The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

mid year freak out book tag.jpg

It might be a little past mid-year, but PFFT. All of summer is basically the same, right? 😉 Thanks so much to Bex @ My Shelf & Myself for tagging me, and can we all just take a second to appreciate that amazing blog name. 😍 Now onto the books!

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

the hate u give

OH MAN. I have no idea how to choose! I think that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Release by Patrick Ness, Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg and Our Dark Duet & A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab are among my favourites so far.

Best sequel of 2017 so far

a conjuring of light

I just finished Lord of Shadows which I loved, and I also adored Our Dark Duet, but I’d have to say A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab. I love the world & characters so much and reading that book was just such a thrilling experience. It made me so glad that I can have such awesome fan experiences.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

want cindy pon

Want by Cindy Pon sounds SO EXCELLENT. It’s a scifi book set in the futuristic Taiwan! Which is super cool! I would really like to read more scifi that isn’t a futuristic UK/US. Also, the cover is SO NICE.

Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017

the loneliest girl in the universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I adored The Next Together duology by Lauren James and I am so excited for her new novel! I’ve been snooping around on Tumblr where the author is posting related stuff and…I think there’s going to be fandom? SCI FI FANDOM HECK YEAH. I am also SUPER EXCITED for Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore.

Biggest disappointment

railhead

Railhead by Philip Reeve was one of the books I was most excited for on the Carnegie list. It started off with a cool premise — SCIFI, TRAINS, STEAMPUNK — but I ended up not really being engaged with the storyline or characters. I also maintain that the future is definitely more queer, okay?

Biggest surprise

the smell of other people's houses
I wasn’t expecting to like The Smell of Other People’s Houses but I actually ADORED and DEVOURED it.  It’s set in 70s Alaska which I didn’t know much about at all, and it tells the story of a bunch of different teenagers and the way their lives intersect. I LIKE THESE KINDS OF CROSSING STORIES A LOT, OKAY.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

bone gap laura ruby
Laura Ruby already has some books released, but Bone Gap was the first novel I’d read by her, and I enjoyed it a lot! I look forward to reading any new works of hers. 🙂

Newest favourite character

the last beginning
There was also a question here for ‘newest fictional crush’ but I don’t get crushes haha, so I merged it with my favourite character! I adore both Clove and Ella from The Last Beginning by Lauren James. I LOVE READING ABOUT QUEER GIRLS IN STEM IT MAKES MY HEART SING WITH JOY. I’m also still in love with Kell and Lila and Rhy but hey, that’s not new. 😉

Book that made you cry

release patrick ness
I don’t think I actually cried whilst reading it (because I am a stone cold human who never cries reading books) but Release by Patrick Ness made me feel a lot of emotions. It was just one of those books that reminded me so much of my own feelings — in a way that was both painful and wonderful? (Our Dark Duet)

Book that made you happy

and a happy new year
The Spinster Club series by Holly Bourne has always given me a lot of joy, adn the series finale …And a Happy New Year? was no exception. Of course there was no shortage of crises, and it wasn’t a completely happy ending, but it reminded me of how awesome feminism and friendship are.

Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year

a monster calls
I think the only book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year is A Monster Calls? (Based on the book by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd.) It wasn’t my favourite movie ever, but I thought the filming was very pretty & it made me feel all the things.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

Erm, I don’t actually write reviews! Maybe I can go through my Goodreads and find one, wait… Okay, no, I don’t know how to search through and read this.

Most beautiful book you bought or received this year

girl of ink and stars
Alas, I only borrowed it from the library, but The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is SO BEAUTIFUL in its physical form. Not only is the cover beautiful — the pages are also such nice quality & there are map illustrations and GAH SO NICE. Also, I bought my friend a new 20th anniversary Ravenclaw copy of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone and to be honest I thought that was pretty awesome.

Books you need to read by the end of this year

when dimple met rishi

OH MY GOODNESS. SO MANY. SO MANY.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon I have this on my Kindle & I’m going to read it on holiday!
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore AAAH I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED THIS BUT I’M SO EXCITED.
Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash This was only just released in the UK, aah, and it sounds wonderful.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee Webseries creator! Internet people! Asexual characters!
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee I’ve been meaning to read this for ages becayse it sounds AWESOME.
And also a TON more because ALL THE BOOKS YESSSSS. I couldn’t possible fit them all on here. 😛

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I’m not tagging anyone because a) as some of you might know I find tagging people a bit stressful haha and b) it is, erm, not really mid-year anymore, so I’d feel a bit awkward. I do hope you enjoyed this post!

how has your bookish year been so far? do you have a favourite book of 2017 yet?

Summer Bucket List (& Other Plans)

summer bucket list 2017

I’ve just put on my summer playlist and for once the sun is shining here in the UK. Yep, it’s summertime again! AKA the time where I celebrate not having to do schoolwork only to end up being bored. I wish I was someone who could really take this time to relax and do nothing but unfortunately doing that just makes me feel TERRIBLE. By the end of the holidays I actually miss the structure and purpose that school gave me.

But, I am determined that I’m going to do FUN STUFF this summer and NOT MOOCH AROUND. I might be starting off with too high aspirations, but I’ve printed out a calendar and I’m hoping to get back into using my bullet journal as that really helped me structure my day.

I’ve made a to do list of all the stuff that I want or need to do — ranging LL from homework to visiting museums — so I thought I’d share the most interesting here with you. (Trust me, if I just shared my actual word document with the list it would be pretty incomprehensible.)

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activities

There are so many great museums in London & I don’t think I make enough use of them! I’m hoping to visit the Queer Art exhibition at Tate Britain, the LGBTQ+ history thing at the British Museum, maybe visit the V&A or the Science Museum. I have’t been there since I was about 8 so I’d love to see how it’s changed.

I’d also like to take some day trips for example to Brighton, since it’s pretty easy to get a train ticket places, and also I don’t think I’ve ever been to Brighton. SO I’D LIKE TO DO THAT. I’m still working on convincing my friends to come with me haha.

personal

For personal activities, I am hoping to dye my hair blue tomorrow. I actually dyed it blue earlier but it was a semi-permanent dye so washed out basically immediately. 😦 This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages so fingers crossed it works out!

I am also trying to practice more self-care at the moment. I think I’m doing a better job, and currently I feel…fairly good in terms of mental health? Which is nice for once? I’m using the app Smiling Mind to do short daily (or almost daily haha) meditations, and my mum & I are doing some yoga from youtube videos my aunt recommended us. (She’s recently got super into yoga.) And it’s nice to do something together! Especially a physical activity since I don’t really do much in summer and it does make me feel better. I HOPE to go swimming at my local pool but to be honest I’ll probably end up forgetting. I do use my bike to cycle places though, since my parents can’t take me.

Finally, I’m using Duolingo to learn Japanese. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might know that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while — I also did a bunch last summer. However, as I predicted school got in the way, so I am hoping to use Duolingo as an easy way to learn some stuff for my school trip (!!!) in autumn. I find I’m quite motivated since I don’t want to lose my streak haha.

online

I’m pretty sure I say this every single holiday, but I’m going to try and write a whole bunch of blog posts so that I can have some buffer posts when school/life gets busy. (BECAUSE GCSE YEAR AAAAH I’M FINE.) We’ll see how that turns out.

I’ve also been considering rejigging my blog a bit in terms of design and the way I post. I do quite like my current theme, but I’m sort of feeling like it’s time for a change? And that I could make something which both looks nicer and has more consistent content. (Not that this is necessary for an amazing blog. Just something I’ve been thinking about.)

I’m vaguely considering doing some podfic — if you don’t know what it is, it’s like an audiobook except for fanfiction — since a) I love listening to podfic and b) now I have a mildly better microphone to record with but we shall seeee.

writing

In the last few months I’ve done basically no writing. I’d like to say school just took up all my time, but whilst that’s true to some extent, I also haven’t been feeling very motivated to write anything. This is the first year where I haven’t really got any new poems by the summer. 😦 However, I do have a new idea that I’m working on so I hope to do some of that!

One of my big problems with writing is that I get so worked up over THE NOVEL and how it has to be perfect. I find it a lot easier to view any writing projects from a different way — like, what would I do with this if it were a fanfiction? For me writing fic is really all about enjoyment  so that often gives me a way to feel excited about my story again. Or: what if this were a collection of short stories? a podfic? a webcomic? Obviously different stories work better in different mediums, but that’s just a weird thing I do.

media

As all my friends know, I’m terrible at following up on the stuff they recommend me. So, I’m planning to use this time to watch a bunch of different TV shows (Steven Universe, Brooklyn 99, Jane the Virgin, Carmilla probably others I’ve forgotten) as well as various books, webcomics, and other things. I also want to watch some musicals like Heathers, A Very Potter Sequel and Spring Awakening. (I’M SORRY. I feel bad watching bootlegs but the production is done and I don’t know how else I’m going to see it.)

Along with all this there’s schoolwork, reading/buying books for YALC, read a bunch of watching movies like Star Wars. I adore Star Wars but my family doesn’t enjoy sci-fi so I haven’t seen them all. And I’m seeing the Angels in America at the National Theatre Live thing in the cinema over the next two weeks which I am SO EXCITED FOR. AAH. Hopefully I’ll write a post about it.

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I’ve probably left out some other stuff I want to do, as I always do, but this post has somehow reached 1,000 words and it’s getting hot in this room so I shall end here. 🙂 If you like you can check out my summer bucket list from 2015 (I didn’t do one last year); I just did and woAH what a throwback. I do hope my writing style has developed a bit since then ahaha.

what are your plans for the next two months? doing anything nice? what do you think of the ink squiggles??(it’s an experiment)

General Election 2017

As you might know, here in the UK there is due to be a snap General Election in June. The next one was due to be held in 2020, but the PM and then Parliament have called for an election early. Thus: an election we have.

So, this is all very new and a bit of a surprise. It seems pretty crazy that there’s going to be an election in under two months from now; I haven’t had all the time to mentally prepare for it as I might have. To be quite honest with you, politics over the last year has made me feel a little numb. But I don’t think switching off is something that I personally should do, because so many can’t.

I’m a little sad because this means I probably won’t be able to vote until 2022 — I would have been able to vote in the 2020 election — but I still want to be engaged and form an opinion of my own. 🙂 To be honest, the only thing I know right now is that I don’t want a Conservative majority, although currently it does look like it might be that way. I don’t yet know which I’d vote for out of the other major political parties. (UKIP is discounted because it is gross and also currently is not really a major party.)

Alas, I cannot vote due to still being a Child™, but I can still choose someone to support. Even if I’m not really too keen on any of the options. My own constituency has been Labour for AGES, and also they seem like they have the best chance of keeping the Conservatives out….? But I am also not a very big fan of Jeremy Corbyn and some of the current stuff the party. :/ I didn’t really have an opinion when he was elected but now I’m just???? annoyed at his actions?? Yeah. Lib Dems seem okay, but I don’t know much about them. I need to research that. I NEED TO RESEARCH EVERYONE. Please don’t hate on me for my vague unformed thoughts haha.

Yeah. One of the things that I would really like to do more this election is GET INFORMED. Having been comparativrly quite politically aware in the run up to the EU Referendum, I didn’t read the news much after that because of feeling sad and also doing stuff over summer. But I would like to have an opinion based on fact which isn’t just looking at social media trends, because I’ve slipped into that and it’s not great. So, I’m going to try and read the news at least three times a week! Hopefully more, but I also don’t want to start checking the news 24/7 and feeling crap about everything, so.

Frankly, I don’t feel great about the current state of the UK, but the only thing I can do is to keep learning and keep talking to people. With that in mind: if you are over 18 and eligible to vote, PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE. Especially if you’re a young person, since the EU referendum turnout wasn’t great for the younger age group. The last date for voter registration is 22 May, which is only a month away. Of course I would hope that you would vote for something I support but I know that loads of people won’t. Above everything: get informed and make a choice. USE YOUR DEMOCRATIC POWER.

I am eternally sad that I can’t yet vote, but that is our current system. I’m so passionate about people using their ability to vote — you have the option to have a say! Please take it! I’ll probably be posting again about the election, whether during or after, so stay tuned.

2016 in Blogging // that yearly round up post

2016 new year in blogging.jpg

Phew, 2016 has been a capital-Y Year. Last year I said that I was so young and innocent the year before… 2015 ME DID NOT KNOW WHAT I HAD COMING. I said in that post that I’d look back and laugh at myself, and I don’t really feel like laughing. I almost feel a little sad. UGH, WHY WORLD.

I mean, whilst I know we all joke about how much we want this year to be over, some good things actually have happened. The annoying thing is that this year has basically been really crap in terms of politics and wider-scale events, but it’s been pretty good for me as a person? Or as good as it could be, considering the whole situation. Let’s go through it all.

Looking back at 2016

  • Some pretty crap things happened in the world. The refugee crisis continues, acts of terror continue, dying continues. A bunch of famous people liek David Bowie and Alan Rickman also passed away. Trump was elected President and here in the UK we voted for Brexit. I guess right-wing nationalism including a loot of hatred is on the rise.
  • Yeah so…not wonderful overall. But I think I have learnt to be happier with myself this year. I feel a lot more able to do what I want, and to care less what people think of me. (I still care a little.) I know it’s a small thing, but I stopped shaving my legs since I was only doing it because people were always like ‘ew, hair’. I ACTUALLY DON’T CARE. I feel good about saying that. Now sometimes I can talk about queer things to my friends, and that feels nice.
  • My most popular posts from this year were Les Mis v Hamilton, an awesome fandom battle which I wrote with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages, my original Les Mis Book Tag, and that one where I talked about webcomics. (I’m liking the Les Mis theme year. You guys obviously have good taste.) I think I’m supposed to get a round-up from WordPress, but I’m scheduling this post so hopefully I’ll add it in. THANK YOU TO EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO HAS READ AND/OR COMMENTED ON MY POSTS. I love you all. ❤
  • I did some Guides stuff! I went on a county trip to Slovenia & Croatia which was just AMAZING and I absolutely adore my team. *feels mushy and huggy* It felt pretty cool to have fundraised for my whole trip… We did a lot of cool stuff and the bants were real. (Ha.) Now I’m doing a campaign-y thing which is really cool!
  • I read some good books! Most notably Radio Silence, I think, which I still ADORE, but also: A Gathering of Shadows, Crooked Kingdom, Salt to the Sea, A Tale for the Time Being, This Savage Song, Wild Swans, The Handmaid’s Tale… A LOT OF GREAT BOOKS. I was using my Goodreads Year in Books for this so if you feel like checking it out then please do.
  • Just in general, I flailed about things a lot. See: the wonderful musical Fun Home, the Doctor Who spin off Class which I have talked about AT LENGTH, webcomics. (I know I linked that earlier, but.) OH AND HOLY MOLY I JUST REMEMBERED: Lauren Aquilina released her LP! (It was called Isn’t It Strange? and because I seem to be doing a fun linking thing there, here’s a co-review I did.) I’m still flailing about that, to be honest.
  • I went to more bookish events. This included the wonderful YA Shot literary festival, as well as some author panels and a VE Schwab signing. 😀 This was actually one of my goals from last year, so yay!
  • Once again, I didn’t finish a writing project, but I did take part in NaNoWriMo and get to work on my WIP. I still have a long way to go, but hopefully next year. (Probably not. But I’d like to try.)
  • I started a new year at school, and I’m actually…really enjoying it so far? Although the work is a step up, I’ve got some good teachers and I’m interesting in what we’re doing.
  • I did keep learning Japanese, although it’s been difficult to continue with school and I definitely need to work more at that.
  • Despite the Brexit result, the EU referendum got me a lot more interested in politics. I felt really passionately about that, and obviously the result was pretty crushing, especially considering it was the first political thing that I cared about a lot? But yeah, it has motivated me to learn more about politics and our world and to keep fighting against the bad stuff.

Looking forward to 2017

  • I want to care for myself more. Sometimes I feel liek I get swamped in all my commitments, so I really want to try and set more time aside for myself when I don’t have to do stuff. We did some meditation as an RS homework and I found it really nice, so…maybe that?
  • I want to keep writing. Maybe I won’t finish a project, but that’s okay! Just writing a little bit adds to my improvement, which is what really matter.
  • I just…really want to do something for Pride month next year? Like go to the London Pride parade, if I actually can. And in general I want to do more LGBTQ+ related things; the LGBTQ+ society at school just opened up to some younger years so if I can work up the courage I’ll hopefully go?
  • Earlier on in this post I talked a lot about bad stuff happening in the world, so I want to do something that will actually make a change. I don’t know what that is yet, but. Hopefully.
  • I want to get better at reading and commenting on other blogs. I feel like I did let this slip, especially over the last 6 months or so, and I miss knowing what’s happening in the blogging community and making new friends.
  • I also want to be more organised on my own blog, I guess — I was starting to get a bit stressed by needing to post and that wasn’t really fun. So that’s starting this holiday with me just writing some posts that I can schedule whenever I get swamped with schoolwork and can’t write something for the blog. 🙂

Phew, this post ended up being a lot longer than I was expecting it to be! But I do think I have grown a lot more as a person this year, and I did a lot of cool stuff, so I suppose it’s not that crazy. Once again, thanks to all of you who support me and my blog/ Hopefully 2017 will be a little brighter for all of us.

how was your year? do you write yearly goals? and do you have anything you want to do in 2017?