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!

ink swash 2

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

 

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

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samplers I picked up

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

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

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

yalc 2017 books
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. 🙂

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.

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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?

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!