Amanda Van Veen invites you to be her travel companion through her adventures of flying for free

As the subtitle states, this is “the story of a young girl crossing the world one plane ticket at a time.”
Many have heard about prizes offering trips of a lifetime, but few have heard about the winner and where they travelled. One of those such winners is Amanda Van Veen. Her courage and circumstances allowed her to take full advantage of the amazing opportunity and she tells us about it, one direct flight and free meal at a time in her book Free Flying.
Van Veen chose to present her book as a journal of collected memories told many years and experiences later. This read could have been elevated with more photography and more editing to polish the unique memories, however, you have to consider that these travels and adventures took place 23 years ago — long before digital cameras and Instagram.
One of the delights of this story is to follow the journey of a 20-something girl balancing university, offers of free wine, and her willingness to get lost. Her story is woven with the encounters of numerous people she met along the way. She gives a good lesson on what it’s like to travel as a student, all while living on a budget, turning in assignments and facing her fears.
Between Texas, Toronto, Mexico, Paris, Louisiana and many more, Amanda Van Veen soared the skies, wandered the roads and always made sure she called home, especially while she braved the hostels and streets of Mexico. The author collected shot glasses from Hard Rock Cafés and experiences to last a lifetime.
Travel has changed over the years, from the perspective of security to surcharges and inflight meals. Van Veen has also changed. With a career and family of her own, her story tells the tales of a time of freedom, but shared the notion of gratitude and maybe even a little disbelief that she was just a girl making a solo journey around the world one plane ticket at a time.

The Lonely Little Lighthouse is celebrated at Read by the Sea in River John

For the kids, there is no better book to read by the ocean than Lana Shupe’s The Lonely Little Lighthouse. Celebrated this year at Read by the Sea in River John, this children’s story is a seashore treasure that celebrates community, commitment and, like the lighthouse who tells it, a beacon of hope.
In Nova Scotia, and throughout the world, lighthouses saved countless lives by warning sailors of their rocky shores and shallow waters. Today’s technology makes the lights redundant, but their beauty remains, and they are now protected by the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The act, as described at the end of this book, is the perfect complement and honour to the beauty of the remaining lighthouses that grace our shores.
With delightful illustrations of children playing on the beach, memories of ships being saved by the light and the lovely story of a community coming together, it reminds me of much more than a structure. It’s the story of our own neighbours on the North Shore welcoming and strengthening our own community, while carefully preserving our history and celebrating growth.
While this whimsical and educational story is a delight to read anywhere, The Lonely Little Lighthouse is the perfect book to read by the sea.

New to the North Shore author Jennifer Vettor delivers a fun beach read

The title of new Pictou County resident Jennifer Vettor’s latest work of fiction says it all, while at the same time not giving too much away. This Ain’t No Rom-Com is a mix of heavy-hitting topics, including re-birth and a heart-pounding romance as Gia finds herself getting divorced after 25 years of marriage.
Always the perfect housewife, mother and volunteer, Gia set aside her own aspirations to ensure she made her marriage work. Being the partner to a rising star in the legal field, she felt the pull to simply ensure the fridge was full, kids were chauffeured to where they needed to be, supper was on the table no matter how late her husband Danny worked, and the embers were warm in the bedroom in case he set the spark.
It wasn’t enough. She wasn’t enough. Well, maybe not enough for him, though that didn’t matter as much as she was led to believe. With her daughters now grown and out of the house, Gia felt the echo of being an empty nester in the home she raised them in. Thankfully, her dearest friend was naughty and stubborn, clicking yes on a dating app when Gia would have refrained.
A whirlwind story of well-developed characters, including one we will affectionately know as Rabbit, who will pull at your heart strings, make your heart throb, and might even change your mind on who you are rooting for in the end.
The only thing missing from this book while I read it was the sand between my toes. This is a great beach read to take along to your favourite sandy spots. It promises fun, fantasy and faith that life can just be getting started when you think you’ve lost it all.
Jennifer Vettor recently escaped Ontario to settle on the North Shore of Nova Scotia where she plans to be inspired, connected and keep a spark of romance in her own married life.