Category: Travel Narrative | Memoir

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

Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLena

Posted Friday, 2 October, 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 contacted by Kelsey @ Book Publicity Services in regards to a non-fiction journal account of a sister duo in country music who journalled their experiences on the road whilst touring. I received a complimentary copy of “Recipes and Road Stories” direct from the publicist via Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I love fiddles and folk music – I am a champion of bluegrass and outlaw country, and I tend to have my own mind about where I ‘fit’ inside Country music where I most likely am on the fringes rather than being on the ‘inside edge’; however, this personally suits my fancy! I love cross-over artists (Country to Pop) and I love the originality of musicians who can belt out a ballard and write the lyrics which resonate on a heart-pulse the beauty of their message.

When I first learnt about this memoir by a duo of bluegrass who were traditionally trained and who have a natural rhythm of joy surrounding them as they play, I couldn’t find a reason not to accept this book for review! I’m a foodie girl at heart, if you follow my exploits under my #TheBookishFoodie featured cookbook reviews, you’d know how seeing a fusion of home-spun stories of family life, faith-centered journalling of life experiences, and the quirky addition of recipes woven together into a memoir of a rising duo of bluegrass – truly, what isn’t to love?

Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLenaRecipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the Duo HanaLena
by Hannah and Caroline Melby
Source: Direct from Publicist

Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the duo HanaLena blends touching and rollicking road stories with an assortment of tasty recipes, and then tops everything off with plenty of exciting photographs.

Also contributing recipes are friends they made on the road, including Rhonda Vincent, a 5-time Grammy nominee who has been called the "Queen of Bluegrass", and Clarie Lynch, who is the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Association.

On the road they have opened for stars such as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and performed with Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin and the "King of Bluegrass" Jimmy Martin, who was a frequent performer at the Opry before his death in 2005.

In their off-hours, the sisters focused on the business end of music, with Hannah receiving a degree in public relations from Mississippi State University and Caroline receiving a degree in music business from Belmont University in Nashville.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Baking, Biography / Autobiography, Cookery, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travelogue


Published by Sartoris Literary Group Inc

on 15th September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 336

 Published By: Sartoris Literary Group, Inc.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Interview about developing Recipes and Road Stories | The Clarion-Ledger

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

HanaLena Summer Tour via HanaLenaBand

jump in the car and ride along with the sisters! beautiful vocals overlay the footage!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse on Twitter via: #HanaLena

About Hannah and Caroline Melby

Hannah and Caroline Melby; HanaLena

By the time Hannah was in the 11th grade and Caroline was in the 7th grade, the Melby sisters were touring the country in bluegrass bands, with Hannah on fiddle and Caroline on mandolin. Today the sisters are front persons of a very popular Nashville-based country music touring band named HanaLena.

The sisters, who grew up in Starkville, Mississippi, performed from an early age - Hannah is now 28, Caroline is 24 - evolving from bluegrass to progressive country as they perfected their songwriting and performance skills out on the road. In 2008 they won the "Best New Act in Country Music" competition at the Colgate Country Showdown in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville - and took home a check for a cool $100,000 presented by country music star LeAnn Rimes.

Photo Credit: Cathy Waugh

Hannah @hannahmelbyns Caroline @carolinemelby

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Posted Friday, 2 October, 2015 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Publicity Services, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Indie Author, Memoir, Music Video, Non-Fiction, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, The Bookish Foodie, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Digital Nature Photography” by John Shaw #BloggingForBooks

Posted Friday, 3 July, 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 decided to join the “Blogging for Books” programme (on 9th July, 2014) which is a book for review programme created by the Crown Publishing Group. As a book blogger you are offered books in exchange for an honest review on your book blog as well as the ability to reach new readers when you cross-post your review to the Blogging for Books website. The benefit for the blogger is exposure as a reviewer as they put direct links back to your blog post on the book you select to review as well as your homepage.

I received a complimentary copy of “Digital Nature Photography” direct from the publisher Amphoto Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I haven’t truly blogged about being a self-taught nature and wildlife photographer until now, as it was one of my side projects to thread into the life of Jorie Loves A Story! You might have started to notice I have been using the resources of Unsplash (a repository of Public Domain Stock Images) sprinkled throughout my blog (as I use their stock images to create my banners and badges) as well as on my Twitter accounts. I love supporting other creative economists and the fact they are giving book bloggers (all bloggers, truly!) a chance to find [free] quality photographs to be used in their own creative pursuits is quite a luxury in today’s world of copyright restrictions.

I started to find that I had a natural inclination to photograph the wildlife native to where I live when I was a young girl – as the shutterbug passion grabbed a hold of me at a young age. This is in part due to the encouragement of my maternal grandfather and my Mum; both of whom were photographers in their own right long before I ever held a camera in my own hands! I even would take disposable cameras with me to keepaway camp during the Summers; partially due to the tendency of being an active tomboy and needing a ‘sturdy’ camera that could keep up with me and partially due to the convenience of not needing to keep track of the rolls of 35mm film!

My first preference is still photography shooting with 35mm film, however, out of necessity I was gifted (by my Mum and Da) a digital Sony camera circa 2005; a camera which to this day, I still use as my mainstay! You’d be surprised what I can accomplish with this camera even though the memory cards are so much smaller nowadays and the only cards I can pick up for my model are the ‘hard to find’ variety! I use memory cards like we used to use negatives; I want to have a hard copy in lieu of only keeping digital back-up files. Most photographers shoot over their digital images but this is something I was advised not to do at the onset of my emergence into the digital realms; mostly because it can distort the images if your using it with such repetition to constantly re-write the same image thousands of times over. I opted to error on the side of caution as a personal preference.

When I saw John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography I was hoping to use this book as a gateway step towards my pursuit of Digital SLR and Manual SLR cameras (the next generations of my own personal equipment) inasmuch as learning more about light, setting, timing, and juxtapositions. I haven’t had the pleasure of using my grandfather’s Nikon 35mm with the interchangeable lens but I am striving towards bridging a balance between my love of still and my newfound embrace of digital mediums.

Interesting to note, Mr Shaw believes how I believe when it comes to photography:
focus on what you see through the lens and the magic of what alights in your life, to capture something only you can see. Rather than to be solely focused on gear to the extent you forget the true art of photography is the person who captures the image.

Book Review | “Digital Nature Photography” by John Shaw #BloggingForBooksJohn Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography
by John Shaw
Source: Publisher via Blogging for Books

Outdoor and travel photography legend John Shaw returns with his much-anticipated guide to digital nature photography, complete with more than 250 of his exceptional photographs. In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment to subjects and software. This follow-up to John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide includes lessons on such key topics as:

+ Advice on gear—from cameras to tripods and remotes, filters, and flashes
+ Composition—lighting, framing, and learning to see “photo-graphically”
+ An in-depth look at lenses—using zoom and telephoto, tilt-shift, and teleconverters
+ Using manual mode—the basics of f-stops, ISOs, and shutter speed
+ Proper exposure—mastering meters and the histogram
+ Close-ups—a special section on macro lenses and flashes
+ Best practices at work—in the field and in the digital dark room

In addition to detailed and practical lessons for every level of photography enthusiast, Shaw offers inspirational and candid insight into how to get that perfect shot—from having a vision to practicing and using the right equipment. With easily digestible information complemented by breathtaking photographs from around the world, John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography is sure to become a new classic.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Digital Photography, Wildife & Nature Photography


Published by Amphoto Books

on 17th March, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 250

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

 Published By: Amphoto Books, (@crownpublishing)

(an imprint of Crown Publishing Group)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #NaturePhotography & #DigitalPhotography + #BloggingForBooks

About John Shaw

John Shaw is the author of many enduring bestsellers, including seven previous books on nature photography.

His photographs are frequently featured in National Geographic, Nature's Best, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, Sierra, and Audubon magazines, as well as in calendars, books, and advertisements.

He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and Provence to Patagonia, and leads sold-out workshops around the globe.

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Posted Friday, 3 July, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogging for Books, Book | Novel Excerpt, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Non-Fiction, Photography, Scribd, Short Stories or Essays, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Vignettes of Real Life, Wilderness Adventures