Friday 30 October 2015

The Catcher in the Rye by: J.D. Salinger

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Classic
Published: January 30, 2001 by: Back Bay Books
Pages: 277
Rating: 2/5 stars

In this coming of age classic, we follow Holden Caulfield, who has recently been expelled from his prep-school, and is "attempting" to get his life back on track. Through is struggles, we are able to dive deep into his teenage mind, and realize his biggest demon of all: alienation.

This book was... something. There has definitely been debate on this book. Some love it, some banned it, and some, like me, were just left confused. I wouldn't say that it was a horrible book, because I just didn't understand it. I found it all kind of weird.

What I will say about this book, is that the characters were done really well. Salinger did a great job at capturing the emotions and feelings of a troubled teenager. The book is written in a slang that can be seen as relatable to teens during the time, although I do have to say that the average teenager probably doesn't swear as much as Holden did. It still, really got the essence of the character.

The book definitely holds some strong themes. The basis is around this struggling figure who is alienated from society. People want nothing to do with him, and he wants nothing to do with people. I understand what Salinger was trying to get across, and I think that this book can be very powerful to those who need it. The quotes in this book, were magnificent.

I guess the reason me and this book just couldn't get along is because I just didn't get it. I found that the plot went nowhere and it felt more like reading a diary entry of a kid off school than a novel. I didn't find just following Holden's life all that interesting, and the language also through me off as well. Yes, teenagers swear a lot, but there was no need to have every other word be something that's vulgar. It just seemed a little wrong.

The whole character of Holden kind of annoyed me as well. Yes, the kid had some major problems and I did feel sorry for him, but he was kind of a jerk. It didn't really seem like he wanted to help himself, and I feel like he could have resolved a lot of his problems if he was just remotely civilized for one moment. I get he was supposed to be a "bad boy" figure, but he irked me to no end.

Maybe I just didn't like this book because I couldn't connect to it all that much. I've never been in his situations, and so I just found everything to be kind of wrong. Either way, it is a classic for a reason and it was very emotionally raw.

Have you read The Catcher in the Rye? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: The Great Blogging Slump + Hiatus News

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about a topic that;s been going around the blogosphere lately: blogging slumps.

I've been posts like these been going up a lot lately. Bloggers talking about a sort of blogging drought that has been sweeping the nation by storm. Some people may be going on hiatuses, others quitting blogging all together. It is sad to see, especially when some people who used to enjoy it so much are now lacking motivation. And I have to admit, I am one of those people.

This is something that's been on my mind for months, so it was only fitting when I saw other bloggers talking about it. So what is a blogging slump? People might interpret in in their own ways, but for me, I categorise it as a lack of motivation to blog, lack of ideas and just the overall stress rather than excitement to put up posts. It doesn't necessarily mean that the blogger hates blogging and wants to stop, it's just exactly like a reading slump! It sucks :(

I think for me, this all started when I began school again. During the summertime, I was on a roll, reading up a storm, doing tags, lots of time to post etc. Then came September. I soon found myself writing posts on the day they were to go up as opposed to pre writing, and having to force myself up to go write them. It was frustrating because I enjoy blogging so much, and I didn't want to quit, I just couldn't understand why something that seems so harmless was being such a burden.

Let's put it this way, school sucks. Yes it obviously provides you with education and pathways for your future, but from a blogging point of view, it can be the single worst cause of blogging slumps. The homework, assignments and studying pile and up and obviously, become your priority. With this, comes the time for less breaks to just do nothing, and so you are less likely to want to jump back onto a computer screen and write some more. Your brain is just so tired out that all you want to do is sleep, let alone having to turn it on again and work on something else.

There are obviously other factors, such as ARC stress and blogging deadlines, but I am not all that into that stuff to be able to give my opinion. So I would say that the reason why I am just so tired is because of school Now wit NaNoWriMo starting, I am stressing just a little bit because I now have blogging and writing to take care of, which will no doubt be hard. That is why I have decided to take a somewhat hiatus during November. I will put up reviews here and there  and comment the best that I can , but I do not think that I will keep up with a weekly schedule at all. Like I said, it's always about prioritising, and breaks can be a healthy thing as well.

My main cure for anything bothering me is a break. We push ourselves too hard that sometimes we need to take a step back and evaluate the situation, and there's nothing wrong with that! It only ensures that we come back stronger than ever. So if you are in a slump, stand back, breath and you will get through this.

I want to know what you think! Have you ever been in a blogging slump, ever taken a blogging break, or how do you manage your time?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 23 October 2015

Splendor ( Sacred #2) by: Elana K. Arnold

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: November 12, 2013 by: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Rating: 4/5 stars

Splendor is the sequel to Sacred, the continuation of a healing Scarlett, who has now found love in Will Cohen, who loves her dearly. But when Will goes away for college, Scarlett begins to feel bombarded by pressures of her parent's separation, wild-child Lily who can't seem to catch a break, and a mysterious new man who catches her eye. As Scarlett embraces herself in spiritual healing's, she must uncover where she really stands with the people in her life.

Splendor was an interesting sequel to Sacred, and an emotional one at that. If caught me off guard, and was heartwarming, thrilling and unexpected. While I did have some problems with the characters, it was a great sequel.

I absolutely loved the plot to this book. There was something very mystical about it, and I learned a lot from it, All of the teachings that Scarlett learned, were very interesting to read about and quite intriguing. Things were clear, concise and easy to follow, even while dealing with an unfamiliar topic.

The ending caught me by surprise like no other! I was shocked at what happened, but I do think that it added a great twist, and it really shook things up. I loved how it was completely surprising and it came out of nowhere, but it also kind of tied in with the rest of the book.

What I had a problem with, was definitely the main character of Scarlett. She was a handful. I cannot stand characters who think that falling in love with someone else while your boyfriend/girlfriend is away is absolutely fine, because it is wrong in every sense of the word. I feel like Scarlett could have avoided a lot of problems if she remained faithful and told everyone the truth. She really bothered me.

So overall, I really enjoyed this sequel!! It was very unique but I feel as if the main character could have had a lot better morals.

Have you read Splendor? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 21 October 2015

The Writer's Tag!

Instead of a Paperback's Pondering's today, I decided to complete a tag I saw on Jillian @ Jillian's Books blog, all about young writer's experiences. I thought it would be fitting since I've started writing again for NaNoWriMo!

What do you drink or eat while writing? 

Nothing really, as eating provides a distraction. I try to limit the stuff around me, so I'm more obligated to write and not pick up other things. Although, if I had to pick, probably chocolate as it would make me happy and more motivated.

What do you listen to while writing? 

Any albums on my phone that I'm loving at the time! I'm currently really enjoying James Bay, as his voice is so magically relaxing.

What's your most debilitating distraction? 

Twitter and Instagram! I get some celebrities tweets sent as notifications to my phone, so when I hear it buzz then I really want to go see what they've tweeted. Let's just say that I take a lot of "internet" breaks.

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you while writing? 

My sister reading it!! I must have been about 11, when I was writing a short story that I kept in a notebook hidden in my drawer, and she found it one day and read it aloud. It wasn't a great story to begin with, so I was very embarassed :(

What's the best thing that's happened to you while writing? How do you celebrate small victories? 

I love it when I'm "on a roll" with writing. I haven't been in a block, and the words are flowing so easily. I celebrate the small victories by giving myself a break, because let's be honest, you start to go a bit insane after staring at a screen for so long!

Who do you communicate with, or not communicate with when writing? 

Absolutely no one. Like I said in the incident with my sister, I get very self-conscious over my writing and so I try not to share it with anyone. I think my biggest fear for NaNoWriMo is that the book is essentially public and that some may read it.

What's your writing secret to success? Hidden flaw? 

My secret to success is to think outside the box. Cliche, I know, but I feel like it really helps to make you more likely to enjoy writing the book, if you have to research a lot about things and learn new concepts that you are not familiar with.

My flaw is that I can get too carried away with description sometimes, that things can just get boring to read.

What makes you productive? 

Looking at a word count and knowing that with every word, you are one step closer to your goal.

What's one thing that writers do, or you do, that annoys you? 

I don't like it when writers use cookie-cutter characters and plots. I love diverse cultures, relationships and ways of life.

Share one sentence from a project. Past or present. 

This is the excerpt from my NaNo novel! It is a YA dystopia surrounding the life of a girl who has just woken up from a dream of a perfect world which she thought was real:

They say that right before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. All of your mistakes, stuggles, and happiness, come flooding back to you for one final moment. Then, everything just stops. That’s what everyone thought had happened to me. The poor little girl about to be unplugged after being in a coma for nearly a decade. They thought that I was already dead, no senses left in me. Although no one could have prepared them for a day that was supposed to be a solemn one. The day when I was to officially die, turned into the day when I woke up. 

That's it!! I'm tagging all of you writers out there!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 16 October 2015

Speak by: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 1, 2001 by: Puffin
Pages: 208
Rating: 5/5 stars

Live has been a living hell for Melinda, ever since she called the cops on a high-school party during the summer. Now, her best friend has left her, the students hate her, and she is left in a deep cloud all alone. But as Melinda progresses, she will start to realize how important it is to reveal the truth, and uncover what happened on that frightening night, even if it might change her life forever.

WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!! I got chills reading this book!!! It was dark, emotional and heartbreaking to read, but it grasped my attention straight away and I felt so deeply for the characters. I feel like Melinda's story could help a lot of people, and it was so relevant to real-life situations going on today.

To start off, Melinda's character was flawed, beautiful, and extremely relatable I think to some teens. The author did an amazing job at capturing the life of a real-life teen within a fictional story, and I could fully feel connected to Melinda. In a sad real-life world where sadness is all around us, Melinda's story of courage, hope and believing made it impossible to not cry. I felt so much for her.

The writing in this book was beautiful. I know I've been using this word a lot, and the book is quite sad, but the author had a way of making it realistic and yet triumphant at the end, which made me happy that everything turned out well. I was engrossed in the story, and I do think that anyone could learn or benefit from this.

The topic of this book is essentially about bullying. A topic that is known in many YA books, as well as known too much in real-life. But I found this book to stand out from all the rest. There was something about it that made you feel like you were in the story. We could feel what Melinda was feeling, and we could cry with her. It made me realize that people can be jerks sometimes, and that we are so quick to judge people without knowing their actual story.

Overall, a flawless interpretation of the issues of a real-life teen and how it effects that people around her. Anderson's writing is so captivating, and I will definitely be checking out her other books. This book will change you, no matte what your walk of life is,

Have you read Speak? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: Required Reading for School

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about those dreaded school required readings.

Every year since about grade 4, I've had to read books as apart of English. The books are always some sort of classic, that is supposed to teach us a lesson. Now in high school, we've had to read one Shakespeare book, and one classical book, but I've never quite enjoyed the choices.

Required reading can either go really bad, or really well. In most cases, a lot of the students in my class will dread reading, and sometimes not even finish the book. I think that this problem stems from the fact that the books we are reading, aren't necessarily what the normal teenager will even want to read. In most cases, they can be incredibly boring.

I've only ever remotely enjoyed one book that I read as a required reading, and that was Life of Pi. Even so, it was extremely heavy and philosophical, and totally not something that I would ever pick up for myself on my own. I always wonder why all of the books we read have to be some sort of self-help book, and none of which that we will actually enjoy reading!

I personally think that if schools made us read books that we could better relate to, then more students would enjoy reading. I mean' let's be honest, what student can really relate to a boy stranded at sea with a tiger? I'd say, not many. There are so many amazing ya coming of age books out there, that I've felt would be a lot more appropriate for students than what we're reading now.

Now don't get me wrong. but I'm not making this post to bash classical or more philosophical novels. A lot of people do enjoy reading them, and there was definitely a lot of heart and soul poured into them, but I'm just speaking from a student's point of view. In a world where reading is not normal amongst teens, I feel like these books can drive students away from reading.

So what do I want done about it? I want more ya to be read in schools! A couple of schools I know have been putting in popular ya books as required reading, and I have seen such positive feedback from them! Students can relate, enjoy and actually understand them better, and they are less likely to feel obligated to read them.

Now I want to hear your opinion! Do you have required reading for school, and do you enjoy the book that you read? Or, do you think that you would like to see changes to what you read? Let me know!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 9 October 2015

Vampire Academy ( Vampire Academy #1) by: Richelle Mead

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Published: November 13, 2007 by: Razorbill
Pages: 332
Rating: 4/5 stars

Rose Hathaway has spent 2 years protecting her best friend Lissa from the Strigoi, a fierce group of vampires after Lissa to make her one of them. When the girls are brought to St. Vladimir's; an academy for vampire royalty and their protectors, the girls must face a new challenge: high school. But along with new relationships and romance, comes danger, as the Strigoi is always close by, and the girls must be careful as to who they trust.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I have always had problems with vampire books, but I found this one to be pleasing, funny and all around, a great read! It restored my faith in vampire books.

I loved the characters in this book. Lissa and Rose were both strong, sarcastic and badass characters who kept me interested. I didn't find them to be cheesy or cliche at all, and none of the characters in this book really annoyed me. They were a big plus.

I liked how this book wasn't so dark and heavy. It had sort of a contemporary aspect to it, with the girls adapting to new school and new people. You get to see more of a relatable teenager side to them, as opposed to just strictly fantasy. I loved the comic relief in this novel, and it was quite a funny book. I like it when fantasies aren't so serious all the time, as I like to feel comfortable reading a book.

The problem I had with this book, is just that it was nothing extraordinary to me. I enjoyed myself while reading it, but I didn't think that I had anything mind blowing or captivating about it. I didn't think that the relationships in this book were all that strong, besides Lissa and Rose's friendship, and nobody really stood out to me to be over the top amazing.

Overall, this was a nice, easy read. I think it would be a good read to get out of a reading slump, because there's definitely some lighter aspects to it. Although, it was just average for me. It did feel good to get out of my fear of vampire novels though.

Have you read Vampire Academy? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Paperback's Pondering's: NaNoWriMo!

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about National Novel Writing Month!

Like a lot of readers, I really want to be a a writer when I grow. I know that it will take a lot of practice, and that is why I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year! I do not know what to expect, nor do i know if I'll even finish my novel. But I am excited to find out!

Before beginning to blog, I had no idea what NaNoWriMo even was. It was only by seeing other bloggers talk about, that I fully grasped the concept. At first, I was a bit scared. How could people my age find the time to write a 50 000 word novel amidst school; not to mention the preparation leading up to it! I put in on the back burner, until this year, when I have finally taken the plunge!

The truth is, I am stressing about it. I have never written more than piddly short stories before, and finishing this novel is really important to me. I just don't know how I will be able to manage my time between homework, and my book! I have a few plans, like setting aside a specified time in my day completely away from any other distractions, but I do not know what to expect until I am actually there!

Another thing that is really crucial to me, is to not tell any of my friends and family that I'm doing this. The point is, I do not want everyone expecting me to come out with this book, and then I end up not finishing it. I know that this is not my goal at all, and I will try everything in my power to finish, but  I just don't want to embarrass myself.

What's really helped me out, is the actual NaNoWriMo website. It offers some great tips and tricks, and I have done my research about how the whole thing works. I just really want to have the best experience possible, and hopefully make some great writing buddies in the process as well. I love how you can support fellow writers on the website.

I guess I just have to wait and see what happens. I am excited for the entire process, and I know that I will come out with an amazing accomplishment after November's up. What makes it even better though, is that I will finally be able to live out something that's been years in the making :)

Have you ever joined NaNoWriMo? Do you have any tips?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 2 October 2015

Crown of Midnight ( Throne of Glass #2) by: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: August 27, 2013 by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 418
Rating: 4/5 stars
* do not read this review if you haven't read book one*

Celaena Sardothien is now the King's Champion, and to prove her loyalness, she must murder every one of the King's enemies. What the king doesn't know, is that she is holding a secret in side that could jeopardise her freedom forever. But she is not the only one carrying secrets, and all will be revealed on one tragic night, where loyalties and relationships, will be tested.

Celaena came back stronger than ever! This book was action-packed, twisted and an amazing sequel. We get to dive deep into Celaena's assassin side, and uncover the links between the secrets within the castle walls. It was one big thrill ride!

I loved reading about Celaena's bad-assness in this book. In Throne of Glass, we get to see more of the funny side to her, and in this book, we get to see her in action. She was cunning, brave and nicer than you may think. This girl has a lot on her plate, and she still fought for what was right.

CHAOL CHAOL CHAOL!!!!!!!! What else can I say about this glorious man?! He is funny, caring, protective, handsome, majestic and everything in between! If you read this series, you will fall in love with this character! Maas just has a way with words that makes you able to fully visualise this character as if he was a real person.

The plot was thrilling in this book. I enjoyed learning more about the people in the castle's pasts, as well as how everything was linked to each other. It was like solving a puzzle, a really sad puzzle. I have to admit, I did cry in this book. I FELT ALL THE FEELINGS.

Basically the only reason this book did not get a perfect rating is because of the ending. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I felt as if it was kind of stupid. I felt as if everything moved so fast, that I couldn't really understand why everything turned out the way that it did :(

Overall, I loved the beginning and the middle, but the end fell kind of flat for me. But it was still pretty amazing!

Have you read Crown of Midnight? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday 1 October 2015

The Sunshine Blog Award!

Thank you very much to two lovely bloggers, Konstantina @ The Reading Armchair and Becca @ The Bookkeeper's Apprentice, for nominating me for this award!

The Rules: 

Answer the 11 questions provided for you.
Nominate other bloggers.
Ask them 11 questions of your own.

Konstantina's Questions: 

1. Which is your most anticipated book?
Carry On by: Rainbow Rowell! I loved Fangirl, so I really want to see wear the story left off. 

2. Do you read graphic novels? Which is your favourite one?
I do not. I  read one when I was younger called Smile Raina Telgemeier, and that was pretty cute :) 

3. Which was your favourite book so far this year?
Probably The Throne of Glass series. It is so talked about and it really surprised me. 

4. Do you like winter?
Hate it. I'd much rather be hot than cold, and winter in Canada is on a whole other level. 

5. How would you like to spent the Halloween?
By just sitting in front of my tv watching Halloweentown on Disney Channel and eating sour patch kids. 

6. Who are your top 3 authors?
John Green, J.K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan. They all made iconic books that impacted my life in some way. 

7. Is there a series that you would like to be continued, although it doesn't?
Isn't is obvious?! It would definitely be the Harry Potter series. 

8. How do you choose which book to read next?
Basically just based on the mood I'm in, or if I've been anticipating the book. 

9. Would you buy a book because it has a beautiful cover?
I don't think so. Covers aren't a huge factor to me. I mean, I appreciate a nice cover, but I always look at the plot first. 

10. Do you prefer detailed descriptions or witty dialogues in a novel?
Witty dialogues. Description irks me to no end! 

11. Which book would you recommend?
Paper Towns by: John Green. A great coming of age! 

Becca's Questions: 

1. What's one book you started, but never finished? 
After by: Anna Todd. It made me so uncomfortable. 

2. What was your favourite book you had to read for school?
Life of Pi by: Yann Martel. It was chilling! 

3. If you could only take three books with you on a long trip, which three would they be?
Harry Potter, Paper Towns and Eleanor and Park. Such amazing novels! 

4. What book would you love to see turned into a TV series?
The Throne of Glass series! But it was recently announced that a tv series might be in the works, so fingers crossed! 

5. Is there one genre of book you never read?
I don't think so. Maybe science fiction? Most books I read can fit into more than one genre, but I haven't read one strict science fiction. 

6. Where is your favourite place to read?
On my bed with a candle burning! 

7. Which fictional setting would you love to visit the most?
Hogwarts of course! One day... 

8. Do you collect anything, and if so, what?
I do not. I used to have a hefty collection of Harry Potter posters, but that has since passed. 

9. What was the first book you ever read?
On my own, probably the Magic Treehouse series by: Mary Pope Osborne 

10. What's one popular series/book you've just never been able to get into?
Twilight! I just can't do it! 

11. Do you like hot weather or cold weather better?
Hot weather all the way! 

My Questions: 

1. Do you eat while reading? What is your favourite snack? 

2. Have you ever read a book and loved it, but a lot of people didn't like it? 

3. Favourite children's book? 

4. If you were on a deserted island and could have one fictional character with you, who would it be? 

5. Which book character would you want as your boyfriend/girlfriend? 

6. Favourite heroine? 

7. Favourite subject in school? 

8. What is your favourite bookstore to buy books from? 

9. Favourite book to movie adaption? 

10. Have you ever damaged a book by accident? 

11. Do you prefer romance or more action-packed books? 

I'd like to nominate:

Kira @ The Book Club
Ranu @ The Araliya Bookshelf
Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging

And anyone else interested!

Emily @ Paperback Princess