Tag: Travel

Book Review: Three Quick Non Fiction Reviews

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres – Sandra Morris – Walker Books Australia – Published 17 February 2021




In the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, animals deal with changing seasons in various ways. Whichever hemisphere they live in, they need to be able to read the sign of the changing seasons to survive. This beautiful nonfiction picture book tells the tale of life for some of the planets most-loved animals and what they’re up to throughout the year. Each spread contrasts, month-by-month, some of the world’s most-loved Northern and Southern Hemisphere animals. North and South marks a beautiful and engaging introduction to the natural world and conservation for young readers, with in-depth facts throughout and a full index and glossary adding interest for older readers.

My thoughts

Beautifully illustrated, North & South introduces the concept of hemispheres and how this dictates our seasons. The book then displays a page for every month, one side for the Northern Hemisphere season and the other side of the page for the Southern Hemisphere. Each month features two animals, again one for the Northern Hemisphere and the other for the Southern Hemisphere. The book shares the similarities and the differences between the two animals that live across the world from each other. Conservation status, maps that show their locations and beautiful illustrations and endpapers bring these facts to life for young readers as they learn about the amazing creatures of the world.

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Book Review: Field Notes on Love

Field Notes on Love – Jennifer E. Smith – Delacorte Press – Published March 5 2019




Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.

When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?

My thoughts

Okay, I loved every bit of this cheery, fun, train-riding, sweet-kisses story. Field Notes on Love is about growing up and deciding who you want to be, about finding where and with whom you belong, and it’s about falling in love and enjoying the ride. It’s sweet, romance and utterly delectable.

The last thing Hugo expects just before he and his girlfriend depart on a trip across the US is to be dumped. But that’s exactly what happens. And it turns out her parting gift, the tickets for the trip, are all in her name, non-transferable. So Hugo, with a little help from his five siblings, creates an ad for a Margaret Campbell to join him on his journey. For Mae, the ad looking for someone with her name to share a train trip seems the perfect opportunity to get away from the rejection of not getting into the film program at college. Hugo and Mae aren’t looking for love – they’re not really even looking for friendship. But it’s hard to ignore the deepening connection between them. But if life is pulling them in different directions is it wise to start something?

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Book Review: The Heart Between Us

The Heart Between Us – Lindsay Harrel – Thomas Nelson – Published 13 March 2018




Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

My thoughts

The Heart Between Us contains an epic journey – both around the world and through the steps of relationship reconciliation. Two sisters, both trying to find answers, two love stories, both about second chances and new beginnings, and a whole lot of travel.

Megan Jacobs is stuck – still living at home with her parents even though she is now in her thirties, still working part-time in a job that she likes but doesn’t love, still wondering what happened to her relationship with her twin sister, still regretting giving up on a chance to follower her dreams, still scared that her new heart and health will fail. When Megan meets the parents of her heart-transplant donor, she surprises herself by deciding to fulfil 24 steps on Amanda’s bucket list, and so begins a travel adventure. She is even more surprised when her sister, Crystal, joins her. Crystal, too, is searching for something – answers to her marriage troubles, inspiration for her career, and maybe a chance to face the fears she has held all her life.

Admittedly, I didn’t love this book. It was good, just not great. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right book for me. There is so much happening in this story: 24 bucket-list travel destinations and the intertwining stories of two sisters and their love, family, faith and career troubles. And yet, the book feels slow, I often felt bored with the story, and it took me a long time to really engage with the plot. I enjoyed Crystal’s story more than Megan’s, but it was Amanda, Megan’s heart donor, who I really wanted to get to know, whose story I really wanted to read, and yet we are only given glimpses of it through her journal entries.

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Book Review: Love & Gelato


Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch – Simon Pulse – Published 12 April 2016



Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

My thoughts

Romance, gelato, and exploring Italy on the back of a scooter while trying to discover her mother’s past. Love and Gelato is part travel show, part romance and part crazy family drama.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. It’s not so much love/hate as a there-were-a-few-things-that-annoyed-me-but-overall-I-kind-of-liked-most-of-it-and-really-liked-some-aspects feeling. It’s confusing. Love & Gelato Quote

Lina’s mother has just died. In order to fulfil her mother’s last wish, Lina is off to Italy to meet the father she never knew. But things aren’t as simple as they first seem and when Lina is given her mother’s old journal she sets out to discover what really happen in Italy seventeen years ago.

Okay. Here’s what I liked.   Continue reading

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