May Favourites!

AAH MAY IS DONE. Which means…EXAMS! *freaks out* But it’s okay, they’re not actual big scary exams for me. I am constantly amazed by all of you who are doing those, and I wish you all the best of luck.

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1. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz I was lucky enough to win this from Chiara Sullivan and AAAH IT WAS SO GOOD. I’ve been wanting to read one of Hannah Moskowitz’s books for ages and this was such a good first impression. I’m definitely going to be picking up more of her books soon. YES WEIRD MERMAID FAIRYTALES. Although my heart is kind of broken, but whatever.

2. Billy Elliot Also a film I have been meaning to watch for way too long. IT WAS SO GOOD?!? Now I feel like so motivated about dancing, even though I have never been a dancer in my life and I’m not going to be. Like, I don’t really know what to say other than insert a lot of superlatives here.

3. MCM London YAY CONS. I always put them here, but they’re always awesome. So. I cosplayed as Jehan from Les Mis for this — you can check out my costume here — and I now have NO MONEY. Mwahaha. I bought an absolute ton of Japanese sweets, arty things, and also several pairs of cute socks. (They were Totoro and cats.) Plus, I finally got round to buying Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies which I’m enjoying so far!

4.Inception Okay, so I finally watched this movie. I mean, I wish it had more female characters but I did love the premise. ( I’M SORRY. I’ve read Inception AUs already. I think they gave me a lot better idea of what was actually happening.) But YAY heists and weird mind bending stuff! Also, Arthur is the shy dude Cameron from 10 Things I Hate About You and I spent the whole movie trying to figure out where I recognised him from.

5. Witchy Yay webcomics! I’ve been reading a lot of excellent ones lately, but I’m loving this in particular. It has such beautiful art and colouring, as well as an awesome fantasy world and adorable characters. (The longer your hair, the more powerful your magic.) (I would fail in this world. BUT IT’S COOL ANYWAY.)

6. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 I started listening to this musical adaptation of a (very small) part of War & Peace purely because Philippa Soo is Natasha. But IT’S FABULOUS. I really love the mix of operatic and electronic styles! Now I’m kind of thinking I might have to read War & Peace. (Why do heavy classical books make such good musicals? Is that a rule? *shrugs*)

7. Half Mystic I DIDN’T HAVE A PICTURE. But anyway. I’ve been spending some wonderful evenings appreciating this journal. I FEEL SO INSPIRED. There’s an absolute ton of amazing creators in there aah. I really recommend you go get yourself a copy! ❤

Stuff from around the internet:

  • An Overthinking Teenager and I wrote a collab review of Lauren Aquilina’s new music! You can read my review here and AOT’s here. 🙂
  • VE Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light got a cover, and it is SUPER beautiful.
  • AAAH my first ever publication (!!) was this month. (Sorry. I’m kind of excited.) I’m honoured that my poem transit features was in the new issue of Werkloos, in limbo.
  • Aentee @ Read at Midnight and Victoria both discussed shipping!
  • In the latest episode of Eve Tries To Analyse Fandom™, here is an article about fan entitlement. I mean, I don’t agree 100% with everything the author says but it’s definitely a worthwhile read.
  • Also, there was a surprisingly good programme on Radio 4 about non-binary identities. (I KNOW. Radio exists online?!? I don’t know if people from all countries can listen, but there’s definitely going to be some stuff I’m checking out.)

In the diary:

  • I did my clarinet exam and I got a distinction! 😀 YAY I’M SO HAPPY. I thought I’d really worked hard for this grade, so I’m super glad it payed off.
  • CARNEGIE BOOK CLUB IS FINISHED. *falls to floor* This year was so good! I was really impressed with the standard, and I found a lot more that I liked compared to other years. My personal favourite is probably still Lies We Tell Ourselves, but One and The Lie Tree are both in second.
  • I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe, which was insane but also fun. THE MUSIC WAS GREAT. Especially the Puck music. I’m also off to see Romeo and Juliet, which I think should be fun. I’ve studied it in quite a lot of detail so I think it’d be cool to see acted…?
  • We are singing Carmina Burana in choir and it is Very Very Fun and also Very Very Difficult. *laughs manically*
  • Boris Johnson is no longer Mayor of London. We can celebrate. No, I’m actually pretty pleased with Sadiq Khan. He isn’t perfect but he’d probably have been my choice if I could vote. And I definitely appreciate how somebody has finally managed to get their act together and join across parties in support of the Remain campaign.

how has your month been? have you been taking exams? or are you still? if so, good luck from me! ❤

April Favourites!

From the number of favourites this month it looks like my April has been a bit dismal. BUT IT REALLY HASN’T BEEN. The things that have happened are just more interesting, and also I wrote more about them. Although I’ve been rather stressed out with the combination of Camp NaNo, music exam, and revision, so. Maybe my ability to be excited was eaten away by stress…? Wow, that also sounds dismal. LET’S MOVE ON.

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1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Well, duh. This was one of my most anticipated books of this year. And I adore The Raven Cycle. I thought that maybe in terms of story it was a little messy? Like, there were a lot of new things that seemed to appear out of nowhere. But overall I’m SO HAPPY with how the series has ended and ASDFJKL AMAZINGNESS. *flails* I’m really not ready to leave these characters. I need something to help my emotions here.

2. Kicks by Lauren Aquilina First of all: NEW AQUILINA MUSIC!! Second of all: AWESOME UPBEAT CATCHY NEW AQUILINA MUSIC!! Kicks is just a really fabulous song. Lauren’s sort of moving into more pop-electronic kind of things, but I’m loving it if it’s like Kicks. (I’ve also been writing an excellent co-review of New Aquilina songs, so be watching out for that.)

3. My Neighbours the Yamadas Another Studio Ghibli movie night in the quest to watch them all. Me & my friends have a super fun group where we all watch Ghibli movies together, and we were kinda expecting this one to not be so good…? It has a very different experimental art style, and it’s a series of short stories about a family instead of some crazy whimsical film. But it was HILARIOUS. I highly recommend!

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt I haven’t read many books this month because I spent absolutely forever on this. It’s a complete brick of a book. And I actually enjoyed it so much! It was cool to read it right after my New York trip. It dragged in places, but the writing was beautiful. And also it was slightly awful to watch the train wreck happening, but beautifully awful.

5. Camp NaNoWriMo I HAVE LITERALLY JUST COME FROM FINISHING THIS. 10 words over my goal yess. I mean, I was only doing 15k this time — I started out pretty strong, but very soon realised that maybe it wasn’t a great idea to do Camp NaNo right before exam season? *laughs manically* Normally it would be more aligned with my school holidays, but Easter was really early and it sort of messed my plans up. ANYWAYS. I’m a bit frazzled now, but I’m pretty proud of my WIP so far & I’m looking forward to talking more about it in the near future! (Meanwhile you can check out my Camp playlist here.)

 

Stuff from around the internet:

  • I flailed about my trip to New York, and also I talked about the relationship between school sport and gender.
  • Em @ Adventures of a Lost Teen looked at the arguments on each side for the upcoming EU referendum, and educated me on some more points! Although I can’t vote, this was super informative and now I’m definitely supporting in.
  • Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout talked about different design shops and monetising your book blog. (And I had a little feature in this, which was fun!)
  • This Guardian article talked about why YA books with politics are important.
  • Pearl Mackie is playing the new companion on Doctor Who, Bill! I’m excited to see what’s she’s going to be like, although I’m still super sad to see Clara go. 😦
  • Alice Oseman (author of Solitaire and Radio Silence) started a video series about her book-writing process.
  • Robin Talley announced the cover + title of her new book, Our Own Private Universe! Which she blurbed as Judy Blume’s Forever with queer girls. OBVIOUSLY I’M EXCITED. (Also, can we appreciate that she’s also releasing As I Descending, a modern F/F Macbeth retelling?!) (LITERALLY MY PERFECT BOOK I’M SO PYSCHHEEEED RIGHT NOW.)
  • Um, I’ve been a little bit terrible at reading blogs, which is probably going to continue until my exams finish mid-June. But I’d love to see what you’ve been doing over the last month!

In the diary:

  • I…went back to school? And then promptly started freaking out about exams, so yeah.
  • Back to school did mean the start of Carnegie Medal Shadowing! This year seems particularly strong so far — I’d read a couple before we started, but One by Sarah Crossan was a fabulous new find for me. And Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves is currently the favourite, which I’m VERY pleased about. 😀
  • If anyone has tips for music exam aurals: PLEASE. Let me know. *flails with stress* I’ve got my clarinet exam in two weeks and, like, I hadn’t processed it was so soon until now haha.
  • I’VE BASICALLY FINISHED MY JEHAN COSPLAY. I just have to sew one bit along the waistcoat shoulder to make that a bit tighter, and then DONE! It’s by no means perfect, but I’m basically a complete beginner sewer (as in person who sews, not the drain) so I’m thrilled. MCM London, here I come! I’ve been thinking of putting up a tutorial, too… Do let me know if you’d enjoy that. 🙂

It really pains me to say this, because I’ve been a bit missing in action over the last month as well, but: I’m not going to be as active on my blog until mid-June, which is when my exams finished. I’ll still be posting and chatting to you all, but I don’t want to put more stress on myself! So, yeah.

how’s your april been? got any upcoming cons? (not the heist kind, the other one.) have you been having crazy weather like me?!

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

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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?

February Favourites!

February is insanely short. That is a confirmed fact. I mean, I know it’s only one or two days, but…EVERY MONTH FEELS TOO SHORT, DAMMIT. *sniffs* It’s also been a pretty quiet month, to be honest, with the exception of all the book releases over the past week. I did have a rather exciting weekend, though, so continue further on for the hot gossip. 😛

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1. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman This book was probably my most anticipated 2016 release. (I don’t know how that happened? But yeah, it totally did.) It wasn’t a let-down at all! I LOVED IT. It had an amazing fictional podcast and beautiful characters and I really appreciated the message about uni and academia. As someone who generally finds exams quite easy — I mean, obviously I’m grateful for that but I hate that it can be my defining skill. Also: diversity! It has PoC and queer characters, no main romance, ACTUAL BOY-GIRL PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP JEEZ. It’s the only book I’ve ever read with characters (canonically) on the asexuality spectrum.

2. Carry On special editions Um, so…I bought my 4th and 5th copies of Carry On. Whoops. I got the UK paperback and the special colour in edition, which I’m very excited to try out! I don’t know what colour scheme I’m going to use yet, though. DECISIONS DECISIONS.

3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson I’m a little torn about this one…I DID ENJOY IT. I mean, it was a self-discovery coming out kind of story. It used a lot of tropes I’d seen before. But I think these books do have worth, and it was a good contemporary self-discovery story. WITH BRITAIN YAY. 🙂

4. Fun Home the musical I haven’t been able to get hold of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home yet — the book this was based on — but I’ve been loving the musical. I love how the story of the three different Alisons (younger, going to college, and reflecting on her past) unfolds at the same time. And it’s the only movie I know of with a queer protagonist, so yay for that!

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab This was another incredibly anticipated release. I thought the White London arc fell a bit flat (it felt like a set-up for the future, to be honest) but I STILL LOVED IT. It was amazing to see these characters and their luscious world grow. I actually love Kell and Rhy and Lila with all of my heart. I CAN’T EVEN OMG. Schwab’s writing was also beautiful, as per usual. In particular I thought the distinction between the different languages and names was fascinating (and very well done).

Stuff from around the internet:

  • I know this is slightly out of nowhere. (I’ve been hiding it up my sleeve for way too long.) But I opened a Redbubble shop! Right now I’m selling some Carry On + Les Mis designs, although I hope to have a few more original ones up as well over the next week or so. 🙂
  • I talked about a great book event I attended discussing Feminism in YA, with Holly Smale, Holly Bourne, CJ Daugherty and Anna James.
  • I talked about the books I think would be better with LGBTQ+ characters. (I’m actually really proud of this! All my headcanoning finally put to some use. :P)
  • I made a Carry On blog on Tumblr (welllbelove). I’m still posting my podfic, and I also made a Baz playlist for the Snowbaz Valentine’s gift exchange! Overall, a lot of Carry On stuff. If you couldn’t tell.
  • Jupe @ smolprince wrote about stereotypes of women, femininity, and internalised sexism.
  • Engie @ Musings From Neville’s Navel shared 10 songs that would make great LGBTQ+ books.

    In the diary:

  • I’ve only got £200 left to fundraise for my Guides trip! I managed to finally get my act together and apply for some grants, which was great. 🙂 (If you’ve missed my mini-updates every month: I’m going on an international trip with Girlguides, and we’re fundraising the entire cost of the trip.)
  • I ACTUALLY PLANNED MY WIP YAY. I had a super long train journey, and…somehow I finished my main outline! It’s crazy, because I’ve always been a complete pantser, but I’m very excited to talk about it some more. 😀
  • I also listened to several musicals on the aforementioned long train journey, including The Phantom of the Opera for the first time! That was fun. *nods*
  • I’m trying to be a bit more politically aware, so I went to a talk by my local MP, who actually said a lot of things I agreed with. Helpfully. (I mean, I guess in particular Britain staying in the EU. Which is kind of the Thing of the moment haha.)
  • I feel like I have SOO many exciting posts to get write over the next few weeks. I’m very excited to share them! Although, um, I kinda need to write them first.

how was your month? did you do anything fun with our extra leap year day? (I KNOW IT WAS A MONDAY. but still.)

January Favourites!

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YES. It’s back to monthly favourites! I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve done a good one — November was basically taken up by NaNoWriMo, and I missed December’s in light of all the new year round ups happening. So yay, here we go!

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Okay, technically I read this in December. BUT IT WAS FABULOUS. I actually enjoyed it more than The Grisha, I think — the whole thing just felt more polished. And I totally hadn’t realised that it was a heist novel, which was a lovely surprise. (I LOVE HEISTS.) Altogether, I’m now just slightly weeping in despair.

2. In the Heights  HELL YEAH MUSICALS. Ugh. So much excitement this month. Admittedly, I went to see this because I got into Hamilton, but I thought it was such a fabulous musical in its own right — totally going to be buying the soundtrack! It was at King’s Cross Theatre, so the stage was kind of over where the railway line would be and the audience sat on the two platforms? I’m sure there’s a name for that kind of stage. Sandwich stage, maybe. I thought that was really effective as well as the awesome music! LIGHTS UP IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS UP AT THE BREAK OF DAY

3. A Hero At the End of the World by Erin Claiborne This was a lot like Harry Potter. But also not, because it’s Harry Potter if Ron was more of an idiot and killed Voldemort instead of weedy Harry and then Harry worked in a coffee shop and met Draco. So, not that much like Harry Potter. I mean, it was really good as a comment of Chosen One tropes, much like Carry On! Like a Carry On written by Douglas Adams. Plus, Big Bang Press is awesome — it publishes fanfic authors and then commissions fanartists to draw the cover. This is generally a super pretty book.

4. Carol by Patricia Highsmith I do know that this was originally called The Price of Salt. But my edition was called Carol, so. I didn’t want to confuse you! Even if it kind of had a gross cover. Everyone seemed super taken with the recent film, and the book had a ton of recommendations — I mean vintage lesbians — and it didn’t disappoint. UGH, the writing was sooo nice. ❤

5. As You Like It This started a bit slow, but THE SECOND HALF WAS FABULOUS. Have I mentioned how much I love the faek relationship trope? (Shh, I know it’s Shakespeare. He obviously liked this trope too.) Also, Rosalin was really cute. And Celia was played by Patsy Ferran of Jim in Treasure Island last year! Yeah, the director literally just made Jim a girl with no explanation and it was great. *nods*

6. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson Kind of weird and literary. I feel like I’ve been rather literary in my reading recently. I haven’t quite finished it, but it’s lovely to be reading something just…well-written. Yeah. Not that other books aren’t, but the prose just reads particularly well for me. *hums*

Stuff from around the internet:

  • I’ve been feeling a lot of podfic love lately, so I recorded two Carry On ones of my own!(As in, audiobooks of fanfiction.) The first one was for a Christmas gift exchange on Tumblr, and it’s of a wonderful fic about Agatha, and the second one is a chaptered (!!) WIP. AAH I’M REALLY EXCITED TO BE DOING THIS.
  • ‘so instead, you don’t question the expiry date on your forever.’ — Nirvana @ Quenching the Quill wrote a beautiful piece of writing about childhood.
  • Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout talked about all the wonderful ways in which villains die, and which ones are best. *cackles*
  • An Overthinking Teenager @ Mixolydian Musings reviewed/flailed about Carry On, AKA my heart and soul. 😉 She’s also reached 500 followers recently, congrats!
  • ‘You, you’re busy kissing all the tornadoes in Kansas good night.’ — Topaz @ Six Impossible Things shared a poem about love which I fell in love with.
  • Safah @ oh how i wander is doing a series on Whitechapel Art Gallery, feat. wonderful art of both visual and literary kinds.
  • Our Harry Potter story mash up will wrap up next Sunday, but in the meantime you can read chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
  • Rainbow Rowell revealed the blurb for her World Book Day short story Kindred Spirits? AND IT’S ABOUT STAR WARS. Literally. It’s about people queueing up outside the cinema to see The Force Awakens!
  • Susie Day tweeted that she was writing a sequel to the Tumbling, AKA the most adorable short story ever.
  • I almost died because of the Ladies of Hamilton Ham4Ham. I need a Hamilton where everyone is a girl. I NEED IT. I’M SUPER IN LOVE WITH ALL OF THESE GIRLS UGH. Especially Morgan Marcell.

    (This needed embedding. But if it isn’t working, see the clip on YouTube!)

  • Noelle Stevenson (of Nimona & Lumberjanes) wrote an essay about why Boba Fett is a lesbian. Yep.

In the diary:

  • I went back to school. That was, you know, alright.
  • I got a haircut! Yeah. Another one. Here is a webcam selfie that I definitely didn’t take just now. Potentially not the best I have looked ever, but this is for the Good Of The Blog. This is Documentation. 😉
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  • I SWAM 100 LENGTHS. It was for fundraising. But still! Look at how active I am!
  • Although I thought it was a bit too soon to put it on my faves, I’ve been listening to Fun Home all afternoon. It’s a musical about Alison Bechdel, and it’s super gay and super awesome. YAY. 😀
  • I’m…actually planning my new project? Normally I’m a complete panster, so that’s pretty cool. And obviously I’ve also been putting together an inspiration playlist, because that’s basically the first thing I do when I write. Hopefully I’ll be sharing that in the future!

In conclusion, a large part of my January has been spent thinking about cute actors. Yes. I needed the motivation for going back to school, right? 😛

how has your month been? what’s the weather like for you right now? (it’s grey and dreary here.) read any good books recently?

November Favourites! + Story Mash Up

November has been a rather slow month, because NaNoWriMo. And also school. (But on the bright side, I saw no ghosts.) (WHAT? *shakes head* Basically all horror stories are set on dreary November evenings. November is super creepy.) Across the world, there were also a lot of saddening events — I know I didn’t post about them in full, but I send my thoughts to all those caught up in violence. ❤

1. NaNoWriMo I didn’t achieve my original goal of 30k, because I was away for the entire final weekend. (For a Girlguide training camp! I was lucky to get into an international trip for next summer, and it was super lovely to meet all the other girls going. I had some awesome fandom conversations, hehe.) My writing was positively awful, but I love that NaNo forces me to write… Otherwise it genuinely doesn’t yet done. And the plot bunnies have given me a ton of new and exciting ideas, hehe.
2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell Dude?? This was AMAZING? I feel like such an inferior writer right now.

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The writing was honestly so beautiful. Every time I got into a story, it finished, though… Yeah. The middle story was the only one I found quite difficult to get through, actually. (Also: I see what you did there with the Eva cameo in Black Swan Green, David Mitchell. HOW DARE YOU. *cries* Dammit, why did I have to get so attached to the perennially annoying composer?)

3. Winter I READ IT AND I CAN’T BELIEVE THE LUNAR CHRONICLES ARE OVER WOW. *sobs* It’s so weird… Please, allow me my moment of reflection on the life-changing moment I picked up Cinder from the school book fair. (Just kidding. It’s cool.) I think I actually enjoyed it more than Cress! Maybe Scarlet, too. Hmm. It could have dragged a bit less, though. I’m also not sure why there are no queer people in the future. *shrugs* The book in itself was good, but it was kind of weird how there weren’t even any LGBTQ+ side characters. (I think I’ve come to expect quite a lot from diversity. But all the couples and true-love-as-a-teenager-ing got rather repetitive.

4. Musicals *manic laughter* OH MY GOODNESS I haVE FALLEN SO FAR INTO THIS HOLE. I’ve had the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat for the last month, and now I can tell you far more than you probably ever wanted to know about the founding fathers.

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YEAHH HISTORY  Image via source

And also I listened to Rent. I started watching a version of it with Renee Elise Goldberry (aka Angelica Schuyler) like?? During summer??? But I just listened from the beginning. I attempted Into the Woods but I had no idea what was happening. More updates to follow, but I’ll probably have collapsed with all the impromptu singing by then.

I’m sorryyyy I haven’t been reading many blogs this month! But I’ll try and get round to it now, I swear. I also am slightly running out of time to write this post hence that lack of literally anything to make it look pretty but AAH I PASSED MY THEORY EXAM, yay! 🙂 I was kinda worried about it, so that was super nice to hear.


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Also! I’m joining up with the Story Mash Up, which is an awesome collaborative Harry Potter fic-writing thing hosted by Joan @ Fiddler Blue, Trisha @ The Bookgasm and Michelle & The Writing Hufflepuff. Also participating is Ash @ Teabears & Co. and Veenith @ The Lousy Design. We’re each going to be writing a short piece from our character’s perspectives… And I’m first up, eek! I’m really excited to be connected with all these other lovely bloggers, though, and you should totally go follow everyone else.

Here’s the intro… *drumrolls*

The wizarding world has been quiet since the day Harry Potter defeated the evil wizard named Voldemort. For seventeen years, the magical community continues to live in harmony and secrecy among the Muggles. The students, fresh from their summer vacations, are returning to school with nothing but excitement for the coming year in their minds. Truly, nothing could shake this era of peace ever again…or so they believe.

AND HERE. My character form! dammit I spent the last 20 minutes looking for a stock photo and this one is still not quite right eh

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• BASIC INFORMATION
o Name: Indira Marshall
o Age: 15
o Blood Status: Pureblood
o Occupation: Student
 (if a student) Hogwarts House: Slytherin
 Year Level: 4
• (if Year 3 & above) Extra classes2: Care of Magical Creatures, Divination.
o Wand: Spruce, dragon heartstring, 8 inches.
o Pets: A family tawny owl.

• APPEARANCE (a description, a picture, or both) Dark brown hair, shoulder-length and bluntly cut, with brown eyes. What she lacks in height, she makes up in manic speed and energy.

• INTERESTS
o Hobbies: Quidditch is pretty much her main passion. A lot of other activities get pushed aside for that. She does enjoy Herbology more than she’d like to admit, though.
o Likes: Quidditch. Food. Puns, bad jokes, and good pranks. Winning.
o Dislikes: Anything she thinks is wasting her time. Cauliflower. People who always follow rules to the letter; people with naïve and idealistic expectations of the world.
o Strengths (skills, personality, talents): Indira is highly competitive, and will work tirelessly to achieve her goals. This applies to smaller tasks too. She’s outgoing and on generally good terms with her fellow pupils.
o Weaknesses (skills, personality, talents): As a result of her competitive nature, other things can be pushed aside to achieve her goals. She doesn’t deal well with defeat. Though can strike up a conversation with ease, she habitually lies and will rarely discuss anything of importance (especially in reference to her own feelings). She doesn’t excel in or enjoy more theory-based subjects. She chose Divination more based on amusement factor than as a serious subject.
o Strongest / Favourite Subjects: Potions, Herbology.
o Weakest / Least Favourite Subjects: History of Magic, Astronomy. She finds both useless. Transfiguration can also be somewhat emotionally stressful.
o Quidditch player (Yes / No): Yes
 if yes, which position: Chaser

• BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHARACTER (including family history)
Indira has one sister, presently age 10. As far as she knows, Indira’s family did not actively participate in the Second Wizarding War, but she suspects they were somewhat sympathetic towards Voldemort. She was bitten as a very young child by a werewolf that had escaped death during the war; obviously, her parents were not pleased with this, but there was nothing they could do. They discreetly obtained Wolfsbane for her when she was younger, but at Hogwarts she is required to take it to continue at the school so they provide it for her. She tries to hide it and reduce its interference as much as possible; she hasn’t told any other pupils, though it’s possible they suspect the cause of her monthly absences. She had always been very enthusiastic about Quidditch, and that was the main thing she was excited for in Hogwarts. During her school years, she’s kept up that ambition and played for the Slytherin team in Years 2 & 3.

*wipes sweat off brow* Look out for the first instalment, which I@ll be posting on the 13th!

How was your November? Are you feeling Christmassy? Omg I HAVE A TEA ADVENT CALENDAR, IT’S SO LOVELY. ❤

October Favourites!

october faves

October is now… Octover. (Hush. Let me quote stupid Tumblr posts in peace.) Still: November! The month of NaNoWriMo! And 2016 is in 2 months! This is so weird!

1. Hamilton *flings open window* I AM NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOTTT So, everyone on Tumblr was talking about this musical. It sounds like it shouldn’t work — uh huh, a hip-hop opera about the founding fathers of America? I guess? — but IT TOTALLY DOES. It’s awesome. The lyrics, guys. (I think I just really like musicals about dead revolutionaries, full stop. History is always improved by overdramatic singing.)

2. Always Human by walkingnorth I hadn’t really been reading any good webcomics lately… UNTIL I FOUND THIS ONE! And it’s an adorable sci fi thing with girls falling in love and awesome art and asfdjkl did I mention how cute it is. Seriously. Go read it nooow. (I started reading it in summer? But then it got taken down so it could be featured in October. And now it’s updating again, yay!)

3. In Perfect Light by Benjamin Alire Saenz Yep, it’s the author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe… It turns out he has written a bunch of other, seriously awesome books. Like, wow. The best book I’ve read in ages. His writing style from Ari and Dante definitely shows through here too. I mean, I definitely enjoyed that, but I think I liked this one more. I have zero idea why people aren’t all over it because WOW CHARACTERS AND POETIC WRITING DAAAMN. *whispers* I loved it.

4. MCM Comic Con Yes. That is a pack of tea with the Doctor on the front. A HAUL POST IS COMING! But I wore my Penny Bunce cosplay and spent too much money and the world was in its rightful nerdy place. *nods*

5. The Big Lie by Julie Hearn It’s Britain, but if the Nazis had won WW2. Plus political disobedience, queer characters, and awesome writing. ‘Tis good.

6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell AHAHAHA. No surprise here. My love affair with Watford is no secret. ❤ Carry On was a little different to what I expected — and not perfect, but I totally loved it. ALL MY SMALL MAGES, WHY DO YOU PINE SUCH. *shakes head* (Though, people: Carry On is not Cath’s fanfiction. It’s not designed to be in her style, or in the style of fic.)

7. Oceans by Lauren Aquilina Yep. Lauren’s new EP aah! Her style has definitely grown since her last EP, and I’m so in love with it. 🙂 I also got a SIGNED CD. And a POSTER WITH MY NAME ON IT!! I’m totally cool! not omg Lauren SIGNED MY EP

Stuff from around the internet:

  • This month my top posts were Should We Judge Books By Their Authors?, I Am a Person Too and Poetry: Ashore.
  • It was asexual awareness week! I was hoping to write, like, an actual blog post rather than a few links but… I was pretty disorganised, and life got in the way. You should totally visit the site though, and here is cute comic drawn for last year’s ace awareness week which I think explains asexuality myths nicely. (Sorry, but A does not stand for Allies.)
  • It was the Les Mis 30th Anniversary! I didn’t get tickets to a show or anything, but. There you go. It was on the same day as the Carry On UK release, weirdly. Speaking of:
  • There were a lot of Rainbow Rowell interviews, because, well. CARRY ON WAS RELEASED ASDFJKL
  • There’s going to be a new Solitaire novellaaaa.
  • Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages shared her Raven Cycle character playlists.
  • Okay, I was really bad at reading blogs this months. I’m really sorry. And I’ll probably be bad at it next month too because NaNo. UGHHH.

In the diary:

  • I got a haircut! I don’t normally take selfies, but I thought this one was nice, so: here, my new short hair. 🙂

  • Sooo I started attending a Japanese club at school with my friend. I mean, I’m progressing rather slowly because it’s just one lunchtime a week, but we’re trying to learn some out of school too. (And I might be going to Japan soon! I actually haven’t been back since I left when I was about six, so I am VERy EXCITED OMG.)
  • I went train-hopping, finally — I just ended up riding the Tube until I got to a nice station, and then sat down and did some writing. Okay, I know that sounds like the literal craziest thing ever but I’ve wanted to do that for ages.

If you didn’t see my moany and/or panicked tweets, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month! Weirdly, this is my third year — even though it still feels so new. I’m hoping to get some decent writing done, but it does mean that I’m probably not going to be around the blogging community as much. I’ll (hopefully) see you guys on the other side, though, hehe. 😉

How was your month? Did you do anything for Halloween? Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

September Favourites!

september favourites

1. Book events I’ve been to Waterstones SO MUCH over the summer. Over the last month, I went to see Patrick Ness, Jandy Nelson, and I spent an afternoon writing poetry with the lovely Aisling Fahey. IT WAS ALL FABULOUS OKAY BYE.

2. Les Mis For my birthday, I went to see it on stage at the West End and OH MY WAS IT FABULOUS. I mean, I spent a lot of time dissecting pretty much everyone’s perferomances, but it’s still the most fun I’ve had at the theatre in forever. THE SET WAS SO COOL AND IT MOVED AND THERE WAS A LIVE ORCHESTRA AND EVERYONE MY HEART. I mean, I have a whole document of post-show notes on my phone, so I might have to dedicate an actual post, but on the whole it was awesome. I thought Javert & Eponine were particularly excellent. ❤

3. Doctor Who So far, the new series isn’t overwhelming me, but I’m enjoying it more than the first few episodes of last season. It’s so nice to have something to watch on Saturday again.

4. The Matsuri The Matsuri is the Japanese festival that happens in London every year, and I had so much fun! It’s in Trafalgar Square at the moment — very near Waterstones, hehe — and I ate far too much food. And spent £10 on washi tape, because I am easiely seduced by cute things. Ahem. That’s something new… 😉

5. New blog design ‘Things are still being tweaked…’ says she, tweaking absolutely nothing. XD But I was very excited to unveil it, and I hope you like it! I spent longer than I’d like without a blog post — I didn’t spend all of those 10 or so days designing, I won’t lie — but I wanted to take some emotional time out too. 🙂 I’d forgotten how much time school takes up, eek.

Stuff from around the internet:

In the diary:

  • School started… It’s nice to be back, but at the same time really, really stressful. It was weird coming back from having all that free time to…nil.
  • I finished my Penelope Bunce cosplay! I can’t believe I, like, made something wearable? WHAT IS THIS MYTH YOU SPEAK OF? I’m BEYOND EXCITED to wear it for MCM in October, eep.
  • September 23rd was Bi Visibility Day, yay! (September was actually a pretty busy month, looking back on it.)
  • I’m, like, kind of getting good at putting bits of jelly contact lenses in? I think. I’m getting better, at least.
  • I’m supposed to be taking my Grade 5 Theory exam in November. I’m SCAREEED. *hides*

How was your month? Are you watching any TV shows right now? 🙂 (THE BAKE-OFF, GUYS, oh wow the drama. MY HEART.)

August Favourites!

Behold the actual anniversary of my monthly favourites. From this date forth, one year ago, I have never missed a faves post?? I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. My memory actually functioned correctly for once. I’m also in denial about the fact that my TMI binge read was a whole year ago. Time flies too fast, argh.

august favourites

1. The Great British Bake Off Um, duh. I’m always up for some GBBO! There’s something comforting about all the pretty cakes and the bad jokes and the dramatic strings in the background whilst people intensely ice gingerbread houses.

2. Paris I AM VERY IN LOVE WITH PARIS & ALL ITS ARCHITECTURE & PRETTY LANGUAGE!! And also, I wrote an entire post about it that is a lot more cohesive than this description. XD

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray I got this a few years ago and never got into it. I tried it again and OHMIGOSH AMAZINGNESS. I think maybe I was too young to appreciate the satire last time? *shrugs* I’m not sure, but social justice plus comedy plus beauty queens stranded on an island = instant love.

4. Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda I finally caved in. It was such a fun read! (Oreos get bonus points from me as well. *nods)

5. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas I was feeling rather mixed towards this, since the fandom seems rather unhappy with it, and… I’m still undecided.I’m not all the way through, but though it’s picked up from the slow start – I don’t know. It’s a bit slow. And I need more Aelin, my baby. ❤ Still: a new Throne of Glass book?!!

6. Horchata HORCHATA IS PROBABLY MY FAVOURITE DRINK EVER. It’s horrifically sweet tiger nut deliciousness, and is also horrifically difficult to find. I don’t drink it that much, since I’ve pretty much only ever seen it in Spain, but we found some in France! I wanted to cart home loads, but I had to settle for the two bottles that were in stock, hehe. WOW, SUCH PROBLEMS I FACE. 😛

How did my bucket list go?

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote a bucket list for all the stuff I wanted to do. Did I complete it?

  • Write that darn book So, I didn’t write it… It would definitely have been nice, but instead I chose to focus on my poetry. Over the summer I was mentored in poetry by the lovely Christina Im, as part of the Glass Kite Anthology Writing Studio, which was amazing. I know you haven’t seen much evidence of this, but I’ve learnt so much. I also got shortlisted for my first competition – what will be my first publication, ahem. *hides* I don’t feel that much like I’ve left writing behind this summer! I just didn’t do what I planned.
  • Raid the library This, I did. I went to the extra large library instead of my usual one and swooned at all the books. I lugged home about 15. For the record, SO WORTH IT. I read some classics as well, which I’d hoped to do – the most notable is Les Mis, which I have been flailing about A Lot. I can flail about dead French revolutionaries far longer than I should. I AM IN LOVE, hehehe.
    Finish all those TV programmes (and watch some decent films) Other than Doctor Who and a few Merlin rewatches with my friend – oh, I cried because they are so not prepared for last episode feels – I didn’t really do this one. I spent a lot of time watching Les Mis, watching a different version of Les Mis, and then just rewatching all of them. XD I’m also super close to finishing the Ghibli collection, since I only have another 3 to go!
  • Go see some art I saw some, but not nearly enough. SELF, I COMMAND THAT THIS BE RECTIFIED.
  • Do some origami You can actually see some evidence for this one! I videoed myself paper-craning and learning how to make shuriken. I also attempted some flowers off-camera. I’m very ready to murder people with my paper.
  • Stargaze I learnt a few constellations, but I sadly haven’t yet tried out my skills. Hopefully once it gets dark a bit earlier?

Stuff from around the internet:

  • I wrote about Wizarding issues that relate to the Muggle world, combined two of my favourite things in The Chocolate Book Tag and discussed my indecision about writing & careers.
  • Nirvana @ Quenching the Quill talked about the myth of the ‘true fan’ and competition in fandom.
  • Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars told us why Halsey and her music is awesome.
  • Books and Bark turned two! Also, how Myers Briggs can be super useful when creating characters.
  • An Overthinking Teenager @ Books, Tea and a Onesie and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages discussed the futures of their blogs & writing posts that they enjoy. I feel this so much.
  • Lauren Aquilina is actually killing me with NEW MUSIC and MAYBE ALBUM SOON?!??

In the diary:

  • I was Very Panicked this time last month and in my frenzy to schedule posts before I left, missed out some things. *coughs*thisfeature*coughs*
  • I went away with my cousins and visited my great aunt! I also went to Paris, but you guys have heard an absolute ton about that. For my mum’s annual uni meet-up, we went up to Liverpool and I mostly just…hung out with everyone? I mean, we played Cluedo. XD
  • I’ve collected up a bunch of posters I had lying around – and also bought a lovely new one – in the hope of redecorating my bedroom walls. My posters are always falling off the tilted wall they’re on now!
  • MY RED HAIR HAS WASHED OUT. I’m not allowed to put it back in because of school, which kinda sucks since I loooved it a lot. I am slightly considering a new haircut, though. I slightly want to get a pixie cut??

I know this has been dragging on, but my blog survey is still happening. I am working from the responses I’ve got now, though though – hopefully some changes will be coming! Most of all I’d like to change the appearance of my blog and its organisation, so if my blog goes a bit mad over the few weeks, I’m very sorry! It should return with a flourish. I’m always on Twitter as well if you’re feeling concerned about my disappearance from the internet. 🙂

How’s your month been? Are any of you returning to school/uni? (I BEGIN TOMORROW, HELP.)

July Favourites!

july faves

WE’RE WELL INTO SUMMER, huzzah! I’m a bit miffed that a chunk of my holiday has already flown by, but it’s been a great few weeks.

1. YALC I was ridiculously excited for this after my success at MCM and it didn’t at all disappoint! There were some great panels and I absolutely fangirled when getting my books signed by authors. I said that MCM had such a nice atmosphere, and that was even more true at YALC – it was just so amazing to be around all these people who share your interests and you can immediately strike up a conversation. 🙂 I had so much fun chatting to people who recognised my Carry On Simon t shirt as well. (The MKB stall people in particular told me some awesome things.) I only went on Saturday this time, but if I can then I’d love to go for a weekend next year!

2. Fans of the Impossible Life Bookseller tip: talk to your customers about their favourite book with much enthusiasm, and they will buy anything you throw at them. But, seriously, I am so glad I got this one at YALC! It’s the best contemporary book I’ve read…since Fangirl? YES. SERIOUSLY. It’s that good. I pitch it as Eleanor & Park plus a hell of a lot more diversity (IN SO MANY WAYS IT WAS AMAZING I COULD DIE) and also a bit of All the Bright Places, but not that much because I didn’t like much like that. Just. LOVEED IT. (The Goodreads blurb is a bit misleading, though.)

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post This was sort of my break from the more trying sections of Les Mis. (See later.) I’ve heard a lot about it and I really did love it! I didn’t know that much about being queer in this time and place so it was pretty nice to read about that.

4. Hair, in different colours There are a few pictures on Twitter, but I’ve been experimenting with various dip dyes! Right now I’m mostly settled on a semi-permanent red one. 🙂 I’ve been meaning to try it for ages, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. TAKING OVER THE WORLD WITH MY RED HAIR, GUYS.

5. Savage Beauty at the V&A uggGghhHHHHHHHhh this was an amazing exhibition. I mean, I know practically nothing about fashion, but seriously. I thought it was curated excellently, too – the rooms were sort of organised by aesthetic, with names like ‘Romantic Naturalism’. I’m currently lamenting the fact that I’ll never get to wear an awesome gothic queen dress. 😥

6. Les Miserables FINALLY, I read it. ASDFJKL;OIQW MY LES MIS PROBLEM IS EVEN GREATER THAN BEFORE. You might know that I’ve been deliberating about this for quite some time, but an impending bookless holiday and some lovely encouragement set the ball rolling. It was pretty hard work in some places, but I enjoyed it so much and I’ve now got a weird sense of French Patriotism. I’m also going to Paris with my Girlguides, HELP – I don’t think I’ll be able to do much Les-Mis-themed exploring, but IT’S STILL PAAARIS *screams*

7. The Night Circus The whole book was a bit sprawling, but the descriptions were absolutely luscious. Seriously. There were just pages and pages and pages of beautiful descriptions that I drooled over. (Also: dark magic and historical fiction, both always always always loves of mine.)

Stuff from around the internet:

My top posts this month were It’s (Origa)me, Where Are These Perks of Being a Wallflower? and Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity.
CreatyveBooks wrote about diversity in books & publishing and the way that it’s treated.
Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars wrote about feminism in films and what it means to write a ‘strong female character’.
Evie @ Adventuring Through Pages taught us how to make a DIY Tardis dress.
Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout compared extracts from different gender POVs and tested our skills at guessing them.
An Overthinking Teenager and Emily @ Always Opinionated Girl hosted the Blog Olympics!

I’m away for two weeks now, but I hope you’re having a good month!