GCSE Posting Schedule and Q&A

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know my plans for this blog over the next few months.

As you might know (because I talk/scream about them loads) I have my GCSE exams coming up in May and June. I want to do my best in these so I’m probably going to be a studying A LOT around that time, including April.

Since September I’ve been posting a bit less than I previously had — posting around once per week instead of every 4 – 5 days. I take great pride in my blog but I just haven’t been able to keep up that kind of schedule, and I especially don’t expect to over GCSE period.

At the moment, I plan to post once per week on the weekend. I love writing posts and they’re a great way for me to have some fun. However, I don’t want to burn myself out trying to do too many extra things (which I sometimes do). So that might change. I just wanted to let you all know. 🙂

Anyways! I’m hoping to do a Q&A soon, and I would LOVE to hear your questions. (PLEASE SEND SOME IF YOU WANT TO. I really need some to answer haha. Also I’ve never done a Q&A which is kind of wild.) These might be book-related, musical-relared LGBTQ+ stuff, any questions you have about school or GCSEs, or just random questions. Anything! Go for it! Just comment below or tweet me before the end of February; I’ll be looking over all the questions on 1st March.

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The Orchestra Book Tag

The words 'orchestra book tag' with a music note icon beside. A photo of the books The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Radio Silence and Warcross in a pile on a checked blue duvet cover.

I love creating new tags even more than I enjoy doing them so I HAVE A NEW TAG EVERYONE. It’s a book tag based on instruments in the orchestra, because I am kind of a music nerd and definitely a book nerd.

Unfortunately I couldn’t include every instrument since a) I didn’t want the tag to be too long and b) I probably couldn’t think of that many things but no personal offence is intended to any instruments. I couldn’t find any tag similar to this so I just decided to go for it — I have no intention of copying another tag but if you find another one around let me know!

How the tag works: link back to this post, if you were tagged then link back to the person who tagged you, do some or all of the questions, and then tag as many more blogs as you like. 🙂 You can also tag it on WordPress with ‘the orchestra tag’ so that it can be found more easily. I’ll put all the questions in a nice, easy-to-copy list at the end.

Conductor

a character likely to mastermind an evil plan

I mean, Kaz Brekker is an obvious answer, but it’s CLEARLY Kaz Brekker. He literally already did this in Six of Crows.

Cover of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Half-burnt matchsticks arranged in a simple house shape (a square with a triangle on top). The title in a brush font inside the house.

 

Violin

a popular book you enjoyed

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (which I believe is a Sunday Times bestseller) for my school book club and I actually…liked it a lot? It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read for school book club.

Cello

a character who surprised you

Daniel from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman! I mean, I love this book DEEPLY so obviously must include it in as many posts as possibly. I didn’t pay too much attention to Daniel at the start of Radio Silence but as the book continued some stuff happened and now I love him a lot.

Viola

an overlooked book

The comic Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Brittney Williams. I absolutely ADORED this comic and I’m so upset that it got cancelled?? I understand it might not be for everyone but I can’t understand the multitude of negative Goodreads reviews because, man, it just clicked with me SO MUCH and I deeply wish more people would know about it so they can love it too.

Cover of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. Two fish hooks arranged in a heart shape over a white scaley background. The title within the heart and the tagline 'Miracles aways come at a price.'

Oboe

a book with an unusual premise

This immediately calls to mind Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, which is about gay magical fish. It sounds weird, and it definitely is weird, but it’s also VERY good. Just trust me.

Clarinet

a book you’d recommend to anyone

(I am personally a clarinetist so obviously I had to include us. Clarinets are very versatile, folks.) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I think this could apply to so many books (and versatile doesn’t necessarily mean a book is better or  anything) but The Loneliest Girl was just such a gripping read for me. Sci-fi has a reputation for being a bit dense but I think this is super easy to understand and enjoy. (Bonus piece of music: have you heard the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata? Isn’t it lovely?)

Flute

a character who stands above the rest

I just read Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence and I loved Indigo, she was such an engaging & interesting character. (Bonus piece of music: Carillion from L’Arlesienne by Bizet. You might have already heard bits of it but it has a Very Nice wind section in the middle which I played in my orchestra.)

