Book Reviews

Author’s contact information: 

Valentina Cirasola
Author and Designer

Author’s Page:

©Design Nature For A Colorful Home 
©RED- A Voyage Into Colors – Second Edition
©Naked Lemons
©The Road To Top Of The World
©Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts
©Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity

Visit Valentina, the designer:
Design Blog:


Reviews for book #6 – Design Nature For A Colorful Home

“If You Love Colors You Will Love This Book” – Dec. 28, 2020
by Melissa Muldoon
Kindle Version – Review on Goodreads and Amazon
“Valentina, an interior decorator with a fantastic color sense, guides the reader through various room decorating scenarios, choosing palates inspired by nature. She explores color combinations that come directly from her flower garden, olive trees, and orchards. In so doing, she opens our senses, as well as our minds and spirits, to harmonious choices so that we may welcome serenity, prosperity, and happiness into our lives. A lively read with colorful photos to illustrate her points. Nicely done.”

“For All Who Love Colors – and For Those Who Struggle” – Nov. 20, 2020
by Teagan Geneviene
Kindle Version – Review on Goodreads and Amazon 
For all who love color — and for those who struggle with how to use colors.
This short book is filled with delightful thoughts from the uniquely colorful author, Valentina Cirasola. While it is mostly text, there is no shortage of photos and illustrations to keep it interesting and to serve as examples. She includes color swatches with photos beside them, which makes it much easier to visualize the, sometimes unexpected, color combinations.
And don’t forget the laundry room! The author doesn’t stop with just the living room or the bedroom. She reminds us of the importance of having a pleasing environment in the spaces where we do our chores.
This book was gifted to me near the time of Diwali. It certainly added light, as well as color, to this holiday season.”♢

“Brilliant Way To Think About Design”
– Nov.16, 2020
by James Cudney IV
Kindle Version – Review on Goodreads and Amazon 
“Design Nature For A Colorful Home is the latest non-fiction book written by Valentina Cirasola. I previously read several of the author’s other books and found them all to be a wonderful escape into the world of colors, home decor, interior design, international beauty, and immense imagination.
Cirasola is a gifted artisan, and she makes design seem easy. In this brilliant book, she shares various images of nature, then replicates the color palette you could apply to your home to bring the outside in. From bedrooms to kitchens and bathrooms to living rooms, every place in your home has a few dedicated pages that will jumpstart your brand of creativity. I have to admit, she inspired me to really think about the colors I choose and how they relate to my life in the future.
Some of the combinations she’s shared were familiar to me, but mostly it was a fresh look at how dark and light related to one another. I often attempt to duplicate what I see in a picture but rarely understand why. Now, through the author’s words and creativity, I am tempted to try different colors and connections to moments and situations in my life. I’d never realized how much of what surrounds us is part of our day on a grander scale. And Cirasola keenly points out how the choices we make are sometimes influenced by nature and the world of the outdoors. Why not make that your initial source of ideas?
Every possible color is addressed in this book. Some sections delve into varying hues and shades, but this is really about applying a scene from nature and matching it to your personality, your house’s structural style, and the way you interact with your belongings and home, et al. Cirasola is a mastermind at pulling so many things together, designers should offer this book to clients as a place to begin when thinking about their future homes.
I’ll definitely be turning to it when I next need to renovate or change the color of a room in my current or future home. I highly recommend you do too. And to top it off, she’s such a warm and generous person, and the connections with food and clothing make everything synchronize together even more beautifully.”♢


Reviews for book #5 – RED – A Voyage Into Colors – Second Edition

“A Great Read” – Aug.14, 2020
by Cicely Gilman
Kindle version – Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
“Valentina’s book is compelling. From her view on the psychic vibrations of colors, to interior design education, it’s a great read!”♢

“Learning About Colors with Amazing Photos” – November 17, 2019
by James J. Cudney IV 
Kindle version – Reviews on VINE VOICE – Goodreads and Amazon.
Format: Kindle Edition
“For the most part, I am a fiction reader. On occasion, I pick up a non-fiction book when the subject matter or theme is of interest. RED – A Voyage Into Colors by Valentina Cirasola was a book that crossed my path earlier this year when I stumbled upon the author’s design website and personal blog. Being a person who generally leans toward blacks, grays, and whites, I thought maybe I should learn a little more about the color wheel.
Although this book is entitled Red, it is not merely about this one color. The author shares the history and background of all the colors on the spectrum, teaching us the differences between hues and shades, tones and variations. The book is only ~125 pages and contains dozens of photos of colors and their uses in various designs, homes, and picturesque settings. It’s easy to digest, well-written and has an amazing personal touch. Valentina has quite a fun personality.
Some of the content I recall learning in school. Other I’ve picked up throughout my life. Seeing it all together again in one book is a comprehensive way to learn about our lives. For instance, I remembered why red was a warm color, and blue a cool one, but I didn’t know how it affected my life or made me feel. It was great to dive back into these ideas and facts, and seeing how these colors play in my life today was helpful. I actually (without knowing it) designed my living room to use all the appropriate matching color patterns and schemes. My bedroom might need some work though!
What a great way to make us ponder the things we often spend too little time thinking about… I pick clothes based on what fits. What if I went out in search specifically for clothes with color combinations that work for me? I plan to re-read this book again in small chunks. Too much at once can get lost because you want to process the advice and imagery. Next time I need to make a color decision, I’ll definitely come back to this one to focus on the important questions.
I recommend this one for every type of reader because it has a little bit of everything when it comes to choosing what makes us happy versus what might be the first thing we see in our closet or drawer, on the computer or phone screen, or on the rack of the shelf at the store.”♢

“Unquenchable thirst for colors” – October 25, 2019
By: Writerinme
Paperback – Reviews on Barnes&Noble and Goodreads.
“The author is one of the few people who share my unquenchable thirst for colors. Join her as she takes you down visually exciting streams of rainbow hues. Learn to take charge of the moods you create around yourself through the colors you choose. Feel the difference it makes when you surround yourself with color, with Valentina as your expert guide.
I was fortunate to have an advance copy of this delightful book. I freely recommend it.”♢


Reviews for the book – RED-A Voyage Into Colors – First Edition

“A journey through colors” – Dec.4, 2012
By Mariachiara Martina
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I’m always proud to be Italian. Much more when I read inspiring and instructive books written by Italians around the world. Valentina’s book made me feel grateful to be born in such a colored Country!
In her book, I could appreciate the new interesting point of view on colors and find out some “meaning nuance” on them which I did never realize until now. Thanks, Valentina!”♢

“Red Hot Connection” – Nov.18, 2012
By Carra Riley
Paperback Format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina Cirasola has written “GOLD” with her book ” Red: A Voyage Into Colors.” The author takes her vast knowledge of fashion, interior and structural design along with her expertise in cooking and shares how intertwined our lives can be through color. She takes the reader on a journey that connects all the dots in life through, photos, recipes, and history. Valentina ties in a beautiful bow through color: balance, emphasis, rhythm, and harmony in all aspects of our lives. Learn, laugh, and eat healthy with this extraordinary combination of colorful thoughts.”♢

“You get a good sense how to choose colors” – Nov.8, 2012
By Travelerphoto
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina Cirasola has done a great job of taking her readers to “A Voyage Into Colors” (the title of the book). There are numerous books about colors for interior decoration. But this book is well presented and organized into 6 sessions: colors and studies and expressions, colors in astrology, in food, and fashion, and colors do not end here. After reading her book, you get a good sense of why, how, and when to use colors; most importantly how to choose colors. The photos she uses for practical examples are beautiful. As Valentina says “Colors nourish the eye and inspire the spirit”. I find it very useful and pleasant to read. I highly recommend the book.”♢

“Informative and fun” – Nov.7, 2012
By Enrica
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on colors. It is an amazing journey into a rainbow not only of colors, but of disciplines too: colors are described in relation to interior design, fashion, food, astrology, and more. And all of that in a very spirited and passionate writing style, which makes the book a really fun reading. Highly recommended to anybody who wants to learn about colors, and also to those who would like to expand their knowledge of colors.”♢

“Colors and La Dolce Vita!” – Oct. 28, 2012
By John Shepardson
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“A beautifully illustrated voyage into Color from the Italian perspective. Chapters include “The Table is a Lady”, “Colors and the Energy of Planets, “Flavors of Colors”, and “The Strategy of Selecting Colors”. It covers food, fashion, and life. An illuminating pictorial expedition into every aspect of color. Highly recommended!”♢

“It is like taking a stroll on a rainbow” – March 13, 2012
By Dr. Maria Grazia Romeo, artist, and teacher, Fremont, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“This book by Valentina Cirasola is indeed a voyage,  a fantastic one and at the same time, it is a real education. She takes you through paths of discovery in what nature has to offer and uncovers all the mystery and magic of colors.  A great guide not only for artists but for everyone.  Reading these pages is like taking a stroll on a rainbow.”♢

“You obviously have a passion for your subject matter”– February. 27, 2012.
By Lisa Conner, Manuscript Review Team at Outskirts Press, Inc.
“You obviously have a passion for your subject matter – you present your findings in a very well-researched, thorough manner.
You really give your reader a lot to consider and present a wealth of information. I can tell that you have spent countless hours with your subject matter.
You have presented your material in a way that just about anyone could understand and benefit from reading it (thanks to the fact that you have really considered your audience.)
You add details that add to the credibility of your writing and really do come across as an expert.In your work, your narrative voice is just great – very familiar and easy to follow.
I have to say that you have put together an excellent piece here.
It looks to me like you have meticulously gone through your document revising and smoothing things out. It flows very nicely.
It is one that should be well received by a wide audience.”♢


Reviews for book #4 – The Road To Top Of The World – Short Stories In The Land Of Puglia

“I decided to embrace the culture of Puglia” – July 7, 2020
By Author James J. Cudney IV
Paperback Format – Review on Goodreads and Amazon

“The Road to the Top of the World is a travelogue written by Valentina Cirasola, a wonderful author, designer, and artist who hails from Italy. I’ve read a few of the writer’s books in the past, but this one is special because I received a signed copy from her in the mail. Of course, it was already on my reading list… and as Tropic Storm Fay descends upon NYC today, I decided to embrace the culture of Puglia, the heart of this book. Though I’m typically a fiction reader, this one appeals to me for many reasons. Not only is Valentina a brilliant creative mind, but she brings an inspirational outlook on life through her words and pictures. It’s unusual to have a witty and knowledgeable expert who’s lived in the area and visited it as a guest once moving to the USA. Through this perfect combination, we’re lucky to experience something few others get to in their lifetime.
Imagine a few weeks spent in Puglia, traveling through shops, gardens, homes, restaurants, museums, and so much more. Valentina takes us on a whirlwind tour of making our own foods, exploring the history of civilization in the area, and viewing art we might not see unless we went in person. I learned some wonderful tips or making my own pasta sauce differently than I already do! By incorporating her personal opinions, and those of her traveling group, we receive a well-rounded viewpoint of the trip. Sometimes I felt like I was there… others, I was marking down things I must see on a future trip. The best part of the book is the way in transports you into a new world… and while reading it, I remembered what it was like to be in Italy a few years ago.
Europeans, perhaps more specifically Italians, have grasped La Dolce Vita, and this author can bring you much closer to it. Valentina’s words and natural love for the area shines in her messages here. Life can be short. Experience it as best you can. Make your own foods. See how others live. Understand the limitations of the past and how it created the amazing gifts we have today. Someone had to discover all these things… pasta, sauce, pizza, limoncello… and here, you can come pretty close to it by sampling a few pages of her book. You’ll enjoy the author’s personality, an Americanized version of an Italian soul, one who knows exactly how to convey all that we are missing here! Part personal itinerary, part memorable journal, it will make you smile and grow hungry. Is it too early to visit Italy again?”

“Visiting Puglia, Italy, with a native of the area” – October 18, 2019
by Amazon Customer
Format: Kindle Edition
The Road to Top of the World by Valentina Cirasola is about Puglia, a land that I love.
The Road to Top of the World is a warm recounting of Ms. Cirasola’s experience leading a fifteen-day travel group in Puglia. In her witty, colorful, and honest way she delights the reader with lively and sensitive descriptions of their experiences up and down the heel of Italy and even a bit inland to Basilicata which she refers to by its old name, Lucania. Often, unique aspects of Puglia include a historical explanation that adds depth to the reading. I appreciated, in particular, the author’s discussion of the Trulli in the Alberobello province.
Every chapter is sprinkled with reminiscences of the author’s happy childhood in Puglia. I found irony in her constant childhood desire to travel away from Puglia only to find that, once away, she longed to return. Ms. Cirasola also shares her dismay when, upon returning, she finds that the Puglia of her childhood has dissolved all too often into contemporary society. Fortunately, together with her team of Pugliese helpers, she is able to lead the group to charming and traditional spots.
Each location visited in this narrative is accompanied by photographs taken by the author. These include art, artifacts, fashion, people, places, and beautiful platters of food. Many of the sections include traditional recipes with accompanying photographs.
The Road to Top of the World is self-published by the author. The grammatical and syntactical errors are charming. As a life-long English teacher, my fingers itched a bit typing the title without the word ‘the’ in front of Top. But as I got into the reading, I allowed myself to succumb to the author’s way of talking. In fact, these language quirks lend authenticity to the topic. If you plan to visit Puglia you will surely find this book a useful and entertaining resource.”

