Monday, 22 January 2018

The Glass Castle by: Jeannette Walls

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Published: January 26, 2006 by: Scribner
Pages: 288
Rating: 5/5 stars



Jeannette Walls tells the both tender and heartbreaking story of her life. Of living in a family of nomads, travelling along the Southwest desert and scrounging up whatever they could find. Her father was a drunk, but when sober, he captivated Jeannette and her three siblings with imagination and teachings that you could not replicate in a classroom. But when the money ran out, the family had to settle, and with it, Jeannette's father started drinking and became abusive. Their mother was absent and uncaring, and the Walls children began to fend for themselves. When they finally found the courage to leave home, Jeannette knew that this story had to be told.

Wow. Just wow. This book was unreal, unexplainable, probably the most captivating non-fiction I have ever read. What's incredible about this story is that it reads like a fiction, it's almost like the characters are made up and the author is simply telling just a heartbreaking tale. But it's all real. Jeannette used such vivid descriptions of her childhood that drew me in and made me not want to put it down.

Jeannette obviously had a hard life. Her and her siblings grew up very fast, and they could have ended up anywhere, but they decided to turn their lives around. But amazingly, Jeannette speaks of her parents with such fondness and affection. She doesn't look at them as horrid people who she is estranged from, instead, she looks upon them with generosity for their sacrifices and an appreciation for the fond memories. This is one strong woman.

I would recommend this book to anyone. Even if you don't like non-fiction, this book is not boring in the slightest and has such a beautifully painted picture of a not so beautiful life.

Have you read The Glass Castle? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

What's in My Writing Portfolio?


Like a lot of people I've met in the blogisphere, I want to be a writer someday. My absolute dream is to be published, and while I have already technically written a book for NaNoWriMo, it is nowhere near where I want my writing to be. However, I have just started my creative writing class at uni, and have started writing again after over a year. Here's what I've been up to:

So in order to get into my creative writing program which starts next year, I have to submit a portfolio. I'm pretty nervous because I don't really have a backup plan if I don't get in.  For my portfolio, I have submitted 10 pages of writing from various stories. I'm really excited about them and wanted to share what they're about.

My first story is a 2-page long excerpt from a potential YA fantasy that I worked on a lot a year ago, but kinda lost touch of. It's about a girl named Ely, a fortune teller who lives under a tyrannical monarchy and must go undercover in the palace in order to kill the ruthless king. It is probably my most developed story, I have 16 pages already written along with storyboards and even a query letter, because when the time comes, I would really love to finish and submit it to an agent.

My second piece is a character portrait of the ruthless king Kyle from the story above. I think he is the character I have the most clear picture of in my mind and I really love writing him. He's a terrible person, but he's also broken inside and really needs to be shown some sort of love.

My third is something completely different, it's an introduction to a dystopia about all the world being condensed into a single country. Basically, there has been only one survivor of each country in the world after the apocalypse, and so they all band together onto one piece of land and have to learn to cooperate. I don't think this story will go anywhere but it was fun to write nonetheless.

I finally got around to writing an ancient history retelling! This is about a girl who is trapped under the rubble of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii. She recounts memories of her past life before the eruption and tries to make her way out of the rubble. I know there were no survivors of the eruption, but I wanted to have a little fun with a "what if?"

The last piece I've submitted is a short story about a woman driving to work in heavy downtown traffic and she talks about her anxieties about driving and ponders how fast moving society is nowadays. This was by far my favourite piece to submit because it has a plot twist in the end, and I have never written a plot twist before. I also don't really write short stories so it was a good change.

That's all that's in my creative writing portfolio! If all goes well, maybe I'll share some of the pieces I submitted later on, because I do feel like I need to be more open with sharing my writing.

Have you ever had to submit a writing portfolio? Do you have any tips?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 15 January 2018

The 100 by: Kass Morgan

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia
Published: September 3rd, 2013 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 323
Rating: 2/5 stars



For centuries after nuclear warfare, humanity has lived on a spaceship known as the Arc, far above from the now inhabitable planet. However, fuel and oxygen are beginning to run out, and so Chancellor Jaha orders that 100 juvenile delinquents be sent back to earth to recolonize. Among them is Clarke, an artist arrested for treason; and Bellamy, a troublemaker who snuck his way onto the mission in order to protect his sister Octavia. The 100 will face new found hardships and a planet unfamiliar to them, but they may be humanity's only hope.

Ok, so I absolutely love the tv show The 100. I find it so action-packed, complex, and the characters are unbelievably well-written. So I was eager to get my hands on the book to help me cope with this dreaded year-long hiatus. However, and this is a pretty popular opinion, I found that the tv show is way better than the book.

I didn't love how the characters were written. Clarke didn't seem even half as badass as she is in the show and Bellamy was just so dull. I couldn't imagine them as the characters that I know and love and I found them so underdeveloped and underwhelming. I thought Octavia was ok, she definitely still remains my favourite character, but still I wanted more.

The plot was also quite boring. I waited so long for something to happen and it took forever for things to get going. This is unlike the show, which through me right into the action.

I guess what kept me from fully hating this book was that I was already familiar with the characters and the general storyline, so I wasn't fully disconnected. However I now know that the show changed a lot of things, and I am very thankful for that. For once, the show was better.

Have you read The 100? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Paperback's Pondering's: Why I've Set My Goodreads Goal A Little Lower This Year


Paperback's Pondering's is back! Today I'm going to talk about Goodreads goals, and why I have set my expectations a little lower this year than in previous years.

I was anticipating not even setting a Goodreads goal this year, and here's why. I just found that for me, in previous years, I would rush through books just to make the goal. I wasn't actually reading, rather skimming, to fly through book after book because I felt as if this goal had to be met. I don't even know why this goal was so important to me, it's not like you win a cash prize or anything, but I associated not meeting my goal with failure. I needed to finish it.

So the first year I set the goal, it was at 65 books, and over the years I have always felt like I needed to top the goal from the previous year. So by 2017, I was at a whopping 80 books, which doesn't seem like much compared to other bookworms who clear at least 100 books a year (seriously, give me your powers), but it was honestly physically impossible for me. So again, I rushed through books and read a lot of pointless short books I wasn't even interested in just to meet and exceed the goal.

So this year, I have set my goal back from even my first year, at 50 books. To a non-bookworm, that seems like such a challenge, and to an avid bookworm, it may even seem a little measly. But with this goal, I can ensure that I actually closely read each book and only read books I am genuinely interested in. I don't want to waste my time anymore.

I would like to eventually work my way up to the incredible goal that is 100 books, but it will be impossible for a first-year university student to reach that quite fast. So for now, I'll be sitting here content with my 50 books.

Do you have a Goodreads goal? What is it set at?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 8 January 2018

Year in Review: 2017

I'm back!!! Hey everyone, how's 2018 treating you so far? I know I've taken a bit of a hiatus, but I have so many ideas this year and I can't wait for 2018 in terms of blogging, writing, and of course reading! But for now, here's a list of all the things I did in 2017:

Reading:

I read 84 books in 2017, completing my goodreads challenge of reading 80 books! My favourite book from the year was by far Station Eleven, I'm sure you all are tired of me talking about that book. My favourite 2017 release was The Hate U Give. 2017 was great in terms of diverse books.

Blogging:

I kinda slacked off this year when it came to blogging. I took a lot of hiatuses and reduced my frequency in posting, but that was all because of the major changes that happened in my life this year. Now back into the swing of things, I hope to be posting more.

I was also thrilled that many bloggers came back from hiatuses this year! Claire @ Clairefy and TT @ Intro to Blurb to name a few. It's exciting to see some familiar faces making their return.

Life:

Well, what didn't happen this year?! I graduated high school, got to see many sights and sounds of Europe, attended FanExpo and met some of my favourite people, and of course, started university. It hasn't been easy and honestly I feel like my anxiety has been through the roof more than ever this past year, but all things just take time. I'm starting 2018 with a clean slate and a want for change.

My 2018 Goals:

This all brings me to my 2018 goals. This year, I want to get back into writing. I have a good book idea and I want to start getting it going, and I'm taking a creative writing course this year which I'm sure will help.

I also of course want to post more and want to work on scheduling posts every Monday and Wednesday. No more writing posts on the day that they go up.

I would love to get a job soon as well. University is not cheap and I like the idea of having a little extra money.

That was my 2017! I'm excited for 2018 and I hope it'll be great. How was your year?

Emily @ Paperback Princess