Fantastic Four // blog birthday+ giveaway

A photo of dozens of balloons in a blue sky, with the words 'Twist in the Taile blog birthday + giveaway' on top.

That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year again: PARTY TIME! *dances* I mean, one might say that party time is all year round, but the only time you can truly have a party is obviously on my blog birthday. No other parties count. (I joke. Please feel free to party whenever you like.)

Further down in this post I’m holding a bookish giveaway, but before I get onto that I’d like to say a little something about the last four years. (Do imagine that I’ve done that thing  where you tap the champagne glass to announce a speech, or something else equally fun.)

I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before, but when I started this blog I really didn’t think I’d still be blogging four years later. I’d already had several failed attempts at a blog and I didn’t see why this would be any different. But! As you can see, here I am. I’ve gone through many reincarnations over here at Twist in the Taile, and of course I’m still evolving, but mostly I AM STILL WRITING THINGS. I am still talking to you all!

There is so much that I love about blogging — from writing funny posts to making pretty graphics — but I do still think that above all, my favourite thing is being able to connect with other awesome people. Although perhaps this blog might not be the fastest-growing it has given me a special and important place to share my thoughts, and some amazing friends. This wouldn’t be a blog if you readers weren’t here reading it. Thank you so much for supporting and educating me. ❤

Here are some things I have done over the last year:

  • Started listening to podcasts! Now they’re such an important part of the things I love & I can’t imagine what I’d do without them. It feels super weird that I only started them last year… (Among my favourites are Witch Please, The Adventure Zone, and The Penumbra Podcast.)
  • Started reading more comics which is very fun!
  • Actually, I’ve just read a lot of great books like When the Moon Was Ours (which I just reread, maybe even more woah that the first time), The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Hate U Give, Release, Queens of Geek, A Conjuring of Light… and SO MANY MORE. Y’all, I just really love books.
  • Went to my first Pride parade, which was kind of scary but also very cool. I’m so glad I went.
  • Also probably a lot of other stuff. But I am itching to get onto the giveaway and I know you are too, so LET US GO THERE.

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giveaway time!

To celebrate my 4th blog birthday, I am giving away one YA book from the following selection:

The winner of the giveaway will be able to pick any one from these six books, which are either a) books I have read and loved or b) books I think sound great and would very much like to read. You can click on the titles for more info. The giveaway is open to any country The Book Depository ships to; hopefully that includes you, but please check their list here.

Enter the giveaway HERE

The giveaway will end at midnight on 25th October (that’s two weeks’ time) so make sure you enter now! I wish you luck, and thanks for celebrating my blog birthday here with me today. If you have any memories or thoughts about my blog you’d like to share, then I’d love to here them. (And with your permission, I might include them in a follow-up post!)

which book would you pick? if you’re blogger, what’s your favourite thing about blogging? any thoughts about my blog?

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September Favourites!

The words September Favourites over a purple watercolour background

That’s right, folks, I’m back for monthly favourites! Maybe I’ll keep up with them, maybe not. Who knows?

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Rainbow by Kesha I saw a bunch of people listening to this album and I AM SO GLAD I LISTENED TO IT TOO. It’s not perfect but there are so many songs I loved — from jams like Woman to songs such as Rainbow and Spaceship which do make me a bit teary.

Young Avengers I finally picked up the last volume in this series and I’M SO SAD THAT WAS THE END because I enjoyed it so much! It’s one of the first superhero comics that I’ve really got into and I’m very much looking forward to reading more about these characters in the future. (Miss America has a solo series. And I think there are the previous Young Avengers comics too. But I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to these things.)

Brooklyn 99 I feel like I might have talked about this before on my faves? WHO KNOWS ANYMORE, NOT ME.  I’ve just about finished the first series which is an amazing show of commitment for me when it comes to a TV show (I can barely make it through 8 40-minute episodes) and AAH! I I love that everyone loves and supports each other and it’s very wonderful to watch. However, in the last episode I watched Gina talks about her ‘spirit animal’ which is a Super Not Okay thing to do and it wasn’t at all called out, so, that really sucks. :/

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat Another EXCELLENT comic here. It’s super cute, features a bunch of LGBTQ+ characters, and friends being wonderful with each other. Just, yeah. So wonderful. Though again I’m sad that this wraps up after a few volumes since it got cancelled. 😦 Is there a theme with the comics I’m talking about…?

Yerma I saw the Young Vic production of this with Billie Piper broadcast live at the cinema and WOW. I didn’t really know what I was getting into beforehand so it was quite hard-hitting but I thought it was such a great piece of theatre.

The Diviners by Libba Bray Well, it’s October and I still haven’t quite finished this, but I’m loving it so far — which is cool since I wasn’t really expecting that? (To be fair, I don’t quite know what I was expecting. But not magic and murder in 20s New York. THE COVER I HAVE MISLED ME, OKAY?) Plus, I’ve just found out that the sequel includes more of one of my favourite side characters, Henry, so yay for that.

stuff from around the internet:

  • Well, er, my stats were a bit up from the rock bottom of August when I barely posted? I talked about going back to school, comics I’m loving, and shared some cat photography in the What Cats Do book tag.
  • I started following the newsletter Two Bossy Dames when one of my favourite podcasts Witch Please how many times can I fit it into this post did a guest letter and I’m loving it! I’m new to newsletters (haha, amazing joke, I know right) so I didn’t really know what to expect but I just adore having all these links and things to go read… If you have any recommendations for newsletters I’d love to hear them!
  • I’ve definitely read some great posts, but…I’m kind of tired right now and I don’t want to miss any out. Hopefully I’ll be better at keeping track of them over October, my apologies.

in the diary:

  • Well, school started? It feels like I’ve been back for ages. We’ve packed so much in. Year 11 is…alright so far. A bit stressful, especially since it feels like everyone is always talking about A levels and careers whilst I freak out internally but, there we go.
  • Can I think about anything that’s not school…uh…
  • WAIT it was my birthday! Yay! I’m now 16 which feels very weird. But, it’s cool, I guess, and I’m looking forward to having my friends over for some fun. *nods* I have been kind of ill over my birthday though which sucks.
  • I went to the book launch It’s Only in the Movies by Holly Bourne! I was a big fan of the free content, especially the popcorn. Maybe a hint to other book events…? I can’t decide if I should do a recap of it so let me know what you think.
  • It was my school House music competition, which was pretty stressful since we had rehearsals almost every day for two weeks, but also SUPER fun and rewarding. (I am lucky in that I do love the people in my house and also I love singing in choirs.) Unfortunately we didn’t place but I’m still super proud of us.

how has your september been? did you return to education like me? have you read any good books?

 

My Music Taste Through The Ages

my music taste through the ages

My music has gone through a LOT of evolution. I find it difficult to tell people exactly my favourite music because I LOVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT MUSIC. I just go through…genre phases where I will listen to a ton of one kind of music, and then a few months later move on. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy some of my old music! I take my favourites with me.

Pre-Music Years

In primary school I didn’t really listen to or take an interest in music. ABBA was actually my favourite band, haha. (Though they are still amazing.) Selections from this era include Love Story by Taylor Swift and Replay by Iyaz, which were probably both what was on the radio at the time. What a throwback…

Formation

Some developments of okay stuff. I bought as many iTunes free singles of the week as I could — which I still have — including Lauren Aquilina, Orla Gartland, twenty one pilots and Rudimental. Man, I miss that feature. Free music is the best.

Soft Guitars: the First

I started listening to study playlists on 8tracks with kinda country and guitar songs like The Paper Kites and Angus and Julia Stone. I still use the playlist I made at this time for chilling around the house! Man, I really miss 8tracks. Since it stopped working with soundcloud I don’t use it much anymore.

Indie Rock Things

I read a book about a girl who’s really into, like, 80s indie rock? (It was called This Song Will Save Your Life. I still have it on my shelf.) And thus, I made a playlist of 80s bands including things like The Smiths and The Cure. Some of those songs have made it through, but not many. Considering that playlist was like 120 songs or something.

Bubblegum Guitar

Another find from 8tracks as I was looking for summery playlists! I also still really enjoy this genre — not exactly guitars, but not exactly pop? Just. Summery bubblegum guitars. I don’t know how to describe it. Includes stuff like Knox Hamilton, Misterwives, the Two Door Cinema Club, and Holychild. My playlist is called ‘neon sneakers’ and I like that.

Fandom-related

A brief interlude in which I listened to lots of fan playlists, mostly for Les Mis and Harry Potter, and hence made my own. I actually discovered some cool stuff this way! But I also formed super strong character associations with certain songs — I can’t listen to Hang Me Up to Dry by the Cold War Kids without going HEY GRANTAIRE DON’T BE SAD. Blame it On the Girls is also still The Most Courfeyrac song.

Loud Guitar and Drums

I’m pretty sure someone stayed at our house and made me listen to some stuff? Update: IT WAS MY COUSIN’S AUSTRALIAN FRIEND. We saw him again the other day after like two years which was wild. Anyway. Stuff like The Black Keys, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Cold War Kids. A bunch of stuff I still listen to, actually! Also, Vampire Weekend got in there somewhere even though it’s not super related.

Electro Pop

I got pretty into more electronic-y pop kind of thing during the summer Halsey’s Badlands was released — so I listened to a lot of Halsey, Ryn Weaver, Banks, Lights, Pvris, Verite. Basically ALL THE COOL LADY ARTISTS. I actually just went to look for the playlist and I COULDN’T FIND IT so maybe I deleted it which is super annoying

Summery Electro pop

Some stuff happened in between these two. I probably just listened to old stuff. I can’t really remember but, yeah, a weird mix. Maybe this was my musicals period. ANYWAY the summer of 2016 I started listening to more summery pop! And kind of actual pop pop. Honestly I’m pleased that I am finally able to embrace that I JUST REALLY LOVE POP. Highlights include Shura (What’s it Gonna Be? is still one of my favourite music videos ever), Troye Sivan, Years & Years, Aurora, Hayley Kiyoko & Lauren Aquilina because YOOO SHE IS MY FAVOURITE AND THIS WAS WHEN SHE RELEASED HER LP. IT WAS AMAZING & YOU SHOULD GO READ MY REVIEW.

Soft Guitars: the Second

More pop & musicals happened between these. Then I had a bit of a renaissance with the soft guitars, and actually bothered to make a new background guitars playlist with people like Sufjan Stevens, Dodie & The Lumineers.

Summery Chill Pop, Also Other Stuff

AND THUS WE HAVE REACHED NOW. What is my current taste in music, you ask? To be honest, I don’t know, because I just listen to a mix of everything. But my summer 2017 playlist — which you can listen to here — includes stuff like The Japanese House, HAIM, Christine and the Queens, Tegan and Sara, and Lorde. So…some pop? But also some guitars and electronic-y things? I DON’T EVEN KNOW, DON’T ASK ME.

You can check out my spotify account if you like, but it doesn’t cover all of these music phases haha. (Thank goodness.) I don’t know if this is quite a definitive list, but it broadly covers what music I have liked…well, ever, discounting musicals because THAT IS A WHOLE OTHER THING. Maybe I should just write a post screaming about musicals. Anyway, this has been very nostalgic and fun for me, what about you? I’d love to chat!

My cover photo for this post is by Alphacolor 13 on Unsplash.

do you go through phases like me? what are you loving at the moment? i’d love to hear any recs!

 

What Cats Do // book tag & pics!

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I was so excited when I saw this tag on Books & Cleverness because HI I LOVE CATS AND I ALSO LOVE BOOKS. Although I wasn’t directly tagged, I decided to pick it up anyway! And it turned out to be an excellent excuse to take pictures of my beautiful cats with my beautiful books. 😀 (If you’re interested, the black cat featured here is Clemmy and the tortoiseshell is Mia! THEY ARE THE LIGHTS OF MY LIVES.) You can find the original tag at meltingpotsandothercalamities.

Purr: As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

When I’m feeling sad, I usually read fanfiction to make me feel better. (Usually one that I have already read about 103729 times.) Or a webcomic. But if I did want to read a book to relax me then it would probably be either Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, because I love it with all my soul, or Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour because AAAH THE MOST CUTE SOFT GIRLS IN LOVE.

books and cats

Sleep: What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

I got about two thirds through Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and then I just…never bothered to return to it. I don’t remember hating it, but, yeah. Exactly that. I wasn’t invested enough to pick it up for the ending. Who knows, maybe I’ll try again at some point.

Twitch while dreaming: Have you ever dreamt of a book you read?

I do feel like I have, but honestly I can’t remember! I feel like maybe I dreamt about a Juno Dawson book one time. I don’t know why that would come to mind if not…?

Seems to play nice…until the claws are out!:  Which book had the biggest plot twist(s)?

I just finished The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and I absolutely ADORED it but also IT PULLED VERY DRAMATIC THINGS ON ME. MULTIPLE TIMES. But that’s sort of why I loved it! I think it’s great when a book can truly surprise me.

books and cats

Cuddles: Which book character would you give a hug to?

Can I hug August from the Monsters of Verity duology by VE Schwab? Because he really needs a hug. He is basically a toddler except also a teenager and with crazy magic monsters going on. Bless this poor boy.

Catnip: What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon gave me ALLL the warm feelings. It was so cute! I mean, there were also not-cute bits but, like, obviously. Dimple and Rishi were just so cute and wonderful!

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Cat breeds: Your favourite book(s)?

I can literally never answer this question aah! My favourite recent reads have been Release by Patrick Ness, When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. But PLEASE NOO I CAN’T CHOOSE.

Getting the cat: How did you find your favourite book(s)?

Okay, so, I think Radio Silence is the most interesting — I picked up Release from the library and was recced When the Moon Was Ours about a million times — because I’d already read Solitaire, but it was only after that I started following the author Alice Oseman online! And then I reread Solitaire, enjoyed it way more, and got SUPER hyped up for Radio Silence.

Being in places they shouldn’t: Least favourite cliché?

(Yes, I might have changed the words of these questions to the British English spelling of favourite. Oops.) I’m…not actually sure if I have a particular cliche that I hate? I mean, if I hate it then I probably won’t read or remember the book. I’m not really into guys who are super masculine and annoying and don’t respect other characters. Queerbaiting also annoys me a lot.

The good old cardboard box: Most underrated book series?

I think I’m going with Curse Workers by Holly Black! I admit, it has been a little while since I last read these but I loved them even on reread, and I think the world setting is so unique. It’s like…a contemporary fantasy, plus cons? (The heist-y kind. Not the comic and cosplay kind.) I REALLY LOVE CON AND HEIST BOOKS, Y’ALL. #sorrynotsorry

I’m tagging: Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff, Elly @ A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts, Lia @ Lost in a Story, Jess @ Bookends and Endings and anyone else who wants to do it! ❤ (No cat required.) And of course if I've tagged you please don't feel obliged to do anything.

how do you feel about cats? do you have any pets? ever dreamt of a book?

 

On Turning 16

This month I’m turning 16. It feels weird. feel weird about it. I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING TO BE SIXTEEN. In my mind, sixteen sounds so much older than fifteen. It sounds like age when I should be more sorted out, when I should be a better writer, when I should be more confident in myself.

I know that I shouldn’t set so many goals on myself — after all, I know so many wonderful people who are 16 and older who are super awesome and still growing and changing and OBVIOUSLY I have a long way to go — but it does feel like I have just been…less.

In October, my blog is turning 4. Yep, I’ve been here since I was 12! I KNOW THAT’S SO WILD, RIGHT. I truly can’t believe I’ve kept at blogging for this long, and I’m so proud of myself. My blog has become a comforting constant, and I am so grateful that I have carved out this space in which I can say things.

Sometimes my history on here does feel like it’s holding me back, I admit — it’s so much easier to be very personal and honest when you’re shouting into the void of the internet at strangers. Just in general life, I do in many ways wish that I could start over from where I am now, because I am such a different person to how I was in primary school or even 2, 3 years ago.

I feel a little bad for thinking this, but whilst I am so grateful that at the moment my parents are supporting me and I have the structure of school, I really am looking forward to not being a part of that. Being around the same people in a school setting makes it difficult for me to express myself the way I would like. I hope that in the future I can meet feel more happy with myself, and meet more awesome like-minded people. And just to be clear, that’s not to say I don’t love my current friends so dearly, because I do! I would NEVER give them up! It’s just that I have changed, and I want to embrace that change for the better.

Truly, I think I have developed a lot personally. Maybe not so much this year as I did last year; if last year was basically me coming out to myself and my friends, then I guess this year has been…consolidating that? Becoming more confident in myself? I mean, I don’t really know. I know sexuality or gender identity might not be a big deal to some people (which is totally cool and great for you!) but my queerness is a big part of who I am, and it didn’t feel good to bottle that up inside. Although I still make mistakes and do stuff that sucks sometimes, I do hope to keep growing & educating myself & learning how to do better.

So, yes, I wanted to be further in my blogging and writing by now. I haven’t ever finished a project. I haven’t been published any more than I had last year. I basically haven’t written in 6 months, yikes. It is so strange to feel at once so young and on the edge of everything and also like you’ve already wasted so much time. I haven’t experienced “classic teen things” (very big air quotes) like falling in love or going to parties, and yes, sometimes I feel left out. But there is no one way to be a teenager. I can spend my time how I want — and if that’s reading a great book with my cat, that’s okay.

 

I Talk About Comics, Part 3

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I’m pretty sure this is one of my only successful series ever. (If you count successful as actually continuing as a series.) Probably because there are so many awesome webcomics out there! I’ve been reading a few more since the last update, but I thought I’d chuck in some traditional comics too because a) I didn’t have enough new webcomics haha  and b) I’m trying to get into traditional comics more so, you know, WHY NOT. Do feel free to check out part 1 and part 2 for further comic recs.

With Great Abandon by EH Macmillan Aah! I love this comic SO MUCH. Reasons I love it: trans MC! Hell yeah! Trans adults being trans and happy and doing stuff! Super cute romance, but also looks at the realities of actually being in a relationship. LONDON. Nerdiness. Russ and Harry meet in Forbidden Planet which I have in fact been to. Harry is so smooth which is like, woah. Also, oh my goodness the art is AMAZING. I really admire how the artist is able to continue the story without dialogue and just like…pretty arts… It actually just finished, which is sad because no more updates, but it does mean that now you can read the whole comic in one sitting. Go forth, friends!

Their Story by Tan Jiu I don’t normally read manga-style comics but my friend recced this to me and aah!! It’s so cute! And an F/F WEBCOMIC HELL YEAH LET ME READ MORE CUTE GIRLS. I feel like I read and see so many more m/m webcomics around than f/f ones which makes me really sad. 😦 I’d love to read more f/f and other queer girl stories so let me know if you’re reading any good ones!

Griefer Belt by Kales Y’all, I just really enjoy crime/con/heist stories. What can I say? This is basically queer criminals plus a lot of personal problems. Again, the art is so wonderful, and in general it’s just a super fun story. (Even though crime. Who knows.) Lars Van Allen really is a annoying, but he’s also…funny. The artist redrew him as Freckle from The Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo which I 10/10 agree with, if any of you have watched that. (Warning for violence & gore.)

Aspera by rrroux This comic has only started pretty recently, so we don’t know the characters too well yet, but it’s about LGBTQ+ students at art school in Paris and I’m super excited to see where it goes!

Eerie Crests by Bell I’ve only just caught up with this one and it’s…kind of creepy, to be honest, which isn’t normally my scene, but not creepy in a SUPER HORROR way. A lot of the story so far is characters interacting but there is just a sense of unease and weirdness. The art style is really cool, and I love the character designs too. You know when characters do the blush thing? That’s my favourite. I like it a lot. (Warning for a bunch of stuff in this; you can check the content warnings by the author here.)

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Now onto the traditional comics section, get hyped for my knowledge here. 😛

Young Avengers For once the library actually had all three volumes of this, including the first one, (*gasps*) which was awesome, so I took advantage of ! I find superhero comics difficult to get into, but I really loved this one. Miss America is so cool omg. I hope I can read her solo series soon, eep. 😀  Also, I’m always on board with multiple canon queer characters, heck yeah!

Saga This seems to be a frequent rec for people starting comics but, pfft, I’ll throw it in here anyway. It’s a space opera epic spanning the galaxy with so much good art and snappy last pages. Have I mentioned how much I love me a space opera? BECAUSE I DO. (Warning for violence, gore & sexual content.)

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! I follow Kate Leth on twitter and she seems really cool, but I’d never got round to reading any of her comics. But I ADORED the first volume of this — yes, it was super cute, but that’s honestly what I love to read. It brought me a lot of joy and laughs, and again: HECK YEAH CANON QUEER CHARACTERS!

Lumberjanes Another popular comic but AAH I love this so much! It’s about a group of girls at a girl scout camp. Girls being cute, having fun & adventures together! LGBTQ+ girls! Super fun art! It just brings me a lot of joy. Also, I really need to catch up because I’m like 2 volumes behind, oops.

Ms Marvel I’ve only read two volumes of this as I keep forgetting to reserve the third one from the library, but I’m really enjoying it so far! Again, I don’t read a ton of superhero comics but I’m actually excited and interested in this one, so.

Once again, if you have any recommendations for comics then I’d love to hear them! You can check out my Tapastic account for a collection of most of the stuff I’ve been reading (or wanting to read) on there, including stuff from past posts and some others that I haven’t got round to putting in.

do you read any webcomics? traditional comics? have you read any of these?

Back to School // #evestudies

back to school evestudies.jpg

That’s right folks, it’s September, and for me that means SCHOOL. And also a year of important stuff for me, because GCSEs and A LEVEL THINGS and DECISIONS ABOUT MY FUTURE. *screams*

Whilst obviously I am kind of worried, I’m not…that worried? I mean, I know GCSEs will probably suck but a) they are not at all the end of the world if I mess them up, I can still do other stuff as a human and b) they’ll probably end up fine. And I’m a lot further with thinking about my future than I was this time last year. I still don’t really understand how the new A Level thing all works — hopefully this will be explained??? maybe not though — but, yeah. I have some thoughts on what I want to do, at least. (I know I’d like to do Spanish.)

So, yes. It is GCSE year! Hurrah! not  If you’re not familiar with the English school system, they’re basically the big exams you take age 16 after a two year course. I’m taking 9 or 10, I think? Maybe it’s 10 with the two English ones. I’m not sure. We also have mock exams at my school in January which, again, is going to be SUPER FUN. -_- At least I can look forward to seeing my family at Christmas and The Last Jedi. (Y’all, I am super hyped for it. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE MY SPACE CHILDREN AGAIN.)

Whilst obviously I’m going to need to like, do schoolwork, my main goal for this academic year is to be kind to myself. I find exams pretty stressful but I don’t really want to spend the next 9 months or so freaking out. What I mean by this is: I want to keep doing stuff I enjoy! Seeing friends, reading, book events, watching TV, blogging, writing, music. Meditation, which seems to helping a bit. We actually seem to have self-care lessons at school now — they’re not called that, but that’s what they seem to be — and I hope those will be good. If I get super stressed out over work then it just makes everything I try to do 100 times worse. And I do not need to feel crap for 9 months. It’s not worth that.

The other day I watched this video by EmilyOfAdarlan on having the right mindset for GCSEs, which I thought was really useful, if maybe not exactly how I’d like to do stuff? know that I could get super involved in this and just work all the time. And I probably will have to at some point. But I dunno, as I said, I don’t think it’d be awesome for my mental health. Ideally like to be able to combine maximising my time, consolidating stuff, and doing other work-y things with stuff I love. Sometimes I do just need time off. I found using a bullet journal useful so I think I’m going to restart that! (Maybe with a new journal because mine was a bit crappy.)

My mental health hasn’t been great recently but I’m feeling good today? Which is nice? So I’m going to talk about some stuff that I’m excited for this next school year. Firstly, seeing my friends! I’ve really missed just, like, seeing people over the holidays. It’s already been super nice to see them back at school. Also, I am kind of excited to be learning stuff again. Yeah, school can be stressful, but I just. Like learning stuff. WHAT CAN I SAY.

More things I am excited for: the clubs I have going on — LGBTQ+ society (we’re planning to do an assembly to the younger kids which is scary but also fun), music groups, theatre tech. Hopefully I can actually learn some useful tech stuff at the club. And we have House Music this year, which is basically where you get together with your people in your house to perform a song as a choir! It only happens every other year so the last time I did it was in Year 9, and honestly I’ve been waiting for it to happen again ever since because I LOVED it.

It’s a lot more easy for me to talk about what I want to do when I am feeling happy. It’s so much harder to love myself and focus on the good things when I’m not, but I’m going to try my best. In any case,  I hope for the best for the next school year!

are you going back to school? do you have experiences of exams? how did you study, or how are you studying for them?

 

 

 

Summer Favourites!

Words 'summer favourites' over the books Strange the Dreamer and Our Dark Duet

*rolls in* That’s right folks, I’m back! And I am here with a summer favourites post! I am sacrificing the vaguely nice weather to write this so, you know, hopefully it’s worth it. And hopefully I can stop thinking about going back to school (yikes). Here are some things I have been loving over the last three months.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I’d been putting off buying this for ages because, well, it’s kind of expensive in hardback, and I thought it might come into the library, but in the end I just went for it. I’m so glad I did! Although it was a pretty long book, I was super invested in it, and I especially loved Lazlo. As ever the writing was stunning, let me cry.

Angels in America This is showing at the National Theatre right now and although I couldn’t get tickets to see it live, I was able to see it broadcast live at the cinema near me. I saw it with my grandma and parents, which I think was pretty interesting since we each had really different personal experiences relating to the play. Even though I was a bit worried about the long running time (it’s about 8 hours) I thought this was incredible and I ended up becoming very invested in the characters. Even though most of them were kind of not great people? But I guess, you know — people suck sometimes. The production of the play was also stunning, oh my goodness.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of this at YALC and I loved it even more than Lauren James’ other books, I think! What can I say, I just LOVE space stories. It was such a page turner; I read it in like 12 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I’d definitely recommend you to read it when it comes out next month!

The Incredible Jessica James I just watched this movie (on recommendation of the excellent Secret Feminist Agenda podcast) and I LOVED IT. Jessica was just, super funny & cool and I definitely didn’t almost cry at the end. GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS GIVES ME LIFE. (Also Jessica Williams is pretty oh my goodness.)

Our Dark Duet by VE Schwab Is it supposed to be Victoria Schwab because YA? I dunno. I’m pretty sure the UK version is VE Schwab. Anyway, this book tore me apart and also tore me apart with writing. *flails* That is really all I have to say.

You by Dodie I’m fine…ahaha… No, actually this EP was SO WONDERFUL and I LOVE IT A LOT. In particular I think I really love the titular song, You, which I’d never heard before! Though of course I adore all of them.

The Bright Sessions Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages talks about this podcast a lot so I decided to start listening and…well…I AM OBSESSED. I finally caught up about two weeks ago and just. MY HEART. It’s about people with superpowers except it’s more about how they interact and arGH I LOVE ALL OF THEM SO MUCH. (Except some of the characters who are horrible. But, you know.)

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Another book I finally picked up after hearing so many wonderful things. I just adore books about nerds and cons and this was hella cute! Again, I devoured it in like 12 hours.

stuff from around the internet:

  • On the blog I started a new series called #evestudies about my school life, talked about LGBTQ+ books I want to read, and why I love the podcast Witch, Please.
  • Following the events in Charlottesville, Sara Benincasa compiled a list of organisations you can donate to if you’re able, and Ijeoma Oluo wrote about fighting white supremacy on The Establishment. Although these events happened in the USA, and I’m in the UK, I think this piece is still super relevant.
  • Em @ (the newly rebranded!) Yellow’s The Word talked about resources you can use for language-learning. Although the post is for learning over the summer it’s still super useful!
  • The trailer for A Wrinkle in Time was released and WOAH IT LOOKS GOOD. I can’t remember reading the book, I confess, although my mum swears I loved it, but I’m super pumped to see the movie.
  • Mish @ Chasing Faerytales recced some books with Muslim rep for Ramadan.
  • Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff imparted to us mortals (hehe) some tips for how to make cool aesthetics.
  • I also updated my Redbubble shop! I put on a bunch of new designs featuring cats, blogging, and space and I actually love them a lot so, if you fancy buying one or forwarding on the link do check it out. 😉

in the diary:

  • Oh wow, June feels so long ago. Erm…well, I had internal exams at school! And they went well overall!
  • WHOO SUMMER HOLIDAYS. I went camping with my family which was super fun! I got to spend a bit of time away from everything and also spot the various cute animals around the campsite.
  • I went to my first ever Pride in London which was WOAH. Somehow my friends & I ended up walking in the parade with all the commercial floats, so sorry about that? But also it was so amazing to be around so many cool people and just, like, see other visible LGBTQ+ people??? yeah?? it was fun?
  • In July I went to the Young Adult book event, YALC!  Aah! I’d been looking forward to this event for so long and it was SO GOOD. I just love books a lot, y’all. Please do feel free to check out my full recap here. 😉
  • I don’t know how much you follow my personal rambles about gender so just to let y’all know, I’m currently using they/them pronouns.
  • Probably some other stuff happened but as ever I…can’t really remember it. I’m off to school this week which is kind of yikes.

You might remember that this time last year I decided to switch from monthly to seasonal favourites. Short story is: I think I might do monthly ones again! However, I won’t doing my usual layout with all the items in an image, because to be honest that’s the most difficult part.  I’m not completely sure yet, but three months is just a super long time to keep up with stuff, and I simply don’t have the space to include all the things I love. So, maybe monthly ones it is? We’ll see. *nods*

how have your last few months been? are you returning to or back at school? read any of these books?

View story at Medium.com

YALC 2017 Recap

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Okay, this post is going to be SUPER late by the time I’m able to post this, but NEVER MIND. On Saturday 28th July I was lucky enough to be able to attend YALC, the con in London for young adult books! And here is my round up of what I got up to!

ink swash 2

I attended YALC on the Saturday in 2015 but this year was SO MUCH BIGGER. The main difference I could see was that there were loads more stalls — publishers, authors, other bookish or nerdy companies — in addition to the panels and workshops. Although I’d been basically looking forward to it since the summer before when I’d missed it, I was pretty anxious. (Also, last time I went to a con I brought the wrong ticket which was yikes.) I think that did detract from my day a bit but I couldn’t really do anything about it.

 

When I arrived at about 9am, I basically just checked out the area. I managed to get my hands on the very last copy of Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz which I was very smug about. I also bought The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and picked up a proof of The Fandom by Anna Day & Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki as well as SO MANY free samplers and other swag. I didn’t want to take all my new books away with me so sadly I’ve only read The Loneliest Girl so far but I ADORED IT, and I’m super excited to read the others! These actually ended up being the only books I got (apart from Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger from the book swap). I do sort of regret not buying more books to be honest, but I had just had a mini haul in order to buy books to get signed at YALC, so. I also purchased a YALC 2016 t shirt even though I wasn’t there in 2016 because, well, I wanted a t shirt and liked the 2016 design more. 😛

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samplers I picked up

Next I met up with my friend who was a bit late due to sleeping in (#relatable am I right) (or not for me because I wake up at like 7am every single day) we headed off to the Publishing 102 workshop in the Agent Arena. 5 different people working in the literary and oublishing industry, from editor to designer to librarian, told us about their jobs and answered any questions. To be honest I don’t think I’ll work in publishing but it’s good to keep my options open and I thought it was really interesting! It must be really cool to work on such iconic book designs like The Fault in Our Stars which have become very important & recognisable in fandom spaces and stuff.

Next up after a very long queue for the toilets (okay but…why did they only have like 4 toilets for such a busy convention) was the Genre Bending panel with Zen Cho, VE Schwab, Ben a, Samantha Shannon and also two other people I didn’t know. I found it a bit difficult to hear from where I was but it was very interesting to hear about different genres and what genres actually are. 

Right after this I attended the Unconventional Romance panel with Ayisha Malik, Paige Toon, Patrice Lawrence & Jennifer E Smith. I enjoyed it, and it was cool to hear from Ayisha Malik because I’d bought her book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to read whilst away so that got me excited. (Also, oh my goodness, I really need to read Indigo Donut.) Some parts were better than others and also, hi, it is I a tiny ace teenager who has never fallen in love so that’s not universal but yeah.

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books I got signed

I wish that I’d understood more about the Virtual Queueing system and got my VE Schwab and Laini Taylor tickets in between those two panels as then I’d have been able to get my stuff signed, but sadly I had to skip getting my Laini Taylor books signed because the queue was just too long. However, I did get my books signed by Lauren James, Zen Cho, and later on VE Schwab which I’m so happy about!

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galactic makeover time

Whilst waiting I got a fun galactic makeover, themed to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, so here I am all sparkly for you. Fun fun.

Now the Teen Bloggers Chat meetup! I was SUPER excited for this & I was very sad to arrive late, sorry guys. But, you know, I really did want those VE Schwab books signed. I was a bit of an awkward bean but it was so lovely to meet everyone, and I hope we can meet again at some point (???).

After this I headed off to the Books That Made Me panel with VE Schwab, Joanne Harris & Laini Taylor. I hadn’t realised it was going to be about, like, formative books you’ve read? So that was a surprise. But it was still cool. And finally I stayed to the end to watch Non Pratt shave her head for charity, and also to not see Benedict Cumberbatch because I didn’t realise what was going on. I thought I didn’t care but APPARENTLY I DO STILL CARE.

Overall I had a fab time, despite being a bit stressed and anxious, and I hope that I can attend again to see YALC grow even more. Now go check out some fab recaps by Jess @ Bookends and Endings and Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf, and you can also watch video footage of ME in the wild at the #teenbloggerschat meetup. Please do link your YALC recap below, I’d love to read it!

did you go to yalc? have you been to another book event? would you like to?

PS. I know I’m technically on hiatus, but I thought it would be a good idea to post this whilst YALC was still vaguely fresh in our minds. I plan to be fully returning at the end of August with my summer favourites. 🙂

On Not Feeling Awesome // plus hiatus

Hey guys! So. If you’ve been following me on social media you might have seen that I haven’t been having a great few days… I’ve been feeling pretty down. I tried to write numerous blog posts with little success. It feels like a lot of bad & stressful stuff has been happening, even though I know it’s probably my perception of it.

It’s okay. I’m doing better now. Even just making the decision to sit down and write makes me feel better. And crying also makes me feel better, even if that sounds kind of weird. I don’t know, maybe my period is coming? It would explain the cramps but also I don’t normally get bad cramps before my period so??? who knows??

Also, I was really stupid & broke my phone. After sitting in rice for several days it seems to mostly work okay, except for the volume. I’d rather have that than nothing though! I’m just a bit frustrated at myself. :/

Just in general EVERYTHING FEELS ANNOYING. I’m having problems dying my hair and seeing all the cool stuff happening at SDCC which I’m not at and having a bit of a Feeling Bad About Gender Moment. I decided to kinda ‘come out’ to my irl friends, I suppose, in that I asked them to use they/them pronouns for me. I love them a lot, and we’re cool and LGBTQ+ together, but some of them don’t know much about non-binary stuff so I guess it can be tiring? And also because I’m an awkward person I don’t like correcting people. But I also put my pronouns more visibly on twitter, so. I’m proud I did that. If I decide actually these pronouns aren’t for me then that’s okay, but they feel good right now, and I’ve had a year to think about.

Good stuff has been happening too! I’m going to YALC next Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited. I also went to see part 1 of Angels in America at the cinema; I look forward to finishing it next Thursday. I’m loving podcasts right now and am absolutely living for the second season of Witch Please, The Penumbra Podcast, and the new Secret Feminist Agenda. I’m currently having a bit of a feminism renaissance! Yay!

I didn’t really realise it until I sat down today but — I think what I need is to take some time away. I’ve been so stressed about trying to schedule posts that I just HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO DO ANYTHING. It is a little disappointing for me because I’m always like ‘oh yay, I blog really regularly! I’m reliable!’ but honestly I want to prioritise my mental health. It’s never good to burn out. It’s not good for me to not be enjoying blogging anymore.

As such, I’ve decided to take August off. I’m away with minimal wifi for the first two weeks — camping hell yeah! — and I’ll see when I get back. I’ll probably post a YALC round up but I can’t guarantee anything more. Instead, I’m going to be working to make my blog even more awesome than before in time for Autumn and my 4th blogoversary! (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. I feel so old yet I have so few followers, ahahahaha.) (I’m also trying hard to not get down about the relative success of my blog because JEALOUSY IS NOT COOL.)

Thank you for understanding and for staying with me, friends. I love you all. I’ll probably still be more present on twitter and tumblr if you fancy saying hi to me. Please stay well. I’ll see you soon. ❤