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Freeways to Flip-Flops



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Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of gutsy Living on a Tropical Island won the GOLD Medal for MEMOIRS at the READERS FAVORITE AWARDS.

November 22nd, 2014 AWARDS CEREMONY in Miami, FL

Here is a link to my 5 Star Review. 


My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, is a GOLD MEDAL WINNER in the Anthologies category.


Click on photo to see E-Lit Results Page


My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, is a FINALIST at the 2014 International Book Awards.

International Book Awards Finalist 2014

My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, is a WINNER at the 2014 Paris Book Festival.


Paris bookfestival

My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, has been named a 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Silver Honoree Winner.

Benjamin Franklin Awards

Readers Favorite Awards download


  • E-Lit Awards 2013  Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, received 1st Place, and a Gold Medal in the “Autobiography/Memoir” category of the 2012 E-lit Awards. It also received a Silver Medal, in the “Travel Essay” category of the E-lit Awards


“The fourth annual eLit Awards are a global awards program committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment.”

  • 2013 Paris Book Festival, Freeways to Flip-Flops received an honorable mention under Biography/Autobiography

  • Book Cover Award-Nonfiction-Apr-2013-plaquee-Book Cover Design Award Winner for April 2013 in Nonfiction

“Just the right kind of cover for a lighthearted family adventure. I love the way the designer has used all the tools at her disposal, from type styles to color to the framing device that focuses us on the message the book has to deliver. A clear bulls-eye for this genre, delightful.” Joel Friedlander, The Book

Praise for Freeways to Flip-Flops

“Sonia Marsh and her family give new meaning to the term “flipping out!”  Sombreros off to them for showing us the roads less traveled can often be the most rewarding — even when our trips don’t go as planned.”

 — Franz Wisner, New York Times bestselling author of Honeymoon with My Brother and How the World Makes Love


If you’re dreaming of escaping to a tropical island, or to any foreign land, don’t miss Sonia Marsh’s candid and vivid recounting of the ups and downs of life abroad. Part adventure tale, part romance, part family saga and part travel guide, Freeways to Flip-Flops is a memoir that reads like a novel.

–Lan Sluder (Easy Belize, Fodor’s Belize, Living Abroad in Belize)


In her revealing memoir, Sonia Marsh invites us along as she and her family leave the Southern California rat race for what they hope will be a more satisfying existence in Belize. Sonia and her family bounce between disillusionment and joy as they learn that island life is more complicated than anticipated.  In the end, Sonia realizes that paradise isn’t a place – it’s a state of mind. I loved the story and Sonia’s courage in telling it.”

–Susan Pohlman, author of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought our Family Home


Sonia Marsh’s Freeways to Flip-Flops isn’t just a page turner about an American family that takes off for a tropical island adventure.  It’s a fascinating exploration of how complicated relationships can be within a family, between friends, and across cultures. In her astonishingly honest memoir, Sonia recounts the family crisis that compelled her to take the risk, and the less than idyllic Caribbean life that followed. As Sonia draws you into her story, you’ll root for the family at every high and low, finally cheering that even though the adventure didn’t end as she had hoped, Sonia brought back the ultimate treasure: a healthy family that cherishes each other.

–Rebecca Ramsey, author of French by Heart



  “A book that reads like a breath of fresh air–a tale of love, courage, and laughter and the strength of family bonds despite enormous pressures.”

–Lynnete Brasfield, author of Nature Lessons



“Have you ever dreamt of changing your life with one dramatic decision? How many of us have contemplated leaving it all behind and moving to paradise? Sonia Marsh is one of the few who have risked everything to make that dramatic change in order to save her family from falling apart. With great candor, she bares her heart and soul, and deep concern for her family’s issues that compelled their move from Orange County, CA (center of the materialistic world) to a rustic beach house in the developing third-world country of Belize. The unexpected surprises, trials, and tribulations of such a dramatic change are told with drama and wit. Freeways to flip-flops engages the reader immediately and tells the adventure with short, easy to read vignettes which compel turning of the page to delight in the next story. Marsh’s final conclusion that “Paradise is a state of mind,” encourages others to seek adventure, but to know that happiness is only found within. Highly recommended for anyone considering, or simply dreaming about leaving it all behind.”

–Larry Jacobson, Award-winning author of The Boy Behind the Gate, a six-year odyssey of sailing around the world




Feels like I’ve been to Belize after reading this intriguing tale. Freeways to Flip-Flops is a desperate attempt to reconnect a torn family by seeking paradise in the third world, a gutsy move with school-age kids immersed in the flashy lifestyle of Orange County, California. I loved every scene and am grateful the author kept a detailed journal of her experience. Brilliant story, wonderful writing.

–Jason Matthews, author of novels and how-to guides for self publishing,



Testimonials and Reviews
  • Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards Review.

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

  • Structure and Organization: 5
  • Grammar: 4
  • Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
  • Plot (if applicable): 4
  • Character Development (if applicable): 5

Judges Commentary*: Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards”


Everything about this book is extremely professional.  The writing, the cover design, the reviews, “it could compete with any trade paperback offering from Big Publishing.  The subject matter of a family chucking it all to move to a Caribbean island is compelling; who hasn’t dreamed of escaping to a tropical paradise when things get tough?  But as author Sonia Marsh points out, the reality is quite different.  Not only do she, her husband and three teenage sons face mental and emotional challenges but they must deal with physical danger and deception as well.

As Marsh’s page-turning memoir reveals, not everything is as picture perfect as the ocean views of Belize. They face betrayals by fellow islanders, money losses and other setbacks and move back to Orange County after a year.  Their sons, the oldest of whom was headed for trouble at the book’s start, triumph and go onto successful college and military careers.

This author knows her stuff and has a great social network and Web presence.  The only issue might be the over interpretation of the impact of the Belize year on her sons’ adult decisions (many children go onto succeed despite such in-depth parental intervention).Otherwise, FREEWAYS TO FLIP-FLOPS is outstanding in its class.

*Commentary may be quoted as: “Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards”


“This book is a highly recommended read. At the very least, it will help you to take a long, hard look at your own life and question what adventures lie out there if you are only prepared to take a step out of your comfort zone.”

  • WomanSage in Costa Mesa, CA on 4/9/13

“You were sensational last night! You had the WomanSage group riveted with your delightful tales and excellent and humorous delivery.

I loved how conversational and natural you were. You were enjoying the telling as much as we were enjoying the hearing. Excellent flow and you looked marvelous.”

Donna L. Friess, Ph.D., author of Cry The Darkness: One Woman’s Triumph Over the Tragedy of Incest (HCI, 1993), appeared on Oprah and other television and radio shows, and newspaper headlines in the U.S., and abroad


  • Bank of Books in Malibu on 2/9/13
“Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to make your signing/presentation an interesting and entertaining event! Customers are talking about how informative it was! Everyone loved it!”– Kim, Bank of Books