Welcome to Ivory Owl Reviews

Just browsing?
Click on any of the above photos to jump to one of my popular posts (on desktop version)

Want to see what's new?
Scroll down for my most recent posts (desktop and mobile versions)

Looking for something?
Use the search box in the right hand column (desktop) or at the bottom of the page (mobile)

Foodie Friday: Kevin Gillespie's New Cookbook and Restaurant

I'm starting a new weekly feature here at Ivory Owl Reviews: Foodie Fridays
Each Friday I will be featuring a review of a food-themed book, cookbook, or a recipe. 
Today's post is a spotlight on chef Kevin Gillespie. I reviewed his first cookbook, Fire in My Belly, for Buckhaven Lifestyle magazine in 2013. 
My review of Kevin Gillespie's new cookbook, Pure Pork Awesomeness, which releases at the end of March, appears in the February issues of Perimeter North Lifestyle and Buckhaven Lifestyle magazine. Below I've repeated the review and added the press release announcing his newest restaurant.  

Title: Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World
Author: Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
ISBN: 9781449447076
Number of Pages: 240
How I Got It: Amy Geismar at Melissa Libby& Associates
Format: PDF

Loved locally since his early days at Woodfire Grill, Kevin Gillespie won America’s hearts and stomachs as a finalist and fan favorite on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2009. Since his appearance he has received numerous distinguished national and local awards as well as opened Gunshow in Glenwood Park in the summer of 2013. Gillespie’s first cookbook, Fire in My Belly, introduced readers to his passion for cooking and provided personal background into his culinary past and his recipes. Returning now with his second cookbook, Pure Pork Awesomeness, Gillespie continues to promote his farm-to-table agenda, this time specializing in pork. Beginning from a wish to have a pet pig as a child, Gillespie has always had a preference for a particular protein, pointing out how “everyone who knows me knows I am crazy about pork.” Wanting to share his knowledge and inspire others, he compiled his latest cookbook because “to be able to put it all down on paper was really important to me. I’m really proud of it, and I hope it’ll inspire people to try new things with pork.” In Pure Pork Awesomeness, Gillespie educates readers on making informed choices when selecting pork, such as the differences between commodity pork and pastured pork, explains the difference in breeds, and gives advice for selecting different cuts and types of pork. But this cookbook is not just packed with every aspect of porcine information, it also features 100 mouth-watering, pork-praising recipes from across the globe, You’ll learn how pork is prepared and enjoyed in China, Germany, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Thailand, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Austria, Scotland, and the United States with recipes including: Coca-Cola Glazed Pork Shoulder, Sour Orange Carnitas, Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa, A Really Good Cuban Sandwich (including a recipe for mojo mayonnaise), Cottage Bacon Croque Monsieur and Grilled Pork Banh Mi. Divided into chapters specializing in different cuts, this cookbook covers everything any cook would ever need to know about pigs, from snout to tail. Gillespie explains that Pure Pork Awesomeness “is the culmination of my passion for pork and an exciting opportunity to share all I’ve learned about it over the course of my career.” He shares the personal backstory for several of his recipes, just as he did in his first cookbook, with his trademark friendly and engaging style. Reading this cookbook will make you feel like you are in the kitchen swapping stories and cooking secrets with a buddy…it’s just that your buddy is Chef Kevin Gillespie, The Professor of Pork. 
Gillespie is opening a second restaurant in 2015, Terminus City, which currently offers onsite catering and pick-up from the Gunshow location. Visit  ChefKevinGillespie.com to keep up to date with all of our city’s most beloved chef’s activities or to order a signed copy of Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World ($30)  releasing March 31, 2015.


Melissa Libby & Associates Official Press Release Announcing: Kevin Gillespie's Newest Restaurant: Revival

New Decatur Meat-and-Three to Serve a Fresh New Take on Family-Style Dining

ATLANTA (January 20, 2015)–Atlanta-based chef, restaurateur, and author Kevin Gillespie, the man behind the nationally recognized Glenwood Park restaurant Gunshow, is taking aim at a beloved Southern institution with his newest project. Revival, located on the site of the former Harbour House Pub in Decatur, promises a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients.

“I have fallen back in love with the traditional dishes I grew up eating, and those that represent the beautiful culinary traditions of the Deep South,” Gillespie says. “Inspired by the cooking of my grandmothers and the history of our region, I want to breathe new life into that classic family-style restaurant, or ‘meat and three.’ We hope to showcase the dishes with a passion and precision that is largely unavailable currently.”

Revival’s menu will offer a blend of meats, fish, and fresh vegetables, with seasonal options that change daily. Lunch will be served a la carte, while supper, Gillespie says, “will more closely resemble a classic Southern family-style spread served in your grandmother’s home. Revival will be like going to your grandma’s on Sunday—except every day.”

The setting even promises to echo a visit to your grandmother’s house, with a lush garden in the front and a spacious yard in the rear. Revival will be located at 129 Church Street in Decatur and is scheduled to open in early June.

About Chef Kevin Gillespie
Chef Kevin Gillespie's true passion lies in incorporating fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. After graduating with honors from the Art Institute of Atlanta, the Georgia native worked in top restaurants in Atlanta and Oregon before opening his first restaurant, Gunshow, in May 2013. Gillespie was one of the final three cheftestants on the sixth season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and was voted “fan favorite.” He has been named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award for three consecutive years, nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef and named Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for his outstanding accomplishments in the restaurant industry. As a rising young culinary star who was bringing more than just good food to the table, Gillespie was named one of Mother Nature Network’s top “40 Chefs Under 40” in November 2009 for linking farms to forks and promoting better health for people and the planet. In February 2010, he was honored as one of Gayot.com’s “Top Five Rising Chefs.” In February 2014, Gunshow earned the seventh spot on GQ magazine’s list of “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants” and in October 2014, Gunshow was honored as one of 12 restaurants on Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants of 2014” list. Gillespie is set to release Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World on March 31, 2015, a follow-up cookbook to Fire in My Belly, which was selected as a James Beard Award Finalist. Gillespie is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Foodways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board, Georgia Organics and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue. For more information, please visit chefkevingillespie.com.

The Other Shakespeare by Lea Rachel

Title: The Other Shakespeare
Author: Lea Rachel
Publisher: Writer's Design Press
Publication Date: 2015 (first published November 12, 2014)
ISBN: 9780990861607
Number of Pages: 197
How I Got It: Direct from publisher
Format: paperback

Goodreads Description:
What if Shakespeare had been born a woman? What would have happened to her? And, what would she have accomplished?
Virginia Woolf first posed these questions in her acclaimed novel A Room of One’s Own…and now maverick author Lea Rachel steps up to tell the rest of the story.
The Other Shakespeare carries readers back to the sixteenth century to follow Judith Shakespeare, the older sister of William, as she tries to make a name for herself in a male-dominated society that consistently denies women their independence. Born with as much talent, creativity, and drive as her younger brother, she is stifled by the world around her and ultimately resorts to extreme measures to get accepted and have her talent recognized.
Judith’s story is rich with history, conflict, and drama and is sure to appeal to fans of Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare, and character-driven fiction.

My Review:
I love books like this, alternate histories that position women into the story. Author Lea Rachel is able to weave Virginia Woolf's struggle with being taken seriously as a female writer into her character, Judith. She points out the strict gender roles restricting women from most pursuits outside the home as well as the scoffing at of "unnecessary" skills, such as reading. As a strong, independent woman myself, I always wonder how I would have survived such stagnant conformity. It is easy to empathize with Judith and when a traveling play mesmerizes Judith, readers will feel their hearts ache as she yearns to be one of the players. A perfect combination of Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and example of how society's gender roles have thwarted all but the greatest and most stubborn minds, Lea Rachel's "The Other Shakespeare" is a must-read for any historical and women's fiction lover.

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Book Talk with R and T: The Magician's Lie (Spoilers)

What a week! Tamara and I have been talking about THE MAGICIAN'S LIE this week. In case you missed our reviews, be sure to check out mine and Tamara's on each of our blogs. Tamara also hosted a great interview with Greer Macallister and we are giving away a copy of the book
So much fun!
Now today we are talking spoilers on our blogs and movie cast on Twitter. Who would you cast in the movie? Tweet us: @IvoryOwlReviews or @Rockstar1023 and tag your tweet with #BookTalkwithRandT

Ok. So let's talk about some spoilers.....
(Stop reading now if you don't want to read any spoilers)

Ok. Tamara and I usually DM each other on Twitter as we are reading our selections. We want to know which page the other one is on and what part they have already read so we can talk about it. This usually results in lots of tiny messages consisting of a page number followed by lots of exclamation marks. We try to read at around the same pace but we are busy ladies and that isn't always possible. Below are some of my DMs to T. I finished a little before T this time and was dying for her to finish so we could talk about the ending. Even though this is a spoiler section, I'm just not going to give it away because I think everyone should experience that for themselves. However....here's what I am going to dish on:

Ray: oh boy is this character a doozy! "I'm only 9% in / Chapter 4 and 16 year old Ray is a creeper." "Ch. 7: Ok I didn't think Ray could get creepier, but he thinks he has healing powers?" What's amazing is that no one seems to notice he's absolutely out of his head crazy on the farm? He's so super psycho that he becomes one of those "love to hate" characters.

Ada practicing in the barn: "I can't believe she put herself in that situation with Ray in the barn! Seriously, in a house the size of Biltmore, the barn was her choice? Stupid!"

Ada's mother: I know that this was the late 1800s but I can't believe that her mother pretty much tells Ada to just accept anything Ray does in order to keep the peace. I give her a little credit for trying to get her away from the farm through ballet but not much. Why wouldn't she send Ada back to her parents?

and to end with, just a random thought: I guess women carried different items in their purse back then because Arden had a strange assortment.

Book Talk with R and T: The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister (Review)

Title: The Magician's Lie
Author: Greer Macallister
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
ISBN: 9781402298684
Number of Pages: 320
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

NetGalley Description: 
Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband's murder --and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.
The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.
But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

My Review:
On my never-ending browse of NetGalley, I was stopped in my mouse-scrolling tracks! That cover! Then I read the description and my eyes started popping out of my head. The Night Circus (I looooved The Night Circus,) female illusionist accused of her husband's murder (I like a strong female lead,) and Waterloo, Iowa (close to where I grew up and worked.) This book sounded really good. I held my breath when I started reading it for fear I would be let down and then I continued holding my breath because I was so intrigued! Amazing Arden cloaked in heavy brocade skirts, with her dual colored eye, had me mesmerized by her story as if I were Virgil Holt and I was in that jail cell with her. Greer Macallister has given readers one of the best "love to hate" characters with Ray and one of the best anti-heroines with Arden. It is hard to believe that this is only her debut novel but it is exciting to think how this means there is more to come from her. 

Because it's a murder mystery, I won't give anything away here in my review, but Tamara and I will later this week on Friday's Book Talk with R and T.  

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

Book Talk with R and T: The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! #BookTalkWithRandT will be featuring THE MAGICIAN'S LIE by Greer Macallister all week!! 

Tamara and I have been so excited about this feature every since we chose it in November, then we found out it was going to be a She Reads Books of Winter selection and knew we made a great choice. So come visit me here and Tamara on her blog all week long as we talk about this awesome book! 

Monday: Giveaway begins! Enter below!
Tuesday: RELEASE DAY!! I'll be posting my review of THE MAGICIAN'S LIE 
Wednesday: Tamara will be posting her review of THE MAGICIAN'S LIE
Thursday: Tamara will feature an interview with Greer Macallister
Friday: We will be posting spoilers on our blogs and be tweeting about our dream movie cast

a Rafflecopter giveaway

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg

Title: House Broken
Author: Sonja Yoerg
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: January 6, 2014
ISBN:  9780451472137
Number of Pages: 336
How I Got It: direct from author
Format: paperback

Goodreads Description:
In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.
Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

My Review:
I read the first half of this novel in the Atlanta airport and kept getting asked about it. I think the cute doggy on the cover just drew people in. I will admit, I was a little confused as to who all the characters were in the first few chapters, but once I did, the book flowed and I couldn't put it down. The PR release that accompanied my copy has a small blurb stating " House Broken is the perfect blend of humor and family drama, with a bunch of dogs thrown in." I don't think I can describe this book better than that. The family drama was real in that family drama is rarely one singular event. I especially like how author Sonja Yoerg juxtaposed the main character, Geneva's "dramatic" immediate and extended family with her husband Tom's tight-knit, "in each other's pocket", family. My family is much more the "dramatic" type and too often I've met resistance and rejection from "pristine" Stepford families. Yoerg really digs into these stereotypes and peels back the layers of individual connections between family members and reminds us to think twice before we judge.  

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

Title: The Paris Winter
Author: Imogen Robertson
Publisher: St. Martin's 
Publication Date: November 18, 2014 (first published April 1, 2013)
ISBN:  9781250051837
Number of Pages: 368
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: Hardcover

Goodreads Description:
Imogen Robertson's break-out novel - a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle epoque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels' world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

My Review:
Let's just take a moment to swoon over this cover....Gorgeous! I'm a sucker for anything Paris. Add historical fiction, art, and scams and I'm sold. The main character, Maud is trying to make something of herself as an artist, but without access to a disposable income, she is struggling and winter will surely break her. When an opportunity arises to be a companion to Sylvie, Maud is integrated into a world far from her drafty apartment and sparse eating habits. But where does Sylvie's money come from? Fingers begin to be pointed and Maud is drawn into a scam with far reaching consequences. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction, Paris, and sneaky characters you "love to hate". 

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **