Self-hosting?

Hello all!!!

I have been thinking of moving to self hosting for some time now and have finally decided to go ahead with it. The only problem is the name of my self-hosted site.

Since the name violetcrush itself has no meaning, but I don’t want to change it since it has been there for many years now. So keeping it as it is, these are the names I have come up with.

Could you please let me know which one looks better?

1. booksatvioletcrush.com

2. violetcrushbooks.com

since violetcrush.com is already taken up and it links to warnerbros. Go figure.

Also, if you have any other suggestions, that would be nice too :)

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Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler

Title: Beneath the Glitter
Author: Elle & Blair Fowler
Genre: Young Adult/ Chick-lit
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

I’ve seen these sisters makeup videos pop up on YouTube very often and if you’ve ever searched for a review of a beauty product on YouTube, one of their reviews will most probably be recommended. I’ve watched a few, especially Elle’s Glitterature videos and they are pretty descent. So when I saw this book in the library I was instantly curious. My first reaction however was ‘Anyone now a days can write a book‘ considering being good at makeup doesn’t make you good at writing. But since I was in a reading slump already I thought I might just stop being a book snob and see what the book was like.

So let’s get on to my thoughts on this book. If you don’t like chick-lits or Young Adult, stay miles away from this book. It is what it is – a fluffy and light read. It actually does read like a feel good chick flick. 2 sisters Ava and Sophia become popular because of their makeup beauty videos and move to LA to climb the career ladder. In LA, they get to mix with the rich and famous and attend lavish parties. Eventually the lifestyle and misunderstandings between the 2 sisters almost ruin their career.

 The book tries to capitalize on the big bad image of LA and how being rich and famous will make you a shallow person. Only thing is it doesn’t quite ring true in this case. It feels too much on the surface. The story too is very breezy and superficial and drives on clichés. But it is entertaining. It’s a very quick read and doesn’t want you to make use of your brain cells too much, which could be a good thing once in a while.
Another good thing about the book is the bond between the 2 sisters – Ava and Sophia. I have 2 sisters and I could well understand their bond and it was very heartwarming and sweet at times. That is the perhaps the only section of the book which seemed effortless to me.
The worst Part? The book starts with the sisters getting arrested for a murder. It ends with ‘to be continued in the next book’ which annoys me to no extend. Again, I said this before, I don’t mind sequels but I prefer the subplot to end in the same book. If you want to write a sequel come up with another subplot.  Anyway, this book might not be for everybody. It seems like something targeting teenagers and younger crowd. But if you don’t mind a breezy, no-brainer once in a while, this does fit the bill.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult
Book in the series: #1
Awards: Cybils Award Nominee for Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult) (2011), YALSA Awards for Best Fiction for Young Adults (2012), YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers (2012), Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011), NPR’s Top Five Teen (2011)
Endeavor Award Finalist (2012)

My thoughts:
First off, I don’t watch horror movies nor do I read many horror books. The last ghost movie I saw was Grunge and that too in the theater so it was pretty long back. But who can resist a cover like that? Also, since it was Young Adult, I assumed it wouldn’t be super scary. Well, I was partly right. It wasn’t as scary but considering how easily I get spooked I refused to read this at night.

Either way, I think it was a very good book and however scared I might be it was worth it. Cas Lowood is not your typical teenager. He kills ghosts that haunt. He inherited this unique vocation from his dad who was a professional Ghost killer. Cas and his mom move to a new neighborhood as usual in pursuit of a new Ghost – Anna. Anna is said to be living in an old house and has killed many people. She was brutally murdered a few decades back but that doesn’t explain the amount of strength she has. Cas, as always, is there to kill her. But circumstances are such that alter his life forever.

I thought this would be a typical fantasy novel somewhere along the lines of Twilight or Hush. But the story and the setting is very unique and so is Anna. The first encounter with Anna is very scary and I almost stopped reading. But I had to continue as I couldn’t resist knowing what happened next. Dont take Anna’s ghost as all fluff. There is violence, there is gore and there is no glossing over her deeds. The romance although weird Is believable and doesn’t feel forced. I want to read more about it and hopefully there will be more in the next book.

The characters could have been fleshed out more and the story could have had more details. But other than that I have no complaints. This is the first book in the series but its complete in itself which is very rare these days in YA.

Note: I just googled this book and it seems very popular. There are many art works dedicated to Anna. 

Stephanie Meyer is producing a movie based on this book. It will be exciting to see how it turns out.

Top Ten Tuesday…

toptentuesdayWith Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday in the USA, we thought it would be fun to see what we’re all thankful for! This can be bookish or not. It’s completely up to you!

-> Above everything else I’m thankful to my husband. We’ve been married 4 years now (tomorrow is our wedding anniversary).
-> For the libraries in Singapore. We have libraries outside almost every single train station and I didn’t realize how awesome that is until I moved here. I don’t buy a ton of books anymore because borrowing is so easy.
-> I love the weather in Singapore. I know there are times when I complain about having no seasons and that it’s so hot. But frankly i would live in a tropical climate any day compared to the cold and rainy.
-> I am thankful for my darling niece who is 7 months old already. Time flies so fast.
-> I’m thankful that I have this hobby of reading. It has taught me so much which I would never have learnt by myself in this short life.
-> I’m thankful for my new career. After 4 years of working as a software engineer, I shifted to Graphic Design. I’ve been working in this field for about 7 months now, I couldn’t be happier.

See the Top Ten Tuesday post here

The Raising by Laura Kasischke

Title: The Raising
Author:
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 15, 2011)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Raising is about a perfect blond teenager who died in an accident and comes back to the campus to haunt. Whats not to like? A lot apparently. My foremost complaint about the book was that it jumped a lot between the past and present and in-between the characters as well. The moment I found myself immersed in a certain storyline the narration jumped to something else. Not only did I find this very distracting but it also made it very difficult for me to follow the story.

The characters for most part were also very unlikable, be it Nicole, the girl who died, her boyfriend or Josie – her roommate. The only character I liked was Perry who was Clark’s friend.  But half way through the book I started to dislike Perry as well. The storyline was also very bizarre, I found it very difficult to accept.

But the book is not without its plus points. That I found the story weird could also be a plus point for someone who likes a unique storyline. The one thing I loved about the book was the classes on Death that Professor Mira taught. I was genuinely interested in the subject and this book provided me enough material to learn something new and start researching more on a certain topic if I wanted to.

All said and done, although I was very excited about reading this book, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai

Red Lotus coverTitle: Read Lotus (UK version)
Author: Pai Kit Fai
Source: Library
Published by Sphere (first published January 5th 2010)
Rating:4 out of 5 stars

I had a reading block for the longest time;
hence the lack of posts. I haven’t blogged here for a while for the same reason and a book that bought an end to this block is worth mentioning. I literally devoured this book and considering it is 500 pages long, it says something.

Red Lotus
is a story of 2 women, mother and daughter, who were unlucky to be born in a time and place which was not very kind to women. The book begins in the year 1906 at the Great Pine Spice Farm on the Pearl river in Southern China. In a rich farmers family, a young girl is bought as a concubine. She was a girl from an influential family but was sold because the family had fallen into bad times. The concubine gives birth to a girl who is named Li-Xia. Li-xia survives against all odds and manages to escape her house when she is sent to work in a Silk weaving factory in Ten Willows. There she finds a family and some happiness. She finds her destiny with a foreigner called Ben. I wont tell you much but suffice to say Li-xia’s story is the first half of the book and Sing’s, her daughters story is the second half of the book.

Some people might say this book is rambling and very detailed. But for someone like me it was the main reason why I loved this book. Miss Fai’s writing is brilliant and she manages to bring the Chinese countryside, the Silk Farm and Macau to life. It was fun to read about what Macau was like a few years back. I marked a lot of pages but for the sake of this review, I’ll post one here

Gold can be found everywhere you look for it…sprinkled by sunlight on clear water…in the evening sky and the coming of each new dawn. It falls like scattered coins on the forest floor and gilds the leaf of every tree; glitters on every blade of grass after the rain and turns each dewdrop into a precious jewel. You will find gold in kindness; it can be found in the seeking of happiness and in helping others. Try to find your fortune among these things, collect what you can of these real gold, and one day you will be qian-jin.
(*qian-jin: means being compared to thousand pieces of gold).

There are some drawbacks of course, but they are mainly with the scenes towards the end of the book which I’ll refrain from mentioning here.

I loved both Li-xia and Sing but I have to admit I have a special affinity for Sing just because of her trying childhood and the way she overcame all odds and still remained strong and pure.

It’s a book worth reading if you enjoy oriental books, love reading about the countryside, love reading epic stories and finally, love reading about strong women. This ones definitely going on my ‘one of the best reads‘ of 2013.

Note:
1. The summary on Goodreads spoils the plot. Miss it if you can.
2. The cover is gorgeous but unfortunately its the most mismatch cover ever. The story is about Chinese women set in China. However the girl on the cover is definitely not Chinese, neither is the farm picture at the bottom. It’s a clear case of designing for the sake of beauty and not as a reflection of the actual book. Since I’m a designer myself now, I find this very disappointing.
3. This book is also published with the name ‘The Concubines Daughter’ in the US.

Teaser Tuesdays!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I havent been reading much lately, hence the lack of posts. But this one books has me reading again. Inspite of being 500 pages long, I’m more than halfway through and loving it. The writing is wonderful. Here’s a teaser.

Gold can be found everywhere if you look for it… sprinkled by sunlight on clear water… in the evening sky and the coming of each new dawn. It falls like scattered coins on the forest floor and gilds the leaf of every tree; glitters on every blade of grass after the rain and turns each dewdrop into a precious jewel. You will find gold in kindness; it can be found in the seeking of happiness and in helping others. Try to find your fortune among these things, collect what you can of this real gold, and one day you will be quan-jin. 

Updates

I know you are probably tired of reading I’m busy and don’t get enough time to blog. I also have a YouTube channel now so I tend to balance whatever time I have.

As I mentioned in one of my posts, I’m studying for Diploma of Graphic Design and it’s almost the last stretch now. I’ll be graduating in 3 months time and thing have been really busy with me trying to finish up all the assignments for the final academic review. It’s stressful but I’m enjoying it so far. I will have to start looking for an internship in January. But I’m not going to worry about that now.

We are going to India for Diwali, we’ll be leaving on 10th Nov. I will get back on 18th because I hae work to do but my husband will stay on a little longer. I’m really excited about the holiday and hoping to get some work done.

I’m also designing  my Portfolio website as part of the diploma and will let you know as soon as it’s up. It might take up to a month though.

My aim is to get a Graphic Design job and eventually design book covers in the future. Lets see how that goes.

We also moved into our new house because the lease for our previous house was up. We moved to the extreme west of Singapore. We lived in the extreme east before. So it’s a good change. But packing/ unpacking is a real pain. On a brighter side, this is the view from our house now as opposed to the kitchens we saw from our previous house. The thing that the arrow points to is the Bukit Timah Hill which is the largest hill in Singapore. Yeah…I know. But I’m kind of excited over it, no idea why. I guess 2 years of looking at the insides of people’s houses does that to you.

In spite of the lack of time, I have been reading quite well. I notice I read more when I have lots of work just to take time off from it even for 15 mins. I’ve read some very good books that were on my shelves. Obviously I haven’t reviewed all here.

I also read 50 shades of Grey and didn’t like it at all. I’m still thinking if I should review it here.

In spite of all that is going on my husband and I do find time to do things together. Last weekend we tried Rock Climbing for the first time and we also attended a Level 1 Climbing certificate. It means that we can now Rock Climb without any supervision from professionals

Also,  a few weeks back, on my birthday, we went to Desaru, Malaysia for 2 days which was short but rather fun. Here is a video I did on my YouTube channel if you are interested.

Books and Vacation and trip to Desaru

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