Tag Archives: Adriana Trigiani

Book Review: Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (3/5)

14 May

I picked this up when I went to meet Adriana Trigiani as part of the last installment of the Everyone’s Reading program in Metro Detroit. I was lucky enough to live within walking distance of the event and went with my mom. I didn’t know much about her books beside her latest release so I was excited to see a YA title and decided to pick it up. She was wonderful I absolutely adored hearing her speak. With my exercise increase, I was in need of some audiobooks and this one was available and I was able to fly through it in three days.

Cover image via Goodreads

Viola in Reel Life (Viola #1) by Adriana Trigiani

Other books by Trigiani reviewed on this blog:

Kiss Carlo (and book club discussion and another book club discussion and an author event)

Summary from Goodreads:

Viola doesn’t want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.

Ick.

There’s no way Viola’s going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.

This was a pretty standard high school story for me. Viola being in an all-girls boarding school added a slight element, but it felt like freshman year of college instead of high school in a few ways. The biggest thing that made this stand out for me was the artistic careers of her family members. Her parents putting her in school while they filmed a documentary in Afghanistan and a grandmother who is still a working actress were really different. It was refreshing to see someone who felt of art as a career instead of a hobby. Having met Trigiani, I think she had similar feelings while she grew up. There was a good mix of characters in Viola’s world and I appreciated the things that were left unexplained so they could be part of a sequel. This did a good job of checking the boxes about becoming independent and developing a sense of community during the teenage years. My biggest complaint is that it might have been a bit too clean.

My book inscription

Viola and her roommates were well crafted. There was a good mix of diversity amongst the girls and still a believable line that they are all wealthy enough to be at boarding school in the Midwest. I think Suzanne was my favorite of the roommates. There was a hint that she was hiding something early on and I thought that the reveal was well done and I understood why she was quiet about it at first. Romy was probably the least developed of the roommates and I’d hope she gets more of a starring role in a sequel.

Gran was my favorite character. I like the idea of grandmothers who text and send cookies. I got cookies from my grandma in the mail in college but she was a little too old to figure out texting (88 at the time). I see my mother-in-law interact with my nieces using technology that my grandparents never used and it makes me really excited about how we’ll continue to connect with family using technology even when we’re far apart. Back to Gran, though. Her over-the-top personality and dramatics were wonderful and made her even more fun. I’d love to meet her.

I went to college in southern Indiana and the feelings Viola had when her parents dropped her off were a lot like how I felt when my dad dropped me off at school. I didn’t want him to leave because I felt like I was left in a strange (and very warm by comparison) place where I was expected to thrive and I wasn’t sure I could do it. I didn’t know anyone from my high school who went to the same college and I was scared. Viola’s reactions were really relatable to me and I felt like this story was almost written for me with how much that aspect of her experience resonated with me.

Me and Adriana Trigiani, April 2019

I had a very similar experience to Viola when she went home with Suzanne for Thanksgiving. I went home with a friend in a group for Spring Break. We drove to Maryland and stayed with his parents and sister. We went into DC for a day and the Baltimore Aquarium and had an amazing time. It’s still one of my fondest memories from my Freshman year of school. And this friend also had a cute older brother. It brought back some really fond memories that I haven’t explored in a while.

There wasn’t anything I particularly disliked about this book. I thought it was odd that Viola couldn’t think that Andrew had a crush on her because it seemed very obvious to me. That was the only frustration I had. I think my rating is mostly because it didn’t seem like there was much unusual about Viola’s story that made it particularly different from most Freshman Year stories.

My audiobook was narrated by Emily Eiden. I liked the sass she gave to Viola which was very appropriate for her attitude and age. She gave good voices to the other characters as well, especially Grand. This probably contributed to how much I liked her.

High school is a time for a lot of change. Viola was pushed to experience this a little faster than a lot of 14-year-olds because of the boarding school experience but it made for a good focus for her freshman year. I wonder how much she has changed from her St. Anne’s life and if she’ll want to return to school in New York or return to South Bend for another year at PA.

Writer’s Takeaway: Characters need something to make them unique and memorable. I think Viola’s love for film was very different from most YA heroines I’ve met. I did feel like the inter-school competition was a bit cliched, but it made for good development in her romantic relationship. It can be hard to avoid cliches in YA literature because so much has been written already. Boarding school will always make me think of Harry Potter and all-girls schools will make me think of Louise Rennison. I think it’s hard to find something to make a book or character stand out in today’s market.

A fun and quick read but nothing that stuck out too much. Three out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani- Review by Michelle Haseltine | Nerdy Book Club
Viola in Reel Live, Adrianna Trigiani | Class Bookworm
Review: Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani | Purely Olivia
Viola in Reel Life | myliterarylearnings
Review: Viola in Reel Life | BermudaOnion’s Weblog

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WWW Wednesday, 13-May-2020

13 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m getting really close to finishing White Oleander by Janet Fitch! This book is taking me much longer than I would like so I’m really excited to finish it off. It’s a very sad story but very intriguing at the same time so I’m engrossed.
I made an effort to make more progress with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. I like this one, but the mystery is still a bit too shrouded for me to be completely engaged. I’m hoping to get more into it soon, though.
I’m loving some fun YA right now so I decided to keep it going and picked up Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell on audio. It’s been a while since I read the first in this series (Carry On) so it might take me a minute to pick up on the plot and characters again. However, the parallels to Harry Potter make it a bit easier to pick up on.

Recently finished: I sped through The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. It wasn’t what I expected and it came across as a disappointment because of that. I wanted more about books and bookselling but that wasn’t the focus. It felt like a bait and switch so I ended up frustrated. I posted my review yesterday if you want to check that out. I gave it Three out of Five Stars, though I contemplated Two.
I got through Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani much faster than I expected to. It was a fun YA read and I enjoyed it well enough. It didn’t have much for me that was really a standout, though. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I had way too much fun listening to the short novella The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee. This is installment 1.5 in the Montegue Siblings series and I wanted to read it before I picked up the second which I’m sure I’ll do this summer.

I posted my review of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David LagercrantzThanks for those who have commented about their opinion of Lagercrantz taking over the series. I’m still unsure if I think it was the best move but I’m glad I’m not the only one who has marked the difference.  I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I posted my review of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Monday and my final meeting with my reading buddy is tonight! I’m excited to see what she thought of the ending of the book. I finished it over a week ago so I hope my memory is sharp enough and my notes detailed enough to have a good discussion.

Reading Next: I’ll pick up Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book very soon. I hope this can give me a little inspiration to read.
I’ll need another audiobook soon and I requested Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray but I’m not sure how quickly it will come in. Fingers crossed.
If that fails, I’ll likely start my next book club selection, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I don’t know anything about this one but I see that it’s pretty long so it will be a nice one to settle in with during my long training hours.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 6-May-2020

6 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m over halfway through White Oleander by Janet Fitch now that it’s in print next to my bed. Crazy demands from work have kept me from reading quite as much as I’d like but I’m making good progress with it and hope to be finished in a few weeks.
It’s been slower with The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel since work picked up. I need to be away from a screen when I’m not working so an ebook isn’t as appealing as print. I’ll keep moving forward with it, I’m sure, but it might slow down to my usual ebook pace.
I started The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson as an audiobook. This isn’t quite the ‘book about books’ I thought it was going to be. Honestly, the titled bookseller could have any other job and it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the plot. I’m a bit up in the air about this one, still. We’ll see.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz fairly quickly once it was on my phone. I’m a bit disappointed in this one and I’ll be posting my review tomorrow to detail why. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I powered through to the end of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern once I met with my Reading Buddy. We’ll meet very soon to discuss it, I’m sure. I’m still thinking this one over and my review will be up next week. I don’t think I would have gotten nearly as much out of it without my Buddy Reader. There were a lot of references to pop culture and to earlier parts of the book that would have gone over my head.

Reading Next: I still plan to grab Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich as a physical book. I really hope it pushes me to do some writing or editing. That’s one thing this pandemic has stopped that I’d love to get a little motivation to continue.
With the speed I’m going through audiobooks, I have to plan for another one soon. Next up is Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani. This seems like the perfect time for a little YA.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Meeting Author Adriana Trigiani

16 Apr

You probably noticed all of my posts about Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. In addition to my book review, there were two book club discussions. That’s because Trigiani was scheduled to come to speak in our area about her book and last week, my mom and I went to hear her speak.

I found out the morning of the event that Trigiani had done some comedy writing. I wish I’d known that earlier because I would have been more excited about the event. It was obvious that she was a comedian from her first sentence. She was very personable and spoke with no script in mind. She used comments from the audience to move her speech forward and made off the cuff jokes constantly. It was really fun to hear.

She talked about writing historical novels and how often the people who come up as movers of history are men. You have to dig to find the women, and that’s something Trigiani enjoyed. She picked the cover photo in part because the model was historically significant to the era. She included real women like Gloria, the producer of Nicky’s show (I can’t find a citation for this, though). Trigiani is also a big fan of Shakespeare so she paralleled the Palazzini families like the brothers in Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Trigiani spent a large chunk of time talking about the four steps to writing. To her, it’s a simple solution. First, find the time. Wake up earlier in the mornings, start with 30 minutes, and set aside that time to write. Second, get the tools to tell your story. She prefers pen and paper. If you’re going to do this, get a notebook that’s just for your writing, that won’t be filled with grocery lists and doctors’ appointments. If you’re going to write a memoir, start with ‘What I remember’ and start with a person or a day that’s hard for you to forget. Third, think of what you want to write about before you fall asleep. Doing this, you let your subconscious mull it over for a bit before you have to write it down. Fourth, pick your subject and just start writing!

A man came with a copy of his non-fiction book and asked her for some advice on promoting his book. Firstly, she said to get an agent. Agents will help with promotion and publication of future books. With a non-fiction title, she recommended reaching out to cable news networks. They like to have debates and material that can spark debates and non-fiction is good for this. She also recommended using a social media platform to speak about social issues related to the book and use that as a form of promotion.

Trigiani was very generous with her time and spoke to my mom and me for a few minutes in the signing line about my writing aspirations. She was very supportive and my mom took a great picture of us. I’ll have to get to her YA title soon.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Reflection: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (Part 2)

12 Mar

Since Trigiani is visiting our area, both of my book clubs read her book, Kiss Carlo, over the past few months. My second book club met to talk about it and we didn’t have too much to say about it. We spent the majority of the meeting picking books for our next season of reading. So this will be short.

I aired the complaints my other group shared about extraneous plot lines and many agreed. We did have a member who just adored this book and I can see how someone would. This reader is from an Italian family and she adored Trigiani’s depiction of an Italian-American family. I married into one and I could appreciate it as well (and commiserate with the sisters-in-law!). It’s clear Trigiani knows what she’s writing about in that respect. Some of our readers come from a Jewish background and they identified with the strong family ties as well. It was well written and relatable. We talked about how her writing, the words on the page, were enjoyable. However, a lot of people agreed that there were some things that were hard to believe and that the book could have been edited nearly in half.

One reader described the book by saying “It was like eating Cool Whip expecting a turkey dinner.” It was nice, light, and enjoyable, but it didn’t have the meat to it that we’d hoped for and it didn’t leave us satisfied.

Most of us have already read our book for next month, The Gilded Hour by Sarah Donati. We’re making up for a snow day in January where we missed a meeting.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Reflection: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

14 Feb

My book club met this week to discuss Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. I’m glad I got my review of the book finished before we talked because there were a long of strong opinions in the group!

We started with a little background about Trigiani. Her family is from Roseto Valfortore and her grandfather was the mayor at one point. They visited the town and had automotive trouble getting there because the road was so bad. This helped explain the random-ness that was the Italian road (more on this later). Strangely enough, her brother is named Carlo and her friends were teasing her about the title of her book.

My questions about the cover were shared. The flowers and the woman on the cover made us believe this was a uniquely ‘feminine’ book. We can’t imagine a man reading it! Apparently, the woman on the cover isn’t a specific character from the novel, but a fashion model from the 50s who’s supposed to give the book a period feel. We felt the title was misleading as well and gave the idea of a romantic plot. One reader pointed out that Trigiani is a well-known author and that she has an established audience. That audience is mostly female and she’s probably not trying too hard to create a male fan base.

Someone brought up how the fight between the Palazzini brothers felt like a Shakespearean feud. It was like Dom and Mike’s dad wanted there to be a fight between his boys and the way it split the family was reminiscent of a Romeo and Juliet style family fight. We felt the story could have paralleled a Shakespeare story better if this was the intention. Or it could have dropped the feud and been a little more focused. There were so many people involved because of it that we needed a family tree to figure out who was the child of who and if they got along with someone else. Ugh.

Hortense felt a bit contrived for some people. She kept to herself at work and had a solitary job, but she was very close to the family. It seemed like a little too much. Maybe if she’d worked in their home it would have been more believable, but with her job in the shop, we didn’t buy it. She also seemed very bicultural and working in that environment didn’t seem like enough to give her that level of fluency in Italian American culture.

Calla was very modern for the time period. She felt more like someone in our modern world than a girl of the 1950s. Cutting her own hair and wearing pants was one thing, there are always those rebelling against fashion. However, going to the bank and being in charge of her own finances and business seemed like a bit too much.

We spent a lot of our meeting time talking about parts of the story that seemed illogical or nonsensical as part of the book. Even though I enjoyed some of these parts, I had to admit they weren’t very logical and some didn’t move the plot well. I’ll bullet to save space.

  • Nicky going to Roseta. Why wouldn’t he just skip town and lay low? Why put himself in such a visible position?
  • Hortense and Minna becoming friends. She’s such a recluse she never leaves the house yet becomes life-long friends with a weekend border?
  • Peachy figuring out where Nicky was. What would make her think that the filer she finds in the trash at his apartment is where he is hiding? That’s a huge leap in logic and a long shot at best.
  • Elsa being Jewish. We wanted so much more out of this unlikely (and slightly unbelievable) marriage. She wanted to go to temple, but we never find out if she does or how the family feels about it.
  • Nicky’s jerk attitude toward Calla before they get together. It was so obvious they were going to wind up together, why was it dragged out in this way? And what was his motivation for being such a jerk? Based on his conversation with Hortense before leaving New York, it seemed clear he went home for Calla!
  • The man dying in Nicky’s cab. We didn’t see how that would be such a ‘wake up’ moment for him. We also didn’t see why it was such a big deal that the man had sullied the cab and they had to get another one. That scene felt like a little too much.

Overall, the book could have been a lot shorter and a lot more streamlined. I’m hesitant to read another book by this author, but I’ll be hearing her speak in April and would normally buy a book as a souvenir. I have some time to decide.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-February-2019

13 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I finally feel like I’m getting close to finishing The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. There was just a huge change in narration and I’m not sure where it’s going but I’m optimistic that it will wrap up soon!
I got through a bit of Origin by Dan Brown and I’m returning to it as often as I can. I’m enjoying this one a lot and it’s a good one to have on my phone. I might have to stick to thrillers here.
I started Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson over the weekend. I’m not sure how I’m feeling about it yet. I never was a fan of the paranormal romance genre and I’m a bit put off by it already. We’ll see if it gets better.
I started listening to Hunger by Roxane Gay on Sunday and I’m already halfway done with it! I’ll probably have this finished up next week which means I’m way ahead for my book club instead of scraping by. I’ll get to pick something I want to listen to next! I’m way more excited than I should be for this.

Recently finished: I wrapped up Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan at the beginning of a stressful weekend. It was a fun read and while the ending was a bit much, I enjoyed it. It was a very successful Spanish read as well and I’m really glad I read it. I posted a review for it on Monday so please go take a look!
I was able to finish Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani over the weekend as well. I finished the review hours before my book club meeting on it and I was able to put some original thoughts down before my book club influenced me. Whew! The club discussion should be up tomorrow. My review was posted yesterday.

Reading Next: Oh boy, freedom to choose an audiobook! Next on my TBR is a very appropriate title, You Are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. I think this will be particularly motivating as I’m sweating through long runs or bike sessions. I’m really looking forward to this one and seeing how it makes me feel about my own 70.3 in July.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (3/5)

12 Feb

I’ll be honest and say that I was less than thrilled when this title was selected for this year’s ‘Everyone’s Reading’ event. This is a bi-annual event where several Detroit-area libraries get together and bring in an author. Leading up to it, the libraries host programs focused around the book. And, of course, our book clubs all read it. The cover and title of this one threw me off. I was expecting a romance novel complete with a heroine in a ball gown like the cover. Of course, I didn’t read the blurb. So I was hesitant going in and for the first 100 pages, I kept expecting it to change to something more romance-y. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Cover image via Goodreads

Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Well, that is quite a summary! This book had a lot going on and it took me a while to figure out where I should focus my interest. Nicky was a great character but with everything else to focus on, it took me a while to focus on him. When the story finally settled on him, I let myself get invested. I forgot about the family rivalries and the Borelli financial problems and Hortense’s relationship and focused on Nicky. When those things came up, I gave them their moment, but I focused on Nicky. There was a lot to distract from him in this book and there is where it fell away for me a bit. I wanted a bit more of a focus on one character instead of splitting my interest so much. I also wished for a less miss-leading title and cover, but that’s something completely different.

The characters all felt real to me. While I had trouble keeping Nicky’s character’s straight, there was a lot of truth in his big family. It was wonderful how much they cared for each other and looked out for each other. I adored Calla and her father’s interactions and how she wanted to keep his dream alive despite how much it hurt her. It was encouraging to see her press on. The town of Roseto was a great setting and I could picture the families there and the jubilee that brought everyone together.

Calla was my favorite character. I wanted to say Nicky, but he seemed lost to me for a lot of the book and Calla never did. She’s stubborn and wouldn’t give up on her father’s dream and saw it become her dream. She was strong and stood up for herself even when it may have robbed her of her happiness. I was skeptical of Frank and I’m glad she was, too. It was good to see her stay strong for what she believed in against him.

I related to Nicky and his desire to do something that made him happy. I think we all chase something that delights us and makes us happy. For him, it was acting. He had to work a job he hated to have the chance to do something he loved. I don’t hate my job but I don’t live for it, either. My passions lie elsewhere and that’s fine for me. I was happy for him when his passion became his job, but I know not everyone is as lucky. And it was good that he recognized his fortunate situation and could step away from it when someone else needed him.

Adriana Trigiani
Image via We The Italians

I liked the time in Roseto best. I knew what the focus of the book was, I liked the rush of the ruse, and I liked the people of Roseto and how unique they all were. It was a nice escape from South Philly for a bit.

There were a few plot lines I thought were too much for the book. The family rivalry didn’t add anything to me and I thought it could have been taken out. The number of characters was a bit too much for me, too. I’m still confused about all the Palazzini cousins and who married who and had which kids. I’m not sure I’ll ever map it out. I think this book could have been edited down a bit, but there wasn’t any particular part that I disliked.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. The fact that it was narrated by a man should have been my first indication that the cover was misleading. Ballerini was a great choice for this book. Clearly, he speaks Italian (or fakes it well) based on the scenes where he reads Carlo’s Italian dialogue. He did great accents for the Palazzini family and all the other immigrant families. I found he did different enough voices for everyone that I could keep the huge host of characters separated in my mind. I also didn’t find his female voices condescending at all. Overall, it was a nice balance.

Family was very important to all the characters in this book. Even though Nicky didn’t have a nuclear family in the traditional sense. However, he was raised by extended family and the friends he surrounded himself with. He had a non-traditional family that loved him and looked after him. Even though he was an orphan, he didn’t face to face the world alone.

Writer’s Takeaway: With so many characters, Trigiani still gave them real and compelling back stories. Hortense is a great example of this. She wasn’t just an employee at the company. She had a history with Nicky’s mom, her own marital problems, and a drive in life that pushed her. Peachy, Frank and many of the actors had less-developed but still unique stories driving them along. She created a very rich world, even if it was a bit much for a stand-alone book.

An enjoyable book, if a bit much for my tastes. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1940-1959 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani | Bookfan
Book Review: Kiss Carlo | Life by Kristen

WWW Wednesday, 6-February-2019

6 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently readingThe Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan is still plodding along. I’m not a huge fan of this one, honestly. I’m kind of waiting for it to be over. It’s nothing like The Joy Luck Club like I hoped. I’ll keep pushing through.
I barely read any of Origin by Dan Brown last week. Maybe I’ll have more time this week? Lunch at work should be a bit slower so I hope to grab a few minutes to make some headway with this one.
I should finish Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan today or tomorrow, which I’m delighted to share! It’s been a while since my annual Spanish read finished up this quickly.
I didn’t realize how long I’d waited to start Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. I must have it finished by Monday! I’m listening as much as I can during the day, hoping to knock out another seven hours before the end of the weekend. Wish me luck!

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I hope there are two here next week, though!

Reading Next: I still hope to grab Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson as my next physical read. I should be able to finish Grayson soon and pick this up quickly.
My next book club selection will start as soon as I finish Carlo. Next is Hunger by Roxane Gay which I will listen to. I can’t tell yet from the listing if Gay narrates, but I hope so. I love when memoirs are narrated by the author.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 30-January-2019

30 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made it to the halfway point of The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. I think I got here quicker than expected so I’m happy with that! It’s still rather slow going because I’m not driving as much, but the book’s moved to a point in the main character’s life that I’m enjoying a lot more. I don’t mind the long drives so much right now!
I’m still making my way through Origin by Dan Brown. I haven’t had as many chances to read during lunch as I would like this past week so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some more opportunities in the coming week. I’m still liking this one a lot!
My progress through Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is still impressing me! This book is really enjoyable and the two plot lines have finally intertwined and it’s fun to see what the characters think of each other now that they’ve met.
I was finally able to start Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani. I’m not too far into it yet, so I can’t say quite what I think of it. It’s not what I expected from the cover, at least not yet. I think it may be going somewhere I don’t expect.

Recently finished: I finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple in what feels like record time. I really enjoyed this one and I’m glad I finally read it! Worth the wait and I highly recommend the audio! I posted my review yesterday so please go take a look. I gave it Five out of Five Stars.

My review for Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird went up on Thursday. This one is a staple in writing circles. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll have some time to pull a book off my TBR instead of worrying about book club selections for a while! I’m going to go ahead and read Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson. Thompson was one of the first bloggers I followed when I started blogging and I’m honored to have a signed copy of her book. I’m also embarrassed it took me so long to get to it! Better late than never?


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!