Friday, 27 January 2017

A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Magical Realism
Published: August 27, 2013 by: Candlewick Press
Pages: 224
Rating: 5/5 stars

Conor's mother is going through vigorous cancer treatments, leaving him isolated and alone, with no one but his annoying grandmother to talk to. But then a monster enters Conor's room at night. A terrifying, wild monster. The monster enters Conor's room every night at the exact same time, and it keeps asking for the same thing. Will Conor ever realize what the monster wants, or will the monster keep on coming, until it is too late?

This book was INSANE! I read it in exactly one sitting, I laughed, I cried, and I was completely blown away once again by the legend that is Patrick Ness. Although I shouldn't give him all the credit, as the idea from the novel actually came from author Siobhan Dowd, who died from cancer before she could write the book. So Ness took over, and this book, should be treasured forever.

You really have to think to get this book. Not really hard, philosophical thinking, but this book requires you to go into your emotions to really get the overall metaphor. And once you get it, it will blow your mind. I loved how this book used magic realism to get an incredibly poignant message across.

This book takes on cancer in a new light. It is unlike anything that you have ever experienced when reading books on the disease, and it will completely mess up your perception but in a really good way. This book is very emotional to say the least, but it is also so brave and so adorable that you can't help but fall in love with every single character.

Be prepared to go on one big thrill ride. You will experience a petri dish of emotions, and it may not be easy. But I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, young and old, and especially, those with relatives who have cancer. Prepare to be amazed.

Have you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Siren by: Kiera Cass

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Published: January 28, 2016 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Rating: 4/5 stars

All through time, the Ocean has carefully selected young girls from drowning for one price: they are hers for 100 years. The girls are known as Sirens, mermaid-like creatures who use their deadly singing voices to lure travellers to their death. Kahlen became a siren years ago, and together with her sisters, they live amongst the ordinary world, dreaming of the day that they will be free from the Ocean's control. But then Kahlen meets Akinli, a caring young man who wants nothing more then to be with her, and to hear her voice. But falling in love is forbidden in Kahlen's world, and if the Ocean were to find out, it would doom her and her love forever.

I have this habit of being shamelessly addicted to Kiera Cass books. Everything she writes is so cliche and so fluffy, and yet so addicting! She once again left me captivated for every single page in this book, although I will say again: she needs to get more diverse characters.

I think the concept of the sirens was so incredibly cool. Who doesn't love a good mythical story about ocean creatures? The atmosphere was mystical and dreamy, and I can just imagine reading this on the beach. This was the perfect summer book and so incredibly romantic.

I did like the characters, especially Akinli. I felt as if he was a very strong love interest, and not quite as cliche as some of Cass' previous male protagonists. I loved the chemistry between him and Kahlen, I didn't feel like it was forced at all.

Now to the issue I'm seeing time and time again in her books. Her characters lack diversity. Not even just with skin colour, although that obviously is an issue too, but even in the way that they act. Kahlen was just your typical teenage girl who's kind of introverted and loved by everyone and goes against the norm. She was a very flat character for me, because she's just so typical of so many contemporary protagonists I've read about before. I need something new.

So overall, the concept was what sold this book for me. It was so creative and felt like a cool mythology story. However I am still longing for a contemporary romance with some more original characters, and the day that comes, I will personally thank the author myself.

Have you read The Siren? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: August 30, 2016 by: Razorbill
Pages: 452
Rating: 4/5 stars

*if you have not read AEITA don't read further as it will be spoiled.*

On the run after The Fourth Trial, Elias and Laia are fighting for their lives as they make their journey to Kauf prison to break free Laia's brother. However the murderous Emperor Marcus has sent out troops upon troops to capture the two, so Elias and Laia must keep their wits about them as they make their way. In the meanwhile, Elias' former friend Helene faces the task of hunting for the pair and killing them, before Emperor Marcus, kills her.

I had been waiting anxiously for this sequel and I have to say that it did live up to it's potential! I couldn't wait to see what happened to Laia and Elias once they were on the run and especially, what Marcus would be doing with the Empire. While AEITA was a lot faster-paced and interesting to me, this book did give me the sequel that I wanted.

I loved Elias' and Laia's chemistry in this book! This book was fiery and passionate, and there's no denying that those two are the cutest when they're together. I felt like Laia made the book for me, she was so much stronger and more confident in this book and had her time to shine. While Elias can do no wrong, this book definitely had more of the girl power.

I also really loved that Helene's POV was put into this book. She's such a fascinating character to me, I'm not sure if I love to hate her or if I just love her, but getting to go into her thoughts definitely made me connect to her more. She is a really well-written character.
While Sabaa Tahir is amazing at making a brutally thrilling book, I think that this book was just a bit more laidback than AEITA. For this reason, I have to say that I found some parts quite boring, especially Elias' parts, which kind of disappointed me. I don't think that Elias' storyline was that interesting to me and I loved him a lot more in AEITA.

But other than that, this was not a let down of a sequel at all and I can't wait to see what Tahir comes up with next! If you're looking for a thrilling fantasy series with some POC's at the centre, this series is for you!

Have you read A Torch Against the Night? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Who Would Be On My Dream Author Panel?

A little bit of a different post today! I decided to create a post based on my dream author panel, who would I love to hear speak? Eventbrite  has an awesome campaign currently on dream author panels,  so I just had to join in the fun! If you're not familiar, Evenbrite is a site that allows users to create events and sell tickets to people! Honestly it's really cool and helpful :) So without further adieu, here's my dream author panel:

I'm going to call this panel: The Emily's Favourite's Panel. This is mainly because these authors don't really share a common theme other than the fact that they're all my favourites, so this is what the panel's theme is going to be!

I guess the panel would take place at Book Expo America in New York. This is because I really want to go to New York sooo badly, so if I were there and I'm seeing my faves, it'll be a win-win.

The moderator: I would have Evanna Lynch moderate the panel. She plays Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series, and by far is one of my favourite actresses from the series. Idk, I would just love for her and my first guest to interact ;)

1. First, J.K. Rowling would be a must. She's my ultimate hero, and hearing her speak about anything would make me smile. I would especially love to get her advice for writing fantasies, since she's basically fantasy queen.

2.  Next, John Green. His books have touched me in so many ways and I would just have so many questions for him. Where is Hazel now? How is Margo? And more importantly: WHEN ARE YOU WRITING ANOTHER BOOK?

3. I would also love S.E. Hinton to be on the panel. She wrote The Outsiders, which remains my favourite classic book and a book I hold near and dear to my heart. This woman is so incredibly talented at what she does. I would ask her if we'd ever get an Outsiders reunion, maybe even with the stars from the movie.

4. Next, I would love for Maggie Stiefvater to make an appearance. I have so many questions about The Raven Cycle characters, and would love to ask her if there's any chance of a film adaption to this amazing series!

5. Last on my panel would be Rick Riordan. I've admired him for a very long time, and would just be completely fangirling over everything he's ever written. I would ask him also for a heroes of olympus film adaption, and who his favourite hero is.

This would be my dream panel! I can't imagine how i'd react if this actually came true, honestly I think I would cry.

What would your dream panel be? Thanks again Eventbrite!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 16 January 2017

Disability Diaries: Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman!

I'm so excited to be taking part in the week long event Disability Diaries, which is showcasing disability diversity and why it's important to talk about it! A few lovely bloggers are hosting this event that runs until next Saturday, so make sure to check out their posts! As my contribution for the event, I'm going to be reviewing an amazing book that I just recently read, called Challenger Deep by: Neil Shusterman.

While brainstorming ideas of what I wanted to do for my post, I was reading a book called Challenger Deep. It turned out to blow my mind on how amazingly it dealt with mental illness, so I decided that raising awareness about this book was going to be my post. Everyone should read this.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 21, 2015 by: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Rating: 5/5 stars

Caden Bosch and other members of a crew of sailors are heading out on a ship set sail for challenger deep, the deepest part of the Marianas Trench. Caden's job is to draw everything that they discover along the way. However in reality, Caden is not on a ship. He is not going to challenger deep. He is a high school student suffering from schizophrenia and anxiety, and he has been sent to a mental health facility to get better. As Caden goes about nine weeks of therapy, a cocktail of drugs, and new friends with their own battles, Caden in his mind, is setting sail for the adventure of a lifetime. And nobody understands but him.

This book blew me away in how it was executed. Not only did it handle mental illness in a way that was so raw and so real, but it was also incredibly unique in weaving Caden's psychosis into the storyline. It had a very mystical tone to it, while still staying true to the theme.

The book contains a lot of drawings drawn by Caden, as he is on his ship. These were such a unique touch and the author's note at the end explains the pictures in further detail that will leave you surprised and speechless. They were there for a reason, and that reason, was beautiful.

This book is so real. It touches upon not only a variety of mental illnesses, but also about medication, family struggles, and even how to heal. I don't think this book was a very triggering book because it is more about showing that healing is possible, but obviously always be cautious when approaching any mental health book. I loved reading about Caden's healing process and how it was effected by the other people at the hospital.

Overall, I think this book handled the issues at hand brilliantly. This was the first book about schizophrenia I've read, and it was done in a way that showed hope, that showed highs and lows, and showed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I fell in love with the overall metaphor of this book and I hope you will too.

Have you read Challenger Deep? What did you think?

That's it for my disability diaries post! Check out all of the other ones too!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 January 2017

We All Looked Up by: Tommy Wallach

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Published: March 24, 2015 by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 370
Rating: 2/5 stars

Before the asteroid hit, four teens let themselves be defined as labels: the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But when news that an enormous asteroid would be hitting the earth in 2 months, those teens choose to leave their labels behind and embrace life to the fullest, before everyone is doomed.

I was expecting a lot from this book. I thought that the premise of a pre-apocalyptic book would be so interesting and new, something that I hadn't really read before. Then news of Wallach's rude and quite un-called for suicide jokes came to light and I was sceptic about him. However, I had already gotten this book from the library and decided to give it a shot. Did my opinions on Wallach influence my review of the book? I don't like to think so.

Really the only good thing about this book was the premise. I enjoyed the concept of an asteroid hitting the earth and what humans did with that knowledge, I thought that it was very interesting and extremely emotional to see what people did with their time during those two months. That's about it.

I found the characters to be extremely flat, boring and stupid, You'd think that they would be a lot kinder to each other after learning that they're all going to die in 2 months, but instead most of them were complete jerks. I didn't care for any of them at all and I didn't care for their stories.

I also found the plot up until a few days before the apocalypse to be incredibly boring. I couldn't understand or care for a single thing that was happening, and I honestly wasn't even paying attention. It was so uneventful.

That's pretty much all I have to say about this book. It was a let down that I was not happy about.

Have you read We All Looked Up? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Salt to the Sea by: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: August 3rd, 2016 by: Thorndike Press
Pages: 450
Rating: 5/5 stars

World War II is finally  over in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are trying to make the escape to freedom. A ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, promises them just that, and many board the ship making it's way to safe ground. Among the refugees are Florian, Emilia and Joana, strangers who have all got something to hide. However when tragedy strikes among the ship, the three, and the thousands others on the fated ship, must do whatever it takes to survive. 

This book was a harrowing, heartbreaking and just plain beautiful piece of writing. It revolves around a tragedy of WWII not very well known, I didn't even know it myself, and that is the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Thousands of refugees were on this boat looking for a better life, and yet, they were doomed. Most people just know of the Titanic as the most famous ship sinking, but I think that this story is of as equal importance and deserves equal recognition. 

The book is told in alternating points of view from refugees of very different backgrounds. Each and every character were so well-developed, their stories so well thought out and I fell for every one of them. I especially had a soft spot for Joana, as she was so kind and had such an amazing soul. I loved how unique each character's situation was. 

What I love about Sepetys is that she sheds light on historical events not well known to the public. She doesn't skim the surface of events, she goes into these terrible and emotional things that happened to real people that need more recognition. I had no idea that this sinking had even happened because the only ship sinking I was ever taught about was the Titanic, but after reading this book I felt like I had learnt something new. Sepetys gives these victims a story to tell. 

Overall, an amazing WWII book that tells a different story. I think anyone interested in history should read this book, as it will educated you on a story that you didn't even know about, but that affected a lot of people. 

Have you read Salt to the Sea? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Paperback's Pondering's: My New Year Resolution

Today is gonna be a non-book related post. I don't do these posts often at all because I like to think of my blog  as strictly book based, but since I have this platform I think it's good just to talk sometimes. So today I'll be pondering on my new year's resolution and what I hope it does for me.

I've always loved animals and the environment. I believe that our world is seriously suffering environmentally and if we don't do something now then we will be seriously doomed. I'm sorry, it's just what I believe. I watch a lot of vegan/vegetarian youtubers and they always talk about how good it is to go veggie. I've always said that one day I'd do that and then proceed to take a bite out of my hamburger. But this year, I decided that I really, really wanted to do this. I wanted to do my part to help out our ecosystems, and the earth. So I decided that going vegetarian was the way I would so that.

When I said I was going veggie I concerned a lot of people. I've always been underweight and unable to keep on healthy weight, so my doctor always told me to "eat from the cow" and keep my iron up. I can't wait to see her reaction when I see her. My mom also had her concerns, and insisted that I still eat dairy, eggs and fish, which I agreed to for my own health. So you could say, I'm technically a pescetarian.

What I don't like are the few vegans and vegetarians on social media that make it seem like you're a villain if you eat meat. People like Freelee the Banana Girl who constantly troll other people and scare people into not eating meat. I know many, many people who can have a healthy diet eating meat, and I'm not denying at all that meat can be good for you. For me, this is more of an animal ethics/environmental journey.

What I do hope though, is that my skin clears up. I do know for a fact that meat and dairy contribute to my skin problems, and I'm hoping that I can see some improvements. My skin is a constant struggle, so hopefully I can put those insecurities behind me.

I'm really looking forward to doing this. I hope that I can keep up with it. I'm really serious about it and I want to make a change. I want to do something good for the earth and I want to eat more ethically. I just hope that my health allows me to.

If you're a veggie, please send me tips! I'd love to know how you eat :)

Emily @ Paperback Princess