Made in Italy by Laura Morelli

Book Details:

Book Title:  Made in Italy by Laura Morelli
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 161 pages
Genre:  Travel, History, Art
Publisher:  Authentic Arts Publishing
Release date: Jan, 2019
Tour dates: Feb 11 to March 8, 2019
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

​Richly painted maiolica ceramics from Tuscany. Supple Florentine leather. The cameos of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheeses. Jaw-dropping glass from the island of Murano.

MADE IN ITALY takes you on a complete tour of the dazzling artisanal legacy of Italy, uncovering off-the-beaten-path destinations and one-of-a-kind, hidden workshops where everything from leather bags to gilded frames are turned out completely by hand, piece by piece.

This book includes instructions for getting a free copy of the companion guide, ARTISANS OF ITALY, with complete, continually updated listings of Laura’s personally recommended shops and artisans across Italy.

Laura Morelli, art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you behind the tourist traps to discover some of Italy’s most traditional arts.

Laura holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and shares how, what, and where to buy; hints on recognizing quality and authenticity; and tips for bringing home the artisanal treasures of Italy in your suitcase.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Author’s Website
Add to Goodreads

Laura Morelli

Meet the Author:

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media.

Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Feb 11   – Library of Clean Reads – tour kick-off / giveaway
Feb 12   – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 13   – eBook Addicts – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 14   – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 15   – 30-something Travel – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 18  – Laura’s Interests – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 19   – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 20   – Fantastic Feathers – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 21   – Essentially Italian – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 22   – Amy’s Booket List – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 25   – Splashes Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 26   – – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 27   – Seaside Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 28   – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / giveaway
March 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews –  book spotlight / giveaway
March 5 – Monica Cesarato – book spotlight / giveaway
March 6 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight
March 7 – Paulette’s Papers – book spotlight / giveaway
March 8 – Books for Books – book spotlight

Book review: Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic

  • Title and author:  Journeys of a Lifetime, Second Edition: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips by National Geographic, George Stone
  • Publisher:  National Geographic
  • Date published:  October 23, 2018
  • Pages:  416
  • Genre:  Travel, reference, pictorial, guidebook


Featuring 120 new destinations, this best-selling inspirational travel guide reveals 500 celebrated and lesser-known destinations around the globe, from ocean cruises in Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes. Completely revised and updated for its 10th anniversary.

Compiled from the favorite trips of National Geographic’s legendary travel writers, this fully updated, 10th anniversary edition of Journeys of a Lifetime spans the globe to highlight the best of the world’s most celebrated and lesser-known sojourns. Offering a diverse array of possibilities, every continent and possible form of transport is covered, illustrated with glorious color photographs. With 16 new pages; new destinations like Cartegena, Colombia; and updated information throughout, this timely new edition is the perfect resource for travelers who crave adventurous trips–from trekking the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to mountain biking in Transylvania–and those searching for more specific experiences (the world’s top small cruises, hot new museums around the world, secrets for following in the footsteps of film and TV heroes, and more). Each chapter features stunning photography, full-color maps, and practical tips, including how to get there, when to visit, and how to make the most of your journey.

Informative and inspiring, this luxurious volume is a lifelong resource that readers will treasure for years to come.

BUY THE BOOK:   Amazon | |

REVIEW:  This six pound reference book is a veritable guide to pretty much anyplace you want to explore and how you want to do it.  Not everyone travels the same way or wants to do the same thing so this book breaks down trips and destinations into sections that will appeal to different travelers.

Each page highlights a destination with a brief (not exhaustive) summary, advice about when to go, how long, when to plan, inside information and a list of websites to visit for more information.  There is also a small map with tidbits of information on the side panel.  Naturally, photographs fill the book.

Here are a few examples of different types of trips:

Are you a foodie?  Chapter 6 teases you with different foodie tours

Kentucky Bourbon Trail (page 249)

Blue Mountain Coffee (page 254

Thailand Cuisine Tour (page 259)

Love trains?  Chapter 3 provides information for the train lover – whether luxurious or spartan.

Mexico, EL Chepe (page 113)

Vietnam, The Reunification Express (page 119)

India, The Palace on wheels (page 125)

Intrepid Hiker?  Chapter 4 – Put on your hiking books and follow some of these trails (both city and wilderness trips)!

Vermont, the Appalachian Trail (149)

Utah, Paria Canyon (153)

Hawai’i, The Kalalau Trail (page 157)

As a world traveler and photographer, I’ve been to many of the places I read about in the book.  Because there are so many destinations featured in this guide, there isn’t really a lot of information per subject.  That’s where you have fun doing your own research!  I’ve already tagged a few pages of destinations I would like to visit!

I highly recommend this guide for any intrepid (or non-intrepid) explorer who wants to explore places both far flung or closer to home.

Tuesday, October 30th: Instagram: @candicesawchuk
Tuesday, November 6th: Instagram: @all_books_great_and_small
Wednesday, November 7th: SMS Non Fiction Book Reviews
Monday, November 12th: Instagram: @booksonthebookshelf
Tuesday, November 13th: Instagram: @teonamango
Tuesday, November 13th: Instagram: @love_my_dane_sailor_
Thursday, November 15th: Instagram: @places_and_books
Monday, November 19th: Instagram: @jojohuaofficial
Tuesday, November 20th:
Thursday, November 22nd: Instagram: @kirstyleanneuk
Monday, November 26th: Instagram: @theclubofbooks
Tuesday, November 27th: Instagram: @lovedreadingthis

Book review: Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction,  201  pages
Genre: Travel / Arts / Fashion / Self-help
Publisher:  Sumisura Publications
Release date:  November 2017
Format available for review: print & ebook (PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: April 23 to May 11, 2018
Content Rating: G (No violence. No swear words. No sex scenes.)

Book Description:

Ah, that inimitable Italian style. It’s embedded in an Italian woman’s DNA. Fashion doesn’t define her. She defines herself. She knows an extraordinary life is not about status, money, or achievement. The only mastery it requires is one her heritage has given her, the irrepressible passion to make art of life itself.

Ask an Italian woman where she gets her sense of style and she will tell you it’s not about labels. It’s tethered to humble roots; humanity, community, conscious consumerism, and a profound appreciation for art in all its forms.

Sass, Smarts and Stilettos takes the reader on a journey from the humble hill towns of Abruzzo to the revered fashion capitals of Milan and Rome, into the artisan workshops of Florence, and the humanistic business practices of Luisa Spagnoli, Brunello Cuccinelli, and Alberta Ferretti, from the emergence of Italy’s fashion industry after WWII, to slow food and sustainable fashion initiatives taking root around the world.

Life lessons echo in the words of the author’s mother and grandmother, in the voices of Italian film divas, designers, tastemakers, writers, and artisans across generations, from the first Sala Bianca in Florence to the game changing design ethic of Franca Sozzani, Miuccia Prada, and Donatella Versace.

Learn how to live fully within your own philosophy of living. Say good-bye to mindless consumerism, emotional clutter, and others’ expectations. Create a personal style that fits like a custom blazer by Ferrè and enchants like the colors of a Sicilian sunset. Then go on to craft an extraordinary and empowering life made-to-measure for you alone.

Gabriella Contestabile

Meet the Author:

Gabriella Contestabile is the author of the novel, The Artisan’s Star, and owner of Su Misura (Made to Measure) Journeys; a boutique travel concept for the female traveler who relishes off-the-beaten-track adventures that celebrate the Italian way of life.

​The book/travel initiative has its roots in her pre-writer life as a foreign language teacher, later as Executive Director and Vice President of International Training in a number of global companies (including Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Prada Beauty) where she would create immersive and unconventional learning experiences in unique settings around the world.

One of her favorite pastimes, wherever she is in the world, is to scout out the best, and most ‘Italian’ espresso in the hood. It requires multiple tastings, but that’s the idea. Gabriella was born in Italy, and raised in Ottawa and New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, her mother, and a furry Shih Tzu named Oreo.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn

This little book is a delightful combination of memoir, fashion history and practical advice about how to live your life to the fullest and most stylish.  I loved every little chapter – each beginning with a catchy quote.  This book will gently motivate you to be a better you – happier and more fulfilled.
Here are a few of the tidbits  from the book that I love: (both from the book and cited quotes)
It’s not about the label.  It’s about the art.
Don’t over-purchase.  When you have less, what you own is precious.
Bad food is never an option.
Travel is the enemy of prejudice, bigotry and small mindedness.
Age is the prison women make for themselves.
Fashion history has been a passion of mine for many years so I enjoyed the chapters outlining the history of Italian fashion.  I would google the different designers and pour over examples of the clothing they designed.
All this good advice had me re-think the way I was living, from the food I eat to the clothes I wear.  Of course, I’m not Italian but I am willing to adapt my lifestyle to be more mindful of the way I live and dress. Everyone keeps telling me to get a Vespa … one day who knows?

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Book review: The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway

  • Title and author:  The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway
  • Publisher:   Center Street
  • Date published:  June 6, 2017
  • Pages:  352
  • Genre:  Women’s fiction / romantic comedy / travel

Book description:  Objectively, Sophie is a success: she’s got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn’t quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it’s secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls’ trip, and Sophie meets Carson, a free-spirited, globetrotting American artist.

In the midst of their whirlwind vacation romance, Carson invites Sophie to join him on his haphazard journey around the world. While the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips don’t feel like enough, Sophie is far too practical to throw away her five-year plan on a whim. Yet Carson’s offer forces her to question whether the reliable life she’s chosen is really what she wants–and she soon discovers that his feelings for her run deeper than she realized.


“With its spirited yet credible plot and vividly intricate charactersthis debut novel shines.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“…a fun, sexy debut perfect for readers who love exotic settings and a great love story. For those wishing to indulge their wanderlust, or who have dreams too big for tidy little boxes, this is an incredibly satisfying read.” — Karma Brown, bestselling author of Come Away With Me

“…brilliantly navigates one woman’s quest to let go of what is practical to pursue her passion and surrender to her inner dreamer.” — Kerry Lonsdale, bestselling author of Everything We Keep

“Can a novel be smart and loads of fun? Kristin Rockaway’s debut is proof that it’s possible. Warm, witty, and completely delightful, this book had my inner escapist itching to hop on the next flight out of town.” — Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

“Kristin Rockaway is a wise and fresh new voice in women’s fiction and this book was a delight from start to finish.”  — Anita Hughes, author of Christmas in Paris

Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

About the author:  Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker with an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software.

THE WILD WOMAN’S GUIDE TO TRAVELING THE WORLD is her first novel. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation.

Connect with the author:    Website   Twitter   Instagram   Pinterest   Goodreads   Facebook


Sophie has it all. Or so she thinks. A top notch job, an apartment in New York and free travel with her job. But she is starting to unravel though she really hasn’t pieced it together yet. Her best friend dumps her on their first day in Hong Kong and Sophie, who considers herself an experienced solo traveller is suddenly lost. 

An unexpected encounter with Carson, a free-spirited traveller, turns her world upside down. He invites her to question her life, including her five-year plan for a successful career and questions why she hasn’t followed her dreams to travel. What? Sophie travels all the time.

Despite their different lifestyles, they begin to realize that the other fulfills them in a way they could not predict. However, the differences between them are tearing them apart.

This is a great read for anyone who loves to travel or who wants to bring something fun to read with them on vacation. Although a work of fiction, it does delve into deeper issues of insecurity and that sometimes we have to step back and re-evaluate what we need to do to be happy.

