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Book Review Inside The Chinese Wine Industry

Title: Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

Author: Loren Mayshark

Genre: Nonfiction

The wine business is one of the world’s most fascinating industries and China is considered the rising star. A hidden secret, the Chinese wine industry continues to grow at an amazing pace and is projected to soon enter the top five producing nations, supplanting long established countries such as Australia. Inside the Chinese Wine Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of Wine in China takes you through the growing Chinese wine scene.

Wine has had a meteoric rise in China over the past two decades. The nation is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020. One recent study concluded that 96% of young Chinese adults consider wine their alcoholic drink of choice. Not only does Inside the Chinese Wine Industry explore current expansion and business models, it journeys back to the past to see where it all began.

 

There are more than seven hundred wineries in China today. Although it’s bit of an oversimplification, the vast majority of the wineries fit into one of two categories: the larger established producers who churn out mostly plonk to meet the growing demand for inexpensive wine and the newer wineries that try to cater to the tastes of the wealthy Chinese with money to spend on luxury goods like fine wine. In the words of wine guru Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, “The cheap wines from the very large producers have mostly verged on dismal.” However, this should not be considered a blanket statement regarding every wine from large producers. Also, she has positive reflections regarding the level of wine produced by “cutting-edge wineries” which she finds “far better.” How good are they? MacNeil asserts: “Some of these wines are so good they could easily pass for a California or Bordeaux wine in a blind tasting.”

 

I would not consider myself a wine connoisseur, but I’m definitely a wine enthusiast. However, while I have some knowledge of the wine industry in France, I know next to nothing about the Chinese wine industry. Well, I knew next to nothing – after reading this book, I can certainly say I know more than I ever thought I would about the wine industry in China!

The Chinese wine industry has a rich history, and a lot of wine-related traditions. While there’s a lot of information, it certainly isn’t presented in a dry, dull fashion, on the contrary, the little tidbits of information are fun and entertaining, and the book is a fast read with a ton of interesting content.

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Book Review Dearly Beloved

Title: Dearly Beloved

Author: Peggy Jaeger

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

This was an amazing book. Colleen has so much on her plate: recovering from a catastrophic relationship with her ex-fiancé, taking care of her sisters and her 93-year-old grandmother, and running a bridal business. But then she meets Slade Harrington, a man who doesn’t believe in marriages, but who might just have what it takes for Colleen to start believing in happily-ever-after again.

The chemistry between the characters is spot-on, and the romance is great. I loved this book, and would recommend it to everyone!

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Book Review Amelia, The Merballs And The Emerald Cannon

Title: Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

Author: Evonne Blanchard

Genre: Children’s Books

Amelia and Uglesnoo land on Mercury.  They meet the Merballs, the friendly aliens that live there.  All goes well, until an asteroid hits their planet. Amelia and Uglesnoo find themselves in deep trouble. How will they convince the Merballs of their innocence? And how will they manage to collect the flying shoes, escape Mercury and continue their quest to save Uglesnoo’s sister?

 

Last week, I already interviewed Evonne Blanchard, the author of this fun picture book, so of course, after the interview, I was really looking forward to reading the book. My niece came over for an overnight stay this weekend, and I thought that was the perfect opportunity.

While I liked the book as an adult, my niece, who is seven years old, absolutely loved it. She loved the cute aliens, the main character Amelia, the colorful pages and the twisted adventures Amelia and her cohorts find themselves in. My niece told me she really wants to read the next book in the series and find out more about Amelia and Uglesnoo.

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Book Review and Author Interview The Immortal Seeds

Imortal Seeds eBook CoverTitle: The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

Author: Sambath Meas

Genre: Family Memoir

This is a story about a father’s dream of escaping a war-torn country in search of stability and freedom, so that his children can live and thrive.

 

Sarin Meas, who was born and grew up in a remote village in Trangel, Kampong Chhnang, drifts from one place to another in search of a purpose, and a better life. In Pailin, a small town in western Cambodia known for its richness of gemstones, he meets a poor and uneducated girl whose daily life, from dusk until dawn, is strained by hard work: selling fruits and vegetables at the local market, along with cooking, doing laundry and cleaning up after strangers and relatives whom her aunt has taken in. If she doesn’t do her chores correctly and one of them tells on her, her aunt, a woman whose mood changes like a person suffering from a split personality, hurls foul language at her and beats her with any heavy object in sight. Sarin realizes that this young woman, whom everyone calls Thach, will die if she continues to live like this. So he marries her out of compassion. His compassion turns into love. Sarin and Thach form a family.

Tragically, after fifteen years of peaceful existence and independence from France, Cambodia gets sucked into the war of idealism between the world’s super powers—America, China, and the Soviet Union—by way of the Vietnam War. Cambodian leaders and people take sides. The Khmer Republic (backed by the United States) and the Khmer Rouge (backed by China, the Soviet Union and Vietnam) fight each other acrimoniously. After five years of battle, the relentless Khmer Rouge soldiers emerge victorious. Sarin has an opportunity to escape to Thailand with his family, but chooses to remain behind out of fear of the unknown. Soon he realizes the victors don’t know how to manage the country. Fear, paranoia and revenge turn them and their supporters into a killing machine.  Sarin, through cleverness and luck, helps his family navigate the horror of communism. When a second opportunity arrives, like thousands of other surviving Cambodians, he takes the chance to venture to the unknown—to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life for his family.

