Archive for » May, 2015 «

My Vacation Reading … on our Bermuda Cruise!

I never had an iPod, because I’m not that into music. I love all music, so whatever is playing will usually please me. My Kindle on the other hand … I absolutely love the convenience of reading on my Kindle, especially as we travel on vacation without having to carry an extra bag with all my reading. I love to read.

trainAs I’m planning to leave on our vacations, I always ask my Facebook and Twitter friends for book recommendations, and they always come through for me. So, as I traveled home this time, I decided it was time to give back, with my own review of what I read during my travels. I loaded more books on my Kindle than I read, so if you don’t see the book you recommended here, it may just mean I haven’t read it yet. Here’s what I did read:

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – The person who recommended this book to me said, that if I liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I would like this book, too. Gone Girl was recommended by someone for my travels last year, so I eagerly added this to my Kindle selection. When I finished reading this book, I was sad and disappointed. Granted, this book had lots of twists and turns, but I felt little to no compassion for the characters, and I believe the author missed the mark in building character depth that would draw me in. I dragged myself through chapter after chapter of this book, believing at some point, I would really care about any of these characters. I never did, and I regret this purchase. However, some of you may have really enjoyed it, so feel free to defend this book. 2 stars, a plot filled with sad useless characters.

Defending Jacob, William Landay – Wow, what a story. And, unlike The Girl on the Train above, I cared so deeply about these characters, I jacobalmost cried at the end. The story about a teen charged for a murder that his deputy assistant prosecutor dad was investigator, and how this family handles the trial and aftermath, within a community they have loved. 4 ½ stars, great plot, love the characters, could not put this book down until the end.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty – Imagine you had an accident, lost the last 10 years of your memory. For me, that would mean my son would alicestill be living at home without joining the Marines, and my daughter would still be home without moving to live in Washington, DC. We would be living in our Jacksonville, Arkansas home, attending a different church from the one we attend now. And, I would not be a travel agent yet. This is exactly what happens to Alice … she loses ten years of her life, and her last memories were being happily married and pregnant with their first child. She doesn’t remember her three children, and she has no clue why she and her husband are in the process of getting a divorce. This was just a fun book, with people just like you and me, who can be both delightful and incredibly annoying, depending on the moment. 4 stars, a feel-good easy-to-read story, somewhat predictable, but it made me smile!

One Lavender Ribbon, Heather Burch – Adrienne Carter relocates to Florida following a bitter divorce, and finds a bundle of letters tied with a lavender ribbon in the Victorian home she purchases to restore. She begins to read the letters and feels compelled to find the person these belong to, and a beautiful story evolves in relationships from both the past and current days. This was another easy read, not a deep story, and sometimes the writer got bogged down in Adrienne’s insecurities from her divorce. 3 stars, just because it made me smile.

The Giver, Lois Lowry – This book turned out to be a series of four, and once I’d read the first book, I had to quickly download the next three books, The Messenger, Gathering Blue, and The Son. I’ve only read the first and second books, and the story feels incomplete without the others, so I can’t give you a complete review on this book yet, but I enjoyed the first book enough to invest in the other three. The story is about a future society that shuns and discards the weak and broken, living in a literally colorless world, and each additional book reveals additional details about this future world. I’m enjoying the book, and I’ll return to update this review when I’ve completed the last two books. So far … 4 stars for an interesting plot, great characters, and interesting writing that draws me into their fictional society.

My secret pleasure is those easy to read fictional stories about the Amish. I added several of those to my Kindle, because they’re a really quick read on planes or while waiting for flight connections. I’m not reviewing those, because the stories are predictable, but I love the characters. Let me know if you’d like to know some of my favorite authors of these kinds of books.

So, what have you read recently? Let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts. And, a great big thank you to each one of you who offer your recommendations each trip. I’m leaving for Costa Rica in a couple of months, so I’m going to need some more books. What do you recommend?

Why Book Early? Layaway Your Vacation with Payments …

mykonos-at-sunsetWe’re headed to Greece in 2016. Some folks tell us that they don’t like to book this far ahead, and that’s okay. I just wanted to share some of the many reasons we book our vacations so far in advance.

First, when we’re planning a trip, we want everyone who wants to join us to have that opportunity. Some folks need to plan their vacation far in advance, while others have to wait until closer to the vacation to book. We understand … and we hope you can all join us.

Folks who book early often do so to get the perfect room they want or to use frequent flier miles before they’re blocked out and more. On cruise ships, there’s frequently rooms available even the month before the departure date for the folks who want to book later. When we traveled on our Princess Alaska Cruise Tour in 2012, the cruise was still available to book closer to the sail date, but the land tour was sold out within six months of when it was offered. The same may be true of the Greek Island Hopper Tour in 2016. Both of these tours are limited to about 40 people, so they sell out.

SantoriniSecond, we plan trips early to allow folks to “layaway” their vacations. Some folks pay the deposit, then pay the final payment, no big deal, easy peasy. Other folks like to make payments over time instead, and when we book so early, that allows lots of monthly payments. Bookings made at the last minute have no time for monthly payments and often require payment in full at the time of the booking.

Anyone can afford a vacation; all you have to do is book your vacation far in advance, and budget payments over time. Everyone deserves a fabulous vacation, and I make it my mission to make it easy to plan and book your perfect vacation … year after year!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog about Greece, but if you’re ready to book now, here’s all the details. Call me at (877)274-4825 or email me at with questions or concerns, or just to get booked. You can enjoy Greece through my writings in this blog, or you can come explore Greece firsthand with us, and make lots of new friends. See you in Greece … or here!