Friday, 3 April 2020

Month in Review: March

How is everyone holding up? This month has been hard. But, I know from personal experience that it is hard to escape any news regarding COVID-19 nowadays. So I'm not going to repeat the same things that pretty much everyone is going through. Let's just focus on the books!

What I Read: 

The Dreamers by: Karen Thompson Walker: 5/5 stars
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself: 3/5 stars
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by: Mildred D. Taylor: 3/5 stars
Rebent Sinner by: Ivan Coyote: 5/5 stars
Call Down the Hawk by: Maggie Stiefvater: 3/5 stars
Two Dark Reigns by: Kendare Blake: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: As you can see, I read a lot this month! My favourite book was The Dreamers, which one of my professors actually let me borrow. It revolves around a pandemic, so proceed with caution, but I found it to be a very hopeful novel.

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post this month was the Liebster Award. I did it for a second time, and it was nice to return to book tags. I used to do them a lot in the early days of the blog, and I forgot how fun they are. If you have any other tag recommendations for me to do, please share them!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Jillian talks about her Continuous Search for More

Roberta asks if you are an Impulsive Book Buyer?

Nicole shares weird Google Searches that Lead to her Blog  

Life Stuff: 

Like I said before, this month has been anything but easy. But, with everything so doom and gloom, I am taking it upon myself to only share positive things that happened to me this month:

My family fired up our old Nintendo Wii! For those of you who had one, it certainly brings back a lot of nostalgia. I have been having a lot of fun playing Mario Kart with my sister, and pretending to work out on Wii Fit. I forgot how fun a Wii is!

I have started watching a new Youtube channel called Yes Theory, and have been really enjoying their videos. They love to travel and they do things that are out of their comfort zone. In fact, their motto is "seek discomfort." Overall I find their videos very heartwarming, and their videos give me a bit of a travel bug!

I made my first recipe from Bon Appetit! For those of you who don't know, Bon Appetit is a youtube cooking channel. The cast is so likable, and I have been watching them for quite a while now. But, I have never made one of their recipes before. Finally my sister and I made pasta with tomatoes and chickpeas. It was delicious! Maybe I have a cooking bug too?

So, that was my month. It was not perfect in any way. There were a lot of struggles. But, I am trying to focus more on the positive. We got this, folks.

What's one positive thing that happened in your month?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 27 March 2020

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2) by: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Published: June 16 2015 by: Knopf
Pages: 378
Rating: 4/5 stars

Rachel Chu is about to marry Nicholas Young, the man who sacrificed everything in order to be with her. However, Rachel longs for more details about her birth father, and a surprising piece of information is about to whisk her into the lavish world of China's elite. Rachel is able to travel to China and meet her father, and along the way she is befriended by Colette, a glamorous model, and Carlton, a spoiled heir who just happens to be her half-brother. But, life in crazy rich families is not easy, and Rachel, along with many other characters, will learn this the hard way.

I was really excited to get back into the world of Crazy Rich Asians. I absolutely loved the first book, and I knew that I needed to give this one a try. While I was still impressed with Kwan's witty footnotes, vivid attention to detail, and of course, the lovable (and sometimes unlovable) cast of characters, I can still say that I preferred the first book more.

This book has even a larger cast of characters than the first. While Crazy Rich Asians mainly focused on Rachel and Nick's story with other characters affecting that, this book has multiple storylines going on. Rachel and Nick are back, as well as Astrid, who has got her own problems going on completely separate. Then, there is also stuff going on with Kitty Pong, which is a whole other issue. I kinda went back and forth as to whether or not I liked the extensive character arcs. And I think I didn't mind it all that much. I think the supporting characters drive this series forward, and add to the tensions between families. However, there were some notable absences that I wish we saw more of.

For one, with all of these characters, I wish there was more of Eleanor Young! Eleanor is an absolute queen in my opinion. Yes, she is judgemental and did not treat Rachel right in the first book, but she is such a badass Asian mom with incredible grace. I can't help but want to be her. Can you imagine having that much power? Anyways, she appears at the beginning of the book, but doesn't really show up until the end. I needed more of her. She is one of my favourite characters.

I thought that Rachel and Nick's storyline was interesting. I especially enjoyed reading about how absolutely ridiculous Colette's life was. She was a character very easy to dislike, but still well written nonetheless. And can we talk about that twist at the end!? I won't spoil anything, but I did not except that much shit to go down and I frantically flew through the end to make sure that everything turned out alright. It's definitely a lot of action that you would not expect from a romantic comedy.

So overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the twists, and I liked that we got into more character's storylines. However, I just wish we saw a bit more of Eleanor. She is such an important character to the first book, that I think she needs to have a big part in every book in this series. Still, I would totally recommend this book to fans of the first, as Kwan's signature humour is still there, and the drama just gets even more intense.

Have you read China Rich Girlfriend? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 March 2020

My Favourite Books that Help Me to Escape the World

I understand that everyone nowadays is pretty much just looking for ways to escape. Escape the news, escape the anxiety, escape to a world we can call our own. I figured I would share some of my favourite books that achieve just that. Some of these are really light-hearted, fluffy reads. Others more dramatic, with vast fantasy worlds. But I promise you, none have to do with the main topic of conversation that has consumed everyone's minds. So, if you're feeling isolated and need something to take your mind off of things, here are my recommendations:

1. The To All the Boy's I've Loved Before series by: Jenny Han

This book series is no-brainer. If you're looking for a fluffy romance with a very lovable lead, this series is for you. The bi-racial main character accidentally sends love letters to her former crushes. Then, she must fake date one of them in order to make his ex jealous. It's so sweet.

2. The Selection series by: Kiera Cass

If you're into princesses and The Bachelor reality show, this is for you. A handsome prince is looking for a bride, so he enlists girls from all over the country to apply and fight for his hand. It's fabulous, and full of OTP's.

3. When Dimple Met Rishi by: Sandhya Menon

This YA rom-com is super diverse! Dimple is a badass Indian teenager who finds out she has been arranged to Rishi. Chaos ensues. It's awesome.

4. The Three Dark Crowns series by: Kendare Blake

This fantasy series features three sisters who all carry a specific gift of magic. The kicker is, only one of them can be queen of their land. It's up to them to fight to the death for the crown. The writing is beautiful, and the twists will shock you.

5. Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan

If you're looking for a hilarious romantic comedy about wealthy Asian families, this one's for you. You will fall in love with the characters, and with Kwan's funny footnotes.

6. The Raven Boys series by: Maggie Stiefvater

This urban fantasy series is so unique! When Blue finds out that a mysterious group of boys in her town are looking for the ley line, she jumps on the case. Not to mention she comes from a family of psychics, and she's got a dangerous fortune weighing on her chest. You will fall in love with the characters.

7. The Song of Achilles by: Madeline Miller

For the Greek mythology lover. This book is a retelling of the story of Achilles and Patroclus. It's got romance, fighting, and beautiful writing about ancient Greece.

8. Anne of Green Gables by: Lucy Maud Montgomery

The perfect escapist novel. This book takes place in the PEI countryside during the 1870's. Anne is an adorable orphan who comes to live with the cranky Marilla Cuthbert. It's so heartwarming.

9. The Famous Five series by: Enid Blyton

Technically these are children's books, but honestly I would read them now. It's an extensive adventure series featuring five children who solve mysteries. The books all have great descriptions of setting, and always make me want to travel to the English countryside.

10. The Twilight Saga by: Stephenie Meyer

Judge all you want. But you're telling me that a cheesy romance about sparkly vampires and sexy werewolves isn't the perfect distraction? I'm sorry, but you can't deny that this series will take you on a journey.

So, those are my recommendations for books that will surely help to take your mind off of things. If you have any recommendations, please share them with me! I am most definitely looking for new books to latch onto during these times. I would love to know your favourites.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 March 2020

A Good Old Fashioned Tag (Liebster Award Pt. 2!)

Hi friends, if you're like me and have had your university shut down, you probably have a lot of extra time on your hands now. I really just want to write and do light-hearted stuff on the blog, and I noticed a while ago that Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical tagged me for the Liebster Award! I've actually already done this tag, but I thought her questions were interesting, and thus I will answer them for all of you.

1. If you could be put into any bookish universe, which would you choose? 

I had to really think about this one. I think 14 year old me would have immediately screamed out: Hogwarts! Which is fine, but honestly now I see the issues with the Wizarding World. Let's be real, their government was not the best. Anyways, I think I would love to live in the world of Anne of Green Gables. Cute little PEI countryside? Sign me up!

2. Are there any genres you wouldn't read? 

I used to really stay away from fantasy, but honestly I have gotten really into it lately! (Thanks to the Grishaverse). I think the only genre I wouldn't read at this point is erotica. Just not my cup of tea.

3. What's your favourite winter read? 

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn. Need I say more? Idk, a foggy Washington town with vampires just screams cold weather to me.

4. Did you enjoy any compulsory high school readings? 

Yes, in fact I can confidently say that my all-time favourite book was a compulsory reading, and that was Station Eleven by: Emily St-John Mandel.

5. What's your most disliked popular book? 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Sorry Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical! Lol.

6. What is your least favourite thing about blogging? 

The design aspect. If I could just do all the writing and leave the entire layout, graphics, and design to someone else, I would be totally grateful. I'm not tech-savvy at all. Hence why my blog button is so cheesy haha.

7. What's your favourite book series of all time? 

Definitely The Hunger Games series. I never really appreciated it when I read it back in 2011, however re-reading it now, I can see how much it changed YA. Not only that, but the commentary on class, spectacle, and politics was so ahead of its time. It was also the first YA series I ever read, so there's some nostalgia there.

8. What book has made you truly angry? 

The Girls by: Emma Cline. Just... no.

9. What's a bookish trope you wish you never had to see anymore? 

The "not like other girls," girl. I think this girl always makes it seem like she's better than other girls because she doesn't care about fashion, or boys, or whatever. Let all girls be supported!

10. What's your most underrated favourite novel? 

Recently it's been Rebent Sinner by: Ivan Coyote! This was a fabulous book of short stories about gender identity and transphobia.

11. What character would you like to swap lives with? And for how long? 

Lara Jean Song- Covey from To All the Boy's I've Loved Before. She's so cute, she can bake, and she's got an incredible boyfriend. I think a week in her shoes would be awesome. But I'm also pretty content with my life so one week would be enough.

Thanks Sabrina for the questions! If you're interested in this award, feel free to answer my questions:

1. Who is your favourite sidekick from a book?

2. If you could build a perfect protagonist, what traits would they have?

3. What's one misconception about bookworms you wish would go away?

4. What's your favourite book genre?

5. What's your opinion on not finishing a novel?

6. If you could build the perfect villain, what traits would they have?

7. If you could pick three book characters and invite them over for dinner, who would they be?

8. If you could adopt the powers of a fictional character, which character would you pick?

9. What is your favourite book to read when you need a good mood boost?

10. What's your favourite book quote?

11. What would you tell your favourite author if you got the chance to meet them?

That's it for now. Thanks again to Veronika for tagging! Stay happy and healthy, everyone.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 6 March 2020

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: July 1, 2014 by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 357
Rating: 3/5 stars

Cole St. Clair has moved to sunny Los Angeles, a far cry from when he lived as a wolf back in Minnesota. Cole has one mission: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She moved to LA to get away from her damaged life, but moving on has proved to be difficult. As Cole and Isabel reconnect, Cole must find a way to earn back Isabel's trust and control his shifting, while Isabel must decide if she wants to let him into her life again.

If you knew me in 2012, then you knew how OBSESSED I was with the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Shiver, Linger, and Forever were my shit. I still have the boxed set. When Sinner came out, I was excited, but I just never got around to reading it. This book has sat the longest on my tbr, at six years. Finally, on a random whim, I picked up the coveted book. It was... ok.

First off, I appreciated how this book gave me the nostalgia of the kind of stuff I read when I was a pre-teen. I think I'm just a sucker for werewolves (I was always Team Jacob), so any book that is remotely "wolfey" (is that even a word?), I will give a try. I love books that contain the aspect of being like a fantasy, but also being placed in the real world. I really appreciate fantastical elements in a sense of reality, which I think Maggie Stiefvater does very well.

I think I liked Cole as a character. By this I mean, that since I haven't picked up this series in nearly a decade, I couldn't remember if I liked him or not. I think all my attention was on Sam in the first three novels, that I didn't really pay much attention to Cole. That being said, I thought his character in this book was well written, and I found him to be very well-rounded.

I loved Isabel. Again, I can't remember my opinion on her from the original trilogy, but in this novel she was very likable. I found her to be hilarious and strong-willed. She had that sarcasm that Stiefvater writes so well. I thought that her character was very independent, and she didn't take crap from anyone. I appreciated that.

All of this being said, I can't say that this book gave me the highly anticipated conclusion I was looking for. I mean, it's more of a spin-off anyways, but I wasn't wowed like I was in the original trilogy. And this honestly just comes with getting older. My taste in books has definitely evolved, and this book just didn't impact me in the way it might have when I was twelve. What can I say, I'm pickier now.

I also would like to say that I think picking up a series years after you have read the previous books is very brave. I could not remember what the hell these characters were even like, and how the previous novels ended. I think because of this, it was hard for me to fully connect with the story and feel emotionally invested in it. I've just moved on, so to speak.

Overall, I think it is worth finishing this series if you're like me and have waited years. Although, you might want to take a refresher course on the material, because I was lost as heck at some points.

Have you read Sinner? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 28 February 2020

Month in Review: February

This month (or more specifically, this week), has by far been the hardest of my life. I will get into it during the Life Stuff portion, but just know that there will be a lot of discussion about anxiety and depression.

What I Read: 

Sinner by: Maggie Stiefvater: 4/5 stars
The Keeper of the Isis Light by: Monica Hughes: 1/5 stars
China Rich Girlfriend by: Kevin Kwan: 4/5 stars
The Turkish Embassy Letters by: Mary Wortley Montagu: 1/5 stars
King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo: 3/5 stars

Favourite Book: I loved China Rich Girlfriend. Not as much as I did Crazy Rich Asians, but all of Kwan's novels are so funny and easy to get through.

What I Blogged: 

I was consistent in blogging this month, despite everything that was going on, which I am happy about. I got around to reviewing Shadow and Bone, which was great because I always enjoy sharing my thoughts on such a hyped book.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Sabrina shares The Lies She has Heard about Reading

Erin Reviews Ninth House 

Cee asks for Love and Hope 

Life Stuff: 

Now comes the sad stuff. But I promise, I'm doing better now. The month started off with my mother moving in with me to take care of me amidst my anxiety and OCD. Her presence was a great distraction, and I found myself getting better throughout reading week. However, just this past week, I was prescribed anti-depressants to deal with my OCD and anxiety, and I was super excited to get some extra help. I had high hopes, but boy was I not expecting the side effects.

I took the medicine for four days, each time expecting to get a little more used to the medication like everyone told me I would. For those four days, I laid trembling in bed, constantly nauseous, constantly paranoid, at the darkest moment in my entire life. My mom would hold me as I shook uncontrollably. I couldn't keep any food down, and I had no motivation to do anything. I was depressed.

So, needless to say, I am off of the anti-depressants. Lots of people have told me that it just takes time to get used to them, but my brain has never been more fucked up in my life. I didn't feel like myself, and I thought that I was doing better before medication than afterwards. It was a hard decision, but I felt so much better once I was off of them.

I am still not 100%, and this is mostly because I am experiencing some stress towards what was a very traumatic experience. I keep thinking that I will get sick again. But, I am more of my old self today than I was for the past four days. I went to school, and it felt so good getting out of the house. I don't know where I stand with other forms of medication, but I am hopeful that I will be better with time. I'm not writing this as a sad story, because I am honestly much happier now. I just wish I hadn't experienced all that, as it something that I would rather forget.

So, I am going into March with a clearer head, and hopefully a healthier future. I am happy to get some of my mojo back, and I know this month looks a lot brighter than my last one.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 21 February 2020

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by: Carolyn Keene

Genre: Children's Fiction, Mystery
Published: September 1, 1991 by: Applewood Books
Pages: 210
Rating: 4/5 stars

Nancy is the daughter of Carson Drew, a famed lawyer in town. When Nancy learns that the old Josiah Crowley has died, and left his fortune to the greedy Topham family, Nancy is compelled to help the number of people who really needed the money, and who were promised the money from Crowley. Nancy discovers that Josiah's true will was left hidden in an old clock, and she uses her sleuthing skills to try and uncover the clock, and help those who are in need of her help.

I had to read this book for my children's literature class, and I thought that I wouldn't find it to be anything special. However, I was pleasantly surprised! This book was quick, easy to get through, and reminded me of the detective books I used to read when I was younger. I can definitely see myself reading more from this series.

I really enjoy the tone of old-timey books like these. They're just so wholesome and cute. They remind me of classic movies by the way these people talk. There's something that is kind of endearing about it all. I can't say you would go for this book if you're looking for some diversity, as Nancy is the epitome of white privilege, but I guess she really did help those who are less fortunate.

These old detective children's books can often be the cure for my anxiety. I used to be a huge fan of the Famous Five series, and this book took me way back to the nostalgia I felt through that series. These books are just easy reads, not heavy in subject matter at all, and always end happily. If you really need to be exposed to some light-hearted entertainment, what's not to love?

Have you read Nancy Drew? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess