Tackle Your TBR Shelf Read-a-thon Finale



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.


The end has neared. I know I haven’t done many updates, but believe me I have been busy.

Let’s see how I did, shall we?

Goal One– total books read 4 and 1/2 


Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch (DNF but review linked)

Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista (3 stars- review linked)

4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan (2 and a half stars-review linked)

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (4 stars and a half stars-review to be posted)

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (4 and a half stars-review linked)

*Three netgalley books read and reviewed- goal 2-3 to be read completed

*One impluse e-book buy

*One audio book

Goal Two: post all reviews

Four out of five books read, reviewed, and posted.

Goal Three:

One challenge missed out of six.

About half of participants visited. (I even got new followers, thanks all!)

Goal Four:

Pages read: 1439 in 11 days!  (I thought I had three weeks so not bad, not bad at all)

16 hours of audio listened to (totals around 400 pages, I shall count in page count, I shall)

All in all, I had fun with the challenges, participants, reading in excess, and catching up to my goodreads goal. I was behind by 11, now I am behind by 7. Woo hoo. 

Big thanks go to all the people who set up challenges, giveaways, and to Tressa at Tressa’s Wishful Endings and Laura at Colorimetry to make this wonderful event happen. I enjoyed it immensely.  


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.

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



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.


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.


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!


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