Buddy Read: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares


Helloo everyone! This month I was lucky enough to participate in a readalong with the very lovely Lia @ Lost in a Story and Lu @ Girl Who Reads. We read Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, a book about book-lovers in NYC at Christmas. 😀 It really got me in the Christmas mood!

I am myself both a) a book lover and b) a lover of New York City so this book appealed to me immensely. The premise is that each person leaves instructions in a special notebook for the next person to follow… I thought that was super cool. Even if reality was sometimes stretched. Although it wasn’t, like, a critical genius, I found it a sweet & fluffy read!  I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the sequel at some point.

We each answered some questions about the book on each of our blogs, so go and check out the other posts here and here! (Wouldn’t want to miss our wonderful insights, naturally ahaha.) (Also, the cover I put for this post sadly isn’t the cover of my edition, but I thought this one looked way nicer so there we are.

how addicting was the book?

Me: It was really readable; although I didn’t read it in like 1 day because, alas, school, I read it very fast and I was invested in what would happen next in the story.

Lucy: I wouldn’t way that it was the most addicting book I’ve read this year, but it was certainly gripping! I was always wanting to know what happened next, but not to the extremes like some of the books I’ve read recently. I actually really liked that it wasn’t so gripping that I couldn’t put it down, as it meant that the overall reading experience was lovely.

Lia: The book was quite addicting, after I got into the book and passed halfway I just couldn’t stop reading. I was reading the e-book and I had no clue how far I was into the story and then it was suddenly over! I just needed more, immediately!

what could have been improved in the book?

Me: Some parts of it felt unbelievable to me. Sometimes the characters felt like their quirkiness was being stretched too far, and the premise was a tiny bit unbelievable. But there wasn’t anything massive.

Lucy: I think I would have liked the chapters to be a little shorter, because I was always wondering about the other chapters and found them a bit bulky for most contemporary dual PoV chapters.

Lia: Something that could have been improved… I think they could have toned down the way Dash speaks. Sometimes it felt like Dash swallowed a dictionary and randomly spits out words. Often I had no clue what the words meant, and that made it kind of less realistic.

are any of your pet peeves in this book?

Me: Mm, I don’t think so? I don’t read loads of contemporary YA romance, and it’s probably not my favourite genre ever. (Except Rainbow Rowell. I read a lot of Rainbow Rowell. Her books are in a league of their own for me ahaha.) But for what it was I enjoyed it a lot 😀

Lucy: Not so much a pet peeve, but I found Lily a tad immature ( and fun too), and was feeling sorry for herself quite a lot. I didn’t dwell too much on it, but I sort of just noticed it a few times.

Lia: There’s one thing in the book when Dash & Lily almost meet, but just miss each other. It is something that annoys me slightly, but I don’t think I would call it a pet peeve though.

Overall I had loads of fun doing my buddy read and I’d really like to participate in more in the future! 😀 It got me reading a book I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read ahaha, which was nice.

In Which I Talk Webcomics

I have been having a lot of Feelings about webcomics lately. And I think that the time has come for me to share these feelings with the world. (Yes, essentially that means I am going to flail for an entire post. IT IS VERY FUN TO FLAIL FOR ENTIRE POSTS.)

I think that webcomics are wonderful. If you don’t have much experience with them, then they’re essentially just comics published online, usually available to read for free and updating with new pages every so often. I mean, in general I really enjoy serialised media because it gives me something to look forward to. But I also love that there are so many great, beautifully-drawn stories accessible. For some reason I actually find it quite difficult to read traditional comics? (Like, superhero ones. Also manga, which aren’t really traditional comics but you know what I meant.) I have done it, but I find it hard to focus on the page, and it takes me a long time. SO! Reading one page week by week is basically the perfect situation for me.

Anyways. Since I’ve been following some great webcomics for a while, I thought I’d share some of my favourite with you! These range from sci-fi to romance to fantasy and combinations of many genres. 🙂


Witchy by Ariel Rees I think this one has my favourite art — it’s STUNNING. Seriously. I die a little inside. But the story and world are also completely kickass: basically the longer your hair, the greater your magic power. The MC Nyneve is my precious angry child. And all the characters are just so wonderful. MY CHILDREEEEN. Um, I have a lot of fictional children, it seems. Updates every Monday/Tuesday depending on where you live.

princess-princessPrincess Princess by StrangelyKatie You will probably collapse from the cuteness of this. (Or at least, I did.) It’s everything I want — yay reversal of fairytales, yay queer characters, yay awesome artwork. The Hello Kitty palette definitely adds to the cute vibes. And you can now buy a physical copy with some extra epilogue stuff! Complete.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson I feel like…many people I know have read Nimona? And it’s no longer strictly a webcomic since you’ll have to buy a physical book to read the whole thing. But it was the first webcomic I ever read, and I still adore it. (I was so smol back then, oh my goodness.) I do think the experience of reading it as a graphic novel is a bit different — you miss the banter in the comics, the comments from Noelle and the many running jokes such as Goldenloin runs like an idiot — it’s still AWESOME. It’s a kind of…hero and villain shapeshifter story in a monkpunk setting? (MONKPUNK. That word makes me laugh. It wasn’t coined by me, but it’s supposed to be medieval steampunk.) I’d definitely recommend this as an introduction, and you can still read the first few chapters online here. Complete.

Les Normaux by KnightJJ & Al Les Normaux is about the daily lives of characters in a supernatural Paris — and if that setting isn’t cool enough, everyone is such a cinnamon roll. The cast is super diverse and although there are lots of characters, I really felt involved in each of their stories! The art is adorable too.always human3.jpg

Always Human by walkingnorth This is another really cute webcomic! It’s in a sci-fi setting but I love that the technological advances are seen as positive. The main focus are the two MCs Sunati and Austen, but there are many other great characters — once again the cast is really diverse. (I am pretty sure that the majority of the webcomics I’ve recommended has canonical queer characters though haha.) he art is so pretty and glowy; plus, the author writes an original soundtrack for each episode! Updates every Saturday.

SIGNS by julshii This one is a little less developed than perhaps some of the others on here, but the mystery is half of the fun. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?? SHALL WE EVER KNOW??? It’s about some kids in a weird place and a secret computerised metropolis. The art starts off black and white, but woah there are GIFs later on and it is very awesome. Also, I would like to achieve Victor’s hairstyle for myself. Thank you world. Updates are sporadic currently.

Space Boy by Stephen McCranie Space Boy is a slightly more action-based one. YAY SCIFI SPACE AND MYSTERIES. It follows the story of Amy, who’s just woken from a cyrogenic sleep as she travelled to Earth from her home in outer space. (Because space journeys are very long, peoples.) There she meets the mysterious Oliver, and…well. We are still working through the mystery, but nevertheless. Again, all the characters are precious and wonderful, as is the art! In later episodes the creator also features fanart and gives little comment things which are very cute. Updates every Thursday.


Hotblood! by Toril Orlesky Alongside Witchy, Hotblood! has SUCH. BEAUTIFUL. ART. The colouring. The scenery. I am basically dying from the wonderfulness of the art. But aside from that, the premise is centuars in the old American Wild West, and WOW IT IS SO COOL. I have come to love all these idiots. Especially Rook, my favourite smol/extremely tall cinnamon roll. I could have read it all in one sitting, but I decided to save it and read it over…er, two. 😛 Complete.

Various other ones that I occasionally pop by and/or have read small portions of are Check, Please!Heartstopper (by Alice Oseman! yes, of Radio Silence fame!), Rock and Riot, Dissent, Best Friends Forever, Paranormal Investigators, & Mias and Elle. And there are thousands more out there so HURRAH. *throws all the links into the post. Um, so, yes. This post has mostly just been me talking at length about things I like. Go forth, friends! Read away! I’d absolutely love it if you enjoyed any of the webcomics I recommend and I’m also keen to get recs from you guys.

Playlist: carry on, simon

This might sound completely insane, but…I feel like I haven’t flailed about Rainbow Rowell in a while? Anyway. I AM EXPERIENCING A RENAISSANCE. I still have all of my Carry On feels. Beneath this veneer of silence I am still actually complete trash.

Anyway. I made a dark magic/Baz/angsty wizard playlist (don’t laugh) on my Spotify an absolute age ago and I thought this might be time for all of my music feels to come to use. Because I HAVE A LOT OF FEELS WHEN IT COMES TO CARRY ON. I found it difficult to fit everyone’s stories into one playlist here — because playlist cohesion — so this is mostly a Simon and Baz one. And that is definitely not a gentle foreshadowing for more Carry On playlists… 😉

(Just to let you know, several of these songs contain swearing.)

carry on playlist.jpg
you have to pretend you get an endgame. you have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all. (by rainbow rowell)
listen on youtube / spotify

runaway – aurora
creep – radiohead
carry on wayward son – kansas
tectonic – brendan maclean
bloodsport – raleigh ritchie
young & beautiful – lana del rey
flaws – bastille
into my arms – nick cave & the bad seeds

March Favourites!

Admittedly this post is a bit late, but it means I can finally say it’s Spring. And that is a very wonderful feeling. This month has been a bit rocky, but lots of good things have happened too — it’s also the one year anniversary of my Les Mis obsession! Which sort of led to a plethora of musical theatre discoveries. That’s pretty nice. *nods* I’m considering writing a little related post, but WE SHALL SEE. as you knowI always do like talking about musicals ahem

1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh I bought this after I went to a Winner’s Kiss launch in New York! Both Marie Rutkoski and Renée Ahdieh were there, so I couldn’t resist buying this. It’s been crazy difficult to find in the UK, although I’ve been searching for ages. Anyway, the writing was breathtaking and I adore A Thousand and One Nights so much. (It was our school play in my first year. I was a guard in the story of the little beggar. Good times.)

2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys I’ll freely admit that I don’t read much historical fiction, but I adore Ruta Sepetys. She has such a wonderful writing style. I was thrilled to see she had a new book out, and even more so when I spotted it in my library!

3. How To Get Away With Murder This is the first show I’ve really got into since I started watching Sherlock and Doctor Who. (Which is to say, in about two years.) I just…don’t really watch much TV? And I find it very difficult to complete the whole show. Anyway, I’ve almost finished the first season on Netflix and IT’S SO GREAT. Law! Nice filming! Interesting and diverse characters! (Laurel Castillo, oh my goodness..) Overall I’m loving it a lot. *coughs*

4. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments (& co) are somewhat my guilty pleasure. Cassandra Clare is not my favourite person. But still…I HONESTLY ENJOYED THIS SO IMMENSELY. Emma Carstairs is beautiful. I need Helen and Aline, because I would like more queer characters who aren’t queer guys. Also, I reject that parabatai has no translation because…queerplatonic relationship… Yeah, okay, I did have some problems. But somehow this was still VERY gripping and asdfjkl I’m overtaken by feels for the Shadowhunter universe.

5. Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I had heard so much about this one. I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I thought it was a beautiful book, and I loved the style of documents — and of course SPACE YAY. It was great research for my current Camp NaNo project. 😛

6. Fun Home Soo… THIS HOLIDAY I WENT TO NEW YORK. I’m going to write a whole post on it later. Fun Home was one of my highlights, though: I think seeing it on Broadway (!!!!) in real life allows another monthly favourite. So, a moment of flailing: AAAAAAaaAAAH!!1!! Okay, deep breath. I have to try and not smile/cry every time I think of it. I’m so glad I saw it on stage because the cast recording does miss some of the dialogue, and the staging is sooo great. (It’s in the round.) The cast was awesome and despite my parents being kind of…eh when they say what it was about, I think they did enjoy it. I WAS DETERMINED TO LOVE IT WHATEVER. *flails* It’s just….asdfjkl so sad and happy and Medium Alison is so awkward and I just empathised with her  lot.

7. MoCCA Fest Also a New York thing, yeah. #sorrynotsorry I went here specifically to see Noelle Stevenson of my beloved Nimona and Lumberjanes — AND I DID AND SHE WAS AMAZING AND ASDFJKL I’M SO SORRY FOR BEING AN AWKWARD PERSON IF YOU EVER READ THIS. (I walked past the stall, like, 4 times before I worked up the nerve to say anything.) But there were so many other wonderful artists and illustrators there. I wanted to buy all the things. I WISH I COULD HAVE. *flails* I wasn’t expecting it to be so fun and awesome.

Stuff from around the internet:

In the diary

  • So, obviously I went to New York! AND IT WAS AMAZING.
  • I learnt my cat has an uncurable illness, and he’s going to die in the next few days. So. Yeah… I’m really sad about that. I’m sort of trying to not talk about it too much, though.
  • I took the train up to the Big Bang Science Fair along with the Guide unit, and we just had a fabulously sciencey day. *flails with excitement* SO. MANY. COOL. THINGS. And can I talk to someone about slime mould? Because it is super cool. Also, virtual reality is starting to be a thing which is pretty awesome. Overall I’m filled with STEM excitement.
  • MY JEHAN COSPLAY IS ALMOST FINISHED, GUYS. I just have to tidy up some threads at the top and sew on the buttons. (I say ‘just’. It’s to cover up my increasing panic and lack of sewing skills.) I’m super excited for MCM in May!

how was your month? are you doing camp nano like me? if so, how’s it going?

Feminism in YA // hollys bourne & smale, cj daugherty, and anna james


I had been very excited about this event ever since I bought tickets. Feminism and YA are two of my favourite things! So, obviously I arrived super early, despite the fact that I had CCF earlier… Yes. Can you tell I was enthusiastic?I had a lovely chat with the lady  sitting next to me about book signings and ALL l the books I TOTALLY NEED TO READ. When the authors came in I attempted to guess who was who, because I am professional and mature. 😉

When they were introduced, turns out I was actually pretty accurate! I’d seen Holly Smale at panels before, and I think I spotted books journalist Anna James cosplaying Eleanor from E&P at YALC? But don’t ever quote me on that. I guessed Holly Bourne from my memories of her author photo, which left CJ! (Just by the way, in this post HS = Holly Smale, HB = Holly Bourne, CJ = CJ Daugherty even though it totally should have been CD, and AJ = Anna James).

First of all we started with stating the belief with stating that the authors thought feminism was the belief men and women should be equal in social, political, and all things. (I am very tired of people telling me they’re not a feminist because it’s only women’s rights. FEMINISM IS GENDER EQUALITY, thanks.) The first question Anna asked was “What makes a book feminist to you?”

CJ: For me, it’s putting girls in positions of normality and equality. The girls do things wrong sometimes and do things right sometimes, and the guys do things wrong sometimes and things right sometimes.

HS: I think it’s the same thing for me; it’s putting both girls and also boys and showing there’s no female and male in terms of how people think and act. It’s also about showing  that strength can be physical but it doesn’t have to be, that it comes from many different places. We’re all breaking that feminist egg in different ways to make one big omelette!

HB: I wanted the link in my trilogy to be feminism; it’s kind of ABC of feminism for teenagers. But a book that doesn’t explicitly write FEMINISM isn’t less feminism. A feminist book is just pushing back at the gender construct bullshit pushed on us from birth. (A few cheers. Because YES THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS.)

I really agreed with all the authors said! I mean, I spent a lot of the evening agreeing. But I thought it was very important to mention that a book doesn’t have to explicitly mention feminism or have a typically ‘strong badass female character’ to be feminist. It’s just a book with well-rounded characters of all genders!

“You’ve all alluded to this strong female heroine thing. Are we past that? Does it have any worth now?”

CJ: I don’t think so. I know I’m writing aspirationally, about characters who are brave enough to take chances and hoping it will inspire me to do the same.

HS: It’s not about showing girls who are flawless and strong. Being able to shoot a squirrel is a great talent to have; we’d all like that very much. But it’s about showing everything that’s part of a person; creating real and not flattened out women is the step towards feminism.

CJ: You can’t be brave unless you’re afraid of something. If you aren’t brave, you’re reckless. As adults we address things that frighten us every day of our lives, and then you have to do the scary thing. We’re introducing teens to that idea.

HS:  I had to deal with a lot of crap like ‘Oh, I’m not reading a fluffy book about models.’ Putting a character who is scared of the world of make-up is bravery; it’s something we as women have to tackle on a daily basis — how much of ‘being a woman’ do we sign up to in order to be feminist?

HB: With Katniss Everdeen, she’s too busy saving the entire world to worry about boyfriends, and with Evie I wanted it to be a feminist novel — but she also just really wanted a boyfriend because she thought it would mean she was normal. The boys in books I read about as a teen were not the boys dumping me on the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve, which is a story I always bring up! You can be a feminist and want to have a boyfriend. For Evie bravery was leaving the house; I wanted to take back that bravery is saving the entire world from a guy in a robe.

HS: I’d have been much more interested in that series if Katniss had been a bit shit at shooting things.

HB: Or she got her period when she was stuck up a tree and she just dripped blood. She never had her period!

HS: Bringing in romance is difficult. It’s about not changing yourself for someone you love; it’s about finding someone who loves you for being you. (11:39)

AJ: I studied an adult novel where the man was the one entirely changes. Why is this still so unusual?

HS: How I Met Your Mother wouldn’t have worked if Ted was a woman. Everyone would have gone ‘What is it, the 1950s?’ We’re watching this because it’s a man’s search for love.

“Do you think writing YA is a different experience to adult fiction? Sometime’s it’s perceived to have more of a responsibility to its readers; is that valid, and how do you deal with that?”

CJ: I wasn’t going in with an audience in mind. It was just like: words on a page, brilliant! It was only once my readers started feeding back about feminism and saying that my MC Ally was always getting rescued. I made the series about her going from that girl to the girl who rescues herself.

HS: I’ve always been a die-hard feminist. When I was four I hit a boy with a stick for saying I wasn’t allowed to be an airplane pilot! The Borrowers was one of my favourite books, because Arrietty was just this kickass genderless girl. It seemed natural that I would write a feminist book.

HB: You have  responsibility to not corrupt children with swear words that they couldn’t possibly know, or talk about sex like there isn’t porn on the internet. You need to pander to that so people buy your book. But you also have a responsibility to be honest to teenagers, and that’s the one I always side with. Pretending the world isn’t there is very damaging.