Cover of Love, Hate & other filters by Samira Ahmed. A person with brown skin and dark hair in a bun taking a photo with the camera pointed at the reader. They stand in front of a red wall with colourful tessellating patterns at the bottom. The title and author above.

Trumpets

a talked-about book on your TBR

I’ve heard so much about Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed and I just downloaded the eBook to read this week! I’m super excited! (UK readers, it’s on sale on Amazon for only £0.99 which is an amazing deal. This isn’t sponsored, I just love a bargain haha.)

Horn

 

a historical book

I don’t read much historical fiction, but the last historical thing I read was the novella Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant. It’s a historical fantasy which really gave me Howl’s Moving Castle vibes. Also! I love reading books with multiple trans characters! Please give me all the sweet sweet trans books!!

Tuba

a book which strongly informs how you are as a person

(Because tuba is the bass, like a basis for you, get it? I don’t know. Maybe that’s a bit tenuous.) Probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? That might sound pretentious but getting into Les Mis has had a really big effect on my life in terms of affirming my own beliefs and identity.

Cover of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. An old-timey engraving-esque illustration of a boat with two figures riding a wave under a stormy sky. Two animals climb over the gold title text.

Piano

a very long book

I mean, I already banged out the longest book I’ve ever read which was Les Mis (oops), but I wanted to keep this one open for both already read books and those on your TBR. So I’ll go with The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. I loved His Dark Materials when I was younger but I haven’t yet got round to this because I’d like to reread the original trilogy first. I guess I’d better get going… (Bonus piece of music: we’re doing this movement from the Beethoven Pathetique sonata for GCSE music and it is a TUNE.)

Timpani

book which finished with a bang

Hmmm. HMM. (Don’t you just love it when I have to think real hard about answering my own questions?) OH OH I KNOW. Warcross by Marie Lu! This one had me VERY shook. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it but you should 100% read it.

Anyway, during the course of writing this post it has become apparent to me that the left and right alignment of images does not work on my actual blog webpage anymore which is rather annoying. Anyone else getting this?? Or is it just my super old theme?

Never mind — I do hope you enjoyed this tag! Once again, the questions are as follows:

Conductor – a character likely to mastermind an evil plan
Violin – a popular book you enjoyed
Cello – a rich, nuanced character
Viola – an overlooked book
Oboe – a book with an unusual premise
Clarinet – a versatile book you’d recommend to anyone
Flute – a character who stands out from the rest
Trumpets – a talked-about book on your TBR
Horn – a historical book
Tuba – a book which strongly informs how you are as a person
Timpani – a book which finished with a bang
Piano – a very long book

And I’m tagging Lia @ Lost in a Story, Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff, Jess @ Bookends and Endings and anyone else who wants to do it! But there’s absolutely NO pressure, please don’t worry. 🙂

GCSE Science Resource Masterpost // #evestudies

The words 'resource masterpost for gcse science #evestudies' over an image of coloured pens on a journal with colourful lists.

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing with you my favourite resources for revising GCSE Science. As you might know I’ve had mocks recently — I’m just coming to the end of them — and I thought it would be useful to share what I use to revise so that you can all use them if you still have exams ahead of you. I’ll be covering resources from the exam board, videos, other websites and books.

I take AQA triple science, so whilst what I find is targeted at that course, it definitely applies to other courses and also to general science revision anyway. 🙂 Almost all of these are free except for the books at the end.

exam board resources

Specifications (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsFirstly I’d very strongly urge you to get a copy of the spec which is free to download from your exam board. I base all my revision off this as it tells you exactly, point-by-point, what you need to know. If you take only one point from this post it’s that you should LOOK AT THE SPEC.

Required practicals (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThese will give you the exact methods AQA want you to know for every single practical. Especially useful if you can’t quite remember doing it or don’t have class notes.

Scheme of work (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) This goes into further detail on the spec points and — what I find most useful — provides links to other websites where you can learn about the topic. I’m only annoyed I didn’t know about these earlier!

Science skills There are a lot of questions in the exam on experimental procedure so don’t forget to revise that.

videos

There are MANY, MANY informative videos out there on the web. These range from videos directed specifically at GCSE science courses to general informative videos. The ones here are some of the ones I’ve found useful.

My GCSE Science This is one of my personal favourites. It clearly explains topics with a voiceover and illustrative diagrams. In particular I love their Physics video on the motor and generator effect; I found that topic hard to get my head around and it absolutely SAVED ME. However, their videos do NOT cover all the course content, particularly triple and higher content; they only publish a selection of videos as the rest are available on their website as a paid-for subscription. Also, this might be inaccessible to some people as a lot of the videos need both the diagrams and voiceover to understand. They have videos for AQA, Edexcel and OCR.

Freesciencelessons My other favourite channel! What I love about these videos is that they are very well organised and follow the spec extremely closely so you know that you’re getting everything you need. He hasn’t yet covered every topic, but I believe they’ll be done in time for GCSEs. In particular I like the Required Practical videos. Although these videos do have diagrams, they’re not necessary for all topics; most of content is in the voiceover and text on screen.

Science With Hazel I haven’t watched loads of these; personally I found the one I watched didn’t cover the topic I wanted in enough detail. However, she does provide recaps of the whole specification for each science for both AQA and Edexcel iGCSE which may be useful to you.

Revising Science Another GCSE recap channel similar to Freesciencelessons, with very very short and condensed videos.

Fallibroome Required Practicals Videos are a great way to remind yourself of required practicals if you want to actually watch someone doing them rather than simply hear an explanation. I like that these not only show you a clear method but also explain potential errors and how you might improve the experiment (which you will be tested on!).

Crash Course (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) These videos are NOT directed at GCSE students and generally provide more detail than you need, but are useful to help explain stuff anyway. I recommend you search for particular topic videos if you need them such as this Physics one on sound.

Science songs There are many amusing and catchy science songs out there. Ones I know and have used are: the photosynthesis song, the other photosynthesis song, the osmosis song, the adaptation song and the EM waves song. But don’t use these as the only method of your revision!

other websites

Phet Colorado simulations These are laboratory simulations which help you model topics. I especially like them for Physics where some topics are hard to get around; I recommend circuit constructor, Faraday’s Electromagentic Lab, Magnets and Electromagnets. Simulations are available for all 3 sciences.

BBC Bitesize (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Ah, the saviour of students everywhere! I love BBC Bitesize; it provides easy-to-follow explanations with diagrams and covers a wide variety of topics. But it’s a general resource for all GCSE students and not targeted towards an exam board so approach with some caution. There may be some topics which aren’t on there as well as some additional topics not in your exam, and it might not cover exactly what you have to learn in the right words.

Chem Collective virtual lab and notes A virtual lab for if you want to practice your practicals which also provides notes and practice questions for some topics. (Though again, not specific to GCSE.)

Passmyexams.co.uk This website contains notes on almost all of the topics. However, I haven’t used it massively myself and although it is for GCSE, it’s not targeted towards a particular exam board so again I would approach it with some caution.

Spolem Biology quizzes This website provides great interactive Biology quizzes to test your knowledge. It also has links to Biology and Chemistry resources such as online notes and videos, but these are directed towards the Edexcel iGCSE.

Compound Chem infographics Beautiful infographics which you can stick up around your room to remind you of Chemistry, or use as a model to make your own. I use their ones for properties of Group 1 and Group 7.

Quizlet I love Quizlet SO MUCH. In terms of science I find it particularly useful for Biology as it’s very content-heavy. (You can find my Biology quizlets here.) Although you can of course make your own, there are many excellent sets already created for GCSE Science so do have a search. I normally find a set, copy it, and then go through and edit with my own notes to ensure it measures up with a spec, changing anything I need.

books

AQA textbooks (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) We were issued these at the start of our GCSE — I don’t know if everyone does, all the people I know do have one but if you don’t for whatever reason I would HIGHLY recommend it. It covers everything in the spec and also has some great exam questions for revision practice.

CGP revision guides (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Our school sells these to us at a cheaper price. I know many students use the revision guides to do almost all their revision so they’re worth a look, but remember that they do NOT substitute for your own notes or the official specification. I generally only use CGP if I can’t get what I need from the textbook, or as a last-minute summary. These are available for AQA, Edexcel, OCR, and a limited range for iGCSE.

CGP exam practice workbook and practice papers (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThe workbook has more exam-style questions if you want them. I haven’t yet tried the practice papers but I’m sure they’ll be useful, especially as we are the first year of this GCSE so there aren’t any past papers for our specification. The exam practice workbooks are available for AQA, Edexcel and OCR but the practice papers are only available for AQA.

I hope you find this post useful for learning and revising science; I had a lot of fun making this and I’d love to hear any feedback you have. 🙂 Please let me know if any of the links don’t work. I wish you good luck with your studies!

Monthly Mixtape #2: Schwarmerei

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m back with the February edition of my new music feature. I had so much fun with the playlists created last time — do check out those on Little Onion Writes, Yellow’s the Word and by my co-creator Evi on Adventuring Through Pages. If you’d like to share a playlist I didn’t see do let me know. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into. You can link to your Monthly Mixtape here.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of March. 🙂 This month’s prompt is…

#2: schwarmerei

schwarmerei, noun: excessive and unbridled enthusiasm or sentiment

I hope you enjoy this prompt and I look forward to seeing your playlists. 🙂 You can add your link or view other links below.

monthly mixtape linksOnce more I’ve made my own playlist — this one was SUPER hard since I could think of a lot of great songs but, ah well, hopefully I’ll still get to use them in the future. Also, this was very heavily influenced by the podcast Wonderful because, well, it’s an enthusiastic podcast and so provides some very enthusiastic songs. (I do love it and would recommend.)

Many umbrellas of different colours suspended in the air along a street. The word 'schwarmerei' on top.

for when you want an excited, bubbly song to jam out your emotions to.
listen on youtube / spotify

secrets – mary lambert
money won’t pay – bo en, augustus
house of air – brendan maclean
don’t take the money – bleachers
happy with me – holychild
sound of silence – dami im
cut to the feeling – carly rae jepsen
good as hell – lizzo

I hope you like it! I also adore the video for Secrets and Good as Hell so if you’re into that I’d absolutely recommend them. 🙂 Have a good day y’all!

 

January Favourites

The words January Favourites over a purple watercolour splash.

Finally, my exams are finished! I wish I could say I feel free again, but I still have so much ahead of me. *sweats* Anyway, I am rather looking forward to February. The last month has been not my favourite ever. I have been combating that by consuming some good good art.

ink swash divider

Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen I rarely find myself listening to whole albums on repeat, but this is one of those albums. I am OBSESSED with it.  I’m so glad that I’m just, like, finally accepting that actually I just super love pop and this fills me with courage and joy with every listen. (Except maybe Warm Blood. Sorry but that’s my least favourite, oops.)

Hamilton BOY OH BOY OH BOY. I finally saw this on the West End this month and!! It as so incredible! I thought all the actors were incredible but I especially loved the performances of Rachel John (Angelica Schuyler) and Giles Terera (Aaron Burr). I do slightly regret that I was feeling anxious due to exams but I’m so grateful that I got to see this.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren I bought this using a book token I got for Christmas and I’m so glad I did! It was so readable and cute, definitely a good antidote to exams. It really pulled at my feelings and I liked reading about a queer religious character because I feel like I don’t see that very often? But that could also very much be due to the fact that I haven’t actively sought them out.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby I got this book for Christmas and I’m loving it SO MUCH. It’s a book of essays which is kind of…new and uncharted territory for me but I’m so glad I picked it up.

The Adventure Zone ‘But, Eve!’ I hear you say. ‘Didn’t you start listening to this podcast like a year and a half ago?’ To which I answer: yes. And, also yes, I am only just coming to the end of the first Balance campaign. But, god, it is hitting me SO HARD in the feels. I feel it’s come so far since the first story and I’ve also travelled with it. It means so much to me and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Patsy Walker! AKA Hellcat by Kate Leth & Brittney Williams I finally managed to get the last volume of it out of the library after waiting like 6 months! IT WAS SO GOOD AND I’M SO UPSET IT WAS CANCELLED AFTER THIS. It’s one of the few mainstream/superhero comics that I’ve actually found myself invested in and I wish I could read more ones like it. 😦 Like, action is okay but plEASE just give me soft queer happy friends.

stuff from around the internet:

in the diary:

  • Mock exams pretty much sums it up. I haven’t been doing much except attempting to survive those, really.
  • I have also been freaking out a lot over A Level options because I DO NOT KNOW and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE and this forces me to confront that.
  • Wait, I didn’t actually do a December wrap up…so also I guess I was ill for a while?
  • I also saw Ant-Man with my friends and I was like wOAH because the stepbrother from Clueless was in it. (Listen, I never remember actors, so.)

how has your january been? have you had any exams? what albums do you listen to on repeat?

 

 

Middlemarch: the Webseries and Novel

Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Exams are really taking it out of me at the moment, to be honest, so I decided to do something fun which is just going to be lots of talking about a thing I’m into recently! And that’s the webseries (and also novel) Middlemarch.

I don’t normally read classic books, particularly ones that were written before the 20th century. In fact, the only other ones I can remember reading are a few Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I can name a few more books that might be considered ‘modern classics’ but in general I do stick to YA and comics.

My love for Les Miserables and Middlemarch have one a lot in common — and one big thing is that I was inspired to read both of them after become a fan of an adaptation. For Les Mis, as you might have guessed, this was the musical adaptation. I love musicals, and I love that musical a lot, but the book was a pretty different experience! In a good way. I don’t think I’d ever have had the motivation to continue reading through these (frankly rather long) books if I wasn’t already invested in seeing more of the characters. I usually fall in love with things for the characters, and that was no exception here.

I decided to read Middlemarch because I had begun watching the wonderful webseries adaptation, Middlemarch: The Series. It’s a super queer modern adaptation set in college which is told through vlogs. You can absolutely watch it without reading the book (as I did for about the first half) and I’d highly recommend it! It gives me SO MANY FEELINGS and it’s now complete if you don’t want to wait around for updates. You can find it here and watch the trailer below.

Having previous knowledge of an adaptation also helps me to get a better understanding of the overall plot and characters. It allows me to pick up on more subtle characterisations which I might have missed or to go ‘ohh, I see which bit this is!’ when I realise what it corresponds to in the adaptation. It makes it just SO for me to connect with the characters I’m reading about.

To be honest, I found the novel rather slow and difficult at the beginning. I missed the queer characters from the webseries and I found the language hard to understand. However, I think a big reason I started enjoying it more is that I put more into the reading. I’m a pretty bad skim reader and especially during books with small writing I find myself turning page after page only to realise I’ve been absorbing absolutely nothing. THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR ME WITH BOOKS LIKE THIS.

Once I made myself read more slowly, take stuff in, and actually think about how that section resonated with me, it worked a lot better, and by the end I was invested and feeling for the characters all over again.

Reading classics is a very different experience for me from reading YA. (Well, I’m sure it is for many people haha.) Some people try to give the sense that you’re only a “proper reader” if you read classics or whatever but that is TOTALLY INCORRECT and you should read whatever you want! Or even not read at all! Personally, I don’t see myself reading lots more classics in the future, but I found reading Middlemarch to be a rewarding and different experience to my normal reading fare. Now I’m back to catching up on the webseries. 😀

As I said, mock exams have been pretty tough for me, so please forgive me for posting with less frequency than usual. I send you good vibes from this rainy day where I am. ❤

do you enjoy classics? what do you think of modern adaptations? have you watched any webseries?

 

New Years Resolutions Book Tag

Hey everyone! Today I’m going to be talking books in this book tag which I saw on Lia’s blog Lost in a Story — thanks Lia for letting me do this! I believe this tag was created by Charr Frears on Youtube but the video has been deleted, so I don’t actually know. That was what I found anyways!

1. An Author You’d Like To Read That You’ve Never Read

I really want to read Muhammad Khan’s debut book, I Am Thunder! It’s released at the end of this month and it sounds like it’s going to be amazing.

Cover of I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan. Red, puple and blue illustration of a girl's face inside a lightning bolt shape. The words 'I am thunder and I won't keep quiet' beside.

2. A Book You’d Like To Read

Hahaha… SO MANY BOOKS. How could I choose! But I just bought Indigo Donut and Autoboyography with my Christmas book token so I’m planning to read those soon.

3. A Classic You’d Like To Read

I hope to read Pride and Prejudice at long last; it’s one of my mum’s favourite books ever and she’s desperate for me to discuss it with her. I’ve been meaning to read it for so long but I just…haven’t quite got round to it. I need to get it out from the library instead of reading my badly formatted digital version haha.

4. A Book You’d Like To Re-Read

Oh gosh! So many options! I’ve been saying this for a while now but I do want to re-read Les Miserables (especially in preparation for the BBC tv show which FINALLY HAS SOME NEWS HECK YEAH). In particular I’d like to try a different translation, if I can find it.

5. A Book You’ve Had For Ages and Want To Read

I picked up an ARC of The Fandom by Anna Day at YALC, but it got buried in my room and I never got round to it. I’ve been hearing positive things though so I look forward to it.Cover of Middlemarch by George Eliot. Painting of an old-timey British countryside and village with two people in the foreground. A black panel at the bottom with the title and author.

6. A Big Book You’d Like To Read

Hmm, this might be cheating a tiny bit, but I’ve almost finished Middlemarch by George Eliot which is almost 900 pages and I am very excited to finish it (although I enjoyed it a lot).

7. An Author You’ve Previously Read and Would Like To Read More Of

Alice Oseman — I adore her book Radio Silence and I am desperate to read her 3rd book, I Was Born For This, which is due to release in spring. I NEED IT SO BADLY.

Cover of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. A wet kitten meowing on a bright yellow background.

8. A Book You Got For Christmas and Would Like To Read 

I’m so excited to read We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. It’s a non-fiction book which is a bit unusual for me, but I’d like to read more essay collections and non-fiction this year.

9. A Series You Want To Read From Start to Finish 

To be honest I don’t really know anything about the Australia trilogy but I can’t actually think of any other series at this time…? Also, I won the 3rd book in this series so I already have it! Which is useful!

10. A Series You Want To Finish That You’ve Already Started

*sweats* I obviously am not reading many series at the moment as I can barely think of any that aren’t still in progress. Perhaps The Young Elites by Marie Lu? I preferred Warcross but I still enjoyed the first two books in this series and would like to complete it.

11. Do You Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do You Want To Read in 2018?

Yes, I do, but I try to keep them achievable — I’ve set my Goodreads goal at 100 books again, which I’m usually able to finish without too much stress.

12. Any Other Reading Goals?

To prioritise reading more books by authors of colour, in particular reading more UKYA books by PoC. I can do a lot more to support and uplift these authors and I know I’m missing out on so many great stories. If you haven’t already, do check out the UKYA novels by British PoC being published in 2018 in this list by Mariam Khan!

I’m not tagging anyone, but if you fancy doing this tag please do go ahead! I have mock exams right now so I’m rather behind on commenting back, but I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are. ❤

do you have any 2018 reading goals? any books you’re excited for? are you reading anything at the moment?

Monthly Mixtape #1: Luminescence

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m really excited in this new year to begin a new feature that I’ve been wanting to introduce for a while… and without further ado, I welcome you to Monthly Mixtape!

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into. You can link to your Monthly Mixtape below!

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of February. 🙂 And the first prompt is…

#1: luminescence

luminescence, noun: a light which is not produced by heat; a soft light. 

I hope you enjoy making playlists from this prompt, and I really look forward to listening to them! You can add your link or view other playlists here:

Purple watercolour swash with the word 'links' in a script font.

I’ve also made my own playlist which I’m rather excited to share since it has a lot of songs I love on it, yay! And remember to check out the playlist that my wonderful co-host Evi made here.

Three circular lamps hanging down over a white wall with hanging leaves. The word 'luminescence' in a script font.

a playlist for sitting by the lake at night. for meeting a forgotten friend. for the soft and bittersweet glow in your chest.
listen on youtube / spotify

wonder – lauren aquilina
secret for the mad – dodie
compartir – carla morrison
young – frankie cosmos
i will – mitski
all that – carly rae jepsen
cool blue – the japanese house
rainbow – kesha

Please do share any feedback you have! (I didn’t find any other blog link-ups like this and I sincerely hope that I’m not accidentally taking it from anyone?) I hope you enjoy, and I’m really looking forward to listening to your playlists and sharing the music I love. 🙂

2017: Year in Review

Photo of a hand holding a lit sparkler, with the words '2017 year in review'

It’s that time again when everyone posts their yearly round-ups… That’s right folks, I am here with yet ANOTHER new year themed post! And slightly late! Oh well. 2017 has been a weird one for me. Even Photoshop was being weird whilst I was trying to make this picture, so clearly it agrees.

Looking back at 2017

  • To  begin with, I want to recap my goals from 2016… Firstly, I think I’ve definitely succeeded at doing more LGBTQ+ related things! I can see this concretely in that: I attended my first ever Pride parade, starting going to school LGBTQ+ society, and generally just felt a lot more positive in my queer identity. 2016 was a year of discovering myself, and I feel that 2017 has been me actually kind of living that. I mean, I still have a LOT of stuff going on (especially re: my gender which is CONFUSING) but, yeah. I’m so happy about this.
  • Secondly, I feel that have made some strides forward in making positive changes in the world. This year the podcasts Witch Please and Secret Feminist Agenda were SUPER important to me; I really do feel that they have given me hope and inspired me to strive to be a better person and ally. I also continued with my Action for Change project on LGBTQ+ history which I enjoyed a lot. 🙂 I still have a long way to go (I mean it’s kind of an eternal process) in being a good ally but I hope that I’ve educated myself more this year.
  • In terms of self-care and mental health, this year has been pretty rocky. To be frank, I’ve experienced some of my biggest lows ever in 2017. I’ve had several breakdowns and even this holiday I’ve been feeling very sad. I’ve tried to take care of myself, but I want to do this even more going forward in 2017.
  • Blogging has also been patchy. Year 11 has been hitting me harder than I’d thought, leading to me taking a hiatus, and I also haven’t been great at commenting. But you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes we don’t achieve our goals, because things change, and it doesn’t make us terrible people.
  • My most popular posts this year were LGBTQ+ History in Schools, Yes, I Love YA, and The Spring Has Sprung book tag. My collab post Les Mis v Hamilton (with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages) from last year was also pretty popular, which is cool to see. Bonus posts: queer girl media recs and 7 #relatable clarinet things.
  • However! I have consumed some WONDERFUL art this year: I’ve continued to read many great books, got way more into podcasts, also got into comics, and of course kept listening to rad music. I am so grateful for all this art because, honestly…it keeps me going. I need art so much.

Looking forward to 2018

  • I want to do things with love. I don’t want to do some crappy ‘love saves everything’ thing because that’s just wrong, but personally I want to bring more love and care into my life. By this I mean: bringing a sense of love to caring for myself, putting in time and effort in my relationships, criticising things I love because I love them and not in spite of it.
  • Further elaborating on the theme of self care, I want to look after myself better. The next year is going to be hard and I need to practise self care ESPECIALLY when I feel bad to stop me spiralling into terribleness. I’ve designated specific phone-free times because constantly scrolling through social media does not really help me. But at the same time I don’t want self care to be a chore, so. UGH it’s hard!
  • I want to keep enjoying art! I’m super excited to be able to experience new things in 2018 — I’m seeing both Hamilton and the Cursed Child which I am EXTREMELY excited and grateful for. I hope to read some wonderful books — I am currently very excited for Alice Oseman’s book 3, hopefully out in spring — as well as comics, movies, podcasts, music, TV and so on. This also includes making my own art, which has rather been put to the back burner due to school & mental health, but nevertheless I hope to continue with it.
  • I want to make new friends & meet old ones. I hope to be attending YA Shot and YALC in 2018 and I want to meet up with bookish friends! I’d also love to make some new friends, and if possible meet some internet friends in real life because I think that’d be super cool. 🙂
  • This one is rather vague, but I want to experience new things. I have a lot of ~new and exciting~ things coming up in the future, like going to sixth form, big exams, prom, a bunch of people leaving school, my trip to Ecuador with Guides (!!), turning 17… It’s gonna be a WILD TIME, y’all.

wow that was a deep dive into my brain! how was your 2017? do you have any goals for 2018?

My 2017 in Books

Background of many open books, with the title 'My 2017 in Books' written on a banner.

Hey everyone! I enjoyed doing my 2016 in books post so much last year that I am VERY excited to be doing my yearly bookish wrap-up here today. 😀 I feel like I’ve read so many great books this year, as well as getting more into comics which I’ve been wanting to do for AGES.

overall summary

According to Goodreads, this year I read 134 books at the time of writing, which is the highest number since I started using Goodreads. However, I think this might be due to the aforementioned fact that I read way more comics this year which are faster than books! (Especially if it’s a single issue.) I completed my reading challenge of 100 and then later 125 books which I’m really happy about.

Diagram showing all the books read in 2017, arranged by star rating, with a pie chart of shelf names at the side.

I didn’t rate a bunch of books this year because I’ve sort of been feeling a bit ‘meh’ about rating… I dunno. I went through a phase of that, anyway. I can’t quite decide where I stand now — I feel like it would be best for me to write a short review for every book but that’s probably never going to happen so, who knows.

In terms of genres, Young Adult is still my most popular shelf — no surprises there for me. Within that contemporary actually rates ahead of fantasy, with comics right after, which I was a little surprised by. Although I’ve read some excellent contemporary and comics so maybe I shouldn’t be.

favourite books

I am a little nervous about saying this since I am indeed planning to read more books before the end of the year, but, alas, this has to be posted at some point. I can always add them to next year’s. 😛 These are the ten books I read this year which I feel I enjoyed the most, and gained the most from. I haven’t put comics in here, but you can check out all my posts about comics here.

 

 

I love Everything Leads to You so much! It’s such a cute soft queer girl read and it REALLY  needs to be a movie okay. I love the Shades of Magic series so A Conjuring of Light is probably no surprise here; it was such a thrilling conclusion. I don’t read much non-fiction but The Good Immigrant, an anthology of essays by BAME writers, has really stayed with me. Strange the Dreamer took a little while to get into — I was intimidated to begin with — but then suddenly I was utterly absorbed. The Hate U Give truly deserves all the success it has had; it was one of the most beautifully written and powerful books I have read, like, EVER.

 

 

 

Oops, two VE Schwab books in here? What can I say. Our Dark Duet dazzled and destroyed me. Release is one of my favourite Patrick Ness books; he’s one of the only (mainstream published) authors I’ve read who can ROCK third person present tense. Wild Beauty’s beautiful magical realism & sisters was SO SO GOOD; Anna Marie-McLemore is one of my favourite authors writing today. I read all three of Adam Silvera’s books this year (he’s excellent) but History is All You Left me struck me most in the heart. Finally, The Loneliest Girl was a pacy, gripping read with lots of science and space and a twist I totally didn’t see coming.

hidden gems

These books are lesser-known ones which I’d love to see people discussing more, or in a genre/style which was new and exciting to me.

 

 

Openly Straight is an awesome book set in boarding school which is super cute and also looks at the pressures of being openly gay as a young person. I really think that I should read more m/m books by actual queer men, and this is a great one!

Margot & Me surprised me as I sped through it way faster than I thought I would; it’s a wonderful story about the power of women and family. Also some history! See, I read historical fiction too, promise…

Wild is a Deaf/hearing romance which features lots of running. (Yikes. As in, I could never do that much running. But a great book.) Hannah Moskowitz continues to be excellent and in my opinion very underrated.

Truth or Dare was such a cool concept and beautiful physical design, but that’s not all — I adore Non Pratt and she’s written another gripping story here.

The Diviners is a mash-up of fantasy, mystery and the occult in 20s New York — and I can’t wait to read the next book! It’s super cool and I love everyone in it.

Y’ALL, I JUST READ SO MANY GOOD BOOKS THIS YEAR. I can’t wait for all exciting books out next year! (Maybe that’s a post idea. *winks*)

were your top books of 2017? have you read any of these? what books are you excited for in 2018?