The Travel Auction

Rated 4.60/5 based on 12 reviews
It should have been their trip of a lifetime. But with just days to go, Jonathan Cork is dumped by his girlfriend. Unable to change the name on the spare ticket and fast running out of time, Jonathan decides to take desperate measures. He advertises on eBay for a travel companion with the same name as his ex. What follows is a funny, page-turning, rollercoaster ride around South America. More

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About Mark Green

Hi there. Thanks for your interest in me and my first eBook: The Travel Auction. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking to think that strangers will be reading my work and forming opinions about it’s worth. Although it’s a work of fiction, the book’s journey through Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil is the same trip I made with my girlfriend Nicky (who is now my wife) in the autumn of 2007.

I’ve always wanted to write, but I struggled academically in my early years. I left school at sixteen to train as an apprentice electrician and with some hard work I ended up with my own project management business. But by the age of thirty-two I became disillusioned with the soulless nature of the construction industry, so I took some time out to pursue my passion for creativity. I enrolled on a Master of Arts degree in screenwriting at Bournemouth University and since graduating I’ve tailored pretty much everything in my life around making time to write.

The idea for The Travel Auction came to me late in the summer of 2006. I’d paid for two airline tickets to visit a friend in Qatar, but found myself minus a girlfriend to accompany me. I tried to change the name on the spare ticket, but it was too near the departure date and the travel company wouldn’t offer a refund. It struck me that I might have an interesting premise for a book or film script.

When I’m not writing or working at several quirky jobs to pay the bills, I like to relax by competing in the high adrenalin sport of Australian surf boat racing.

Thanks for looking me up, I hope you enjoy reading my book. Please consider writing a review – good, bad or indifferent, it’s always useful to know what readers think. If you’d like to get in touch please email me at: md_green@btinternet.com

Reviews

Review by: Leeswammes on July 30, 2013 :
I loved the description of the book and it was as much fun as I’d hoped. The book is a kind of lad-lit / chick-lit, an easy read which is both funny and serious at times.

When Kate doesn’t turn out to be what Jonathan expected, his first reaction is to walk off. While this is not a very polite nor adult way of dealing with the situation, it is certainly believable. And there are many more situations in the story that I found very likely to happen – a good insight from the author. While there were also some unlikely issues, to start with, finding a “new” Kate Thornly on eBay, really?, most of the book was in the realm of the possible.

The book is told alternately from Jonathan and Kate’s perspective. I didn’t like Jonathan a lot. He is rather business-like, sees his trip as something he booked, so he feels he has to go, but his heart doesn’t seem into it. He hasn’t thought out what it will be like to travel with a new, unknown companion. Kate is more likeable, she’s quite independent and and knows how to handle Jonathan, which was fun to see.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – after the initial eBay auction, when Jonathan and Kate have met and are on their way, how could this story still be interesting? But it was. Things happen on the way that made me want to keep reading.

At times, I had a good idea of the (South-American) surroundings, but this definitely wasn’t a travel guide, and the story about Jonathan and Kate took first position, which some of the scenery being described as and when it fitted in the story.

For me, a novel is often interesting whenever both protagonists get the chance to tell their side of the story. This is also true for The Travel Auction. Jonathan writes about Kate, making assumptions, while Kate looks at things very differently. I love that!

In all, a fun and easy-going read about two very different people that learn to travel together and have a good time
with it. Not too good a time, of course, otherwise the book would be rather predictable and boring. Which it isn’t.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Angela Arroliga on June 29, 2013 :
Lovely book which so describes the travel route, one imagines being there on the trail also. Sensitive to the female character's situation, and realistic, in my opinion, having made three trips myself with a person with the same challenge. Great story, I hope to see more from this author.
(review of free book)

Review by: Peggy Briggs Hannah on May 15, 2013 :
Ten Stars, if I could, Mark Green! I felt the adventures of being in South America as much as I felt the growing relationship between Jonny and KT2. Mark Green is someone to watch...and read! Wow! Great read! And, will there be a sequel? I hope so!
(review of free book)

