Book review: All the Way to Italy by Flavia Brunetti

Book Details:

Book Title:  All the Way to Italy: A modern tale of homecoming through generations past
Author: Flavia Brunetti
Category:  Adult Fiction,  222 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction (can fit into YA Fiction as well)
Publisher:  Ali Ribelli Edizioni
Release date:  April 21, 2018
Format available for review: ebook (mobi, ePub and PDF)
Tour dates: April 23 to May 18, 2018
Content Rating: PG for the occasional use of “for God’s sake” and a few religious references (though very mild). No violence, no swear words, and no sex scenes.

Book Description:

Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can’t quite remember, and writer’s block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will travel throughout Italy, enlisting the help of the aunt who raised her, friends old and new, and the country itself, in her search for the answers she needs.

This is the powerful story of those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.

Buy the Book:   Amazon            Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato. Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University. Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso. You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.

Connect with Flavia: Website ~ Blog on Rome ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

REVIEW:

Although not strictly a “coming of age” story, All the Way to Italy  brings us on a young woman’s emotional journey to determine where her roots really lie.  She was brought to California by her aunt when she was very young as her parents’ relationship suddenly fell apart.   Little loves her life in California but after her father’s death she returns to find answers to what really happened to her family before her flight to California.  Feeling lost and uprooted, with her love for her present home struggling with her love all things Italian, she travels around the country looking for clues that will help her decide where she feels the most connected.

If you love all things Italian, history, food and travel, you will enjoy this emotional and touching family drama.

 

Book review: Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary Extraordinary by Gabriella Contestabile
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction,  201  pages
Genre: Travel / Arts / Fashion / Self-help
Publisher:  Sumisura Publications
Release date:  November 2017
Format available for review: print & ebook (PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: April 23 to May 11, 2018
Content Rating: G (No violence. No swear words. No sex scenes.)

Book Description:

Ah, that inimitable Italian style. It’s embedded in an Italian woman’s DNA. Fashion doesn’t define her. She defines herself. She knows an extraordinary life is not about status, money, or achievement. The only mastery it requires is one her heritage has given her, the irrepressible passion to make art of life itself.

Ask an Italian woman where she gets her sense of style and she will tell you it’s not about labels. It’s tethered to humble roots; humanity, community, conscious consumerism, and a profound appreciation for art in all its forms.

Sass, Smarts and Stilettos takes the reader on a journey from the humble hill towns of Abruzzo to the revered fashion capitals of Milan and Rome, into the artisan workshops of Florence, and the humanistic business practices of Luisa Spagnoli, Brunello Cuccinelli, and Alberta Ferretti, from the emergence of Italy’s fashion industry after WWII, to slow food and sustainable fashion initiatives taking root around the world.

Life lessons echo in the words of the author’s mother and grandmother, in the voices of Italian film divas, designers, tastemakers, writers, and artisans across generations, from the first Sala Bianca in Florence to the game changing design ethic of Franca Sozzani, Miuccia Prada, and Donatella Versace.

Learn how to live fully within your own philosophy of living. Say good-bye to mindless consumerism, emotional clutter, and others’ expectations. Create a personal style that fits like a custom blazer by Ferrè and enchants like the colors of a Sicilian sunset. Then go on to craft an extraordinary and empowering life made-to-measure for you alone.

Gabriella Contestabile

Meet the Author:

Gabriella Contestabile is the author of the novel, The Artisan’s Star, and owner of Su Misura (Made to Measure) Journeys; a boutique travel concept for the female traveler who relishes off-the-beaten-track adventures that celebrate the Italian way of life.

​The book/travel initiative has its roots in her pre-writer life as a foreign language teacher, later as Executive Director and Vice President of International Training in a number of global companies (including Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Prada Beauty) where she would create immersive and unconventional learning experiences in unique settings around the world.

One of her favorite pastimes, wherever she is in the world, is to scout out the best, and most ‘Italian’ espresso in the hood. It requires multiple tastings, but that’s the idea. Gabriella was born in Italy, and raised in Ottawa and New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, her mother, and a furry Shih Tzu named Oreo.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ LinkedIn

REVIEW:
This little book is a delightful combination of memoir, fashion history and practical advice about how to live your life to the fullest and most stylish.  I loved every little chapter – each beginning with a catchy quote.  This book will gently motivate you to be a better you – happier and more fulfilled.
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Here are a few of the tidbits  from the book that I love: (both from the book and cited quotes)
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It’s not about the label.  It’s about the art.
Don’t over-purchase.  When you have less, what you own is precious.
Bad food is never an option.
Travel is the enemy of prejudice, bigotry and small mindedness.
Age is the prison women make for themselves.
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Fashion history has been a passion of mine for many years so I enjoyed the chapters outlining the history of Italian fashion.  I would google the different designers and pour over examples of the clothing they designed.
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All this good advice had me re-think the way I was living, from the food I eat to the clothes I wear.  Of course, I’m not Italian but I am willing to adapt my lifestyle to be more mindful of the way I live and dress. Everyone keeps telling me to get a Vespa … one day who knows?
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Book spotlight: All the Way to Italy: A modern tale of homecoming through generations past by Flavia Brunetti

Book Details:

Book Title:  All the Way to Italy: A modern tale of homecoming through generations past
Author: Flavia Brunetti
Category:  Adult Fiction,  222 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction (can fit into YA Fiction as well)
Publisher:  Ali Ribelli Edizioni
Release date:  April 21, 2018
Format available for review: ebook (mobi, ePub and PDF)
Tour dates: April 23 to May 18, 2018
Content Rating: PG for the occasional use of “for God’s sake” and a few religious references (though very mild). No violence, no swear words, and no sex scenes.

Book Description:

Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can’t quite remember, and writer’s block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will travel throughout Italy, enlisting the help of the aunt who raised her, friends old and new, and the country itself, in her search for the answers she needs.

This is the powerful story of those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.

Buy the Book:   Amazon            Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato. Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University. Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso. You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.

Connect with Flavia: Website ~ Blog on Rome ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:​

April 23 – TFaulc Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 23 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
April 24 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
April 24 – 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway
April 25 – FLY HIGH! – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 25 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
April 26 – Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway
April 26 – Readers Muse – book spotlight / guest post
April 27 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
April 30 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
May 1 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight
May 1 – XoXo Book Blog – book spotlight / author interview /  giveaway
May 2 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 3 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – bk spotlight / interview / giveaway
May 4 – Just Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
TBD    – Diary of an Avid Reader – book spotlight / giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

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Book review: Waking Isabella, because beauty can’t sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon

Book Details:

Book Title:  Waking Isabella: Because beauty can’t sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon
Category:  Adult Fiction,  250  pages
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher:  Matta Press
Release date:  December 2017
Format available for review: print & ebook (mobi, ePub, PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: Feb 19 to March 23, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (The story begins with violent rape and murder scene, touches on themes of miscarriage, murder, Nazi violence during war, adultery)

Book Description:

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

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Watch the trailer:
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Melissa Muldoon

 Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

Connect with Melissa:

Website ~ Twitter ~  Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Youtube

REVIEW: 

For  anyone who loves history, art and anything Italian, this is the perfect novel for you.  The story begins with Isabella de Medici, a 16th century Italian princess and her mysterious, and the circumstances surrounding her untimely death as well as the disappearance of  her most beloved painting.

Nora, a researcher and art lover is recuperating from a failed marriage.  She is at a point in her life where she must decide to take the safe route and remain a researcher or follow her dreams to return to Italy.  A chance Facebook message from an old friend ignites her passion for Italy once again and inspires her to investigate Isabella de Medici and her mysterious past.

