Wednesday, 17 January 2018

What's in My Writing Portfolio?


Like a lot of people I've met in the blogisphere, I want to be a writer someday. My absolute dream is to be published, and while I have already technically written a book for NaNoWriMo, it is nowhere near where I want my writing to be. However, I have just started my creative writing class at uni, and have started writing again after over a year. Here's what I've been up to:

So in order to get into my creative writing program which starts next year, I have to submit a portfolio. I'm pretty nervous because I don't really have a backup plan if I don't get in.  For my portfolio, I have submitted 10 pages of writing from various stories. I'm really excited about them and wanted to share what they're about.

My first story is a 2-page long excerpt from a potential YA fantasy that I worked on a lot a year ago, but kinda lost touch of. It's about a girl named Ely, a fortune teller who lives under a tyrannical monarchy and must go undercover in the palace in order to kill the ruthless king. It is probably my most developed story, I have 16 pages already written along with storyboards and even a query letter, because when the time comes, I would really love to finish and submit it to an agent.

My second piece is a character portrait of the ruthless king Kyle from the story above. I think he is the character I have the most clear picture of in my mind and I really love writing him. He's a terrible person, but he's also broken inside and really needs to be shown some sort of love.

My third is something completely different, it's an introduction to a dystopia about all the world being condensed into a single country. Basically, there has been only one survivor of each country in the world after the apocalypse, and so they all band together onto one piece of land and have to learn to cooperate. I don't think this story will go anywhere but it was fun to write nonetheless.

I finally got around to writing an ancient history retelling! This is about a girl who is trapped under the rubble of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii. She recounts memories of her past life before the eruption and tries to make her way out of the rubble. I know there were no survivors of the eruption, but I wanted to have a little fun with a "what if?"

The last piece I've submitted is a short story about a woman driving to work in heavy downtown traffic and she talks about her anxieties about driving and ponders how fast moving society is nowadays. This was by far my favourite piece to submit because it has a plot twist in the end, and I have never written a plot twist before. I also don't really write short stories so it was a good change.

That's all that's in my creative writing portfolio! If all goes well, maybe I'll share some of the pieces I submitted later on, because I do feel like I need to be more open with sharing my writing.

Have you ever had to submit a writing portfolio? Do you have any tips?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 15 January 2018

The 100 by: Kass Morgan

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia
Published: September 3rd, 2013 by: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 323
Rating: 2/5 stars



For centuries after nuclear warfare, humanity has lived on a spaceship known as the Arc, far above from the now inhabitable planet. However, fuel and oxygen are beginning to run out, and so Chancellor Jaha orders that 100 juvenile delinquents be sent back to earth to recolonize. Among them is Clarke, an artist arrested for treason; and Bellamy, a troublemaker who snuck his way onto the mission in order to protect his sister Octavia. The 100 will face new found hardships and a planet unfamiliar to them, but they may be humanity's only hope.

Ok, so I absolutely love the tv show The 100. I find it so action-packed, complex, and the characters are unbelievably well-written. So I was eager to get my hands on the book to help me cope with this dreaded year-long hiatus. However, and this is a pretty popular opinion, I found that the tv show is way better than the book.

I didn't love how the characters were written. Clarke didn't seem even half as badass as she is in the show and Bellamy was just so dull. I couldn't imagine them as the characters that I know and love and I found them so underdeveloped and underwhelming. I thought Octavia was ok, she definitely still remains my favourite character, but still I wanted more.

The plot was also quite boring. I waited so long for something to happen and it took forever for things to get going. This is unlike the show, which through me right into the action.

I guess what kept me from fully hating this book was that I was already familiar with the characters and the general storyline, so I wasn't fully disconnected. However I now know that the show changed a lot of things, and I am very thankful for that. For once, the show was better.

Have you read The 100? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Paperback's Pondering's: Why I've Set My Goodreads Goal A Little Lower This Year


Paperback's Pondering's is back! Today I'm going to talk about Goodreads goals, and why I have set my expectations a little lower this year than in previous years.

I was anticipating not even setting a Goodreads goal this year, and here's why. I just found that for me, in previous years, I would rush through books just to make the goal. I wasn't actually reading, rather skimming, to fly through book after book because I felt as if this goal had to be met. I don't even know why this goal was so important to me, it's not like you win a cash prize or anything, but I associated not meeting my goal with failure. I needed to finish it.

So the first year I set the goal, it was at 65 books, and over the years I have always felt like I needed to top the goal from the previous year. So by 2017, I was at a whopping 80 books, which doesn't seem like much compared to other bookworms who clear at least 100 books a year (seriously, give me your powers), but it was honestly physically impossible for me. So again, I rushed through books and read a lot of pointless short books I wasn't even interested in just to meet and exceed the goal.

So this year, I have set my goal back from even my first year, at 50 books. To a non-bookworm, that seems like such a challenge, and to an avid bookworm, it may even seem a little measly. But with this goal, I can ensure that I actually closely read each book and only read books I am genuinely interested in. I don't want to waste my time anymore.

I would like to eventually work my way up to the incredible goal that is 100 books, but it will be impossible for a first-year university student to reach that quite fast. So for now, I'll be sitting here content with my 50 books.

Do you have a Goodreads goal? What is it set at?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Monday, 8 January 2018

Year in Review: 2017

I'm back!!! Hey everyone, how's 2018 treating you so far? I know I've taken a bit of a hiatus, but I have so many ideas this year and I can't wait for 2018 in terms of blogging, writing, and of course reading! But for now, here's a list of all the things I did in 2017:

Reading:

I read 84 books in 2017, completing my goodreads challenge of reading 80 books! My favourite book from the year was by far Station Eleven, I'm sure you all are tired of me talking about that book. My favourite 2017 release was The Hate U Give. 2017 was great in terms of diverse books.

Blogging:

I kinda slacked off this year when it came to blogging. I took a lot of hiatuses and reduced my frequency in posting, but that was all because of the major changes that happened in my life this year. Now back into the swing of things, I hope to be posting more.

I was also thrilled that many bloggers came back from hiatuses this year! Claire @ Clairefy and TT @ Intro to Blurb to name a few. It's exciting to see some familiar faces making their return.

Life:

Well, what didn't happen this year?! I graduated high school, got to see many sights and sounds of Europe, attended FanExpo and met some of my favourite people, and of course, started university. It hasn't been easy and honestly I feel like my anxiety has been through the roof more than ever this past year, but all things just take time. I'm starting 2018 with a clean slate and a want for change.

My 2018 Goals:

This all brings me to my 2018 goals. This year, I want to get back into writing. I have a good book idea and I want to start getting it going, and I'm taking a creative writing course this year which I'm sure will help.

I also of course want to post more and want to work on scheduling posts every Monday and Wednesday. No more writing posts on the day that they go up.

I would love to get a job soon as well. University is not cheap and I like the idea of having a little extra money.

That was my 2017! I'm excited for 2018 and I hope it'll be great. How was your year?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday, 21 December 2017

See You All in the New Year!

Hey everyone! So it's been over a week since I've posted last and I just wanted to provide a little update. I'll be taking a break from posting for my Christmas break and will just focus on having a little me-time. I just can't seem to feel inspired to write and honestly I just want to shut my computer down until the new year! But don't fret, I will be back January 10th once I return to school with new posts.

I just want to wish you all a Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and all the best in 2017! Hope you all have a lovely time this season.

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

More Happy Than Not by: Adam Silvera

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: June 2, 2015 by: Soho Teen
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5 stars



The Leteo Institute's memory relief procedure promises to erase all of the bad memories of your life, to make you happy again. To Aaron Soto, that sounds promising, considering he's grown up in a poor Bronx neighbourhood all his life and lives with a mother and brother who barely look at him. But then Aaron meets Thomas, a sweet boy who becomes the support system Aaron has never had, and starts making him happy again. But Aaron still has to grapple with this sexuality, and a community that is less than supportive of it. Would the procedure really be a bad idea?

This book was my first Adam Silvera book I have ever read and I was really impressed by it! It was his debut and I do think I'll enjoy his other books better, but this was still a great, emotional read that deals with a lot of stuff.

I loved the concept of this memory institute. It was almost like a sci-fi facility within the real world, and it was kinda creepy and almost acted like the villain of the book. I thought it was a really unique concept and Silvera did a great job handling it.

I also loved the characters. Aaron was so sweet and I really felt for him, and Thomas was just such a good soul. I loved those two together and this book definitely gave me all the feels.

One minor thing I didn't love about this book was that it seemed a little long. I think it could've been condensed a bit more and some parts did drag. But still, overall, a great debut!!

Have you read More Happy Than Not? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas- Fifteen Words by: Monika Jephcott- Thomas


This December, I'm taking part in the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas, a blog tour showcasing the best of Clink Street Publishing's books! So I'm here to review Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott- Thomas, a harrowing historical fiction novel.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: November 22, 2016 by: Clink Street Publishing
Rating: 4/5 stars



In WW2 Germany, Catholic Max is a war doctor, helping the wounded all while concealing his true opinions on Hitler. On the other hand, his wife Erika, a agnostic product of the Hitler youth is all the way in Siberia in a POW camp. Despite their vast differences, the two are in love, and the distance is killing Max as his only contact with his wife is through letters, in fifteen words or less. As Erika struggles with being pregnant in the camp, Max is trying to keep in contact with her and toy with his personal morals, and his country's.

This was a really interesting book! I have read many WW2 novels, but never from a German perspective. I think it's very important for books like these to be sensitive to the victims of the war, especially Jews, and this book did just that. It gave a good look on a German man against Hitler's regime, as well as his wife who is sadly a product of her environment.

I loved Max. I thought he was a well-rounded character with a heart of gold who truly cared. He had such compassion and was also very knowledgeable, and I enjoyed reading about him a lot. I also loved the fact that he was a doctor, as I love medical stuff and seeing him in action was great.

I didn't love Erika though. She did kinda put a damper on the book for me because I couldn't help but hate her views on Hitler, despite her having no choice, and I thought Max deserved a lot better than her. They just seemed like a weird couple to me, I didn't really get their chemistry.

I thought this was a very easy book to read. I was scared it would be too heavy, as a lot of historical fiction books are, but it was very easy to read and I got through it quickly. I would definitely recommend!!

That's it for me! Be sure to check out the other 12 Day's blog posts this month.

Emily @ Paperback Princess