~ tag your vacation reading photos @travelbystephanie ~
My husband and I recently celebrated ten years of marriage by sailing the California coast on board the Grand Princess. With a stay in San Francisco and stops in Santa Barbara, Long Beach/Los Angeles, San Diego, and Ensenada, Mexico we were able to see some wonderful coastal highlights and balance that with some relaxation.
My reading life since becoming a mom hasn't taken too much of a hit, but I do love the extended reading sessions I am rewarded with when my husband and I travel. During a course of six days, I plowed through four books, all of the page-turner variety.
While cruise ship libraries often feature less-than-desirable passenger cast-offs, the Grand Princess library, "Leaves", offered readers several shelves of purchased books including an area dedicated to the classics and the Princess Book Club. I could have easily pulled twenty books from the cases to take to my stateroom, but I grabbed The Roanoke Girls. I used a couple of my internet minutes to check its rating on Goodreads, saw the positive rating and review my friend Amy gave it (she never lets me down), and I immediately started it with a latte in one hand. While the subject matter of this book is extremely dark (major trigger warnings here), the author tends to it delicately while wrapping it in a completely engrossing family saga. What a read. This was a five-star for me.
Throughout the cruise, we really enjoyed spending time in the Leaves library. We played Scrabble from the board game collection, tried out some of the daily puzzle sheets left out for passengers, and of course, read our books. Because of the very cool temperatures of this trip, we spent more time indoors than we normally do.
Inadvertently, the last two books I read on the cruise both centered around California serial killers, one fictional and the other not.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the literary culmination of one writer's twenty-year obsession to uncover the man who terrorized California over a span of several years in the 1970s and 1980s. While McNamara passed away before the completion of her book, those who best knew her and the case finished a few of the chapters. Interestingly enough, while I was reading this, the Golden State Killer was finally arrested after about forty years of police evasion. Five stars.
Unsub, which I recently learned has been optioned for television, tells the story of a creepy killer (nicknamed "The Prophet") in the Bay Area who presents his victims in horrifying tableau. The case haunts both detective father and detective daughter, who must rexamine the case when similar murders resume twenty years after the case nearly destroyed her father. I read this book in one day - I could not put it down. I am not usually a fan of series, but as soon as I realized there was a second book, I put it on hold. Very dark, and could keep you up at night! Five stars.
My husband, who is normally only a vacation reader, finally started a book I have been encouraging him to read since I finished it over the course of two days in February. I became obsessed with Scott Kelly's memoir when I read it, and even signed up for and attended some local space talks, made my husband watch a Soyuz landing with me live on NASA TV, and bought a NASA t shirt. The book covers his early life with astronaut twin Mark Kelly, journey to becoming an astronaut, and full coverage of his year living at the International Space Station. Everyone I have recommended this book to has become completely engrossed and fascinated by him and his story as well. Five stars.
What did you enjoy reading on your last vacation? Comment below, or post a photo on Instagram tagging @travelbystephanie
After finding out in early March that we were expecting our first child, the husband and I knew we needed to squeeze in one final vacation before our travels were put aside for a few months to care for our little lady. My husband really wanted to spend a week at a couple of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, so I made our arrangements and we headed south in mid-June. I have been very lucky with a healthy, active, and happy pregnancy, but I am not ashamed to admit how much I was looking forward to embracing my inner sloth and lounging for a few days with books and a Caribbean view. And lounge I did...I am not kidding when I say this is just about all we did on this vacation. (We are normally active vacation people, so this level of laziness is a huge deal for us.)
Areas I Lounged Around, Book in my Hand...
Breakfast. Read. Shower. Lunch. Read. Nap. Read/word puzzles. Dinner. Scrabble. Sleep.
Our vacation routine was lively, people.
I completed The Next Best Thing, Me Before You, and An Untamed State during our week-long stay in Mexico, while also dipping in and out of the intense I Am Pilgrim. I started The Girl on the Train during the flight home and finished it after settling back into reality.
Click on the book covers to learn more.
Nook or paperbacks? Nook or paperbacks? Nook! And one paperback, just in case, for the beach!
Selecting books to pack for vacation is my most time-consuming task, and it usually involves quite a bit of time spent on Goodreads and a few consultations with my most trusted of reading friends. Usually, I am the one many seek out for book recommendations, but planning reading material for vacation really sends me into a tizzy. Thankfully, my great reading friend Lisa surprised me with several books for my eReader a couple of days before departure; she really knows my taste and I knew that I would have some great novels in store.
I have read Chevy Stevens in the past, and her books are usually fun page-turners so I thought I would start this one on the flight to Cancun. It wasn't as good as the first book I read by her, Still Missing, but it made the time pass quickly en route to Mexico. I finished it shortly before landing, and selected The Vacationers as my next read, which proved to be a perfect novel for hanging out on the beach or at the pool. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You was smart and well-written; it's a shame so many are writing negative reviews because they didn't care for the main character.
Next to travel, reading is my greatest pleasure. When I can combine the two...even better.