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Well, it was thanksgiving *fairly* recently, and although I don’t celebrate, I’ve felt a need to be grateful so here, have this post! I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently especially as I prepare to reboot this blog and move to Wordpress. I’ve tried similar projects in the past, moving from one place to the other; it’s never really worked out, but I’m hoping it does this time, and I think it will because I’ve realised how much the blog means to me. There are a few key reasons, and I’m sharing them below:
1. It’s my own personal corner of the internetThis is a really big one, and I probably could’ve split it into many categories but why not keep it as one? I love that I get to express myself, my opinions, my thoughts on books here. I don’t have to censor myself, or edit out my personality in the robotic way school likes to make you do. Here’s an example from recent times: I wrote an essay about a book as a practice for exams, and in the feedback I got, there was a circle around a passage in which I’d written “so” (for rough context the sentence the word was derived from was something like “I love books, so I’m willingly to spend money buying them” (I know that’s not exact but I’m trying okay)), and above it the teacher had written “through”. This comment annoyed me more than I would’ve expected; I didn’t mean “through”, I was fully aware of what I meant when I used the word “so”. I don’t feel that I have to be perfectly grammatically correct all the time, especially when it detracts from me getting my point across. Also, I’m such a freak about this kinda of stuff? I’m obsessed with correct capitalisation and spelling, which crosses into grammar sometimes (but only if it’s extremely bad). So I feel somewhat insulted when my grammar is brought into question. Technically, English isn’t my first language, but it’s definitely my dominant one.

Anyway, moving on from that mini-rant, what I’m trying to say here is that all the content on this blog (except guest posts/blitzes etc but you get my point) is written by yours truly, without supervision. I don’t have to report to anyone, or make changes based on other people’s opinions; if you don’t like it, don’t follow me! It’s that simple. Of course I’m always striving to make my content better and more enjoyable for the people who do read my blog, but I don’t feel that I need to sacrifice my personal voice for a prim, proper, formal tone in these posts. I like being myself! It’s only recently that I’ve realised how much that part of this blog means to me; being able to express myself is so important to me especially as when I was younger I felt that a lot of the time I wasn’t allowed to say what I actually thought and was stuck in a world of pretending to be who people wanted to be. This blog definitely helped change that feeling, and for that I’m so grateful.
2. I can talk about whatever I like (without being judged by other people)Kind of following on from my first point, which is really an umbrella for everything to come, I can talk about things without being judged! It’s such a great feeling, especially when a lot of people still think reading is nerdy and uncool (I’m sorry us readers are more intelligent than you). I know the focus of this blog has shifted a bit from books as I’m using it to explore all of my interests more, but books are the reason I started this blog, and are a major catalyst in me being able to use it as a platform to speak out about anything and everything. The glory of all this being online is you don’t have to witness people laughing at you; all the adoration and hate is private, and as I’d like to think this community is quite positive I don’t feel that hate is a huge part of it; it probably exists, but in a small dark chasm paid attention to by only a select number of people.
3. Free. Books??!!Yay, I finally thought of a point which is less related to point number one! In 2016, upon starting high school, I decided to take a chance and reach out to some NZ publishers and ask if they were interested in sending me books in exchange for promotion and a review. Well, it worked. I feel guilty because I am always infinitely behind in reading the books they send me (this holidays might be yet another opportunity to catch up which I should take instead of reading the latest books from the library I haven’t returned yet but should) but I do really appreciate them and try to fit reading into my busy schedule. If you’d told 2013 me, who read more books in a year than I probably ever will for quite awhile now, that I would be getting free books in a few years, I would’ve laughed in your face for sure. Dreams can become reality! So I’m going to keep on dreaming despite what others tell me.
4. The communityIt’s funny because I’ve never felt like I’m part of this community; I don’t really have any close friends to show for it. Nevertheless, I’ve always felt really included especially when commenting on other people’s blogs. On Instagram, I had some fairly close friends through the editing/fandom community but there was always a strong sense of negativity surrounding the community and I’m not the greatest with keeping in touch with people online as I’m trying to cut back on screen time, mobile devices in particular so I guess we drifted easily. But I’d really like to get closer to people here, and possibly also establish links with them through bookstagram; we’ll see. Regardless, I appreciate everyone here for constantly making me feel welcome even as I’m little more than a stranger to a lot of you.

I can’t think of anything else right now, so I’ll just end it here, but thank you too to everyone who is reading this post; although I don’t get many comments I see proof of your existence through the engagement and also followers on my book related Spotify playlists. Is there any aspect of book blogging/something else you do which you’re really grateful for?

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{This post has been in the works since forever (the publication of part one, to be more specific), and now that I've finished my second last exam of this year I've decided to go ahead and spend more time on it. It's such a massive rant, and I even go as far as to suggest some "solutions" to the issues of this system (I'm so extra I know, don't come @ me because I'm not an education system expert okay I just know what works and doesn't work for me as a student). If you don't mind that, read on!}

Hey, I'm back with another post totally unrelated to books! Due to the popularity of my last post about my issues with the NZ education system, I'm back with part two, except this one is entirely geared towards high school (the final three years to be exact). If you haven't read "part one", my general explanations yet, you can do so here.

My main issue with the high school system is NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) run by the NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority). This is an exam system used nationwide with the exception of a few schools, which do other programmes such as IB or Cambridge. But for this post I'll be focusing on NCEA, which is what my school uses, and it'll cover topics such as how exactly the system works, why I don't like it, and alternatives to this system.
What is NCEA?You could probably google it for a concise definition (but don't quote me on the accuracy of that statement), but I'll try and explain it without making it sound too confusing. If you already know what it is/are or have done NCEA, feel free to skip ahead to the next section because you should also know all of this!

For your last three years of high school, the majority of your school work is geared towards getting NCEA standards, of which there are three levels. In the first of these years, Year 11, you're working towards Level One, in Year 12 (the most important year) you work towards Level Two, and in Year 13 Level Three. It's also possible to "skip ahead" in some cases, but that's another story.
CreditsEach assignment/exam, which I'm gonna call a task, earns you credits (usually between two and six per task). NZQA likes to think that each credit is roughly equivalent to ten notional hours, which is class time as well as homework. You can get your credits at four levels: not achieved (you don't get any credits, but they show up on your learning record under not achieved credits), achieved, merit, and excellence. These levels just show how well you did at the task as there is different marking criteria to see what level you're working at.

In order to pass the year, you need to gain eighty credits. However if you are trying to get a level two or three certificate and you've already done a lower level, you can 'take' twenty credits from that level so you only need sixty credits. Likewise, if you have credits from higher levels and you are trying to get a lower level endorsement, you can use those credits too.
EndorsementsFor high achievers, there is an option to try for merit or excellence endorsement. There are two types of endorsement; certificate, and subject. Subject endorsements are considered harder to get. Certificate endorsement is where you get fifty or more credits at merit or excellence for a merit endorsement/fifty or more excellence credits for an excellence endorsement. This just means your certificate will say something like "John Doe achieved NCEA Level One with Excellence Endorsement".

Subject endorsements are endorsement on a smaller scale, in individual subjects. The courses of most subjects are usually around 20-24 credits, with a mix of internal (assignments, reports, research projects, performances, tests) and external (exams) assessments. To get a subject endorsement you need 14 excellence credits, with at least three internal and three external credits.
External Exams
I felt that this needed its own section as the way NCEA does it is quite different from a lot of other systems. With externals, you sit up to three papers in one subject and have three hours to complete them. Wait, what? Yeah, you read that correctly. It varies from subject to subject, but you can usually be entered in up to three external standards, which you sit in the three hour long exam. They're all marked individually too, so there's no bonus for doing more papers than other people; if anything, it's a disadvantage because there are gonna be people who spent ninety minutes on a paper and did better work than you if you spent one hour on a paper. Each paper is worth a certain amount of credits, usually ranging from 4-6.

Results come out in January, and if you're unsatisfied with your mark you can apply for a reconsideration, which is basically where a second marker remarks your work. If your grade is lifted, you get refunded the price ($20.40NZD per paper), otherwise your paper is returned and your money kept by the big bosses. If you're sick for the November exam, or feel that you've been influenced by events out of control such as (and I quote) the bereavement of a family member or close friend (look, I'm sorry, I don't want to make fun of this, but WHO EVEN USES THE WORD BEREAVEMENT ANYMORE (if you do please don't be offended I mean you no harm)), no worries! You can apply for a derived grade, which is where you get given the mark from your mock exam.
NZQA Scholarship Exams
NZQA also has the option of scholarship exams for high achievers, generally offered in year thirteen and sometimes year twelve. These are three hour long external examinations in which you can gain the award of Top Scholar, an outstanding scholarship, or a scholarship. I won't go into it any further, but if you're really interested search it up.
What's wrong with NCEA?
So there you have the basic rundown of the system. There are several key issues I have with it, and I'll go through them one by one.
  • external exams
My main issue with the external exams isn't that they exist (I actually really like exams), it's the way they're marked. For essays, out of 8, and for most other exams, out of 24. 24??!! As someone who is used to being able to get at least 40 points in an examination I fail to see how you could possibly differentiate well between the abilities of students with such small scale marking. The other thing is, a lot of the marking is subjective and you don't get marks unless you include evidence on the assessment schedule (a.k.a. what the writer of the exam wanted you to get from the paper).

Not everyone sits the same external standards. You don't get penalised for not attempting one paper as they're marked individually (in fact in many ways, not attempting is better than a not achieved because the paper just disappears from your NZQA record of achievement). Yes, this has been an advantage to me in History because I would've died doing all three papers (plus I hated the NZ significance one okay), but it's also been a disadvantage in subjects like English where I know many talented individuals who only attempt two papers as an attempt to do better in those two and sacrifice the third. I just think that it's stupid because why should people be disadvantaged by putting themselves under more pressure and doing three papers? Why should people not be penalised for not attempting a paper? It makes much more sense, since all papers test different areas of a subject, that you do get penalised for not doing a paper (or they could just follow my killer suggestions and combine the papers into one exam that everyone who takes externals will receive because obviously that's a far better method). 