Review by: Marie Drake on Nov. 16, 2012 :
This book is catchy, right from the get go. When dumped by his girlfriend, Kate Thornly, whom he catches in bed with the plumber, Jonathan Cork finds himself in quite a pickle. They had booked a dream vacation, which Kate was supposed to accompany him on and pay him back half the expense. Now she will do neither. So, he needs a new travel companion, someone who is also named Kate Thornly because the tickets could not be changed or used by anyone by any name but Kate Thornly. Jonathan has a nut allergy and needs someone who can administer his injection if he ingests anything he shouldn't. He comes up with a brilliant plan to advertise for a travel partner on ebay, trip of a lifetime, all expenses paid, and lists his requirements.
Kate Thornly the second, a former nurse, is mixed up in the plot by a well meaning and mischievous best friend who answers the ad behind her back. When she finds out what Maria has done, she decides to go with it. Jonathan and Kate meet for the first time and he realizes she is blind. He isn't sure what to do and struggles with his decision a little because he can't imagine a disabled person will be helpful to him on this kind of trip.
He takes a chance on her and the roller coaster ride of laughs and unpredictable situations begins. They travel closely, even sharing the same bed most of the time, and grow to like each other more than either probably thought was possible. There are some bumps in the road that they have to sort out, each revealing parts of their past that weigh them down. In the mean time they enjoy a fantastic trip, and even become fugitives trying to run from the press and celebrity status the ebay auction seemed to bring them.
I completely enjoyed this book. It was interesting and relevant to see the story unfold from both the perspectives of Jonathan and Kate. It was romantic, inspiring, endearing, and real. The places the couple traveled to were described so vividly and beautifully it was almost like being there.
I highly recommend reading it.
I was given an copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Marie Drake on Nov. 16, 2012 :
This book is catchy, right from the get go. When dumped by his girlfriend, Kate Thornly, whom he catches in bed with the plumber, Jonathan Cork finds himself in quite a pickle. They had booked a dream vacation, which Kate was supposed to accompany him on and pay him back half the expense. Now she will do neither. So, he needs a new travel companion, someone who is also named Kate Thornly because the tickets could not be changed or used by anyone by any name but Kate Thornly. Jonathan has a nut allergy and needs someone who can administer his injection if he ingests anything he shouldn't. He comes up with a brilliant plan to advertise for a travel partner on ebay, trip of a lifetime, all expenses paid, and lists his requirements.
Kate Thornly the second, a former nurse, is mixed up in the plot by a well meaning and mischievous best friend who answers the ad behind her back. When she finds out what Maria has done, she decides to go with it. Jonathan and Kate meet for the first time and he realizes she is blind. He isn't sure what to do and struggles with his decision a little because he can't imagine a disabled person will be helpful to him on this kind of trip.
He takes a chance on her and the roller coaster ride of laughs and unpredictable situations begins. They travel closely, even sharing the same bed most of the time, and grow to like each other more than either probably thought was possible. There are some bumps in the road that they have to sort out, each revealing parts of their past that weigh them down. In the mean time they enjoy a fantastic trip, and even become fugitives trying to run from the press and celebrity status the ebay auction seemed to bring them.
I completely enjoyed this book. It was interesting and relevant to see the story unfold from both the perspectives of Jonathan and Kate. It was romantic, inspiring, endearing, and real. The places the couple traveled to were described so vividly and beautifully it was almost like being there.
I highly recommend reading it.
I was given an copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Graham Pike on Nov. 10, 2012 : (no rating)
Johnathan's dream of trip of a lifetime to South America, is thrown into chaos as his girlfriend, Kate Thornly has an affair with the plumber, who was doing some work at his home.

Within days he has to find another Kate Thornly, the airline will not change the name on the airline ticket, so he has an auction on eBay to find another.

Who does he choose? well, with only hours left after meeting her, he has no choice but to take her with him.

The adventure turns into a rollercoaster ride of hilarity, love and sadness rolled into one.

An enjoyable read from start to finish.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Annette Gisby on Oct. 19, 2012 :
I was feeling very under the weather when I started reading this book and it was a perfect pick-me-up. Even with a sore throat and a cold, it was hard to feel miserable while reading of Jonathan and Kate (the second's) adventures in South America.

Jonathan has paid lots of money for his trip of a lifetime, Kate the first was supposed to pay him back, but now that they've split, she's not going and not paying for the trip either. Jonathan has a severe nut allergy which could kill him and he's got a phobia about needles so he needs someone else to administer the adrenaline if he accidentally ingests any nuts. The airline won't let someone else travel on Kate Thornly's ticket, so he sets up an auction on eBay to find another Kate Thornly to go on the trip with him.

The first few bids he gets are hilarious, I was really laughing out loud at the pensioner Kate Thornly who wanted to make sure that she'd be able to draw her pension abroad, and he wonders if he's done the right thing. Of course, it would be a very short book if he didn't pick one of the Kate Thornlys to go with him, so he decides on Kate the second or KT2 as she's referred to later in the book.

It's told in alternating points of view between Kate and Jonathan, both in first person. The banter between them is enjoyable, and they both have quite a bit of baggage with them, although not of the luggage variety. Their pasts are part of who they are and help flesh them out. Both are well-drawn characters and I was impressed how Mr. Green got into the mind of Kate here, she was very believable as a character in her own right, not just there to be a love interest as is the case with some other novels.

The novel is fast paced, with plain, simple writing that makes it easy to sink into. All the places in South America are so well described that it makes you want to pack up and go on your own adventure. Green's love for the places he's visitied (I presume) shines through in the book. It's unpretentious, it's just like being on holiday with two friends.

Does romance blossom between our two intrepid travellers or do they remain friends? You'll just have to read to find out because you don't want to miss any of their adventures or the people they meet along the way.

A wonderful read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Henk-Jan van der Klis on Oct. 16, 2012 :
Only a few days before their trip of a lifetime Jonathan Cork is dumped by his girlfriend Kathy Thornly. Tickets booked and not possible to return. South-America is waiting. With help of his friend Jonathan turns to a very challenging alternative: an eBay advert for a female travel companion. Expenses paid by him, no sex(ual obligations), but one strict criterion: her name must be Kathy Thornly too.
With time running out, it’s a kind of lottery who Jonathan will end up with. Kate Thornly the second, later nicknamed KT2, was brought to the scene by her best friend Maria. Pretending to be an attractive nurse, Jonathan picks just her. What’s left out of the online bid was her visual disability. What follows is a funny rollercoaster trip through South America: hikes, bus trips, flights, a variety of hotels, hostels and Lonely Planet highlights. The Travel Auction is one of the few books this year I read with a smile all the way. Entertaining, mixing adventure, relationship development, growing tension s and a jealous bunch of (ex-)friends and press, all wanting their share of The eBay Couple. II’ll share no more details here, but recommend you to enjoy this book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kimmie Thomas on Oct. 12, 2012 : (no rating)
After being dumped by his long time girlfriend, Jonathan Cork has to find someone else with the same name as his ex-girlfriend to go with him on a three month trip to South America. After sifting through hundreds of possible candidates named Kate Thornly, he finely finds the perfect one. But once they finally meet he discovers that he has been dooped.

Taking a chance he decides to give it a go with the replacement Kate. Their trip has many ups and downs, but each of them discovers truths about themselves that they could have only learned from each other. As with any good story there are skeletons each of their closets. Will they end their trips as good friends or passionate lovers?

The main characters are funny and believable. It is obvious that the author has visited all the place Jonathan and Kate travel to in this novel. His descriptions are very vivid and compelling. I now want to go to Peru more than ever.

I didn't like the pace of the story. It could have moved along a bit faster for my taste. The story is told from Jonathan and Kate's point of view in first person alternating throughout the story. This made it a bit confusing at times, especially during the dialogue.

I gave this story four stars. I enjoyed the story and found myself laughing often. This is an odd but beautiful love story with a unusual ending. Here is an Indie author to watch.

This book given free for review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: s wilson-devane on Oct. 02, 2012 :
This book is as light-hearted as its short description depicts, but with a totally surprising grip that means you cant put it down.
The adventure sucks you in, makes you laugh (out loud in places), has a satisfying balance of adventure, hardship, romance and arguments where the characters are depicted with such a real portrayal of life's paradoxes that the larger than life adventures are kept grounded.
The writer's style is an unpretentious easy read, and the narrative switches between the perspectives of the characters creating a very engaging book that creates empathy with each character. How on earth did a bloke write so well about what a woman thinks?
The biggest surprise for me in this book was the way it shifted my perspective on what it might really be like to live with a disability or disease (as society would brand those issues addressed), and how actually people living with these conditions are is some respects more able. I was so engaged in the action, it didn't realise my shift until afterwards.
I'd really like to hear a review from someone living with the conditions portrayed in this book, to know if this depiction resonates with them...

Highly recommend this for a good giggle and for the surprising extra of opening your mind.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: s wilson-devane on Oct. 02, 2012 :
This book is as light-hearted as its short description depicts, but with a totally surprising grip that means you cant put it down.
The adventure sucks you in, makes you laugh (out loud in places), has a satisfying balance of adventure, hardship, romance and arguments where the characters are depicted with such a real portrayal of life's paradoxes that the larger than life adventures are kept grounded.
The writer's style is an unpretentious easy read, and the narrative switches between the perspectives of the characters creating a very engaging book that creates empathy with each character. How on earth did a bloke write so well about what a woman thinks?
The biggest surprise for me in this book was the way it shifted my perspective on what it might really be like to live with a disability or disease (as society would brand those issues addressed), and how actually people living with these conditions are is some respects more able. I was so engaged in the action, it didn't realise my shift until afterwards.
I'd really like to hear a review from someone living with the conditions portrayed in this book, to know if this depiction resonates with them...

Highly recommend this for a good giggle and for the surprising extra of opening your mind.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Andrew Cox on Sep. 19, 2012 :
Just come back from a week's holiday and this was something I downloaded on my Kindle beforehand.

Not a regular Rom Com reader but having enjoyed a previous trip around S America (Peru and Inca trail) I was intrigued by the context in which the story played out. The book is a light-hearted, easy read and I breezed through it in a couple of days. It doesn't claim any literary pretensions and I wasn't looking for any. Instead, I got exactly what the book said on the fly-leaf - a page-turning romp about two contrasting individuals thrown together in unusual circumstances (somewhat implausible but hey a story can involve a degree of suspension of belief.)

It's never less than entertaining with a couple of laugh out loud moments. Perfect reading for the beach towel.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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