Book Reviews: Replica, The Female of the Species, Girl Mans Up, The Lost & Found and Write This Down

book reviews on the paper trail diary

Though I’ve been reading a lot lately (woo, already passed 60 books for the year, a feat for me!), I haven’t quite kept up with book reviews, even though I want to talk about all of these books! So to catch you and me up, I’m going to do a review round-up of some awesome reads! I really, really liked all of these fall releases and I think you will too.

Replica by Lauren Oliver

What a wild ride! If you’re a fan of Orphan Black like me, you’re going to really like ReplicaReplica is told in two narratives, which is not uncommon for YA, but what makes that even cooler is a) it’s two girls and b) the book is a flip book, so you get to choose how you read it. (Also – two bookmarks!) I’ll explain how I read it soon, but first, I’ll tell you about the book.

Lyra is a replica (aka clone) who lives in a research facility on a remote island off the marshes of Florida with hundreds of other replicas. She’s a fairly self-aware replica for someone who is treated as an it rather than a she. She doesn’t think she’s human, she’s just there to be tested. Gemma is just a regular girl who lives a few States away with super protective parents. She knows she spent a lot of her childhood in the hospital, but she doesn’t think much on why besides the fact that it’s made her bullied for looking like Frankenstein’s monster with a big scar down her chest. Gemma feels trapped and lonely, so when she discovers her parents have some sort of secret connection to a shady research facility in Florida (hm!), at first she is excited to defy her parents and go on an adventure to uncover the truth. But it quickly escalates as soon as Gemma and Lyra cross paths, as they both must run for their lives from those who want to keep the research facility a secret.

I was totally sucked into this book, I was so satisfied. I wouldn’t say the concept is very original, but the experience is fun and exciting. I think I liked Lyra’s narrative a little bit more, because for her everything is new and mysterious, whereas with Gemma it’s more anxiety and panic. But what one lacks, the other has. So Lyra doesn’t realize there’s a mystery to be solved until some things happen, but Gemma’s been on the case from the start.

In a scene in the lab as Lyra makes a discovery:

“Lyra moved deeper, into the forest of file cabinets and old plastic storage bins, into mountains of paperwork no one had touched for years. A few rooms were dark, or only partly illuminated. And she could hear, in the quiet, the whisper of millions of words, words trapped behind every drawer, words beating their fingernails against the inside of the file cabinets.

All the words she could ever want: words to stuff herself on until she was full, until her eyes burst.”

Because it is a flip-narrative book, it’s rare that the story overlaps, which I liked. Everyone will have a different way of reading it, but here’s how I did. I flipped after every 2 chapters of each (starting with Lyra) until chapter 9. Then I’d flip every other chapter, however there were a couple parts where the narrative kept going for one character so it made more sense to do two chapters then back to the other. You’d recognize it while reading. Some people read one whole side first then the second, but I know that would drive me crazy. So it’s really up to you!

Lauren has announced that Replica will be the first in a duology – Helix is set to come out next year and I could not be more excited!

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Oh man, this book left me with so many complex feels. I was reading the ending while out in public, which I would’t recommend, because I almost cried at a bus stop. So, just a warning, this book might destroy you for a while. But oh is it necessary.

Alex Craft’s sister was brutally murdered, so Alex is out for revenge. The story takes place a year or so after – with her sister’s killer also mysteriously murdered. But Alex is hyper-aware of the people who surround her. She’s a colder character – you would be too – but still has a lot of heart. She makes friends with Peekay (nicknamed for Preacher’s Kid) as they both volunteer at the local animal shelter. And soon she ends up surprisingly interested in popular jock Jack, who was actually found having sex with another girl, Branley, while he was supposed to be searching for her sister (yeaaahhh), though he does have a softer side to him, which is what Alex is drawn to. The book is told from all three of their POVs, but obviously Alex’s is the most compelling. I got a little annoyed with Jack after a while because he is always being all ‘yeah so I was attracted to Branley, so what, I’m a guy, can I help it?’ which is a little uncomfortable because get this – the book is largely about rape culture and how guys assert themselves. Though Jack is never the bad guy, it’s still a bit bothersome (and just annoying to read after a while). And Peekay is a sweet, lovely flower who needs to be protected. I don’t want to give too much away because you really need to read it on your own, but I will say that this book is so important, is such a good reflection on assault and rape, and how girls have to deal with really upsetting actions, even something like a boy getting away with humping a basketball on a playground, but Alex knowing she’d never be able to do that. It’s full of really memorable scenes, and you’ll be left feeling all sorts of things. It’s not your average heart-wreck of a YA – you’ll be a bit confused by how you feel, because it’s sort of noodled its way into your brain, and you don’t know if it’s right to feel compassion in ways that you will. But oh, just please read this.

From Alex, in the humping-a-basketball scene:

“I wonder what would happen if I went down there, took a ball out of the cage, and pretended to have sex with it. I think people would stop and look. I think the whole gym would come to a standstill and teachers would definitely interfere. There would be discussions (again) about what exactly is wrong with me that I would do such a thing. I would definitely log some more hours in the guidance office.

But boys will be boys, our favourite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard

I so enjoyed this book! I’ve been meaning to tell you guys more about it for a while. It’s a queer diverse YA novel that takes place near Toronto <3

Pen is a girl who looks like a boy and likes girls but doesn’t want to be a boy, she just wants to be herself. She has no problem with this (which I loved about her), but it seems that everyone else around her does, from her strict Portuguese parents to her childhood best friend Colby to her peers. These people are straight up closeminded and awful to her, and she takes it. I felt so much for Pen, I wanted to hug her and high five her and tell her it’s going to get better. I wanted to punch Colby in the face multiple times, like, woof, he’s bad news. Pen must find a way to convince everyone that she is wonderful just the way she is, which is unfortunate, but makes for a good story, ha.

But Girl Mans Up isn’t all about pain, it’s also about love. Pen adores her older brother Johnny, though siblings are bound to have their bumps in the road. She also falls for a girl at school, Blake, and their romance is just plainly adorable. Pen also finds a new friend in Olivia, a girl who had hooked up with Colby before, and is having some problems with him too. They’re unlikely friends at first, but each find something in the other that they needed.

I loved M-E’s writing style – I was immediately and completely drawn into Pen’s life from the beginning, and was sad when the book was over. At a recent event, M-E explained how Pen is based off of her girlfriend Melissa’s teen self. When Melissa was reading it over she told M-E ‘this totally happened to me when I was younger’ and M-E was surprised because she knew Melissa hadn’t told her anything like that before, but she had really wound her way into Melissa’s character. I think that is so sweet! Because of this, Pen is one of the most genuine characters in YA you’ll meet these days. I just want everyone to read it! I particularly think it’d be a fantastic read for queer teens who are in a similar position as Pen.

Girl Mans Up is full of gems. I compiled a list of the top ten quotes for HCC Frenzy, but here’s one:

“Everyone wants something different from me. It’s like one second, I should be a better dude. I should stop being such a girly douche, and I should just man up. Then, it’s the opposite: I’m too much of a guy, and it’s not right. I should be a girl, because that’s what I’m supposed to be.”

The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno

Frannie and Louis always lose stuff. Things that mean a lot to them, and things that don’t. There is no way to explain the weird phenomena that has affected them, so they just accept it. Frannie and Louis don’t know each other by name at first – only screen names – The Missing Nib and Bucker – from an online support group for those who have suffered a tragedy. Their childhood tragedies still very much affect them as teens, and they’re both pretty much alone in their coping besides talking to each other online. But something happens to each of them that encourages them to move forward, to the same place. They embark on their own road trips with the only other people who mean the world to them — for Frannie it’s her adopted cousin Arrow, and for Louis it’s his twin sister Willa. Along the way, Frannie and Louis mysteriously and randomly find the things that the other has lost.

It took me a little while to get into the story – just a warning: it starts with their tragedies and they’re both fairly graphic – but once I did, I found what I came to the book for: a cute YA story with dual narrators that includes love but isn’t all about love. It significantly brightens throughout the book, along with their attitudes. I enjoyed reading their separate journeys – what they must go through in order to find relief and happiness – the love that they find is just a super cute bonus. Their past tragedies and present worries are totally valid, but you root for them to find a way to find some peace. And I love the hint of magical realism in the sense of the lost and found objects!

This book seems to have flown under the radar, so I hope you’ll now add it to your TBR! It’s beautifully written and has a bit of everything. One thing I’ll say though as a paper person who was drawn to the book with the words ‘pen pals’ – online chat buddies are not pen pals 😉

“The distance between two things so phenomenally far apart from each other crossed at the slowest possible rate. And when they collided, there was only buzzing and humming and the bone-deep vibration of a thousand light-seeking beasts… We were seeking our own light, and we had just found it.”

