Sunday, 31 January 2016

Month in Review: January

One of the things I decided I wanted to start this year were monthly recaps. I love reading them, I love watching them, so might as well do them! January was a whirlwind of resolutions, studying, and new things to look forward to in the year. Let's see what went down!

What I Read: 

I read a total of 9 books to kickstart my goodreads challenge of 60 books:

The Infinite Sea by: Rick Yancey: 3/5 stars
Six of Crows by: Leigh Bardugo: 5/5 stars
Everything, Everything by: Nicola Yoon: 4/5 stars
A Work in Progress by: Connor Franta: 5/5 stars
Carry On by: Rainbow Rowell: 3/5 stars
We Are All Made of Molecules by: Susin Nielsen: 4/5 stars
Vanishing Girls by: Lauren Oliver: 4.5/5 stars
Love Letters to the Dead by: Ava Dellaira: 3.5/5 stars
In Place of Never by: Julie Anne Lindsey: 5/5 stars

Favourite book of the month: Definitely A Work in Progress! I think what made this book so special was the fact that I was able to get a signed copy, and this is actually the first signed book I own! I've loved Connor Franta's Youtube videos for years, and this book was inspiring, heartwarming, and also very aesthetically pleasing.

What I Blogged: 

A total of 9 posts were put up this month! My favourite post I put up was on Blog Development and Growth, and how it's important to not compare yourself to perhaps bigger and more popular blogs. I appreciated all of the feedback on that post!

My Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

I really wanted to shed light on some very insightful and enjoyable posts that I read this month:

Cee Arr of Diary of a Reading Addict talks about depression and staying strong: Look for the Light

In wake of recent drama, Ranu of The Araliya Bookshelf writes an open letter to the book blogging community: An Open Letter to the Book Blogging Community

Erin of the Hardcover Lover discusses why teens like reading dark themes in YA: Dark Themes in YA Literature

Sierra of the Nerdgirl Review shares a personal story and discusses asexuality in media. My Need for More Asexual Characters

Blogger of the Month: 

As a way of showing my appreciation for the many lovely people on the internet, I decided to feature a Blogger of the Month, to showcase one of the amazing people in the community :)

This month's blogger is...


I became blog buddies with Geraldine last month, and she constantly is so friendly, funny and genuinely a lovely person to talk to. Thank you for being so kind, Geraldine!

Personally of This Month: 

I just finished exams, which wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be. Most of my classes were pretty easy, and it's 2nd semester which will be demanding. However I'm excited to start fresh and learn new things!

I REACHED 10K PAGEVIEWS!!! Seriously, this meant so much to me and I am so happy and thankful for every single one of those views. *hugs you all*.

I entered a writing competition! My school board is hosting a Young Author's competition, with all ages being able to submit short stories. Winners will be announced in June. *fingers crossed*.

I started journal writing! Recently I've been writing down thoughts, feelings and emotions, which have really helped me to de-stress and stop worrying. Getting things out of my head and onto a page makes me feel so less cluttered inside!

And that was my month! I'm excited to being new things in February and hopefully I enjoy the first few bits of 2nd semester! Halfway to summer. *sighs*.

How was your month?! Did you do anything exciting? What are you looking forward to in February?!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 29 January 2016

In Place of Never by: Julie Anne Lindsey (ARC Review)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery
Published: February 2, 2016 by: Kensington Books
Pages: 269
Rating: 5/5 stars

*Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to receive this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Mercy Porter has been living in darkness ever since her sister Faith tragically drowned. Now three years later, Mercy wants to piece together what happened that fateful night, by interviewing a travelling band of gypsies who were accused of being involved in the death. However when Faith develops a love for one of the travellers Cross, she must find a way to hide from her strict pastor father who wants to drive the gypsies out of town, all while protecting herself and her younger sister Pru from Faith's bitter and alcoholic ex boyfriend, who will stop at nothing to torment the Porter girls for his girlfriend's fate.

This book was incredibly emotional and unique!! I absolutely love reading about travellers and gypsies, specifically in YA. I feel like their culture is so interesting, and it is something that never fails to spark my curiosity. This book contained heavy themes such as self-harm, family and abuse, but it also handled forbidden love in a perfect/non cheesy way.

Each character had their own special characteristics that added something to the book. I loved Mercy's determination, Pru's humour and confidence, and of course, Cross's kind and caring heart. Mercy broke my heart, the poor girl had been through so much, but she never failed to bring herself some closure. Strangely enough, I even had a great respect for her father by the end of the book. He cared for his daughters so much, and I loved how the author made him develop for the better.

The romance in this book was executed perfectly. Even though it revolves around a strong theme of forbidden love, it was handled in a way that wasn't unrealistic or even predictable. Cross and Mercy seemed like a real couple, they had their differences and their love developed slowly. Ugh, I could not handle Cross in this book, he was such a cutie.

I feel like this book also handled strong themes of diversity. Mercy's small Virginia town did not like the idea of the gypsies who came every summer. They called them slurs, and had prejudice towards them. However on the other side, the gypsies weren't too fond of the "settled" people either. I loved in the end how the two communities were able to join together and at least have some closure.

Overall, this book was so interesting, it was unpredictable, and the ending will put a smile on your face. It was filled with things that you would never expect, and the writing kept me wanting to read on. An amazing book!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: That One Book...

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 that one book... the book that changed you forever.

We all have that one book. The book that we either picked up on a whim one day, or the book that we've heard everyone fuss over and wanted to see for ourselves. This book is usually a standalone, meaning that it stole your heart in just one moment, it didn't take long to get through, and you will love it forever. Allow me to explain:

Choosing my one book did not prove to be an easy task for this post. There were many books that effected me in many ways. Some I laughed, some I cried, But all left an impact for me. Finally, I settled on Paper Towns by: John Green. I chose this book because the first time I read it I knew that it would be a favourite. I was in Grade 8, fresh off of reading The Fault in Our Stars and swooning over Gus, and so I picked up this one because I just KNEW that it would be great. Looking back on it now, I wonder if I was in the right mindset back then to make such a bold assumption, but after re reading it last year I confirmed that to be true.

The reason I loved this book so much was because it goes deeper than a cheesy contemporary. This book tells of a journey, a mystery, and friendship. It taught me what it feels like to be so dedicated to someone you love (or think) you love. But it didn't give me unrealistic forms of romance, in fact, it dives deeper into friendship more than romantic relationships. This book left me laughing and with a smile on my face, and I will never forget how much I enjoyed it. It was my one book. The book that I can never get tired of.

I think it's very important to have a one book. I say "one" instead of favourite because I simply cannot pick a favourite book. I would consider HP and the Deathly Hallows as one of my favourite books, or even The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The point I'm trying to make is, that favourite books and that "one" book is different. While both books are parts of you, bring smiles to you, I would consider my favourite books to be more parts of series that I read over my childhood. Books that make me nostalgic. However my "one" book would have to be read when I was in a significant point in my life, when I needed it most.

I think the reason I chose Paper Towns was because I read it at a turning point in my life. I was graduating from elementary school, going to a high school different from all of my friends, and I would have to start fresh. I wondered if I would ever see them again. Like Q and his friends graduating from high school, they wondered if they'd ever keep in touch. Would they want to keep in touch? And THAT'S why this book meant so much to me. I helped me to go into high school with some memories to hold onto.

So what's your One book? Did it take you long to pick it? Why does it mean so much to you? I want to know!!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The 5th Wave by: Rick Yancey

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Published: May 7, 2013 by: G.P. Putnam
Pages: 457
Rating: 4/5 stars

The world as we know it is in shambles. Aliens loom overhead, sending the apocalypse down in waves. The 1st Wave: a worldwide power outage. The Second Wave: An earthquake shakes the nation. The 3rd Wave: Infection that spreads like wildfire. The 4th Wave: Sending the aliens down in human form to capture the humans. Cassie Sullivan will do anything to protect her brother from the Waves. But when they capture her brother, she must learn to fight, to conquer, and to strategize to get him back. But who can she trust?

This book was a whirlwind of thrills, excitement and shock. It's not everyday that you read a book about the apocalypse in it's full form, most books I read are about the post-apocalyptic world. However this book was different, it gave a fully unique glimpse of a life that seems so familiar to us, that is torn apart without warning. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I really loved the concept of this book. Like I said before, you almost always read about what life is like for the humans after the end of the world, but never during. The earth was set up exactly how it would be nowadays, with teenagers biggest worries being relationships and grades. Cassie was just a normal girl trying to get through life, but now she is forced to play a protective role.

I really had a deep appreciation for Cassie. She wasn't set up like a kickass dystopian heroine who automatically is assumed different and forms a revolution. She had no one to learn from, and she was just trying to get by, and she tried the best she could. She was an accurate representation of an average teenage girl.

I didn't really care for the supplementary characters in this book though. Cassie was the only one who really stood out to me, everyone else I found kind of dull and underdeveloped. Evan annoyed me to no end, he seemed so overly stoic and I didn't like his relationship with Cassie at all. Ben was ok I guess, but I didn't find he added much. I just couldn't really couldn't fully appreciate the other characters in this book, they didn't bring much to the table.

I thought that the plot could have been executed better too. While it was very action packed and fast paced, I found it lacking in information. I found that it took forever to figure out what the different waves were, and I just needed things to be explained a bit more.

So overall, a very cool concept with a great lead, but it needed some more description to add some explanation. If you're into dystopia, I really suggest this one as it is not your average science fiction at all.

Have you read The 5th Wave? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: Diversity in YA

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 a very well thought over topic in the bookworld: diverse books in YA.

Chances are, if you're a bookworm, you've seen this topic float around once or twice before. Whether it would be the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, or just general people debating over racism, sexuality and gender issues in YA, one could argue that we are the generation who have become more conscious of various issues. So today, I'm going to talk about what I would like to see change in YA. I've read a lot, and I think that there is always room for improvement.

Firstly, I would like to see more Canadian/International YA authors hitting the bestsellers. No offence to the Americans, you guys have some great authors, but there aren't many international authors who are extremely well known/world acclaimed. It's time to let different authors shine and bring pride to the bookworms in their country.

Similarly, I'd love for more YA, particularly contemporaries, to have books that take place in different countries. Besides the fictional worlds of fantasy and dystopia, most contemporaries take place in the United States. But what about Canada? Maybe Italy? Heck, even India! I understand that authors write about settings that are familiar to them, but maybe exploring different backgrounds could be a good thing.

Now to a big debate: feminism. There is A LOT of YA that portrays a strong, kickass female lead who don't need no man. However, this representation is not reflective of ALL females. Girls don't need to be fearless and fierce to be strong, they CAN be girlier, maybe less physically fit, and can use their brains as a weapon as opposed to a gun. THERE'S MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF STRONG WOMAN OUT THERE, PEOPLE.

Sexuality. With LGBTQA books hitting the big time, the world has become more open to different types of love. However most books only contain the L and the G side of things, with the protagonist being either gay or lesbian. But what about a Bi character? Maybe someone who's trans? Or perhaps even create a character who is asexual and just doesn't feel sexually connected to anyone! There's a whole spectrum out there that needs to be explored.

So what I'm trying to get out there is, that diverse books are becoming a bit repetitive. Remember that there is more to diversity than just one gay character or a kickass lead, and perhaps researching lesser known topics can make us all a little less ignorant.

I want to know what you think! Are you happy with the representation of diversity in YA, and what are some of your favourite diverse reads?! I'm looking for your rec's.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 15 January 2016

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: September 1, 2014 by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 648
Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Celaena Sardothien, now Queen Aelin Galathynius is prepared to fight for her kingdom. After a lengthy time of preparation, she is ready to take on the task of freeing her people from the brutal king, slaying the forces of darkness and protecting those who mean the most to her. However these tasks will prove to be harsh on the new queen, and Aelin will need the help of the people she is closest to, in order to win this war.

I am ready to get this series over and done with. After a demanding battle with this series, I'm dropping it here and moving onto books that are more catered to what I'm interested in. While I thought I could force myself to get into the heavy fantasy, I am living proof that you cannot force a genre on yourself just because of the hype. I followed the hype, and it failed me.

I don't want to sound like such a Negative Nancy in this review, so I'll start off with the one positive thing that was able to earn this book a two star instead of one. This was the ending. Throughout the book, I was left not knowing exactly what was going on, and very bored. However, when Manon and Aelin finally faced each other, boy was I intrigued. I guess that's what a climax does to people. I thought that the battle was written very well and it captivated me. That is all.

Ok, so now to the reasons why I'm dropping this series, which were briefly highlighted in my review of the third book last week. I could not understand this book for the life of me. The writing was far too intense, too overly descriptive that I thought that the meaning was lost. Didn't work for me.

I did not appreciate the name change either. I understand why it had to happen, but Celaena is a hard enough name to remember as it is let alone changing it halfway. There were times when I didn't even know who was talking, that's how disconnected I was in this book.

Celaena... Or Aelin, really aggravated me for some reason in this book. I found she was kind of cocky, a bit naive, and not my favourite representation of her. Not like she's my favourite heroine anyways, but she still bothered me more than ever.

So basically, that's all to it. Goodbye Throne of Glass, while I thought I could deal with you after the first two books, you sadly disappointed me. Good luck in all that you accomplish.

Have you read Queen of Shadows? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: Blog Development and Growth

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about the developments that you make as a blogger overtime. 

When thinking of what topic to talk about this week, I stumbled upon a thought that has been on my mind ever since I started to blog, and that is: blogger development. Let me explain:

We all know what it feels like to be a newbie blogger. You start off at point zero: zero pageviews, zero followers, zero comments. You may even sound weird putting up your first post because you may feel that you are essentially talking to nobody. Of course, with time, you gain a following, develop blog buddies, and start reaching more original ideas. However what if you haven’t developed as much as you had wanted to? What if you are, a bit envious of such more developed blogs?

I do not consider myself a large blogger at all. However I do not care much about the numbers, I am happy with the following I have right now and I enjoy meeting new people. However when I first started out, within the first few blogging months, I found myself staring at developed blogs. Reading their reviews of brand new ARC’s and seeing their pictures with authors whom they have made friends with, made me wish to be just like them. Fast forward a year and a half later, and I still have never been able to be approved to receive and ARC, and I do not found myself and leading contributor in the communication side of things, i.e. Twitter, Instagram etc. However what’s different now about my development now, is that I don’t particularly care anymore about where I’m at.

The point I’m trying to make here is, that everyone develops at their own pace. Just like in life, you’ll have someone who will reach their growth spurt fast, and someone who wants to take themselves slow and steady. I would consider myself in the slow and steady range.

I think the important thing for newbie bloggers to remember when wanting to develop is to not compare yourself to other’s. Don’t make my mistake, constantly worrying about doing something because so-and-so did it on their blog. Do what makes YOU comfortable, and do not force yourself to do something just because you think that’s what all the “cool kids” are doing.

It also goes without saying, but talk to people! While some bloggers with larger followings may seem intimidating, there is no blogging hierarchy and you can talk to whoever you like. Make friends, participate in social media, but don’t feel like you have to be followed by everyone.

So what I’m trying to get across here is, don’t worry if you’ve been blogging for a significant amount of time, and some other blogs may seem like they’re “doing better than you”. Take things at your own pace, do things that you are comfortable with, and soon, you can be your best confident blogging self. :) 

I want to know what you think! Have you ever been self conscious about your blog, or are you happy with the place you're at now? What's your opinion?! 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 8 January 2016

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: September 2, 2014 by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 562
Rating: 2/5 stars

Celaena Sardothien is done playing games to earn her freedom. After discovering the harrowing secret about her heritage, she now must return to her home land, to reconnect with her people and claim the throne as her's. But with looming forces of darkness preparing for battle, Celaena must find new responsibilities in protecting a nation, a task that she has never thought possible before.

Ok... so I loved the first book in this series. Even the second was pretty light for a fantasy and something that I could get through easily. I was expecting the same from this book, after I had gotten good response before. As I have mentioned before, I don't do well with overly heavy and descriptive novels, and this was probably one of the heaviest I've ever read :(

I could not understand the book from the beginning. It was like this huge jump between assassin Celaena to queen Celaena that I just couldn't connect to at all. All of these new characters were introduced whom I couldn't grasp the concept of at all, and overall this book just went way over my head.

I guess the reason I gave this book two as opposed to one star, is that I did have an appreciation for the writing. Despite the fact that I didn't do well with it, Maas has a very magical way of writing, it's something very mystical and special to her. I think that if I could understand it, I would have really loved it. If you are heavily into fantasy, you'd love this writing!

Now to all the reasons I just couldn't get this book. For starters, I found it to be extremely boring to me. In the first two books, we get to see her battle with other assassins, reconnect with new love, and meet new people. Here, I found it as if she just threw all of the old character aside. I could not understand her relationship with Chaol in this book, and I felt as if everything they built up was lost.

I just found this book to be a bit too descriptive for me. I was completely lost as to what was going on because sometimes things can get a bit too wordy. I know that this could go really well for other people, but it is not good for me.

I have decided after reading the fourth book, that I should stop investing time into this series. It just really deteriorated for me, and I need to stop forcing it upon myself.

Have you read Heir of Fire? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: Bookish Pet Peeves

Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topics surrounds the biggest struggles that bookworms may have!

There are a lot of things that bug me in the world. I hate loud chewers, slow walkers and extreme complainers to name a few. But many of my pet peeves do surround my favourite hobby: books, and I decided to outline them!

Everyone may think that bookworms have it easy, but to be honest, they do not know that the struggle is real. Bookworms have to deal with many pressures that normal people just would never understand, and we are some of the most hard-done-by fangirls out there!

For starters, I have a weird fetish with my books that I CANNOT, MUST NOT, WILL NOT, stop reading in the middle of a chapter. It doesn't matter if I'm exhausted, I have a headache, or the house is burning down; (ok maybe that one was a bit exaggerated), I'm finishing that damn chapter! It's just this weird pet peeve of mine that I feel incomplete or that I won't know what's going on when I pick up the book the next time without finishing a scene. I like to have SOME closure.

Another pet peeve that I have is quite a common one, a disastrous one, one that it so damn annoying that it should be a federal crime, and that is, people who reveal spoilers online! Now I get it, you finish a book that had some weird twisted ending and you just want to explain your excitement on goodreads, twitter etc. However, a simple: "WOAH I DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING IN SAID BOOK", should suffice, because you MUST remember that there are innocent human beings out there who will not expect your comment and THEN BE SURPRISED AND SAD TO FIND OUT THAT THEIR  FAVOURITE CHARACTER DIES BEFORE THEY EVEN FINISH THE SERIES! Uhmm... sorry, that was a personal experience. *crawls in a hole and wipes tears*. So, just be cautious when fangirling.

Now this next pet peeve is something that is quite out of my control, something that I do not really know the reasoning behind, and yet it still bothers me to no end, and that is, how ridiculously over-priced books are. I have seen clothes a Forever 21 that have been a cheaper price than some paperbacks, PAPERBACKS! Now I completing understand how expensive it is to develop books and such, but I find, especially in Canada, that the prices of books have been going up and are a large gap between the U.S. prices. For someone who is a very fast reader, I find myself limiting the amount of time I read for fear of "running out of books", and having to go and buy more. Thankfully I have discovered some alternatives in ebooks, but sometimes you just want a gorgeous physical copy in your hands and can't get it because it will take up half of your birthday money! *sobs*.

DEEP BREATH! Ok, so that was a (short) rant on my main book pet peeves! Let me know that bothers you the most about being a bookworm and if you have found any alternatives to any problems!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 1 January 2016

Panic by: Lauren Oliver

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: March 4, 2014 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 408
Rating: 5/5 stars

First off, happy new year everyone! Hope you had lots of fun last night and are excited for what's to come. I'm kicking off 2016 with a review of a very unique storyline and eerie contemporary.

Panic is a game. A game where the seniors of the ghost-town of Carp fight in a series of events where dangers lurk, all to be the covenant champion and receive a hefty amount of money to start their life somewhere else. Senior Heather never dreamed of competing, but when her alcoholic mother leaves her and her sister again, she knows that she must win it for the both of them. Enter Dodge, a guy who has never been afraid of Panic, and will do anything to win. The two form an alliance. But there can only be one winner.

Panic was a series of twists and turns, of suspense and tragedy, and of family and love. I ABSOLUTELY loved the concept of this book for incorporating various themes that could appeal to a wide audience, as for also keeping a very unique storyline. This one was on a class all on it's own.

The premise for this book is basically based on the sacrifices that one will make to get what they want. First we have Heather, who is fighting for the money for her sister, so that she and her can leave town in search of a better life. Then we have Dodge, who may seem like he just likes the idea of cash, however he's got a secret that will push him to the limits. I loved how these themes were kept consistent and concise throughout the entire book, which really brought out the emotion and deeper meaning within.

The characters in this book were beautifully contrasting with each other, and I loved how they all weren't cookie-cutter contemporary characters. Each person had their own reasons for playing Panic, and I feel like all of them were broken in some sort of way. They all seeked a better life than what they got.

I loved the eeriness of this book. When thinking of the book in my head, I always imagined a dark, grey atmosphere that clouded over everyone in the town's faces. This book is not really a light and happy book, but instead has a bit of a dark, creepy tone to it. Each event is led by a mysterious email and secret judges that no one ever sees, and so it was interesting to piece together who actually started Panic in the first place.

Overall, this was a very different contemporary with a unique concept. If you're not into the light and fluffy, this would be an amazing one for you as it was something that I had never seen anything like before.

Have you read Panic? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess