A Year in Review — Hello 2014, Goodbye 2013!

happy new year

2014 is finally here if you can believe it (I can’t!).  In some ways, 2013 was the longest year and in others it flew by.  It was definitely a year of challenges, but it ended a lot better than it started.

PLUS, I found my place in the world when I came into this blog.  So, I can’t help but be thankful for that.  Here’s a little review about 2013, as well as my look forward to 2014!

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

tttnew

It’s Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:

TOP TEN BOOKS FEATURING TRAVEL

1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13littleblue

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke-about-town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous-though utterly romantic-results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes.

A trip around Europe — that’s about as travel as you can get!  There are planes, trains, cabs, bikes, and lots of walking involved… And a little romance!

2. Die for Me by Amy Plum

dieforme

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

The travel isn’t exactly ‘fun’ since the MC is moving to Paris after her parents die, but the setting is quite beautiful — who wouldn’t want to meet dreamy boys in Paris?

3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

across

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Okay, this one is a bit of a stretch, but SPACE travel is travel. Right?

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

AnnaFrenchKissSmall

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Ahh, another lovely trip to Paris.  These book characters are so lucky!

5. Parallel by Claudia Lefeve

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00002]

Destiny has a way of catching up.

Saddled with powers she doesn’t understand, Etta Fleming’s world is turned upside-down the day she meets Cooper Everett, the man who transports her to an alternate reality. A reality she was meant to be a part of.

One minute, she’s an orphan living at Dominion House for Girls, an institution for delinquent foster kids, then finds herself attending the exclusive Dominion Hall Academy.

Plucked from the only world she’s ever known, Etta now has to deal with an aunt she never knew, a boyfriend she doesn’t know, and a best friend who can’t know.

PARALLEL is the first book in the Travelers Series.

The travel in this case is to a parallel universe.  It’s still pretty cool.

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

A piece of this amazing book centers around Hazel & Augustus visiting Amsterdam.  And it was spectacular.

7. Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

LastLittleBlueEnv

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack–and the last little blue envelope inside–she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure–one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

Another trip around Europe? Yes, please!

8. Into the Wild by Jon Krakaurer

intothewild

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Tragic, but beautiful nonetheless.

9. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

ontheroad

Essential Edition handsomely packaged with french flaps, rough fronts, high-quality paper, and a distinctive cover look

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.

A classic — even has traveling in the title.

10. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

everything

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man – also named Jonathan Safran Foer – sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

An amazing journey of body and spirit. God, I love this book.