I’m BAAAAACK!!!!!!

For those of you wondering where I have been (and those who didn’t!), I was traveling for almost a month in Belize with very little access to the internet.  This blog is about what I have been reading as well as a few of the sites I visited.  Instead of getting new books for my vacation I decided to dive into my kindle and read some of the ones that have been waiting for a while.  The entire trip was planned by my husband and wow did he do a great job!

The last week of October, we started our trip when we flew to Belize City, and I was reading The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! by  Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.Little Old  I had not read the other books in the series and while this one was entertaining and an easy read it was not wonderful. I had trouble getting into it, and following some of the characters, maybe I should have read the others in the series.

Our first stop was at Black Rock Lodge, San Ignacio.  After a 2 hours drive, we got to the 6 miles of dirt road that led to this jungle retreat.  DSCF2840While there we visited the Maya Ruins at Caracal.  They were impressive and thanks to a very experienced guide, who also climbed to the top with us!, we learned a lot. DSCF2850 We also spent a day in Guatemala at Tikal.

I read The Café By The Sea by Jenny Colgan Cafe Seabefore falling asleep most nights (only to be awoken predawn by the Howler Monkeys! – their calls were used for the sound effects of the dinosaurs in Jurrasic Park, and I can see why!)  This was a perfect vacation read, light, good characters and an easy to follow plot.  Nothing that took very much brain power just a joy to follow along.

Next stop was Placencia where we stayed at Chabil Mar.  I started the book Endless Beach, the next in this series by Jenny Colgan. Endless I thought it was a perfect fit for our location.  The good characters and story followed through.

While in Placencia we did a tour of Monkey River where the guide took us to his home village for lunch DSCF2935and a tour of the Jaguar Preserve (where we saw zero Jaguars).

Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy was the next book and a quaint story.Library Edge

From here we took a boat ride to a 14-acre island called South Water Caye.  We stayed at the Pelican’s Pouch.  It was an experience in what I affectionately called “Glamping.”  The resort collects rainwater for their water system, solar panels make their electricity, and the toilets are either salt water or compost.  No air conditioning and no appliances such as blow dryers were allowed.  In exchange, you get access to the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest Reef in the world and some intense snorkeling.  DSCF3028The food was incredible, and the staff was amazing.  Except for the mosquitos, this was a paradise of a location.

During this time I read In This Grave Hour part of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.  Grave HourI have thoroughly enjoyed this series and was not disappointed by this one.

I also read Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu  – again a series I enjoy.  AuntyLeeAunty Lee is quite a character and always has a lot going on.

Lastly, I started a short story collection called Reader, I Married Him. Reader The idea was that all the stories took this famous line from Jane Eyre and created their own work.  Like most collections, some of the stories were good, but others left me feeling like they missed the mark.

Next trip involved a boat to a car to 4 puddle jumping plans to a taxi and led us to Xanadu in San Pedro.  IMG_0051.jpegThis was an “exploration of the town” trip and several days were spent walking the town and the beach.  We had the best Jerk Chicken at a little place called Robin’s KitchenWe did include a Chill Cruise with Island Dream Tours – YOLO (You Only Live Once) where we swam in Shark Alley, with incredible fish and the largest stingrays I have ever seen. This is a class act. Yoloboat From the boat to the crew to the food it was all a professional level experience.

The weather was a bit overcast, and a cold front had come through (high of 75!) so there was less beach time and more reading.  I was getting frustrated with average books and so dug deep and found a nonfiction book called The Weekend Effect by Katrina Onstad.  WeekendThe theory here was that we all need down time and why it is advantageous to our lives.  It really could have been written in about 50 pages.

After that somewhat disappointment I started looking through my Indie Author collection and found the first in the Port Danby Series by London Lovett called Marigolds and Murder.  MarigoldsThis was an above average cozy with a great scattered main character.  I will be doing a separate review and blog for this book – stay tuned.

Our last stop was at Lamanai Outpost Lodge in Laminai.  IMG_0111This jungle retreat is located next to the Lamanai ruins.  We spent a large portion of a day exploring these ruins with an incredibly knowledgeable guide (also the first female guide we worked with in Belize).  We spent a day learning to make corn tortillas and tamales at the woman’s coop in the village.  IMG_0165They were delicious!  But the topping to the trip was an airboat ride at sunset, complete with cocktails to help us celebrate our anniversary!IMG_0162

During this time I pulled out an old Lucy Stone book – Valentine Murder (#5) by Leslie Meier. ValentineIt is one of her earlier works, and somehow I missed it when reading this series.  It was like a conversation with an old friend, and I enjoyed jumping back into Lucy’s world.

I ended the trip by starting The Ordinary Doll by Mario Keifer, an Austin Indie Author.  See future blog for my full review.Ordinary

Belize was a wonderful country filled with incredible sites, friendly people and fabulous food.  Even though we were there for so long, I feel like we did not see it all and would readily go back for another month (or two!).  Special thanks to Katie at Belize Trips who made all the pre-trip choices and research so easy and the many transfers and adventures in Belize seem so seamless. We could not have done this trip without her!IMG_0115

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