Monday, October 29, 2012


Sims, C. Bailey. Candlewax. Newton, CN: Terabyte Press, 2012. Print.

My Thoughts
Normally, I don't consider myself a fantasy reader. However, I heard about this book and actually won a copy at library harvest and felt like I should read it. I enjoyed the story. I did find myself smirking and rolling my eyes a bit at the stereotypical "fantasy" elements, such as Catherine's connectedness to ancient prophets that roll into the story at convenient times.

Catherine has a beautiful necklace from her grandmother. She doesn't realize the power it has until it saves her life. She then begins her heroine's quest to find out the rest of the prophecy. The story is complete with super magical powers, talking fairrier cats, a bloody battle between two forces and a love story.

I liked that Catherine is portrayed as a strong figure with an opinion. She has other ideas for her life than what her father decided for her. She is clever and able to devise strategic plans. She does cuss twice in the book, which I think could have been omitted and keep her tough-girl character.

Sims layers the story by allowing the reader to learn of the prophecy just as Catherine learns about it. There are many levels of her enchantment. This became a bit contrived for me, but it didn't take away from the story. The magical creatures, such as trodliks, and enchanted forests are a necessary part of the story.

On page 355, a new character emerges. I think this is a layering for the second book.

Overall, I read the 366 pages because I was captured by the story and needed to go on Catherine's quest. I'm looking forward to reading the next part of the story.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beneath a Meth Moon

Woodson, Jacqueline. Beneath a Meth Moon: an Elegy. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012. Print.

My Thoughts
Since the word "meth" is in the title, I thought I'd better take a look at the book in case there were any challenges. I'm glad I did. This book was incredible. I think Woodson captured the characters and made them memorable. This tale follows Laurel's path down the road of using meth. Along the way, she mets Moses who "delivers" her out of trouble.

I don't want to say too much, as the story needs to tell itself. Woodson's writing is descriptive and true. She uses vivid metaphors to describe Laurel's experiences. This is a work of fiction, but how true it really seems.

Don't Sing at the Table

Trigiani, Adriana. Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.

My Thoughts
I knew I was going to love this book when I read the author's forward: "This book is a work of nonfiction based upon my conversations with and observations of my grandmothers, Yolanda Perin Trigiani and Lucia Spada Bonicelli. This is a portrait of my life with them as I knew it. I have told these stories on these pages from my point of view, painted with a personal brush, in colors I chose, for the purpose of sharing my personal experience. Any resemblance to others, living or dead, is completely coincidental."

I have not read Trigiani before this book, but I think I will enjoy reading her fiction because I enjoyed her style. There are so many lessons we learn from others---even when we don't realize we are learning the lessons. Trigiani does a wonderful job creating vivid pictures of her grandmothers. Even though both were from Italy, each woman's personality was unique.

As I read this book, I couldn't help but think about my own grandmothers---two women who led vastly different lifestyles. For example, one of my grandmothers was a member of the garden club; the other grandmother worked in a garden. Both loved me and taught me.

I marked several "lessons" in this book to post on this blog. The title reference is on page 164.
  • "Nobody has to see how many times you rip out the hem" (Trigiani 74).
Now, I'm not any kind of seamstress, but I understand this lesson. "Details mattered. The results of your hard work should appear effortless" (Trigiani 74). Keep doing something until it is done correctly.
  • "The first rule of savings is sacrifice. Before you pay any bill, pay yourself" (Trigiani 85).
The very first job I ever had, my dad tried teaching me this concept. I'm still learning this lesson.
  • "Begin each day in a state of calm" (Trigiani 102).
Oh, I wish I could each day. I notice that when I first wake up, I am calm and enjoy the quiet time of the morning. However, once I get to school, the madness begins, and it is a roller coaster of calm and crazy.
  • "There is nothing we can say to comfort the grieving, but there is definitely something we can do. We can show up" (Trigiani 151).
Enough said.
  • "Do what you can and know that it's just right" (Trigiani 165).
I struggle with this. I try to do what I can, but is it my justification or truly all that I can do? Is what I feel I can do living up to the expectations of others?
  • "When you can, walk" (Trigiani 169).
I love walking. I often think about how life was before society became spoiled with vehicles. I should walk more. Walking does clear my head and when I walk with a buddy, we solve all of the world's problems.
  • "When you truly love someone, you want the best for them, and their happiness is more precious to you than your own" (Trigiani 172).
Three other moments that I marked reminded me of honoring my own grandmothers. They are gone forever, and I miss them every day. Memories pop in my head of different moments spent with each of them. If I let myself think too much about missing them, I cry. If I let myself think about how my child won't know them, I cry. Sometimes I let myself cry. Reading this book, especially the last few chapters, made me cry. I know that Trigiani was writing about her own grandmothers, but I captured and shared her emotions in the reading.