Book review: Salsa! The Taste of Life

by Michelle Cutler

February 27, 2013

Local author Eva Santiago’s stories are inspired by world travel and multi-cultural background.

“There are times when a person is called to starve those things that need to die and to feed those things that need to grow,” she writes in Salsa! The Taste of Life. Her second book, a collection of poetry and fictitious short stories set in locations from Bogota to Bavaria,represents the experiences that flavor Santiago’s life.

Salsa! will have a special appeal for young adults and people who are familiar with Colombian literature. Many of the short stories and narrative poetry pieces, including ‘A Burro Named Churro’, incorporate traditional Colombian humor which may go undetected by non-Colombians.Yet, the stories are simple and written to entertain a universal audience. Parents of young teenagers in any culture will identify with her first story, ‘Capers or Sandals?’

The book is also seasoned with lyrical poetry. ‘Smooth’, one of the shortest poems, sharply depicts a deceived lover and packs a powerful punch as Salsa!’s habanero  pepper. ‘Mi Familia‘ was written as a tribute to Santiago’s siblings, who were separated in youth after her parents died. It is a tender, personal piece that Santiago said represents heaven.

While it’s an easy and overall light read, Salsa!boldly critiques a number of social issues including religion, abortion, and racism. ‘The Race Card‘ is a candid commentary that stems from Santiago’s experience of taking on her mixed-race heritage. Recalling a time when her own family members rejected her because of her mixed race, she wrote:

… that’s when I packed up my bags;

I threw out the board game,

And burned all of their cards.

I learned to travel light,

And I love all people, and treat ’em the same.

I learned to pray, and that’s how I fight.

Parenthood is a prevailing theme throughout the book. Several stories depict imperfect men who try to be good fathers. Santiago also makes an interesting statement, portraying both nurturing and selfish mothers and prompts female readers to evaluate where they personally rest on the spectrum.

Many of the stories are warm and reminiscent of a mother telling a bedtime story. Santiago’s writings are much like the anecdotal conversations mothers often use to share their memories, wisdom,convictions, and warnings with their children. If you are nostalgic for those mother-child moments, or never experienced them and would like to give them a try, you might consider keeping this book handy and reading it periodically. Indeed, it could be like keeping a mom in your pocket.

Perhaps Salsa!’s most surprising ingredients are a few pieces written by Santiago’s daughter, Esther Starr. Readers will be surprised to learn that Starr was only 13 when she wrote ‘Nightmare in Jerusalem‘ and ‘Don’t Go’, as her writing reveals talent and insight beyond her years.

Eva Santiago and Salsa! The Taste of Life will be featured at a book signing event at Book Boutique, 19 W. Pacific Ave.on Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon to 2 p.m.For more information visit

Salsa high res cover


Come see me tomorrow if you’re in my area! Have a great week end everyone!!

Eva Santiago

Hello everyone! My week stay in Atlanta was wonderful! I have photos to post up from my 2 book signings for SALSA!. They will be up soon. Now, I am happy to announce I’ll be having another book signing at the Book Boutique located on 19 W. Pacific Ave. Henderson, NV. So please mark Saturday, February 23rd on your calendar because I want to see you there from 12 to 2pm.

Salsa high res cover

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Did you think I forgot to tell you about my trip to Atlanta ? Well, no I didn’t! For starters it was interesting going to a place I called home 12 years ago. As the Delta jet I was on, descended on Atlanta I looked out of my window to see the plethora of church steeples dotting the rolling hills of this beautiful southern city. I smiled thinking,Yup,you’re back in the Bible Belt alright!’

My 2 book signings were interesting . I met some very cool people who were warm and hospitable. I sold some books, I made some new friends, reunited with some dear old friends and family and I ‘m glad I went!

Going back to places you once knew can be disappointing; I  leave a place and if I  come back to it later, I find I left it for good because I took my heart with me. My hearts is always where I am making my home.

My heart is not in any of these places I’ve left throughout my life: Cali-Colombia, Medellin-Colombia, Bogota-Colombia, Fort Meyers,Panama City, Spangdahlem-Germany, Bitburg-Germany, Herrforst-Germany, San Antonio, Beaufort, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Tucson, Michigan, Kissimmee, Macon, Las Vegas. My heart is in Henderson, NV. All the aforementioned places used to be where my heart dwelt;   where good and bad memories inter crossed to weave the fabric of my life;much like the warp and weft  fibers meet to make a fabric’s design. So too are these places I once knew so well; now they are the rich texture and hand of the cloth my soul wears.

What makes a place amazing? Is it the landscapes? Is it the shops and restaurants? Is it the flora and fauna of the region?Is it the scents, sights or sounds? Maybe these are all vital; but none so important as the people you spent your time with while you were there. People make a place worthwhile, habitable, vibrant and one worth re-visiting.

-Eva Santiago copyright 2013

Hodge Podge Coffee House-Atlanta,GA
Hodge Podge Coffee House-Atlanta,GA


Hodge Podge Coffee House
Hodge Podge Coffee House
Hodge-Podge Coffee House
Hodge-Podge Coffee House
Hodge Podge Coffee House
Hodge Podge Coffee House
Java Vino Coffee House Atlanta-GA
Java Vino Coffee House Atlanta-GA
Java Vino Coffee House
Java Vino Coffee House
Civil War Period Dress
Civil War Period Dress
ACVB friendly Host, Mary Ann Hearn and Good Friend
ACVB friendly Host, Mary Ann Hearn and Good Friend
Atlanta Got its Start with the Rail Road
Atlanta Got its Start with the Rail Road






Home of Coca Cola-Atlanta, GA
Home of Coca Cola-Atlanta, GA
Gone with The WInd
Gone with The WInd


Deep breaths
Deep sighs
Deep gazes
Deep touching deep
No one gets why things happen
Why things fall apart
So better things can flourish

So we fight the new
And we get mad ‘cause the old is gone
We cried for more
When more knocks on the door
We run in bewilderment

We say, Hell No!
Then throw the baby out with the bath water.
We reject what we can’t readily grasp
Always willing to settle for the comfort
Of something even if it’s bad
Even if it’s killing us
Even if it’s excruciatingly painful
Even if it’s disdainful
Even if it’s taking us to hell’s very portals
We’ll take, it we convince ourselves
We’ll make do
We’ll be fine
We’ll make this freaking  thing work even if it kills our souls in the process

Oh my!!
We settle for so little
We settle for crumbs
We settle for nothing
Thinking it’s everything
We’d settle for a very turd
As long as it’s wrapped in chocolate
We’ll settle for the mundane
Even if it’s driving us insane
We’ll settle for polluted water
When we’re offered libations from the fountain of life
We’ll settle for faking
‘cause what’s real requires risk taking
We’ll settle for nothing
When we could have it all
We’ll settle for a  fleeting shooting star
When The Almighty says the universe is ours

Oh people wake the hell up!
C’mon now hear this warrior’s heart’s cry
We weren’t made to grovel
Or to be beaten down by the master’s shovel
Fight for what you love
Give it your all lest you die
Believe like that small kid you once were

Honor your dream
Honor your life
Honor your self and quit settling for less
Give it your all lest you die.

-Eva Santiago copyright 2013



Good-Byes Suck!

Good-byes are awful

No need to say ’em

Say good-bye when love is done

say good-bye when someone’s dying

Otherwise, leave things be

Good-bye is way too final

See ya!





All sound so much hopeful

All sound like

Catch ya later

Up ahead, down the lone winding road.

Good-bye means just that

No chance of ever meeting up

Good-bye means we closed the door.

-Eva Santiago copyright 2013






Embrace the pre-dawn for there is always beauty in the darkest hour before sunup.Look at the black hour of your life as a sign that pain ends as soon as the sun peaks over the horizon. Fathom the pitchy dark. Feel it’s intensity. Know it’ll soon be daylight when the sun dazzles and washes all your fears with a staggering brilliance. Don’t run when it’s dismal. Sit still and allow yourself to feel what you feel without any fear. Don’t numb yourself during your bleakest hour; explore your thoughts and give them a voice. Just because it’s black as ink doesn’t mean you’re dead. Remember plants and all living things grow in unlit times. No  illumination doesn’t mean you’re lost. Just be still and wait for the dawn of your most radiant days; knowing they lay up ahead just within your reach. Use hope and trust as your guiding stars. Set your compass pointing it towards love. Because love never fails you in the dark. Love is your North Star pointing you towards a resplendent future.

EVA SANTIAGO copyright 2013


There is this girl

She is meek,she is mild

She rocks my world

My worries melt when I see her smile.

She is soft, she is fragile

But don’t ever underestimate her

Though soft and fragile;

Inside she is a mighty fortress

One I turn to in distress

She laughs at hardship

She winks at the moon

Lifting her arms in worship

She knows pain and sorrow end soon

She laughs at the darkness

She sings from her pain

When my world is all madness

Every note she sings keeps me sane

She is a bundle of contradictions:

Tiny yet mighty

Fragile yet strong

Soft yet hard

She laughs while she cries

She sings through her tears

She dances past the lies

Her music dispels all my fears

She is that girl

She alone can rock my world!

-EVA SANTIAGO copyright 2013


Hello everyone! My week stay in Atlanta was wonderful! I have photos to post up from my 2 book signings for SALSA!. They will be up soon. Now, I am happy to announce I’ll be having another book signing at the Book Boutique located on 19 W. Pacific Ave. Henderson, NV. So please mark Saturday, February 23rd on your calendar because I want to see you there from 12 to 2pm.

Salsa high res cover