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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stefanie's Thoughts: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

Hi everyone! Apologies for my absence last week. It was my birthday over the weekend and I usually write my posts on the Sunday, which is why I didn't have anything up for you. Now that we're just that much closer to Halloween I'm full force reading everything spooky I can find. I'm currently reading Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon and just found out that it's currently in development for a Disney movie (Halloween + Disney = absolute perfection)!

Katie Alender is an auto-buy author for me and I saved Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall for this Halloween, knowing it would fit the mood.

I was really into the story when I first started it. I liked Delia as the main character and was instantly drawn into her narrative. The mystery behind the house kept me intrigued and I was on the edge of my seat trying to see if I could figure out all the mystery behind the house before it was revealed.

However, even though I loved the setting of a creepy old mansion that housed "hysterical girls", I felt the plot itself was a little slow and dry. I was bored throughout because nothing really happened. There were complete chapters where not a single thing happened; then we'd get the next chapter and I'd be back on the edge of my seat. This made the book feel almost too dramatic because it was like I'm going to throw in this twist but not follow it up until fifteen pages later.

The love interest Theo even let me down, because to me it wasn't a true relationship; I felt he was written for the convenience of having a relationship because that's what readers almost expect. Don't get me wrong, I love having a romantic interest but in my mind this would have worked perfectly well without it and just having Theo be one of the regular ghosts. I liked Theo by himself and hearing about his past was actually one of the highlights of the book.

Overall I felt letdown. I was expecting some horrortastic creepy book you normally find from Alender. If she hadn't been the author I think it would have been rated 2.5-3 stars but because Alender wrote it I'm giving it a 3.5 stars, because the ending really did wrap things (mostly) up nicely. I did find some endings were abrupt but we as readers aren't left with some major cliffhanger like The Walking Dead (sorry I don't watch that show but it was everywhere on social media as I was writing this).

Other #Spookathon Reads - Quick Thoughts

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida C√≥rdova 

I wasn't feeling it and I'm skeptical if I'll read the next book in the series. I had a hard time getting into the story. It was perfect for the Spookathon though. I'm giving this one 2 stars.

And The Trees Crept in by Dawn Kurtagich

I had super high expectations for this one because her debut The Dead House was amazing. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it. This one had all the creepy aspects I wanted (including snakes in a toilet to a creeptastic manor) but the overall execution if it confused me. A lot of it felt it was randomly written and didn't all come together. The ending was great though giving this one 3 stars.  

I'm saving Fantastic Foursome for closer to Halloween. That's all form me this week. Talk to you guys next week! 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Thoughts: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives

If you have read my September wrap up I mentioned that a few local bloggers and myself started a book club of sorts. Well our first book for said club was This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. While only two of us actually read the book, props to Ola who is one third of The Autumn Bookshelf for being with me and finishing this book. I actually completed this one fairly quickly and I have a few thoughts about it.

This Savage Song is told from the perspective of our two main characters, Kate Harker the human girl determined to take over her father's empire, and August Flynn one of three rare breeds of monster, with the ability to steal one's soul with the sound of music. Both Kate and August are from opposing teams (for lack of a better word), one is monster, one is human. One is determined to be a hardened criminal, and the other wants nothing more than to be good and protect the community. Somehow, the two end up together in an attempt to figure what's going wrong with their beloved city.

What do I think? What do I think? Well, the first half was SLOOOOOW! Slow enough that if I wasn't so curious about August, I probably would still be reading it. Don't get me wrong, Victoria Schwab is a brilliant story teller, but she spends a lot of time setting the stage. Way to much time. I spent the first half of the book waiting for something to happen.  The second half of the book picks up a bit, but not in a big way. Really, the story was really kind of meh for me. I absolutely hate saying this, but it felt a bit generic. Not the most original plot I have ever read- aside from the city being overrun by monsters. That was pretty interesting, and the process in which the monsters were created (from intense acts of violence) was neat, this is probably why I gave this book a higher rating.

I had some trouble connecting to Kate. I didn't particularly like her- I didn't understand her motif for why she was the way she was. She was angry and rebellious and stand offish in a way and for reasons I just did not get. I found August and his situation way more interesting. August, our tortured monster, who lives his life day by day trying not to lose control and succumbing to the his volatile monster self, his instinct is to feed and he resists this urge like an alcoholic resists their vice. I really loved this part of the story. I also must admit I enjoyed the parts where Kate and August got to know one another and developed a better understanding of each other. I enjoyed seeing their semi-friendship grow. I am curious to see where that will go in the next book- Schwab has insisted that there is ZERO romance in this novel, so these two will simply remain friends, which I think is pretty cool.

Overall, I gave this book a 3.5 stars. The beginning was slow, I didn't like the female protagonist, and I wasn't super convinced with the story. However, Schwab's writing was lovely, I really liked August, and I thought the concept of the monsters was unique. Even with my sharing about all that I didn't like with this book, I am standing my my 3.5 star rating. I enjoyed the novel enough to stick behind that rating. And I am pretty sure I will read the conclusion to this duology once it's out next year.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Thoughts: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

So-  Colleen Hoover- who hasn't read anything by Colleen Hoover? She's all over. I myself have read three novels by Colleen Hoover, one was so unmemorable to me I totally forgot I read, never mind what it's about. The other was good, really good- if not a bit dramatic. And than there is It Ends With Us.  This book was much anticipated and there was major buzz surrounding it. Even I was eager to get my hands on it. There were whispers that It Ends With Us was unlike anything Hoover had ever produced.

Even though every one and their cousin has read this book... In short (and without spoilers), It Ends With Us revolves around Lily and her relationship with Ryle. And what a complicated relationship that is. I am hesitant to say much more than that. What really allows this book to pack such a punch is going into it blind. So there's that.

So, what are my thoughts? It's going to be hard for me to express my thoughts while keeping things secret. So I shall split them into what I liked and what I didn't really like.

What I Liked:

There were elements in this book that I found incredibly insightful and I thought Hoover did a great job and exploring the complications of Lily and Ryle's relationship- nothing is ever black and white. I appreciated that. Throughout the book Lily writes diary entries which she addresses to Ellen Degeneres- this was a nice touch. It was through these journals that we got snapshots into Lily's past and the events that formed her. Both Lily and Ryle have some amazing people in their corner and some amazing supports. This was a major plus for the novel.

What I wasn't sure about:

The pace of the book felt a little funny to me. It's not a short book, coming in at 384 pages. But I felt like there was so much going on that it could probably have been longer. To me, there were some things that were well developed and well rounded out, and others that felt rushed. I felt this way particularly with the beginning of Lily and Ryle's relationship. I found it a bit insta-lovey, regardless of how things played out. Ryle also makes some shifts regarding his views on relationships that were a little eye-rolling and unbelievable I felt the same when Atlas returned- I wasn't fully convinced by his connection with Lily.

I am going to say this outright- the issues (if you could call them that)- should not make you not read this book. I just thought I would mention them.  I think you should read this book- it broaches some pretty intense topics and addresses them in some pretty interesting ways. I am not sure this was an amazing book (as everyone else seems to think), but I am glad I read it.

Overall, I enjoyed It Ends With Us, and I think it's important book to read. I gave it a solid 3 stars- maybe a 3.5 stars.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stefanie's #Spookathon TBR and Currently Reading

Hooray, Stefanie has decided to jump onto the #Spookathon band wagon. I (Sara) posted my TBR earlier this week, and today Stefanie is sharing hers. I hope you enjoy.

#Spookathon is a week long read-a-thon hosted by Booktubers Books and Lala, Paige's Pages and Bookerly, and runs from Oct 17-23/16. Check out the initial announcement video here.


Stefanie here for my first post. It's kind of daunting to be honest to be writing this so I thought I'd join in with the #Spookathon, because as I've mentioned I'm just (slightly) obsessed with Halloween. I'm doing a 31 days of Halloween movies too, so between those movies, these creepy books I'm full on Halloween happy.

Here's what I've planned to read:

1) The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
This covers a book with red on the cover.
I actually bought this book last year but saved it until this October because there's just something perfect about reading a Katie Alender book in October. I loved her Bad Girls Don't Die series so I know I have to start off the challenge with this one.

2) And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
This covers a thriller (maybe, it's tagged as one on Goodreads and I don't read a lot of thrillers so hopefully this will work) and a 2016 release.
I loved Kurtagich's first book The Dead House (if you haven't read it and want on really creepy spooky book, pick that one up) so naturally I knew I needed to read this one. Sounds just as creepy as her first one too.

3) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
This covers 2016 release and a book with a paranormal/ supernatural character.
The cover to this one is what drew me in. I love the idea of the main character being a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation. The twist? Alex, our main character, doesn't want her powers, and tries to get rid of her magic but instead gets rid of her family. It's book one of a series so I can't wait to get in and see what trouble Alex finds herself in

4) Tales from the Haunted Mansion, The Fearsome Foursome from Disney
This covers 2016 release, spooky word in the title and a supernatural creature
Being the grown up Disney lover I am I knew I had to include this one. I love the Disney movie Haunted Mansion and the ride is one of my favourites at Disneyland. This is a bonus one because I'm not sure if I'll be able to get through all the other books in this challenge. If not it'll get read right after the challenge ends. 

I'm so excited to be part of this reading challenge and it'll be nice to read some of the books on my TBR. It was actually kind of difficult to chose which books I wanted to read for this. 

I've been debating to challenge myself to try and read some of the older books on my TBR shelf that have been on their for longer than three years. I just finished one called Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors, which was the second book I ever added to my TBR shelf when I first joined Goodreads in 2013. I felt pretty accomplished when I finished it, knowing that it had been waiting for so long to get read.

Am I the only one that feels like that when they've read a book they've had waiting forever on their TBR? I hope not...

I'm currently reading Lucky T by Kate Brian, and I think I'll follow that up with Sea Change by Aimee Friedman.

 Both books have been on the TBR shelf just as long as Coffeehouse Angel had been. Sea Change seems like a good book to transition into the #Spookathon and I've heard really good things about it.

Thanks everyone for welcoming me here, I can't wait to share more about my reading adventures with you guys soon!


Monday, October 10, 2016

#Spookathon 2016 TBR

Hello Everybody!

Well, believe it or not it's OCTOBER! And with it comes Halloween and all things scary. Now, I don't particularly like anything spooky, I don't do horror, ghosts or anything supernatural. It freaks me out to much. But recently I have discovered  a new fondness for thrillers and books that keep you at the edge of your seat. Which to me totally fits in with the October Halloween theme.

So, I have decided to participate in the #Spookathon hosted by Booktubers Books and Lala, Paige's Pages and Bookerly. The Read-A-Thon is taking place the week of Oct 17-23. You can check out Lala's intro to the Spookathon here.

I am actually pretty excited about participating in this read-a-thon. I really like the idea of a read-a-thon, but I find them a little daunting. Working full time doesn't really allow for a lot of focused reading. However, the #Spookathon doesn't really have many rules- there are no set number of books to read, no "you have to read this" lists, it's an all inclusive read-a-thon. So, if you think something is spooky, or thrilling, it's a go.

There are a few "challenges" if you will, but they are simple and you can probably complete all the challenges with one book if you'd like:

1. Read a thriller
2. Read a book with red on the cover
3. Read a book with a spooky word in the title
4. Read a 2016 release
5. Read a book with a paranormal character/creature

SO, for the #Spookathon I am aiming to read 3 books. The plan is to listen to one and read the physical books of two.

1- Dracula by Bram Stoker- I have been wanting to read this book for years. The movie is one of my all time favourites (Gary Oldman as Dracula is pure genius). The #Spookathon is finally giving me a chance to read it (although this is my audio read for the week). This book would complete the -Read a book with a paranormal character/creature- challenge.

2- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris- I actually saw this one at the bookstore a couple weeks ago, and have been dying to read it since. I have requested it from the library and I think it should be available for me to read just in time for the week of the #Spookathon. This would complete a number of challenges - Read a thriller, Read a book with red on the cover and Read a 2016 release.

3- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire- This is may be the lightest of the reads. I am super curious about the premise, a school for kids who have returned from adventures in other worlds. I believe there is a a murder mystery within the plot of this one, but I am not 100% on that. It's a short book, and I am convinced I will get it read quickly.  This would complete the challenge of -Read a 2016 release and read a thriller (I think).

The only challenge I don't have figured out is, Read a book with a spooky word in the title, I could try and argue that 'closed' is a spooky word, but that would be a stretch.

If I finish both my physical books, I think I may also pick up The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy- It's the feature read of the week, and all three hosts will be reading it. I have heard pretty good things about it. So, we shall see.

I will be tracking my progress during the #Spookathon on my Facebook page, so if you haven't already, head over and click 'like' if you're wanting to see how I am doing.

As I said, I am excited about this read-a-thon and I am exciting to dive into all the books. I am particularly stoked for Dracula. If you are also interested in participating in the #Spookathon, but sure to check out the videos for more details- I believe there are a few giveaways taking place as well.

~Happy Reading Everyone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Something New

Hello Everyone! I have something pretty great to share with you all today. Something I am very excited to share with you.

Starting this month- Just Another Story will no longer be a one man show! You have read correctly, I have taken on a partner and I think it's going to give you all something beautiful.

*****Everyone, meet the newest member of Just Another Story*****

Hi everyone my name is Stefanie and I'm going to be blogging here at Just Another Story! I have an English degree and my library technician diploma and I work in a junior high school library so books and reading are my life (not at all a bad thing). I read all kinds of genres, including YA, middle grade and cozy mysteries. I love a good sweet contemporary romance, adventure packed fantasy or a scare you horror book, however I can't watch horror movies. 
My favourite authors include Meg Cabot, Maria V. Snyder, Beth Kendrick, Ally Carter, Sarah Mlynowski and Heather Blake.

My top five favourite books are:
1) My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison 
2) Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
3) Poison by Bridget Zinn
4) Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
5) Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas
Honorary mention is Just Your Average Princess by Kristina Springer (because it's hard to pick five)

Besides reading I love watching movies, anything baseball related (go Blue Jays!), yoga and going to the ballet and musicals. I dream of going to Broadway one day. I'm obsessed with anything Disney, from movies to their books to their musicals. My favourite Disney princess is Belle and Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film. I have watched it no joke about a hundred times. I also am obsessed with Halloween (Christmas too, but we can get to that after the Halloween madness has ended) and try to watch at least 31 Halloween themed films and read as many fantasy or magic related books in the month of October, so it's a great month for me to be joining so I can share my love with the month with all of you.

I'm very excited to be joining here and meeting you all. This will be my first time blogging so please be patient with me as I figure all of this out!! See you guys soon with my first review!

For now- you can find Stefanie's Goodreads here. Be sure to add her to keep tabs on what she's reading.

Welcome Stefanie. I am SO stoked to have you on board.
So, what does having Stefanie on board mean for the future of Just Another Story. It means more consistency in posting and a fresh voice. It's mean one more book lover to share the love of reading.  This is exciting stuff, friends!

I expect you all to give Stefanie lots of love and to check back soon for her first official post.

Thanks and,

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September Recap

Hi everyone!

Well it's been a minute since I've done a monthly recap- February to be exact- whoops. However, this past month I found I actually read a lot and was able to keep track of every thing. So, here I am sharing my month of SEPTEMBER with you.

Life in September was pretty low key, work continues to be chaotic and busy, however, the overwhelming stress of it has decreased significantly. I went fall camping, which was highly enjoyable, I was able to spend a lot time with friends I don't see very often. This month I met up with a number of local bloggers and with the idea of starting a book club of sorts. Our first meeting consisted of us taking over the YA section of the bookstore and yelling over the shelves- It was a lot of fun. A big highlight of the month for me had to be seeing the touring production of The Book of Mormon.

A photo posted by Sara (@jstanotherstory) on

I love musicals and I have been wanting to see this one for ages. The last time it was in town, it was only here for a couple of days and sold out fairly quickly. This time around I knew I wanted in. It was incredible, if you ever have the chance to see this production- you absolutely must. The dialogue is hysterical and the music is amazing. I am sure this won't be the last time I see it.

Onto the books

Number of books completed
Physical books
Physical Books: 
  • The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (4 stars)
  • Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (4.5stars)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (4 stars)
  • Turbulence by Whitney G (4.5 Stars) 
  • How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo (3 stars)   

Favourite Read of the Month

I don't normally read psychological thrillers. But for some reason I wanted to give them a try. After some "research" I grabbed Elizabeth Haynes' debut and devoured it. This one was SO good- it's a story about a domestic abuse survivor and her battle with OCD. It was a fascinating read, and I may have developed an obsession for psychological thrillers.

Audio Books: 

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (5 Stars)
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (3.5 Stars) 
  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (3.5 stars)
  • Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey (3 Stars) 

Favourite Listen of the Month 

How have I not read this book before now?!?! What an incredible story. I loved it. I loved Ari and I loved Dante, I want them both as my best friends. I loved their families. This book holds such a special place in my heart. I loved it so much! 

That's it for my Month of September. But please, stay tuned for October, I have an exciting announcement coming up- that you will not want to miss- I promise Please leave a comment below telling me what your favourite read of the month was, and if you're an audiobook listener, what's your favourite audiobook- I am always looking for recs. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!  

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"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