Category: Life in Another Country

Non-Fiction Book Review | “My Underground American Dream” by Julissa Arce

Posted Saturday, 12 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a new reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, I started by reviewing two releases by FaithWords, their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been blessed to start reviewing for them.

I received a complimentary copy of “My Underground American Dream” direct from the publisher Center Street (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I have wanted to read this memoir ever since I first heard about it:

I am growing more interested in reading human interest stories, memoirs and select biographies or autobiographies whilst I also find certain topics and subjects in Science are the ones I am enjoying the most to read and discover. When I first saw this release was upcoming this Autumn, I knew I wanted to read it because it was almost as if our current events and the news had converged on this release to bring to light an ongoing topic of narrative about something that affects so many people living in America today.

I had seen a documentary about Latinos living in California and part of the documentary shifted to reflect that some of the families on-camera were currently undocumented. I felt perhaps they should have been featured as I knew their status is always in jeopardy but also, they have so much they have to face everyday, why put their safety at risk by being in a documentary?  I never forgot that particular news feature I had seen within the past year. It was more about culture and art than it was about undocumented immigrants, but still, it had highlighted the issue to an level of insight where you could gather how difficult it was to live with a secret which could affect you so very dearly.

I wasn’t sure what I would find inside – as until I saw the release was pending, I honestly had not heard of Ms Arce’s story. I thought it was interesting how her status changed and how she found success in one of the hardest finance districts – there was an interesting story there awaiting my eyes – that much I knew for sure! It became one of my most anticipated #nextreads and one that I was thankful I had a chance to review for Center Street.

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Non-Fiction Book Review | “My Underground American Dream” by Julissa ArceMy Underground American Dream
Subtitle: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant who became a Wallstreet Executive
by Julissa Arce
Source: Direct from Publisher

What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States?

JULISSA ARCE knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong.

On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.

From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today- people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781455540242

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Current Events


Published by Center Street

on 13th September, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 304

Published by: CenterStreet (@centerstreet)
an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. (@HachetteBooks) via Hachette Nashville

Formats Available: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction + #CurrentEvents

About Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce Photo Credit: Vincent Remini

JULISSA ARCE is a writer, speaker, and social-justice advocate. She is the cofounder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program that assists immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and for College Spring. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

Photo Credit: Vincent Remini

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Posted Saturday, 12 November, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Immigrant Stories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life in Another Country, Memoir, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Social Change, Tattoo Art & Design, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Einstein at Home” by Friedrich Herneck

Posted Friday, 19 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Einstein at Home” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My lifelong appreciation of Albert Einstein:

I have been fascinated by Einstein for most of my life, as I am a keen reader of the quantum realms. I have oft wondered how he was outside of the public eye and this incredible tome gives a reader an insight into this private world of his that I would appreciate reading.

My lifelong appreciation on behalf of Albert Einstein started at quite a young age – as I was a science & science-fiction geek for as long as I can remember. There was something wicked genuine about everything I read on behalf of Einstein – from his pursuit of understanding the fabric of creation from both a religious and scientific background to his interests in taking theory and understanding to new levels of creative thought and illumination; Einstein to me, was one of those rare finds of a childhood where I spent a lot of time sorting out which scientists I wanted to learn more about over the score of my lifetime.

I started off in the fringes of where (recorded) history, time and scientific rhetoric leave the trail of his legacy and allow for pop cultural speculation, public praise and layreader intuition to take-over his personal history. Threading my way through whichever ‘new’ discovery I could put my hands on about Einstein’s journey was some of the happier memories growing up, as whenever I would even learn a new kernel of insight towards finding the stories behind the man who left everyone pondering E=mc² was worth pursuing!

Towards that end, I have several books in my personal library I am working towards reading including Einstein and Religion by Max Jammer and Einstein by Walter Isaacson.

I am thrilled to bits to have an unexpected ‘start’ to my non-fiction readings on behalf of the man whose inspired me to pursue re-living his path whilst attempting to see what he saw and understand what only he knew – retreating into a conversational collection of who he was before everything else was known is quite the treat!

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Book Review | “Einstein at Home” by Friedrich HerneckEinstein at Home
by (Translator) Josef Eisinger, Friedrich Herneck
Translator: Josef Eisinger
Source: Direct from Publisher

These intimate, candid descriptions of the private life of Albert Einstein come from a series of interviews with Herta Waldow, a housekeeper who lived with Einstein and his wife and daughter from 1927 to 1933 at their residence in Berlin. After World War II, science historian Friedrich Herneck interviewed Ms. Waldow and published the conversations in the former East Germany. Unavailable in English till now, these five interviews offer fascinating glimpses into the great scientist’s daily routines while he lived as a celebrated scientist in Weimar Germany.

Einstein’s well-known idiosyncrasies come to life in these conversations: his disheveled hair that was only poorly trimmed by his myopic wife, his love of classical music, his playing of the violin to help him think, his delight in sailing, his wide circle of friends and many social engagements, and his female companions besides his wife. Many celebrity acquaintances are also mentioned: from movie star Charlie Chaplin and conductor Erich Kleiber to writers Thomas and Heinrich Mann and fellow scientists Max Planck, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinger.

With a detailed introduction that puts these interviews in context, these colorful conversations create a vivid picture of Albert Einstein the man.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

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ISBN: 9781633881464

Genres: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Quantum Physics, Science, Science & Technology


Published by Prometheus Books

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 200

About (Translator) Josef Eisinger

Josef Eisinger

Josef Eisinger is the author of Einstein on the Road and the translator of Brahms’s letters in Johannes Brahms, Life and Letters, by Styra Avins.

A native of Vienna, he is a physicist whose research has ranged from nuclear physics to molecular biology and from the history of medicine to music history. He is professor emeritus in the Department of Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the author of some two hundred articles in professional journals and books, and the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships.

About Friedrich Herneck

Friedrich Herneck (1909-1993) was a German historian of science. Among his many books were Einstein and His Worldview and Einstein and the Atom Bomb.

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Originally published as Einstein privat in German (1978)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Special Note:

Available in English for the first time, these five interviews with a housemaid who worked for Albert Einstein offer vivid glimpses of the great scientist’s life in Germany before World War II.

Converse via: #AlbertEinstein OR #Einstein, #QuantumPhysics OR #Physics + #ScienceBooks

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Posted Friday, 19 August, 2016 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Albert Einstein, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Life in Another Country, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Prometheus Books, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Quantum Physics, Science, The World Wars, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | “PJ Mouse” a Children’s Chapter Book series inspired by the author’s daughter. Gwyneth Jane Page brings “PJ Mouse” to life through adventurous tales!

Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “PJ Mouse series” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the books: “The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse: in Canada” and “The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse: in Queensland” direct from the author Gwyneth Jane Page. Initially when I signed up for the blog tour we were meant to select one or the other, rather than both titles to review. I cannot remember which title I marked myself down to read these many months later, however, I’m yielding to thinking it was Queensland, as dearly curious I am about Canada I think I opted to read the one about Australia. Therefore, only one of these were sent in exchange for an honest review whereas the second book I was not obliged to post a review, but rather elected too as I was most delighted in reading it. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Continuing my appreciation for Canadian Lit:

For most of 2015, I have happily spent inside the covers of Canadian author’s works of story-craft, most of whom turnt out to be for Children’s Lit, as I explained on my review for Hannah Both Ways on the last blog tour I hosted for Canadian Indie Pub: Rebelight Publishing. There have been other stories I’ve happily soaked inside this year writ by other Canadians, however, what I appreciated the most is the diversity of their stories and the heart-centre of the stories they craft for children. They re-establish the innocence and the mirth of coming-of age whilst giving adventure and light-hearted humour a bit of a nod as well! It’s been an incredible year for #CanLit for me, and I am quite enthused I get to round out December with another chance to spotlight my appreciation for my dear neighbours of the North!

My review of The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada:

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page

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.

As soon as you pick up the Chapter Books, you can re-direct your mind back to your own childhood – where crayons and colouring were the key highlights of your afternoons, and where adventure lurked around every experience you were more than excited to become a part of. Childhood has it’s own sensibility and exploration of the world around us in such a fashion as to lend eyes to observational nuances and a heartfelt centering on life as a whole. What I appreciated about the artwork in the Chapter Books is how transporting they were to etch back memories of my own childhood days, as they felt like illustrations any child would have loved to have had hung on their wall. There is a slight cheeky bit of humour in most of the illustrative plates but there is also a twinge of childhood reverie where you can re-gather a sense about what it was like to first see ‘everything’ the world presented to you.

What duress – what despair! PJ Mouse is betwixt a rain downpour and an insistent instinct to be sheltered by a kind soul who would give him friendship rather than abandonment. Little PJ Mouse is found shuddering under a bench by a daughter and her Mum; the only two who found him, and thankfully the ones who meant him goodwill rather than harm. PJ Mouse has quite the personality, as he’s keenly developed in this first installment of the series – his voice is true and his manner of speaking not only appeals to the context of his character but he speaks how you would think he might, and that’s most satisfying!

In Chapter Two, before I could read the text of this section, it’s the despondent look upon PJ Mouse set ‘awash and a whirl’ that truly struck my fancy of taking away my attention! Love when Chapter Books for children have such a hearty tone and a beat to them; almost as if they were put to song, as their rhythm is quite cheerful, and this one has an up tempo that has a lovely rhyming sync of words about it!

There is a bit of a cleverness at getting children to ‘think outside the box’ as you come to notice how creative the story takes on it’s pacing. Even the illustrations start to shift and collide with the words themselves in order to provide new perspectives and new meanings within the confines of expression and showing of actions. It’s a lovely learning lesson nearly set to the pace of a word game – as young children I would imagine would be in a fit of giggles listening to PJ Mouse (and his woeful me expressions) and seeing how his curiosity and his enthused approach to his adventures with Emily take him to places he never imagined were possible to visit.

Geographically speaking, this is a good primer to introduce children to Canada and the driving route of how you can cross-sect the Provinces; especially keen for American children, who might not get the best overview in their lessons. It’s a clever way to entice children to think about geography but also, locale and place in proportion to where your visiting. Too often I think there is a bit of a rush to get from Point A to Point B without truly appreciating the in-between bits; and those are the most dear to remember years lateron! Definitely shows how a slowing down and keeping an awareness about your surroundings is the best approach to adventuring because you learn from where you go and you takeaway bits of those places with you when you leave them.

Blog Book Tour | “PJ Mouse” a Children’s Chapter Book series inspired by the author’s daughter. Gwyneth Jane Page brings “PJ Mouse” to life through adventurous tales!The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland
by Gwyneth Jane Page and Megan Elizabeth
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Megan Elizabeth
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

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.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781770845084

Genres: Artistic Adaptations &/or Picture Books, Canadian Lit, Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories


Published by First Choice Books

on 27th June, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 60

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #PJMouse

About Gwyneth Jane Page and Megan Elizabeth

Gwyneth Jane Page and Megan Elizabeth

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.

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Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2015 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Canadian Literature, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, Life in Another Country, Nature & Wildlife, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Social Change, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue

Blog Book Tour | “Reef Libre: An In-Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism” by Robert Wintner

Posted Tuesday, 17 November, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Reef Libre” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book and DVD (accompaniment to the book) direct from the publisher Taylor Trade Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why the oceans have fascinated my mind:

I grew up surrounded by the oceans as my state is one of the Gulf States hugged so close to shoreline we’re perpetually below sea level; a fact that never shied me away from wondering which hurricane season might cause catastrophic destruction; not only to the humans who live within my state but to the ecological habitats who call this area home. There have been many disasters within the Gulf region since I was bourne and unfortunately they were not limited to mother nature. Each time something has happened to cause a disruption in the harmony of the natural world of my state and the surrounding ones, a part of my heart has been full of remorse and grief.

Mankind has not found kindness nor humility in understanding there are limits to what we can effectively do and what we can not undo due to our greed and our progression forward through industry. Too often the progress of mankind is placed first rather than taking into consideration the benefit of living in conjunction with the natural world; in this case, the oceans. The oceans were studied quite widely throughout my school years, but it wasn’t until 7th grade where I truly caught on to the specifics of weather patterns, wave formations, tidal histories and the incredible density of how large our oceans are whilst cross-compared to how much of the oceans have been mapped, researched and understood on even a basic level of insight. It’s truly our greatest ‘unknown’ frontier outside of Space.

I grew up going to the beach as oft as time would allow and part of my appeal of visiting those sandy shores were to feel the connection from the sand under my feet to the humming clarity of the waves. There is something altogether spiritual about walking the beach, acknowledging the shells and connecting to the lifeblood of what the oceans give us per annum. I originally felt I would grow up to be professionally connected to the oceans, as I explored different options from interspecies communications (i.e. dolphins or whales; similar scope to Zeus and Roxanne); dolphin research; Nautical Archaeology; Marine Biology or one of the many sub-fields therein that stimulated a personal curiosity to know more. I even yearned to get my PADI license until I realised that I appreciated being a bit more disconnected from this enveloping world of dark and light; of where the underwater ecology is as reverent as the one on the surface and mimics certain attributes therein.

I found that my greater passion was to become a writer whose stories would be soulfully connected to the ocean and allow me the chance through research to develop more knowledge than what I could have gained if I had selected only one field to pursue. I appreciate the freedom being a writer and photographer can yield, but also, it’s finding a way to give credence to an ecological living system that so many of this world take for granted. If non-fiction releases like Reef Libre and my own personal wanderings within fiction can shed a light on the beauty and the case for conservation with preservation forward thinking solutions, I think we have a chance to reset the balance we’ve destroyed.

Blog Book Tour | “Reef Libre: An In-Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism” by Robert WintnerReef Libre
Subtitle: Cuba: The Last, Best Reefs in the World. An in-depth look at Cuban Exceptionalism
by Robert Wintner
Source: Publisher via iRead Book Tours

Cuba reefs host apex predators and coral cover at optimal levels. While Cuban reef vitality may be linked to economic default and no shoreline development, no agricultural pesticides or fertilizers and limited human population growth, the Castro regime is aggressively developing its reef potential.

Seas to the south are now 100% shark protected.

Most Cuba travelogues advise “getting off the beaten path,” but Reef Libre examines that path, to see where it might lead as things change. Will Cuba reefs remain protected? Or is this perilous age of natural decline a last chance to see a healthy reef system?

Robert Wintner and the Snorkel Bob Jardines de la Reina Expedition herein provide narrative insight with photos and video. First stop is the baseline: Havana urban density. Down south at Cayo Largo, reef collapse seems imminent with 600 guests changing daily, and the phosphate-laden laundry water flowing directly to the deep blue sea. Will Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism step up with the Jardines de la Reina paradigm? Rising from the Golfo de Ana María, Jardines is a thousand square miles of mangrove estuary, for ages compromised by constant extraction of its biggest predators, taken as food. Protected, it now rises on the world reef stage.

A DVD comes with the book in a paper sleeve glued to the inside cover. Reef Libre, the movie, runs about an hour.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781630760731

Genres: Current Events, Digital Photography, Ecology, Marine Biology, Non-Fiction, Oceanography, Science, Travelogue, Wildife & Nature Photography


Published by Taylor Trade Publishing

on 1st February, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 272

Available Formats: Hardback with the DVD

Published by: Taylor Trade Publishing

An imprint of Rowan & Littlefield (@RLPGBooks) known for their academic publications within the Humanities and Social Sciences. They also focus on Educational publications.

Converse via: #ReefLibre

About Robert Wintner

Robert Wintner

Best known as Snorkel Bob in Hawaii and around the world, Robert Wintner captures Cuba above and below the surface with urgency and hope. As a pioneer in fish portraiture, Wintner demonstrated social structure and etiquette in reef society. Reef Libre goes to political context, in which human folly will squander Cuba’s reefs as well—unless natural values can at last transcend political greed. As pundits joust over who did what to whom and why, Wintner ponders reef prospects in view of political changes.

Robert Wintner has authored many novels and story collections. Reef Libre is his fourth reef commentary with photos and his first overview of survival potential in a political maelstrom. He lives and works in Hawaii, still on the front lines of the campaign to stop the aquarium trade around the world.

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Posted Tuesday, 17 November, 2015 by jorielov in Aquaculture, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Charity & Philanthropy, Climate Change, Conservation, Ecology, Education & Learning, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Environmental Solutions, Indie Author, Life in Another Country, Marine Biology, Nature & Wildlife, Non-Fiction, Oceanography, Preservation, Science, Social Change, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue