Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Book Haul

I might have gone a bit overboard this month...



Yes, I've bought 14 books this month. Used up all my book vouchers on nine books and bought another five second-hand books from a friend. Technically speaking, I didn't pay more than RM 50 for all the books shown in the pic. So, I guess I'm still a rational consumer then.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Arts and Crafts

Arts has never been my forte. My Arts teacher in primary school made the mistake of entering me in an inter-class drawing competition (as a last minute substitute for my classmate who couldn't make it to the competition). We were asked to draw the hibiscus and I guess you could guess what happened. I still have a vivid memory of my drawing (as 11-year-old me felt really humiliated by it). My drawing of two droopy-looking hibiscus sticking out of a bare tree branch placed last. The worst part of it all is that all the drawings are put up on display in the teachers' lounge, for everyone to see. I think my Arts teacher was quite appalled by my drawing and that was the last time she ever asked me to participate in any arts-related competition.

When I was told that I had been delegated to make a group birthday card for a friend of mine, I was worried. What if the card looks hideous? What if they all hated it? Didn't they know I almost failed arts in school???

After that, I did a lot of online research and had decided that making a pop-up card is probably my safest bet. I mean, I don't need to draw or paint anything as long as I could find a template for the design I want. Thank you, Internet!






I have to say, I'm quite pleased with the carriage pop-up card. It's not perfect but it looks better than my hibiscus drawing, that's for sure. I then decided, on my friend's suggestion, to decorate the envelopes too. Again, thank you Internet for all the wonderful ideas.



I even tried my hand at Zentangle and am quite delighted by how it turned out. I mean, I don't understand what exactly it is that I drew but at least it looks... nice, I guess.

Zentangle!








Friday, April 17, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Image via Goodreads
Title : Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Purchase link: Book Depository

Blurb:

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when I thought that I am growing out of the YA genre and that YA novels no longer have the flair to attract me as a reader, Red Queen came along and proved me wrong. It felt like ages ago since a YA dystopian novel managed to fascinate me and keep me interested from start to finish. So, I guess it's safe to say that I truly enjoyed every minute of my read.

In Red Queen, the world is divided by blood- silver and red. The Silvers have special abilities such as the power to control fire, water and even minds. They live a life of luxury. The Reds, however, are those without any powers and are made slaves in a country ruled by the Silvers. When Mare Barrow, a Red, discovered that she too has an ability (her ability is actually pretty cool but I won't spoil it for you guys), the King had her introduced to the world as a lost Silver princess. Consequently, the King had her betrothed to one of his sons. Mare has to cover up the fact that she's a Red or risk being killed by the Silvers.

Mare kinda reminds me of Alina from Shadow and Bone. Not personality-wise but more on how they went from being an anonymous citizen to being discovered to possess an ability that they aren't supposed to have. Even though both Red Queen and Shadow and Bone may share similar themes- each is set in a fantasy world and each is about a character who discovers a power within themselves but they are definitely different from each other.

Ah, where do I start on the love interests of Mare. Well, we have Cal and Maven, both are princes, one of whom is betrothed to Mare, one of whom broke my heart. Anyway, as I was saying, I do enjoy a love triangle as long as it's executed well and does not feel forced. Though I'd already predicted a love triangle between Mare with both princes, I'd say that the romance is more of a slow and subtle development.

One other thing I appreciate about Red Queen is that its characters are flawed. Anyone is capable of betrayal.They don't always do the right thing. They make mistakes. I suppose that makes these characters more believable, more real to me.

As for the plot twists in Red Queen, I swear that my jaw literally dropped a few times throughout my read. And the plot twists actually make sense. There are some subtle hints of the possible plot twist in the beginning which I didn't put much thought into at first. And when it happened, it just took me off guard. Brilliant!

I'm very excited to find out how the plot will progress in the sequel. One more year. I just need to wait one more year for the sequel. Must. Be. Patient.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dinner

"You have lipstick on your teeth."

Well, that was certainly an interesting way to be greeted with when I joined my friends for dinner last night.  Nevertheless, I'm grateful that someone cared to inform me about it.

I had expected the dinner to be an awkward affair and that I would  have to eat in awkward silence, trying to come up with a conversation topic.

Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed myself. Sure, there were a few awkward moments but hey, if Grace is just being Grace, awkwardness is inevitable. Well, at least it was kept at a minimum.

Last night was just a night when 6 friends come together for a meal to catch up with each other.

As I watched the five familiar faces sitting at the table, chatting and laughing at some joke, it suddenly dawned on me that it has been two years since we've graduated from secondary school. Two years since we've parted ways. And yet, at that moment, everything felt like the way it was two years ago.

The dinner last night managed to put a smile on my face. Maybe having a tinge of nostalgia isn't so bad after all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Harry Potter

Can someone get me onto the next train to Hogwarts?

I can't believe it took me SOOO long to finally read the Harry Potter series. Yes, I was one of those readers who had refused to get caught up in the Harry Potter hype all those years ago. 

Last month, a friend of mine lent all the seven books of the HP series to me. So, I'd marathon read the HP series and I absolutely loved it. I can't believe that I'd missed out on all the fun for so long. 

Thank you, Joyce, for lending me the books!