Tag Archive: travel



Through the Magic SunglassesThrough the Magic Sunglasses by Mariia Manko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book gives the phrase “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses” a whole new meaning.

I picked up this book for free on Kindle Unlimited because of the blurb. Okay. I’ll share it.

“When Mariia storms out of her boyfriend’s Kyiv apartment forever, she has no idea what is awaiting her. She is handed a pair of ‘magic’ sunglasses by a mysterious cabdriver on her way to Berlin, and what begins as a journey to get over her breakup turns out to be the adventure of her life. The sunglasses become her secret helper, always showing her an escape route as Mariia is chased by a trio of rich, vindictive women who want a compromising flash drive back from her, going from Berlin to Düsseldorf to Paris and then on to Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.
Combining urban fiction and self-help with a dashing tale of adventure, Mariia Manko’s Through the Magic Sunglasses is an enchanting story about independence, strength, and believing in yourself.”

And yes, it was an adventure. But the most challenging part for me was how the main character couldn’t stop thinking about her ex and get on with the magic she had been given. I think that was the part that ruined it for me. The rest of the book was fun. And it was upbeat and a bit of a self-help book.

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Made it, Monday


Well, I made it to my daughter’s. It was a long but fun ride with my friend. We enjoyed 60s oldies to get us through the trip.

Sadly, we had to drive through a lot of smoke to get into Reno. So much burned on either side of the freeway. A lot of home lost or in danger. Many were evacuated awaiting a chance to see if they still have homes. It’s so sad.

My people are safe. But this is not so for so many.

Meanwhile, temps are in the triple digits. Thank goodness for AC in the homes I’m visiting.

I’m so tired from the trip I think I’ll retire early.


The Moon SistersThe Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this ages ago. Mid-summer, I think. I still remember liking it. Though I have no sisters, I felt I could relate to both of the sisters’ points of view. As the oldest of three siblings, I had to be the responsible one taking care of the younger brothers, who were often caused their share of problems. On the other hand, I felt like the other sister in that music notes, words on paper, even how I hear words seem to be colored or animated or textured in some way that I know isn’t how normal people see/hear things. I’ve never been diagnosed as it never was a problem. It just added layers to my understanding of the world. So I quickly identified with both sisters.

It was fun that the more disabled of the sisters starts the adventure for both of them. It is unnerving for the reader to think that the one considered blind leads the way to hop the train.

For me, as I ‘read’ using text-to-speech, it was hard to know whose view I was seeing. I soon learned to take the time and read the chapter titles as that helped. After I got to know each of the characters, I didn’t need the reference so much. The characters were well developed.

The way the trip brings to mind the siblings history gave meat to what could have been just a joy-ride.

I don’t want to give any spoilers so I will just say, this is a fun book that I think many should read and enjoy.

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#A to Z Challenge–T


Travel Talk

Never is there a time that most holds to the term “captive audience” as traveling in the same car no reception. It could get very uncomfortable with the wrong traveling companions. But it becomes quite the most empowering time with those who are sensitive and caring. It has always been a time for my family to examine the most exciting of topics. Feeling the love in the vehicle, we take turns asking the group questions we might feel uncomfortable asking anyone else in the world. I think my son and daughter were honest and open to the conversation.

My personal question was: What do my adult children need/want from me as a mother now? It is a deep question for me. I read deeply and asked a million questions when I was pregnant or raising my offspring. But there are few books or examples out there now to emulate. I’d love my bloggy friends to help with this question. Anyone have some answers?

Meanwhile, if talk is the best thing to do while traveling through low radio/data reception areas, these people should have been the closest companions ever:

wagon train travelers

Or were there always distractions or other ways that families did to NOT communicate?

This is my attempt at the #AtoZChallenge. I think I am nearly caught up. (fingers crossed)

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Desert Places: A Woman's Odyssey with the Wanderers of the Indian DesertDesert Places: A Woman’s Odyssey with the Wanderers of the Indian Desert by Robyn Davidson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! I am glad to be finished reading this book. Not that the writing was poor or that I hated the author. Quite the opposite. Having just finished Robyn Davidson’s ‘Tracks’ about her trek across Australia, I wanted more. So when I saw this book was free with Kindle Unlimited I grabbed it. And as tortuous as the book was to read, I am glad I read it.

If someone were to ask me where I’d least like to go to visit, India would be at the top of the list. Too many people, too caste-set. But before you get on a high horse and tell me what for, I will allow that I never would have wanted to go to Alaska either. But I loved that trip so much! There isn’t a day I don’t think of the beauty and wonder of that cold world. So if the opportunity came, I think I would go to India. Just to see for myself if I could be won over.

But this book didn’t help my prejudices resolve. In fact, it all became worse. With each chapter, I was more and more depressed for the author. This was not her favorite trek. As a woman, a feminist, India isn’t a place to show your independence. Robyn is both and thereby found her way blocked at every turn.

Look, I wanted to give this book five stars. The writing is that good. But how can one rate highly a book that makes one miserable? The saving grace? Camels! I have learned to love these creatures through Ms. Davidson’s eyes. Okay, up from three to four stars. Let India’s rich, corrupted men see that lack of a star as a judgement of them. I challenge them to prove otherwise.

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TracksTracks by Robyn Davidson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, how I hated to see the end of this story. I absolutely loved it! I was lucky enough to pick it up on Kindle Unlimited. Then I saw that there was an Audible version. I bought that. I’m glad I did. I loved listening to Angie Milliken tell me the story. Even though the KU went back to Amazon, I still have the story to listen to again, later.

When I was a girl, at the zoo, I was talking to a camel and he spit at me. Yuck! I hated camels ever since. But between Robyn Davidson’s story and Angie Milliken’s voice I wish I could be around camels, make friends with them.

This is the first book in a long time that I didn’t try to fast forward. There’s no speed reading about a trek across Australia. It was a long hike. I wanted to relish every word of it. If I can’t do the trek myself I will absorb the experience vicariously.

Being alone, Robyn shared her inner conflicts along the track. These were worries about the world in general or psychological problems. Both were discussed with frankness. She alternately shared wonders of Australia’s splendor or the barren rottenness, left overs of the non-ecologically sound non-natives. All the while keeping up with her four camels and her dog.

Shoot! This review doesn’t go near the wonder I felt as I read and listened to it. If you get the chance, please pick of a copy for yourself. I look forward to seeing the movie!

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Off the Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on GetawaysOff the Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways by Terri Peterson Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Truth? I didn’t finish reading this book. Not because it is horrid. Mostly because this would make a great research book to have around. It is mostly for book clubs or groups that like to relate their travel to their reading. There are many pages of books dedicated to certain states or cities. There are pages of itineraries to follow. And there are pages dedicated to setting up groups that travel ‘by the book’.

I highly recommend it to those who can travel and would like to set up a group just for that way of seeing the world. I will try to put it on my wishlists for the hardback version so that I can make notes and research the books for the local areas. And who knows? I may be able someday to do some traveling beyond my own neighborhood. 🙂

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Denali SkiesDenali Skies by Danielle Rohr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little over a decade ago, I was lucky enough to take a cruise through the inland waterway of Alaska. If truth be known, I didn’t want to go to that cold place, even in the summer. But I was so glad I did! I found out there are things that you dream of or wish for but have no idea what exciting wonders will be granted to you. Ever since this cruise I have been obsessed with all things Alaska. Anything written, or on TV, or movies, about Alaska, I have to meld myself into it. Especially now that the fibromyalgia prevents me from even leaving the house. So when I saw this book, on the Kindle freebie list I knew I had to get it.

For the most part, I am glad I did. Though I never got as far as Homer or Denali, it was fun to experience that great frontier through Danielle Rohr’s eyes. Okay, this is fiction, but I think one would have to experience it to write so eloquently about it. I loved the parts of the book that she becomes one with the mountain and the whole park.

I loved the characters created in the book. Regardless of how, as a parent, I nearly screamed at this New Adult about being more cautious, I think the book and the characters hold more wisdom than negative life experiences. Yet, it was those repeated mistakes the main character makes that started ruining it for me. I understood that this was a growing experience for the main character. She had to go through what she went through to find her own path.

Though there weren’t as many editing errors as some books I’ve read, I did find there was a need for another set of eyes in some places. It didn’t distract from the story, but it might for others.

My wish as I neared the end was that the MC would find a way to stay. Had I discovered all that she did at her age, I think I would have tried to find a way to stay. Maybe not as a waitress but there must have been other job opportunities to make staying possible. But that’s just me.

Good read!

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The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a delightful series! I am sorry to be finished with book 2. I do hope there will be more. For the young adult this widens the world to seek out life beyond the comfort zone. For those of us that are older and for whatever reason bound to our situation of home and hearth, this lets out our wanderlust. We travel with Ginny and her friends to fulfill the requests of her belated Aunt Peg’s ‘scavenger hunt’ listed in her 13 blue envelopes.
For me, it was during a couple weeks of the summer when I chose to watch over other walls than my usual four. I was house sitting for relatives and friends. It would still be me sitting somewhere. But it got me out of my bed and on other sofas. Meanwhile, reading this special book, I felt I was really traveling, after all. packing and unpacking was involved. So though my real life was spent doing my usual within the same city I live in, I was in London, England, Amsterdam, and Paris.
I read finished reading this over a week ago, already returned the book to the library. But I loved it so much that I think when I feel the wanderlust, I will look this series up again. It was that much fun.

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13 Little Blue Envelopes with Bonus Material 13 Little Blue Envelopes with Bonus Material by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sorry I didn’t send you all postcards. I didn’t have time to stop for souvenirs. Ah, but aren’t road trips the best? That’s how I felt as I was reading this charming book. Like I have been from New York to visit a lot of Europe. I met so many people and saw so many sights. I might have learned a thing or two along the way.

Every moment of this book was fun, even the angsty ones. These weren’t the usual teen/romance angsts but rather of getting lost or being shy or missing a loved one. Anyone can relate to those feelings, no matter what their age or gender. I loved the characters and their growth throughout the book. I so wanted to give Gin, the MC a hug on a few occasions. That’s how real she felt to me.

You know, I only have one bad thing to say about the book. That is about the bonus part. That is the first bit of the next book. You see, this book was free, way back in–was it 2011 or 2012? In fact, I couldn’t find the B004T5V4L6 edition on Amazon. At any rate, it was the lead up to book two that was the bonus. Picture me with a fish-hook through my mouth. So I went to look for the next one and found it to be way to expensive for my meager book allowance. AND neither this book or the next are lending-enabled. BOO! So I am on a waiting list for the library version. Hope the font is large enough for me.

Anyway, want to travel? Pick up this book. $1.99, I think. Compared to the cost of the flight alone, that is a bargain! Enjoy!

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