Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of Boston Harbor Hotels

Boston Harbor stretches from Chelsea Creek to Neponset River, traveling through East Boston, Charlestown, East End, Downtown, South Boston, and Dorchester. The harbor provides extremely diverse and active places to connect to the city’s open space system. Here are five hotels that will keep you near the harbor.

Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Downtown Seaport

Image via Flickr by BostonPhotoSphere
If you’re looking to stay in a central location in Boston, Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Downtown Seaport is perfect for you. Less than one-half mile from the harbor, the hotel is also near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and Boston Common. Stay in one of 120 air-conditioned rooms featuring a kitchenette with a refrigerator and cooktop. The guest rooms also have wireless Internet access and a 32-inch LCD TV with satellite programming. A fitness center and grocery store are available for your convenience. You can even meet other guests at a complimentary reception.

The Westin Boston Waterfront

Located less than a mile from the harbor, The Westin Boston Waterfront offers budget-friendly rates in a convenient area. You can take a quick walk just a few blocks down to the harbor, or hop on public transportation right across the street to see more of Boston’s landmarks. You’ll enjoy a beautiful view from your room, as well as a good night’s sleep on Westin’s Heavenly Bed, complete with down comforter and feather pillows. Slip into the soft bathrobe stocked in your bathroom and order anything on the menu from room service. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee from Starbucks, a swim in the indoor pool, or several spa services.

Seaport Boston Hotel

You’ll have easy access to Boston Harbor and enjoy beautiful views of the harbor when you stay at Seaport Boston Hotel, on Commonwealth Pier. The Neptune Oyster Restaurant is open in the evenings, and serves up delicious seafood meals. Rooms have high-speed Internet access and a 46-inch flat-screen TV, along with a fluffy bathrobe and in-room safe. You can even bring your pet. Enjoy time at the fitness club, indoor pool, and steam room. Visit the Seaport Café for a cup of Starbucks coffee, or the Tamo Bistro & Bar for a cocktail and American cuisine.

Boston Harbor Hotel

The luxurious five-star Boston Harbor Hotel on Boston harbor’s Rowes Wharf provides access to several bayside attractions. Rooms feature views of the city or harbor, and include plenty of space with high-quality furnishings. Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, newspaper, bottled water, bathrobe, and minibar. The hotel has two restaurants and a full-service spa.

Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

Located at the waterfront of Boston Harbor, Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel is in the Seaport District, only a short distance from Boston's city center. The hotel offers excellent ocean views, several walkways along the waterfront, and a harbor atmosphere. There’s an on-site Italian restaurant and Starbucks, indoor pool, and fitness center. Rooms feature one king or two double beds and a flat-panel high-definition television with cable service and premium channels.
These five hotels offer a wonderful place for you to stay when visiting Boston Harbor.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review | The DUFF by Kody Kiplinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was expecting a story of a shy, quiet girl who was suddenly faced with the truth that her friends only wanted her around to make themselves look better, and that she would need to come to terms with that and decide what to do about it. Boy, was I was wrong! And happy to be.
Bianca is a strong, amazing girl who's not afraid to be herself, which I love! When she's faced with the idea of being the DUFF, she goes through some serious soul searching without losing touch of who she really is, and who her friends are.
This is a fantastic book, and I think every teen should read it. Love it!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of Bourbon Street Hotels in New Orléans

Bourbon Street is the place for partying when you are in New Orléans, Louisiana. Even if you can’t make it during Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street will still be in high gear, providing a great time during your visit. Here are five New Orléans hotels in the Bourbon Street area at which you can choose to stay.

Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter

Image via Flickr by Alberto Cabello Mayero
You won’t find a better hotel during your trip to see Bourbon Street in New Orléans than the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter. Located at the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse Streets, the Four Points sits in the heart of New Orléans. It was once the French Opera House, but is now a luxurious hotel steps away from iconic jazz music, distinctive food, world-famous sites, and all that Bourbon Street has to offer. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, stone courtyard with a relaxing pool, fitness center, and gift shop. Guest rooms have glorious views of the city, as well as free Internet, premium TV channels, and video-game consoles.

Bourbon Orléans Hotel

Located in the French Quarter, the Bourbon Orléans Hotel is less than one-half mile from Bourbon Street. The hotel provides an outdoor heated saltwater pool, concierge service, exercise room, and the Roux on Orléans Restaurant serving up Creole cuisine. The hotel is also close to Jackson Square, where you’ll find plenty of dining, shopping, and entertainment. Spacious rooms have plush beds, 42-inch flat screen TVs, cable, Wi-Fi, and coffee makers.

The Olivier House Hotel

The Olivier House Hotel is also in the French Quarter, less than a mile from Bourbon Street. You will be near New Orléans Collection and Jackson Square as well, and near Preservation Hall and Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carre. The hotel has 42 guest rooms featuring flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, Wi-Fi, cable, coffee makers, and microwaves. Relax in the outdoor pool when you’re not partying on Bourbon Street.

Place d’Armes Hotel

If you’re looking to add a little romance to your Bourbon Street exposé, book one of 84 air-conditioned rooms at the Place d’Armes Hotel. This centrally located property is only .11 miles from Bourbon Street. An outdoor pool, concierge services, and limousine and town car service are available to help you make this the most romantic trip you’ve ever taken. Rooms include cable programming, Internet access, and complimentary toiletries. You can also enjoy a free breakfast during your stay.

Cornstalk Hotel

Built in 1816 and known for its Victorian charm, Cornstalk Hotel had the Victorian façade added later, creating a beautiful hotel with 14 exquisite rooms. All rooms have private baths and are furnished with beautiful antiques and crystal chandeliers. It’s another perfect hotel for a romantic getaway, special anniversary, or honeymoon. Bourbon Street is less than a mile away, so you’ll have the opportunity to see all it has to offer on your trip.
These five hotels are in great proximity to Bourbon Street. Each offers its own unique qualities, so you can decide which is best for your New Orléans vacation.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best Hotels of Hans Christian Andersen's Denmark

Take your family on a magical literary adventure to Copenhagen by staying in hotels near fantastic attractions centering on Hans Christian Andersen. These six hotels are near wonderful attractions that feature the author and his works.

Adina Copenhagen

Image via Flickr by News Orsund
Located near The Little Mermaid, Adina Copenhagen provides easy access to numerous dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Occupancy ranges from studios to two-bedroom apartments. There is plenty of room for your whole family. An indoor pool, sauna, and on-site dining are provided. The Little Mermaid statue is only 12 minutes away.

Hotel Opera

Hotel Opera is the perfect spot for your family. Located in the center of Copenhagen, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest from your daily activities. 91 rooms are available in a wide choice of sizes and styles. There’s an on-site restaurant offering breakfast every day, as well as room service. Nearby attractions include Nyhavn, where Andersen lived for most of his life. It’s a must-see on your literary adventure.

Skt. Petri

Your choice of 268 air-conditioned rooms awaits you at Skt. Petri. Rooms feature mini bars and flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and cable TV. The hotel has a fitness center, restaurant, and coffee shop. You’ll enjoy your continued adventure into the world of Hans Christian Andersen when you visit The Round Tower, less than a mile from the hotel. The Tower features extraordinary views of Copenhagen, including the library where Andersen wrote many of his fairy tales.

Scandic Palace Hotel

If you’re looking for Denmark’s old-world charm but with modern amenities, the Scandic Palace Hotel is perfect for you. Close to the heart of Copenhagen, the hotel combines vintage glamour with a contemporary style, and plenty of comfort. All rooms contain hair dryers, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. The hotel is located near the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House, an interactive museum that guides you through many of the author’s artifacts, including hand-written manuscripts and his study.

Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel

The five-star Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel is not only in close proximity to the airport but to many of Copenhagen’s attractions. The hotel features 382 rooms complete with minibar, flat-screen TVs with cable, and Wi-Fi. Private bathrooms are complete with separate tubs and showers. You’ll have use of a full-service spa, indoor pool, steam room, and fitness center. Nearby is one of Copenhagen’s most popular parks, King’s Garden, where you can view the statue of Hans Christian Andersen.

First Hotel Mayfair

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel near the action in Copenhagen, check out the First Hotel Mayfair. Rooms can accommodate a family of four and provide free Wi-Fi, afternoon tea, coffee, and TVs. You can even request a room with a soaking tub. A little over a mile away lies Kulturcentret Assistens, Hans Christian Andersen’s final resting place. It’s the perfect way to end your literary vacation, by paying respects to this incredible author who provided wonderful fairy tales for readers, both young and old, all over the world.
These six hotels will keep you close to many wonderful sites that pay tribute to Hans Christian Andersen. This trip will be one you’ll never forget.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Checking In

Hello Readers,
As many of you know, 2015 got off to a bumpy start. My grandfather got very sick, and we lost him on January 28. My family was hit hard by the loss of our loving patriarch, and it is of course taking a while to recover. But we are slowly healing and getting back to this wonderful gift called life.
Grandpa and Me SpecialI took a long hiatus from writing while grieving, but I plan to get back to it. I have the third book in The Chosen series to finish editing and publish, and the fourth one to write. I'm sorry to my fans for putting off this project for so long. I know some of you have been patiently waiting for it. I don't want to spoil anything too soon, but be prepared for a cover reveal post sometime in April.
I am feeling  rejuvenated thanks to a wonderful visit to Florida. We had a great time seeing family and friends we haven't seen since our move to Kansas two years ago.

While in Florida, I hit a huge milestone: I turned 40! I can't believe I'm really the big 4-0. I certainly don't feel it!
b-day party
Thanks to all of you for bearing with me and helping me through this. I love you all and cherish our joined love of reading.
- Andi

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 Reading Campaign Check-in

It's hard to believe it's already March. Two whole months have passed since we entered 2015. Two months to get going on your Reading Campaign.
I have to admit, my year has been slow so far. With the loss of my grandfather at the end of January, I've been moving in slow motion. But now I'm ready to start going again, and plan to do some heavy reading to make up for my time.
I've read two books so far
The Fault in our Stars in January
This was an incredible book, and one of the best I've read in a long time, in way of story and dialogue. I loved the characters and the way they interacted with each other. They were going through a lot, and fighting for their lives while preparing to die at the same time, yet kept up that special attitude that only teenagers can display. What an incredible book! Now I know why it's so popular. Also, I believe I contributed to the Kleenex company for several days after.
The Book Thief in February
Another tear-jerker. I've heard the story of the Holocaust my whole life due to my Jewish heritage, but never from the German point of view. What an incredible insight the author presented, especially through the eyes of a child. I know there were sympathetic Germans, and many took in survivors and hid them, but to read the journey of one family who did such was a wonderful experience. The story was very emotional and heartfelt.
One thing I discovered from reading these books back-to-back is that I need a break from emotional reads. I need to break them up with fun stories in between. So I'll be reading two of Tonya Kappes' Magical Cure books and The DUFF this month. If you'd like to join me in reading and discussing The DUFF, join the Indie YA Wolves Book Club on Facebook. We'd love to have you!

What book experiences have you had so far this year? Let me know in the comments.
Happy reading!