Friday, 28 August 2015

None of the Above by: I.W. Gregorio

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 7, 2015 by: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

None of the Above tells the story of Kristin, a girl who has it all. She's got a great group of friends, a hot boyfriend, and is the star of the track team. But that all gets turned upside down when Kristin learns that she is intersex, meaning that outside she looks like a girl, but inside she has male chromosomes. When her secret get's leaked to the whole school, Kristin must struggle with ignorant bullies, and discover who she really is.

This is what we need in YA literature. Diverse books that explain topics that aren't mentioned enough in high school. This book was informative, inspiring and really opened up my mind to a topic that I do not know much about.

The plot could not have been done better. It was emotional without being over-bearing, and it felt like the characters were real. I was engrossed in learning more about Kristin's story, and this is a topic that will stick with me forever. This book showed me how ignorant people can be when uneducated, and what can happen when everything you've ever known about yourself, changes in an instant.

I felt for Kristin as a character. I saw her fully blossom into a beautiful, strong woman by the end of the book, and her development was unlike anything I've seen before. I admired the people who stood by her when people brought her down, and I think that she truly changed the way people think. Like I said before, it all seemed so real.

The only thing that really frusutrated me about this book, was Kristin's willingness to forgive the people who were abosultely horrid to her. I wanted so badly for her to move on from her old friends, but I felt like she took them back without them even apologizing properly. It made me upset that her friends were so mean, and yet they might have not even been realizing it.  I admire Kristin for not holding grudges, but that's not how I would have handled the situation at all.

Overall, I did love this unique and much-needed book. It was quite educational, and I think it could help a lot of people.

Have you read None of the Above? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Desserts Book Tag!

Thanks so much to Ranu @ The Araliya Bookshelf  for tagging me! Since I love to bake and have a serious sweet tooth, this seems like the perfect tag for me!

Brownies: A Book That Has Sweetness Written All Over It 

I would say that Anna and The French Kiss is full of cute and fluffy romance, definitely a sweet little romance :)

Lava Cake: A Book That Surprised You 

Stargirl surprised me because it seemed like a bit of a weird book that would have nothing special to it. I found it to be incredibly heartwarming and enlightening.

Ice Cream: A Book That Made Your Head Hurt 

The Hobbit takes that title. There was too many things going on that just made me get a headache.

S'mores: A Book That Had A Lot Of Layers To It 

Paper Towns had a bit of mystery, romance, and contemporary all rolled into one great read.

Cookies: A Book That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading 

The Magic Treehouse series! I read and re-read these books, and never got tired of the adventure.

Cheesecake: A Book That Had A Sour-ish Tang 

Saint Anything was full of amazing characters, but fell completely flat on plot.

That's it! I'm tagging: 

Kira @ The Book Club

And anyone else interested! Thanks again to Ranu for tagging :) 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: My Problems With Fantasy Books

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is all about why I shy away from fantasy books.

I used to live for fantasy books. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson were the only things I read, and I loved the mystical aspects. But since I got into YA fiction, I have not read a single strictly fantasy book. It seems as if I'm kind of scared of them.

This all started two years ago when I started reading The Hobbit. I absolutely hated how overly descriptive it was, and I didn't even finish it. I thought that it was the most boring book I have ever read. Since then, I have not picked up a fantasy for the same reason: fantasies can be overly descriptive.

Now I shouldn't be thinking that all fantasy books are the same. I know that there are some great ones out there, that are just waiting to be read by yours truly. So why have I put such a bad label on them?

I've realised that I connect more to fantasy books that contain human-like characters. For example, Harry Potter came from the human world. Percy Jackson takes place in modern New York. It's books that are strictly in a magical world that makes me turn off.

I think this stems from the fact that more description is added to the made-up world. More things need to be explained, and sometimes, it is not done well. I've seen so many fantasy books that everyone raves over, but I just can't seem to pick them up because I don't want to take a gamble.

I really want to get back into fantasy. Books like The Throne of Glass series, which seems like it has no haters, really makes me curious. I think that I need to bite the bullet, and just give it a try. I shouldn't put a label on a book I haven't even read yet.

Do you have a specific genre that you have shyed away from, and you want to get back into? Or, do you have any good fantasy recommendations? I'd love to know!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 21 August 2015

Saint Anything by: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 5, 2015 by: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 417
Rating: 2/5 stars

In Sarah Dessen's most moving and deep book, we follow Sydney, a quiet girl who has always lived in her rebellious brother Peyton's shadow. But when Peyton's actions land him in jail, Sydney thinks that all hope for her family is lost. Then enters the Catham family, a quirky and imperfect group that take Sydney under their wing, and show her that a family must stick together, even in their darkest times.

I was looking forward to starting this book, but to be honest, it kind of disappointed me. I loved the concept and the lessons of the book, but I didn't find it all that interesting.

To start with the positives, I really loved how beautifully flawed the characters were. Each character had their own characteristics that made them unique, and each one could be relatable and realistic. I especially loved how the eldest Catham brother, Mack, was so kind and caring to the ones he loved, even if he may have been broken inside. Every character was not cliche in the slightest.

I also loved the lesson in this book. I usually view Dessen's books to be fluffy and feel-good, but I actually found a much deeper meaning in this book. It was insightful and thoughtful, and right up my alley.

To the negatives now, I didn't find this book to be that intriguing or captivating, The plot was kind of boring, and I just couldn't find myself dying to turn the page. I even found myself to be confused at times as to what even was going on. I think it could have been structured better.

I just found it to be quite boring. Nothing was quite climactic, and nothing left me awestruck. I thought that the book could have used some more descriptive words. It was just dull and bland.

Overall, I was disappointed by this book. While I loved the message the author was trying to convey, and all the characters, I found it fell flat with plot.

Have you read Saint Anything? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: Blogging Things I Need to Work On

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about what I struggle with blogging.

When I started blogging, I knew nothing about how to put up a design, the requirements for ARC recommendations, and commenting etiquette. While I think that I have most definitely improved in these things, there are still things that I struggle and stress over daily when it comes to my blog.

My design has been a generic template from Blogger for months. Now recently, I customised the fonts and widgets of my blog, but I still can't seem to grasp an eye catching header and background. I do like my colour scheme, but I have no idea what to do with it or how to do it. I did take a graphic design class, but I wouldn't say that it's something I've fully grasped the concept from. I am no artist.

Another thing that I've found troubling is ARC's. Most bloggers get them, but I have no idea how I can put my name in for one. I understand that there can be a lot of drama surrounding them, but I feel like having one would be so cool! I feel like my blog is a bit small to have one, but I really want to give it a shot. But how?

I see bloggers with perfectly organised giveaways, but I don't really understand how they operate. Twitter ones would be fairly easy, but what about one through the book depository? I'd really love to look more into how they operate, so I can give back to my fellow readers :)

The last thing that I really want to improve is my layout. I feel like it's so jumbled and there's too much writing. I want to have a more creative rating system, some nice links, and get rid of all the unnecessary things. I have tried my best, but most things require coding which is something that grates on my nerves!

Thankfully, there has been some development to my blogging woes. For example, bloggers Mishma & Jillian over at Chasing Faerytales, have created a feature called Learnt It The Hard Way, in which they invite bloggers to share tips over different topics. This has helped me out tremendously, and I advise you to check it out if you haven't already.

I do love my blog and all the possibilities, and I know and work with my skills. I think I just need a little practise, that's all. Practise makes perfect.

Do you struggle with any of these things, or do you have any tips? Let me know!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Sky Is Everywhere by: Jandy Nelson

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: March 9, 2010 by: Dial Books
Pages: 288
Rating: 4/5 stars

Lennie Walker has been lost ever since her sister Bailey died. Her Grandma bases her future off a plant, her uncle spends his life in the garden, and not to mention that her mother is out exploring the world without her. She feels alone, that is until musical Joe enters her life and sweeps her off her feet. But things will get complicated when someone from Bailey's past renters Lennie's life, and changes the game all over again.

I am in love with Nelson's writing. There is something so captivating and unique about it that draws me in and gets me everytime. She has an amazing outlook on life, and her books are so rewarding and enlightening. This book was emotional, funny and so thoughtful.

The characters in this book were realistically flawed and so interesting to read about. My favourite character was Joe, who was caring, kind and so protective over Lennie. Nelson did a great job at making him seem like a great book boyfriend without seeing cheesy.

The plot to this book was nothing like I had ever read before. It taught me a lot, and it felt like a self-help book as much as it was fiction. Jandy Nelson can write, that's for sure, and she does it like no other. She is descriptive, mystical and utter genius.

The only thing that I didn't really like about this book was Lennie's judgement. She has obviously been through a lot, and I felt for her, but she was so impulsive and I didn't think she treated people well at all. She had a way of showing her grief through anger, and I felt like she pushed away anyone trying to help.

That being said, I loved her poetry. The way Nelson added her poems onto each chapter and each in different locations of Lennie's town, was so interesting to read. It was by far, my favourite part about Lennie and my favourite part of the book.

Overall, this book inspired me. While Lennie's character could frustrate me at times, I got past it because this book was beautiful.

Have you read The Sky Is Everywhere? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: Negative Reviews

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about what I find very hard about blogging: writing negative reviews.

I have always struggled with guilt. I feel terrible if I offend people so I always try to please everyone. This poses a problem when writing reviews for books that I REALLY hated. I just don't know how to phrase my words in the least offensive way.

There have been times when I have actually refrained from writing a review because I cannot seem to bring myself to be that negative. I see reviews on goodreads about people raving about the book, that it makes it seem like it's not right to have such an unpopular opinion.

When I started my blog, I had trouble voicing my opinion. It still bugs me from time to time, because I'm afraid of what people might say. Now I have never gotten a bad comment on a post, so I know that I will most likely not receive backlash, but something is still in the back of my head that prevents me from moving forward.

I think that main problem I have is that when I'm so angry about a book, that I can't really put my feelings into coherent thoughts. I ramble, and misspell, and I can't seem to put anything that makes sense together. These things get me really worked up.

I see some bloggers that are perfectly confident in voicing opinions, unpopular or not, and I just wonder why I can't be like them?! I need to realize that nobody can be rude to me if I'm voicing an educated opinion, and that I need to stop overthinking things.

I mostly feel bad for the authors. They put so much work into their books, and they might even be an author that I love, and I feel like I'm letting them down. What I don't realize is that I can;t help what I don't like, and that authors know that there are going to be critics.

I want some help from you guys! How do you put together negative reviews? And do you struggle putting them up?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 7 August 2015

Let's Get Lost by: Adi Alsaid

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: July 29, 2014 by: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 338
Rating: 3/5 stars
*highlight white text to reveal spoilers*

Four teens across the country have no idea where they want to be. That is, until a mysterious girl named Leila jumps into their lives at a time when they need it most. But when the time comes for Leila to fulfil her own journey, she must realize that sometimes she must find herself, before helping others find themselves.

This book was a great summer road-trip book that was quite like Paper Towns by: John Green. It was very much a feel-good novel, and I enjoyed it. However, I didn't find that it was anything spectacular.

I love road trip books, and this one made me feel all light and fluffy inside. I loved how the story was from five points of view, and each in a different state. All of the stories were connected, into one bigger story. I thought that the structure was cool.

The characters were okay in this book, but I didn't find them all that realistic or emotional. In fact, I found them to be quite impulsive. Each character seemed to get in some unlikely trouble that could have been easily avoided. The first character, Hudson, was my least favourite because he seemed so naive. He falls in love with the first girl he meets, then proceeds to throw away an opportunity of a lifetime because he wasn't thinking straight. It's not that the characters were boring, just annoying.

The plot had some great fluff in it, but I didn't think it was enough to make it an amazing read. It was simple, I liked the road trip and I liked the message, I just couldn't connect with any of the characters.

Have you read Let's Get Lost? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: Things I Have Learned From Blogging in the Past Year

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is all about the things I have learned from blogging since I started last year.

Seeing as my first blogiversary just past, I wanted to ponder about everything that I've learned since I started. And trust me, I've learned a lot.

When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about how to make a design, how to structure posts, and how I wanted my overall image to be. Now, not only have I learned all the technical stuff, but I have also learned a lot of things about myself.

I have never been a very technological person. I didn't understand HTML, graphic design, or how to upload widgets. Now, I am able to customise using codes I never even knew existed, and this blog has definitely gave me for creativity.

I have also grown a lot better in my writing. When I used to have to write speeches and reports, I rambled on, my grammar was atrocious, and I didn't use descriptive writing. I am now confident in what I publish, and I have really expanded my vocabulary. I have developed the confidence to be able to write my own stories now.

It isn't all just structural things that I have learned. I have built up a lot more people skills and confidence in getting my opinions out there since starting my blog. I have always been such as shy person, who was scared to talk to a cashier, let alone people on the internet. I can now proudly say that I am much more outgoing since being able to communicate with lovely people online. I am proud of my opinion, and I don't shy away from voicing it out of fear. I am a better me.

So basically, blogging has been a blast. Not one negative thing has come from it, and I am so proud of my accomplishments. It's just one small step, towards my future :)

What things have you learned from blogging?

Emily @ Paperback Princess