Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Color of Light

The Color of LightThe Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am torn in my opinion of this book. The characters are immensely compelling and the story is a whopper of a tale with multiple climactic events. But there are problems with the writing: certain aspects of the story are downright implausible and transitions between scenes are often confusing. For example, Rafe (the vampire/love interest of the main character) tells multiple people that a single ray of sunlight will turn him into a pile of ashes. But he frequently attends board meetings during daylight hours without any explanation as to how he avoided destruction. The bond formed between the group of students who become Tessa's (the main character) friends is portrayed as extremely tight, but as they part after graduation there is no discussion of keeping in touch and their farewells seem permanent. And of course, the final nail in the coffin is that the female protagonist gives up her dream and the prize she worked so hard for because her guy won't budge and go to Paris with her but does want to take her traveling around the world. These are only a few of the points with which I took exception, there are many more. But overall I loved the characters, enjoyed the setting and the story, and especially appreciated what I learned about art during the reading of this book.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

The Drowning Girl

The Drowning GirlThe Drowning Girl by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the most difficult book for me to read maybe ever. So much of the book could have been me in spirit: I had an Abalyn and an Eva in my life. I am mermaid-obsessed. I have struggled with depression and have had crisis events and periods in which my inner dialog, my perception of the world, and my struggle to distinguish fact from truth were much like Imp's. Reading this book was like visiting, as a tourist, a place where I was once held captive. Not only is the writing brilliant, but Caitlin Kiernan is an incredibly brave author to have written this book and I salute her with both hands. I don't think I could record those periods in my life with as much articulate and beautiful prose as she has done here.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Whole butternut squash
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cut squash in half lengthways, scrape out seeds. Lightly drizzle olive oil over exposed flesh, place on a baking sheet cut side up and roast in oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a stock pot, sweat onion, carrots and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When they have begun to soften and turn slightly brown, add curry powder, fenugreek and ginger. Continue to cook for about a minute to toast the spices. Add stock and bring to a simmer.

Scrape flesh from squash skin, mash with a potato masher or ricer and add to soup pot. I use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth, but it isn't required. If additional liquid is needed to smooth out consistency of soup, add water.  When the mixture has begun to simmer again, add garlic, salt and pepper.