Friday, 21 April 2017

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: September 20, 2016 by: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 546
Rating: 5/5 stars

*highlight white text to reveal spoilers*- there are some major ones in here so be cautious!

Fresh off of pulling off their deadly heist, Kaz Brekker and co. have a new task on their hands: battling new enemies and unlocking the secrets to a deadly drug that is circling through the Grisha world. A war is looming on the horizon, and Kaz and his crew must fight even harder to keep the people they love alive, or surrender to the people out to get them.

I mean, what else can I say about this series other than the fact that you have to read it? It is seriously one of the best series I have read. With diverse characters, a fast-paced plot, and killer relationships, this book is wickedly good. Read it and weep.

First off, Bardugo has written some of the strongest characters I've ever seen. period. Each character has their own strengths, weaknesses, and you will fall in love with each of them. Not to mention that she keeps her characters incredibly diverse, so I guarantee you will connect with someone in this book. Even the villains are expertly crafted!

The plot of this book was magical and incredible in every sort of way. There are a lot of parallels with the first book of course, and everything came full circle in the end. Although I will say, you will cry at times. Bardugo tugs on your emotions like its her job and she will kill off the people you love the most!! *sniff* Matthias *sniff*. I understand why she had to do it, it added to the plot, but still :((((

I'm happy with how the duology ended. I think I got the closure I needed, and as devastating as some parts were, I know why they had to happen. Bardugo carries major themes in her novels that just hit you with such strength. It's hard not to become emotionally attached to her books.

You gotta read this series. It has the most magical world-building, the twistiest of plot-twists, and the most lovable of characters. It is an incredible fantasy with an incredible message.

Have you read Crooked Kingdom? Can we cry together?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: Don't Judge a Book by Its Publisher?

I was thinking the other day on how much I actually judge books by their publishers. I feel like I create the judgemental notion that, if a book comes from a popular publisher such as HarperCollins or Penguin, then it will be better than a book from a publisher I haven't heard of. I judge books by their publishers so much that I knew I had to do a post on it, and I'm going to be focusing on a number of factors.

I'm just gonna come out and say it: I usually only ever read books from mainstream publishers. And I fully admit that this makes me look like a crappy person, because I'm thinking that a book only gets better when it's picked up by a mainstream publisher. When in reality, there are a ton of diamond in the ruff's out there, especially from indie authors, that need more attention. I myself am an aspiring writer and know that it takes a lot to be picked up by one of the big guys. I don't understand why I'm not exposing myself to those books more?

One might also judge a book by their publishers because the publisher might be a bit sketchy. Take Simon and Schuster for example. Simon was recently going to publish a racist book by Milo I don't care that much about him to put his last name. Because of this, a lot of people started to boycott Simon and refuse to buy books from that publisher. I seem to not read a ton of Simon books, but I'm definitely more aware than I used to about the company.

So the question is, is it ok, for whatever reason, to judge a book by their publisher? Whether that would be from stereotypes, from the publisher being sketchy, or by something else? Do all books published by a publisher fit into that publisher's worldview? It's an interesting thing to think about where we normally gravitate towards.

For me, I typically read Penguin and Harper novels. But Harper has had a history of publishing some problematic books in the past as well, so should I distance myself from Harper novels? I think that the views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the company. However it makes you wonder, if Simon and Schuster considered themselves not racist, why would they pick up the deal for a racist book? I think it is important to be cautious where you're putting your money into.

So I kinda talked about two sides to judging a book by a publisher. On one hand, I have this stereotype that they will be better, and on the other hand, it seems more moral to not support publishers who publish racist books. But where do you draw the line?

I want to know what you think. Do you judge books by their publishers, and if so, for what reason?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 14 April 2017

Carve the Mark by: Veronica Roth

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science- Fiction
Published: January 17, 2017 by: Katherine Tegan Books
Pages: 468
Rating: 4/5 stars

Cyra is a Shotet, a brutal group of people on a mysterious planet that are in constant war with the Thuvhe. In Cyra's world, people have current gifts that stay with them all their life. For Cyra, that means a constant pain that she can put unto others, and that her ruthless brother has been willing to exploit. Akos is a Thuvhe, captured by Shotet soldiers and tortured by Cyra's brother. But when Cyra and Akos start forming a connection, they put both of their lives in danger, as well as the fate of their galaxy.

DISCLAIMER: This book has been called out for being problematic, including being racist towards members of the indigenous community and to people of North African heritage. It has also been said to be abelist to people who experience chronic pain. Since I do not belong to any of these groups, I cannot comment on these issues, I can only comment on my honest opinions on the book. If you are a member of any of these communities, please be mindful when reading this book and be sure to read reviews from people who belong to these groups.

I was really surprised by this book! I went into it kind of dubious because I'm not the hugest fan of science fiction, but I was really surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it. I thought it was fast-paced and exciting, and left me wondering what would happen next.

I really liked the plot of this book. It had a lot of plot twists and turns, and I was thoroughly engaged through it all! I did not get bored one bit, which really shocked me because I usually find sci-fi quite boring. But Roth provided a lot of elements in the book that kept the plot super intriguing.

I thought the characters fell a bit flat in this book. I wanted to know a bit more about them, especially the antagonist, Cyra's brother. I didn't mind Akos and Cyra, but I really wanted a glimpse into the villain's mind to see his inner motifs and what drove him to where he was. I don't think this book's characters really struck me, despite me being fully taken by plot.

So overall, I loved the plot, but wanted a bit more on characters. But I think that this book was really enjoyable, you just need to make sure that you take its controversies into consideration. Never, ever read something that you're not comfortable with or that may offend you.

Have you read Carve the Mark? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by: Alwyn Hamilton

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: March 7, 2017 by: Viking Books
Pages: 513
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Cunning gunslinger Amani al' Hiza now as a new mission: take down the vicious sultan and his regime before it's too late. To do this, Amani finds herself caught up in the sultan's harem, trying to gain access to his trust, all while desperately wondering where Jin, her partner has disappeared to, just when she started expressing feelings for him. Will Amani be able to take down the tyranny, or will she get caught just as she begins to get close?

I was so happy when Netgalley approved me for this book! I really liked Rebel of the Sands, and I definitely think that this book got even better in terms of plot. There were still some minor kinks that I would have liked to be worked out, but overall this was the sequel that I needed!

I really liked how plot-driven this novel was. There were many twists and turns that made me desperately wanting to keep flipping through. I got through this book so quickly because it was really high-action and so interesting! I definitely found the plot of this to be a huge improvement from Rebel of the Sands.

I also really loved Amani in this book. She was so fierce, as per usual, and she really took the reigns of her mission in this novel and put me in for a thrill. She was incredibly courageous, loyal and kind, and a terrific heroine that I always enjoy reading. Hamilton writes this character extremely well.

I enjoyed getting to know a bit more of the secondary characters in this book, although I did have some issues with Jin. I found him to be a bit flat in this book, which is a shame because I found him a lot more interesting in Rebel of the Sands. I feel like he was a lot more serious than charming and witty, and I wanted more from him.

But other than that, I think I enjoyed this book more than the first! It gave me a great continuation, and I am dying to know what happens next in the series! I need more Amani in my life!

