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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop

The Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop is hosted by Mary at Book Hounds to celebrate our favorite books of 2014.

Last year I really struggled with the topic of best books. 2013 was a pretty average year for me. Nothing really stood out. That was not the case this year. 2014 was a stellar year, I really pushed myself to read outside of my comfort zone. I didn't read AS much YA. Not that I have given it up completely- I did read a little sci-fi/fantasy and historical-esq YA. I also found myself reading more adult fiction, which I really enjoyed.

I guess what I am saying is that I had a good year and I have an array of novels for you to chose from.

Winner(s) get to chose ONE (1) of the following: 

1) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
2) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
3) The Silver Lingings Playbook by Matthew Quick
4) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoskie
5) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales 

The Rules:

1) You don't need to be a follower of this blog to enter- Just fill out the Rafflecopter Widget found below.

2) There are a few extra entries, do with them as you wish.

3) If I reach 600 Facebook likes I will chose another winner, the same goes if I reach 600 followers on Bloglovin'. So there is the potential that there would be THREE (3) winners.

That's it, those are the rules- easy as pie.

       a Rafflecopter giveaway Make sure to check out all the other Giveaway participants. <!-- end LinkyTools script –>

Monday, December 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday- Favourite New Authors

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

This year has been a pretty exciting year for me in book land. I found myself reaching FAR out of my comfort zone, and finding some really fantastic new authors. Some I have read multiple novels by already, and some I have only read one of their novels, with plans to read more. I hope you enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish.

1) Patrick Ness- I have read three novels by Patrick Ness this year- That is a lot. I initially read one of his lesser known novels- The Crane Wife, and I really enjoyed it. I was then challenged by Alyee to read two more of his novels A Monster Calls (which I absolutely adored), and The Knife of Never Letting Go (which stressed me out a bit). However, I have really been impressed with all of the novels I have read by him, and I am eager to delve into the rest of what he is offering. 

2) Neil Gaiman- This man knows how to write weird. I read two novels by Gaiman this year. The Ocean at the End of the Lane- which creeped me out, but was completely brilliant at the same time. I also read Coraline, again, which was brilliant, and creepy. Both novels were SO weird but in a fantastic way. Next on my list: Stardust.

3) Liane Moriarty- I think Liane may be my favourite of the top ten favourite new to me authors. I read two novels by her this year- and I am hoping to get to a third before this year is done. Moriarty is an Australian author and I find that I love Australian writers and their novels. 

4) Marie Rutkoski- I knew the moment I closed The Winner's Curse, that Rutkoski was going to be a new favourite of mine, and I think I was right. I am currently in the middle of it's sequel The Winner's Crime and I'm loving it. I love the story, I love the writing. I need more of her novels on my life. I just do. 

5) Susan Ee- Angelfall is one of my top 15 books of this year. It was so good! I haven't read the sequel yet. But it's up there. 

6) Mary E. Pearson- This one is kind of a funny one. I read Kiss of Deception this past year and I loved it. I loved the characters, I loved the concept of the story, I loved the world, I loved the whole thing. However, not everyone liked the book as much. I liked it so much I have looked into the Jenna Fox series and plan on reading it ASAP. 

7) Matthew Quick- I have read The Silver Lining's Playbook twice this year. It was pretty freaking brilliant! I don't know if there is a bad thing I could say about that book. I have also really heard really great things about Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. This man has an interesting way of looking at mental illness and I am really curious about Leonard Peacock. 

8) Leila Sales- This one really took me by surprise. This Song Will Save Your Life is SO good. I was amazed at how insightful it was. I need more Leila Sales in my life. 

9) Marcus Zusak- The Book Thief- nuff' said. 

10) Sarah J. Maas- Throne of Glass was Uh-Mazing!! I loved what Maas delivered with this novel and she is totally one of my new favourite authors. Why have I not read everything by her yet? 

So that is my list for the week, I hope you enjoyed. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Thoughts: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was...my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question

**Review copy received by the publisher**

I always get a little but nervous when I have an Ellen Hopkins novel on my TBR. I get this way because, her novels, generally, deal with some pretty heavy themes and they don't always end well. That's not to say that they're complete downers. No, that it not at all true. But Hopkins tends to present her readers with disturbingly realistic scenarios. And these scenarios can often make readers take stock of what's going on outside of their little bubble. Take her Crank Trilogy for instance (a series that I can/will never read), a series of books that follows one girl's decline into drug addiction and all the consequences that follow. That is some pretty intense stuff right there.

Rumble is the fifth book (and fourth YA) that I have read by Hopkins and I would say it's the lightest- thematically- of her novels. Maybe? Although it does deal with teen suicide, bullying, sexuality, religion, and PTSD... so maybe not. I just had an easier time reading this one, then I had with the others.

The story follows Matt, as he addresses his inner turmoil, which is beginning to spill into his every day life. His brother- Luke- committed suicide after her was unceremoniously outed as being gay. Luke's death tore the already fragile family a part. Naturally, Matt is feeling a lot of guilt about his brother's death and is not able to handle it in a healthy way- he's alienating his friends and lashing out at school. To top things all off, Matt in finding himself at odds with his girlfriend Hayden. Hayden, a good Christian girl who has devoted her life to Christ. Dating Matt, who cannot believe that there is a God, how could there be, when his brother suffered so badly and ended his life so tragically.

Where the synopsis might have you believing that this story focuses heavily on faith and the existence of God, that it actually not the truth. This is completely Matt's story and how he relates to the people around him after his brother's death. Which included Hayden and her circle of Christian friends (whom bullied Luke, and expressed their discuss at his homosexuality). Hopkins, again, does an incredible job of getting us into the mind of her protagonist. Matt is angry and confused, he's feeling neglected and hurt. There is a lot going on with Matt, and as readers we get to experience everything with him. I don't know how many good things I can say about Hopkins and the way she writes her main characters- they are such authentic representations of youth and the struggles they face.

I want to quickly talk about Hopkins' use of verse when she writes. Some people really struggle with this, and I thought I would as well, but really, it reads exactly like a book not written in verse. I first experienced Ellen Hopkins through and audio book (years ago) and it flowed so easily that I thought I'd give actually reading one of her novels a go, and I was surprised at how easy it was. I guess what I am trying to say is, if her prose freaks you out, don't let it, it's not that scary.

Overall, I really enjoyed Rumble and I love seeing what Hopkins brings to the table again and again. If you have never read any of her books, give Rumble a try, it's way less daunting that anything else I've read by her. A++ Ellen Hopkins.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Where Have I Been and Where Am I Going

Be prepared. 
This is going to be a chatty little post.

So, the last couple of months my posting schedule has been a little wonky. I have posted four times since July, and I didn't blog at all in October! That is just craziness. It was during the month of October that I really took the time to reflect about the blog and blogging. During the past six or so months, I have been thinking more and more about how much I want to invest in Just Another Story. How much time can I put into this? can I commit to posting twice a week? Can I commit to one review a week? I didn't know... and I still done. What I do know is that I want to produce solid quality content, can I do that and still post regularly?

The answer in a nutshell: NO!!

BUT!! I know for sure that I am not reading to throw in the towel and quit blogging. I love blogging! I love the people I have met, I love getting excited about books and talking to people are who understand my excitement. I love sharing my thoughts on the books that I have read- both books I loved and not loved. I love everything about Blogging. Everything except the pressure I feel to post consistently.

So, I'm giving that up. 

I'm going back to the old days.  Back to 2010 when I would review a book the day I read it- or months later. I am going back to reviewing any book that I want to- Whether that be and young adult title or an adult romance. I will review any and all.  I will talk about a book that I am excited about reading. 

I am going to let go the blogging pressure and guilt and just doing what I love. 

I would still like to try for at least one blog post a week- but if that doesn't happen okay. I love the Top Ten Tuesday Meme and I will continue to participate in that when the topic of the week interests me, I would also like to write more discussion posts. I have opinions on bookish things and I want to share thoughts, I will also keep reviewing. 

So here we go. The future of Just Another Story. I am excited and I am looking forward to posting more now. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

It seems fitting that my blogging come back would feature a list- and not just any list- a list featuring books I would like to reread.

So here I am and here you go.


1) The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling- I know this may seem like a bit of a cope out. But really? What do you expect? I would absolutely love to reread this series. It's a no brainer really.

2) If I Stay by Gayle Forman- I loved this book and as heartbreaking as it was. I would very much like to experience it all over again. Gayle Forman has a really amazing way of telling a story. This one stayed with me for a long time after I read it.

3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan- More than rereading this one, I would really love to re-listen to this one. MacLeod Anderson and Nick Podehl do an amazing job narrating this one. Such a fun story.

4) The Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick- I love love loved this book. I thought it was brilliant! So good. I loved the way Quick portrayed mental illness. funnily enough, I get to reread this one this month- it's our book club pick.

5) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness- I just read this a few weeks ago and almost as soon as I was done reading it, I wanted to start all over again. What a beautiful story! If you haven't read this book. What are you waiting for? You need this in your life.

6) The BFG by Roald Dahl- Can you believe that I have only read this book once, but it remains my favourite Roald Dahl book ever. And this book would not take very long to get through. One afternoon is all I'd need.

7) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- I think I really want to reread this one, because I hated it the first time I read it. I mean I really disliked it. I thought Daisy was one of the worst characters I'd ever had the misfortune of reading about. I wonder if I'd experience the book differently knowing that I am not going to like her.

8) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales- There was something really special about this story. One of the most authentic coming of age stories I have ever read. I even gifted this book to my non reader friend, because the story spoke to me so.

9) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- Every time I mention this book, I feel like a broken record. But Jellicoe Road has to be one of my most favourite books and I have only read it once. This seems completely wrong to me somehow.

10) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- This one I would like to someday reread. I really didn't like it when I read it. But so many people love it! I think I must be missing something. So I haven't written this one off yet completely. I am willing to give it another go.

That's my list. I hope you enjoy. Make sure to leave links to your lists below.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Thoughts: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

So, a few weeks ago I was challenged by Aylee over at Recovering Potter Addict to read a few books (ten to be exact, and you can see the list here). I had originally thought that I would read the books of that list in order, and Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races was number five on the list, so I thought it would be a while before I got around to it. But it showed it's face at the library and I jumped on the chance to read it.

SO- here I am, I have finished The Scorpio Races and I have some thoughts.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is the fifth book I have read by her. I was first introduced to her writing a few years ago when I read The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy- and to be honest, I was not a big fan of those books. I then read The Raven Boys and liked it better, but there was still something about the story that kept me from reading more of the series. Before Aylee encouraged me to read this book, I was pretty certain that I wasn't going to read anything else by Stiefvater, I had basically decided that her novels weren't for me. Now, having given her writing a go one more time I am pretty certain that her books aren't something that I will be quick to pick up. However, I have a new appreciation for her writing.

The thing that kind of sort of bugs me about Maggie Stiefvater's books are that I feel like the plot never really makes sense, I have consistently found myself a little while reading, trying to figure out what the heck is going on.Which is a bit frustrating. But she also writes these amazing characters, and she has such a unique and beautiful way of writing. But I seem to struggle with the plots she presents. I noticed this some when I read The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and I for sure experienced it when reading The Raven Boys, and again more recently with The Scorpio Races. To many metaphors? To much imagery? To much symbolism? I don't know. Something doesn't work for me.

I will tell you this. The Scorpio Races was my favourite of the fives books I have read that Maggie Stiefvater has written. Is this because it's a stand alone? Maybe. But I do know that my enjoyment of this novel is largely due to Puck and Sean.

I have never been so smitten by a couple of characters as I was by these two. And it wasn't just them together. It was how they were separately. Sean was this broody intense type- that is the best way I can describe him. But he wasn't shy, and he wasn't passive either. Puck on the other hand, wasn't all that likeable at the beginning, but once you became familiar with her situation and what she had to deal with, it was easy to love her. I also loved Sean and Puck together. I loved all the scenes that they were in together. I loved their dialogue and I loved how they slowly grew to care for each other. It was so endearing. I loved it. I know I am not telling what it was specifically that made these two so great, it really is hard to explain, and you need to read the book to get what I mean.

As I mentioned before, I wasn't super sure what was going on through the majority of the story. I mean I did, but I wasn't all that invested in it. What were these water horses? What were these races that people were talking about. I thought the races took place in the water and the horses swam. This could be mostly my mess up. The story was a bit slow in the beginning and I may have become distracted while reading.

Overall, I enjoyed The Scorpio Races. It was the best Maggie Stiefvater book I have read. I think she did a brilliant job with the characterization, but I wasn't sure about the overall plot. Thank you Aylee for you recommendation. I am excited to see where the other books in the list will take me.

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Thoughts: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love

**Review copy received by publisher**

In another attempt to jump out of my contemporary comfort zone I decided to give The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson a try. I had heard a number of good things about this one, and I was curious. I will admit that it took me a little while to finally pick the book up, buy when I did, I was completely engrossed in the story. I was so incredibly pleased by The Kiss of Deception I am a little sad that I finished it.

The story begins with Lia- the first daughter of Morrighan and her best friend/lady's maid fleeing the morning she was to marry a stranger.  The two wind up in a sea side village, working as bar maids. It is in this town that the two girls hope to settle and create a new life. However, the arrival of two mysterious boys-one the Prince Lia was supposed to marry, the other, an assassin sent to kill her, shake things up a bit for them, and thus, we have The Kiss of Deception.

I love love loved this book. SO much. The characters were absolutely fantastic. First off- Lia was fierce. She was a fighter. She was mouthy and she knew what she wanted. She was also super brave, loyal and she was a romantic. What a fabulous heroine. It's been a while since I have had the pleasure of reading such a well rounded protagonist. I also really like Rafe and Kaden ( the assassin and the prince, or is it the other way around? I'll never tell). I liked both guys for different reasons. I really like Rafe's broody nature, and how he seemed pissed off at the world. This made his tender moments all the better. I enjoyed Kaden's playfulness, and how he didn't really take things all that seriously. This would generally irritate me, but for him it worked.

I have to say one thing, Pearson is either a super genius or purely evil, but you actually don't know who Rafe and Kaden represent until about half way (maybe more) through the book, which is the prince and which is assassin remains a mystery for a good long while. I was sure I had it right, and I knew who was who, but than something would happen and I would wonder if I was wrong. By the time of the reveal I was pretty sure I was fooling myself... You'll need to read this one to see. I loved it though. Trying to figure out who was who. It's really not that big of a deal. But I thought it was an entertaining aspect of the novel.

Some have said that the middle of The Kiss of Deception is a little slow, I don't really agree. I loved the pace, I loved getting to know the characters and I really enjoyed the writing. It was so easy to get lost in. The latter half of the book does pick up in pace, and it's great. I think if you love character based novels, you will really enjoy this one. If you are more plot/action centred, you may struggle a bit in the middle, but maybe not.

Overall, The Kiss of Deception was a wonderful novel and I loved every page. I am excited to see what's in store for these beloved characters and I can't wait for the sequels.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Books Aylee Has Been Telling me to Read

TTT is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read (whether because they think it's a "you" book or it's just been generally recommended so often)

I am SO excited about this week's topic! I can barely contain how excited I am.

This week, Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict and I have decided to collaborate. The two of us have pretty different reading tastes- she's pretty high fantasy and I tend to lean more contemporary. There are a number of books we have been trying to get the other to read. I don't know how many times I begged her to read John Green before her Great John Green Read of 2014 and she has mentioned Patrick Ness to me more times then I can count. There are a few more that I have insisted she read, and you can head over to her blog post to see that list.

This week's list, is her list for me. I hope you enjoy. It was SO MUCH FUN doing this.-Stay tuned to the end for a special announcement.

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – I think Sara will appreciate the beauty of this one. It’s essentially a contemporary with fantasy undertones so I think this would be a good start to ease Sara into the genre.

2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Quick and easy read with all of the whimsy and creepiness of a Neil Gaiman read. This book kind of terrified me (as did the movie) even though it’s technically a children’s book, so it might be a good Hallowe’en read.

3. Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor – I know Sara has enjoyed the first two books in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy so I’m keen on her reading one of my all-time favourite novellas, featuring some of my all-time favourite secondary characters, Zuzanna and Mik. This one is SO wonderful that I can’t imagine anyone not loving it!

4. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – I know that Sara recently read and loved Throne of Glass and I am positively ADAMANT that everyone who reads that must also read this collection of prequel novellas, as they are utterly fantastic.

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – This one was such a powerful and meaningful book for me so it holds a special place in my heart. I hope Sara enjoys it too!

6. The Archived by Victoria Schwab – This one had an entirely unique concept, which is so rare in books these days. Furthermore, it was an especially well executed concept in a well-written plot. Can be read as a standalone.

7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – This one might be more of a challenge because it can be quite heavy on historical politics, but it’s absolutely worth reading. The ever-present theme of mortality is quite powerful and Ismae is an amazing protagonist. Can be read as a standalone.

8. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey – Another challenging read, but also entirely rewarding in my opinion. This one is unlike anything else you will read in any genre. And Rick Yancey is a supremely talented writer. Can be read as a standalone.

9. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – This one is kind of like Game of Thrones-lite, so it has plenty of court politics and violence, but is less dense to get through than Game of Thrones. I am really unsure what Sara will think of this one… but it will be a challenge and that’s kind of the point!

10. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – This is my all-time favourite book after Harry Potter, which if you know me is saying something. The stream of consciousness writing is so effective here that it really brings the protagonist to life. It’s part fantasy, part sci fi, and part dystopian so it’s bound to be a challenge, but the product is pure brilliance. 


So, Aylee and I have decided that we are not stopping with these lists. We have decided to jump in and challenge one another to read these books. Yup, you read right. I am going to dig in and get all ten books read, and she is going to do the same.

Amber from Books of Amber and Judith from Paper Riot started this trend a little while ago, and we both thought it was such a brilliant idea, and we wanted to take part. We have no idea how we're going to document success, what kind of time frame we are looking at, or how we're going to keep each other accountable. But in all honesty there are no hard and fast rules. We're just going to have fun.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tour Stop & Giveaway: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

**review copy received from Netgalley**

Let me start off by saying that I am a chicken! I do not do horror. I can't stand being scared. It stresses me out, and I find that I stay scared for a long time afterwards. When I was ten, The Shining miniseries aired on TV, I only watched the first two parts and was so terrified, I had to sleep with my little sister (who joyfully watched the whole thing) for a year. I couldn't sleep in my own bed. Then, when I was 15 I decided to get over my fear and go see The Ring... in theatres. I think I only saw about 40% of the movie, and to this day I have never seen the end. I just don't do scary. So, boy was I shocked when The Girl from the Well turned out to be a full on horror novel.

Let me preface by saying, a couple years ago I read Anna Dressed in Blood and loved it. It was a ghost story, but I didn't find Anna all that scary. In some ways, I was expecting Rin Chupeco's novel to be similar. Uhhhh... no.

The Girl from the Well, is full blown Japanese ghost story, completely scary. The story begins with Okiku (the ghost), stalking her prey. The Stained-Man who bares the soul of the girl he murdered on his back, unknowing that his life is about to end. This is what Okiku does, she avenges the children who have been so brutally torn from the world. She releases their souls, as they are tethered to their murderers. And she has been doing this for hundreds of years. And she can't stop, she has this internal hunger that she cannot ignore.
Because Okiku can travel away from the place where she was so brutally murdered (which defies everything I know about ghosts), she finds herself in a small American town, specifically, an American boy- Tark- who is haunted by his very own ghost.

The story is narrated/told completely from Okiku's perspective, she was the one telling the story. Which was
odd, but it worked. It certainly added to the creep factor. The instances where she was out avenging the murdered children were intense. The reasons why she was killing were there, but so was her indifference to the mutilation she was responsible for. One thing you must understand about Okiku, she is not an evil entity intent on revenge, however, at the same time, she does take some pleasure in her kills. Just as you are starting to become sympathetic towards her, she'll do something crazy.

What I absolutely love about The Girl from the Well, was that Okiku's voice was completely authentic. This is a true testimony to how great of a story teller Rin Chupeco is. The pace of the story was fantastic, the way Chupeco would describe things-specifically Okiku and all other creepastic occurrences- was phenomenal. I was scared. Seriously.

There are so many things I want to address. there were other players in The Girl From the Well, Tarquin and Callie, and they were fantastic characters, and essential to the story. However, for me, Okiku was the star. I was so absorbed in her story and her motives and how incredibly complex she was. Every character is well rounded. There was so much Japanese folklore in this story and I LOVED that. Japanese ghost stories are (according to me), the freakiest things around. It was chilling.

Overall, The Girl from the Well, is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year. It was chilling and all encompassing, I couldn't put it down. Rin Chupeco did an amazing job of telling a ghost story that was horrifying, and had me scared, but it was not overwhelmingly bloody. She absolutely knew who she was writing this story for, and respected that. I am in awe, and I am SO excited to see what else she brings to the table.

The Giveaway:

***Open to CANADA/US address only***

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Reading Slump

Let's talk about reading slumps. We've all been there, we've all done that, we've all made it out (for the most part). But in recent months I have been struggling with an epic reading slump! It's been completely awful! This year I challenged myself to read 80 books- which is completely doable- it's about 1 1/2 books a week. Which for me, no big deal. As of today- I am three books behind schedule. Which causes me a more stress than I like.

So today, with you, I am going to analyse my reading slump, and ask for your input.

My  reading year started off pretty great. In the month of January I read ten books. Ten pretty amazing books actually. Some of which include, The Book Thief, This Song Will Save Your Life, The Silver Linings Playbook and Of Beast and Beauty. It was pretty fantastic. I have never read Ten books in a month and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. February turned out to be a pretty normal reading month for me, I got six books read. Some were great, others were okay. The same can be said for March and the first part of April. The latter half of April though was pretty amazing. I read a series of five star novels and as you will al know, there is a certain kind of high you get after you've read a really great book. I was experiencing that, ten fold.

Then, the slump

I can pin point exactly when I slipped into this reading slump. Like most who have fallen victim to this vice, it came upon me when I began reading a novel that was not good, after a string of really fantastic reads.

It began when I started reading a book that I was slated to review. I wasn't expecting the book to be great, but I didn't think it was going to be SO bad. I know what you're thinking... why didn't I just quit reading the bad book. I feel a bit guilty not finishing a book I have received for review. There is a certain kind of pressure as a blogger to read and complete books that were sent to you for review. But we'll get to that another time. After the bad book, there were a couple of okay books, with one or two pretty good ones in the mix. But honestly, nothing spectacular.

In the last couple of months I have found that I haven't been completely keen on reading. Not feeling all the excited about picking up a book and spending hours with it. Something is wrong!

SO... I am here today, to ask all of you for your advice. What do you do when you experience a reading slump? How do you get out of it? What do you suggest I do to get excited about reading again?

Also. I am looking for my next great read, so...

What has been the best book you have read recently?

I desperately want to know.

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Thoughts: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

**Review copy received from publisher**

I was both excited and nervous about Rainbow Rowell's newest venture, Landline. I absolutely adored Fangirl, but wasn't so sure about Eleanor and Park. Therefore, my feelings on Landline could have gone either way. However, I had pretty high hopes, and after reading this novel, I am pretty sure that Rainbow Rowell is quickly becoming one of me favourite authors.

Landline tells that story of Gerogie and her husband Neal. They have been married a while, had a couple kids and now, Neal is a stay at home Dad, and Georgie is a comedy television show writer, on the brink of launching her very own series. It is because of this potential big break, that Georgie is home in LA during Christmas, while Neal and her daughters are away in Omaha with Neal's mother. A point of contention for Neal. Another small issue between Neal and Georgie, is Georgie's (platonic) relationship with her writing partner, Seth. It is while Neal and the kids are away, that Georgie discovers  a rotary phone that allows her to talk to the Neal of 1998, and gain new perspective on her marriage her life at the moment and where she wants to be.

Rainbow Rowell really knows how to write flawed characters that are easy to relate to, but at the same time, her characters are completely likeable. I loved Georgie! She was an interesting character. On one hand, she was kind of selfish: she worked constantly, and made herself available to work all the time, while her husband made all the sacrifices for his family. Also, Georgie didn't seem to limit the amount of time she spent with Seth, her best friend and writing partner (who Neal cannot stand). In saying all of this, Georgie knows she is being selfish, and she is very grateful to her husband and loves him very much- she would have these pseudo panic attacks when she thought of her life without him. But, she wasn't making any changes to accommodate Neal in any way. I know I am making Georgie sound like a tool, but she wasn't. Her inner dialogue was really enlightening, and you can't help but adore her. She is so in love with Neal, and is aware that, maybe, he is unhappy, but she wasn't sure how and what to change to encourage him, and whether he would even accept any of her attempts. In short, Georgie is conflicted.

For the most part, this is Georgie's story. It's her battling guilt and confusion. It is her being indecisive and nostalgic. There are so many emotions circling Georgie.

Let's talk about how great of a writer Rainbow Rowell is. She's amazing. She has this fantastic ability to create stories that are fun and entertaining, that appear light hearted and breezy, I mean, Landline involves a yellow rotary phone and time travel.  However, these stories also have deeper themes that require a bit of emotional stamina. There are some real issues that Georgie and Neal need to work through, there are some life changes that need to happen. And you don't know if everything is going to work out.

Overall, Landline was great. I loved it. f you have enjoyed Rainbow's previous novels, you are sure to enjoy Landlines.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Movies/TV Shows

Top Ten Favourite Movies or TV Shows! (can break it down to top ten favorite romance movies or comedy shows etc. etc.)

I love TV! Yes, yes I do. I also adore movies. So this week's topic, is pretty great. I've divided things up this week, and have chosen my top five TV shows, and top five movies. Can it be done? Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish.

TV Shows:

1) New Girl

This show is hilarious! There are so many great one liners. I find that I have to pause the show when I start laughing, so I won't miss anything. This show is just SO ridiculous sometimes. I love it! 

2) Supernatural

I have loved this show from the very beginning. Through the good and the bad (season seven). But I have stuck by it. Basically because I'm emotionally invested to the Winchesters. Those boys are my loves. 

3) Gilmore Girls

I started watching Gilmore Girls a little later. I want to say around season three. I don't know why. But this show was great. Even now, seven years after the show has ended, I find myself rewatching episodes and missing the banter.  

4) Doctor Who

Doctor Who is seriously the best show out there. I geek out majorly when it comes to this show. It's embarrassing... but really I don't care. I love this show. I discovered it in March 2013, and have since become completely obsessed! 

5) True Blood

It feels very weird to have True Blood right after Doctor Who (it's almost like they shouldn't know each other), but whatever. I have had a love hate relationship with True Blood. But realistically, I could rewatch this show, over and over. It's so ridiculously stupid, but kind of addicting at the same time. 


1) Dracula

The 1992 version of Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my favourite movies. I don't know what this says about me, but I absolutely loved this film. Gary Oldman is absolutely brilliant! I find this to be a truly epic love story. 

2) The Great Gatsby 

This is the most recent addition to my movie favourites. I absolutely love Leonardo DiCaprio, and I thought he was brilliant as Jay Gatsby. Absolutely amazing. I really liked the modern twist of this classic tale. Great film.

3) Interview with the Vampire

I will be the first to tell you, that I am not a fan of Vampires. This is mostly because most vampire stories these days go against everything I know about vampires. The vampires of the 90s are where it's at. Interview with the Vampire is my all time favourite movie. Brad Pitt in  1994...whewwww.

4) Zombieland 

I don't do zombies. I don't like them, I think they are stupid. However, this movie was fantastic! It has a bunch of great things, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson. I just remember having a good laugh with this one. 

5) The Princess Bride

I was old(er) when I first saw this movie. I think it's only been a couple of years. But it has quickly become one of my favourites. I love this movie! It's funny and endearing and romantic. This movie is referenced so many times.

Well, there you have it. My hodge podge mix of of favourites. This list was harder to come up than I thought it would be. What are some of your favourite? I am always looking for new TV shows and movies. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

My Thoughts: Four Years of Blogging

It was just after three this afternoon when I realized that today was July 7th. And I thought to myself, "Oh, wow. I have been blogging for four years today, and I almost missed it." Can you believe I almost missed my four year blogiversary! Unacceptable. After that big realization I spent the rest of the afternoon reflecting on the last four years. Mostly, I thought about how blogging has influenced me as a reader and the people I have met in the last four years.

In the very first post, I claim that I was not a young adult (I was 23 years old... I was a young adult), and that I didn't particularly read YA all that often, and I expressed surprise that a YA novel had the ability to captivate me so much. Ha, how things have changed. Today, YA is a huge part of what I read- like 90%, and I have read some absolutely stunning YA novels. Stories that left me heartbroken and sobbing for hours, stories that had thinking about life and what was really important, I have read amazing adventure novels, that were so fun and SO well written I have recommended them to my friends and insisted they read them. Don't let me fool you, I have read some pretty questionable books in the last few years, but those are few and far between.

Prior to Just Another Story actually becoming a thing, I mostly read romance novels. I was a romance junkie. Nora Roberts, Diana Palmer, Rachel Gibson, Anne Stuart, and the list goes on. I could easily have read two or three books a week. This was pretty expensive, because I bought 95% of the books I read. I would be at the book store at least once a week, sometimes more. They knew me by name at my local store. I never shopped online for the book. Never, Amazon wasn't really a thing for me back then. It wasn't until the blog took off that I started ordering my books. And at first, I would order them from the local book store's website. I can't pinpoint when I switched over to Amazon, but somewhere along the way I did. I no longer support Amazon- but that's a story for another time.

 Also, I never used the library back then! I had a library card and would occasionally go with my housemate, but I never reserved book, I never went just to browse. It wasn't a place I frequented. Now, the library is my best friend. I am always requesting books from the library, whether it be from the elibrary so I can fill my Kobo, or from the actual library where I have to go pick up the books! I absolutely love the library.

I have met some absolutely incredible people while blogging, and I think I can say, they've become pretty great friends! The book blogging community is so much fun to be part of. People who love books and reading just as much as you do. What more could a girl ask for? I have been introduced to so many different novels and authors based on the recommendations of fellow bloggers and readers. I have had some intense conversations and debates. I truly feel blessed by the people in this community.

There are a few dudes I want to mention. Bloggers who I call friends and have been SO supportive to me during my time as a blogger.

Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict is amazing! I don't know when we started chatting, but it started fairly early on and it's be a great experience getting to know her (we have found that we have don't often read the same kind of books, but that doesn't matter), and I am happy and honoured to call her my friend. She is one of my oldest blogger friends and I have nothing but love for that lady!

Katherine from The Lady Critics Library is a freaking hoot. Another lady I've had the pleasure of talking books with for a a few years now. This one cracks me up. She's got a killer sense of humour and had read everything under the sun. She mostly does Youtube videos now, you should check her out, if you haven't already.

Carrie, who was once upon a time part of Stalking the Bookshelves (which she co-ran with her sister). I now interact mostly with Carrie on Twitter (@OneBookishMom). 99.9% of the books Carrie recommends to me are fantastic! She has never let me down. She always replies when I tweet her (and I tweet her a lot- she'll get tired of me someday). I absolutely love talking books and TV with her.

I also need to shout out to my local ladies. The blogging community where I live isn't very big- at least I don't think so. But in the last couple of months, I've been able to connect with a few fantastic bloggers. Joy from Joyous Reads, Maryann and Gabby from Chapter by Chapter and also Kristie from Lost in Ever After. We've been able to get together a couple of times and talk books and it's been great every time. #lovedit #fivestars.

It's funny that this day comes as I contemplate my future as a blogger. It's a good thing actually. I think I have been feeling burnt out and have been feeling the pressure to blog all the time. Was it time to shut er down, was a big question on my mind. I love reading and I love sharing my thoughts on the things that I am reading, but I was seeing a lot of negativity and ugliness in the last couple months and it was jading me towards this whole experience. However, I took a couple week's off, and I looked back on my blog and was reminded that I really do love and appreciate what I have built up these last four years, and I don't want to abandon it. It means to much to me. I'm here for the long haul, and I hope you are to!

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Thoughts: Five Ways to Fall by KA Tucker

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…

**Review copy received from Netgalley**

I think I can now say that I am a fan of KA Tucker! I have read all four of her books and I have enjoyed every single on of them. Some more than others,  but really, for the most part I have really liked her stories.

Five Ways to Fall marks the end of  the Ten Tiny Breaths saga, which makes me very sad. It tells Ben's story. Remember Ben?  He was the bouncer at Penny's who was funding his college education with the money he made at the strip club. He was a real ladies man. I liked Ben, I liked him from the very beginning and I was glad that he got his own story. Five Ways to Fall is Ben's story after he leaves Penny's and enters the working world as lawyer, he finds himself working in a prestigious Miami law firm where he runs into the woman who abandoned him (in Mexico) puking on him.

Reese has a pretty tumultuous past. She got married at nineteen, after only knowing the guy a short while, she soon discovers her husband cheating on her with his high school sweetheart, and him asking for a divorce. This leads to Reese going on a rampage and vandalizing the apartment they once shared, going to jail, and being rescued by her step-father (who is no longer her step father), where he offers her a fresh start.

After being slightly disappointed with KA Tucker's last novel- Four Seconds to Lose- I wondered what I was going to get from Ben's story. I was nervous. Was it going to be corny and repetitive? Was I not going to connect with the story again? So many concerns. But I forgot something about Tucker, she's absolutely fantastic at creating and writing these incredibly likeable characters. Both Reese and Ben are well rounded, well developed characters. The banter between the two of them and well as with others was light and funny, and it really added to the story. This is important because Five Ways to Fall isn't the most original story ever written, there needed to be something that set it a part from all the other stories like it. The characters really do that, and it's great.

Five Ways to Fall is a little different from the rest of the series. It's a bit lighter- the subject matter isn't as heavy as the previous three books. Ben is a playboy and the way Tucker approaches his cocky attitude is more humorous than eye rolling. Ben does have his issues, and he needs to over come them, but really, this is not the theme that is pushing the book. The same can be said for Reese and the things she need work through, they are present, but they are not what drives story.

I am not sure what else can be said for Five Ways to Fall, other than, if you have enjoyed this series so far, you will enjoy this final chapter. It was a fun read.

~Happy Reading Everyone!  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Book to Movie: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Oh my heart.

Here's the story. I first read The Fault in Our Stars (TFiOS) in March of 2012 and was kind of blown away by it. It was seriously the best book I had read that year. So, with the film adaptation of the novel hitting theatres soon, my book club decided to make it our monthly read for April. We did this because the film was about to come out, and the girls wanted to read the book prior to seeing the film. So there I was two years after the initial read, back in the world of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters.

The Book

As many of you probably already know, TFiOS is about a girl named Hazel Grace- who has a terminal form of cancer- and a boy named Augustus Waters- who is in remission. The boy and the girl meet, and they fall in love. To me, this is what TFiOS is all about, at it's deepest roots, it's a love story. Not a cancer story.

One of the biggest questions surrounding TFiOS is whether it's a cancer book. It is a question that is featured on almost every discussion/book club guide.

At one point, Hazel says, "Cancer books suck." Is this a book about cancer? What were you expecting? Were those expectations met...or did the book alter your ideas?

It is something Green himself has addressed: His claim is that The Fault in Our Stars is a book about cancer, but it's not a cancer book (which can be difficult to wrap you head around). After my first read of TFiOS, I was amazed and grateful that the focal point in this story wasn't cancer. I really liked that the story wasn't written in a way that made you want to feel sorry for the characters in a way that made them feel like they weren't really living.

 I read a review a few weeks ago (which partially led me to write what I am writing now), where the author (of the review) thought that this book romanticises cancer and that they story didn't put enough focus on the fact that these kids were living/had lived with the disease. Honestly, I was irritated with these comments, I felt like the reader missed the whole point of the story.

Don't let cancer kill you, before it kills you. 

This is something Hazel ponders at some point in the book. She doesn't want her cancer to rule her life. I felt like this was a large theme of the novel. These kids are LIVING with their illness, the are living.

John Green is a phenomenal writer. He is truly a genius. And anyone who has read anything by him knows this. As I will mention later, his books make you  contemplate everything. He gets you thinking and keeps you thinking. The Fault in Our Stars has stayed with me, and will stay with me for a long time I think.

The Movie

I am going to admit, when I first heard they were going to make TFiOS a movie, I had my reservations. I am not quite sure what they were, but I wasn't sure. But I love movies, and I love going to the movies, I also knew there was no way in ever that I would miss this one on the big screen. I have now seen the TFiOS film twice- I went the first time on my own, and had a kind of crap experience, and then again, last night, with the book club girls. 

Overall, it was a good movie. But, there was something missing for me and I believe I know what it is. 

For the most part, the cast of the movie was great. Shailene Woodley is kind of amazing. I really liked her as Hazel. I was REALLY impressed with what she did in the Anne Frank House, I actually believed that she was struggling to breathe after all those stairs. I am a fan. I also really liked Nat Wolff as Isaac. While he may not have looked the way Isaac was described in the novel, I think his portrayal of the blind teen was spot on. I actually would have liked to have seen more of him in the movie. Another character that really stood out to me was Willem Dafoe was Peter Van Houten. He was hysterical and hateful all at once. It was great. 

What I wasn't completely sold on (and yes I am going to say it), was Ansel Elgort as Augustus. Let me preface this by saying, I really like Ansel Elgort as a person, and I think he's a fine actor, I just wasn't sure about the way the movie makers chose to develop Gus. He was to silly, and I had a hard time taking him seriously. It was almost as if everything Gus said was a joke. This was not the sense I got from Gus as I was reading the book. However, Ansel sure knows how to cry. The grand revelation in Amsterdam- when he starts crying, that was pretty epic, and I give the guy major points for crying and making me believe it. 

Here's the thing. I liked the movie, but I didn't love the movie. And I have thought about this long and hard, and wondered what wasn't sitting right with me. And I think I know what it is. The movie is lacking the beauty of John Green's prose. Yes, it's his story, and yes he created the characters, and the dialogue. But, John Green writes in a way that makes you think, and keeps you thinking long after you've finished the book. The film is very much lacking the depth of the book. 

I have no idea if I am making sense. But the book was so much more then the movie was. The movie was good, and for the most part it stayed true to the story. Like I mentioned earlier, I would have liked to have seen more of Isaac, because Nat Wolff was so great, and I to off set all of the Hazel and Augustus moments- break them up a little. 

Overall, the movie was fine, it was cute, and I grinned the whole way through when I first saw it. But it wasn't amazing. 

And there you have, my thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I can now move on with my life. 
If you've seen the movie, tell me what you thought of it. I am actually really curious. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books This Year (so far)

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Love the topic this week. I love reviewing the books I've read and choosing the ones I loved the best. I have read some pretty great books this year and I am excited to share them with you.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

In no particular order. 

1) The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco-Because it was beautifully scary. 

2) Plus One by Elizabeth Fama- Because I loved the characters.

3) Angelfall by Susan Ee- Because this is a book that does angels right. 

4) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski- Because the story was SO interesting and unique.

5) Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder- Because I just liked it- it was a fun story. 

6) Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay- Because this is one of the best fairy tale retellings I've ever read!

7) The Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick- Because it's brilliant! Read it! 

8) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales- Because it's a real story about a real girl.

9) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak- Because... Just because.

10) Cress by Marissa Meyer- Because this series keeps getting better.

Honourable Mention: 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- Because... Pain demands to be felt. 

Et voila! There is my list for the week. Let me know if you've read any of these books I mentioned, and what you thought of them. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl