Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Love and Gelato by: Jenna Evans Welch

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 3rd, 2016 by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 389
Rating: 1/5 stars

Lina's mother's dying wish was for her daughter to travel to Tuscany and finally meet her father, a man who was only mysteriously recorded in her notebook all her life. Now Lina is being whisked away for the summer, to live with a man who should have been there when he wasn't. But when Lina is given the notebook her mother kept, she begins unravelling secrets she never knew, and discovering a part of Tuscany out of a fairytale. And when the charming Ren comes into her life, Lina steps into her own fairytale as well.

Say it with me, folks: garlic bread and meatballs are not Italian. If my Nona had gotten a hold of this book, it would annoy her and my dad's entire family at the stuff in this book that was supposed to portray Italian culture. I don't know what Tuscany this author went to, but it was not what anyone I know experienced.

I think the main thing that pissed me off in this book was just the lack of research that went into Italian culture. If you wanna write a book set in another country, at least make it authentic and not an American portrayal of what Italian is. Seriously, everytime these people had dinner it looked like a scene out of East Side Mario's. The red and white checkered tablecloth, the garlic bread, the spaghetti and meatballs, this is not how Italians eat!! It may be how Italian-Americans eat, but in Tuscany, it's a whole other story.

I also felt like the main character was extremely naive. I would imagine that her mother would at least tell her some things about Italian culture, but this girl goes in not even knowing what gelato or a pizza Margarita is. It was just the typical trope of a girl going into a new country acting like it's a completely different planet, when in reality, it's just common knowledge. Also, why did Lorenzo go by "Ren?" They couldn't even keep his Italian name in there.

It may seem like I'm being overly critical of this book, but it just annoys me when people don't get the culture right. There should be more research done into the traditions and customs of countries in YA books, because otherwise, you end up wasting your time like me. For more info, Cee made a great post on a similar issue in The Raven Cycle series, in regards to Welsh culture. I encourage you to read that post, because she obviously spoke a lot more eloquently than me: Why I'm Hesitant to Read the Raven Cycle

Have you read Love and Gelato? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

What I Would Do to Prepare Myself for a Book Convention

It has always been on my bucket list to attend a book convention. I've been to FanExpo, which was a great geeky convention, but I have yet to be in a room with strictly just every bookworm you could imagine. Every year when BEA and Bookcon comes around, I have to convince myself that booking a trip to NYC would be a waste of money and that I'll just have to wait for one closer to me. But, I have always planned my dream preparations for a book convention, and so this post will be highlighting that today.

I'm going to compile my list as if I were going to Love N. Vegas. Love N. Vegas is a, you guessed it, Vegas-based book convention happening this October 27-29 at Planet Hollywood! Tons of authors will be there such as Anna Todd, Adriana Locke, and BB Easton, and there will be signings, events, and so much more!! Now University has completely taken over my life and so I won't be leaving the country any time soon, but if you're interested, there are so many great hotel and flight deals on, so I would totally check it out. Las Vegas knows how to throw a party :D

So now, let's get into what I would bring:

1. A big purse. This is essential for any convention. I have a big leather backpack that I take anywhere were I'll be carrying a lot of stuff, because let's be honest, there's gonna be a ton of books to lug around.

2. WATER!! It's important to stay hydrated!! I have been to enough concerts to know that water can get expensive, so I refillable water bottle is always a great choice.

3. Lots and Lots of book merch. Seriously, if I went to a book convention, I would probably be decked out in every book-themed thing I own. My Harry Potter t-shirt, my wand, my fake Harry Potter glasses, anything.

4. Comfy shoes. I would definitely wear comfy shoes, and again, this goes for any long event. Unless something is extremely fancy, I go less for style and more for comfort with some running shoes.

5. Last but not least, this isn't a physical thing, but I would definitely prepare what I'm going to say when I meet my favourite author. The one time I went to a book signing, I just could not fathom what to say and sounded like a blubbering idiot. So, if you're easily star-struck like me, make sure to practice what you wanna say.

That's it! I really hope I'll get to go to a book convention soon, and if you have or intend to, let me know your tips and tricks!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Genre: YA Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: April 11, 2017 by: G.P. Putnam
Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5 stars

It's 1777 in New York, and the Revolution is sparking excitement in everyone. On the eve of the legendary Schuyler family's winter ball, middle-daughter Eliza Schuyler is less enthused by her graceful older and gentle younger sisters, and is more focused on making a change in America. But when she meets Alexander Hamilton at the ball, a bright young colonel with a lot of ideas, they start something that will change the course of American History forever.

I'll be honest, I would probably never read this book if the musical Hamilton never existed. And even so, would this book even exist if the musical Hamilton was never created? Lin- Manuel Miranda has truly influenced the literature and art scene forever.

I really liked this book. It provided great, vivid descriptions of 1777 America, and the author really took on the tone of people in the time period, which is hard to do. It didn't feel watered down to modern audiences, she really kept it authentic.

I loved how she portrayed the character of Eliza, and I could definitely see the parallels between her Broadway counterpart. She was brilliant and enthusiastic, as was Alexander Hamilton. Both characters seemed to keep up with the personalities of their stage versions.

This book didn't feel boring to me, and I was really worried it would. I think it was probably because I was already familiar with the story of Alexander Hamilton, because if I had gone into this book completely ignorant, I would probably have no time for the information. So, I'm not sure how a non-Hamilton lover would read this.

I felt as if this book was a little too long. It took a lot for action to build up, and Alexander and Eliza's relationship didn't flourish until literally the very end of the book, something I did not expect. I would have really liked for their relationship to have happened sooner.

But other than that, I think this book was a great nod to Hamilton. It was romantic and cute, but it just took too long to get there.

Have you read Alex and Eliza? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Mousetrap by: Agatha Christie

Genre: Play, Mystery
Published: 1952
Pages: 70
Rating: 5/5 stars

In Christie's classic story that has turned into the world's longest running play, a group of strangers are snowed in a historical mansion while a detective investigates which one of them is connected to a mysterious murder that happened earlier in the day.

I had to read this play for my horror and mystery lit class, and I was really into it! It was the first Christie play I had ever read, so I was incredibly impressed by her plot twists, her characters, and the way she really plays up the suspense.

I love the idea that the ending to this book is a sworn secret. When people see the play, they are told not to reveal who the killer is to the public, so everyone gets to experience it for themselves. I kept guessing and guessing as the story went on, but I never knew until the very end, and I was really shocked when I found out! Christie has such talent in making everything come full circle in the end.

Christie also creates amazing characters. Each one has such detailed, specific traits that could make any one of them the suspect, which makes the guessing game even harder. Every character was well-rounded and three-dimensional, and I loved every one of them.

I don't think this will be my last Agatha Christie play I read. I don't get into mystery all that often, so when I do, I am often left so amazed by the author's ability to deter you from the actual suspect. Christie is a classic author of mystery and she definitely is the best at it, so I think I will be steering my direction into her books in the future.

Have you read The Mousetrap? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boy's #3) by: Jenny Han

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 2, 2017 by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 325
Rating: 5/5 stars

It's senior year for Lara Jean, and life couldn't be more perfect. Her and Peter's relationship is flourishing, and fueled by class trips to NYC, glamorous prom, and her optimism when it comes to college applications. Her father and Ms. Rothschild are also getting married, throwing Lara Jean into wedding planning mode. Love is in the air, until Lara Jean receives news that throws her entire life off balance. Suddenly, she must resort to plan B, and it could change her and Peter's relationship forever.

I am so sad to be letting go of this series :((( This book series was my feel-good, my pick-me-up, my ultimate fluffy books. I could always guarantee that I would enjoy picking up Lara Jean's story, which is why it was really upsetting to me for it to end. Still though, I guess I have the movie to look forward to, and although I'm kinda underwhelmed with the cast, I'm sure I'll get a lot of re-reads out of the books to keep me going.

This book was the perfect conclusion. As usual with this series, I can kinda predict all that was gonna happen, but I never really care with books as sweet and fluffy as these. I was really scared for Lara Jean and Peter to go through some drastic changes in this book, but I could not be happier with how everything turned out and where everyone ended up in their lives. All my ships took flight, and that was good enough for me.

I saw a more mature side to Lara Jean, which I loved. She was confident in her decisions and she knew what she wanted. She wasn't fawning over every little thing now, she was so cool and collected, and very driven. Her character reached its peak.

Jenny Han never fails with me. I wanna thank her so much for creating such lovable characters and a really great story, because sometimes these books were all I needed after a bad day.

Have you read Always and Forever,  Lara Jean? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 1 September 2017

Month in Review: August

As I type this, I am becoming a nervous wreck at the thought of going to University :( In less than a week, I will be all moved in, and navigating a task I have never had good luck with in the past: making friends. Please send happy thoughts my way.

What I Read: 

In August, I really got back on track with my reading!!

Saints and Misfits by: S.K. Ali: 4/5 stars
Geekerella by: Ashley Poston: 2/5 stars
The Star-Touched Queen by: Roshani Chokshi: 3/5 stars
We Are the Ants by: Shaun David Hutchinson: 4/5 stars
When We Collided by: Emery Lord: 5/5 stars
The Lost Hero by: Rick Riordan: 4/5 stars

Favourite Book: The clear winner was When We Collided!! It had such good mental health rep and really was a harrowing story.

What I Blogged: 

I really enjoyed getting back into writing blog posts this month! I loved my review of When Dimple Met Rishi, and it seemed to generate a lot of comments as well, which was very much appreciated.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Cee shares some views on Education 

Ruzaika explains why we should totally read The Upside of Unrequited 

Geraldine does the Around the World Book Tag

Life Stuff: 

This month was the month of moving. My entire room was taken down and packed into a big truck for university. I feel very out of place and I'm not really enjoying the changes at all, but luckily I did have some other things this month to keep my mind off of it.

For starters, my mom's cousins celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary with a huge party! A lot of my cousins from England came and it was like a huge family reunion. The main thing that I was excited about was getting to get all dolled up in Pakistani and Indian wear. My family rarely ever wears lehengas, saris, or even henna tattoos, and I feel like that night we really embraced the culture and I felt really beautiful :) Here are some photos:

The second thing that really lifted my mood was seeing Coldplay in concert. They are one of my favourite bands and I can honestly say that was one of the best shows I've ever been to. The colours, the lighting, the confetti, everything was just so beautiful.

Now pretty much the only thing I have left to look forward to is Fan Expo on the 2nd. Then literally the next day, I am being whisked off to the next chapter of my life. And I could not be more terrified.

How was your August?

Emily @ Paperback Princess