Monday, 12 February 2018

Letters Between Friends: Dear Cazz #3

Hey sweetie! Sorry for missing a week; my brain kind of short circuited and fried out there. I hope you're well and happy, and that his awful weather hasn't disrupted life too much. It's been pretty dreadful but I'm trying not to let it get in the way too much.

My own 'habit tracker' of sorts has been really off lately too. OCD, anxiety and depression is a crap combo for staying productive but I'm doing my best to keep up with blogging, reading, writing and other goals. To quote the amazing Les Mis (I always weep here) 'even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise'. Everyone has good and bad days but the sun will always rise.

Speaking of Les Mis, guess where I'm going on Saturday? (Cheeky face) I'm so excited, even 8th time around, and one of the principals, Paul, is currently on holiday so there's a good chance his understudy, John, will be on as Marius, which I'm praying for. I've wanted to see John as Marius for what feels like forever! I'd definitely love to go with you someday, but in the meantime maybe Wicked in December? I just love Musical Theatre and am hoping to join a group myself! Have you heard the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack too? It's amazing!

So glad you enjoyed Jumanji! I can't wait to watch the new Star Wars! BB8 and Porgs! *Heart eyes*

As for my TBR I haven't been reading well to be honest. I've been struggling to get into anything, but I started Renegades by Marissa Meyer this weekend and it's amazing! Hopefully I'm on the up now; yay!

Can't wait to hear from you,

Lots of love and hugs,

Holly x

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Liked But Can't Really Remember.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme originally created at The Broke and the Bookish, inviting bloggers and readers to list their top ten for a certain category. Top Ten Tuesday has now been taken over by That Artsy Reader Girl and all info can be found here if you want to take part!

Hey guys! Today we've been challenged to list ten books we liked but can't really remember. I have a really good, almost eidetic, memory when it comes to media, so there's only a few that have become more or less forgotten, but that I still enjoyed.

1) Waking In Time by Angie Stanton.

2) Across The Universe by Beth Revis.

3) How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake.

4) Remix by Non Pratt.

5) Half Bad by Sally Green.

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

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

Sunday, 21 January 2018

2018 General Reading Challenge and TBR

Hey everyone! I promise this will be the last challenge update now. I do love trying to complete different goals, and having challenges is good, but I am only one person after all, so this really is it. Yesterday I posted two of my own challenges I'm completing this year, along with two I'm taking part in. You can see my challenge goals/TBRs for these below;

British Books Challenge 2018
Beat the Backlist Challenge 2018
2018 60 Books YA Challenge
17/18 Winter Reads Challenge

These are all specific though, to either author, publication date, category, or date read. This post is simply my general challenge. How many books I want to read this year, and a few that I'm hoping to get through. It might just be a general post that I then review around summer time and at the end of the year, or I might treat it as a master list for all books read and reviewed this year which I'll then tally up and comment on next December, I haven't decided yet. Either way my goal for this year is;

100 Books!

This was my goal last year which sadly was never realised. Hopefully this year will be much better now that my mental health is a lot more under control, as this did affect my reading habits last year.

Some of the books I'm hoping to get through are;

1) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
2) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
3) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
4) Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
5) 27 Hours by Tristina Wright
6) The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
7) Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone
8) Warcross by Marie Lu
9) City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (Illumicrate ARC)
10) A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

These are all books I already own, not including ARCs, that I want to read this year as part of my goal to read more for fun as well as for blogging. They don't include any that have yet to be released, as these will be added/read once I have bought them/read them. The only exception is City of Brass as this is one of my most anticipated 2018 releases and I was lucky enough that my illumicrate subscription box provided me with an ARC, so I'm classing it as a 'bought book' (because I bought the sub box)  and a 'fun' read for reading challenge purposes. If I get to read and review it prior to publication, that's all the better for my blog, and of course the author/publisher.

Which books are you planning to read this year? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

2018 New Year Resolutions!

Hello everyone! With a new year comes new year resolutions, and though it's taken me a few days to decide upon mine I've decided to post them here so I can sort of publicly keep track and assess my progress half way through and at the end of the year. Let's all cheer each other on this year!

1) Sing/Perform (in front of people) - I adore singing and musical theatre. I've been told I have a good voice Yet I insist on keeping this private and locked away in my bedroom. No more this year! I'm determined to conquer my fear and join a MT society.

2) Follow My Dreams - These have varied over the years but in the past two or three my passion has firmly stayed with books. Whether I manage to land an entry level job or decide to pursue a Publishing MA, I'm determined to make my dream of working in the Publishing industry come true.

3) Eat Healthily/Exercise More - This has been a constant struggle, especially when it comes to stress eating. I'm determined to do better.

4) Read More Books! - This might seem pretty obvious but last year I let stress get in the way of my reading habits, and my yearly challenges/goals suffered as a result. This year I really want to read 100 books!

5) Blog More! - Again this may be obvious, but again my stress levels affected my blogging routine, especially in the middle of last year. I achieved just over 150 posts, which is amazing compared to previous years, but I want to do even better. Last year I set a goal of 250 posts - this year I will achieve it!

6) Write Two Novels (to at least 1st draft) - I adore writing but I struggle sometimes with sticking to and finishing one project. I have so many ideas and a lot of doubts about whether any of them are good enough. This year I'm focusing on two alone. The first one I've chosen, the other we'll see about, but I really want to make this happen. You can see my full goal in my 2018 Writing Challenge post, here.

7) Watch More West End Shows! - If you know me, or at least follow me on Twitter, you'll know I'm obsessed with Musical Theatre and the West End. This year I want to watch even more shows. Old, new, favourites, never seen before - the West End is where it's at!

8) Learn a Language - One goal I've been trying to do for a long while. Maybe this year I'll achieve it.

9) Be More Social - With exclusion of Twitter, I'm actually quite shy. I struggle to start up conversations with people, even in social gatherings/situations such as at YALC or book signings. This year I want to be more outgoing. I'm very bubbly and happy once I get to know people, I just have to break out of my nervous, shy shell first.

10) Take a Chance! - I think this covers everything really but I'm so quick to say 'no' sometimes because things make me nervous or scare me. This year is the year of yes! Great job advert? Go for it! Don't think about reasons I shouldn't. New opportunity? Yes! Not reasons why I should say no. Obviously some things are clearly out of reach. I obviously don't fit the job description for an airline pilot. I'm can't be what I'm not. But if I am right, if I can do it, or at least believe I can try, then why not? As Carrie Hope Fletcher says, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. It's very true. This year, I'm buying those tickets.

What are your resolutions for this New Year? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf

2018 Writing Challenge

Hello! As I've been updating my 2017 wrap ups and 2018 challenges this weekend I thought I'd share with you one of my more personal challenges, which is my 2018 writing goals. I'm a little bit of a ditzy writer sometimes, if I'm perfectly honest. I start one idea and then get distracted by something else. Part of it is too many ideas but part of it is lacking in confidence about the one idea I'm writing at that point in time. I thought if I share my goal here it might give me more motivation and a little encouragement to keep going. So, without further adieu, here is my 2018 Writing Challenge!

150, 000 words!

Over 2 novels.
(Approx 75, 000 words each)

Novel 1: 

Title: The King's Trial
Genre: YA Fantasy
1 Line: Les Mis meets The Hunger Games
Progress: All plotted. Currently writing the first draft.
Est Word Count: 85/90k.
Est Current Word Count: 10k (Handwritten so far)

Bonus if I write the prequel novella too!

Novel 2:

Not Yet Decided.

I have a few ideas I'm considering for this one but none of them are well formed yet so I can't choose. Once I've made my decision I'll update here with the basic stats, as above with The King's Trial. 

Do you have any writing goals for 2018? What are you working on right now? As always feel free to leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter! Let's cheer each other on!

Thanks for reading!

Holly @The_Arts_Shelf