Monday 31 October 2016

Month in Review: October

Hello everyone, and Happy Halloween! Hope you all have a spooky day! Here's my monthly recap for October:

What I Read: 

This is What Happy Looks Like by: Jennifer E. Smith: 3/5 stars
The Shawl by: Cynthia Ozick: 4/5 stars
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by: Siobhan Vivian: 1/5 stars
The Radius of Us by: Marie Marquarot
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by: Benjamin Alire Saenez: 5/5 stars
Learning to Swear in America by: Katie Kennedy: 3/5 stars
Tales of the Peculiar by: Ransom Riggs: 4/5 stars
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: 3/5 stars

Favourite Book of the Month: 

Definitely, fully and whole-heartedly Ari and Dante!! It was my first audiobook I've ever read, and the story, mixed with Lin-Manuel's narration made this book possibly my favourite book of 2016.

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post this month was my post on the Lack of Diversity in YA Romance. I've been wanting to talk about this issue since FOREVER , and I got a lot of great rec's.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Cee reminds victims of rape that They Are Not on Trial 

Brooklyn writes A Letter to Hazel Grace 

Charlotte reflects On Turning 20 

Ruzaika shares tips for how to survive Being a Chicken during Halloween Season 

Blogger of the Month: 

This month's shoutout goes to the lovely bloggers over at The Regal Critiques, Veronika and Ruzaika! I've known these two amazing ladies for a while, and they never fail to leave the most insightful, thoughtful and kind comments. Plus, their blog is so incredibly creative and they make the best events, such as their Spooky October series! Go check them out :) 

Personal Stuff of this Month: 

Nothing really happened much in my life this month. I'm actually somewhat enjoying school, except for my history class, but that's another story. Overall I've been writing a lot this month thanks to Writer's Craft, and I'm looking forward to November! Plus, this is a friendly reminder that Christmas is just around the corner :)))

How was your October? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 28 October 2016

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by: Sara Raasch

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: October 14, 2014 by: Balzer and Bray
Pages: 416
Rating: 4/5 stars

For her entire life, Meira has lived as a Winterian refugee, after The Kingdom of Winter was raided and their power overthrown. Meira lives with the other eight surviving members of Winter, as they prepare for finally being able to take back their kingdom. When Meira finds out of a mysterious locket that could help reclaim the kingdom, she goes after it, battling with evil forces and her own destiny. However there may be more to this mission than she thought, and it could put her, and Winter, in danger.

To be honest, I did not think that I would enjoy this book at all. It looked like a heavy fantasy that I would just find boring and lacking. However I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book, and I think I may have found a new fantasy series to love!

I really loved all of the characters in this book. I loved how Meira wasn't your typical heroine who is ruthless and an avid fighter. I liked how she was kind of timid and had to work up to being a fighter, it was a good change of pace. I also loved the other Winterians, I even thought that the villains were written well!

I enjoyed the pacing of this novel. It wasn't too boring at all, I thought that the language really built up intensity and I found myself fully entertained. There wasn't a huge influx of information being thrown at me that I couldn't handle, I thought that the book had a perfect balance of showing vs. telling.

I guess the one complaint I had was I thought the ending was a bit rushed. It seemed like all of this new information is being thrown at you at the end, as opposed to the steady pace in the beginning and middle. The ending made things kind of confusing.

Overall though, a great fantasy book for people who don't like fantasy!

Have you read Snow Like Ashes? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 26 October 2016

The Hamilton Book Tag

I saw this tag going around a longg time ago, before I gave into the hype and listened to Hamilton. Now I am fully and completely obsessed and am finally doing this tag!

The Room Where it Happens- Book World You Would Put Yourself In: 

Besides Hogwarts of course, I would definitely put myself in Henrietta from The Raven Cycle. The mystical forest would be amazing!

The Schuyler Sisters- Underrated Female Character: 

I would definitely say Reyna from The Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series. She's so precious.

My Shot- A Character That Goes After What They Want: 

Obviously Kaz from Six of Crows! That's dedication!!

Stay Alive- A Character That You Wish Was Still Alive: 

Noah freaking Czerny. *sniff sniff*

Burn- The Most Heartbreaking End to a Relationship: 

Gale and Katniss forever and always. I will always be bitter about this.

You'll Be Back- Most Sassiest Villain: 

Lucius Malfoy could bring the sass when he wanted to!

The Reynolds Pamphlet- A Book With a Twist that You Didn't See Coming: 

A Monster Calls! That entire book was like: whaatttt

Non Stop- A Series You Marathoned: 

The only time I've ever really marathoned a series was Harry Potter, for obvious reasons.

Satisfied- Favourite Book with Multiple POV's: 

I feel like most books I read have mutiple POV's, but if I had to pick one, maybe An Ember in the Ashes! It was amazingly done!

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story- Book That Will Be Remembered Throughout History: 

Again, *besides* Harry Potter, I would say that classic books such as Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird will, and already have, been remembered through history.

That's it! I'd like to tag any Hamilton fans out there, although I think most of you have done this already, I'm pretty late to the party haha!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 21 October 2016

Room by: Emma Donoghue

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Published: September 13, 2010 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 321
Rating: 5/5 stars

Room is all five-year old Jack has ever known. It is his home, his safeguard, his world. But to his Ma, it is the place where she has stayed hidden away for seven years, after she was kidnapped as a teen. A product of Ma's captor who raped her, Jack had been taught that Room was all there was in the world. It was all he had ever known. But Ma soon realizes that their life in Room is limited, so she plans an escape for them to be freed. Banking on Jack's participation and a whole lotta luck, Ma tries to set her and Jack until a world she hasn't been in for seven years.

This book was like nothing I had ever read before. It had a very child-like tone to it, as Jack is the narrator through the entire story, but this only made the book stronger. It was upsetting and harrowing, but also triumphant and lovable.

The fact that this book is told from the perspective of a five-year old makes it so much stronger than if it were narrated by Ma. We got to see the whole world through Jack's perspective, which was so amazing in his eyes, but so scary to his mom's eyes. Donoghue perfectly captured the tone of a five-year old boy, I fully felt as if I were in his shoes. It was so unique.

I also really loved the sequence of events in this book. What you didn't think was going to happen, happened and what you thought was going to happen, didn't. It was very surprising at times but it moved at the perfect pace.

This book seemed very realistic. I could definitely imagine how this was how an kidnap victim would act, and this is how a child in the real world for the first time would act. Donoghue got little details so perfect that it seemed as if she had thought of everything. It was really interesting from a psychological point of view to see the character's reactions to situations.

Overall, an amazing book. It's also an amazing movie, which I actually watched before I read (oops) but both book and movie were so amazingly done. And Jacob Tremblay as Jack was such an amazing portrayal. Easy 5/5 stars.

Have you read Room? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: The Lack of Diversity in YA Romance

If there's one thing I love about romance, it's that it's so easy to get through. I love how it can be a light refresher after a really dark book, or pull you out of a reading slump. Sometimes a good fluffy romance is all you need. I have read my fair share of contemporary romance novels, we're talking all in the YA genre here, and one thing that I've noticed about them is that they're all really cookie-cutter. And oh-so-un-diverse.

It's so annoying that every time I read a romance the characters are boy-girl, white, cis, girl has red hair, and usually has to fight a blonde haired cheerleader for her love. It's just so annoying that 99% of the books in the YA romance category all seem the same. I need a change!

I don't really wanna call an author out, but one observation I've made is about Jennifer E. Smith. I've read a lot of her romance, chick-lit YA books, and I think she has a great knack for romance, but all of her characters are the same! I'd love for her to go into more diversity in her books, because I find them seriously lacking.

It's also really weird how many romances stereotype on hair colour. Most romances like to paint the picture of the ditzy blonde girl who doesn't deserve love. Since when did blonde become a stereotype for evil? And apparently red hair is a symbol for an introverted smart girl who will eventually get the guy. What's with the hair colour grouping?

There is definitely an absence of LGBT representation, and PoC representation. I for one think it would be very cool for more romance writers to explore interracial couples, as they do exist, my parents are living proof of it! The point I'm trying to make is, I'm getting tired of reading about redheads and blue eyes. And I know not all romance writers are like this, but in my experiences, the books I'm reading are all extremely lacking.

What's your favourite diverse romance book? Give me all the rec's!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 14 October 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: May 5, 2015 by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 416
Rating: 5/5 stars

When poor huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a dangerous beast demands to take her life to avenge it. She convinces the beast to take her to his home, in order to protect her struggling family. She soon finds out that the beast transforms into Tamlin, an immortal faerie that rules the world of Fae. Trapped inside his castle, Feyre starts developing feelings for Tamlin, but these feelings could threaten his world, and hers all at the same time.

I finally did it. I read the book that everyone and their cousins talks about. I didn't want to like this to be honest, because I have had bad experiences with SJM's other books, but I have to say that I was actually BLOWN AWAY by it and the premise. But, I ended up hating the sequel, so this is short lived.

I really loved the descriptiveness of this book! The setting felt like I was involved in it, and it all felt so magical and real. One thing that I applaud Maas on is her ability to pull you into the world she creates. It is a great feeling.

This book wasn't boring, wasn't heavy and not at all what I was expecting. I was fully engaged throughout the entire thing, which was incredibly surprising to me, and I kept wanting to read more and more. I was actually entertained by a fantasy book! Can you believe it?!

The one warning I will give you though, is that this book could be, well... raunchy at times. It's a very sexy book, and with that comes very detailed descriptions of sex. Some would say that these details put this book in the New Adult category as opposed to Young Adult. So just be wary, if that's not something that you're comfortable with, you might want to take that into consideration.

But overall, I loved this book! I loved how engaging it was, how entertaining, and how magical the world seemed to be. I can finally cross this book off my tbr list!

Have you read ACOTAR? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Paperback's Pondering's: What It's Like to Re Read the Harry Potter Series

This post is longggg over due. I re read the series about 6 months ago, and for some reason I completely forgot to write this post. But, it's still something that I wanted to discuss, so without further adieu, this is my experience on re reading the entire Harry Potter series!

This was actually the first time I've re read the series in order. I usually only re read a book here and there. But, I had actually run out of books to read and felt like re reading something, so I decided to go with the entire series. While I can say that the series was as amazing as I remember, I did notice that I had some changes in my opinions.

I definitely think that I appreciated more of the lessons this time around. Maybe it's because I'm older (and perhaps a little wiser), but I felt like I paid more attention to the philosophies of life in the series rather than just paying attention to the magic like I did as a child. I think I had more to learn from this series.

I also realized that some books are better than others. When I read it while I was young, I was completely caught up in the hype that I was convinced that every book was perfect, but I can definitely say now that wasn't the case. I'm standing by my decision that Prisoner of Azkaban was the worst of the series, and definitely the most boring. There was just no plot.

My favourite still remained the same though, and that is Goblet of Fire. I loved the integration of the 3 schools together and Cedric was such an amazing minor character. It's also my go to movie to watch as well.

Not all of my opinions changed. Hermione was still my favourite female character, Fred was still my favourite male character, and I still believe that Dumbledore set Harry up for failure at times. But I also stayed true to my feelings that this is the best book series I've ever read, and that it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Have you re read the entire HP series? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 7 October 2016

Gone Girl by: Gillian Flynn

Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Published: September 26, 2012 by: Thorndike Press
Pages: 707
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

On Amy and Nick Dunne's 5th wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne mysteriously disappears. Distraught and confused, Nick opens up a police investigation, and soon the whole town erupts in a Find Amy campaign. However, as growing evidence points towards Nick as being the kidnapper, Nick must prove his innocence as everyone seems to turn against him. Nick starts to investigate the mystery that is his wife, and she may be hiding something.

I finally can say that I've read this book! And not too long after that, I read the book, so I really am caught up. I will say that this book was as shocking as everyone said it was, and you definitely have to see to believe. However I did have some problems with it.

First off, I loved the characters of this book. I think each one had a unique voice and personality, and I definitely loved Nick's point of views. I also really loved hearing Amy's diary entries, as they gave a better glimpse into their past and it was overall very intriguing.

I think that the ending of this book was good, but for me, it was completely predictable. I could predict most of the shocking elements of this book. Maybe it's just because I watch way too much Law and Order that I'm pretty much a detective at this point, but I just knew what was going to happen. Idk, maybe I'm just not normal.

I also really didn't like the last few pages of the book. They felt rushed and confusing, and definitely anticlimactic. The solving of the mystery was interesting, but the aftermath was really stupid to me. It just didn't seem to fit with everything else that had happened.

This is pretty much all I can manage to attempt a perfect, spoiler free review. You kind of have to read this for yourself in order to judge the mystery, but I think Flynn had a great premise here. Maybe I should just become a detective in the future.

Have you read Gone Girl? What did you think?

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Paperback's Writing: Sometimes a Book Just Doesn't Work Out

Back in November, I wrote a book. It was for NaNoWriMo, and I completed the challenge. I expected that I would spend time editing it, and then work to get it published. I even bought a bound copy of it using one of the NaNoWriMo coupon codes. However, as I spent time editing it, I realized that this book just wasn't going anywhere. I was actually embarassed by it.

Let me get one thing straight, and that is writing a 50 000 word book in a month will not create the best novel. But that's what editing is for, right? I thought so, but as I began I started to feel less and less confident in the book, and not for anything that was fixable, I basically hated everything.

I went into NaNoWriMo with no prior writing experience. I had no plan, no character outlines. I just went with it. I literally made stuff up as I was going on. Now this technique may work for some, but it did not help me at all. There were major plot holes in my story, forgotten characters and quick fixes to big problems. It just sounded so stupid.

The point is, I thought I could fix it, I thought I could make it work, but the truth is, this story just doesn't work for me anymore. It seems cliche and boring, and nothing that I am proud to put my name on. And I'm not being hard on myself, I know that this is not the book I wanted to write.

So basically, what I'm saying is, I'm basically scrapping a years worth of editing and starting fresh with a new story. I am now more educated on writing through the course I'm taking at school, and I know that my teacher can help me through the process. I'm doing a lot more planning this time, as I think this will keep me a lot more organized. I want to take my time this time around.

Sometimes a book just doesn't work out. This is one of those times. I at first felt like I was just quitting, but this is more than that. I know I can write better than how I did, and I'm willing to try. I'll keep my book saved on my computer for the memory, but I just know that I will never do anything with it. It's over.

Have you ever scrapped an entire book? Please give me your wisdom!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday 1 October 2016

Month in Review: September

I survived my first month of grade 12! I don't want to jinx anything, but I've actually been having fun and I'm looking forward to the rest of the semester. Here's what went down in September:

What I Read: 

We All Looked Up by: Tommy Wallach: 2/5 stars
A Torch Against the Night by: Sabaa Tahir: 5/5 stars
The Siren by: Kiera Cass: 4/5 stars
A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness: 5/5 stars
Wuthering Heights by: Emily Bronte: 4/5 stars
The Problem with Forever by: Jennifer L. Armentrout: 5/5 stars
All Fall Down by: Ally Carter: 3/5 stars
White Oleander by: Janet Fitch: 3/5 stars
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by: John Boyne: 4/5 stars
OCDaniel by: Wesley King: 4/5 stars

What I Blogged: 

9 Posts went up this month! My favourite was my confession that I Almost Quit Blogging (But I Didn't!) I thank you guys so much for all of the support you guys gave me on that post.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Cee's 5 Rules for Reading and Reviewing LGBT Books

Charlotte talks about Series Marathoning 

Temecka talks in Defense for Noah Czerny 

Ruzaika goes on a Royal Ranting about Feminism in YA 

Blogger of the Month: 

I couldn't pick just one person who was so incredibly lovely this month, so I'd like to extend a huge thanks to all of you! All of you were so lovely with my latest discussion, I'm so thankful to have you all in my life. I love you guys <3

Personally of the Month: 

Nothing much happened either than I started Grade 12. It's been so much fun so far, especially in my Writer's Craft class, and I'm so happy that I've learnt so much. I can see my writing improving, and my teacher is so knowledgeable. This has definitely been the month of writing.

Overall, I had a good September! This year is looking up and I'm willing to let myself enjoy it :)

How was your September?

Emily @ Paperback Princess