“The Magic of Southern Italy” – July 10, 2019
By Federico Cardana
Paperback Format – Review on Amazon 
“I bought this book since I met the author at an event in San Francisco 3 years ago.
When I met Valentina I immediately recognized in her a talent in telling amazing stories of her life with passion and enthusiasm.
I read the book and loved all the stories about her trips to Puglia, the food, the people she met there and the beautiful landscapes of the magic land in southern Italy.
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to discover more about Puglia and southern Italy’s lifestyle with a touch of magic in the lines wrote by Valentina Cirasola.”♢

“At The Gambrinus” – June 12, 2019
by Tommy Colonna 
Paperback Format –  Review on Amazon and Facebook
“After this wonderful story, you wrote about our coffee shop is so hard to find the right words to thank you.
We are proud and happy you described as ‘bohemian decor’ our home and you have appreciated every ‘vignettes’.
We definitely know what present we’ll give you next time you’re gonna be here: the Moka for coffee turned into a lamp. 😅
Hope to see you here soon to revive the Belle Epoque era again.
P.S. I highly recommend this book before visiting one of the most beautiful regions in the world: Puglia.”♢

“Sparklingly Atmospheric” – Jan. 6, 2019
by Teagan
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
I received this book as a gift. It’s a delightful collection of travel notes. The author’s sparkling personality is evident. The travelogue feels like warmly told tales. It truly is a treat. The author lets you experience the warmth, beauty, and “romance” of less famous parts of Italy, as via her descriptions and photographs, she takes you with her on the adventure she lived. Through this book, you can visit an Italy you probably never knew existed. Ciao!”♢

“A book born after a trip to Puglia” – Dec.14, 2018
By Amazon Client
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina Cirasola is a friend and author of her fourth book “The Road To Top Of The World” which is a travel narrative about Puglia that she wrote after our trip. She took along some American friends to visit her native Southern Region of Italy. They didn’t expect to see so much beauty in the land, to find warm people who treated them with white gloves, and to taste so much exceptionally natural food.
Valentina brought out all the emotions in her guests and in the stories she wrote of that trip. She is a natural storyteller and a great observer. Her book is easy to read, full of her photographs and curious details of Puglia, helpful for those people who want to visit it or just learn about it.”♢

“The most imaginative trip to Puglia I’ve ever seen, even read…” – Dec.3, 2018
By: Mariagiovanna
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Native from Puglia I can say that I discovered places and products unknown to me. Reading the book you almost have the feeling of living those places, through a virtual journey and through the images that it brings to mind. The photo collection is also interesting. What can I say, I will take this book with me every time I move to Puglia. A journey of memories and discoveries!”♢

“Gorgeous food and travel guide to Puglia, Italy!” – Nov.17, 2018
By Georgia London
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“A beautiful true story of a trip to Puglia. See the scenes, lust after the food, and enjoy the beautiful area. Native Valentina Cirasola leads a group of Americans to her home in Puglia. Her wonderful descriptions of the area and people are precious, you feel like you are there.”♢

“Puglia and part of Basilicata” – Oct.24, 2018
By Mimmo
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“If you know Puglia and part of Basilicata, you can find in the short stories told by the writer, the colors, the flavors, the places, the people, and the desire to reach this land, wherever you are in the world, becomes crucial. Take your things, and by any conveyance, reach the villages of slow life, the marinas with the rocking rhythm of the undertow, and the tumultuous cities. If only sometimes you have heard of Italy, after reading this agile book, you will have discovered that there is more to visit than Tuscany, Florence, Rome or Milan, and the desire to discover this very special corner of the Earth will be born in you. How much, and why this region of Italy is special? You will find out by reading the stories that Valentina wrote just for you. You will allow nature, beauty, food of this land to surprise you!”♢



Reviews for book #3 – Naked Lemons

“Who knew this colorful fruit…” – July 7, 2020
By Author James J. Cudney IV
Paperback format – Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads

“Naked Lemons is a wonderful short read by Valentina Cirasola. The book shares her personal experiences from using them in food to preparing cleaning products and facial masks. Who knew this colorful fruit could provide so many options? Immersing lemon peels in oil, using them in pasta dishes, as an alternative to chemicals. Wow!
As a brief background, the author is a designer and creative artist who has worked all around the world. In this book, she provides a few recipes for delicious meals and most importantly, her own concoction for limoncello, a tasty Italian drink. I’ve had several versions, both in a local restaurant that makes their own here in NYC and while on the Amalfi Coast a few years ago.
Between the beautiful photos, recipes ideas for design and decoration, and the tips and tricks for taking care of your skin and body, this book is an ideal delight to lend you many ideas for how to make some changes in your life. Courtesy of someone quite wonderful, I now have fresh lemon seeds from her own trees so that I can plant my own. I can’t wait to see what comes up!”

“A delight for lemon lovers” – October 24, 2019
By Karen Nardella
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“This book was a delight to read. I discovered more than a few recipes that I can not wait to try for ourselves and for gifts. I loved the photograph, your writings, and many recipes. Thank you.”♢



Reviews for book #2 – Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts

“Beautifully artistic Italian cookbook”
Apr. 12, 2016
By Amazon Customer
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Sins of a Queen is my go-to cookbook for everything Italian! I appreciated how Valentina mixed her family memories and Italian cultures with helpful hints and delicious, easy to follow authentic recipes from different regions in Italy. One of my many favorites is her recipe for Limoncello always at home in my freezer! Cheers!”♢

“Great recipes combined with her beautiful art and wit” – Jan.25, 2015
By Chef Lena Difasi
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“As a professional Chef, Sins of a Queen is a resource that I have used numerous times in my personal chef business. Valentina’s recipes use fresh, wholesome, ingredients and stays true to the fact that in the Italian kitchen, simplicity reigns. She is very clear with her recipes that even the most novice cook can understand and use. Great recipes combined with her beautiful art and wit, this is a cookbook that should be a staple in any kitchen!” ♢
“Simple ingredients along with descriptions and history make this book a delight” – Nov.27, 2014
By BusyBee
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I have lots of Italian Cookbooks from church, community, self-published and standard publishing houses. This book is one of my favorites because the recipes are very authentic. Simple ingredients along with descriptions and history make this book a delight. I love this combination when I find them in cookbooks.”♢


“A Summer Delight”– Aug. 4, 2014
By Patty Kenney
Paperback format – Review on Amazon  
“I am honored to review Valentina’s cookbook, “Sins of a Queen.” The recipes have transported me to the breath taking Amalfi Coast of Italy. It is well written like you are in the kitchen of your Nonna’s Puglian kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is the roasted chicken served in a carved pineapple half… Artistically painted by Valentina. Sweet and Savory perfectly executed. I also have enjoyed the stuffed mussels, the amazing zucchini stuffed with carrot mousse and the salmon carpaccio… All to die for. These recipes are not only delicious but are filled with love and the generous, genuine Italian spirit which always is unmatched in the culinary world. If You will excuse me… I must now retire to my patio where Valentina’s limoncello (handmade) awaits me .. No better way to enjoy summer moonlight and the earth produce of lemons….. Come discover the gourmet masterpiece that awaits you in “Sins of a Queen.” It will delight both heart and palate without your passport.”♢

“Valentina strikes again!” – Aug. 29, 2012
By Joanne Mathis, N.J. – on Sins Of A Queen and Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Reviews on Amazon 
“Valentina Cirasola cookbook, Sins of a Queen, is definitely sinful. The recipes of both books are delicious to the palate and the rich fresh colors are healthy eye candy.
Valentina has poured her emotions into creating scrumptious desserts that make your mouth water just flipping through the pages.
Valentina’s cookbooks helped me prepare delicious healthy meals.”♢
Bon Appetit!
Joanne Mathis/ Host
Artist, Designers, and Things/ Blog Talk Radio.♢

“Wonderful Cookbook!!!” – Apr.10, 2012
By Shannon L. Sigman San Jose, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I have three wonder words: Baked Ricotta Cheese. Just amazing. The recipes are simple to understand and the instructions are easy for me a home cook.
She takes a hand full of ingredients and turns them into a feast. This cookbook is just as good as the first.”♢

“Authentic “Pugliese” taste” – Mar. 13, 2012
By Annalisa – Saratoga, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I happen to come from the same region as Valentina Cirasola’s in Italy.
I thought I knew a lot and I was pretty skilled at cooking “our” dishes. Instead, she surprised me with new tastes ideas and tips!
I’m so glad I purchased this book! Now I can offer authentic genuine “Pugliese” dishes a little more interesting and spiced up though.”♢

“Not just appetizers and desserts” – Nov. 2, 2011
By Enrica, Los Gatos, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I am so happy I decided to purchase “Sins Of A Queen”. It is a wonderful complement to the author’s first book “Come Mia Nonna: A Return to Simplicity”. The book has already inspired me with wonderful ideas to impress my guests at my next dinner party. In the appetizers section, the skewer Extravaganza has to be my favorite. So fun and tasty! Many of the recipes are really versatile and can actually be used to make a quick and yummy lunch or a great side dish. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that many of the recipes in the dessert section are fruit-based. You will find also a few recipes to make your own liquor. I was thrilled to find a recipe to make Limoncello! What a treat for me! I have completed the first part of the recipe and cannot wait to taste my homemade Limoncello when it is ready in a few weeks. Sins of a Queen is not only a wonderful collection of recipes but also a great read interspersed with unique and entertaining storytelling based on the author Italian upbringing and embellished with the author’s own illustrations and powerful photos.”♢

“Sins Of A Queen creates joy and memories in your life!” – Aug. 7, 2011.
By Carra Riley – Williams AZ
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Author Valentina Cirasola makes entertaining exciting, romantic, and fun! The heartfelt sharing of her grass-root recipes from her homeland in Italy will delight any palate.
She brings the secrets from Southern Italy to the world with flair and passion. She takes elegant simplicity and makes it dramatic sharing how to make her specialties in larger quantities for a meal or an appetizer.
The photographs are the perfect addition to making the presentation of the delightful appetizers and desserts a focal piece for memorable entertaining.
The history and the stories in the book give the reader plenty of dinner or cocktail conversation.
Valentina is also an interior and home designer so her recipes reflect the love of the dearest place on earth… the home and the kitchen. I can’t wait for her new book on color to come out.
Valentina makes the art of entertaining easy. Just follow her direction and entertain like a star.
My favorite recipe “Roasted Vegetable Frittata.” I have used this for a brunch with fresh fruit and muffins so buy the book and see all the fun ideas to make you look like a “cooking queen.”
Carra Riley author of Cosmic Cow Pie Series.”♢

“Returning home to my Italian heritage” – Mar. 29, 2011.
By G14020 – Sunnyvale, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina shares recipes from her family handed down from one generation to the next. Not only is the food delicious, fast, and nutritious, Valentina also provides stories of Italy and the history of the food; plus illustrates the dishes in pictures. You can smell the aroma of the dishes in the pages of this wonderful cookbook. Enjoy for many years to come! Ciao”♢

“I am enjoying the recipes and the stories” – Feb. 2011
By Kathy Winkelman – Los Gatos, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Ciao Valentina,
I am reading your book Sins Of A Queen and ENJOYING EVERY PAGE! I especially enjoy the stories and cannot believe that you saw the “garzone’ on bicycle pick up and deliver for the brick public ovens where he would carry the dishes on a board on his head while riding! I love torrone and will always now think of the story you tell. I feel like I am meeting your mother and grandmother. I am enjoying the recipes and have chosen a few for Festa Gioia this weekend. “Grilled Asparagus”, “Festa of Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Tomatoes”, “Roasted Vegetable Frittata.”♢

“You really speak to your audience” – Sept.2010.
By Lisa Conner – Colorado
Paperback format 
“Cooking really involves quite a bit of skill and requires a masterful technique. You have done a nice job discussing this subject and sharing your technique with readers.
Your book Sins Of A Queen is nicely put together and filled with hints and information I am sure many people will find helpful (and delicious!)
Your narrative voice is great; you really speak to your audience with a strong, guiding opinion. Your recipes sound fantastic and are easy to follow.
I bet lots of people will find enjoyment through your guidance.”♢



Reviews for book #1 – Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity

“Great recipes combined with her beautiful art and wit”– Jan. 25, 2015
By Chef Lena Difasi
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“As a professional Chef, Come mia nonna is a resource that I have used numerous times in my personal chef business. Valentina’s recipes use fresh, wholesome, ingredients and stays true to the fact that in the Italian kitchen, simplicity reigns. She is very clear with her recipes that even the most novice cook can understand and use. Great recipes combined with her beautiful art and wit, this is a cookbook that should be a staple in any kitchen!!”

“It was a tremendous success!” – April 7, 2013
By K. Maldonado
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Last night I prepared page 97, “Pollo Con Peperoni” from “Come Mia Nonna” and it was a tremendous success! I usually add my own flare to recipes but in this case, I made the dish according to directions and it was fantastic! I chose to serve mezze penne and fresh asparagus with the recipe and it was a great combination! Of course Pugliese bread and a wine from Puglia as well!
Molto bene……..Buon appetite!!”♢

“Not Just Any Cookbook” – December 7, 2012
By Debbie
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Don’t let the title of this book fool you…. Simplicity in Valentina’s recipes, yes. Nothing else is simple in this rich book filled with stories, traditions, and words that tickle all of your senses! This Cookbook is a keeper through the generations that like a fine wine will become more valuable as it is passed down, reminding all of the simple things….the good life that is the Italian way!”♢

“Bon Appetit!” – Aug. 29, 2012
By Radio Host Joanne Mathis
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina Cirasola cookbook is definitely Come Mia Nonna, and the recipes are Sins of a Queen (from Italy). The recipes are delicious to the palate and the rich fresh colors are healthy eye candy. Valentina has poured her emotions into creating simple meals with the atmosphere and aromas of Italy. Her desserts are scrumptious and make your mouth water while flipping through the pages. Valentina’s cookbooks helped me prepare delicious healthy meals.”

“Our favorite go-to cookbook” – January 23, 2012
By George Kreitem – San Mateo, CA – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“This is our favorite go-to cookbook. It’s not your typical Italian cooking.
Valentina’s recipes from Puglia are simple but at the same time highlight the fresh ingredients of the region.
One of our favorite recipes is the Insalata di Arrucola Mare e Monti. Simple but special.”♢

“Cooking does not seem a chore to me anymore!” – Sept. 14, 2011.
By Enrica Zeggio, Los Gatos, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina, your book Come Mia Nonna has arrived today! The bright yellow of the book cover instantly cheered me up. As I started to read the wonderful introductory pages and the first recipes (yummy!) I got hooked and could not put it down. It’s the first time in my life I am able to read a recipe from start to end, picturing the cooking procedure, and savoring the final dish even before cooking it! The local and family stories you sprinkle here and there make it a wonderful read, so much more than just a recipe book. Valentina, your book really exudes simplicity, which is what makes it so truly Italian. All of a sudden cooking does not seem a chore to me anymore! I have already picked the dish I will prepare tomorrow for my picky kids: pasta gratin with seafood mix. I can’t wait to try one of the delicious vegetable dishes! Thank you, Valentina!”♢

“A real return to Simplicity” – May 12, 2011.
By Gianluca Corinaldesi, San Francisco, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“There are two great things about this book.
The first is the depth of Puglia’s food. The simplicity, the freshness go along with the sensual savoriness of the dishes.
The second thing is that YOU HAVE MARGINS OF ERROR! If you rush, and can’t pay extreme attention to quantities, or if you don’t really have all the ingredients, you still come up with a fulfilling and satisfying dish.
A very useful companion for any household.”♢

“Recipes, simple and healthy” – Mar. 7, 2011.
By Linda Covella – Santa Cruz, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I love this cookbook! It has such a personal touch with drawings and photos by the author, personal anecdotes and information about the Puglia region of Italy, and of course the recipes, simple and healthy, and many unique ones I haven’t come across before.”♢

“I am very impressed with you” – September 2010.
By Robert Van Horne – San Jose, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Hi Valentina,
I just finished watching your interview by Judy Joseph on her TV show ON THE TOWN. Wow! Very, very good!
When we met several weeks ago, you told me you were a designer, however, I didn’t know you were an author of an Italian cookbook, too. Congratulations! I especially liked your message about designing people’s pallets with food. Well said and memorable. You speak very well and I am very impressed with you and the interview.
Best wishes for a successful book publication. Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to meet again in the not too distant future.”♢

“The aroma was so irresistible” – Aug. 2010.
By Michael – Reader – San Jose, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
I have been reading the recipes in your book Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity and it brings back wonderful memories from my childhood growing up in a small town just a few kilometers from Bari.
Honestly, I never thought I would see “gnumeridde” listed in a cookbook.  My dad used to tell a story about the time when he went down to the local macelleria to pick up a package of “gnumeridde” so that we could celebrate a special occasion. As he was walking home the aroma was so irresistible that he ripped a hole in the corner of the paper wrapper so that he could have just one piece.  Then he had another and then another still. When he got home we all had a big laugh because there was barely enough left for the rest of us.
I am looking forward to your next book to see what other delicious surprises you have for us.”♢

“An excellent book, a better gift….” – July 27, 2010.
By Zach Crawford – Los Gatos, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I bought this book for my girlfriend who is part Italian and she (and I) love it! We’ve already made several of the dishes in the book and they have all come out delicious. I have also used the tips in the back of the book, there are some really cool household remedies back there. To be honest, I was more interested in having those household tips, the recipes were more for my girl.
Thank you, Valentina! I can’t wait until your next book!”♢

“Almost transformed to another time and place” – July 25, 2010.
By Christina Chiesa, Commercial Realtor – San Francisco, CA – on Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina has written a beautiful cookbook “Come Mia Nonna – A Return to Simplicity”. She provides a wonderful picture of the bounty of the Pugliese Region, the sea kissed heel of the boot comprising Bari, Italy. Through her storytelling, observations of her grandmother, and her experiences around the table, you are almost transformed to another time and place. I encourage all who read this marvelous book to eat well and enjoy the experience of this wonderful culture.”♢

“It is written from the heart” – June 2010.
By Kathy Winkelman, Owner of Gioia Co. – Los Gatos, CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I will say that Valentina’s book is much much more than a cookbook. It is written from the heart and the relationships that Valentina has with her grandmother and her birthplace of Bari, Italy and the Provincia Puglia. It is a bedside book as well as a kitchen masterpiece with well-written anecdotes of history illustrated by this multi-talented artista. Salute! I salute you, Valentina.”♢

“Yummy!” – May 21 – 2010.
By Nuchi – Los Altos, CA – USA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Not only nice to see and full of spirit but we tasted the recipes and no surprise:
Delicious food and feelings from home.
A sure success for your dinner’s Italian flavor!”♢

“Grazie, Valentina!” – May 21, 2010.
By Helen Rae – Redwood Shores CA
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“I attend Valentina’s cooking classes in California, which led me to her terrific cookbook. It’s simple, loaded with hints and pictures, and is as easy to use as personal instruction. I love her suggestions and drawings (they’re her own drawings, by the way). The reader can find wonderful recipes that are fast, fun to make, and family-friendly (which becomes evident for those attending one of her hands-on classes: sometimes 12 or more people in the kitchen is NOT too many!). The Puglia region is known, says Valentina, for simplicity of wholesome food cooked from fresh, local produce and fish. This makes it very healthy, lower in calories than what I knew of Italian cooking in the past, and I can create these pretty, tasty meals in short periods of time. Fresh and healthy food transformed into dinner in 30 minutes? What’s not to love?
I also think this book, because of its layout and content, would be an excellent tool for those just learning to cook, regardless of age.
So, thank you, Valentina, for a cookbook I will use frequently, and I can’t wait for the next one!”♢

“Redesign your palate” – April 2010.
By Robert Taitano, Owner of – San Jose, CA – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Valentina, an International Professional Interior Designer with a passion for cooking and kitchens is giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate.”♢

“True to your heritage” – March 2010.
By Nadine Fletcher – Redwood City, CA – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Hello Valentina,
I’m happy to hear that your cookbook has been such a success. I buy many, many cookbooks and I must say that yours is one of my favorites – beautifully designed (of course!) and delicious healthful recipes. True to your heritage, for sure.”♢

“Such healthy recipes” – January 2010.
By Elizabeth Kosuth – New Jersey, USA – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Miss Valentina,
I thoroughly enjoy your book. It has such healthy recipes and the pictures are superb. I especially like the group picture in the kitchen area. I hope your book does well. Love.”♢

“Full of local flavors!” – December 16, 2009.
By John Shepardson “Programmer non gratis” – Sunnyvale, CA – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Amazon Verified Purchase
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“This is a fantastic book about a part of Italy that is not well-known, Puglia! The use of local dialect, colorful and original drawings and recipes that drip with culture reveal a genuine gold mine of Italian cuisine.
You will not be disappointed with this gem!”♢

Tower Book Reviews:
Customer Reviews for “Come Mia Nonna: A Return to Simplicity (Paperback)”

“This book is your companion” – December 22, 2009.
By Luis – Bari Italy – on Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.
Paperback format – Review on Amazon 
“Another cookbook to add to your collection? Not at all ! Valentina’s book: Come Mia Nonna – A Return to Simplicity must find its place in the kitchen, among good food and precious wine. This book is your companion when you want to prepare tasty dishes in a short time and with success. It is your guide to astound family and friends. Valentina has cleverly brought to light the essential recipes of the Puglia cuisine with the same spirit as her grandmother and with the same passion she places into all of her work. Her passion will involve you and while reading this book you will find yourself chopping an onion, Julienning celery, or kneading dough, even if you have never done it. Happy cooking and thanks, Valentina.”♢

Click the link below to read a review from Cyberitalian:



All of Valentina’s books are available on:


Author’s Contact Information:

Valentina Cirasola
Author and Designer

Author’s Page:

©Design Nature For A Colorful Home  
©RED- A Voyage Into Colors – Second Edition
©Naked Lemons
©The Road To Top Of The World
©Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts
©Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity

Visit Valentina, the designer:
Design Blog:



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teagan Geneviene
    Jan 07, 2017 @ 13:31:42

    Congrats, Valentina. Wonderful reviews.



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