How could this be fixed? Easy enough, I think. Redo the format of the exams so that it's marked out of 100 (cmon, 50 at least!) so it's percentage based rather than fitted to a curve: top 10% get excellence, next 10% get merit (if you really want to, next 20%), top 20/30-35/40% get achieved. Wait, does that sound harsh? I don't think so, because in other exams, 60/65% is the rate of pass, 80% merit and 90% excellence! But of course NCEA has made it so that by getting just over 1/3 of the paper correct you can pass... leaving the pass rate around 33-37.5% completion of paper. Also, if they really desperately wanted that curve, they could just go off people's scores and do the whole top 10% of people get excellence, etc! It's just that this way there's more room to differentiate between the scores of people, it's not so difficult to go up by one point, and you get a much better idea of where people are at. It's super easy to scale because it's unlikely that a whole lot of people are going to get the same mark to the extent where they are 10% of all students taking that paper so the excellence mark is raised, which is currently the case with marks out of 24. Also, what papers you take in the external shouldn't be optional; all available papers should be combined into the one exam (look, even with the current mark system that would total 72 marks, so even sticking to the current format could potentially work!) so that there aren't disadvantages or advantages of completing less/more papers. Everyone learns different stuff, you say? Well, maybe internally, but the end of year exam should be the same. It's designed so that you get to discuss what you've learned in class in the more humanities type subjects such as English, History and Drama (one of the only things I like about it), and there's no reason that would change with the new format.
  • english essay marking
Fine. I admit I've never actually had my essay marked in a proper external, yet. So we'll see how that goes after I get my results back in January, and I may just update y'all about that: positive or negative. If you really want me to do let me know in the comments! Anyway, moving on: the thing with essay marking is that it's really subjective. Of course, there's no solution to this. But what teachers and markers alike can do is stop making assumptions into students' knowledge or judge them for their essay style. In English class, students aren't taught how to write essays. We are taught about the content of a book, or rather a teacher's opinion on the book (and how we can stick that in our essay for bonus points). I'd like to hope that by this age, people have seen and done enough to form their own opinions on books written before the 21st century and that there is no need for a teacher to break it down sentence by sentence, plus add their opinion? What I'm proposing is that instead of focusing so much on what we're going to write about, in class we focus on HOW to write an essay and just apply it to the text we're studying. This would also reduce the subjectiveness of marking based on essay style, because everyone would've been taught a definitive, "NZQA approves" base. I know of teachers who mark harshly on essay styles they don't like because they expect everyone to have been taught English the way they teach it, which I think is total rubbish. And a lot of the time, essays and work written in class is marked based on how your views align with your teacher's, which shouldn't even be a factor of the marking.

How could this be fixed? Again, the scale needs to be expanded. Eight points is not nearly enough to differentiate between good and bad essays. There could be a large marking scale of say, thirty, and markers marked different aspects of the writing out of say five: grammar, use of evidence, structure, personal voice, comprehensiveness, etc. Alongside this could be the use of a check marker: currently, you can only get your work check marked if you apply for a reconsideration (I'll go until detail about that later). But by having a check marking system in place each essay would filter out subjective marking because unless you were unlucky at got two subjective markers the difference in marks would be quite evident (also why there needs to be a larger scale, to allow more difference). And again I don't think one exam should entirely consist of the essay; lets combine written, visual and unfamiliar text into the one exam!
  • reconsiderations and resubmissions
I think NCEA asked for this one. If you think your worked was marked unfairly, you can apply for a reconsideration (external). Some internals let you do resubmissions if you have made a minor error which the teacher believes the student could spot on their own (wait a minute, how could a minor error lift you up an entire grade? I'm not sure I comprehend). In this case, NZQA is pretty much saying "yes! There are double standards! If you think you've been subjected to one, pay and we'll reconsider your result (but it probably won't change because we're like that)!" Disagree if you like, but I think the whole idea of reconsiderations basically implies there are double standards. Yes, markers can make errors, and in that case definitely apply (through a different channel would be appropriate though, such as the way you apply for derived grades which is through your school). But it seems a lot of reconsiderations are applied for not in math, the subject of black and white marking, but subjects like English and History where it's quite literally up to the marker what they choose to give you.

With resubmissions, it's not that big of a deal. It's up to the teacher, and if they offer it to you you get it the one chance to fix your work. Usually it's just some grammatical errors or a minor calculation error. My issue with this is also less major, I just think you get the one chance. I'm sorry if you didn't notice it when you were doing it, but in the case of assignments, the deadline has passed and you've had your chance to spot the errors; in the case of tests, it's a timed test. Why should you get extra time, and at that, it's extra time given after you're told you could lift your grade if you spot the error (Where's Wally?). 