Write This Down by Claudia Mills

While all the books above are YA, Write This Down is middle grade. Twelve-year-old Autumn is sweet, bookish, and confused about the world. Autumn and her older brother Hunter used to be so close, but recently he’s been angry, withdrawn and mean. Hunter crosses a line when he reads Autumn’s private poetry to his friends, which includes the brother of Autumn’s crush Cameron, who of course she wrote about in her journal. Autumn is so upset, and she wants to get Hunter back. But being the precious self-proclaimed next Emily Dickinson that she is, she’s not going to do something on Hunter’s level – she’s going to get back at him through the written word. Autumn is a young, aspiring writer, and she decides she can not only get Hunter back but also prove herself as a writer and as crush-material to Cameron, by getting a story published in The New Yorker. I loved the bit of ridiculous this was – Autumn – a preteen – truly believed she had a good shot at The New Yorker, which was sweet. She even submitted some of her novel to agents at a public event.

“There have been lots of – well, some – mega-popular books that were written and published by kids. S. E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was in high school. Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon when he was fifteen. Fifteen isn’t that much older than twelve. And Christopher Paolini probably didn’t have a horrible older brother and a fabulous boy in his journalism class that he needed to impress, or maybe he would have published his book even sooner.”

I had fun reading this book and I think it could speak to a lot of middle graders. I sure saw a lot of my former self in Autumn, and I know there are lots of girls out there like me. While Hunter is truly frustrating, and it’s hard to feel invisible to a crush, Autumn has nice relationships with her parents and best friend Kylee that keep her supported. Autumn has some growing up to do herself, and she needs to learn how to deal with anger, but it’s nothing anyone hasn’t had to go through before. I’d recommend it to the shy, young writerly girls who are learning how to use their voices.


Well, well, well! Five reviews in one post! I won’t be doing that again 😉 But I hope you’ve added these to your TBRs and would love to hear what you think of them when you’ve read them! And hath no fear I definitely have a lot more reviews coming your way.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for ReplicaThe Female of the Species, and Girl Mans Up, and thank you to Raincoast Books for Write This Down. This did not affect my opinion of the books whatsoever.

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Book Review: Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

where am i now mara wilson via paper trail diary

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson, via Penguin, out now.

[I received this book from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

Ok, let’s get the basics out of the way. Most of you will know Mara Wilson from her portrayal of Matilda or her role in Mrs. Doubtfire. You may or may not know that since those many years ago, she’s grown up to be a great writer, comedian, retweeter and voice actor. Though it did feel kind of random to hear about her doing a memoir of sorts, I was excited about it from the get go. Of course I want to know more about what it was like to be Matilda, one of the biggest bookworm icons! Of course I’d be interested in finding out what she’s been up to! Of course I’d want to read more of her genuine and comedic voice! And these wants are exactly what play into the premise of Mara’s book of personal essays. And I was not disappointed! I really like Mara’s writing style and hope to see much more in the future. She was in Toronto for press and events this week and I was lucky to see her do a Q&A and signing at Indigo. She is such a wonderful presence to be around – she seems comfortable, happy, and interested in everyone. Plus, she’s as much of an eloquent speaker as she is a writer. Where Am I Now? is a great read – something you can pick up and put down or read all the way through, something everyone can find something to identify with, and overall, it’s totally enjoyable and interesting.

So here are 5 reasons why you need to read Mara’s book of essays.

1. Memories of being an existential kid are hilarious.

I wish I had as good of a memory of my childhood as Mara does. There’s one essay about how she was such an existential kid, going through her years, and it probably cracked me up more than any other essay. Here’s a passage from age five:

My kindergarten class goes to an assembly on astronomy. The astronomer, in an attempt to make science more exciting, plays up the danger in the universe. When he talks about solar flares, I am convinced that come the next solar flare, fire will rain down from the sky and incinerate us all. By the time he moves on to all the ways the planet Venus could kill a human being, I am sobbing hysterically.

None of the other kids are crying, and I wonder if I’m the only one who understands. If this is what it is to be special, it’s terrible. Several kindergarten aids take me aside to try to calm me down. When it doesn’t work, they give me a rice cake and call my mother.

‘Maybe you were scared because you were getting something out of it the other kids weren’t,’ she tells me when she picks me up. ‘The other kids just thought, ‘Oh, Venus, it’s a planet,’ but you were making connections they weren’t. Maybe you really love astronomy?’

I don’t think she’s right.

