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