The author’s historical research really makes this novel “come alive” as we are transported to different time periods and places in search of elusive clues to missing pieces of artwork.  The introduction of realistic characters and multiple storylines that ultimately lead back to the beginning of the story made for an interesting and enjoyable read.  Brush up on your Italian, there is plenty in this book!  Take care, you may end up enjoying a cappuccino yourself on sun drenched day somewhere in historic Italy.

GIVEAWAY:

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Book spotlight: The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice by Laura Morelli

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author:  Laura Morelli
Category:  Adult Fiction,  350 pages
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Publisher:  The Scriptorium
Release date:  November 15, 2017
Tour dates:  Oct 16 to Nov 17, 2017
Content Rating:  PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Book Description:

In 16th-century Venice, a young woman is apprenticed to a painter under false pretense. But as the bubonic plague begins to ravage the city and she must take greater measures to keep her secret, she must decide whether to risk the future of her family workshop or the desire of her heart.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

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Meet the Author:

​LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 16 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 16 – Book Nerd – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 17 – Library of Clean Reads ​- book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 17 – Just One More Chapter – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Oct 18 – Wander Girl Life – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 18 – Reading is My Passion – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 19 – Hooked To Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 20 – History from a Woman’s Perspective – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 23 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 24 – A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 25 – Studentessa Matta – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 26 – Words And Peace – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 27 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 30 – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 31 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight
Nov 1  – What Cathy Read Next – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 2  – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 2  – Celticlady’s Reviews –  book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 3  – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 6  – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 7  – Dab of Darkness – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 8  – Essentially Italian – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 9  –  T’s Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 13 – A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 13 – The Book Drealms – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 14 – 100 Pages a Day – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 15 – Monica Cesarato – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 16 – Lukten av trykksverte – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway

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Book spotlight: Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich

Book Details:

Book Title:  Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich
Category:  Adult Fiction,   290 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Odyssey Books
Release date:  August 2017
Format available for review: ebook (gifted Kindle copy)
Tour dates: Oct 23 to Nov 3, 2017
Content Rating: PG (Very little bad language (if any), kissing, references to sex but nothing actual or explicit, some violence in the way of school bullying – no major adult themes like abortion or suicide etc.)

Book Description:

The war may be over, but the fight to belong is just the beginning.

Left homeless, starving, and almost killed by the Second World War, the Saforo family are refugees fleeing Italy for a better life. The shores of Australia are calling to them and they head off, packing dreams of jobs, a home and… soccer.

But from the moment they get off the boat, adapting to the Australian way of life is harder than it seems. Their family doesn’t speak right, eat right or even look right. As they struggle to build a simple life against the backdrop of 1950s’ racism, they start to wonder if they will be outsiders forever.

A true family affair, Wanderers No More will make you laugh, remind you of your family, and warm your heart.

Michelle Saftich

Meet the Author:

Michelle Saftich resides in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology.

For the past 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations.
Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent 10 years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

Her historical fiction novel, Port of No Return, was inspired by a true family story. It was published by Australian independent publishing house, Odyssey Books in 2015. Its sequel, Wanderers No More was released in August 2017. Michelle is married with two children.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 23 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
Oct 23 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 24 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 24 – The Book Drealms – book spotlight
Oct 25 – Leels Loves Books – review
Oct 26 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – book spotlight / interview / gw
Oct 26 – Jayne’s Books – review
Oct 27 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 27 – Literary Flits – review / giveaway
Oct 30 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 31 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 1  – Just One More Chapter – review
Nov 2  – Essentially Italian – review / giveaway
Nov 3  – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

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Book spotlight tour: Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series) by Lucy Appadoo

Book Details:

Book Title:  Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series)
Author:  Lucy Appadoo
Category:  Adult Fiction,   274 pages
Genre:   Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Publisher:  Lucy Appadoo
Release date:  March 24, 2017
Tour dates:  June 5 to 23, 2017
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)

Book Description:

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Buy the book:   Amazon.com.au    Amazon.com    Barnes & Noble   Website

Lucy Appadoo

Meet the Author:

