Atlanta Restaurant Reviews: Mini Hot Pot

If you’re not familiar with Asian food, I’m here to help!  Not that I’m an expert, but spending the past 7 years with Jimmy has taught me my fair share of Asian culinary knowledge.  When our friend, Jean, called us up a few weeks ago to hang out at Mini Hot Pot on Buford Highway, how could we say no?  Even if you don’t live in Atlanta, keep reading as hopefully your hometown has a similar establishment.

I’m pretty sure hot pot is a traditional Chinese dish – or rather, bowl.  It’s a super fun concept and something out-of-town guests will likely enjoy tremendously, even if they have no clue what they are doing.  Basically, you sit at a table that has what amounts to a fondue pot for each individual built in.  You select your choice of broth – beef, chicken, and so on – and then order the various menu offerings you want to throw into the broth and cook.  Asian fondue.

 

Generally speaking, most order a large veggie dish with selections of cabbage, spinach, tomatoes – lots of other stuff, even a hot dog!  Then you order your meats or tofu along with eggs and other offerings.  Really, the choices are plentiful.  You also get to concoct your own special sauce either for dipping or flavoring your broth.  The sauce making station can be scary, but so much fun to mix and match flavors.  The servers will help you out if you need a little extra guidance!

Mini Hot Pot was so much fun and I can’t wait to go back.  This particular restaurant in Chamblee is quite tiny so a group larger than six will need to split up.  The servers were friendly and helpful – turning the heat of our pots up and down as needed.  I had Jimmy mix me a sauce which he kept pretty tame, but I can’t wait to spice it up next time!  After letting lots of meats and veggies simmer and flavor my broth, I had the perfect soup mixture left.  You can even take it home to make your own soup!  I decided to thrown in my corn cob and let is soak up the loveliness and I’m telling you it was the best corn cob EVER.  Then I added some noodles and finished my meal off with a delicious noodle soup.

I highly suggest going with a small group and splitting the cost.  You will order more food than you can eat – guaranteed – which can make Mini Hot Pot expensive for one or two people – but way less expensive than other fondue joints like The Melting Pot.  Be prepared to spend more than the usual time dining as well – you’ll be cooking your own food as you go along after all!  Mini Hot Pot also adds a small dish of red bean ice cream at the end of each meal!  Enjoy!!

(Photos are not my own.  Click the photos for links to the owner.)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

What can I possibly say about The Hobbit that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before?  Literally, nothing except that this little ditty gets my full praise and highest recommendation.  If you’ve been on the fence, hop off onto the side of reading Tolkien’s classic adventure before the movie hits theaters December 14!  Hobbits will be your new best friends.

I’m fairly certain this book needs no synopsis or introduction.  Pretty much a rather ordinary hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, gets sucked into helping some dwarfs steal back their treasure from a dragon named Smaug.  On the way to face the deadly fire breather, many adventures, fantastical creatures, and unexpected heroes are met and made.

Forced to read The Hobbit in high school, I never really fancied re-reading until recently.  While I didn’t hate Bilbo and his hero’s journey, neither was I enamored.  Only recently have I found myself really craving well written high fantasy and The Hobbit began to seem like an obvious choice.  I ordered the Annotated edition which I can’t recommend strongly enough and thoroughly enjoyed learning about Tolkien and his writing process.  Understanding how many literary sources he drew from and where his ideas and inspirations originated was like being at school but way more fun.  I was shocked to learn Tolkien’s first vision of Gandalf came from seeing a postcard depiction of an old man in a red cape.

The Hobbit’s story unfolds at a very naturally swift pace.  You never feel like you can’t keep up or that you might fall asleep – hidden dangers lurk around every tree.  Bilbo can be frustrating at times with his sour attitude and his wishes of being back at home, but wouldn’t we all be a bit reluctant to fight trolls on the first night of a road trip?  Watching his character grow from uncertain follower to unexpected hero is delightful and could be the literary definition of character growth.  You’ll also find yourself absolutely in love with the dwarfs – they kick the Snow White dwarfs’ asses!

Tolkien’s novel is also perfect to share with your children or as a family.  Especially during this holiday season, just cuddle up together around the fireplace and take turns reading aloud.  I know kids can be squirmy, but the trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and elves should have them mesmerized!  Plus, there are pictures.

