Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I'm Reading: November 2013

Where did the month go?  I had originally planned on doing 2 updates for November but as it's already the 25th I think it's a one-update month.  The good news is: lots of great books to enjoy!  Here's what I've been reading, and what I'm looking forward to, this month.

Recently Released

4 to 16 Characters

Published by Lemon Sherbet Press on November 7, 2013
Amazon.ca / Amazon.com / GoodReads / Source: NetGalley.com

Reading 4 to 16 Characters is the experience of diving into the complex world of Jane Shilling.  Make that worlds.  To the outside world she's a friendless misfit who recently lost her mother and has a father who has turned to alcohol to numb the pain.  Jane turns to the online world and disguises herself in many different identities, from someone who is popular & perfect or others that are emo & suicidal; each characters shows a different part of Jane that she wants to be or needs to express.  The book is written in her created world of multiple personas, and we experience it as such through chat logs, emails and online posts.  I'm a big fan of nontraditional narrative styles, so I was thrilled to dive into the complicated world she creates. The ability for Jane to manage so many created identities, and speaking though them, is fascinating.  Which moments is she speaking the truth?  Is she ever speaking the truth?  This writing style makes it a very engaging reading experience, as the reader can interpret what Jane is trying to say through each persona.   Although we see things entirely from her perspective, Jane isn't an accessible character, and sometimes she isn't very likable, but I enjoyed her realness.  And her smarts.  The unconventional narrative style could take a bit to get used to, but it's worth it.  There is so much heart in the outpour of emotion of Jane.  You feel her pain, her angst, her frustration and it all feels so real.  I was very impressed by 4 to 16 Characters and would strongly recommend it for readers who enjoy books that focus on complex characters with strong, emotionally driven stories. 4 out of 5 stars.

Finished Reading

by Veronica Roth
Book Three in the Divergent Series

I am so glad I stuck with the Divergent Series. I was close to calling it quits with Insurgent last month, but I stuck with it through and through, and it was so worth it. Allegiant was a great read, a powerful book that made me think and also made me feel. It challenged my perspective of the characters and world, but stayed true to the story at the same time. I did find that I took a while to get used to the different perspective and pacing, and was even unnerved by this but again am glad I stuck it through. Overall the series was bold, powerful and increasingly touching. I loved the themes it played with and the imperfect characters, that really came to life here after I felt I wasn't quite "getting" them in the last book. This one swept right in and brought them to bigger life in a trying world, and in doing so let cemented them in my heart. Very powerful.

Harlequin Exploration Continues

I'm continuing my Harlequin exploration which started a few months back, but after last month's reading of a title from the Intrigue series, I thought I might mix things up try some of the shorter books that are often offshoots of the different themed sets to see how they faired.  I chose two titles from the Harlequin Nocturnal Cravings Dark Hunter's Touch by Jessa Slade and The Darkest Embrace by Megan Hart as well as Cake by Lauren Dane which is part of Cosmo Red-Hot Reads.  I really thought I would be more like to enjoy the first two titles being part of the Harlequin Nocture, which is their paranormal line, but neither of the books really worked for me.  I liked the world of Dark Hunter's Touch which involved phae, but I felt the focus was more on constructing the world and how it worked and very little time spend on the two people in the story.  On the flip side, The Darkest Embrace, spent the entire time with the couple but was so dark with some very disturbing ideas it through me right out of the story.  I might take a break from the Noctures, I know they need conflict in the stories but the choices are too dark for me.  Not what I was expecting there.  Last up we have Cake, which was set in the regular world and follows and art student/courier and the artist she flirts with.  This was much more up my alley, and I can see why it's Cosmo related: the female protagonist is way more proactive, a lot more fearless and has tons of confidence.  While I didn't connect to everything in the story, it was really nice to see a character that knew what she wanted, and went for it.  I'll certainly continue to read titles from the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads selections. 

Currently Reading

The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Book One in the The Maze Runner Series

The Maze Runner has been on my to read list for ages, and I was so excited to finally start reading it and got about halfway through before I had to return it to the library (so sad!), but it's already come back up in queue and I can't wait to finish reading it and see where the story goes.  If you are unfamiliar with The Maze Runner, the set up is a guy wakes up in what looks like an elevator chute with no memory, but in a place that's all young guys totally isolated on their own, and a full-scale maze on their grounds.

On the Horizon

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green and David Levithan

I know it goes against the phrase "Never judge a book by it's cover" but the truth is I picked up Will Grayson, Will Grayson because of it's cover.  It looks completely trippy and kind of science-fiction like, although I don't believe it is either of those.  The first time I saw it was actually years ago, but I didn't read the first time I got it out of the library and now am looking forward reading it, in eBook version.

I've now more than doubled the number of books I've read in 2013 from 2012.  I still have a rather ambition number of ones I want to get through by the end of 2013 but I keep reminding myself to not just read them, but enjoy them them.  Here is hoping both happens!

Happy Reading!

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