Reading Round-Up: February 2021

February is a short month to begin with, but it seemed even shorter this year. This month I’ve been so busy with edits and redesigning my website (and trying to clean out my attic) that I’ve had less time than usual for reading. Here’s the round-up:

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Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide to the Kindle Store (Let's Get Publishing Book 4) by [David Gaughran]

Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide to the Kindle Store by David Gaughran is going to be one of those books I read over and over again. If it wasn’t in ebook form, it would have sticky notes on three-quarters of the pages. If you are trying to sell books, do yourself a favor and get this book. The author is a genius at marketing and the ins and outs of various platforms. This book is about understanding why Amazon does what it does, and it’s a great read. My 5-star review is here.

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The Henna Artist: A Novel by [Alka Joshi]

Next up was the book my book club read for February. And what a spectacular book it was. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is one woman’s story of ambition, caste, love, friendship, and dignity as India emerges from British Raj rule. I was swept away by the descriptions of the people, the places, and the fragile relationships that exist between members of different castes, and I can’t wait to read her next book, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, when it comes out later this year. Read my review here.

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Super Host by [Kate Russo]

I didn’t like anything about Super Host by Kate Russo. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t charming, it wasn’t “compulsively readable,” as some reviewers suggest. Instead, I found it rude, offensive, and vulgar. I tried, but I just couldn’t finish it. Read my review here, though I don’t really think you need to read it to know what I thought of the book. Please remember that this is only one person’s opinion—there are plenty of reviewers who loved the book.

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

In Tainted, From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate: Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures by Phyllis Entis, readers will find a wealth of information about the foodborne illness outbreaks that many of us will recall from the news. The author presents the information in a way that is easily understandable and quite scary when you stop to think how many processes have to work in tandem and without glitches in order to bring the food we eat from the farm to the dinner table. Read my review of this important work of non-fiction here.

I hope you’ll share in the comments what you’ve been reading!

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