I’m awaiting the film release with barely bated breath.  Martin Freeman promises to be the best Bilbo and my lovely dwarfs look perfectly cast and costumed.  For further immersion into Middle Earth, I bought the Lord of the Rings films during the Black Friday sales and watched them back-to-back-to-back this weekend.  I’d NEVER seen them before and still haven’t read the books, but wanted to get an idea of Tolkien’s bigger picture before seeing The Hobbit in theaters.  Loved the movies and thought they were properly made epics showcasing so much talent from all the creators involved.

Off to the Shire you go!

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Another book knocked off my Classics Club list!

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My first Sherlock Holmes!  Completely inspired by my inhaling the BBC’s Sherlock and falling in love with Benedict Cumberbatch.  I immediately picked up the only Holmes story I owned and dug in, only slightly nervous about how well the older, original stories would hold up against the newer BBC version.  I know that’s not really fair since Holmes is a Doyle creation, but all my fears were shortly put to rest!

In The Hound, the Baskerville family has been plagued by a nasty legend involving an almost supernatural hound creature.  If at any time they find themselves out on the Devon moor alone at night, bad things are sure to happen!  When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead just outside his estate’s gate, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty Watson are called in to investigate how Sir Charles met his mysterious end.  Can they figure out the culprit of these seemingly canine murders in time to save the new heir’s life?

Weak plot description, I know.  It’s just that I don’t want to give anything away since half the fun’s in guessing who (or what) dunnit.  I was really worried that Doyle’s original stories wouldn’t hold up well in the modernity of today’s mystery novels, but definitely not the case at all.  The language and prose are both beautiful and simplistic.  In many ways, the story felt incredibly fresh and contemporary, with only the slightly archaic mentions of carriages, cloaks, and telegrams.  But even these dated references didn’t ruin the vivacity of the story – instead they added a coziness and decidedly British feel that was entirely welcome.  I’m actually shocked at how talented a writer Doyle turned out to be – not sure why I should be shocked since his novels have held up so long.

What most surprised me was how little Sherlock Holmes was actually used in this particular story.  Watson definitely takes center stage and never comes off as bumbling (which modern adaptations can sometimes fall victim to).  I thoroughly enjoyed Watson and often never even missed Holmes, but was pleasantly surprised when he showed his lovably arrogant face again.  And Holmes seemed a bit softer and more jovial in Doyle’s text than in the updated scripts of the past few years.  Two very fantastic characters for the price of one!

Honestly, the only thing that holds me back from shouting the highest praise is the book’s inability to keep me guessing very long.  I knew who the killer was quite early on as I suspect most readers will discover as well.  The plot was just a bit too transparent.  Doyle might have had better success if he’d created more characters or suspects, but when the mystery takes place in a nearly deserted moor – things aren’t going to be too complicated.

I do highly recommend fitting some Sherlock Holmes in your busy reading schedules!  Delightful characters, quickly moving mysteries, and atmosphere in spades will keep you turning the pages.  Really want to find a great Holmes collection and read all his stories and novels.  If anyone has any suggestions of a particular volume, please let me know in the comments.  What are your favorite Holmes stories?  Have you seen Sherlock?  Is anyone watching Elementary and enjoying?

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A Classics Club selection!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone’s Turkey Day is going smoothly and filled with delicious food!  My house currently smells like the most wonderful sweet/savory mixture of corn bread and pumpkin pie!  Apparently, southerners aren’t supposed to like pumpkin pie, but I like proving these kinds of ‘rules’ wrong – so there!

Just wanted to take a moment and give thanks to the most important thing in my life – the Hubs, Jimmy.  I don’t normally get gushy and lovey-dovey stuff weirds me out, but I am the luckiest girl in the world.  The past year and a half have been rough and Jimmy has been so patient with me where other men would probably have strangled me or divorced me.  I’ve been unemployed during this time and have had a hard time dealing with going back to work because my last job was such a complete and utter nightmare.  The stress, the misery, the crying daily, and gaining 45 lbs of ‘I hate my job’ weight is not something I miss.  And despite having to change our lifestyle drastically and ridding ourselves of many monetary pleasures, he’s stayed by my side with only the occasional moaning and groaning.

But it’s time, folks.  Time for me to suck it up and get back out there.  I’ve already started putting some feelers out into the universe and hopefully some job interviews aren’t too far into my future.  Not getting my hopes up too high during the holiday season, but January is a fresh start.  I’ve enjoyed my semi-retirement, but honestly, it’s getting a bit old now.  I’ll forever be thankful for the mental health break and the beginning of this blog which probably would not have happened had I just jumped from one miserable job to another.

Also, and this is HUGE, I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment.  Another thing Jimmy has been begging me to do in as sweet a way as he knows how.  Something is off inside this bag of bones of mine and Web MD tells me it’s no good.  So I’m scared as hell, but can’t live this way anymore.  And yes, I know the internet is hardly the bastion of medical health care, but it’s scared me none-the-less.  I HATE doctors, but am thankful they exist.

Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you most thankful for?

November Meetup: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Awhile back, I read and reviewed Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.  I wasn’t nearly as enthralled as the rest of the interwebs and book readers.  So when it was selected as The Liwits’ November book club read I was really excited to see how the ladies would respond.  In short – they pretty much agreed with me.

Obviously, Zusak’s novel is much beloved by many, but as someone who didn’t find it extremely compelling – and a tad bit on the gimmicky side – I was pleased to discuss my dislikes with fellow critics.  Not that we trashed the novel – not at all – and we had one lovely member who adored the book.  We all agreed that Zusak’s prose was mostly gorgeous and that dude can write, but I think Death as a narrator ultimately bothered some Litwits.

Katherine wasn’t thrilled with the ‘magical realism’ aspect of Death adding a sort of fictional haze over the realism of WWII.  I agreed, going so far as to argue against fictional WWII literature in general.  Others believed Death was humorous, added a certain levity, and was personified in a wholly humanistic way that didn’t bother the grittiness of the story at all.

We argued with America’s marketing of The Book Thief as young adult literature.  I’m fairly certain we all agreed that the book belongs among all ages equally.  We did think that teenagers would appreciate the novel.

Our discussion led us to ideas of what evil truly is and what it looks like, the differences between sociopathy and psychopathy, and even our recent political elections.  Everyone enjoyed the novel’s German perspective as we dived into a debate about how humans can turn a blind eye to such torture and how we believe it could happen again if we aren’t careful.  Unfortunately, many struggled with the constant reminders that everyone was going to die in the end which led to an anti-climatic ending that left no tears scattered across the final pages.  In converse, some appreciated this warning which allowed them to enjoy the journey without worry for the emotional turmoil at the end.

I encourage other groups to read this novel together.  While not everyone will love it and some might even find it difficult to get through, The Book Thief generates some amazing discussion which is, after all, the point of a book club!  I’m glad The Litwits read this story together and had such profound thoughts.  Can’t wait until next month when we read The Violets of March by Sarah Jio.  Hopefully, a bit of a lighter read for the Holiday season!

Atlanta Restaurant Review: Rosebud

I’ve been having massive cravings for brunch these past few Sunday mornings and Jimmy has been letting me indulge.  A few weeks ago we drove down to the Morningside neighborhood in Midtown to try out Rosebud.  The location is gorgeous, but parking is not so great.  They don’t really have their own parking so most patrons park street-side, but we found a lot behind the shops which was almost deserted.

First thing you need to know – make a reservation.  This place is packed and super busy at all hours.  See the pictorial evidence below:

Second, the hostess was not particularly good at her job.  It took us approximately 10 minutes just to get our names put on the list because she was being scatterbrained about someone who had made a double reservation.  Once our name was down, we waited around 30 minutes to get a seat.  Probably should have timed it better than arriving with the post-church crowd.

Like I said, Rosebud is beautifully decorated and has a lovely patio.  A full length bar runs the length of the restaurant and looks nicely stocked.  Our waiter, once we were finally waited on, provided excellent service throughout the meal.  He never let Jimmy run out of water which is AMAZING, trust me.

Now for the food – pretty decent.  We were a bit sad that they were out of some popular brunch items by midday, but there were plenty of other yummy sounding dishes to choose from.  We started with the sweet corn muffins served with housemade preserves.  Normally, I don’t like corn muffins (how can I be Southern, right?), but these babies were phenomenal.  And the blueberry, honey, syrupy deliciousness that was served alongside as a dipping sauce was heaven on earth – I kid you not.  By far, our favorite thing we tried!  I’d go back for this one simple $6 dish.

For our main courses, Jimmy ordered the ultimate pancake which is stuffed with the likes of sausage, bacon, and scrambled egg and I had the breakfast bowl filled with grits, tomatoes, poached egg, bacon, and cheese.  Jimmy’s pancake looked like it delivered the goods, but apparently was sort of tasteless.  He wished the sausage flavor had been stronger.  I liked my breakfast bowl – loved the perfectly seasoned warm grits with the contrasting cold tomatoes.  The bacon was thickly chopped with a great smoky flavor, but my poached egg was a disappointment.  Pretty sure this was my fault as I asked for a hard poached egg.  I know poached eggs should have a gooey yolk, but gooey yolks weird me out.  The hard poached egg felt way overcooked – it was almost crunchy.  Next time, I’ll keep things simple, get the gooey yolk, and stir it into oblivion!

Overall, a good place to grab brunch, but don’t expect things to be quick!  Rosebud is hopping and sometimes the staff can seem a bit overwhelmed.  The kitchen might run out of your favorite dishes as well, but with such a large, yummy menu available you’re sure to find something you enjoy.  Plenty of cocktail choices and a great dessert selection will please the sweet tooth crowd as well!  Price-wise, decently affordable for such a trendy place – our bill came to around $25 for 2 entrees and an appetizer!  We left full and I’d definitely go back.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a funny, funny man.  Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a funny, funny book.  It’s basically just a collection of anecdotal short stories involving animal characters highlighting some rather crass human behaviors.  Every once in a blue moon, an uplifting, lighthearted story sneaks in, but don’t expect that to be the norm.

Victoria asked me if I thought the novel was good upon completion and I immediately responded – ‘If you have my sense of humor’.  This response put her on her guard as well it should.  Sedaris’s humor rivals my own in appreciating the twisted and, admittedly, grotesque.  These animals let it all hang out in brutal, disturbing, and hilarious ways.  Crows eat the eyes of baby ewes.  Fuzzy bunnies go on killing rampages in the name of safety.  And they are all illustrated with NOTHING HELD BACK.  Sometimes the pictures even squeaked me out.

But never fear, there’s something for the faint of heart as well and the book ends with a truly delightful story involving the friendship between a hippo, an owl, and a gerbil that symbolizes a strange sort of beauty among humans and a hopeful triumph of our troubled species.

Now back to the dark bits – I totally understand why people have a problem reading this book.  They get so bogged down in the nasty pictures and gory plot lines, turning every page in utter abhorrence of Sedaris’s audacity.  All the while, they are failing to grasp the underlining morality of each simple tale.  The extremes in this book are merely portraying actualy animal behaviors that come naturally, no matter how upsetting.   Crows will eat eyeballs – sorry if you don’t approve.  But did you happen to notice how the mother sheep was a complete bitch, a condescending mother, and just an all around poor example of humanity?  I was engrossed in the juxtaposition of instinctual animal survival against the crass, but more benign, human behaviors that are a CHOICE and believe Sedaris is a genius.

I recommend Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and hope you give it a shot!  You’ve been warned, so be prepared for some pretty intense imagery.  I’m glad I won this book in our book club book swap and can’t wait to return it to Victoria to hear her undoubtedly argue with me about the necessity of the violence.  Please feel free to do the same!

Let’s Gush About Skyfall, Shall We?

Second best Bond film of all-time.  I wanted to get that out of the way for those readers who can only stomach the first sentence.  The best Bond film is obviously Casino Royale – you never forget your first love.  And yes, I understand that all of the above is opinion.  I’ve never been a huge Bond fan despite growing up watching the Sean Connery films repeatedly.  The Pierce Brosnan movies made me want to gouge my eyes out.  I hate campy Bond (don’t shoot!).  I also was never satisfied with the female characters or the derogatory sexual innuendo.  Octopussy?  No thanks.  My husband, however, LOVES them.  Bless his heart.

Anywho, I’m not going to harp on about my first James Bond lovefest, Casino Royale.  Instead, I’m going to continue the affair with a little gushing about Skyfall, the newest film in the legendary series (Number 23!!!).  Daniel Craig is back and better than ever in a worst than ever way.  He gets injured, presumed dead, and has a hard time recovering because – let’s face it – he’s getting older.  M still has full faith in her 007 and sends him on the mission of hunting down and capturing the person responsible for a cyber terrorism attack on MI6.  That’s when Bond meets Javier Bardem – maybe the best Bond villian EVER.  Hi-jinks ensue.  Also, the new theme song by Adele is AMAZEBALLS.

So what worked?  Everything, silly!  Visually, a masterpiece film deserving of Oscar attention.  The cinematography is absolutely stunning.  I could freeze frame the film at any point, blow up the picture in black and white, and hang it on my wall because the photography is flawless.  Each shot was done with purpose and with beauty.  The dismal gray London skies are almost always visible and add the perfect amount of ambiance and atmosphere.

The acting?  Spot on.  Judi Dench and Daniel Craig both bring their A-games and leave nothing on the table.  I kid you not, Jimmy totally teared up during one scene no matter how hard he tries to deny it.  And Javier Bardem?  The most maniacally, evil, creepy son of a bitch I’ve ever seen on film.  He’s INSANE and INSANELY good.  I think it has a lot to do with the blonde hair.  Plus, once you know where his evil comes from you’re all like – ‘Ok, I can dig.  I still hope Bond blows you to smithereens, but I don’t mind him having a hard time doing it.’  When you can love an evil man, that man is SMOOTH.

How about the new Bond girls?  The scantily clad brief sexual encounter in China is typical Bond.  But she is gorgeous.  I much preferred the somewhat shaky field agent, Eve.  She is tough, a spy, and has wicked chemistry with Bond.  Their scenes together always made me smile and I totally wanted to be her.  What unfolds at the end with Eve was exciting and something to look forward to!  And again, Judi Dench is marvelous as M and one badass woman who can simultaneously be intense, make the touch decisions, and still display a moving vulnerability.

Honestly, all of the above could have been sub-par and the movie still would have won me over because the script is top notch and so very deserving of an Oscar in my opinion.  Since we’re all fans of reading here, at least most of us, you have to know that this film unfolds like a perfectly plotted novel of espionage, suspense, and thematic depth unseen in any prior 007 movie.  The characters are so three-dimensional, so complex, and experience the kind of character growth that feels natural and so very honest.  Bond and M, in particular, carve their way slowly through dealing with their individual pasts and how that affects the very deep emotional connection they have as a kind of mother and son.  The film really delves deeply into the idea of ‘the circle of life’, confronting our past, mortality, and the ability to be content with it all.

Fans of old-school Bond will be super pleased to see many throwbacks to the early stories.  For those worried about the length – don’t!  I never got bored, never zoned out, and actually appreciated the slower middle.  The beginning starts off with a bang, but then slows down allowing the viewer to really get inside Bond’s mental space which allows us to care that much more deeply for the explosive ending.  I’d go back and watch it again tomorrow if I wasn’t low on funds!  Can’t wait for the dvd release.  I think tomorrow’s gonna be a Casino Royale kind of a day.

Recommendations: I Need Them!!

Hey guys and gals, fellow readers, and amazing bloggy friends – I need some recommendations!  I’ve been craving some great political non-fiction that is engaging, tackles multiple issues from multiple sides, and can help fill the void of astute political debate I’ve enjoyed participating in these past few months leading up to the election.  I am a political junky – so no topic is off limits!  Just point me in the direction of something you’ve enjoyed or someone you know and trust has enjoyed!  And mucho thanks in advance!!

I do also have one minor additional request – if you recommend something very left-leaning or very right-leaning, do you know of something similar on the other side to balance out the argument?  I am a total Independent and can truly listen to dozens of arguments about the same issue.  It makes me happy and then I feel much better informed.  THANK YOU!

Some topics I’m particularly interested in:

Global Warming (Darn you, Flight Behavior!  Something other than Al Gore!)

Race/Class Warfare/Social Issues

Religion

Political Theory especially as pertains to our two-party structure

HISTORY – I love reading about all the Prezzies!

Foreign Policy (Particularly the Middle East)

Education

The South

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

I have a confession:  I’ve never liked, or rather, appreciated Barbara Kingsolver.  Wow, my conscience feels better.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always known she was a beautiful writer, but her topics have always rubbed me as too preachy.  Another confession:  I’ve only ever attempted to read The Poisonwood Bible and that was in 2001.  So I took on the reading of Flight Behavior as a challenge to myself and my preconceived notions.

In her newest novel, Kingsolver delves further into the problems and controversies surrounding global warming.  Dellarobia Turnbow is in her late twenties with two kids, a husband, and life that is stifling her.  One day, home fry decides that climbing the mountain behind her house to have an affair will lead to her ultimate escape – until she comes across a fiery vision in the woods and has a sort of biblical epiphany of Moses proportions.  Turns out, those fiery visions are actually displaced migratory Monarch butterflies whose existence is on the brink of disaster – much like Dellarobia herself.  Can Dellarobia save the Monarchs and can they, in turn, save her?

There’s really a lot of global warming discussion that takes place in the sometimes contrived dialogue between Dellarobia and the scientists who come to study the Monarchs.  At times, I enjoyed the debates, feeling like I was actually learning All. The. Things.  But then I’d turn a page and roll my eyes.  And this is coming from someone who is concerned about the environment and does believe in global warming.  I just wish the dialog came off as more sincere or flowed more naturally instead of feeling purposefully placed to accomplish the job of converting the non-believers.

That being said, the prose is gorgeous.  Kingsolver can turn a phrase like nobody’s business.  There were times a metaphor or simile would stop me in my tracks and I’d spend 5 minutes just pondering the comparison and basking in the glow of amazingness.  Hands down, Flight Behavior is worth the time it takes to get through its 400+ pages based on this fact alone.  I’m even inclined to give her older novels a second chance if this is how accomplished the woman is with the English language.

I was also really fascinated by Dellarobia, not just as a character, but as a human being.  She frustrated me to no end sometimes, but other times would say something so astute that I forgave her former faults.  The novel takes place in the Appalachians of Tennessee in a small southern town where money is severely lacking.  Dellarobia gave up her dreams – slight though they were – of college after she got pregnant and married at 17.  A story all too often told in this neck of the woods, but her absolute belief that college was beyond her, that she had no way out, and that anyone who did go to college was a jackass bothered me more than I’d like to admit.  The town’s high school didn’t even teach actual curriculum – they had two maths called – Math One and Math Two.  Do places like this actually exist?  Seriously – I grew up in a small southern town with lots of poverty, a broke-ass high school, and a very small percentage of my fellow grads went on to college, but we had all of the normal classes.  Maybe I’m just not aware, but this part seemed a bit over-dramatized to me.  Someone care to educate me?

In her defense, Dellarobia wasn’t your typical backwoods hick.  She wasn’t educated beyond high school, but still had a thirst for knowledge, an appreciation for grammar, and a fierce loyalty to the kinds of people we often make fun of on reality shows.  Flipping through the challenges with her husband, they stop briefly on a program obviously making fun of and mocking an old southern man upset over something to do with his coon dogs.  She grows angry when she realizes this is how the world sees her family, her neighbors, and all the people she loves most in the world.  I almost felt ashamed of myself for making fun of Honey Boo Boo.  Almost.

If you’re a fan of Kingsolver, you know what to expect and have already made up your mind to read Flight Behavior.  If you don’t like her or have never given her a shot, I’d suggest Flight Behavior as a great place to start.  The story felt well-paced despite dwelling often on the minutiae of the Turnbow’s life and I was able to overcome the negative bits on the back of Kingsolver’s illustrious prose.  I fell in love with those butterflies, let me tell you.  It’s a book fit for literature classes and one I’m likely to read again.  It’s also a book that would garner some seriously awesome discussion – so read it with friends, a book club, or just come chat me up here!!

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Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for my review copy in exchange for an honest review!  Please visit TLC’s website to visit other tour stops!

 
Barbara Kingsolver is the author of eight works of fiction, including the novels The LacunaThe Poisonwood BibleAnimal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her most recent work of nonfiction is the enormously influential bestsellerAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. In 2000, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.