How could this be fixed? How about, get rid of them! (Sorry if you don't agree. But I do.) It's unfair to people who work hard and say get a secure merit grade don't have the chance to lift their grade because they weren't close enough to excellence, but then someone whose work was "very nearly excellence" gets that chance.
  • derived grades
Whoa, here's another hot topic, somewhat controversial, where I take the side of high achievers. Oops. Well... The thing with derived grades is, I feel that it disadvantages students who actually sit the exams. Of course, it's really unfortunate if you aren't able to sit the exam/don't do the best for whatever reason. But I just don't think it's fair that you can submit for grades from mock exams. In my experience, a lot of mock exams are deceivingly easy because a technique teachers use is to make you feel calm for exams by giving you an easy mock. The only exception to this at my school is the maths department, which believe it is better to give you something more difficult so that you know if you can do well in that exam, you'll do fine in the real one, or you realise there are gaps in your knowledge which you then have time to fix up before the real thing.

How could this be fixed? Perhaps instead of assigning grades to the derived grades process, there could be something where people who weren't able to attend for whatever reason can apply with evidence of school work that they would easily be able to pass the paper? This still wouldn't be an ideal situation of course but it would remove the unfairness of getting higher grades from an easier exam and would make it so that the students didn't entirely miss out on getting a mark for the exam even if it might be lower than desired.

  • internals
There is a new practice at schools now called "credit farming". This is essentially where the schools try and get their students as many credits as possible through internals with little regard to the quality of the learning (see here). This can be especially advantageous for high achieving students because it's an easy way to earn lots of excellence credits which is the primary factor in deciding the recipients of university scholarships in New Zealand.

I'm not totally against internals; they're cool, and a much more reliable source of credits than externals which can be quite flaky. But that doesn't mean I don't think they count as far too much of your course's overall level of achievement. The end of year exams should be a key factory, but with NZQA it's internals too. They can be fun, but they aren't difficult enough to truly measure ability. And also, each school has a different procedure which can't be fixed even through moderation and the other measures NZQA has in place.

How could this be fixed? Firstly, the externals need to be more reliable and the criteria for each grade really clear. This would make internal credits less valuable, so the course could spend more time focusing on the external exams instead of expending so much energy on internals which I feel is the less valuable part of the course.

So there you have it. If you've gotten this far, then wow! Congrats on getting through something this long and boring. What is the education system like where you are?

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This month started off with the arrival of Kingdom of Ash at my doorstep, which then induced a six day sprint of finishing the book in my last week of school before exams. After that however, with exam prep and general school recovery (procrastination), I didn't get much of a chance to read until the last week of November where I finished Get Remarkably Organised, an inspirational book :) I'm really looking forward to totally relaxing in December, but I'm going to try and actually get more done each day so you never know; I might be on here more often than I have been all year! I hope so.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas because duhh, how could I not love the end of Aelin's tale?


- Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy
- The Playbook by Barney Stinson, Matt Kuhn

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas
First Sentence: "He had been hunting for her since the moment she was taken from him."

Get Remarkably Organised by Lorraine Murphy
First Sentence: "Let's get started on this journey to organisational bliss with a bit of a chat about what it actually means to be organised."

The Playbook by Barney Stinson, Matt Kuhn
First Sentence: "First of all, thanks for purchasing this book!"

Average page count per day:

46 pages

Total page count:


So there you have it, my wrapup for November. What did you read this month?

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This period has definitely lacked reading, but I have read good books during this time! Since it's a big long period and I've kinda forgotten a bit what I've read etc I won't be doing BOTM but I will continue with the rest of this post as usual :)


Thirteen Rising (Zodiac #4) by Romina Russell
(I can't find the sentence for this book oops)

This Fallen Prey (Rockton #3) by Kelley Armstrong
First Sentence: "The season may have officially started two months ago, but it isn't truly spring in Rockton until we bury our winter dead."

Average page count in May: 23, total 709

JUNE (massive disappointment)

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
First Sentence: "What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands."

Average page count in June: 9, total 276

JULY (slightly better especially in regards to page count)

War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard
First Sentence: "We drown in silence for a long moment."

Seducing Kaden (The Kennedy Boys #6) by Siobhan Davis
First Sentence: "I join the line in the coffee place, stifling a groan as I count the numerous heads in front of me."

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5) by Sarah J Maas
First Sentence: "The first snow of winter had begun whipping through Velaris an hour earlier."

Average page count in July: 43, total 1346

AUGUST (the most miserable thus far I reckon, what happened??)

Black and Blue (Detective Harriet Blue #0.5) by James Patterson
(another lost sentence, disappointing me)

Average page count in August: 6, total 176


Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh
First Sentence: "At ten after five on a raw December afternoon, Joshua Kane lay on a cardboard bed outside the Criminal Courts building and thought about killing a man."

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell
First Sentence: "My mother used to say: Everyone has secrets."

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft
First Sentence: "A helicopter pilot."

Average page count in September: 32, total 963


The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
First Sentence: "Looking down, there are two pairs of feet dangling."

Hangman (Ragdoll #2) by Daniel Cole
First Sentence: "'There is no God."

Average page count in October: 23, total 721


Average page count per day overall:

Total page count:

And the winner for most reading is... July!! (And the loser is August with May a clear second). Alas, I might not have read much during this period but I am going to be doing major catch up in the summer holidays.

What have your reading habits been like in the past half a year? Is there are stand out best/worst month?

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So I seem to be posting a lot more recently, even though the posts have sort of gravitated to just being quite random in nature and topic wise. Here's the latest one, inspired by my lovely friend Adair @ Discussions With Myself when she wrote a similar post in geography class and suggested I do so :) I tried to make these as unrelatable as possible?

- exams are in four weeks and I'm more stressed about my piano recital/scholarship competition the Saturday before than the actual exams, I should really care more about thing...

- I don't ever know what to say in reply to a compliment, I've always felt awkward saying "thank you" and I don't know how to downplay achievements, I think it's better to just accept the praise but I don't want to seem self centred though I kind of am in that I know my own ability?

- summer is approaching (today was cold in the morning but then it got too hot okay) and I'm excited because of the holidays but the weather's gonna suck, I hate the sun and there are too many bugs flying about already :(

- my parents often question why I choose to do exams outside of school, I mean it's something I genuinely enjoy! Also they're proper exams, unlike NCEA which is a disappointment to all exam systems (see my education related posts if you wanna know more but I warn you they're massive rants)

- a lot of people around me seem to have little to no care or thought for their future and that's cool, you do you, but I personally want to leave this place behind and have a great life overseas?? does ambition still exist in young people outside of laziness and desire to procrastinate forever?

- high school is known for cliques and friend drama but my school and friends are different! It's not very cliquey thankfully, there are fixed groups but we all keep to ourselves and there's rarely conflict which is good but I feel like even here many friend groups have a lot of drama unlike us

- I can't help but base my characters on people I know, thanks to the weird dreams I have about people which make it so that I can't look at them the same again... thanks subconscious mind.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post! Did you relate to any of these? Do you have any unrelatable problems?

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What's up, guys? Here I am, back with ANOTHER post not related to books (I promise book posts are coming, I'm just lazy).

The idea to write this post came to me when for what felt like the umpteenth time I walked down the street staring down at my phone, daring strangers to judge me. I try and avoid doing this as a general rule because firstly it's dangerous and also older strangers seem to always be in a mood to judge. But sometimes I just can't be bothered caring, and after checking the way is clear I will do so. I do this a lot going down the stairs outside my local library (weirdly enough I think walking down the stairs while staring at your feet is safer than walking along the street looking at your phone?).

Basically what I'm trying to get that is I am, for the most part, a responsible teen and I think being a teenager, I am immediately classed as "troublesome" the second someone sees me on my phone. I don't think this is fair to me or any of the numerous people I know who are amazing and mature. In a way, teenagers are expected to be perfect, and if not then we are immediately the bad guys in every situation.

Now that that rant is over, I will list some common stereotypes which I think aren't true/should be demystified! I didn't really plan this bit of the post so I have no idea how it's gonna go, but anyway. Just a note: I apologise if any of this offends anyone, I'm not trying to hit back at people but the topic has been something that I've been meaning to write about for awhile and I'm sick of being judged by my age. So enjoy my 1.4k word essay I suppose??
1. teenagers are all in cliques/fit a stereotype
This is a big one for me. I think a group of girls hanging out in town is often judged by the fact that they are a group of girls. Not all of these groups are 'popular' and there just for attention. For example, a good friend of me was once riding a free bus with some of her friends to the botanical gardens (the bus service was run by the museum) and the bus driver refused to let them off until they paid for the free bus. She only had ten cent coins on her, and so she paid with those but the driver was like "you must have more money than that for your shopping escapade" which made zero sense since they were going to the botanical gardens, not a mall. What made it worse is that there was a family behind them on the bus who were let off with no hassle, and they also didn't stand up for the girls.

It's unfair to judge people by their clothing, who they're hanging out with, and how much they look at their phone. If this isn't acceptable in wider society why do so many people think it's fine to judge teenagers like so? Also, come on. Most of the ones that judge the harshest are old ladies and it may have been a long time ago, but they were once teenagers too. I think in this judging, while it isn't always deliberately meant to cause hurt, a bit more consideration of teenagers' feelings would help.
2. teenagers are all addicted to their phones, social media, taking selfies
Now this is just blatantly untrue. I know many people who don't even have smartphones, and the vast majority of my friends don't even have the common social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. And even if they do, so what? I don't think social media influences your personality; it's how you use it that matters. In a world where internet access is easy and often more worthwhile than texting, not having social media can make it a whole lot harder for people to be able to contact you. 

Phone addiction isn't uncommon, but then again many adults are in the same boat. It isn't all that different from any other addiction and definitely isn't the most serious addiction one can have. All I have to say to this one is, why does it matter? If you look down on phone addiction then that's the same as thinking you're better than them.

Selfies. A trend which has, I feel, died down a bit in recent years, though there are still news reports of all the people who have died trying to get the 'perfect' selfie. While I certainly agree that doing such a dangerous and risky thing shouldn't be encouraged, usually there isn't anything wrong with the average selfie. So what? It's a photo. People fill entire albums with these things. What's so different about a selfie that makes it so dislikable?
3. teenagers are lazy and self centred
Procrastination plays a big part in this stereotype I think. We've become a generation of procrastinators, and I'm not going to ask whose fault this is; it doesn't really matter. But procrastination is present in even the most productive and motivated people. What I'm trying to say is that everyone can be lazy, and teenagers aren't an age bracket where everyone suddenly becomes lazy and stops being lazy once they reach the age of twenty.

Similarly, anyone can be self centred, not just teenagers. I think it could be more likely when one is in this age range because they haven't learnt all the lessons of life yet and hormones can make it feel like your world is collapsing, etc; it is natural to be a little self centred during this time because your brain makes you feel like everything is about you. But the key is to realise: not everything about you. The world doesn't revolve around you. Getting back to the point, I'm not arguing that teenagers aren't centred; we as a group certainly are, and I can testify to that. But I also think we should be cut some slack because it's very much a phase that most will grow out of.
4. teenagers are irresponsible and rebellious
This is something I laugh at quite a bit. There are definitely both sides of the spectrum, but I like to keep my feet firmly on the responsible side of the line, as do my friends. A bit of rebellion is natural, but if it becomes anything serious that's more a result of upbringing/mentality than age. Irresponsibility continues for some all throughout the twenties and while it is just a phase for some I think this is more to do with personality than anything else.
5. teenagers are unintelligent and bad with spelling, grammar
While I admit this one is becoming increasingly true with the common use of lowercase 'i's, the use of all lowercase for aesthetic (I am guilty of this one but I refuse to ever use the lowercase 'i' standalone in a sentence!!) and mixing up words like "your, you're", "they're, their, there" and other common homonyms that does not mean all teenagers are unintelligent. I'd argue there are groups of teenagers who are extremely intelligent and will become the next generation of world leaders, and their personalities and habits aren't represented by the general population.

Another big one for me is being treated as a child. From a young age, I've been more mature than most my age and when trying to initiate 'adult' conversations with older people around me, such as teachers, I've been shut down because they don't think I have the capability to hold those kinds of conversations. For me that's been a massive knock on the head and I felt discouraged from speaking my mind or learning about important issues. Especially as people reach the teen years, it's important to stop treating teenagers as children. We are not. Many of us are extremely passionate about one issue or another, and some are even creating change in amazing ways. We are more than capable of holding a conversation about serious issues and it is a discredit to you if you don't believe that.

So I end this post on what hopefully is a high note: please stop treating teenagers like rebellious, arrogant, ignorant, unintelligent individuals. Thank you.

Do you think teenager stereotypes are overly played up? Are there any additional points you'd make? 

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Hey everyone! Wanted to do something fun here (while y'all 'wait' for my mega wrap up post to be completed oops) so I decided to do this tag! Stolen from the Mango Queen May @ Forever and Everly so definitely check her out, and her post is here. Anyway, without further ado, the tag!*

*Still feel like I'm rambling though. Am I?
The Basics1 What’s your name?Cas; technically a nickname and unrelated to my "real" name but ah well.
2 Any nicknames or aliases?Cath, Rose, and as for other nicknames too many to count/list.
3 Your gender?Female! She/her.
4 Your star sign?Taurus, even if it's not always obvious I am quite the stubborn one though mostly in subtle ways.
5 How old are you?I mean, you can probably find that answer at least somewhere around this blog but I'm not gonna give it to you straight, but I am a teenager in high school, I'll give you that much.*
*Is this too cryptic? I really don't mean to be, it's just I'd like to keep it 'undisclosed' even though I've probably blabbed before.6 Your relationship status?
Single; I've moved past the point in my life (intermediate/middle school and early high school) where I'd pretend it was "it's complicated" when that just meant about my friendships; lmao.
7 Any children?Nope.
8 Any pets?I mean we have like 19 chickens I think, by my last count? I'm not great at keeping track. But out of those there are the four which are most like pets to me, a black orpington and three blue orpingtons :)
9 Any tattoos or piercings?
Nope and I doubt there ever will be I'm too indecisive and why have piercings when the only thing I'd ever get pierced are my ears, and you can just have clip ons?
10 What do you like about yourself?Uhh well I'm not one of those people who constantly puts themselves down so that's a start? (And I really don't mean any offence to anyone who is like that, I hope you start seeing what an amazing person you are!
11 What do you dislike about yourself?
Lack of confidence on some occasions I suppose? I try to be more outgoing and I am a slightly more extroverted ambivert but I think in certain situations I just need to be more willing to take a chance.
12 Righty or lefty?Right :)
Lasts13 The last thing you drank:Water. It's sitting in front of me slightly to my left as I speak :( (in case you haven't been able to tell I'm not a fan of water)
14 The last thing you ate:An apple.
15 Your last phone call:To a friend while I was walking to school, because when you're by yourself you get bored.
16 Your last text message:Hoped it'd be something exciting, but nope it's just ":)" (minus the quote marks).
17 Your last email:Sent email? To myself, a day ago, sending myself a resource for mock exams (sigh).
18 The last song you listened to:Why would I remember, I'm not bothered checking but it was off my "pop ballads" playlist and pretty sure the song was almost over when the period ended and I stopped listening to music.
19 The last book you read:Bright Thrones by Kate Elliott, though that is technically a short story... Oh well.
20 The last time you cried:Ahh damn not a great story. In the car on the way home Wednesday two weeks ago, but that was really a chain reaction event which started around the start of lunchtime that day.
21 The last blog you read:Forever and Everly!
22 The last person you spoke to:A friend while walking to my dad's office where I am now.
23 The last place you visited:School?? It is after school right now and I haven't gotten home yet...
24 Your last holiday abroad:China! I mean more specifically Beijing as well as Shenyang, Dandong (the border with North Korea), Yuanjiang and Anhua.
Have you ever?25 Have you ever gotten back with an ex?That would require you to have one in the first place, so no.
26 Have you ever been cheated on?Yeah no.
27 Have you ever cheated on someone?No.
28 Have you ever lost someone special to you?
Luckily, no.
29 Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?I have yet to experience the feeling of being drunk and don't think it's something I'd like to try anytime soon based on other peoples' accounts of it.
30 Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?Yes?31 Have you ever met someone who changed you?Define change in this context? People I've met have definitely made me a better person though.
32 Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?*long sigh* unfortunately too many times.
33 Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?The sarcasm is back; that would have to require actually kissing someone.*

*Random fun fact: when I first wrote this response it was worded terribly, I think something like "have to require having actually kissed someone" which makes absolutely no sense at all.
34 Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?
35 Have you ever broken someone’s heart?Not that I'm aware of.

36 Have you ever kissed a stranger?See answer to question 33.

37 Have you ever had your own heart broken?I don't know how to answer this one? No?? But, books, so yes?
38 Have you ever had sex on the first date?Not an original answer but gee I'm underage and never been on a date!

39 Have you ever been arrested?Gladly no, though this one time we did do something "suspicious" lol.

40 Have you ever been attracted to someone that isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?Yes I think so.

41 Have you ever done something you regret?Probably, though there isn't a specific instance that comes to mind.

42 Have you ever had a threesome?No!

43 Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?Highly doubt I haven't though I don't remember anything in particular that was especially mortifying?

44 Have you ever misjudged someone?Definitely, and I'm always very quick to correct myself afterward. I find it amusing when my judgment is extremely off though.
Your Beliefs and Opinions45 Do you believe in God?No thanks.

46 Do you believe in yourself?Yes.47 Do you believe in Santa Claus?No but Santa is great.48 Do you believe in ghosts?Kind of? But not really.

49 Do you believe in aliens?Eh, they could exist, doesn't really concern me? I don't think they're gonna take over the world but hey if they did it would probably be better than Trump being president?

50 Do you believe in miracles?Yes, they're signs you're doing things right.

51 Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?Absolutely.

52 Do you believe in love at first sight?You'd think I wouldn't, but I do? Like I definitely think you have to get to know each other and all that but I think there is that sort of instant connection, but it's not always going to turn into love.

53 Can money make you happy?It can. But it can also very easily make you extremely unhappy so there needs to be a balance. But if you're in a good place I don't see why an extra pay check is gonna ruin your life.

54 Would you describe yourself as a feminist?To be honest I'm not a big fan of the word, particularly with the whole misconception of it being "women > men" etc; but I definitely support equality and would consider myself an equalist. (See this post; this is pretty much my viewpoint summed up.)

55 Are you pro-life or pro-choice?100% pro choice. I don't think it should matter what your own opinion on abortion is; that's for you. But others should be allowed to do what they want with their body.

56 Do you have strong political beliefs?Yeah I guess? I do try and keep myself educated about such things but I'm not like a political activist or anything.

57 Do you have strong religious beliefs?No way.

58 What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?Freedom.
Right Now59 Are you eating anything right now?Nope!

60 Are you drinking anything right now?Nah.

61 What are you listening to right now?The satisfying (don't @ me) sound of a printer printing... but it just stopped.

62 What are you thinking about right now?Feminism/equality, having a chat with friends about it.

63 What are you waiting for right now?Waiting to go home; two minutes till work ends.

64 What are you most excited about right now?My band is playing on a pretty big stage on Saturday so that's something!

65 What’s your pet hate right now?Does this mean pet peeve? And nothing extremely specific right now except people with their stupid far right extremist views.

66 What’s your favourite thing right now?Dunno.

67 If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?
Probably studying, whoops.
Firsts68 Your first best friend:Siân, love you girl.
69 Your first kiss:Yeah nah, not happened yet.

70 Your first celebrity crush:I have no clue, but probably Theo James?

71 Your first holiday:China 2011 :)

72 Your first pet:A beautiful grey chicken named Ash.

73 Your first regret:Oh gosh this was awhile ago but way back in 2012 when the guy I liked moved away right after he *may* have found out I had feelings for him (not certain about this but hey I'll never know).

74 Your first job:Basketball referee.

75: Your first childhood memory:My first birthday party. I'm told I probably don't actually remember it and only know what I've been told of it and thanks to the photographic evidence though, which is probably true since I have like no memories before the age of eight.
Which would you choose?76 Love or money?
Love, of course. I read YA.
77 Twitter or Facebook?I use Facebook more because the lovely Twitter locked me out (much appreciated, not). But I prefer Twitter for sure. Facebook can be useful as band promo though so it's not all bad.

78 Hook up or relationship?Relationship! Casual isn't really for me.

79 Dogs or cats?Dogs.

80 Coffee or tea?Don't like either, prefer hot chocolate but coffee. I actually have more tea but I don't like it very much.

81 Beer or wine?People always laugh when I say this, but in my opinion beer tastes like slightly off sparkling water. Why would you enjoy drinking that? Red wine for sure.

82 Sweet or savoury?Sweet :)

83 Introvert or extrovert?Can I choose ambivert? Otherwise extrovert.

84 Vampires or werewolves?This makes me instantly think of Twilight, so vampires of course.

85 Seaside or countryside?Countryside, cmon. I don't like water much and I love country music.

86 Summer or winter?Winter!!

87 Books or movies?If you don't already know, I'm not a fan of movies at all and obviously books win. Books or tv shows though... That's a whole different story.

88 Horror or comedy?
Recently I admitted to some friends I've never watched an actual horror film and they were absolutely shocked. But yeah, comedy definitely.
A few random questions to finish on89 Do you wish you could change your past?
Sometimes I do, but then I decide it's not that big of a deal because you know, the past is full of mistakes I've learnt from. The lessons are more important than erasing the mistakes.
90 What’s your dream job?This is something I always get stuck on. Musician? Entrepreneur? Lawyer? Activist? Writer? Actress?

91 What’s your guilty pleasure?$3 hot chips at your local dairy. OOPS.
92 What are you afraid of?Disappointing people.

93 What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
No clue really but I think it was probably an actress!
94 If you could have any super power, what would it be?I'd like to be able to fly, teleport, read minds, control time... You can tell I can't decide.

95 If you could change anything about your life what would it be?I would like to live somewhere else, really, with a better education system... I shouldn't say that but still. You can't change your feelings *shrug*.

96 Would you want immortality?I think it would be cool, especially if you had someone by your side. Immortality alone though... Not so keen.

97 If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?I would absolutely love love love to interview Roger Federer. Why? Just because, it's Roger Federer so duhh.

98 Would you say you are happy?Yes, I am grateful that I have a supportive family and live in a safe place.

99 What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?Don't mess up your life! Kidding, but hey I'm not that age yet so I'll pass on this question.

100 Where would you like to be in five years’ time?Ahh, five years... I'll probably be at uni, but ideally I'd like to be in the US whether it's to do with academic or music I care less.

Well this has been an obnoxiously long post about myself but if you managed to read all of that kudos! Please tell me something most people don't know about you in the comments so I feel a little less self absorbed.

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New Releases By Authors I've Read

This one's kinda cheating since I do actually have an ARC and just haven't gotten to reading it yet (well, read the prologue I believe!), however I am really excited to read it.
How could I not be excited for Two Dark Reigns! This series has been anything but uninteresting thus far and I cannot wait for the final(?) instalment.
I am so unbelievably excited for The Towering Sky! Simply reading the synopsis makes me shake with glee and anticipation of this novel. The short descriptions of all the characters are killing me, though; can't wait to read it and find out what happens to them all.

Other New Releases
Lately I haven't been as interested in finding out about new YA/Fantasy, however after having a look on Goodreads I think I do have reason to be excited for these books as well! Although due to not having infinite money to spend on books (I wish) and the library being more reluctant to buy new books nowadays I don't get to read many of the books like the ones below, I would still like to in the future.

For a Muse of Fire does look very exciting! I absolutely love the synopsis.
The blurb of A Spark of White Fire is rather vague, but in an intriguing way? I'm a sucker for books based on mythology too, and I had such a great experience with The Star-Touched Queen which is also based on Indian mythology. It's not something I know very much about, but it is definitely an interesting topic.
The concept of Not Even Bones sounds dark, very dark! I'm really curious as to what 'dark' deeds Nita will commit to get her freedom back.
Ignite the Stars sounds remarkably exciting for what it appears to be! For around two years now I've tried to steer clear of sci-fi, mainly since it can sometimes be rather boring as the author drones on about the science side of it which I'm not a fan of (I'd much rather just be told something is this way and have that be that). But this book seems different and I'd love to find out if it is.
How can I not be excited by anything James Patterson has written (well quite easily, says my sarcastic self, but I am telling that side of me to shush now)? Revenge looks to be a combination of a very real situation and current politics with a dose of the thriller style we all love.

Is there anything coming out next month you're really excited for?

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