Candida Martinelli is a technical and creative writer, and most-importantly, she is a confirmed Italophile. To share her love of Italian culture, in 2003 she established the Italian culture website Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site at Italophiles.com. The website has grown into a popular entertainment and reference site.
In 2014 Candida created the Italophile Book Reviews site which is growing quickly, providing helpful reviews for lovers of books set in Italy, or having to do with Italy and Italian culture or hyphenated Italians or Ancient Rome.
She is the author of "An Extra Virgin Pressing Murder", a cozy murder mystery novel set in Italy featuring a mature protagonist. She is also the author of the 9-book young-adult historical mystery novel series "The Violet Strange Mysteries", a re-imagining and re-writing for pre-teens and teens of today of a classic series of short stories. She is the editor of A Collection of Short Mysteries. All her books are available in both print and e-book versions, from various retailers.
Where to find Candida Martinelli online
Where to buy in print
This member has not published any books.
Smashwords book reviews by Candida Martinelli
- Assisi Walking Adventure Guide
on Feb. 05, 2014
The Assisi Walking Adventure Guide attempts to bridge the gap between the past and the present for visitors to St. Francis of Assisi's haunts. The roughly thirty sections of the book, each with photographs, give the modern visitor lots of choices for the short time they will probably spend in Assisi. You can remain in Assisi self, or venture out to nearby villages with the guide's help.
The author has a gentle sense of humor and speaks directly to his fellow walker in his precise descriptions of where to go and what to see, what maps or books are helpful, what tickets are required, and even where you can get a bite to eat at a reasonable price. The text is scrupulously edited, as well, which is refreshing for an indie-published book.
Full review at Italophile Book Reviews
- Lynne Ellison's The Green Bronze Mirror
on Feb. 05, 2014
First published in 1966, reprinted in 2009 with illustrations Philip Smiley, and now offered for as a free e-book via Smashwords, The Green Bronze Mirror is a wonderful example of out-of-print books getting new life from the new publishing freedom created by the indie-publishing movement.
The Green Bronze Mirror does not glorify the brutality of the era, nor does it ignore them. The brutality of the era is explained in subtle ways, and the civilizing effects of Christianity are shown. I admire the author for managing to do this in a book meant for children. But because of the book's subject matter, I would suggest the reader be 12+, and preferably older than that!
Once the young girl is transported back to Ancient Roman Britain, the story moves along quickly. The protagonist goes from Britain, through France, into Italy. She spends time in the capital, Rome, before returning to Britain. All her various adventures are explained, but the sexual dangers she faces are only touched on lightly, or avoided altogether, which is appropriate for this level of book.
Full review at Italophile Book Reviews
- Her Reluctant Bodyguard
on Feb. 24, 2014
Her Reluctant Bodyguard is a clean (non-pornographic), contemporary romantic suspense novel whose male lead is an Italian-American who is more Italian than American, having spent only his summers growing up in The States. Jamison Constanzo is a bodyguard to a major British pop-star. Part of the novel's story takes place in and around Rome, Italy.
That is not the whole reason I purchased this e-book to read and review here. I was also impressed by the author's sample chapters. They were clean, well-written, well-formatted, and engaging. I was not disappointed when I read the book! It is very readable, flowing nicely, full of fun and romantic interactions between the leads, Jamison and Alexa, a U.S. American woman who has been hired to co-write the pop-star's autobiography.
In this entertaining novel we gets lots of clean, romantic interaction between Alexa and Jamison. The dangerous-fan story builds to an exciting finish, then the novel ends with romance. Please know that you don't have to be religious to like this book or the characters, so don't be put off if you see the book called a "Christian Romance". The author compares her protagonists' repartee to Hepburn and Tracy, but I found it more reminiscent of Gable and Colbert in the film It Happened One Night.
Read the full review at Italophile Book Reviews
- Letters Home: The Story of an Air Force Wife
on April 02, 2014
I enjoyed the book. It is well-written, and well-edited. It flows nicely, chronologically, and the Postscript gives us some closure. I would have loved to have seen photographs in the book to accompany the story.
The largest portion of the book covers the time the couple lived in Italy. That is why I requested a review-copy of Letters Home. The couple lived near Brindisi on the heel of Italy's boot, and they took every opportunity to travel through Italy and Europe. It is interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same in forty years.
Letters Home feels like the contents of a time-capsule from over forty years ago that has been opened and made public. That feeling comes not only from the far greater number of European military bases in that period, but also to the social and economic situations in America and Europe. What I found most striking was the depiction of innocence and decency in the U.S. that seems to have been replaced in forty years time by much harshness and crudity.
Perhaps the contrast is so strong due to the decency of the narrator and her husband, and of their families? Perhaps it is because of the lovely, human details included in the book, and the direct, honest, simple narrative style? Or perhaps the contrast is so strong because a major crude and rude-ification of U.S. society has taken place in the past forty years? I will leave the answer to that question to you.
I found this time-capsule book a fascinating read. Because of my age, I could see what had changed in the forty or so years since the letters were written. I could also see what had not changed much in that time. I find myself wondering what younger readers might make of the book? And what might military spouses think of it? Italy, warts and all.
Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews
- Limoncello Yellow (Franki Amato Mysteries #1)
on April 28, 2014
Limoncello Yellow is the first book in the cozy-murder-mystery Franki Amato Mystery Series. The protagonist, Francesca (Franki) Amato, is a first generation Italian-(Sicilian)-American in the United States. She grew up in Houston, Texas, with her parents, brothers, and her very-Sicilian paternal grandmother. All that wonderful Italian ethnicity enriches Limoncello Yellow.
The private detecting firm that Franki joins is run by Franki's old friend, Veronica Maggio, another hyphenated Italian. The two women bonded in college over "all things Italian", and they enjoy joking together about their ethnicity.
The cover of the book is very cute, as is the title Limoncello Yellow. The review-copy e-book I read had a very clear layout and is well-edited, with distinct paragraphs that begin with indents.
Franki's parents and grandmother (nonna) like to play an active part in Franki's life, especially her love-life. When Franki informs the family she is moving to New Orleans, nonna likes the idea of her spinster (a zitella at twenty-nine) grand-daughter going to the city where nonna lived previously: "There are still a lotta nice Sicilian boys in New Orleans..." Italian culture has a central role in Franki's and Veronica's identities.
Cozy murder mystery romance humor chick-lit: all these terms fit Limoncello Yellow, a promising start to a fun Italophile series.
Please read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews.
- Pepe & Poppy - tarantella vs zorba
on May 15, 2014
Pepe & Poppy is a romantic-comedy-coming-of-age story set in Melbourne, Australia, within the city's large Italian immigrant community. Actually, Pepe and his brother Charlie, the first-person conversational narrator of the story, are hyphenated Italians, the first generation born in Australia. Poppy, however, is from Melbourne's large Greek immigrant community, a first generation child, too.
Pepe and Poppy meet and fall in love. Today, that would be less of an event. However, in the early 1980s, where the book is set, this is akin to a tragedy for the two lovers' families. Pepe's family's biggest worries are: Are they Catholic? Can she make pasta, pizza, lasagna? Can she prepare Italian coffee? What language and culture will the children learn? Would she be able to understand us?
The author has his narrator not only tell the story, but explain to the reader the "realities" of being a Italian-Australian. As the story progresses, the narrator lets us into what he learned from the events he relates in the book, about how similar Italian and Greek-Australians can be.
Let me just add a comment about Australian English for any non-Australian readers, and about the tone of this novel: it can be a bit vulgar and crude, but it is rich with humor and a zest for life. Some Aussie words might be unfamiliar, such as relos for relations, and bog-catcher for underpants, and chooks for chickens, but all the words are understandable in context. There is also the frequent use of the word wog, a racially derogatory term that in Australia has been appropriated by those against whom it was used, to refer to themselves as a group.
Pepe & Poppy is rich with humor, especially concerning the eccentricities of the families. There are plenty of off-hand observations about Italians, like these: ...there's nothing scarier than silent Italians; it's unnatural., Italians love emotional people. If you're reserved you either have something to hide or you're just plain stupid.
The cultural references from the early eighties are fun, too; lots of nostalgia. Pepe & Poppy has a cinematic structure, making it easy to imagine the book as a film. It would make a colorful, goofy, romantic, nostalgic film.
In the end, Pepe & Poppy is a funny story about a cultural melting-pot. In the background of the story is the suggestion that today's Australia is home to better-acculturated hyphenated Greeks and Italians, and that the Australian society is more appreciative of the best of Greek and Italian culture.
Pepe & Poppy is well-written, well-constructed, well-edited, and very entertaining. It transports you to another world, immerses you in it, and leaves you feeling better for it, in the end. You can feel lots of love behind the words. It is a love-story for Pepe and Poppy, but it is a coming-of-age story for Pepe's brother, Charlie.
Please read my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews.
- Linehan's Trip
on Sep. 24, 2014
The reader is immediately introduced to the richly imagined future, and to the new northern Italian state. The author's verbal dexterity propels the story at a quick pace. We accompany complex and flawed Linehan through his task, and gain a glimpse at the corrupt, racist and macho state that has formed away from Rome. With quick, deft strokes, the author creates a reality, a human being, and a situation that is both upsetting and believable. This is a subtle short story, with a rich imagination behind it. The author's verbal skill begs for longer works to display its potential.
- Murder By Suicide
on Sep. 24, 2014
I immediately thought of the Russian writer Chekov's one-act plays when I read this short story. The rich understanding of human psychology, the deft, economical strokes that create a back-story, the verbal dexterity, the ear for dialog: all very Chekovian! The monologue by the character shows the man clearly to the reader, and makes it clear that the man lacks much self-awareness. You are not meant to sympathize with him. Actually, you are probably going to feel like I did at the end, hoping that the title was a prediction of what was going to happen soon after the man's listener leaves! A collection of these short character studies would make a very entertaining book.
- From The Eagle's Nest: Growing Up In Goldthwaite
on June 06, 2015
This is the second book I've read by this author, and I loved this one too. The first book was Letters from Home about her time in Europe with her serviceman husband in the 70s. You could call this book the prequel since it covers her early life up to her departure for Europe, but it is so much more than that.
The engaging style, which feels like a storyteller of old sitting by the fire each evening telling you about the "olden days", pulls you in and keeps you interested all the way through. Never too much. Never too little. Just enough about each subject. And always told with respect, love, heart and decency.
While these may be the life stories of the author and her loved ones, they are also the social history of her community and of America. Presented in a direct, engaging style, the reader hears about the details of daily life from the 1920s through the 1970s, some of it inspiring, some heartbreaking. The only subject skirted was race.
I hope that the publishing revolution will produce many more of these life stories, since they are so much more relevant than some sociologist's generalities. If tweens and teens had to read books like this one alongside their social-studies books and history books, I'm sure they would learn a heck of a lot more about American social history and about their fellow human beings.