Books + Coffee = Happiness

Monday, 30 April 2012

Week of Awesome

Listening to: Without Words - Park Shin Hye
Feeling: Stoked
This week is going to be full of awesomeness. Finally finished my 500 word essay at like 1am today, but thank god it is finished!!! Yay! Now that it's not constantly on my mind, I can finally move onto funner stuff. Also bought one of my textbooks today, so that still leaves 2 sets to be bought. University textbooks are fricking expensive. X_X

So, moving onto why this week is going to be awesome. Yesterday, I met up with some old high school friends for the first time in about a month (I guess) to eat Greek food! I think I may have had it once, but that's about it. It was pretty good. We got a huge platter filled with beef, chicken, lamb, scallops, prawns, rice and vegetables. Not to mention the pita bread. When that wasn't enough, we added an order of escargot and calamari. And no, I didn't eat the escargot, but I definitely loved the calamari. Like the cool kids that we were, there weren't a lot of places to hang out on a Sunday evening after dinner, so we spent the next hour and a bit at Chapters/Starbucks before chowing down on doughnuts at Timmy's. Then we called it a night.

Other stuff that I'm looking forward to would be visiting my high school band class on Thursday, since I haven't seen them perform since December (thoug I saw them briefly outside of class in January). I've been wanting to drop by the class a few times, but it's rather awkward since 1) I'm not a student at that school anymore and 2) I don't know like a third of the class since they're all newcomers. Last year, we were all pretty close with each other, so I missed them quite a bit. Not to mention the playing. Playing on your own is so boring. So yeah, I'm totally stoked to see everyone again.

Another part of my awesome week is the book sale at a school fair this weekend. I've always look forward to these since I can get practically brand new books for a super inexpensive price. Like a paperback for a buck. There's so many good books out there and since I'm subscribed to a lot of book blogs this year, I know more about which ones that I can look out for compared to last year. Can't wait to fill those empty bookshelves (I had to shift a lot of stuff around to clear this space, but it'll be worth it).

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Listening to: My Boy - Secret
Feeling: Displeased
So many things to do, but most still have yet to be done. Such as scholarship essay, fanfic writing and those book reviews that I've been meaning to get done. Well, I can say that my break wasn't entirely unproductive. I did manage to clean a huge portion of my room (such as conquering the area underneath my bed... whew!), search for my textbooks, check out the main campus and classroom locations, some reading, saw The Hunger Games (which I thought was fairly well done for a book-turned-movie, though I think it'd be better if it wasn't one so I would go: "Took this out, took that out. Changed that etc.") and finished the entire first season and first movie of Fullmetal Alchemist (just a re-watch, but enjoyed it nevertheless).

But yeah, fanfic writing... I suck as an author. I really can't keep my deadlines. It'll have been nearly a month since I last updated and I promised that I would soon. Somehow, I managed to get the first few pages down, just gotta get the rest. All the ideas are there, but it's difficult to connect them together. As well as all the feelings that the characters feel. Half the time, I usually go: "I can't believe there's people who want to read this", but I'm truly grateful for people who enjoy my stories. Only way to keep me going, honestly. 

As for scholarship essay? I should be able to do 500 words or less in a matter of 2 days. It's just that it's been nearly a year since I last wrote an essay, so I'll definitely be rusty. But I'll give it my best shot. Once this and my fanfic chapter is done and over with, I can definitely say that the weight will be taken off of me.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cleaning again

Listening to: Love Again - Se7en
Feeling: Productive
Spent the day re-watching Fullmetal Alchemist and cleaning out the drawers of my desk. Which was quite exhausting, but it made me feel productive in getting something done. A bunch of recycled paper and elimination of dust bunnies later, I ended up with a clean desk. :) Now, there's still the area under my bed... which will take some courage to sort out. I'll get to it eventually. But yes, as you can probably tell, I'm definitely enjoying my stress/homework/test-free break and I plan to make the most out of it.

I noticed that the PV for Se7en's latest song was out today and as I was watching it, I couldn't help but to remark that the guy is aging backwards. O_o He's just getting younger and younger. It's probably the way he was in the video but he doesn't seem 27 at all (turning 28 oh my god!). Of course, that's not a bad thing. :P

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Listening to: Without You - U-Kiss
Feeling: Delighted
 Thank goodness. It's over. At least for now, anyway. Last one went fairly well in my opinion. Though I didn't expect so many over-weight questions since it was a common-sense type of thing. Ironically, I would have thought that they'd be the best out of my exam, but in general, I think that they weren't as well done as I had originally thought. But a decent mark at the very least. :)

So now what? I have 17 days of freedom until my next semester starts. The opportunities are endless. Should I make the best of my gym card and work out more often? Should I start doing some scholarship essays? Or should I just take some time to relax and then do the not-so-fun things? I think the last one appeals the most to me at the moment.Though I did clean out my hamster cage today. Fatty and Skinny, I love you guys, but why do you poop so much? Not to mention Fatty's mad scavenger skills... so much food was left over. Oh well, saved it for your next dinner. And the weekly race to collect empty garbage cans against my elderly neighbour, who insists on bringing back my family's empty garbage cans so we don't have to go and get it, but of course, it's not right just to let it slide, so like I said, it's a race to see who can bring back the others' garbage cans first. As well as greeting that garbageman, who never fails to disappoint LOL.

So list of things to do?
-Work out
-Fanfiction writing time
-Hang out with high school buddies (food fest to be planned)
-write that scholarship essay
-buy textbooks
-pull out that flute and probably-out-of-tuned-violin
-check out the main campus of my post-secondary institution to see where my classes will be
-the much needed cleaning of my room
-fill up some pages in my sketchbook
-read read and more reading

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Studying and not

Listening to: Home to Stay - Josh Groban
Feeling: Distracted
Well today, I broke my rule of not going to the library, but I didn't get any books. Just some cds that I had hoped would give me something to listen to while I study. I prefer listening to stuff that I don't know well when I'm studying because I won't have to fight the urge to hum along. So in my cd pile, there was an album by Josh Groban. A few months ago, out of random nostalgia (of probably The Quest of Camelot), I went to look up a live performance of "The Prayer" by Celine Dion and stumbled onto a video of one of her and her duet with Josh Groban. It can be found below:

To my pleasant surprise, I found that he had a very deep, smooth, rich, manly voice which drew me in immediately. So when I spotted his album at my library, I picked it up without hesitation.

Later, when I decided to study for my chem exam that's on Friday, I popped this cd into the player and any hopes of studying vanished. Wow, oh wow. His voice is sooooooo beautiful! It gave me goosebumps and totally distracted me. Especially when he's singing in a non-English language. It just flows together so perfectly. *o* I'll definitely be listening to this cd many more times before I return it (and preferably NOT when I'm supposed to be studying :P)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Book Review: The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong

Published July 1 2008 by Harper Collins
Book description:

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started the day I saw my first ghost — and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there may be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, which side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

Well, it's been a long time since I've actually read this book from the beginning to the end. Usually I would read only my favorite parts, but due to forbidding myself from going to the library until my exams end, I have nothing else to read but those from my personal bookshelf. So why not choose my favorite YA series? Besides, I loved this series so much and I've read it a lot, so I decided that it definitely deserved a review from me, especially since this book isn't that well known in the YA fiction section. There was also the excuse that I could definitely refresh myself with the characters since I get the feeling that they're starting to go out of character in my fanfics, but again that's just an excuse. Simply put, I just wanted a reason to re-read it, since it's just that good.

I can't say that this review will be non-spoilery, since there's just so much information, but I'll give it a shot.

The book starts off with our narrator and protagonist, Chloe, dreaming of an event that had possibly happened in the past, which concerned a toddler, a dark basement and "boogeymen". But that's just a dream, right? Because boogeymen don't exist. Well, we'll find out soon enough.

The girl who has a normal life so far suddenly wakes up one day to discover that she sees ghosts everywhere. Some who are just passing through while others are chasing after her, demanding to talk to her. Of course, that's a sign of a mental breakdown and as her luck would have it, Chloe gets sent to a Lyle House, a group home for disturbed teens, under the diagnosis of schizophrenia. To make things worse, there's a ghost at that house who would also like to talk to her. But does he actually exist? Or is he just a figment of her imagination? Soon Chloe realizes that there's a lot more that's going on around her and that she has to uncover the truth to get out of it.

When I read that it was about a necromancer, I was a little surprised since not a lot of female protagonists were necromancers, so that piqued my curiosity. Not to mention the whole "mysterious group home" aspect. And why did Chloe's powers suddenly decide to manifest? Lots of good questions. Even though it wasn't the fastest-paced book that I've read, it was quite fast. Enough that I couldn't put it down. Not to mention all the suspense that kept nagging at you to find out what happens. When I first read it, I recall reading into the very late night, or the very early morning and thinking once the book was over, I had to get the second one ASAP. And I did. The very next day to be exact.

The plot itself was very suspenseful. There were so many questions that I wanted to find the answers to. Why was the ghost at the group home so insistent on talking to her? What was up with all the weird residents? Especially Derek, the creepy (or so I thought in the first place) guy who threw the word, "necromancer", at her face? Obviously, ghosts weren't real, so he's just mental, right? When her friend Liz was transferred, why couldn't Chloe talk to her? Time passed so quickly without me realizing it because I was just that absorbed into the book.

I loved the characters that Kelley introduced in this series. Chloe is a girl who dreams of having a normal life but never realized that she already had one. Losing her mom at the age of 5, being the rich kid who was in the drama stream but didn't want to be an actor. Moving from school to school, always being the new kid. At the very least, it's more normal than being diagnosed as schizophrenic and being thrown into a group home, with no sight of release. What really made me love Chloe was the fact that despite being a sheltered art student, she wasn't afraid of taking crap and dishing it right back. Instead of waiting and praying for rescue, she takes matters into her own hands and questions every suspicious event that comes her away. Not to mention standing up against a really tall, intimidating and rude guy and refusing to back down. If I had to cast her, I'd probably pick AnnaSophia Robb (from Bridge to Terabithia look..but with more of a hint of red in her hair). Cute, short and looks young for her age:

Another honorable mention would be Simon Bae who is half-swedish and half-korean with dark blond messy hair that is spiked. He's a very cute and charming guy and is typically the sort of guy that a girl would have a crush on, because he's the type of guy who looks after you and always makes sure to include you in whatever he's doing. Which is not surprising when Chloe does take a liking to him and vice-versa. When I picture Simon, I like to think of him as Kim Bum (yes, the one from Boys Over Flowers, but his character is super smooth and he's really good at being a player). He's a little old to play the part, but if he was younger, then he would be perfect... just add the dark blond hair.

Don't forget Victoria (Tori) Enright, the typical mean girl. At Lyle House, she's super possessive of Simon despite his disinterest and holds that against Chloe. The two of them get off to a rocky relationship and it doesn't really improve by the end of this book when she goes for a dangerous tactic that could have seriously injured Chloe. I don't really have an actress planned for her, but she is tall (about 5'6), slender and has cropped short dark hair.

Last but not least, Derek Souza. Ah Derek. There's so much that I can say about this character. Well, let's start off with a description. His actual height is never revealed, but it's definitely six-something feet. His shoulders are as wide as a doorway and even though his build is a big as an adult's, he couldn't be mistaken as one. And upon meeting him for the first time, Chloe even thought, "His face could be used as the 'before' picture for acne cream." Truth to be told, I was definitely surprised and even almost a little relieved, believe it or not. Because apparently in YA fiction, the guy is always "drop dead gorgeous" with angelic blond curls and the bluest eyes ever. Either that or eyes that screamed "mysterious! Must. Uncover. His. Secrets" at you. Sure, it gives you something to swoon about, but really, after the tenth novel or so with a similar description, I have to say that it gets rather tiring and unoriginal after a while. So Derek made me pause, blink and go, "Wait. What?" then re-read the passage to make sure that I had read that correctly.

But yes, there's a lot more to his appearance as well. For a large majority of the book, Chloe (and probably by associate, the reader as well) thought of him as a creeper and a jerk. It doesn't help that he's rude and intimidating as heck. Derek would quietly walk up behind her and say something that will cause her to jump like a foot into the air. Not to mention the whole throwing-the-word-"necromancer"-in-your-face thing. Even though Chloe was having difficulty accepting that she was schizo, it definitely didn't help that Derek practically forced her to admit that she was seeing ghosts and as a result, she was a necromancer. Which leads to the conclusion that there's a whole supernatural world out there and that Derek must be a supernatural as well. Funny, so is Simon. Click click click. Those are the sounds of pieces coming together to help Chloe realize that there's something severely wrong with Lyle House if 3 supernaturals were grouped together all at once like that. So maybe there should be some re-evaluation on Derek's character. After all, he did kind of help her discover the truth about herself. But still, it'd also be nice to know what kind of supernatural being he was. And it isn't until the near end do we find out. And by the end, his character was just that intriguing, complex and awesome that I liked him way better than Simon, who (I personally think so anyway) isn't that interesting. I don't have an actor in mind for him because he's just that awesome and no one can match that greatness.

I've said this before, but I really did find this the be a great read. When I first picked it up, I was a little wary of paranormal books due to a certain series that has been a little overrated and crazy. Not gonna point any fingers... *ahem*. But I was glad that I did, because it's definitely one of my favorite YA series and made me love reading all the more.

And I was able to meet this really amazing awesome author, who signed all of my books!! THANK YOU!!

Because her books are just that amazing, the publishing company is cool enough to put up the first 10 chapters of the book for free: Harper Teen: The Summoning Preview

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

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Oh! Ricey

Listening to: Symphony in G Minor - Mozart
Feeling: Full
While studying for math and chemistry, I suddenly felt rather hungry. Whether it was me actually feeling hungry or if the subject that I was studying wasn't all that interesting, I don't know. But I really wanted to stop studying and do something that was more preferable to me. And eating definitely sounded more appealing. What I really wanted was vietnamese beef noodles of some sort. The problem? It was 10pm, meaning that there was no way that I was going to fill my craving by going out to a restaurant. So what did I do instead? I opened up my food cabinet to discover instant Pho! Or "Oh! Ricey", as it's called. I could fulfill my craving in less than 10 minutes. Even better. So I got to work.

In addition to the ingredients given, I added some slices of roast chicken that my mom had prepared earlier and some egg. What would have been better would be if I had some bean sprouts on hand, but sadly, I did not. So I had to make do without them. Less than 10 minutes later, this was the result:

Yes, I ate my noodles straight out of the pot. Why? Because it's classy. Well, no. I was just really lazy and I didn't want to wash more items than necessary, so it was just easier to eat it from the pot, like the graceful person that I am. Personally, I think it tastes better this way. Even better would be if I could find the pot cover that went along with it and ate the noodles off of that like in k-dramas, but again, I couldn't find it. Oh well, at least the end result was the same: I am full and happy.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

My life today

Listening to: 無賴正義 (Rogue Justice) - 趙又廷 (Mark Chao) & COLOR
Feeling: Exhausted but content
Went to the gym today for 2 hours and felt pretty awesome afterwards. It was a nice surprise that they upgraded some of the weight machines with newer, more advanced looking ones. :) It was also the first time that I went on all three exercise machines: treadmill, bicycle and elliptical. Usually I just do two, but I spent about 20ish minutes on the first two and finally half an hour on the elliptical. Then spent the remaining time doing my stretches and weight exercises.

Afterwards, I went to Chapters to chill and mentally noted some books that seemed interesting so I could put a hold on them when I had the time to. Also flipped through some of my favorite manga that haven't been scanlated into english (Honey Hunt) and another manga that I really loved, but has been a long time since I read it (La Corda d'Oro). To my delight, the english adaption of La Corda d'Oro has special chapters in the back that weren't scanlated on manga sites and I had the pleasure of going through some of them. It's always entertaining to go through the english adaptations as well since sometimes they can differ from what the scanlation groups decide to use. And I remembered my obsession with one of the characters, Len Tsukimori.

 My favorite Len pose from the manga (volume 5 page 32 or 33), but this version was brilliantly colored by oORoyalBlueOo on deviantart.

 Flipping through the manga made me appreciate him all the more once again. He's so cool!! >w< I can totally go on a fangirly rant about how amazing he is, but I guess it's not that entertaining to read, so I won't. I currently own volumes 8-10, but someday, I swear I'm gonna get the rest in the series which goes up to volume 16 (latest volume released is volume 15). Afterwards, I visited the petstore to check out the fish and laughed at the tiny algae eater that they sold at $15. It was about an inch long whereas Leviathan, my algae eater, is at 6 inches. I guess he could have grown larger, but with our tank size, it inhibited his growth. Apparently they can grow up to 2 feet. O_o Anyway, so I'm back home now and sadly, after a satisfying day, I have homework to do. :(