Friday, 29 May 2020

Month in Review: May

May had its ups, and it had its downs. But, I did reveal a lot more about myself this month then I have in my six years of blogging. For the first time ever, I was vulnerable to pretty much everyone in my life. And it was so needed. While everything is still a work in progress, being able to reveal what I have basically kept secret for a long time was a crucial step for me.

What I Read: 

The Lighting Thief by: Rick Riordan: 5/5 stars
Great Goddesses by: Nikita Gill: 5/5 stars
Oedipus the King by: Sophocles: 2/5 stars
Siege and Storm by: Leigh Bardugo: 4/5 stars
Skraelings by: Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley: 3/5 stars
The Elite by: Kiera Cass: 5/5 stars
The One by: Kiera Cass: 4/5 stars
Wacousta by: John Richardson: 1/5 stars
The Selection Series Novellas by: Kiera Cass: Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars

As you can see, I read A LOT this month! I was on a total Selection series re-read kick and pretty much flew through the entire series. I'm also not done yet because I'm working through the stories I missed in Happily Ever After, and I plan on reading The Heir and The Crown as well. These books are just so fluffy, and despite me not always rating them five stars critically, they do provide me with so much comfort. So, I will say The Selection series as a whole was my favourite from this month!

What I Blogged: 

I think an obvious post of mine that I wish to highlight this month is my post on My Experiences with Pure OCD. This post was not easy to write, but I so needed to write it for my own acceptance and healing. I could not be more happy with the response, and this is my sincerest thank you to everyone who has reached out and given me support in any way. You guys make my fight so worth it <3

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Konna asks How You Diversify Your Reading 
Veronika discusses if she's Fallen Out of Love with Writing Reviews
Cait shares 10 Things She Would Like to See More of in YA Books about Mental Health
Roberta asks If you Rate Books Up or Down on Goodreads
Lais discusses the Premonition Sex Trope in YA

Life Stuff: 

The month of May was a rollercoaster of emotions. But, we made it through! I have found a therapist who I really love, and I do feel like I am turning over to a new chapter. The true road to recovery begins now!

A thing that I really enjoyed this month was the SoShelf Distancing Book Club. Two book bloggers, Claire and Tessi put this virtual book club together and I look forward to it every Saturday! It's been so nice getting to put some faces to the names of many book bloggers I have seen around the blogsophere, and also nice to talk to people outside of my family for a change haha. This round we're reading We Hunt the Flame by: Hafsah Faizal! If you're interested in participating definitely get in touch with these ladies, because it's a really awesome club.

One thing that has really been a highlight of May has been the weather. It has been super hot and sunny this past week, which means I have been doing a lot of my schoolwork outside. I love summer and so it has been so nice being able to wear shorts and enjoy sitting outside. I have also been going on a lot of long walks and I'm just overall happy that the snow is behind us. It's nice to get into a new summer routine.

So, that was my May. We forge ahead towards June, and as Sesame Street said, hope that the sunny days will sweep the clouds away :)

How was your May?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 22 May 2020

The Dreamers by: Karen Thompson Walker

Genre: Science Fiction
Published: January 15, 2019 by: Random House
Pages: 303
Rating: 5/5 stars

When introverted college freshman Mei finds her roommate mysteriously asleep for days on end, the university is perplexed. Soon, another girl falls asleep and cannot be awoken, and then another. Slowly, more residents of the isolated Southern California town become infected with this odd sleeping illness, and nobody knows why. As residents attempt to protect themselves from an unknown threat, a psychiatrist from Los Angeles attempts to uncover why all those who fall ill are reporting heightened dream activity. But what are they dreaming about?

I received this book from one of my professors, who generously gave it to me after she found out how obsessed I am with the novel Station Eleven. She said it has a similar vibe and she thought I would like it. She was not wrong! This book was so incredibly unique and special. It was unlike any "pandemic" book I have read before. And, if you're up for it of course, I think it's really worth a read during these times as well.

There is an extensive cast of characters in this book, and they all hold unique characteristics. Mei was a really strong-hearted character who I could very much relate to. There is also a couple who are trying to protect their newborn daughter from the disease, and two young girls who must fend for themselves after their grieving father succumbs to the illness. All of these characters inter-lap in a really cool way. It was awesome to see how they all affect each other's lives.

I thought that this book handles an epidemic in the way that is super unique. Normally in books that deal with this subject matter, everything gets resolved, or at least, we get answers to everything. However in this book, there is still so much that is left unanswered by the end. I don't want to give too much away, but I think this book captures the theme of uncertainty really well. Sometimes, we can't find the answer to everything. But, we just have to carry on living. I think this is a lesson that a lot of us could use nowadays.

