Monday, 14 August 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: The Fandom by Anna Day

Hi everyone! I'm back with a brand new cover spotlight and I do hope you're all as excited about this book as I am. Today I'm looking at the brand new cover, only revealed just last week, for Anna Day's The Fandom, due January 2018.

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands ...

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

I've been lucky enough to receive a proof copy of this book from the lovely Jazz Bartlett at Chicken House Books and am currently part way through. I absolutely adore it so far and was completely excited to see the cover finally revealed last week.

Isn't it beautiful? I can't analyse it in depth really as I normally do, being that I haven't finished the story, but I still want to spotlight it nonetheless. I think the thorns do give it a fantasy vibe, with feeling akin to sleeping beauty (the needle) or Russian folktales, but whilst also emphasising a real danger to the characters; for how useful would we actually be if we got transported into one of our favourite worlds, in truth? The tagline 'No story is worth dying for' really does emphasise that danger also, and makes the reader wonder what type of story the characters have gotten themselves into and what consequences it may have on them. Really I think the cover just does a good justice of making the reader curious about the story, enticing them to preorder, drumming up buzz, and of course persuading them to delve straight in come release day. It is simply gorgeous.

What are your thoughts on The Fandom's cover? As always do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter, and thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs - Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Hi everyone! I'm back with recommendation number 2 in my Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs series and this time it's all about Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde!

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons. The story itself is just so wonderful, especially for someone who very much classes herself as a geek and loves attending comic conventions, but what I really adored was the amazing representation included within.

Charlie is one of our two main characters; out-going, loud, bubbly. She's a Vlogger who's broken into the acting ranks with a home-based (Australia) movie that's made it quite big and brought her to one of the world's biggest comic conventions. There she's all too happy to promote the sequel, until her ex-boyfriend appears. However, things start to look up when long-time crush Alyssa Huntington - another Vlogger - appears. Charlie's bisexual, and her suddenly blooming relationship with Alyssa brings a lot of issues to bear, both regarding her career and not, but what I really loved was how the author didn't shy away from the issues but instead brought them to the light. She discusses and addresses not just the sexuality itself but bi-erasure and homophobia. The issues Charlie and Alyssa face are real, powerful, and passionate, and as a reader who identifies as bisexual I found it hugely welcoming and beautiful.

Taylor meanwhile is the binary opposite of Charlie. Where Charlie lives for the light, Taylor is happiest following her lead. She loves her friends, loves being around them, but she's perfectly happy for them to take the attention. It's in these aspects that I saw a lot of myself in Taylor. She suffers from severe anxiety which makes a lot of things - especially attending the comic convention - very hard for her, and I could 100% understand every emotion she went through. More importantly though Taylor has Aspergers, which is a representation that seems to be rarely found in YA, even today. Though I did not personally understand everything Taylor went through in regards to her Autism, I empathised with her struggle, and found the book to be very informative. 

To finish, I also loved the anti-body-shaming messages the story portrays, again with regards to Taylor's storyline. Throughout her entire story which yes does include romance, she never once feels the need to change or adapt herself of her lifestyle, and that is such a wonderful message to portray. Taylor is perfect just the way she is, knows that herself, and it's a message we should all take to heart.

Overall I think this story really is just promoting love and kindness, self-belief and compassion, in all ways, shapes and forms. It's a truly uplifting and inspiring tale, as well as just being fun to read, and one that I really do recommend.

As always, thanks for reading, and I do hope you enjoyed this week's representation. Don't forget to tune in August 27th when another rec will be revealed, and feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Theatre Review: Les Miserables at The Queen's Theatre.

During my attendance to YALC two weeks ago I also attended The Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, to watch an amazing performance of Les Miserables. The Principal Cast on Friday 28th July were as follows;

Jean Valjean - Killian Donnelly
Javert - Hayden Tee
Fantine - Carley Stenson
M. Thernadier - Steven Meo
Mdm. Thernadier - Jacqueline Tate
Cosette - Charlotte Kennedy
Marius - Paul Wilkins
Eponine - Karis Jack
Enjolras - Hyoie O'Grady

Having watched the show for the first time in 2012, and owning both the 10th and 25th Anniversary DVDs, I knew I was in for a treat, but wow, I did not expect the almost 3 hour show to be as incredible as it was.

If you've seen the show, the movie, or read the book, you'll know first hand how powerful the story is. Valjean's journey to redemption against Javert's journey to conscience is a beautiful tale, where the characters both mirror and oppose each other. I simply adore it, and it never fails to make me cry.

One of the most powerful elements of the show however is the music. Heart wrenching ballads, intense ensemble pieces, and tearjerking instrumental pieces tell a story in themselves. As a big fan of the show and a lot of the numbers themselves, I always want to sing along and yet on July 28th I was so drawn to every actors' voice I could barely utter a word. Every member of the cast, be it principal or ensemble, were amazing, but two in particular really struck a chord with me.

I am a known fan of the character Enjolras, but Hyoie O'Grady's performance was incredible. Not only did he look the part, his voice rang out in clear clarity across the theatre, exuding the power of the character's poetic words in such songs as 'Red and Black', and during the intense barricade scenes. He was a joy to witness, his final scene drawing tears from my eyes. Being that Les Miserables is the actor's professional debut I cannot wait to see what the next few years bring for him.

Killian Donnelly meanwhile was a most impressive Jean Valjean. His acting was in my opinion completely flawless, drawing the audience in intently to the character, but it too was his voice which moved me. Listening to him sing I heard vibes of Colm Wilkinson, especially during 'Bring Him Home'; another moment that drew tears.

Of course, what makes Les Mis so incredible, at least in part, is the staging. A full size turntable is in use during many scenes which really helps to pull the audience into the story, and to incite sadness, especially during a certain barricade scene (If you know, you know).

But one of the most incredible parts of the evening was during the finale. As the final scene drew to a close and the bow began, the audience leapt to their feet; a standing ovation, and one well deserved. It was an absolutely incredible experience and one that I'll never forget.

In the two weeks since I haven't been able to get the night out of my head, and I honestly cannot wait until I can see this cast again (Now in just a few weeks time!).

I hope you enjoyed my review, and thanks for reading. As always do feel free to leave a comment below, or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday Series: Love, Hate, or Both?

Hello everyone! With YALC having drawn to a close it was time for me to decide on a new Saturday Series. Having ran a small poll on Twitter a few days ago for Les Mis fans as to who was preferred - Enjolras or Marius - this idea was born. In 'Love, Hate, or Both?' I will be discussing characters and series', and my feelings towards them. In the first, as this was how the series came to be, Enjolras and Marius. Spoilers for Les Miserables ahead.

Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras.
Nick Jonas as Marius.
Les Miserables 25th Anniversary at the O2 Arena.
I know the story of Les Mis like the back of my hand, but Marius has always annoyed me. Though I can understand Cosette's 'insta-love' due to her lonely childhood and the fact that Marius was probably the first boy to show any interest in her, I cannot understand Marius' reasoning. Later in the show, during the song 'Drink with Me', the Barricade Boys (Minus Enjolras of course - his only mistress is 'Patria') lament over the women they've loved, so surely Marius was not as isolated as Cosette had been. Yes Grantaire states 'Is Marius in love at last?' during 'Red and Black', but that doesn't mean he's never had a relationship before, and yet suddenly upon meeting Cosette for all of a second, he is ready to give up his commitment to the revolution. It just doesn't strike right with me.

We get a good understanding of and insight to Marius' relationships with his friends and comrades during 'Empty Chairs and Empty Tables', how the loss has left him grief stricken, and yet he shows up late to the Les Amis de l'ABC meeting during 'Red and Black' and shows little commitment to or agreement with the revolution and the statements Enjolras makes. Perhaps Enjolras is a little harsh in response ('Who cares about your lonely soul? ... Our little lives don't count at all') but he is right to a degree in the fact that they have been planning the revolution for a great deal of time before Cosette appeared, and yet Marius accuses him of not understanding his plight ('Had you been there tonight you might know how it feels...'). I know that Marius does later commit to the revolution during One Day More ('My place is here, I fight with you') but it's only shortly after, at the Barricade, that he is still lamenting over Cosette, whom he has only spoken to once since. It's my opinion, of course, but it's simply a little too insta-love for my liking, and probably the only part of the musical I don't 100% enjoy.

Enjolras meanwhile is more severe, yes, but his unwavering commitment - even in the face of death - is what I love so much about him. He's rich, beautiful, and yet all he cares about is the welfare of others. His determination to stand up to those opposing equality and rights, to fight to the death for freedom and peace for all, is something to be admired. So maybe he doesn't understand Marius' plight, but he understands the worse plight of many others to much more of a degree, so how can he be faulted for that? Even when faced with certain defeat and therefore death, when given one last chance to flee ('You have no chance, no chance at all. Why throw your lives away?'), he stands tall against the oppressors and gives everything he has left ('Let us die facing our foes, make them bleed while we can'). He knows they have failed but hopes others will see what they have managed to achieve and build on it; that one day his country will be free, even if not by his hand ('Let others rise, to take our place, until the earth is free!'). His death scene, how it is portrayed with him still clutching the revolutionary flag, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. He is certainly a character to look up to.

What do you think?

I do hope you enjoyed my first in the 'Love, Hate or Both?' series. Do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter! Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Saturday Series - YALC Wrap Up - Day 3

Hey guys! Welcome to my final wrap up for YALC day three! I hope you enjoy it!

Day three was a much calmer, slower day than the previous two. I had no reason to go to LFCC (and was very glad of that!) and ended up sleeping in I was so exhausted! Still, it was an amazing day as I've recapped here.

By the time I finally got to YALC around 10:30 I had to go straight to Chris Russell's signing queue. It was a little long for my tired feet, but very much worth it. Chris was lovely - he's a Yuki fan too! - and I also managed to snag a copy of Blackbirds from the Harper booth while I was waiting (Well I had to dash from the queue but I was at the end anyway, so ;) ).

