Saturday, 17 August 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: My Struggle to Find a Reading/Blog- Life Balance

As I have mentioned in many posts before, I have struggled for some time to post regular blog posts, and even keep up with reading. It is common for people to have more time to read and blog in the summertime, as school is obviously out. However, I find it ten times harder to keep up with blogging when I'm not in school. I suddenly become bombarded with social activities, and of course, work. I find it a lot easier to set aside time during my study hours in school to write blog posts, then it is to sit down at home when I'm super busy during the summertime.

Then there's the reading issue. I am, for the first time in years, behind in my goodread's reading challenge. It's actually become somewhat of a joke now, because I just keep seeing the number of books I am behind by get higher and higher. If you didn't notice, I didn't even do a July month in review because I literally had nothing to talk about reading-wise.

I'm finding it very hard to keep a reading/blogging-life balance. I look at other bloggers who are able to post multiple times in a week, where I'm lucky if I crank out one post a week. I used to post regularly on Wednesday's and Monday's, but the thought of posting more than once a week seems like a distant memory now.

Some good news though: I have been able to post three consistent weeks in a row, by writing posts in the evening's after I come back from work. It is not my ideal time to write, but it has allowed me to not drop off the face of the earth. It does scare me to abandon my blog, because I love this community so much and I never want to quit. I'm just worried that I'll never find the time.

I'm writing this post because I wanted to elaborate on some of the things I have said recently, but I also want tips. How do you find time in the day to sit down and read, and write. I'm hoping that once school starts again I will once more have the time, but I don't want to feel like I'm abandoning my blog once summer comes around again. I also want so badly to get back into reading again! Got any tips?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 9 August 2019

Love From A to Z by: S.K Ali

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 30th, 2019 by: Salaam Reads
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Zayneb is the only Muslim in her class, and this leaves her as the target for a number of snide remarks and racist teachings from her teacher. When she is suspended for finally confronting him, she decides to refuel in Doha, Qatar, with her eccentric aunt. Zayneb is determined to start off new in a place where nobody knows her. Then she meets Adam, a kind international student who is concealing his recent diagnosis of MS from his still grieving father. Zayneb and Adam meet under unlikely circumstances, but they soon form a bond, and help heal each other.

When I saw this book at the library, a mere one week after it was published, I was so excited! My library has a very small YA section, so this was a big deal to me. I thought this book was adorable, and I flew through it.

The characters were extremely lovable in this novel. Adam was my favourite. I found him to be so kind-hearted, and I really felt very bad for him at times. I thought his relationship with Zayneb was wholesome and cute, and I found them to have just the right amount of chemistry for still being teens. I didn't find them to speak a lot older than they were.

My only teensy issue I had this book is that *sometimes* Zayneb got on my nerves. Her character is meant to be a very fiery one, however I found that sometimes she flipped out on issues that could have been handled better. Flipping out on your racist teacher? That's totally fine with me. However there were times were I found she wasn't really fair to Adam because of how she treated him.

This book was a warm hug after Saints and Misfits by: Ali. I enjoyed that novel, but it has some harsher themes and got a little dark at times, whereas this book was light, fluffy, and a perfect summer read. Give it a go!

Have you read Love From A to Z? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 2 August 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: I'm Kinda Over Harry Potter

*Cue screams from HP fans.* When I was in elementary school, like most bookworms, I lived and breathed Harry Potter. I had t-shirts, watched the movies and re-read the books non-stop, and would attend any HP event I could find. Since I got older, I have tried to keep up with that obsession by re-reading the novels and still trying to attend HP themed events. I went to a midnight release for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I always expected to go see the play if it ever came to Toronto. But, when the opportunity finally arose to go see it, I realized that I'm just not in to Harry Potter anymore.

I have come to terms with the fact that Harry Potter was always just a phase for me, and was not going to be permanent interest. I feel like I forced myself in my teens to re-read the series when it just didn't interest me anymore. I have watched the movies to the death that they just don't provide a level of comfort they once did. Now it's just like: "ugh, another Harry Potter movie?" I am not into the so-called eighth novel whatsoever and I don't have any desire to see the play.

I find it interesting how I seemed to force Harry Potter onto myself when I was so clearly not into it anymore. I just feel like it is the quintessential novel to like. I mean, EVERY bookworm loves Harry Potter, right? It wasn't until I saw a tweet from a bookworm who said she thought Harry Potter was overrated, that I realized: wait, these people do exist.

I feel like as bookworms we can sometimes put beloved series up on pedestal that are so worshipped that it seems INCONCEIVABLE that anyone would dislike it. Upon working with some Harry Potter obsessed girls last fall, and watching them re-read the series over and over again, I pretended so much to still be interested in the story, but in reality I have just moved on. If the movies are on tv for the millionth time, I'll be like: "cool, Harry Potter is on, I remember when I used to like that series." But then I'll probably change the channel. I do look back on my Harry Potter phase with fond memories, but now I am confident in saying that it is just not my thing anymore. This is my HP confessional.

Are there any beloved series that you have fallen out of interest from?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 26 July 2019

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Genre: YA fiction, Contemporary
Published: October 9, 2018 by: Poppy
Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5 stars

Evan Hansen is a teen with severe social anxiety. To help combat this, his therapist has him write letters to himself: "Dear Evan Hansen, today's going to be a good day, and here's why." But, one of Evan's letters gets into the hands of Connor Murphy, an outcast who commits suicide with Evan's letter in hand. Soon Evan gets caught up in an elaborate lie in order to bring peace to the grieving Murphy family, and to gain the one thing he has always wanted: to belong.

This novel is based on the Tony-award winning musical that basically rules my entire life. If you know me, you pretty much know that Dear Evan Hansen is probably my all time favourite musical. I am passionate about the message, I see myself in Evan, and no car ride is complete without blasting "Waving Through a Window." So, when I saw the YA adaptation at my library, I had to give it a go.

I was not disappointed from what I got. The book stays extremely true to the musical. Pretty much the lines are the same as the script, with obviously more detail sprinkled in to make the dialogue longer. But I was really happy that little quips from the musical that I love were included. I didn't find that this book strayed too far away from the source material, which is why it is vital to include Levenson, Pasek and Paul as the authors. It is pretty much their story, and Emmich just put it into book form.

I liked how this book could do more with Evan's frantic mind. By putting it into 1st person, I could totally get the essence of Evan. I could imagine his quick talking as it is displayed in the musical. I could totally imagine book Evan saying these lines as Broadway Evan. So that was very appreciated.

This book was not a full-on home run though. I thought it was *slightly* cheesy. For example, Zoe Murphy is a singer/songwriter in the book, and the solos that she has in the musical are written as songs she has written in the book. It came across as ingenuine to me, and not really real. I found that this book didn't really elevate Zoe's character like they could have.

Overall, I am happy with this book. It did the musical justice, though if you have to pick between reading the book or seeing the musical (given you have the financial means to do so), then I would totally recommend the musical over the book. There is just nothing like hearing those vocals live, and I think the element of live theatre just provides a bit more emotion than the book did.

Have you read/seen Dear Evan Hansen? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 19 July 2019

Wow! She Still Blogs! A Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hi world! Remember when I used to put up regular posts? You know your life is busy when on your DAY OFF you still can't find time to write a post. My last post was my month in review for June and it is well into July. But alas, I have two minutes to myself, and so I decided to do one of those Mid-Year Book Tags. I feel like I haven't really chatted about my reading (or lack thereof) this year, so I thought this would be a good chance to share some favourites.

Best Book You've Read So Far in 2019: 

Without a single doubt, Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan. It was light-hearted, hilarious, and so romantic. I flew through it and the movie is awesome as well.

Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2019: 

Not a sequel, but as part of When Dimple Met Rishi series, There's Something About Sweetie takes the cake. I thought the characters were so lovable and I was happy to get an ARC of this!

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, but Want To: 

I really want to read Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey Mcquiston! I thought I would get to it this summer, but then life got in the way. I will get to it eventually!

Most Anticipated Release For The Rest of The Year: 

Probably Call Down the Hawk by: Maggie Stiefvater. It's the first book in her Ronan Lynch series, and I used to love The Raven Cycle. I understand she has had some problematic elements and I don't think the books are the quality literature I once thought they were, but it'll be a nice return to my teenage obsession.

Biggest Disappointment: 

Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi. This book was hyped so much, but I just found it kinda boring.

Biggest Surprise: 

Wide Sargasso Sea by: Jean Rhys! I was not expecting to like this book because I had to read it for school, but it was so well-written and an amazing Jane Eyre retelling!

Favourite New Author (Or Debut to You): 

Michelle Berry was a debut author for me and I loved her book The Prisoner and the Chaplain! I also got to interview her too and she was super nice!

Newest Fictional Crush: 

Nick from Crazy Rich Asians. Nothing else to say.

Newest Favourite Character: 

Seth Clearwater from The Twilight Saga. I never really appreciated him before but now I love him!

Book That Made You Cry: 

I didn't actually cry, but My Lady Jane could have made me cry with laughter at times.

Book That Made You Happy:

I re-read To All the Boy's I've Loved Before and that book never fails to make me smile!

Your Favourite Book to Movie/Tv Adaptation From This Year: 

I haven't read Birdbox, but the movie was amazing!!!

What's Your Favourite Post From this Year? 

I really liked my post, Why I Don't Want to Get Published. It was really good for me to get that stuff off my chest.

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far: 

Slayer by: Kiersten White, for the sole purpose that anything related to Buffy is beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year? 

I need to finish my re-read of the To All the Boy's series, and I also need to get going on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. I finally bought the first volume and I hope I love them!

This has been my year so far! I know it's no secret that I haven't been posting or reading regularly, but I'm still here. Don't forget me book community!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Month in Review: June

Why does it seem like the moment I am done school, I actually find I have less time to read? I think it's because breaks in between classes and obviously required reading makes me read more. But now that I'm working eight hour shifts at a time, I have less time to crack open a book. Anyways, here's an update on a not so productive reading month:

What I Read: 

The Sands of Ammon (Alexandros #2) by: Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Iain Holliday (Translator): 2/5 stars

And that's it. This is the only book I read in June. I'll post a full review of this book, but basically I wouldn't call it my favourite book of the month (even if it was my only book), because it was just: meh.

What I Blogged: 

Blogging wasn't very productive either. However, I did finally post my review of My Lady Jane, which was so awesome to write because the book was, well, AWESOME. You should check it out.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Cee talks Anxiety and Worrying about Sh*t She Doesn't Care About 

Erin discusses The Redundancy in A Court of Frost and Starlight 

Veronika talks about All the Stuff that Annoys Her in Book Reviews 

Life Stuff: 

All work and no play makes Emily a sad girl. I feel like I missed out on a lot of fun things this month because it's all just work, work, and more work. I know the money pays off but, when I see my friends all doing fun stuff without me, it does dampen my mood.

However, my manager has been so gracious to give me July 1st off, which for those of you who don't know, is Canada Day, and I am so excited about it!! I've gotten used to having to work through summer holidays, so the day off to just be patriotic af will be great. I'm looking forward to it.

So that was my June. Kinda boring if you ask me. But, I do have some fun things to look forward to in July.

How was your June?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 14 June 2019

My Lady Jane by: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Published: June 7, 2016 by: HarperTeen
Pages: 491
Rating: 5/5 stars

Sixteen year old Edward is king of England, though he is much more interested in finding a nice lady to share his first kiss with rather than running an empire. He is also dying of a mysterious illness, and must find a successor. Edward's cousin Jane is a smart young woman with her nose in the books, who is less than enthused when Edward marries her off to Lord Gifford, an awkward man with an interesting secret, he shape-shifts into a horse. When Edward, Jane, and Gifford get caught up in a conspiracy for the crown, it is up to the trio to put aside their differences, before someone takes their heads.

If you have followed my blog for a long time you might know that I have been DYING to read this book for a long time. I just never really got the chance... until now. I was so happy to have finally experienced this hilarious masterpiece, and boy did I fly through this novel.

The commentary in this book is witty, charming, and so easy to get through. The authors continuously break down the fourth wall by incorporating their thoughts into the story, and there are little remarks here and there that would make any history or pop culture aficionado chuckle. (That Red Wedding reference.)

The characters are so lovable and incredibly well-written. Jane is smart and level-headed, Gifford is awkward but oh so charming, and Edward is sarcastic and pure. I was rooting for every single one of them and I think the authors did a great job at making their personalities add such wit into the story.

Let me get this straight, this book is a far-stretch from the actual story of Lady Jane Grey, but the premise is incredibly unique that I think even historians would let it slide. I have always been interested in British history, and this book takes a well-known story and puts a funny twist to it. The ending is a lot less dark than in the real tale, and I think that's what makes this story really heartwarming. It was just so fun.

Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess