“My name is Nastya Kashnikov.
I was a piano-playing prodigy…
I was murdered two and a half years ago.
I barely have time to sleep these days but I will never forgive myself if I don’t make a review for this book.
I picked this up because it had high ratings on Goodreads, although that’s not always a good indication of whether I will end up liking a story or not, especially in the YA romance genre. I’ve come across some highly recommended books which I couldn’t stand, especially during these past few months. It’s like some authors these days just come up with two random (and incredibly attractive) teens, have them declare their undying love for one another (usually after they get over their initial animosity), throw in some crappy dialogue and a steamy sex scene and call it YA romance. Bonus points if one (or both) these characters have fangs, wings, tattoos or magic powers. That seems to be the formula for popular YA romance these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love YA-romance and I’m a huge fan of PR/UF, but these days it seems like some authors are simply relying on the popularity of these genres and ignoring the quality of the stories. But thankfully, The Sea of Tranquility was nothing like that. In fact, here are the very words that Nastya used in the book:
“I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.”
Before we go any further, here’s my quick summary of what the story is about:
Nastya and Josh are two very damaged teens who struggle with living with the ghosts of their past. Nastya was a beautiful piano prodigy whose dreams shattered after being attacked and brutally beaten up by a random stranger. Josh was a vibrant young man who was forced to grow up quickly due to the death of his family. Their tragic pasts leave them both empty shells of the people they used to be. Josh became a loner who doesn’t talk to anyone unless he needs to, and Nastya doesn’t talk at all, period. Together they find comfort in each other and help each other see that there are still some things worth living for.
The Sea of Tranquility takes the reader on an emotional journey through Nastya’s and Josh’s grief and pain. We see them grow and struggle with their past, and most importantly, we see them heal and find happiness. It’s hard to imagine how a friendship between two people can grow so deep without talking, but the characters in this book showed us that it was possible. Not easy, but definitely possible.
I made a review for this book a few weeks ago, and I promised that I would post some of my favorite quotes here on my blog. I had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted since the book was written so beautifully that I just wanted to quote the entire thing in this entry. But I’ve narrowed it down to these :
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
“That’s the thing about pain…it demands to be felt.”
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”
“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”
“You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
Still extremely busy, but I just can’t NOT write a quick review about this book.
First of all, a quick summary:
The story focuses on Hazel, a 16 year old girl who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer but managed to survive due to an experimental drug. She’s alive but not really living. Her lungs “suck at being lungs” and therefore she’s attached to her oxygen tank 24/7. She spends most her days staying at home and watching America’s Next Top Model. Her mother comes to the conclusion that Hazel is depressed and urges her to start attending a cancer support group to try to make new friends. There she meets Augustus Waters, a witty and gorgeous cancer survivor. They discover things they have in common, become friends and eventually fall in love.
(Okay, I know that that was a really vague summary, but I didn’t want to give too much away…)
In the story, Hazel and Augustus read a book called An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. It’s about a girl named Anna, and just like Hazel and Augustus, she has cancer. The book is supposedly so well written that Hazel and Augustus become obsessed with it. In fact, here are the exact words Hazel used to describe her love for the book:
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
(I totally know how that feels btw XD)
Peter Van Houten ends An Imperial Affliction midsentece, causing the readers to wonder what happened to Anna and the rest of the characters in the book. While I was reading The Fault In Our Stars, I seriously thought An Imperial Affliction was an actual book. I even looked it up online and found a Goodreads entry for it. It was only after I finished TFIOS that I discovered that John Green made the book up for his story, and the Goodreads entry I found was fan-made. Anyway, while most readers wonder about what happened to Anna in AIA (did she die? did she get too weak to continue her story?), Hazel and Augustus are more concerned about what happened to her mother, and even her hamster. I thought this was strange at first, until I realized that Hazel and Augustus both see themselves in Anna and are worried about what would happen to their own mothers (and loved ones) when they eventually lose their battle with cancer. Most readers focus only on the pain felt by the person dying, and we often forget to think about the heartache that their loved ones would go through after that person is gone. I’m fortunate enough to never have lost someone I care so very deeply about, but I can imagine how it would feel like. I think John Green did a excellent job of describing the pain:
“When you go into the ER, one of the first things they ask you to do is rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, and from there they decide which drugs to use and how quickly to use them. I’d been asked this question hundreds of times over the years, and I remember once early on when I couldn’t get my breath and it felt like my chest was on fire, flames licking the inside of my ribs fighting for a way to burn out of my body, my parents took me to the ER. The nurse asked me about the pain, and I couldn’t even speak, so I held up nine fingers.
Later, after they’d given me something, the nurse came in and she was kind of stroking my head while she took my blood pressure and said, “You know how I know you’re a fighter? You called a ten a nine.”
But that wasn’t quite right. I called it a nine because I was saving my ten. And here it was, the great and terrible ten, slamming me again and again as I lay still and alone in my bed staring at the ceiling, the waves tossing me against the rocks then pulling me back out to sea so they could launch me again into the jagged face of the cliff, leaving me floating faceup on the water, undrowned.”
-John Green, The Fault In Our Stars
As you probably know (if you read my blog), Ckloy gave me an iPod last March, which I use mainly to read ebooks. (My favorite iPod app would definitely have to be Stanza.) I’ve always enjoyed reading but I don’t always have space in my purse for a book, so I love the fact that my iPod is so tiny that I don’t even need a purse sometimes, I can just keep it in my pocket. I never realized how much time is wasted waiting in line at the grocery, being stuck in traffic, arriving early at a meeting place when going out with a friend, etc. So now, instead of just standing/sitting around and staring in to space, I just read. Books have saved me from boredom numerous times. Because of this, I’ve gone through quite a number of them over the past year.
To keep track of the books I’ve read (most of them were book series), I decided to make a Goodreads account. I figured it’s also a good way to get recommendations based on the books I’ve read and liked. Anyway, I thought i’d share with you some of my reads from 2012, and my ratings for each one:
Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins) – I normally don’t enjoy dystopian novels, but I loved this series and I even made a review for it HERE. The concept of the games and the TV show was just brilliant. 5 out out 5 stars. (I read this before Ckloy gave me my iPod so I have the physical copies of the books.)
Uglies series (Scott Westerfield) – This was the first series I read on my iPod. I found it while searching for book recommendations online. Supposedly it’s reminiscent of the Hunger Games, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I read the first three books (Uglies, Pretties and Specials) but I skipped The Extras. I liked the concept behind the story though. I thought the idea of living as an “Ugly” until you turn 16 and getting a mandatory surgery after that to become “Pretty” was interesting It actually made me think about what’s happening in the world at the moment. These days, getting cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more socially acceptable. It’s not that hard to imagine a future where everyone will be expected to go under the knife to make themselves prettier. I give the series 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Vampire Academy series (Richelle Mead) – If you read my blog, you probably know how obsessed I was with this series. I’m not going to talk about it again in this entry, so you can read just go and read my review HERE if you’re interested. I gave it 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Georgina Kincaid series (Richelle Mead) – After reading Vampire Academy, I looked up Richelle Mead and found that she wrote two other series for adults (Vampire Academy was Young Adult) so I decided to try those as well. I’m glad I did because I I loved the Georgina Kincaid series. I gave it 4.8 out of 5 stars in my review (which you can read HERE)
Dark Swan series (Richelle Mead) – The last complete Richelle Mead series. I really enjoyed the story and the concept behind the book, but the protagonist irritated me so I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars. (Read my review HERE.).
The Immortals #1 : Evermore (Alyson Noel) – I tried reading this because it came up in my book recommendations but I abandoned it after about 3 chapters. It was a little too shallow for my liking. I couldn’t stand how insecure the main character was. This was Young Adult so perhaps I would have enjoyed it if I read it back when I was younger. 1 out of 5 stars.
Demonica series (Larissa Ione) – Another book series I picked up because it came highly recommended on Goodreads. It was alright I suppose. I prefer reading books with a female protagonist, but I enjoyed it anyway. I should probably warn you that this is definitely NOT Young Adult. The book titles alone should be a dead giveaway of how much sex the story contain (Pleasure Unbound, Desire Unchained, Passion Unleashed, etc). But this shouldn’t come as a surprise since the main characters are incubi/succubi. 3.5 out of 5 stars. (more…)
It’s a bit late, but HAPPY 2013 everyone! I meant to do this earlier but I’ve been trying to savor the last few days of my vacation. Classes resume in two days so I figured I should finish this now or risk not doing it at all.
I mentioned in my 2011 recap that that was one of my most challenging and difficult years, so I’m happy to report that 2012 was the exact opposite. The past year has been wonderful to me! Everything I’ve worked for and all the challenges I faced in 2011 were worth it because they all helped make 2012 amazing.
Anyway, here are some of the moments that made 2012 so memorable for me:
- Welcomed 2012 with our relatives in California
- Went tubing at Big Bear Snow Play
- Started Skype-ing daily with Ckloy
- Celebrated Chinese New Year with my family
- Cut my hair because it was so damaged
- Attended the “Hopes in the Sky” flying lanterns event for Typhoon Sendong victims
- Attended the February Fair with Ezra and my mom
- Agreed to let Ezra cut my bangs. (There’s actually a more meaningful reason behind this besides vanity, but I’m not quite ready to share it with the rest of the world just yet …)
- Baked Valentine cookies with Ezra for the first time
- Found an owl in our backyard
- Attended Kat’s thesis proposal defense in UPD
- Submitted my final thesis manuscript to UPD! :D
- Ckloy gave me my iPod touch (which I love so much)
- Attended Ezra’s thesis defense
- Learned how to download ebooks on my iPod and started loving reading again
- Watched The Hunger Games with Ckloy
- Ezra passed her compre exam
- Parents bought me my early graduation present : my Samsung Galaxy SII
- Amie and I graduated from UP Diliman with our MS degrees in Material Science and Engineering!!!! Weeeee~
- Ezra graduated from UPLB with her MS degree in Education Management
- My obsession with Vampire Academy (and Richelle Mead) began
- Ezra and I had lots of graduation events like getting our grad picts taken and having our graduation party
- Bonding time with Deus and Raffy as we watched the Marvel movies together in anticipation of the Avengers movie
- Went biking around UPLB with Deus and Raffy
- Celebrated Aprille’s birthday at LBDH
- Re-applied for a teaching job at the university
If you read my blog, you may have noticed that I have a *little* interest in photography. Even as I child I loved the feeling of being able to capture the world as I see it. Most of what I know about photography comes from friends and the internet. And although I’ve learned a lot from them, I figured it was about time I get some formal training. So when Vesma told me that Jay enrolled in a photography workshop and was looking for other people to join, I immediately signed Ckloy and me up (since I knew how much he loved photography too).
We attended the 3rd FPPF Basic Photography Workshop held by the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation Inc. (FPPF) here in Los Banos. It’s a 5-day workshop which tackled topics like the technical aspects of your camera, basic lighting theory, elements of design and digital post processing. We had a different lecturer for each day and we met every Sunday at Matrix Photostudio from August 12 to September 9.
Our first lecturer was Mr. Ador Paminutan. He started off with a presentation on the history of photography, then he taught us how to handle our cameras. He also gave us advice on what settings to use in different situations.
His lecture was very hands-on and dealt mostly on the technical stuff, which I enjoyed a lot
Look at Ckloy being so attentive XD
We were provided with notebooks so we could write down important information during the lectures
Sir Ador taught us about ISO, white balance, aperture, shutter speed, etc.
My attempt at panning
Playing around with the white balance
I really enjoyed our first day. A lot of people have tried to discourage me from enrolling in a basic photography class since they think that I can learn these things through the internet, but it’s just not the same as having an actual person in front of you talking about their experiences. We asked a lot of questions and discovered many of new things about our cameras.
Our second day focused on composition
Our lecturer was Mr. Amir Alba. He was Ckloy’s favorite. Like Sir Ador, he shared some of his own experiences and gave us lots of helpful tips for shooting in different conditions.
We had a practice portrait shoot outside that afternoon. Unfortunately we didn’t have a model available so Sir Amir “volunteered” me for the job. I was willing to help out, even though it felt super awkward posing in front of so many cameras! (But at least I now have an idea what celebrities on the red carpet feel. J/K!)
Naturally I wasn’t able to take photos during the shoot, but here’s one that was taken by one of our classmates, Ms. Len:
I couldn’t resist grabbing it from her Facebook because it was one of my favorite shots from that day. Thanks Ms. Len! (If I had known I was going to get dozens of pictures taken that day I would have chosen something nicer to wear. I dressed really casually that morning because I knew we had a practice shoot scheduled and I wanted to be comfortable… I never expected that I would be on the other side of the camera.)
I didn’t get much practice, being the subject and all, but here’s a quick shot I took of Ckloy outside the studio:
(Our lecturer asked us to submit our best shot from the practice shoot, and since I didn’t have one of myself, I submitted this XD)
Our third day was lead by Mr. Joey Tanedo, a professor of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman
He talked about the elements of design and how we should compose our photos to make them visually pleasing
An illustration of how darker colors appear to “move away” while lighter colors “move forward”
These entries were actually written sometime in July/August 2007. But instead of dumping it together with my other old entries, I decided to make a separate post for these since they were all HP-related. (These were my reviews for the final book of the Harry Potter series.)
Title : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1)
Date : July 24, 2007
NOTE: This is to let you know that I will not be giving out spoilers in this entry. I hate spoilers more than you can imagine and I know the joys of discovering a story’s secrets by yourself. I will mainly be talking about my feelings about the book. However, if you’re like me, someone who wants to experience all the good things firsthand, you still might not want to read this. That way when you read the book, you’ll have your own thoughts and feelings with you. But, again, no spoilers here.
So I got my copy on the evening of the 22nd (around 7:30pm), one day after the actual release date. It sucks, I know. Because by that time three people have already texted me saying that they’ve finished the book, while I haven’t even started. The reason for the delay was that there was a misunderstanding between my Dad and I on when the book would be released. But in the end I figured I could survive another day without it, as long as no one spoils the story for me.
I was actually at a resort when the book arrived here at home. My father texted me around 5pm saying that the driver has delivered the book to our house. But I promised my sister that I would stay until around 6pm (I was her official driver). By 7:30, I had the book in my hands and a mixture of emotions filled me up. Naturally there was excitement, for finally getting my copy. Then there was fear that I might not like how Rowling would end Harry’s journey. And of course there was sadness knowing that this was the last book of the series. However, these feelings were nothing compared to the rollercoaster of emotions I went through as I read the final installment of Harry’s tale.
(Gosh, it’s getting quite hard to keep to that no-spoiler promise of mine … but don’t worry …)
All I can say is that JK Rowling has one hell of an imagination. She remains as unpredictable as she did throughout the entire series. (Although some of my predictions were sort of correct … hmm …). But most of the time, just when you think the story will unfold in one way, it goes off in completely the opposite direction!
As I’ve mentioned in my last blog entry, my birthday was last week. Unfortunately I had classes from 7am to 6pm that day, so by the time I was done with work I wasn’t really in the mood to go out. Also, my mom was out of the country then, so I decided to just have a quiet dinner at home with Ezra, my dad, Gilbert and Amie, and save the celebration for when my mom returned. But before she left, she and my dad made sure that my birthday present was taken care of. So meet my new baby:
Canon EOS 60D! (He doesn’t have a name yet, and I’m not sure if he’ll ever get one. I had my old Rebel XTi for 4 years and I never gave him a name – I just called him “Rebel”. Maybe I’ll ask Ezra to help me think of a name for this guy, she’s good at that.)
Anyway, you’ve probably already seen him in my previous blog entry, but here are some more shots of him:
It has an LCD panel which shows the current settings you are using. You can also adjust the drive, AF, ISO and metering modes here by just pressing the respective button and using the dial. I haven’t really gotten used to this yet since I normally have to look at the monitor with my old camera and make the changes there, but I suppose this is helpful for quick adjustments.
I went with the 18-135mm kit lens since my dad bought a new 18-55mm to replace my old broken one.
I just finished reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I’ve already mentioned it a couple of times here on my blog already (my last 2 self portraits were inspired by it) but I just love it so much that I had to squeeze in this short review despite my busy schedule. I’m supposed to be working right now so instead of wasting time trying to come up with a new summary, I’ll just give you guys a paraphrased version of what I wrote earlier in my previous entries:
The books focus on the life of MacKayla Lane, a 22-year old girl living an average life in the small town of Ashford, Georgia. The story begins when her sheltered life is turned upside down after her sister, Alina (who was studying in Ireland), had been murdered. Before she died, Alina managed to leave behind a cryptic message telling Mac that she was not what she thinks she is, and that they needed to find the Sinsar Dubh to before it’s too late. Mac had no idea what the Sinsar Dubh was, but she leaves her world of designer clothes, makeup and parties behind and heads off to Dublin to embrace the darkness and find her sister’s murderer. Searching for her sister’s killer in a foreign land is hard enough, but things get even more complicated when she discovers that Alina’s murderer might not have been human at all. Mac soon learns that she has the ability to see Fae and detect what she calls Fae OOPs (objects of power). During her quest for revenge, Mac comes across the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the seductive Fae-prince, V’lane. Both men have been looking for the Sinsar Dubh (which turned out to be some sort of evil book) for their own personal agendas for centuries, and upon learning that Mac can sense its presence, they try to convince her to assist them in their search for it. Mac is more concerned about her sister’s murderer but agrees to help find the book after learning that the fate of humanity strongly depends on it.
The books are all about Mac’s journey as she learns more about Fae history while discovering who she is and what her role is in this world. The series is composed of 5 books, to be read in this order:
I wish I could talk more about each individual book like I usually do, but I barely even have time to write this short review. However, I can tell you that I loved every single one. I didn’t really expect to like this series at first (Faes are not really my thing, I’m more of a vampire/demon kind of girl) but somehow I ended up loving it. I really like the fact that Karen Marie Moning knows how her readers think and therefore knows just how to push our buttons. Just when I’m sure I’ve got her figured out and I know what’s coming next, she throws a curve ball that shatters that illusion.
Long overdue entry. Tring requested this months ago but I kept forgetting about it. (Sorry Tring XD).
Anyway, in this post I will show you guys the stuff I use to make my nail art.
First, let’s talk about my nail polish collection. Contrary to what most people believe, I don’t actually own a lot. I usually just stick to wearing black, silver, purple, red or pink and decorate them using stickers and other stuff. Also, I normally throw out old bottles the minute they start drying up because I hate streaky nails. So even though I’m always buying new ones, my entire collection can fit in these three small baskets I got at the Dollar Tree last January.
Here’s a closeup of the bottles grouped according to brand:
Etude House Petit Darling Nails (P48 each). I use these a lot because I love pastel shades.
Etude House Petit Darling HD Beam Nails (P98 each). I love the purple and silver one. The rest I normally just use when I do nail art.
Wet and Wild (I think I got these for 99 cents each at Walgreens). The pink glittery polish on the far left is one of my absolute faves! It’s so saturated with glitter than you can use it by itself (just layer on a few coats) and end up with sparkly pink nails
I didn’t realize I owned a lot of these Caronia polishes until I took pictures for this entry. I always thought I only had about 2 or 3 of them. They’re only about P35 (the smaller ones) so sometimes I grab a bottle when we go grocery shopping. Anyway I like using the sparkly beige shades for my toes because they make my feet look feminine yet natural. (Although these days my toenails are usually red with gold glitter.)
This was the third (complete) Richelle Mead series I read in the past two months. It was interesting and different from her other two series and I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the others. Probably because the heroine in this story annoyed the hell out of me – but I’ll talk more about that later.
I was a little hesitant to pick this series up because after reading about vampires, demons and succubi, a book about fairies and shamans sounded a little too fluffy for me. However, with just a few pages into the first book, I realized that this was obviously not the case. The fairies in this stories (AKA “The Shining Ones” or “gentries”, as they liked to be called) were not the tiny Tinkerbell pixies I imagined them to be – they resembled humans except they have to ability to wield magic and can live up to centuries. Most of them are pretty badass fighters too. I enjoyed reading about the different gentry kingdoms and the interaction between the human world and the fairy world (AKA the Otherworld).
Unlike the other Richelle Mead series I read, this one is composed of 4 books instead of her usual 6:
- Storm Born
- Thorn Queen
- Iron Crowned
- Shadow Heir
Here’s a brief summary of the first book from the author’s website:
Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl’s got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy–one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie’s first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.
Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne’er-do-well, and the ones who don’t want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her…
Below are my thoughts on each book. As usual they are FULL OF SPOILERS, so stop reading now if you’re thinking of reading the series:
In this first book the readers are introduced to the three worlds (the human world, Otherworld and Underworld) and the roles they play. The main character, Eugenie is a powerful shaman who hunts down gentries who cross over to the human world. Her job mostly requires her to stay in the human world, until she accepts a job where she is forced to go to the Otherworld to retrieve Jasmine, a fourteen year old girl who was taken by Aeson (the king who rules the Alder Land). During her trip to the Otherworld she learns her true heritage as the Storm King’s daughter and hears about a prophecy which foretells that the Storm King’s first grandson would continue his quest to conquer the human world. Naturally, this places her in danger – gentries all over are coming to either rape her with the hope of fathering the powerful heir, or to kill her to prevent the prophecy from coming true. Fortunately she meets Dorian, the Oak King, and he agrees to help her on her mission to retrieve Jasmine. Aside from that, he teaches her how to control her magic and makes her see that gentries are not as evil as she was led to believe.
This book really drew me in. I thought it was a great start for this series. I never thought I’d be interested in fairies or shape shifters but I loved reading about all the magic and the gentry politics. I enjoyed this book a lot but I must say that I wasn’t really a big fan of Eugenie from the start. Sure she’s strong and stands for her beliefs, but she’s also whiny, selfish and a bit too slutty for my taste.
I did like the little love triangle in this book. I liked seeing the contrasting personalities of the two dudes - Kiyo is rough and untamed and liked to be in on the action, while Dorian is more refined and charming. (He’s also ambitious and conniving and managed to trick Eugenie into claiming a kingdom that she didn’t want, but c’mon. Is that such a bad thing? He gave her a freaking kingdom and she gets angry at him for that?) The two guys are interesting but if I were Eugenie I would have dropped Kiyo from the very beginning and just settled down with Dorian. Kiyo was alluring at first and they had a lot to talk about, but after Dorian’s first appearance I was pretty much hooked on him. I didn’t really like Kiyo after the first few chapters, there was just too much mystery about him. And the fact that he has a child with the queen of Willow Land makes things even more complicated. I was hoping things between him and Eugenie would end after he “died” during the battle at the Alder land, but Eugenie somehow managed to bring him back, tch. I would have preferred it if she just left him in the Underworld and just stayed by Dorian’s side.
After becoming queen of Thorn Land, Eugenie travels back and forth the Otherworld and the human world to perform her royal duties. She finds herself confused because she now has to protect and care for the same people she viewed as her enemies not so long ago. Thankfully Dorian is there to assist her, whether she likes it or not. He introduces her to Ysabel, a gentry-clone of Eugenie who he takes as his mistress after Eugenie cast him aside at the end of Storm Born. Ysabel obviously doesn’t like Eugenie because she knows how much Dorian cares about her, but she is forced to teach her how to control her magic under Dorian’s orders.
As queen, Eugenie makes frequent visits to the villages in her kingdom and discovers that humans have been kidnapping gentry girls and bringing them back to the human world for some sort of sick sex trade. She tries to rescue them but ends up getting captured herself by order of Leigh, the Prince of Rowan Land. Like other gentries, he is ambitious and has plans to father the Storm King’s heir. He imprisons and rapes her for a week (which is horrible and terrifying and I’m glad that Richelle Mead didn’t feel the need to explain what happens in detail) before she is rescued by Dorian, Kiyo and Roland (her shaman stepfather). Her anger drives her to want to kill Leigh, but Kiyo stops her and tells her that her actions will only cause war between her kingdom and the Rowan Land. However, Dorian feels the same as Eugenie and takes things into his own hands by running Leigh through with a sword. As a result Katrice (the Rowan Queen) declares war on both their kingdom.
I liked Dorian in Storm Born, but I LOVED him in this book! He’s a great king who obviously cares about his land and subjects. He’s also witty, charming, smart and goes out of his way to help Eugenie. Honestly, I don’t understand why she kept trying to make things work with Kiyo. Sure she describes him as “hot”, but aside from the physical attraction, there was really nothing between them. They talked and bonded for one night, but other than that I didn’t really see anything that would make her want to stay with him. Dorian on the other hand knew her more than she knew herself, and he was always there for her during her hard times. And after she got raped, Dorian was the one who stepped up and dealt Leigh’s punishment. While I appreciated Kiyo’s attempt at trying to avoid war, I still agreed with Dorian’s actions. Call me crazy, but when he surprised everyone by stabbing Leigh despite Kiyo’s attempt to calm things down, I just wanted to hug him and ask him to be my own personal knight in shining armor. I’m so happy that Eugenie finally realized what a great guy he was and dumped Kiyo for him.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
I’ve been *so* obsessed with this series! I found it while browsing through a list of popular young adult books a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. I started reading the first book and I just couldn’t put it down! It usually takes me a few chapters to really enjoy a story, but this series had me hooked from the first few pages. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the last page of the sixth book. I was so tempted to write a review for each installment, but my desire to continue reading wouldn’t let me put the books down long enough to do so. Now that I’ve finished them all, I can get down to writing this entry.
Now before you go “oh no, not another vampire story“, hear me out first. I admit, I’ve always been sort of attracted to vampire stories ever since I can remember, but I also know that not all of them are good (I’m guessing I don’t have to name any examples here …) Vampires are extremely over-rated these days so I was a little hesitant to start reading the books. It just seems as if most vampire stories I’ve come across recently had similar plots and themes. I gave this series a try with the idea that I could always just stop reading if it bored me, but I ended up being totally addicted. The books had the perfect balance of action, romance, friendship and humor. I love how the main character is a strong girl who is willing to put herself in danger to protect the ones she loves. (And when I mean put herself in danger, I don’t mean rushing into doing stupid and suicidal things without thinking, I meant chasing after enemies to save her friends’ lives.) She’s a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to take action to get it.
Before I continue my review I think it would be best if I first tell you what the books are about. There’s really no easy way for me to summarize all six books without giving spoilers, so if you plan on reading the books, you might want to stop reading this now. But first let me paste this short summary of the first book which I stole from the author’s website to give you an idea of what its about:
Two races of vampires walk our world. One, the Moroi, are alive and wield elemental magical. The other, the Strigoi, are undead and evil–feeding on the innocent to survive. Rose Hathaway–a half-vampire with poor impulse control–is training to be a bodyguard for a Moroi princess. Learning to decapitate and stake is hard enough, but Rose’s real danger may lie in an illicit romance with one of her instructors…
I know that that summary makes it sound like the whole book is about a taboo relationship between Rose and Dimitri, but the story is actually much deeper than that. Sure it contains a lot of romance, but friendship is also a big theme in the book. The story focuses on Rose, a dhampir (half vampire) who is a student at St. Vladimir Academy training to become a guardian for her royal Moroi best friend, Lissa. Lissa’s family were recently involved in a car accident, leaving her the only Dragomir left. Rose was in the same car during the accident and all evidence suggests that she should have died along with the rest of Lissa’s family, but somehow Lissa’s spirit magic was able to bring her back to life, creating a special bond between the two friends. And I don’t mean a something like “you saved me, you’re now my best friend forever” kind of bond, but an actual connection that allows Rose to have constant access to Lissa’s emotions and thoughts. In some instances the connection is so strong that she can enter Lissa’s mind and see the world as Lissa sees it. It’s a useful thing to have since it lets Rose keep a close eye on Lissa, especially since several strange incidents at the academy suggests that somebody out there is out to get her.
The series is comprised of 6 books:
- Vampire Academy
- Shadow Kiss
- Blood Promise
- Spirit Bound
- Last Sacrifice
Vampire Academy – This was where the whole idea of the Moroi (good elemental vampires who are mortal), Strigoi (bad immortal vampires who feed on Moroi) and dhampirs (half human and half vampire beings who live to serve and protect the Moroi) was introduced. I absolutely loved the world and the different classes Richelle Mead created and the concept of mortal vampires that needed protection, as opposed to immortal creatures who gets what they want through seduction. I was also really intrigued by the spirit element and the idea of being shadow kissed.
This first book focused a lot on high school life. In a way it reminded me of Gossip Girl (even though I’ve never read the books) in the sense that Rose and Lissa had to deal with a lot of school stuff (classes, rumors, popularity, etc). And I also loved how we were introduced to the forbidden romance between Rose and Dimitri (her guardian instructor), as well as the complicated friendship/love story between Lissa and Christian. I loved this book because there was so much mystery about the spirit element and I enjoyed reading about it played out in the made up world that the author had created. There was also plenty of humor, action, and romance which is good. And I liked that the ending wrapped the story up pretty nicely and can stand alone if readers don’t feel the need to continue reading the other books in the series. I’m not sure why they would decide to stop after this book though, because although I can say that this is probably my favorite out of all six books, the rest are just equally as good.
Frostbite – The story starts off when the Moroi community is thrown into chaos after several consecutive Strigoi attacks on royal Moroi families. St. Vladimir decides that the best way to keep its students safe is to stick together, so everyone is forced to celebrate the winter break together (along with other Moroi and dhampirs) at a ski resort. A few new characters are introduced in this book : Janine Hathaway (Rose’s mother), Eddie Castile (he is mentioned in the first book, but plays a bigger role here), Tasha Oreza (Christian’s aunt) and most importantly Adrian Ivashkov (another spirit user who has the ability to walk dreams). I loved Adrian’s character immediately, he was charming and a bit of a rebel (the kind of guy most girls would probably want to avoid). With Adrian’s help, Rose and Lissa learn more about Spirit and its uses. In this book, Rose and her friends get caught up in a horrible situation which leaves one of them dead. It came as a shock, especially since the character who died was portrayed as someone strong, but I did like the way Rose and her friends fought the Strigoi and eventually ended up killing them. It is also in this book that the idea of Moroi fending for themselves instead of relying on guardians was introduced. I liked it because although Moroi are weaker than Strigoi, they still have the ability to control certain elements and can learn to fight.
Aside from the first, this is the only other book in the series that has a solid ending, one that wraps up the book nicely. The following books all end during pretty climatic events which will have the reader running off to get their hands on the next one to see how things will turn out.
Shadow Kiss – This third book is a lot darker than the first two of the series, with Rose mourning over the loss of a friend during their previous encounter with Strigoi. Soon, Rose starts seeing ghosts following her as a result of her being shadow kissed. To top it off, the senior guardians at St. Vladimir take their field test and are assigned one Moroi to protect for six weeks. To Rose’s shock and dismay, instead of being paired with Lissa as she expected, she is assigned to protect Christian instead. It is in this book that Rose finally understands the true weight of the guardian motto “they come first” (“they” referring to the Moroi). She is used to being the center of attention, and we can see that being forced to become a mere shadow to a Moroi bothers her a lot. The only thing that keeps her going is her love for Lissa and desire to protect her.
I liked how Rose and Christian’s friendship develops in this book, especially since they had a lot of animosity towards each other in the first one. Their love for Lissa and shared ideas of Moroi fighting Strigoi bring them together. When a group of Strigoi attack the academy, the two of them work together to bring them down. I also loved how Dimitri’s and Rose’s love story finally got somewhere. After three books, they finally admit their feelings to each other.
Out of all six books, this is the one that caused me a lot of emotional turmoil. I didn’t bawl like a baby or anything, but I definitely shed some tears at the ending, especially the very last line.
I started watching this drama months ago, but I didn’t finish it until a few days ago. This review will be shorter than usual because I forgot most of what happened in the beginning of the story already.
Noh Eun Seol is a girl who is in terrible need of a job, however her background as a high school delinquent doesn’t do much to impress future employers and she always ends up getting rejected. Finally sick of the whole thing, she throws a mini tantrum during one of her interviews and informs the people interviewing her that they were being unfair and that she’s no longer the same girl she was in high school. Impressed with her little speech and fiery attitude, Director Cha Moo Won decides to hire her and assigns her as secretary to Cha Ji Heon, his irresponsible and rebellious cousin. She does her best to get Ji Heon back on track and at the same time helps him with a couple of his own personal problems.
No Eun Seol (Choi Kang Hee)
The lead actress in the series. I found her a bit annoying and over dramatic at first, but she eventually grew on me. She is portrayed as a strong, confident woman who’s trying her best to leave her messy past behind. She gets a job at a top company and is assigned to the worst boss, but she eventually finds her own way to handle him.
I think Choi Kang Hee did an okay job in this role. It was funny seeing her character interact with her boss, and how she handles his little temper tantrums. After watching the show, I’m still not a huge fan, but based on what I’ve seen, she’s a decent actress.
Cha Ji Heon (Ji Sung)
He plays “The Boss” in this series. He is portrayed as the spoiled rich guy that is so typical in Kdramas. Think Kim Joo Won from Secret Garden or Gu Jun Pyo and Yoon Ji Hoo from BOF, etc. All arrogant yet adorable sons of rich businessmen and therefore could pretty much get away with anything they want. Another thing these guys have in common is their weird quirks/phobias. Joo Won was claustrophobic, Ji Hoo had a fear of driving, Jun Pyo was … well … I can’t remember if he had any strange phobias, but he definitely had his own weird things going on. In PTB, Ji Heon was a germaphobe, had ADD, OCD, and had a fear of crowds. Seriously, do all rich cute guys have weird phobias/habits?
Anyway, I really liked Ji Sung’s acting in this drama. He was annoying, rude and weird, but he was also adorably immature and playful.
Cha Moo Won (Kim Jaejoong)
Alright, it’s time for me to be honest – the only reason I watched the show was because of this guy. More specifically, this post that I saw on Tumblr:
Haaaawt~ You can’t really blame me right?
My boyfriend and I bought these books the other weekend because a lot of people have been recommending them. I let them sit on the shelf for about two days before deciding to read the first book, but with just a few pages in, I knew that there was no way I was putting it down. I spent the past four days locked up in my room trying to finish the entire trilogy. I wasn’t really planning on writing a lengthy review, but I just couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself, so I decided to make a quick entry.
WARNING: There will be plenty of spoilers in this review so if you haven’t read the books, you might want to close this page now.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE BOOKS
The whole idea of the Capitol, the Districts, the Hunger Games, the resistance, etc. is so brilliant, and Suzanne Collins did a magnificent job of painting a clear image inside people’s minds of what it’s like to live in that world. I could clearly imagine the pain and suffering that many of the people go through due to their lack of freedom. These books are obviously not something you’d pick up for some light and feel-good reading. The situations that the characters are in are so serious and horrible that I just couldn’t put the book down because I needed to see that they would turn out alright. The idea of two helpless kids being thrown into an arena for a fight to the death while their family watches every year is so horrible that I had to keep reading because I had to know that after all the fighting and the deaths, something good would come out of it. And the same goes for the resistance and the rebels – I had to finish the books because I needed to see that all that effort and all those deaths were worth it. Which brings me to my next topic …
This is sort of a continuation of my previous post where I talked about getting the number 1 item on my Christmas wish list (a laptop). In this entry I will talk about the 2nd item on my list – a graphics tablet.
I’ve already posted several entries here on my blog about how I decided to replace my 4-year old Wacom Bamboo Fun since it started experiencing some problems, so I won’t go into much detail about that again. I was actually pretty happy with my tablet before it started going haywire so I tried to look for the same model, but they didn’t make them anymore. (I read online that Wacom still sells Bamboo Fun tablets, but they upgraded it so it’s not really the same model that I want.) This is what I ended up buying:
The Wacom Bamboo Connect. I got it for around $80.
Inside the box you’ll find :
The CD which contains the installer
The pen – which is black
This drama came highly recommended by my sister so I finally gave in and watched it despite my busy schedule. (I couldn’t help it, she knew my weakness. She lured me into her room and showed me some scenes with Lee Min Ho in it, and I just caved in.) Anyway, I really enjoyed it so I decided to make a short review.
Just a quick warning : I will be posting A LOT of spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the show you might want to stop reading now.
Plot summary :
The show begins in 1983 when North Korean soldiers planted a bomb meant to harm the South Korean president during his visit in Myanmar. The president was unharmed, but several high ranking officials were killed due to the explosion. To retaliate, five South Korean officials planned a covert operation to sneak into North Korea and kill several high ranking officials. Twenty one well-trained South Korean soldiers were sent to fulfill the task without the president’s knowledge. However, while the mission was being carried out, the South Korean officials who ordered the attack changed their minds and decided to kill the 21 soldiers on their way back to Korea and hide all evidence of the raid mission. One soldier, Lee Jin Pyo, managed survive after his good friend and comrade, Park Moo Yul, took the bullet that was meant for him. Filled with anger, Jin Pyo managed to make his way back to Seoul and kidnapped Moo Yul’s newborn son, Yoon Sung to make him a pawn for his revenge. He escaped to the Golden Triangle and became a drug lord while raising Yoon Sung as his own and training him to become a strong fighter and bounty hunter of some sort. When Yoon Sung turned 28, Jin Pyo sent him back to Korea to track down the five officials who betrayed him and kill them.
Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung
So once again I was lured into watching a drama because of this dude. But Lee Min Ho is not just some guy with a pretty face, he’s a decent actor as well. I thought that his acting has improved a lot since Boys Over Flowers. It was a bit hard to tell at first because Yoon Sung’s character is very similar to Goo Jun Pyo’s, but as the drama progresses you can see him add more depth to his role. I was quite impressed with him in the scene when his ajusshi almost died after getting ran over by a car, as well as his final scenes in the last episodes. Yoon Sung was a very conflicted and confused character, and Lee Min Ho portrayed him really well I think.
Park Min Young as Kim Nana
This is the first drama I’ve seen of her, (well, the first complete drama – I tried watching Sungkyungkwan Scandal but I wasn’t able to finish it) and I found her absolutely adorable. I loved Kim Nana in this drama. She was cheerful, kind and strong. She helps out others, is a good friend to those who need her and can even pick herself up when life knocks her down.
I really like how she wasn’t one of those clingy and helpless girls that often appear in dramas. She can take care of herself (most of the time – there were some moments when Yoon Sung had to rescue her despite being a strong fighter) and she’s very honest with herself, which is another thing I liked. When she realized her feelings for Yoon Sung, she didn’t go around denying it or trying to hide it. She went up to him and openly admitted it. And despite being rejected many times, her feelings never wavered.
Lee Jun Hyuk as Kim Young Joo
I thought he looked a bit like Big Bang’s Seungri at first glance, but that’s just me XD He was a new actor to me, I’ve never seen any of his other works before and again I was fairly impressed. (EDIT: I just found out that he was in Secret Garden! I never realized that he was in it until I checked his past dramas on Wikipedia, lol. He played Oska’s friend in one of the flashback scenes.) Anyway, I really liked how he portrayed his character. Sure, there were a couple of times that he was a bit annoying – following Yoon Sung around all the time, trying to prove that he was City Hunter – but that’s just his job.
Like Yoon Sung, he played a conflicted character that was torn between his loyalty to his father and his sense of justice. I think the scene that best showcased his talent was the hospital confrontation with Yoon Sung after his father’s accident. I could really feel his anger radiating from the screen at that point.
Kim Sang Jung as Lee Jin Pyo
He looks happy and peaceful in the picture above but in the drama he was portrayed as a strong military soldier with a burning desire for revenge. He was quite scary and heartless at times, but I thought that he was still very cool. He did a lot of terrible stuff throughout the drama (like stealing Yoon Sung away from his mom when he was just a baby, blackmail, murder, etc), but I still connected with his character in some way, and I’m sure many of the audience did so as well.
I like that you can tell that he cared a lot for Yoon Sung despite his hard exterior. I wasn’t sure about this at first, and there were a couple of times when I started to wonder if he truly saw Yoon Sung as anything more than a pawn in his path to revenge, but it all became very clear in the last episode how much he cared. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that his final scene in that episode made me bawl like a baby.
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012 with open arms~
The past year was probably one of the most challenging ones I’ve had. I was faced with so many obstacles that there were many times that I felt hopeless and depressed (you can probably tell through my super emo self portraits). But the good thing is that it that it forced me to start thinking about my life seriously and start making changes to improve it.
But 2011 wasn’t all bad of course. I had a lot of wonderful moments too. I experienced a lot of new things and met some amazing people
Anyway, like last year, I decided to make a wrap-up entry here on my blog which summarizes some of the memorable times (both good and bad) for each month.
- I had my first video chat with Ckloy, on New Year’s Eve
- We picked up Greaty from Pampangga and he became the newest member of our family
- I went to MMSU with Beulah, Amie, Kuya Don and Dr. Pascua to process some clay that I needed for my thesis
- Went into emo mode for about a week after I discovered that Amie and I wouldn’t be graduating that semester T__T
- Explored Ilocos and Baguio with Amie and Beulah (with Nathan’s help). I didn’t know Beulah very well before this, but we bonded a lot during the trip.
- Helped Ckloy choose his new camera
- Experienced having to live away from home for the first time when I started staying in my condo in Katipunan (full time – not just twice a week like I used to do).
- Celebrated Ate Love’s birthday on Valentine’s day by having dinner at Sbarro with Kat and Larry. We bought matching hand creams at Etude House
- Went to the UPLB Feb Fair with Ckloy and met up with old friends and new members
- Showed Beulah and Daisy around when they visited us in LB for the first time
I’ve been using this concealer for about two months now and I really like it so I figured I should make a short review on it. Before this I used Cover Girl’s Trublend Concealer, which I also liked, but when I ran out earlier this year I decided I wanted to try something new.
My parents bought this for me when they went to Korea a few months ago because this concealer is always out of stock whenever I check out the Tony Moly branch in Megamall. (I don’t know if it’s because it’s that popular or I just have terrible timing.) I’m not sure how much it was in Korea, but I think it costs about P250 here in the Philippines.
This is the first pot concealer I’ve tried so I won’t be able to compare it to other brands, but I can tell you that I’m pretty happy with it. It has great coverage and it’s very creamy. I normally use a concealer brush to apply it, but fingers work fine too. It’s quite thick so you only need a little bit to cover up dark circles and acne scars. Just make sure to set it with powder afterwards to avoid fading throughout the day.
Remember when I mentioned in a previous entry how my tablet started going haywire one day? The touch wheel got stuck for some reason so it constantly sends a message to my laptop to scroll down. I fixed it with some masking tape (I know, I’m so tech-savvy) and it worked fine for a while, at least until the tape lost its magic. Once again I was stuck with a tablet that causes everything to zoom out and forces every screen to scroll down to the end of the page.
(How I fixed the problem last time)
I tried reapplying the tape many times, but it didn’t have the same effect as it did the last time. Eventually I just gave up and stopped using my tablet except when I needed to process pictures. I tried editing Ezra’s portrait the other night, but my tablet kept making it zoom in every 20 seconds, which was very frustrating. It drove me so mad that I grabbed it and started slamming it on my bed and yelling at it to stop (very mature, I know). Obviously that didn’t help, so I tried searching the net for solutions and found this youtube video on how to disassemble a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet. I figured I had nothing to lose since my tablet was pretty much useless anyway, so I decided to open it up and see if there’s any way I can fix it. Besides, I’m planning on getting a new tablet next month (for Christmas) so the worst that could happen is that I’d have to survive a few weeks editing pictures using a mouse.
I documented the process just for fun. That way even if I manage to completely destroy my tablet, I’d at least have some interesting pictures to share with you guys.
My 4-year old Wacom Bamboo Fun. (Please excuse the gunk left behind by the masking tape.)
Underneath you’ll find a sticker which shows the model and some rubber pads.
Peel the rubber pads off to reveal tiny screws
So about a month ago I was browsing Tumblr and I came across a picture of this guy:
As well as this:
I’m used to seeing hot guys and screencaps/gifs of different shows on my dashboard, but these two really caught my attention (I doubt I need to explain why). With a bit of research I found out that the guy’s name is Tyler Blackburn and he plays Caleb Rivers on Pretty Little Liars. My sister’s a huge fan of that show and she’s been trying to get me to watch it for a couple of months now, I guess all I needed was the right incentive XD (If she had mentioned that the show was full of hot guys, I would have given in way earlier.)