Tag Archives: travel

Review! Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster

5 Dec

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind
Series: Amanda Travels #6 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5)
By Darlene Foster
128 pages – ages 9+
Published by Central Avenue Publishing on October 1, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.”

What I Thought- This was a neat book in the Amanda Travels series. Foster has written a great book that combines mystery, thriller, and travel book into a package perfect for her target audience. She writes in a way that incorporates strong emotions, but still is appropriate for younger readers. One thing I thought was cool was how Leah, Amanda’s friend in England, was not brought into the book (a rather realistic outlook – as even best friends don’t always have adventures together), and a new character, Cleo, is introduced. The story was very well-done, and I enjoyed reading it. I do wish that Foster would have addressed the ghosts at the end of the story more thoroughly. It seems that they are kind of pushed to the side as another plot is brought to a satisfying finish. What I particularly love about this book as with all of the Amanda books, is that you feel like you are on a travel adventure with Amanda and her friends. The reader learns a lot about the place Amanda visits each and every time. I enjoyed this book, and I look forward to more of Amanda’s travels!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Looking for a great holiday gift? If you have a a child who loves a great adventure with characters they can connect with, I highly recommend the Amanda series. Amanda is a bit of Nancy Drew, Laura Croft and Carmen San Diego all rolled into one!

From Pennsylvania to New Mexico (via Texas), and back again (on four planes)! A.K.A. The Story of Erik the Kid

22 Oct

YAY! We got our computer back and I was able to write about out trip to New Mexico. So…this has nothing to do with books (although I did read 6 while we were away 😉 )…

Once upon a time…

There was a kid named Erik who had never been on a plane. He was glad when his family told him he was going on a big adventure! They took off from Philadelphia and landed in this strange land called El Paso, Texas. They borrowed a brave, gallant, and (95% of the time) trustful steed named Chevy Equinox and set off to the land of U.F.O.s – Roswell, New Mexico. They liked it here, but fled because they were scared of being abducted by U.W.B. (Unidentified Weird Beings).

They went to see the Very Large Array radio telescope and got messages from high out-of-reach places.

The family learned of worlds and galaxies far, far away but ran away because there were rattle snakes crossing the walking path (no, really, we saw a HUGE rattle snake **shiver**).

They escaped to the underground world called “The Caverns of Carlsbad”.

They went down…deep down…really deep down to almost the center of the Earth (OK maybe not that far down, but it felt like it).

The family saw wondrous sights and then were whisked to the surface by an elevator (that they were happy to see so they didn’t have to walk all the way back up). At dusk the family watched in awe as 200,000 Mexican Freetail Bats flew out of the cave, over their heads to feast on bugs!  What an awesome thing to see! As they headed north, the family ran into all sorts of dangers like the land of free range cattle (be careful driving around corners – you don’t know if cows are standing in the road) and the notorious royal “CATTLE GUARD”!

**My mom took this picture and we were all laughing. I thought this would be a great picture for Catherine Johnson’s Metaphor Monday  blog post!**

The family bounced around New Mexico where they saw volcanoes and ancient lava flows at El Malpais, and the homes of the famous Smokey Bear in the Capitan Mountains, and the infamous Billy the Kid in Lincoln. The town of Lincoln remains pretty much the same as it was in the “Old West” times. There, the family learned of Lincoln’s history. They saw the courthouse where Billy the Kid escaped from in 1881 and the room where he was held. They learned of the brave lawman Pat Garrett who finally brought him to justice and the Lincoln County War and the Regulators.

*Just a quick shout out to National Park Ranger Bennie Long of the Lincoln State Monument who took a lot of time and explained the history of Lincoln and the Lincoln County War to our family. She also gave Josie and I a cool book about all the New Mexico state and national Monuments and a bunch of cool information about Lincoln County. Thanks  Ranger Long! *.

The adventurous family next visited the Bandelier National Monument in the Frijoles Canyon of New Mexico, and saw where the Ancestral Pueblo People lived 10,000 years ago! The family dared to climb  14o feet up, up, UP on rickety ladders (seriously rickety with no guard rails) and steps! When at the top, they were amazed at the view and to see where some of these ancient people made their home. Here at Bandelier, the children were knighted as Junior Park Rangers, sworn to uphold and take care of the land’s treasures and natural wonders.

Once they badges were bestowed upon them, the family quickly made way to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santé Fe, but alas it was closed for the day (**sigh**). The family did see the beautiful country that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe to paint and understood why she wanted to paint the skies she saw so BIG!

One the next part of the trip, the family drove through ghost towns, but didn’t see any ghosts (thank goodness).

Finally in Albuquerque (I got to learn how to spell Albuquerque, by the way). They wandered through a field of over 500 hot air balloons lifting up in the air. There were balloons from 16 different countries and it took about 2 hours for them all to float away! Creatures of all shapes and sizes drifted up silently, except for the cheers from the crowds.

Some, sadly, didn’t make it, like this little penguin. He inflated but couldn’t fly, the winds were too strong for him.

A flightless penguin (pretty ironic if you think about it)…

The family rode in their trusty (95% of the time, yes, we did have car trouble at one point) steed back to Texas  and headed for home (on a plane). Erik, Junior Ranger, Inter-state traveler, had a great time and couldn’t wait to tell you all the tale!  🙂

The End

Tomorrow I’ll be back to reviewing books but today, I liked “reliving” my vacation with you!

I’m going on vacation so………….

8 Jul

I think it’d be best if I tell you I’ll be gone for a week (not a weekend, a WEEK). WOW a whole week of camping in the great outdoors! Camping with NO internet connection….nothing to do all day but READ (YAHOO!)….well maybe I’ll find some time for fishing, swimming and roasting marshmallows in there……

So if you comment I won’t be able to get back to you right away (but I will when I get back).

We picked up a couple of books for me to read on our trip. They are:

Super Diaper Baby 2 –  By Dav Pilkey

Word After Word After Word – By Patricia MacLachlan

Mockingbird – By Kathryn Erskine


The Invention of Hugo Cabret – By Brian Selznick

and of course I am reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and White Fang on my kindle right now.

Pretty good books to choose from!

How many books do you think I get through?

What are you reading this summer?

Have a nice week! 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉


Spend some time today reading about July 4th 1776!

4 Jul

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -The Delcaration of Independence

Independence Hall

Yesterday my family and I visited Independence Square in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Was saw Independence Hall where on July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed. Did you know the reason why John Hancock signed his name so large was because he said he wanted King George the Third of England to be able to read it without his glasses on!

The American Philosophical Library

While we were wandering around we also saw the American Philosophical Society Library which was started by Benjamin Franklin (who helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence) in 1743.

National Constitution Center

We also went to the National Constitution Center and saw the Liberty Bell, well actually the line for the Liberty Bell was too long but I got to see it through a window!

To learn more about historic Philadelphia click on – www.visitphilly.com !

We bought a couple of books about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I also got a kids book called –

John, Paul, George and Ben

By Lane Smith

Published in 2006 by Hyperion

40 pages – Ages 5+

The book gives a very funny introduction to some of the important people in American history (John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson). The book is a hilarious mix of facts and story telling. There is a true or false section in the back so you don’t get your history facts mixed up with what is story telling. My whole family laughed out loud at this book!

“I cannot live without books.” Thomas Jefferson.

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