Have you read Rebel of the Sands? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 7 April 2017

Girl Mans Up by: M.E. Girard

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: September 6, 2016 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 384
Rating: 5/5 stars

Pen is caught in a battle between what she wants to do and what her parents want her to do. She would rather wear "boy" clothes, things that make her feel comfortable. Her traditional Portuguese parents would rather her wear "girl" clothes, and be the respectful young lady she was meant to be. Get those issues, mixed in with a defiant brother, an authoritative friend, and a new crush that her parents would also disapprove of, Pen is on the journey of expressing her true self. And it's going to take a lot of scrutiny from others for her to get there.

This book was actually one of the most diverse books I have every read, literally everything you could want in representation. You've got a non-binary MC, F/F romances, Portuguese rep, Asian rep, sex positivity and abortion without there being shaming for it! I think the author hit the nail on the head with this book and taught me something new about the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. To top it all off, the book is #ownvoices so spend time supporting this author!

I feel like I was made less ignorant by reading this. I like to think I am a pretty educated person when it comes to LGBTQIAP+ issues, but there are actually so many things I still need to learn, and this book in particular put me in the shoes of someone who is non-binary. To be honest, when I first read the synopsis I just assumed Pen was gonna be transgender, but news flash to me, there's more than just cis-gender and transgender rep out there! This book can teach a lot of people about the gender issues and roles we have.

I loved the culture representation in this book as well. Pen is Portuguese, and her parents are very traditional, and there was a lot of traditions and customs put into this book as well as language. It was great for the author to actually shed light on the MC's background, as opposed to her just being presumed white. Pen's friend group were also a mix of a lot of ethnicity's and backgrounds, which truly showed that friend groups do not fit into one category.

I also would just like to show some Canadian pride for this book! This book is by a Canadian author and is actually set in Canada, as opposed to every other popular YA book which is set in the US! This is honestly such a big step for the Canadian YA community because I don't feel like our books are represented enough in mainstream YA. I just love how this author got to show our country!

I feel like I've talked a lot about this book! Basically, it was so knowledgeable and important to the conversation that I think you should all read it.

Have you read Girl Mans Up? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

My Trip to New York!

Bit of a different post going up today! I said in my monthly recap that I was going to do a post highlighting my recent trip to New York, so here it is! I hope it might be helpful to any of you who may want to visit someday. Now I'm still a novice New York tourist, there's still so much of the city I have yet to explore, but there were a lot of things I found useful that I thought I might share:

Also, I've just started writing and I'm realizing that this will be the epitome of long posts, so apologies in advance:

Night 1: 

The night we arrived as absolute chaos. Getting into the city is one thing, getting into the city during rush hour is another. If you're driving, don't expect to get into the city for at least an hour, no joke. Traffic is insane, and driving will be LONG. Also, people love to jaywalk, honk their horns, and everyone believes they have the right of way, so just BE CAREFUL.

But once you get into your hotel, park your car and hope to not have to use it again until you leave, the fun can actually begin. The first night, we ate at this AMAZING restaurant called Don Antonio. It's near Radio City Music Hall. It had the most delicious authentic Italian pizza, and there was even a famous Food Network chef eating beside us, so you know its good!

The first night, we didn't do much except walk around and take in some views. It was late, so we saw Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. Both I would highly recommend seeing at night because they're so pretty lit up!

Day One: 

Our first full day was PRODUCTIVE. We started by going to the Met, which I enjoyed, but nobody else in my family did. It's a lot of history, so you need to be mindful of the people you're going with and see if that will interest them.

                             I always remember this painting from the "Olivia" children's books :)

 One important thing I will say about the museums of New York, is that the fee to get in is SUGGESTED. Meaning, that you actually just have to give a donation of your choice to get in. They give a suggested fee of adults, seniors and children, and then in a little fine print they say that it is suggested. I guess this is a tourist tactic but it's important to know!!!

I will also give advice to eat in the museum you are in. When we left the Met, will still hadn't eaten lunch, thinking that there would be something around there to eat. There wasn't, and we ended up having to walk a lot, so eat when you can!

We then went to a number of place, The Brooklyn Bridge, The 9/11 Memorial, and Chelsea Market. The 9/11 Memorial is very poignant and very emotional, highly recommend, and The Brooklyn Bridge is a trek that is easily worth it! It takes a hefty amount of time to cross, but the view is indescribable! Plus you can see The Statue of Liberty without having to take the ferry.

Chelsea Market is my recommendation for the foodies. We went there for a snack and for dinner, an it's basically a ton of different food stands offering everything from pastas, to sandwiches, to crepes. It's delicious, but not really necessary if you don't really care that much for food.

We ended the night off by seeing a show. This was by far, my favourite part of the trip. We saw Aladdin, my favourite Disney movie, and it was breathtaking! The costumes, the singing, the dancing, everything was perfect! That would be my show recommendation.

Day Two: 

Our second day wasn't as planned. It was St. Patrick's Day and the city was CRAZY, and we got caught up in the huge parade. It was very, very long. On this day, we went to Wall Street, we saw the girl standing up to the bull, an amazing sight, and we went to Trinity Church to visit Alexander Hamilton's grave. Again, kind of unnecessary, but if you're a Hamilton fan, it was actually pretty emotional to see, Eliza is buried right next to him as well.

                                                 I was so happy to be able to see this little girl.

We ended up going to Grand Central Station for lunch, which was delicious! That place is insane! We then went to Magnolia Bakery for snacks, which was a delicious treat. Then before dinner, we went to the Empire State Building.

This building was incredible. I would so recommend seeing it at sunset like we did, as the view is something out of this world. You have a choice to go to the 86th floor or the 112th, but I would just say to do the 86th as you have to pay a lot more for the 112th, for the exact same view. But please go up nonetheless! You will not be disappointed.

We rounded out the night by eating at Eataly, a huge Italian supermarket with restaurants inside. We ate at Le Verdure, the vegetarian restaurant, and it was incredible! Finally, we went to Times Square to shop.

We didn't do much shopping in New York. The exchange rate is insane so it doesn't really benefit Canadians, but we still went to Forever 21 and H & M in Times Square. Those are really the only hotspots I wanted to go to, and I was fine with that.

At the end of the night, we went to The Richard Rodgers Theatre to go cry at the Hamilton signs. We had entered the lottery, but with expected no luck, but I still wanted to see the theatre. The show had just let out and everyone was crowded around the stage door, but we couldn't really see who was coming out. That being said, just to be able to see it in the flesh was amazing.

And THAT was my Trip. I'm sorry for rambling, its just New York is a big place with a lot of stuff. We got around everywhere by subway, which is not as confusing at it seems to be, and we never got lost. My only tip is to make sure your metro pass does not run out of money! You don't want to be stranded, so keep an eye on it.

New York is unlike any city. I feel like it's on a lot of people's bucket lists, mine included, and it is definitely something worth visiting. Whether you like history, food, sights, entertainment, its got it all. And I definitely want to visit again someday.

