Current Giveaways:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Follow Friday (4)

It's time to end the week with Follow Friday Hop hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. Don't forget to enter the giveaways. Just click on the links above under Current Giveaways.

Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

A. Lately it would have to be this

Book Review: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Title: A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #2)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: March 28, 2006 by Pocket Star
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance

A mythic warrior who'll stop at nothing to possess her . . .

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he's waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy . . .

Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents -- until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae -- and their notorious dark desires -- ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

An all-consuming desire . . .

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

Warning picture spoilers (sort of)

What I Liked: A tortured alpha werewolf male, a half breed valkyrie/vampire heroine that's growing into her own, two species that are enemies brought together by destiny, Paris, Scotland, New Orleans, what's not to love? Lachlain is uber alpha but he has his tender moments once he gets his act together. Even though Emma is a little spineless and lacks self-esteem at the beginning, her commentary and thoughts are quite funny. And I love the valkyries Nucking Futs Nix and Regin whenever they make an appearance. I swear I read this book over 10 times since it was my go to book for procrastinating while studying for exams. Oh, I forgot to mention, the sex is HOT!
  I didn't bother drawing the cityscape background this week since drawing a full human body shot and a fancy balcony took too long. Click to enlarge

 Here's the original drawing, which is quite plain. In case you're curious, beginning of Chapter 4 or page 44

What I Disliked: I was hoping for a longer appearance of Demestriu, but what content there is of him is still good.

Rating: 5/5 
I didn't review a recently released book this week since the ones I've read weren't inspiring whatsoever. Well that's not completely true since I read Gail Carringer's Heartless and that was pretty awesome. However, she has a graphic novel coming out for her series, so it's pointless for me to draw it. I think my human drawings are getting too realistic, I may revert back to animation/cartoon versions since they take less time. My eyes still hurt from staring at the screen all day while having to constantly zoom in and out so the proportions and overall appearance of "Emma" didn't look too awkward. Full body shots suck and apparently blond hair is also a pain to draw. You can tell I got lazy on the nighty and back rails.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Giveaway: The Wolf by Jean Johnson

 Giveaway is now closed
How sad, it doesn't seem like anyone is interested in my giveaways. Oh well, I'll try again this week and if no one enters any of them, I'll just donate whatever books I don't want to my public library. I have a lot more to giveaway but since I'm not going to be in town for most of August I won't be posting anymore giveaways until I get back. For now, I'll extend the last giveaway to match the end date for this one.

Title: The Wolf (Sons of Destiny #2)
Author: Jean Johnson
Published: April 30, 2007 by Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

The Sons of Destiny series continues in this breathtaking romantic fantasy from a fresh new voice.

Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day-they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. To avoid tempting their destiny, the brothers are exiled to Nightfall Island, where women are forbidden. When a childhood friend seeks refuge among the brothers, it triggers a confrontation with their mysterious enemy.

Alys arrives desperate and afraid, but welcomed by Wolfer, the second-born brother who harbors deep feelings for Alys. But she harbors a secret: her own uncle is tormenting the exiled brothers, and seeks to kill them to secure their ancestral inheritance for himself.

Confessing her uncle's plan to the brothers puts them at even greater risk, for their resistance against the evil mage has stirred his wrath. Alys fears her uncle is determined this time to exterminate the brothers once and for all- destroying the star-crossed lovers as well.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Music Review: Papercut Chronicles by Gym Class Heroes

My heart's a stereo
It beats for you so listen close
Hear my thoughts in every note
oh oh

Make me your radio
And turn me up when you feel low
This melody was meant for you
So sing along to my stereo

Gym Class Heroes has finally produced a promising song with Stereo Hearts! I like to refer to this song as Cupid's Chokehold Pt.2. It's been years since this group released anything worth listening to except for maybe Billionaire by Travie McCoy, which doesn't count since it's off his solo album. Add in Adam Levine from Maroon 5 singing the hook and the song is all gold if not platinum. Hopefully by naming their upcoming album Papercut Chronicles II it will be just as good as its hit predecessor Papercut Chronicles released in 2005.

The music video for Stereo Hearts is pretty cute. It's hard not to smile while watching it.

Rating Of Stereo Hearts: 5/5

Gym Class Heroes can be considered a hip hop group though their backtracks to their songs are atypical of the hip hop genre. They released their first album Papercut Chronicles back in 2005 with their hit single Cupid's Chokehold. A few tracks in the album are purely instrumental, however, these tracks help make the overall album more cohesive since they sort of act as preludes.

Other noteworthy songs are Papercuts, Faces In The Hall, and Kid Nothing Boy Vs. The Echo Fator

Here's the music video for Cupid's Chokehold. After watching this video again, I just realized the last girl in the music video is Katy Perry

Overall Rating: 4/5
Completely on a tangent: I've mentioned once before that I love buying and looking at clothes, but have been holding back on any purchases since I don't have a job. Well, yesterday I finally caved and bought a dress! It was too pretty to resist and it fit me perfectly without additional alterations! I heart the petite section at Ann Taylor!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Up and Out

Happy Monday everyone!

My third eldest sister, from here on out shall be known as HTML, dropped by the parents' house this weekend. However, she was asleep five to six of those twelve hours that she stayed. Nevertheless, she treated Mom, Dad, and me out to lunch on Saturday as an early birthday celebration for Mom before she turned tail and fled from the heat. Anyways, HTML and her eccentricities is a story for another day. What I wanted to memorialize on this post is the fact that Mom actually ate the food at the restaurant we went to.

You see, the last few times any one of us took Mom out to eat, she barely touched the food. Instead of eating and appreciating the fact that she didn't have to cook, Mom decided to people watch, gossip about the other customers dining in, fuss over some non-immediate family members and making sure they ate and enjoyed the food, and when she remembered why she was here, nibble at a few select dishes because the others didn't suit her taste. It annoyed me to no end each time I witnessed her do either of these things. If she didn't want to eat a particular type of food or at a particular place she should've at least told us so that we could've chosen somewhere or something else that she preferred.

But no, Mom has to be her "I don't care, choose whatever", lying "I'm not picky, I'll eat anything" self. All I have to say to Mom is, "Oh please, save it for someone that hasn't lived under your roof for most of her life." The fact of the matter is that if someone is treating you out to eat, especially if they're family, you should let them know your preferences. The one treating wants the person they're treating to enjoy the food, not see him/her move it around on their dish to make it look like he/she ate it. The action is not tactful by itself and especially so when combined with disinterested conduct. I don't know about anyone else, but it makes me feel less inclined to treat someone out again if that's the type of nonverbal feedback I get for my effort.

So, in conclusion all I have to say is, "THANK YOU MOM, FOR EATING!"

That's all I have to rant about today since I need to get out and get some stuff done. I will leave you here to amuse yourself with Samuel L. Jackson's reading of Go the F to Sleep by Adam Mansbach.

Warning, not suitable for younger children or adults that abhor profanity in any way, shape, or form. If this doesn't describe you, then please go on and enjoy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Follow Friday (3)

It's time to end the week with Follow Friday Hop hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Fire Lord's Lover by Kathryne Kennedy. Have a wonderful weekend!

Q. Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?

A. Only three? Well, I guess I'll have to say Ilona and Gordon Andrews, Jill Shalvis, and Shelly Laurenston. The first two because I stalk their blogs since they're so entertaining. The last because I love her snarky writing which I hope reflects her personality.

Book Review: A Lady's Lesson In Scandal by Meredith Duran

Title: A Lady's Lesson In Scandal
Author: Meredith Duran
Published: June 28, 2011 by Pocket Star
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Genre: Historical Romance


When Nell Whitby breaks into an earl’s house on a midnight quest for revenge, she finds her pistol pointed at the wrong man—one handsome as sin and naked as the day he was born. Pity he’s a lunatic. He thinks her a missing heiress, but more to the point, he’ll help her escape the slums and right a grave injustice. Not a bad bargain. All she has to do is marry him. 

A rake of the first order, Simon St. Maur spent his restless youth burning every bridge he crossed. When he inherits an earldom without a single penny attached to it, he sees a chance to start over—provided he can find an heiress to fund his efforts. But his wicked reputation means courtship will be difficult—until fate sends him the most notorious missing heiress in history. All he needs now is to make her into a lady and keep himself from making the only mistake that could ruin everything: falling in love.

Warning picture spoilers (sort of)

What I Liked: It somewhat has a similar plot line to the Anastasia animation where the female protagonist grows up in poverty and then finds out she is really an heiress. The makeover and various lessons then proceeds. But of course, unlike Anastasia, there's adult content in it and no singing, but there is music :). In addition to the the plot, I liked how Meredith Duran did  not romanticize poverty like some authors tend to do with historical romances. Duran clearly described the differences between the social classes. The main heroine, Nell Whitby (aka Cornelia Aubyn), grew up in poverty and Duran has her flaunt it throughout the book. Nell doesn't regret the way she had to live to survive since she knows it could have been a lot worse. She's tough, prideful, daring, and witty which made the dialogues between herself and the male protagonist, Simon, quite entertaining. Simon was charming and was very rarely an arrogant ass. I actually liked him more than most male protagonists because he didn't run away from the things he wanted. Overall, I very much enjoyed the interactions between the two characters.

It looks more like Film Noir than Victorian :D

What I Disliked: I felt like the story needed an epilogue since the last chapter seemed somewhat rushed.  

Rating: 4.7/5
From now on I won't be drawing a disliked photo unless there's a real scene I disliked in the book, which will be rare since I only review books that I like.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giveaway: The Fire Lord's Lover by Kathryne Kennedy

 Giveaway is now closed

As I mentioned earlier on Monday, I will be giving away a few books I don't particularly care for. So, this week's book is The Fire Lord's Lover.

Title: The Fire Lord's Lover
Author: Kathryne Kennedy
Published: July 1, 2010 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genre: Historical/Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Fighting for control of a kingdom that is split into seven domains, Elven warlords use their human slaves to breed an endless supply of soldiers for their armies. Dominic Raikes, the half-blood son of the Elven Lord himself is one such warrior. Betrothed to Lady Cassandra, who has been raised in a convent to keep her pure, he little suspects that she's been secretly trained as an assassin to murder his father and him. Dominic and Cassandra soon discover that each one is not what they seem, but the price of trust may be their very lives, and the destruction of the magical realm each is desperately trying to save

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Flight Sense

It was BIG, it was BLACK, it was FAST. I am no longer sleeping in my own room tonight and likely the night after. Hell, I'm staying away as long as possible.

*addendum: escaping was fruitless, there was a centipede in the other room. We had a half an hour showdown which ended with the centipede getting sucked into my Dyson vacuum. Love you Dyson!

I've Got Nothin'

Edgar Allan Poe by Justin Hillgrove
(I still need to buy a frame for this print as well as find a place to hang it)

Hi everyone. As usual I hope you had a good weekend.

I won two giveaways last week, so I would like to thank Stella from Ex Libris and Kristin from My Bookish Ways for hosting their events. Thank you girls for adding to my reading addiction.

I have a few books from my personal collection that I plan to giveaway in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Anyways, my head is hurting, so I can't think of much to write today. I still need to find the energy and motivation to open the packages I received last Friday.

strangely enough I could've opened one of these instead of taking a picture of them

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow Friday (2)

Hi everyone! It's time to end another week with Follow My Book Blog Friday Hop hosted by Parajunkee. As I mentioned in my profile, I'm not specifically a book blogger so I will only be posting a book review maybe once a week on Thursday. I hope you enjoy reading through my blog and have a wonderful weekend.

Q. What do I do when I am not reading?

A. I bake when the kitchen is free, which is quite rare in my household. Other than that, I watch reality TV shows like Project Runway, listen to a bunch of random music from different cultures and genres, draw random stuff, design and make jewelry, exercise, and gawk at clothes I wish to buy but can't afford at the moment. I'm particularly fond of looking at and buying shoes.  

Book Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Title: Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling #10)
Author: Nalini Singh
Published: May 31, 2011 by Berkley
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's exhilarating world of shapeshifters and psychics is "paranormal romance at its best" (Publishers Weekly). Now comes the story of an alpha wolf named Hawke used to getting exactly what he wants--and of the only woman who dares tangle with him.

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight.

Warning picture spoilers (sort of)

What I Liked: Sienna and Hawke's story was a very satisfying read. I've been wondering about the background history of the two characters since the first book of the Psy-changeling series and we finally got it! I loved how Hawke became more playful when he started pursuing Sienna, since the book would have been slow if he was all gruff and moody throughout the whole thing. I also liked how Sienna was never portrayed as a push over in actions, thoughts, or words when facing Hawke since some past heroines were with their mates. As usual, Nalini Singh didn't focus solely on one couple. To my utter enjoyment, the progress of Sascha and Luc's relationship continued to be followed. As a bonus, the relationship hinted at in the last book between Walker and Lara was also explored. However, the thing I appreciated most about this book and previous books is that Nalini Singh moved the story along and the reader can tell the clash/war with the Psys is ever closer.

 Hawke hunting prey, aka Sienna

My human interpretation of Sienna and Hawke.

 The background sheet music is "The Moment" by Kenny G

What I Disliked: There's really nothing I particularly disliked. Though I initially thought that Nalini Singh would write more about Risa since she was so important to Hawke. I guess that would have dragged the story so it's not a big loss. I guess I wasn't too ecstatic about the Hawke and Rosalie thing, but in a way it's understandable.  

Rating: 5/5
I discovered the watercolor brush on Window 7's Paint! Backgrounds are so much easier to do and are prettier looking now. For the most part, the colors blend more smoothly on the simpler things. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter

Hey everyone!

Even though I don't follow the movies, in honor of the final Harry Potter movie release, I thought I'll post these funny clips featuring some of the cast members. Enjoy! :)

American Talk Part One (2010)

American Talk Part Two (2011)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Music Review: The Great Divide by Stella StageCoach

While I was going through music blogs listening to sample songs a few years back, I came upon this group of musicians. Stella Stagecoach is an indie pop/rock band formed in 2009 by two brothers, Mathew and Tim Morgan. According to their profile, their music style is influenced by their trip abroad (I'm guessing England by the sound of the vocalist). Their music was initially only instrumental composed for small film projects, but soon after, the brother dual started writing lyrics to accompany their instrumental tracks. They released their first album, The Great Divide, late 2009.

The first sample song I heard by Stella StageCoach was What Have I Done off their album, The Great Divide. The song has a piano component in it, which is always a plus for me. I thought the song itself sounded better than most music at the time and decided to purchase their album. Once I listened to the whole album, I was surprised at how cohesive it was which made me like it even more. The whole album has a fun whimsy feel about it, especially in the songs First Times, The Great Divide, and Paper Crown. Other songs are slightly darker, but still match the overall tone of the album. I would say that the band is sort of a fusion of Michael BublĂ© and Jason Mraz. If you're a fan of either of the two, then you might want to purchase a copy of The Great Divide by Stella StageCoach.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Different Type of Six Pack

(I know I live in California, but it's not what it looks like)

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you had a relaxing and/or enjoyable weekend!

First off, I would like to thank everyone that started following my blog recently. I really appreciate the support of the book blogging community even though my blog isn't purely dedicated to book blogging. 

Secondly, I would like to personally thank Jade from Sort of Beautiful for the wonderful giveaway that she just held. Thank You Jade for providing me with a near-future coffee fix.

Lastly, I would like to thank Kristin from My Bookish Ways for providing me with a book to accompany my coffee from Jade. Thank You Kristin!

Now, moving on to the main topic of discussion today.

This past Saturday, I received in the mail this lovely package.

