Health, Journal Entries

Is Volunteer Work Worth It?

I am looking at expanding my travelling experiences since I’ve only ever seen parts of South Africa.  This means stepping outside my comfort zone and learning about the limit I put on myself (like we all tend to do). So, here are the places I’m looking at visiting next year.  If you’re in any of these areas or have travelled here, please let me know where and what your experience was.

Was it worth it?


Volunteer in the USA – New Orleans

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For this one, I want to take part in the Art and Community Outreach program.  For more information, please visit:

New Orleans outreach!


Volunteer in Costa Rica

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Well, this is obvious – I want to work with children or maybe, take part in the turtle conservation project.

Costa Rica outreach!


Volunteer in New Zealand

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This is the last one on my list, for NGO support.  Read more at the below link:

New Zealand outreach!


So, what do you think?  Are any of these worth it?  And which one would you try first?  I need some advice…

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Reviews

Beast

This book was provided to me through NetGalley, in return for an honest review.  This in no way affects my opinion of the book.  


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Book – Beast (A Tale of Love and Revenge)
Author – Lisa Jensen
Genre – YA Fairytale Retelling

Publisher – Candlewick Press
Release Date – 10 July 2018


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Review:

Oh, my word! I cannot believe I forgot how much I love the Beauty and the Beast tale.

This one was better in my opinion, more real and honest, in a sense.  There is still magic and enchantments to this tale of love and beauty.  Yet, in this one, the curse runs deeper than you will initially think.

The writing style is practical and enticing at the same time.  Although it takes a while for the story to start completely, setting the scene and foundation, it is worth the read.  Also, the plot twists are great, if not a bit predictable.  There are some changes, but the essence of the Beauty and the Beast story is alive in this retelling.

Lucie is a wonder-filled character at the beginning; innocent, sweet and naive.  She grows up and gets strong and proud as we read further.  This makes her the protagonist. (I don’t want to spoil this, so that’s all I’m saying).

Also, Beast – what a difference from the start to the end.  I was so infuriated at one point, thinking this will end in disaster, without Lucie getting her prince.  (Oh, the spoilers!)

And Jean-Loup – he’s the villain you will love to hate for sure…

Get this book, read it and enjoy the classic tale with some spins and improvements.  This story will be better suited to older readers and there is a bit of a dark beginning that sensitive readers (toward rape) might need to be aware of.  Other than that, no spoilers, I’m for sure going to keep supporting Lisa in her writing journey.  This was a great read!


My favourite quotes:

“That’s the sort of story folk love – a clear moral, a happy ending.  It comforts them to think the barriers between virtue and evil, love and hate, beauty and beast, are so clearly defined.  The tempest of emotions that roil in our hearts every day, the struggle that never ends to master the monsters within, to love, to live, to survive, those stories are not so comforting, nor so easily told.  Happily ever after takes hard work, but folk don’t like to hear about that.”

“The heart is a dark wood – dangerous, compelling, and profound.  Its pathways can be frightening, but only by plunging into its depths are we fully alive.”

“The heart revels in its mysteries.  Defy them at your peril.  Embrace them if you dare.  That is where magic begins.”

 

Writing

Darkness Unbound – Part 2

I start packing the few precious belongings we still had left, all of it fitting into the small backpack.  Most of this is photos of mom, some clothes and jewellery we had with us.  I sink down onto the bed.  Before we left, we barely spent any time with Mom, preferring to go out with friends.  You always think you’ll have time later for your loved-ones.  I miss her more fiercely every day.  And not knowing whether she is still alive is even worse, because my hope gets less with each attack.  When this all started, we were away at camp for the summer holidays.  By the time we learnt what was happening, things weren’t this bad yet.  When Lance pops his head into the room, I drop the photo I was holding, watching it float to the floor.  “Jeez L, you nearly gave me a heart attack.”, I quickly wipe away the tear running down my cheek as I pick the photo up and stuff it in with the other things.  His deep laugh draws a flutter in my stomach.  “Damn girl, don’t get soft on me now.  Wanna go up to the roof one last time before we blow this joint?” , he flashes is dimpled grin and grabs my hand as I get close.  He smells like burnt firewood, all smoky, and I feel the heat from his body.  I let him lead me to our favourite hideout.  Since no-one should be up here, we are always guaranteed privacy.  This is where he first found me about 6 days after being found by a scouting group.  He survived on his own for so long, and needed a quiet place – so when he found mine, I decided to share it with him and we bonded (yes, I fell for him; no, he doesn’t seem to feel the same way about me).  He hasn’t yet really opened up to me about how he ended up alone or where his family is.  I tried asking once, but he got real quiet and excused himself with a lame excuse of being needed in the kitchen.  I haven’t tried asking again after that.


As we get our packs for the scouting trip, I kick myself for saying anything about my theory to Atria.  She always tends to say what comes to her mind without thinking about the consequences of her actions.  Now we have to move again.  I was just starting to figure this damn darkness out.  And moving does not help me at all.  It usually takes a while before this thing finds us again after we moved.

As we leave the compound, we see smoke rising in the western distance.  We decided to check it out since we came from the east.  We tend to prefer moving in various directions, but never back the way we came.  Also, we weren’t aware of any settlements or people in our area.  This could be another reason why the darkness is so aggressive now.  We have been seeing a lot more of it and attacks are more frequent.  Luckily we haven’t lost anyone in a few weeks.

As we get close, we see a few boys standing around an open fire.  They are dirty and clearly cold, wearing only short sleeved clothing.  Where are their parents, I wonder.  Could they be alone?   We approach cautiously, making sure to spread out somewhat.  I take the lead, being good with children:  “Hello?  Are you alone?”, they turn in our direction and I realise that they seem more at ease than I would have been.  We have weapons and can be a danger for strangers.  But they don’t seem to notice or even care.  “When did you last eat?”, I try again, hoping to get some information if I can provide food.  One steps from the group and approaches me slowly.  “I think you might want to leave, this isn’t a safe area for you.”, he smiles as he stops.  “But if you have something to eat, we’d be so happy.”  I take my pack off and produce a couple of bars for each of them.  He eagerly takes them and returns to the group.  Closer, I see that some of them are really small and thin.  “What did you mean when you said this isn’t a safe area?”  He turns back to me after giving everyone a bar.  His smile is back.  “Because you’re close to the edge of the centre where a lot of the adults have been taken to.  Men come at night and stole them all.  But, we don’t know where to go and the smaller ones cannot travel for long periods.  We tend to stay close anyway, because they have strong lights at night, keeping that scary smoke thing away.”

Why would adults be stolen from children?  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?  It is clearly easier to get children.  What in the world is going on here?

Cover Reveals

Cover Reveal – Fragile Love

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Book – Fragile Love
Author –  Mack Black
Genres – New Adult Romance

Published by – Self Published
Release date – 20 August 2018


Cover Revealed:

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Synopsis:

James Winters had it made.
If his good job and nice apartment weren’t enough, he also had enough action figures to pay his rent for six years—not that he’d ever sell them. The only thing he lacked was the girl he’d pined after for years. Bella Fiorello.

Bella walked into his life six years ago, right after Charlotte Winters had tried to destroy his whole family. Ever since the day he’d met her, he hadn’t been able to get her out of his head. He didn’t want to love her. Most women only wanted him to use and abuse him, but there was something different about Bella. Something he just couldn’t shake.

But getting her and keeping her might just be the hardest task of his life. Especially when it had taken him six years, two months, and a session on taming the nerd to get her to agree to one single date.

GoodReads Link!


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AUTHOR BIO:

Mack Black lives in FL with the love of her life, three daughters, a son, and two dogs named Thor and Hennessy. Mack grew up with an imagination that made life magic, and her nose was always stuck in a book. The stories, which were so real to her, became an inspiration to do her own storytelling. Mack writes in the New Adult genre, but any love story that makes you warm and tingly all over just does it for her.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her spending time with her children, or playing board games with friends. She’s a nerd really, but she hides it well.

To find out more about Mack Black, visit her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/authormackblack

 

Author links:


This cover reveal was hosted by

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Characters for Writers

Character Inspiration #2

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An angel, with incredibly long, white hair and icy eyes.  Avenging the death of the girl he loved and fell from Heaven for.  His vengeance burns all in his wake.  This created an all-out war with demons.  What he learns later is that his love was killed, as he killed this demon’s consort in the epic battle for Earth a millennium ago.


Twist this to fit your vision of angels and demons.  Add some additional characters and a human faction, if you want, that knows of the existence of angels and maybe they help to keep this information from the masses.  Now, add some freaky looking demons and creatures.  Think mythological.  Incorporate some other supernaturals.  Hey, you can even add your own fictional world, with its own rules.  Or witches and magic…

Be as creative as you want, or keep it simple and build up the drama and suspense.  Impress me!

Cover Reveals

Cover Reveal – Frostbite

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Book – Frostbite
Author –  Cambria Hebert
Series – BearPaw Resort #3

Genres: Adult, Suspenseful Romance, Thriller

Release date – 3 August 2018


Cover Revealed:

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Synopsis:

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

What if we lose everything?
It was a question that had haunted me even after I spoke it aloud.
Turns out one loss—one profound loss—is enough to put everything else at stake.
What a house of cards life can be. How easily everything ices over.
We’ve survived an avalanche, made it through a blizzard, but now a chill has set in. A cold so deep it reaches beyond bone.

The end of the storm provided a new beginning, but we can’t start over while we’re still frozen in the past.

How can I face a man who’s lost so much because of me? How can he face me?
This powerful secret between us grows with every breath I take. Will it pull us closer or sever a bond I once thought unbreakable?

The threat to my life is gone. Yet I’m still terrified.
Cold has laid claim to Liam. Whenever we touch, the bite of frost nips at my heart.
His obsession for revenge grows, hurling him further from me and closer to the frostbite taking over.

Goodreads Link


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AUTHOR BIO:

Cambria Hebert is an award-winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a doughnut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favourite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are:

The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website:


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Featured Publishing Houses

Featured Publishing Houses

I realised today that there are so many unknown or lesser well-known publishing houses that have incredible books available and stunning authors whom they work with regularly.  We need to learn about these books too, they have importance.  And, who knows, maybe you’ll find your next reading gem with these publishing houses.


Today, I’ll be featuring:

BOOKOUTURE

“We believe that the best publishing happens with great carecreativity and attention to detail.

That means a clear vision for an author supported by the best editing, cover design, marketing, publicity.  That means doing everything well – including the details, like metadata and pricing.  That means optimising over time and promoting titles well after publication month.

We focus on quality over quantity.  We publish a small number of very talented authors so that we can focus on the detail and create brilliant books that sell.  We aim to add value every step of the way.”

This excerpt from their website says it all…


Some of the books:


Check them out here and see more of their published books.