Reading Round-Up: October Edition

It’s been another great month of reading! I hope you’ll take a look at the titles I share this month and add your own to the comments.

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Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery

The first book I finished this month was Murder on Astor Place, Book 1 in the Gaslight Mystery Series by Victoria Thompson. This is an historical mystery set in New York City around the turn of the twentieth century and features main character Sarah Brandt, ex-socialite-turned-midwife who is compelled to help solve the mystery of a young woman’s death shortly after meeting the girl under stressful circumstances. I am going to read every one of the Gaslight Mysteries! Read my review here.

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Alice by [Bibiana Krall]

Next up was Alice by Bibibana Krall. If you receive my newsletter, you may remember that Bibiana is one of the authors who makes up the BookEm YouTube team, of which I am a part. With that being said, Bibiana writes paranormal stories in a way that makes me feel like I’m right there, watching the scenes unfold in front of me. Read my review of this remarkable paranormal tale here.

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The Woman in Black (The Susan Hill Collection)

If you like ghost stories, this one is for you. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill was apparently made into a movie some years ago, but I had not heard of it until just last week. I read this story with nary a care for food, drink, or sleep, much like the main character, Arthur. This tale will give you the chicken skin and make you reconsider going outside at night. I highly recommend this for lovers of all things scary. Read my review here.

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And next was something a little different (actually, very different). For my book club this month, we read A Walk on the Beach by Joan Anderson. Written as an ode to the author’s friendship with a remarkable woman she met on Cape Cod one fateful autumn, this is a beautiful tale of wisdom, zest for life, and the importance of being active and engaged. I gave this book five bright stars. Read my review here.

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The Guest List: A Novel by [Lucy Foley]

I was intrigued by Lucy Foley’s The Guest List because of a blurb I read about it some months ago, and I found it to be a thrilling look at some of the secrets people keep and the things that drive them to commit unspeakable acts. With that being said, I would only recommend this book to someone who doesn’t mind a close-up look at those unspeakable acts, because some of them are pretty gritty and nauseating. Read my review here.

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson was the October choice for one of my book clubs. As I write this post, I haven’t yet attended the discussion, but I think it’s good to reflect on the book before listening to the opinions of others. So my review of this book about white Americans and their relationships with and to Americans of African descent is here and I hope you’ll take a minute to read it. This is a hugely important book on an even more important topic, and I think everyone should read it. It’s scholarly enough for high school and college students, yet written in a style that’s easy enough for everyone else to read.

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You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by [Michael Ian Black]

I had so many mixed feelings about this book, and in the end I gave it three stars and would not recommend it. The author, who is a comedian and actor, was new to me. His brutal and (admittedly, sometimes very funny) shameless honesty was really something to behold, and his obsession with sex and genitalia were off-putting, at best (he seemed never to have gotten beyond adolescence). And let me just say that if my husband ever talked about me the way Black talks about his wife, I’d give him the boot. Read my review here.

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So what have you all been reading? Care to share?

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Phyllis Entis with Something Different

This week my guest is author and friend Phyllis Entis, who has a new book coming out soon. You may recall Phyllis from earlier posts about her mysteries (see here and here), but she’s here today to tell us about a completely different project.

TAINTED: From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures by [Phyllis Entis]

TAINTED: From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures will be released on December 2, 2020. The book draws on Phyllis’s many years of work in the food safety industry and as a mystery author and promises to be a fascinating look at food contamination and how government regulations have failed consumers. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

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Take a look at the blurb you’ll find at online retailers:

“Salmonella in eggs. Listeria in deli meats. Melamine in milk. Cyclospora in lettuce.

In a world where irrigation water is contaminated by run-off from cattle feedlots and where food processors cut corners, the food preparation skills we learned from our parents and grandparents are no longer good enough to keep us safe.

Using a variety of foodborne disease outbreaks, often illustrated with the stories of individual victims, Tainted explores the ways in which food becomes contaminated. Some of the stories – such as the deadly 1993 Jack in the Box outbreak – will be very familiar. Others will not.

In this update to her 2007 book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives, Phyllis Entis draws on nearly five decades of experience to explain how our regulatory systems have failed us, and to talk about what can be done to protect consumers from unsafe food.”

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Phyllis has graciously provided an excerpt of the book to illustrate the power of storytelling combined with science.

Chapter 3 – Betrayal

Sarah Lewis and her entire family attended a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant on May 29, 2010 to mark her sister Stacey’s college graduation. The next night, Sarah’s world turned upside down.

Already feeling unwell on the evening of May 30th, Sarah went to bed early. She awakened during the night, suffering from vomiting and severe diarrhea. The next day, Sarah’s mother, who lived nearby, took her to an urgent care facility. Twenty minutes later, she was admitted to hospital and was later diagnosed with salmonellosis.

Badly dehydrated and in enormous pain from her inflamed bowels, Sarah was moved to the hospital’s ICU. While there, she developed severe tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), and was moved to the critical care heart unit, where she spent three days.

When Sarah was finally discharged in time to attend her daughter’s preschool graduation, she thought the worst was behind her.

About 2½ weeks later, she was back in the hospital, still suffering from severe dehydration. She was released after five days.

The antibiotics Sarah took to combat her Salmonella infection stripped her digestive system of its normal population of protective bacteria, resulting in her becoming infected with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a bacterium which causes severe diarrhea and cramping. A fourteen-day antibiotic regimen took care of the C. diff; however, the Salmonella was more resilient. Four months later, Sarah still was on five to ten different medications daily to combat the infection and control her symptoms.

Sarah Lewis was the first recorded California victim of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that sickened more than 1,900 people across the United States.

The restaurant where Stacey’s graduation banquet was held had purchased custard tarts from a local bakery. Ordinarily, the bakery used a pasteurized liquid egg mixture to make the tarts. However, on the day they prepared the dessert items for the graduation dinner, the bakery ran out of pasteurized egg mix and used fresh, raw shell eggs instead. Eggs that most likely had come from Iowa.

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If you’ve ever had food poisoning, if you ever ordered something in a restaurant that just didn’t taste right, or if you’ve followed any of a myriad of cases in the international media in recent years about the safety of our food supply and various outbreaks of illness caused by food-borne bacteria, I think you’ll find this an interesting book.

If you’d like to pre-order your own copy, please click on any of the links below.

Amazon: mybook.to/TAINTED2020

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1534605439

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164268374

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005420079

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1046579

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Author Bio

A graduate of McGill University and the University of Toronto, Phyllis Entis received her introduction to the field of food safety at the hands of Canada’s Health Protection Branch, where she spent the first seven years of her professional life immersed in Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E. coli and other bad actors from the microbial world.

Entis left government work to co-found (with her husband) QA Life Sciences, a company specializing in rapid testing methods for foodborne bacteria. For the next twenty-two years, she worked closely with representatives of Health Protection brand, the US Food and Drug Administration and various state agencies to gain official sanction for the use of rapid testing methods in government and industry settings.

Following the sale of QA Life Sciences, Entis became a freelance consultant and writer. Her first book, Food Microbiology – The Laboratory, was published in 2002 by the Food Processors Institute. It was followed five years later by Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives, which was released by the American Society for Microbiology Press in January 2007.

Since 2007, Entis has written about food safety issues for several publications, including Food Safety News, The Bark, and her own food safety blog, eFoodAlert. She has also found the time to write and release a 5-book mystery series, The Damien Dickens Mysteries.

In TAINTED, Entis has combined her decades of experience with the story-telling skills honed during her career as a mystery writer to revamp and update the wealth of information contained in Old Habits and to produce a food safety narrative that is both educational and accessible.

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I hope you’ll reach out and connect with Phyllis!

eFoodAlert blog: eFoodAlert.com

Author website and blog: phyllisentis.wordpress.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PromptProse

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/eFoodAlert/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/phyllis-entis-1697a849/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Entis/e/B001JRZM1K/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1750852.Phyllis_Entis

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/phyllis-entis

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Thanks, Phyllis, for being my guest today on Reade and Write. Congratulations on your upcoming release. I’m eager to read it.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for October

It’s the first Tuesday in October! This year is going so fast, quarantines and lockdowns notwithstanding.

The three recipes I’ve chosen for this month are perfect for fall: they’re full of warm flavor, they’re great comfort foods, and everyone loves them.

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Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 c. canned pumpkin (you can use homemade pureed pumpkin, if you prefer)

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. water

2 eggs

1 2/3 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. ground cloves

Optional: 1/2 c. each chopped nuts and/or raisins/dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9 x 5″ loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients (through eggs); beat well. In a separate medium bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat on medium speed until well-blended. Stir in optional ingredients, if desired.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Begin checking bread at 65 minutes.

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Pasta Fagioli (with thanks to my mother)

1 T. olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce

1/2 t. dried oregano

basil to taste

1 16-oz. can cannellini or white kidney beans

2 c. chicken broth (can use vegetable broth for vegetarian or vegan soup)

black pepper

1 c. (or more) pasta, depending on how much pasta you like in your soup (I use elbows or ditalini)

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. When oil is hot, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Stir once or twice, adding about a tablespoon of water if vegetables are sticking, then cover pot and simmer 5 minutes more until vegetables are very tender (mixture at this point is like the consistency of mush).

Add can of tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes, dried oregano, and basil to taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Add black pepper to taste, white beans, and chicken or vegetable broth. If you’d like thicker soup, you can either use an immersion blender until some of the soup is pureed or simply mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. Simmer for ten minutes. Add pasta and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Angel Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 c. butter

1 pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix (I use Good Seasons)

1 can golden mushroom soup

1/2 c. white wine

4 oz. onion and chive cream cheese

cooked angel hair pasta

Grease a slow cooker. Place chicken on the bottom.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add Italian dressing mix, soup, wine, and cream cheese. Stir well and pour over chicken.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve over cooked pasta.

Enjoy!

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If you have any recipes you’d like to share, please email me at amymreadeauthor[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be happy to include them in a future post!

Until next time,

Amy