Friday, 31 July 2020

Month in Review: July


Hey guys! I hope you're all having a good summer so far. I personally felt like July flew by. While I don't think I've had much of a fun summer at all I am loving the warm weather. Here's what went on in July:

What I Read: 

Ok y'all so I read a SHIT ton of books this month, so much so that listing them all would get boring really fast. So, I'm just going to list some of my favourite books that I read this month:

The Heroes of Olympus series by: Rick Riordan: Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
With the Fire on High by: Elizabeth Acevedo: 5/5 stars
Foolish Hearts by: Emma Mills: 5/5 stars
Felix Ever After by: Kacen Callender: 5/5 stars
You Should See Me in a Crown by: Leah Johnson: 5/5 stars
Turtles All the Way Down by: John Green: 5/5 stars

Favourite book: All of these books really stuck out to me this month. However I think Turtles All the Way Down resonated with me the most. It was technically a reread for me, but the first time I read this book I barely knew what OCD was. I knew I had to reread it once being diagnosed with OCD to see if I could relate to Aza more. And I totally could. This book was everything I could have wanted in OCD representation. I felt so heard.

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post of the month would have to be revealing my Favourite Pieces of Media. This post was so fun! I got to fangirl really hard, and talk about some of my passions that I have never discussed on my blog before. It was nice to share different parts of my interests.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Tessi talks about American Dirt 

Marie explains Why Trigger Warnings in Books Matter 

Sabrina shares A Bunch of Bookish Coincidences 

Cee discusses Hypocrisy and Performative Activism 

Life Stuff: 

I had a bit more of an active month than I have had in a while, thanks to COVID cases going down. I am still not comfortable going out in large crowds or going to restaurants, but I was able to go out to the mall and to a few farmer's markets. It was nice to have some more human interaction, and to get back into a somewhat normal routine.

The main life change that happened to me this month is that I have gone back to work. I was really toying with the idea for a while, but I ultimately decided to go back because I thought it would be good exposure therapy for me. Now my work is being super careful in terms of precautions, but that doesn't mean I have been without worry. My store sees a lot of tourists, and I just get nervous seeing so many people from different areas. Despite travel cautions, people just can't seem to stay home. Anyways, I'd be lying if I said that my contamination OCD hasn't suffered because of this. But I am working on this with my therapist, and hopefully I will be more comfortable in my working environment come this month.

In August, I am looking forward to having a few days off of work to just chill. I also have an exciting blog post planned for this month in which I discuss Book Tok, which I am looking forward to.

So that was my July! How was yours?

Emily @ Paperback Princess




Friday, 24 July 2020

Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians #3) by: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Fiction, Romance
Published: May 23. 2017 by: Doubleday
Pages: 398
Rating: 4/5 stars
Content warning: on-page attempted suicide, manic episodes brought on by bi-polar disorder.



Su Yi, the beloved matriarch of the wealthy Young family, has taken to her death bed, and the entire family from all across the globe have rushed to her bedside. However, some of these family members have more malicious intentions, as Su Yi's prized estate Tyersall Park will be a hot commodity after her death. Nicholas Young vows to make things right with his grandmother after she disowned him. Meanwhile, Su Yi's granddaughter Astrid is caught in her own troubles, as she is trying to reclaim her love with Charlie Wu while her ex-husband tries to ruin her reputation. Rich People Problems is the last installment in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and showcases the lavish lives of families from all corners of Asia, all dealing with their own rich people problems.

You know when you've enjoyed a series so much that it actually pains you to let it go? That was me with the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. The dialogue across all three books is just so hilarious, the stories both heartwarming and drama-filled. I didn't think that this book could introduce even more characters with inter-lapping storylines, and yet it did.

What I appreciate about Kwan is how he is able to keep track of so many characters. Seriously, the family tree of all of these people is such a feat in itself. Kwan is able to have so many intersecting storylines, because some characters are related to others, some are newly divorced, some are illegitimate children, it's all just wild. With all of these characters, you are able to love some, loath some, and overall you just get an entire range of diverse individuals who represent every inch of Asian elite life. It's so fascinating.

I wouldn't have wanted Kwan to end this trilogy in any other way. The series starts with the drama of the acclaimed Young clan, and it had to end with it. Su Yi's illness is expected, as is the bunch of greedy family members who want Tyersall Park in their name. But what wasn't expected, is how many Young family secrets were spilled in this book. Things did shock me, there is no doubt about that. Overall this book was anything but predictable.

I would definitely say that I preferred this book to the second, however the first is still my favourite. Since this book introduces even more characters, I did find myself missing the antics of Eleanor Young and the other core Young family members that is more present in the first book. That being said, we definitely see more of Eleanor in this book than in the second, which was a big improvement.

Overall, Rich People Problems was a satisfying conclusion. I think Kwan came up with a really unique storyline through these three books, and I am sad to have to part with it. But, I do see many re-reads in my future and I can't wait for the series to continue with the movie adaptations.

Have you read Rich People Problems? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 July 2020

Paperback's Pondering's: My All-Time Favourite Pieces of Media


Hello all! This post was inspired by Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical. A while back she shared her All Time Favourite Pieces of Media, aka the media that has become apart of her soul. She was inspired by this tweet by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea that compared all-time pieces of media to horcruxes. And I would have to agree! I knew I had to do this post myself because there are some stories that have become such apart of my life that I can't imagine life without them. To keep with the horcrux theme I have chosen seven of my faves, but as a gentle reminder, JK R*wling is trash. Trans women are women. Anyways, here are my picks:

1. Newsies: The Broadway Musical



I can confidently say this is my favourite musical. For the longest time it was a toss-up between this and Les Miz, but Newsies has bailed me out of one too many panic attacks to not earn top spot. This is a Disney musical based on the Newsboy's Strike of 1899. The choreography is iconic, the songs are catchy and powerful, and the original star Jeremy Jordan is one of the most talented performers I have ever seen. This musical never fails to put me in a good mood, and for that, I am grateful.

For those of y'all with Disney +, you can watch Newsies Filmed Live on Broadway.

2. Gilmore Girls



I have probably re-watched Gilmore Girls five times. I started it on a day when my anxiety was quite bad, and I have never looked back. It is such a heartwarming, hilarious and entertaining show. Since it was filmed in the early 2000's I feel it is important to note that the show lacks diversity and some of the jokes would definitely not be appropriate today. However the small town setting, the strong female characters and the witty dialogue makes it my ultimate feel-good show.

3. Survivor



Who would've thunk that a reality show would make it into the mix? If you follow me on twitter, you might've seen my Survivor live-tweeting before. Literally in my bio it says: "I tweet a lot of Survivor spoilers." And that's true. Survivor was introduced to me by my mother, who has watched from the very first season back in 2000. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it has strangers stranded on a deserted island compete in challenges and form alliances, voting each other out until there is only one person left. It is often regarded as an incredible social experiment, and I would have to agree. The stakes are so high and there is never an episode where my eyes aren't glued to the screen.

4. Zane and Heath: Unfiltered



This is the one podcast that I watch CONSISTENTLY. Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar are best friends and youtubers, and they hold a podcast with their friend Matt King and Heath's girlfriend Mariah Amato. The podcast is hilarious. There has never been an episode where I haven't laughed out loud. I listen to this podcast whenever I am feeling down and it instantly puts me in a good mood.

5. The Heroes of Olympus Series by: Rick Riordan



I mean... yeah. I have realized this year that this series takes my prize for my all-time favourite book series. Not only does it combine my love of Greek mythology with YA, but the characters are so diverse!! Riordan really pays attention to his fans. He is constantly learning how to better his representation, and he is completely aware of his privilege as a white male author. His books are meticulously researched, and I will never stop re-reading this series. These characters mean everything to me.

6. The Outsiders (Book and Film)



The Outsiders was a consistent part of my teen years. I think the book is incredible, and I looked up to S.E. Hinton a lot as a young writer because she published this book when she was 16. I am also a huge fan of the movie. The movie reaffirmed my love for 80's films, and the cast is unbeatable. Matt Dillon's Dally Winston is one of the most iconic characters in my opinion. And Ralph Macchio as Johnny Cade makes me emotional every time. Francis Ford Coppola could not have picked a better ensemble.

7. The Princess Bride



Now this is actually my favourite film. I have been watching it since I was a kid, and once again proves to me that the 80's was so good in terms of movies. The casting is incredible, the dialogue is hilarious, and some of the quotes to come out of this movie have stood the test of time. It's no wonder this movie has become a cult classic. I could re-watch it a thousand times Heck, I even have the movie poster hanging in my bedroom, so that should tell you all you need to know.

I have to say, it was hard to narrow this list down to seven. There are a couple of honourable mentions, such as the tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the book Station Eleven, and the musical Dear Evan Hansen. But I think this list overall encompasses the media that I consume regularly. I am so happy to have these pieces apart of my life.

Thanks again to Veronika for giving me this inspiration. What are some of your favourite pieces of media?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 10 July 2020

Yes No Maybe So by: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed


Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: February 4, 2020 by: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 448
Rating: 4/5 stars
CW: islamaphobia, anti-semitism, white supremacy, divorce

Jamie Goldberg has started canvassing for his local state senate candidate, and the element of talking to strangers has proved to be very nerve-wracking for him. Enter Maya, his classmate who is having the worst Ramadan ever after her best friend moves and her parents announce their separation. Maya has been roped into canvassing with Jamie, and the two get off to a rocky start. But, after Maya pledges to help Jamie with his upcoming speech for his sister's Bat Mitzvah, and Jamie helps Maya fight against an islamaphobic bill being passed in Georgia, they grow closer together. Local activism is grueling work, but Jamie and Maya are about to tackle it all.

I read this book for the SoShelf Distancing Book Club. I was pretty excited because I have read books by Becky Albertalli before and I really enjoyed them. This was my first book by Aisha Saeed but I definitely would like to read more from her.

The main thing that I loved about this book was how specific it was. This meaning that you could tell the two authors were well-rounded in the topic of political canvassing, and in Georgia politics. The issues in the book were very applicable to real-life issues going on in the US today. I'm not American so this book taught me a bit more about American politics due to its details.

I enjoyed the two main characters. Jamie was so precious. It was nice to see a guy who is not afraid to be emotional and vulnerable. I also appreciated how strong Maya was. She spoke her mind, and wasn't afraid to put Jamie in his place whenever he would get something about Islam wrong. I thought they worked really well together.

The plot was engaging, and the book was overall very easy to read. Even though there were some heavy themes, for example the explicit racism that targets both Maya and Jamie, I still found this book easy to get through. I think it is important for YA books to feature young people making change.

The only thing that I didn't love about this book, that I have seen a lot of own voices reviewers comment on as well, is the portrayal of Maya's Pakistani identity. She is described as a Pakistani-American Muslim, and yet her Pakistani side is often roped in with her Muslim side as if the two concepts are the same. This is not the case. There are Muslims all over the world, with different cultures and customs. Similarly there are Pakistanis who are not Muslim. Being half-Pakistani myself, I was looking forward to reading about some rich descriptions on food and other Pakistani customs. I didn't really get that. I think the authors could have done a better job at showing both her Pakistani side, and her Muslim side.

This being said, I did enjoy this book. I loved reading a YA book with still an in-depth look into American politics, and I think the two main characters were quite lovable. Give this a read if you are into politics, or if you just want a good diverse story.

Have you read Yes No Maybe So? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 3 July 2020

Month in Review: June


Happy summer, everyone! The weather is finally hot. (Perhaps maybe a bit too hot), and things are starting to open back up in Canada. I kinda disagree with this because I think if you give humans too much freedom they tend to abuse it, but alas, only time will tell. Here's what went down in June:

What I Read: 

We Hunt the Flame by: Hafash Faizal: 1/5 stars
How We Fight For Our Lives by: Saeed Jones: 5/5 stars
The Sea of Monsters by: Rick Riordan: 5/5 stars
The Titan's Curse by: Rick Riordan: 5/5 stars
The Battle of the Labyrinth by: Rick Riordan: 4/5 stars
The Last Olympian by: Rick Riordan: 5/5 stars
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4 by: Jordie Bellaire: 4/5 stars
The Rez Sisters by: Tomson Highway: 3/5 stars
The Orenda by: Joseph Boyden: 2/5 stars
The Heir by: Kiera Cass: 4/5 stars
The Crown by: Kiera Cass: 4/5 stars
The Starless Sea by: Erin Morgenstern: 5/5 stars
Indian Horse by: Richard Wagamese: 4/5 stars
Dear Martin by: Nic Stone: 5/5 stars

As you can see, I got sick with the reading bug :D Reading just came so naturally to me this month, and this doesn't always happen. I read so much that I even heightened my reading goal to 75 books, because I've already hit 50 books! I'm hoping to continue this streak.

My favourite books of the month were How We Fight For Our Lives, and Dear Martin. Special shout-out goes out to The Starless Sea for being an overall mind trip, but I chose these books as my top favourites because of the powerful subject matter. Saeed Jones' memoir was heartbreaking, but so well-written. Dear Martin was also quite sad, but also stood out because of the intertwining of letters written to Dr. Martin Luther King, and the story of a Black boy trying to make a difference. Both of these books are written by Black authors, and I just think it is crucial that during this time period, we read books like these.

Side note, but I also decided to re-read the Percy Jackson series, because in this house we stan Rick Riordan as the superior middle-grade fantasy writer, more than She Who Shall Not be Named.

What I Blogged: 

On the same note, my favourite blog post I wrote this month was my appreciation post for the TV Series Pose. Black Trans Lives Matter, and I felt I needed to share this wonderful series with people who may want to be engaged with more media depicting Black and Latinx people. There are also some resources in that post for those who want to get more involved.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Marie asks if Book Bloggers' Work is Really Valued 

Veronika wonders if she's A Bad Reviewer 

Erin shares her Favourite LGBTQ+ Characters 

Sierra does the Nope Trope Book Tag 

Life Stuff: 

Like I said before, the weather is really nice now, and restrictions are starting to ease. I am too anxious to go anywhere, but I have been venturing out more in terms of taking longer walks and sometimes stepping into town (masked up) to run errands. This is a pretty big deal for me because normally I would be too scared to go anywhere where there are other people. But it's all part of exposure therapy that I'm doing with my therapist.

In June, I was able to get more virtually involved with my community in terms of speaking with the mayor about the town's next steps towards combating racism. The talk went surprisingly well, and I think this taught me that some people are willing to change. It was nice to know that the people in charge of my town are willing to hold themselves accountable.

I also got into watching booktube! I decided to subscribe to some diverse booktubers and see if watching booktube is for me. I've always been an avid youtube watcher but never ventured into booktube. I was surprised at how much I enjoy watching booktube videos. So far my favourite booktubers I've been watching are Myonna Reads, Olivia's Catastrophe and The Positive Writer. 

In July, I will be participating in my first readathon! I'm doing the All the World's a Page readathon, which is Shakespeare themed. I'm really excited because Shakespeare can be very daunting for me, but I'm looking forward to challenging myself and hopefully I'll learn to just have fun with it.

So that was pretty much my June. It was a busy month for everyone, but hopefully we can keep the momentum going, keep making change in our communities, and stick together.

How was your June?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 26 June 2020

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by: Kendare Blake

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: September 4, 2018 by: Quill Tree Books
Pages: 464
Rating: 4/5 stars



Katharine finally has her crown. But the war is far from over. Still reeling from the loss of her most trusted advisor, Katharine also faces her two estranged sisters, Mirabella and Arisone, who have aligned together and are hiding on the mainland. A mysterious Blue Queen visits the two joined sisters in visions, tempting them to return to Fennbirn and reunite with their sister once more. Also in hiding is Jules, and she is tasked with an frightening proposition: become a rebel leader and take Katharine down once and for all.

I LOVE this series. It's fiery and cool, and the family dynamics are off the charts. Basically each of the sisters has a power. Katharine can ingest deadly poisons without getting sick. Mirabella can use the elements to create chaos. And Arisone uses nature to fight her battles. The three girls are so different, and yet so alike. The third installment of this series was nothing short of entertaining.

I really enjoyed seeing Mirabella's and Arisone's relationship in this novel. In the previous books, the girls have been very much divided, as they fight separately for the title of Queen. Now that the "fight" is virtually over, Mirabella and Arisone can be reunited and are tasked with whether or not to fight with their sister and new queen, or see if they can change her. I think sisters in books is such a great trope, especially in fantasy novels, because the stakes are so high. This book offered a different sisterly bond than the previous two novels, which I enjoyed.

I also really enjoyed the focus on Jules in this book. She has always been an intriguing character to me, and this book is where she really shines. I loved how she had the potential to become a badass rebel leader, and yet she still was very rational and level-headed. I think Jules is a great character because she is relatable. She's not your typical power-hungry rebellious figure. She has her apprehensions, and she seems very worried with the burden of it all. I really felt for her in some moments.

The only thing that prevented me from giving this book a full five stars, is that I'm not crazy about the Blue Queen storyline. Idk, but I kinda liked the idea of the three sisters and the addition of Jules just fighting against each other and seeing who comes out on top. This new supernatural element of the Blue Queen just doesn't really interest me. I didn't get it, and I don't really see its significance.

That being said, I still thought this was a satisfying addition to the series. I can't wait to read the next book, and see how the triplets' storyline all plays out.

Have you read Two Dark Reigns? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 19 June 2020

My Love for the TV Show "Pose" #BlackTransLivesMatter


TW: discussion of police brutality, racism, and violence against Trans POC.

Hi all. I'm sure you are all aware of the extensive activism people have been doing over the past few months to combat police brutality and racism. I've seen a lot of people sharing books, movies and other pieces of media that they think accurately portrays the experiences of Black people in North America. So, given that it is Pride Month, and given that violence and murder against Trans people is an epidemic in North America, I felt like I wanted to share an amazing tv show that has really amplified the voices of Trans POC. It is Pose.

Pose is shown on FX, and I also believe it is available on Netflix in the US. It is about the lives of the Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ people of New York City, as they compete in the ballroom culture scene during the 1980's. The main character, Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, is a Puerto-Rican Trans woman who creates her own house to compete in the balls, against her former house mother, the badass and glamorous Black Trans woman Elektra. Along the way, the show discusses the HIV/AIDS epidemic that impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and the government's lack of response. Race, gender, and the aspect of a chosen family play huge roles in this show. It is heavy material, but it is also incredible.

A few stylistic things about the show that I love. The soundtrack is incredible!!! I absolutely love 80's music, and found myself bopping along to the background music on multiple occasions. Not to mention that Broadway master Billy Porter is also on the show, meaning that the show does have a lot of musical theatre undertones. The costumes are amazing, the dance moves are OFF THE CHARTS. Seriously, the vogueing in this show puts Madonna to shame. (And Madonna's adaptation of vogueing does also come into play in the show).

Those a few of the more light-hearted things I love on the show. But at its core, this show does have some very important messages. Most of the characters on the show were disowned from their biological families, leaving them to be adopted by safe houses led by members of the LGBTQ+ community. These houses become a family. Blanca Evangelista is officially my favourite tv mother I've ever watched. She's just incredible.

Racial tensions play a huge factor. The characters are often subjected to racially and transphobic motivated attacks. In the second season, a very heavy episode sheds light on murdered Black Trans women. It was a very sad episode, but it was also such an important one to watch. It really exposed the violence that goes on against this community in real life, and what we can do to stop it.

Every episode ends with a quotation from an LGBTQ+ activist. I love reading these quotations as they seem to encompass the message of the episode and they also offer an answer to the question "where do we go from here?" I feel like often when watching pieces of media like this, people are left wondering: "ok, I've watched the show. I've read the book. Now what do I do?" This show has motivated me to become a better ally, to make sure my feminism is ALWAYS intersectional, and to pay attention to the ways in which my privilege as a cis-gendered and white passing woman protect me from harm everyday. So, after you've signed the petitions, contacted your leaders, and donated if you are able to, I would highly recommend this show. As Billy Porter said when he accepted his Emmy for his role in this show, "The Category is Love."

Have you watched Pose? What did you think?

A few resources to protect the lives of Trans POC:

https://www.change.org/p/justice-for-tony-mcdade (Petition for Justice for Tony Mcdade, a Black Trans man killed by police in Florida)

https://www.change.org/p/human-rights-campaign-protect-black-trans-women (a general petition to the Human Rights Campaign to protect Black Trans Women)

Actions and Resources for Solidarity  (this is a link to a google doc that has a bunch of links to petitions, charities, and organizations surround Black Trans Lives)

https://www.theokraproject.com/ (provides healthy and culturally specific meals to Black Trans people)

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ (A mental health hotline and resource site for LGBTQ+ youth. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are struggling, you can call them at 1 866- 488- 7386. They also have a number of helpful educational resources on their site!)