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Demons Trilogy #1:
The Demon's Lexicon
by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

Overall Rating 3.5/5
Though I found some of the characters compelling and original, the author's world-building and writing was strained and felt incomplete. The characters were constantly in danger of losing consistency, and some of the twists and turns thus were mildly confusing. However, it was a fun read, with plenty of hilariously snappy dialogue.

( read the full review )
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Knight and Rogue #1:
The Last Knight
by Hilari Bell

Need a Hero? You've got one in Sir Michael Sevenson.
Although there hasn't been a knight errant in over two hundred years, this young noble has decided to revive the trade. He's found himself a reluctant partner in Fisk, a clever rogue who has been given the choice of serving as Michael's squire or going to jail for a very long time. Now Michael and Fisk are on a quest to right wrongs, protect the innocent, and make the world a happier place.
It's not going to be easy. On their first attempt at rescuing a damsel in distress, they break a lady out of a tower, only to discover she was there for good reason: awaiting trial for poisoning her husband. Now the would-be heroes must find Lady Ceciel and return her to justice or be condemned themselves.

Overall Rating 4.5/5
I was in quite a rush to finish this book because I had bought it with the intent of gifting it to my friend the next day but instead, I became quite captivated by it myself. The mythology and world building is imaginative and original, combining a medieval setting with a unique blend of magic and quite "modern" characters who believe valiant knighthood is outdated. The character voices are distinct and sympathetic, alternating every chapter between the cynical but good-hearted "rogue" Fisk and the stupidly honest but well-meaning "knight" Sir Michael. However, they are not at all stagnant in their traits: Fisk learns to trust and sacrifice, while Michael learns to lie and manipulate. Side characters are also given depth and acknowledged as independent beings with their own character traits and personalities. The story itself was full of both plot and character twists, and it keeps you guessing as to who the real villains are and who is in league with who until the very end. This is one of those books where I would go and buy my own copy later because I enjoyed it that much.

( read the full review )
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Love is the Higher Law
by David Levithan

First there is a Before, and then there is an After...
The lives of three teens — Claire, Jasper, and Peter — are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.
Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

Overall Rating 4.5/5
Jasper steals the spotlight as the sarcastic, gay Korean-American University student who finds himself conflicted between accepting the well-meaning comfort offered by people who couldn't relate to his experiences, or pushing them away with jokes and reassurances. Peter is far from the token love interest as his voice comes to life through his love of music and the emotions songs and lyrics stir within him. Claire is the mutual acquaintance that brings the two closer together, but while she is not entirely negligible, I was disappointed in her role as the author's preacher. While I was quite moved by the messages of love and peace, I felt that the stark reality of the actual consequences in the aftermath (anger, hatred, war) should not have been so easily omitted.

( read the full review )
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Hero
by Perry Moore

The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father's pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he's been asked to join the League - the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.
But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.
To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his father's past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.

Overall Rating 2.5/5
The cliched plot points of convenience, tedious exposition of character pasts, as well as incredibly 2D side characters are only marginally redeemed by the sympathetic if rather dense protagonist Thom and his cute, blooming romance with his mysterious "rival" Goran. The action and intensity does pick up during the last third of the book, with murders and betrayals that depart almost entirely from the self-centered teen angst in the beginning. Nonsensical character decisions, appearances, and fatalities however, did nothing but frustrate me, despite the fact that the final "twist" was a relatively pleasant surprise.

( read the full review )
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So, encouraged by Ah Yuan, I've decided to participate in this Chromatic Recasting meme. I actually really really wanted to do one for Let the Right One In (THE MOST AMAZING, ADORABLE, INTENSE, REALISTIC, GENDER-DEFYING VAMPIRE MOVIE YOU WILL EVER NEED TO SEE), but promptly realized I didn't know that many grade-school-looking actors, American, Asian, or otherwise lol.

So, instead, I've turned to my recent obsession, the Sherlock Holmes series! Prior to the 2009 movie (RDJ SO MUCH LOVE ♥), I had been a huge fan of Hound of the Baskervilles - I literally reread it multiple times per day when the mood hit me lol - so my choices are also influenced by the original novels as well. However, the moment I decided Takeshi Kaneshiro would be my Holmes, my actor choices immediately gravitated towards his co-actors from the recent John Woo epic Red Cliff. Okay, I can probably explain why most of my choices are actors from this awesome awesome movie: John Woo went ahead and casted some gorgeous and talented people. They're also multi-ethnic (to a degree)! Takeshi and Nakamura from Japan, Tony from Hong Kong, Lin Chilin and Zhang Zhen from Taiwan, and Hu Jun, Zhao Wei, Zhang FengYi, etc. from mainland China. As someone who watches all different facets of East Asian media, I've seen most of these actors in at least one film before, all of them quite memorable. So I'm not just randomly excusing myself to recast one movie into another fandom, really XD;

And thus, onto my Sherlock Holmes Chromatic Recast, aka "the meme wherefor I ended up recasting Red Cliff actors into Sherlock Holmes"!




Chromatic Recast Meme: Red Cliff → Sherlock Holmes )

Um so, I'm not sure how many people have actually watched Red Cliff and/or Sherlock Holmes (2009), but I definitely had fun mixing up the roles =D
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oh god I haven't been working on Nano at ALL these past few days DDDDD8
however! I have been slaving(?) over character sketches! this one will probably be either the cover or a character page for YeLin:


(click to see larger)

I'll be updating on the WIP over at my blogger account too (it actually has an earlier/uglier stage screenshot as well)
erm...20k is my new goal...yes...
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8min trailer for Fantasy Zhu Xian



on the one hand it is gorgeous in terms of actors and special effects, on the other I'm going OMGWTFBBQ?! through the entire trailer because it is just THAT wacky
a love story of two people separated by 200 years and the girl losing her memory, some evil puppeteer dude with a child's toy (I LOLed really loudly at that), weird flashbacks, emo lurking/stalking, but did I mention it is very pretty???
granted, this is based off of a popular Chinese online fantasy RPG, so the storylines are supposed to be half-baked and vague...
I would watch this if I just happen to see it on TV, if only for the squishy Hu Ge and his man-pain, but I'm not in China atm...such a dilemma =T
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Top 10 Creepiest Robots Of All Time

I love how most of the robots on this list are Japanese XDDDDDDD
creepiest ones in my opinion:
"five year old girl" and "1-2 year toddler"
ARE THESE INSPIRED BY HORROR MOVIES? NO WONDER MOST ROBOT FILMS NEVER HAVE KID ROBOTS. IF THIS IS WHAT THEY'LL TURN OUT LIKE I VOTE THEY SKIP THE DEVELOPMENT STAGE AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE ADULT STAGE.

and I found this actually quite cute:
The Animated Pillow

they've all pretty much got movement down (see Big Dog and PETMAN), it's mostly the minute details - blinking, mouth movement - that's got problems...

###

also non-Latin domain names
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okay, here's a few hundred words of what I've got done of the prologue so far:

Red Threads, Book 1: No Faith

Summary: Half a millennia ago the Elemental Beasts were born from the gradual concentration of four elements in the east, south, west, and north corners of the mortal realm. While magnificent, they were as impassive to mortal life as the natural disasters they embody, and were eventually ordered to be imprisoned in the underworld by the Jade Emperor of the immortals. As punishment, they were stripped of their immortality and condemned to numerous lifetimes of the very suffering they had caused.

Over the centuries, as the mortal realm slowly returned to peace and prosperity, the beasts and the terrors they wrought faded from the mortals’ memories, until they remained no more than a faraway legend.

Now, five hundred years later, their spirits have been reborn as five mortal beings, each struggling through their own trials of redemption, and each connected to the other by a red thread of fate. Caught on either side of the conflict between the rénlèi (humans) and yāojīng (nonhuman entities that can take on human form) will fate bring them together as friends, or enemies?

序幕 《紅線》
Hóng Xiàn

(PROLOGUE: RED THREADS)


Yùe Lǎo

The small ferrying cloud I had summoned scatters in wisps beneath my feet as I hurriedly make my way through the spirit gates of Dìyù, realm of death and rebirth. Ahead of me lies the path to Dìfǔ, the court of the underworld, blanketed by clusters of translucent línghún – mortal spirits – drifting through, clinging to their peers and silently bemoaning their deaths.

Nervously, I start to dust my robes off of the tendrils of residue immortal energy that had followed me down during my descent from Tiān’táng, the upperworld. Some of the línghún are already breaking from their clusters and gathering towards the weak immortal light of my own essence, the dead drawn to the allure of eternal life and everlasting wisdom. Knowing that the yánwáng – judges of the dead – disliked any and all interruptions to their orderly business of assigning doom, I quickened my pace and did my best to avoid the wayward spirits slowly crowding around me. My long silver beard I kept tucked inside my robes just in case – the hair of an immortal holds just as much power as their blood.

By the time I reached Dìfǔ’s doorstep... )
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I've created a new book blog for myself over at blogger since that seems to be where many of the book bloggers hang out
ninefly's book blog
(I just realized I've been juggling around 3 different screennames recently, ninefly, denenkyuu, and angeltyuan...I'll probably stop using denenkyuu for new accounts and stick to ninefly/angeltyuan from now on...)
took me a while to tweak the layout to my liking and it's rejuvenated my love for html/css XDDDD;
but that's besides the point, I've posted up more detailed/revamped versions of my previous book reviews there, as well as joined a few reading challenges 8D
my DW account will now just be a general life-blog, though I'll still post snippets of new reviews/fandom projects and stuff from my other journals occasionally =)

# # #

and, against my better judgement(?), I've signed up for NaNoWriMo!!...?
FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS. WHAT FACE AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE? D8? 8D?


the "novel" is going to be the first volume to the story I posted about a while back, and it's officially got a title now:
Red Threads, Book One: No Faith
NaNoWriMo officially starts tomorrow, so I'll post up progress bars and stuff later
oh, and [personal profile] wingstodust is going to be my Writing Buddy ♥
we're going to cheer each other on right? right???
at least I'll finally get off my ass and start writing this thing for serious...

# # #

I'm on the last season of BSG and...well I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of Starbuck/Apollo BFF-NESS DDDDDD8
I also preferred Kara with shorter hair, though I guess it's supposed to symbolize character growth or something =T
also, I cheated and found out about the ending, which makes me kinda really really sad...the fact that the writers are hinting at more movies though...maybe they will fix this sadsad ending? PLEASE???
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there was a library book sale this weekend downtown, so I went and tried to pick up some good books. problem was, they didn't have a YA/adults fiction section, only something vague called "general fiction" WTF. also, I went for the last few hours on the last day of the sale so I guess pickings weren't great, but still...I only got one book.


The Walking Boy
by Lydia Kwa
THIS HARDCOVER COST ME ONLY 50 CENTS.
erm...yeah. not that it sounds terribly exciting or anything (it's about a hermaphrodite child and his journey to find his master's lover or somewhat?), but I'm very interested in the premises with the first/last female emperor of China (the story is based on historical facts) and I'm using it as consulting material for my own story -- which I haven't forgotten, really.

so yeah, the book sale was at a remote corner of the downtown area, and the buses only came once every half-hour, so I decided to walk back up towards my campus in search of lunch/dinner. there were various other used bookstores along the street too so I picked up a few more bargain-ish books )

the book salesman said I had a broad spectrum of tastes XD;

ate lunch/dinner at the asian vegetarian restaurant, their pseudo-meat is actually quite good.
I think I'm becoming addicted to pineapple + rice actually, I had quite a few meals with them in various combinations over the summer, and today's dish was Pineapple with (Veggie) Chicken Fried Rice. yum ♥

###

also, I've become officially addicted to Battlestar Galactica.



I technically blame it on my sci-fi class, though we only had a screening of an episode from the '78 series ('04 series screening is this week).
technically, BSG is sorta like Stargate in the spaceships trapped in space and survival themes, but I love BSG way more because I love the characters (most of them anyways), even if I can hate them at times, the show has a way of making you realize that everyone has their problems and situational pressures that push them to do the things they do.
favorite is Starbuck obviously, she is so kickass, I have a girl-crush on her ♥ she's the kind of character who sometimes defies categorization of gender. there's also a lot of gender role reversal here, where Apollo seems the pushover/sympathetic "talker of feelings" while Starbuck is the arrogant and aggressive "don't wanna talk 'bout it" kinda person. I also like how Apollo and Starbuck are always friends first, saving each other and generally goofing around like they're kids, it's very rare to find another guy-girl pair like them on TV.
also, lots of philosophy on identity, what is "human", war, responsibility, forgiveness, and some very plausible military strategic plans for their battles. the use of "low-level" technology also makes the plot just that much more frightening since it makes the "future" (robots rebelling and massacring humans) seem just that much more eminent and possible as opposed to if they had the ships outfitted with much more advanced technology to suggest that we had more time to prevent this.

I'm on season 3 right now though, and the show's "feel" seems to have shifted a LOT (more due to the setting and the separation of key characters I guess), but I hope they return to the original pace soon, I want the kickass Starbuck back T-T

giveaways~

Oct. 19th, 2009 09:46 pm
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I've just discovered the ~*magic*~ of book review blogs and giveaways 8D
since I'm on a reading binge recently (as much as I can with psych midterms and essays due one after another) of course I signed up 8DDD

strange and random happenstance (ends: Nov)
signed up for: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (complete set)
undercover book lover (ends: Nov1)
signed up for: Hush Hush, The Exorsistah
meghan's book blog (ends: Nov1)
signed up for: Dust of 100 Dogs
teens read and write (ends: Nov15)
signed up for: Hush Hush, Fire, Intertwined, Catching Fire
teenage bookworm (ends: Nov15)
signed up for: Soulless, Intertwined, Hush Hush, Prophecy of the Sisters
YA book queen (ends: Nov20)
signed up for: Catching Fire, Hush Hush, Blood Promise, Meridian

YA book geek
signed up for: any book I want if I win 8D

I'll be surfing through contest sites now for more (seems to be a lot of US-only ones tho D8) and adding to this post as I go =3
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I just went on a spree and reviewed a bunch of stuff on my Shelfari account:
♥ manga Saiyuki
♥ manga Saiyuki RELOAD (sequel)
♥ manga Gintama
♥ manga One Piece
♥ novel The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey
♥ novel Kingdom Come by J.G. Ballard [read for class]
I wonder if I'm taking manga way too seriously when I write longer reviews for them than the novels I read...compared to the other reviewers I seem to be very ranty =X
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I just got myself a Shelfari account 8D
(link is on side bar, I might change the URL some time and update it later...)
it's a website where you can read and write reviews and manage your own virtual bookshelf
I've still got a lot more to add (though I might not remember every book I've read in the past 10 years or so...)

already posted two reviews:
- Kingdom Come by J.G. Ballard
- The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

###

watched Milk the biography drama for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected into office (I think)?
it basically talks about his relationships, his cause, and the obstacles he faced in a story format rather than documentary
I really really liked the Scott/Harvey fluff, and was understandably sadsadsad at the end D:
it's not boring, but it's not riveting either in terms of action/adventure
a lot of the film is spent discussing gay rights and strategies for marches/riots XD;
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little asian-representation-in-american-media debate over at [personal profile] wingstodust's post here 8D
it is of course impossible to look at the issue without bias though =T

###

watched Romero's 1978 Dawn of the Dead for consumerism class today 8D
the action scenes were pretty cheesy, and the "gore" wasn't really that gorey (realistically), but it was pretty suspenseful at times~
very spoilery rant )

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