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?

 

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?

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?

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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!

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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. 🙂

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

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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?

YALC 2017 TBR

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In a month’s time I’m going to be attending YALC, the UKYA book con in London, and I am SO SO EXCITED. There are so many cool authors attending! And it looks like I have a lot of reading to do in the month to come if I want to be caught up on the authors present… I started making this TBR but I had so many books that I had to cut down, so this isn’t an extensive list but rather the ones I thought sounded post interesting.

unconventional

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt Is that title a con pun? Yes, yes it is. This book is being billed as the UKYA Fangirl which makes me very excited! I adore nerd stories! I also recently spotted this in the library which is rad.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor I’ve been wanting to read this for SO LONG but it’s not in the library and the hardcover is kind of expensive, eek. I might just have to give in, though; I adore Laini Taylor’s writing and this sounds amazing.

the fallen children

The Fallen Children by David Owen I’m not sure if I’ll be creeped out by the supernatural themes — I believe it’s a retelling of The Midwich Cuckoos? — but the concept sounds super cool. It actually crossed my radar after Alice Oseman recced it! Plus, the paperback comes in loads of different copies, which is fun.

girlhood

Girlhood by Cat Clarke Cat Clarke is one of my longest UKYA loves — I used to read a lot of her books on Kindle! But I don’t have any in physical form which is super sad. Anyway, I’m keen to read this thriller, and I think it also might also have LGBTQ+ characters? *thumbs up*

barefoot-on-the-wind

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott Another author I used to read a lot of when I was younger! I heard Zoe Marriott talk about this at YA Shot (it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in fairytale Japan) and it really persuaded me, so I hope to finally get my hands on it.

sorcerer to the crown

Sorcerer to the Crown & The Terracotta Bride, both by Zen Cho Okay, so I’m kind of cheating and putting two in one… But I REALLY WANT TO READ THEM BOTH, EEP.  I haven’t been reading much fantasy recently so I’d really like to read Sorcerer to the Crown, and I’ve heard cool things about The Terracotta Bride. Also, um, ‘robot reincarnation in the Chinese afterlife’? SIGN ME UP.

doing it

Doing It by Hannah Witton I’m not a massive YouTube-watcher but I do think Hannah Witton is super cool, and I hope I get to meet her! I’m not personally super interested in sex but I think it’s important to learn about relationships & other issues, so yay!

truth or dare

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt I adore Non Pratt’s other books, and I’m very excited to read this! I’ve actually already bought a copy of it from the bookshop and I was so excited when I picked it up because OMG THERE’S TWO COVERS ON TWO SIDES. YOU FLIP THE BOOK AROUND TO READ THE SECOND HALF. Cool, right?! Yeah, I totally go in for gimmicks, what can I say. *shrugs* Plus, I believe it has an ace aro character which is AWESOME.

needlework

Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan I hadn’t heard anything about this book before looking at the YALC author list, but I had a peek at the blurb and it sounds fascinating! Hopefully I can get hold of  a copy at some point because also the cover is soo gorgeous.

open gemma cairner.jpg

Open by Gemma Cairney I actually met Gemma Cairney when I spoke at the WoW festival on Southbank which was very exciting!! To be honest, I still can’t really believe that happened. This sounds like another rad non-fiction book — and I am trying to read more non-fiction at the moment. 🙂

I definitely have a lot of reading to do if I’m going to make any progress in my TBR over the next month, haha. *sweats a bit* HELP ME, Y’ALL.

are you going to yalc? would you like to? have you read any of these?

TBR Update // books with lgbtq+ characters

Yes! I’m talking about books! A new and exciting thing! Okay, not really. I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted so far this week because of exams, so I thought it would be nice to just sit down and be excited about books. 😀 Also, it is Pride Month, and I am feeling Extra Queer — WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!

There are so many awesome books with LGBTQ+ characters that I hope to read in the near future. (Mostly YA.) I started compiling a list of books for this post and I ended up with SOO MANY. There’s a lot of wonderful LGBTQ+ YA out there!

wild beauty

Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore I’ve talked about it several times here, but I absolutely loved When the Moon Was Ours by this author. It was one of my favourite books of last year! Wild Beauty sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of McLemore’s beautiful writing when it releases in October. The cover is also SO BEAUTIFUL, AAH.

little & lion

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert I found this book scrolling through my TBR on my tumblr, and I’m so glad I did. It’s girl who falls in love with the girl her brother is also in love with; the MC is black and Jewish, and although I haven’t heard much about it I really look forward to its release in August!

we are okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour This is another author I’m returning to — Everything Leads to You was a wonderful queer girl story which made my heart sing with joy. This one sounds like a really interesting and nuanced read, and I also absolutely ADORE the cover. (What can I say?)

queens of geek

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde I LOVE NERD BOOKS. I think that cons and nerd spaces are really cool because the experiences I’ve had have been pretty queer-friendly. AND I AM JUST EXCITED FOR GEEKY STUFF, because yay. Also, this has an Autistic narrator, and one of the MCs is Chinese-Australian which is cool!

peter darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant A trans retelling of Peter Pan! Aah! I admit, I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about Peter Pan, but I’m super excited to see what this book does.

our own private universe

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley I love reading happy queer stories, especially ones with queer girls! This sounds super cute, and I’ve heard that it also discusses safe sex which is awesome. (Because my sex ed at school basically only explaining straight/cisgender/allosexual things in terms of sex. We did have one lesson on, like, LGBTQ+ stuff though? So I guess it’s improving.)

juliet takes a breath

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera I HAVE BEEN WANTED TO READ THIS FOR AGES. It’s about a gay Puerto Rican girl, Juliet, figuring herself out, in which there are many queer ladies. YAY.

the midnight star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu I’ve actually already read the first two books in this trilogy, but for some reason I never finished it… So I need to do that! The last book finished on a bit of a cliffhanger, if I remember.

the color purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker I feel like I’m really missing something reading this… It’s one of the Important Books You Should Read, and I JUST REALLY WANT TO READ IT. *nods a lot* (Yes. This entire post is essentially just ‘I REALLY WANT TO READ THIS AND THIS AND THIS.’)

tash hearts tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee This reminds me that…I REALLY NEED TO LOOK INTO WAR & PEACE THINGS. I love the Great Comet of 1812 musical which is based off War & Peace, but I do find the book rather daunting. Anyway. Not actually this book. This book is about internet people! I love people on the internet. And from what I understand, there’s asexual representation, which is awesome since I haven’t seen that very often.

There were SO MANY other awesome books that I didn’t get the time to include in this post, alas! But there are many wonderful books with LGBTQ+ characters around and that makes me super happy. If you have any recs or just want to chat about books then I’d love to hear them! ❤

Spring Favourites!

image

Yes! We are reaching the start of summer which means TIME FOR A SPRING ROUND-UP. Today it has been very warm and I am generally feeling happy, which…well, makes a change. You may notice that I’m missing my usual picture with all my favourites; this is due to a combination of a) I don’t have loads of time now because reVISION *flails arms* and b) I don’t have any physical objects to arrange this time so it would just, be like, photoshopped images. And I’m not good enough to do make all of that work.

1. Twelfth Night I saw this play at the National and WOAH it was so good! The production was honestly stunning — as in, like, the set was beautiful and the live music was beautiful. It was just so pleasing to the senses. Malvolia was…really different to what I was expecting, and two years since reading the play I am still mad at the ending, but overall I loved it a lot.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas I couldn’t stop thinking about this book, even once I had put it down. Beautiful, writing, a powerful story — it definitely lived up to the hype, and it’s one of my best reads I can remember.

3. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg To be honest, I initially downloaded it because it was cheap on Kindle, but I ended up enjoying it a lot! I NEED TO GET THE SEQUEL NOW, GODAMMIT.

4. Dodie Soooo, in March I was lucky enough to be able to see Dodie on her UK tour with my friends, and it was SO FUN. I’d actually never been to a concert before, and it was so lovely to see Dodie just generally being wonderful and great and music. The band, including the warm-up act Rusty Clanton, were also great, and now I’ve been introduced to some new music!

5.The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla I’ve wanted to read this for a while, so I was really excited to see it the school library! Each essay was different, but each one brought something different, and made me think hard.

6. Las Chicas del Cable Both me & my mum are learning Spanish, so we decided to watch this show on Netflix about women in 1920s Madrid. (It is dubbed, but I’m watching in Spanish with English subtitles.) The production is just gorgeous, and although at times it feels a bit melodramatic there is feminism and queer women and so much to love!!

7. Hidden Figures Aaah! This was awesome! It was great to see the stories of these super smart & inspiring black women told, and I also feel like a learnt History Stuff. *nods*

around the internet:

in the diary:

  • Well, I had a music exam… It didn’t go quite to plan, but I think I still passed, so fingers crossed! I might even get my results by the time this post is actually published. *winces a little at the thought*
  • We had a big family gathering for my aunt’s 60th birthday over the bank holiday, which was super nice because we rarely ever get together — my mum is one of 7 — and I got to see my super cute little cousins!
  • Exams are coming up so, erm, I have some fun revision to look forward to. -_-
  • I managed to survive my overnight walk for cadets at school, which I’m pretty pleased about! I’m rather ache-y now, but we did walk 35k, and our team only got super lost once which I think is impressive haha.
  • I went to a Witch, Please meetup! *screams a bit* Although I had to leave early, it was SO COOL AND WONDERFUL.
  • ALSO IT WAS EUROVISION. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND EXCELLENT and basically just a nice thing in the not-great world. Plus, I managed to convince my friends to be Eurovision fans, hehe 😉
  • Probably some other stuff happened, but quite frankly I can’t remember it at this point. I’m off to see the new Studio Ghibli movie The Red Turtle tomorrow, which I’m rather excited for.

how have you been? seen any good movies recently? are you taking any exams?

Les Mis: A Crash Course

les mis a crash course.jpg

This April marked two years since I fell down the rabbit hole of Les Miserables, and by extension many other musicals. TWO YEARS. It feels like a long time ago. I’ve changed a lot since then. Les Mis became, and still is, a really important part of my life!

Thus, to mark the occasion I bring you my guide to Les Mis, for people who know nothing about Les Mis. I am currently listening to the musical and I am READY FOR THIS.

so what is it???

Les Mis refers to the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, covering a failed revolution and a reformed convict in 19th-century Paris, and its subsequent adaptations, most notably the Broadway/West End musical.

les misérables, the book

les miserables book

Our journey begins with the novel Les Misérables-with-the-e-acute novel by French author Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The main characters are:

  • Jean Valjean, an escaped convict leading a life of extreme coincidences. Stole a loaf of bread.
  • Javert, the policeman hunting him for breaking parole. He was born with scum like you. Lawful but…well. Misguided.
  • Fantine, a kind & lovely girl who got abandoned by this guy and ended up in prostitution.
  • Cosette, her blessed daughter and my wife. Sappy, but hates not being told stuff. Deserved better from the musical.
  • Marius Pontmercy, a rich boy who get thrown out by his family and then lives as a poor student in Paris. He’s an absolute nerd and he loves Cosette. One time he hit his head for two hours against a tree.
  • Eponine Thenardier, a girl born into a not good family but doing her absolute best to kick your ass and overcome her unrequited crush on Marius.
  • Also some students called Les Amis de l’ABC. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll probably only know their leader, Enjolras. (He’s the guy in red.) However, if you go into the book internet fandom, you’ll probably find it focuses more around these students. If you only know the musical you probably haven’t heard of them, but never fear. I’ll cover them in more detail later.

It’s a pretty long book, but I do think if you love Les Mis then it’s worth it! Lots of people call it The Brick due to…well, its very brick-like nature as a book. (That is to say, it’s very long.) Other things you might need to know are the Infamous Waterloo Section, which is an essentially an essay about Waterloo,  and the time that Valjean broke out of a convent in a grave. There are many different translations, ranging from modern (Donougher, ose) to old-timey but free (Hapgood). You can even do a Les Mis tour of Paris in which you visit the original sites. DON’T WORRY, I’M COMING TO THE STUDENTS.

les amis de l’abc

Yeah, I’m giving them a separate section because I LOVE THESE KIDS. The main things you need to know are that they have an extremely minimal/sometimes even non-existent part in the musical and…still quite a comparatively small part in the book. HOWEVER THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOLICALLY. (Or so I hear.)

Anyway. They all like jokes, and their name is a French pun (for l’abaisse which is apparently like the abased/degraded, thanks internet). They have so many French puns. I don’t even understand them most of the time. From the sometimes few information Victor Hugo gives us, the fandom has sort of interpreted personalities, which somehow absorb into one’s brain through Collective Fandom Knowledge, which is pretty epic.

  • Enjolras, who as Victor Hugo goes to great pains to tell us about is Very Very Handsome. His girlfriend is France. (I’m telling you. This is a canon joke.)
  • Combeferre is very chill, but will outsmart you. His main book attribute is just be SUPER SMART.
  • Courfeyrac sometimes acts like a douchebag but has a good heart. (This part is also actually canon. Maybe paraphrased, but.) Probably would be the lead singer of an indie band if he was alive today. Ray of annoying sunshine. These first three make up the ‘triumvirate’, which seems to basically just be a fancy word for group of 3.
  • Grantaire, the drunk cynic who goes on long drunk rants about intellectual things that I don’t understand. In unrequited love with Enjolras. (I don’t want to spoil you, and you know, interpretation and all, but there are some pretty gay moments.)
  • Jean Prouvaire, or Jehan, is the shy poet who actually has Many Opinions, probably would wear a flower crown.
  • Bahorel, who would probably either get in a fight or do other dumb stuff for the memes.
  • Feuilly, an optimistic orphan who works super hard. (Not actually a student, but still part of the group.)
  • Bossuet, whose name is based on another obscure French joke and can’t grow any hair. Always smiling but has terrible luck. Also known as Lesgle, L’aigle de Meaux… I mean, I don’t eve know how we got here.
  • Joly, a hypochondriac medical student who is a cinnamon roll.
  • Musichetta, a ‘superb and literary girl’ whom Joly is wild over. She can wreck you.
  • Oh yeah, Marius is also part of this gang but he’s definitely not the leader as the musical suggests. He’s a TERRIBLE revolutionary.

Excuse me whilst I feel a bit emotional here. This hasn’t included Eponine, Gavroche, and Cosette, who I sometimes group with them just for ease even if they’re not technically of the ABC, but OH WELL. MY KIDS. ;-; And just for good measure, here is an amusing post of “Les Amis as stuff the students living next door to me have done”.

les mis, the musical

les mis musical.png

This is probably the more well-known and accessible form of Les Mis. It’s a very popular sung-through musical now, but when it was released the critics were like OMG NO IT’S TOO SAPPY AND TRAGIC. I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? are among the best-known songs. The Confrontation, a duet between Valjean and Javert, is also very much a jam in my personal opinion. However, the musical does cut a lot of the book, in particular Les Amis, the details of Valjean’s life and Cosette being an absolute badass.

Some things you should know about various different forms and productions:

  • The original French concept version is SUPER different and even features a…disco version of Red and Black? Which is pretty hilarious to be honest.
  • Original cast is rad. I would recommend.
  • Other cool things to watch/listen to are 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary, although a word of warning: Nick Jonas plays Marius is 25th anniversary and he is nOT GOOD.
  • The 2012 movie made the musical a lot easier to follow than just listening to a cast album, which is great! Personally I think that after listening to cast recordings, the musical singing definitely isn’t as good *coughs*Javert*coughs* but you can get a solid idea of the story. (I saw this before I saw anything else.) I actually think Eddie Redmayne is a solid Marius. Sadly they cut some parts from the musical, but. Grantaire has a veeery small part in this but his actor George Blagden appears to be, like, a complete Les Mis nerd? which I still find amazing? (Like, is that an Enjolras/Grantaire fansong on Youtube? IS IT??)
  • It did produce this TRULY EXCELLENT VIDEO, which I am just going to embed for good measure:
  • I’ve also listened to some of a Spanish version, Los Miserables and I liked it a lot! I still think this version or Red and Black is super excellent. (I’ve fallen into the hole of watching Les Mis in different languages, and now I’m watching Daniel Diges in Les Mis Brasil? I mean, who even knows anymore.
  • I haven’t watched many Les Mis Broadway things since of course I’m nearer to the West End production, but this performance at the Tonys is wonderful! I particularly think Eponine, Marius, Enjolras, and Valjean are great. ❤ (That was like…half the people haha. THEY’RE ALL GREAT.)
  • There’s probably a lot more stuff I could say, to be honest, and I will undoubtedly regret not putting something in later, but OH WELL. Here’s an In The Heights/Les Mis mashup.

tv series???

Last year the BBC announced they were making a (non-musical) Les Mis miniseries, written by Andrew Davies, and in February this year he stated that he had just finished writing the first draft. It’s due to air next year, and for one I am very interested to see what it comes up with! I even wrote about the stuff I’d love to see them put in if you want to check it out. 😉 Other Les Mis-related content of mine includes a Jehan cosplay tutorialLes Mis v Hamilton fandom battle, and the Les Mis book tag.

There are, of course, many other adaptations, including several movies, radio plays, and TV series, and it’s very easy to fall into the hole of internet searching. As you can perhaps see by my myriad of links and 1.5k post on this topic. (Me, a Les Mis fan? I mean, maybe a bit.)

do you like musicals? what do you think about les mis? is there a particular fandom which is important to you?