May 29, 2021

Sunday Salon: Singapore, India, and Southern Italy

 My latest books have come from the library, which is welcoming patrons into the building once again. This means I'm ignoring my ereader, for the time being, and going with paper books!

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho, published June 9, 2020, Putnam

Genre: contemporary women's fiction, romance

My goodreads review:

Refreshing take on career, romance and marriage, pulling the main character in two directions at once. Andrea Tang is a successful corporate lawyer in Singapore, working overtime to achieve her goal of making partner in the firm.

However, her relatives, in particular her mother, are after her to find a husband and to provide grandchildren. How Andrea manages these two conflicting, for her,  goals are the main theme. The novel is written with humor and interesting insights into  women and careers, especially among the well-to-do in Singapore. Last Tang Standing was fun to read and more than a great beach read.

Recently arrived in the mail: 

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey, June 1, 2021, courtesy of Soho Crime

Genre: historical mystery set in India, 1920s

Description: India’s only female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule

The Measure of Time by Gianrico Carofiglio, April 8, 2021, from Bitter Lemon Press
: legal thriller set in Southern Italy

Description: The setting is Bari in Southern Italy. Defense attorney Guido Guerrieri takes on an appeal against what looks like an unassailable murder conviction. The alleged perpetrator is the son of a former lover. A taut legal thriller and a meditation on the ravages of time.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

May 21, 2021

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan: Book Beginning


Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, June 2, 2020, Ecco

Genre: contemporary fiction, romance 

Setting: Hong Kong

An intimate, bracingly intelligent debut novel about a millennial Irish expat who becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer (publisher)

Book beginning:

My banker friend Julian first took me for lunch in July, the month I arrived in Hong Kong. I'd forgotten which exit of the station we were meeting at, but he called saying he saw me outside Kee Wah Bakery and to wait there. It was humid. Briefcase-bearers clopped out of turnstiles like breeding jennets. The Tannoy blared out first Cantonese, then Mandarin, and finally a British woman saying please mind the gap. 

Page 56:

You were ironical with him, also with yourself. It was wild. 

Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice.
Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader.

May 18, 2021

The Bitter Taste of Murder by Camilla Trinchieri: A Taste of Tuscany

It's already Tuesday at 2:15 a.m. and I'm late for It's Monday! 

I have a box of library books, recently borrowed, but am still reading 

The Bitter Taste of MurderA Tuscan Mystery by Camilla Trinchieri

The setting and characters are delightfully interesting. There is a murder mystery and a love interest as well as clever minor characters, in a Tuscan setting. I am reading in fits and starts, what with better weather to entice me into the garden, or out into the parks. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading Sunday Salon, and Mailbox Monday

May 10, 2021

It's Monday: Books Set in Cleveland and Tuscany, Italy

 New books from publishers/publicists

2207 South Green Road by Janice C. Spector, 

Two Bairns Press (June 22, 2021)

Source: Saichek Publicity 

Description: A poignant and humorous story of love despite dysfunction among an assimilating extended Jewish family riddled with secrets in suburban Cleveland during 1961.

The Bitter Taste of Murder: A Tuscan Mystery by Camilla Trinchieri

Genre: mystery series

Publication: August 10, 2021, Soho Crime

Description: The follow-up to Murder in Chianti. Ex-NYPD detective Nico Doyle is recruited by Italian authorities to investigate the murder of a prominent wine critic.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Reading Sunday Salon, and Mailbox Monday

May 6, 2021

A September to Remember by Carole: Review, Giveaway, and Guest Post:


Premier Virtual Author Book Tours presents A September To Remember by Carole Bumpus

A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table (Book Three) – Lombardy, Tuscany, Campania, Apulia, and Lazio (Roma) (Savoring the Olde Ways Series, 3) by Carole Bumpus

Publisher:  She Writes Press (April 27, 2021)
Category: Culinary/Travel Memoir & Non-Fiction
Tour dates: April 12-May 31, 2021

A September to Remember


This culinary travel memoir is an invitation to join in on a month-long trek through Italy, all in the search of the true Italian experience. Sprinkled with unforgettable characters, you will sup on sumptuous traditional foods, sip regional wines, and enjoy vast panoramas of extraordinary beauty. You may find yourself dancing at harvest festivals, climbing through Etruscan tombs, traipsing among Roman ruins, or bathing in ancient Roman termes (hot springs).

You may also enjoy climbing to the heights of wonder in Capri or to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or delight in soaking up the ancient and cultural history in Milan, Firenze (Florence), Amalfi, Pompeii, Lecce and Rome. You can bask in the sun and rugged beauty of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, or the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Or you can chat for hours over family meals while collecting a compendium of regional and traditional recipes (cucina povera), while you capture a rare glimpse inside the secrets to the Mediterranean psyche. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.


A month-long trip through Italy starts in Milan and then ventures down to Florence, Tuscany, and finally to Rome, with many stops in between. Carole Bumpus and her husband Winston are true adventurers and travelers, savoring the local cuisine, customs, and enjoying the people and places they encounter along the way.

Local history, festivals in many towns, wine tasting, tours, resorts, all these are covered in historic detail by the author, who is not only interested in the cuisine and wines, but in the history of the buildings, cathedrals, palaces, architecture, and also the history of parts of Italy during WWII and the stories of how the local people fared. 

Let's not forget their trip to Pompeii, which in history was buried under ash during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Nor their trip down the scenic Amalfi coast.

Lovers of Italian history, food and wine, and the remarkable geography of the country will delight in this travel and culinary memoir. Mrs. Bumpus includes many recipes in her book, plus maps of the areas they visited during their month-long trip.

This is a comprehensive memoir, in that detailed history of the places are included, in addition to descriptions of the buildings and monuments and of the people themselves.

Lovers of travel, and especially those who love or are curious about Italy, will m ore than enjoy Carole Bumpus's observations and her unique experiences. 

About Carole Bumpus

Multi award winning author, Carole Bumpus is a retired family therapist, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began writing about food and travel when she stumbled upon the amazing stories of women and war in France. Her historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, was published in October 2014, and her unique companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption, was released in August 2015.

Books One and Two of her Savoring the Olde Ways series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, were published in August 2019 and 2020; her third book in the series, A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table is due out April 27, 2021. All five books have been published by She Writes Press which is part of SparkPoint Studio, LLC.


Giveaway: September To Remember by Carole Bumpus

"This giveaway is for 3 copies of 'A September To Remember', one copy per winner. Open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on June 1, 2021.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.




Leaving the coastal dunes of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and heading east through Tuscany, your eyes widen at the pastoral beauty of the verdant rolling hills. Towering cypress trees march along roadways and over hillsides, as vineyards, sunflowers and olive orchards carpet the plains. Upon entering the Arno River Valley, you are surrounded by mountain ranges to the north, east and south, where you will discover the wonderous Renaissance city of Firenze. Florence, Italy.

Whether arriving by train, plane or car, the excitement for me has always been the same. It’s almost a physical assault of the senses: the wonderous scent of grilled meats like Bistecca alla Fiorentina or spiedini, skewered cuts of meat, sausage, and vegetables, or the savory aromas of rosemary-infused breads like pan di romarino, pizzas-by-the-pound, or herb-enhanced pasta sauces. Beautiful pasticcieria (pastry shop) windows feature pyramids of dolci (sweets) piled high in colorful arrays. Buttery tarts, bursting with custard-cream fillings, such as gianduja (hazelnut) or chocolate with orange zest, call out suggestively. And, then there are the robust wines from the nearby hills of Chianti. What to sample first?

Yes, Florence contains all of my much-loved passions: sumptuous foods, delectable wines, incredible history, art, architecture, and literature. Oh, my! Did I mention that Michelangelo walked these same streets? Or Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, or Botticelli? Did you realized their exemplary works of art helped to lift the pall of the Dark Ages to create the Age of the Renaissance? You can see many of their sculptures, paintings, and frescoes throughout the City, but especially in churches, cathedrals, and the Uffizi Art Museum. And don’t forget writers such as Dante, Petrarch, and Machiavelli also called this city home. Walking along the same streets as these historical figures makes history come alive. Come for the beauty and the sentient qualities of place. You will love it too. 

* * * * *

My favorite foods from Florence are: Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a succulent two-inch thick cut of beef steak or the delectable tagliarini al limone - pasta with a light yet piquant lemon sauce rises to a place with the gods.


* * * * * * *

Another favorite Italian city is Amalfi, which is tucked along the rocky coastline of the Salerno Peninsula facing exquisite azure waters. Although the drive to Amalfi is definitely an exercise in girding one’s loins, it is a drive worth experiencing. Yes, the narrow, circuitous road which climbs up, up and over craggy rocks and cliffs, then catapults you down and around a hundred hairpin turns and can suck the breath from your body as you peer over a sheer precipice to the sea a thousand feet below can give you pause . . . What was the question? Yes, driving is the only way to get there, unless you charter a boat.

Upon arrival, you can see you’ve arrived in Paradise. The entire city of Amalfi begins at the sea but immediately clambers up those same sheer cliffs where the residents live. There are wonderful, historical explanations for why locals enjoy living while clinging to hillsides, but the easiest explanation is to say it’s to avoid pirates! Yes, from the time of the Phoenicians, two thousand years of marauding pirates and traders have tried to force their way into the fortress of Amalfi.  

Lower Amalfi is a gorgeous seaside resort, with clean sandy beaches festooned with colorful beach chairs, umbrellas, and bar service. A smattering of waterfront restaurants caters to the many tourists who pile off buses or boats in order to sip a glass of wine, dine on supremely scrumptious seafood, or relax as they gaze out over the crystalline blue sea. Breathe!

As one heads up the steep streets into the walled city, a confluence of brightly decorated shops catches your attention. Here, the artistic flair can be seen everywhere, painted on walls, plates, dishes, cups, and across individual bottles of—oh, the town’s most famous drink, the glistening golden goodness called sfusato amalfitano or limoncello. You look around yourself, but you are surrounded by walls. “So where do the lemons grow?” you wonder.

You are standing in a tightly compacted city where many of the streets, known as alleys, are no more than one person wide and weave around and about like the inside of a pinecone. (Again, to ward off pirate attacks.) At the center of town is the Piazza Duomo, where one can stop for a bite to eat or drink. You are at the bottom of the stairs of a stunning black and white cathedral, the Duomo of Saint Andrew, which rises sixty-two steps above you. The Duomo appears to be a riot of stripes, arches, and mosaics with architectural touches gifted to Amalfi by conquering influences: The Moors, the Byzantines, and the Normans. Oh, plus a splash of Baroque.

From the Piazza, all hotels, restaurants, homes, and shops wend up the steeply terraced hills and continue along the narrow Mulini Valley where monumental cliffs rise 4,300 feet. Ah, there they are! In addition to homes and hotels perched precariously along terraces, are the lemon trees—a thousand lemon trees with their luminous and brilliantly verdant leaves and sunny yellow fruit catching the light from a scintillating sun.

Making your way past the Piazza, you may discover stalls offering a profusion of ripe purple plums, dark figs, and enormous peaches, plus garlands of garlic, and string upon string of bright firecracker-red dried peppers. You will gasp at the size of the bright yellow lemons—definitely as large as grapefruits. You are offered a slice to taste and cower at the thought of sinking your teeth into an acidic nightmare. But, no, they are sweet! Who knew? And then, of course, you find yourself in a queue at a boutique filled with shelves of this world-famous limoncello.  You’ve waited long enough! It’s time. Buy one, or two! They’re small and oh my goodness, there is nothing better as an after-dinner drink than icy cold limoncello. And your tour in paradise has begun.

* * * * *

In addition to limoncello, one of my favorite dishes from Amalfi is a marvelous seafood dish called Risotto alla Pescatore -- risotto made with homemade seafood broth then piled high with plenty of cooked shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari. Oh, my! So delectable!

May 5, 2021

This Is How I Save My Life by Amy B. Scher: First Chapter, First Paragraph


This is How I Save My Life: A True Story of Finding Everything When You are Willing to Try Anything

This Is How I Save My Life by Amy B. Scher, April 10, 2018, Gallery Books

Genre: Memoir. A woman  travels from California to India in search of a life saving medical procedure to cure her Lyme disease.

From my Goodreads review: A true story on finding one's true self after agonizing illness and pain that could have been less dramatic, if only.... In India, Amy Scher, suffering from advanced Lyme disease, finds out that she has the power to heal herself, while undergoing embryonic stem cell treatment in India. 

First chapter, first paragraph:

December 2007

A sign with these words are not posted anywhere on our arrival, but it should be. 

I could have also used a sign that offered, GOOD LUCK ! or equally appropriate, one that said, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR ACTUAL MIND? In fact, the signs I need at my first point of entry into the country, are endless. 

First Chapter/First paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Yvonne@ Socrates Book ReviewsPost the first paragraph (or 2) of a book you are reading or plan to read soon.

May 3, 2021

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly: It's Monday


Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly, April 1, 2021, Hodder & Stouton

Setting: London

Genre: thriller, mystery

Ava Kirilova has reached the very top of her profession. After years and years of hard graft, pain and sacrifice as part of the London Russian Ballet Company, allowing nothing else to distract her, she is finally the poster girl for Swan Lake. (publisher)

I've been a fan of Erin Kelly's unusual thrillers and this one seems to be just as good. I am eager to see how similar or different it will be from other books, movies about prima ballerinas vying to play The White Swan and The Black Swan in the classic, Swan Lake. 


World Book Day 2021 offered free copies of their chosen Kindle ebooks in April. I've read and like one short picture book, Some Day, for adults and kids, and have enjoyed reading some of the short stories in Amora. 

There are nine books in all, from nine different countries, all available now on Kindle Unlimited. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Voices of the Old and the New: Corky Lee and Julia Alvarez

  NEW RELEASES Corky Lee's Asian America Fifty Years of Photographic Justice by  Corky Lee Publication April 9, 2024; Clarkson Potter/Te...