HS: It’s just about being true to your character and the book you’re writing. It’s about showing people our version as authors of honesty. I feel like I’m responsible for showing girls what they’re capable of and who they can be inspired by.

Personally I really dislike when books are ‘dumbed down’ for teenagers. Yes. I know not everyone wants to read swearing — and it’s totally cool if you don’t; books are allowed to have warnings. But everyone at my school, like, swears the entire time. I hate books that pretend the world is all wonderful unicorns; I’d much rather read an honest book and characters. (I just really hate taboos in children’s & YA, guys.)

“Feminism is cool right now. How do you feel about the way we talk about feminism at the moment?”

HS: I would rather have people being feminists than saying they’re feminists.

HB: Actions not words is what the suffragette cause is about! We need to use both.

HS: People say we shouldn’t call it feminism because it causes people to move away, but I’m like, we shouldn’t have to change the word feminist just because people are scared of it.

HB: Two women a week die in this country because of domestic violence and people are worried about branding? All over the world half the human population are so much more buggered and you’re worried about a word not emasculating you? I don’t have time for that when people are dying.

“What place do you think men have in the conversation? Emma gets a lot of criticism for dumbing down the message with her #HeForShe campaign.”

HB: I’m very pro-men — I’m pro-human. I do think when you’re in a position of privilege it’s important to listen to the oppressed group rather than talk. My anger isn’t coming from nowhere; listen to my anger, and try to understand rather than getting your feelings hurt. It’s tricky when men want to talk. But if someone wants to talk to me about intersectional feminism I think I should listen.

CJ: We don’t win by making men invisible in the debate; they’re 50% of the population. I’m so happy when men say they’re a feminist.

HS: Having one gender talk at another is the problem we’ve had for thousands of years. It’s about not making women objects to look at and men people to listen to.

“What’s next? How do we move the conversation on?”

HB: This is really obscure, but if you’ve ever seen that episode of Buffy where she creates the spell that unleashes all the slayers — that’s what I’m trying to do with the Spinster Club books. I wanted to release all these feminists and inspire young people to change things in a positive way.

HS: It’s about saying feminism isn’t necessarily about scary hairy women shouting at you. It’s about keeping the conversation going. But it can’t just stay in books; you have to bring it into your real life.

Now it went onto questions! To avoid confusion when authors were being addressed, the two Hollys asked to be called S and B which apparently is a thing from Gossip Girl. I’M SO SORRY I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GOSSPI GIRL. But there we go. I haven’t transcribed everything for this section; I just summarised the answers instead. 🙂

“I’m a reception teacher and I’m already seeing sexism in four and five year olds. Would any of you be interesting in making a feminist picture book?”

Holly Bourne recommended the feminist picture book My Big Shouting Day, as well as suggesting the recommended reading lists of the diverse picture books charity Inclusive Minds. “That really scares me, what you just said!” CJ Daugherty said that maybe picture books were lagging behind, although there was a movement to reduce engendering in toys and books. They also talked about the new more diverse Barbie dolls — in the 60s feminists swapped the voice of GI Joe with the voice of Barbie!

“Do you think you can write outside your gender? Do you think a male author can write a woman the same way a woman can?”

All the authors agreed that it was definitely possible, if portrayed responsibly and sensibly; not just for an element of representation. “How do you not emphasise the difference and close the gap? It’s a fallacy to say that our experiences are the same.” CJ talked about her co-writer on The Secret Fire, Carina Rozenfeld, who usually writes from a male POV, and said she thought Carina was successful — “She didn’t patronise them; she treated them as equals.” Hollys Bourne and Smale added that male writers can write female characters badly, for example in the movie About Time! Who was — well. Very manic pixie dream girl.

“I’m 16, and when girls say they’re feminists boys say things like ‘When are you going to stop shaving?’ How do we let girls know these things aren’t all actually true?”

Holly explains that her third book addresses cognitive dissonance — having two conflicting beliefs at the same time — and that it’s difficult to be a feminist in every single action you do; “There’s no perfect feminist.” Anna added that asking “Why?” is a good way to respond; then people will either have a thing that you can tell them is wrong or will realise it’s nothing. It’s difficult to combine maybe wanting to be attractive but also wanting to be a strong woman. The world and media is a myriad of problems we as feminists have to sort through. “Feminism is in your head; it’s about being able to do what you want to do and not what society tells you you should do,” said CJ.

“How did you come up with the premise Manifesto on How to Be Interesting [by Holly Bourne]?”

“I had a massive fight with my boyfriend, because I discovered he was popular at school,” Holly said. After taking a train to London in a fit of rage, Bree’s whole story “downloaded” to her head. Which both Holly and everyone else agreed would all be lovely to happen again. “Just get angry and go to London!”

“How do we keep feminism going after it fades as a trend?”

Holly Smale said the trend right now is for very overtly feminist books, but even if the trend morphs into something different women’s voices will continue to be heard in fiction. CJ talked about the new young generation of feminists, which was lovely to hear because at least for me, young people are passionate about feminism.

“We’ve talked a lot about male and female, but not much about nonconforming genders or even disabled characters. What’s your view on that?”

CJ started straight off by saying that this should be the next wave, but that publishing moved very slowly. People also want to get it right — “although that isn’t an excuse for not publishing it at all”. Holly Smale said that you have to tell the story that you personally have to write the story you want to tell, and you have to make sure you and publishers are listening and encouraging all kinds of stories. CJ finished by saying she hoped that more diversity would also be seen in writers as well as books.

After this we all got our books signed! My copies of Geek Girl had all been a YALC, and much to my disappointment/dawning realisation, ALL MY HOLLY BOURNE BOOKS ARE ON KINDLE. But I got her new Spinster series one, How Hard Can Love Be? signed. And promptly read it. 😉 It’s fabulous, for the record. Overall I had such a great evening and I came home so excited by feminism and books and EVERYTHING. So this post ended up being way longer and more detailed than I intended it to be. 😛

what did you think about the authors’ responses? talked about feminism with anyone recently? have you been to any great book events? 🙂

The Happiness Tag

the happiness tag

I was tagged by the wonderful Christina @ fairy skeletons for this tag. Although it’s a lovely sunny day as I’m sitting at my computer, the whole…back-to-school stretch of winter feels ever so long. I don’t know. All the new year new you kind of things in the papers get tiring.

I’m happy right now! I mean, I think I am generally more happy than not. But it’s such a weird balance — it’s like I have to tread sp carefully to protect that feeling of feelgood. I have to remember to do this thing and remember to not do that. Or to check all those stupid superstitious things that I know are in the right place. (Do: go outside before lunch. Reply to your emails. Listen to nice music. Don’t: spend the entire day reading that one book. Spend an hour worrying over one paragraph in an email. Listen to music that makes you feel horrible and disconnected.)

We talk about happiness so much. I don’t know. I always just — it’s just feelings; things that do and don’t make my chest ache. I can’t say if it would work for everyone, but it was really lovely to think about some things that make me happy. ❤

songs: Sinners, Lauren Aquilina. Paris, Magic Man, Shake the Sheets, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Carry On My Wayward Son, Kansas. One Day More, Les Mis. Non-Stop, Hamilton. Bloom, The Paper Kites.

books: things written by Rainbow Rowell. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. Tumbling by Susie Day. Solitaire by Alice Oseman. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Legend by Marie Lu.

films: Whisper of the Heart. My Neighbour Totoro. Ten Things I Hate About You.

words:: superfluous. altruistic. endeavour. sojourn. visceral.

scents: tea. hot cross buns. frying bacon. (or frying onions.) the smell of grass after it’s been raining. bookshops. christmas pudding.

miscellany: talking to a friend you can say anything to. finally creating something good. a sunny day. inside jokes. happy coincidences.

Starting Revolutions in Dystopian YA: a 7-Step Guide

revolutions dystopia ya

Revolutionaries, are you secretly the protagonist of a YA dystopia? Find out by checking yourself against the symptoms below!*

You have always played by the rules. You know everything you do is for the good of society. You are going to do your parents proud. Your think your life is going to be nothing special, predictable, and you will probably marry your nothing-special, predictable best friend whom everyone thinks you are in love with for no apparent reason.

But you are Different. Nothing about your actions or thoughts suggest it, but you know it deep in your bones. You go along with the others, yet you are somehow…not like them. You try to quell this individuality. Because if you try hard enough it will go away.

You are about to come of age. Soon you will be that magic special number which means you are a functioning adult in society. A little like a debutante. In fact, you might actually be a debutante. During this coming-of-age-ritual, something important will probably happen in relation to your love life. (Because the government holds a deep interest in the love lives of teenagers.)

But now something has gone disastrously wrong and ripped a hole in your nice predictable life plan. The nice plan that you didn’t really trust anyway went wrong — how is this possible?!? Well, anyway, you have now seen the light and know that you’ve been living under oppressed rulers all your life. You have vowed to get out of that dark place.

The Different and brooding love interest — possibly the same as the ‘something disastrously wrong’ — has awakened a flame inside of you. Your latent Differentness has started to show itself. You are In Love, now the most beautiful and amazing couple anyone has ever seen. You are made for each other. Your love is far more powerful and Different and world-changing than any other teenage love. You are, of course, just like every other teenager in love.

Some fighting happened, but other people did it. You didn’t get to see that much actual revolution-ing. You were probably too busy making moon eyes at The Love Interest, or maybe feeling guilty about spending too much time with The Love Interest. Anyway, one of your dearest friends who you only met like a week ago died in the fighting. You have spent the required amount of time crying and being meaningful, and currently you are angry enough that you might even do something reckless. (Like the reckless thing everyone told you not to do.)

You have done the reckless thing and freed the country in one heroic blow. Despite not actually doing anything other than the reckless thing everyone told you not to do, you have been greeted as a hero. the whole world is free and peaceful and happy. Suffering will never again happen, all thanks to you. You said you were only doing what your instinct told you, and The Love Interest congratulates your modesty but says you really should get some kind of reward.

You finish on a bittersweet note, standing over the grave of tragic friend holding hands with The Love Interest as the sun sets. Finally, you realise that you need to get over the death of tragic friend and move on in your life. To show you have done this you kiss love interest. You ride off into the (improbably still setting) sun. The End.

*This is not a medically approved list. (It also does not apply to all YA dystopian novels ever.)

Poetry: Ashore

poetry ashore

I sometimes…WRITE POETRY?!? *gasps* WHAT IS THIS?

I know, I know. It’s been a horrifically long time since I last wrote any poetry. (Longer than I’d thought.) I AM SO SORRY FOR THAT. But it was National Poetry Day last Thursday, so I thought that this might be a really good opportunity to post That New Thing I’ve been promising for months! And now I can go and hide in a wardrobe and go hide in Narnia for several more months.


i drown myself in eyeliner
as if it will make me a siren. i’ve learnt
the lilts of the streets like a
lullaby but my scales remain dry
and darling

i could tell you all the eddies
of the city, but it’s pointless
because the comfort of cars is like tepid rain;
they’ve all gone verdigris anyway. they make me

bathwater-eyed, wading through zebra striped streets with
serene panic (water) mind manic (water)
gasping and grasping for the air that’s all around –

once i gave my tongue to your kiss, but know that
i didn’t love you with an ocean.
i loved the ocean
with you.

Snooping Around #3: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Exams are still being pesky little things, so apologies. Here, in light of the somewhat depressing General Election news – have a nice post of me fangirling about architecture!

snooping around

Snooping Around is my somewhat erratic series where I spot cool things on my travels and share them with you.

If you’ve heard of Shakespeare (because Shakespeare) then you might have at least heard of the Globe in passing. It was the theatrical home of many of Shakespeare’s plays, and it’s still there to attend shows – although the current one is a reconstruction. Much of its rebuilding is due to an American actor and director called – you guessed it – Sam Wanamaker. (Yes! Parent of the actress who played Madam Hooch! My ability to reference fandoms in supposedly serious posts is never ending 😉 )

sam wanamaker playhouse2

The project took over 20 years and was finished in 1992, the year before he died. We don’t really know if it’s an exact representation, but it’s still an awesome place to go and see some theatre.

sam wanamaker playhouseWhilst the Globe is a bundle of fun, it isn’t actually my focus today. Instead, I wanted to talk about slightly newer building: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. It’s been a work in progress for some time; the shell of the theatre was built during the reconstruction of the Globe and before construction for the Playhouse began was used for workshops. It’s based on Jacobean theatre drawings originally thought to be by Inigo Jones by now known to be the work of John Webb. And look! It’s. Candlelit.

Not only is this awesome because, hello, interior decoration and dramatic chandeliers, but it also means that you don’t get wet whilst going to see a production. Hopefully it’ll allow the Globe to continue their performances even through the rather unwelcoming British weather. All that groundling business is lovely, but it isn’t awfully comfortable. (Plus, it means a lot of interesting stage effects and asdfjkl awesomeness.)

Just being inside the theatre is an experience. It’s above the kind of shop/modern area of the Globe, but walking inside is absolutely insane. It’s just…ARGH. Amazing. I’ve only been to one show – that was the Passion Play, but it was with cool lady God and Singing in the Rain Noah’s Ark and the spread of Christianity as a hand clapping game, so – but I’d love to go again. I don’t know if they let you inside just to take a look (I don’t think they allowed photos), but if you’re ever in the area then I’d recommend. Maybe buy a manga Shakespeare play whilst you’re at it, because why not? 😛

Have you seen any cool buildings recently?

The TMI Tag

The tmi tag

If you were thinking that this was the Mortal Instruments tag, then I’m sorry to say you’re mistaken. It is, in fact the Too Much Information tag, in which I answer a frankly ridiculous amount of questions which inform you upon random things about me. (Ah, the innocent days when TMI stood for too much information and HP was a just garnish.)

The person who tagged me, Anna, eliminated a few questions about weight and such, and I’ve kept it the same. This puts me 7 questions down, with a grand total of 43. I’ve also changed all the ‘favorites’ to ‘favourite’, because I’m just a bit of a moody grammar lady. So, let’s go!

1: What are you wearing? Black jeans (they make me feel SNAZZY), a white vest top thing and a blue jumper.
2: Ever had a terrible breakup? Yes, I once gave up chocolate for Lent. (No. I joke.)
3: Any tattoos? No, though I’m not going to rule it out for later life. (Who knows?)
4: Any piercings? Just my ears.
5: OTP? I have plenty I could give you, but my absolute favourite, favourite romances are Chaolena and Snowbaz. (What, you thought you were going to get just one? No way. They should make it into ITP – Infinite True Pairings.)
6: Favourite show? Merlin, when it was on. Sherlock. The Great British Bake Off.
7: Favourite bands? I’m not really sure…I kind of like a bit of everything, except One Direction
8: Something you miss? Japan. I had a big episode of homesickness which I’m mostly over now, but still.
9: Favourite song? I couldn’t possibly choose my favourite ever, but at the moment I’m listening to The Dragon Boy and Four Walls.
10: Zodiac sign? I’m a Libra, supposedly the balanced one. -_- Yeah, right.
11: Favourite Quote? I have plenty of beautiful ones to choose from, but right now I’m feeling the urge to share this.

Nimona comic, copyright Noelle Stevenson

Now that is how you play Monopoly.
12: Favourite actor? Uh. I don’t really have one. The majority of my favourite films are animated.
13: Favourite colour? The whole rainbow.
14: Loud music or soft? My mum has always scared me with stories about damaging my ears and such, so I play my music quiet,
15: Where do you go when you’re sad? My bedroom, usually.
16: How long does it take you to shower? 5 or 10 minutes.
17: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? On a normal school day, there’s an hour between when I wake up and when I leave. It’s probbaly not helped by the fact that I read for a third of that time.
18: Ever been in a physical fight? Ha, no.
19: The reason I started blogging? To begin with, it was because I was too embarrassed about makeup to talk to anyone about it.
20: Fears? QUESTIONS THAT AREN’T QUESTIONS. *glares at screen* Failing, especially as a writer. Not living up to expectations. Pain. Large spiders. People I love getting hurt.
21: Last thing that made you cry? Again, not a question. But I cry a lot, mostly about nothing at all. I was just feeling kind of down and drowning in work.
22: Last time you said you loved someone? Last night, to my mum. I like it to be the last thing I say at night, even if it’s to the darkness.
23: Meaning behind your blog name? Tail (cats) + tale (stories) = taile. And Twist in the Taile was just a play on the old saying.
24: Last book you read? Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I read it in one sitting, and WOW WOW WOW
25: The book you’re currently reading? The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan.
26: Last show you watched? The Doctor Who Christmas special. Merlin, because I discovered it on Netflix. I’M READY FOR THE BINGE WATCH
27: Last person you talked to? My mum, who asked me if I wanted some pitta bread and humous.
28: The relationship between you and the person that last texted you? *goes to check phone* My mum, again. (This just shows what kind of social life I have.)
29: Favourite food? Sushi.
30: Place you want to visit? America. Anywhere in the two continents of North or South America. (Wait, is Central America a continent? No.)
31: Last place you were? My cousin’s house.
32: Do you have a crush? I assume we’re not talking about numbers or fictional characters here, so no.
33: Last time you kissed someone? When I kissed my cat yesterday.
34: Last time you were insulted? I have no idea. Probably yesterday, at my cousin’s house.
35: Favourite flavour of sweet? Rhubarb and custards, though I prefer chocolate.
36: What instruments do you play? I play the clarinet and sing.
37: Favourite piece of jewellery? I have some earrings that look like paper cranes from my grandma, but I haven’t worn them yet.
38: Last sport you played? Swimming. It’s one of the only ones I don’t suck at.
39: Last song you sang? My friend and I did a rendition of Let it Go, because she’s playing it in orchestra, and then I did a one-person version of Mexican Hat Dance.
49: Favourite chat up line? “Hi, do you like books?” or “Hi, are you a fictional character?” Maybe even “Hi, do you know where the wormhole to Hogwarts is?”
41: Have you ever used it? No. It’s unlikely I ever will.
42: Last time you hung out with anyone? Yesterday afternoon.
43: Who should answer these questions next? If you want to, Rebekah @ Horse Feathers? But really, anyone is welcome to. I feel kind of awkward asking people to do a tag which is called ‘Too Much Information’. (Let’s just pretend it’s The Mortal Instruments tag, okay? 😉)