The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures is not only about the continuing of a family’s life cycle; it is also about a father’s idea—a purpose—that gets passed on to his daughter. In turn she hopes to pass it on to people not only within her community but also around the world.

“King Grandfather would like to wish that your memoir The Immortal Seeds will become successful.”

—Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

The Immortal Seeds is a story of war, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Touchingly told, Sambath pays homage to her family across the generations, and shares how they helped the Meases to survive the war and thrive in peace.”

—Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child

The Immortal Seeds exhibits a memoir’s emphasis on highly personalized, if not fully contextualized, experiences.”

—The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s Newspaper

So, where do I begin? The Immortal Seeds is part memoir, part family history, set against the backdrop of a political regime that is far from democratic. The communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia was something I’d only vaguely heard and read about in the past, but this book was a real eye-opener for me.

The author’s research is incredible, and the setting is described in a very detailed, plausible way, that makes it easy for the reader to imagine themselves being there. The strength portrayed by the people showcased in this book is phenomenal, and an inspiration to everyone.

 

Author Interview

1. Have you been writing for a long time? 

I have been writing for 13 years now.

2. What inspired you to start a writing career? 

My writing stems from me wanting to learn more about my family history, especially about my father who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He and I experienced a hostile relationship. It was so combative and toxic that we could not bear to be in the same room. He was a miserable person and he was making me miserable, too. My mother was forced to be in the middle of it all. I was sick of our fights and his soul-crushing sarcasm.  I wanted our relationship to change. But first thing first: I changed myself. I started to read self-help books. They changed my life. I became a more understanding person and wanted to find out what was wrong with my father. I started to talk to him, to ask him about his pasts, as I was reading about refugees like him who suffer from post-traumatic and sudden death syndromes. I knew we fled a war-torn country, but I never knew the details of my parents suffering and what they went through to provide for me and my sister. I asked him and my mother about it. My mother had buried it so deep that she forgot about it. As for my father, he refused to tell me. I finally manipulated him into telling me about his pasts by relaying what journalists and orphans who survived the “killing fields” of Cambodia were saying about this dark period of our history. He was mad. He thought those people either did not remember or manipulated their stories to fit their biased or ignorant narratives. He finally opened up and when he did, he would not stop. This was when I started to record my family history, research, and interview my family, friends, and relatives.

3. Is this book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series? 

It’s going to be a trilogy: the first book is about my family’s pasts; the second is going to be about me growing up in Uptown, Chicago; and the third book is going to be about my struggle to find success and happiness against all odds.

4. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? 

I enjoy writing about my father and mother, because I learn how much they have changed as human beings.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

If you want to write, do it! Don’t let fear and procrastination get in the way. Just dive into it. You’ll learn a lot along the way. The end product will make it all worth it.

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Book Excerpt and Book Review Her Russian Fixer

Book Review

In this suspenseful, sizzling contemporary romance, Benedikt Volkov, a member of the Russian Maffia, rescues Lucy from a gang of street tugs.  Lucy turns out to be everything Ben isn’t… Although they might have more in common than they think. At first, Lucy is reluctant to trust Ben since he looks and seems pretty dangerous… But the more she gets to know him and he gets to know her, the more Ben starts to realize he would be willing to risk everything for this girl…

The story was so engaging it kept me reading from start to end! What a sizzling, hot romance.

Book Excerpt

She swallowed hard, the tiny movement drawing his attention to the softness of her skin and the pale column of her throat. He could see the tiny, rapid pulse beating at the base of her neck and battled the insane urge to dip his head down and run his tongue over the sensitive spot.

Lucy gave a slight nod, her eyes wide and her breath held.

Lips compressed, he cursed under his breath and backed away to the opposite side of the elevator. Fuck. This whole attraction he had for her was getting way too far out of hand. It was starting to mess with his concentration and his work. That was completely unacceptable. It was completely wrong on so many levels.

Yet, the tightness in his body and the blood now rushing to his cock said otherwise.

Ding!

The elevator jerked to a halt and the doors slid open and Ben hurried out into the hallway like he had a lit Molotov cocktail shoved up his ass. He didn’t even check to see if Lucy followed. Right now he needed to get his head on straight and his libido under control. Right now, his family was depending on him as never before to get this mission done and recover that money. And family came first. Always.

 

About the Book

Title: Her Russian Fixer (Volkov Brothers Book One)

Author: Leslie North

Genre: Contemporary Romance

The line between right and wrong blurs when a ruthless Russian becomes her dark protector.

Benedikt Volkov grew up in Chicago, but his family’s ties to the Russian Mafia run deep. So when his godfather, Pyotr Mishin, steals millions from the Bratva, it’s up to Ben to find him or his family will be forced to pay back the money. However, his careful plans are quickly complicated when an impulsive brunette forces him to become her unlikely hero. Ben hates surprises, and uncontrollable Lucy with her luscious red lips is a distraction that could get them all killed. But with an unexpected connection to his godfather, she may be the key to securing his family’s future.

Lucy Paprocki may be reckless and disorganized, but she finds a new focus when her world is turned upside down. She’s determined to find her real father, Pyotr Mishin—a man she didn’t know existed until recently—and Ben Volkov may be her best chance. One look at his tattooed skin, muscled bulk, and penetrating stare, and Lucy knows Ben is Bratva. The mafia man may be hugely intimidating and wound tighter than a string, but Lucy will have to trust him if she wants to discover the truth about where she comes from.

With danger lurking behind every door, passion quickly ignites between impulsive Lucy and methodical Ben. They may just be using one another to get what they want, but what if all they really need is each other?

 

Author Bio

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

Read SIX full-length novellas by USA Today best-selling author Leslie North for FREE! Over 548 pages of best-selling romance with a combined 1091 FIVE STAR REVIEWS! Sign-up to her mailing list and get your FREE books HERE!

 

Links

www.leslienorthbooks.com

www.facebook.com/leslienorthbooks

www.twitter.com/leslienorthbook

 

Buy the book on:

 

Giveaway

Three lucky winners will get an eBook of Her Russian Fixer (two winners) or an audiobook of Her Ruthless Russian (one winner).

Fill in the form below to participate.

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Book Review Goddess of the Wild Thing

Title: Goddess of the Wild Thing

Author: Paul DeBlassie III

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Goddess of the Wild Thing is a dramatic tale of one woman’s spiritual journey where magical happenings, unexpected turns of fate, and unseen forces influence her ability to love and be loved. Eve Sanchez, a middle-aged woman and scholar of esoteric studies, encounters a seductive but frightening man who introduces her to a supernatural world in which the wicked powers of a surrogate mother’s twisted affection threaten love and life. In the mystic realms of Aztlan del Sur, Eve and three friends struggle with whether bad love is better than no love and discover that love is a wild thing.

 

Review: As an editor, I’m always quite nitpicky about books I read, but “Goddess of the Wild Thing” was a clever surprise. Exciting dialogue, thrilling characters and a complicated, well-crafted supernatural world, what’s not to love? Fans of paranormal thriller should definitely give this book a try.

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Book Review A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent

Title: A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent

Author: C.S. Whitehurst

Genre: Nonfiction self-help

Just for kicks, have you ever wondered what your parents really want from you in life? Is it you, or do your parents want you to have no real fun? On any given day, do you want to make your parents proud of you and still do what makes you feel really happy within yourself? Of course you do! But the real question has always been, and still is…how? How can we actually get this done?

Well, with A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, a.k.a “the child-part consoler”, you will get past common misunderstandings by learning how to truly talk, hear, and listen to your parents, guardians or caregivers instead of feeling like you have to run to friends to find some sense of acceptance, understanding, and real connection.

In this book, chock-full of questions and answers gotten directly from the source, you’ll learn what your parents, guardians or caregivers really expect of you—and maybe you’ll even find out how to explain to them what you really expect from them! Not that this book could ever replace a parent, because it can not. But when it comes to openly communicating certain key ideas, this book comes really close.

This tell-all guide contains lots of enlightening explanations and helpful answers to many common kid questions like:

  • What do my parents really want from me?
  • Why do my parents do what they do and say what they say?
  • What do I really need to know about my parents’ parenting skills?
  • How can I keep my parents happy with me?
  • How can I help my parents to help me?
  • How can I get what I want from my parents every time?

A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is an intro to the secret knowledge of adults which is a set of informations that is mainly covered in the book entitled Surrogate Re-Parenting: A.K.A. Get Your Mind Right, and even more thoroughly covered in the book The Secret Knowledge Of Adults. While this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is intended for kids 10 and up, the info in this book is beneficial and useful to the intelligent kid parts in all of us. Yes, this means you too.

The information in this book will help you and yours to start to see your parents, not as the enemy, but as the caring human beings they really are, and take the first step toward family unity, understanding, growth, success, and happiness! Both you and your parents really deserve this, and with this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, you and your parents can actually achieve this.

A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent intends to improve the relationship between teens and their parents, by explaining to the kids how and why adults do certain things. For example, why a parent would forbid something, or what they really want. Vice versa, it also helps kids by showing them some techniques how they can get their parents to help them, and how to get what they want from their parents, and techniques on how to explain to your parents what is wrong and what you expect from them (and they expect from you).

It’s an interesting book, and the dual parent-kid approach is very insightful. Especially for troublesome teens, I think the book would be a good read. However, I found that although the book is aimed at kids, the subject matter would be too complicated for younger kids, and it’s more appropriate for young teens and older.

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