Apr 27, 2016

Book Review: Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear







Lavish Bookshelf reviews of
 books in the Maisie Dobbs series: 

A Dangerous Place (Book 11) 



Great quote:  "All the books, all the lectures, all the pages of information, are as nothing against the measure of our experience - and by that he meant the experience we take to heart, that we go back to, trying to work out the why, what and how of whatever has come about in our lives. That, he said, is where we learned the value of true knowledge, with our life's lessons to draw upon, so that he might one day be blessed with wisdom." (Page 233 ARC)

Book summary:  "Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler's Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue." (back cover)





My thoughts:  Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear is the 12th book in the female-detective series starring Maisie Dobbs. This time Maisie Dobbs is going undercover to rescue a British subject from the notorious Nazi prison camp Dachau. Along the way, Maisie also is gets a heap of help from some unexpected places.

Maisie Dobbs throughout the series has gotten herself into some amazing pickles and this book is definitely no exception. Dealing with the Nazis on their home turf is a heavy plotline. Author Winspear manages to get Maisie into the heart of things and gets her out of it, but sometimes the idea of Maisie outwitting the Nazis in Munich seemed a bit far-fetched, even for clever character Maisie. 

Personally, this is the 5th Maisie book I have read in the series and I've read them in no particular order. This book does seem to have a lot of references to past characters, especially to Maisie's late husband and the events and people surrounding his passing. For the reason that readers may get lost in the backstory, Journey to Munich does not seem to be a great choice for starting this series. Likewise, for much of this book Maisie is on her own undercover in Germany, so many of the interactions with other characters from the series is lacking. This book is quintessential Maisie with clever deductions and even-headed conclusions, however. 

Fans of Maisie Dobbs will enjoy this book just as much as the previous books. While Journey to Munich might not be the best place to start the series for a new reader, this book is still filled with the Maisie Dobbs that her fans love. 


Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:    304
  • Year originally published:   2016
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of MANY books from Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours
Purchase on Amazon:  Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Apr 18, 2016

Guest Post: Researching The Winemakers at Moone-Tsai in Napa Valley by Jan Moran

Picture courtesy of Jan Moran


Researching TheWinemakers 

at Moone-Tsai in Napa Valley
By Jan Moran 


 “Oh, the secrets a good bottle of wine could uncork.” 
– From The Winemakers


I’m so happy to share TheWinemakers with readers. As I held the book in my hands for the first time, my first thought was how well the artist had captured the vintage feeling of novel. I also wanted to share more of the backstory and photos that had inspired many of the settings in the novel, from Napa Valley to Montalcino, Italy. As with the perfume industry in Scent of Triumph, I became immersed in the wine industry in this saga and spent a great deal of time researching wine.

The wines in the book were inspired by the amazing artistry of wines from Moone-Tsai of Napa and Brunello di Montalcino of Italy, and so many others. (Of course, I had to try a few…)

Jan Moran and MaryAnn Tsai
Pic courtesy of Jan Moran

I met so many wonderful people along the way. For the intensive research phase, I traveled to Napa Valley for a week during harvest in September. I visited with a former classmate from Harvard Business School, MaryAnn Tsai, and her husband, Larry Tsai, who are founding partners of Moone-Tsai Wines. As past president of Luna Vineyards and Beringer Wine Estates, MaryAnn shared a wealth of knowledge from her tenure there.

MaryAnn and Larry also poured their exclusive Moone-Tsai wines, which set the bar for excellence high and have graced the tables of heads of state by request. They led me through the wine cave and vineyards while explaining the art of winemaking in great detail. From MaryAnn and Larry I received a crash course in terroir, or environmental factors responsible for a wine’s unique character. We talked of the importance of environmental stress on the grapes (or berries in the language of winemakers), the barrels and char (how wine is ‘spiced’), and the effect of elevation, weather, and marine layers on grapes grown in the Napa region.

I became enamored with their Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon wine, which they describes as, “a soulful Tina Turner smolderingly adorned in Chanel.” Howell Mountain came to figure prominently as the setting in The Winemakers. We tasted wine in the cave (it was so atmospheric it inspired a scene). It was there that their Cor Leonis wine, created by Bordeaux-bred winemaker Philippe Melka, utterly stole my heart. (This inspired the type of wine I imagined that Caterina and Santo might have created.) And with good reason; industry expert Robert Parker named Philippe as one of the world's top nine consulting winemakers. To learn more about their wine, visit http://www.moonetsai.com.

Later, Moone-Tsai partner Mike Moone met me at a local country club and shared a wealth of Napa Valley history, parts of which made it into The Winemakers. I particularly enjoyed his stories of Napa during Prohibition, along with the early history of Northern California winemakers. These stories set the tone for the Napa portion of TheWinemakers. I could not have written this story without the expert knowledge of such industry luminaries.

Many readers tell me the winemaking details in The Winemakers ring true – this is certainly due to these friends who were exceedingly generous with their knowledge.




Book Description: 1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for. Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past. From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.




Author info:  Learn more about Jan Moran at www.janmoranwrites.com.
Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram



Purchase on Amazon: The Winemakers by Jan Moran




The Winemakers Giveaway:
Win a $25 Amazon gift card and Winemakers swag (USA)


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FTC Disclosure: Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale. Giveaway is sponsored by the author and the publicist, not LavishBookshelf.com.

Apr 7, 2016

Book Review: Joyful Inspirations Coloring Book by Robin Mead






Great Quote:  "Earth laughs in flowers..." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Book summary:  "Color uplifting depictions of God's creation--from blossoming gardens to smiling children--and vibrant cityscapes, with illustrated scripture and quotes to inspire and encourage." (back cover)


Coloring in my Joyful Inspirations Coloring Book!

My thoughts: Joyful Inspirations by Robin Mead is the newest coloring book on the shelf! Filled with whimsical drawings of fish, flowers and churches, Joyful Inspirations is a fun way to spend an afternoon with crayons. 

The paper used to print Joyful Inspirations is thick enough for crayons and colored pencils. Despite the thick paper, pens and Sharpies will bleed through. Joyful Inspirations is bound as a large sized paperback book, so it doesn't lay flat without breaking the spine. A few of the images are 2-page spreads, but many of the images are one page designs. 

The only drawback to Robin Mead's creative coloring book is the occasional drawing of people. Personally, the drawings of people are way too cutesy. Despite the amateur drawings of people, the remainder of the drawings are adorable and enticing to color with crayons or colored pencils. 

Quotes are interspersed throughout the coloring book, not on every page. Many of the quotes are scripture quotes from the Bible, but the book also contains a few inspiring quotes from other sources such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Joyful Inspirations by Robin Mead is an entertaining coloring book that has peaceful images and inspiring quotes. Grab your crayons and start coloring!



Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   96
  • Year originally published:   2016
  • Author:  Visit artist Robin Mead on Etsy!
Purchase on Amazon:  Joyful Inspirations Coloring Book by Robin Mead

 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe

Disclaimer: I'm a book reviewer, not a medical professional.
My review is strictly based on the merits of my opinions of this book 
and do not consist of medical advice in any way. 
Please consult a physician before you literally eat dirt.




Great quote:  "I firmly believe that the only things that are holding us back from reversing our country's affliction of leaky gut are awareness, knowledge and faith - both about the existence of leaky gut and our ability to solve it." (Page 6)

Book summary:  "In Eat Dirt, functional medicine practitioner Dr. Josh Axe explains the hidden causes and widespread effects of leaky gut syndrome, a condition that is thought to be ground zero for many of the country’s most confounding health crises—including allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, diabetes, digestive diseases, arthritis, thyroid conditions, and even frustratingly difficult-to-treat conditions such as chronic fatigue and autism." (TLC)


My thoughts:  Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe is an easy-to-read book with an eye-opening subject matter. Filled with tons of advice and a plethora of recipes, Eat Dirt is a warning to all about a condition known as "Leaky Gut". 

The term Leaky Gut has been traveling around the alternative medicine circles for a while. In case it's a new term to you, Dr. Axe pretty much describes it as a breakdown in the body's digestive system which allows bacteria and other yucky stuff to pass through the walls of the intestines into the gut. As you can imagine, this would make someone quite sick. Dr. Josh Axe believes that Leaky Gut leads to a host of diseases from asthma to cancer and a lot in between. In a nutshell: fix the Leaky Gut = Cure yourself.

Eat Dirt focuses on the "five core" areas that can contribute to leaky gut: 

  1. diet
  2. environmental toxins from modern life
  3. stress
  4. over-sanitation
  5. over-medication

Without a doubt, what Dr. Josh Axe is saying has a lot of merit. His delivery in this book is clear and quite thorough. Dr. Axe explains terms in great detail and includes recipes and hints that readers can easily follow. It's a positive book that can give readers a lot of hope.

What is wrong with the book is just how alternative some of Dr. Axe's advice really can be. In keeping with the title of the book for example, he does literally advocate people to eat dirt in the form of pills containing soil from the Himalayas. (Page 62) Dr. Axe claims that "soil-based organisms" can treat allergies, asthma, colitis and more. Again, I'm not medical professional, but I'm thinking that's WAY out there on the alternative medicine scale? 

Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe really is insightful and uplifting in it's message that people can heal themselves through nutrition and lifestyle changes. A few of the theories are a bit far out and some of the recipes contain difficult ingredients (ghee butter and coconut aminos, anyone?). Overall, however, this book is accessible and positive. Those who are looking for healthy alternatives and ways to change their patterns would enjoy reading this book. 



Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Book Facts:
  • Pages:   327
  • Year originally published:   2016
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours
Purchase on Amazon:    Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe

 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.
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