Late winter and early spring have been busy seasons during which I've had little time to write book reviews here at Budden Book Reviews. I've even been a little slack at posting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. However, over the next week or so, I intend to play catch up.
What has been the reason for such a lengthy period of silence, you may ask. Well, I decided to take my granddaughter on a spring vacation - just the two of us - before she turned two-years-old the latter part of April. I desperately needed a break from standing on my feet over 50 hours each week and I knew she would be perfect company - and her plane ticket didn't cost anything. She wouldn't eat me out of "house and home" and everywhere we went, there would only be one admission fee because of her age. The best perk of all - besides feeling great about taking her on a trip - was that she didn't come packed with an attitude that I'd rather avoid. Thus, I could really have a vacation.
However, first, I had to plan a vacation after getting home from work during one of the busiest seasons of the year at work. Needless to say, I was tired but excitement soon bubbled to the surface as I started contemplating our trip, then began to research Miami, Florida, and its attractions. I looked at the possibility of taking a day trip to Key West, as well.
We had a splendid trip during which I made wonderful memories, though my granddaughter will, likely, forget since she was, and is, so young. That only means I will need to take her again when she is older.
Key West Photos
One of the highlights of our trip was meeting author Michael Phelps in person. From the moment he first walked into the airport when picking us up, it felt like I was merely seeing a friend again, not meeting him in person for the first time. There was no awkwardness at all; even my granddaughter recognized him and was happy to see him.
I mentioned that he is an author. Well, he has worn many previous hats, too. He has worked in private security and as a criminal investigator, among other professions. He is also a war vet.
Taking his past experiences into consideration, he has written in two categories: non-fiction and fiction books inspired by true events.
You can read more about his books by visiting his personal website, Michael Phelps Novels.
All in all, we had a beautiful time during our Florida vacation. We had a relaxing agenda in which we were able to have sufficient downtime interwoven with scheduled activities.
We enjoyed a couple meals of Shrimp Linguine - one meal eaten on the waterfront and, the other, from the balcony of our hotel room overlooking Biscayne Bay.
We had fun swimming in outdoor pools, felt humidity unlike anything we had experienced, yet soaked up the beauty surrounding us, including the palm trees which showed up everywhere.
We went on a sight-seeing cruise in Miami and enjoyed dinner at Tradewinds on The Bayside, after which we enjoyed live music for a while before heading back to the hotel, Best Western Windsor Inn, located in North Miami at 12210 Biscayne Boulevard. Believe it or not, it is the only address of a hotel I can remember of the hundreds of hotels I've slept in over the years. Why? The staff at the hotel embraced us; I wasn't sure if it was as if we were family or dear friends, but it felt wonderful and I look forward to bringing my granddaughter back there again when she is a little older. By that time, we may have learned some Spanish and may be able to communicate with some of the hotel staff in their own language. It has been a little over a month since we left that hotel family and I must admit to thinking about them often. I miss them - something unprecedented for me after leaving a hotel - but what can I tell you except the truth?
Best Western On the Bay Inn and Marina Photos
We enjoyed our stay at this location, though with the view we had - you can see it right here from our balcony - we paid a higher price than at Windsor Inn.
The same day we checked in, we actually went to the Seaquarium and enjoyed the Killer Whale and Dolphin show. It surely was a highlight of our visit to the aquarium - though we had sweat dropping from our heads as we waited 10-15 minutes to gain entry to see the show. Would you believe a fleece blanket actually came to our assistance several times that afternoon?
Miami Seaquarium Photos
Back to Reality
Now I am back home and back to work. I have already planned a family summer vacation during which my granddaughter will stay home with her parents while I take my grandson, son and youngest daughter out for a trip. Between now and then, I intend to spend more time relaxing, reading and writing - and catching up on book reviews.
I cannot wait to show you the books I've been reading and enjoying lately.
Until next time,