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