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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!  
"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