ARC Review: Phoenix Island

phoenix island

Title: Phoenix Island

Author: John Dixon

Publishing Date: January 21, 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

The history of Carl Freeman was heartbreaking but as he punched through his life trying to defend every person hurt or bullied, along the way, he was sentenced to Phoenix Island and from then on was his turning point to changing his destiny but as he goes along, deaths were starting to arise and he found out that the island is turning orphans into soldier killers.

My first approved ARC read! Yes! I am so happy and incredibly grateful to be approved to read this novel which is jam-packed with action and unpredictable events that will make you emotionally attached and increasingly interested with the characters.

Every author has his/ her own style of writing and in my opinion; John Dixon’s style is unique and incomparable. He has intelligently exemplified the portrayal of a military setting and his ideas of it were exceptionally amazing. Phoenix Island as his debut novel, and should I mention that it will be the basis of the new CBS TV show Intelligence, is definitely not bad at all.

The first few chapters got me lost but I eventually found my way back since this was way different from the previous novels I’ve been reading. It is my very first time to read a novel about boot camps and military setups with a serious note and these new stunts and grunts I have read are amusing me. It was incredibly entertaining and definitely a page turner. In addition to that, there were no dull moments considering that it has to do with military concepts. I am no new to boot camps but setting it as a theme of a novel is a different matter. The hint of emotional attraction inside those barracks never failed to make me smile and in my opinion, adding it up, spiced up the story. There were times that I can’t comprehend if I’m going to continue reading or just stop because of its poignancy. I was too immersed with the story and too attached with the characters that I’m feeling too emotional about it and I can’t push through. I enjoyed this novel too much. 🙂

Goodbye, Paul Walker!

paul

This post must have been late but just to acknowledge the greatness of a humble person who gives something to someone in need. The whole world was shocked with the death of Paul Walker. I was browsing updates in Instagram when one of my cousins posted a picture of Paul Walker with a caption “RIP Paul Walker”. I almost thought it was a hoax or he was just kidding until I opened my twitter and that’s when I saw all the updates. I felt cold and it’s so heartbreaking! I almost felt teary-eyed or maybe I will burst into tears if only my parents are not around. It was too spontaneous.

Paul Walker, you will forever be in our hearts ❤ ❤ ❤ and you’ll always be remembered. May you rest in peace.

365 Days of Whateverness

Dear All,

Happy December and Christmas is just around the corner! 😀 😀 😀

I’m hoping that the blogosphere hasn’t erased me in its memory. A lot has happened over the months and I wanna punish myself for being a lazy brat! Since I’ve been gone for months and have lost my job just recently, I want to devote myself in creating something out of my ordinary life thus; since I was inspired to my friend, Arra Abella, who is making a daily post despite her busyness especially nowadays, I am going to make my 365 DAYS OF WHATEVERNESS starting today.

The aim of this challenge is for self-improvement especially in blogging, generating great ideas and sharing events and experiences to every one who cares to read my blog. I’m not pushing but just saying. 🙂 Anyway, I would be posting anything which makes me smile, laugh, cry or whichever my heart desires to share. Just a warning, it might contain, book reviews (since I love reading books but sucks at writing so I better just read), some random pictures and some ideas which just pops my head especially before I sleep.

I know it will not be easy but I will try my best to conform and post everyday the updates and moments happening in my life. I’ve been planning to do this since a couple of months ago but since I’m the best procrastinator on earth I have been ditching the idea many times but after some realizations, I am willing to make a change… for the better and I’m hoping you’ll be joining my journey to improvement and dedication to this project. I hope I can make it. Wish me luck!

Love,

Marion

Dream on

I am a dreamer and I think you all know that. I have a dream. Yes, I do and I know everyone does, but I won’t tell because it might be jinxed. Yesterday, from the moment I opened my eyes, until I got to work, until I got home and ate dinner and before I slept all I did was daydream about me and my life. What I wanna do, what my parents want me to do, and what my parents and I wanted to do with my life. It was like an MTV playing in my mind with the music playing in the car or in my earphones.

It just seems real especially before I sleep. At this very moment, I wanna do it. I wanna do what I wanna do but I’m helpless, I’m weak and I’m scared. I’m a coward and I know that. If I could just quit my job, go back to where I belong and get the most amazing job I could imagine and get a house of my own and get something I wanna wear for the day, I’d be happy. It’s not as simple as 1, 2, 3 or A, B, C. I’m looking for that courageous part of me still floating in the air waiting to be called. I know I can call it anytime but I’m still waiting for that right moment. When is that right moment? I. Don’t. Know.

I wanna be free! I wanna embrace the realities of life but at the same time, I don’t want to leave the fantasies lurking with it. When I’m in a good mood, I feel bold, confident and waiting to be wild but it just won’t get there. Sometimes I feel like being a bitch but I can’t. I wanna lose it in my system, these goody-two-shoes attitude which gets me nowhere, but like what I’ve said, I just can’t.

At the end of the day, whatever happened throughout my day, I try to forget and I move on and, again, I dream on.

Farewell, Ali!

This one’s for you Ali! When I found out about what happened, I relived those memories with you and I realized those moments were few but I won’t fret because although, most of it are coincidental meet-ups, I believe those were happy moments.

For those few years I’ve known you, you were the easy-going, jolly and very positive type of person and I admire you for that. Who would ever forget a person like you who always smiles? I never knew your condition until now that you’re gone, since you never told me.

Did you remember that moment when we coincidentally met at NAIA never knowing we have the same flight to Jeddah? I’m grateful you were with me during that flight because it was one of our bonding moments. You offered the seat beside you and I told you that if no one will be seating there I’d be your seatmate… we’re lucky.

Did you remember that before we left Manila, you looked so normal, but when we arrived Jeddah you were bloated? I will never forget the moment when you showed me your feet puffed up like a balloon and I was so shocked! You can’t wear your sneakers properly and you have to adjust the ties but you were smiling and laughing because of my reaction. I never knew your condition, Ali but why didn’t you tell me? We had 10 hours to talk about it but you never did. I guess, we weren’t really that close.

After that year I found out you stopped going to school because of your condition and I’m still oblivious as to what’s going on but it never bothered me. I just know that you were on dialysis and that’s it. I thought you’d be fine because you seem to be.

I’m sorry for nagging you about my Chang book but you can’t blame me, I love that Chemistry book! LOL. I remember the moments when we coincidentally come upon each other in UST grounds, you were always smiling from afar and when you approach me, you would tickle me.

I know our moments were few but it’s memorable. Did you remember our last bonding moment? It was crystal clear in

Our last photo together

Our last photo together

my mind. My friends and I were waiting for Ian Somerhalder to show up at Mall of Asia, there were lots of people waiting (mostly girls, you know it!) with us. While waiting, I just turned my head to the right and there you were with your brothers. You were holding that broad smile and I was surprised again. I thought after we see Ian, we would take apart but I never expected you and your brothers would be staying with us. We ate lunch together. Did you remember you were my partner when we played billiards? We won! I was so caught up I never thought that day would end.

You know what, I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am grateful that I saw you that day, that I met your cool brothers, that we made memories before I leave for Jeddah, but I am sad because I never thought it would be our last bonding moment. It will never happen again.

You will definitely be missed, Ali. Many people will miss your coolness and positive views, your smile and laugh, your jollies and jokes. I believe you are in a better place now.

Rest in Peace, Alirezah Ali 1990- 2013

Undecided

“Sometimes, Gin, life leaves you without directions, without guideposts or signs. When this happens, you just have to pick a direction and run like hell.” – Aunt Peg, The 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

I love this quote from the novel I’m recently reading. I’m also undecided of what I wanna do with life because there are so much things I wanna do and what I want to be. It’s very confusing which is which but the bottom part of it all is I wanna explore more of the world and life.

Yummy Tummy

This post has been my assignment for more than a week. I’ve been composing this in my head since I’m not sure when and my mind was telling me to start making it but my hand and my body are not cooperating. So just now that I’ve come to my senses, I’m starting to cram (which is my very habit that I wanna change). Well, anyway, since I promised myself that while I’m still breathing, I will never stop being productive and never stop making something new, so for this post, I’m dedicating it to my most favorite thing in the world which  is… (very obvious in my title) FOOD!

I love food! I’m in love with it that if only a man could live with only food, I’d prolly survive. Ha! Well, I grew up in a family who really loves to eat. Unlike my brother, I’m not really picky with food. I eat everything and anything as long as it’s eatable (of course I’m exempting exotic foods). I don’t know how to cook nor bake so my mission: To be able to cook or bake without any help from my mom or from anyone. I was inspired to bake since my mom is very much an expert in cooking AND baking. She is so good in baking, especially Brazo de Mercedes, that every one who tastes it doesn’t want to stop. She also has a colleague who bakes a lot and I mean A LOT! Because of these inspirations, it all became pinspiration and so I starting searching for a good recipe of the food I really wanna try and cook (especially bake) in Pinterest.

At first, I was very hesitant in baking and I’m very afraid that it wouldn’t turn out as to what I’m expecting but I told myself, it’s part of learning, right? Failure is part of learning. Nothing would happened if I don’t make it happen so my journey in baking, and hopefully in cooking, begins now.

So anyway, here are the stuffs which I’ve accomplished within the month:

Apple and Red

Since I have a work in the morning and I feel very tired when I get home, I usually make and bake these foods on weekends. In the first couple of weeks of March, what I have planned to do are the Red Velvet Cupcakes, which I’m very obsessed in perfecting and Apple Fritters, which my parents are very much grateful that I did it.

My Red Velvet Cupcakes are not very successful since it’s not sweet. Although my father liked it since he’s a diabetic, it’s still not acceptable for me so I’m planning to make another batch hopefully on April. After my disappointment on my Red Velvet Cupcakes, I changed my route to Apple Fritters and no disappointments at all! My whole family loved it! If we cannot finish the whole batch in one eating, I usually store the batter, with the apples on it in a sealed container and put it in the refrigerator and whenever we need some dessert, I just pull it out from the fridge and fry it. It’s very easy to make and very delectable. So I give it five stars. 🙂

As for the whole second half of the month of March, what I did was bake Cinnamon rolls because of my craving with Cinnabon. It was majestic! I really enjoyed making this, from the making of the dough and kneading which I think is the best part until the sprinkling of the filling. What I wasn’t able to perfect in these cinnamon rolls are the frosting so apparently, I don’t have pictures of cinnamon rolls with frosting.

pecabon 2

I am hoping as I search more recipes in Pinterest, I would be able to make more delectable foods and be an expert in baking. Thanks to Pinterest and for the people who are sharing their talents. I am so happy that I wouldn’t be able to have the driving force in doing these stuffs without them.

Labor of Love

The second month of the year is about to end and despite my busyness, I would never let this month pass without posting something. This month may be the love month to most of us but since I’m single (and I’m very much happy about it), I still got my family and friends to show my love. Ha! I was supposed to post this last year but since I was preparing something for Christmas, I thought, I’d better surprise them (my friends) first before they find out what it is I gave them.

It was November 2012 when my crafty side had erupted (and I would admit, my boring-ness too). Did you ever feel your hands (being so itchy, well not literally) and your mind (causing all the drive and being so pushy) just wanted to do something new and something special? Well, I felt that. Maybe because of my frustration to try something new and make something out of ordinary, given also with my obsession with Berets and beanies. And then it started…

My first not-so-perfect beret.

My second attempt

When I bought my first crochet hook and yarns, I was delighted. It was a magical moment for me (when I say magical, the moment I saw those crochet hooks in a bundle, there’s a background music playing in my mind. I was amused! Okay, I know I’m over reacting but forgive me for my excitement). Right after I bought it, I can’t wait to get home and make some.

I googled, researched and read about stuffs on how to make a beret/beanie and I stumbled upon these very helpful videos in YouTube. Thanks to Tracey Nguyen and Ms. Teresa of Crochet Geek for showing their wonderful skills and talent in YouTube. Here are their videos: DIY: Patched/Pyramid Beret (Crochet Tutorial) and Crochet Geek: Crochet Puff Stitch Hat

Since I’m still a novice, my first try wasn’t that successful but I didn’t give up. I remembered, it took me 2 days to finish that beret and I was so frustrated! When I finished it, I was flaunting it to my mom and my dad and my brother who keeps on teasing me and laughing at me while I was making it.  He can’t believe I made it and I was able to finish it! Ha! After making my first beret, I’ve got a very good idea: Why not make Berets as Christmas gifts? Well, I did it.

My first not-so-perfect beret.

My first not-so-perfect beret.

For the whole month of November 2012, right after my work, I spent hours making Berets for my friends while I wait for my dad to fetch me. People who pass by me are amused and can’t stop staring (I am loving the attention. Thank you very much!). For that whole month, I was able to finish 8 Berets. I just wasn’t able to take pictures of all of it since the sender of my package was about to leave the country and I’m still not finish with it all so it slipped my mind. Well anyway, I was able to take pictures of my first 2 products. DELIGHT!

In the middle of my crocheting, one day, my father asked me why I made so much of Berets, with different color combinations and different designs, and I told him that I’m making it for my friends as Christmas gifts and guess what he told me. He said: “Oh… Labor of Love” and I love hearing it. Indeed, it is.

Voicing out my cries

Be aware

More than a couple of months have passed and until now I still  feel threatened and traumatized with what happened to me.

I am dedicating this post for those people who were harassed, abused or taken advantaged of, sexually or not sexually.  I’ve been longing to post this from the moment it happened. I felt really ashamed of what happened and whenever I remember it, it disgust me! I am waiting for the right moment to post this and I felt that the right moment came. I am composed and I am ready to voice out my cries to you or to someone who is concerned.

It was my 2nd month at my first work and I’ve been feeling at ease and adjusted already. I knew the people around me and I’ve been very friendly with all of them especially with the bosses (of course!). Little did I know that my boss has a special interest in me.

One evening, it was past 5 and my colleague and I were talking. He passed by our window and talked with us. He started talking about our tardy co-workers and their warning letters, then suddenly in the middle of his sentence, he stopped. He entered the lab and called my name, so I followed him to his office for I thought it was just a routine work related instruction. He made me sit adjacent to him. At first he complimented and gave me flattering remarks in relation to my work attitude. For all the compliments he said, I only responded a ‘Thank you, Sir’. Then he initiated to shake my hand. TWICE! After that, he asked for my mobile number and also asked who I’m living with which I thought are irrelevant and very personal questions. I responded politely and answered all his questions. Then, he started touching my hands and touching my face and it really made me felt uneasy so after a few seconds I asked if I could leave because I really felt uncomfortable but he didn’t seem to hear me. Then he asked if my ‘Thank You’s’ could be replaced by a hug and a kiss which surprised me. But since I’ve noticed from my past encounters with him, he always jokes around, I thought he was just joking though it felt really uneasy but I didn’t show him. Then suddenly, he opened his arms wide in gesture of asking for a hug, I was caught in between of just shaking his hand and giving him a hug but since I could not refuse (since he’s my boss) I gave-in in a surprised manner and I was really feeling anxious. He gave me a kiss on the cheek while he was hugging me. I was surprised. I immediately moved away. I felt violated with the way he treated me. Before leaving his office he advised me not to mention it to anyone but I couldn’t hold my silence. The moment I stepped out of his office, I was shaking and I was so scared that I didn’t know what to do. When I went back to my post, my colleague was asking me what he told me and I was speechless. I was so scared and I was about to cry but I held it all back. I told her everything! I was asking her opinion if I should tell it to my parents or not. I started asking the opinions of my friends. One of my friends told me not to mention it to my parents but the other one told me to mention it to them so I was undecided.

After 4 days of sleepless nights, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told my mother and she was furious (not the scandalous kind of furious but she really wanted to talk to my boss and I was so scared I just couldn’t let her). We debated what to do but I was really decided to leave and resign. My father was calm about it and talked to me. He explained to me that it was not my fault and I didn’t do anything wrong so, why would I leave my job? He told me to talk to the head of the lab and explain to him everything, and so I did (with the support of my mom). After that, our head told me to go to the Human Resources to report my complaint. The abuser went to my mom’s office to explain his side but my mother didn’t let him. He was like, “I need to talk to you, in front of her (pointing at me)”. THE NERVE!

What I wanted to point out is that from all the trouble, my restlessness, my depression and my anxiety, NOTHING HAPPENED! They didn’t even suspend him! Knowing that this country is very conservative (I MEAN VERY VERY CONSERVATIVE THAT EVEN SHAKING A FEMALE’S HAND IS NOT ALLOWED), we thought they’d work on it. My mother was actually expecting them to fire him out but I told her that it would be grave until when he started asking his staff to lie for him telling the Human Resources people that he was in the office while that incident happened (THE EFF!). So here’s what I’m gonna tell you people who were investigating this case:

To Mr. AB, first of all, you didn’t know how scared I was and you didn’t know what I’ve been through. If you think that it is okay here in this place to hug and kiss a girl then think again! You may not have grown up here and I may be a Christian but I know and I respect the culture and tradition of this place so I hope you do too (especially you who is a native of this place). And if you were thinking that I am making up this story then you’re wrong! Never would I make up a story to destroy someone’s reputation! I know you two were bestest friends so no doubt about it, you’ll never hear me out. YES, I KNOW! Pity your bestest friend is a sex offender. Did you even know that he has also done it to someone other than me? She didn’t complain and I think you know why. I admit, I am a weakling and you were asking why he chose me? Well, ask him! Why ask me? My theory is, I will admit, I am shy, a weakling and a gullible kid. I easily trust people and that is my biggest mistake.

To one mister and two miss, I didn’t know what your opinions were when I explained to you my side but I hope you’ve analyzed the incident. (But I think that you didn’t analyze it well). HA!

What I am only asking is protection people! From what I’ve observed, you didn’t support my side. How about those other women who were abused?!?! How could they ask for your help when you are tolerating these kinds of action?!?!?! Now I am still fighting. If you all know how hard it is for me to see him every single day. It scares me! And at the same time, it disgusts me! My heart leaps out and runs away from my body. Actually, whenever I see him, my tendency is to run away. To leave. To run far away from the lab but I couldn’t. Right now, as long as I don’t see him, I feel better.

To the most disgusting person I’ve known, I wouldn’t stress myself to you. I would continue, live my life and I would just laugh and wait for your karma.