Chobe River Cruise

Last week I shared our adventure through Chobe National Park in Botswana (if you missed our adventure – check it out here). While staying at the Chobe Marina Lodge, our family surprised us with a river boat cruise.

This was a truly breathtaking way to explore the area around us. It gave us such an appreciation of the environment, the animals and the people that work hard to protect them. While I was nervous at times, as our boat cruise brought us pretty close up to some unpredictable animals, we were definitely in great hands. We also experienced a wide range of weather while on the river – it was sunny at parts, then rain would come down but after the rain came the most beautiful rainbows, shown below, that made getting wet worth every moment.

Enjoy some of our favourite shots from the Chobe River Cruise, run through Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana.

Continue Reading

Challenge Yourself to Learn a new Language with DK Canada’s Visual Dictionaries

DK Canada

Ready to start the new year off by learning a new language? Maybe you are planning a trip? DK Canada has you covered with all of your language needs with their line of bilingual visual dictionaries.

About German-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

Newly revised and updated, the German-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary is a quick and intuitive way to learn and recall everyday words in German.

Introduces a range of useful current vocabulary in thematic order, this dictionary uses full-color photographs and artworks to display and label all the elements of everyday life-from the home and office to sport, music, nature, and the countries of the world-with panel features on key nouns, verbs, and useful phrases.

Key features include:

  • A complete range of illustrated objects and scenes from everyday life.
  • Handy size ideal for travel.
  • Detailed index for instant reference.
  • Free companion audio app.

My Thoughts

You  may have made the decision to learn a new language for a variety of reasons. You may have planned the trip of a lifetime, you may want to challenge yourself or you may be trying to learn more about your own heritage. No matter what the reason, you have made an empowering, exciting decision in your life that should be celebrated.

While exciting, it can be difficult to learn a new language. I remember as a child going to Italian classes and bringing my dictionary with me. The dictionary was old, contained no pictures, contained definitions and verbs that were far over my head. I constantly struggled to learn the language and the only thing I can now do at my age is write out – I am, he is, she is, they are.

The brilliantly designed visual bilingual dictionaries take learning to a new level. The books can fit into the palm of your hand and would easily fit in a large pocket or your purse/backpack. Each page is full of pictures to go along with each word (which I feel would come in handy if you are travelling and mispronouncing a word!).

Unlike your traditional dictionary which is alphabetical, the dictionary is broken down into main categories: people, home, services, shopping, food, work, transportation and so on. Each category is then further broken down into several pages with the most common words in that category. The book also comes with an index that can help you easily find the word and page you are looking for.

I really liked the size and easy to follow style of this book. It encourages the learning process and gives you the support you need to not give up. The introduction contains helpful tools and learning activities that will help guide you through the learning process. The free audio app is a must, as it is one thing to read the words but listening to the tone and pronunciation in the native tongue will further your language skills.

You can learn more about this series on the DK Canada Website and purchase a copy on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Chobe National Park

We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.

During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).

Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?

Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!

Continue Reading

Melding Spirits

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

About Melding Spirits

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

My Thoughts

Melding Spirits is an excellent, well written, captivating novel from the start. It has an excellent plot, well developed characters that you just can’t help hold close to your heart and suspense that makes you never want to put the novel down.

We are introduced to Evan, a young man who is wise and mature beyond his age. His mother is trying everything to make ends meet as a single Mother, which forces Evan to be both a child and caregiver himself. When he finds the chance to spend the summer with his beloved Grandmother, there could be no turning back. Could you really blame him? He deserves a bit of his childhood back.

This is the summer that would change Evan. He meets and forms a bond with a young girl that would forever change his life, Katie. We follow their magical summer with the pair and Evan’s friends – it is refreshing to see their innocence and love of life. But under this are tones of something not being quite right in their small, beautiful town. Is something evil brewing or is it just normal teen angst?

You are left on the edge of your seat, unwilling to put the book down to the last second as you have to know what happens to Evan, Katie and the characters in this town. I loved every moment of this well written novel, a definite must read for young adults and adults alike.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indigo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Melding Spirits and a $20 Amazon Gift Card by entering here. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

The Duke I Once Knew

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess?

About The Duke I Once Knew

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

My Thoughts

Abby is a special young woman. She is the youngest child in her family – they were not expecting her birth but that did not make her less special in her parents eyes. When her parents fall ill and her siblings out of the house already, it is Abby that cares for her elderly parents. She sacrifices her season, her chance of finding a husband and her own family, in order to care for her parents. While this sounds so odd with her young age, in this time period she would have been viewed as off the shelf!

After the death of her parents, Abby yearns for more. She is tired of being the person her family relies on to care for everyone else, the children, care for their homes – she is sometimes treated more like a cherished staff member than a younger sibling at times! She loves her family and deals with this despite her obvious dislike of the treatment in order to prevent fighting. Against the wishes of her family, she takes the position of governess for the sister of her one true love.

Abby had fallen in love with Max in their teen years and both made promises of marriage and ever lasting love. When he is sent away, they make promises that this departure will not affect their relationship but unfortunately it did. Neither Abby nor Max receive correspondence from each other and this turns their hearts cold to any future love or relationship. Max becomes a non-believer in love and vows to not settle down in any complicated relationship.

When they meet up again, there is years of anger, hurt and disappointment. They argue, lash out and are stubborn to listen to the others side of the story. While you want them to work out their differences, you can also understand why they would be so full of hurt. Their story is one of betrayal, lies and deceit by the people who should have loved them the most.

This is a beautiful story of hope and forgiveness, you keep rooting for Abby and Max throughout the story. You want these two individuals who have hurt long enough, to find happiness and peace (and hopefully together!). A great historical romance read from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, NeverTrust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by thePrince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been amember of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the GoldenHeart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from RomanticTimes. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading