Tuesday, 9 December 2014

2x1 Hearty Books+Nails: Crushed (Soul Eaters #2) by Eliza Crewe

Cracked:
iTunes | Amazon | Smashwords

Crushed:
Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Createspace (print edition!)

Eliza Crewe:
Goodreads | Twitter | OHP

Do you remember this? Remember when I said oh poop the publisher is no more and we don't know what will happen to the next books? Remember when I said oh I hope everything is fixed soon and we don't have to wait too much for Crushed?
Well, guess what.
Fairy Godmother Eliza Crewe got her rights back and said:

Wish granted.

Which translates to swift self-publishing. Crushed, along with the Author's Edition Cracked, were self-published at the end of September, barely a month and a half after Strange Chemistry ceased to exist. You can now go and get them both on the nice and pretty links above.

(This image has the logo of Strange Chemistry in, but the right one doesn't. There is no SC version of this book on sale anywhere. Likewise you should note that the right version of Cracked now comes without the SC logo, as it's the Author's Edition you should be buying.)

I cannot tell you how excited I am (actually, I was going to show you how excited I am, in a video, with my face and everything, but then I chickened out, so yeah, maybe next time). I loved Cracked, and let me tell you, I love Crushed just as much. Undoubtedly 5 star material. I knew it even as I was just starting it: if a book makes me want to read it out loud for all to hear, it's definitely a good one.

This time round, the story is more serious, more complicated. Which is not to mean it's any less fun than Cracked. The inside of Meda's head is as fun as ever. I could even say there's an extra element of fun, what with Armand joining the party and all. Also, Jo is, if possible, even more badass than before.
About the feels it will give you, the book is heartbreaking and infuriating, often at the same time. I particularly remember this bit, around page 90 I think, that was so intense, I was very angry, very into the story, and suddenly I was called to dinner, and it took me a bit to remember I wasn't angry at real life.
Plot wise, fear not (actually do fear), Eliza is here to deliver a kick of unexpected. And I mean a kick because it feels like a kick in the guts. Right when you're expecting it to come...you wrap your feels, you get your mind into defense pose...facing the Unexpected Twist...and then it kicks you from behind. That's what it feels like.

Right, this is where I get nitpicky and list the things I did or didn't like. I'll start with the didn't, because it's a much shorter list:
Meda doesn't like cats. It was mentioned in Cracked and again here, but I still cannot wrap my head around someone not liking cats. Plus I get the distinct feeling that she SHOULD like them. But yeah, seriously speaking, there isn't any fault I see in this book. If you get very nitpicky you could argue that the similarities between Templars and Shadowhunters are still there but then again, superhuman superwarriors, Bible babble, a few similarities are unavoidable.
The list of things I did like starts with the Meda-Jo relationship. The fact that friendship, and not romance, was central to the story was part of what set Cracked apart from others in the genre, so seeing that friendship evolve in Crushed is very interesting.
The internal monologue, Life Inside Meda's Head. Still funny, as expected, but this time, I feel like it was necessary for us to be inside her head in order to fully understand her. Her amorality seems more obvious this time too. Her feelings, train of thought, what she knows and doesn't know...I think I can understand Jo pretty well without being inside her head, but I probably couldn't understand Meda completely if she wasn't the MC.
There's also the way Meda is constructed, she is more powerful than both Templars and demons, yet she's not Mary-Sueish at all. Eliza has done a very good job of raising the stakes and complicating the plot in just the right way so that it's difficult for Meda and friends to "get out of trouble" (look at me being subtle to avoid spoilers).
I realize I haven't mentioned Chi at all, but he's there I promise. Always fun, Chi.

All in all, this is a brilliant sequel to a brilliant book, unputdownable (still doing the Hunger Games thingy I mentioned last time) 5 star material. I love this stuff and you must expect me to keep flailing about it in the near future. Namely, whenever we get any news about the third book. Which will be the last in the series, I think, boo.

Now for the nails.
Soul eaters crushed nail art

Obviously inspired by the cover. I think the gradient of the yellow light ended up more neon-y than intended, but I guess that's what I get for doing it with warm artificial light. Also not my smoothest gradient ever, I will admit. The gradient nails are the only ones that are full nail polish, the rest are all acrylic paint on top of a plain black polish base.
The middle finger...ah, not my fave. I really should've done that texturey thingy as the base, like I did on the thumb and pinky, and the winged skull should have been outlined. But oh well. I still have lots to learn when it comes to acrylics.

soul eaters crushed nail art

Details: the texturey thingy mentioned above, the Beacon Map skull and the C from the title. The texturey thingy you can't appreciate very well, and I couldn't see any sort of pattern on it either, so I gave up on being accurate and just took the idea of texture when translating the image on to the nails. Basically, I mixed silver and black and sploshed it on the nails with a toothpick, in the least tidy fashion I could manage. Then I drew the skull and added the map-like scribblings with veeeeery thinned out brown, and they ended up looking like random squiggly lines, I know *sigh* I tried.
The C was done in plain white acrylic paint, also very thinned out, and it didn't turn out too bad I thought. That was before I scratched part of it off (accidentally) when I was going to grab the top coat. I'm clumsy like that.

Hope you enjoyed, see you next time!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Hearty Offtopic: On NaNoWriMo, or how I disappeared for a month

Hello. Long time no see. A whole month, to be precise.
It's because this past month I've been NaNoing.
What is NaNoWriMo? Let them explain.
Basically, NaNo is an excuse for people to write that novel they've always wanted to write but never had the time to write. And it's a very motivational excuse.
For me, participating was a very last minute decision.
I've always had writing tendencies, stories in my head and stuff, but it was only recently that I started taking it more seriously and saying 'right, these stories in my head aren't gonna write themselves.' So I started learning how to do this thing properly, reading advice (both good and bad, because you can never tell one from the other before you've actually read it) and the like. But I still didn't think I was ready for some madness like this. I thought I couldn't do more than 500 words at a time before my head started 'going'. I had it in my head that I am a very slow writer.
Then, suddenly, I don't remember if it was on October 30th or 31st, but that was when something in my head clicked and I went 'you know what, I'm gonna do this thing.' So I went to the website and registered myself and my novel project.
Mostly, the reason for my being so bold all of a sudden was how ridiculously encouraging Neil Gaiman and Marissa Meyer always are. Particularly Marissa, NaNo lover extraordinaire, with her posts about her creative process and her participating too, is roughly 80% to blame for it. Also partly to blame are the friends of mine who heard my story idea and got excited and told me they wanted to read it.
So I wrote. And I beat my own wordcount records, and I learnt, and I improved (I want to think), and proved to myself I could really do this thing.
Those were my personal goals for the month, and I fulfilled them basically in the first week. But by the end of the first week I was so behind that I felt like the goal of the challenge itself was too much for me and I'd never reach it. Though, since I had already fulfilled my own goals, I was OK with not getting the 50K words on time. I thought I'd be fine with getting them one week late or whatever.
That was when I was 3000 words behind the challenge target and writing about 800 words a day. At my worst, I was about 8000 behind the target, but I was still not giving it up, I was finishing even if I finished late.
On November 29th, I wrote 4148 words. On November 30th, I closed my NaNo at 50446 total words.
Yeah, I won NaNo.
(Mind, this isn't a one-person-wins kind of thing, everybody who gets 50K by November 30th is an official win. Also the people who don't get an official win still get an unofficial win, because trying counts for a lot.)
And I didn't just win the challenge, of course. I won a whole lot of confidence, and also a lot of writing speed, I mean I would've never thought at the beginning of the month that I'd be able to do 4000 words in a day.

So yeah, that's what I've been doing this month. Now hopefully the blog will go back to its scheduled program. Which is unscheduled random posting whenever I feel like it's been too long since I posted something, basically.
Blog things to look forward to: actually, I don't know. Only thing I know for sure is coming right up is the overdue (oops) review of Eliza Crewe's Crushed.

Also, a last note: while I did get my 50K and won the challenge...the story's not finished yet. HA.

Friday, 31 October 2014

2x1 Halloween Hearty Nails & Books: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Halloween calls for monsters. This has a particularly popular breed of monsters: vampires.
As I've said before, vampires are so overdone. Nowadays I rarely find a vampire story worthy of holding my attention.
Well, this one. This one held my attention just as much the second time round as it did the first. No joke. I read somewhere a reviewer saying this book is the vampire story for the people who have lost hope in vampire stories, and I agree. 
Wait, but what book is this again?


It is Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

Yeah, I know, the title is rather silly. In fact the very first thing that made me curious when I saw it was what kind of book would have such a title? But after reading it and seeing why it's called like that, well, let's just say I learnt not to judge a book by its title.

I find the opening scene is pretty telling of the kind of story this is. It begins with Tana waking up in a bathtub, the morning after a crazy party. As soon as she walks around the house for a bit, she discovers that all of the people present have been murdered by vampires. All her friends dead (minus one who was away at the time of the party), her ex-boyfriend Aidan alive but infected, and she's only survived because the vampires didn't bother to look behind the bath curtain.
I really liked that beginning, sets the tone very effectively. I liked how it starts as a perfectly ordinary situation, only to reveal a massacre by supernatural beings they all knew about (but were too drunk to make sure all the windows were closed and secured).
As you can guess, this story does not skimp on the blood and violence. It does not romanticise vampires. Anyone who romanticises vampires here will die an ugly death. Including the vampires who romanticise themselves. I can't exactly explain how satisfying that is. If you read it, you'll know.
The vampires themselves were nicely done, I thought. Red eyes, non-retractable fangs (seriously though who thought of retractable fangs, it sounds pretty nonsensical to me), none of that we glitter in the sun nonsense, none of the I can't get into your house if you don't invite me first rubbish (I honestly think that started out as a way to make people think they'd be safe home, but there's no real reason for it), and also none of the I get scared by a crucifix bullshit. They do get hurt by rosewater though, of all things. I guess they needed one weakness. Apart from sunlight of course.
I liked the characters as well. Tana is badass but not Mary Sue-ish, and her emotional reactions are believable (basically she spends the book in one big adrenaline rush and always on the brink of a hysteric breakdown). Gavriel is endearingly insane (yes that's ridiculous), Aidan is a jerk, but not reaaaaaally. Special mention to Lucien (who IS a jerk, to nobody's surprise) because I kept imagining Kamijo whenever he was mentioned LOL.

I really have nothing bad to say about this book. Nothing I disliked. Even the title doesn't seem quite as silly after reading it. So let's go on with the nails.

I got inspired mainly by the cover of the book. Since I can't do the hand and title, I chose to do the background, that damask-like design. Though, I will admit, I made up most of it, because if you look at the cover in person the background is all blurry so you can't really see much of the design.




The pinky got a plain gradient in matching blues, because I have tiny hands and there's really not much space in my pinky nail.That gradient is the same I did as the base for the vampire fingers. Here's a rundown of what I used (base & top coats included!):

Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Base Coat (uh, a green bottle)
NYC 302 Black as my base colour on all the nails.
Sephora L16 Curaçao on the very tips of the gradient nails.
Essence Midnight Date sponged roughly, covering the brighter blue.
All nails but the pinky were then mattified with an Anonymous Claire's matte top coat (because Tartofraises said that using acrylics on mattified polish is easier, so I tried and I think she's right).
Acrylic paint for the details. White, red, black and a blue I had to mix myself were used.
A WYNIE red glitter numbered 027 was used just for the blood on the index finger, over red acrylic, the way Robin Moses does, because it's prettier than without the glitter (duh).
Then I topped it all off with a coat of WYNIE clear polish.
And to finish it off, Essie Good to Go.

Yes, I use two top coats. I like having one thinner first, to make sure the design doesn't run or anything, and then a nice thick one. I use a cheap one as the thin one always, it's my it's-ok-to-mess-up clear polish. The thick one needs to be a good quality quick-dry one.

That's all for today! As a final note, let me tell you, I was very amused at how the amount of blue in the pictures made my fingers look even more ghostly than usual.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hearty Nails Halloween 2014: the rainbow pumpkin patch

I'm afraid this year I haven't been able to go all out on Halloween like I did last year. However, the Pigg peeps (which is the only game I waste my time with, apart from Candy Crush) have, as usual, decorated everything. They do it every year, it would seem they like it as much as I do. This is why this year I was inspired by their decoration for my nails.




Once again I have forgotten which nail polishes I used for this, despite these not being old pictures, but the thing is I used quite a few. I'm sure at least 5 of the colours were from Kiko. Everything was drawn with a toothpick, hence some bits being wonky (though the mouth on the green pumpkin is like that on purpose). Then the top coat got angry at me and smudged some other bits, but that wasn't my fault or the toothpick's.


These (please excuse the lame picture) are the original pumpkins from the game. Actually these are all the pumpkins I've collected since I started playing the game.
(And look at that, I've actually managed to fulfill yesterday's promise. Ha, self)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Hearty Offtopic: Of fails and distractions

Look who's alive.
I've been busy. And also, when not busy, distracted. So I'm gonna tell you what's kept me busy and what's kept me distracted.

First of all, the serious things I'm trying to get done. I have two and a half projects going on, plus an online course. The first project has hit a bump that's made me think I need to re-outline the whole thing. So it's currently halfway through its second outline. The second (the half) project is in worldbuilding stage and all the possibilities are terribly distracting. The other extra project is not my original idea (it's a collab) and its outline is not coming very smoothly to me. All that plus course assignments and quizzes. The struggle is real.

Now, you'll get to see what has been keeping me distracted.

Throughout the whole of september Marissa Meyer wrote a series on her creative process. You can find that here. If you know me at all you'll know that two things will get my attention immediately: people talking about their creative process, and concept albums. Learning about other people's creative process can teach you so much, and it can give you ideas to try and make your own creative process smoother as well. Concept albums, on the other hand, are like puzzles: songs and cover images and everything related are pieces of a mystery you need to put together. I just can't resist. Which brings me to my next point.

Acid Black Cherry is the solo project of yasu, singer of the band Janne Da Arc. Since it started in 2007, all of the albums released by Acid Black Cherry have been concept albums. Aaaaand he just announced the next one. "L" is to be released in 2015, but we fans are already having some theories about the story there, from the clues in the previous singles and especially in the teaser and the video for the latest single, INCUBUS:


While we're in the topic of music, someone else just came back with a bang:


Now from the book front, there's been mainly 2 books.

The first is Crushed, second book from the Soul Eaters series (you can find my review of the first book here). It finally came out at the end of September and I've been delaying posting the review but trust me, not for lack of enthusiasm or love for it. You'll see the review up soon.

The second book is this. Neither the companion nor the trilogy have been translated to English, which is a massive pity and someone should definitely fix it. Therefore if I manage to whip up a review (I'm having some difficulty getting words out, mainly due to the fact that I've never openly talked about this trilogy with people and I've enjoyed it very privately for 10 years all through my teens), it will be fully in Spanish.



Now, in an attempt at getting back on track with the blogging thing, I'm going to say something I might regret later, but TOMORROW I'll put up a nail post! Yeah for real! A Halloween one, even!

And coming up right on Halloween day, a 2x1! Nail post AND a book review. Both based on a book very suitable for Halloween.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hearty Nails Snippet: UNiTE. inspired city outline

I am starting a new section, the snippets, a name I stole from The Nailasaurus, though I am applying my own concept to it. Her snippets are pictures without the usual explanation; mine will have the explanation, but will be a picture of a single nail. I do single nail nail-arts for various reasons, from sheer laziness (like when I have all boring nails except one accent nail) to the difficulty of painting a particularly complicated nail art on more than one nail (like today's), including the times when I just paint every nail differently.

Today's design was inspired by the cover of a UNiTE. single, second part of a trilogy of singles with a story attached they released last year's summer. All three singles have their covers in the same style, a landscape drawn (or silhouetted) in different shades of the same colour (different colour per single). I would've liked to translate the other two singles to nail format as well, but I couldn't think of how.

UNiTE. ユナイト nail art

This was so long ago that I no longer remember what colours I used, but I'll tell you how I did it: base colour was plain white, and after it dried and covered the right bits with sticky tape and striping tape to get the general shape of the buildings. Then I sponged on different shades of orange, in a sort of marble-ish style, until I had the opacity I wanted. After I took all the tape off I added the details in white, I don't remember if I did it with white polish or acrylic paint, just dotting everything with a toothpick.
I really liked how it turned out. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll get on with the other two and finish the trilogy.

Here you have the video for the song. You may have noticed I have not mentioned the song's title; it's because, as you can see in the video title, it's quite ridiculous. On the right side there, you can see the original single cover:

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hearty Music: Alice Nine


I did not intend for this section to be me dedicating a blogpost to every single band I like but I seem to be starting a pattern here.
I just can't not talk about these guys because it's their 10th anniversary today. Just like in October I'll post about my fave book series' 10th anniversary as well. I can't just not do it.
I am framing this post in two videos. The one at the top, Velvet, is from their beginnings (2006 if I'm not wrong even though they really began on 2004 or it wouldn't be their 10th anniversary just yet, but I find this song particularly important for a lot of people in the fandom) and seeing it now, they look so young it's funny. The one at the bottom, Seven, is their latest video, and you can see how much they've grown and changed. I have chosen to do it like this because every time I see or listen to something old from them I'm reminded of how far they've come and how much they've grown and I have a proud fan moment, so it seemed like the appropriate feeling.

This band, I've said it in the past, has the ability to lure me right back every single time I wander away from them. Personality-wise, they haven't changed at all, they're the same dorky idiots we all love. Dorky idiot definitely seems to be the general description of every jrocker I like. Saga here tops the list though. The man could be considered a genius, but he also could be considered the biggest idiotic dork you've ever seen. What can I say, it's part of his charm. He's also the bassist, and if you know me at all you'll know I have a natural bias for bassists (automatic bassist bias I call it, and I know for a fact I'm not the only one who has it, it's a real Thing).

Shou, singer, we of the fandom call him the Demon King. For reasons that are pretty hard to explain for people who know nothing of them. It's got to do with how he behaves I guess. He's the one, I think, who has improved the most in these years. I actually have a demo thingie from a previous band and that demo sounds so bad it's cute. Totally horrid. And now he sounds awesome. It's great to see the improvement. Point of pride.

Hiroto, guitar, called Pon. Pon is a childhood nickname, but I'm fairly sure he has a variety of fandom nicknames. Pon remains my fave though, because it makes him sound cute. He's the official cutie, I'd say.
Mostly because he's the youngest in the band. He's SO passionate about what he does. When he's onstage (or rehearsing even) every single movement he does is so obviously full of passion you just don't want to stop watching. There's very few things more beautiful that a passionate person showing it.

On the other side of the stage, also on guitar, is Tora. Funny enough, at the beginning I wasn't very fond of him. He just seemed like the bad-tempered member. I guess I was intimidated by him? And then he was chosen to be MC on the online monthly program they did on Niconico and I started liking him more because I got to know him better.

Lastly, Nao on drums. Don't let his general appearance of silly deceive you. His fashion sense is lost somewhere unreachable, I've heard him scream like a little girl when putting his hand in a box and everyone makes jokes about him, but don't let that deceive you. Onstage, he means business. Srs biz, really.

The Alice Nine fandom, together, has gone through so much. We have been fortunate enough to never have experienced a member leaving (and in the scene, a band 10 years old with no member changes is a rare thing). There was a hiccup once with Tora having a hernia but he was ok and came back safely. We've had the death of pets, the welcome of new pets. We've had the Tokyo Galaxy tour final at Nippon Budokan, that was a huge milestone for them, it's an important stadium. The accidental murder of iPhones (Hiroto accidentally run his phone over with the car. I don't know how?? He cried about it on Twitter, it was hilarious). The epic awesomeness that is the 13 minute long Gemini (still sad only the first part of the song ever got a video). The gradual growing up with the band. There wasn't a specific moment that I can think of that was like a big break from the past and the future (until now, that is), it has been more of a natural evolution of things.
The Alice Nine fandom is generally a very nice place to be in. We don't really have drama or fights, we're nice to each other. I have seen fans of other bands being horrible to one another, and I am incredibly glad the Alice Nine fans aren't like that. The Number Six(es), we are, because the band has 5 members so the fans are the 6th. They once made a short movie all for the song Number Six. It wasn't even planned, it seems they were only planning to shoot the music video for it but then things got a bit out of hand and they got a movie. That's how they roll.

Five years ago you could say was a milestone. I've mentioned earlier a monthly program they did on Niconico. That's when it started, five years ago. It was really good, at the beginning. They showed us just how funny they could be when they wanted to. We got to know their personalities a lot better. It gave us a lot of legendary fandom moments (like that time they went to Saga's parents' home and then Saga took revenge on Tora's parents' home). They used games to make the release of new music videos a bigger thing.
But then the program format got stale and they run out of good ideas to do there. Also the band got tired of being paid more attention when they were being silly than when they did band events. So it's been decided that next month's program will be the last. It's sad that we won't be seeing them monthly from now on, but then again doing a monthly live program tied them to the city too much (can't tour comfortably too far like that). No doubt they'd be tired of it. It's really a lot of freedom the win just with this. It's just the right time to end it I think.

But that's not the only change that's coming now. They have also announced that after the 25th of this month they'll leave the company they've been with since basically the beginning. This is big, really big. And exciting too. Because all of us who know it, we know that company can be somewhat constricting. And it was obvious they weren't being comfortable there anymore. They changed record label twice in 5 years. Their latest releases sounded really constricted and held back. I think getting out of their management label will be a move for the greater good. I know I'm not the only one who believes this. The amount of freedom they're gaining with this move is just...all the possibilities they have now. Of course it's a bit scary at first because they need to sort themselves out, but when they do, and I have no doubt they will, because they are stronger than ever, what comes next will be amazing. That is what I think. That if they are given freedom to create what they want, it will be amazing.

Us fans will of course be there to see it. I've seen so many words of encouragement for them already, all I can do is add my little grain of sand.
I'm proud of these boys. Happy birthday, Alice Nine.
Like Subaru says, and it has now become the fandom motto:
"Be as one~"


 

P.S.: Today is also the birthday of Takehito, who played guitar in Ayabie, a band that was very big for me for a very long time (and still is even now). Happy birthday to you too Takepi!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hearty Music: UNiTE.



 Once upon a time, my top 3 favourite bands were Ayabie, A (エース), and UNiTE.
Then AYABIE (capslock, not the same) basically finished its self-destruction process, and A (エース) announced they were disbanding last April.
Disbandments are sadly a very common occurrence in the scene, one can only hope it doesn't happen to one's favourite bands. Eventually though, it tends to happen anyway.
So yeah, my top 3 was stripped of 2 bands and I was clinging on to the third for dear life. But then, the catastrophe happened.
Yukimi (drummer) revealed that the state of his back was not good at all, the band's current schedule was making it worse, and for health reasons he had to leave the band. His immediate future plans mainly consisted of treatment and healing.
Now, of course, one member leaving isn't the same as the whole band going, but it still hurts, especially if it's for health reasons (as opposed to the usual "musical differences").

Last week they announced that a new drummer would be joining the band, after they'd been drummerless (officially, I mean of course on concerts they'd have a support drummer) for a few months. They decided they simply couldn't be drumerless and chose a new guy to join them. This new guy, we have been assured, loves the band as much as the older members do, and he is also Yukimi-approved.
Today we finally saw his face for the first time. He's quite cute I have to say. I hope the general fandom likes him, because new members sometimes get shit from people and I wouldn't want that to happen.

As a welcoming celebration of the new guy (Sana he's called. I don't think I said it) I'm gonna tell you all the reasons why I love this band.

I first found out about then through Ameba's peta system (Ameba being a japanese blogging platform). Sometimes indie band members will go and give peta to people as some promotional help to make people notice them. I suppose that is the reason why LiN (left-side guitar) came out of I-never-knew-where and gave me peta. For some reason I got curious (doesn't always happen with promotional peta) and wanted to check his band out, but it so happened that they hadn't released anything at all yet. A few days later they released their first single and I quite liked it, though I didn't absolutely love it at first. But I still wanted to find out some more about these guys, so I went and stalked their twitters and blogs. To this day LiN remains my favourite member. I often wonder why, but I just seem to like the weird ones.
They grew fairly popular pretty quickly (that is to say, within the scene) and sold out quite a few things.
I once did a masterclass about them on LiveJournal just to try and get my Aussie friend into them. I succeeded.
They're on YouTube repeatedly. I think they had 2 different official band channels, both of them forgotten, they're on the channel of their label, Danger Crue Records, and both guitarists have their own (also forgotten) podcasts (though Mio's is on ustream rather than YouTube).
Their fans are called U's. The band's motto would be "-s m e h-", which stands for "smile makes everyone happy".
Speaking of smiles, Yui's gets the prettiest smile award. Guess that's part of why people call him "Charisma-san".
Still on Yui, he likes Glad News (clothing brand) so much that once he was trying new clothes on and his own clothes disappeared because the shop staff thought they were the shop's stock.
I didn't remember this before I checked the aforementioned LJ post but apparently once they were being trolled on twitter and both guitarists went and trolled the troll right back.
LiN gets the dorkiest idiot award. And I mean he's a right dork but sometimes he does such stupid things, like put makeup brushes up his nose, photoshop his face on a kangaroo or plank on the sinks of a public toilet (and I have photographic proof of all 3 examples) that I can't help but think "why is he such an idiot?".
Pretty much all of their outfits look like they raided a fabric store and played collage on themseves.

Oh rereading the LJ post and typing this up has made me kinda nostalgic (and just so you realise the ridiculousness of that sentence, this band is only 3 years old). I am now looking forward to getting to know Sana and his antics and his anecdotes and stuff. Hope they're good.


I'll just go now and leave you with the new video, REV:
 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hearty Books: Cracked (Soul Eaters #1)

There's one thing I'm sure of: vampires are overdone. So this year with a good library to choose from, I have chosen my books as vampire-free as possible.


This one doesn't have vampires. It has Templars and soul-eating demons. Technically succubi and incubi, but it's easier to say soul-eating demons.


I shall now proceed to copy-paste the official synopsis:

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
The synopsis is of course meant for marketing, so it's not quite as fun as the book itself, but tell me that doesn't sound fun. No, you're lying, it does. The book is funny, clever, I did not see that plot twist coming and I am so glad there wasn't a love triangle because for a moment there I thought there would be. It's written as a first person narrative, from Meda's point of view (by the way, I was quite amused to learn that her full name is Andromeda). It also did this thing (that I'm calling the Hunger Games Thing) where every chapter ends with a sentence that makes you need to know what happens next, so that means you either stop reading in the middle of a chapter or you don't stop reading at all. In any case, I liked it so much I plan on buying a copy of my own so I can reread it as much as I want.


There was only one detail that bugged me: Meda's age. I think this was probably a revision mistake, but the result is that I don't know if Meda's 15 or 17. It doesn't actually affect the plot, but it bugs me. Let's list the evidence. Meda's mother Mary died two years before the start of the story in the book. At one point Meda says something like "I only had my mom for thirteen years." Leading to believe that Mary died when Meda was 13 and she is now 15. But later in the book, I think it was on a recording of Mary, she says something like "Meda is now 15." Since that recording was at the time of her death, Meda would now be 17. So yeah, it's confusing.

There were also the little moments where my mind thought I was reading Shadowhunters instead of Templars. It's superhuman powers and bible bable all over in both cases, so a bit of confusion is understandable (though the similarities end there, so further confusion is unlikely). And although there is at one point a ceremony with fancy schmancy incantation words, it was a smart move to not actually include the words in the book, because that kind of situations often end up as Latin silliness.


I am generally reluctant to start reading series before all of the books are out, and this series is the perfect example of why (tho I do not for a moment regret giving in to it). As of last month, the publishing house that published Cracked and was planning on publishing Crushed (the sequel) simply doesn't exist anymore. Crushed was meant to be released on the 5th of August, but now it's just not going to happen. Author Eliza Crewe says she's looking into publishing it some other way, but that means we'll have to wait more. Unless you're Indian that is, because in there the books are published by Penguin and are going as scheduled, in fact Crushed is already out there. I can only hope the situation is resolved soon and we can have the rest of the series without any more problems.


Also, since I'm on the topic of hoping, I sincerely hope the book(s) get more noticed and get translated to other languages, because right now it isn't, that I know of.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hearty Nails: Piko~chu

Ohey look who still lives. I'm going to give you a simple one today, just so I don't die waking the blog up after so long. It is actually an oldie (as you can see here), which is why this is so easy.

But what is this really? Well, it's the logo/face of the mascot of the solo singer Piko, who's just as cute as his mascot. Which is a rat by the way, not a cat, however much it looks like it.


Polishes used:

NYC black
NYC white
Essence 57 Love of Pink
H&M x Hello Kitty Darling Pink


This is a picture of the Pikochu plushie toy that is sold as merch. Below you can see the video for Nisoku Hokou, which is a self-duet, perfectly illustrating his ability to sing with both a "female voice" and a "male voice".


Friday, 6 June 2014

Hearty Books: The Lunar Chronicles

I'm gonna talk about books now. Spoiler free.

These in particular, The Lunar Chronicles, are a series of 4 books (only 3 of which are out right now) that I was not really expecting to like quite so much. My friend Tara, better known as the Queen of Pirates, mentioned she was reading them after she heard some book youtuber she follows raving about them. When she explained what they were about I noticed they ticked quite a few of my boxes, so I went on to the library (oh the joy of having a proper library to use. The library back home is rubbish) and found them. And then I got kind of obsessed. The minute I finished Cinder I needed to get my hands on Scarlet, and the same happened when I finished Scarlet. Proper can't-put-it-down level of hooked. Which is why it's a proper catastrophe that I now need to wait a whole year for Winter to be out.

The first thing you need to know is that these are retellings of classic fairy tales. Specifically, Cinderella (Cinder), Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzel (Cress) and Snow White (Winter). Actually the similarity between the originals and the adaptations here are the bare minimum. You can't guess what will happen just from your knowledge of the fairy tales. Or, well, not all of it anyway. You know that Cinderella goes to the ball and something goes wrong, but you don't know exactly how it will happen here. The plot is bigger than just the fairy tales, and it gets a bit thicker with every sequel. Meaning, yes, author Marissa Meyer is doing shit right.

But why, you ask, are these so unusual? Remakes of fairytales have been made tons of times already. First thing that comes to my mind right now is TV series Once Upon a Time (and I'm way behind on watching the third season). Well, very few of those remakes are sci-fi. I'm just thinking right now is Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which did have a certain steampunk vibe, but in The Lunar Chronicles the sci-fi-ness is so ingrained into the story as to make Cinderella a cyborg, and Rapunzel's tower a satellite orbiting the Earth. Also, it's set on a faraway future (about 2 world wars and 130 or so years away into the future) where Earth is the Earthen Union (consisting of 6 countries: The Eastern Commonwealth, the European Federation, United Kingdom, the African Union, Australia and the American Republic). Then there's the addition of Luna, a proper country of its own in the Moon, with their own race of people genetically mutated from normal earthen humans.

Yeah, well, I'm not intending to give away the plot and stuff, but it's a good one (or a good three, so far, hopefully a good four). There were a couple of annoying bits, like how you really guess way too early Cinder's true identity (I really don't think the author intended us to guess so early into the first book, seeing as the actual revelation is literally at the end of it), and that thing about how everyone on Earth suddenly speaks the same language and it's not clarified until the third book (could've explained sooner). But all in all, good plot, nicely written, great hooking ability, great expectations for the ending book to the series. It also has the added convenience of being easy to find in libraries and such: it should be right next to Twilight. I don't think the authors are related or anything but it's certainly convenient, as Twilight tends to be easy to find.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Hearty Nails: Oh, Mejibray

Because it's not strictly "Oh, Koichi" if I include Tsuzuku. Now, I have sooo many old pictures (specifically, 13 drafts, which I know cos I just checked) to post still, but I really want to post these ones before the release actually gets old. That release being the "SM" single collection.
So, lemme show you.

Mejibray Vo. Tsuzuku

This is Tsuzuku, vocalist of the band, and he is sporting some black on red distressed kind of look (on his nails that is, the rest of the outfit is an entirely different story). Here's my recreation of it:

TZK on KILLING ME nail art

This was made with Kiko 362 as the red base and Sinful Colors Black on Black on top, following this method.

Mejibray Ba. Koichi

This is Koichi, the bassist to blame for all of these posts. At first I thought he was wearing distressed gold on white, but when I looked better I saw it wasn't actually, it's more like this:

Koichi KILLING ME nail art

I made this with Barry M Matt White (which is not matte or anything, it's a bit confusing, this name) and a nameless striper polish from Primark in a golden colour. The index finger looks slightly different; that's because I tried to do the full nail gold with Barry M Princess (from the textured collection) but the pinkiness showed up, so I put the Primark striper on top to make it more golden and less pinky. It would've been best if it had worked well on its own though, because painting a full nail with a striping brush is annoying at best.

It's very tempting to call these "Angel and Demon" or something of the sort because really, look at them, all opposite.
The pictures of the band members come from their blog banners, and I am using them from my friend at Seishinshougai, who took the pictures and prettified them with magic and photoshop.


And now in case you want it, the official spot for "SM":

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Hearty Nails: the originals

Today's the day. Today this band I've put so much effort and enthusiasm on (and I'm not even IN the band wtf) will be gone. Excuse the dramaing, but it frikin hurts. So here's my tribute, which isn't new, but it wasn't posted in here so yeah. There's one design for each member of the band and then another extra Rookie.


The first time I did Rookie I painted the design on the border thingies of his blog. [that's the screen of my old laptop with Vista HAHAHA that's how old this is]


Because I had started and planned to continue on doing the blog design border thingies for each of them, I tried to paint those tabasco bottles he had, but it was such a disaster that I gave up and drew his very own kaomoji instead.


For Toshi I did manage to draw the wheel that was his blog border thingie, but then I suddenly felt the need to add something extra out of nowhere (or if it came from somewhere I can't remember now) and I drew (or tried to anyway) a proper treasure chest, overflowing with gold coins and all.


Nimo had a skull with pearls in its mouth as his blog border thingie, but this is no ordinary skull, for this is William III. Which is what he named the prop skull he had on his microphone stand. For this one too I felt like I needed an accent nail, though you can barely even see it, but the ring finger skull has actual nail beads instead of just dots for the pearls.


And this is the redoing of the Rookie tribute, which came from (thumb) his hat, (index) his hair/headband under the hat, (middle) the same blog border thingie from the first time, (ring) his violin, and (pinky) his favourite way of wearing his own nails.


I know this wasn't my best blogpost but I'm not exactly in my best state of mind right now. Not only because THEY'RE GONE NOW, but also I'm actually feeling like I caught a cold today so that isn't helping. I'll leave links below to other places where I've posted these before, because I'm 100% sure my words were better there than they were here.

1 2 3 4 5

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hearty Music: random assortment of opinions

I'm kinda sick of having opinions on the music I listen to and no friends available to talk to. [This also applies to books and well, basically anything I can have an opinion on] I have busy friends. So instead of bothering them when they're busy, I'm going to start voicing my opinions on my blog. This of course opens a whole new mess on a blog that's already a bit messy as it is, so I think I'm going to need to rearrange something.
Anyway, let me get on with my thoughts. Because, you see, I have a whole bunch of releases I haven't heard yet so I'm going to do it now in one sitting. Welcome to Anid's poorly structured ramblings.

1- Lycaon's "Baka ne"
These guys have changed a lot since they started, but I was actually agreeing with the changes up until a couple releases ago. Since they turned all electro and Yuuki has pink hair. I'm blaming it all on the pink hair. Yuuki please go back to blond and everything will be ok. But no, he's still pink. And they're still electro-weird. And I'm not agreeing with it. Which saddens me because I do love them.

2- Arthur Darvill singing a Doctor Who themed version of Frozen's "Let It Go"
This is a bit of a ridiculous thing that just got tweeted as I decided to write this post, and as soon as I played the video I knew I wanted to include it here. Click on the link on the title, really. It's epic on its own special way.

3- Mejibray's "Raven"
I actually have a nail post inspired by them to be posted soon.Ish.
Whenever I talk about them with my friend who's now busy writing her graduation thesis, we always agree how smart they are in the way they mix the commercialness with the whatever-the-frick-they-wanna-do-experimenting. Their marketing strategy is really smart, but also, I imagine, exhausting, from the looks of it. Their schedule is ridiculously busy, it's amazing how they manage to keep going without dying of stress or something.
Anyway, the single. This is a single on the comercial side. It's still got the whatever-the-frick-we-want element, but strictly music-wise it's to sell. And as expected, I like the third song best. Which is not to say I don't like the other two, because I do.

4- Codomo Dragon's "Children's Dope"
This band is a strong candidate for "next-band-I-fall-for" [nevermind that just now when trying to link videos I found out the name of their serial program and got slightly traumatized]. In truth I've been curious about them since a friend brough me a bunch of flyers [the posters of the penniless] back from Japan and there was one from them. Back then I'd only ever heard their name here and there but never bothered paying attention. More recently I watched their performance on the Stylish Wave NYE countdown, and since I quite liked it, I've been paying more attention, until I saw the video from the link and decided to try out the whole album.
From what I've seen the only thing about their style I can actually accurately describe is "they obsess with a colour per single". Right Evil was white/red, NEPENTHES. was bright pink, and Children's Dope, gold. This has nothing to do with the music, but their music is really really hard to describe properly. In any case, I am definitely liking it. Yep.

5- LM.C's "Perfect Fantasy"
It's been a while since I paid them proper attention, but I used to like them a lot, so I decided I want to pay them some attention again. This album (or is it a mini-album? It's got 8 tracks? Sometimes it gets confusing) is nice, sounds fun, but it's not anything oh-so-amazing. A couple of song do sound like I might grow to like them a lot more than I do at first listen though.

6- DIV's "Mudai no Document"
Not a new release really, but I've only recently started listening to DIV, so it's new to me. Mind you, I say "listening", I could just as truthfully say "obsessing". Their other album, Zero One, was listened to quite obsessively indeed. And I think the odds of this one being listened to just as obsessively are pretty high. Currently wondering why the song Answer is both here and in Zero One tho. I think it's a rerecording or something of the sort, but really guys you have 2 albums it's a bit early to do this. Anyway, it's a pity they haven't got more stuff released (they're a very young band ok they're like 2 years I think?) because I'd obsessively listen to the whole of it.

That's it, the end.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Hearty Nails: Oh Koichi (5)

Continuing the Koichi series started here
Koichi is the main reason why I started liking neons. They're too bright for my taste, but when I saw how he used them I thought they weren't so bad. I'm still not the biggest fan of leopard print so really I don't know why I liked these nails enough to copy them, but I did.


I very probably painted the leopard with a toothpick (knowing my aversion to get brushes dirty). I didn't (still don't) have any black star shaped decos, so I took my white stars and painted them black.

Mejibray Koichi's nails

Stuff I used:
Kiko 281
Yssy 087
NYC Black

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Hearty Nails: Pastel Horror Yum Yum Show (base)

Happy new year!
I mentioned in my previous post that the next one would be the base under the main design, and here it is. To be honest I had no idea what to paint as a base that could have any relation to the concept, so with the exception of the thumb, the rest of the nails have random designs.
Pastel goth base nails

index: Claire's Anon + Rimmel 050 Tangerine Queen
middle: NYC black&white
ring: Claire's Anon + Franken
Pinky: Claire's Anon + H&M Urban Spirit on top of I Can't Remember

Pastel goth base nails

The thumb was the only one that had anything to do with the concept really, and it's the macarons on a nail (ahaha pun) in pastel colours, which we saw more on the clothing line than on the music video (as you can see here).
NYC white
H&M x Hello Kitty Darling Pink + Kiko 282
Kiko 389 + Claire's Anon
Franken + Kiko 355
Claire's Anon + Sephora L16 curaçao