REVIEW: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.  (From Goodreads)

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Staccato Skies

Waterproof Words

Call me old fashioned, but I like to look at the stars. I like to imagine an existence beyond the limited confinements of our solitary rock. I like to count them in their clusters and laugh at how quickly I lose track of which I have counted and which I have not, to draw invisible lines between them in my mind. I like to think about the wonders that coexist alongside us. Of supernovas and black holes and oh, to think! How very insignificant we are! Fragile, fleeting, futile. Fricatives of the universe, harsh beneath the tongue. If I were to choose a sound for myself I would be the softness of the sibilants. I would sit among staccato skies and see the sun between seconds of silence. A solitary secret. A salacious song.

One day I shall sit upon the moon. I shall view our trivial planet from a…

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Gender Differences and Sexism in Spoken Communication

Waterproof Words

You’ll notice from the title of this essay that I am writing of “spoken communication” and not language; this is because I not only want to talk about what we associate with the sexes, but how they differentiate in terms of syntax and prosodic features, and exploring conversation theory as a whole. To begin with, for some context, H.P Grise (1975) suggested that there are four ‘maxims’, or rules, that combine to make a healthy conversation. These are quantity (neither participant dominates the conversation), relevance, manner (avoiding ambiguity) and quality (being truthful). Disregarding these is considered as “flouting the maxims”, and can lead to either confusing or argumentative conversation. Linking this to gender differences, men tend to “flout the maxims” more often than women due to their instinct to dominate. This means that they will interrupt more, express disagreement, or show reluctance in pursuing topics initiated by others. Contrarily, females…

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New Tales From Old Yarn (A Book Promo and a Brag)

New Tales From Old Yarn (A Book Promo and a Brag)

I’m not going to pretend like this post will be entirely modest, I’m just going to come out and say it: I am seventeen, and I am published. It may be exclusively a free ebook, but I have a short story in an anthology and I am allowed to be obnoxiously proud of that. And if anything, that fact that it is free and online should only make it easier for you all to read it. (Hint hint.)

The book itself is named ‘New Tales From Old Yarn’, and it’s an anthology of new myths and legends and reimaginings of old ones. My contribution, Any Other Name, is a lesbian retelling of the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, wherein the rose the Beast guards is in fact his human daughter. The other stories, in my potentially biased opinion, are all brilliantly creative, all written by writers on tumblr, and all amazing in their own right. The initial idea and the bringing together of the stories is thanks to the wonderful Lorna, and the later organisation and publishing is all down to the hard work of the equally wonderful Barbara.

From Any Other Name. Look how official!

The book itself is free to download and read from Amazon or various other sites/stores, with great reviews so far, and any downloads, recommendations, or reviews would be incredible for a self-published work like this. If you want to check out any of the other writers, there is a masterpost here with all of our tumblrs. We also have our own wordpress!

If I’m allowed to be a bit sentimental and self congratulatory on a promotion for a group effort, I’m still genuinely in shock that I got to be part of something like this at the stage I’m at, so thank you again to Lorna and Barbara for the opportunity!



(As a quick personal update, I’m looking to start putting out short stories and reviews much more frequently in the coming months, so I should have something new posted soon. Executive function hasn’t always been my strong suit, especially dealing with school and work as well now at the same time, but bear with me and I promise this blog will be stepping up its game soon!)

It’s here! Our free book of rewritten fairytales is here!

New Tales From Old Yarn


Roughly a year ago, Lorna Davidson put out a call on tumblr for the writers of writelr, to submit short stories with the theme of rewritten fairytales and myths. The project faced a multitude of problems, and Lorna had to hand the project over to me (Barbara) at some point.

In my hands it also suffered from lack of time and distractonitis but now, finally, it is getting published.

This anthology combines short stories and a poem by eleven talented writers from tumblr. Never before published retellings and reinterpretations of well known tales and exciting new tales and myths from all over the world to read and enjoy in a new light.

I’m still waiting for the amazon link to go live but you can already find our book, for free, at Kobo, Barnes&Nobles, iBooks and many more stores.

I hope you’ll enjoy this anthology and…

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To The Ladies of the Discworld (In Celebration, In Memoriam)

It’s International Women’s Day today, and with this Sunday being the second anniversary of Sir Terry Pratchett’s death, I decided it was time for a long-overdue thank you. When I think of the women who’ve most influenced me, it doesn’t take long for my mind to wander to fiction – as it often does – and the many strong female characters I was blessed to encounter throughout my life, especially as a child.

The Discworld has been a part of my life since I was ten, first introduced to me through the subseries following young witch Tiffany Aching, and to this day the series remains the greatest influence on me, both creatively and on a personal level. Unlike many successful male authors, Pratchett understands the relevance of and what makes a realistic, strong female character, and this is evident throughout the many women we see in the Tiffany series – all unique, all three-dimensional.

So, this is a tribute not only to the tragic death of a wonderful author, but the lives of each of the female characters who deserve to be celebrated on International Women’s Day, if only for the impact they’ve had on my life. Each of them taught a young, impressionable girl something different about what a woman can be, and to them I am eternally grateful.

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