Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Series I Really Need to Finish (Like, seriously)

The problem with reading a book series: actually finishing the series.

There are so many reasons why I haven't been able to finish all the series that I've started, many out of my control (or that's what I tell myself so I don't feel guilty shhh shhh shhh just go with it.) Sometimes I didn't have the money to buy all the books together, but more often than not it's that I started a series when only the first book was released and didn't work too hard at keeping up when the next books were published. So I fell behind. And it kept happening, because I kept starting new series.

Totally relatable, right? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

The other day I took the time to add a goodreads shelf and tag all the series I have to finish. I figured I'd make a post about it so you guys could tell me which series I really need to get my butt in gear over and just finish already.

(NOTE: Clicking the covers of the books will take you Amazon, where you can purchase the books in whatever format your beautiful little heart desires. You deserve only the best.)

• The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi • 
(Yes I know the first cover doesn't match but that's the cover of the copy that I own and I personally like it better than the weird seasonally decorated eyeballs. So we're all just going to have to quiet that little voice in our heads that demands uniformity. Quiet down, little voice. Quiet down.)

There's absolutely no reason why I haven't finished this trilogy yet except pure laziness. I mean, it's a trilogy. In terms of series, trilogies are pretty easy to get through. I was lucky enough to get an ARC for Shatter Me before it came out and I totally devoured that book all at once–you can read my review of Shatter Me right here. I loved it. I even got one of my good friends to read it after I gifted her a copy for Christmas, and she finished the series before I did! She tells me it's amazing and that she knows I'll be happy with the ending. Perhaps I'll visit the book store and pick up Unravel Me next.

• The Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent •
I read all the way up to the 4th book, My Soul to Steal, and then once I finished it, I was stuck. I haven't finished this series because I actually refuse to. For some reason, this book series makes me really anxious and reading it is literally emotionally exhausting. Not to mention, I know what's going to happen next and I'm not sure if I'm actually ready to read it. I will, at some point. I really want to know how everything will resolve. And it has my bae 5ever, Tod. I love that boy like dog loves bacon. 

• The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout •
(Can we take 2 seconds out of our lives to talk about the Origin cover? That ab definition. Mm.)

The Lux series is one I haven't finished out of pure laziness. Gosh, I'm such a bum. I love this series so much! Enough that I've purchased multiple copies of Obsidian and handed them out to friends, basically forcing them to read it. They had no choice. This friendship is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship. Now read your YA sci-fi romance!

Ahem, anyway. I've read up to the 3rd book, Opal. Lately my completely legitimate excuse is that I can't afford to buy new books so I've been relying on the good ol' New York Public Library to feed my need of books. The branch closest to me never seems to have Origin on the shelves, which is strange and annoying. I'm still checking though!

• The Steampunk Chronicles series by Kady Cross •

Ugh these covers give me life. Look at them, such pretty girls in awesome steampunk attire. This is my aesthetic. 

The Steampunk Chronicles is one of my favorite steampunk series of all time! I've read the first and second books, along with a short story that's not shown here that's a prequel to the series, and I'm completely obsessed with the world and characters that Kady Cross has created. Again, just a matter of laziness and, now, a budget that doesn't support the purchasing of books. I will finish it though, because my heart is thoroughly invested in one Jack Dandy. 

• The Widdershins Adventures series by Ari Marmell •
The Widdershins series is the high fantasy YA series that  I think needs to just blow up and become super popular. Knowing how hard that is and the way the book community is so easily distracted by the next shiny thing to pop up in Harper Teen's upcoming catalogue, I doubt it'll happen, but I'll do my part to share my love of this series. Which is why I confuse even myself when I realized that I haven't finished it. I've read the first and second books, both of which were sent to me for review, and love love loved them. Just thinking about how much I loved them is sort of convincing me to get off my lazy butt and find a copy of of Lost Covenant to start reading. Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure I saw it at my library the last time I went. 

These are just a few series I picked off my TBR shelf to showcase and talk about. Which series should I jump on right now? Please, give me a kick in the butt in the comments!

If you haven't read any of these books, you should totally click on them and give them a try! These may be series that I haven't finished, but they're series that I want to finish, and that's because they're great!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Changes coming...

I love my blog. I really do. This blog is the product of a deep rooted passion I have for reading; a passion that unfortunately has fallen to the wayside as adult life has sapped free time from my life. Reading is time consuming, and while I believe it's time well spent, it's sometimes hard to justify the hours spent in a book when a million other things need attending to.

I've realized, however, that there are so many things that I love talking about and sharing my thoughts on, like makeup, anime, animals, and even food. For so long I treated this blog as a strictly books only thing, but I've realized that this is mine. This is my space. I can do what I want with it, and so I will.

Books will not go away. This is, after all, called What's Your Story Book Reviews. I won't let the integrity of that name go to waste. But I think I can keep the life in this blog going if I allow myself to share all the other passions in my life occasionally too. I think you guys will enjoy it, actually. I'm brimming with ideas of things to share.

My reviews will still maintain what I like to believe is a sense of professionalism and will still have the same amount of effort put into them. But I think I'd also like to start journaling a little as well. Some more informal posts that are not so edited and are just stream of consciousness.

I hope you all will still be here for these changes as I move forward trying to get this blog up and in the air again, hopefully soaring higher than it did before. Books are still going to comprise the majority of this blog, hopefully something around 60% of the content. There'll just be room for other stuff too.

With much love,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this meme we post about a book that we're eagerly anticipating!

This week I'm waiting for...
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

Let me know what you guys think and post links to your WoW posts so I can comment back!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Before by Cambria Hebert

Pages: 45
Publisher: Otherworld Publications
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
#0.5 in Series
Source: Amazon
What if your life was charmed and everything in it was perfect…....

This is the story of my past. Of what things were like for me when everything was normal. Of what every teenager’s life is like. Clothes. Parties. Boys and summer vacation. What’s so wrong with that?

I liked it. I was happy.

Until things changed. I changed.

I didn’t know that lies and secrets were about to take over my existence. I didn’t know there was someone out there, someone meant just for me. I didn’t know that I was about to go on a journey, a journey that would lead me to the girl I am today.

This is the beginning of the worst year of my life. Would I go back and change things? Erase everything that has happened to go back into these moments?

Not a chance.

This is a story of before.

This was a very short prequel to the Heaven and Hell series by Cambria Hebert. It took me a few minutes to read, so it wasn't too time consuming which is good. I'm just trying to clean out my Kindle and I had downloaded it a very long time ago when it was free (the ebook costs $0.99 now) so I figured I should just read it before taking the file off.

Honestly, I'm not very interested in the series after reading Before. The writing style was fine, nothing too spectacular. But I just didn't see the point of this prequel. We learned nothing important about the characters except Sam is a stalker who works for a murderer and Heven (really? could her name be any cheesier?) is a normal, rather uninteresting teenage girl who cheerleads and likes boys. Good for you, girl, but you're kinda boring. This prequel didn't feel like it had any purpose to it other than to end on a very predictable cliffhanger in the hopes of getting you to buy the next book. Eh, not really interested.

2 out of 5 stars.

Amazon: Kindle

About the Author
Cambria Hebert is a latte sipping author of the Heven & Hell series, the Death Escorts series, and the Take It Off series. She loves a caramel latte, hates math and is afraid of chickens (yes, chickens). She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children (both human and furry) where she is plotting her next book.
Website | Twitter | Facebook
This book was downloaded from Amazon for my Kindle for free. All views expressed above are solely my own.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Books I Want SO Badly I Could Pee (12): The I've Been Gone for WAY too Long Edition

What is this feature?

This feature started a few years ago when I was joking with some authors on twitter about how just looking at their upcoming books made me want them so badly I could pee. I've been out of the blogging world for about a year now, and unfortunately I've fallen way behind when it comes to the newest books and what the latest trends are. But, I've been trying to catch up by visiting blogs and scouring Goodreads. This list of books is books that are either up and coming, or ones that were published in the past year that I missed out on and would really like to read.

The Books

Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...
In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Why I'm Peeing

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker •
I've seen this book everywhere since I started blogging again. And not just that, almost everything I've read about it has been raving about how great it is. I love fantasy, and this sounds like just the right amount of dark and gritty that would make it an engrossing read. Once I finish the current books on my Kindle, this is the first book I'm downloading!

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin •
I love historical novels about girls boarding schools. Does that sound strangely specific? Well, just look at the A Great and Terrible Beauty series. That one was off the chain amazing. I have high hopes for this one too!

Storm Siren by Mary Weber •
I know this book was released a while ago, last year I'm pretty sure. But lately I've been seeing a few reviews for the sequel that look really intriguing, so my interest is piqued. Plus, that cover is pretty cool! I am definitely someone to judge a book by its cover.

What do you guys think of these novels? Read any of them? Please share with me down below!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity
Pages: 368
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
#1 in Series
Source: Purchased
Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

Don't you love being surprised by a book? I'll admit I didn't feel too strongly about this book one way or the other. It's been on my Kindle for ages and I just figured I'd give it a go. I didn't expect anything monumental, although I was of course hoping for a good read.

I ended up really enjoying myself while reading Grasping for Eternity. I finished it in a day, mostly because I like finishing books as quickly as possible and also because I wanted to know more about the characters and the story. I was nicely surprised at how unique the premise of this book was, even if it did incorporate common tropes found in a lot of YA paranormal romance books.

The good...

Heck yeah, awesome reincarnation idea.
Reincarnation is pretty cool, and I like stories that can use it effectively. I've read a few books where I was like 'eh' about the whole reincarnation thing, but I like the concept of Elements and how at death one can choose to retain or erase their memories. I'll admit the idea of the story was a nice change in the YA scene, although it's not a groundbreaking change that breaks the mold. If I'm going to be honest, I can actually draw a lot of parallels between the Luna family and the Cullen family (from Twilight, for those who were spared the torture of reading it and somehow are blessedly ignorant of the reference.) Not to say that Karen Amanda Hooper tried copying Twilight or anything, because I don't think she did. I just mean to say that it's hard to escape the common tropes that popular YA fiction, but I thought the author did a good job of sculpting them to suit her needs.

The cast of characters was pretty cool.
This book was positively stuffed with characters of all different ages and personality types. I'll admit in the beginning this was a little annoying because I couldn't remember everyone's name and it was disorienting for awhile. But I came to like just about everyone (besides the main character but I'll talk about that in a bit.) Nathaniel had me on the fence sometimes as a love interest because he did one pretty crazy thing that I was just like... yo, dude. But then again he was just responding to Maryah's emotional word vomit so I can't really blame him.

The critical...

Girl, you are the most dense human being on the face of the planet. For real? I'm sorry, but I just couldn't relate well with Maryah. This girl wouldn't be able to see her own hand in front of her face in broad daylight, she's so dense. The most obvious things were happening in front of her and she never even stopped to question what was going on. She never took the time to connect the dots or to critically analyze just what the hell was going on with the people in her life. And I felt like she never did anything, in the whole book. She let things be done to her, and just kinda went through life like a pinball, letting herself bounce off of things and be shot off in whatever direction. Interestingly enough, though, my reading experience wasn't really hindered because of her. I think it had to do with the fact that the book is written with alternative points of view, vacillating between Nathaniel and Maryah. The changes in point of view kept it fresh, and I still wanted to know what would happen next even when reading from Maryah's perspective.

There's still plenty of questions that need answering, so the sequel is definitely on my wishlist.

FREE BOOK ALERT! The kindle edition of this book is free! If you're in any way interested in this book and have a Kindle, there's no reason why you shouldn't head over and download it right now!

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

About the Author
Born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and I'm currently sunning and splashing around Florida with my two beloved rescue dogs.

I'm addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters. I am a constant work in progress.

A self-proclaimed twisted little pixie, I believe that magic and true love really do exist, even in a world that can be ugly at times. I like to dance down rabbit holes and ride shooting stars while playing a never-ending game of “Imagine If…” Then I write about my fantastical musings and call myself an author. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love storytelling way too much.

Due to my strong Disney upbringing, I still believe in fairy tales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of my novels.
Website | Twitter | Facebook
This book was downloaded from Amazon for my Kindle. All views expressed above are solely my own.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer 
Pages: 378
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Steampunk
#1 in Series
Source: Purchased
She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.

The Falconer is Elizabeth May's debut novel, an interesting take on the fae world that combines steampunk elements into a historical novel set in Scotland. I actually really liked the way May portrayed her faeries--as ugly and bloodthirsty--although we couldn't quite escape that 'unearthly beautiful' trope in Kiaran. The description for this book totally captured me, and I went into reading it hoping to find another steampunk novel that I could rave about to everyone. Unfortunately I didn't find that.

Something was off with the pace.
Something with the story is clearly off when I fall asleep reading it, not once, but twice. And I mean that literally--I fell right asleep with my Kindle in my hand in the middle of reading The Falconer. The could just be because I'm perpetually sleep deprived, but I've stayed up until 4am finishing other books before so I'm not sure I'm the problem. The strange thing is that things were happening--there was plenty of action. It's not like Aileana was sitting around twiddling her thumbs for 300 pages. It just wasn't engrossing for me. I think it comes down to a disconnect I felt with her character (and most of the characters in the novel, to be honest) that wasn't allowing me to really care what went on. There were dull moments, though, that I think were supposed to fill in Aileana's personality and give her a life outside of faery hunting but honestly I skimmed over those scenes.

Tragedy does not equal personality.
To bounce off my previous point, Aileana really didn't have a personality. She constantly spoke about how she was empty after her mother's death, and the only thing she lived for was to murder the fae and to avenger her mother's death. Quite frankly, an empty tunnel-visioned character like that isn't interesting to read about. After the 20th time of her informing the reader that she felt nothing but blood-lust and couldn't have a normal future like get married or whatever, it got stale. What are the stakes in her life? What does she have to lose? That's the interesting part that I felt totally bereft of and as a result, didn't care much about Aileana. Okay, she could die fighting fae. But she doesn't seem to care much, given she's so empty, according to her.

Steampunk was not explored.
I love steampunk. I think it offers so many opportunities for creativity and innovation, especially when reimagining the Victorian era. For example, I think The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross does that beautifully. This book? Not so much. Honestly, what was the point of the steampunk element? It did nothing besides give Aileana an excuse to use strange weapons of her own design. But other than that, it added nothing to the atmosphere or the setting that I felt required the steampunk element being there.

Will I be reading the sequel? If I have time, I hope I can. That'll judge whether I finish out the trilogy or not. I really wanted to enjoy this novel because from the description it had all the elements I love in a book. But, unfortunately it just didn't hit the mark for me. Was it horrible? No. Just very flawed. There were some redeeming qualities. For example, I liked Derrick, Aileana's little pixie friend that lives with her and mends her clothes in exchange for honey. And I did like Gavin, a childhood friend turned love interest, although he didn't totally light my fire, if ya know what I mean.

If you'd like to give this book a chance, go for it. But if you've read what I had to say and have doubts, I think it's better to skip out on The Falconer. Which is a shame, because I'm always looking for quality steampunk to read and recommend. But hey, the ebook is $0.99, so if you want to take the chance anyway, it's not much to lose, right?

2 out of 5 stars.

Barnes and Noble: Paperback | Hardcover | Nook

About the Author
Elizabeth May was born in California, where she lived during her formative years before moving to Scotland. She has a BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Marlboro College and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. When she isn’t writing, she can be found hiking through the Scottish highlands with a camera in hand.
She currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. For more information, follow her on Twitter @_ElizabethMay or visit her website www.elizabethmaywrites.com&nbsp
This book was purchased by me off of Amazon in Kindle format using my own money. All views expressed above are solely my own.


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