Tag Archives: Set in China

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt


Summary: When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.

Based on Bratt’s diary of her four years at the orphanage, Silent Tears offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. The book offers no easy answers. While often painful in its clear-sightedness, Silent Tears balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children and of one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.

My Review: I started listening to this book this morning and could not stop listening to this book all day.

First, this is absolutely NOT an easy book to read. CPS doesn’t exactly exist in China and well the stories you read in this book make you wish there was some form of child protective services. This book was hard, especially for someone that has a deep desire to work in human rights. Hell if you have a heart it will be hard to read.

That being said while the author “loved” China I felt like she did criticize the Chinese… a lot. She talked about eating at KFC a lot in the book and I can’t really think of a single time she actually made a friend with a local Chinese man or woman. I mean I know language barriers exist and it is hard but you would think after living there for four years she would have made one friend. I mean I guess she could have… but didn’t feel they were good enough for her book.

That being said she did a great job telling the story of volunteering with the orphanage. I have volunteered abroad and the number 1 debated topic is, should you volunteer short term with children. Is that considered ethical. I typically feel it is not ethical to volunteer with children short term, but after reading this book and that the kids just want some love and affection even if it is just for a moment I am inclined to wonder if they are doing that much harm when they are already seriously neglected? This book is an excellent insight into that topic and I am not even sure if the author realizes that.

I did enjoy this story and I felt that the author has a skill, she has a fiction series out that I will read because I did enjoy here story… I just wish she didn’t come across so “holier than thou American.” Just because you are American doesn’t mean you have the right to criticize those with other customs. She may not have meant to come across that way because her bio talks about how much she loved China, but she did.

Overall, if you are considering volunteering in an orphanage ANYWHERE I feel you should read this book as it offers very real and very valuable insight into volunteering with kids.

Love is a Pretty Girl with a Cape to Share Your Dreams With by Bob Boze



SummaryA humorous autobiographical anthology from the author of the best-selling love story series the Horses of Tir Na Nog.


What’s it like to have your love life devastated….twice……before you’re six?

What’s it like when everyone knows how your life will turn out…….5 months before you’re born?

What’s it like to step off a bus in a foreign country 3,500 miles from home and feel like you were always meant to be there?

What’s it like to be enchanted by history and a city that has been the center of trade and multiple empires for over 2000 years?

What’s it like to volunteer at the World Famous San Diego Zoo for over 20 years, only to find out 10 year olds know more than you do?

What’s it like to show the love of your life the world you so dearly love, only to find out she’s really the one leading the parade?


To find out the answer to these and thousands of other questions, come fly with me and my pretty girl with a cape as we travel the world and life!


My Review:  When I received an email from Mr. Boze offering up his book to read I was thrilled this book was completely right up my alley.   I am so glad I received his email because this book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning reading.  In short, it was delightful.  He has been everywhere had the opportunities I only dream about.  This was an adventure-filled love story that will pull at the heart strings while making you laugh at his outrageous stories.

I found his stories outrageous yet believable and his way with words made me feel like I was sitting next to him in the passenger seat.   The titles of his chapters were amazing and I found at times I was like uh oh what could possibly happen next.

This story had me smiling and I have to admit they have a beautiful love story that I am so happy I got to take part in through reading this amazing book.  I can only imagine what it was like when they experienced his stories first hand.  This was an amazing book and I am so happy I got to read it.


I downloaded a copy of the book on Kindle Unlimted.  If you have a copy of the book I highly urge you to read it.


How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker by Lauren Juliff


Summary: ‘I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I thought by leaving to travel the world I would instantly become a glamorous and savvy backpacker…’

But somehow Lauren’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. Over the space of two years, instead of finding herself, she lost a laptop, a camera, £1,000 and some teeth. She was caught up in a tsunami, sat beside a dead woman for six hours and experienced a very unhappy ending during a massage in Thailand. But repeatedly being forced out of her pea-sized comfort zone helped Lauren realise that she was stronger than she once thought and, learning how NOT to travel the world was the most enlightening experience she could have hoped for.


Confession: I started toying with the idea of taking an around the world adventure back in 2011. I only got serious about taking the adventure in June. That being said when I first started playing with the idea it was about a week before Lauren left for her trip. I always got excited when I received an email that she had post a new story, and I remember thinking man this girl has some serious bad luck, but I sure would take her bad luck over being stuck in this damn cubicle. She was living my dream and while I was envious of her, I was obsessed with her story.

I discovered Neverending Footsteps while I was sitting at work one day bored and googled “How to make money to travel long term” and came across her blog, I learned quickly that she was leaving soon and I have been following her journey ever since.

I remember when she was scammed in Shanghai, I remember when she had an “unhappy” ending, I even remember her posting about meeting a boy.

While I knew 99% of the “incidents” as she likes to call them in the book, I didn’t know the in depth details. When I heard she was writing a book I was excited, I couldn’t wait to read her story. She is someone that inspired me to keep working and pursuing my travel dream. I am in no way shape or form on the caliber as she is but I aspire to be that way.

Granted, it has taken me four years to decide to finally travel long term, but it is still going to happen and in a since I can thank Lauren for this. Even with all her crazy mishaps, she still inspires me and I even felt sad when she went on her little blog hiatus. I even offered my place up in Texas when she came through cause I wanted to meet her. I swear I am not weird, she is just living me dream and I wanted to chat about it.

This book is a fabulous travel memoir and in a way I almost forgot that I have been following her for years. I was fascinated by her story with Dave, and while I do not follow Dave’s blog, I think I will star. He seems in a word, fantastic. I loved reading their story and it made me smile… a lot.

Juliff is an amazing story teller and even if travel is not your thing the story is refreshing because we all feel like we make constant mistakes and sometimes never get things right, some of us suffer anxiety and feel there is no hope, some of us have eating disorders… some of us want to know there are people like us out there, which is why this book is a refreshing take on the “travel blogging” world.

The Amazing Journey by Grady Hicks


Summary: 28 Days-24,000 miles-22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites-12 Cultures and Beliefs-1 Amazing Journey The Amazing Journey is a fast-paced, true story of Grady and Austin Hicks, a father and son who travel the world for twenty-eight days before Austin attends college. Austin is the first of three Hicks children who embark on this globe-trotting tradition with their father. In the spirit of adventure, their route and activities are kept secret-even from family. They complete daily, self-imposed Journey Tasks that deliberately immerse them into cultural authenticity, and far outside their comfort zones. As the journey unfolds, it becomes clear that these travelers are in store for much more than unfamiliar landscapes. From foreign militaries to spiritual clairvoyance, from serious illness to unnerving dares, The Amazing Journey reminds us to connect with people-be it those closest to you or those across the world-to test your limits, and to trust the Journey.

Paperback: $13.99 U.S. $17.50 CAN ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-0-1
Hardback: $22.99 U.S. $27.25 CAN ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-1-8
E-book: $9.99 ISBN 13: 978-0-9864208-3-2
TRAVEL / Special Interest / Family / Adventure

OH how I envy Grady & Austin. My original idea was to interview Mr. Hicks about his adventure, but as I am a claims adjuster in the Dallas area, we have had massive flooding that resulted in my extra time being dedicated to those that have lost everything. My saving grace was reading this adventure on my lunch break. Grady and Austin have accomplished what I dream of, to travel around the world jump outside of their comfort zones. I smiled, I laughed and I even talked about segments of the book with my co-workers.

Keeping their plans secret was brilliant, it was secret between father & son, and I loved exploring what they did on their secret adventure. I laughed at Grady’s take on sky diving (I agree, he is MUCH braver than me!). I loved how they planned their adventure on The Amazing Race, a show I also love.

What I enjoyed most about this story is the way that Grady expressed travel changes you. Travel is so much more than seeing the Eiffel tower and ancient ruins, it is stepping out of your comfort zone, finding who you are, immersing yourself into a different way of life. Travel changes you, and you can see the change in this memoir.

“I’m trying to prepare you for something deeper than a long weekend in Jamaica.”

This is the line that hooked me, and made me a fan of Grady. Grady get’s it, and he is preparing his son for the journey. Travel is a journey. That is why this book is amazing, Grady gets that.

I read travel memoirs I thrive on reading travel memoirs, because I love reading about experiences of other’s that travel because it gives me the satisfaction of knowing I am not alone when I preach that true travel changes you. This beautiful book does that, because not only do you see the change in Grady you see Austin change through his father’s eyes.

I can’t wait to read about the next adventure Grady is going to have with his daughter, starting in 10 days! I really hope he tweets when he can (yes I follow him on twitter now). The travel community really needs to read this book, you will not be disappointed.

This 5 star book is a heart warming story that shows the true meaning of travel. Change.

PS: Grady I am in the Dallas area! I would love to meet you & discuss your travels in further detail! I can’t wait for your next book!

Grady Hicks


Grady is a native Texan whose family has lived and
worked in North Texas since the 1850s. He is an avid
traveler who has made his home base in Arlington,
TX, where he returns to relax in the backyard with his
family and to plan his next destination. He lives with
his wife of 27 years, Belinda. Their three children now
attend university, majoring in mechanical engineering,
business communication, and elementary education.
Grady is currently writing the second book in The
Amazing Journey series and planning the global
adventure that will become the third book.