A to Z

The Manakin

I found Michael Jackson in the jungles of Costa Rica!… but he was in bird form. You’ll see a little later on. Now, let’s look at some manakins. 

atching the Red capped Manakin dancing around reminds me Michael Jackson moonwalk. You guys have to see it! . . . . #kings_birds

Image: The Red-Capped Manakin

🐦 Manakin is the common name given to about 60 species of small, passerine birds that can be found in Paraguay, northern Argentina, southern Mexico, southern Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago. 

🐦 The name “manakin” comes from the Middle Dutch mannekijn, or “little man”.

The blue manakin or swallow-tailed manakin (Chiroxiphia caudata) is a small species of bird in the fairly Pipridae. It is found mainly involved the Atlantic Forest of south-eastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and far north-eastern Argentina. Its typical habitat is wet lowland or montane forest and heavily degraded former forest.

Image: The Blue Manakin

🐦 Red-capped manakin males perform a “moonwalk” where they slide up and down a branch and show off their bright yellow thighs to approaching females.

🐦 The Blue Manakin male is the bluest to the plumage while the female is duller and greenish overall. The Blue Manakin is a poster bird for the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazilian.

Golden-headed Manakin Pipra erythrocephala

Image: The Golden-headed Manakin

🐦 The male Golden-headed Manakin is difficult to find, however, they can be seen around male display sites where they gather to display for females.

🎶 Birdie Jean is not my lover, ow! She’s just a bird, who claims I am the one…🎶

The Red Capped Manakin aka “Moonwalking Bird” has the best courting dance ever! They do the “moonwalk” completed with wings slapping the legs and slides to attract the ladies during breeding season. Watch these natural-born thrillers moves via One UnconditionalLove:

Images: Pinterest

Reference/s: insider.si.edu; manakinsrcn.org; YouTube

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Related

The Anhinga

The Blood Pheasant

The Crane

The Duck

The Eagle

The Flightless Birds

The Gulls

The Hoopoe

The Imperial Shag

The Jays

The Kiskadee

The Lorikeet and the Lory

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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A to Z

The Kiskadee!

Of ALL the birds in the world, the kiskadee is my absolute favorite. I recall the Republic Reader that we had to read for school contained a poem about the kiskadee by Olga Comma-Maynard. Here is a snippet: 

I know you by your yellow vest
You little keskidee
That suits so well that clean brown coat
That cling so close to thee

The little ring upon your head
That forms a little hat
Why if you stood with all the other birds
I would know you just by that

The Great Kiskadee is the coolest bird ever and I’m thankful that I get to see them every day. As a matter of fact, as I write this post,  a few of them are outside my window being their noisy, beautiful selves. 

Great Kiskadee - Ian Davies

Image: The Great Kiskadee © Ian Davies

🐦 The Great Kiskadee is named after it’s 3 syllable call. They’re one of the largest – and not to mention boisterous – members of the tyrant flycatcher family.

🐦 Kiskadees are known for their bold behavior like a Jay and can be quite cunning. They’re known to chase larger animals (such as snakes and monkeys) that attempt to raid their nests.

Photographic Print: Greater Kiskadee by Ken Archer : 24x16in

Image: Greater Kiskadee by Ken Archer

🐦 Kiskadees are natural adapters. Despite environmental changes, they can survive on a variety of food. However, they’re not too fond of mangoes, but will indulge in ripe bananas.

🐦 Although it’s the best known bird here (Trinidad), it is not normally found in the sister isle of Tobago.

Great Kiskadee in a Fedora

Image: Great Kiskadee in a Fedora by mainandvine.com

🐦 Kiskadees are monogamous, meaning that they only have one mate. 

The call of the kiskadee is loud and vivacious. They always seem to be asking “Où est-tu?” (French for “Where are you?”). Here is a video by Birdfun in which you can clearly hear the bird’s beautiful call.

 

Images: Pinterest; Google Search

Reference/s: allaboutbirds.org; ttnaturelink.com; YouTube

Flowers Floral Roses - Free image on Pixabay

Related

The Anhinga

The Blood Pheasant

The Crane

The Duck

The Eagle

The Flightless Birds

The Gulls

The Hoopoe

The Imperial Shag

The Jays

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

A to Z

The Anhinga

Yay! I can finally start this new A to Z challenge! I’ve been looking forward to bringing more of God’s beautiful and marvelous creation to this blog. Today, we look at the Anhinga bird. I won’t write too much information, just what I deem interesting. 😃

An Anhinga dries its wings in the early morning sun at the Venice Rookery, Florida.

🐦 The name Anhinga comes from the Tupi Indians in Brazil from a Tupi word which means “snake-bird”, “devil bird” or “evil spirit of the woods.”

🐦 Because of its distinctive shape, the Anhinga is sometimes called “snake bird” for its long snakelike flexible neck (this was actually the first feature I noticed in this bird) and “water turkey” for its turkeylike tail. It is also sometimes called the American darter. I’ll just call it a “snake turkey” bird.

🐦 Anhingas feast primarily on fish, but their diet can also include aquatic crustaceans and insects. 

🐦 They resemble cormorants, but they’re no match for the cormorants when it comes to swimming and hunting.

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Image: The Cormorant

🐦 Species of Anhingas can be found all over the world including the United States, Grenada, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago. They usually live in sheltered waters.

🐦 Additional fun fact: The Anhinga swims lower in the water than many other birds due to its reduced buoyancy-a result of wetted plumage and dense bones. (via allaboutbirds.org)

12 Fascinating Bird Behaviors From the 2018 Audubon Photography Awards | Audubon

Learn more about this fascinating bird here:

Images: Pinterest and Mark Thomas/Audubon Photography Awards

Reference/s: allaboutbirds.org; animaldiversity.org; YouTube

GIF: Google Search

Trinidad & Tobago 💙

My first trip to Tobago 🇹🇹

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I’ve been behind in writing posts, scheduling, and reading blogs lately. I’ve had some posts backed up in drafts for months now that need editing or dumping, so I’ll try to get to that soon. 

Anyways, this post is about my trip to Tobago, so allow me to introduce the sister isle.

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Mabrika!!

(In the language of one of Tobago’s original Amerindian tribes, welcome)

Tobago is known as the twin island state of Trinidad. Yeah, we (Trinidad) have a twin. But we’re (Trinidad) still the better-looking twin! Okay, that was childish. Tobago is the smaller of the twin-island state and was once home to an Amerindian community before Christopher Columbus’s claims about “discovering” the island. I am certain that the Caribs did not report it missing! 

Daniel Defoe was inspired to write “Robinson Crusoe” after reading a sales pamphlet on Tobago and to this day, the island is known as Crusoe’s Isle. 

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The island is home to 123 varieties of butterflies and 200 species of birds. It has one of the most beautiful drives with some of the beach vantage points in the world. If you’re into marine activities, Tobago encourages you to indulge in diving, glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling, wind-surfing, and even kite-boarding. 

Behind every landmark is rich in history, but if I start talking about the Dutch, the British, the Courlanders/Kerlanders (modern-day Latvia) and of course, the French, we’ll be here all day, so if you’re looking for a scenic adventure, visit Tobago today.

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I’ll try to be short. I’ll also try to post a lot of photos!

On the morning of departure (May 31st, 2018), I was up early for I was excited. However, what was supposed to be a midday departure by boat turned into after 1 PM. We were greeted by boring Elvis Presley music and after everyone was on board and the safety announcement was made, Mission: Impossible III came on and as Ethan Matthew Hunt graced the screen with his presence, I was like, “How did they know I was boarding the boat today?!”😁I did not watch the movie, though. I was more focused on the sights before me and silently communicating with God. 

When the boat docked in the port of Scarborough, I just wanted to sleep as it was nearing evening. However, when I got to Sandy Point Beach Club, I didn’t bother to settle in right away. I went for a walk with my sister, took a photo of the remnant of the sunset…

…and then relaxed in the pool. It’s a pity I can’t swim! 😔The next day, we went driving around for a little bit…

…and squeezed in a visit to Fort Milford:

And later that day, we visited Pigeon Point:

That night, we wanted to go out for ice cream and what do you know! At the very end of the street which we stayed on was a homemade ice cream shop and the lady made some of the best ice-cream I’ve ever tasted especially the rice flavor! I could still taste the ice cream. Yum! So we made a mini nightly ritual of going for the tasty treat.

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On our last day, we explored the countryside. We couldn’t do Nylon Pool, but there’s always next time. But I was excited about Parlatuvier Bay for I’ve always wanted to see it up close in person and I was not disappointed at all.

Tobago is panoramic, scenic, and colorful. The locals are helpful and welcoming. You can walk the streets any hour of the night and no one would bat an eye. Tobago embraces you and gets you to live in the moment. She gives you peace of mind. 

As I end here, I am already packing for the next trip (in my mind). I hope to explore Tobago next time with my bestie for I missed having her with me. Everywhere I went, I thought of her and I know she would’ve appreciated the beautiful scenery! 

***GIF & separator via Google Search

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #139-#141: Just more books

Although I haven’t been reviewing many books lately, I’ve been reading up a storm. Watching my TBR go down is satisfying although I wish I had all the time in the world to sit and read more. Anyway, here are a few books I might have liked or disliked. 😉

Book #139: Never Coming Home by A.R. Wise

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Moving away from traditional publishing is good for many authors out here today, but this book was lazily formatted. CreateSpace has formatted templates, so I was surprised that the author didn’t use one of those. By the way, is CreateSpace still a thing?

This story was okayish, but I was not thrilled about the writing or the characters for that matter. When I first met Lincoln Pierre (the main protagonist), he came off as a humorous fool and he immediately reminded me of Rick Castle. *Ponders* Come to think of it, I wonder if the author is a Castle fan?

Image result for gif castle I didn’t get a good feel of Lincoln in the physical sense. I can’t recall the color of his eyes (was it even mentioned?) and I certainly couldn’t tell if he was blonde or a salt and pepper. As for the ending, it was not a surprise for me and if you look hard enough, the murderer is mentioned at the beginning of the book. 

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This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s gory when it doesn’t necessarily have to, but since Mystery and Thriller authors are trying to out-gore each other, why not huh? 

My favorite character was Bentley, although at times his character was kind of unbelievable given his young age. I thought he was the best overall. love coffeelove coffee

Book #140: The Pursuit of Justice by Ben Matthews

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The author is a Lawyer, but yet, somehow, he wrote this book like a rookie lawyer. Maybe that’s what he was going for given that his protagonist Raymond Jackson just happens to be just that, a rookie lawyer. 

I like the courtroom drama although there weren’t much in this story. I like Raymond Jackson a lot, but it was a turn-off with his bed-hopping ways. No matter how hard I tried, I never got a proper image of his face. He could’ve been brunette, redhead, blonde or Tom Cruise. 

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The dialogue and interaction were great!

What I dislike is the sudden and abrupt ending. It didn’t feel like a promised cliffhanger. It felt as if the story was still in the middle when the author decided that he had enough and hastily wrote ‘The End’. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #141: Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth

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Trinidad is a wonderful place, Celia. Everyone who lives here can’t wait to leave. But once they go – to England or Canada or the U.S., they spend their whole lives trying to get back.”

This story starts off slow, but eventually picks up. By the end of it, one cannot help but moan, ‘Poor poor Celia!’ The world seems to be against her since she was born, but she brought it on herself with the actions taken.

This story was easy to read. It was set in Trinidad and Tobago, and the places that the author listed read like a must-visit list. However, I was not a big fan of the plot and the so-call heroine. There is no growth in the 3 years that we follow Celia. West Indian stories have that recurring rape element and this one was no different. I honestly have to say that I dislike Caribbean literature. 99.9% of it leaves the reader depressed because the writer can’t seem to search within him/herself to write something uplifting or simply fun.Image result for gif i'm depressed

Take this heroine, for example, Celia is a bright young thing on track for a university, but then she is raped, and although she is commended for leaving home, the mood shifts to how attractive Celia is, her beautiful skin and lovely hair. Her well being (health & mental) are never touched on again. The author reduced the heroine to rubble: Celia now exits to only serve the men who desire her.

Also, the author mentioned ‘the seventh grade’ which should’ve been 5th standard. We’ve never used the Grade system locally.  This book does not belong on anyone’s bookshelf and I’m glad I did not pay for it. love coffeelove coffee

Books & Reviews 📚, Trinidad & Tobago 💙

Books #122-#124: Patterson, history and something cozy

Trying to read around the World Cup is proving to be doable. Also, I’ve acquired tons of new books and I am itching to read them, but I must finish at least another third of my TBR. I know I said that I was going to get around to doing some tags, but it’s highly unlikely at the moment. When the tournament winds down a little, I’ll get to them. 

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But I’m immune to coffee so let’s do some reviews. 😄

Book #122: The Murder House by James Patterson

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I am skeptical of characters called Noah. This one got a pass for his Matthew McConaughey hair. Wait, does Mc C even have nice hair? However, there was no need for the crucifixion reference on page 158 so I took away a coffee for that.

This book was peppered with too many F-bombs and Detective Jenna Murphy got her Irish up too many times.  I don’t think the book was particularly great. David Ellis could’ve done better and JP could’ve looked at the work before slapping his name on the cover. 1/5.

Book #123: Historic Landmarks of Port of Spain by Michael Anthony

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Although Spanish, POS has more of a French touch.

Imagine a Port of Spain in which trams ran and where horses were ridden into town. This is the POS that I wished I had known! Trinidad became an independent nation in 1962 and over the years, they’ve grown into their independence. 

This book covers the Great Fire of POS, however, POS was gutted by lots of fire over the years. It covers famous landmarks such as Woodford Square, the beautiful Magnificent Seven buildings, Globe Cinema and the Treasury Building. My utmost favorite part of POS is the Maraval area given that it’s rich in French history.

The book is divided into 10 parts so it is easy to navigate and the pictures are beautiful! 

A FEW HISTORICAL NOTES:

^ The 31-metre (103-foot) Colonial Life building on lower St Vincent Street was our first ‘skyscraper’. It was opened in 1954.

^ Fort Picton was built in 1803 on the Laventille Hill, but it was never used to defend POS.

^ The Church of the Holy Rosary is POS’s most outstanding example of late Victorian Gothic architecture. 

^ The Lapeyrouse Cemetery is on part of an old sugar estate established by Picot de Lapeyrouse after arriving from Grenada to Trinidad.

Matt-Damon-Good-Will-Hunting-Cheering-Happy

#Yay4History

The book was a 6/5 for me. 

Book #124: Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

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Okay, first, I want to look at this bit in the plot summary:

The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

This was one big lie. Although one can tell that he is indeed smitten with his ex, Thomas did not flirt deliciously with Juliet and Juliet did not want to have any type of cake and eat it too because she was married to Carlos. These two characters have no sort of chemistry. Thomas is her ex-high school sweetheart and she is married. It doesn’t matter if she left her job on the ship because she had some problems with her Catalan husband, but she is married and she does nothing to state otherwise. She does not have any fantasy thoughts about Thomas and he doesn’t try to kiss her or touch her at any point during my speed reading.

That out of the way, this story is a tribute to Shakespeare *rolls eyes* and I think authors need to stop riding on the backs of old authors for attention. I am no fan of Shakespeare, but I read it anyway. To write a cozy mystery, you’ll need a small town (fictional if possible) where everyone knows your name.

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The town is Ashland, Oregan and everyone knows Juliet Capshaw’s name. 

The story starts off slow and eventually builds, but then it was back to slow again bordering on boring because most of the book was spent cooking. You know? Adding an ingredient to this, mixing things, pouring things, baking things! And when Jules isn’t baking, she is accusing EVERYONE of murder when she could’ve asked me for when I read the very first chapter I knew exactly who the murderer was no matter how hard the author tried to throw me off the train. So let us recap shall we?:

* Everyone in this story moonlights as a theatre actor even Thomas!

* Too much talking and showing how to bake or cook fancy dishes; less mystery.

* This line: The man in black had to be a man. (Page 170) I don’t like it. ‘Person’ would’ve been a better fit. I laughed out loud because like I said, Ellie tried her hardest to throw me off the train. 

* This fool (Juliet) never locks the door to the bakeshop.

* The “Romeo & Juliet” reference. Know what? One day, I’m going to sit down and read some of this man call Shakespeare’s work and see what the hype was all about. Solomon was a better writer, of this, I am certain.

* It was annoying whenever Jules asked her mom about Torte (the name of the bakeshop) financially, someone/thing cut in avoiding the reply. This went on for about a million or so chapters. Also, Jules teased about why she left her husband Carlos for the entire book. Of course, it’s only natural for the reader to think that cheating was involved when she talked about letters she found and declined to elaborate further until the dying chapters. It turns out that Carlos had a son who was writing to him and he didn’t tell her and when she found the letters, she left him. I could understand why she left, but I thought it was selfish. As his wife, she should’ve stayed and listened to what his reason was behind in not telling her about his son. 

2/5. I am beginning to think that maybe Cozy Mystery is not for me. 

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Books & Reviews 📚

Books #117-#120: sucky YAs

I sometimes wonder about the lifetime of books I’ve read thus far – both good and bad. Like, have I read a thousand books or more? Maybe the number is around 800 or less? How many books I loved? For lately, it doesn’t seem that I love many. 

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Eh, that’s enough musing for now. I am having fun catching up on your blogs, but I took a little break to do a couple of books reviews. 

Book #117: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

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A story about searching for yourself, clawing your way out of the dark abyss and finally coming to terms with who you truly are and how a disability does not set us back, especially where love is concerned. It is also about believing in one’s self.

Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be about, but I wanted to read it because… LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER! That is cover goals to the max and I can’t resist an interracial pairing. The story (a retelling of The Little Mermaid) and characters… eh!

We have Christian, a charming womanizing playboy with a father who takes him for granted. If daddy says to jump, he’ll jump. But he is quite arrogant and cheeky and I did not warm up to him. Elyse is a Trinbagonian (the other reason I wanted to read this book is that of my island representation!) who lost her voice in an accident and heavily laid the blame on her twin sister for taking it away, although the twin (Natalie) actually saved her life. So. Ungrateful. Once, a gifted performer, she now has to take a back seat and watch as other people live the life she always dreamed of, given that she has no Plan B.

The author did not do a great job at capturing Tobago and Tobagonians. The authenticity was missing and it just did not sit well with me. If you’re going to do a book right, do your research. Aside from that, there is Sebastian “embracing and showcasing his personal truth!” I mean, come on! He’s only SIX YEARS OLD! How does a child who has an interest in chasing mermaids jump to thinking that he is in the wrong gender and wants to dress like a female? Political agenda much, Miss author? 

However, the writing was good, so 2/5.

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Book #118: I’ll Give You the Sun by  Jandy Nelson Image result for Book #118: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

When I read the blurb for this book via Amazon, I thought I’d give it a chance, and boy did I ever regret doing so! I did not like this book. Nothing about this book was amazing. The so-call chapters were too long and it was a put-off. It tortured me until I started skimming eager to get it over and done with all the while gritting my teeth and humming Daniel Beddingfield’s ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ in my head.

I don’t like the implied Biblical references. Jude is named after a Saint, Noah (Noah and the Ark), Jude relies on Grandma Sweetwine’s ‘bible’ for advice because she probably doesn’t believe in the Holy Bible. I wish the author would’ve left God out of it. An English character cursed in a church, Jude calls God ‘Clark Gable’ because her dead boring useless Grandma used to address Him as if He is a figment of her imagination. And I thought Yash Chopra had issues with God! I disliked the blasphemy and at one point, I wonder if the author was projecting her anger onto God because she is an atheist. Not saying she is, but that’s what it felt like. Like an atheist wrote this book.

The book was slow and boring and failed to hold my attention. The dialogue was no better. Whenever Grandma Sweetwine spoke, she spoke like a child. I did not get old womanly vibes from her. AND OH, THE PROFANITIES!! Then we have this…

“Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices.”

“I breathe in dramatically. Jude breathes in dramatically. Everyone in California, the United States, on Earth, breathes in dramatically.”

We get it! EVERYONE breathed in dramatically. Heck! Even Batman and Superman must’ve breathed in dramatically! I can’t rate this book. I’ll Give You the Nothing.

Fail

Book #119: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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YumYums. 

Fries obsession.

Saint Bathilda, patron saint of the children.

An abandoned carousel in the woods.

Loopholes.

Loopholes.

It was fast.

It was slow.

It was in-between.

It was meh.

Like what happened to Margaret and Jenn after Jenn’s birthday party? Did Chris even like Jenn? I felt nauseated almost after every page because everyone was pigging out in this story. Adults and teenagers alike were always shoving something in their mouth.

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The story didn’t exactly knock the socks off my feet. It felt like déjà vu. Like I’ve read this story somewhere already before. The characters were mediocre, but sometimes we need them, though they did nothing for me in this story. The dialogue was rubbish and I wonder if the author has family issues.

The ending was quite disappointing. 2/5.

Book #120: Paper Towns by John Green

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The name of the novel could’ve easily been called Margo Ruth Spiegalman, the girl Quentin was pining after. Since the beginning of the story, I’ve been acquainted with the name and it was beginning to wear out by the time I reached the third chapter.

Q and Margo have two things in common: hatred/jealousy and the tendency to annoy. They set out on this night trip to take revenge on Margo’s boyfriend who was cheating on her. They participated in vandalism, breaking and entering of people’s homes and even SeaWorld. Margo is an airhead. I started speed reading soon after Part 1, but I just couldn’t finish.

There is nothing magnificently adventurous about Margo. This was a waste of ink and paper. I did not feel a connection with any characters. Q was too dense, his friends weren’t any better and Margo was too self-absorbed and selfish. Marcus AKA Radar was sort of my favorite character. His eccentric parents were pretty weird, though! They collected black Santas. Giving characters annoying quirks is not a substitute for character development. It’s plain lazy writing.

Terrible book, idiot dialogue, thin plot, no character development. I won’t read another book by this author. 

Those horrible books out of the way, let’s hope I find some treasures in the heap of books waiting to be read this summer!

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Trinidad & Tobago 💙

Vote Trinidad and Tobago for Best Caribbean Travel Blog Post! 🇹🇹

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Good morning, fellow bloggers. I have a request to ask of you.

The Caribbean Media Awards will be honoring top Caribbean stories and Destination Trinidad and Tobago is up for a nomination!

A shortlist will be announced on May 07th and the winners will be revealed at the Travel Industry Awards Dinner on Thursday 7 June 2018, during Caribbean Week New York.

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The article is called 16 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Travel to Trinidad and TobagoDon’t worry, it’s all ‘tongue n cheek’. They’re actually 16 wonderful reasons to visit our beautiful island. You can vote here:

Best Caribbean Travel Blog2018

Oh, one more thing: you must have an account on Facebook to vote. We’re currently at #2 with 501 votes. Thank you for your votes. 😄

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