Saturday, 29 December 2018

Month in Review: December

I hope everyone had a great holiday season! I'm in the post-Christmas dumps, but still have a few days left of break and I am hoping to get back into a routine for the New Year. I was toying between doing a Year in Review or just a Month in Review, but decided on the latter to make it more specific. This post would be just TOO long otherwise. However, I will sprinkle in some yearly stats and discussions here and there. Here's what happened in December:

What I Read:

The Song of Achilles by: Madeline Miller (re-read): 5/5 stars
Broken Things by: Lauren Oliver: 3/5 stars

I know, I know, not a lot of books this month either. BUT I am taking a YA fiction course this year and I have a glorious reading list of some iconic YA series! Right now I'm re-reading the Twilight saga, gosh I haven't touched these books since I was 10, so beware of some Twilight-related posts soon!

Favourite book: The Song of Achilles was a re-read and I am still in love with it. I had to revisit it after loving Circe!

Overall, I read 55 books this year, completing my goodreads challenge of 50 books. My goal was drastically smaller than in previous years, because I didn't want to rush through books just for the sake of finishing them. My favourite book of the year was Maus by: Art Spiegelman. It was so different from anything else I have ever read and it definitely stuck with me.

What I Blogged:

I didn't get up to much blogging; only two posts! I took an unplanned break for the holidays but I am back on track and am hoping to post a lot more reviews! I did post my Book Wish-List for when I go on a book-buying spree with gift cards I got for Christmas. Go check it out and let me know what books you think I should totally get!

Overall, I am happy with my blogging schedule this year. I think that two posts a week is just too much for me and I am comfortable with posting on Friday's. It keeps my content fresh and doesn't make me rush through it!

Favourite Blog Posts:

Cee discusses Valid Feelings when You're Grieving 

Olivia-Savannah asks if she has Favourite Authors or Favourite Books?

Life Stuff:

Christmas came and went. I got a lot of cozy presents that I am looking forward to enjoying once these dreary months of January and February kick in. I'm hopeful that this semester will have more enjoyable courses rather than my previous one.

The month had ups and downs. I got quite anxious with all of the social gatherings Christmas involves, but my New Year's Resolution is to tackle the anxiety once and for all and finally seek help for it. Wish me luck!

The year was hit and miss as well. Second year hit me like a ton of bricks, and I definitely am happy that I am halfway through. However I did make some important life steps, such as passing my road test, and, just recently, getting a tattoo! I have an outline of a sunset on my forearm for my love of The Outsiders. I'm really happy with it.

My goal for this year is to stop bottling up my anxiety, and talk to people about it. I also want to not stress myself out with a lot of posting, and again shorten my reading challenge. Hopefully by the end of 2019, I will be a better version of myself!

How was your December and your 2018? Do you have any hopes for the New Year?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 14 December 2018

My Winter Reading List: What Should I Get for Christmas?

Every Christmas I get a huge influx of Chapters gift cards and go on a huge book-buying binge. I feel like I read more during the month of January than any other month! While I intend to use a chunk of the money for books I need for school, my regular tbr is also not going to be ignored. I've narrowed down my main choices, and I'd like your opinions! I'll probably do a book haul featuring my picks. What books should I absolutely get for Christmas?

1. Two Dark Reigns by: Kendare Blake
I read the first two books in the Three Dark Crowns series in September and it's a really awesome story! I can't believe I have waited this long to finally pay attention to the third.

2. On the Come Up by: Angie Thomas
This is being released early February so it's perfect for winter reading! However, I'm not exactly sure if I'll love it just as much as I loved THUG. If you have read an ARC, how was it?

3. My Lady Jane by: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
This is an older release that I have had my eye on for FOREVER. Now's the time to finally pick it up.

4. Heretics Anonymous by: Katie Henry
This looks like such a great read about religion. I genuinely think that I would love this book. If you have read it, was it amazing?

5. The Silence of the Girls by: Pat Barker
Since I love my Trojan War retellings, this one is from the perspectives of the lesser-known women in the war. I think it's looks really cool, although I haven't seen much hype about it.

6. Fruit of the Drunken Tree by: Ingrid Rojas Contreras
I think I first heard of this book when the author wrote a beautiful article about her childhood on Buzzfeed. It looks like it's got some harsh content, but also promising.

7. A Reaper at the Gates by: Sabaa Tahir
I know, this instalment in the Ember trilogy has been out for some time. However I've been on the fence because I didn't really love the second book. Ugh, it's unfortunate, but Ember fans, convince me!

Those are the main books on my list! What are you looking to read in the New Year?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 7 December 2018

Circe by: Madeline Miller

Genre: Fiction, Mythology
Published: April 10, 2018 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 393
Rating: 5/5 stars

Circe was born to the God Helios, but, unlike her powerful father and siblings, she is mousy and quiet, an outcast amongst the titans. However when Circe discovers that she possesses the power of witchcraft, she begins to use that power to help the mortals that she has grown to love. When Zeus becomes threatened, Circe is banished to an island, where she comes across many famous mythological beasts and heroes, notably Odysseus on his way back to Ithaca. But when Circe comes to face one of the most vicious Olympians, she must choose between the godly world in which her powers thrive, or the mortal world in which she feels she truly belongs.

I would be happily content in just reading Madeline Miller books for the rest of my life. Seriously though, when I found out that Miller was writing another book after I finished The Song of Achilles, I knew it would be amazing. I absolutely love Greek mythology with all of my heart and she gives me everything I could ever want in mythology books.

*Funny anecdote about The Song of Achilles, I was at Indigo yesterday with my dad and he took me over to where TSoA was on a shelf and said he thought I might like it. DAD IF ONLY YOU KNEW.

Lol, anyways, Circe was a beautifully written story with the incredible imagery that always draws me to Miller's writing. This book was particularly special because it had a lot of feminist undertones to it. Circe is fiercely independent, and watching her grow into this powerful woman was amazing.

I really enjoyed the integration of a number of mythological figures, but her interactions with Odysseus were by far my favourite. It was a great nod to The Song of Achilles, but this book truly does stand on its own. Circe is an amazing character that you can't help but root for.

Overall, this is a book that I will re-read time and time again. Now to wait patiently for Miller's next book :)

Have you read Circe? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 30 November 2018

Month in Review: November

November absolutely flew by and now I am officially in Christmas mode. I am happy the semester is almost over, but it will still be not exactly a holiday for me as I still have to work. *sigh.* Anyways, here's what happened in November!

What I Read: 

Shatter Me by: Tahereh Mafi: 4/5 stars
Lies You Never Told Me by: Jennifer Donaldson: 3/5 stars

Look who got up to a lot of reading in November!!! *sobs.* Hopefully with Christmas rolling around, I will get to buy a lot more books and reading will be more a priority.

Favourite Book: I re-read Shatter Me because I first read it about two years ago and wanted to give it a second shot. It was really good, although I don't think it will be a series that I will obsess over.

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post of the month was my Rant About my Creative Writing Course. It felt GREAT to get some things off my chest.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month:

Cee asks that we Remember Them, Too 

Veronika and Clare try to Beat the Backlist 

Life Stuff: 

Nothing major, just work and school. I have a lot of end of term essays to do, and it is evident that I am not doing as well as I did in first year. But alas, we will persevere and hopefully get through the term with semi-ok marks!

That was my November! How was yours?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 23 November 2018

The Girls by: Emma Cline

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 14, 2016 by: Random House
Pages: 355
Rating: 2/5 stars

In late 1960's California, lonely teenager Evie Boyd is looking to belong somewhere. When she sees a group of girls in the park, she is automatically enthralled by their carefree sense of self, and becomes especially fascinated with Suzanne, a charismatic older girl who takes Evie under her wing. But Evie doesn't know that Suzanne and her crew are apart of a soon to be infamous cult, and when she eventually meets their leader, she is thrown into a world of unspeakable violence, that will haunt her into her adult years.

I needed a cold shower after reading this book. It is about the Manson cult, and was equally disturbing as it was absolutely frustrating. I hate to sound insensitive when writing this review, because at the end of the day, Evie is not to blame for everything that happened to her given the fact that she was just a child, but some of the decisions she made throughout the novel were so unbelievably stupid and I feel like she never really realized how messed up of a situation she was in! For these reasons, I found it hard to root for her.

I think this novel romanticized the cult aspect just a little bit. The way that the author writes is very dream-like and descriptive, and because of this, a lot of serious things seemed glossed over. There is also a lot of sexualization of teenagers in this novel, so I would not go into this if you're looking for a light read.

I do think that looking at this novel from a sociological perspective was its only saving grace. I have learnt about cults in a few sociology classes, and I do think this book could be interesting to those studying that element of belonging, especially in teenagers. There was something interesting in this book, but it didn't make me forget all of the disturbing content.

I don't think a chapter goes by that doesn't include something triggering, so trigger warnings wise, beware of sexual assault of minors, drug use, violence and murder. So in conclusion, it was a delightful novel!!! (sarcasm)

Like I said, if you're a sociology student, this could actually be interesting, but the characters were extremely unlikable and I couldn't get past all the content.

Have you read The Girls? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 16 November 2018

A Map for Wrecked Girls by: Jessica Taylor

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: August 15, 2017 by: Dial Books
Pages: 368
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Emma has always idolized her older sister Henri, but their relationship will never be tested more than when they become castaways. When the girls graduation trip goes wrong, they find themselves stranded on a deserted island with only their boating companion with them, a mysterious boy named Alex who houses a lot of secrets. While trying to survive, Henri falls apart, while Emma begins to take on the role of older sister and tries to keep them afloat. As Henri grows less hopeful that they will be rescued, Emma begins to grow closer to Alex, which begins severing the sister bond that the two always had.

I did not think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. I thought it would be cheesy and predictable, but instead the plot kept me entertained from beginning to end. This was a very thrilling novel, and really had me flying through to try and see if the girls really would make it off the island.

I loved the themes explored in this novel. Of course the main is the bond between the two sisters, and how that can fall apart when all hope is lost. I can't even begin to imagine what would happen if my sister and I were trapped on a deserted island, we would probably tear each others hair out! This book really did well at not glossing over their relationship and really showing the detrimental affects that survival can do to a person.

There was one issue I had with this book, and that is Henri. This girl was so.damn.annoying. I totally understand that this is the point of her character. She is stubborn and rebellious, but the choices she made and the way she spoke to her sister just made me want to smack her straight across the face. There were times where I literally cringed at the stuff she was saying. This didn't completely affect how I thought about the book, but just be warned, this character is so damn easy to hate.

Overall, the relationship themes, shadowed by the element of survival on a deserted island, really made me quite interested in this novel. It was easy to get through, but please be aware of how annoying Henri is.

Have you read A Map for Wrecked Girls? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 9 November 2018

A Rant about My Creative Writing Course

She's getting a little ranty today! So as some of you may know, I am taking creative writing in school and basically I just have one creative writing course that is required for me to take. Oddly enough, despite being the only course that is directly related to my program, it has easily become my least favourite course. The professor is lazy, and just has the most twisted opinions about creative writing that I need to share. So here is my rant:

First things first, when talking about the publishing industry, this man completely tore apart self-publishing. In his own words, he said: "I honestly don't know why anybody would waste their time with self-publishing. Go out, get an agent, and get yourself properly published. Self-publishing is not real publishing." Like news flash dude, not everybody has the time, money, and especially resources to call up HarperCollins and tell them to publish their book. Self-publishing is a great outlet for people who want to get started but who are not already famous with book deals lined up. For you to say that it's not real publishing, is just an insult to aspiring writers.

Secondly, this man is so protective over what he calls "great literature." Basically, we are all expected to become Ernest Hemingway's and James Joyce's in our writing and all of our writing has to serve this grand purpose and be serious and important. He has absolutely no time for YA, and when I wrote a YA piece for my first assignment, he sent it back saying it was too "Hallmark." Now I'm assuming what he meant by this was that it was like the infamous Hallmark movies, meaning light-hearted and without sustenance, but just the way he said it was so unbelievably condescending.

I'd like to put a disclaimer out here and say that I'm not demanding I got a better mark. I have absolutely no problem with people criticising my writing, and if my assignment was shit, he obviously needed to tell me. However by describing it as "Hallmark," which is not even an academic term, is basically an insult to all writing that leans itself to be light-hearted and not as serious as say, James Joyce. I would also like to point out that after saying this, he literally told me, "you should be adopting a tone similar to the great writers of history, like James Joyce and Hemingway."

Writing is very much subjective, just like all media is, and I think that it is so stupid for somebody to judge a piece of writing just because of the genre and subject matter, and not because of the technicality behind it. I don't expect him to love YA, but if he forces us into one category of writing that basically just says that all our writing has to be serious and live up to Hemingway, then where is the freedom in writing? He has not even gone through any lessons with us on how to craft our writing, all he has done is have us read old famous writers and told us: "this is how you should write."

The class is overall very pretentious, and does nothing to help people find what they love to write, rather tells us what we should be writing. And I think this is stupid, because at the end of the day, sometimes people want a light-hearted, funny story, and we should not be judging others for their preferences.

Like I said before, if my writing isn't great, I'd like to be told that. However when grading becomes less of "this is what you did wrong and this is how you can do better," and more of "your writing does not live up to the standards of the classics," then I think we have a huge problem on our hands. At the end of the day, writing is evolving, and people just need to accept that.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Month in Review: October

I am so excited that Halloween is over so that the Christmas commercials can officially begin! (Yes, I am a Halloween hater, we do exist). But in all seriousness, some really great things did happen in October!

What I Read:

All the Crooked Saints by: Maggie Stiefvater: 2/5 stars
House of Names by: Colm Toibin: 4/5 stars
Exercises in Style by: Raymond Queneau: 4/5 stars

Favourite Book: So as you can see, I didn't get up to a ton of reading in October, mainly because I had a lot on my plate. But I did complete my Goodreads goal three months early, so that takes some of the pressure off! My favourite book of the month was House of Names by: Colm Toibin. It was great to pick up a Greek mythology book after a while.

What I Blogged:

Blogging was kinda few and far between this month, but my favourite post was my review of Maus by: Art Spiegelman. I loved this graphic novel so much and will never stop talking about it to be honest.

Favourite Blog Posts:

Veronika talks Badass Female Heroines

Cee discusses Why Labelling Emotions is Healthy

Anna talks about Representation in Harry Potter

Life Stuff:

Like I said before, I had a lot on my plate this month, mainly the fact that I was retaking my road test on the 24th. I practiced for hours every single day and barely thought about anything else. And guess what? I finally passed! It was a huge relief and I definitely celebrated a bit more than the average person probably does lol. I still have one more road test to complete (Ontario's driving system is very brutal) but this was a huge hurdle to cross.

So that was my month! Very busy, but definitely paid off in the end :) How was your October? Are you as excited for Christmas as I am?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 26 October 2018

Exercises in Style by: Raymond Queneau + Serendipty Agency's YA Discovery Contest

Genre: Fiction, Writing
Published: February 17, 1981 by: New Directions
Pages: 204
Rating: 4/5 stars

Exercises in Style is a fiction-like book that I had to read for my creative writing class. I say fiction-like because the story within is essentially fiction, but the book itself is actually an instructional book on writing. In this book, the same short story about a confrontation on a bus is told over 70 times repeatedly, using different writing styles. One story is written entirely in metaphors, another formatted like an opera. The premise is to show that the possibilities to a writer's voice are endless.

I was very excited to start this book because I thought it would be very cool. I can barely think of 10 ways to write a story, and here, the author has written countless versions of the exact same thing, in formats that I didn't even know existed. It was quite fascinating.

The whole reason I had to read this book in class was for our study on a writer's voice. I myself find it hard as a writer to stick to a distinctive voice, and I don't think that I have truly found mine yet. But this book gave me plenty of ideas, and, while some formats were quite ridiculous, this book also gave me quite a laugh.

Obviously this book tells the same story over and over again, and so it did get repetitive after a while and especially frustrating when I couldn't even understand the format that he chose. But I do recommend this book for any aspiring writers who need help finding a voice.

And speaking of aspiring writers, if you are a new writer of YA, I am proud to feature a contest that may be for you:

Serendipity Literary Agency is hosting their 9th annual YA discovery contest, in which amateur YA writers submit the first 250 words of their novel for a chance to win an entire novel critique from literary agent Regina Brooks. There are also plenty of other opportunities to submit query letters and get discovered by agents. The contest begins November 1st, and you can find out more information on Serendipity Lit's website:

Overall I hope you guys are interested in the contest and best of luck if you do enter! Also, I hope you enjoyed my book review. I rarely ever read writing novels and so I was happy to give this one a feature.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 19 October 2018

The Silver Star by: Jeannette Walls

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 11, 2013 by: Scribner
Pages: 267
Rating: 4/5 stars

Bean Holladay is living in 1970's California when her mother abandons her and her older sister Liz to go "find herself." The sisters get along fine for a while, but when the money runs out they decide to leave California and go live with their patient Uncle Tinsley in Virginia. While there, Bean learns more about her father's past in the war, and while she becomes fascinated with family history, her once bright sister begins to slip deeper into a depression, and is soon abused by the town bully, a wealthy man named Jerry Maddox. Soon Bean will have to take on the role of big sister, as well as learn more about the complicated race and class relations in 1970's Virginia.

Last summer I seemed to be on a mission to read whatever Jeanette Walls book I could get my hands on. I love her writing and I always seem to be fully captivated in all of her books. The worlds she creates are just incredible. While this book did keep me fully engrossed, it wasn't necessarily my favourite of hers, and this is mostly because of I think when a white writer is writing about race, there are always some issues needing to be brought up.

First off on a positive note, I did love the concept of this book. I think Walls did a great job at capturing the atmosphere of the South during the 70's, and the characters were also very well written. Bean was courageous and optimistic, and I really felt for Liz. Walls wrote amazing characters and made me feel a lot of emotion for them.

I was kept engaged through the entire book, however I did find some issues with some of the terms that Walls used. While I totally understand that she is writing a very harsh depiction of racial issues in Virginia during the time, frequent use of the n-word really shocked me because at the end of the day, she is a white author. Her white characters really do speak negatively and stereotypically of the black characters, and again, while this definitely did happen during the time, I wonder if Walls consulted black men and women living during the time period to draw upon their experiences. I cannot speak to whether or not the use of the n-word is ok in this context because I am not a black blogger, but I would love to read black reviewers thoughts on the subject. It just didn't sit well with me.

Overall, this book definitely had some great aspects to it, but like I said, I need to read some reviews from POC bloggers to see their opinions. It definitely did get me thinking.

Have you read The Silver Star? What did you think?

Friday, 5 October 2018

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by: Art Spiegelman

Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
Published: November 1, 1991 by: Pantheon Books
Pages: 159
Rating: 5/5 stars

In an attempt to reconnect with his cantankerous and ailing father, Art Spiegelman begins writing and illustrating a story about his father's experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. As his father recounts the blurry details of a horrific past, Art splits between writing about the war, and about how he wishes his father was less stubborn and a bit more compassionate to his patient wife. This graphic novel is a story about the gruesome details of the Holocaust, but it is also about the long-term affects that the war had on the elderly, and the relationships severed because of it.

This book was flawless. The illustrations were poignant, heartbreaking, and so incredibly real, and the story of Art's father was heartbreaking. What's unique about this book is that Art uses the metaphor of the cat and mouse in his illustrations. All Jews in the book are drawn as mice, and all Nazi's are drawn as cats. These details really show the harsh authority that took over the war, and the innocence of the victims.

I loved how this graphic novel didn't really read like one. I do not like graphic novels that have too many pictures and not enough text, but this one was overflowing with rich dialogue that felt like I was reading just a regular book. You can tell that Art is as talented a writer as he is an illustrator.

This book is special because it flips between Art's father in the 1940's, and how he is now. You can really see the affect that the Holocaust had on his mental health, and that has made the relationship with his son difficult. This is a brilliant novel that explores much more than you ever thought you knew about the Holocaust.

Have you read Maus? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 28 September 2018

Month in Review: September

I have been so busy this month I barely literally forgot I was reading a book. But, I did survive the first month of second year, although I am exhausted. Here's what happened in September:

What I Read: 

Little Fires Everywhere by: Celeste Ng: 5/5 stars 
Maus II: A Here My Troubles Began by: Art Spiegelman: 5/5 stars 
Pretty Madcap Dorothy by: Laura Jean Libbey: 1/5 stars 
Titus Andronicus by: William Shakespeare: 4/5 stars
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by: Emily M. Danforth: 4/5 stars 

Favourite book: Little Fires Everywhere was my favourite book of the month. It was suspenseful, dramatic, and beautifully written. I finished it all in about a day, and I definitely want to read more from Celeste Ng. 

What I Blogged: 

I had a good old talk with a lot of you guys about Writer's Block and feeling uninspired. Thanks to you, I now feel motivated to just post what I love and I am looking forward to the future. 

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Based on my writer's block post, Cee posted her own post about how to combat writer's block that I think a lot of you may find helpful. Check it out: 7 Radical Ways to Defeat Writer's Block

Life Stuff: 

Uhm, it's been a month. The stress of second year and having to go back to reality after a really fun summer took its toll on me, and I found myself really sad and anxious most of the time. I don't really love my school schedule and I have also switched jobs in the process which means more time devoted to learning a whole new job, and stressing over not doing things correctly. But hopefully with my fall break and Thanksgiving coming up in a week, I will feel a lot better.

 So that was my September. How was yours? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

My TV Show Pet Peeve: Lazy Writing

So going off of my post last week in which a lot of you told me to just write what I love, I decided to revisit a post that I scrapped because it was just too rambly and all over the place. I am reworking it a bit and hopefully get a good rant in! Although not book related, this post mostly has to do with a TV show well known in the book community, and that is The 100. There aren't any detailed spoilers in this post but some plot points may be revealed so if you want to go into season five completely blind, you have been warned.

I cannot stand it when tv shows get lazy. Meaning that plot lines are ignored, there are extreme continuity errors, and things that have been built up all season are completely thrown out. Nothing checked all of those boxes more than Season 5 of The 100 series.

I'll try to keep things as neutral and spoiler free as possible, but in a nutshell, a huge battle that was teased all season, was completely, (literally and figuratively) blown up. The war barely even happened, and instead, in the last 15 minutes of the season finale, a whole new plot came along that involved the characters racing against time to save the entire human race. Again. By the end of the season, we were introduced to yet another time jump, only this one is a lot longer than the first.

I feel like The 100 writers have just gotten very lazy. They keep building up these huge issues throughout seasons and then they don't even end up happening! Season 4 was when this first started becoming a problem, but Season 5 was just an absolute mess. There is nothing worse for a tv lover, in my opinion, to have to sit through hours of buildup with no end result. And the ending we do get, is just a cheesy, way too fast moving scene that ignores the core of the story. Seriously, all of this "destroying the earth and racing to get back to space" is so damn repetitive.

I don't really know why tv writers decide to scrap plot points towards the end of the season. I guess the technical term is lazy writing, however I think that the poorly made action scenes are also just a cheap way to get more viewers. Let's be honest here, despite my frustration with the series, I will always watch those action scenes because I just need to make sure my faves don't get hurt. But I am tired of writers and their commitment to just rushing through things to make way for a new season to come. I seriously think that The 100 needs to plan a lot better for Season 6, as I'm not sure how deep my frustration can go before I stop watching.

Have you ever watched a tv show that contained lazy writing? What did you think of The 100 finale?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 10 September 2018

I've Got Writer's Block

This year, I am entering my creative writing course at university, which will hopefully give me the tools needed to turn writing into a career. To prepare, I decided to revisit my semi-abandoned WIP. I have about twelve pages of it written, which is farther than any other WIP I've started. (If you don't count my NaNoWriMo book, which was just a disaster.) I hadn't really touched my WIP since May, and when I tried to start continuing it now, I just couldn't. I wasn't inspired by it anymore.

I guess you could say I have writer's block. This WIP which was so vivid in my head about a year ago, has now turned into absolute mush. I have no idea where I want it to go, and I can't even bring myself to keep writing it. I've been feeling so uninspired recently that none of my ideas, if I even have any, seem good or groundbreaking enough.

I've been feeling this with my blog as well. Book reviews are pretty much the easiest things to write because I have a vehicle provided to me to go off from. But a book blog is not built on book reviews alone, and I literally don't know what else to post about anymore. Every time I think something will work and begin writing, it derails and I scrap it. I care very much about what people think when they read my posts, and I quite frankly am not proud of anything original that I've been writing.

I know that there are writing prompts all over the Internet to help with these kind of things, but nothing seems to be working. I feel like when I take somebody else's prompt, the idea is not mine. But the problem is, that I cannot come up with my own ideas!

It doesn't help that there are so many amazing books out there being published, that I don't want my idea to be a "been there, done that." I'm at the point where if I read a really good book, I say to myself,"why didn't I think of that?"

I'm appealing to the book and writing community. What do you do when you have writer's block? Do you sometimes struggle with being "original enough" in the blogging community?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Color Purple by: Alice Walker

Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction
Published: April 1, 2004 by: Pocket
Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5 stars

In the American South, Celie is born into a world of poverty and segregation. She is raped repeatedly by her stepfather, and is tragically separated from her only friend, her beloved sister Nettie. When she is sent to work for and marry into a wealthy and abusive family, she meets Shug Avery, a glamorous singer who takes Celie on a journey to find her joy and reunite with her loved one.

I have read a few essays from Alice Walker for my English classes, but for some reason The Color Purple never stood out to me to read. One day at the library I saw it on the shelf and decided to give it a go. I have listened to a few songs from the Broadway musical and thought it would be a powerful read. I was totally correct.

Alice Walker has such a unique way of writing that is very poetic. Even if she is writing in prose, her words fly off the page and have such deeper meaning than just explaining plot. She perfectly captured Celie's distinct voice that it almost felt like she was right there telling me the story. There is a very distinct tone in this novel.

I love novels that come full circle in the end, and this one did. Every plot point served a purpose and the ending was absolutely superb. Walker was very clever in the way that she planned events in the novel, in a way that made them all make sense by the end. I'll admit I did feel very emotional by the end.

The only problem I had with this novel is that it is very visceral. By this I mean that the details, especially the rape scenes, were very graphically written in a way that was a bit uncomfortable. This poor girl went through so much in this novel, and there were times when things just got a bit too heavy for me. But at the same time, I do think that this book's point is to make you uncomfortable, and to not hold back on the harsh realities of black people during this time. That being said, if these things trigger you, do proceed with caution.

Overall, I am really happy that I gave this novel a go. Alice Walker has become one of my favourite writers and she is overall an amazing exemplification of an incredible artist in her craft.

Have you read The Color Purple? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Month in Review: August

Summer is over, I am a wreck because I am starting uni again and I absolutely hate fall. So you could say things are going pretty well at the moment! August was an amazing month and I am truly sad to see it go, but I do have some other great things during the year to look forward to. Here's what happened:

What I Read:

The Girls by: Emma Cline: 2/5 stars
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by: Jenny Han: 5/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You by: Jenny Han: 5/5 stars
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by: Jenny Han: 3/5 stars
Circe by: Madeline Miller: 5/5 stars

Favourite Book: My fave book was Circe. I loved The Song of Achilles so much and this book just satisfied my Greek mythology-loving heart.

What I Blogged:

My favourite blog post of the month was my review on the highly acclaimed To All the Boys I've Loved Before movie! I reread the series this month to gear myself up for the film, and it met all of my expectations. Please watch it.

Favourite Blog Posts:

Amy shares some Writing Facts about Herself
Veronika and Clare discuss Books that Should be Required Reading
Cee explains Straight-Passing

Life Stuff:

August was eventful and I am so upset that it's over. I went to a lot of birthday parties, it was fun catching up with extended family. Last week I went to Centre Island, an amusement park in Toronto with my cousins. It has always been a tradition of ours and I don't think we will ever stop going. (No matter how squished we get in some of the rides nowadays)

I also went to a concert this week. On August 27th I went to see 5 Seconds of Summer with my sister and cousin. This was my most highly anticipated event of the summer as I have loved this band since 2013 and their new album is off the charts amazing. It was my first time at a general admission concert in which the fans have been absolutely ruthless and while some people were quite disrespectful (we're talking cutting in line), it was an incredible day that I just wish never ended.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Ed Sheeran, and it is very much my last event before moving back to university. I am already pretty sad and dreading for it to be over, because once it is I will be in full back to school mode. But I am also very excited because Ed does put on an amazing show.

That was my August! How was your month? Are you as upset as I am that summer is over?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Movie Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

If you have been absent from book twitter for the past week, then you might be unaware that the To All the Boys movie came out on Friday. People have pretty much been going mental over how utterly adorable is, myself included, and I just knew I had to write a full review on it. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible, but if you haven't seen the movie yet and want to go into it fully blind, then you can just skip over this review, I won't mind.

Release Date: August 17
Rating: PG-13
Director: Susan Johnson
Run-Time: 1 hr 39 min

To All the Boys was released on netflix as opposed to in theatres which I thought was such a smart move. As someone who doesn't have anyone that would be interested in seeing the movie with me, I didn't have to go to the theatres myself and instead could enjoy from the comfort of my own home. And boy was this film comforting.

The acting was superb. I was a bit hesitant over Peter's casting when it was first announced; Noah Centineo just didn't look like a Peter to me, but by his first scene, I instantly fell in love. Right down to the way he talked, was utterly Peter K. I also really loved Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She was so cute and awkward, exactly how I pictured her. Lana and Noah also had impeccable chemistry, without being overly sexualised.

This movie had such witty dialogue and actually made me laugh out loud at scenes. Some parts were so quirky and relatable that I couldn't help but chuckle. It was funny with no overly dramatic points, perfect for a light and easy to get through film.

Even though the film was not exactly like the book, it stood on its own as a heartwarming tale. Jenny Han even made a cameo which was so sweet and got me really excited. It was quite emotional to see a series I have loved so much be so well received by the general public. And can we talk about that post credits scene?! There HAS to be a sequel now.

If you haven't seen this movie already and you have Netflix, please do. It needs to be hyped up and I am convinced that this story needs to continue.

Have you seen To All the Boys I've Loved Before? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The NOPE Book Tag

I saw Veronika @ The Regal Critiques do this tag on her blog and since I ABSOLUTELY LOVE spewing out my feelings, whether good or bad, I knew this would be the tag for me. So please bask in my negative opinions:

1. NOPE Ending: A book that made you go NOPE in denial or rage, or simply because it was so crappy.

The Princess Diaries by: Meg Cabot

I know virtually nobody in the blogisphere agrees with me on this, but I absolutely HATED the ending of the first book. I expected some big fairytale moment like in the movie, but LITERALLY NOTHING HAPPENED and it was really one of those books that just "sets up" for the million others in the series.

2. NOPE protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

I just finished A Map for Wrecked Girls by: Jessica Taylor and boy did I HATE Henri. I mean, we are meant to hate her as it is obvious how bratty and entitled she is, but the fact that her actions were totally glossed over in the end and she never really apologized for her dangerous decisions really got to me.

3. NOPE series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of nope, after you invested all that time and energy in it, or one that you had to give up on because it wasn't worth it anymore.

I will never forgive Kiera Cass for what she did to The Selection series. To take such lovable characters like America and Maxon, and make them spawn such a bitchy human being that is Eadlyn, is unforgivable. I had absolutely no care for her story and to me, The Selection series ended on book three.

4. NOPE popular pairing: A "ship" you do not support.

I'm sorry, it's 2018 and we're still shipping Feyre and Rhysand from ACOTAR together?? I gave up on the series a long time ago, but this creepy, abusive relationship has GOT TO GO.

5. NOPE plot twist: A plot twist you didn't see coming or didn't like.

Now don't get me wrong, I loved One of Us is Lying by: Karen M. Mcmanus, but that plot twist at the end was kinda a let down and also quite uncalled for. It was predictable, cliche, and very insensitive, despite the rest of the book being virtually flawless.

6. NOPE protagonist decision: A character decision that made you shake your head.

Winner of the most crappy decisions definitely goes out to Evie in The Girls. I just finished this book and just couldn't wrap my head around this girl's thought process. That book is one big yikes.

7. NOPE genre: A genre you will never read.

Pretty much the only one that I completely steer clear of is erotica. I get that some people like it, but I find it for the most part uncomfortable.

8. NOPE book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different addition.

I could totally relate to Veronika on this when she said audiobooks! I absolutely hate them and always end up not paying attention or falling asleep. I have never been able to get through one.

9. NOPE trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE.

I saw a tweet the other day that made me realize that a trope I really hate is when teenagers in contemporary novels are CONSTANTLY talking/worrying about sex. In reality that is not a thing that every single high schooler does nor is it the norm and I didn't even think of it when I was in high school. We need to normalize YA contemporary novels that don't always have sex scenes in them.

10. NOPE recommendation: A book recommendation that is always pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

A Game of Thrones by: George R.R. Martin. People assume because I like the show that I will LOVE this series, but I know for a fact that I will never be able to get through a single chapter in these books as heavy fantasy novels are not my thing!!

11. NOPE cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that makes you roll your eyes.

When writers use overly descriptive language to describe a simple thing. Like, I get you want us to engage multiple senses when reading, but when a plate of pasta is described as: "a mound of scrumptious noodles, elegantly dripping with ripe tomato sauce, a dusting of cheese lying upon it like fairy dust," we've got a problem here.

12. NOPE love interest: A love interest that's not worthy of being one.

Going way back here and saying Christina from the Divergent series. I'm not gonna spoil it even thought this series is a bazillion years old, but having Christina become *highlight text to see spoiler*Tobias' love interest at the end of the series just so he wouldn't end up old and alone was so pointless. Tris was his only love, leave Christina be. 

13. NOPE book: A book that shouldn't have existed that made you say NOPE.

Oh so many choices, so little time! I think I'm going to have to go with After by: Anna Todd on this one. It's not a very well known book, but if you're a One Direction fan, you know how sick and twisted it is.

14. NOPE villain: A villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

Probably Katherine from Three Dark Crowns. I mean, the girl can ingest literal poison without feeling a thing, and is out to kill her two sisters. Pretty vicious if you ask me.

15. NOPE death: A character death that still haunts you.

Again, so many choices! I'll highlight it white for those who do not want to be spoiled, but Dieter's death in Station Eleven was so upsetting, especially after all he'd been through. 

16. NOPE author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

You couldn't pay me any amount of money to read another Tolkien novel. The Hobbit is by far the worst classic I have ever read and I refuse to read anything else in the Lord of the Rings world!

And that's it! Do you agree/disagree with any of my opinions? What are some of your unpopular book opinions?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Month in Review: July

There is only one month of summer left and I already know that it's gonna fly by :( Trying to savour the last bits of vacation as much as I can! Here's what happened in July:

What I Read: 

Puddin' by: Julie Murphy: 3/5 stars
Maus by: Art Spiegelman: 5/5 stars
The Silver Star by: Jeannette Walls: 4/5 stars
The Dream Thieves by: Maggie Stiefvater: 4/5 stars
A Map for Wrecked Girls by: Jessica Taylor: 5/5 stars

Favourite book: Definitely the graphic novel, Maus. I hate to sound repetitive but hopefully I'll shut up about this book once my full review goes up this month. This novel was emotional, clever and beautifully drawn.

What I Blogged: 

I finally did an update on My Goodreads Challenge! I've been doing really well and as far as reading challenges go this one has been the most enjoyable for me.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Veronika does the Nope Book Tag (Definitely gonna be doing this one!)

Cait shares tips on How to Keep Writing if you have a Mental Illness 

Cee shares her Meta Nerd Church 

Life Stuff: 

I went on a little impromptu vacation to Quebec City with my family this month! It was fun to get a break from work and to experience such a beautiful city. Seriously, this place is like a European town without actually going to Europe! I am the worst at pictures so I didn't take much, but if you ever get to experience this beautiful city, enjoy it!!

And that was pretty much my month! How was your July?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by: E.K. Johnston

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: October 3, 2017 by: Dutton
Pages: 330
Rating: 4/5 stars

In an age where the Victorian era never ended, Crown Princess Victoria-Margaret is spending one last summer of freedom before she is married in an intricate match-making process. When she arrives in Canada for weeks of lavish balls and political meetings, she meets Helena Marcus, a brilliant daughter of a geneticist, and August, the heir to a powerful shipping firm. Together, the trio form an unlikely bond, and look to carry on the first Queen Victoria's legacy of tolerance and acceptance.

This book was hopeful, and interesting. The basic premise is that the British Empire has carried on by keeping promises and respecting all different colonies. Basically, colonization never happened. The result is a seemingly perfect world where everyone respects each other and their space. It seems like a dream, but this world is real.

There was some great f/f representation in this book. I would never think that a crown princess in real life would be accepted as a lesbian, but Victoria Margaret's empire is basically perfection. Her relationship was so witty and cute, and I loved her character.

My favourite character was probably August, I thought he was charismatic and charming, but not predictable. All of the characters in fact were very well written and the trio complimented each other well. The plot was also very light and humourous, this book was not hard to get through in the slightest.

I think the only issue I had with this book was how perfect it was. Like I said before, basically it's all sunshine and rainbows in the world, and while there is some minor confrontation in other aspects of the book, the whole "nothing can go wrong" mentality just made it very unrealistic. I actually wrote a story with a world similar to this a few years ago and I grew to hate it because I felt like there were no cracks to get under. And that just makes it seem uncomfortable and fake.

I use hopeful to describe this book because it seems like the author is trying to look forward to a better future. The British Empire cannot fix past mistakes, but it can ensure that they never happen again. While my cynicism prevents me from thinking that a world like this could ever happen, it is nice to dream about.

Have you read That Inevitable Victorian Thing? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

My Goodreads Challenge Update

Hello all! Given as we are a little halfway over the year, I decided that I would take a look at my progress on my yearly goodreads challenge. I want to see how things are going so far and which books are looking to be my favourites. I'll be looking at some stats on what I have been reading so far!

My Goodreads Challenge:

My Goal: 50 books from January 1, 2018- December 31, 2018
Books read so far: 37 (13 more to go!)

Breaking Down the Books:

Out of the 37:

8 have been YA contemporary
9 have been YA fantasy
3 have been YA historical fiction
9 have been classics
4 have been adult realistic fiction
4 have been graphic novels

Five Star Reviews:

I have had twelve five-star reviews so far which seems pretty good to me! I only have one one-star review which is so awesome. To me that seems like I have established what I like and have developed a strong rhythm in my reading.

I won't decide officially until the end of the year, but it looks to me that Maus: A Survivor's Tale by: Art Spiegelman is on track to be my favourite book of the year, which is surprising considering it is a graphic novel! I would have never thought that a graphic novel would be my fave, but this book was so amazingly crafted, and I cannot wait to write my review on it.

The Main Things I've Noticed:

I read a lot more adult fiction these past few months! It seems like every other year in the past was filled with YA with a few classics sprinkled in, but I had a lot more of an even match between adult novels and YA novels as a whole. There was also a healthy amount of classics thanks to my literature class last year.

I also have been ahead of the game ever since I started the challenge, and this is probably due to me reducing my goal to fifty books instead of my usual hefty eighty. I decided to stop forcing myself to read an enormous number of books that I probably skimmed through, and instead focus on reading a smaller amount more closely and thoroughly. Reading has become a lot less stressful with this method!

Overall, over these past six months I found that I have been reading out of my comfort zone, and it has paid off! I would never have reached for as much adult fiction in times past, but I have been taking risks in my reading and the result has been that I have been enjoying books far more! In fact, most of my two-star reviews had to do with the YA's I have read. Now this is not to say that I hate YA, I just think it's good that my reading has matured over this year. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the year and hopefully reading a lot more awesome books!

How are your reading challenges going?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Princess Diaries by: Meg Cabot

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: July 1, 2001 by: Turtleback
Pages: 283
Rating: 2/5 stars

Mia Thermopolis is an awkward, nerdy freshman whose world is about to be turned upside down. It started with her mother revealing that she's dating Mia's algebra teacher. Then her long-absent father shows up revealing that he is the crown prince of Genovia, and that Mia will soon have to take over the throne. Documenting it all in her diary, Mia experiences the trials and tribulations of training to be a princess, all while just hoping to pass algebra.

I was very excited to start this book. I am such a huge fan of the Princess Diaries movie and I was expecting to go into this and fall in love. I wanted to become hooked onto the series and have nice, fluffy books to always go back to. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations, and I will remain adamant that the movie was better.

I was very disappointed with how Queen Clarisse was depicted in the novel. I kept wanting to envision graceful Julie Andrews, but instead this queen was quite tacky and rude. Now I understand the book came first so the movie did tweak many things, but the characters in the movie just seemed a lot more likable to me.

There were a lot of plot points in here that didn't match with the movie, which is unfortunate because a lot of my favourite scenes I was hoping to read about were nonexistent! I feel like Michael took such a backseat in this novel, as well as there was no heartwarming moment between Mia and Michael at the ball when her foot "pops."

I know it's bad to keep comparing the novel to the movie as they are completely separate entities,  but I think most of my dislike for the book does come from the fact that the film is so light-hearted and fun and I just didn't get that in this book. I mean, I got through it quite quickly as it was a very easy read which is a plus, but it lacked anything to make me fall in love. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I am #teamfilm on this one.

Have you read The Princess Diaries? What did you think?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Month in Review: June

It is so freaking hot in Toronto right now I might die. Seriously in need for things to cool down because it is honestly unbearable outside. Anyways, my June was pretty good! My summer finally got more exciting and to be honest I was so busy I completely forgot to write this post! Here's what happened:

What I Read: 

Half Broke Horses by: Jeannette Walls: 5/5 stars
The Color Purple by: Alice Walker: 4/5 stars
Appointment with Death by: Agatha Christie: 4/5 stars
Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton: 3/5 stars

Favourite book: Definitely Half Broke Horses! I am in love with Walls' writing and this story that featured her grandmother was so beautifully written.

What I Blogged: 

I got real about my frustrations with Blogger at the moment. I need to find a good commenting platform, and I discussed it in my post: Blog Commenting Formats- What's Your Preferred Platform? 

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Clare and Veronika review A Thousand Perfect Notes 

Cee asks What the Purpose of the Purpose is 

Charlotte shares her First Year Feelings 

Life Stuff:

This month was very fun! I went to see Phantom of the Opera with my mom, two days later went to see Harry Styles in concert, and now I have friends from Italy staying with my family! It's been a busy few days of taking them around, I somehow feel like a tourist in my own city! But it's been really fun. It's also the Canada Day long weekend so everything is starting to really feel like summer now.

How was your June?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Scorpio Races by: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Magic Realism
Published: October 18, 2011 by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 409
Rating: 3/5 stars

At the start of every November, the Scorpio Races happen on an elusive island, where the people are quiet and riders are resilient. Riders will attempt to tame fierce water horses all the way to the finish line. Many die, and the winner receives a cash prize. Sean is the returning champion, and he is determined to keep his father's legacy alive. Puck is entering the races for the first time, and not only is she the first girl to do so, but she is determined to win the money for her struggling family. Which one will prevail?

I have always loved Maggie Stiefvater's writing. All of her books are tied to magical realism, a genre that intrigues me so much. While I am absolutely obsessed with some of her other novels such as the Raven Cycle series, this book seemed to capture the essence of her writing, but wasn't necessarily my favourite.

I loved the feminism in this book. Puck is the main character, and she experiences harsh sexism and scrutiny throughout the book because riding in the Scorpio Races was always considered for men only. She was a very strong female lead, much like Stiefvater's other main characters, and I loved her.

I wasn't quite sold on the chemistry between her and Sean. I get it was supposed to be romantic, but I honestly didn't see much there between these two and it all seemed very forced. Their relationship needed to be developed more.

I think the concept of this book was interesting, but it didn't capture me as much as The Raven Cycle did. I found the plot to be kind of rushed at times and quite confusing. I wasn't exactly sold on it.

Overall, I think if you like Stiefvater's writing style, definitely give this book a go. It goes with her theme of magic realism, but I prefer some of her other books.

Have you read The Scorpio Races? What did you think?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Radio Silence by: Alice Oseman

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: February 25, 2016 by: Harper Collins
Pages: 403
Rating: 2/5 stars

Frances is a shy girl with only one goal: to go to an elite university. Then enters Aled, a tech genius behind Frances' favourite podcast. He shows Frances true friendship for the first time, and helps her to come out of her shell and reveal some hard kept secrets. But when Aled's podcast goes viral, Frances must finally address some secrets in her life that she thought she'd never share, while Aled has some secrets of his own.

I feel like I am the only person in this world who just didn't get this book. I understand what the author was going for, and I appreciated the diversity and Frances' growth as the book went on. However as a whole, I just think I was so disconnected from this book and in too much of a reading slump to be wowed over it.

This book was just... too techy for me??? I never watch podcasts and don't really get them, so I wasn't really interested in that theme throughout the book. I just didn't feel like this book clicked with my personality and interests, and thus, I was just bored.

I wasn't really into Aled and Frances' relationship either. I just didn't see much chemistry there and I found it hard to really connect with them. While I can relate to Frances in the sense that I am also very academically driven, she just didn't click for me.

Overall, this book wasn't for me. However every other review I have read about this book has been positive, so I think you really should experience this book for yourself.

Have you read Radio Silence? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Queens of Geek by: Jen Wilde

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: March 14, 2017 by: Swoon Reads
Pages: 262
Rating: 3/5 stars

SupaCon is a place where fandoms unite to become a family. Introverted Taylor knows that all too well, she is looking forward to attending the con with her best friend Jamie, and she is even considering telling him that she may want to be something more. On the other side of the con, Charlie is an extroverted vlogger and actress promoting her first movie, and trying to conceal her feelings for Alyssa Huntington, a cool-girl actress who appeared unexpectedly as a surprise guest. Throughout the con, relationships will be tested, and hopefully, new ones forming too.

I don't really know what drew me to this book. I was in kinda a slump when I started it, and just wanted something quick and lighthearted. While I definitely got just that, I'm not sure this book wowed me enough for me to rate it high.

It was a cute novel. Having been to con's before, it was fun to read a book that takes place during an entire day at a con, where a lot can happen in so little time. I appreciated the diversity and the fact that the author showed that fans come from all different walks of life.

It did seem a bit childish for me. The writing seemed very middle-grade and especially the whole "internet star" theme took me back to when I was thirteen. I would love to read more mature versions of books like these, as I have found that a lot of the lighthearted contemporaries I seem to read nowadays don't really strike me as interesting.

Overall, I think this book is great for anyone who appreciates a good fandom, but don't expect anything groundbreaking. It was just ok, and very predictable.

Have you read Queens of Geek? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Blog Commenting Formats- What's Your Preferred Platform?

Blogger has gone and messed me up again. I used to always get emails whenever someone would comment on a post, but now, I'm assuming with new privacy policies changing, I don't! I have tried a number of things and I just can't seem to get my emails back, making it so I have to check every single post for new comments.

This isn't a cumbersome thing for my most recent posts, however if someone were to comment on an older post, I have no way of knowing and therefore feel like an ass for not replying :((( I love replying to comments and getting emails was a sure way to remember to do them. Now, I'm not sure what to do.

I know there are a few blog commenting formats out there, Disqus is notably the one I see the most besides regular blogger, and I'm just not sure whether to make the switch. I am not the most techy person and while I assume I'd be able to set it up on my blog, I am unsure whether it will decrease my commentors or not. Not everybody has a Disqus account and I know not many people like to have a million accounts for different things, and I just don't want people to feel obligated to sign up for yet another thing. I enjoyed the convenience that everybody with a google account could comment on my blog, but it's not exactly convenient for me anymore.

So, I am appealing to the book community. Do you have Disqus? Blogger? Any suggestions on how to get my emails back??? Please let me know what commenting format you have and if it works for you. I am open to any suggestions as long as they're easy to install and give me notifications when somebody comments. And, if you are a regular reader of my blog, how would you feel if I switched to another platform? I am at a loss here.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Month in Review: May

I feel like I was so inactive this month in the blogosphere and I feel like a total failure :( Hopefully June will bring more inspo and hopefully some better blog posts!

What I Read: 

The Scorpio Races by: Maggie Stiefvater: 4/5 stars
The Princess Diaries by: Meg Cabot: 2/5 stars
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by: E.K. Johnston: 4/5 stars
Lets Talk About Love by: Claire Kann: 4/5 stars
And Then There Were None by: Agatha Christie: 5/5 stars

Favourite Book: Definitely And Then There Were None! This is by far my favourite Christie book I have read to date and was so well thought out!

What I Blogged: 

Like I said, inspiration was at an all time low this month. My favourite blog post was the Mental Health in YA Roundup I did with some fellow bloggers, but other than that, it was a "meh" month.

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Anna reveals the YA Novels with the Best Mental Health Rep! 

Cee explains her fascination with Reaction Videos 

Clare shares the books that Made Her a Reader 

Life Stuff:

This wasn't a very entertaining month. Literally all I did was work, and I have found that my summer is off to kind of a boring start, but in June I have a few concerts coming up and I will be seeing my family and friends more so hopefully things will pick up!

How was your May?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 25 May 2018

Otherworld by: Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Sci-Fi
Published: October 31, 2017 by: Delacorte Press
Pages: 335
Rating: 2/5 stars

Otherworld is unlike anything you have ever experienced, or so the company says. Avid gamer Simon thought that Otherworld was a simple video game, providing an alternate reality. However Otherworld is about to become more real than he could have ever imagined, and it will suck him and his friends into a wormhole that just cannot be escaped.

I have always been on the fence about sci-fi novels that deal with simulations and alternate realities. However, when Marshall from How I Met Your Mother writes a book, you read the damn book, so I decided to give it a shot. It did fall short because of the fact that these themes make my brain hurt, but I get how the overall concept could be very interesting to people who like gaming.

I think that there could have been a better explanation on what Otherworld actually is. The novel seemed to jump right into the alternate reality without building up to it, which made the whole concept of the game very confusing and I ended the book not really knowing what I just read.

I think that there is a huge market for books like these nowadays, and I think that the Otherworld series can capture the attention of tech-savvy people as well as those who are interested in simulations and the overall concept of reality being utterly fucked up. But you definitely have to read things over to make sure things are understood.

Have you read Otherworld? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Mental Health in Ya Blogger Roundup!

Hello all! About a month ago, I was asked by fellow book blogger Anna @ Annaish to participate in her mental health blogger roundup. Basically, she asked me and other bloggers to share a paragraph highlighting a YA novel we thought had great mental health representation.

There are so many YA books out there that deal with mental health however not all do it well, and this negative representation can be harmful and triggering. So, in honour of mental health health awareness month, I decided to share Anna's post on all of our paragraphs on my blog too, hopefully to spread awareness on some mental health books you should be reading! Please go check out Anna's blog as well as the other lovely participants of this event :D

Anna @ Annaish: Girl Against the Universe by: Paula Stokes:

When it comes to mental health, YA books tend to romanticise, cure, or isolate a mentally ill character. It’s frustrating, insulting, and misleading because those tropes don’t happen in real life. Thankfully, we do have YA books who don't fall into those tropes and one of those books is Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes.

The book follows Maguire, a girl who has PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and is on the path of recovery. For starters, her path of recovery isn’t romanticised. The book highlights her good and bad days. Maguire isn’t cured or isolated either. She goes to therapy and has loving support from family/friends. And, probably the best part about this book is, Maguire’s mental illness isn't her only personality trait. She’s spunky, sarcastic, and a fantastic narrator. I could talk about Girl Against the Universe all day long but I'll leave you with this, mental illnesses exists and more YA books need to talk about it.

Emily @ Paperback Princess: Top Ten by: Katie Cotugno:

When Anna asked me to choose a novel I thought had the best mental health representation, my mind immediately went to Top Ten by: Katie Cotugno. This YA novel features the main female protagonist, Gabby, going through high school with intense anxiety and agoraphobia, making her very shy and nervous when it comes to the overbearing parties her classmates throw. Gabby’s best friend is an extroverted star hockey player named Ryan, one of the most popular guys in school. However, what makes this book so awesome, is that Ryan doesn’t “save Gabby” from her mental illness. Instead, through their unlikely friendship, he encourages and supports her and the two remain good friends throughout the entire book. I loved this novel not just because I could relate heavily to Gabby, but also because it didn’t have to feature the trope that the guy and the girl must fall in love and suddenly all her fears are whisked away. It was refreshing to see Gabby and Ryan remain strictly friends and how Ryan learnt how to support Gabby during her panic attacks. This book made me wish I had a friendship like they had in high school.
Kenzie @ Paper Pizza: Turtles All the Way Down by: John Green:

There has always been a bit of controversy when it comes to the topic of John Green’s writing, but when I heard that he was working on a book about mental illness, I knew he would nail it. Aza is the main character in this story and she suffers from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) which is also related to anxiety. Rarely do I ever see anxiety discussed in Young Adult literature and to find a book that describes it PERFECTLY feels like a phenomenon. Even though everyone experiences anxiety, it still seems there is a stigma towards it. With Turtles All The Way Down, you feel as though your soul has been ripped open and there is finally someone who understands you.

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening. Infinitely.”

Aza is a great character. She is different from most female characters in the YA world, and what I loved most about this story was how real and raw it was. Whether you love YA or dislike it, everyone needs to read this book. It is an excellent representation of mental health, especially in young adult literature.
Abby @ Ups and Downs: Eliza and Her Monsters by: Francesca Zappia:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia is one of my favorite books for its portrayal of social anxiety. For those unfamiliar with its plot, the book follows a girl named Eliza Murk with a famous web comic named Monstrous Sea who keeps this part of her life private. I loved to this book in many ways— the way it portrayed social anxiety and its relationship to how the protagonist connects on the digital world, the injection of art pieces showing Eliza’s comic, and her struggle towards opening up to her friend Wallace, who is also one of the most popular fan fiction writers of the comic. However relatable the character is, the book does get heavy fast, but it does so with an acknowledged nuance and understanding.
Tasya @ The Literary Huntress: Every Last Word by: Tamara Ireland Stone:

This book is one of the most underrated books out there. Every Last Word is a sweet and calm, but sad story about Sam, who has pure OCD. This book addresses the common misconception of all OCD people are obsessed with cleaning and tidying things up and tell Sam's story in such a way that make us empathise with her. The depth of the author research is shown with Sam's portrayal, it doesn't feel stereotypical or shallow, she felt like a real person. Another thing that I love is how supportive Sam's family and friends are and how positive her relationship with her psychiatrist is. She's open and always tells the psychiatrist about everything, she actively participates instead of raging and closing off, which is a great message. This is a really poignant and heartfelt book, and I wish more people read it!