Have you ever been or want to go to New York? Tell me about it! I hope this was helpful :D

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 31 March 2017

Month in Review: March

It's spring! I have missed the sun so much and I hope that I won't have to deal with winter for a long time. Now if only my allergies will hold up *sighs*

What I Read: 

Lullabies for Little Criminals by: Heather O'Neill: 5/5 stars
The Iliad by: Homer: 4/5 stars
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by: Sherman Alexie: 5/5 stars
The Unexpected Everything by: Morgan Matson: 1/5 stars
The Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern: 4/5 stars

What I Blogged: 

I feel like this was the month of reviews! I have been really behind on reviewing and have been posting reviews of books I read months ago, so I've been busy! I guess I could say my favourite was my review of Station Eleven, because well, you know why by now.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Cee explains why The Earth is Blue.
Lais discusses DNF'ed Books. 
Mishma interviews Angie Thomas.
Charlotte shows her Bullet Journal.

Life Stuff of the Month: 

I went to New York!! There were so many amazing things I saw and I think I'm gonna do a whole post on it, because there were a lot of new things I learnt about the city that I think are important for tourists to know, so stay tuned for that!

Other than that, I'm back at school after March Break. Things are starting to pick up and prom is looming, something that my introverted self is just too stressed over.

That's it! How was your month?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Who Am I? Tag

(that awkward moment when you don't have a tag button for your blog or the skills to do it so you just put your blog button.)

A while back Kirsty over at Kirsty Chronicles tagged me to do this post, and now I finally have gotten around to doing it! So without further adieu:

What is the Meaning of My Name? 

My name is Latin and means: industrious or striving. I think that's pretty cool!

What is your Myers-Briggs Personality Type? 

INTJ. I feel like I've taken this test a solid 5 times in my high school life and have always gotten the same result. Ironically, my twin sister has exactly the same type except she is an E instead of an I! Coincidence?

What is my Zodiac Sign? 

Sagittarius. I feel like it's such an irrelevant sign and literally nobody I know has it! But its symbol is an archer, which I find pretty cool. I might get an arrow tattoo one day for it.

What is my Hogwarts House? 

Ravenclaw through and through! When I was younger I used to try and convince myself I was a Gryffindor, but I have luckily since then fully embraced my Ravenclaw.

What are my Learning Styles? 

I am a reader and a writer. I absolutely cannot focus with visual or oral queus and I need to see actual words on paper!

Am I Right or Left Brain Dominant? 

I am left brained! This probably goes with being left-handed, I've always found myself quite logical and detailed.

What is my Blood Type? 

A-positive I think?

What Career am I Meant to Have? 

I really hate taking quizzes to decide what career I should have, because my actual interests almost always never match up, so I'm just gonna go with what I actually want to be: a writer.

What Divergent Faction do I Belong In? 

I'm an Amity girl! I love Amity so much because they are peaceful, care for the environment and I can imagine love animals like me.

What Does My Birth Order Say About Me? 

Apparently being the youngest makes me free-spirited, a risk taker and charming, all of which I am not. I don't really believe in birth order all that much anyways, especially being a twin. Nobody's gonna call me the baby by just four minutes!

That's all! Thanks again Kirsty for tagging :)

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Female of the Species by: Mindy McGinnis

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: September 20, 2016 by: Katherine Tegan Books
Pages: 352
Rating: 5/5 stars

Alex Craft isn't understandable by most people. Ever since her sister's death, Alex has unleashed violent energy against anyone who wrongs her. She knows how to kill. When Alex is finally noticed by Jack, the popular jock in her small hometown, she begins to feel love for the first time. Even the preacher's daughter Peekay connects with Alex, and shows her the world of friendship that Alex has never been in before. But when a party turns ugly, Alex once more unleashes her wrath upon the senior class, and it will take Peekay and Jack to bring her back to reality, but Alex cannot be tamed.

This book was so interesting and odd and yet I was so into it! It's one of those things you have to read to believe, and you're not really sure if it's a contemporary or a thriller or even something supernatural??? This book tells the story of injustice. Of rape culture, feminism, and revenge. While Alex's actions may be a bit extreme, her core values bring a strong message to light.

I loved how Alex was sort of an anti-hero in a way. She was a good person, there's no doubt, but there was something dark about her that was only unleashed when it needed to be. I loved how mysterious she was and how you're kind of unsure about her until the end. Then, everything pieces into place.

This plot was one big thrill ride!! There were twists and turns and I came up with a whole lot of theories as the book went on. The climax was UNREAL and kept me wanting to read more and more until I had finished. This book could not be put down and I read it all in one day.

This book brings a new way to tackle rape culture. Usually these contemporary novels are very straight-forward and sad, but this had the ability to weave thrill and mystery into there while still remaining sensitive to the topic. It was so brilliantly done as well!!

Overall, you gotta read this. This book tackles a hard issue but without making it appear too graphic and upsetting. The book gets real about the topic, but takes a different direction in delivering it that was so unique and a lot easier to read for me.

Have you read The Female of the Species? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Station Eleven by: Emily St. John Mandel: Why You Need to Read this Book in Your Lifetime

Genre: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction
Published: September 9, 2014 by: Knopf
Pages: 336
Rating: All the stars in the universe

One winter night, esteemed actor Arthur Leander dies of a heart attack while on stage performing King Lear. A few hours later, the world as we know it begins to crumble as a deadly flu swipes over North America, killing everyone who comes into contact. 20 years later, The Travelling Symphony are a group of surviving actors and musicians who enter towns rebuilt after the apocalypse and perform Shakespeare plays. Kirsten Raymonde is one of those actors, and she longs to remember any ounce of her past life, including finding information about a famous actor who died moments before the flu started coming. Told in alternating storylines and time periods, Station Eleven weaves past and present in a extravagant story about love, fame, and isolation.

I am going to cry while writing this review. It seems like I always get a bit teary-eyed when talking about this book. This book was unlike anything, ANYTHING that I had read before. I'm not the hugest fan of literary fiction, but this didn't feel like that to me. It felt like a spellbinding story that was so expertly crafted that every page adds a new twist to the story. And the overall meaning of this book tore me to shreds.

St. John Mandel is such an expert writer. The way she ordered the events, connected characters to each other, and allowed for so much metaphor that was so easy to understand, is something that I aspire to be like. Every single time I read a chapter I just kept thinking about how badly I want to write like her someday. She's just so clever!!

I loved every single character in this book. Even the antagonist was so amazingly written and so well developed that you will at least connect completely with one character. There is absolutely no way for you to not feel for someone. St. John Mandel was able to capture every single character's backstories and all in under 350 pages.

There's pretty much nothing else I can really say about this book other than the fact that you have to experience it for yourself. It's science fiction without being too sciency, it's literary without being boring in the slightest, and guaranteed you will find something to love and respect about this novel. It's truly a work of art, and I'm so happy to have discovered it and experience it.

P.S. My sister, who hates reading more than anything, loved this book so if that isn't a reason to read it, idk what is.

Have you read Station Eleven? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by: Rick Riordan

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Middle-Grade/YA
Published: October 6, 2015 by: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 499
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Ever since Magnus Chase's mother's mysterious death, Magnus has been homeless, a troubled kid who has no family. But when a complete stranger warns Magnus that he is in great danger, Magnus uncovers the truth about his family: he is the son of a Norse God. Now Magnus is swept into the magical world of the myths he never thought were true, and along his journey to find his father, he must embark on a quest. A quest to save his life, and the lives of the innocent people that fire giants long to destroy.

It's been a while since I've picked up a good old Riordan mythology series! I was very weary going into this book, since I've only known to love his Greek/Roman myths and never cared for the Kane Chronicles. And I think that was the main problem with this book. I'm not completely into other mythology, but I did enjoy the familiar wit of these novels and how easy to get through they are.

This book as the similar tone of all of Rick's books. They are funny and sarcastic, a lot of references to pop culture and the modern world, but with an mythological twist. I once more appreciated this writing because of how easy it makes the reading, and how it doesn't feel heavy at all. I got through this book quickly.

Again, I loved the diversity once more brought to the table and how committed Riordan is at showcasing a variety of people in his novels. It is so healthy for children to read these types of books so that they can know just how diverse the world actually is.

But, the main downfall for this book was that I'm not all that into Norse mythology. Like I said, I'm only into the Greek and Roman stuff and so this book left me a bit bored and a lot less keen on learning about the mythology. I find Norse mythology just to be unfamiliar and not something I'm interested in, and for that, I lost interest in the book.

So overall, I liked this book. It was charming and funny, just not my cup of tea when it comes to mythology.

Have you read The Sword of Summer? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: In Defense of the Contemporary Novel

If you didn't know this about me already, I love contemporary. I love everything about a good dramatic, realistic novel, romance or no-romance, fluff or no fluff, I love it all. However I have begun to notice, not so much in the book community, but in my real life and especially in the books we are required to read in school, that nobody seems to like contemporary! And to me, it's such an important genre!!

I love contemporary novels because they are the most relatable. They bring me back to the real issues, issues of mental illness, relationships, teen stress, and more! They hit you right in the feels and allow you to connect with your problems. Even the fluffiest of romance novels can strike a feeling. I get most of my reading from contemporary novels, because they are easy to get through, rarely boring, and give you connections to your personal life. But it seems like I'm the only one in my school life who actually likes those novels.

Every single book we've had to read for English class has been a science-fiction, fantasy or historical fiction novel. One of my teachers even explicitly said one time that we would never read a contemporary novel. Whenever I've had to pick a book to read on a reading list, there has never been a contemporary novel. And for what reason?! Does everyone else think they're boring? Do they not find them a meaningful as I do?

You are hard pressed to find an English teacher who has made their students study a contemporary novel. To me, I find them the most important genre for young adults to read because we can relate to them!!! I'm not saying that we wouldn't find common ground in a sci-fi or fantasy, but it could be a lot more prevalent in a contemporary novel and they're not even giving us a chance :(

There is sort of a judgement that comes with being a contemporary fan as well. Students and teachers alike have said that people who read contemporaries are boring, and that fantasies and sci-fi's are the only option to keep people engaged. But I just don't think that way. I find contemporaries to keep me more intrigued than sci-fi's or fantasies, and I think it's unfair that my interests are never showcased.

I want to know what you think of contemporary novels. If you were in school, would you prefer to read a contemporary or something else? I do not want to be the only one here that genuinely reaches for contemporaries over anything else. Where are my people at?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 3 March 2017

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: February 10, 2015 by: Orion
Pages: 383
Rating: 5/5 stars

In Mare's world, people are dominated by their blood: red or silver. The Red's, are the commoners, living often in poverty and forever in the shadows of The Silver's, the elite and brutal group that can be violent towards Red's. When Mare finds herself working in Silver Palace, she discovers that she has a deadly power, a power that poses a threat to The Silver's. The Silver's disguise her as one of her own, but as Mare starts growing feelings for a Silver prince, and starts to help a Red militant resistance group, it threatens everyone's world: red or silver.

THIS BOOK WAS UNREAL!!!! It's been a while since I have used all-caps and multiple exclamation points in a review, so you know that this is the real deal. I am a lover of a good plot that contains palaces and princes, so this book delivered on that and kept me entertained. AND THAT PLOT TWIST!!!!

I went into this thinking it would be too heavy. However once I realized that she would be going into a palace, I knew I would be hooked! I am such a sucker for fantasies that have kingdoms, good or bad. Because of this, the plot kept me intrigued, swooning over the princes and wanting to read more.

I loved all the characters in this book. Mare was so badass and exciting, she wasn't an annoying protagonist at all and I really loved her developments. The villains in this book were also so expertly crafted and so cunning, they roped me in and made me LOVE to hate them. That's always a good thing.

I also loved the concept of this book. Being separated from blood was so unique and also I think put a fantasy spin on the divide that we see within people even today. I definitely think that the rift between the two blood's was a metaphor for something that we could relate to, which was awesome.

Overall, an amazingly enthralling fantasy with kings, commoners and war. What else could you need?

Have you read Red Queen? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Month in Review: February

February has come and gone, and with it, the dread of a new semester!! Realistically, I'm pretty miserable and I'll explain that later. For now, let's get into books!

What I Read:

Carve the Mark by: Veronica Roth: 4/5 stars
Crooked Kingdom by: Leigh Bardugo: 5/5 stars
Wucaii by: Pembroke Sinclair: 2/5 stars
Holding Up the Universe by: Jennifer Niven: 4/5 stars
Station Eleven by: Emily St. John Mandel: 6/5 stars (yes, I know I put 6)
The Sun is Also a Star by: Nicola Yoon: 3/5 stars
The Outsiders by: S.E. Hinton: Do I even have to rate this one anymore?
Hidden Figures by: Margot Lee. Shetterly: 3/5 stars

Favourite book: Now I'll explain why I put the 6 for Station Eleven. Never, in my 12 years of going to school have I ever read a required reading book that I completely enjoyed. Then came Station Eleven. I read the whole thing within the weekend that the first chapter was assigned to us and I am standing by the decision that it will be my favourite book of the year. I'll talk more about it in my review of it, so stay tuned.

What I Blogged:

To be honest, it was kind of a slow blogging month. Just the same ol', but I did put up one post that I was very proud of: Swearing in my Posts. It was a good discussion and good to get things off my chest.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

I discovered a whole lot of new blogs this month and I have been loving it!!

Kirsty talks about her Anxiety 

Uma shares The Blog Squad's thoughts.

Lyha says hello to the blogisphere in her Welcome post.

Brooklyn reveals her Bookish Boyfriends 

Life Stuff: 

So like I said in the beginning, this month has been pretty rough in terms of my semester. I haven't enjoyed the change because my teachers are so much worse now, the people in my classes are the most irritating people ever, and to top it off, I have a new lunch without any of my friends, so basically I have nobody to eat lunch with. It's been pretty annoying and frustrating, but hey, only 4 more months of this bullshit!!!

On the bright side though, this month, my mom and dad surprised my sister and I by telling us that we're going to New York in March! I could not be more excited because this has been a dream of our's for such a long time, and I can now officially enter the Hamilton lottery! I doubt I'll win, but of course, I'm so looking forward to everything else there is to see. I literally cannot wait.

 I hope your February's went well! What did you get up to?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 24 February 2017

My Staying in Essentials: The Life of an Introverted Bookworm

As a bookworm who also happens to be the biggest introvert on the planet, I stay in a lot. I just prefer cozying up with a good book rather than a night on the town, but that's just me. So when Leesa, an online mattress company  was looking for people to share their staying-in essentials, I knew I had to share. So here are my tips for the perfect night:

First off, I like to take a nice shower. I like to be clean when I'm spending a night in, it helps me to sleep and overall relaxes me. So I shower, put on some sweet smelling body butter and get into a cozy onesie. Fuzzy socks are also on my list because I am always cold and my feet are always like bricks of ice, so that's a must. Then, it's time to get into my bed.

Like I said, I'm always cold, so I like to have a ton of blankets and pillows around me. It feels like my own personal fort, and I love being surrounded like that.

My favourite staying in snack has got to be something sweet. I love cupcakes or donuts, and usually will bake something the day before to have as a snack. I like to have comfort food.

I like to watch some Netflix or Youtube during my staying-in night, and I usually do this early on in the evening because when it gets too late I will be too tired to pay attention lol! I will either re-watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, my perfect comforting show, or I will watch a new episode of the show I'm currently watching: Suits.

Then, the main star of the show, my book. I read near the end after I'm done watching my show because it helps me to unwind my mind and get away from the electronics. I usually read the book I'm currently reading, I don't like to re-read a book just for a staying-in night, so currently I'm reading The Sun is Also a Star by: Nicola Yoon and that is my staying-in book! I think fluffy romances make the best cozy books.

Finally, I will put away everything, and meditate for 10 minutes. This may sound cheesy, but I've been doing this right before I go to sleep for about a month now and I just feel like it helps to put all my anxious thoughts to bed and gives me a better sleep. I like to meditate on my Headspace app.

Then, it's bed time. I will get out of my meditation, stretch, and turn off the lights. It's been my definition of a perfect night :)

What are your staying-in essentials?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A Thousand Nights by: E.K. Johnston

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Retelling
Published: October 6, 2015 by: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 328
Rating: 3/5 stars

Lo-Melkhiin is a ruthless king, a killer, who takes a bride only to kill her that same night. When Lo-Melkhiin arrives at her village, and tries to take her sister, her best friend, she decides that she must risk everything to save her sister's life. She is brave, fearless, and she is determined to prevent her death by enthralling the king into her master storytelling. Will she be able to survive? 

Another retelling One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, although, it was kind of a let-down? Idk, I felt like this book dragged on for too long and lost me by the ending, although I do love the concept and am always a sucker for a retelling. 

I liked how this book didn't name the main protagonist. She is the narrator, but people don't refer to her by her name through the entire book. I thought that this was very unique and mysterious, and really helped to contribute to the mood. However, it is kind of nice to put a name to a face. 

I tend to automatically rate retellings higher because I really do love them. Especially this story, I loved The Wrath and the Dawn and was so willing to start a new one, and I especially like how these books are big on the description. This book has some beautiful writing because it has a lot of details, and also appeals to the senses. It will keep you intrigued. 

However I found this book to be incredibly slow. I was intrigued in the beginning, but as it went on it just dragged and dragged, and I was less interested with every page. It was almost like there was too much description and not enough plot, that it just lacked in any action. 

I also didn't find much chemistry with our protagonist and Lo-Melkhiin. They just seemed forced and unnatural, and just really wrong. It didn't feel like a romance at all. 

So overall, this book was kind of: meh? It was ok, but definitely wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. 

Have you read A Thousand Nights? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Knife of Never Letting Go by: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Published: May 2, 2013 by: Walker Books
Pages: 528
Rating: 4/5 stars

In the town of Prentisstown, everyone hears everyone else's thoughts in an endless stream of Noise. When Todd and his dog Manchee uncover a town that has complete silence throughout, Todd becomes weary of the life he thought he knew that the people he thought he trusted. Just weeks away from becoming a man, Todd faces great danger, and must choose whether or not to reveal the silent town, or continue as if everything is normal.

Mr. Ness creates some unique books. His books are so odd and yet so cool that it seems like he thinks differently than everyone else. I love his ability to weave fantasy and diversity together so perfectly, and creating truly, one of a kind themes.

This book will mess with your head. It will make you rethink everything you thought about sci-fi, and it reveals it in a whole new light. Like I said before, this book is unreal. I guarantee that you have not read anything like it.

This is kind of a weird thing to love about a book, but I loved that there was a dog as a central theme. I am a huge dog person and I don't read many YA books that have a dog as a fearless sidekick, so I found this so unique and cute too! It was really really special.

Like I said, I loved the diversity of this book and how Ness approaches it. He looks at different sides to all kinds of spectrum's, and he doesn't shy away from talking about serious issues. At the same time though, he also has this great wittiness about him that he manages to put in every book, which I find so comical. He's really a jack-of-all-trades.

The one thing that I didn't like about this book was that I tend to not completely *get* science fiction. It's not really my point of interest, and for that reason, I tend to find almost every sci-fi book a tad boring, no matter what it is. So I will say that for me, there were some slow parts, but don't let that discourage you if you love sci-fi.

Overall, this was a really intriguing read with the wit and charm of Ness that we all know and love.

Have you read The Knife of Never Letting Go? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: Swearing in My Posts

I came up with the idea for this post literally about 5 minutes ago, when I was about to put "f*ck" in a review and immediately changed it. This has happened to me many times before. I immediately know of the perfect swear word to describe what I'm feeling, but then I change it to make it kinder. And for what reason? I know that most people reading these posts are teens, and it's no secret that teens swear. I definitely swear in real life, so why am I so scared to put them in my posts?

I think there's a long-perceived notion that swearing= unprofessional, which is kind of true. You probably won't get the job if you're dropping the f-bomb 20 times in your interview. However this blog isn't my job, it's my hobby, and I'm thinking that I'm watering-down my content to make it more "professional" which really isn't me.

The choice to swear obviously lies in the person. Some are comfortable to swear in their posts, and others  just don't or just censor a few letters. But the strange thing with me is, that I want to swear, I just choose not to. So why am I not using my choice?

I guess I just care too much about the what if. I put my blog as a reference on my University application, so I guess I'm just afraid that they might actually log on here and find me too childish for swearing all the time. But it's highly unlikely that they'll even come on here and see my posts.

So from now on, I'm going to try to embrace myself and start swearing a bit more in my posts. That sounds a bit weird to announce, but again, I just care too much that people are going to be weirded out if they suddenly see me swearing my posts. Now I don't swear a ton, and I definitely do not, say offensive, racist, or sexual words, but the casual *this book fucked me up* every once in a while might come up. It's worth noting.

I think with swearing, it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't. You can get called a goodie two-shoes for not, or be called unprofessional for doing it. But the thing is, that it is all acceptable. If you don't feel comfortable swearing, that's ok. If you do, that's ok too. And I think that's something that I need to realise for myself too.

So people, if you want to express your emotions by proudly using some colourful language, go right ahead! I will  be right with you! And if you don't, then there are many other ways that you can express your emotions too.

What do you think? Do you swear in your posts?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by: Siobhan Vivian

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 26, 2016 by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 432
Rating: 1/5 stars

Keeley Hewitt's town is underwater. After a raging storm threatens to destroy nearly everything in it's path, Keeley and her friends in Aberdeen county decide to make the most of it, by living life to the fullest and taking chances. Soon, Aberdeen is filled with parties and excitement as the teens have their fun, but for Keeley, all she wants to do is to try one last time to win over her long-time crush. Will she be able to do it, before everything turns to chaos?

Do not let this book fool you. At first glance, judging by the title and cover, I thought that this book would be a thrilling dystopian novel about *literally* the last boy and girl on earth. Instead, I got a crappy love story about a whiny white teen and her even less diverse friends, as they party it up while their town is in shambles.

Really, there was nothing I liked about this book. Keeley, the protagonist, was as bitchy as bitchy could be. I'm sorry, but your whole life is underwater and while your disabled dad is trying to cope, you whine that your crush won't love you? Ok girl, you need to get your priorities straight. This girl pissed me off to the core with the fact that she didn't seem to care about anyone but herself.

The other characters in this book were not amazing either. There was not a single person in this book that wasn't a straight white teenager who just wanted to have fun. I'm really sick of these pre-apocalyptic books that just depict privileged teens making stupid decisions as opposed to, you know, being with their loved ones. It's just so stupid.

And don't even get me started on the love story here. It was tropey and gross, love triangles, insta-love, you name it, this book had it. The characters had no chemistry at all besides the fact that Keeley was practically obsessed with her crush that she seemed to put everything else aside to get to him. And get this: he was just your typical young brooding white male.

This is one of those books where I'd say: don't judge it by it's title. What you'll get is an unoriginal romance with some silly teenagers in the mix. Don't waste your time.

Have you read The Last Boy and Girl in the World? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: Harry Potter, What are you Doing?

This topic... god this topic. I've talked about my problems with revivals of classic books, tv shows, and movies before, but today, we're getting more specific. My first post was having not read Cursed Child, but now that I have, I needed to revisit this. I need to get more stuff off my chest.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't buy into the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts craze. Everyone did, I mean, we're loyal fans who for years haven't gotten a sign from the Wizarding World, and now Harry's checking in to let us know what he's been up to! How exciting! I read, and somewhat enjoyed Cursed Child, and I thought that Fantastic Beasts was ok. But the truth is, I'm sick and tired of these HP revivals. I'd rather that they didn't exist, and I'm not sure if I want to buy into them again. 

Cursed Child was just weird for me. It didn't feel like the eighth Harry Potter book, it felt like some sort of fan fiction that someone had written after finishing the Deathly Hallows. Harry didn't sound like Harry, Ron didn't sound like Ron, and don't even get me started on Hermione. She was so flat and didn't feel at all like the Hermione I used to love. I refuse to believe that book was the eighth Harry Potter book.

Then Fantastic Beasts. That to me, felt like a random movie about wizards set apart from the HP world. It was so incredibly random, and they're actually making five movies out of it?! Give me a break. 

The point I'm trying to make here is, that I don't think these revivals are coming out for the happiness of the fans anymore. I feel like if they were, they would take our opinions into account such as making a certain couple canonically gay and putting down that "snape was good" analogy forever. I would also much rather prefer a series on the Marauders rather than five freaking Fantastic Beasts movies. Maybe I'm just being cynical, but I'm seeing these things as a money grab alone. 

To me, this is all just a way to make more money. They know that anything with Harry Potter plastered on the front, people will buy in to, so they've been milking all of these revivals to the death. It makes me not want to see the five other Fantastic Beasts movies, or not even try to get Cursed Child tickets. It makes me angry that my favourite book is being exploited like this. 

Maybe I'm just being dramatic and negative. I don't mean to be a debby downer on all those who love the revivals, and you are not any less of a fan for wanting to do these things. I'm just saying that for me, these revivals have not been working out, and I wish that HP would either listen to the fans for what they want, or not do anything at all. 

How do you feel about HP at the moment? Please share! 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 6 February 2017

ARC Review: Code Red: A Faith Flores Mystery by: Janie Chodosh

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery
Published: February 7, 2017 by: Poisoned Pen Press
Rating: 3.5 /5 stars

Fresh off of solving her mother's mysterious murder, Faith Flores is back for another tough crime to solve. When she excepts an internship at a lab facility, she begins investigating a string of overdoses surrounding a drug dubbed "liquid gold."When her step sister falls ill, it becomes personal, and Faith uses her fierce determination and new found friends to catch the culprit, and bring the victims to justice.

Thank you very much to the publisher and author for providing me with this copy for an honest review. This book is the second in the Faith Flores mystery series, and I thought that it was witty and captivating. While I did have some issues on some tropes, I do think that this book was a great young adult mystery.

First off, I loved the characters in this book. They were incredibly diverse, there was some great Latina representation and amazing biracial rep as well. I loved how this book touched on a slew of issues, and didn't just focus on your typical, white characters. The characters were incredibly well written and there was a great dynamic.

The plot was also very engaging, very interesting. I don't read much mystery, and I felt like this book was good for people like me who are just getting their feet wet in the genre. For me though, I felt as if there was a need for a little more drama and action. I felt as if that was what took away from it being a really thrilling mystery, there was a need for more thrilling aspects.

I also didn't not entirely enjoy the sort of insta-lovey tropes in this book. It's not very explicit, but it is kind of implied and for me, that took away from the chemistry of the two characters. It just seemed like the romance wasn't even necessary because I couldn't see the chemistry between them at all. I would have preferred for the protagonist to remain independent.

But other than that, I felt as if this was a really great mystery for me, who isn't all that familiar with mysteries! It was easy to get through and very easy to follow the story, so I am very thankful for that. You can catch Code Red being released tomorrow!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Problem with Forever by: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 17, 2016 by: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 474
Rating: 5/5 stars

For all the years that she had been rescued from her abusive foster home, Mallory has been silent to almost everyone except for her new foster parents. When she starts high school for the first time in her life, her adoptive parents worry that she won't let her voice be heard. Until, Mallory finds her former protector and foster brother Rider going to the same school. Mallory begins to confide in Rider again, but his new life is more secretive than she remembers, and he might be getting into some serious danger, that could put both of their lives in danger.

This was my first Armentrout novel I have ever read. I know a lot of people love her, and I can definitely say that I fell in love with her writing in this book. She tackles harsh issues so well, and this book kept me captivated from page to page.

I loved all of the issues in this book. This book handles adoption, abuse, gangs, drugs, and ptsd all in one extremely emotional read. These issues were so raw and also incredibly realistic. I thought that it was so important for books like these to exist, and this book did the issues at hand justice.

Even though there are romantic elements to this book, the romance was not the be all and end all of everything. which I really liked. Rider and Mallory's chemistry went a lot deeper than high school crushes. I loved how Armentrout captured their relationship as a friendship, a family, and romantically all in one. They cared so much for each other and the lengths that these two went to protect each other was amazing.

There's also a lot of cultural diversity in this book, particularly Puerto Rican. While I can't vouch to say that it was accurate, I did appreciate the diversity and the fact that Armentrout didn't just go for the typical white characters. There was a lot of language and customs put in there as well, which was cool to learn.

Overall, a very emotional book that captures a relationship unlike any other. This book was so intriguing and kept me interested every step of the way, and I think that the issues were so well done.

Have you read The Problem with Forever? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Month in Review: January

Exams are upon me and I could not be more stressed. However, 2017 hasn't been so bad so far so I'm just looking forward to starting a new semester. Here's what happened in January:

What I Read: 

I was in full-on reading mode this month! I finally broke my 3-month long slump, and look how much I accomplished! It feels so good. Also, I was really excited as I got my wish granted on Netgalley to receive a Traitor to the Throne ARC! I have never gotten an ARC wish, so it was a really exciting moment for me and made me so thankful for these opportunities :) Here's what I read:

Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer by: Rick Riordan: 4/5 stars
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by: Benjamin Alire Saenz: 5/5 stars
Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman: 5/5 stars
The Female of the Species by: Mindy Mcginnis: 5/5 stars
Girl Mans Up by: M.E. Girard: 4.5/5 stars
Rumble Fish by: S.E. Hinton: 4/5 stars
Traitor to the Throne by: Alwyn Hamilton: 4/5 stars
Code Red by: Janie Chodosh: 3.5/5 stars

Favourite Book: I re-read Ari and Dante in the physical format (I had used the audiobook before.) and can definitely confirm that it was even more magical for me. I am very passionate about this book now.

What I Blogged: 

8 posts went up this month! My favourite was my participation in Disability Diaries, in which I reviewed Challenger Deep! This was an amazing event and I loved each and every post.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Cee says that there's No Shame, No Stigma in revealing your illnesses.

Lais discusses all about Book Titles!

A.M.B. explains her diverse book: Anusha of Prospect Corner

Sam talks about Fixing Bad Bookish Habits and Resolutions

Life Stuff: 

Exams are currently happening but to be honest I am so ready to get rid of these classes and start fresh. Especially dump history forever.

I also am still a vegetarian! I'm still keeping it up and have been feeling healthy so far, although for my cousin's birthday in a few days we're going to a Brazilian steakhouse, so idk how I'm going to dodge that.

I have a job! Well, technically I've finished it now, but over December I worked in retail for the Christmas season and they decided to keep me in on an on-call basis! It's been good experience.

And that was my first month of 2017! How was yours? I hope it was good!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 27 January 2017

A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Magical Realism
Published: August 27, 2013 by: Candlewick Press
Pages: 224
Rating: 5/5 stars

Conor's mother is going through vigorous cancer treatments, leaving him isolated and alone, with no one but his annoying grandmother to talk to. But then a monster enters Conor's room at night. A terrifying, wild monster. The monster enters Conor's room every night at the exact same time, and it keeps asking for the same thing. Will Conor ever realize what the monster wants, or will the monster keep on coming, until it is too late?

This book was INSANE! I read it in exactly one sitting, I laughed, I cried, and I was completely blown away once again by the legend that is Patrick Ness. Although I shouldn't give him all the credit, as the idea from the novel actually came from author Siobhan Dowd, who died from cancer before she could write the book. So Ness took over, and this book, should be treasured forever.

You really have to think to get this book. Not really hard, philosophical thinking, but this book requires you to go into your emotions to really get the overall metaphor. And once you get it, it will blow your mind. I loved how this book used magic realism to get an incredibly poignant message across.

This book takes on cancer in a new light. It is unlike anything that you have ever experienced when reading books on the disease, and it will completely mess up your perception but in a really good way. This book is very emotional to say the least, but it is also so brave and so adorable that you can't help but fall in love with every single character.

Be prepared to go on one big thrill ride. You will experience a petri dish of emotions, and it may not be easy. But I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, young and old, and especially, those with relatives who have cancer. Prepare to be amazed.

Have you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Siren by: Kiera Cass

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Published: January 28, 2016 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Rating: 4/5 stars

All through time, the Ocean has carefully selected young girls from drowning for one price: they are hers for 100 years. The girls are known as Sirens, mermaid-like creatures who use their deadly singing voices to lure travellers to their death. Kahlen became a siren years ago, and together with her sisters, they live amongst the ordinary world, dreaming of the day that they will be free from the Ocean's control. But then Kahlen meets Akinli, a caring young man who wants nothing more then to be with her, and to hear her voice. But falling in love is forbidden in Kahlen's world, and if the Ocean were to find out, it would doom her and her love forever.

I have this habit of being shamelessly addicted to Kiera Cass books. Everything she writes is so cliche and so fluffy, and yet so addicting! She once again left me captivated for every single page in this book, although I will say again: she needs to get more diverse characters.

I think the concept of the sirens was so incredibly cool. Who doesn't love a good mythical story about ocean creatures? The atmosphere was mystical and dreamy, and I can just imagine reading this on the beach. This was the perfect summer book and so incredibly romantic.

I did like the characters, especially Akinli. I felt as if he was a very strong love interest, and not quite as cliche as some of Cass' previous male protagonists. I loved the chemistry between him and Kahlen, I didn't feel like it was forced at all.

Now to the issue I'm seeing time and time again in her books. Her characters lack diversity. Not even just with skin colour, although that obviously is an issue too, but even in the way that they act. Kahlen was just your typical teenage girl who's kind of introverted and loved by everyone and goes against the norm. She was a very flat character for me, because she's just so typical of so many contemporary protagonists I've read about before. I need something new.

So overall, the concept was what sold this book for me. It was so creative and felt like a cool mythology story. However I am still longing for a contemporary romance with some more original characters, and the day that comes, I will personally thank the author myself.

Have you read The Siren? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: August 30, 2016 by: Razorbill
Pages: 452
Rating: 4/5 stars

*if you have not read AEITA don't read further as it will be spoiled.*

On the run after The Fourth Trial, Elias and Laia are fighting for their lives as they make their journey to Kauf prison to break free Laia's brother. However the murderous Emperor Marcus has sent out troops upon troops to capture the two, so Elias and Laia must keep their wits about them as they make their way. In the meanwhile, Elias' former friend Helene faces the task of hunting for the pair and killing them, before Emperor Marcus, kills her.

I had been waiting anxiously for this sequel and I have to say that it did live up to it's potential! I couldn't wait to see what happened to Laia and Elias once they were on the run and especially, what Marcus would be doing with the Empire. While AEITA was a lot faster-paced and interesting to me, this book did give me the sequel that I wanted.

I loved Elias' and Laia's chemistry in this book! This book was fiery and passionate, and there's no denying that those two are the cutest when they're together. I felt like Laia made the book for me, she was so much stronger and more confident in this book and had her time to shine. While Elias can do no wrong, this book definitely had more of the girl power.

I also really loved that Helene's POV was put into this book. She's such a fascinating character to me, I'm not sure if I love to hate her or if I just love her, but getting to go into her thoughts definitely made me connect to her more. She is a really well-written character.
While Sabaa Tahir is amazing at making a brutally thrilling book, I think that this book was just a bit more laidback than AEITA. For this reason, I have to say that I found some parts quite boring, especially Elias' parts, which kind of disappointed me. I don't think that Elias' storyline was that interesting to me and I loved him a lot more in AEITA.

But other than that, this was not a let down of a sequel at all and I can't wait to see what Tahir comes up with next! If you're looking for a thrilling fantasy series with some POC's at the centre, this series is for you!

Have you read A Torch Against the Night? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Who Would Be On My Dream Author Panel?

A little bit of a different post today! I decided to create a post based on my dream author panel, who would I love to hear speak? Eventbrite  has an awesome campaign currently on dream author panels,  so I just had to join in the fun! If you're not familiar, Evenbrite is a site that allows users to create events and sell tickets to people! Honestly it's really cool and helpful :) So without further adieu, here's my dream author panel:

I'm going to call this panel: The Emily's Favourite's Panel. This is mainly because these authors don't really share a common theme other than the fact that they're all my favourites, so this is what the panel's theme is going to be!

I guess the panel would take place at Book Expo America in New York. This is because I really want to go to New York sooo badly, so if I were there and I'm seeing my faves, it'll be a win-win.

The moderator: I would have Evanna Lynch moderate the panel. She plays Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series, and by far is one of my favourite actresses from the series. Idk, I would just love for her and my first guest to interact ;)

1. First, J.K. Rowling would be a must. She's my ultimate hero, and hearing her speak about anything would make me smile. I would especially love to get her advice for writing fantasies, since she's basically fantasy queen.

2.  Next, John Green. His books have touched me in so many ways and I would just have so many questions for him. Where is Hazel now? How is Margo? And more importantly: WHEN ARE YOU WRITING ANOTHER BOOK?

3. I would also love S.E. Hinton to be on the panel. She wrote The Outsiders, which remains my favourite classic book and a book I hold near and dear to my heart. This woman is so incredibly talented at what she does. I would ask her if we'd ever get an Outsiders reunion, maybe even with the stars from the movie.

4. Next, I would love for Maggie Stiefvater to make an appearance. I have so many questions about The Raven Cycle characters, and would love to ask her if there's any chance of a film adaption to this amazing series!

5. Last on my panel would be Rick Riordan. I've admired him for a very long time, and would just be completely fangirling over everything he's ever written. I would ask him also for a heroes of olympus film adaption, and who his favourite hero is.

This would be my dream panel! I can't imagine how i'd react if this actually came true, honestly I think I would cry.

What would your dream panel be? Thanks again Eventbrite!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 16 January 2017

Disability Diaries: Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman!

I'm so excited to be taking part in the week long event Disability Diaries, which is showcasing disability diversity and why it's important to talk about it! A few lovely bloggers are hosting this event that runs until next Saturday, so make sure to check out their posts! As my contribution for the event, I'm going to be reviewing an amazing book that I just recently read, called Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman.

While brainstorming ideas of what I wanted to do for my post, I was reading a book called Challenger Deep. It turned out to blow my mind on how amazingly it dealt with mental illness, so I decided that raising awareness about this book was going to be my post. Everyone should read this.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 21, 2015 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Rating: 5/5 stars

Caden Bosch and other members of a crew of sailors are heading out on a ship set sail for challenger deep, the deepest part of the Marianas Trench. Caden's job is to draw everything that they discover along the way. However in reality, Caden is not on a ship. He is not going to challenger deep. He is a high school student suffering from schizophrenia and anxiety, and he has been sent to a mental health facility to get better. As Caden goes about nine weeks of therapy, a cocktail of drugs, and new friends with their own battles, Caden in his mind, is setting sail for the adventure of a lifetime. And nobody understands but him.

This book blew me away in how it was executed. Not only did it handle mental illness in a way that was so raw and so real, but it was also incredibly unique in weaving Caden's psychosis into the storyline. It had a very mystical tone to it, while still staying true to the theme.

The book contains a lot of drawings drawn by Caden, as he is on his ship. These were such a unique touch and the author's note at the end explains the pictures in further detail that will leave you surprised and speechless. They were there for a reason, and that reason, was beautiful.

This book is so real. It touches upon not only a variety of mental illnesses, but also about medication, family struggles, and even how to heal. I don't think this book was a very triggering book because it is more about showing that healing is possible, but obviously always be cautious when approaching any mental health book. I loved reading about Caden's healing process and how it was effected by the other people at the hospital.

Overall, I think this book handled the issues at hand brilliantly. This was the first book about schizophrenia I've read, and it was done in a way that showed hope, that showed highs and lows, and showed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I fell in love with the overall metaphor of this book and I hope you will too.

Have you read Challenger Deep? What did you think?

That's it for my disability diaries post! Check out all of the other ones too!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 January 2017

We All Looked Up by: Tommy Wallach

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Published: March 24, 2015 by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 370
Rating: 2/5 stars

Before the asteroid hit, four teens let themselves be defined as labels: the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But when news that an enormous asteroid would be hitting the earth in 2 months, those teens choose to leave their labels behind and embrace life to the fullest, before everyone is doomed.

I was expecting a lot from this book. I thought that the premise of a pre-apocalyptic book would be so interesting and new, something that I hadn't really read before. Then news of Wallach's rude and quite un-called for suicide jokes came to light and I was sceptic about him. However, I had already gotten this book from the library and decided to give it a shot. Did my opinions on Wallach influence my review of the book? I don't like to think so.

Really the only good thing about this book was the premise. I enjoyed the concept of an asteroid hitting the earth and what humans did with that knowledge, I thought that it was very interesting and extremely emotional to see what people did with their time during those two months. That's about it.

I found the characters to be extremely flat, boring and stupid, You'd think that they would be a lot kinder to each other after learning that they're all going to die in 2 months, but instead most of them were complete jerks. I didn't care for any of them at all and I didn't care for their stories.

I also found the plot up until a few days before the apocalypse to be incredibly boring. I couldn't understand or care for a single thing that was happening, and I honestly wasn't even paying attention. It was so uneventful.

That's pretty much all I have to say about this book. It was a let down that I was not happy about.

Have you read We All Looked Up? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Salt to the Sea by: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: August 3rd, 2016 by: Thorndike Press
Pages: 450
Rating: 5/5 stars

World War II is finally  over in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are trying to make the escape to freedom. A ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, promises them just that, and many board the ship making it's way to safe ground. Among the refugees are Florian, Emilia and Joana, strangers who have all got something to hide. However when tragedy strikes among the ship, the three, and the thousands others on the fated ship, must do whatever it takes to survive. 

This book was a harrowing, heartbreaking and just plain beautiful piece of writing. It revolves around a tragedy of WWII not very well known, I didn't even know it myself, and that is the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Thousands of refugees were on this boat looking for a better life, and yet, they were doomed. Most people just know of the Titanic as the most famous ship sinking, but I think that this story is of as equal importance and deserves equal recognition. 

The book is told in alternating points of view from refugees of very different backgrounds. Each and every character were so well-developed, their stories so well thought out and I fell for every one of them. I especially had a soft spot for Joana, as she was so kind and had such an amazing soul. I loved how unique each character's situation was. 

What I love about Sepetys is that she sheds light on historical events not well known to the public. She doesn't skim the surface of events, she goes into these terrible and emotional things that happened to real people that need more recognition. I had no idea that this sinking had even happened because the only ship sinking I was ever taught about was the Titanic, but after reading this book I felt like I had learnt something new. Sepetys gives these victims a story to tell. 

Overall, an amazing WWII book that tells a different story. I think anyone interested in history should read this book, as it will educated you on a story that you didn't even know about, but that affected a lot of people. 

Have you read Salt to the Sea? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess