Category Archives: new york

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen



Memory is an elusive thing. Do you ever remember a thing exactly as it happened? Or do you remember it the way you want it remembered?

That’s the main question posed by The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen. And it’s a good one. Can you really rely on your own memory of events? It’s undoubtedly skewed by your own feelings of the event. Can you trust a camera lens? Again, it’s all perspective. Perhaps a blending of the two lends more to the truth.

The novel starts off with Wes attending NYU summer school from Wisconsin. He feels much more comfortable seeing things from behind the camera than without. With the camera he has a barrier between himself and the world and a control. He can control the scenes he sees and the people that populate his lens. His life is pretty uneventful until he sees Annie by chance at a seance his friend Tyler is filming. Wes then has to hunt Annie down to get her to sign a release form to be in the film and once he finds her that’s when his simple life gets a lot more complicated. Annie has secrets. Dark secrets from the past that she must confront in order to move on.

I really did enjoy this novel. Though I do have to say the plot had quite a few holes in it that never were cleared up. And the “big reveal” is pretty obvious from the beginning. But I did like the way the story unfolded and the connection between past and present represented by the characters. I especially loved the idea of memory and how one little fact can change the way everyone remembers a certain event. How everyone remembers things differently and how memories are more subjective than we like to think.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

First Glance


Annie Van jacket

Next up in the Pop Reading Challenge is the first book I noticed upon walking into a bookstore. That could be many things but the novel that sticks with me the most in Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen. The cover is really odd but breathtaking in it’s simplicity. I noticed it right away when I walked into my local bookstore. It was on display in the current pubs right as you enter.

I walked right over and picked it up and was just as intrigued by the book’s description as I was by the cover. I do love a good ghost story.

According to the book jacket, the novel is about an aspiring filmmaker named Wes who is going to summer school at NYU. While helping out a fellow student he sees a girl who instantly intrigues him. A girl named Annie. Soon Annie and Wes start spending more and  more time together and begin looking for the thing that Annie lost.

I can’t wait to find out what exactly it is that Annie lost and what secrets they uncover along the way about her past.

Stay tuned for the full review of The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen. Happy reading!

Luckiest Girl Alive



Ani FaNelli is leading what she thinks is the perfect life. She has a blue blood fiance, a high powered job in NYC working at a magazine, and a killer figure. But underneath all of the facade lies something not so pretty from her past that continually gnaws at Ani. But nothing can stay buried for long, no matter how hard we try to repress them.

I have to say, this novel kind of disappointed me. I was expecting something different than what I ended up with. I found it hard to like the main character. Ani is like a high functioning sociopath. She seems to revel in the fact that she’s “damaged” and feels the need to damage those around her. I imagine the characters as grown up versions of the cast of Pretty Little Liars. They’ve grown up in the same area, the Main Line in Pennsylvania, and all care about wealth and status.

Ain does have redeeming qualities and some very horrible things happen to her that she manages to survive and even, in some instances, to thrive. She refuses to let anyone see her for who she truly is, most of all herself. She keeps a lot of things pressed down tightly. In a way this is a coming of age story. Ani does find herself at the end and finds out what she truly wants and what she doesn’t. But it’s a bit of a slog to get to that realization.

Final Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

Sci-Fi Mystery Mash Up

Sci-Fi Mystery Mash Up

I have to say When You Reach Me was not what I expected it to be. I guess in my mind, from reading the synopsis on the back, I had conjured an image of a small Nancy Drew being thrown into some kind of crime, solving the case with some mishaps along the way, and catching the bad guys. But this book was something wholly different. Heavily influenced by Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me follows a 12 year old girl who mysteriously begins to receive letters from an unknown person telling her to write a letter with specific information included.

I read this book in one sitting, it flowed effortlessly from chapter to chapter that I couldn’t stop myself. Like the last book I read for the Book Battle, The Secret Place, this novel also deals with themes of friendship, growing up, and sacrifice. How do you branch out on your own, solve challenges for yourself, and become a better you?

The story begins with the friendship of Miranda and Sal, the epicenter of the book and for the events that follow. After Sal gets punched by an unknown boy, things start to get weird and Miranda begins to receive letters asking her to look for signs in order to prove to her that the letters are real. Of course she’s scared, though probably not as much as most adults would be. Then her friendship with Sal seems over and she can’t understand why. So she has to formulate new friendships and an identity outside of the Miranda and Sal bubble.

And of course there’s the time travel. It’s quite a thinker when the author begins to describe how it could be possible. You have to eliminate the possible, the rational, so that all that remains is the impossible. It’s a conundrum but a wonderful one. This book was incredible, subtle, and touching. I highly recommend it to both adults and to children. There is something here that everyone can connect with.

Rating: 5/5

Stay tuned for the next book of Book Battle 2015. Teaser well!