Overall, I think this book is a very worthy read. I think a lot of people are hesitant to read plague books right now, but if it helps, the disease in this book is super fictional anyways. I think that this book offers a lot of hope in uncertain times, and I'm really happy I was recommended it.

Have you read The Dreamers? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 15 May 2020

My Experiences with Pure OCD

TRIGGER WARNING: this post will discuss harm intrusive thoughts, OCD, anxiety and other potentially distressing content.

Where do I begin. I have wanted to do a post like this for a very long time. But, I never knew how to put what I was feeling into words. My intrusive thoughts told me that writing a post would simply be me craving attention, and so I shouldn't do it. But, more and more I have discovered that when you share your feelings, someone who might be going through the same thing may feel less alone. So this is me raising awareness about my mental illness: Pure OCD.

I knew I had anxiety for a while. For the past five years I have felt uncomfortable in social situations, nothing too severe, but enough for me to start therapy to just talk things out. This was about a year ago. My summer was awesome, and come the fall time, I was ready to start things fresh and and enter a new routine. And things were fine until after Christmas. In January of this year, I began experiencing "intrusive thoughts." These are basically obsessive, scary, disturbing thoughts that consume your mind and you can't shut them off. You know that you don't believe these thoughts, and you certainly know that you do not want to act upon them, but no matter what you do, they cannot go away.

My intrusive thoughts involved me hurting someone in my family. This caused me a lot of distress, because my biggest fear is turning into an evil person and I would never fathom hurting the ones I love. I googled my symptoms to see if anyone experienced the same thing. And that's when I came across Pure OCD and intrusive thoughts.

Pure OCD kinda goes hand in hand with intrusive thoughts. But the thing is, everyone experiences intrusive thoughts! Everyone has gotten a weird or anxious thought at least once in their life. It's part of what makes us human. But, when you latch onto the thoughts, you give yourself more anxiety, and thus, Pure OCD is born. You start completing compulsions to try and rid yourself of the thoughts. For me, this involves wishing on certain numbers for good luck, and praying every night that I will never turn evil, despite me not being that religious.

Soon I discovered a whole community of people who have the exact same experiences. We get flooded with anxiety-inducing images, end up having panic attacks, and at some point fear that we are one day going to go insane and have to be admitted to the hospital. Along with these thoughts, I got a lot of mental health anxiety. Fears of losing my personality, or losing empathy. I had to constantly seek reassurance from my therapist that I wasn't going to just snap one day.

In February, my mom moved in with me. I was afraid of being alone, and needed someone to talk to. Times with her got a little better. That is, until my doctor decided to put me on medication. I went on Lexapro, and my first week on it was the lowest I have ever been in my life. My intrusive thoughts were in full force, I was shaky and nauseous, and I felt so paranoid all the time. I got off of it, and spent about a month in relative peace. I finally felt normal again.

Then, social isolation happened. My family got back together, and we had to stay inside and not leave. The first few weeks were ok. But, slowly the intrusive thoughts were latching on again. I spent about a week in panic mode, feeling sick to my stomach all the time, but after a week I kinda got over it, and I spent a month being able to control the thoughts. Also, a big shout-out goes to Cee @ Dora Reads for majorly helping me through that week.

Last week, I got to the point where I decided I wanted to go back on medication. I talked with my doctor and we both agreed that I hadn't really give medication a full shot, and my body wasn't used to it yet. So, I went back on it. And, I finally felt like some good was happening. Until, I spiraled again. This morning, I started to believe that I would never get better, and that I would end up in a mental hospital because of my thoughts. It crippled me, but then I went on a walk with my dad, and shared all of the things I had pent-up in my head. It felt good to be free of that burden.

Which brings me to now. I'm still giving medication a go, but mostly I am tired of staying silent. I am tired of being ashamed of this illness, of keeping it inside because of embarrassment. This is a real disease that many people go through, but it is often looked at as simply "the germaphobe illness." Trust me when I say, I would much rather have some germaphobia than intrusive thoughts. I figured the only way to erase this stigma is to talk about it. To share my truthful experiences, and hope that others will either be educated, or find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their own struggle. When my mother moved in with me, she told family members that I was just "feeling a little lonely." But, it was a lot deeper than that. I wish I could talk about this disease openly. I'm beginning to try.

I want to stress that I have good days and bad days. Most people do. Mornings are the worst for me, but normally I can get down from a panic attack come the afternoon. I have moments when I am cheerful, full of jokes, and free from thoughts. But being in isolation has made that a lot harder. My intrusive thoughts are harder to get rid of because I don't have as many distractions around me. But, I am slowly starting to open myself up to new hobbies, walking outside more, and just trying to stay a little less cooped up. There is nothing fun about staring at the same four walls all the time.

So, this is me. I am a sarcastic, Greek mythology-loving, reality tv-watching bookworm, and I have OCD. This does not make me a bad person, and reaching out is the first step to recovery. I am prepared to beat this disease, and never, ever take positive thoughts for granted. I am hoping that once this pandemic is over, I will appear stronger on the other side. I can do this, and you can do this. We're all in this together.

If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD, the following resources have helped me:

International OCD Foundation:

Support group for women with OCD/Intrusive Thoughts:

Made of Millions:

Yes Theory:

Not an OCD resource, but a Youtube channel that has helped me to bring more positivity in my life and conquer fear:

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 8 May 2020

Paperback's Pondering's: What Are Your Ideal Reading Conditions?

It's been a while since I've done a discussion post! I felt compelled to write a post about reading conditions, because well, mine are specific. I know a lot of people differ when it comes to attention spans, no noise vs. a lot of noise, and I figured we could chat about it.

Basically, I envy people who can read just about anywhere. I hear a lot of people share reading playlists, meaning they listen to certain songs when they read, or being able to read on public transport or just about any vehicle. The truth is, that is not me! I get very, very antsy when I am not in an ideal position to read, and this usually results in me just skimming the page and not really retaining anything at all.

My ideal reading condition involves dead silence. I cannot have any noise. No tv on in the background, no music playing. If I am comfy sitting on the sofa reading, and someone comes to turn on the coffee machine, I have to get up and move somewhere quiet. My attention span requires a lot of silence! My mother can just read in the living room while we're all talking and watching tv, and I don't understand how she can comprehend anything that she's reading.

I also oddly enough, cannot read at night. Reading at night seems like such a typical activity, and staying up all night to finish a book is so common in the book community. Not for me! Now this is also probably related to my anxiety. I get most of my anxiety at night, so I can't really focus on much anyways. When I am in my bed at night, my attention is wiped. I need to watch some trashy tv or a sitcom that isn't complicated, because my brain just doesn't want to think. If I read at night, it basically seems like a chore.

Lastly, all of you people who can read in moving vehicles are superheros in my opinion. I think I tried to read in a car once and got so nauseous for the rest of the day. But, I can't even read on planes or on trains which may be a little more stable. I'm sorry, if I am moving, I'm not reading.

So, what is my dream reading condition? Like I said, it get's specific. In my bedroom, door closed, shades drawn up to let in some natural light. It is mid-afternoon, after lunch so I won't get hungry, and not too close to evening so I don't feel sluggish. I have to sit on my bed too. No chairs allowed.

I really wish I could open up these conditions a little more. But, I guess we all have little quirks that make us enjoy the experience a little bit more! I think the one thing I would love to get into is listening to music based on the aesthetic of the book. I think that is so awesome.

Now I want you to share. What are your ideal reading conditions? Are you one of those superheros who can read in a car? Let me know!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 1 May 2020

Month in Review: April

Another month of quarantine is behind us. I definitely thought that April went by a lot faster than March, which is great! I guess I might be becoming more used to this whole isolation thing. That being said, I really hope it's over soon.

What I Read: 

Yes No Maybe So by: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed: 4/5 stars
The Selection by: Kiera Cass: 4/5 stars
Rich People Problems by: Kevin Kawn: 4/5 stars
Two Can Keep a Secret by: Karen M. Mcmanus: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: It was the month of 4/5 stars! However, I think my win for favourite book goes to Rich People Problems. It is the last book in the Crazy Rich Asians series, and I thought it did a good job at wrapping things up. I'm actually really sad to let this series go.

What I Blogged:

Yay for consistent blogging! My favourite post of the month was my OMG! That Song! Book Tag. My music taste is all over the place (kinda like my book taste), so it was nice to share my favourite songs with you all.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Cee shares her love for the tv show Arrow in a heartfelt letter. 

Erin features a guest post of fellow book bloggers' favourite quarantine reads. 

Jillian explains Why Student Journalism Matters 

Life Stuff: 

Like I said, this month went by a lot faster than March. I am happy because I am officially done 3rd year! This year did not end how I expected it to, but everything got finished, and my marks look ok, so that's all I can ask for. I will be taking a summer course though, simply because I have a lot more time on my hands now, and I figured I might as well gain a credit now so I'm not scrambling in the fall.

My sister and I started watching RuPaul's Drag Race this month. We absolutely love it! I think it's such a motivating, light-hearted show with an important message. I think it's also educated me on how I can be a better ally. Overall, it has really lifted my spirits.

I also started properly watching Schitt's Creek. I have caught a few episodes here and there in the past, but finally decided to watch it from the beginning. It is absolutely hilarious, and also makes me so proud as a Canadian that a show lead entirely by Canadians has made it so big all across the world.

In May, I am looking to improving my mental health, staying positive, and leaning on hope. Also, looking forward to some warmer weather, which has definitely brightened up my mood in the past!

How was your April? Have you read or watched anything good in isolation?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 24 April 2020

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: January 29, 2019 by: Imprint
Pages: 527
Rating: 3/5 stars

Fresh off of Ravka's bloody civil war, Nikolai Lantsov is trying to get his country back together. The young king is riddled by growing enemies with a thirst for power. And, he has got a dark energy inside of him that grows stronger with each passing day. With the help of some former allies and new ones, Nikolai must rebuild Ravka's shattered state, and attempt to control himself and his magic at the same time.

I am not an expert when it comes to the Grisha universe. I read the Six of Crows duology a long time ago, and just recently started the Shadow and Bone trilogy. The kicker is, I have only read the first Shadow and Bone book so far, and I got really confused by the order of all of these series, so the entire Shadow and Bone series kinda got spoiled for me by reading this book. I thought that I could read this before finishing Shadow and Bone and everything would be ok. *shrugs.*

I'm not too bummed about getting the series spoiled for me, but I think that does reflect on my opinions on this book. Because I wasn't aware that this book takes place after Shadow and Bone, I was really confused about some of the things they were talking about. Again, this is my own bad, but it still did squander my interest in this book.

I was really happy to see Nina in this book. She is such a badass character from Six of Crows, and I was happy to see the crossover. I think Bardugo is doing something that Rick Riordan does so well: create a whole universe of stories that intertwine. I get really into crossovers, so I was happy to revisit a favourite old character of mine.

Bardugo's writing is beautiful, as always. I didn't like fantasy books for the longest time, but the Grishaverse is such a fascinating world that drew me right in. I think Nikolai is a very intriguing character, and I enjoyed learning more about him. That being said, I think I needed more background knowledge from the other books to help me along the way.

So overall, I think the reason I wasn't sold on this book is mostly my fault. I plan to finish Shadow and Bone, re-read Six of Crows, and the maybe revisit this series. That being said, I am happy to be a new fan of the Grishaverse!

Have you read King of Scars? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 April 2020

P.S. I Still Love You Movie Review

*this review contains spoilers for the book series To All the Boy's I've Loved Before

If you've been here a while, you know that I love the To All the Boy's I've Loved Before book series. I re-read it all the time, and I absolutely adored the first movie. Clearly, I was very excited for the second movie adaptation, P.S. I Still Love You to come out. Surprisingly, it took me a long time to actually get around to watching it though. The movie came out in February, and then the world almost ended so I only got around to watching it a couple of weeks ago. Again to my surprise, I didn't like the movie much at all. Here's why:

When the To All the Boy's movie came out, the world fell in love with Noah Centineo. Admittedly, I did too. I didn't know much about him, but he brought Peter Kavinsky to life and I just thought he did a fabulous job. But a couple of months later, the hype kinda wore off. He's said some problematic/douchey things, and honestly it's more like a meme now to dislike him. I'm not a fan of his anymore, but I still like how he portrays Kavinsky and didn't expect anything less for P.S. I Still Love You.

That being said, John Ambrose is my ultimate dream guy. I do overall prefer him to Peter, and I was SO EXCITED when Jordan Fisher was cast in the role. However, my excitement wavered when I watched the movie. Don't get me wrong, I thought Jordan did a fabulous job in the role. He's perfect. But, he was given NOTHING TO WORK WITH. John Ambrose was reduced to a kinda flat, one- dimensional character in this storyline. He was given little to no screen time compared to the huge role he has in the book. I wanted more of him. I NEEDED MORE OF HIM. I felt as if John was reduced to a wimpy secondary character. He was paid dust.

I thought the movie was rushed and disorganized. We don't get to see much of Lara Jean's and John Ambrose's blossoming relationship, and even Stormy was not fully developed at all. Instead we got a little bit of Peter being a dick, a little bit of a starlight ball being planned (Idk why they scrapped the USO party), and then Peter and Lara Jean get back together in a happily ever after. In my opinion, even Lara Jean and Peter's love story wasn't fully fleshed out. They had significantly less chemistry than in the previous movie.

I also thought the conflict was poorly handled in this movie. In the book, Peter messes up a lot and is really moody. However here, I thought that Lara Jean was blamed for most of the issues between her and Peter, and he barely apologizes for all the dumb stuff he pulled. Peter has to work hard in the book to gain back Lara Jean's trust, but here it seems like she takes him back like a lovesick puppy, and she is the one who ends up apologizing for everything. What is up with that?

Overall, I was not impressed. Was this a nice, sappy movie with some lovable characters? Yes. But, it did not capture the complexity of the relationships that the book has. The book is a big change since the first one, and I thought that the movie would reflect that. However, all I really saw was a John Ambrose who had so much potential but was given a weak storyline, and a potentially toxic, and too quick to forgive relationship from Peter and Lara Jean. I'm sad to say this, but this movie fell flat for me.

Have you seen P.S. I Still Love You? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 10 April 2020

OMG That Song! Book Tag

I have been in a huge book tag mood recently. They're fun, light-hearted, and a brilliant distraction. I noticed that Sabrina and Veronika over at Wordy and Whimsical did this song book tag, so I decided to join in on the fun!

1. My Jam: A song you'll listen to no matter how many times you've heard it, and a book you'll never get sick of: 

My answer for the song portion is 100% Seize the Day from the musical Newsies. It is my all-time favourite song from any musical. It's motivating, upbeat, and I want to learn that choreography so bad! I never fail to blast it when it comes on in the car. As for the books, that would have to be To All the Boy's I've Loved Before by: Jenny Han. It is my most re-read book for sure.

2. Throwback: A song that reminds you of the cringiest time of your life, and a book that you wouldn't like if you read now:

Literally any One Direction song. And this is NOT to say that One Direction is cringey. I love them with all my heart. However my main One Direction phase was during a very cringey time. We're talking turquoise coloured braces and side bangs. My favourite One Direction song from this time was Still the One. So that would be my pick.

My book choice is The Fault in Our Stars. I BAWLED when I first read it. Now I would be able to see right through the bullshit. I can't believe those were supposed to be teenagers.

3. Replay: A recent song you have on repeat and a recent favourite book: 

The song that is always on repeat for me now is Adore You by: Harry Styles. I told you I love One Direction with all my heart. A recent favourite book of mine is The Dreamers by: Karen Thompson Walker. It was such a unique concept.

4. Gets Me: A song that is literally me and a book that is me in book form: 

This was hard to think of. But I have settled on Waving Through a Window from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. It's a very powerful song about feeling shy and anxious. Can totally relate! As for a book, I would have to go with Fangirl by: Rainbow Rowell. I relate to Cath so much.

5. Wut: A weird song that you liked anyways and a unique book that stuck out to for some reason:

Apparently a lot of people hate Love Me by: the 1975, but it is honestly the only 1975 song I like and that I will listen to regularly.

I don't think I really "read outside the box," but I do find The Handmaid's Tale very unique, but also very unsettling.

6. Let's Go: Your best pump up song and a book that inspires you: 

Classic by: MKTO is my forever pump up song. I have loved it since 2014 and it just takes me back to that summer when I played it on a constant loop. It always puts me in a good mood and reminds me of simpler times.

A book that inspires me is Tuesdays with Morrie by: Mitch Albom. It read it a long time ago, but the message has always stuck with me.

7. Chill: Your best chill or relaxing song and a book you'd curl up with on a rainy day: 

Lover by: Taylor Swift is a very chill song for me. I remember listening to it on a rainy and slow day at work one day, and now it always relaxes me for some reason. My favourite chill book would be Twilight by: Stephenie Meyer. What else would you read on a rainy day? Also, I am well aware that I mention Twilight in every single one of these book tags. Sorry folks!

8. Addicting: A guilty pleasure song and a light, trashy read you can't help but love: 

I agree with Vera that no song is a guilty pleasure song. But, my sister absolutely hates the music from the musical Hadestown, so I have to listen to it by myself a lot. So I guess that's the only music that I can't shout from the rooftops that I love.

I'm also gonna piggy back on Vera and choose The Selection by: Kiera Cass. It's literally The Bachelor in book form.

9. Nostalgia: A throwback song you look upon fondly and a book you read and loved when you were young: 

My original throwback song would have to be Close to You by: The Carpenters. I say this because my mom used to sing this song to my sister and I before we went to sleep as babies. So it is pretty much the first song I was ever exposed to, and I can't help but smile when I hear it now.

I was obsessed with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when I was young. Kinda a weird pick for a child, but I have so many great memories reading these books.

That's the tag! Have you listened to any of these songs? Or read any of these books? What would be your picks?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

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

Friday, 14 February 2020

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 13, 2017 by: Atria Books
Pages: 391
Rating: 2/5 stars

*highlight white text to reveal spoiler

When Monique Grant, a struggling journalist, lands a coveted interview with famed old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, she is curious. This is because Evelyn specifically requested Monique. Soon Monique is swept inside Evelyn's world, as Evelyn tells Monique her life story with the idea that Monique will publish Evelyn's official biography after her death. Monique soon learns that Evelyn's life went far deeper than what the gossip blogs knew, and through her interview, Monique not only learns things about Evelyn's life, but also about her own.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to gush over it like 99% of the book community does. I tried very hard. However, this book was a complete and utter bust for me. Here's why:

First off, I barely liked the character of Evelyn. I found her selfish and pretentious, and I didn't think that the book gave her a good voice at all. I understand that everything she did in her life, she did for a reason. Her life was hard, and she had to take risks. I admired her confidence as a woman. But, I thought that she was very unlikable, and a lot of the stuff she did in her past hurt a lot of people. I just couldn't champion her.

I also didn't love Monique either. I think she was a very bland character, who I didn't receive enough information about to like her. She completely fell flat.

Now to the plot. And to be honest, the only reason this book received two stars from me is because I enjoyed diving into the world of Old Hollywood. I find that era fascinating, so I will say that I found those aspects of the book most interesting.

I though that the "big twist" at the end of the novel was such a far stretch. You mean to tell me that Evelyn's best friend killed Monique's father years ago? Absolutely not. I thought that the twist was random, not to mention something that I thought was very unrealistic. There are billions of people in this world, and yet somehow Monique and Evelyn have this connection? Give me a break.

So, yeah, I didn't love this book. I found it pretentious and with some very unlikable characters. I didn't buy it at all. In fact, it just left me angry. Oh well.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 7 February 2020

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: June 5, 2012 by: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5 stars

*review contains spoilers

The nation of Ravka is divided by the Fold, a mysterious layer of darkness ridden with monsters. Alina works and fights along it, but when her best friend is brutally injured, she uncovers a power she didn't even know she had. Soon Alina is whisked off to be trained as a Grisha, a group of magical elite people who learn under the Darkling, the most powerful being in Ravka. As the Darkling takes an interest in Alina, she must uncover his true secrets, and decide who she is able to trust in her war-torn country.

I finally did it, I read the book that book twitter can't keep quiet about! Honestly, I expected to hate this book. Fantasies are not my cup of tea, and I think that Leigh Bardugo's writing is something that I normally struggle to get into. However, I thought this book was fabulous. Full of action and intrigue, and captured me right in.

Basically, I was looking for a new series to obsess over, and this could very much be a contender! I loved all of the characters, and the mystery that they hold. Alina was resilient and strong, Mal was loyal (and in my opinion, way better than the Darkling), but the Darkling was also a really well-written villain. I enjoyed learning about him and I find his backstory to be fascinating.

I was concerned that the plot would be boring and pretentious, but I didn't find that at all! I thought there was consistent action from start to finish, and by the end of the book, I completely flew through the novel. In fact, I think I finished this book all in two days, which is a big win for fantasies in my opinion.

*Spoiler section:

The only thing that prevented this book from being a total win, was the romance aspect. I really don't get how Alina and the Darkling are a thing. He was incredibly abusive and manipulative, and I really don't understand the hype surrounding them? In my opinion, Mal is so much better for her, but in reality I would like to see Alina stand on her own. I don't think this series needs romance to be successful, but that's more of a personal opinion. We shall see once I continue with the series.

Anyways, I really did enjoy this book. I found it to be intriguing and unique. I really would love to read more.

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 31 January 2020

Month in Review: January

The first month of 2020 is done and it was... difficult. Full of anxiety attacks, OCD triggers, and the fear of impending apocalypse. Here's hoping February will be better?

What I Read: 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by: Taylor Jenkins Reid: 2/5 stars
When You Reach Me by: Rebecca Stead: 2/5 stars
The Scarlet Letter by: Nathaniel Hawthorne: 3/5 stars
The History of Pompey the Little by: Francis Coventry: 1/5 stars
A Coyote Columbus Story by: Thomas King: 4/5 stars
Gulliver's Travels by: Johnathan Swift: 1/5 stars
The Paper Bag Princess by: Robert Munsch (hello blog name sake!) 4/5 stars
The Secret of the Old Clock by: Carolyn Keene: 4/5 stars
Winnie-the-Pooh by: A.A. Milne: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: Miraculously, I read a lot this month, and all of these books except for Evelyn Hugo were read for school. (As you can probably tell from the random picture books thrown in there, hello children's literature course). My favourite book was actually The Secret of the Old Clock, which is the first in the Nancy Drew series. I really like easy to get through mysteries, and this book was like the American answer to the Famous Five series, which I absolutely loved as a kid. I can see myself getting into more of these books.

What I Blogged: 

I stayed fairly consistent in blogging, and my favourite post was On Whether or Not to Speak Your Mind on the Internet. It was a cool discussion!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Veronika shares her re-reads of her Favourite Books of the Decade 
Shayna shares some insight into Library Life 

Life Stuff: 

Like I alluded to before, this month has been tough. School started up again, and my courses this term are ten times harder than my ones last term. One course is basically all group work and... I just can't deal with that. My OCD has been driving me nuts, with intrusive thoughts and just overall me over- thinking everything. My anxiety has also not been good. I have extreme health anxiety (also lines up with OCD), so all of this talk about an epidemic has made me even more compulsive. Overall, just a very triggering month. I hope this virus is better contained this month, and I hope that everyone who has it will get better. I don't do well with virus outbreaks, and constantly seeing it on my Twitter timeline and the media's fear mongering does not help.

Anyways, February will bring my reading week, Valentine's Day (which I actually very much enjoy despite not having a boyfriend), and the premiere of P.S. I Still Love You! John-Ambrose will rise, folks. The Peter stans are not ready.

So that was my month. How was yours?

Friday, 24 January 2020

Paperback's Pondering's: On Whether or Not to Speak Your Mind on the Internet


About a month ago, my mom told my sister and I about a person she followed on Instagram who was being rather shitty. She was a health food blogger who was complaining about someone giving her brownies as a gift for Christmas, saying that this person was trying to sabotage her health, and that she would be throwing the brownies out. Upon further scrolling through this woman's feed, she posts stuff saying that obesity is a "disease," and various other fat-shaming stuff. My mom was appalled, but she didn't know how to comment something while still being civil, so my sister and I typed out a comment for her.

I can't show you the direct comment because the blogger promptly blocked my mom, but we were very respectful, just saying how it is not right to publicly shame someone for giving them a nice gift, and that throwing the brownies out promotes wastefulness when there are people starving in this world. Well, this woman and her followers completely attacked us, and then blocked us. So, brings us to here.

When the first few negative comments on our post came in, my sister and I wanted to retaliate, guns blazing. But my mom told us to just let it go. She said that we shared our piece, they weren't going to listen, and we should just move on. But, my sister and I had a very hard time with that. We wanted to call these people out, we wanted to tell them just how wrong they were. We tried the nice thing, it didn't work. We couldn't let them have the last word.

This incident sparked a conversation about whether or not to feed the trolls. Cee @ Dora Reads actually did a discussion post on this too, you can read it here. I think when I was younger, I did not speak my mind for anything. I just let people say offensive stuff, and I was too chicken to say anything back. But, now my opinions have changed. I feel like I don't take shit from anyone, and if you wanna argue, I will argue back.

This idea of just letting things go, is something that I struggle with. The way I look at it is, if someone is saying stupid stuff, then they need to know just how stupid they are being. Now, I'm all for having healthy debates, and I'm not saying that anyone who ever disagrees with me is stupid. But, if someone is saying something blatantly wrong, I feel as if I just have to get involved.

I guess another way to look at it is: if these people are so quick to fire back, then my opinion most likely won't change theirs. However, I get a lot of satisfaction from calling someone out, and now I'm wondering: is that good or bad?

I think as long as you're not being offensive back, there is nothing wrong with engaging in an argument on social media. Speak up about what you're passionate about! However, I do feel like sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, and suddenly I feel as if I am now targeting the person, as opposed to the person's shitty opinion. I can be very judgemental, it's something that I really need to work on. I think I immediately assume that when a person says something wrong, they are pure and utter evil, when in reality, they could be going through something behind that screen. It is hard to just judge the opinion, and not judge the person as well.

I think for me personally, I don't want to stop speaking up if I see something wrong on online. However, I think I need to be more cautious about how I speak towards the person, and I think I need to engage in more healthy debates. Nothing gets resulted just by two people screaming at each other.

What do you think? Do you think it is worthwhile to feed the trolls? Or do you think we shouldn't waste our breath?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 January 2020

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia

Genre: Memoir
Published: March 5, 2019 by: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 319
Rating: 5/5 stars

Jacob Tobia was assigned male at birth, though they never thought of themselves that way. As a child, Jacob was obsessed with glitter, fashion, and trying on their grandmother's chunky costume jewellery. This labelled them as a "sissy," as people in Raleigh, North Carolina were not the most welcoming of gender fluidity. Over the years, Jacob took the label sissy as a label of pride, and eventually, they worked their story all the way up to the White House. Sissy is a hilarious, heart-warming, though sometimes sad memoir about accepting yourself, and crushing gender roles.

I absolutely LOVED this memoir. I find often with non-fiction books, it is hard for me to get fully engrossed in them. Sometimes I get bored of them. I did not have that issue at all with "Sissy." Jacob has such a hilarious tone throughout the entire book, which is hard to get bored of. Their footnotes add cheeky little quips of information, and their constant referral of God as a "she," was so badass, I loved it. Overall, I was nothing but entertained.

Jacob's story is sadly quite similar to many stories of non-binary people growing up in conservative/religious communities. But they take these serious issues, and explain them in a way that is so unique, and so hilarious. I totally understand how some people use humour to cope, and Jacob used it in a way that is defiant of homophobia and transphobia, and utterly powerful.

This memoir taught me something. I have learnt a lot in university sociology classes that gender is a social construct, but they never really go that deep into it. Jacob made me want to stand up against harmful gender roles, and made me all the more passionate about the subject. Wear whatever the fuck you want to wear, love whoever the fuck you want to love, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Have you read "Sissy?" What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 10 January 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review *Spoilers*

*This post will be crawling with uncensored spoilers, since there are too many for me to hide. Proceed at your own risk*

I was debating whether or not to even do a review of RoS. I am a fairly new fan of Star Wars, and I've always felt intimidated by the people who have lived and breathed this series for years. I didn't know if my opinions on Star Wars even mattered, because there are greater experts out there. But then I thought, fuck it. I have a lot of opinions on this movie, and I wanted to share them with you. So, here is my review of the last movie in the Skywalker saga.

Let me start off by saying, I do not think that The Last Jedi was that bad. I thought that Rian Johnson did as well as he could with the material he was given, and if JJ Abrams cared so much, he would have directed that movie as well. I liked the dynamics of the characters, and I thought that it further developed the storyline very well. So, I came into RoS with no bitterness whatsoever.

I think what I liked most about RoS was the comic relief. Most of these movies have a lot of overt sarcasm, but this one seemed to be on another level. I laughed out loud during a lot of moments, which is something that I can really appreciate in action/sci-fi movies. I don't want it to always be doom and gloom. I found the dialogue to be witty and hilarious.

The main thing that I had to grapple with in this film, was the character development. Some characters I loved, and others, I didn't. I thought Poe was awesome. I have always loved his character, and I thought that his promotion to general was powerful. I'm proud of where he ended up.

What mainly kicked off my issues with this film, was the treatment of Rose and Finn. Rose was such an interesting, powerful character in The Last Jedi. I was excited to see where she would go next. Instead, she got minus three seconds of screen time and absolutely no arc whatsoever. I was so disappointed with how Abrams treated her character.

Finn also really annoyed me in this film. Again, I love his character, and it was not his fault, but the writer's. Finn was reduced to a moody, useless figure who spent his entire time chasing after Rey. I wanted him to have a big moment, I wanted him to have more scenes with Rose. AND I JUST WANT FINN AND POE TO BE TOGETHER, DAMMIT. Their chemistry is undeniable, but we were cheated out of what could have been an amazing romance, and instead got Poe and his former enemy making flirty quips at each other, with no chemistry in site.

Now, let's get to Rey. Specifically, Rey and Kylo. I love Rey as a hero. I find her kind-hearted and badass. I LOVE Kylo as a villain. I find him morally-grey and unique. What I don't love, is when these two are forced together at the end of the film, after constantly fighting on opposing sides for the first two films. Yes, they have chemistry. But to me, it isn't romantic chemistry. It's chemistry that emphasizes how different the two are. How they will never work. Was I sad when Kylo died? Yes, because I think he is one of the most fascinating villains in the Star Wars universe, and I enjoyed watching his development and redemption. But, I didn't like how the last thing he did was kiss Rey. It just seemed wrong to me.

The main plot twist in this movie AGAIN, SPOILERS!!!, was that Rey is actually Palpatine's granddaughter. Then, Palpatine magically returns and attempts to bring Rey to the dark side. I thought this storyline was bullshit. Karissa and Mary actually brought up a worthy point in their review, which I totally agree with. They said that it almost seemed like Rey was forced to be a Palpatine so it would be justifiable that her and Kylo could kiss. Because if she wasn't a Palpatine, she would most probably have been a Skywalker, and that would obviously be incest. I think that this theory makes sense. Rey as a Palpatine seemed forced and random.

It may seem like I am ripping on this film. The truth is, there were a lot of things I didn't like. However, I did enjoy the humour, and where some of the characters ended up. I thought that this movie had great potential, and the overall idea of it does satisfy most of the things that the previous movies bring up. However, the disregard for some of the main characters, and the forced romantic relationships of others, brought this movie down for me. And I know that a lot of other people agree.

Did you watch The Rise of Skywalker? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess