03 February 2018

Saturday Spotlight | Sailing Book Reviews

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about our eccentric travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.


Today, I'm featuring reviews of three sailing-related books. Two were written by fellow members of the Women Who Sail Facebook group - Jackie Parry and Daria Blackwell -  and recount their adventures crossing oceans, exploring new countries and cultures, and connecting with fellow cruisers. Chris DiCroce's book is jam-packed with information about the ins and outs of traveling along the Atlantic ICW (intracoastal waterway).


>>This is It<< is a wonderfully well-written memoir of the author's adventures buying a sailboat in San Francisco with her husband, and then sailing it across the Pacific back to their home in Australia. The author has a beautiful voice and way with words which effortlessly draws the reader in and makes them feel like they're part of the adventure. 

During the course of the book, we follow the crew of Pyewacket from San Francisco on the first part of their journey through Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama and then across the Pacific with stops at fascinating places like Pitcairn, the Gambiers, and Suwarrow. The descriptions of the highs and lows of cruising are fascinating. I loved reading about their experiences immersing themselves in local cultures, and the friendships they made with fellow cruisers. There were also times when I was sitting at the edge of my seat with my pulse racing as the author described the treacherous conditions they faced during their journey.

Bonus material is provided at the end of the book with information about buying a boat in a foreign country, the areas where they cruised, and the process of importing a boat into Australia.

This book is far more than a travel memoir about sailing; it helps you understand the restless spirit that drives and inspires people to lead a nomadic life in search of their next adventure. A great read for anyone who is dreaming about cruising, as well as those already out there living the dream. 

>> Find out more about Jackie and her books at Amazon | Website <<


If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to cross the Atlantic on a sailboat and cruise in the Caribbean, then this book is for you. >>The Naked Truth<< reads like a fictional travel memoir with a “murderous” twist.

The two main characters, Xander and Jessica Lynch, are exploring the Canary Islands on their Oyster 47 ketch, Arcadia, when Jessica witnesses a brutal murder. Unfortunately, the murder remains an unsolved mystery when they depart the Canaries and sail to Barbados. Other mysterious events take place during their time in the Caribbean which turn out to have a surprising cause.

This nautical murder mystery is set against the fascinating background of living aboard and cruising on a sailboat. Throughout the book, the reader is treated to descriptions of various Caribbean islands, their people, and history. Different aspects of life aboard a boat are shared in an engaging way – including provisioning, communication on passage, clearing into different countries, the deep connections one forms with fellow cruisers, weather forecasting, seasickness, and watchkeeping. The author also describes Xander and Jessica's desire to write a book on anchoring, something the author and her husband have done in real life.

Whether you're a fellow cruiser or an armchair sailor, >>The Naked Truth<< will be a fascinating read and may inspire adventures of your own.

>> Find out more about Daria and her books at Amazon | Website <<


The author and his wife have traveled up and down the ICW numerous times. He provides his views, based on their experience, on a range of topics including preparing your boat (focusing on what's essential vs. nice-to-have); holding tanks and pumping out; navigation and weather; navigation and charts; currents and tides; bridges; engine issues; dinghies; having a dog onboard; anchoring; connectivity; going aground; and the importance of being courteous to your fellow boater.

As the author states, >>What's Up Ditch!<< isn't meant to be a guidebook or a “how-to-sail” book. Instead, he provides his personal perspective on traveling on the ICW and shares the things that they've learned and the misadventures they've had in order to ease fears and help “nudge” people into exploring this waterway. I enjoyed his humorous, light-hearted approach to the subject matter, which made it feel like he was sharing stories about his experiences over a cold beer at anchor.

This is a great introduction for people who are considering cruising on the ICW. Even if you're an experienced boater and have traveled the ICW before, you're bound to pick up some new insights.

>> Find out more about Chris and his books at Amazon | Website  <<

Note: I won a copy of >>What's Up Ditch<< courtesy of Saving to Sail (a site dedicated to learning how to make money online, while sailing the world) and voluntarily chose to leave an honest review.


Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Have you read a good book lately? One of the best ways you can thank an author is to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. One of my New Year's resolutions is to try and be better about leaving reviews, especially for indie authors.

What books have you been reading lately? Have you read any of the sailing books featured here today? Do you leave book reviews?

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  1. Great boating roundup! Sometimes it is tough to find good boating lifestyle books. Thanks to you, I have read a few Alison Pataki books and a few M.C. Beaton books lately.

  2. I love murder mysteries and that's what I read most of the time. I've not read any of these, but I think I would love your murder mystery.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  3. Let's see. I just finished a post-Civil War novel by Elizabeth Seckman, which I really enjoyed, and now I'm reading a non-fiction about selling books and upping one's ratings on Amazon. It goes into keywords and algorhythms and all that jazz.

    1. I read one of Elizabeth's books - a fun read. All of the stuff that goes into marketing books, like figuring out how Amazon works, is just so overwhelming to me.

    2. Well, it never overwhelmed me before, because I pretty much ignored it. I figured it was time to learn what I'm (supposed to be) doing before my next book comes out. :)

  4. Great suggestions. My brother is a sailing instructor and I'm always trying to figure out what to give him for his birthday and now I have 3 good ideas.

    1. How neat that your brother teaches sailing! He might enjoy one of these books. I'll probably be doing future sailing book reviews as well.

  5. I feel like a little bit of a failure. I'm trying to think how you could design a story around being on a boat and I'm realizing I can't put one together. Might need to find a boat to hang out on for a while. haha

    1. I think hanging out on a boat is definitely the answer :-)

  6. These all sound good, but The Naked Truth especially appeals to me. I considered moving to the Canaries at one point.

    Thanks for the reviews, Ellen!

    1. The Naked Truth is quite interesting. It's not a "typical" murder mystery. Definitely has a twist to it.


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