

This fun feature is a mini workshop. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online selling book sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READERS Point of View and this exercise is very EYE OPENING.

Mug 1

From the book cover we will browse the book description, price and some of the reviews BUT we only have 5 MINUTES.


Join in and see where it leads.

Grab a coffee and spend 5 Minutes on this exercise.

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

Share your post, use #FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 and I’ll help share all relevant posts.

I’ve just finished an article about holidays and my thought returned to Utah and it’s National Arch Monuments, I like what I’ve seen before and would like to return to explore more of the area, so my search term was Utah.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Book description

Fodor’s correspondents highlight the best of Utah, including awe-inspiring national parks from Arches to Zion, outstanding ski resorts like Deer Valley, and Salt Lake City’s cultural riches. Our local experts vet every recommendation to ensure you make the most of your time, whether it’s your first trip or your fifth.
MUST-SEE ATTRACTIONS from the Great Salt Lake to Sundance
PERFECT HOTELS for every budget
BEST RESTAURANTS to satisfy a range of tastes
Useful FEATURES on outdoor adventures and drives
VALUABLE TIPS on when to go and ways to save
INSIDER PERSPECTIVE from local experts
MAPS AND COLOR PHOTOS to guide and inspire your trip

Price; £9.69 kindle £13.99 paperback

Reviews; 5 on Amazon US

one 3* review said;

“Wish it would have been more detailed about the different Canyons. Spent almost half the book on Salt Lake City area which I had been too before.”

Would I BUY or PASS? …..PASS unless I definitely know we are going.


I chose the book for the book cover, Utah is the arches to me, but I want to explore more. I would buy a copy in paperback if I were booked to go there, Fodor have a good reputation and this book was published in 2015, so much of it would be up to date. A travel guide needs to be up to date to be of any use. I was concerned with the review which said much of the book was about Salt Lake City, we’re not city people, so I would want to know about the National parks, walks etc I’m not too bothered about the price for a non-fiction book, it will have lots of photos.

Here are links to others bloggers taking up today’s challenge.

Liz searched for Magic and found The House At The End Of Hope Street by Meena Van Praag

Shelley looked at upcoming releases and found Sleepless in Manhattan by SarahMorgan

Cathy is feeling the cold and found a thriller; Ice by Kevin Tino

Barb searched for LONDON and found a delicious book with wizards, Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Paula searched for Andalucia and found a book by Lisa Marie Basile


Guest Authors Andy Robinson and Kirsty McGregor (Nov 29th)

My guests today are a writing duo who will open your minds to the idea of group travel across the world. Their book “It’s NOT a Holiday” is due out tomorrow (30th November) and is the most amazing and hilarious A-Z guide to road travel. A must read for anyone young or old who may be contemplating an adventure across the world.

It's NOT a Holiday! The A-Z Guide to Group Travel

Let’s go and find out more about them;

Andy and Kirsty in Rio de Janeiro

Andy and Kirsty in Rio de Janeiro

1) Where are your home towns?

Andy: I am from sunny Calne, a small market town in Wiltshire, the West Country of England. Although perhaps describing it as sunny is a bit of a stretch and is why I found myself working abroad for so long.

Andy Website pic

Kirsty: I grew up in Weipa, a small and very isolated mining town in Far North Queensland, Australia.


Andy and I have been living in Calne for the last few years but we plan to immigrate back to Queensland next year; where it really is sunny.

2) Is this your first writing piece as individuals or together?

This is our first written piece to be published both as individuals and as a collaboration. We have both been writing individually for many years. When writing “It’s NOT a Holiday!” together we discovered that we approach our writing in very different ways and had quite different styles. It took a while and a few heated discussions before we found our groove – a way to write together and a style that we both agreed on. We got there in the end but we both agreed at the time it wasn’t something we would rush to do again. However, looking back on it now, the process was fun and we had lots of laughs remembering the stories from our time on the road.


3) Where did the idea for “It’s NOT a Holiday!” stem from?

We had the idea of “It’s NOT a Holiday!” for a few years before it came to fruition. On the first trip we worked together on, back in 2008 in South America, we realised we both had a love of writing and thought there was a need for a ‘survival guide’ for passengers travelling on group tours such as the ones we were leading. “It’s NOT a holiday, it’s a life experience…” is something we often told our passengers when explaining how they could get the most out of their trip.

We threw a few ideas around and made notes whilst sitting round the campfire for a bit of fun but it wasn’t until we were off the road and working in France for the winter that we fleshed out the ideas and put pen to paper.


4) You’ve both been guides or drivers on tours, can you tell us where in the world these were?

EOE truck in Rio de Janeiro

EOE truck in Rio de Janeiro

Andy: Ten years ago I decided to throw in my job and travel through Africa on an overland truck… and that really was the end of normality for me. I have specialised in long haul trips throughout the Middle East, Iran, India, China, around South East Asia and extensively throughout Latin America.

Kirsty: I was travelling independently in the Middle East when I stumbled across a group travelling overland on a big truck to Egypt. I loved the idea and signed myself up for a six month trip from London to Cape Town. I had a ball and decided that becoming an overland tour leader/driver was the perfect way to see the world and get paid for it. Since then I have been lucky enough to work in Africa, Europe, Central & South East Asia, Central & South America and Australia.

Kirsty with Pakistani Police

Kirsty with Pakistani Police


5) What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken people on?

Andy: Driving from Istanbul to Bangkok in 7 months was one of my longest road trips with passengers. However, by far my longest road trip would be driving from London to Mongolia and then back in a small 1 litre Ford Fiesta. Great fun!

Mongolian Sand trap!

Mongolian Sand trap!

Kirsty: An 8 month trip from London to Sydney was my longest trip. I took 32 passengers through 3 continents, 23 countries and had a blast. Of all my long haul trips, this one was the most diverse in terms of the landscapes and cultures I experienced along the way.

London to Sydney trip (Tibet)

London to Sydney trip (Tibet)

Our longest trip together was the one we met on – Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro.  A 7 month trip travelling through 17 Latin American countries ending up at the biggest party in the world, the Rio Carnival.


6) What’s the worst terrain to take trips over?

There are lots of different terrains that can be difficult to drive through – soft sand in deserts, muddy roads in jungles and city roads packed with trucks, buses, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians, horse and carts, camels, donkeys, goats and just about any other beast you can think of. But the terrain we enjoy the least is mountain passes – proper mountains, the Himalayas and the Andes. Driving at altitude means thin air, a hard time breathing and headaches. Not fun! Although to be fair the views are fantastic.




Pope 7 Pantanal Bogging

Pope 7 Pantanal Bogging

7) Can you list 5 packing essentials for any road trip?

Head torch

Toilet roll in a plastic Ziploc bag


Multi-tool with knife and bottle opener

A sense of humour

Not necessarily in that order…


8) What are 5 items that people REALLY don’t need, but think they do?

Micro fibre towel

Expensive sunglasses

Trekking trousers with daft zip off legs

Traveller’s cheques

6 month supply of toiletries – these can be bought anywhere, believe it or not showering is a worldwide phenomenon.


9) Tell us your own choices of BEST place to experience if you only took one road trip in your lifetime.

This is a question we get asked a lot. It is along the same lines of our favourite places we have travelled. It is so hard to answer because we have so many favourites for so many different reasons.

Andy: If someone was to do only one major overland trip in their lifetime I would recommend one through Asia – the history and sheer diversity of cultures is mind blowing.

Kirsty: For me it would be Africa. There is something magical about going on your first African wildlife safari.

A road trip we would like to do in the future would be in North America. We have driven the Pan American Highway in Latin America so would now like to do the northern section including Canada and Alaska. One day! West Africa and Madagascar are also on the list…


10) Tell me what attributes I need to get voted as “best guest” on one of your trips?

The perfect passenger is someone who has a sense of humour, a sense of adventure, a can do attitude and embraces everything with open arms and an open mind. They will also be the one who has the most fun!

Are you coming on a road trip Rosie? Well…. The North American trip appeals more to my sanitation fears and my son wants to go to Madagascar! You never know!

Twitter: Andy – @FlagonOfCider  Kirsty – @kirsty_oz  Black Frog Publishing – @TheFrogFather  It’s NOT a Holiday – @ItsNOTaHoliday
Buy books:
Direct from our website – www.blackfrogpublishing.com/Books.htm
A Big Thanks to Kirsty and Andy and Good Luck with the book launch, I know it will be a winner!