Book review: Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading

  • Title and author:  Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading
  • Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Date published:  April 19, 2013
  • Pages:  220
  • Genre:  Mystery / thriller / women sleuths / YA fiction

Book Description:

Following in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart, Kitty Hawk sets off on an epic flight around the world and arrives in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik where she finds herself immersed in a beautiful alien world of volcanoes, Vikings, elves and trolls. Before she knows it Kitty is plunged head first into an amazing adventure that sweeps her across a rugged landscape where humans and nature exist in side-by-side in an uneasy truce and magical realms seem to lie just out of sight beneath the surface.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is the dazzling third installment of the Flying Detective Agency series featuring Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenaged seaplane pilot with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into – and out of – all kinds of precarious situations. This is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages – armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike. From dangerous criminals and corrupt government officials to mystical beings and clashes with the elemental forces of nature, this book has it all. Come and join Kitty Hawk as she experiences the strange and extraordinary world of the Icelanders, and unravels the Icelandic Intrigue.

Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

About the Author:   I Like Root Beer. When I was younger I fancied myself a bit of a Root Beer connoisseur, drinking my favourite brand (A&W, of course) from tall, narrow champagne flûtes and revelled in the sound of the ice cubes clinking against the side of the thin glass, creating a magical tinkling ambiance as I looked down my nose at all the other inferior Root Beer vintages. As I grew older and began to travel all across the globe I was naturally inclined to seek out the very best Root Beers that the world had to offer. Sadly, as I was to discover, Root Beer is very much a North-American thing and you can’t really find it anywhere else in the world. On the bright side, however, it turns out that the world is a pretty great place even without Root Beer. There are a million amazing things to see and as many more ways for all of us to see them, as our heroine and friend Kitty Hawk finds out in the course of her various adventures.

Connect with the author:   Website    Facebook    Twitter    Kitty Hawk Website


Having just been to Iceland a few months ago, I was excited to begin reading about Kitty’s adventure in the third instalment of the Kitty Hawk series.  Did Kitty see the same things I did?  Yes, but she saw them from the air from the seat of her trusty De Havilland Beaver!  I saw Iceland all over again through her eyes and it makes me want to go back!

Kitty is warmly welcomed to Iceland by Konrad (who is originally from Alaska) and his family.  I especially enjoyed learning about the Icelandic naming Committee (you’ll see what I mean when you read the book).

Kitty is introduced to several interesting people by Kristin, Konrad’s daughter, who is studying environmental engineering at the University of Iceland.  Now this is where things start to get interesting (did you know there is a handsome, red haired, bearded Icelander Viking dude in this story?) (plus other cool stuff such as aluminum smelters).

There was plenty of action (pretty scary actually) in The Icelandic Intrigue. I always wonder how Kitty finds herself in crazy, dangerous situations when she’s pretty much a tourist like the rest of us (throw in a volcano, some Russians and some rotten shark meat).

I enjoyed reading The Icelandic Adventure as much as the first two books in the series and look forward to book number four “The Tragedy of the RMS Titanic”.

Book review: Adventurers Abroad: The New American Expat Generation by Robert Nelson


Book Details:

Book Title:  Adventurers Abroad: The New American Expat Generation by Robert Nelson
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 176 pages
Genre:  Travel
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  June 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (gifted Kindle copy)
Will send print books:  International
Tour dates:  Jan 18 – 29, 2016
Content Rating: G

Book Description: 

Adventurers Abroad explains in detail who the new American expat generation is, why they are moving abroad, where they are moving abroad and the personal characteristics required for expat success.

But the heart of the book is 14 personal stories told through the eyes of American expats living in all corners of the world. Through their experiences, readers will learn how to move, live and work in a variety of countries, with practical advice and information that is useful for any aspiring expat.

Buy the book:   Amazon

Robert Nelson author pic

Meet the author:

A long-time expat, Robert Nelson wrote his first book, “Boomers in Paradise: Living in Puerto Vallarta,” while residing in that Mexican international resort city for seven years. He has also lived in Germany, Turkey and Greece and has traveled to over a dozen countries on three continents.

​He also is a co-founder of, an online publisher of international relocation planning information and resources.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook


Jan 18 – Story Matters – review / giveaway
Jan 18 – Lavish Bookshelf – review / guest post
​Jan 19 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review
Jan 20 – Story Matters – guest post
Jan 21 – Laura Fabiani – Top 500 Reviewer – review
Jan 22 – Young in Rome – review / giveaway
Jan 22 – Dealing With Stuff – review
Jan 25 – Laura’s Interests – review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
Jan 27 – – review / giveaway
Jan 28 – The book trail – review
Jan 29 – Olio by Marilyn – review

Having just relocated almost 5,000 km to the other side of Canada, I was looking forward to reading Robert Nelson’s book about moving to another country.  I wasn’t really familiar with the term “expat” and the book explains that the term refers to “anyone who lives outside of his or her nation of origin for at least six months of any twelve-month period.”  However, he also gives the contemporary interpretation of “expat” as “choosing to live abroad, without renouncing citizenship”.
The book explains that “globalization, modern technology and transportation improvements have literally shrunk the world we live in” and more and more people are opting to live away from their home countries.  Some of the primary reasons for the growing expat community are:
  • the desire for adventure and the need for new experiences
  • a lifestyle change
  • a new business opportunity
  • less expensive living conditions
  • affordable schooling / continuing education

The tech-savvy younger generation and risk takers make up a large portion of those who are moving abroad as entrepreneurs due to the fact that as long as they have a good internet connection they can live pretty much anywhere in the world.  They are often the most entrepreneurial and are shunning the corporate ladder to start their own business.

There are 14 chapters dedicated to different individuals who decided to move to another country for one reason or another.  Their experiences and insight are a valuable source of information to the aspiring expat.  Some of the advice that I found to be interesting was to do as much research about your target country at least 1-2 years before you plan to move.  Learn the language of your country, research the laws (for those who want to register their business), taxation information, visa information.  Learning about the culture, food and transportation are also very important.

Online research and communicating with people who live in your target country are valuable up to a certain point.  Once you are actually living in your new area, you will have to make adjustments and adapt to the local culture.

Although I moved within the same country, it was from a French-speaking province with a mostly European culture to a more homogenous English speaking part of the country.  I wouldn’t actually call this culture-shock as more of a transitional shock.  Thanks to some amazing friends who live in my new area, the move has been pretty smooth.  Living in a smaller city means that my travelling time has been cut by 1/2.  Food is more expensive but with time I am learning to where to shop to find better prices.  Adapting to living in an apartment without central heating is also a challenge (I invested in a pair of heavy mohair socks and wear a sweater most of the time) but being close to the ocean is a real draw for me.

In summary, one of the number one characteristics an expat needs to possess is open-mindedness and a willingness to try new methods and accept failure as a means to learn and improve.  Be adaptable, accept your host culture for what it is and be continue to be adventurous and curious!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in moving abroad.


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Book reviews: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada & Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth










Book Details for Book One:

Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 72 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  Feb 13, 2014
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

Buy the book:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Book Details for Book Two:

Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 60 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  June 27, 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook — mobi (for Kindle), ePub, PDF
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:  

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world – discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!

​Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest- until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

Buy the book:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Brand Products: PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy, Customized Stickers, Passport



Meet the author and illustrator:  

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family-and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

PJ Mouse in Canada:  PJ Mouse’s adventure continues in a trip with Emily across Canada.  The family travels in a 5th wheel (and if you don’t know what that is, there is a picture of it to show you).  I’ve travelled extensively throughout Canada but PJ has done stuff that I haven’t even done – like climb a glacier!  He gets to visit Niagara Falls and learn French in Quebec.  What a smart little mouse!   There is a map of Canada in the back for you to follow along.
I’ve learned things about Canada that I never knew before.  The hand drawings are cute and fit the story perfectly.
PJ Mouse in Queensland:  PJ is off “down under” – that is Australia!  Along with his very own teeny suitcase and passport PJ is ready for more adventures.  Fortunately, his stuffing doesn’t get lumpy on the plane ride and he and Emily are off to Dreamworld for some rides and fun. They visit two important parts of Australia – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest where PJ meets a Lorikeet (I’ve seen Lorikeets in Australia – they’re sooo pretty!)
Read on to see more of PJ’s adventures with the loggerhead turtle.
These little books together with their companion PJ Mouse stuffed animal and little passport book with stickers make a wonderful gift.

Book review: Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James


Book Description:

Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridgesover the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

​About the author:
​Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries – doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas. As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael:  Website  Twitter  Pinterest

Buy his book here:  Amazon   Author’s Website


I’ve been to Paris over a dozen times but, after reading Michael Saint James’ book Bridges of Paris, I now realize how much I’ve missed.

Michael and his wife spent a year in Paris learning French and exploring the different sets of bridges (there are over 300!)  As a result, he was able to showcase the bridges during different times of the day and seasons.

His book is separated into sections, according to where the bridges are located in Paris, i.e. island bridges, palace bridges, downstream bridges and upstream bridges.  As I was examining the photographs I tried to imagine the different neighbourhoods surrounding these bridges.

I found the layout of this edition to be practical and easy to follow.  Each bridge has it’s own section featuring photographs (taken from different angles, seasons, depths of fields as well as closeups of the art and architechture of each bridge), history, facts about the bridge (dimensions etc.) as well as a satellite map with a yellow arrow pointing to the bridge’s location.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book so meticulously prepared, it is indeed a labour of love. As a photographer working on my second book on photography, I understand the massive amount of work that went into the preparation of this gorgeous book.

I love the covers (both back and front) (in addition to many of the lovely images).  The penultimate image of the Eiffel Tower in the sunset is simply stunning!  I began to write down all the images that I loved but found the list was getting too long!

This book would be ideal for French Tourist offices around the world as well as libraries, schools, museum shops and private libraries.


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Book spotlight: Authentic Arts: FLORENCE Travel Guide


Book Description for Authentic Arts: Venice Travel Guide

Going to Florence, Italy?
Don’t buy anything in Florence until you read this book!

If you’re traveling to Florence, Italy, you want to go home with a special souvenir: a leather handbag, a piece of gold jewelry, hand-printed stationery, or one of the city’s famous luxury fabrics. But selecting which jacket or which wallet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you’re buying something authentic, something made in Florence, something made in a traditional way? How do you determine if you’ve fallen prey to one of the city’s many tourist traps?

Florence boasts some of the most famous artistic traditions in the world. Here’s what you need to know about them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won’t find in any other guidebook. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on quality and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli s Authentic Arts: Florence is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of the capital of the Renaissance.


About the book:

Artisans of Florence is the companion to Florence: A Travel Guide, bringing you inside the workshops of several dozen of the most accomplished makers of Florentine fabrics, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. Put both books together and you’ll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Florence!

“Laura Morelli has set out to make you an expert in handmade crafts.” –American Style Magazine

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Florence’s most traditional arts. Laura Morelli’s Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer–maybe even a connoisseur–of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Artisans of Florence is the companion to Laura Morelli’s Authentic Arts: Florence: A Travel Guide to Fabrics, Frames, Jewelry, Leather Goods, Maiolica, Paper, Woodcrafts & More . Put both books together and you’ll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Florence!

Bring Laura Morelli’s guides to Florence with you, and you’ll be sure to come home with the best of Florence in your suitcase. Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli’s Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you’ll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Venice!


Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice’s most traditional arts. Laura Morelli’s Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer–maybe even a connoisseur–of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli’s guides to Venice with you, and you’ll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase.

unnamedLaura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Connect with Laura:   Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~