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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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26 12, 2011

Review: Sideways on a Scooter by Miranda Kennedy

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

Reviewed by Alysia George

Leaving one’s home country and starting over again thousands of miles away is daunting, and at the same time exciting. Especially if the move is done all alone, with no friends or family for support and company, in a country with totally different customs and an unfamiliar language. And yet, journalist Miranda Kennedy did just that when she decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and relocate to India. Although independent and worldly to begin with, Kennedy learned more about herself and the Indian culture than she probably thought possible when she first set off. Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India, is Kennedy’s memoir chronicling her time in India.

Culture shock set in for Kennedy when she fully realized how different her lifestyle would be in India, yet she stood her ground and

16 12, 2011

Review: Baffin Island by Alastair Lee

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , |5 Comments

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Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. The beautiful island is part of Canada and has very long winters. As the title suggests, Baffin Island: The Ascent of Mount Asgard is a photo journal of Alistair Lee’s trip to Mount Asgard on Baffin Island and his ascent to the top.

The pictures in this book are simply incredible! Mount Asgard is a something else, the sides are sheer for thousands of feet and the shape is unforgettable. Lee went with a crew with the intention of climbing this mountain. Complete insanity if you ask me, but I’m just glad he took pictures along the way.

Lee tells two stories through the book: one of the Norse gods, which were on everyone’s mind since many of the mountains are named after them, and the group was planning to

8 11, 2011

Review: Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments

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Reviewed by Alisha Churbe

Wanderlust is a memoir of Elisabeth Eaves who “traveled for love, and loved to travel, making it hard to disentangle the two.” Eaves truthfully tells her story which makes her seem at times irresponsible, desperate and emotional. She doesn’t employ rose colored glasses for her story, she exposes her flaws and bad decisions, no matter how misguided they may have been.

The memoir begins with Eaves as a teenager and chronicles her travels to the point where at 34, she “realized I wanted to go home, only to discover I had no idea where that was.” The story follows Eaves to destinations on five continents and countless relationships with random, sometimes exotic and very understanding men. As Eaves confesses in the beginning, the travel and the love are very much intertwined to a point where the story lacks

13 09, 2011

Review: Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler

By | September 13th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , |18 Comments

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Reviewed by Jill Elizabeth

Today’s book review is for a fabulous memoir that rang more than a little true for me personally.

Tout Sweet is the story of Karen Wheeler, a rather high-end fashion journalist in London, who decides to pack her entire life up and leave the city to move to a rural village in France and renovate an old farmhouse. The decision is sparked by two things – the devastating end of her latest relationship and an increasing sense of ennui and disillusionment with her fashion-girl life and its obsessive focus on accumulating things. As you would expect, the story runs the emotional gamut – it alternates between hysterical ex-patriot escapades and old house/contractor challenges, heartbreaking moments of loneliness, uplifting tidbits of self-realization and demonstrations of inner strength. It is, in short, a story of everyday life.

As Karen travels down

16 08, 2011

Review: Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende

By | August 16th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |10 Comments

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Reviewed by Lauren Kirk

Heather Lende’s memoir, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, is full of heavy material and well thought-out wisdom. The book, however, never comes across as instructional or falsified, as Lende does an excellent job of bringing the reader right into her personal thoughts and daily life. Lende’s story is unique; she is a resident of the tiny town of Haines, Alaska and its’ strong community. She is active in her life and her surroundings; her conversations in the book with others and her powerful insights into life really reflect the size of her large heart and her even greater strength.

Lende was run over by a truck – driven by someone she knew – shortly before she was to embark on a book tour. The incident and ensuing recovery acted as both a huge

28 07, 2011

Review: Beijing Welcomes You by Tom Scocca

By | July 28th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |11 Comments

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Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Tom Scocca, the author of Beijing Welcomes You, and his wife moved to China follower her job transfer and experienced living in Beijing first hand. Scocca’s descriptions of the city are accurate and intoxicating: he includes information on what the city is like, – ancient city sections juxtaposed with the new sections – the food, the traffic, the polluted air and the amazing mass of native people. He covers real life dilemmas with landlords, the cultural differences (such as the Chinese habit of openly spitting on the sidewalk) and how someone from the states can manage and acclimate to these differences.

Beijing Welcomes You is a real life glimpse into the world of an expat living in Beijing and the extent of a culture shock that awaits anyone moving to this part of the world.

I enjoyed Beijing

13 07, 2011

Review: Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo

By | July 13th, 2011|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , |7 Comments

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Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova (Luxury Reading)

If you have any doubt in Annia Ciezadlo’s love for food, you only have to read a few pages of her memoir, Day of Honey, to dispel that notion.

Annia cooks for fun, cooks for comfort and everything in between. She creates a mental map of geographical areas by the foods found in little hole-in-the-wall restaurants or in the carts of street vendors. When her new husband’s job takes her to Beirut, and then Baghdad, Annia uses food to understand the people and culture of her new home. She uses ancient recipes to learn of Middle East traditions, dines with tribal leaders and rare female reformers, and finds her way in a maze of streets with no names, in search of the correct ingredient.

Delicious sounding recipes aside (and there are many of them in the

19 04, 2011

Review: The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley

By | April 19th, 2011|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments

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Reviewed by Alysia George

Most of us can only imagine that moving to a different country would be an exhilarating experience. Add two young children to the mix, plus a husband working long hours, a painful void of local friendships, very little understanding of the language, and a way of life that is completely foreign in just about every way, and the move still sounds exciting, but incredibly stressful as well. Pile atop all of those concerns a cancer diagnosis, and try to imagine communicating with doctors who don’t quite take you seriously and with whom you do not quite share a common language. This is the meat of Susan Conley’s memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune.

Conley’s book chronicles the nearly three years she spent in China with her family, and how her life totally changed during that time. Conley bravely

21 03, 2011

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli

By | March 21st, 2011|Categories: Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , |145 Comments

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Please join Lisa Napoli, author of Radio Shangri-La, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Lisa Napoli, the author and narrator of Radio Shangri-La, traveled to Bhutan to volunteer at a radio station. She was in the throes of a mid-life crisis, and asked herself many of the important questions one asks when reaching the big 40. What was she doing with herself? What should she be doing with her life?

Lisa made the decision to leave her urban life for one that was simpler; she expected to find a happiness that she had never known in Bhutan. After her friend returned from Bhutan, and found enlightenment, Lisa felt the need to go and experience it for herself.

What happened next was an adventure to the Himalayan King-led nation of Bhutan. Because

2 03, 2011

Review: Little Princes by Conor Grennan

By | March 2nd, 2011|Categories: Gift Ideas, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , , |5 Comments

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Reviewed by Alyssa K.

This week the furnace has clicked on every time the temperature dropped out of my comfort zone. Not once did our kiddos go with out three meals and a snack or two. We snuggled and read and I did not spend one minute worrying if a rebel army would come to our town and steal my babies. The thought of whether my kiddos would be safer with me, or if I should sell our belongings and borrow from relatives in order to pay to send them away with a stranger promising them safety, education and a future never crossed my mind. Sadly, there are parents in this world today who worry about all of those things on a daily basis.

For most of us, the realities of child trafficking are a world away.