Books + Coffee = Happiness

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Long weekend.. yes!!

Listening to: Take Off - 2PM
Feeling: Content
Ah, the long weekend. Finally. Waking up every school day at 6:30am was starting to take its toll on me. But thankfully, the weekend is here so I can catch up on sleep. Last night, I went to the night market with some friends and watched a cosplay fashion show. Some of the cosplays were really awesome. I really liked one who did cosplay of a character from Pandora Hearts and wielded this really cool red scythe. Another that I loved was Snow Villiers from FFXIII. There were some singing performances that I didn't like as much, but it was kinda cool that I could name some of the songs that they sang. There was a trivia thing going on where you could win tickets and I was tempted to go up, but I was worried that I wouldn't know the answers, so I didn't bother. Unfortunately, the questions were generally pretty easy such as, "What is the color of Charizard?" and "Who is the main character from Dragonball Z?" The girl who went up got the first question but was unable to answer the second, which resulted in me banging my head against KS' shoulder repeatedly. 

In between shows, we went around the stalls and bought some stuff. I stopped at this stall that sold really cool necklaces. Coincidentally, I was wearing a very similar style of necklace because my awesome sister had gotten it for me overseas, but I bought another necklace that had the eiffel tower on it.  

I also had for the first time, a potato hurricane stick. There were several seasonings you could choose such as Salt & Ketchup, Salt & Vinegar, Korean Spicy, White Cheese, Cheddar Cheese etc. But as a big fan of ketchup and potatos, that's what I chose. Eating it wasn't as hard as I thought. All you had to do was to kind of peel it away from the spiral. And had a red bean taiyaki, which is a japanese fish-shaped pastry, which was pretty good.

So yeah, yesterday was pretty awesome. What should I do today? It's kinda cold and grey outside, so I settled for making some instant miso soup and curling up on the computer chair and wrote for my fanfic. Should probably be doing some bio textbook reading, but I'll do that later.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Published June 7 2011 by Quirk Books

Goodreads Description
A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I've always been intrigued by the cover of this book. It just wasn't something that I saw everyday and it wasn't until that I actually picked it up to read it did I discover that the girl was actually floating in the picture. I had originally thought that it was just some sort of shadow behind her. Anyways, I read the summary inside the book jacket and was immediately taken in by the mysterious wording that promised a good suspense read and it was.

Originally, when I read the brief description mentioning "family tragedy" and "journeying to a remote island", somehow I pictured Jacob Portman being stranded there by a mechanical failure of a sort, but it wasn't like that. Instead, the book started off with Jacob listening to his grandpa tell incredibly unbelievable stories that left him hanging for each word. Some of them spoke of an invisible boy, whose clothes that he wore were the only aspect of him that were visible. Others included a boy who had bees living in his stomach and whenever he opened his mouth, they would fly out. Naturally, they were just stories, right? With his grandpa's age, it was even harder to believe those old stories. But when an unexpected event occurs, Jacob starts to question whether or not they were some form of truth.

By piecing together small hints that his grandpa gave, Jacob eventually ends up on the island in his grandpa's stories. And there, he discovers the ruins of the old children's home, where his grandpa had once stayed. At first glance, it seemed impossible that anyone could live there. And when Jacob asked around, it turned out that that very spot had been the location of a bomb during World War II and all its residents had perished. And yet, there was something about that home that called to Jacob, which leads him to meet the peculiar children, who had somehow escaped the disastrous event and were still living, nearly 70 years later... at the age that they were during that day.

The writing had me hooked right away. Everything was so suspenseful that I had to know more. What added to the book were the photographs that were a little terrifying, yet intriguing. They showed some of the peculiar children, who had very interesting talents, such as the ability to float, the talent of manipulating fire and various other skills. The way the photographs were taken were striking too. There was an air of mystery in them that made me anticipate what the next photograph would be like.

As awesome as the writing was, I did find some of the plot to be rather confusing and I was unable to keep up with what was going on exactly. For the characters, there wasn't a particular character that I felt attached to, since there wasn't a lot of detail for each of them, other than their peculiar abilities. And because of that, I bumped it down a few notches. Nevertheless, it was an interesting read and the photographs were definitely worth looking at.

Source: Borrowed
Rating: 4 coffee cups (Enjoyed it immensely)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Thank god it's the weekend!

Listening to: Baby I'm Sorry - B1A4
Feeling: Content
After a long week full of midterms and exams, I'm so so glad that it's over. This weekend has been pretty great so far and I'm a little sad to see it end. On Friday, I met up with JL and we hung out at a local Chapters, where I got some books to fill my bookshelf. It was definitely great to see high school friends again! After some catching up on each other's lives, we called it a day and I prepared for the next day, where I had the honor of meeting Richelle Mead, one of my favorite authors! For authors that I really love, I usually stalk them both on Facebook, twitter and their respective blogs and I'm really glad that I did this week. Due to exams, I wasn't on as much and I nearly missed her announcement that she was coming to a nearby city to do a signing. I did a double-take when I read the news (only like 3 days prior the exam), but after some denial, I realized that it was actually happening!

So I got to the bookstore two and a half hours early to see that there were already like 10-15 people ahead of me in the lineup waiting to see her. Amazing, huh? According to the staff, the first few people had been waiting even before the store opened. The wait was rather uneventful, but I spent the time reading over my bio lab teaching script and finally, we got to see her in person! Richelle did a brief reading of The Golden Lily, her newest book (that was released last week and that I was super pumped to read) before doing a Q&A session and finally the signing.

Unfortunately, due to the number of people (like 200 or so), she was only able to sign 3 books per person, so out of the 8 books that I own (by her), I could only get 3 signed. A little disappointing but understandable. Oh well, hopefully she'll come back again soon.

During the lineup, they also had a spray tattoo artist, so I went and got one. Originally, I debated on whether or not I should have the golden lily tattoo on my right cheek (like the way Sydney, a character from the book, had hers), but then once I saw that it lasted 3-4 days, I changed my mind and had it on my arm instead. It looks pretty sweet!

It was quite entertaining to see that some of the hardcore fans had gotten official VA gear such as t-shirts, book bags and other stuff. Some of them had the Team Adrian Ivashkov or the Team Dimitri Belikov thing going on. I should probably do a review on The Golden Lily soon, since I have so much that I want to say about this book. And another review for this other book called Miss Peregrine's Home for Particular Children by Ransom Riggs.

I really really can't wait for this week because another book that I've been dying to read (Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent) is being released this week!! And I won a pre-order of a copy from the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge so I hope I can get it soon!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Another Sunday

Listening to: La Campanella - Liszt
Feeling: Tired

Not much was done today other than cleaning out my hamster's cage, reading some reviews, and making mac & cheese, which I offered to my dad (since it's Father's Day and all), but this was kind of how the conversation went:

Me: "I'm making mac & cheese right now, you want some?"
Dad: -looks at the cheddar, the parmensan, the butter and the milk that is added- "No thanks. There's like a billion calories in there. It's so high in fat." 
Me: "I have yet to discover a mac & cheese that isn't high in fat."

It turned out alright, but I'm not a huge fan of mac & cheese and since I haven't had it in a while, I forgot what it was like. 

Spent the rest of the day going through some old videos of the variety show, We Got Married (season 1, of course), and alternating between studying for my midterms and final. While biology isn't so bad, psych is definitely really boring. Especially since it's everything that we've been through already, so it's just a review of concepts. But as boring as it is, it's mandatory because my psych class ends in a few days (which I cannot emphasize my joy that it is over!).

My fanfic chapters seem to get longer and longer recently, but I guess it's probably because there's been a lot of stuff going on, so I wanted to throw them all in. And I'm very thankful that the response has been really awesome. Only about 9 or so more chapters to go before I can go onto my next project. :)

I can't wait for the 26th because Before I Wake (Soul Screamers #6) comes out that day and I'm gonna go buy it in between my classes!

 Image credit: Google

Monday, 11 June 2012

Novella Review: Never to Sleep - Rachel Vincent

 Published January 1, 2012 by Harlequin

Goodreads Description:
Don't Close Your Eyes.

Sophie Cavanaugh is not going to let her freak of a cousin's strange psychiatric condition ruin high school for them both. Not after all the work she's put into cultivating the right look, and friends, and reputation. But then, Sophie sees something so frightening she lets out a blood-curdling scream—and finds herself stuck in a bizarre parallel world where nothing is safe and deadly creatures lurk just out of sight, waiting for her to close her eyes and sleep...forever.

Could this world be real? Or does insanity run in the family...?
Never to Sleep is a novella by Rachel Vincent that takes place between the events in If I Die (Soul Screamers #5).

When I first realized who the narrator was, my initial reaction was that of someone biting into a sour lemon. "Why Sophie?" I kept wondering. After all, she was my least-liked character in the Soul Screamers universe. I even liked Avari, the hellion of avarice better than her. But I gave it some thought and realized that out of all the characters that have been introduced, Sophie's the only one that has been kept in the dark and how frustrating that must be. So what would Rachel come up?

