Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Month/Year in Review: December 2019

I decided to join together my month and year in review, one because I'm lazy, and two because I think more significant things happened in December alone rather than the entire year. So, here is what happened in December, as well as 2019 as a whole :)

What I Read:

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia: 5/5 stars
Shadow and Bone by: Leigh Bardugo: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: Sissy is an amazing memoir by Jacob Tobia. It was hilarious, as well as made me really passionate about gender. (So much so, that I have been schooling a lot of people who enforce gender roles as of recent).

Favourite book of the year: This is difficult, because a lot of the books I read that I loved are quite different from each other. I think the title is gonna have to go to Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan. This story basically dominated my entire summer, and I fell in love with the movie as well.

Goodreads Challenge: I barely scraped by with my challenge, reading 41/40 books for the year. I actually started with a goal of 50, but I did not read much in the middle of the year at all, so I slipped really far behind. I'm happy that I shortened my goal, because I finally was able to pull through at the end. Hopefully I can get up to my usual streak of 50 books a year in 2020.

What I Blogged:

I didn't really have a particular favourite blog post of the month, however I most definitely had a favourite of the year, and that was my rant about Don Cherry. You've probably heard me mention this post before, but it represented a drastic change in writing for me, because at that point I stopped being just a book blog, and realized that I wanted to branch out and talk about more issues that interest me. Expect more of these posts in 2020, especially one coming really soon in which my sister and I called out a food blogger for fat-shaming and promoting wastefulness. (Story to come!)

Favourite Blog Posts:

Cee looks back at Our Roaring 20s 
Veronika discusses Ten Things that Comfort Her
Karissa and Mary review The Rise of Skywalker

Life Stuff:

December was a really chaotic month for me. I had exams and final essays, finished off fall term with quite good marks, and of course, got ready for Christmas and my birthday.

I was really nervous for Christmas because of my social anxiety, but I am happy to report that I had no major incidents and actually was able to enjoy the season instead of worrying.

I also spent the first half of December preparing for my road test, which I am happy to report that, I PASSED. I finally have a full license, which is a huge relief for me because I no longer have to go through lessons or the stress of tests. My license has been the main source of stress in my life for about four years now, I am thrilled to finally be rid of it.

My Christmas was amazing, a lot of my family came down and I got some presents that will hopefully help to busy my mind during the more sad months of January and February. (I typically get very down in these months). I really wanted to take up knitting because I read that it helps to alleviate stress, so my mom got me knitting needles and yarn. I am so excited!

I also got Disney plus, which will be very comforting to me because pretty much all of my favourite shows and movies are on there. I also feel pretty badass because I have never had a streaming service before, so I feel like I can finally join in the fun lol.

I saw The Rise of Skywalker a couple of days ago, and boy do I have some thoughts. It was very bittersweet for me. I am sad to see the Skywalker saga go, and I didn't necessarily think that this movie did everything justice. However, there were also some moments I really loved. There will definitely be a movie review to come very soon, I just have to chat about a few things.

Overall, 2019, like most of my years, had an equal number of ups and downs. Anxiety tried to weasel its way in, but I took charge by starting therapy and trying new coping mechanisms. I think my main goal for 2020 is to try and keep my mind busy, especially when I am at my loneliest, because there is nothing more dangerous for me then when I am alone with my thoughts. So that is what I am trying to do to keep my mind healthy.

I am excited for 2020. I think that I can turn it into a great year if I try. I hope to get into some really good books, and leave the year feeling a lot happier and healthier.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2020 is your best year yet :)

How was your December/2019? Do you have any 2020 goals?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 December 2019

Anne of Green Gables by: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Genre: Classic, Children's Fiction
Published: 1908
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 stars

Desperate for some help around their quaint Prince Edward Island farmhouse, siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt a young boy. However, a mix-up at the orphanage results in them adopting Anne Shirley, a fiery young girl who knows nothing about Marilla's strict way of life. As Marilla attempts to teach Anne proper social decorum, Anne begins to teach Marilla, and her by-the- book new town, how to live life not so seriously.

I had to read this book for my children's literature course, and I did not expect it to go well. I have a love-hate relationship with classics, and this one is a bit longer and tedious. However, I was shocked to find that I completely flew through this book, and I definitely want to read more in the series.

I found Anne to be so incredibly heartwarming. The descriptions of peaceful PEI scenery, mixed with the lovable characters, made for a very light-hearted read. I didn't find it heavy or overbearing, just overall very adorable.

The secondary characters were very enjoyable to read. Matthew was a kind soul, Diana was a very patient friend, and I enjoyed reading about Marilla's change in character. These characters really won this book over for me. However, the one thing that didn't make Anne a complete win, was the main character herself.

I found Anne to be incredibly childish, and frustratingly stubborn. Even when she grew older, she just seemed to be unnecessarily difficult. I get that this is part of her charm, and part of what makes the plot. But for me, I never really enjoy characters like that. So, she kinda irritated me as a protagonist.

But other than that, I am so happy that I loved this book. It made studying it so much easier, and I would also love to go further in the series.

Have you read Anne of Green Gables? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 December 2019

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 by: Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raul Angulo

Genre: Comic, Fantasy
Published: January 23, 2019 by: Boom! Studios
Pages: 30
Rating: 5/5 stars

Buffy Summers is no ordinary teen. She is the vampire slayer, chosen to defend the town of Sunnydale from the forces of darkness. When she befriends Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris, the trio, along with Buffy's watcher Giles, band together to protect their high school and each other, from all of the weird creatures lurking in the town.

I love Buffy so much. I have re-watched the series a number of times, and I think it is one of the most culturally iconic shows of all time. I have read a few adaptations from the world of Buffy, but never have I gotten into the comics. Finally, I saw this in a comic book store and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did!

First off, props to the artists for creating such fabulous drawings. This comic takes a modern spin on the word of Buffy, meaning it's set in modern day as opposed to the 90's. I thought the artists did an awesome job at bringing Buffy into the modern world, through vibrant colours and techniques.

I was weary on how I would receive Buffy through a modern day set-up. I think that Buffy being set in the 90's is such an iconic part of the story, and I didn't want them to mess with that. But, I didn't find that an issue at all. I was fully immersed into the story, and Bellaire kept in all of the important aspects to Buffy's story that would have been too important to change. This comic felt like it came from the Buffy world, which I can appreciate.

So overall, this comic was a big win for me! I hope to read more Buffy comics, as I seem to really enjoy them.

Have you read/watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 6 December 2019

Helen of Troy by: Margaret George

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology
Published: August 3, 2006 by: Viking Adult
Pages: 611
Rating: 4/5 stars

Helen is the most beautiful woman of the Mediterranean. Fathered by Zeus himself, Helen's divine beauty becomes a hot commodity, and eventually she is married off to Spartan king Menelaus. But, their relationship soon turns sour, and Helen finds herself enthralled by Paris, a young Trojan prince whose land has just aligned with Sparta. All alliances are off when Helen flees to Troy to be with Paris, and Menelaus and his ruthless brother Agamemnon launch a brutal 10 year war to get her back. Inspired by the infamous Iliad, Margaret George changes up the classic formula of the Trojan War, by having Helen narrate her own story.

If you know me, you know that I am a sucker for anything related to the Trojan War. I read the Iliad for fun. David Benioff's Troy is one of my biggest guilty pleasure movies. I know, I know, the movie kinda sucks. But, movie adaptations of the Trojan War are slim so I don't really have much to choose from. And we got Ned Stark as Odysseus, so it's still a decent movie in my book.

I will pick up any and every book having to do with the Trojan War. I saw this book at the library, and with a whopping 600 pages, I knew it would be just the thing to read over summer vacation. (Yes, I read this book in the summer and am only reviewing it now. Can you say, behind on reviews much?)

Anyways, I was not disappointed by this novel. I knew at some point I just had to read a retelling of the Trojan War through a woman's perspective, because a lot of the adaptations are pretty misogynistic. And who better to hear it from than Helen herself? I think George perfectly captured Helen's voice, and I was not disappointed by her characterization.

Helen's characterization was something I was a bit worried for. A lot of adaptations portray her as dull and naive, basically just a pretty face. I thought she had large levels of intelligence and rationality within this novel. The girl knows what she wants, and I could appreciate that. I found that in this novel, Paris was more of the naive one, which I loved because I have always pictured Paris as a really stupid guy.

I thought that this book was accurate to the classic depiction of the Trojan War, which I really loved. I don't like it when adaptations sensationalize the war, or give it a Hollywood-esque feel. There are still classical texts that should be followed as the basic guidelines for the story. I could tell that George did her research on this novel, and didn't just piece together what is commonly known about the Trojan War and call it a day. There was textual accuracy.

The one thing that I didn't love about this novel, is that it is extremely character driven. I mean, this is rightly so, because the novel is from the perspective of a character who did not directly fight in the war. It makes sense that the novel would be based more off of her life then in the direct action of the Trojan War. But I guess for me, I was expecting more allusions to the battle and the important figures in the battle. I would have liked to see more of Helen's opinions on important figures such as Odysseus, Patroclus, and Achilles. I f*cking love Achilles. (When I say this, I picture Achilles as the morally developed gay icon in Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, not Brad Pitt's misogynistic adaptation in Troy).

I knew that this review would veer off track, because I get a little carried away when someone so much as mentions the Trojan War. I'm just a little passionate, ok? Anyways, bottom line is, I really loved the characterization of Helen and George's attention to detail. I didn't love how we didn't see as much of the battle, and I wanted the novel to have a better balance of character vs. plot. But, overall, I would call this retelling a win!

Have you read Helen of Troy? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 29 November 2019

Month in Review: November

The Christmas season is officially upon us and I am almost done with this semester! Time flies when you're trying not to fail your classes :D Here's what happened in November:

What I Read: 

Anne of Green Gables by: Lucy Maud Montgomery: 4/5 stars
The Island of Dr. Moreau by: H.G.Wells: 1/5 stars

It was a bummer of a reading month, and both of these books were for school. I obviously enjoyed Anne of Green Gables a lot more, which is surprising because I didn't think I would like it at all! As for Dr. Moreau, well I am currently stressed out of my mind trying to write an essay on it. It's funny how difficult essays become when you really hated the book.

What I Blogged:

By far, my favourite blog post that I published this month was my rant on Canada's Idolisation of an Old White Man and his Racism. It was a discussion on the Don Cherry scandal, and it generated a lot of traffic blog-wise for me. I'm so happy it was well received!

Favourite Blog Posts of the Month: 

Veronika asks if YA Prices has Gotten out of Hand? 

Cee discusses Marginalisation in Dystopia 

Shayna reveals the Odd Things She's Found in Library Books 

Life Stuff: 

I am preparing for final papers and exams right now, and just wishing for Christmas to be upon me already. However, a part of me is also quite stressed for December. As a socially anxious person, the prospect of the amount of parties that Christmas entails is very daunting. I am already stressed about my work Christmas party on Monday, because I have had full on panic attacks at these kinds of gatherings before.

I also have my final road test on December 18, (one day before my birthday!) which has been the main source of stress at the back of my mind for probably the past three years. Once I pass this test I will finally be done with all of this bullshit, but I do not test well AT ALL and even though I am a good and careful driver, as soon as the instructor is in the car I will freeze up. I always joke that road tests take like five years off my life in terms of the stress they give me. So let's hope that come the end of December when I'm writing my month in review, I will only have good news to share!

That being said, I really do enjoy (the quiet) parts of Christmas and getting to go home. I am also getting a new tattoo this month which I am excited about.

I love how this portion turned from talking about stuff that happened in November, to worrying about the future. But, that's just how my brain works!

How was your November? What are you looking forward to in December?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 22 November 2019

Heretics Anonymous by: Katie Henry

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: August 7, 2018 by: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 329
Rating: 4/5 stars

After his dad switches jobs, Michael is sent to the strict Catholic school St. Clare's. There's only problem though, and that is that Michael is an atheist. He is determined that Catholic school will not change his mind. When be befriends Lucy, a loyal Catholic determined to make progressive changes to the church, he is whisked into the world of Heretic's Anonymous. This secret society plays host to a number of kids who want to live their lives truthfully, despite what their school may tell them. But, when Michael starts a mission that threatens to reveal the society to the school, he must grapple with his the new relationships he has formed, and his faith.

I have seen this book around many bookstores, and finally decided to pick it up. I am an agnostic who has struggled with faith and spirituality all my life. I also went to strict Catholic school, so I thought there would be an element of relatability to this book. I was definitely right.

This book was very funny. I am a sucker for using humour to deal with religious themes, and this book does that. There is also a heavy element of morality/ethics to it. Think of it like YA's answer to The Good Place. I happen to love that show, so I found this book to be equally as enjoyable.

This book was very easy to get through. It was light-hearted, and it didn't try too hard. It was funny enough to keep me thoroughly entertained, so I didn't find myself getting bored. It was a very fun read.

I'm not giving this book five stars, simply because it didn't give me a real "wow" factor. Yes, it was enjoyable. Yes, it was funny. But, there wasn't anything truly impactful about it to warrant it five stars. Sometimes books are just light-hearted entertainment, and that's fine.

Have you read Heretics Anonymous? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 15 November 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: On Canada's Idolization of Don Cherry and his Racism

Today's post is going to be EXTREMELY different from anything I have ever done. It's not even book related. But, if you're from Canada, this story has been the main headline for the past week, and I have so many opinions about it that I need to get out. I decided to take a page out of Cee @ Dora Read's book and get start writing about social justice issues that I care about, whether book related or not. So, let's get started:

For those of you who have no idea what's been going on, basically Sportsnet (one of the main sports networks in Canada) fired Don Cherry, a sports commentator who has hosted Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner every Saturday for over 30 years. Basically, Don, now 85 years old, has a segment every Saturday night during the intermission for the NHL hockey games that feature Canadian teams. The broadcast airs nationwide, and he comments alongside his partner Ron McLean on hockey news, how the teams are playing, but he is also well-known for his dedication to veterans and his speeches on the Saturday before Remembrance Day. He basically became a Canadian icon, and a lot of people grew up watching him every Saturday. Myself included.

Growing up, I thought Don was kinda funny. I didn't really pay attention to what he said hockey-wise, but he always wore funky suits, and I thought he was just a cool symbol of Canadian culture. But when I got older, I began to recognise that the stuff he was saying seemed a little bit outdated, and offensive. Soon I began to see him as he really is: a racist bigot.

Last Saturday, so right before Remembrance Day, Don went on a rant, critcizing immigrants who come to Canada looking for "the land of milk and honey," but don't wear poppies. He called immigrants "you people," and he cited Mississauga, one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada, as being one of the places in which he never sees people wearing poppies.

*for those outside the commonwealth, most commonwealth countries wear poppies up until Remembrance Day as respect for veterans.

Don never apologized for his actions, and people were outraged, myself included. How dare he state that immigrants, who may be coming here with absolutely no knowledge on Canadian culture, have no respect for veterans? How care he criticize culturally-diverse cities, while praising the "small towns" where nothing has changed. We know what you mean there Don, you mean small towns with all-white populations.

I also found it interesting that he seems to know who "immigrants" are just by walking the streets of Mississauga. Are you just assuming, Don, that if you see a brown person without a poppy, that they are an immigrant with no care for Canadian customs? You're not thinking of the fact that maybe their poppy fell off, or they're wearing a different coat, or they're wearing it under their coat? Of course you're just assuming, because you have a racist mindset, and a vendetta against anyone who isn't from the small-town white Canadian life you seem to champion.

The main argument from his defenders, is that he is an 85 year old icon who shouldn't be fired after all these years for one mistake. But, the truth is, that Don has made plenty of mistakes in the past. He has constantly made fun of European hockey players who react when getting hurt, calling them soft. He has championed that getting hit in the head is just "part of the game," and that concussion protocol isn't needed. He has perpetuated toxic masculinity within the sport. I don't care how many episodes of Coach's Corner I have watched in the past, I will certainly feel better not seeing him on my tv.

I'm also very pissed off that he decided to take the poppy, a cherished symbol of remembrance, and use it to perpetuate racism. However, this is a trend that I have been seeing with a lot of Canadians nowadays. For some, the poppy is now a symbol of how "good" of a Canadian you are. Wearing one automatically gets you the stamp of approval in the Canadian books. I feel like I'm being judged if I forget to wear mine, and especially if you are brown, not wearing one immediately puts a target on your back.

And, some people choose not to wear one for personal reasons. Some people don't wear it because they feel as if it glorifies war and militarism. Some First Nations people and other people of colour choose not to wear one because of the history of mistreatment both before and after the war against their people. It's a personal choice, and by not wearing one, it does not say anything about your status as a "good" Canadian, and it doesn't say anything about your respect towards vets. To me, you can still be respectful and appreciative of veterans without having something pinned to your coat. There are other ways to show your appreciation. And Don has no right to judge anyone for that.

I'm happy he was fired. He has consistently preached a white, nationalistic agenda, and his opinions are outdated and wrong. I just saw today that he was interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox News, so that should tell you everything you need to know about Don Cherry. I think it is about time somebody put him his place, and I don't think he receives any pass just because he was idolized by so many Canadians. If anything, I think that the fact that he is 85 years old, and still got fired, is a good example of how racism is not excusable at any age. He should not be excused just because he is from an older generation.

Good riddance, Don. My Saturday's are a lot nicer without you in them.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 8 November 2019

YA vs. NA: Why is it So Hard To Categorize?

I think it is obvious that I mostly read YA. I find it the most enjoyable to read personally, though I have read some standard fiction novels that I absolutely love. Recently, I have been branching more into New Adult territory.  This is mostly because I ain't getting any younger, and since I am well out of high school now, I do find some YA to be less relatable to me. However, a problem arises when trying to research New Adult books. I am finding that most of the books I am looking for are being categorized under the YA genre, when they are so clearly not YA.

I realized I wanted to write this post when reading Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey Mcquiston. I absolutely adored the book, but I was shocked while reading some of the details, because all this time I had seen the book being marketed as YA. Even on Goodreads, a substantial amount of people had labelled it YA. There are some detailed sex scenes in the book, and the characters are a bit more mature, so I wondered why YA was the standard for it to be labelled as.

I think that people forget that YA is not just a genre for older high school students. YA begins at age 12, and I personally don't find Red, White and Royal Blue appropriate for a 12 year old. Now, this can all depend on the maturity of the teen, and I don't think we should censor what teens want to read if they are willing to learn, however sometimes books are just meant for an older audience, even if they are labelled as something different.

I have seen on twitter that Ninth House by: Leigh Bardugo was being marketed as YA, simply because of Leigh's past YA novels being such a success. Now I haven't read Ninth House yet, but judging by the synopsis, I don't think it is anywhere near YA territory, even if the author has written YA. Why should she be labelled to one genre for the rest of her life? It just seems so restricting to me.

Other books such as the A Court of... series by: Sarah J. Maas are sooo not YA, but again, I have seen them on the YA shelf at bookstores. These books are very explicit in sex content, and again, I think some parents would be weary of their 12 year old reading them. There is absolutely no reason for this book to be labelled as YA.

I think I know the answer as to why a lot of books are mis-labelled, and it comes down to good old marketing. YA is a much larger field than NA. YA books are super successful, whereas NA is a relatively new category with not as many recognisable bestsellers. I think some marketers label books as YA because they know the book will make a lot of money if under that category. It opens the book up to not only teens, but also the adults who do read YA, whereas less teens read NA. I guess it just makes more money that way.

I think that booksellers and publishers should be careful when labelling novels. If Jenny Han, the queen of YA contemporary in my opinion, were to write a book tomorrow with graphic content, I don't think it should still be put into YA just because she is a well-known YA author! There are certain guidelines that should be followed.

So, if a mature teen would like to branch into NA, then good for them! However, when unknowing younger teens are picking up novels in the YA section, only to be shocked and confused by the content, then there is a big problem on our hands. New Adult is a great genre, so let its books flourish! The only way to expand the genre, is to allow books to be apart of it.

Have you found this to be an issue?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 1 November 2019

Month in Review: October

I know I am not as consistent with monthly wrap-ups anymore, but a lot of stuff did happen in October which I am happy to share!

What I Read: 

The Beetle by: Richard Marsh: 2/5 stars
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 by: Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raul Angulo: 5/5 stars
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by: Lewis Carroll: 3/5 stars
Agamemnon by: Aeschylus: 4/5 stars
Prometheus Bound by: Aeschylus: 3/5 stars
The Picture of Dorian Gray by: Oscar Wilde: 5/5 stars

The randomness of these selections is all thanks to my school reading list. Although, the two Greek plays were actually pleasure readings due to a beautiful copy of Greek tragedies I found!

Favourite book: I got the new series of Buffy comics back in the summer, and finally got around to reading it. Not only was the art beautiful, but it was a really cool modern take on Buffy!

What I Blogged: 

I think I stayed pretty consistent in blogging once a week! (Minus one week, but we'll get to the reason later) Anyways, my favourite post was my review of Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey Mcquiston. I just loved that book so much that it was so good to finally get my thoughts out!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Shayna writes a beautiful Tribute to Sylvia Plath 
Veronika discusses Unreliable Narrators 
Cee sheds light on the recent tragedy in Essex- 39 (Content warning)

Life Stuff: 

The main thing that happened in October, was that for my fall break from university, I went to England! There was a purpose to my trip, I want to do my Master's there and so I went to go visit some universities and do some campus tours. I basically went all over, which was tiring, but also really cool because I have never explored England outside of London. My favourite university I saw was Warwick, however, I also did have *a bit* of an anxiety attack while I was there, wondering if I could really go abroad. So we will see what happens in the future.

I did get to spend one day in London though, and I was so happy that I could finally see Hamilton. This musical means so much to me and it was so awesome to finally be able to see it. I also got my programme signed by some of the cast members which was a major fangirl moment!

So that was my month. Now I am looking forward to switching to Christmas mode soon. I have already seen some commercials (gasp!) What did you get up to in October?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 25 October 2019

Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey McQuiston

Genre: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 14, 2019 by: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 421
Rating: 5/5 stars

Alex Claremont- Diaz is the quintessential golden boy. He is handsome, charming, and his mother just also happens to be president of the United States. There's only one problem though, and that is that Alex has an extreme distaste for England's golden boy, Prince Henry of Wales. When Alex and Henry get into a controversial fight at a high-class gathering, the US and UK both agree to stage a friendship between the two boys to ease tensions. However, this pretend friendship soon blossoms into something more, and with his mother searching for re-election, Alex must decide if this love is truly worth it.

This book was on my radar as soon as I realized it was coming out. I needed a fluffy romance in my life, especially during the summertime. Mix that with my interest in the British royals and American politics, and I got myself a great read!

This book has the classic enemies to lovers trope. I absolutely love this trope because the romance tends to be slow-burn, and thus means so much more in the end. I really got to see Alex and Henry's relationship develop, and it was really adorable to see. Also because they're enemies at first, there are a lot of sarcastic quips throughout the novel that just makes their relationship so darn lovable.

The secondary characters are also awesome throughout the book. Alex's sister, the vice-president's daughter, and even Henry's sister were all so iconic! There are some strong female characters throughout this book that I really enjoyed reading about.

This book is extremely diverse. There are bi-racial characters, bi-sexual characters, gays, lesbians, the whole works! I think these details make the book so awesome, because every character has something unique about them. This isn't a cookie-cutter romance. It is an adorable novel that doesn't fetishize gay relationships. It's also more NA than YA, so it's a little bit more mature and realistic to the stage in life that I am in right now. Overall, I loved every second of it.

Have you read Red, White and Royal Blue? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 11 October 2019

Slayer by: Kiersten White

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: January 8, 2019 by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 404
Rating: 4/5 stars

Nina has constantly lived in the shadow of her twin sister Artemis. Growing up in the Watcher's Academy, the girls are taught to be guides for vampire Slayers. However, Nina has never been interested in the craft like her sister is. Instead, she stays in the background, and uses her caring nature to be a healer. That is, until everything changes. Suddenly, Nina discovers that she is the Chosen One, the last Slayer. With her watcher-in-training Leo, she will be forced to battle demons and all forces of darkness, all while dealing with the Watcher's Academy's resentment for Slayers, especially the most famous one: Buffy

When I heard that there was gonna be a YA Buffy the Vampire Slayer story from Kiersten White, I was very excited. That show remains in my top three favourite tv shows of all time, and I just knew I had to give this book a go. It did live up to my expectations (though my reading slump made me take forever to get through it). Still, I thought it did the tv series justice.

I really liked the setting of this novel. The prestigious boarding school of the Watcher's Academy had a very regal feel to it, and I enjoyed reading about all the different characters who live in it. I thought Nina was a great protagonist. I could relate to her in a lot of ways, and I found her to be resilient, but also very humorous. The book has a lot of sarcastic quips in it which I enjoyed.

I liked that this book had some Buffy easter eggs in it to keep me entertained. It more focuses on the history of the Watcher's, and goes a bit into the family tree of some notable ones, such as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and of course, Rupert Giles. That being said, I think I would have liked a bit more info on the main notable characters from Buffy. Besides expressing multiple times the Watcher's distaste for Buffy, I wanted to know what these characters thought of Faith, Willow, and other important characters. My favourite character of all-time from the series is Spike, and a bit from him in there would have been awesome!

Overall, I was expecting this book to have more recognizable stuff from the Buffy world, but at the end of the day, this is not a re-telling. It is simply placed in the same world as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think that it did satisfy my love for the series, through some great character development and an awesome setting. I think that this book is perfect for the Fall time, as it has enough supernatural elements to keep an interesting plot and a creepy atmosphere. However if you are a big fan of the series, don't expect it to be crawling with your favourite characters.

Have you read Slayer? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Grateful Boys by: Francoise DuMaurier Blog Tour

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Published: October 1, 2019 by: Clink Street Publishing
Pages: 328
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

*thank you to Clink Street Publishing for providing this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hailey is a bi-racial teen, who has just recently moved to the small country town of Corpus, Georgia. What she doesn't know, is that Corpus has been the site of some strange, mystical happenings, including some gruesome murders. When residents start seeing strange, winged creatures, the town's first African-American sheriff must start laying down the law. But Hailey is growing increasingly close to a mysterious boy named Percy who just happens to be a vampire, and she grapples with this new found love, and her own identity during a time of racial unrest.

I didn't really know what to expect when going in to this book. I thought it would be really high fantasy, with little realistic elements. However, I was very impressed with the author's ability to weave real life issues into a fantasy-like setting.

I labelled this novel as urban fantasy because the supernatural elements take place inside the real world. I actually really do love urban fantasy because I find that supernatural figures often serve as metaphors for reality. I loved DuMaurier's intertwining of racial issues in the deep South, along with the issue of the threat on the town. It was a great balance between fantasy vs. reality.

The characters were also quite lovable. I loved Hailey, her little brother Mason, and her love interest Percy. I thought that Hailey was a very relatable character. She seemed like a normal teenager to me, and wasn't overly mature or "done up."

I found the novel to have a lot of Stranger Things elements to it, which was very much appreciated. The whole small town setting, with a frustrated sheriff and some really creepy happenings, really worked. I thought that this novel was perfect for the current spooky season we are going in to right now, and I am always down for a novel that takes place in small town. I think the smaller the setting,  the more interesting things get!

The only thing I think could be improved for this book, is that I just wanted more romance between Hailey and Percy! I am a sucker for a good romance in stories like this, and while I found the two to have great chemistry, I would have liked even more from their relationship. That being said, it was a great addition to the story that didn't feel like insta-love.

Overall, this novel is perfect for Halloween, as it is perfectly spooky, but also semi-relatable at the same time. I will also add that it is #ownvoices, which is a huge positive element for me. Even if you don't like vampire stories, there are enough real-life issues in this book to grapple with.

Thanks to Clink Street Publishing for the copy, and be sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 27 September 2019

Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: March 6, 2018 by: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Pages: 544
Rating: 2/5 stars

Zelie was born to a Reaper, a magical woman with powers to summon souls from the dead. But now, Zelie's land of Orisha has no magic, as a tyrannical king killed all those possessing power. Determined to avenge her mother and bring back her rightful magic, Zelie embarks on a journey through Orisha with a rogue princess by her side, while she attempts to find herself, and tap into her own maji powers for help.

I know, I know, this book was hyped up. And, it had potential. I was very excited to go into this novel, and it seemed like a very unique concept with a beautiful setting. However, I found it to be lacking any kind of interest for me, and overall I was just very bored.

Let's start with one positive thing though, I did love the setting of the novel. I think Adeyemi sets a scene very well, and her world building was incredible. I enjoyed reading about the scenery, and I found her descriptions of setting to be beautiful. But that's pretty much where my love for this novel ends.

I just was so unbelievably bored. I found the story to take too many twists and turns that I was confused. I didn't find myself connected to the characters, and I wanted more from the magic. I don't know if it was just me, but I didn't find the plot to have much substance and everything seemed very character-driven, it was just: meh.

I know I have had a love-hate with fantasies in the past, but I really was ready to give this book a fighting chance, due to all the hype. However, I think it just fits into the category of fantasies that are way too confusing, and need more action. I skimmed pages, and everything just fell flat. I'm sorry Book Twitter :(

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 September 2019

Reacting to an Old Blog Post *smacks forehead*

Let me set the scene: I'm sitting in my lecture hall, an hour early because I am an extremely anxious person who arrives hours early for everything, and I'm trying to kill time. I don't want to watch Netflix because it'll drain my battery to fast, so, I do the sensible thing: I read some of my old blog posts and bask in the cringiness. Here are the results.

If you recall, I did a post once reacting to my first blog post. I'll link it here. However, this was a much different experience for me, because I was actually reading a review of a book I once thought was a great form of representation. Now, I see it as mostly problematic and offensive.

The review was of Burning by: Elana K. Arnold. This is not a very well-known book, but I found it at the library, and back then any book that had some sort of dramatic looking beautiful girl on the front, I would pick it up. Now let me say, and excuse my language, this book is FUCKED UP. It's about a teenaged white boy who lives in this small town known as Gypsum, that has Roma people, (the book refers to them as g*psies, I now realize that is a slur.), living on the outskirts. He falls in love with one of the Roma girls, who is a tarot card reader and is arranged to be married to another Roma. Their love is forbidden *shock.*

I cannot believe I once thought a book like this was ok. Not only do they only refer to the Roma's as g*ypsies throughout the entire book, but the main female protagonist, Lala, is incredibly hyper-sexualized and exoticised. There is a heavy emphasis on sex, despite the author forgetting that this book is about teenagers. *I will add that sex positivity is always needed in YA, but this book does so in a way that only sexualizes the non-white girl, who at the end of the day, is still a minor.

I think this book plays on the fantasies of white men wanting "exotic" women. It really emphasizes the desert setting, and the heat. I think the author was trying to get at a sexy summer read, but all it does is reinforce stereotypes, while using politically incorrect language to do it.

All the Roma women in this novel are fortune tellers who prey on unsuspecting white men. While the Roma men are violent, misogynistic and domineering over their daughters. I cannot imagine how actual Roma people would feel when reading this novel. It certainly didn't sit well with me.

I wanted to bring this up because I wrote a pretty positive review of this novel. I never acknowledged the problems, and I even thought the romance was "passionate." I added "passion" as one of my tags. God 2014 Emily, what were you thinking? I think it is important for us bloggers to look back with criticism of works we once thought were good, but have since realized were troublesome. I wanted to acknowledge my lack of judgement when first reading this book. Thankfully, times have drastically changed, even only in five years, and I think I would definitely be more critical of the book had I read it now.

So, this book was not good. But, it did allow me to open up a conversation about judging previously loved books, and did teach me a lesson to definitely do more research about cultural accuracies in my future blogging career.

Did you ever love a book you now realize was problematic?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 September 2019

Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan

Genre: Fiction, Romance
Published: June 11, 2013 by: Doubleday
Pages: 403
Rating: 5/5 stars

Rachel Chu is a successful university professor, who agrees to accompany her boyfriend Nick to Singapore for his best friend's wedding. While there, Rachel soon discovers that she doesn't know all she thought she did about Nick's life. His family are members of the Singapore elite, and Nick's mother is less than thrilled that Nick has brought home an American girl who knows nothing about the lavish lifestyle they lead. As Rachel starts to get to know Nick's family, divisions of class and a crazy family tree could threaten their relationship.

This book was AWESOME. I did not see the movie before reading it, but after I flew through this book I watched it immediately and found it just as good. The story is so lovable; full of cute, fluffy moments, hilarious family banter, and an incredible setting. All 403 pages went by so quickly for me.

I think one of the main things I liked about this book was Kwan's footnotes. As there is an extensive family tree in this book, as well as a ton of various Asian (and just general rich people) references, his footnotes were so well received by me. I found them not only to be informative, but they also added such humour into the story and it was a great way for me to get more information.

The characters were so lovable. I want a Nick Young of my own, and Rachel was hilarious as well. I understand some people critique her and find her naive, but I found her to be so relatable and resilient. I can also totally relate to the extensive family tree that the Young's have, so the whole family dynamics was so fun to read.

I have pretty much recommended this book to everyone in my life. I think the setting is so lavish and so incredibly detailed, and the plot was captivating from start to finish. I now need to get my hands on the sequel!

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 6 September 2019

Month in Review: August

Hello all! Long time no see. I know we are already in September, but I finally have some free time and I feel as if a lot happened in August that I would like to wrap-up. So, here is my month in review:

What I Read: 
Heretics Anonymous by: Katie Henry: 4/5 stars 

That's all. Technically I started Helen of Troy in August as well, but the combined over 600 pages and my reading slump didn't help me get through that one quickly. I just finished it yesterday. But, with school starting, I am oddly starting to get back on track with reading! I have already finished two books this month!

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post I posted this month was My Struggle to find a Blog-Life Balance. I know, no surprise there. But I recievied a lot of tips and insights from you guys that I hope I can put to good use! 

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Lais writes to Her Favourite Bloggers

Life Stuff: 

A lot happened in August. The first half was consumed by work, but then I had an entire three weeks off for vacation. I went to the Finger Lakes with my family, which was so fun and I am still sad that it went by so quickly. I was even able to pick up a gorgeous copy of Greek Tragedies from a vintage bookstore while there. 

I also went to The Jonas Brothers concert. I have loved The Jonas Brothers for 11 years and I always knew I would go back to their concerts if they reunited. It was easily the best concert I have ever been to. 

Some sad stuff happened at the end of the month. My parents revealed to me and my sister that they are selling our house, which was really anxiety-inducing because I hate change and I have lived in the same house all my life. But, I am slowly coming to terms with it. 

Overall, August was more hectic than May, June and July combined. But I did feel like it made up for the somewhat crappy summer I did have, and I spent a lot of time with family which was nice. Now I am in the first week of third year, and am drowning in first assignments. However, I am excited to get back into a routine and some of the courses I am taking seem really cool. Hopefully this year doesn't kick my butt. 

So that was my August. I know this is late, but did you do anything fun over the month? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: My Struggle to Find a Reading/Blog- Life Balance

As I have mentioned in many posts before, I have struggled for some time to post regular blog posts, and even keep up with reading. It is common for people to have more time to read and blog in the summertime, as school is obviously out. However, I find it ten times harder to keep up with blogging when I'm not in school. I suddenly become bombarded with social activities, and of course, work. I find it a lot easier to set aside time during my study hours in school to write blog posts, then it is to sit down at home when I'm super busy during the summertime.

Then there's the reading issue. I am, for the first time in years, behind in my goodread's reading challenge. It's actually become somewhat of a joke now, because I just keep seeing the number of books I am behind by get higher and higher. If you didn't notice, I didn't even do a July month in review because I literally had nothing to talk about reading-wise.

I'm finding it very hard to keep a reading/blogging-life balance. I look at other bloggers who are able to post multiple times in a week, where I'm lucky if I crank out one post a week. I used to post regularly on Wednesday's and Monday's, but the thought of posting more than once a week seems like a distant memory now.

Some good news though: I have been able to post three consistent weeks in a row, by writing posts in the evening's after I come back from work. It is not my ideal time to write, but it has allowed me to not drop off the face of the earth. It does scare me to abandon my blog, because I love this community so much and I never want to quit. I'm just worried that I'll never find the time.

I'm writing this post because I wanted to elaborate on some of the things I have said recently, but I also want tips. How do you find time in the day to sit down and read, and write. I'm hoping that once school starts again I will once more have the time, but I don't want to feel like I'm abandoning my blog once summer comes around again. I also want so badly to get back into reading again! Got any tips?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 9 August 2019

Love From A to Z by: S.K Ali

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: April 30th, 2019 by: Salaam Reads
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Zayneb is the only Muslim in her class, and this leaves her as the target for a number of snide remarks and racist teachings from her teacher. When she is suspended for finally confronting him, she decides to refuel in Doha, Qatar, with her eccentric aunt. Zayneb is determined to start off new in a place where nobody knows her. Then she meets Adam, a kind international student who is concealing his recent diagnosis of MS from his still grieving father. Zayneb and Adam meet under unlikely circumstances, but they soon form a bond, and help heal each other.

When I saw this book at the library, a mere one week after it was published, I was so excited! My library has a very small YA section, so this was a big deal to me. I thought this book was adorable, and I flew through it.

The characters were extremely lovable in this novel. Adam was my favourite. I found him to be so kind-hearted, and I really felt very bad for him at times. I thought his relationship with Zayneb was wholesome and cute, and I found them to have just the right amount of chemistry for still being teens. I didn't find them to speak a lot older than they were.

My only teensy issue I had this book is that *sometimes* Zayneb got on my nerves. Her character is meant to be a very fiery one, however I found that sometimes she flipped out on issues that could have been handled better. Flipping out on your racist teacher? That's totally fine with me. However there were times were I found she wasn't really fair to Adam because of how she treated him.

This book was a warm hug after Saints and Misfits by: Ali. I enjoyed that novel, but it has some harsher themes and got a little dark at times, whereas this book was light, fluffy, and a perfect summer read. Give it a go!

Have you read Love From A to Z? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 2 August 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: I'm Kinda Over Harry Potter

*Cue screams from HP fans.* When I was in elementary school, like most bookworms, I lived and breathed Harry Potter. I had t-shirts, watched the movies and re-read the books non-stop, and would attend any HP event I could find. Since I got older, I have tried to keep up with that obsession by re-reading the novels and still trying to attend HP themed events. I went to a midnight release for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I always expected to go see the play if it ever came to Toronto. But, when the opportunity finally arose to go see it, I realized that I'm just not in to Harry Potter anymore.

I have come to terms with the fact that Harry Potter was always just a phase for me, and was not going to be permanent interest. I feel like I forced myself in my teens to re-read the series when it just didn't interest me anymore. I have watched the movies to the death that they just don't provide a level of comfort they once did. Now it's just like: "ugh, another Harry Potter movie?" I am not into the so-called eighth novel whatsoever and I don't have any desire to see the play.

I find it interesting how I seemed to force Harry Potter onto myself when I was so clearly not into it anymore. I just feel like it is the quintessential novel to like. I mean, EVERY bookworm loves Harry Potter, right? It wasn't until I saw a tweet from a bookworm who said she thought Harry Potter was overrated, that I realized: wait, these people do exist.

I feel like as bookworms we can sometimes put beloved series up on pedestal that are so worshipped that it seems INCONCEIVABLE that anyone would dislike it. Upon working with some Harry Potter obsessed girls last fall, and watching them re-read the series over and over again, I pretended so much to still be interested in the story, but in reality I have just moved on. If the movies are on tv for the millionth time, I'll be like: "cool, Harry Potter is on, I remember when I used to like that series." But then I'll probably change the channel. I do look back on my Harry Potter phase with fond memories, but now I am confident in saying that it is just not my thing anymore. This is my HP confessional.

Are there any beloved series that you have fallen out of interest from?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 26 July 2019

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Genre: YA fiction, Contemporary
Published: October 9, 2018 by: Poppy
Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5 stars

Evan Hansen is a teen with severe social anxiety. To help combat this, his therapist has him write letters to himself: "Dear Evan Hansen, today's going to be a good day, and here's why." But, one of Evan's letters gets into the hands of Connor Murphy, an outcast who commits suicide with Evan's letter in hand. Soon Evan gets caught up in an elaborate lie in order to bring peace to the grieving Murphy family, and to gain the one thing he has always wanted: to belong.

This novel is based on the Tony-award winning musical that basically rules my entire life. If you know me, you pretty much know that Dear Evan Hansen is probably my all time favourite musical. I am passionate about the message, I see myself in Evan, and no car ride is complete without blasting "Waving Through a Window." So, when I saw the YA adaptation at my library, I had to give it a go.

I was not disappointed from what I got. The book stays extremely true to the musical. Pretty much the lines are the same as the script, with obviously more detail sprinkled in to make the dialogue longer. But I was really happy that little quips from the musical that I love were included. I didn't find that this book strayed too far away from the source material, which is why it is vital to include Levenson, Pasek and Paul as the authors. It is pretty much their story, and Emmich just put it into book form.

I liked how this book could do more with Evan's frantic mind. By putting it into 1st person, I could totally get the essence of Evan. I could imagine his quick talking as it is displayed in the musical. I could totally imagine book Evan saying these lines as Broadway Evan. So that was very appreciated.

This book was not a full-on home run though. I thought it was *slightly* cheesy. For example, Zoe Murphy is a singer/songwriter in the book, and the solos that she has in the musical are written as songs she has written in the book. It came across as ingenuine to me, and not really real. I found that this book didn't really elevate Zoe's character like they could have.

Overall, I am happy with this book. It did the musical justice, though if you have to pick between reading the book or seeing the musical (given you have the financial means to do so), then I would totally recommend the musical over the book. There is just nothing like hearing those vocals live, and I think the element of live theatre just provides a bit more emotion than the book did.

Have you read/seen Dear Evan Hansen? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 19 July 2019

Wow! She Still Blogs! A Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hi world! Remember when I used to put up regular posts? You know your life is busy when on your DAY OFF you still can't find time to write a post. My last post was my month in review for June and it is well into July. But alas, I have two minutes to myself, and so I decided to do one of those Mid-Year Book Tags. I feel like I haven't really chatted about my reading (or lack thereof) this year, so I thought this would be a good chance to share some favourites.

Best Book You've Read So Far in 2019: 

Without a single doubt, Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan. It was light-hearted, hilarious, and so romantic. I flew through it and the movie is awesome as well.

Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2019: 

Not a sequel, but as part of When Dimple Met Rishi series, There's Something About Sweetie takes the cake. I thought the characters were so lovable and I was happy to get an ARC of this!

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, but Want To: 

I really want to read Red, White and Royal Blue by: Casey Mcquiston! I thought I would get to it this summer, but then life got in the way. I will get to it eventually!

Most Anticipated Release For The Rest of The Year: 

Probably Call Down the Hawk by: Maggie Stiefvater. It's the first book in her Ronan Lynch series, and I used to love The Raven Cycle. I understand she has had some problematic elements and I don't think the books are the quality literature I once thought they were, but it'll be a nice return to my teenage obsession.

Biggest Disappointment: 

Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi. This book was hyped so much, but I just found it kinda boring.

Biggest Surprise: 

Wide Sargasso Sea by: Jean Rhys! I was not expecting to like this book because I had to read it for school, but it was so well-written and an amazing Jane Eyre retelling!

Favourite New Author (Or Debut to You): 

Michelle Berry was a debut author for me and I loved her book The Prisoner and the Chaplain! I also got to interview her too and she was super nice!

Newest Fictional Crush: 

Nick from Crazy Rich Asians. Nothing else to say.

Newest Favourite Character: 

Seth Clearwater from The Twilight Saga. I never really appreciated him before but now I love him!

Book That Made You Cry: 

I didn't actually cry, but My Lady Jane could have made me cry with laughter at times.

Book That Made You Happy:

I re-read To All the Boy's I've Loved Before and that book never fails to make me smile!

Your Favourite Book to Movie/Tv Adaptation From This Year: 

I haven't read Birdbox, but the movie was amazing!!!

What's Your Favourite Post From this Year? 

I really liked my post, Why I Don't Want to Get Published. It was really good for me to get that stuff off my chest.

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far: 

Slayer by: Kiersten White, for the sole purpose that anything related to Buffy is beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year? 

I need to finish my re-read of the To All the Boy's series, and I also need to get going on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. I finally bought the first volume and I hope I love them!

This has been my year so far! I know it's no secret that I haven't been posting or reading regularly, but I'm still here. Don't forget me book community!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Month in Review: June

Why does it seem like the moment I am done school, I actually find I have less time to read? I think it's because breaks in between classes and obviously required reading makes me read more. But now that I'm working eight hour shifts at a time, I have less time to crack open a book. Anyways, here's an update on a not so productive reading month:

What I Read: 

The Sands of Ammon (Alexandros #2) by: Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Iain Holliday (Translator): 2/5 stars

And that's it. This is the only book I read in June. I'll post a full review of this book, but basically I wouldn't call it my favourite book of the month (even if it was my only book), because it was just: meh.

What I Blogged: 

Blogging wasn't very productive either. However, I did finally post my review of My Lady Jane, which was so awesome to write because the book was, well, AWESOME. You should check it out.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Cee talks Anxiety and Worrying about Sh*t She Doesn't Care About 

Erin discusses The Redundancy in A Court of Frost and Starlight 

Veronika talks about All the Stuff that Annoys Her in Book Reviews 

Life Stuff: 

All work and no play makes Emily a sad girl. I feel like I missed out on a lot of fun things this month because it's all just work, work, and more work. I know the money pays off but, when I see my friends all doing fun stuff without me, it does dampen my mood.

However, my manager has been so gracious to give me July 1st off, which for those of you who don't know, is Canada Day, and I am so excited about it!! I've gotten used to having to work through summer holidays, so the day off to just be patriotic af will be great. I'm looking forward to it.

So that was my June. Kinda boring if you ask me. But, I do have some fun things to look forward to in July.

How was your June?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 14 June 2019

My Lady Jane by: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Published: June 7, 2016 by: HarperTeen
Pages: 491
Rating: 5/5 stars

Sixteen year old Edward is king of England, though he is much more interested in finding a nice lady to share his first kiss with rather than running an empire. He is also dying of a mysterious illness, and must find a successor. Edward's cousin Jane is a smart young woman with her nose in the books, who is less than enthused when Edward marries her off to Lord Gifford, an awkward man with an interesting secret, he shape-shifts into a horse. When Edward, Jane, and Gifford get caught up in a conspiracy for the crown, it is up to the trio to put aside their differences, before someone takes their heads.

If you have followed my blog for a long time you might know that I have been DYING to read this book for a long time. I just never really got the chance... until now. I was so happy to have finally experienced this hilarious masterpiece, and boy did I fly through this novel.

The commentary in this book is witty, charming, and so easy to get through. The authors continuously break down the fourth wall by incorporating their thoughts into the story, and there are little remarks here and there that would make any history or pop culture aficionado chuckle. (That Red Wedding reference.)

The characters are so lovable and incredibly well-written. Jane is smart and level-headed, Gifford is awkward but oh so charming, and Edward is sarcastic and pure. I was rooting for every single one of them and I think the authors did a great job at making their personalities add such wit into the story.

Let me get this straight, this book is a far-stretch from the actual story of Lady Jane Grey, but the premise is incredibly unique that I think even historians would let it slide. I have always been interested in British history, and this book takes a well-known story and puts a funny twist to it. The ending is a lot less dark than in the real tale, and I think that's what makes this story really heartwarming. It was just so fun.

Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 3 June 2019

Month in Review: May

Emily continues to win at blogging by posting her May monthly review into June. *sighs.* ANYWAYS, if you still care, here's what I got up to in May:

What I Read:

Dear Evan Hansen by: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul: 4/5 stars
Love from A to Z by: S.K. Ali: 4/5 stars
Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan: 5/5 stars
Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi: 2/5 stars

Favourite book: I flew through Crazy Rich Asians! It's a pretty hefty novel for being a romance, but it was funny, informative, and so addictive. I have also finally watched the movie and I am just in love with this whole story.

What I Blogged:

I actually did well in scheduling posts ahead of time in May. Well, besides this post. My favourite blog post in May was My Favourite Resources for Writing for Fun. It was fun sharing some tips!

Favourite Blog Posts:

Cee asks, "Is this Dystopia?"

Lais discusses Her Favourite Bookish Names 

Shayna reveals Characters that Remind her of Herself 

Life Stuff:

The most exciting thing that happened in May is that I bought my first car! It is really great to have some independence now and I am really happy with it. I feel so grown up lol.

I also have been working a lot more, which is good on the idea that I have to make more money, but it also means that I have had less time to do more fun stuff. Oh well, it'll all pay off in the end!

Since having a car means I can come and go as I please, I have been utilizing my library a lot more! It wasn't always accessible for me to go often, but now I am checking out a ton of books at a time lol. Hopefully this means more reading!

That was my May! How was yours?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 24 May 2019

Re-Reading The Hunger Games: My Thoughts

This post is well overdue since I am already into summer but- remember that YA fiction course I took where I discussed Twilight? Well, we discussed The Hunger Games too and I thought I'd do a post on it as well! This post will be comprised of all three books in the trilogy, because most of my thoughts are the same across the entire series. So, here's what it was like to re-read The Hunger Games series, eight years later!

Let me start off by saying, that when I first read the series in 2011, I hated it. I thought the first book was ok, but as the series progressed I found it boring and confusing. Come to think of it now, I honestly think that I personally hadn't matured enough to fully understand the intense political themes in the series. Now more than ever, I have a new appreciation for all that Suzanne Collins was trying to convey.

My professor pointed out that the romance isn't the central plot in this series, as opposed to Twilight, and I would totally agree. Instead, I think we get a really in-depth look at political divide, as well as some allusions to the two opposing sides of the political spectrum. Hear me out, the Capitol represents heavy spending, frivolousness, a divide between the rich and poor. In Mockingjay, District 13 is presented as radically opposed to the Capitol, everyone is equal, though their rebellious tactics aren't exactly moral. I think that Collins did a great job at capturing the difference between the two extremes of the political spectrum. It all totally makes sense to me now!

When I got to Catching Fire, I reminded myself how much I love Finnick Odair. His character development is truly 10/10 and my professor pointed out how awesome it was that he didn't really portray hegemonic masculinity as much as Gale did. Finnick should be protected at all costs.

I found myself being less interested in whether or not Katniss chooses Peeta or Gale and more on whether or not she would be swayed by Snow or Coin. The ending of Mockingjay was so unbelievably epic and should go down as one of the greatest plot twists in history. While my class did have a bit of a problem with the epilogue, and I agree, I do think it reduced the power of Katniss' character a lot, I would still say that the ending is satisfying.

Overall, I am really happy that I found a new appreciation for this series. It is political, powerful, and presents morally ambiguous characters that you can root for and somehow also end up hating. I loved every second of this re-read.

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 17 May 2019

There's Something About Sweetie by: Sandhya Menon

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 14, 2019 by: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5/5 stars

Ashish Patel, fresh from being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, has completely lost his sense of self. His parents insist they can find him a great Indian-American girl to date, and this search ends in Sweetie, a track star whose traditional parents often remind her how much she lacks due to her weight. As Sweetie and Ashish begin to date, Ashish begins to rekindle the romance he once thought was dead, and Sweetie breaks out of her shell and owns herself for who she is. There's Something About Sweetie is a heartwarming companion to When Dimple Met Rishi, that includes lovable characters, witty humour, and a Bollywood reference or two.

I loved this book! I was really curious to see what Menon would do with the Dimple and Rishi world, and this book was that answer. I thought it was really cool to see what Rishi's brother has been up to, and how the two differ from one another. Sweetie was such an awesome main character, and Menon did a great job at writing a fat main character whose worth does not diminish due to her weight. This book is of course, also #ownvoices when it comes to Indian representation, and I very much appreciated every reference to Indian food and culture. Being half Pakistani, I could understand a lot of Ashish's and Dimple's family structures and thought it was extremely accurate.

I liked this book because it was simple, straight to the point, and it was very realistic. Ashish and Sweetie are just two ordinary teens trying to find themselves. They aren't written to be these grand philosophical characters who have everything figured out, and I think that's what makes them very relatable. Their relationship is slow to start and very pure, and I found myself rooting for them every step of the way.

Overall, I thought this was a fun romance that is also incredibly diverse. It is easy to get through, and the ending satisfied my love of the world of Dimple, Rishi, and their friends and family. This was a positive book that I think all should read if you love some fluffy romance!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 10 May 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: My Favourite Resources for Writing for Fun!

As some of you may know, I put up a blog post recently about Why I Don't Want to Get Published anymore. I just find writing to be a tedious task when I do it with the intent of it being shared with the world. I don't want writing to be a "job." Thankfully, since coming to this revelation, I have started enjoying writing for fun a lot more, and have been using some resources to help. Here is how I like to write for fun:

1. Writing in the "500 Writing Prompts Book"

Check out the book I use here: 500 Writing Prompts

My mom got me this book from Indigo for Christmas. It has some of the funnest writing prompts, with the line space so you can write right in the book. Some are short, some are long, and I have so much fun completing them. My favourite one thus far was "an alien has just abducted you. Provide the reasons why they should return you back to earth." It doesn't have to be serious or philosophical, and I like to experiment with form while doing it.

2. "Story in a Bag" Exercises

This was provided to me by my creative writing professor, with the intent to write longer short stories. Basically you are given a prompt, and after every paragraph, a new prompt is thrown your way to incorporate into your story. Sometimes it turns into a mess, but it's funny nonetheless. Here is one I followed to help with setting:

Describe the setting using all five senses and showing the time of day.
•Demonstrate time passing in a scene.
•Have a character hold a conversation – one character is local to the setting and the other is
Create a conflict and change the apparent temperament of one of the characters.
•Introduce a third character and escalate the conflict. Use mirroring in the dialogue. Include a 
descriptive passage about the surroundings / setting.
•Stage an interruption.
•Create some sense that all is lost for one of the characters.
•Have one character exit the setting and another enter.
•Include a short description of the setting – what has changed?

3. Cute Notebooks for Free Writing

I have found that when I am writing in a cute notebook, it inspires me to sit down and write even more. Recently I have been writing in a Game of Thrones Lannister notebook, and it just feels very whimsical and regal. Perfect for fantasy writing!

4. Writing Without Thought Verbs

Check out this link: Nuts and Bolts: "Thought" Verbs

Again, taken from a project I had to do in university, writing without thought verbs is a great way to develop your characters and show, not tell. It is tedious to do when being marked on it, or worrying about editors and publishers, but for fun, I don't take it too seriously. I just find it as a great way to improve my writing.

5. Writing on Pinterest

You heard me. So recently I had to do an assignment where I had to pick a social media and write using that media. I picked Pinterest and wrote a really fun wedding themed story revolving around the wedding inspiration I found on Pinterest. A now I am obsessed with writing cute little stories to go with some of the most creative photos on Pinterest. Sometimes it really helps to have a photo to go off of!

Those are the things that I am loving to do with writing at the moment! How do you like to write for fun?

Emily @ Paperback Princess