And in this lovely package, if you didn't already read it from the picture above, were 6 smaller boxes containing 120 days of salvation!


I need to drink at least 16oz of this stuff every morning before I can wake up completely! Tea bags, loose tea leaves, flowering tea, the form doesn't matter as long as it tastes great with a good helping of sugar and milk. Tea has been my caffeine fix since I graduated college. It doesn't have the kick from coffee or frappuccinos, but daily Starbucks is beyond my budget right now.

Today, I am going to talk about the different teas I own. As you go down the list, most of the teas are different variations of black tea since I enjoy this type the most. So, without further ado, I'll start with the French Vanilla Tea from above.

Bigelow's French Vanilla Tea was a semi let down for me. I bought this tea based on the great reviews it received online. I initially wanted to only purchase a single box, but sadly the three grocery stores I went to didn't stock this variety. So, I decided to purchase it on Amazon since I didn't have to pay tax or shipping; however, Amazon only sold it in a six pack. Hoping that it would be as satisfying as most customers were saying, I decided to make the purchase. I brewed my first pot of it yesterday and knew I was in trouble when the drink smelled just like the instant french vanilla coffee that my dad use to drink when I was a kid. It was an okay coffee, but I definitely prefer fresh ground city or french roast coffee. Needless to say, I didn't think sugar and milk would save the tea and it didn't. It tasted like vanilla wafers. Not the round ones sold in a yellow box by Nabisco, but the long sort of flaky ones found in Kit Kat but instead of smoldered in chocolatey goodness there's vanilla cream between every layer. They taste okay for only so long, and then you get sick and tired of them since there's too much sugar and vanilla. Well, that's the same way I feel about this tea. I'll still drink it just to get rid of it, but I'm definitely not purchasing this ever again. It is literally not my cup of tea. Only 118 more days to go.

Teavana's Bangkok Lemongrass is actually the first tea that I ever purchased. I was looking for a tea with lemongrass in it, and the sales woman recommended me this one. It's a Rooibos tea with lemongrass, citrus, apple, and vanilla. As a plus, the tea is suppose to help you relax and help you through allergy season. It smelled heavenly, so I purchased 4 ounces. The first time I brewed it, I had no idea what I was doing and poured water directly into the tea filter, which defeated the whole purpose of the filter since the leaves scattered out into the tea pot. Still, I gave it a go and drank it anyways with the wrong kind of sugar. It tasted so off that I could barely hold down the second swallow let alone the whole pot of tea. The rest of it went down the drain and on a different day I attempted to brew it again. This time I had the right sugar and brewed the tea correctly. Still, I didn't particularly like the taste of the tea. It has too much of a citrus flavoring for my liking. I tried it a third time a few months later with a guest, and my guest felt the same way I did. I haven't tried it as an iced tea yet, but I think it'll likely taste better this way than as a hot tea for me.

The questionable photo at the beginning of this post is actually a variety of Numi's flowering tea. It came with the tea set I got as a gift for Christmas back in December 2010. I haven't tried any of them yet, so I can't tell you which ones I liked or disliked. However, most reviews online said they're good though I wouldn't trust them since your and my preferences are different from them and each others.

This tea is a loose-leaves Earl Grey purchased at Tea List, which is a tea room located in the city I used to go to school at. I prefer Tea List's mixture of Earl Grey than the bagged Twinings' version I've previously tasted at a friend's house since it has less of the citrus flavoring in it. Can't say much about it other then if you ever stop by Davis, California you should stop by this tea room and purchase some of this tea along with the tea after this.

This is Tea List's blend of organic vanilla black tea. It smells great. It tastes great. GO GET IT! 

You may be able to have it shipped to you, go on the website and look up the phone number.

Mighty Leaf Tea's Vanilla Bean is not as good as Tea List's black tea, but it goes down smoothly, may be purchased in tea bag or loose leaves format, and is readily available online.

So, Bigelow's plain black tea is the last on my list of teas in my personal stash. It's basic and it's yummy with sugar and milk.

I hope you enjoyed my odd tea post!