Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bloody Valentine

Blue Bloods: (Book 5.5) Bloody Valentine [UK]Blue Bloods: (Book 5.5) Bloody Valentine [US]Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Title: Bloody Valentine (novella)
Series: Blue Bloods (Book #5.5)

Goodreads page

My rating: 1 star out of 5
My reading duration: August 29th – 30th, 2011

Melissa de la Cruz wrote a short novella showing the intersection between the 5th book, Misguided Angel, and the 6th book, Lost in Time, featuring Schuyler, Jack, Oliver, Bliss and most importantly Schuyler’s parents. It had included not so thrilling or swooning story here, a short rescue mission and a wedding. I wasn’t really thrilled about this book and the series, but any Blue Bloods reader has to read this novella before proceeding to the next yet unreleased book, because it will build the fundamentals for it.

Not recommended to anyone, not really.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Song of the Day: Wolfmother – Vagabond

Vagabond was featured in (500) Days of Summer.

Oh girl I don’t know all the reasons why,
I found the answer lookin’ in your eye,
I go out walking all day long,
Take away this lonely man soon he will be gone,

Cause I’ll tell you everything about living free,
Yes I can see you girl can you see me,

You don’t need to know what I do all day,
It’s as much as I know watch it waste away,

Cause I’ll tell you everything about living free,
Yes I can see you girl can you see me,

Go and see the sorcerer look into a ball,
You may find the answer written on the wall,

The left one was a dancer can you see the answer, Oh

Put her in a mansion on top of the hill,
Please don’t make her do things against her will,
I found something special I don’t know why,
Looking into her pretty little eye,

Cause I’ll tell you everything about living free

I’ve just studded my jeans

IMG_4607I had become in possession of a few hundred studs in 2 different colors, brass and nickel, and 4 different shapes, 7mm and 5mm pyramids, stars and circle. Firstly, I thought I would stud my leather jacket with them. But only the brass ones are appropriate for leather jacket and I didn’t know what to do with the nickel ones. But seems like nickel looks good with jeans and I’ve just studded my favorite old jeans with the nickel pyramids. I didn’t have any design or designated places where to put them.The placing was about to be finished with 15 studs, but I ended up using 40 of them. Because they’re gorgeous.
Expand this post to see the studs on my jeans. So enjoy the process and the finish product.

Bloodlines

Author: Richelle Mead
Title: Bloodlines
Series: Bloodlines (Book #1)
My ratings: 5 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: August 27th –28th, 2011.

The spin-off series of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, Bloodlines takes place in VA world as well, but following different set of characters who were only side characters in the prequel: the Alchemist Sydney Sage, the Spirit user Adrian Ivashkov, the Queen’s half-sister Jill Mastrano-Dragomir and the guardian Eddie Castile. And as expected from Mrs. Mead, she created another wonderful story.

There was some underlying comments about this one, especially concerning the protagonist, Sydney Sage, saying that she was too weak a character… blah, blah, blah. But personally I thought she was a perfect character. Rose Hathaway was strong, I agree. Controversially Sydney was a better match to the “other” group of girls and Mead made it so that it was real enough that she can exist. She made the problems she had realistic enough to be actually absorbed in it.

At first, the story development progress was slow, but it wasn’t dragging like other similar novels can be, and it is a completely page turner. Totally recommended for anyone. Reading Vampire Academy series beforehand is recommended.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forever

The Wolves of Mercy Falls: (Book 3) Forever [UK]The Wolves of Mercy Falls: (Book 3) Forever [US]Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Title: Forever
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Book #3)

Goodreads page

My ratings: 3 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: August 22nd – 27th, 2011.

Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel are in big big trouble. They are about to hunt down the wolves in the woods. Grace is shifting unconstantly, Sam doesn’t know what to do, Cole is acting suicidal, Isabel is in conflict with herself. Nothing in Mercy Falls is going right. But Cole’s suicide looking attempt weren’t what the others thought. He was trying to become a wolf and unbecome one, if you know what I mean.

The story narration was epically step by step and detailed, which can be mind-numbing. But I suppose the trilogy wouldn’t have a better ending. Didn’t really understand all the downward emotions of every – I mean literally every – character in this one.

Switched

Trylle: (Book 1) SwitchedAuthor: Amanda Hocking
Title: Switched
Series: Trylle Trilogy (Book #1)

Goodreads page

My ratings: 3 stars out of 5.
My reading duration:  July 24th – August 20th, 2011

Wendy was attacked by her mother when she was 6 and accused of not being her daughter, not in the least. 11 years later, her mom in a mental institution, her brother living with her without job even after he graduated college as an architect, her aunt there as her legal guardian, she was doing just great. She never fit in any school and any community. But she didn’t think she didn’t belong to her family. The reason behind her ability to “persuade” other people to do things was colossal to her. She was a Trylle, a troll to be specific.

Amanda Hocking self-published this book as an eBook without any editor and any agent. As a result the book is poorly edited and can be repeating the small details over and over again, which I found annoying. If it didn’t come free on your reader, I don’t recommend it to anyone.

P.S. The cover art is amazing. This was the main reason I wanted to read it. (and the cheap price)

The Silence of the Lambs

Book cover - The Silence of the LambsAuthor: Thomas Harris
Title: The Silence of the Lambs
Series: Hannibal Lecter (Book #2)

Goodreads page

My ratings: 3 stars out of 5.
My reading durations: July 31st – August 22nd, 2011.

Clarice Starling, a academy student, was the only one who was allowed to “talk” to Dr. Hannibal Lecter to use his genius to find a murderer who wants “a vest with breasts on it”.

The whole book wasn’t as gory and bloody as the film, probably because I was reading it, not watching. But the character development of the villain was great where as the character of Clarice Starling was vague in comparison and uncomprehendable.

Wouldn’t recommend to anyone who is searching for a light read.

Supernaturally

Paranormalcy: (Book 2) SupernaturallyAuthor: Kiersten White
Title: Supernaturally
Series: Paranormalcy (Book #2)

Goodreads page

My rating: 4 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: August 15th – 19th, 2011

Evie is normal now, at least she is in normal. Her locker at her high school is the most exciting thing she own, and that’s not a pity. Because she is a paranormal living a normal’s life. Paranormal she wasn’t. She had everything here: love, future, life and “job”. But she finds out about her becoming and where she came from, it all shattered in front of her. She had to find her way back … literally.

The storyline wasn’t as exciting as the previous one, Paranormalcy. Although it was an enjoyable read, I was expecting more.

Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy: (Book 1) ParanormalcyAuthor: Kiersten White
Title: Paranormalcy
Series: Paranormalcy (Book #1)

Goodreads page

My ratings: 5 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: February 13th – 16th, 2011

Vampires, werewolves, faeries, zombies, trolls and every other creatures of day and night is real, and there are facilities that contain the rampant ones under watch, like American Paranormal Containment Association, in short APCA. And Evie works for them. She can see through any paranormal’s glamour. She can see through their disguises and that’s what makes her important to them. But she don’t really know where “she” came from and how she came to be. She never questioned that before, not before Lend comes up.

Paranormalcy was an entirely new experience for young adult paranormal readings. You get to see them vile and weak creatures and a girl taking care of them on her own is a funny thing to read, really. The twist in the story came unexpected and the ending presented itself without any expectation. So, enjoy the read!

P.S. The cover of the book made me to pick it up in the first place.

Outside In

Insider: (Book 2) Outside InAuthor: Maria V. Snyder
Title: Outside In
Series: Insider (Book #2)

Goodreads page

My ratings: 3 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: July 29th – 31th, 2011

The story follows Trella, an ex-scrub, the event occurs after Inside Out. The group that made a major role in the rebellion came to be the members of the council that controlled the inner side of the ship. Trella is done with it, done with leading and done with history. But she has to do her role again, because there are others “pounding on their door”, and they don’t know who they are what they want “really”.

The sequel wasn’t as exciting as its prequel, but it managed. It gave an ending to the story and if you have read the Inside Out, you’ll want to read it just to follow the story line.

Inside Out

Insider: (Book 1) Inside OutAuthor: Maria V. Snyder
Title: Inside Out
Series: Insider (Book #1)

Goodreads page

My rating: 4 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: July 26th – 29th, 2011

The story follows Trella, a scrub in a major facility with engines and pipes and everything that are needed to accommodate and … well hold a lot of people inside. But no one knows what’s outside, at least no one anyone knows, until a profit arrives and turns everything the scrubs, including Trella, know about anything upside down.

I would like to say that it was a really good read and it is highly recommended to any Fantasy and Young Adult novel readers. It was fast moving, mysterious, quest fulfilling and keeps you turning the pages. Trella was an another strong, capable and leading female character around whom the whole story revolves.

Red Dragon

Book cover - Red DragonAuthor: Thomas Harris
Title: Red Dragon
Series: Hannibal Lector (Book #1)

Goodreads page

My rating: 3 stars out of 5.
My reading duration: July 15th – 26th, 2011

Red Dragon, prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, was made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Edward Norton as Will Graham and Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde, which I watched and loved. The story follows Will Graham, a famous and renowned detective, who caught Hannibal Lecter. But this time, he has to catch a series killer, Francis Dolarhyde who studies his victims from home videos they made and kills them in a fashion he intends. Obsessed with the painting The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun by William Blake and believing that it’s alive and living inside him, making him an ultimate being and eventually making him to commit crimes.

The whole book itself was bouncing between characters and the reader can know what exactly the characters thinking and wanting. Although the way to get into Francis’s head was really explanatory and informative, you will never get into Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s head, which is a kill. Smart as Will Graham is, he needs Dr. Lecter’s intelligence to catch Francis, but he won’t give his service for free. It isn’t as gory and bloody as its sequel, which might be the reason why it was made into a film. In the end, it was a physical and more emotional conflict between three psychopaths, Lecter, Dolarhyde and Graham. You will love it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gandantegchenling Monastery

gandan_monastery_ulan_bator_149198195_d115435a4d_oGandan

Originally situated in the center of Ulaanbaatar, Gandan Monastery was moved to its present location by the 5th Bogd Jebzundamba in 1838.

Over the next century the Monastery grew to include nine datsans or institutes, a library and housed a community of around 5000 monks. Gandan became an important center for learning and practicing Buddha’s teachings, not only in Mongolia but for the entire Mahayana Buddhist community.

In 1938, the communists suppressed religious communities in Mongolia. They destroyed around 900 monasteries, though a handful were turned into museums. The monks were killed, jailed, or forced to join the army or laity. Five temples of Gandan Monastery were destroyed. The remaining temples were used to accommodate Russian officials or used as barns to keep their horses.

In 1944 after a petition from several monks, Gandan Monastery was reopened but its functions were carried out under the strict supervision of the socialist government.

In 1990, after the Democratic Revolution and with Buddhism flourishing once more, Gandan Monastery embarked on an ambitious restoration program around the country.

There are currently 10 datsans and temples operating at Gandan Monastery, and approximately 900 monks.

SORTED top 5 drinking games

IMG_45705. boat race

You need:

  • Two even numbered teams
  • Alcohol of choice

The set-up:

Players are divided into two teams and then sit one behind another on the floor in two parallel rows.

Game play:

Once everyone is seated nominate someone to start the race with “Racers ready! Three… two… one… drink!” Then the first racers, sat at the front o each team, quaff their drinks as quickly as possible. The first to completely finish their drink puts the empty glass/bottle upside down on their head. The second racer then starts their drink. The race continues in this manner until all players have finished. The first team to do so wins.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mongolia Travel 2011: (#8)

IMG_4550Travel Destination: Ulaanbaatar > Mongol Sand > Harhorin > Hustai NP > Ulaanbaatar
Travel Duration: Aug. 17th – Aug. 20th, 2011
This trip was Selena Travels / Solid Ways.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mongolia Travel 2011: (#7) GM Transit

shot_1312199345898Travel Destination: (Ulaanbaatar City Tour) Ulaanbaatar Train Station > Gandan Monastery > Natural History Museum > National History Museum > Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum > Ulaanbaatar Train Station

Travel Duration: Aug. 16th, 2011

I didn’t really wanted to call it a part of my this year’s travels, because it was just one day and I didn’t really go out of town. But still, I should include it. This trip was for Nature Tours and a Trans-Siberian train travel organized by a Russian travel agency, whose name I can’t remember, with a group of 90 people stayed for a day in the city and you know … did what people do when they do.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get anytime to take photos and in the end I think I’ve forgotten.

Song of the Day: Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

[Verse 1]
Just shoot for the stars
If it feels right
Then aim for my heart
If you feel like
And take me away, make it okay
I swear I’ll behave

You wanted control
So we waited
I put on a show
Now I make it
You say I’m a kid
Me ego is big
I don’t give a sh*t
And it goes like this

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mongolia Travel 2011: (#6) Mongolia Traveler

Aug. 3rd, 2011<br />Ömnögovi Province, Mongolia<br />Flaming CliffsTravel Duration: August 1st – 14th, 2011

Travel Destination: Ulaanbaatar > Vulture’s Gorge > Flaming Cliffs > Singing Dunes > Ongi Monastery > Harhorin > Tsenher Hot Springs > Terh White Lake > Jargalant Hot Springs > Hatgal > Hovsgol Lake > Ulaanbaatar

This whole trip was an amazing 2 weeks. We travelled with big luck.