Books + Coffee = Happiness

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Listening to: Heart of Courage - Two Steps from Hell
Feeling: Bored

Well, I'm currently wasting time before my next class begins. I wish that these gaps between my classes weren't so long. The longest one is a 4 hour gap on Tuesdays between my bio lecture and a mandatory bio tutorial. Oh well, at least I got something done yesterday, which was a few physics problems, some textbook reading and fanfiction writing (though I didn't progress as much as I had originally thought). 

And I feel bad that I haven't updated for nearly a month now. Ugh, making things flow smoothly from one sequence to another really sucks. I mean, I have all the events planned out in this next chapter, but making them connect as smoothly as possible is rather difficult. Relaying the characters' emotions is quite difficult too, but not as much. I guess it's also partially due to the reason that the thrill of writing this fanfic is starting to fade after 20 chapters. I'm just ready to end it and commence on my next project, which would probably be called either "Storms" or "From the Beginning to Now". I originally thought of using flashbacks to tell my story, but it's probably just confusing to the reader, so when I do start that fanfic, I'll start from the beginning of everything. But that probably won't happen for at least another half year, because I have about another 10 or so chapters to go with Never Alone.

The point of this post was mainly to rant and let off some steam about my intersession course, Psychology 100. It's an introduction course, which I don't have much of a problem with, but more to do with the length of it. Since it's an intersession course, it's like 6 week summer school, where the course ends sooner than the usual courses that last for 3 and a half months (if you include the exams and stuff). Meaning that there's a lot of stuff that I have to do for this course. Which includes two midterms, a quiz practically every 2-3 classes, 6 hours of classes per week, research assignments and a heck lot of reading. Not to mention that my final for this class is during midterm session for regular classes. I think that the intersession course is a pretty good idea for someone who's planning on getting a summer vacation and is only taking that one class, but for anyone else who's taking other courses with it, it's not that great. I've been putting off my other subjects, Bio and Physics because Psychology is taking over. I really really can't wait for psychology to be over, so not only do I get to focus on two classes rather than three, but I'll also have some more free time to get caught up with my bio textbook readings.

 Image credit: Google

Monday, 21 May 2012

Arts and Crafts Update III

Listening to: Brand New Day - Forty Foot Echo
Feeling: Happy
It's been a while since I posted anything art/craft related, so here are my most recent updates... though it's actually been a few weeks since I completed them.

(This is a cellphone strap for a friend who requested a tiger. Originally, I thought that it looked more like a fox with stripes, but I guess it doesn't really matter since she loved it all the same! ^_^)

(Found various shoes on Google and decided to practice my shoe-drawing skills since I can't draw shoes whenever I draw people. I still don't like drawing the flats... Loved drawing the adidas high tops since I have a pair like them!)

 (Another weakness of mine: Drawing hands. My drawing club pres suggested that we draw things that we sucked at, so I decided to do both various hand postures and shoes. Photo references come from

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Book Review: If I Die - Rachel Vincent

Published September 27 2011 by Harlequin

Goodreads Description
The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee.

Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.

But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.


Um, wow. Where do I begin? There's so much that I have to say about this book that I'm pretty overwhelmed at the responsibility of doing the book justice. But what I do know for sure is that: THIS BOOK FALLS UNDER THE CATEGORY OF DROP-EVERYTHING-ELSE-AND-READ-IT-ALREADY-BECAUSE-IT-IS-BLOODY-FANTASTIC!!!!! (see the five exclamation marks there? Just in case my point hasn't been received). It's been a really long time since I've read anything that was this good lately, so be prepared for a lengthy book review that goes over why this book deserves such a praise (and probably a lot of fangirling too).

Like the book's description, Kaylee and her friends don't get a break in their abnormal lives when their classmate, Danica, suddenly falls over, bleeding massively on the ground. It turns out that Danica had a miscarriage, one month into her pregnancy. But the question is, who was the father if it wasn't her boyfriend? Danica refuses to say, but Kaylee knows that something's wrong because Danica wasn't someone who would do something like that when she loved her boyfriend. Not to mention that Danica's insides were so messed up from the miscarriage that she wouldn't ever be able to have kids in the future. Something was definitely wrong here. To make matters worse, they find out that their new gorgeous math teacher isn't human; Mr. Beck is an incubus, a netherworld creature who feeds on desires and lust. Was it just a coincidence that he also happened to be Danica's teacher and was tutoring her when she had problems in math? After learning so much about the world that Kaylee lives in, she knows that there are no such things as coincidences.

But before Kaylee gets time to even digest the information that her teacher is an incubus, another bomb gets dropped on her. This time, it was the news of her upcoming death. That's right; Kaylee was going to die in six days. Her extended time was already up.

Instead of constantly grieving about her lost time, Kaylee decides to put everything right. And it's no small list. Not only did she have to find a way to prevent her dad from trying to exchange his life for hers, but she also had to keep her enamored best friend, Emma, away from this teacher, who is looking less and less innocent by the second.

Turns out that Mr. Beck, the incubus, is doing all he can to get himself a son, an heir incubus, because he's also running out of time. However, if the fetus does turn out to be male, they generally end up in a miscarriage or they kill the mother carrying them before they are born because of a human's inability to give birth to one. So, that means more than one poor girl out there is carrying a potential monster baby. And not all of them will make it. Some will die, while others will be so messed up from the miscarriage that they won't be able to ever have kids again, like Danica. So Kaylee has taken it upon herself to end Mr. Beck's extracurricular activities before her time ends.

I was really impressed with Kaylee's character in this book. Although she knew that she was going to die, Kaylee didn't fall into a state of denial. Instead, she accepted it calmly, because there was no way that she would be able to get a second extension. Despite her calm exterior, there was the occasional overwhelming feelings of panic and fear, but it was only expected of someone who only had a matter of days left to live. Kaylee also decided to do everything she could to make the her passing away safer and easier for everyone. And that included her boyfriend, Nash. She knew that there was one person out there who would be able to be there for him after she was six feet under and Kaylee accepted that fact.

Instead of leaving others to deal with the problem with the incubus, Kaylee was determined to end it before her death, so she could go peacefully, knowing that those she loved were safe. And so, she spent the last of her days plotting and researching anything that had to do with Mr. Beck.

Her relationship with her father tugged at my heart. I really felt the pain that they went through at the news of Kaylee's death. Aiden Cavanaugh finally had his daughter back after thirteen years of absence, only to lose her not six months from their reunion. He had already lost her once and couldn't bear the thought of losing her again. And so, Kaylee's father does all that he could, even begging the reapers to take his life instead of his daughter's.

Another character that shone in this book was of course, everyone's favorite not-so-dead reaper, Tod Hudson. Although they were not supposed to deliver news of one's impending death to the receiver, he did so because Kaylee was someone that he cared deeply for. And it hurt him that there wasn't anything that he could do. There were no second extensions.

Tod has been wrestling with his humanity throughout the series because after being death for more than two years, it was starting to slip away from him, leaving him numb and unfeeling. Normally, it was difficult for Kaylee to read Tod's emotions because he refuses to let anyone see them, but in this book, Tod feels so much that even he isn't able to control them. And some of his feelings start to show themselves to Kaylee.

But what really captured my heart was the fact that he was always there for Kaylee when she needed him. He knew that despite Kaylee's cool and calm exterior, she was terrified about dying. And he would support her in whatever she did, no matter how crazy or dangerous it seemed. There was a major part in the book where Tod did something so unbelievably heroic that it blew my mind away. He knew the risks that he was taking, but he took them anyway, for the sake of the girl that he loved. And for that, Kaylee was finally able to really see him.

The book was really fast paced and despite it being a re-read for me, I couldn't put it down at all. Each page had me craving for more. It was just that unbelievably amazing. Not to mention loving everything that happened in book that had to do something with the goodness that is Tod. It was about time that he got the spotlight and I was ecstatic with the result because he deserved every second of it.

Rachel Vincent did an OUTSTANDING job with this one and I loved reading every word. I am so so happy that I got a chance to read this really amazing series because I would have totally been missing out if I didn't. Now, I'm waiting anxiously for the next one, Before I Wake, because not only am I positive that it will be mind-blowing-fantastic, but also because I love her characters enough to want to know what will happen to them.

Some of my favorite quotes:
-"You just say the word, and I'll make the rest of the world go away. I'll take you someplace safe, where no one else can reach us." (page 140)

-"There's a good kind of crazy..... It's the kind that makes you think about things that make your head hurt, because not thinking about them is the coward's way out. The kind that makes you touch people who bruise your soul, just because they need to be touched. This is the kind of crazy that lets you stare out into the darkness and rage at eternity, while it stares back at you, ready to swallow you whole." (page 244)

-"... I would do anything for the girl who granted my dying wish." (page 280)

Source: Owned
My rating:  5 Coffee cups (Loved it and couldn't put it down... if I gave off the scale ratings, I definitely would for this one!)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Book Review: My Soul to Steal - Rachel Vincent

 Published on January 4th 2011 by Harlequin

Goodreads Description:
Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

When I read this book for the second time, I noticed a lot of things that I didn't realize the first time around. I guess it's because the first time through, I had been more focused on the plot rather than everything else, so I'm pleased to get the chance to see everything in a bigger perspective.

It started off pretty fast and I couldn't say where there was a time that I found that the pacing was slow. I'm starting to find that as the series progresses, the faster the action. Anyway, onto the review:

The main conflict of this book is between the constant war between Kaylee, and a new character, Sabine Campbell. When she first arrives, she was so happy to see Nash that it rang some bells in my mind. Especially their reactions to each other upon their reunion. There was no way that they were just friends. To Kaylee's horror, Sabine was Nash's ex-girlfriend, but technically, as Tod put it, "they never did" break up. So where does that put Kaylee? Especially when she wasn't so sure about her relationship with Nash considering what had happened between them in the last book. To make matters worse, Kaylee lost a major advantage to what she would have had over Nash's ex. Sabine wasn't human either. In fact, she was the living personification of a nightmare.

And indeed, she has the abilities to give nightmares to anyone she wishes. So any guesses to who Sabine directs most of them at? If you guessed Nash's current girlfriend, then pat yourself on the back. But like the true heroine that Kaylee is, she refuses to give Nash up. The harder Sabine pulls, the more determined Kaylee is to keep Nash at her side. How does the guy feel about this? Well, let's just say that he's at a loss between the two girls. After a major descent from the top of the social ladder, Nash is left with very few friends, with Sabine quickly promoted to the "best friend" position. However, his current girlfriend doesn't like that fact. So what's a guy to do? He can either keep one of them or lose them both.

I have to admit that the set of characters in this book annoyed me most when I compare them to the other books in the series. If you read Rachel Vincent's Niederwald or Fearless, you would have already had the chance to meet Sabine Campbell. Back then, I sympathized for her character, after everything that she has gone through. In some ways, Kaylee seems to have it good. She has a family who cares for her, a best friend that she can always depend on and a pretty good life in general. On the other hand, Sabine doesn't have a permanent family because she unintentionally scares them to the point that she can't stay with a family for too long. However, despite those reasons, it still irritated me whenever Sabine came into the picture. It's something about her in-your-face type of personality and the way she talks that makes me grit my teeth.

As for Kaylee, I can see why she refuses to lose to someone like Sabine, but on the second read, I started to feel that she was a little over the top with her stubborness. Yes, she had something strong and special with Nash, but after the incident in the previous book, that bond became fragile. Almost to the point that it would break with the smallest amount of applied pressure. Despite being told that over and over, Kaylee refused to give Nash up. Even when it was pointed out that perhaps Nash wasn't the best thing for her, Kaylee snapped at her friends and was hurt by their betrayal. Not to mention, quickly jumping to conclusions that Sabine, the mara, was dangerous and a potential threat to them all. In normal circumstances (like if Nash's ex-girlfriend was determined to take the "ex" part out of the equation), Kaylee would have thought things through a little more, such as getting as much information as she could get and talking it out with others instead of pointing fingers. But unfortunately, her extreme dislike for Sabine made her skip all of that and become reckless.

Nash in this book didn't win any favors from me either. Personally, I thought that he was rather useless throughout this book since he couldn't decide what to do regarding the love-triangle that he was in. But I guess that I would also have to cut him some slack after all he has been through. Again and again, he made several promises to Kaylee, only to break them in the end. And as a result of that, Kaylee was provoked mercilessly by Sabine on several occasions. He wants to strengthen his bond with his girlfriend, but I just thought that he needed to get back to the Nash that we met in the first book. Which seems like an impossible feat as of the moment.

And Tod? The not-so-dead reaper? There were a lot of hints about him that I didn't see on the first read, so I'm delighted to be able to catch each one on the second time through. The oh-so-subtle hints regarding his character made me love him even more. He truly cares for his friends and family and tries to do the right thing, even if it meant being hurt in the process. His selflessness only adds to his character. Whenever Kaylee is in need of a friend who knew everything that had gone on, Tod was the perfect person. So yes, Tod has deserved his time in the spotlight.

In general, I liked this book well enough. The conflict between Kaylee and Sabine could be a little long after a while, but it really did give me a bigger look into both of their characters. That they both have darker sides to them. The characters in general grew a lot since the last book. Probably due to the fact that they went through hell to survive until now. The relationships between the characters was probably the most important aspect of this book as we learn a lot from reading their reactions towards one another. Rachel Vincent has done an amazing job (like always) to make anyone really passionate about her characters. To give a damn about what happens to each of them and feeling their emotions as if they were our own.

As an ending note, I have to say that I really really can't wait to read the next one, as it is my favorite book out of the whole series.

Source: Owned
My Rating:  4 and a half coffee cups (Loved it)

Friday, 11 May 2012

First week of school: Complete!

Listening to: Llueve Por Dentro - Luis Fonsi
Feeling: Tired but happy
It's been a while since I last posted something. My first week of summer semester has been completed! It has been quite tiring despite the lack of assignments/tests. Waking up everyday at 6:30am to arrive at school at 8:30am has been super draining. How do I achieve this? Coffee every morning. Not the best solution, but it does the job. Occasionally, I substituted coffee for tea, which is fine too. I'm taking physics 101, bio 101 and psych 100 (intro to psych). 

So far, I like my physics professor. He's very energetic and he has shoulder length hair which is styled to remind me of a maestro or a symphony conductor. We're starting slow enough, so it's been easy so far. I only hope it remains that way. Bio is alright, though it's not that entertaining. At the moment, my least liked class is psychology, since it's rather boring. I'm sure it'll pick up, but it seems that it's going really slowly. I also kind of hate the fact that I have a midterm already in this course that will be taking place on the 16th of May. But I guess it's also an advantage since we've only learned the first two chapters. According to our professor, it'll have an essay component, which I'm slightly worried for, since my high school days, I haven't actually done an essay for a test yet. Hopefully, it'll be alright.

My school's main campus is pretty awesome. It's A LOT bigger than the other campus that I went to for the past 8 months. The scenery is pretty nice when it's sunny out. When it isn't, the school looks like a prison. I got lost once, but other than that, I think I'm doing quite well. I found this really nice study area that hardly anyone goes to, and has a view of the court yard with a small pond. It's really sunny there and quiet. I went to the gym/weight room today and it's quite nice too. There are a lot of machines and some that I have never seen. The field looks amazing and I can't wait for it to get warmer so I can run on the track. I'm thrilled that a large number of my friends from the other campus are taking physics with me. I kept thinking that it'll just be awkward not knowing anyone, like the start of school in september, but I'm glad that it's not the case. Can't really say the same for bio and psych though. Oh well, I'll figure something out.

Since it's been a while since I last blogged, I'll put up some stuff that I've been meaning to put up but haven't had a chance to. Last week, my friend, JL and I, went to a school fair, which sold a lot of stuff. I usually look forward to this annual fair because they usually sell a lot of books that are in really good condition and for a really good price! Here's what I got for books:

I was quite happy to have bought nearly the entire series of A Series of Unfortunate Events in hardcover (books 1-11) for a total of $11, which is pretty much the price of one paperback edition. It looks pretty awesome on my bookshelf. As for the manga, these were kind of random in terms of their volume numbers, but I don't mind, since I love these series. In general, their condition is practically brand new. As for the other stuff that I got that day, I bought the game of LIFE (which I totally love playing with my friends. Though I usually don't do as well in the game of LIFE when compared to my skills in Monopoly). To my delight, I also bought a GLASS CHESS SET! Oh my god! I've always wanted one of these. Sadly, one of the kings broke. Whether it was originally broken when I bought it or what, I don't know, but luckily, my dad was able to glue the pieces back together. It looks AMAZING.

I can't wait to play against someone. Probably a friend or my sister. I was also cleaning out my desk shelf the other day and totally forgot that I had a few small gundam models that I once loved. And I guess I still do, just that I don't watch the anime religiously as I had done a few years back. They're still an impressive bunch though. Since they were the cheap models (like $10 each), there isn't a lot of detail on the models, but I love them, with the exception of the Freedom (the one on the left). It's just so big that it usually puts the gundam off balance. Not to mention that it has these huge wings which take up space.

Well, I've run out of things to say for this week, so I'll just leave it at that for now. Until next time.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Cold, wet, rainy day

Listening to: Narcissist - Hedley
Feeling: Happy
It's raining, cold and wet outside. It's a good thing that I'm inside. I do love watching the rain come down especially if it's a heavy downpour, but I prefer not to be in the middle of it. Not to mention curling up in a chair and pull out a book while sipping hot chocolate. Too bad that I'm out of books and out of hot chocolate. What's a girl to do? 

I had a pretty good day so far. Sure, waking up before 11am while there wasn't any school wasn't the greatest feeling, but I had a good time seeing my old bandmates and playing with them. Definitely missed them. Hung out with them until their lunch period was over and then came back home. I was originally thinking of hitting the gym, but since it's cold and gray outside, I changed my mind. Besides, my extremely-late fanfiction needs work anyway, so I decided to work on that instead.

I'm so sad that my break is almost over. School starts on monday, and while I'm a little excited about going to a new school (well, branch, I guess), I'm not looking forward to a busy course load.