The short story starts out Sophie's recreational activities, such as dancing and enjoying the life on top of the social ladder, however, a surprising turn of events appear shortly after she crashes into a handsome individual by the name of Luca and everything turns for the worst when Sophie and Luca landed into a realm of nightmares. You guessed it: They landed in the Netherworld.

So generally, we get to see Sophie's rude introduction to a parallel world where the majority of plants desperately wanted to feed on you. And where you can never shut your eyes if you wanted to live. Was "insanity" a hereditary gene that Sophie had gotten from her crazy cousin, Kaylee? She apparently seems to think so because there's no way that this was all real. But unfortunately, it is. And Sophie has to come with terms with that or else risk never returning to her world where the scariest thing was the jealousy of your friends who wanted to be the "queen" of the social ladder.

Generally, Sophie's personality doesn't change in the slightest during this novella. There were many times that I could recall gritting my teeth because her voice is so annoying. She is a self-centered, conceited brat who can think of no one but herself. She blames Kaylee for ruining her life just because she could. I felt quite sorry for Luca who was stuck with her because Sophie was probably one of the worst people you could get stuck with in a world whose inhabitants wanted to eat you. But at the same time, I was amazed with his ability to put up with her because surely, if it was me, I would not have been able to do that. If you took her annoying commentary aside, it was almost refreshing to see what Sophie thought of the Netherworld. We already knew (for the most part) what Kaylee felt whenever she went there, but from someone who knew absolutely nothing, it was a different feel.

What I quite enjoyed in this novella was the mention of a certain imporant event in If I Die that had me rejoicing because it was only a matter of time that it happened. I was also quite surprised by the outcome of the novella and what Sophie learns by the end of it. Maybe her relationship with Kaylee will change because of it. Either way, we'll find out in Before I Wake (Soul Screamers #6).

Source: Owned
My Rating: 4 coffee cups (Enjoyed it immensely)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Busy busy busy..

Listening to: The Immortals - Two Steps from Hell
Feeling: Normal

It's been a while since I last posted anything, but the past week has been rather busy and it didn't help that I had a small cold that lasted for the first half of the week. Worst timing ever, considering I had a psychology midterm on Monday, an important psychology paper due on Wednesday and my biology papers due on Tuesday. However, after that, my week went smoother and definitely less stressful. One point however that caused some stress to rise in the stress meter was the fact that I didn't realize that I had to do something called Research Participation for my psychology class. It's worth 6% of our grade and what you have to do is take part in a research study held by older students or teachers. The studies are mainly less than half an hour, and they give you 1% of the 6%. In other words, you have to do 6 of those studies. Or you could do one hour studies which give you 2%, one and a half hours which give you 3% and so forth, though they are rarer. And you had to sign up for those sessions. If you missed your appointment, you would have to pay back those credits that you would have gotten. So, I've spent the last week running to and from research participation studies. Since the class is an intersession course, our teacher told us just the other day that we had to finish by June 18. Thankfully, at the moment, I've gotten 4 out of 6 percent. Only two more to go (which I've already booked.. so I'm pretty much in the clear).

With a midterm the next week and more midterms and a final the week after, it's going to be busy soon. So I took some time to go out to eat with my dad this afternoon. And this is what I ate... Tonkatsu Teppanyaki!! 

I'm really looking forward to Tuesday, June 12th because The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead will be released! And somewhat luckily, I have a 4 hour gap between classes that day, so I'll be heading off to the mall's bookstore to buy it/read it. I've been waiting since the release of Bloodlines, the first book in the series and that last line there, as casual as it may be to the unsuspecting, was like a bomb. Seriously, I nearly threw the book at the wall because of that one line. And to think, the release of the second book is ALMOST HERE!!!!

Lastly, I wanted to write something regarding my fanfic. I'm super super thankful to everyone who reads it and encourages me to continue writing it, because I really do love writing it, and it pleases me to no end to know that there's someone out there who cares about my story. And thank you, KG, for letting me bounce ideas off of you and working with me through them. I'm always worried that I'm boring you to no end with my constant jabbering about writing and fanfiction. Chapter 21 is on its way. 8 full pages down... about 3 or so more to go. (These chapters seem to get longer and longer) But in the meanwhile, even if no one sees this, I'm really thankful that people are willing to wait to read my stuff. You guys are bloody amazing!