2. She understands what it means to be called ‘cute.’

As a child actor, or as someone who has a baby face, the word cute could be good or bad. And there’s always a time in your life when cute is very bad, because you want to be more than that. You want people to see your maturity, not as a thing to hug. In her essay “the ‘c’ word,” Mara explains how being cute was just one of the many reasons why she was falling out of love with Hollywood, especially as she was a pretty dark and kind of edgy kid. In a scene where she discovered she was being scouted to be ‘the next Shirley Temple’:

We watched Bright Eyes and The Little Princess and I thought about how I’d say no to this. Shirley Temple was so cute, she didn’t quite seem real. Did I admire her? Yes. Did I want to be her? No. My mother knew, and I was starting to sense, that being cute meant being controlled, and that being the next Shirley Temple would mean everyone in the world knowing a version of Mara Wilson that wasn’t me at all.

3. She’s a strong advocate for mental health.

I don’t think I knew much on this before I read the book, so it was a pleasant surprise to read so much about Mara’s experience with depression, anxiety and OCD. She explained how it felt really well, and it made my heart ache to experience it along with her again, to think of this kid being totally confused as to why she was feeling so different and upset all the time, and why she felt like she couldn’t tell anyone about it. Now, Mara will candidly talk about her experience, being on medication, and how important it is for people (especially child actors) to go to therapy, which I really admire.

4. She gives a funny, personal and smart look at what it’s like to be a child actor.

Normally your first thought about ‘child actors’ is something along the lines of look now they are a recovering alcoholic, can’t get any work and just seem sad, right? Because that’s what we’re fed through weird slideshows online and entertainment tv. Mara acknowledges this throughout the book, pokes fun at it a little bit, and shows how her growing up was nothing like that at all. She’ll reference kids she hung out with (at her event this week, someone asked if she still hangs out with Hilary Duff) and the silly things they did. She was just a kid who liked acting, but liked other things, then a teenager who went through an awkward phase, and then someone who wasn’t comfortable in Hollywood and wanted to come at it from a different angle. Respect!

5. She’s just a really good writer.

Her style flows so naturally, like she’s talking to you, and it’s really funny and poignant. She could make the smallest things sound interesting. She’s so in touch with her memories and feelings that they just jump off the page. And like I said, I hope there will be more to read in the future!

Have you read Where Am I Now? What do you think?

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Georgia Nicolson Readalong (The End!) – Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?

are these my basoomas i see before me via paper trail diary

Welcome back to the Georgia Nicolson Readalong!

Quick refresher: in honour of our dearly departed Teen Queen Louise Rennison, I started a readalong so that we could read (or re-read) her classic Georgia Nicolson series.

You can catch up with posts on Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, Knocked Out By My Nunga-NungasDancing in My Nuddy PantsAway Laughing on a Fast Camel, Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers, Startled by his Furry Shorts, Love is a Many Trousered Thing and Stop in the Name of Pants!

Please note that if you haven’t read this book yet and intend to, there are spoilers!

I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of the readalong!! We did it!

Ten books of Georgia Nicolson – the quirky boy-crazy British teen gal who diaries her bonkers conversations with her friends and family and her ongoing love triangles. We went from the iconic first few books and movie – the ones people really fell in love with – through to the very end.

We’ve learned our lesson that maybe we should leave the things we used to love in the past rather than experience them in a whole new unflattering light now. We’ve seen how books can really not stand the test of time, though it has been a bit interesting (but cringeworthy) to think about how things we find problematic now weren’t seen that way in the 90s.

We’ve gone with Georgia from her first boyfriend Robbie (The Sex God) to a guy she used to make him jealous (Dave the Laugh) to the new Italian stud in town (Masimo) and to Dave a bunch of times in between. We’ve been there when Georgia and Jas had many fights, when the ace gang performed weird dances, and when Libby sang inappropriate songs. We’ve observed how Georgia’s parents have been a weird see-saw of reality and wackiness the whole time. After reading ten of these books you will for sure feel immersed in Georgia’s world!

So, the final book. We pick up from a fight that Masimo and Dave had over Georgia, and Georgia is left confused as to where she stands between them. She still firmly wants to be the girlfriend of Masimo, though, mostly for just being his girlfriend, so she waits for him to come back to her. She doesn’t really try to win him back. Dave tries to tell Georgia again how he feels and is again eschewed. Not much happens throughout the book actually – a lot of just general stuff going on at home and school for Georgia and her friends like another Shakespeare play, and seeing Dave around, and fighting with Wet Lindsay, and wanting to be all sexy for Masimo. But by now it seems clear to everyone but Georgia and Masimo that the two of them barely spend any time together, barely have anything in common, and Georgia spends way more time thinking about Dave anyway and STILL NOT GETTING THAT SHE LIKES HIM. I had hoped earlier in the series that things would change, but gotta say guys, nothing did. In this last book, I was waiting and waiting and waiting (in the two hours it took me to read it) for Georgia to realize she liked Dave, dump Masimo and tell Dave how she felt, even though she’s been toying with him for years. But the end was sadly the most frustrating thing of all. She never did what I’d hoped – they do end up together but only because Masimo decides to move to London with the band. So Georgia never really did any growing up, she never stepped up to do something about her situation herself, only turned to Dave once Masimo was gone, so it just sort of seemed like a ‘well I guess I’m single now because Masimo left, so, hey.’ What kind of message would that send to young readers??? I was pretty disappointed. Do you guys remember reading it when you were younger? What did you think?

I will say though that these ten books all had jokes that had me cracking up, so I will look back fondly upon that.

in the lounge in my jimjams

Vati came in with a pork pie. Taking his health seriously then.

He said, “What’s the matter with you?”

Not that he cares.

I said, “I’m depressed actually.”

He said, “Depressed at your age? You’ll be saying you’re bored next.”

“That is what I was going to say next.”

I want to thank Kaley of Books Etc. for reading and blogging along with me. That’s been fun! And she’s kept a much more level head about all this teenage drama than I have 😉 And to any others who have been reading along, or just following along, thank you for your patience :p We will now resume regularly scheduled blogging!

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Georgia Nicolson Readalong: Books 8 & 9

georgia nicolson readalong 8 and 9

Welcome back to the Georgia Nicolson Readalong!

Quick refresher: in honour of our dearly departed Teen Queen Louise Rennison, I started a readalong so that we could read (or re-read) her classic Georgia Nicolson series. Every three weeks we’ll post about the next book in the series. You’re invited to join in at any time!

You can catch up with posts on Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, Knocked Out By My Nunga-NungasDancing in My Nuddy Pants, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel, Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers, and Startled by his Furry Shorts.

Please note that if you haven’t read this book yet and intend to, there are spoilers!

Well friends — I’ve fallen quite behind, sorry! I don’t have a good excuse besides being busy/tired/uninspired creatively lately. And I’ve found I don’t have much more to add to my discussion on these books as they keep going. I still think Georgia is a selfish knob though she still is quite funny. And I’ve thought a lot about how the series would be half as long if Georgia grew up in the time of email and cell phones :p

Here’s a quick recap of book 8, Love is a Many Trousered Thing

At the end of #7, Masimo (aka Luuurve God), Georgia’s most recent obsession, the Italian new singer of The Stiff Dylans, has changed his mind and told Georgia that sure, he’d be her boyfriend. But right as he has, and Georgia is all swoony, Robbie, (aka original Sex God, original singer of The Stiff Dylans, etc etc) shows up after being in New Zealand for many books. And what does Georgia do? Take off running, naturally. Which was quite hilarious. Book #8 picks up right there, as Georgia’s panting her way home, assuming that she has two boyfriends now. So the book goes through Masimo and Robbie sort of vying for Georgia’s affections with snogs and Georgia being ridiculously confused. It ends with Georgia picking Masimo, which I can see how it’d make sense because she was still feeling hurt by Robbie leaving, and as she picks Masimo, Robbie lets out a single tear and says he’s going to go back to New Zealand.

It’s all very well writing books about how to make any twit fall in love with you, but what do you do when you have got them? That should be book two, What to Do with a Collection of Twits When You Have Accidentally Done What Some Fool in a Book Told You to Do and Now They Are All Hanging Out Without You.

So of course once the Robbie issue is settled, Masimo tells Georgia he’s going to Italy for the summer and wants her to come with him (realistic for teenagers, yes?). So Georgia’s back to confusion, and I don’t blame her. What a ping pong game. But it wasn’t over — on a school camping trip, Dave the Laugh and the boys crash in the middle of the night, which results in Dave and Georgia hanging out solo and Dave telling Georgia that he loves her and then kisses her. Anddddd fini.

And now a recap of book 9, Stop in the Name of Pants! 

Like the others, this one picks up right where the last left off. Georgia and Dave are still in the woods — Dave sort of blames Georgia for always toying with him, which makes her cry, and he apologizes and suggests they be friends again.

He said, “We haven’t done this luuurve business before, so we are bound to be crap at it. I do feel bad about Emma, but that is not your fault. That is my fault. We can put away our horns and be matey type mates again. Come on. Cheer up. Be nasty to me again, it’s more normal. I like you and I always have and I always will.”

Which was probably the most mature and swoony thing anyone has said in all 9 books so far.

Georgia still feels quite tied to Masimo, though he’s off in Italy at this point. She questions herself x1000 why she always ends up snogging Dave (and is still clueless). She still doesn’t ever think ‘hey maybe Dave should be my boyfriend’ – it’s all about being with the hottest rock star… which makes me feel bad for Dave at this point. She doesn’t deserve him! Yes he can be a bit of a dolt sometimes too, he’s a teenage boy, but I feel like he’s so clearly put it out there for Georgia so many times and she hasn’t clued in at all besides knowing that she likes to kiss him and that he always makes her laugh and she feels all warm and nice whenever she sees him. *head desk* I know this is the point of the story but my god it’s killing me!

Most of the book is Georgia missing Masimo. She tries to trick her parents into letting her go to Italy (lol). Masimo calls finally, but the number she took down from him was wrong. She tells him she’s coming to Italy because she still thinks she could, so now she’s leading Masimo on. So she waits and waits and waits to hear from him again – I think she gets a postcard and one more phone call. This would never happen now, with people being in constant communication!

A side storyline that’s been building up throughout the books is that Georgia’s parents are having a tough go at things. It seems to be more obvious in this book – they actually separate for a little bit and talk to Georgia about how things aren’t going well – but it doesn’t really seem to affect her much. Another storyline in that Angus has a near-death experience, so Georgia nurses him back to health (with Dave’s help), which was quite touching.

Stop in the Name of Pants! ends with Dave and Masimo having a bit of a face-off for Georgia at a Stiff Dylans gig – Masimo’s picked up on the Dave vibes after he came back from Italy, because who wouldn’t. He gets upset and stomps off, and Georgia isn’t sure if he’s dumped her or not. So who do you think will win in the final book? 😉

I’ll be back on September 27th with the final round-up of Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?! I can’t believe it’s almost over!

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Join the Book Lover Postcard Swap!

book lover postcard swap fall edition

I am super excited to announce that I’ve got a new project here with the wonderful Barb of Rite While U Can! Both of us are big book and mail nerds (obviously) and we wanted to do something that connected the two things as well as connecting others who also love these things. Thus, the Book Lover Postcard Swap! We wanted it to be a recurring project with different ideas throughout, so we’re starting with a fall edition 🙂

It’s real easy — we will pair you with another paper pal and the two of you are to send each other a postcard on which you’ll write about a book you’re excited to crack open this fall. Who knows, you might find yourself with a fascinating new bookworm pen pal!

We would love to have you join us. Please use this confidential form to sign up and we will be in touch next week with your match!

5 Reasons Why You Need to Read The Thousandth Floor

the thousandth floor via paper trail diary

Guys, The Thousandth Floor is one of the shiniest and most epic books out this fall. It takes place in Manhattan in 2118 where the world revolves around a thousandth-floor building that sits over where Central Park used to be. Five characters are featured in cycling narratives, and they all have something they really want, something they really can’t lose. This book made my pulse quicken, my jaw drop, and I made all sorts of reaction faces.

I’ve listed five reasons why you really need to pick up this book over at Frenzy! SERIOUSLY GO LOOK! It includes gifs that illustrate my intense reactions and a lot of talk about drama, the main characters, and THE FACT THAT A GIRL FALLS OFF THE BUILDING and that’s just where the story starts. I can’t stop talking about this book. If I could shake you by the shoulders, I would.

Also you should know that a) this is the first book in a series and b) it’s been optioned for TV. YUP!

>>5 Reasons Why You Need to Read The Thousandth Floor

>>Add The Thousandth Floor to your TBR

>>Here are 13 other amazing books you need to read this fall

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Check me out in Creativity magazine!

do crafts creativity magazine via paper trail diary

A few months ago I was interviewed about happy mail for Do Craft’s Creativity magazine, which is from England — and now the magazine is here! I had no idea it would be the cover story. I feel super special, especially to be alongside my pen pals, queens of mail, Fab and Andrea.

The magazine isn’t available in Canada where I’m from (sad face) so I hope it’s alright that I scanned the article so you guys can see it!

I am now even more sad it’s not available here because it is a beautiful magazine and I could just look at it all day. And it comes with goodies — I got some cute wooden postcards and stickers in my package when the team kindly mailed me a copy <3

So check out this awesome article — you can click on each picture to enlarge it! Thanks again, Creativity!

do crafts creativity magazine happy mail via paper trail diarydo crafts creativity magazine happy mail via paper trail diary do crafts creativity magazine happy mail via paper trail diary do crafts creativity magazine happy mail via paper trail diary

YA Books 4 Life at Indigo Teen’s Fall Preview

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

YA books have become the majority of what I read — I love them for so many reasons: how they tackle tough issues, how they embrace imagination, how gorgeous I find so much of the writing (and covers), the community that surrounds the books, and so on. And besides loving to read them, I love to talk about them. So it’s a real treat to be invited to Indigo’s preview events for teen books! Last night I attended one for books that are coming out in the fall and let me just say, there are some real big players coming up!

I don’t want to divulge too much into too many specific books yet as I have a separate post planned, but I can share some highlights. Two books I have been waiting for what feels like ages for — Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star and Jennifer Niven’s Holding Up the Universe — were there for us and it seriously felt like Christmas. I am itching to read them but alas I have some more pressing reads first! Another big get was The Thousandth Floor, which you will be hearing about a lot more from me in the near future.

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

There were about 25 or so bloggers in attendance, and guys, YA bloggers are the sweetest people. It’s so lovely to be able to interact with them IRL once in a while 😉 When we came in, we all got a seat which was already occupied by a bag full of books and goodies! After grabbing some snacks and oggling everything around the room, we sat down to listen to the teen and childrens category buyers from Indigo — the people who decide what books to stock in your local store — and what they’re really excited about coming up. It’s so much fun to watch them because they get so excited about all of the titles, which then makes everyone furiously scribble in their notes about which books to keep an eye out for. Later, the team asked the bloggers about what we’re excited about and what we’ve been reading lately that we love, which encouraged a lively discussion! Besides being the sweetest people, YA bloggers are also the most enthusiastic 😀

Oh and we also got to see new gorgeous decor and stationery items — so like, this is the whole package, my friends.

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

I’ve noticed that most of what Team Teen is excited about is fantasy, which is a massive percentage of YA book popularity these days. So, it makes sense. I am not the most interested in it, I just really love my contemporary, but I still find titles that I get really into, such as recently This Savage Song and Red Queen. And maybe I just haven’t found the right books to get me into the rabbit hole yet! I completely understand why fantasy is so popular within YA, and I’m fascinated in watching its growth in stores and online, so I like hearing about titles I could recommend to friends who would be interested. So for books that Team Teen mentioned in fantasy coming up this fall, I was interested in Three Dark CrownsStealing Snow (which I’ve already heard great things about from Raincoast, and do have a copy to review!); The ForgettingBright Smoke, Cold Fireand Spindle.

Coming back to contemporary, titles I think you should put on your TBRs include — besides the aforementioned books — Girl Mans Up (I’ve read it, SO GOOD.), Girl in PiecesEvery Hidden Thing and The Female of the SpeciesBut again, you’ll be hearing more from me about a lot of these books soon 🙂

Author EK Johnston — A Thousand Nights; Spindle; Exit, Pursued by a Bear — was a guest of honour at the event. She is hilarious and just jumped in to express her excitement about other books throughout the evening, as well as talk about the fact that she has THREE books out this year (Exit is already out). I grabbed a signed copy of Spindle, but I would like to read A Thousand Nights first! I have Exit and it’s still high up on my TBR.

indigo teen preview paper trail diary

Anyways, I want to thank Indigo for the generous invitation and the opportunity to share more information about upcoming YA reads! What books are you guys excited for this fall?

I have been writing some blogs elsewhere lately! *gasp* Check out these posts on The Savvy Reader and Frenzy, which are part of HarperCollins Canada, where I’ve been interning for the last couple months. It’s been the most wonderful experience!

Perfect Pairings: Books and Songs
The Best Books to Read in Your Twenty-Somethings
The Best Places to Read in Canada this Summer
14 Books to Read This Fall (relevant!)

Another side note — I am behind on my Georgia Nicolson Readalong, yipes! I will have my update on Book 8 — Love is a Many Trousered Thing — next week instead.

This entry was posted in Books.

Check out the #PaperHaul subscription box!

paper haul gaze of dolls via paper trail diarySubscription boxes are still all the rage – especially in paper-based communities! While book ones are ready to take over the world with bookish pride, stationery ones are more quaint and full of crafty possibilities. Remember the Happy Paper Club for example?

I recently got a chance to take a look at what’s inside one of Crafty Creatives’ monthly #PaperHaul boxes and you can bet there were squees involved!

#PaperHaul is based out of the UK – so shipping within UK is £2.00, EU is £5.00 and international is £6.00. The monthly base cost is £10. Not too shabby! This box celebrates a different stationery designer each month, with contents like cards/envelopes, notepads, stickers, washi tape, postcards, etc. These products are exclusive to the box!

The box that I received featured the designer Louise of Gaze of Dolls Designs – these pieces are in the realm of Alice in Wonderland but with their own weird, bright, animalistic twist!

paper haul gaze of dolls via paper trail diary

#PaperHaul includes a postcard with the designer’s info.
paper haul gaze of dolls via paper trail diary

Stickers, washi tape and notepad! I really like the stickers, and the notepad will be useful for lists or short notes!paper haul gaze of dolls via paper trail diary

Here’s one big card, two postcards, and three mini cards. Wacky!paper haul gaze of dolls via paper trail diary

There you have it! You could get an exciting box of exclusive indie stationery by signing up with #PaperHaul!

What kinds of boxes do you subscribe to? What do you want out of stationery subscription boxes?

Thank you to Crafty Creatives/#PaperHaul for the box!

Georgia Nicolson Readalong – Startled By His Furry Shorts

startled by his furry shorts via paper trail diary

Welcome back to the Georgia Nicolson Readalong!

Quick refresher: in honour of our dearly departed Teen Queen Louise Rennison, I started a readalong so that we could read (or re-read) her classic Georgia Nicolson series. Every three weeks we’ll post about the next book in the series. You’re invited to join in at any time!

You can catch up with posts on Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, Knocked Out By My Nunga-NungasDancing in My Nuddy Pants, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel and Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers.

Please note that if you haven’t read this book yet and intend to, there are spoilers!

Hello dear readers! Sorry I’ve been so AWOL these days, here and on Instagram and such. I have recently been going through a big life change – I quit my job in order to do an internship at HarperCollins Canada, which has been a very busy and rewarding experience in just the last month! I am so happy that I am working with books every day, helping to get them out in the world and in the hands of loving readers.

So apologies for this post being delayed, though! I will try to figure out a better system soon 😉 I am actually doing some blogging over at The Savvy Reader now, so go check that out!

Startled By His Furry Shorts is the 7th book in the series – we only have three more after this! To be honest I’m totally okay with that – while this has been fun, re-reading this series has been an interesting trek. I’ve learned that these books really don’t stand the test of time, unfortunately, which is kind of a bummer to think about after the author has passed away. I still 100% back that they served a super important purpose in the time frame they were published in – they were a great pinpoint of so many girls’ adolescence all over the world. Girls found an awkward hero in Georgia – she made us laugh and she made us feel okay about some of our flaws.

So in this book, Georgia is left hanging after she told Masimo that he had to decide if he wanted to be her boyfriend. The jerk told her he’d take a week to decide, which like, hello, red flag. I was impressed with Georgia for doing that – it was a bit out of character because usually she’s just kind of at the whim of her crushes. Of course she feels like crap after, doubting herself and waiting. So Masimo of course comes back and says no, he cannot be her boyfriend. Georgia’s confused and hurt and jealous of another girl, all the while being confused by her friends-with-benefits-ship with Dave the Laugh, who has finally sort of drawn a line in between them (I am expecting this to be crossed soon!). I kind of wish Georgia could have spent more time growing as an individual rather than just totally focused on boys, but, I sure remember a lot of my adolescence being focused on boys.

Startled reads just like it plays out – like we’re just waiting. It’s filler until we get to a cliffhanger ending, really. I wish I could remember what I thought about these books exactly when they had come out – if I was satisfied with this kind of storytelling or not. And I think I may have stopped here or on #8, so I actually don’t know what’s coming next, which I am happy about!

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

I can’t believe I am once more on the rack of romance.

And also in the oven of luuurve.

And possibly on my way to the bakery of pain.

And maybe even going to stop along the way to get a little cake at the cakeshop of agony.

Shut up, brain, shut up.

Never have sugar on bread. It is disgusting.

“Yep, I tried the girding of the loins scenario, however my loins came ungirded. Which can be quite painful, especially if you are wearing tight jeans.”

Well that’s it – I don’t have much else to say about this one, folks. Til next time! We will pick back up with Love is a Many Trousered Thing on August 16. All I want is for Georgia and Dave to date. THAT’S ALL I WANT. And of course that will be dragged out in proper teen drama fashion!

This entry was posted in Books.