I quickly moved from there to Anna Day's queue, which was mad busy as Chicken House had been giving away loads of proofs, but I have already started Anna's wonderful book so it was more than worth it. I'm so so happy I got to meet her, and I saw Jazz again too.

I then met back up with the lovely Kat and together we got proofs of The Treatment by C. L. Taylor which were signed by the wonderful author, again from the Harper booth. Afterwards I went to the GeekyClean booth which I'd been eyeing all weekend and bought Unicorn Kisses lip balm, Sun Summoner lip balm, and Magical Girl perfume oil. They smell divine!

I then had one final whizz around the booths, where I bought some more wonderful books and got a lot more swag (Watch out for a potential giveaway once I've sorted through!). I also managed to snag a proof of The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles which sounds so amazing. Here's what I got overall;

I really hope you enjoyed my day three wrap up. Check out days one here and day two here!

Thanks for reading, and as always do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday Series - YALC Wrap Up - Day 2

Hey guys! Welcome to my wrap up of YALC day two! I hope you enjoy it!

The morning started early once more, this time queuing in the hot sun. We were in fairly quickly though once it hit 9, and once again I was off around the stalls in search of more swag and books. I was trying to keep Saturday fairly light as I had four photo ops at LFCC but who can resist when the stalls are there, eh? I quite quickly managed to get a proof of The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart from Penguin, as well as two ACBYA titles from the freebie table; Odd and True, and Lumberjanes.

As soon as 10pm hit however I was off downstairs for a photo op with the amazing Richard Dean Anderson. A dream come true, honestly. Then it was back up to YALC for signings. I met the lovely Alice Broadway, author of Ink which I adored, who was amazing, and I also got to have a lovely long conversation with Gemma Fowler, author of Moondust. I'd thought I'd missed her signing so it was super lovely that she took time out of her day to talk to me. She is wonderful. I actually got the chance to hold a Q&A with her about Moondust earlier in the year, so it was lovely to actually meet her. You can see the Q&A here if you like.

With some time to spare I headed off around the stalls again for a little more swag, and managed to get another proof from Penguin, this time The Hazel Wood which sounds amazing. I also quickly got VQ tickets for Victoria Schwab and Laini Taylor, and got a second Laini ticket for Daphne (@WingedReviews) who was down on the YALC floor. I met up with her as well as Kat (@Kat_thebooknerd) for a short while, which was so lovely, whilst waiting to go for my rescheduled Chris Judge photo.

Chris Judge himself was so lovely to meet, but more importantly just before that I got to meet the wonderful Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars. She was so lovely, and recognised me from my blog, and I'm so glad I got to meet her as I missed her last year. While at the Chicken House stall I also got to meet the wonderful publicist Jazz Bartlett, who actually introduced me to both Kiran and Gemma's books, which was amazing!

My ADSOM t-shirt
Then it was time to meet Laini Taylor and oh wow, was I nervous, but she was so incredibly lovely! I also got to meet Victoria Schwab again, who confirmed ADSOM is now going to be a movie, which is awesome.

Last but not least I went back to LFCC for photos with Edge and Christian, who are childhood heroes. However, the organisation was an absolute mess, so I ended up exhausted and panicky afterwards which meant I had to leave and miss Non Pratt's head shave. Only when I got back to the hotel did I realise Benedict Cumberbatch had made an appearance, so I was especially sad about this, but I still had an awesome day! Here's what I managed to get;

I really hope you enjoyed my day two wrap up. Check out day one here and day three here!

Thanks for reading, and as always do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday Series - YALC Wrap Up - Day 1

As you all know, last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London. It was a wonderful, but exhausting (Hence why this post is a little late haha) weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed, and now I present to you my wrap up of each Bookerific-Day!

I arrived early to the convention where many other YA fans were already queuing and quickly met the lovely Cora (@Corazzz). I was more shy than I originally planned to be being I was very nervous about the first day and a bit tired from travel, but she was so lovely and it was wonderful to meet her.

When the doors finally opened and we were allowed in I quickly made my way up to the YALC floor and queued for my complimentary tote bag (With the weekend ticket). It was full of lovely bookish goodies, specifically exclusive samplers which I can't wait to read. I then had a quick zoom around the book floor for the exclusive goodies on offer, and was able to pick up two awesome ARCs - There's Someone In Your House by Stephanie Perkins, and Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. I'm super excited to read them both.

The first item on my agenda was Melinda Salisbury's talk with Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivision, Katherine Corr and Elizabeth Corr, which was awesome. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love anything Mel does (It's not even a secret really, ha). I had to leave part way through unfortunately to try and pick up another copy of Someone for Chelley Toy, and to go to my photo in LFCC with Chris Judge, but what I did catch was a wonderful insight into the process of collaboration.

Unfortunately my photo with Chris Judge had been cancelled as the actor wasn't well, which kind of threw me off my game a little. Had I had more thought I should have ran back upstairs to Mel's second panel, but as it was it put my schedule out of whack - so to speak - so I ended up walking aimlessly around LFCC to see what was on offer.

When I finally made it back to the YALC floor it was time for signings! YAY! I met the wonderful Laura Lam and Elizabeth May who were so lovely, and got to speak to Taran Matharu again, who gave me some lovely advice on my own writing (Which I have already been putting into practice!). In between signings I also had another wander around the stalls, picking up some more swag and a few wonderful books that were on sale early from Harper Collins, which were Editing Emma and Daughter of the Burning City, along with a copy of Soldier by Julie Kagawa as it was 3 for £10.

Before I knew it, it was time to see Mel once again, and to also meet Alwyn Hamilton. I'll be honest that I haven't read Rebel of the Sands yet but I'm super excited to, and Alwyn was so amazingly lovely. As always Mel was a gem and gave me a big hug (I may have brought her dinosaur stickers). She also told me the best news regarding the ending of The Scarecrow Queen. I won't say what here, but I mentioned it in a post here with a little ficlet, if you want to take a look. I got samplers of SorrowBook and Floored signed by her, while Floored was also signed by the lovely Sara Barnard who was with Mel.

All day I had been checking my phone for giveaways/competitions (As you do at YALC) and had been so far unlucky, but come the middle of the afternoon, everything changed. Seeing Usborne's giveaway for the awesome sounding The Extinction Trials (Jan 2018) I raced over to their stand, only to see many other people had beaten me to the punch. Luckily, upon seeing how many people had turned up before the password (You had to shout it) had even gone up, one of the staff decided to change the competition to 'first four to like the tweet'. My speedy fingers did not fail me, and I managed to grab an ARC. I'm so so excited to get stuck in.

I was leaving early that first day as we had tickets to the wonderful Les Mis. The show was awesome, I will say that, but I'll have a full review up soon. Before I left however I got two books from the Waterstones shop; Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision as I missed their signing earlier, and Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood. I can't wait to read them too!

So, overall, here's what I picked up on day one!

I really hope you enjoyed my day one wrap up. Check out day two here!

Thanks for reading, and as always do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Ficlet: The Happy Ending.

Hello everyone! So, those of you who know me - or have at least seen my tweets - know I'm a huge huge fan of Melinda Salisbury's The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy. You may know that I also ship Merek and Twylla from this series very much. Major spoilers below!

This past weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend YALC - the Young Adult Literature Convention - and met up with Mel once more. In my rambles about how much I loved the final book, The Scarecrow Queen, Mel revealed to me that the two characters do end up together in the end, maybe ten years or so from the book's close. So, with this in mind as I was caught in a post YALC slump yesterday, this little scene came to mind and I thought I'd share it with you all. It's very short but I hope you all like it.

The Happy Ending

"Do you, Merek Belmis, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, and promise to stand at her side in the ruling of Auremere?"
He squeezed her hand. She was radiant. A pure white dress inlaid with thousands of strands of green, blue and gold fit snug to her frame; a shimmering crystal sea. In place of any veil was her simple yet equally elegant crown. Her eyes sparkled with delight as they met his own, and his heart almost burst with joy.
He'd been in love with her since the day he laid eyes on her.
"I do."
"And do you, Queen Twylla Morvern of Auremere, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, and to have him by your ruling side?"
She squeezed back.
"I do."
"Then by the power vested in me by the kingdom of Auremere, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss."
In that second he swept her into his arms, kissing her as if his life depended on it. He knew it now probably did.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the court, I present to you Queen Twylla Morvern and Prince Merek Belmis."
The cheers were a boom of joy throughout the chapel.
"May Daunen watch over you both."

As she stepped first into the awaiting carriage, she turned and smiled at him. "I never imagined it like this."
He raised an eyebrow as he stepped in behind her. "You imagined it?"
She blushed furiously, looking to the window. "Well, you... We were."
"I'm joking love."
She sighed lightly, though still smiling, and leant into him as the door shut beside them. "Everything with Leif and then you were... You were dead. And then you weren't, and I... How could I have imagined this?"
"Psychic powers?" His smirk sent her heart beating wildly.
"And you were King."
"Now you're Queen."
She grinned. "Yes I am."
"But you're happy? Even if you didn't imagine it like this?"  He pressed a kiss to her temple, and her lids fluttered shut.
"Couldn't be happier."
"I love you, my Queen."
"I love you too, my Prince consort."
His laughter was like music on the air.

As always do feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or @ me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Saturday Series: YALC - Packing, Packing, Packing...

Hi everyone! Today for Saturday Series I'm talking about packing for YALC. I may not have quite started my own yet, but I know exactly what I need to bring with me and am well on the road to sorting it all out, so I thought I'd share my key points with you all. Here's the essentials I'll be bringing with me;

Big Pile of Books: No trip to YALC is complete without a big pile of books to be signed. I've estimated I'll be bringing about 25 with me; 7 or 8 each day. It's a lot, but how can I pick between all the amazing authors?!

Schedule: One of the main things I've been working on today is my schedule. I've pretty much got everything down to a tee now, but I'll have a printed personal schedule to guide me through the weekend. You can see my post about scheduling from last week here.

Clothes and Essentials: Possibly the most boring part of packing, but definitely necessary.

Purse/Money/Phone: Of course very necessary; cash especially.

Tickets: The most important thing when it comes to Comic Con is of course tickets! How else do we get in and enjoy all the wonderful geekery! Make sure to bring any prepaid photo tickets also!

Sustenance: Comic Con gets hot and is extremely busy. The right sustenance is essential.

Geek-wear or Cosplay: Clothes are of course essential, but when it comes to Comic Con you know we're talking more about Geek-wear or Cosplay. You can see my post about my own outfits here.

Tote Bags: I know myself I will be buying a lot of books and geeky gifts, so tote bags are essential to carry it all around in.

I hope you all enjoyed my final pre-YALC post. Be sure to tune in next weekend for my daily wrap-ups over the entire weekend!

Thanks for reading, and do feel free to leave a comment below or let me know your thoughts on Twitter.

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 17 July 2017

Book Tag: If I'd Been At Hogwarts

Hey guys! Today my post is all about the school we'd all love to attend; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Below I've listed a few details and scenarios for what might have happened if I'd attended Hogwarts during Harry's time, and I'd love for you all to join in with me. I'll be tagging some of my favourite book bloggers on Twitter, but please do join in whether you're tagged or not and link your post in the comments below for me to take a look!

If I'd been at Hogwarts - A Book Tag

Wand - Dragon Heartstring core. Mahogany 11".
Animal - Grey tabby cat.
Position on Hogwarts Express - Front compartment near the window so I could watch the engine.
Immediately Befriends - Luna Lovegood.
First Impression of Hogwarts - I don't like small boats.
House - Ravenclaw.
House Friend - Luna Lovegood.
Favourite Class - Charms.
Least Favourite Class - Potions.
Most Likely Found - In the Library.
Book 1 - Races to protect the Library from the troll.
Book 2 - Petrified (Haha!)
Book 3 - Interviews Professor Lupin about werewolves.
Book 4 - Helps Cedric with the challenges.
Book 5 - Helps research The Department of Mysteries.
Book 6 - Joins the Quidditch Team.
Book 7 - Helps shield the castle.
NEWT Classes - Ancient Runes, A History of Magic, Charms, Transfiguration and Arithmancy.
Outcome of NEWTs - Outstanding for Ancient Runes and A History of Magic. Exceeds Expectations for Charms, Transfiguration and Arithmancy.
Profession - Department of Magical Histories.

I hope you enjoyed my answers. As always thanks for reading and do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter.

I'll be tagging Cazz (Loaded Shelves), Beth (Words from a Reader), Sophie (SophieReadsYA), Alisha (RealitysABore) and Jemima (DrinkingBooks) but feel free to take part if you wish, tagged or not! Do leave your link below so I can take a look at your answers too!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs - Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Hey everyone. Today I'm bringing back Spotlight Sunday and with it I'm starting a new feature called Diversity Recs. Every two weeks I'll be featuring a new YA or MG recommendation that deals with sexuality, gender identity, class, culture, or mental health and wellbeing in a way that deserves to be recognised. I hope you'll enjoy them, and if you'd like to take part and guest post a recommendation or two of your own, feel free to contact me via Twitter or email.

Today I'll be featuring Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee; a book that I loved and feel personally attached to.

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.
Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual. Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

Tash Hearts Tolstoy features Tash as our MC and wonderfully geeky heroine but one of the best things about Tash is that she's Romantic Asexual. Asexuality is one in the LGBTAIPQ+ spectrum that often gets neglected and ignored, both in representation and real life. Too often is the A attributed to Ally when it actually stands for Asexual/Aromantic/Agender. As someone who identifies as Romantic Asexual, the representation was a joy to find, especially as it was this book that actually allowed me to finally put a name to my feelings.

The representation is dealt with so wonderfully and so positively that I felt I just had to spotlight it as my first Diverse Recs post. Not only do we have Tash, who is completely comfortable within her sexuality and is an utterly positive role model in regards to accepting ourselves, but we also have those around her. Her friends specifically are wonderful in their support, but don't shy away in part of the book from asking the tough questions about Tash's sexuality; the effect of which is to of course educate the reader but I feel to also state that sometimes it is necessary to ask questions, so long as it's with respect.

We of course have the darker side, shall we say, featured in the people who aren't so accepting of Tash's sexuality but this is again done in such a way that is more positive than negative.

Overall Tash Hearts Tolstoy is such a wonderful example of Ace representation and I really do urge you all to read it, whether you identify as Ace or not. It's a wonderful story with a more wonderful, powerful message.

As always I hope you enjoyed my post, and do feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter. Have any suggestions for recs or want to do a guest post? Let me know!

Don't forget to tune in on Sunday 30th July for my next rec.

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Review Policy

I am open to review requests but will only respond to emails when accepting a request, due to time constraints. My preferred reads are Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, in the following genres, though I can be open to others dependant on content;

- Fantasy
- Science Fiction
- Contemporary Romance
- LGBTQAIP+ Fiction (Bi, Ace and Genderfluid rep in particular)

I will read a lot of books based on an intriguing premise, and am a fan of high stakes drama, but please be aware I do not review the following;

- Poetry
- Non fiction
- Erotica

I am also a fan of family dramas, by which I mean tales predominantly featuring friendships over relationships.

Lastly, accepting a request (or if I request to review myself) does not guarantee I will post a review. This is again due to time constraints as I work full time. Blogging is a hobby only. That said I will endeavour to read and review all material, even if it may be after the date of publication.

Reviews generally will be cross-posted to Goodreads, and to Amazon if requested.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Saturday Series: YALC - The Art of Scheduling

Today for Saturday Series and my collection of posts about the UK's Young Adult Literature Convention (Just two weeks to go!) I'm going to be talking about The Art of Scheduling. Now this may seem like a little bit of a boring topic, but scheduling is at the heart of any convention. Without schedules, nothing would run, we wouldn't know where to go, and no-one would have a good time. With schedules, I make sure I'm where I need to be, and have the best possible time whilst at this wonderful event. Usually my schedule is little more than circling what on the official YALC schedule I want to do, and creating my packing list accordingly.

This year, as I'm not only going for three days for the first time but also taking part in some of what LFCC has to offer, my schedule and packing list are a lot heavier. I'll be going into packing a lot more next weekend, once the LFCC schedule has been confirmed, but for now let's look into scheduling YALC shall we?

My first thing to do, as I said above, is circle what on the YALC schedule I want to do. Its the best way of seeing where I might have clashes, and how busy a day is going to be. As you might be able to see, I'm planning on doing a lot.

Having decided what was most important for me to attend, I also filled out these awesome day-planners that the lovely CopperBoom folk created. You can find them here at to use yourself. This is more for me to just make sure I complete the most important items on my lists each day, rather than getting bogged down by a heavier schedule.

I'm not planning on going home lightly though. No sir. I'm going to be using my three days wisely, which is why I'm currently creating a full YALC and LFCC schedule for each day I'm there. As the LFCC schedule won't be out until next week, it's not yet finished and subject to change, but for now I thought I'd just show you a few snippets of how I'm organising my days.

Basically I'm using a spreadsheet to organise each day by time and what event I want to attend at that time. This way I can easily see any potential clashes, but can also have a day to day gameplan of where I need to be, so that I don't miss anything if at all possible. It will also allow me to easily see what else I can attend if I find myself with some spare time. Most importantly I can see where any potential clashes can be avoided, by attending a panel or signing on a different day, if applicable.

So as you can see above, I've noted that Holly Bourne is signing Sunday as well as Saturday. This way if I find myself unable to attend Holly's Saturday signing I automatically know there's no need to worry, and can highlight on my Sunday plan that it's more important than originally planned that I see Holly on Sunday instead.

By creating an order list for multiple signings as well, I know exactly what I'm doing even when it's busy. In simple terms, it's basically a way for me to keep all my thoughts organised and avoid any panic attacks. That's the plan anyway. Whether it works, we'll see.

I hope you've enjoyed my little insight into scheduling. As always do feel free to leave a comment below, or @ me on Twitter, and thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Bloggerific Blog-Hop!

Hi guys! As you might be aware a massive book-blogger appreciation thread started earlier this week, one I myself was tagged in by my lovely friend Alisha at realitysabore. It was amazing to see so much love between all these fantasic bloggers – to show the true spirit of the book-blogging community – but we pretty much broke Twitter with it. My own app is still suffering. Therefore I decided to compile a list of all these wonderful bloggers (Over 200!), their twitter handles and blog links, for ease of use, so that we could take part in a massive blog-hop. I do hope you all find the list useful.

Please note however that all I did was copy the handles of everyone who tweeted and/or was tagged, and searched Twitter profiles for blog links. Therefore I am in no way responsible for broken links, blog content, genres reviewed, etc. I’m simply trying to make it easier for everyone to navigate through the bloggers and their blogs. This also means that if I couldn’t easily see a blog or youtube link then the handle was removed from the list, as were duplicates. So if some people have been missed off, I apologise, but I can only do so much in my limited time.
  1. Britt Bryan: @__brittbryan –
  2. Suzanne: @thebookishlibra –
  3. Thebooksatchel: @thebooksatchel –
  4. BookBear: @MyBookJacket-
  5. Margot McGovern: @project_lectito –
  6. Marina Sofia: @MarinaSofia8 –
  7. Vijayalakshmi Harish: @GranthaMaven -
  8. Maggie: @thenovelorange –
  9. Molly: @MollysBookNook –
  10. Alisha: @realitysabore –
  11. Aldii: @PerfectInBooks –
  12. Nazima: @readinghijabsy –
  13. Shazi: @CrazyBookLover_ -
  14. Becca: @BrunetteBlogg –
  15. Sal: @TheDarkDictator –
  16. Holly (Me): @The_Arts_Shelf –
  17. Cazz: @Cazzimon –
  18. Beth-blogger: @BookLoverx –
  19. Chaol & okami trash: @LovelyOwlsBooks –
  20. Katheryn: @Kat_thebooknerd –
  21. Sofia: @SofiaSTRF –
  22. Grace Latter: @_gracelatter –
  23. Arianne: @Ariannebooklove –
  24. D. Carstairs-Wang: @official_dahabo –
  25. Michelle Toy: @ChelleyToy –
  26. thatfictionlife: @liv_gacka – /
  27. LaChouett: @ChouettBlog –
  28. Jamie Miller: @brokefrombooks –
  29. Stevie Finegan: @StevieFinegan –
  30. Mariam: @helloiammariam –
  31. Luna’sLittleLibrary: @lunaslibrary –
  32. Jim: @Yayeahyeah –
  33. Debbie: @SnugglingonSofa –
  34. Andrew Hall: @PewterWolf –
  35. Lucy: @LucyTheReader –
  36. Lizard & nerys: @littlehux –
  37. Layla: @readable_life –
  38. Amy: @GoldenBooksGirl –
  39. Sarah Withers: @swithers2 –
  40. Charlotte: @WBookishBlog –
  41. Amy McCaw: @YAundermyskin –
  42. Faye: @daydreamin_star –
  43. Louise Nettleton: @Lou_Nettleton –
  44. Charlotte Burns: @charlottesburns –
  45. Rosie: @rosiefreckle –
  46. Bex: @MyShelfMyself –
  47. Jess: @bookendsendings –
  48. Steph alittlebutalot: @eenalol –
  49. Lily: @sweetlovebooks –
  50. Nicola: @PrythianBworm –
  51. Charlotte Burns: @charlottesburns –
  52. Sarah Withers: @swithers2 –
  53. Cora Linn: @Corazzz –
  54. Donna: @donnamk79 –
  55. Sakina: @aforestofbooks –
  56. Samia Sharif: @ssharifbooks –
  57. Nad: @scorpioreads –
  58. Ellen Pellen: @PellenEllen_ -
  59. Jen: @BookSyrup –
  60. Sarah-Jane: @booklifeSJ –
  61. Giulia: @giuliablahh –
  62. Rebecca: @_rebeccastobart –
  63. Ross: @RoyalBookshelf –
  64. Becca: @RebeccaPAuthor –
  65. Leah: @girlvsbooks_ -
  66. Liv: @Livsescape –
  67. Shannon: @shannoliviab –
  68. Harriet Rosie: @Harriet_Rosie_ -
  69. ClaireVictoriaBooks: @clairevbooks –
  70. Zoya: @AnInkyRead –
  71. Naima: @violettereads –
  72. @salmahsbookshlf –
  73. Hala: @anbookwormlife –
  74. Sinead Anja: @DivBookHuntress –
  75. Kelly: @kellysrambles –
  76. Alice: @AliceRWB –
  77. Jenni: @JuniperJungle –
  78. The Book Moo: @TheBookMoo –
  79. Emily: @midwestbooknerd –
  80. Clare Stone: @dualreads –
  81. Offbeat YA: @OffbeatYA –
  82. Naj: @mashedpotates –
  83. Ruzaika: @RuzaikaDeen14 –
  84. Veronika: @VVeronika96 -
  85. Alyssa: @puckspaperbacks –
  86. Basically Britt: @BrittAlsemgeest –
  87. Leonie Christel: @thebookleo –
  88. Emma: @emmmabooks –
  89. Slaybrina: @Shandal96 –
  90. Sam: @Samsnonsense –
  91. Gabrielle: @frumiousreads –
  92. Camille Dent: @_theCamillion –
  93. Cherrie Walker: @Cherrie_713 –
  94. KalesKorner: @mozleigh –
  95. Maku Felix: @makufelix_-
  96. GabbyYaBooks: @GABBYABOOKS –
  97. Sarah Elizabeth: @xpectopatronerd –
  98. Aoife: @PrettyPPD –
  99. Rachel: @_sectumsemprah –
  100. Envy Fisher: @Envy_Fisher –
  101. Jess Watkins: @snowglobe10 –
  102. Megan Bourne: @butterflybourne –
  103. Karen: @teamsheltie –
  104. Midnight Book Girl: @Midnghtbookgirl –
  105. Anila X. Hoxha: @anila_h –
  106. Tessa: @Crazyfor_YA –
  107. Jemima Osborne: @JemimaJOsborne –
  108. Rachel Malfoy: @RacheyRagdoll –
  109. BluestockingBookworm: @bookworm_blue –
  110. Em: @keystrokeblog –
  111. Bradley’s Book Nook: @_bradleyjordan –
  112. Stephanie Plotkin: @TeacherofYA –
  113. Mia: @MiaBookAddict –
  114. Never Not Reading: @NNRblog –
  115. Elise: @thebookforums –
  116. Kristen Burns: @whykristenburns –
  117. Grace: @RebelMommyBB –
  118. Ashleigh: @frolic_fiction –
  119. Ali: @the_bandar_blog –
  120. Mahriya: @A_Bookish_Life –
  121. Zoe: @zcollins1994 –
  122. Anna: @ScoutFinch_75 –
  123. Fiction Fascination: @F_Fascination –
  124. Jess Hearts Books: @JessHeartsBooks –
  125. Charlie Louise: @abooksglory –
  126. Shannon Miz: @ShannonMiz –
  127. Kai Jiang: @quartzfeathers –
  128. Jordon: @SimplyAdrift –
  129. Kei: @lovely_pages –
  130. Lauren: @wxnderless –
  131. Mikaela: @wellthmbdrdr –
  132. Obsessive Book Nerd: @ObsessiveBooks –
  133. Olivia: @courtofunicorns –
  134. YA and Wine: @KrystiYAandWine –
  135. Sammi: @sam_bookishgirl –
  136. Melanie Bernard: @NoellBernard –
  137. Meredith: @Gryphongirl2007 –
  138. Miss Faith: @suckerforcoffe –
  139. Lila Bookkeeper: @TheBookKeeper5 –
  140. Erica Robyn: @ericarobyn –
  141. The Candid Cover: @candidcover –
  142. Jessica Wynn: @wynnagade –
  143. FLYLēF: @FLYLeFReviews –
  144. Ariel Brinkley: @_BestMermaid_ -
  145. Julianna: @blotsofink –
  146. Cassie: @CassieopiaB –
  147. Andi: @andiABCs –
  148. Suze Lavender: @SuzeLavender –
  149. Tina: @asreadbyTINA –
  150. Kim: @ThePeachMartini –
  151. Prags: @inkdin –
  152. Ali: @love2dazzle –
  153. Brittany Reads: @brittany_reads –
  154. Vicki: @Vicki_CosyBooks –
  155. Maddie & Bee: @MaddieandBee –
  156. Melisa Broadbent: @TheBroadbean –
  157. Fabulous Book Fiend: @fabbookfiend –
  158. Hummingbird Reviews: @HBReviews_ -
  159. Laura H: @sisterspooky –
  160. Olivia-Savannah: @Writing4joy –
  161. Jessica Samuelsen: @WritingPearls –
  162. Ashley: @akaleistar –
  163. Fawda: @wordwoonders –
  164. Reg: @shelatitude –
  165. Red Hot Ink: @Talia_RedHotInk –
  166. A Page to Turn: @apagetoturn –
  167. Natalie Biblioholic: @NBiblioholic -
  168. Amorette’s Reviews: @AmoretteReviews –
  169. Mia: @MiaBookAddict –
  170. Modern Belle: @MusingsoftheMB –
  171. Nissa: @ofpensandpages –
  172. Beware of the Reader: @BewareOffReader –
  173. Jazz Jackson: @bookwormjazz –
  174. Book Twins Reviews: @2booktwins –
  175. HEA Book Blog: @HEAbookreview –
  176. AlbaAndHerSecrets: @AlbaSecretsBlog –
  177. Genesis: @lattenightsbook –
  178. Kimberly: @kimbacaffeinate –
  179. The Staircase Reader: @staircasereader –
  180. Analee S. : @Book_Snacks –
  181. Mahriya: @A_Bookish_Life –
  182. Jackie: @booknerdjackie –
  183. Gretchen: @aboutthatstory –
  184. Bex: @nightowl_reader  -
  185. Foxy Blogs: @FoxyBlogs –
  186. Malissa Coy: @ReadsAllTheBook –
  187. Krissy’s Book Nook: @KrissysBookNook –
  188. Give Me Books: @GiveMeBooksBlog –
  189. Collector BBF/BGF: @CollectorBookBF –
  190. Reading Frenzy Blog: @ReadFrenzy –
  191. BadandDirtyBooks: @BadandDirtyBook –
  192. Lucia’s Book Reviews: @Lucia_18 –
  193. Rusty’s Reading: @rustysreading –
  194. Naomi Frisby: @Frizbot –
  195. BookBoyfriendAddict: @thebookbfaddict –
  196. JaymeBooks: @Jayme_Books –
  197. Julia’s Book Blog: @JuliasBookBlog –
  198. I’m a Bookaholic: @immabookaholic –
  199. Relentless Romance: @RelentRomance –
  200. Stacey is SASSY: @StaceyisSassy –
  201. TeriLyn Reviews: @TLSmitsky –
  202. Vanilla & Spice Bks: @VanSpicebooks –
  203. Bianca: @infatuat3d –
  204. Sweet & Spicy Reads: @SweetSpicyreads  -
  205. Peek a book: @peekabook2011 –
  206. ODbookreviews: @ODbookreviews –
  207. Theresa Jones: @theresjonesie –
  208. Holly B: @HollysReading –
  209. DeesRadReads: @DeesRadReads –
  210. Angela: @EggReader17 –
  211. Mistral Dawn: @MistralKDawn –
  212. GB: @gryffbooksblog -
  213. Mars: @Mars_aroace -
  214. Dani: @dani_reviews -
  215. Rimpy Toor: @rimpysreads -
  216. Shannon: @Shannon_Reads -
  217. Fernanda: @wanderlustread -
  218. Lea: @outerspades -
  219. Courtney: @curlybookowl -
  220. Charlotte: @crowdedbookblog -
  221. Sophie: @xsophiehoughton -
  222. Darby: @booksnblingblog -
  223. Emily: @acupofwittea -

Any queries or additions/amendments, please leave a comment below or feel free to @ me on Twitter. Happy blog hopping!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf