Monthly Archives: May 2012

Review : Sassy nail art pens

I know I promised to review these nail art pens months ago, but I keep forgetting about them.  I apologize.

Anyway, I found these during one of my visits to Watsons and I couldn’t help but get every color. (I think they have more available, but these were the only ones Watsons had at the time.)  I couldn’t help myself, they were only P36!

Although they are packaged differently, these pen function just like my old Etude House nail art pens.  You squeeze them and a drop of nail polish comes out at the tip.  You can control the size of the dot depending on how hard you squeeze.

One thing I love about these pens is that they come with this pin-like stopper thing that prevents the nail polish from drying up inside the tips:

The red cap is attached to a tiny needle that goes inside the pen’s tip.  My Etude House pens don’t have these and their tips keep getting blocked, which is annoying.  I always end up having to soak them in nail polish remover just so I can get the nail polish out.

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Week 21/52 : Words can make a deeper scar than silence can heal

Just a random concept I thought of the other day. It’s a bit different from what I initially imagined, but I’m still pretty pleased with it. The hair on my face kinda bothers me a bit though. I mean it’s fine since I was going for the whole wind blown effect, but I wish it didn’t cover up my lips so much. I tried reshooting it with my hair tied up, but it didn’t look as good.

Anyway I’ve finally caught up on my 52-week project! Weeee~ Now I just have to make sure I don’t get lazy and fall behind again.

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Week 20/52 : Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

Theese past few weeks I’ve just been sitting around at home and reading whatever books I could get my hands on. I discovered that I really enjoy urban fantasies and paranormal romance. I didn’t even know those two genres existed until a few weeks ago. My current favorites are the Vampire Academy series (which you probably already know, seeing as I’ve mentioned it a number of times already) and the Georgina Kincaid series, both by Richelle Mead.

Anyway, I figured I’d do something book-related for my SP this week. I shot this earlier today in front of our garage. (I was actually planning to do the shoot in our garden but the heat was killer today so I decided to go somewhere with a bit more shade.) The book I’m holding is one I’ve never read before. It’s called “Slaves of Mastery” and it’s the second book from the Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson. I’ve never heard of it before but I found it at a booksale for P99 (~$2) and I bought it, not realizing that it’s part of a set. (I love booksales and whenever I see one, I usually end up walking away with a few purchases. Most of them end up collecting dust on my bookshelf because I’m too busy to read them. Ezra tells me that I should stop buying new books, at least until I’ve read all the other ones I’ve bought, but I just can’t help myself. Anyway I promised myself that I will get around to reading them all someday.)

As for the falling books in the picture, don’t worry, I didn’t actually start throwing my books in the air. They came from the following stock artists on deviantart:

And the quote in the title is by Jessamyn West

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Book Review : Georgina Kincaid Series

succubus cover german

I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of Richelle Mead’s writing.  True, I wasn’t very impressed with Bloodlines, but after Vampire Academy I knew I had to check out her other works.  I’ve been very into urban fantasies and paranormal romance lately, which is exactly what Richelle Mead is known for.

Like Vampire Academy, the Georgina Kincaid series is composed of six books:

  • Succubus Blues
  • Succubus on Top/Succubus Nights
  • Succubus Dreams
  • Succubus Heat
  • Succubus Shadows
  • Succubus Revealed

Before I give you my summary and thoughts on each one, here’s a brief idea of what the books are about (copied from Richelle Mead’s website):

As if love wasn’t hard enough! Imagine not being able to touch your boyfriend without sucking away his soul. Welcome to the world of Georgina Kincaid, a reluctant succubus living in Seattle who always seems to find herself in the middle of supernatural intrigue…

So yeah, the story focuses on Georgina Kincaid, a succubus who is forced by Hell to prey on innocent (and sometime not so innocent) men and steal their life energy for her own survival.  She’s been around since around the 4th century (if I remember correctly) and has mastered the art of seduction.  However, despite the promise of immortality and her deal with Hell, the only thing she really wants is to be human again and live a normal life with a family of her own.

Below are my thoughts on each book.  They are FULL OF SPOILERS so stay away if you plan on reading the books.

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SUCCUBUS BLUES

Before reading this picking up this series, I didn’t really know much about succubi and what they do, so I found the idea of shape shifting and seducing men (and sometimes women) to survive quite interesting. The books also features other immortals beings such as imps, angels, nephilims, vampires and demons.

One thing I found very interesting was the idea that although Heaven and Hell existed in this story, it showed that there is no distinct line that separates good and evil.  Georgina and her friends are good people, but they are minions of Hell and must therefore do evil things such as preying on mortals, even if they don’t want to.  Carter is an angel (an archangel to be more precise) and yet he is friends with many immortals from Hell, including the archdemon Jerome, and even tries to protect them when he can. Now while I found all this to be interesting, the series didn’t immediately hook me.  It took finishing the entire first book before I really started enjoying the story and liking the characters.

As for the romance in the book, I was quite happy with it.  As a succubus, Georgina catches the attention of many men, including Seth Mortensen, a famous author who she idolizes.  I was a bit annoyed at first because it was initially unclear who Georgina would choose from the men who went after her (Seth, Roman, Doug … I even thought she would end up with Carter or Jerome at one point), but it all became clear at the end.  (And speaking of the ending, I thought that note that Seth wrote for Georgina was very sweet, with the whole Thetis and Peleus reference.)

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SUCCUBUS ON TOP

The book opened up with Georgina receiving an award for fulfilling her succubus duties thanks to her deal with Jerome in Succubus Blues.  The readers are also introduced to Bastien, an old friend of Georgina who also happens to be an incubus.

Out of all the books, I think this one had the least magic and supernatural events.  Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of it to go around, but there weren’t any huge displays of power and magical battles or anything.  This book mainly dealt with three issues.  The first is the relationship problems between Seth and Georgina.  The two had started dating secretly, and it’s taking all their willpower to stop themselves from sleeping with each other.  It shows how the two are forced to deal to the fact that they must remain chaste with each other while knowing that Georgina is forced to be with other men in order to survive.

The second issue deals with how Doug, one of Georgina’s best friends, gets caught up in some drug addiction which turned out to be Ambrosia or Food of the Gods.  Georgina reports it to Jerome and Carter but unfortunately they cannot interfere without risking a war between supernatural forces.  The concept of a God providing mortals with ambrosia in exchange for sex was interesting, but the way Georgina took him down was a bit anti-climatic in my opinion.

The last issue is the task that Bastien has set out to do, which is to corrupt a hypocritical radio talk show host and expose her.  Out of the three issues, I found this to quite boring a bit annoying.  I wanted to see an incubus in action, how he lures and traps his prey, but in the end it was still Georgina who managed to figure out a way to finish the task and save Bastien while she’s at it.

Maddie (Doug’s sister) makes her first appearance in this book.  She shows up towards the end after Doug is hospitalized due to an overdose of ambrosia and decides to stay and take Georgina’s old position at the bookstore after Georgina’s promotion to manager.

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SUCCUBUS DREAMS

In this book, Georgina is plagued by dreams (or should I say “dream” because it’s always the same one), but not the bad kind.  They show her doing something as mundane as washing dishes and taking care of a daughter she wishes to have.  It also shows her greeting a faceless husband.  The dreams are pretty harmless unless you count the fact that each time she gets them she wakes up with her succubus energy drained.  After some investigation, she discovered that she was being preyed upon by Nyx, the goddess of the night.  With the help of Carter and a few angels, they manage to come up with a plan to capture Nyx and release Georgina from her spell, but not before Nyx tells her that the dreams were not simply dreams but are premonitions of future events.  Georgina wishes it to be true but knows that as a succubus, any chance of her living a normal life and having her own family is pretty much nonexistent.

In this book Georgina realizes how fragile human life is after Seth takes a bullet for her during a mugging.  Fortunately he survives, but the event causes the two to rethink their relationship.  In the end Seth decides to break up with Georgina to protect her from having to constantly worry about him, and begins to date Maddie.   This drives Georgina into losing all hope in everything good and she turns to the dark side by deciding to date Dante, a human psychic who has done several horrible things in order to strengthen his powers.

A bunch of new characters are introduced in the story, including Tawny (a new succubus), Yasmine (an angel), Vincent (a nephilim), Joel (another angel), and  Dante.   Niphon, the imp who bought Georgina’s soul in Succubus Blues, also makes an appearance in this book.  In the end they discover it was actually him who released Nyx and set her on Georgina.  His actions and sudden interest in Georgina’s love life causes Hugh to suspect that there might be something wrong with Georgina’s contract.  Unfortunately, there is no way to check it so the best they can do is speculate what could be the problem.

I found this book to be extremely captivating.  It’s definitely one of my favorites out of the entire series.  There was just so much going on and so many new characters that it was hard to not get caught up in everything.  Also, the possibility of Georgina being able to regain her soul due to a faulty contract made me so excited.  It was pretty clear that she wanted nothing more than to be human and to have a family, and now the readers are presented with the idea that it could happen after centuries of living the succubus lifestyle.

As for the ending, it took me completely by surprise.  I did not see that coming at all.  I was so pissed at Seth for doing what he did.  I know that Georgina goes around and sleeps with other men every few days, and that she’s been urging him to sate his lust with some other girl, but still!  To do it with someone Georgina considered to be a close friend is just so wrong.  So although I didn’t approve of it, I kinda understood why Georgina decided to turn to Dante for comfort at the end of the book.

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SUCCUBUS HEAT

After having her heart ripped apart in the previous book, Jerome orders Georgina to start seeing a therapist to get rid of some of her anger and depression.  Unfortunately she thinks the whole thing is stupid and ends up sleeping with her therapist.  Jerome is displeased and as punishment he sends her over to Canada to work for another archdemon who has been having problems with a Satanist group called the Army of Darkness.  Through some investigation, Georgina discovers that the Army of Darkness is being controlled by some “Angel” who is using them to create distractions while she made arrangements to gain power by “summoning” Jerome (AKA trapping him inside a box like some genie) and taking over as archdemon.  During Jerome’s absence, all immortals under him lose their powers temporarily.  Roman reappears in this story and works with Georgina to free Jerome from captivity.  In exchange, he asks Jerome and Carter for amnesty and that he be allowed to live in Seattle without the fear of being hunted down by the archdemon and archangel.

Despite everything that’s going on, Seth and Georgina realizes Jerome’s absence is the perfect time for them to consummate their love without the risk of Georgina stealing Seth’s life energy.  Unfortunately, this meant that Georgina and Seth both cheat on their respective partners.  While this doesn’t do much damage to Georgina’s soul, Seth cheating on Maddie (several times) pretty much assured him a place in Hell.  Overcome with guilt, Seth ends up proposing to Maddie.

Now while it’s pretty clear that Seth and Georgina are meant to be, I definitely don’t condone cheating.  And I’m glad that the book showed that their actions lead to terrible consequences, such as the corruption of Seth’s soul.  As for Georgina, her boyfriend’s actions almost killed her, so I suppose that was punishment enough.

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Kupo connection

I’ve been feeling a bit restless these past few days (probably because I haven’t been out of the house since last Sunday) so as soon as I woke up yesterday, I texted Brinks and asked her if she wanted to go get a facial with me.  She was actually planning on going shopping that day with her brothers, but they decided to bail so hooray for me.  She agreed to come with me as long as in return I go with her to get her hair cut.  I picked her up around 3pm and we headed over to SM Calamba.   It’s pretty far but I needed to drop by Watsons and go grocery shopping anyway so we figured it was the best choice.

Yesterday’s outfit.  It felt good to get a chance to dress up and be girly after lounging about in oversized t-shirts and shorts the entire week.

We got stuck in traffic (as usual) so we took pictures to pass the time.  Brinks kept laughing at me because after spending the whole week at home, I got a bit claustrophobic inside the car and had to open the window to be able to breathe properly.

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Week 19/52 : Sometimes you wake up from a dream. Sometimes you wake up in a dream. And sometimes, every once in a while, you wake up in someone else’s dream.

Quick picture Ezra took of me during our vacation last week in Bohol.  We didn’t have time to do a shoot, but we did manage to get a few SP-worthy shots. This was taken during our first day there, as we explored the beach at our resort. We found this little wooden couch-like thing which Ezra dubbed “The Armadillo Chair“.  The bottom picture is a shot of our resort from when we went glass-bottom boating on our 3rd day there.

The quote I used for my title came from the book Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead. I just finished reading her Georgina Kincaid series and I absolutely love it~

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(EZRA) 19/52 : A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets

Our family went to Bohol last weekend to celebrate my parents’ 28th anniversary.  They’ve both been to Bohol plenty of times before (they even had their honeymoon there) so they decided it’s about time Ezra and I visit the place.  We stayed at the Panglao Blue Water Beach Resort, which was BEAUTIFUL!  And all the people there were so nice.  I wish we could have stayed longer.

Title from a quote by Gloria Stuart from the movie Titanic.

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Favorite quotes from the Vampire Academy series

It’s been over two weeks and I’m still on a Vampire Academy high.  I can’t help it, Richelle Mead is just so awesome!  Since I can’t get the books off my mind, I figured I might as well make an entry which consists of favorite quotes and moments from the series.  Enjoy!

VAMPIRE ACADEMY

“Hey Mason, wipe the drool off your face. If you’re going to think about me naked, do it on your own time.” –Rose

 “You got cheap foreign labor to protect Lissa?” – Rose

“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”

“I love pity parties. I wish I’d bought the hats.” –Christian

“I couldn’t be Mason’s girlfriend because when I imagined someone holding me and whispering dirty things in my ear, he had a Russian accent.” -Rose

Lissa : What are you doing here?

Christian : Taking in the sights, of course. That chair with the tarp on it is particularly lovely at this time of year. Over there, we have an old box full of the writings of the blessed and crazy St. Vladimir. And let’s not forget that beautiful table with no legs in the corner.

Mason : Maybe they were hooking up.

Rose : He was a SAINT.

Mason : So? Saints probably like sex too. That ‘brother and sister’ stuff is probably a cover. See? They were ‘bound’ together. It’s code.

“The Battle cry sort of gave you away. Try not to yell next time.” -Dimitri

“I like him.”

“Like or like?”

“Oh, there’s a difference?”

“Yes. Like is when you date a big, blond moron and laugh at his stupid jokes.” Then, out of nowhere, he leaned forward and kissed her. It was hot and fast and furious, an outpouring of the rage and passion and longing that Christian always kept locked inside of him. Lissa had never been kissed like that… he made her feel so much more alive than Aaron or anyone else could. Christian pulled back from the kiss but still kept his face next to hers. “That’s what you do with someone you like.”

“No. If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.”-Dimitri

FROSTBITE

“What’s your name?”

“What?” I asked, squinting at the light.

“Your name.” I recognized Dr. Olendzki peering over me.

“You know my name.”

“I want you to tell me.”

“Rose. Rose Hathaway.”

“Do you know your birthday?”

“Of course I do. Why are you asking me such stupid things? Did you lose my records?”

Dr. Olendzki gave an exasperated sigh and walked off, taking the annoying light with her. “I think she’s fine.”

“Do not do that again,” he said stiffly.

“Don’t kiss me back then,” I retorted.

He stared at me for what seemed like forever. “I don’t give ‘Zen lessons’ to hear myself talk. I don’t give them because you’re another student. I’m doing this to teach you control.”

“You’re doing a great job,” I said bitterly.”

“Sweat isn’t a bad thing. Some of the best things in life happen while sweating. Yeah, if you get too much of it and it gets old and stale, it turns pretty gross. But on a beautiful woman? Intoxicating. If you could smell things like a vampire does, you’d know what I’m talking about. Most people mess it all up and drown themselves in perfume. Perfume can be good…especially if you get one that goes with your chemistry. But you only need a hint. Mix about 20 percent of that with 80 percent of your own perspiration…mmm. Dead sexy.” -Adrian

“Not into older guys, huh?” asked Adrian once we were alone.

“You’re imagining things,” I said. “Clearly, my stunning beauty has clouded your mind.”

“There’s nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what’ll happen to you. Your own imagination can be crueler than any captor.”

“We can’t stop living because other people are dead.”

“Rose only hangs out with guys and psychopaths,” said Mia.

“Well,” he said cheerfully, “since I’m both a psychopath and a guy, that would explain why we’re such good friends.”

“Too bad. Family members hit you by accident. Psychopathic whores tend to come back for more.”

“I felt like someone had ripped my heart out and tossed it across the other side of the room. There was a burning, agonizing pain in my chest, and I had no idea how it could ever be filled. It was one thing to accept that I couldn’t have Dimitri. It was something entirely different to realize someone else could.”

Across the room, Christian met my yes. Somehow, his face looked even gaunter than it had a couple of hours ago. Hunger burned in his gaze, and I knew I wore the complementary one : a desire to sate that hunger. God. We were so screwed. I think Christian realized it at the same time. His lips twisted into a bitter smile.

“You never looked so good Rose,” he managed, just before the guards told him to shut up.

“I’ll see you later Roza.”

“At our next practice?” I asked. “We are starting those up again, right? I mean you still have things to teach me.”

Standing in the doorway, he looked over at me and smiled. “Yes. Lots of things.”

SHADOW KISS

“My cigarettes and I are going outside. At least they show me respect.” -Adrian

Adrian: “Oh my God. A kind word from Rose Hathaway, I can die a happy man.”

Rose : “What are you saying that I’m normally an ungrateful bitch?” (silence) “Hey! Not cool.”

Eddie : “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you just defended Christian’s honor. Isn’t he a pain in the ass?”

Rose : “Yes he is. But for the next 6 weeks he’s MY pain in the ass.”

Adrian: What do you think, little dhampir? I was pretty badass with that plant, wasn’t I? Of course it would have been more badass if I’d, I dunno, helped an amputee grow a limb back. Or maybe separated Siamese twins. But that’ll come with more practice.

Rose: If you want some advice-which I’m sure you don’t-you guys should lay off on the magic. Christian still thinks your moving in on Lissa.

Adrian : What? Doesn’t he know that my heart belongs to you?

Rose : It does not. And no, he’s still worried about it, despite what I’ve told him.

Adrian : You know, I bet if we started making out right now, it would make him feel better.

Rose : If you touch me, I’ll provide you with the oppritunity to see if you can heal yourself. Then we’d see how badass you really are

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My flat iron died today. May it rest in peace…

I’m not really sure what happened.  It was working fine when I used it last night, but when I turned it on to style my hair this morning, it refused to cooperate.  I plugged it in and gave it time to warm up as I applied my makeup, but when I grabbed it to straighten my bangs, the plates were not hot at all.  In fact, they were barely warm.  I’m not even sure if the little heat on them was due to the iron trying to warm itself up, or because it absorbed some of hot air from this heat wave we’ve been having lately.  Anyway, it definitely wasn’t enough to straighten anyone’s hair.  (Not that I didn’t try.  But I might as well have taken two books and used that to style my bangs for all it did, tch.)  Anyway, I did a quick search online and the most reasonable explanation I found was that the heating filament inside has finally burned out.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.  After all I’ve been using this flat iron almost everyday for the past 6 years.  (It was one of my first purchases after I got a job.)   I suppose  it’s about time I get a new one.

I texted my sister to tell her about the untimely demise of my poor flat iron and she replied “Haha, say hello to poofy bangs!”  How terribly sensitive of her.  Hmph.  Sorry to disappoint you Ezra, but there’s no way I’m letting that happen.  Thank goodness I have this little guy:

My mini Conair flat iron.  I bought it back in 2009 when we went to California because I thought it would be a useful thing to have when I travel.  It’s tiny, comes with a heat protectant pouch, and it’s dual-voltage too!  (Whenever we visit the states, Ezra and I always end up having to borrow Kurt’s flat iron because ours operate on 220V and American outlets run on 110V…)

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Book Review : Bloodlines

 

I’ve already stated numerous times here on my blog how much I loved the Vampire Academy series. But there were so many unanswered questions at the end of the last book that even though I wasn’t ready to let go of Rose and the other characters, I immediately picked up Bloodlines just to find some answers.

Basically this is a spin-off of VA and it picks up right around where Last Sacrifice left off – with Lissa elected as queen. Bloodlines focuses on Sydney, the alchemist that Rose met in Blood Promise during her search for Dimitri. With the discovery that Jill is half Dragomir, Lissa gains full power over the Moroi court. Unfortunately, some refuse to accept her and will do what they can to remove her from the throne, including murdering the Dragomirs. As queen, Lissa is heavily guarded at all times, presenting her as a difficult target to those who wish to get rid of her, so the assassins go after Jill. Until a new law is passed which will allow Lissa to rule without the presence of living relatives, Jill needs to remain alive and safe for Lissa to hold the throne. For her safety, Jill is sent to a private human boarding school in Palm Springs, along with Eddie, Adrian and Sydney – posing as siblings – to protect her.

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MY THOUGHTS:

Okay, I have to be honest here, while I still believe that Richelle Mead is a wonderful writer, I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I was with the Vampire Academy series. Yes, it did have plenty of mystery and a decent plot, but that was about it. It lacked action, magic, romance and strong characters. I’m not saying it was horrible, just that it wasn’t really what I was expecting, especially after VA.

I suppose the main reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I should have is because I’m just not a huge fan of Sydney. Sure I thought the concept of Alchemists were interesting, but she never really stood out for me in Vampire Academy, so I don’t really understand why the author chose her to be the main character for Bloodlines. She was likeable enough, but she wasn’t someone I grew to love in the story. I found that as I read the book, I seriously began to miss Rose’s confidence and snarky attitude. I enjoyed reading about her because she was someone willing to take big risks for people she cared about. And the fact that she can kick major Strigoi butt definitely made me love her more. In comparison, Sydney’s character was a bit too straight-laced and (for lack of a better word) boring. She was unsure of herself and was a strict follower of rules. Even she herself acknowledged that she behaved more like a mother than a friend or “sister” to Jill and Eddie. I understand that this mainly has to do with how she was raised by her father and the Alchemist society, and I suppose this makes her a responsible role model for many young girls out there, but as a reader I still prefer reading about characters who are confident (and a bit badass). On the plus side, I did see a lot of personal growth from her in the story. As the book progressed the readers could she that she’s slowly starting to accept that not all Moroi and Dhampirs are evil creatures, and that not all magic is bad. And although she’s nowhere near as impulsive as Rose, she did take some risks in the story to uncover what was really going on with the tattoos and the mysterious Moroi deaths. I think the time away from her father and the rest of the Alchemists is doing her a lot of good, and making her question everything she’s been taught as a child. I’m hoping this will continue in the next books.

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