Sunday, 19 November 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Week Eight - 5 Favourite Types of Decoration!

Hey guys! This week for Countdown to Christmas I still don't have a review (I'm sorry! I've barely had time to read at all this week! *SAD FACE*) so instead, as I went decoration shopping this morning, I'm going to share with you my five favourite types of decorations! Yay! Enjoy!


If you saw my post on Twitter this morning, picture above, you'll have seen how much I love tinsel. Well, the picture's right there, you can see how happy I look. Basically I adore tinsel. I'm not 100% sure why, if I'm honest, it's just always been a love of mine when it comes to Christmas. Maybe it's because it's so fun, or because it's so colourful, I'm not sure. I just love it. So yeah, TINSEL! :D

2) Cute things!

I'm also a sucker for cute things. Is it relevant? Is it necessary? Does it even have anything to do with Christmas? Those things matter little. If it's cute and it will either go on my tree or stand somewhere and look pretty, or if it is meant to be cuddled, I will basically buy it. No lie. Cute things are my weakness. See above - New Bents bear.

3) Lights!

I absolutely adore lights at Christmas. Outside lights! Tree lights! LED lights on my bookcase! Lights around my books! LIGHTS EVERYWHERE! They're just pretty, especially when multi coloured or outside in the dark.

4) Santas

Anything depicting Santa is also my jam. We have two fairly large Santas that sit in our living room each year and I love them. We have a Santa on our tree aptly named Gandalf (Blue and White with a lamp-post - I know Dumbledore probably would have been better but yeah, he's Gandalf the Blue). Santa Claus is just ace!

5) The Tree! Trees everywhere!
Paperchase 1ft tree! :D
The best thing about Christmas decorating is of course the tree. But I'll take extra trees too. I cannot wait to get our real tree once more, but in the meantime I've ordered the above from Paperchase to sit in my room. It's only 1 foot, but come on! IT'S MULTICOLOURED!

Basically I love Christmas and I love decorating!

As always, feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter, and thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

5 Weeks To Go!

Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs - The Type of Diverse Books I Want to Read More Of!

Hey guys! Once again life has been super busy so I've had barely any time to read once again. Therefore this week rather than a review or a book to spotlight, I'm actually asking for your own recommendations! I have a fair few diverse books on my TBR once I get chance to read them, but I'm always on the lookout for more. So here I'm going to list a few types of diverse books that I'd love to read, and if you have a rec (or 10 haha!) feel free to share in the comments below!

1) Gender NB books, where character(s) come to terms with their identity/find themselves.

2) Gender NB books, with cute romance!

3) Bi-romantic books, with emphasis on Bi-romanticism, so perhaps a love triangle between the MC and two love interests of differing genders/gender identities.

4) Genderfluid books, again with cute romance!

5) Coming Out books.

6) OwnVoices books! - Support! Support! Support!

7) WLW books!

8) MLM books!

9) Asexuality books.

10) More Queer books in general!

Bonus if they're set in the Victorian era or revolutionary France, because that's my jam right now ;)

As always, feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday Series: Love, Hate or Both? - Incorrect Assumptions About Musical Theatre

Hey guys! Today for 'Love, Hate or Both?' I'm going to be talking about something a little different but something that's equally close to my heart, and that is the common incorrect assumptions or misconceptions people have about Musical Theatre (MT hereafter). Specifically I'm going to be talking about under appreciated understudies and swings, and under appreciated talent in MT in general. I do hope you enjoy it.

Okay so, the two parts of this topic have come up because of a few posts I've seen on Twitter recently. Firstly, the incorrect assumptions about understudies and swings. If you aren't aware there's a Twitter account called @WestEndCovers who do a wonderful job each and every day of letting us MT lovers know which understudies and swings are on for all the West End shows as well as those touring the UK. They have no insider info, they simply spread the information theatre goers give them. If no-one tells them any covers, they don't know and we don't get. It's a job they do without want for recognition (though they have won a well deserved award!), for us, but some of the responses they have gotten when reporting covers has been more than a little undeserved, and harsh towards the wonderful understudies and swings themselves.

Now the amazing @TheatreReview87 on Twitter has written a post about the thankless role of the understudies here, so I won't tread too much on what they have already wrote. What I will say is that I have had my fair share of disappointment in arriving at the theatre to find a principal is not on that day - it's to be expected - but we should all still open our minds to whichever talented actor/actress is on instead; I have, was pleasantly enamoured, and have since become a big fan of them. It's the very least we can do for these artists who have trained and honed their talent for years. After all, you could have 100 people who can all play the same part equally as well, but only one can be chosen, so why should we automatically assume they are better? Roles in the theatre change yearly also, casts come and go, and within that understudies can be promoted to principal, so why is it assumed they were worse when an understudy than when they are a principal? It makes no sense to me and since a lovely friend on Twitter has been educating me about the understudies and swings' roles, specifically in regards to Les Miserables, I've actually now been going to the theatre to try and catch the understudies and swings rather than the principal!

Furthermore if you actually look at it from a workload point of view, the swings have to know more of the show than the understudies, and the understudies (who play ensemble as well as being understudy to a principal) two parts minimum, while the principals only need to know one, standardly speaking of course. So why, pray tell, is it assumed the principals are more talented simply because they are on for the same part more often?

I think, beneath everything, the point is that we shouldn't judge anyone of any measurable talent, simply because of their title in the MT industry at any one point, before we've even seen them perform. Some of the comments I have seen are simply uncalled for.

The second part to this topic is to do with a certain Soap Actor who publicly stated that 'you don't need to be a good actor to be in a musical'. I won't name names, I'm sure he's gotten enough flack already, specifically from the MT community, but this statement really riled me up.

MT actors go through a minimum of 3 years training before they enter the industry proper. Very few become principals straight away. Most work their way up from swings, to understudies, to principal. It takes years of work. They hone and they sweat and they craft every little moment that they put on that stage. That's just speaking candidly and generically. As said above, the swings and understudies are tireless workers, immensely talented, regardless of whether they make principal. Every single person in the industry is talented beyond measure. To make such a statement is not only blatantly untrue, but immensely hurtful to those who put so much of themselves into every performance.

I'm even going to speak really bluntly here because some comments mentioned that MT School is treated as lesser than Drama or Shakespeare. Musicals run for years in a lot of cases, casts work at least one year if not longer. They have to keep the same material fresh for 8 shows a week, 52 weeks a year, on average. What other medium asks that of its actors/actresses? What other medium is so tirelessly unwavering each and every night? I think I rest my case.

I can only hope that the true heroes of MT, these actors and actresses who, as I said, give so much of themselves to each performance, do not take such callous, unthoughtful words to heart. We love them. We love the theatre. We love MT. That, ladies and gentlemen, maintains always.

As always feel free to leave a comment below, or @ me on Twitter, and thanks for reading.

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Week Seven - 5 Books On My Wish List!

Hi guys! It's time again for another Countdown to Christmas, however being that I have been away in London this week I still haven't finished a Christmas book or watched a Christmas film that I can review, so instead I'm bringing you 5 books that are on my Christmas wish list! I hope you enjoy!

1) Stalking Jack the Ripper/Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalo

2) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

3) This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

4) More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

5) All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

What books are on your wish list this festive season? As always feel free to leave a comment below or  @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

6 Weeks To Go!

ARC Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Hi guys! It's time for another book review, and this time I'm reviewing Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. I received an E-ARC of this book on Netgalley from the lovely Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinion of the title. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts about E. Lockhart's latest.

From the author of the unforgettable bestseller WE WERE LIARS comes a suspenseful new psychological thriller - the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. 
But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Genuine Fraud tells the story of two girls, Imogen and Jule, unlikely friends who come from two very different backgrounds. Imogen is rich, spoiled, and an heiress. Jule feels grateful to be called her friend, happy to stand in Imogen's shadow. Imogen is tired of her parents' influence on her life and runs away. Jule is always by her side. But the story is far from being that simple, and Jule is much more than she appears to be.

Told via a non-linear narrative that starts in the present and goes back in time we see the events that led up to Jule's life in a hotel in Mexico and why she ends up having to leave on the run from a special agent on her tail. As time progresses slowly backwards we see how Jule's upbringing brought her to the life she is living, that Imogen has gone missing, and the dark reasons why that occurred. Lockhart moulds the tale itself with a twisting, weaving backstory so dark and complex it's like a drop of blood upon the floor and the millions of DNA strands contained within.

As the story delves deeper it becomes clear that both Imogen and Jule are hiding secrets, from themselves and from each other, and that their relationship is not entirely how it appears on the surface. We see crackling tension, breaks in the very foundation of their friendship, and how this affects the outcome of the entire story. As the conclusion comes to pass, light dawns on characters we the reader thought we knew, the novel exploding into jaw dropping clarity.

Honestly this story is a hard one to review as I normally would, because to say too much would be to spoil the story. This is part of the reason why it's taken me this long to write this review; it's really too complex a story to be summarised without spoiling in a few paragraphs.

Overall I will say that Genuine Fraud is equal parts tense, exciting, creepy, but also a bit confusing. I adored the story to a degree in the sense that the characters were addictive in their actions and flaws, how they affected the entire dynamic of the story, and the plot as a whole was so tense, so dark, I was determined to uncover the truth. But as each section delved further back in time I was getting quite confused with the timeline of events and linking everything together. This is personal opinion however. I scarcely like being kept too much in the dark when reading/consuming any type of media. I like being able to follow what's going on and while everything became clear in the end, I couldn't do this with Genuine Fraud, and that did affect my overall enjoyment of the book. Still it was a highly enjoyable read that I would recommend; I'd simply say that it's not an easy read and definitely one for when you have the time/energy to commit to the complex narrative.

Overall I give Genuine Fraud four stars, and end with saying I'd be interested in seeing whether a sequel is released, being that the end did leave things more than a little open for further story.

Have you read Genuine Fraud? What did you think of it? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Friday, 10 November 2017

Fancast Friday: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Hi guys! Today I'm delighted to bring you the first in a new feature series entitled Fancast Friday. Every two weeks on Friday I'll be presenting my own fancast for some of my favourite books and book series'. I do hope you'll enjoy them. Today I present my fancast for The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee!

Henry "Monty" Montague: Thomas Brodie Sangster.

Percy Newton: John Boyega.

Felicity Montague: Dakota Blue Richards.

Obviously they'd be in period costume to actually the play the characters, were it to ever come to pass, but this is pretty much how I imagine the characters when reading TGGTVAV.

Who would you cast as Monty, Percy and Felicity? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Floored - A Novel by the UK's Best YA Authors!

Hi guys! It's time for another Waiting on Wednesday and today I'm so excited to talk about how ecstatic I am waiting for Floored! With some of my favourite authors working on this project such as Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard and Holly Bourne I just cannot wait for this book!


Told from the perspective of each character and a mysterious narrator, Floored is about all the ups and downs of life.

After they go through a traumatic experience together, the lives of six strangers become intertwined, and they decide to meet once a year to commemorate the day they met and the person they lost.

To me Floored sounds a little like The Breakfast Club meets a black and white thriller movie, so to speak. The Breakfast Club with more secrets and probably a good few pinches of the evilness that Melinda Salisbury is known for, and that makes me so amazingly excited.

I managed to get a sampler from YALC and can so far say that what I've read is amazing, and really is making me hanker for more. July 2018 cannot come soon enough!

I think what I love the most is that we've not - and never will be, I believe - been told which author has written which character (or the narrator) so I'm loving trying to guess!

Are you looking forward to Floored? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Characters Who Are/Would Have Made Great Leaders

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish, here, inviting bloggers and readers to list their top ten for a certain category.

It's time again for Top Ten Tuesday and today I'm talking about my favourite characters who are leaders, or who would have made great leaders. Yay! I hope you enjoy!

1) Enjolras - Les Miserables: I can't not talk about the great leader of the albeit failed revolution that is Enjolras. Hugo knew when he wrote Les Mis that Enjolras would be a beloved character, you can see that in the way he's written him, but oh how I do adore our beloved Apollo.

2) Twylla Morvern - The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy: You all know how much I love this book right? Then you also know how much I love Twylla, right? Enough said.

3) Wing Jones - Wing Jones: I adore Wing and she's so strong throughout the whole book that she is and would be a fabulous leader.

4) Vivian Carter - Moxie: I'm currently reading Moxie and Vivian is amazing. I'd follow her into battle 100%!

5) Liv - All the Feels: Leader of the fandom revolution!

Who are on your TTT for this week? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 6 November 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: All the Feels by Danika Stone

Hello all! Today for Cover Spotlight Monday I thought I'd feature my current read, which is All the Feels by Danika Stone! I'm really enjoying it so far and the cover is just wonderful. Take a look!

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal. 

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

I love everything about this cover. I love how one simple glance makes me remember vividly everything that I am in being a fangirl, and everything I love about being a fangirl. It makes me remember every time that I've laughed or cried, especially over the death of my own favourite fictional figures (*Cough* Ianto *Cough* Enjolras *Cough*). It really just captures the whole essence of being a fan, of what fandom is all about, and I really truly just love it.

I specifically love all the badges, because I am an avid badge collector when it comes to my favourite books. You should see how many I got from YALC alone!

I also really love the Dragon Con pass because I adore going to conventions, which are now pretty much my second home.

Basically, this cover is wonderous, in every way.

What do you think about today's cover? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs - 5 Diverse Books On My Wishlist

Hi guys! This time for Spotlight Sunday I thought I'd showcase some books that are on my Diverse Wishlist! Some are out and some are not, but I hope you enjoy!

1) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

2) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

3) From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon.

4) Want by Cindy Pon

5) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

What are some diverse books on your wishlist? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Countdown to Christmas: Week Six - Favourite Things To Do This Festive Season!

Hello everyone! Time for another Countdown to Christmas and today I thought I would talk about my favourite things to do this festive season. I have a few little traditions I like to do each year so I thought it would be nice to share them with you all. I hope you enjoy.

1) New tinsel - It's not Christmas until I've bought my first piece of new tinsel, and usually I end up getting more than one. I'm more than a little in love with tinsel.

2) Christmas Markets - Christmas is not complete without at least one trip and some hot chocolate in a christmas cup!

3) Festive food - I posted my favourites in Week Five, here.

4) Christmas Films! - Now that Christmas24 has started, this is a must every week.

5) Santa Tracker - I'm not a kid anymore, I know, but there's still something special about watching the Santa tracker with my little cousin.

6) Shopping - If there's one thing I love it is buying gifts for people. Especially Christmas ones.

What are your traditions? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

7 Weeks To Go!

Countdown to Christmas: Week Five - Favourite Festive Treats!

Hi guys! Today for Countdown to Christmas (though a little late, sorry!!) I thought I'd talk about my favourite festive treats! Yay!

The wintery season will soon be upon us. Already stores are lined with christmas decorations, clothes and other fabulous festivity. What better to add to all of this than some tummy tempting treats?

1) Home made cookies - Nothing is better than smelling the batter as it bakes, decorating the cooled cookies all with your own two hands, and then enjoying your creation with a cup of hot chocolate.

2) Hot Chocolate - No festive season is complete without! Especially if it involves marshmallows.

3) Pringles - Only allowed at Christmas!

4) Matchmakers - Another christmas only treat!

5) Hot cider - Nom nom nom!

6) Freshly made food from a winter market - This is probably my favourite if I'm honest, and I'll certainly be heading to the markets again in a few weeks!

What are your favourite festive treats? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

7 Weeks To Go!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Saturday Series: Love, Hate or Both - Fandom!

Hi guys! Today for Saturday Series I thought I'd talk about a subject close to my heart and that is my love of all things Fandom!

So I adore my fandoms, absolutely utterly 100% adore them. In a way my fandoms have become a huge part of me and my life, but sometimes I don't really realise that, if I'm at all honest. It was only in reading The Fandom by Anna Day and All the Feels by Danika Stone (Currently reading) that I realised how much my fandoms can take over a lot of my life, seeing myself in the MC's of both these amazing books.

My fandoms tend to separate into two forms; online and offline. My online presence you can obviously see here and on my Twitter account, where - like now - I tend to ramble about all the things I adore, usually characters and/or actors. Right now I'm going on a lot about my love for Les Mis, specifically the 2017/18 cast, Enjolras, and Enjy's current 'incarnation' that is Hyoie O'Grady. I also read a heck ton of fanfiction, probably more than I should, but right now I'm kind of obsessed with EnjolTaire fics, so... yeah.

As for offline, on a smaller scale this is mostly me going on about faves when I can or randomly quoting characters. Or in the case of Les Mis singing my heart out day and night. But mostly it involves me going to conventions.


I love conventions!

It's sort of similar to the feeling I get on Twitter I suppose but I love being around people who love the same things that I do. I've been to a lot of 'comic-cons' where I love being able to express my love of TV shows, films, comics, etc, but my newer love has to be YALC. I love being with other bookish people and obviously meeting fabulous authors. Don't get me wrong 'comic-con' is fab, and I love meeting my favourite famous faces, but nothing beats a book con. Books are just better. Simple. YALC 2017 was my favourite yet, having attended for the whole weekend, and I honestly can't wait for 2018.

So those are just some of the reasons why I adore my fandoms, but I'd love to hear yours. As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed the post!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie!

Hey guys, today is Halloween and I really hope you are all having an amazing day! For Top Ten Tuesday today we've been granted free reign with the prompt being only 'Halloween Freebie!'. So for me I've decided to post my top books I'm hoping to read this Halloween week. I sincerely doubt I'll get through them all, but I'll be damned if I don't get to use the pretty picture I took, haha!

1) Poison City by Paul Crilley
2) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
3) There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
4) Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
5) This Savage Song by V E Schwab
6) The Archived by V E Schwab
7) Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields
8) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

What are your picks for today's Top Ten Tuesday? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 30 October 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: ADSOM UK Collector's Edition by V E Schwab!

Hey all! Today on The Arts Shelf I have the most beautiful book to spotlight today; the special edition of a book I hold very close to my heart. It is of course the Special Edition ADSOM by V E Schwab and it is gorgeous!

First of all the original cover is amazing. I probably don't say it enough but I absolutely adore this cover! The image of Kell with his magical coat in all its layered glory, atop the four Londons intertwining is just beautiful.

Second, the hardcover foil image. Oh, my beautiful Kell. How amazing is it? I know it's the cover image done in foil, so it's not new so to speak. But is such a beautiful way to add to the hardcover beneath the jacket.

Which brings us to the jacket itself. So many images of our beloved characters come to life! Exquisite in every way! I especially love the one below, which features Kell and Rhy in a way that really does highlight their unique bond, both brotherly and magically.

Last but by no means least, the end pages. RED LONDON. Oh gee, these are probably the most beautiful end pages I have ever seen. I mean... Just look at it. Wow.

What do you think of this gorgeous book? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

Hi everyone! Today I'm back with a new Waiting on Wednesday and I'm featuring my most anticipated release of next year. I'm of course talking about State of Sorrow by my favourite UKYA author, Melinda Salisbury. March 1st cannot come quick enough.

A people cowed by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…

Sorrow all but rules the Court of Tears, in a land gripped by perpetual grief, forever mourning her brother who died just days before Sorrow was born. By day she governs in place of her father, by night she seeks secret solace in the arms of the boy she's loved since childhood. But when her brother is seemingly found alive, and intent on taking control, Sorrow has to choose whether to step aside for a stranger who might not be who he claims to be, or embark on a power struggle for a position she never really wanted.

If you know me then you know I absolutely adore Mel's books. The Sin Eater's Daughter series is my favourite trilogy for so many reasons, reasons I've talked about a lot on Twitter and this blog. So when Mel announced she was writing a new book I of course wanted to snap it up like a starving turtle! *Insert turtle GIF* 

I managed to snag a sampler at YALC and oh wow, are we in for a treat. This book is like TSED turned up to a hundred. It's like all of Mel's darkness and evil writing prowess wrapped into one. I love it. I want it. I need it.
I think if I tried to say anything more it would kind of come out along the lines of 'ASDFGHJKL' so I'm gonna stop there. Instead I'll just say *Heart eyes. Drools. Grabby hands*

What do you think? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Unique Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish, here, inviting bloggers and readers to list their top ten for a certain category.

Hey all! Time for another Top Ten Tuesday and today it's all about my Top 10 Unique Book Titles! I hope you enjoy!

1) Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

2) There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins

3) Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu

4) The Fandom - Anna Day

5) The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

6) The Scarecrow Queen - Melinda Salisbury

7) Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

8) Invictus - Ryan Graudin

9) Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

10) Strange The Dreamer - Laini Taylor

All of these titles just sparked so many images in my mind the first time I saw them, wondering what they were about, or what they meant for beloved characters. I love them all.

What do you think? Have you made your own Top Ten Tuesday? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 23 October 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

Hey guys! Today I'm back with another cover spotlight and today I'm featuring the beautiful covers of The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier. I'll admit to not having read them yet but I'm seriously in love with these covers. They're gorgeous!

Firstly I love our MC on the front. Clearly a Victorian debutante which sets up the scene for the series, but more importantly I love her pose in each picture. To me the first shows restraint, alluding to her initial inexperience, while the second seems more wild, alluding to her journey and more likely her adventure. Then the last seems very confident, as if she's achieved what she's set out to do, and now knows who she is. I also love how her hairstyle seems to grow a little wilder with each iteration, as if she's breaking free from the chains society have put on her, perhaps?

I love how the dress colour matches the title of the books too, though I'm not sure of the significance of this without having read them. Hopefully I'll find out soon.

Lastly I love the backgrounds. First and foremost, it's clearly London and Big Ben, which sets the scene, but I especially adore how the scenes curve around, as if to show the bending of space time and the fabric of reality, alluding to our MC's ability to travel through time.

What do you think of these covers? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs - Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Hey guys! As promised today for Spotlight Sunday: Diversity Recs I'm talking about the wonderful Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller! I'll admit I haven't finished it yet but I absolutely love it so far, and the thing I love most about it is it's wonderful diversity, specifically our amazing main character, Sal!

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

Now I'll say first that I can only speak on my own behalf, so if anything I say does have any disparity or ring untrue for anyone, please do let me know. My intention here is only to spotlight some amazingly diverse books we have in the YA genre right now.

So Mask of Shadows is of course a fantasy, and a wonderful one at that, but what makes this story so different and so unique is that the main character, Sal, is Gender Fluid. Although told in the first person, Sal is addressed using they/them pronouns. Gender Fluidity is something that I have honestly never seen/read before in the YA genre, and I think it's a part of the Gender and Sexuality spectrums that is rarely addressed. To see what I am led to believe (By other reviewers/readers and the author's comments herself) is wonderful, accurate representation of Gender Fluidity in this YA novel is incredible.

People in general, but teens especially, can have a hard time coping with who they truly are in this modern age, and to have a diverse reading scope is truly a marvellous tool to help with the struggle. But in order for reading to be an effective way of understanding ourselves, we need to be able to see the entirety of the world we live in, the entirety of ourselves, and for that everyone and every aspect should be represented well and in abundance. Of course there's no one book that suits everyone/every aspect (As author Adam Silvera has recently been pointing out on Twitter) but we still have so much work to be done in creating a truly diverse YA genre. Mask of Shadows is 100% helping with and working towards that goal.

As I say I am talking on my own behalf, as someone who does not identify as Gender Fluid, but that doesn't mean I can't both enjoy and learn from Sal's story. In this modern age where Gender Normality still reigns supreme, I do often struggle with Gender Norms and my disinterest in fitting to those norms. Gender Queer is probably more suited to me personally but even then I'm still working out where exactly I could belong on what is such a wide, vast spectrum. But to find even this one instance of Non-Normative Gender Rep is incredible, and it really is such an important read for everyone, but specifically anyone who does identify as Gender Fluid. You deserve the world, and not to mention the fact that Sal is 100% kick ass; as far as book characters go, they rock!

Have you read Mask of Shadows? What do you think? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Countdown to Christmas: Week Four - My Favourite Christmas Movies

Hey everyone! Today for Countdown to Christmas, being that my favourite movie channel for the season, Christmas24, has just begun, I thought I'd share my top 5 Christmas movies! I hope you enjoy!

1) The Santa Clause 2 - Shock horror of me putting 2 before 1, haha, but I love 2 the best. Not because of the story, I'll admit, but because of Comet. Yes, I love our beloved Reindeer's little story ARC in TSC2. He's adorable!

2) Prancer Returns - Keeping with the Reindeer theme, I love Prancer as much as I love Comet and this film is just a joy. Cheesy yes, but awesome.

3) The Santa Clause 1 - Of course the first one is still great. Definitely the best story and all those warm Christmassy feels all rolled into one!

4) Christmas Mail - Utter cheesy Christmas romance but I love it. Plus it's got one of Supernatural's GhostFacers!

5) The Nightmare Before Christmas - Perfect for both Christmas and Halloween, Tim Burton at his finest!

What are your favourite Christmas movies? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

9 Weeks To Go!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday Series: Love, Hate or Both? - Halloween!

Hey guys! Today for Saturday Series: Love, Hate or Both? I've decided to write about my second favourite time of the year; that is of course, Halloween! Yay!

New pumpkin lights to add a little spook to my shelves!
I absolutely adore Halloween ('Now rivals only Christmas in terms of popularity!' - Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds) and everything to do with it. If you've kept your eye on my Twitter account today you'll see I've been shopping and bought a few new treats for this year's festivities. The main, most awesome, thing I came away with was of course a spider bigger than my head (Legs included)! I won't add a pic of him here in case anyone has a phobia (I made that mistake on Twitter!) but he's pretty awesome and I've called him George. He's the best!

So of course you might have guessed that my favourite thing about the holiday is the decorations, and that's true. I love decorations in general to be honest. It's part of the reason why I love Christmas so much, and it's also why my bookshelves (and my room in general) are filled with little knickknacks and book memorabilia, just to add a little extra pizzazz! Decorating is my jam, as is Halloween and Christmas. But in terms of Halloween I just love adding a little scare to everything, a little sprinkle of horror. I'll admit I'm a squeamish person and don't watch many horror movies, but Halloween changes everything. Once it's October, in the words of Sherlock Holmes, the game is afoot!

Pumpkin lights with my current Halloween read!
That said, I do like the odd scary movie, as long as it's more psychological, more of a thriller, than a true horror/slasher. More Criminal Minds-esque so to speak than blood, guts and gore.

I also just love the spirit of Halloween, it's backstory, history, and the general feel the holiday brings to the wonderful time that is Autumn. My best friend Cazz loves this time of the year too, and I'm always overjoyed to share in the spirit of it with her.

Not to mention it's an excuse to eat sweets and chocolate galore! Woohoo! Bring out the pumpkin chocolate balls! :D

What do you love about Halloween? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Yummy Foods In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish, here, inviting bloggers and readers to list their top ten for a certain category.

Hey all! It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this time we've been asked to list our top ten favourite foods in books. Here's mine!

1) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler

2) Oreos - Simon VS by Becky Albertalli

3) Mini Eggs - Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

4) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler

5) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler

6) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler

7) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler

8) Space Custard - Moondust by Gemma Fowler


10) SPACE CUSTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really couldn't think of many and I really love the idea of Space Custard ;)

What's your Top Ten Tuesday? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Monday, 16 October 2017

Cover Spotlight Monday: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Hey guys! It's time for another cover spotlight Monday and this time I'm featuring a new purchase I made last Friday that I'm so super excited to read. It's of course the revolutionary (See what I did there?) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu!

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

How amazing does this cover look? First of all I love that it's pink. Pink's one of those colours that's been associated with girls but in an ultra-girly way that's made it a 'hated' colour for some. For Moxie, with the rest of the cover, specifically the raised fist, it reinvents the colour as powerful and strong. I love it.

Of course the raised fist clutching the pencil is the main feature of the cover but I absolutely love it. It speaks of power yes but also pushing through boundaries, of 'enough is enough', of revolution. It's a symbol that represents the book not just in the clutching of the pencil (In that Viv makes a feminist fanzine) but in the strength of women all around the world; of a universal feminist revolution; we are more than you expect us to be.

Lastly I love the fonts used on the cover because they are really just reminiscent of a typewriter, handwriting, hand drawn letters etc. It's just wonderfully thought out.

What do you think about the Moxie cover? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf