NEW VIDEO: ‘Would You Rather’ | Bookish Tag!

SUP PEEPS! I’ve just recently posted a new YouTube video (it’s a tag video, yay!) and it’s the ‘Would You Rather’ game – but about BOOKS. Yep. I did really enjoy the questions, so I hope you’ll enjoy my answers! Please check out the video and comment, rate and subscribe if you enjoyed it. I’m still new, so please excuse any faults while I get on my feet!

Also, I’d like to quickly send out an apology for my inactivity. I did explain it further into the video, however I think it’s important to also write one out. I’ve been so incredibly busy (and stressed…) recently as I had school camp for a week, then Brisbane Writers’ Festival, then 2 weeks of holidays which I spend in the USA (got no rest at all – talk about burn out!) and then back at school while moving houses, and now I have finals in less than two weeks. I’m trying to keep everything from falling apart so if I’m away for a bit, it’s because of that! I know I haven’t done many written reviews lately – I’ve been posting them mainly on my Goodreads (aryapower) but I’m still adjusting to the two review outlets. Hopefully a system will sort itself out soon.

Anyways, who else is excited for Halloween? I’ve just started Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and am so far enjoying it, but I’m only about 40 pages in so it’s a bit too early to say. What are you currently reading?

– Arya xx

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NEW VIDEO! Brisbane Writers Festival: Love YA! 2014 | Laini Taylor, Amie Kaufman +

I thought that I’d vlog my (pretty short) experience at the Brisbane Writers Festival 2014 for you all as I met Amie Kaufman (co-author of These Broken Stars) and Laini Taylor (author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series)! The two authors held a very interesting session dedicated primarily to romance in young adult literature, but we also delved into writing advice, other fantastic novels within the genre, our fictional boyfriends, inspiration and some of their other works in progress! I also attended a few other sessions however could not film that experience unfortunately. Overall it was very enjoyable and the signed books (and complimentary goodie bag) was also a bonus! Let me know if you’d like a post that breaks down the event in more detail.
Please give it a watch if you have a spare 3 minutes and comment, rate & subscribe!

ALSO: So sorry for the lack of activity on this blog, I’m still trying to juggle it with youtube! I’ve been meaning to do an Alienated review for a few weeks now, but things have been getting very stressful with schoolwork, sickness, camp and life in general. Plus it’s only 9 days until I depart for my vacation at the US!
– Arya xx

NEW VIDEO: My First Book Haul! (Classics/Historical Fiction Based)

YES, THERE IS YET ANOTHER VIDEO OF MYSELF THAT HAS BEEN UPLOADED TO THE INTERWEB. IT IS MY FIRST BOOK HAUL VIDEO. CAN I GET A HURRAH?! HURRAH!
Please check it out below and comment, rate and subscribe if you liked it! Hopefully a review of Alienated by Melissa Landers will be up soon both written on this blog and as a video on my channel (I’ve been crazy busy with school work, so I apologise in advance!). 
Also, next week I will not be active as I will be on school camp so please excuse that as well. And then two weeks from then I’ll be in AMERICA! I’m planning on vlogging the experience so I can’t wait to share it with you all!
Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me! 
– Arya xx

NEW BOOKTUBE CHANNEL?!

Yep. You guessed it. I caved…AND JOINED BOOKTUBE.
I recently posted my first personal YouTube video ever (a simple introductory video with 25 random questions) and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I’ve been watching book-related YouTube videos for over a year now and have always wanted to do it myself, but hesitated due to nervousness and uncertainty. But I decided to nut up and take a leap of faith – here goes!

Thank you everyone who have supported me thus far, I know I’m only just starting out but your support means the world to me. I’ve loved reading and literature in general for as long as I can remember so the fact that I can now share my opinions and thoughts with the world even further is really such an amazing opportunity and I could not be more thankful. Please give my channel a quick peek if you’re interested, I cannot wait to continue this adventure with you all even further!

Sisters Red – Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red

“I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter.”

Source: Given As A Gift
Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: June 7th 2010
Pages: 328
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Dark, Fairytale Retellings
First Line: Strangers never walk down this road, the sisters thought in unison as the man trudged toward them.”

Synopsis:

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris – the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and a blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an axe and is Scarlett’s only friend – but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

When I originally added this book to my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads, it was one of those additions that was more of a spur-of-the-moment decision than a well thought-out one. I had first heard of this book on YouTube from TheArtsyGal12 and had seen it pop up numerous times afterwards, but never took the time to really put any research into the book. However, I heard that it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and as that is my favourite fairytale, how could I not add it to the list? Nevertheless, when I opened the wrapping of this present on my birthday and the title of the book was revealed I was thrilled all the same.

I did decide to read this book for the Booktubeathon readathon (despite how much of a flop my participation in the event turned out to be) and after reading The Hobbit, it was everything that I had been searching for for my next read. Dark, suspenseful, thrilling and taunt, it was such a fast action-packed read that had me enthralled the entire journey.

Firstly, I’d like to start by advising against reading the blurb on the back of the book (or at least the edition I read, the one of the image pasted above). DON’T DO IT! JUST DON’T! It gave away major clues as to the key plot twist of the story, and for most of this read I was wondering when the-thing-in-the-blurb-which-I-will-not-have-the-audacity-to-name-but-was-present-none-the-less was going to happen and when it did, it was past the 3/4 mark! So while I give a thumbs up to this story, I give a frown and a stubbed toe to whoever wrote the blurb.

I’ll jump straight into my most highly-regarded part of any book – the characterisation! I LOVED Scarlett and Rosie. Their relationship dynamic was one of my favourite aspects to this novel, mostly due to both how realistic their characters individually were and how they closely they interacted with each other. Particularly within the young-adult, paranormal genre, you rarely get the opportunity to really explore the bond of siblings – either the protagonist is an only child, their sibling is a prat or they just aren’t altogether that close with them. It was invigorating to see such a tight-knit relationship between siblings as I think that family should certainly have a higher emphasis on more books within this genre. The way their relationship was described was so heart-breaking and it just touched your heart to see them go to all ends to fight for each other, two halves of one whole.
While it is extremely difficult for me to pick a favourite out of the two girls, I think Scarlett wins out just marginally. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the layers to her character as she had so much hidden depth! She was so strong, fierce and protective of her sister – and you feel such an intense sympathy for her as she compares her scars to her sister’s beauty. It was saddening to have to hear her true thoughts on feeling like an outcast for being marred and ‘ugly’. That dichotomy of ugliness to beauty was interestingly addressed too – even though Scarlett was scarred all over, the beauty of her character was easily on par with Rosie’s. Not only that, but Scarlett is seriously one hell of a badass. I mean, come on. Just look at her wickedly sharp hatchet.
Rosie was a much softer, sweet character which I also appreciated for the contrast to Scarlett. I found her to be extremely relatable, and she represented the perspective that I think many young girls would take if put into her position. She knew of her duty to protect innocent, oblivious young girls from the monsters that lurked in the streets but at the same time, she can’t help but pine for a different life. Truth be told, in any other mishandled circumstance she probably would’ve been the kind of character I would have resented, however her character was written so well that I didn’t end up having a problem with her at all – I loved her!
As for Silas, I wasn’t so fond of him. I didn’t feel that he had anywhere as near as much depth as the sisters and seemed quite flat. He was nice sure enough and the passion between Rosie and he was undeniable, but I would’ve liked to see a few more sides to him than the one side that was shown.
This leads into the next topic – the romance. For a large portion of this book, I actually didn’t know whether I liked Rosie and Silas together or not! It was written in a very intoxicating, addictive style that really intensified the passion between them and I think that part was executed extremely well, as it had a good balance of darkness and realism that any romance in that kind of situation I would expect would have. However, I can’t help but think that their relationship progressed a little too quickly. I know they have been childhood friends for a very long time and that when they first saw each other again it was primarily physical attraction that drove them together, but I still think that it felt a bit too rushed. I didn’t like how the term ‘love’ was introduced so quickly in regard to them and it was said too prematurely in the relationship besides. This is a pet peeve of mine, admittedly – I do not like it when characters claim ‘love’ for each other too early on.
The wolves were one of my favourite aspects. They were absolutely TERRIFYING! They were such a fresh, new take on werewolves that were a perfect mix of eeriness and terror. Readers could easily see the parallels between these wolves and the predators that actually lurk our streets at night – that was the most frightening part of their role, I’d say. They always had such a foreboding and hair-raising presence on the page and watching them hunt just sent chills running down your spine.

In terms of plot, I think that it was very interesting, even if a little basic. The novel itself was like a vanilla cake – delicious, but it’s the frosting and decorations that really finish it off. The dark aspects, the characterisation and the interesting spin on the classic fairytale were these embellishments. The plot twist, though, wasn’t much of a plot twist as I suspected it from the start. Again, the blurb really gave too much away, but I would’ve suspected it anyway – it was definitely the kind of twist you could see coming from page one. I did enjoy the Dragonfly metaphor though (for those who have read the book) as well as their grandmother’s shadows/sunshine story. It was integrated very well into the storyline and the helped with the development of their situation. I also give Kudos for the ending. I loved the way the epilogue was written, it was all sad and happy and sweet and nostalgic all at once, written in an unfamiliar yet refreshing style.

Stylistically, the dual perspective really surprised me. Usually I’m not too fond of double-gender perspectives as they can sound very similar when alternating between characters, but Rosie and Scarlett’s voices were so distinctive that I didn’t get confused at all between the two. The story also had a great pace to it and even though some action sequences felt too common and repetitive, it mostly kept you on your toes. I really appreciated the language within the book – it was concise and straight to the point, but some phrases…man, could they take your breath away.

All in all, Sisters Red was a very dark, mysterious and suspenseful read. It gave me precisely the kind of read I was looking for at that time and it was extremely enjoyable despite its faults. Would recommend to lovers of dark fantasy, paranormal and action.

Rating: 3.5/5

BOOKTUBEATHON 2014 – Day 1 & Day 2

This has to be super quick because I’m really eager to get back to reading, but I’m currently finishing up on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien which completes the ‘book with pictures’ and ‘book-to-movie adaptation’ challenges! I’ve also watched the movies (the first two instalments, anyway) and I think that I’ll be getting to Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce next. 
The Hobbit is going very well! It is a re-read, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy it any less. There were parts in which I really dropped out of the mood for fantasy and wanted to delve into paranormal, but after a while the events of the novel picked up and now we’re on a fast track to the conclusion! Again, it’s my first week back and school and last night I got barely any reading done, that’s how exhausted I was. If only the days consisted solely of good books, hot chocolate, soft sheets and snow…
anyway, I wish you luck with your reading if you’re participating in this readathon and if not, then nevertheless I hope you’re enjoying whatever it is that you’re reading!
sweet reads,
– arya xx

READATHON – Booktubeathon 2014! (14th July – 21st July)

I know that I’m a little late posting this (okay, the event started today and I’m posting it now – sue me), but there’s a readathon that continues from the 14th of July until the 21st that I thought I’d make a post about! 
This readathon is hosted by Booktubeathon – the online community of book vloggers that regularly post to YouTube, as I’m sure you are all aware. While I am currently a blogger and not a vlogger (perhaps I might make videos one day, but for the meantime I’m perfectly content), I’ve always been excited when this time of year rolls ’round because the reading challenges are always so fun!

The Reading Challenges for Booktubeathon 2014:

  1. A book with pictures.
  2. Start and finish a series.
  3. A book with red on the cover.
  4. A book that somebody else has picked out for you.
  5. A book from a genre that you’ve read the least of this year.
  6. A book-to-movie adaptation (read the book and watch the movie)
  7. Read seven books / a minimum of 300 pages per day, or 2100 pages in total.

As (inconveniently) my school has chosen the first day of Booktubeathon as the day that we return to school, I’ll be quite disadvantaged. No matter! I’m still determined to read as much as I can and I know that despite the lack of time, it’s going to be a fun ride. 
I’m usually very bad when it comes to setting myself books that I’m going to read in order – usually I’ll have an idea of which books I want to read next, but it all depends on my mood. So I thought that I’d list the books which I am most likely to read from for this readathon below, because it all depends on which I feel like reading. Obviously I’m not reading them all – that would be quite the feat – but these are of my main selection.

  • The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers & The Return of the King) by J.R.R. Tolkien
    I’m currently re-reading The Hobbit and (of course) am absolutely loving it! Haven’t re-read LoTR in a long time so it might be due in. Plus I’m on a bit of a high-fantasy kick at the moment!
  • The Mistborn Series (The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension & The Hero of Ages) by Brandon Sanderson
    I’ve recently bought this trilogy and am so ecstatic to finally own it! I’m really looking forward to reading something by Sanderson and this series has had very positive feedback thus far. 
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
    Again, another recent purchase. It looks so darkly fascinating, and it’s a retelling of my favourite fairytale – Little Red Riding Hood – so it immediately caught my eye. Maybe I might read it in between the others to break up the fantasy and throw in a bit of variety!
  • Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
    This has been on my TBR pile for ages, and Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors so I had to give this series a chance. I have the second book too, The Eternity Cure, so if I decide to go with this perhaps I might have enough time to knock out its sequel too.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Another book that I really need to get around to. I’m already familiar with the storyline and I really do think that I’m going to enjoy this, so it needs to happen! I also have a friend looking at reading this so perhaps we’ll partake in the journey together. 

Those are the main books that I think that I’ll be choosing from – but again, this may change (I’m a little impulsive when it comes to choosing what book to read next). I’m really looking forward to the abundance of reading to come in this next week and I’ll try and post regular updates for you all. Please keep in mind that it is my first week back at school this week so I do have a lot of schoolwork to keep up with, as already we have papers that are due in soon *sigh*. Oh well, that’s why we escape to fictional worlds! As usual, lovely catching up with you all.
sweet reads,
– arya xx