Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Aloha to Linda Bond and CUBA UNDERCOVER

Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Florida
Miami Archives (link)

I grew up in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami.  From the City of Coral Gables website (link),

One hundred years ago George Merrick had a dream. He wanted to turn the family’s grapefruit plantation, and the surrounding tropical wilderness, into a city.

Inspired by the romantic Spanish and Italian tales he had read in his youth, Merrick’s dream city would bring those faraway places to life in the lush tropical setting of South Florida. He would name it after his childhood home – Coral Gables.

Most of the city streets are named after Spanish cities while the Cuban culture thrived on Calle Ocho - Eight Street.  In May, I will pack up my oldest son at the University of South Florida in Tampa after completing his freshman year. We will then trek down to Coral Gables for Mother's Day. I look forward to a walk down memory lane.


Yesterday, I stumbled across Linda Bond's CUBA UNDERCOVER - how timely with this week's historic visit to Havana.  From the blurb,

His revenge will change her life forever...

Cuban-American TV reporter Rebecca Menendez's success comes from playing by the rules. When she's kidnapped by a fierce and intensely handsome man who needs her help, however, all of those rules seem pointless. Nothing could have prepared her for being taken hostage...or the irresistible reward if she complies: information about her long-thought dead father.

Antonio Vega has spent almost every day of his adult life dreaming of revenging his father's death. With his sister's life and freedom in jeopardy, Antonio isn't taking any chances. But once Rebecca and Antonio are in Cuba, they're immersed in a world of corruption, deceit, and betrayal. It's a deadly game...and there are no rules.

Linda   Bond

Naturally, I was curious about the author. From Linda's Goodreads page (link),

Author Linda Bond was born in San Francisco, California but spent most of her life in the south, attending middle and high school in Greenville, South Carolina and college at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

She’s worked as a television news reporter and anchor in Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa Florida. For the past fifteen years, she’s been a health reporter, sharing important information with viewers on the latest medical breakthroughs and writing emotional, human-interest stories on those who have the courage and spirit to fight for their lives.

This former baton-twirling beauty queen from the deep south, now lives in Tampa Florida with her husband, adopted son from Cuba, two daughters and one stubborn Bulldog named Sanford.

Tampa was also influenced by Cuban emigres.

I love it when I meet a home town gal in Romanceland!  I am giving away "Florida" swag to one randonly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Spanish dishes (link) or Cuban cuisine (link) - have you tried food from these Hispanic countries?  If so, what was your favorite?  If not, what would you like to try?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, March 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 27.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Linda and her books at



  1. No never have. Not sure really

  2. No, I haven't either. Not a lot of places to eat around here.

  3. I've had a couple of the Spainish dishes and really liked them. I love trying different food, so would gladly volunteer to try more!

  4. Good memories! I lived in Sarasota for several years and developed a deep fondness for Cuban food. Many of my co-workers were either Cuban emigres or first generation Cuban-Americans. I was treated to many delicious dishes from their kitchens! My all-time favorite restaurant, the Columbia, has introduced me to numerous Cuban and Spanish dishes. Their Frijoles Negros (Black Bean Soup) is fabulous. I also love their Shrimp Salteado. And I'll never say no to an Empanada or Churro! I adore Paella but I've never had any that lives up to the standard set by the first cook who made it for me when I was 14. I keep trying though! :)

  5. I love Cubano sandwiches and paella

  6. I'm sure I've tried a bite or two. I try to always go for something different when I eat and make sure to try anything new.

  7. About as close as I can get is a bean and rice dish from someone that was from the Philippines.

  8. Enchaldaies are my fav

  9. We had Cuban food everyday we visited Miami. Also love Cuban coffee.

  10. I cannot think of a Spanish meal I had.

  11. I have not eaten Spanish or Cuban food.