Books + Coffee = Happiness

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

First World Problems

Listening to: Burn It to the Ground - Nickelback
Feeling: Exasperated
Some of my problems seem pretty insignificant to many others out there, but sometimes it's nice to let out some steam or in my case, a big sigh of disappointment, so I'll let out my issues here.

1) I saw these really cool Converse Two-Folds the other day at Foot Locker. They come in blue or red with various coverings. They were only $80 and there was a promotion going on, which included buy one, get second half off. And it just happens that my sister was also looking for a pair of shoes. So technically, I could get my Converses for $60+tax. So today, when I dragged my family into the store, my dad said he'd get them for me if I liked them, since I've been thinking of getting new shoes for a while now. The problem? When I tried them on, they were harder than I thought. I'm used to my super comfy Adidas (I swear, every pair of Adidas shoes that I've ever tried on are super comfy), so my feet protested at the discomfort of the Converses. WHY OH WHY? So, unfortunately, they had to go back onto the shelf.

 (They look kinda like this)

2) Today was the release day of two books that I've been waiting for. The problem? Even after nearly a day of impatient waiting, I go online to search for the titles to realize that Chapters doesn't have them in store!!! POURQUOI?! I need to know what happens to Varen Nethers! AGH. -lets out frustrated scream- I had been wanting to buy it (even as a hardcover) to read on my road trip. Because what else is there to do? The other book is an anthology with a  short story regarding the Vampire Academy world with Rose and Dimitri going to Russia. It's feels like forever since we've had anything with the two of them. Sighhhhhh. 

(The pink princess and the guy who reads Edgar Allan Poe)

3) My never-seen-before aunt is over visiting from Australia. The problem? I can't get out to see my friends. And unfortunately, school starts next week.

(I understand how you feel, Calvin. I do indeed)

4) With visiting family, it's eating out every day... sometimes for multiple meals, like today. The problem? I'm gonna go up a few pounds after this is all over... X_X Time to hit the gym!

I coulda sworn there were more stuff to complain about, but I guess that's it for this post.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Arts and Crafts Update IV

Listening: Runaway - Linkin Park
Feeling: Normal
It's been pretty busy lately with relatives coming over for the first time. First there was the cleaning, then the prepping and finally the packing for our 4 day road trip. I'm looking forward to that because oddly enough, I do like road trips. You just get to see a lot while on the road instead of going by plane. Got my clothes packed and of course, my books too. There's still one book I haven't put into my luggage and that will be because it's not released until the 28th. I really can't wait!! Need to find out the fate of the dark haired, green eyed boy who is trapped in the land of his nightmares.

I did these about a month ago, but I kept forgetting to put pictures up. First off, a yukimibotamon cellphone charm. Quite cute. Didn't take too long, though most of the time was used for waiting for the glaze to dry.

 Second will be a workshop that my friend persuaded me to go with her. It's really cool. You get to pick a ceramic object off their shelf and then you can personalize it with their paints before giving it to the staff to fire up. Prices vary depending on the item and it does get quite expensive since you have to also pay for the firing fee, but my friend had membership to the place, so she used her name (thank you CL!) and so I only had to pay for the cup itself. It was very fun and I'm really glad that I went.

Before firing:

After firing:

I wish I actually though of something to paint instead of choosing a picture I had saved as a wallpaper on my phone (found it off the internet), but still looks nice. The inside of the cup is painted sunshine yellow, the handle is a light pink (I wish I chose a darker shade) and the base of the cup is painted sky blue. No idea what I'm going to use the cup for.

A fun day

Listening to: Dragon Rider - Two Steps from Hell
Feeling: Happy
Didn't get a chance to update earlier, but it was a fun day. Filled with food, music scores, coffee, pets and t-shirts.
A "Caramello", which looks and tastes like a caramel macchiato.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Book Review: Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

Published in August 16 2007 by Razorbill

Goodreads description
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

This review has been pretty long overdue considering I first read it over two years ago, but due to a lack of books in the house, I decided to re-read the whole series and give a review to one of my favorite series out there. The first time I picked up this book, I was rather skeptical because as the title implies, it is about vampires. So I guess you can't really blame me for going, "Another one?" with an added eye roll. But anyway, after some searching, I found that this series came highly recommended and that there was a character who had the same name that I had been obsessed with ever since I saw 20th Century Fox's Anastasia (1997). And that name was Dimitri. And according to some of the Vampire Academy reviews that I had read, he was a sexy traffic-stopping-hot badass Russian vampire-killer, who was also a major character. So, I decided: Why not? You can't really go wrong with "Dimitri" in there... And words cannot describe how glad I am that I did pick it up over two years ago because my life would have not been complete without this series.

So first off, something that's nice to know before everything else is the terminology, which Richelle Mead does a fantastic job bringing into the story. 

"Moroi" are living good vampires who usually wield magic in the form of one of the four elements: air, water, earth and fire. They are generally peaceful and live among humans (and yes, they drink blood from willing victims in exchange for the endorphins that are released when a vampire feeds). Moroi are usually pretty tall, slender and pale.
"Dhampirs" are half human, human Moroi. They have the best of both races, given human traits (that are able to withstand the sun), athleticism, and immunity to most diseases like the Moroi. Dhampirs generally train to become bodyguards (AKA "guardians") for the Moroi to defend them against the Strigoi (explained below). Most dhampirs (but not all) are somewhat tanned (from training outside) and normally shorter than their Moroi counterparts.

"Strigoi" are the undead evil vampires. They are not born but created. There are two ways to become Strigoi: 1) If you were originally a Moroi, you had to drain the blood of your victim or 2) Be forcibly turned by another Strigoi which requires them draining your blood and feeding theirs back to you. As undead creatures, they can be of any race (Moroi, Dhampir or Human) and if they were originally Moroi, they have lost their magic with this change of existence. They love to feed on Moroi and they kill for no reason, so Dhampirs are trained to kill Strigoi.

Anyway, moving onto the plot. Vampire Academy centers around a Dhampir named Rose Hathaway and her best friend, the Moroi princess, Lissa Dragomir, the last of the Dragomir clan. Due to prior events in the book, as Lissa's to-be-guardian, Rose took Lissa away from St. Vladimir's, the boarding school they were originally at, from unseen danger, but after two years on the run, they were finally caught by the school's officials and dragged back. As the one who organized their getaway, Rose is given two choices: 1) Be expelled from the school and forced to live elsewhere or 2) Take supplementary combat lessons from one of the school's guardians. So not really a choice if Rose wants to be Lissa's guardian when she graduates. Obviously, she picks the latter and then becomes Dimitri's student. And the fun begins.
Rose is a super kick ass character. She's strong willed, takes on challenges, throws witty comebacks and her loyalty to Lissa never falters. Everything she does is for Lissa's sake. As her guardian-to-be, Rose wouldn't hesitate to risk her life to save her friend's. Due to the reason that she missed the last two years of guardian training, Rose struggles to match her classmates, but with her determination and will power, she is able to with Dimitri's help. When things start to go wrong shortly after their return to St. Vladimir's, Rose does everything in her power to find out what's going on to protect her friend. Although she can be a little hard to relate to, Rose's motives are generally good and her personality is always fun to read about. With her big dark eyes and her dark brown hair that seems nearly black in dim lighting, Rose often refers to her appearance as looking like a "semi-exotic desert princess". If I could cast her by just appearance alone, I'd pick Odette Yustman. I originally pictured Nina Dobrev as Rose, but Nina seemed a little too sweet and nice.

Next up: the reason why I read this book... Dimitri Belikov. He is a 24 year old (7 years older than Rose) dhampir guardian, with a faint Russian accent, gorgeous expressive chocolate brown eyes and chin-length hair that he often ties into a ponytail. He is also 6'7 and lean, muscular and physically fit. Deemed a "god" by some of the guardian novices, Dimitri has killed a fairly large number of strigoi and is normally rather anti-social. When he isn't on the job, Dimitri loves listening to old country music as well as music from the 80's. Never seen without his cowboy duster, Dimitri is also often seen sprawling on the floor while reading western novels, which Rose rolls her eyes at. Although he is very strict and has a no-nonsense attitude, Dimitri is very patient towards Rose and doesn't mind her snarky commentary as long as she does well in her training. He was first introduced as someone who was very mysterious and brooding, but as the events in the book take place, he shows some of his less-intense sides of his character to Rose, which the latter starts to have mutual feelings for him. Dimitri is very dedicated to his job and given the temporary role of Lissa's guardian, he looks after both Rose and Lissa with a careful eye. Picking an actor based solely on appearance, I'd say Ben Barnes, though the only problem would be their difference in physique. But that aside, Ben Barnes definitely has the right facial look.

When I first picked up this book, I was rather doubtful that I'd like it due to the sudden vampire hype that was going around, but I found that I couldn't put the book down as I got further and further into it. Richelle Mead did a great job keeping me interested and I love the interaction between Rose and Dimitri. The super serious mentor and the reckless student who is trying to find her place in the world. It was nice to see that both of them allowed the other to change for the better. Dimitri was able to soften up a little while Rose was able to lose some of her flamboyant attitude and become more dedicated to her rose as Lissa's future guardian.

I enjoyed learning more about Richelle Mead's vampire world as it is quite different from the other vampire stories that I've heard of. There was quite a lot of suspense throughout the story to keep the reader guessing and intrigued to learn more. What I didn't like as much was some of the flashbacks in the story which made it hard to keep track of what happened when. Although they were informative, it was a little difficult to know when they ended and you had to pay attention to the wording to realize that it was over. But everything else was fantastic and I agree with the rest of the book blogosphere that this series is highly recommended.

Source: Owned (and signed/personalized by Richelle Mead!)
My Rating: 4 coffee cups (Enjoyed it immensely)

Monday, 13 August 2012


Listening to: Good Time - Carly Rae Jepson & Owl City
Feeling: Really Happy
Had last exam today. My summer officially begins! (I'm ignoring those back to school commercials). I'll pull up a list of stuff to do later, but at the moment, this is how I feel (though to a lesser dramatic fashion)


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Airports, Shopping and Storms

Listening to: the rainstorm outside - nature
Feeling: Happy
Well, yesterday, my sister finally came home after her overseas job and we had to pick her up at a different airport than the usual one, so there was a bit of an adventure there, considering it was in the states. Waking up at 6am to cross the borders isn't very fun, but at least there wasn't any traffic.

Breakfast consisted of McD's at a nearby Walmart (sweet tea + s'mores pie + sausage mcmuffin), then some shopping at Walmart. Got a huge package of hamster wood chips, hamster food and some cheetos for me (Canada doesn't seem to have the jalapeno flavour :/). I wanted to get some books, but I either had the ones worth having or didn't want to own the ones that were being sold, so no books for me. It would have been nice if we could have stopped at Barnes & Noble (I LOVE THAT PLACE! IT'S LIKE A SECOND CHAPTERS), but we were afraid that we'd get lost on the way to the airport, so no book shopping either. Then chilling at a mall not too far away before heading closer to the airport. Did some more shopping along the way and I got myself a Converse t-shirt as well as lots of browsing.

Then McD's again for lunch. This is killing my health streak. Had fries as well as a cheeseburger. Then off to pick up my sis, B. Got lost on the way due to the lack of airport signs, so we ended up slightly late but oh well. B said she was hungry, so we went into another McD's. I got an Oreo McFlurry. My gr 9 math teacher once told us that McD's ice cream isn't really ice cream but whipped up fat and I don't know if that's true or not, but at the moment, ignorance is bliss. More shopping... then dinner at a nearby chinese food place that could be better before heading to Walmart to get more food (+ lots of candies!!) and going home.

It's been boiling hot the past few days so I'm really really really glad that it has decided to cool down for a bit as I can finally attempt to study without complaining about the heat. What is a bonus is that there's currently a thunderstorm as I type this, so it's super awesome. The heavy rain comes and goes, but I'd really wish it would stay because it gives me something to listen to that's not too distracting. I can't wait to finish my current fanfic so I can write the next one which does have something to do with rain storms because I love them. :) 

(Thank you B for getting me stuff that I had asked for, which would be the pens, and more, which is everything else)

I can't wait for the week to be over so I can enjoy the remainder of my summer!