Something for the Weekend - Book Review - "The Hate U Give" By Angie Thomas

Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop reviews The Hate U Give  by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is a heart-breaking novel set against the backdrop of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in America. It provides insight in to the discrimination black people face simply for the colour of their skin.

This novel tells the story of Starr, a young black girl living in the “ghetto” and attending a private school, who tries desperately to keep her two worlds from colliding. However, all this changes when she witnesses her friend Khalil’s murder at the hands of a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. The news about Khalil’s death goes viral, leading to protests calling for justice for Khalil.

As Starr attempts to deal with everything going on around her, we are given a glimpse into the world of gangs and gang culture in America, and some of the reasons people, particularly teens, end up joining them - usually because they have no other option or nothing to lose.

What I loved about this book is that it’s not just another “teen drama”. Angie Thomas manages to really shine a light on white privilege and how, despite the promise of the American dream, it is very difficult for people to escape the destructive cycle of a disadvantaged background.

The film adaptation will be released this winter.



The Bookshop
CC La Colonia Local 21
San Pedro de Alcantara
29670 Marbella, Malaga


Puerto Banus was rocked by an explosion this evening.



The incident happened at around 8.30pm, between the entrance to the Port and Salduba. The vehicle, an Audi Q7, was completely destroyed by the explosion and the fire that followed.

Emergency services have reported that despite the severity of the fire, no injuries had been reported. They also took to Social Media to advise the public not to take notice of various innacurate reports of shots being fired.

A case of keep calm and carry on...

Milady Town Hall?

Well it's certainly different...

In previous posts I have been writing about what I call the "Dubai-ification" of certain parts of Marbella, in particular San Pedro, where the ruling OSP party seem intent on ripping up the traditional street layout and replacing it with bland, souless pedestrianised areas. They have already dealt a death blow to San P's once bustling main street and are now ripping up the old church square in the middle of the tourist season. Truly brilliant planning.

I thought, however, that Marbella's atmospheric Old Town and it's picturesque Plaza de los Naranjos, that houses the Town Hall itself, would be spared any updating.

I was wrong.

In a scheme that, according to local media, has cost €700,000, the Town Hall has been illuminated in purple strip lights that make the building look like a cross between a Prince Tribute Museum and a "Club Alternativa". The "Miladyfication of Marbella", if you will.



In addition to this, the scheme also calls for the 17th century fountain in the square to be lit up, and workmen have hacked chunks out of the historic landmark to install coloured lights.

Needless to say, the opposition PSOE and historic and environmental groups are up in arms about this Town Hall sanctioned vandalism, especially as mayor Angeles Muñoz has repeatedly said that she wants to attract "quality tourism"

Making the Plaza de los Naranjos look like something out of Amsterdam's Red Light District is no way of doing this!

Age of average high end buyer falls, says Engel & Völkers

The Marbella luxury property market is attracting younger buyers who want modern houses.

That's the message from leading real estate agency Engel & Völkers at the launch of 'The Collection' last week.

“The Golden Mile has always been the most prestigious address for a second home for the European clientele" explained Smadar Kahana, CEO of Engel & Völkers Marbella "In recent years,however, we have seen a new trend of younger clientele with an average age between 35 - 55 years old, who are searching for a modern style, contemporary design and the latest trend of material and amenities, of course in the best locations on The Golden Mile preferably around the vibrant Puente Romano Resort.” "This indicates a rejuvenation of one of the most exclusive addresses in Marbella and Engel & Völkers is proud to exclusively present 'The Collection'.

'The Collection' is a project that meets the demands for new housing construction for this clientele with 26 luxury semi-detached villas that will start construction this month. "Over the past two years, Marbella has lost a lot of investments and now that licensing has been granted, we hope that this promotion will be sold in just a few weeks," says Kahana.

"Most buyers do not want 20-year-old houses. They are looking for modern, organic designs, integrated into their environment and in the best possible location", she continues. "At this moment in time there is no similar villa project on the Golden Mile except for 'The Collection'”.

'The Collection' is located just 400 metres from the celebrated Hotel Puente Romano and a short walk from the Mediterranean - at the centre of everything an international investor is looking for. Architects González Jacobson use natural materials such as wood and stone in order to give a feeling of warmth to these semi-detached villas.

In recent years, clientele from central and northern Europe have taken precedence in comparison to other nationalities such as Arabs or Russians. Belgians, Germans, British, Norwegians and Swedes are the main buyers of luxury homes according to the internal study of Engel & Völkers. To achieve the supply for this demand in the best locations in Marbella the goal should be: high quality homes, close to all services in price ranges ranging between 500,000 and 1.000,000 euros for apartments and 1.000,000 and 2.500,000 euros in the case of villas.

'The Collection' will have a market value of 30 million euros, with prices from 1,125,000 euros. This is a unique investment opportunity given the scarcity of plots in this coveted corner of Marbella.

Something for the Weekend - The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris

Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop reviews  Sarah J. Harris' The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a crime mystery with a twist. The protagonist is 13-year-old Jasper who falls somewhere on the autistic spectrum, has face blindness and a condition called Synaesthesia which means Jasper sees sounds as colours. The only way he can identify people is by the unique colour of their voice.

The only person who really understood him was his mother who passed away when he was younger. Jasper’s father is left alone to raise him but doesn’t always understand or know how to connect with his son.

Bee Larkham arrives like a hurricane hitting land when she moves across the street from Jasper and his father. Jasper is immediately taken with this new neighbour whose voice is similar in colour to his late mother. She plays “Alien” music which creates vibrant colours for Jasper and puts out bird feeders to attract parakeets which become Jasper’s obsession.

When Bee Larkham is murdered Jasper sees her murder as "ice blue crystals with glittery edges and jagged silver icicles." However, Jasper’s memories about the event are muddled. He needs to remember exactly what happened to Bee and understand his part in her death.

Alternating between present and past events the story is told from Jasper’s uniquely colourful perspective. An unusual take on the murder mystery genre, Sarah J. Harris’s debut novel is so fresh and different that I found myself captivated.


The Bookshop
CC La Colonia Local 21
San Pedro de Alcantara
29670 Marbella, Malaga


Red alert in Spain and Portugal as Europe nears all-time heat record

Scorching temperatures in Portugal and southern Spain aided by a wave of heat from North Africa are expected to rise even further this weekend.

Portugal's heatwave is expected to bring temperatures close to Europe's record of 48C (118F).

Eight places across the centre, south and east of the country have already broken their local temperature records in the unprecedented hot weather.

Temperatures in many inland areas built on Friday to 45C (113F), while Beja, in the Alentejo region, is expected to record a peak of 47C (116F) today

Heat warnings were also issued for 41 out of Spain's 50 provinces where temperatures were expected to reach 44C (111F). Sevilla, Huelva and Cordoba provinces have been placed on Red alert for extreme weather conditions by AEMET, the Spanish Meterological Office Emergency services have issued a red alert, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby until Sunday.  Fires typically flare late in the day when the weather is hottest. Spain's highest recorded temperature is 46.9C (116F) in Cordoba last July.

Temperatures are being driven higher across the Iberian peninsula by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa, which is  also bringing dust from the Sahara Desert, meteorologists said.

The World Meteorological Organisation said Europe's record is 48C in Athens, Greece in 1977.

Heatwave on the way

If you can't stand the heat...

Weather agency AEMET has issued a series of weather warnings across the country as temperatures start to rise.

Amber and yellow warnings are in place across much of Spain for today, as the thermometer looks set to rise in places above 40°C with the Ebro, Tajo, Guadiana and Guadalquivir valleys reaching 44C. It’s expected that the heat-wave will last into next week.

In some places, it’s expected that night time temperatures will not fall below 20°C. People are being advised to avoid long term exposure to the sun, to drink plenty of water and to check on elderly or infirm relatives or neighbours.

Marbella will escape the worst of it, however, with the highest expected temperature forecast for 31°C this Sunday.

Brace yourself: Tourists are coming...

The tourism sector is gearing up for another record breaking year.

Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, said forecasts point to Spain receiving 30.4 million
 tourists between July and September, almost 2.3% more than in the same period of 2017.

Its expected that tourism will bring €3.4bn into the Spanish economy, an increase of 4.1%. If the forecasts end up correct,
it will cement Spain’s position as the second most visited country in the world.

Last week airport operator Aena  announced that the number of passengers coming to Spain had risen 6.8% more than last year.

In total 121.1 million passengers passed through their terminals over the first six months of the year.

Looks like we are in for a busy summer!


VIP art at the Urbano Galindo Exhibition

Artist Urbano Galindo, famed for his paintings of the aristocracy and VIPs, launched his latest exhibition at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía last week.

More than 100 guests enjoyed the work of this celebrated artist, including Mayor of Estepona Jose Maria Garcia Urbano, Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture Blas Ruzafa and the Councillor for Tourism Ana Velasco. The Mayor highlighted Estepona Town Hall’s commitment to culture and art in the city and praised the Kempinski Hotel Bahía for their work in promoting art in Estepona with exhibitions such as these.

Urbano Galindo added, “It is a true pleasure to exhibit my works on the Costa del Sol in the beautiful Kempinski Hotel Bahía. Over the years and during the creation of more than three thousand portraits there has been a transformation in my paintings and sculptures and I am now using esoteric materials, which allow me to express my spirituality. These are so different from the classic sepia portraits I was producing in the 90s and use striking colours, representing my inner journey in search of the beauty of energy and the harmony of the cosmos.”

This exhibition, which runs until August 8 and is open to the public from 11am to 9pm, has been brought to the Costa del Sol by LuxStyle, Fashion & Luxury Consulting.

This is the first event of the new Arts Series 2018, with many more cultural events planned for the year. To find out more visit:

Drivers warned of high fire risk

After the huge fire between Casares and Estepona recently, that saw 130 firefighters battling the blaze overnight, the Andalucian Forest Firefighting Agency, INFOCA, have published the latest fire risk map.

The areas most at risk are shown in red, with Granada province on particularly high alert.

INFOCA also reminded drivers that throwing cigarettes out of car windows carried substantial fines  - four points on the driving licence, a €200 fine and up to six years in prison if the discarded cigarette caused a forest fire.