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

June 5 –   Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
June 5 –   Kristin’s Novel Café – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 5 –   Library of Clean Reads  – book spotlight / giveaway
June 6 –   Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / author interview
June 6 –   #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
June 6 –   Il Mio Tesoro – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 –   Essentially Italian – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 7 –   Adventures Thru Wonderland – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 –   Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway
June 8 –   100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway
June 8 –   StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 9 –   Reviews in the City – book spotlight / giveaway
June 9 –   Paulette’s Papers –  book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 12 – A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
June 12 – Zerina Blossom’s Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 12 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight
June 13 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – book spotlight / giveaway
June 13 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
June 13 – Literary Flits –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 14 – Just One More Chapter – book spotlight
June 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 15 – A Mama’s Corner of the World –  book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 15 – Bookworm for Kids – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway
June 19 – Carole’s Book Corner – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 19 – What Cathy Read Next – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 20 – Books for Books – book spotlight
June 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 20 – Outset – book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – Lukten av Trykksverte –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – The Book Drealms – A Book Addict’s Travelogue – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Rockin’ Book Reviews –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight
June 23 – Jessica Cassidy – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – Haddie’s Haven – book spotlight / giveaway

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Book review: Dreaming Sophia: Because Dreaming is an Art by Melissa Muldoon

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Dreaming Sophia: Because Dreaming is an Art by Melissa Muldoon
Category:  Adult Fiction, 232 pages
Genre: Literary
Publisher:  Matta Press
Release date:   August 2016
Available for review in: print and ebook (ePub, PDF, mobi)
Will send print books: USA & Canada
Tour dates:  Nov 21 to Dec 16, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (Mild profanity, and mild religious expletives, exploration Italian swear words, kissing – oh my!)

Book Description:

Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.

Buy the Book:  

Amazon – print
Amazon / Kindle – ebook
Create Space
I-tunes – Apple Store-ebook
Barnes & Noble – ebook

Inktera-ebook

Melissa meets Sophia Loren in March 2016!

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Watch as Melissa talks about her debut novel: 

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Melissa MuldoonMeet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta-the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned”. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Dreaming Sophia is Melissa’s first novel. It is a fanciful look at art history and Italian language and culture, but it is also the culmination of personal stories and insights resulting from her experiences living in Italy, as well as her involvement and familiarity with the Italian language, painting, and art history.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event! Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency-a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways.
Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married and has three boys and two beagles.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Dreaming Sophia. She also designed the Dreaming Sophia website and created the character illustrations that can be found in the book and on the Dreaming Sophia websites.

Connect with the Author:
Website  ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube ~
Pinterest

REVIEW:
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Can you learn history through fantasy?  It certainly felt like that as I read Dreaming Sophia. I’m a history and art buff and didn’t realize how much I would enjoy reading this fantasy / novel.  Sophia’s muses really make Italian history “come to life” and their inclusion added an unusual dimension to her story. The interaction between her “dream characters” was clever. On several occasions her “muses” moved me to put down the book and do more research into their lives.  I was also interested in the different pieces of artwork mentioned in the book.
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Florence, Venice and Rome hold many fond memories for me.   I was able to recall some of these wonderful memories about these cities from the author’s descriptions of the architecture, food and museums.
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I really loved that the author used a lot of Italian expressions in the book (together with the their translation).  It gave the book such an “Italian” feel.
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The artwork on the cover was simply beautiful and immediately caught my attention.  What is even more incredible is that the author created the artwork herself!
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You can find more interesting tidbits on Melissa’s website such as:
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Her muses:  http://dreamingsophiabook.com/sophias-muses/
An Italian dictionary: http://dreamingsophiabook.com/italian-dictionary/
Music videos from the book:  http://dreamingsophiabook.com/music-videos/
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Together with all the author’s multimedia, reading the book was a really fun experience!
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Book spotlight: Italian Street Food: Recipes From Italy’s Bars and Hidden Laneways by Paola Bacchia

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Italian Street Food: Recipes From Italy’s Bars and Hidden Laneways by Paola Bacchia
Category:  Adult Nonfiction, 274 pages
Genre:  Cookbook
Publisher:  Smith Street
Release date:  October 2016
Tour dates:  Oct 3 to 21, 2016
Content Rating:  PG

Book Description:

(I’ve seen this book and it is gorgeous!)

Italy’s classic recipes are well known the world over, but few are aware of the dishes that reign on the flourishing Italian street-food scene. Hidden behind the town squares, away from the touristy restaurants, and down back streets are little-known gems offering up some of Italy’s tastiest and best-kept secret dishes that the locals prize.

ITALIAN STREET FOOD is not just another Italian cookbook; it delves into truly authentic Italian fare—the kind of secret recipes that are passed down through generations. Learn how to make authentic polpettine, arancini, stuffed cuttlefish, cannolis, and fritters, and perfect your gelato-making skills with original flavors such as lemon and basil or affogato and aperol. With beautiful stories and stunning photography throughout, ITALIAN STREET FOOD delivers an authentic, lesser known take on a much loved cuisine.

Buy the book:  Rizzoli  ~  Amazon

Paola Bacchia

Meet the Author:

Paola Bacchia is one of Australia’s most popular Italian food bloggers. On her blog, Italy on My Mind, she shares family memories and their connections to food. It won awards for best food blog in 2013 and 2015 from ITALY Magazine. Paola returns to Italy every year to expand her knowledge of Italian food, its traditions, and innovations.

Connect to the author: Website  ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 3 –   Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 3 –   Freda’s Voice – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 4 –   Monica Cesarato – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 4 –   Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 4 –   Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 5 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 5 –   StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 –   Cooking in Venice – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 –   Essentially Italian – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 7 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 7 –   Il Mio Tesoro – book spotlight
Oct 10 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight
Oct 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 12 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 12 – Italophilia – book spotlight
Oct 13 – A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 14 – Words And Peace – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 17 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 18 – Blooming with Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 19 – Heidi’s Wanderings – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 20 – Take It Personel-ly – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 21 – Walking With Nora – book spotlight / giveaway

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Book review: Michelangelo’s Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Michelangelo’s Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian
Category:  Adult fiction,   288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher:  Henery Press
Release date:  October 2016
Format available for review: ebook
Tour dates:  October 10 to 21, 2016
Content Rating:  PG

Book Description:

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

Praise for Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones Mysteries:

“Charming characters, a hint of romantic conflict, and just the right amount of danger will garner more fans for this cozy series.” – Publishers Weekly on Quicksand

“Pandian’s sprightly prose celebrates the pleasures of Italian painting, food, and landscape. The light touch, swift pace, and verve maintained throughout the novel disguise the deeper thought and scholarship underpinning the story, which like the stage props of a conjurer, make the magic happen.”– Linda Lappin, Author of Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

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Meet the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at www.gigipandian.com/newsletter.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

REVIEW:
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This is the second novel I’ve read by Gigi Pandian (and her 4th mystery in the Jaya Jones series) and I wasn’t disappointed.  Jaya Jones or “JJ” receives an intriguing call from an old professor / mentor with whom she has been out of contact for many years.  The professor has found evidence of cross-culture artwork between Mogul India and the Italian Renaissance.  When a link to Michaelangelo is intimated, Jaya can’t resist the lure to investigate for herself.  What she doesn’t anticipate is that there is someone else on the same trail.  Someone who is willing to kill for the prize she’s after.
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Jaya Jones is a historian turned part-time detective.  Her character is believable,  her insecurities and flaws make her more personable and the inclusion of some interesting and well-developed secondary characters (and a romance) in the series round out her quirky personality.
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I enjoy a good mystery and if there is a smart female lead, then I’m hooked. This is good fiction with plenty of unexpected plot twists and great Italian food descriptions.  I can’t wait for the next book in the Jaya Jones series.
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