Where the Internet knows your name: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

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4 to 16 Characters

By Kelly Hourihan

To be published in November, 2013 by Lemon Sherbet Press

Acquired by netgalley

Genre: YA Realistic fiction

Rating: Two and a half stars

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all.

  Jane Shilling is not happy with her real world life. During the day, she is plain Jane Shilling, attending Spectrum, a high school for the disabled and mentally challenged; she has no friends, easily mocked, and challenged by teachers and therapists as she remains withdrawn and angry. At night, ignoring her grieving, alcoholic father she is Rachel, a popular college student who writes some of the best fanfiction for a show. She is also a grad student writing about Edna St. Vincent Millay, an emo goth guy whose posts are often dark, depressing, and slightly suicidal. In total, on and off she has lost count of her fake identities.  With online diary entries, IM conversations (including ones between her therapist), e-mails, fanfiction, and fictional postings comprise this novel.

I can’t quite get my head around this book. I am torn with whether or not I liked this book. There were some good parts in the novel. I rather enjoyed the end. One of the few things I did like. I had trouble with reading the narrative. Jane’s voice was very authentic. So authentic that I felt it was , at times, too juvenile. In retrospect, that is a good thing. It’s not an easy thing to write in a child’s voice when you are grown, and separated from that voice. I commend Hourihan for that; and will always be impressed. However, I felt lost within Jane’s voice. Maybe more distant. I just wanted to get to the next page or chapter because she was irritating me at the page I was at. I skipped through a lot of her fan fiction diary entries. Some parts of her diary entries I glanced through, noncommittally.

I didn’t truly know why she was at Spectrum; really why any of the characters mentioned were there. I could feel Jane’s emotions, and her lack of empathy towards school. I just felt her behavior towards school was exaggerated. She hates her high school, a lot of adolescents do. It is curious how smart she is, under driven, and then uses the type of school she goes to to allow her behavior. Her math teacher is the only teacher you read about in the novel that truly tries to help her. Granted, in not a very productive way. But, Jane hates that this teacher does. Claims that the teacher is too tough for Spectrum standards since school is supposed to be like a joke for the kids that go there. Easy, helpful, not any way tough. She uses the one institution she is not fond of to protect her, and almost reward her for not trying. It made me dislike Jane more.And, when she does get a friend, Gary, she is just as awful, at first at least. I dislike her, then she becomes this reformed character I can’t help but root for; in a subdued manner of course.

Gary’s character felt underdeveloped to me. He felt flat, slightly one dimensional. I know his immensely poor spelling should be excused, but I couldn’t help but focus on it because you never find out what his disability is to allow the bad spelling. Should that not be something I was so bothered by, yes absolutely. But, I was. He wasn’t the only character who I didn’t see develop.

I also didn’t truly connect with the fan fiction, taking me away from the novel. It fit, but didn’t at the same time. Nor did the spread out diary posts and emails from two of her fictitious personalities. If there were not those thrown in, maybe I would have liked it more.

I don’t regret reading it, though. Again, I did enjoy, even love a little, the end even if it took some time to get there. I would recommend this book if you like The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time. Also, if you enjoy child narratives. It isn’t for everyone.

Now that’s where the dead go: Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista Book Review

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Reaping Me Softly

By Kate Evangelista

Published October, 2012 by Omnific Publishing

209 Pages

Genre: YA Paranormal, ghosts

Rating: 3 Stars

 

What happens when the boy you’ve loved from afar turns out to be a reaper? And, then he takes the soul of someone dear to her?

The answer is simple: you get Kate Evangelista’s book Reaping Me Softly where seventeen year old Arianne finds out the “love of her life” is a reaper. Although she can already she dead people because of a near death experience on the cutting table, she was not prepared to see the boy she love feed on souls. Yes, apparently that’s how reapers stay so young, fit, and alive. For years, reaper Niko Clark was losing sight on what mattered to him. He was ready to fade away, quite literally, until Arianne saved him, both in actuality and figuratively. Lazy because of love, he does not look at one of the newly delivered certificates sent by Death. 

I enjoyed this book. It was definitely a light read. Nothing literary; no serious writing. I was laughing pretty much through the whole book. Why? Was it supposed to be funny? No, I don’t think so. Oh, the cheese factor. Girl loves boy from a far. Boy meets girl after THREE YEARS in the same school and immediately, ridiculously over the top in love. So over the top. He calls her Angel constantly (of course). She’s delectable. Cliche, cliche. Even still, I enjoyed this. I love the TV show Dead Like me which is based around reapers; so, I was glad to find out about this from a blogger friend of mine. There wasn’t a lot focused on the reaping itself, but my is death a funny man. The meetings were good between all the US reapers. The love story, obviously, took precedent, but I liked the side characters a lot. They weren’t as gushy and sentimental. 

If this book  taught me anything, it’ two things: you don’t mess with death, and human love is hard. Maybe I should grab myself a reaper.. Oh, the romanticism. I would consider recommending the book, but at barely with a three starred rating of I liked it, but not completely, it may not be truly a good recommendation. It was certainly a nice book to read for a read-a-thon. Short, unintentionally funny, and easy to read. If you have a reading goal and want to quickly add a finished book to it, this may be the book for you. Just don’t expect it to be life-changing. Since it is a series (everything seems to be nowadays) maybe the sequel will be better. I think I am going to sit out at that one, though. 

 

Tackle your TBR Shelf Read-a-Thon Update #2

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In case you have missed my earlier posts about this challenge I have set a few goals.

Goal One- Read 5-6 books: read two to three netgalley books on my shelf (I have 15, oh my!) my late library book The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Bookmaker’s Tale, and a surprise.

Goal Two- Write a review for each and post on same day as read.

Goal Three-Participant in at least half of the challenges and visit most of the participants.

Goal Four- Read 2100 pages, whew.

It’s day three and I may be ahead. I just finished reading Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch. You can find my review here. Well, let me be honest. I tried finishing it. But, sadly, we had to part. It was taking me too long to get through it. I also finished Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista. Review is in progress.  I shall post it by tomorrow.

I have read around 350 pages so far.

If you are participating, today’s challenge is sponsored by Joana at Joana in the Sky with Books. There is a great giveaway, too!

Happy reading everyone!

-indiereadergirl0329

Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch Book Review

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Sideshow of Merit

By Nicole Pietsch

Published September 16th, 2013 by namelos

Genre: New Adult

Acquired by netgalley

One Star

SIDESHOW OF MERIT is a story of abuse and recovery, of friendship and trust, of survival, of repeated failure and ultimate success, set against a backdrop of human frailty, selfishness, greed, and vulnerability. Tevan and James’s journey of is a coming-of-age story like no other.

The two main characters, “pretty” Tevan George and James Rowley have been on the run for nine years after skipping out on the sanatorium Mount Rosa in Canada in 1961 for TB testing. Tuberculosis survivors, Tevan and James are emotional wrecks. What happened in Mount Rosa? What’s happening now? This story was confusing to me, often the author tries to use the technique of going back to the past to show what happened, but not in a coherent way. It wasn’t spaced out, like chapter breaks, to really see the time it happened. Pietsch, to me, was not exactly successful in my opinion. I think pietsch held herself back from really exploring sexual abuse, and homosexuality. She censored herself while describing both subjects which made me more uncomfortable than if it was stated upfront. Two boys in the ward were called Betty and Veronica and it took me a long time to realize they were boys, and brothers. The nicknames were just thrown in.

Her writing wasn’t necessarily messy, but it wasn’t fluid either. I didn’t know where I was sometimes in the story. Some of the things she wanted to allude to, I think I missed it. At first, I wasn’t sure if the characters were supposed to be gay. Is James? I say this because, what later turns into a creepy paying gig at the sideshow, James strangles Tevan in a basically homoerotic way. It is presented in two ways: a cloaked sexual way and a disturbing act of, I don’t know, love? One of the first parts when I read about what James does to Tevan, James tries to reassure Tevan by saying “you know, I’ll never hurt you.” I had to stop. Is this a sex act he’s doing? Why do I feel cloudy and uncomfortable?

I have read gay fiction before. But, the way this was done made me think the author was just as uncomfortable writing this as I was reading it. Honestly, I did not finish the book. I tried, and tried. I never knew where it was headed. When sex acts happen, they are so veiled I had to reread it to see if it was happening. I wish she didn’t censor herself. Maybe I would have finished the book. I was just getting too annoyed over what was being hidden. I felt immense uneasy. Maybe because the way it was presented was as a no, no way. That what is happening isn’t natural, it’s bad, disgusting. There is sexual abuse in this story, I gather at least. Because, again, it’s not really told straight forward. I know problems with telling rather than showing. But, Pietsch writes it in a sketchy way. Just didn’t sit well at all with me. Maybe I don’t understand the time period it takes place in. What politically and socially was going on. I just don’t know.

Join In! Reading To Beat The Banned! Banned Book Week

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Are you reading a banned book right now? I look forward to this week, but tend to forget about it. Don’t worry, a bunch of my favorites have made the list. Including The Perks of being a Wallflower that I have read 4 plus times.

Book Journey

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One of my favorite weeks to get behind each year is Banned Book Week.  I love discussing banned books because many people have no idea what consists of a banned or challenged book.

 

The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them. The following is a list of frequently asked questions on banned and challenged books:

What is the difference between a challenge or banning?

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the…

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TBR Read-a-hon Update

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If you missed my post yesterday, I am participating in Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon.

My goals are

Goal One- Read 5-6 books: read two to three netgalley books on my shelf (I have 15, oh my!) my late library book The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Bookmaker’s Tale, and a surprise.

Goal Two- Write a review for each and post on same day as read.

Goal Three-Participant in at least half of the challenges and visit most of the participants.

Goal Four- Read 2100 pages, whew.

So far I have participated in today’s challenge at Snarky Mom (snarkymomreads.com). The challenge consisted of a scavenger hunt based around Jennifer Probst’s novel The Marriage Merger and her Marriage to the Billionaire series. I don’t typically read Romance novels, yet I did have fun finding all the clues.

I am still struggling with Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch. I am dying to finish this because I have been trying read this for too long. When you can only stand to read ten or so pages at a time or day, maybe the book should be added to that scary DNF pile.

I did manage to read a handful of pages, close to or a little above my 100 pages goal.

Happy Reading all!

-indiereadergirl0329

It’s Monday! What are you reading? A weekly Wrap up

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As per usual, It’s Monday is a meme sponsored by bookjourney.wordpress.com. Check out her blog and the others participating. Maybe you will find more books to add to that growing TBR list of yours.

Now, it’s Monday again. My does the week go by fast. I am going to be very busy this month. Lots of cool posts and literary adventures. This Saturday I will be going to the Lit Crawl NYC in NYC. It will be my first time going. As I am not a drinker, I am more looking forward to the bars that involve writing stories, even literary trivia. Pictures and reviews will be posted, of course.

I am always participating in one of my first blog challenges, Tackle Your TBR Shelf read-a-thon  co-sponsored by http://tressaswishfulendings.blogspot.com and http://burgandyice.blogspot.com/. I am looking forward to that. You can see my kick off post here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/tackle-your-tbr-read-a-thon-kick-off/

This week I posted a few book reviews, as well as a book to movie review.

https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/fallen-angels-nephilim-and-rephaim-what-could-go-wrong-shadows-the-rephaim-1-by-paula-weston/

Shadows by Paula Weston the first book in this debut author’s series The Rephaim. Two books are currently available for you to buy. It is a YA Fantasy book, similar to The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. So, if you readthat series, or the spin-offs Clare wrote, you may want to give this book and series a try.

Speaking of The Mortal Instruments. I recently went to see that film. And, no surprise there that I was disappointed. You can read my full review at https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/they-did-what-how-the-movies-destroyed-the-mortal-instruments-city-of-bones/

I also read Just One Day by Gayle Forman. This is also part of a series, but only a two parter. The second book, available in October is called Just One Year. Can I tell you have excited I am over it’s upcoming release? My review can be found here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/all-you-really-need-is-just-one-day-by-gayle-forman/ It is a quick YA novel that is as engrossing as endearing. It isn’t your typical YA book because there is country hopping, self-exploration that is realistic, but there is a cute guy. There must be.

Then, there was The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford. This was a cute YA novel that takes place in Russia, where an American exchange student meets a cute Russian boy that changes her world. My review can be found here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/love-in-the-time-of-the-cold-war-the-boy-on-the-bridge-by-natalie-standiford-book-review/

Currently, I am struggling with reading Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch. The cover is a little creepy, and doesn’t really coincide with the novel itself.

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I am thinking of putting it on my DNF shelf. The cover is strange, but the novel is slightly disturbing and just as confusing as seeing a neck on the cover.

Happy Monday and Happy reading!

-indiereadergirl0329

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