Friday 28 February 2020

Month in Review: February

This month (or more specifically, this week), has by far been the hardest of my life. I will get into it during the Life Stuff portion, but just know that there will be a lot of discussion about anxiety and depression.

What I Read: 

Sinner by: Maggie Stiefvater: 4/5 stars
The Keeper of the Isis Light by: Monica Hughes: 1/5 stars
China Rich Girlfriend by: Kevin Kwan: 4/5 stars
The Turkish Embassy Letters by: Mary Wortley Montagu: 1/5 stars
King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo: 3/5 stars

Favourite Book: I loved China Rich Girlfriend. Not as much as I did Crazy Rich Asians, but all of Kwan's novels are so funny and easy to get through.

What I Blogged: 

I was consistent in blogging this month, despite everything that was going on, which I am happy about. I got around to reviewing Shadow and Bone, which was great because I always enjoy sharing my thoughts on such a hyped book.

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Sabrina shares The Lies She has Heard about Reading

Erin Reviews Ninth House 

Cee asks for Love and Hope 

Life Stuff: 

Now comes the sad stuff. But I promise, I'm doing better now. The month started off with my mother moving in with me to take care of me amidst my anxiety and OCD. Her presence was a great distraction, and I found myself getting better throughout reading week. However, just this past week, I was prescribed anti-depressants to deal with my OCD and anxiety, and I was super excited to get some extra help. I had high hopes, but boy was I not expecting the side effects.

I took the medicine for four days, each time expecting to get a little more used to the medication like everyone told me I would. For those four days, I laid trembling in bed, constantly nauseous, constantly paranoid, at the darkest moment in my entire life. My mom would hold me as I shook uncontrollably. I couldn't keep any food down, and I had no motivation to do anything. I was depressed.

So, needless to say, I am off of the anti-depressants. Lots of people have told me that it just takes time to get used to them, but my brain has never been more fucked up in my life. I didn't feel like myself, and I thought that I was doing better before medication than afterwards. It was a hard decision, but I felt so much better once I was off of them.

I am still not 100%, and this is mostly because I am experiencing some stress towards what was a very traumatic experience. I keep thinking that I will get sick again. But, I am more of my old self today than I was for the past four days. I went to school, and it felt so good getting out of the house. I don't know where I stand with other forms of medication, but I am hopeful that I will be better with time. I'm not writing this as a sad story, because I am honestly much happier now. I just wish I hadn't experienced all that, as it something that I would rather forget.

So, I am going into March with a clearer head, and hopefully a healthier future. I am happy to get some of my mojo back, and I know this month looks a lot brighter than my last one.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 21 February 2020

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by: Carolyn Keene

Genre: Children's Fiction, Mystery
Published: September 1, 1991 by: Applewood Books
Pages: 210
Rating: 4/5 stars

Nancy is the daughter of Carson Drew, a famed lawyer in town. When Nancy learns that the old Josiah Crowley has died, and left his fortune to the greedy Topham family, Nancy is compelled to help the number of people who really needed the money, and who were promised the money from Crowley. Nancy discovers that Josiah's true will was left hidden in an old clock, and she uses her sleuthing skills to try and uncover the clock, and help those who are in need of her help.

I had to read this book for my children's literature class, and I thought that I wouldn't find it to be anything special. However, I was pleasantly surprised! This book was quick, easy to get through, and reminded me of the detective books I used to read when I was younger. I can definitely see myself reading more from this series.

I really enjoy the tone of old-timey books like these. They're just so wholesome and cute. They remind me of classic movies by the way these people talk. There's something that is kind of endearing about it all. I can't say you would go for this book if you're looking for some diversity, as Nancy is the epitome of white privilege, but I guess she really did help those who are less fortunate.

These old detective children's books can often be the cure for my anxiety. I used to be a huge fan of the Famous Five series, and this book took me way back to the nostalgia I felt through that series. These books are just easy reads, not heavy in subject matter at all, and always end happily. If you really need to be exposed to some light-hearted entertainment, what's not to love?

Have you read Nancy Drew? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 14 February 2020

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 13, 2017 by: Atria Books
Pages: 391
Rating: 2/5 stars

*highlight white text to reveal spoiler

When Monique Grant, a struggling journalist, lands a coveted interview with famed old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, she is curious. This is because Evelyn specifically requested Monique. Soon Monique is swept inside Evelyn's world, as Evelyn tells Monique her life story with the idea that Monique will publish Evelyn's official biography after her death. Monique soon learns that Evelyn's life went far deeper than what the gossip blogs knew, and through her interview, Monique not only learns things about Evelyn's life, but also about her own.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to gush over it like 99% of the book community does. I tried very hard. However, this book was a complete and utter bust for me. Here's why:

First off, I barely liked the character of Evelyn. I found her selfish and pretentious, and I didn't think that the book gave her a good voice at all. I understand that everything she did in her life, she did for a reason. Her life was hard, and she had to take risks. I admired her confidence as a woman. But, I thought that she was very unlikable, and a lot of the stuff she did in her past hurt a lot of people. I just couldn't champion her.

I also didn't love Monique either. I think she was a very bland character, who I didn't receive enough information about to like her. She completely fell flat.

Now to the plot. And to be honest, the only reason this book received two stars from me is because I enjoyed diving into the world of Old Hollywood. I find that era fascinating, so I will say that I found those aspects of the book most interesting.

I though that the "big twist" at the end of the novel was such a far stretch. You mean to tell me that Evelyn's best friend killed Monique's father years ago? Absolutely not. I thought that the twist was random, not to mention something that I thought was very unrealistic. There are billions of people in this world, and yet somehow Monique and Evelyn have this connection? Give me a break.

So, yeah, I didn't love this book. I found it pretentious and with some very unlikable characters. I didn't buy it at all. In fact, it just left me angry. Oh well.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 7 February 2020

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: June 5, 2012 by: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5 stars

*review contains spoilers

The nation of Ravka is divided by the Fold, a mysterious layer of darkness ridden with monsters. Alina works and fights along it, but when her best friend is brutally injured, she uncovers a power she didn't even know she had. Soon Alina is whisked off to be trained as a Grisha, a group of magical elite people who learn under the Darkling, the most powerful being in Ravka. As the Darkling takes an interest in Alina, she must uncover his true secrets, and decide who she is able to trust in her war-torn country.

I finally did it, I read the book that book twitter can't keep quiet about! Honestly, I expected to hate this book. Fantasies are not my cup of tea, and I think that Leigh Bardugo's writing is something that I normally struggle to get into. However, I thought this book was fabulous. Full of action and intrigue, and captured me right in.

Basically, I was looking for a new series to obsess over, and this could very much be a contender! I loved all of the characters, and the mystery that they hold. Alina was resilient and strong, Mal was loyal (and in my opinion, way better than the Darkling), but the Darkling was also a really well-written villain. I enjoyed learning about him and I find his backstory to be fascinating.

I was concerned that the plot would be boring and pretentious, but I didn't find that at all! I thought there was consistent action from start to finish, and by the end of the book, I completely flew through the novel. In fact, I think I finished this book all in two days, which is a big win for fantasies in my opinion.

*Spoiler section:

The only thing that prevented this book from being a total win, was the romance aspect. I really don't get how Alina and the Darkling are a thing. He was incredibly abusive and manipulative, and I really don't understand the hype surrounding them? In my opinion, Mal is so much better for her, but in reality I would like to see Alina stand on her own. I don't think this series needs romance to be successful, but that's more of a personal opinion. We shall see once I continue with the series.

Anyways, I really did enjoy this book. I found it to be intriguing and unique. I really would love to read more.

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess