How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas – Rules Of The Road, Stories Of The Field By Susan E. Gibson #SusanEGobson #BarlowPublishing #NonFiction #Volunteering #VolunteeringOverseas

How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas
Rules Of The Road.     Stories Of The Field
By Susan E. Gibson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a comprehensive book that gives practical and very useful advice for anyone who has a desire to go overseas to volunteer. As an experienced volunteer myself, but in the UK and not overseas, I know the importance still, of what the author conveys and how it can be good to impart advice when so experienced in a variety of ways. Everyone who wishes to volunteer abroad will find this book helpful, practical and thought-provoking.
Please find out more in the blurb and full review below, as well as a bit about her. Thanks to Barlow Publishing for gifting me a copy of the book.

How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas

Blurb

Do you want to travel and make a positive impact on the world? This book is designed for you. It will give you practical tips on how to decide what to do and where to go. It will help you to prepare for life in a new country where life is very different. And it will help you to make sure you help the organizations serving as your host rather than be a burden. This book has lots of stories from the author’s experience around the world. She started as many volunteers do, with no idea of how to help people on the ground. After a great many stumbles, she discovered the key to being a successful volunteer overseas: First, go to learn. Then you can help.

Review

The book starts with an interesting, thought-provoking foreward by Nobel Laureate – Professor Muhammad Yunus and then Susan E. Gibson writes about what she wants to tell people about volunteering overseas and why she has written this book in the first place. Throughout, she clearly knows what she is talking about and had so much experience to share.

She wrote it, at least in part because so many people want to volunteer overseas, especially students, but she also writes how other adults also have this desire. She herself has worked in many countries and has volunteered overseas too. It states in the book there are also TED Talks and You Tube videos on this, so readers of the book may also wish to take a look at these to back up the knowledge gained from the book further.

The book was written during the Pandemic of Covid-19 and she talks a bit about the changing world, which is useful.

The book also gets readers to learn about volunteering abroad and also prompts prospective volunteers to really question what motivates them and if they really, truly want to do this abroad or not. It ensures people don’t take this decision lightly. It encourages people to volunteer locally first so they can get a feel for what it is actually like to do that and what the impact on your life and other people’s lives actually is. It also goes into how certain useful skills can be learnt as you need to learn before you’re in a position to be able to actually help, even in a volunteer post.

The book is full of really useful advice and what to watch out for so you don’t end up somewhere that is unethical and will take advantage on the tourist just wanting to help. It also talks about goals when volunteering and about expectations and what skills are useful to share and what to do if you’re limited in your skill set ie what sorts of programmes may be open to you.

There are useful tips in how to plan your trip abroad and what you need to do in advance of arrival to your destination and how to adapt when you arrive into a new country, often with a different culture, different food etc and personal safety. The book perhaps could have gone further into personal safety aspects, but it’s a pretty good snapshot. There is also good parts about when you’re actually at work, forming relationships with different people etc.

By the end there is also advice in how to reconnect with people who were left behind at home and to re-establish a new routine back at home.

It’s pretty comprehensive and gives some good and useful advice that people considering going abroad can take forward with them to wherever they end up volunteering. There is also a good checklist at the back, which people may well like to use for when they do go travelling, along with a summary of the book and a glossary.

About the Author

SUSAN E. GIBSON has been involved in the non-profit sector for more than 35 years. She has worked and volunteered in 70 countries. In 1992, Susan went to Bangladesh where she got her training in microfinance at Grameen Bank from Professor Muhammad Yunus. From 1992-2001, Susan was a consultant providing technical assistance and conducting workshops in team building, communications and microfinance principles for NGOs, UN agencies and donor governments. Currently she is a philanthropist actively engaged with NGOs in the areas of refugees, human rights and education for girls. She serves on the board of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which reports on challenging issues such as modern day slavery, climate change and women’s rights. The Foundation also offers pro bono legal support to NGOs seeking justice for victims of slavery and trafficking. Susan has served on the board of the International Rescue Committee (IRC-UK) 2012-18 and remains involved in refugee issues. She was Vice-Chair on the Carter Center UK board 2010-14 and was Co-Chair of the Human Rights Watch London Committee 2006-10. Susan was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and was based in New York in the 90s for her career in the development sector. For the last 20 years, she has lived in London, UK with her husband and teenage son. In July 2021, she and her family are starting a new chapter in Washington, DC. How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas is her first book. Connect with Susan on Instagram @amazingvolunteer and AmazingVolunteer.com

#BookReview By Lou Sticky Icky Vicky – Courage Over Fear By Alysia & Michael Ssentamu, Illustrated By Noor Alshalbi #StickyIckyVicky #PixelPublishingHouse #AlysiaSsentamu #MichaelSsentamu #OvercomingFear #6to10yearsReading #ChildrensBook #Parenting #Families

Sticky Icky Vicky – Courage Over Fear
By Alysia & Michael Ssentamu
Illustrated By Noor Alshalbi

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Readers meet Sticky Icky Vicky in what is an ultimately positive rhyming story about overcoming fears. A book suitable for 6 to 10 year olds.
Thanks to Pixel Publishing House for gifting me the copy for review. Find out more in the blurb and review below.

Sticky Icky Vicky

Blurb

Meet Sticky Icky Vicky, a girl who wants to get over her fear—once and for all

In Courage over Fear, the first book in the Sticky Icky Vicky™ series, authors Alysia and Michael Ssentamu introduce readers to Vicky, a fun-loving girl who doesn’t mind getting a little sticky and icky. She loves rolling down hills and playing in mud—but when it comes to water, Sticky Icky Vicky’s fear prevents her from joining in the fun. Then Vicky gets an invitation for a waterpark party, and she decides that she really wants to go—even if it means ignoring the Negative Ned voice in her head and getting over her fear.

With vibrant illustrations and catchy rhymes, Courage over Fear offers children an inspirational/loveable heroine who learns some valuable life lessons, such as:

● Courage                ● Positive thinking                  ● Goal-setting

Aimed primarily at readers aged six to ten, Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear is a reading experience that leaves kids believing that they, like Vicky, can get past any obstacle in their way.

Review

The book is rhyming, which makes it great for using for 6 to 10 year olds. It’s enjoyable for this age group and is a positive story that is conveyed well for this age group. The fact it rhymes makes the fear less daunting in a way and makes it seem more palatable to read as it is less heavy than it may have been otherwise, especially for the younger part of this age group. For the whole age group, the book can be used as a discussion opener with children who have similar issues to Vicky surrounding water.

The story starts with Vicky having fun with friends, but soon it is revealed that she has a fear of water, the reason being explained within the story. This then begins to have an impact on her life, especially, in this instance, her social life as her instinct is to decline an invite to a water park. Instead of doing this, she decides to be brave and confront her fear and the thoughts in her head, which materialise as “Negative Ned”. There are however more positive thoughts, which materialise as “Positive Ted” to combat the negativity.

The book can help children see that something is worth a try, even though they are fearful at first because it could be more fun than they first imagined. So, it could be used as a tool to help widen children’s interests and their world and build courage and resilience.

#BookReview By Lou The Wild Before By Piers Torday @PiersTorday @QuercusKids #MiddleGrade #NaturalWorld #ClimateStory #ChildrensBook

The Wild Before
By Piers Torday

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Wild Before is a great story that encompasses animals in the natural world and the climate. It is suitable for older middle-grade readers.
Thanks to Quercus Kids publisher for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and rest of my review below and the eye-catching cover.

The Wild Before cover

Blurb

Can one hare alone change the world? The captivating animal adventure destined to be loved by readers of all ages. A stunning hardback edition from the bestselling, much-loved author, Piers Torday.

One stormy, snowy night, a pure silver calf is born on an ordinary muddy farm by the light of the moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival has been foretold since the dawn of time.

According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great Terribleness will come – rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things… and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.

But it’s easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world…

A stunning prequel to the award-winning, bestselling The Last Wild trilogy, touching on timely themes of climate change, friendship, and above all, hope.
‘Piers Torday is the new master of books for children’ The Times

Review

The Wild Before coverThe Wild Before starts off illustrating different sorts of moon for the whole year. A different name per month. There’s also a glossary so children can totally understand the animals.

Readers get to know Little Hare first, who runs ever so fast to find where Dandelion Hill was. From the start you can tell there is something not right. Little Hare is on a mission to find the wild and to pass on an urgent message. Wildeness is in charge, but he encounters wolves who claim to be guardians of Wildeness in the north…. The book then goes onto the first chapter and beyond. It’s absolutely beautifully written and captivating by the tension created and trepidation. In an instant you care about Little Hare and what she has to say and hope he survives. There is also Bite-Hare, Sist-Hare and Run-Hare.
The book is cute in its storytelling and in its illustrations, but also shows some of the hardships that wildlife has. There are also dogs and humans to fear and to watch out for as the hares try to leave the farm they are on to go to try and travel northwards to get to speak with Wildeness. They also comes across Brock who is a badger and a harvest mouse, who has lots of songs. The mission also means trying to find a specific flower and that may require a human as the race is on to stop a virus.

The book highlights climate change and the sea levels rising and the hardships humans and animals have. The book also shows the natural world in action in all its magnificence and also the life and death within it and that concern animals have that their prey may capture them that day. The book also shows heirarchy in animals and Wildeness being at the top.

The Wild Before is like today’s Animal’s of Farthing Wood and Watership Down. It fits very well with these books in its themes and desire to read about the natural world and to care about it. It may be an emotional read for children, but one that they’ll find compelling to say the least.
It has, amongst the adventure and all the dangers, an important message to convey to readers too.
Classes in schools are already reading this. There’s much to read and discuss, but in saying that, it can also be read for pleasure at home too as middle grade readers will like being swept up in the storytelling and the adventure of it all.

#BookReview By Lou of The Genesis Inquiry By Olly Jarvis @OllyJarviso @HobeckBooks #Thriller #genesis #legalthriller #BlogTour #TeamHobeck

The Genesis Inquiry
By Olly Jarvis
Rated 5 stars *****

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for The Genesis Inquiry by Olly Jarvis. It is a compelling and intricately plotted legal thriller that it has that grip factor right to the end. No wonder even Stephen Fry totally rates this Ella Blake Thriller too. He’s not wrong! Find out more in the blurb and my review for the rest of my thoughts below…
Find out other praise for previous books below too.
First I thank Hobeck Books for gifting me a copy of the book and inviting me onto their blog tour.

TGI Cover

Blurb

‘What a treat it is to read Olly Jarvis’s THE GENESIS INQUIRY: a compulsively readable crime and legal thriller that pulls off the trick of being both satisfyingly traditional and supremely up to the minute. In the attractive, cussed and charismatic person of lawyer Ella Blake, Jarvis has created a hero that we can hope to see again. A real winner.’
STEPHEN FRY

Is there one last undiscovered, great truth?

A moment zero, a place in time that links all cultures and creeds?

A revelation that will unite us all and change the way we see history forever?

Brilliant but burnt-out barrister Ella Blake accepts an apparently simple brief: investigate the mysterious disappearance of an African American polymath from his rooms at Cambridge University. The Inquiry quickly becomes the greatest challenge of her life – solving the mystery of Genesis.

Facing danger at every turn, can Ella find the answers to the riddles and clues left by the missing genius?

Reunited with her estranged daughter, the Inquiry sends them on a quest across the world and through ancient texts.

What is the secret that binds us all?

Who is behind the dark forces that will stop at nothing to prevent the world from knowing the truth?

The Genesis Inquiry is an epic and gripping thriller by the brilliant Olly Jarvis which asks a key question – what can our shared past tell us about humanity’s future?

Review

TGI CoverThe book starts with a thought provoking quote before getting into the story itself, which begins in Northumberland, northeast coast of England, where Ella Blake is a lawyer and her clerk is Jim Hodges.

From the start, the quality of writing is most excellent and makes you want to read more, especially when Ella, a great Silk is losing some of her mo-jo and not entirely sure she wants to continue or not. Her clerk thinks she shouldn’t disappear from the profession just yet and gets her involved in another case at a university. Ella is a hard one to get to change her mind though and is pretty down on herself; this aspect and her practically single-mindedness is something that Jarvis gets down so perfectly believable. It allows readers to get inside her mindset a bit.

There is also Lizzie Blake, studying at Cambridge, with no love life to speak of, but there is a chance encounter with a guy, in not the usual manner of meeting someone.
It’s also interesting to see the relationship between Ellie and her daughter unfold.

When at the De Jure college, the professor has certainly done his homework on Ella and knows almost a creepy amount about her, but shrugs that aside. The case in hand is what happened to Matthew Shepherd, who has mysteriously disappeared, but there is also the question of whether an inquiry that may raise attention, is really the course of action that needs to now be taken. Even with this thought, she still does some investigating. This becomes so intriguing and is a book that you can easily lose some hours with reading. There are messages to decode and puzzling riddles and murders to solve. The Genesis Inquiry soon turns into a page-turner of a twisty thriller. It grabs from the beginning and then as it goes on, its grip increases. This is compulsive, addictive reading at its best! There is much for the reader to focus on and to see how it all ends as it takes readers (and the characters) in many directions. The crime is intricately planned, involving comets and more…
The case delves into both ancient history and modern times through technologies and texts that sends them to not just places in the UK, but also so many other countries in the world. Weaving through this are some modern day issues.
This is far, far from an average case to solve!

PRAISE FOR OLLY JARVIS’S EARLIER NOVELS
‘A legal thriller in the great Grisham tradition – genius author!’
Gyles Brandreth

‘The violence in the criminal underworld of Manchester is presented in scenes which are short
and shocking. Cut-Throat Defence is an excellent read.’
Simon Brett

‘The tautly-written, tense thriller weaves together the fates of crime victims, gangsters, cops and
lawyers – often culminating in realistic courtroom drama.’
Manchester Evening News

TGI Blog Tour Poster

#BookReview By Lou Z-Rod – Chosen Wanderers – A Celtic Saga Of Warriors and Saints By Martin C. Haworth #MartinCHaworth @malcolmdownpub #HistoricalFiction #ScottishFiction #Fiction #ChristianFiction #Celts #Picts #Saga

Z-Rod – Chosen Wanderers
By Martin C. Haworth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Z-Rod – The Chosen Wanderers is book 1 of a compelling epic saga series set in Scotland during the times of the Picts and Celts.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in my review. Then discover even more in the links to the websites and Facebook page, where you can find out more about the book and other activities such as hillwalks and retreats and more…
Thanks to the author – Martin C. Haworth for gifting me the book, published by publishing company – Malcolm Down.

ZRod Chosen Wanderers cover

Blurb

Chosen Wanderers is the first book in the Z-Rod series: a gripping saga set in the upheavals of Pictish Scotland in the 6th century. At the initiation of two princes preparing one to rule the tribe, a mysterious power symbol, the Z-Rod, is tattooed on one, unleashing uncontrollable consequences.

Tribal power struggles are further intensified when two Irish saints arrive whose vibrant faith and daring spirit, preserving them through the Scottish wilds, demonstrates to capricious warlords and their powerful druids, an alternative worldview of reconciliation and hope.

Straddling these two worlds is a mysterious bard with prophetic abilities. His revelation has little relevance initially, but later becomes the lifeline to recover a seemingly lost destiny. What significance does the Z-Rod and ‘bearing fire to the north’ have on an exile, and how will anything be achieved amidst poverty and obscurity?

By turns epic and homely, spiritually searching and thoroughly adventurous, this story of great undoing and remaking propels us through multiple scenes and characters in a setting which is utterly convincing in its detail.

ZRod Chosen Wanderers dbl cover

Review

Z-Rod is set in Pictish Scotland in the 6th Century, as well as at the time of the Celts. The author describes Scotland (before it became Scotland as we know it today) in interesting detail in a short introduction. The fact it is set in Pictish times provides something different to historical fiction, the Picts (indigenous people north of the Forth-Clyde divide) and the Christians. The book moves at surprising pace. It sounds more heavy than it really is. It’s pretty succinct and the intrigue surrounding the Z-Rod itself adds to the compelling nature.

There are noblemen and lords within the book and the Z-rod tattooed on one, a symbol of power and authority. The story itself starts with the initiation and readers meet Taran, Oengus, Alpia and Talorgen, then later, Kessog. There’s an air of it being a great occassion with ritual and complexity, as, especially Taran discovers in the wilds of the Pictish north, where the south are a bit more tame and are also starting to dabble in Christianity.

There’s adventure into new lands by boat and faith of reaching destinations safely, there’s also the questioning of the different faiths that are presented within the Picts and the Christian stories as they learn a bit about each other, but not exactly accepting as there are percieved curses, which adds a bit of tension between the factions.

The book takes readers to different Lochs and the River Dee, where there is tribal action, raids and murder. Along the watery adventure, there is also a spot of romance and all isn’t as easy to attract a woman as it first seems… This adds to another dimension to the story and perhaps widens its appeal a bit further, but still with the depth of history by way of the people living in the 6th century, philosophical thought by way of a dream and theology by way of the religious aspects.

There appears to have been a lot of thorough research done right down to the detailing of the different names of places, lochs and the types of people that lived in this time, such as wise old women or witches. There’s a glossary at the back to translate the older words used within this otherwise fictional tale that is also about courage, attitudes, destinys, life.

There is also an excerpt of book 2 of Z-Rod to lure you into more of Taran’s life…

About The Author

Martin Haworth worked in community and church development with an Iron-age Filipino tribe, providing an in depth understanding of pagan belief practices. Under his own business, www.roamingscotland.com, he now helps others connect with Scotland’s landscapes and ancient history, and leads Celtic Christian retreats. This book has arisen from the fusion of these experiences and interests.

Social Media

Website: https://www.roamingscotland.com/blog   There is also a buy link within there that means 10% will go to support a relief project among the Mangyan tribes of the Philippines.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Z-Rod-Trilogy-101184882165861

Publisher Website: https://www.malcolmdown.co.uk/

#BookReview By Lou of From Sri Lanka With Love – A Tapestry of Travel Tales By Margaret L. Moore #MargaretLMoore #TSLPublications #NonFiction #Travelogue #Memoir #TravelMemoir

From Sri Lanka With Love
A Tapestry of Travel Tales
By Margaret L. Moore

An informative and gentle travelogue that will transport readers to many places from their armchair or wherever you read. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in my review.
I firstly, thank Margaret L. Moore for contacting me via the Contact Me option on my blog and requesting a review and gifting me the book.

From Sri Lanka with Love

Blurb

This book centres around a wonderful holiday my husband Douglas and I had in Sri Lanka in 2017, with friends George and Sylvia, exploring our immediate surroundings and travelling further afield in this wonderful island. Each day brought new experiences ranging from relaxing to exhausting, amusing to thought provoking, straightforward and the very opposite! The holiday provided an ideal opportunity to chat and reminisce about previous holidays we’d had with sons David and Andrew or cousins and friends. Our holidays have changed hugely over the years from simple caravan holidays in our Scottish homeland to jetting across the world, adapting to different climates and cultures. Journey with me as we holiday in Sri Lanka and recount tales from around the globe: Iceland, America, India, Hong Kong, Norway, Spain, Italy, London, Madeira, South Africa, Dubai, Canada, Austria and Australia My hope is you’ll feel you’re on holiday with me as you read.

Review

This is a book about when Margaret and Douglas wanted to go travelling on a holiday. They chose Sri Lanka as their destination and travelling to this destination doesn’t seem an easy process.

Margaret then regails the tale of what they did and where they stayed whilst in Sri Lanka and the animals and people they meet, including their guide, Janaka. The book may inspire people to visit and there are certainly ideas as to what you can do and how to explore Sri Lanka and perhaps what the tourist traps are. This isn’t without a bit of jeopardy, especially on the roads and on the sea, as well as a spot of illness. There is also a wedding to prepare for.

It tells of the different experiences to be had from riding on a Tuk Tuk to the chalet hut accomodation. There is also a bit of humour and excitement to be found about a beach, but also tells the sad tale of the rubbish around, highlighting that it is not just a UK problem and is indeed a worldwide issue. There is however, some cuteness at a turtle sanctury and there’s a bit more humour when they go fishing…
There is also interest to be had in the market places and the restaurants and some of the food they eat. The scenery also sounds beautiful and pretty atmospheric in some parts, such as at a World UNESCO site.

The book isn’t solely about Sri Lanka, it also goes into places to visit in Scotland and the rivers, castles and history for a bit and also makes reference to Hong Kong and a few stop over places and other places they’ve been to, such as Canada, Las Vegas and many other places. It sounds like it could be disjointed, but it isn’t. It all makes sense when you read it and still flows pretty well as she takes readers on a mammoth journey to different cultures, places of worship and climes around the world. There are some different histories to be learnt about certain places around the world, some of it is even a bit brutal, but nonetheless interestingly informative. Even though there are many places within this book, it always comes back to Sri Lanka and their love of this island.

The book goes into fairly comprehensive detail about everything and reads a bit like a friend would sit in conversation about their travels. There are also some very interesting photos throughout.
It took a few pages to get into, but it is worth giving this book a chance because it does have that pull factor that gets you into their travels. It’s a good book for reading all at once or for dipping in and out of. It may make people want to travel again themselves one day.

Links

https://facebook.com/MargaretLMooreAuthor 

https://tslbooks.uk/product/from-sri-lanka-with-love-margaret-l-moore/