Outgoing Mail Update

It seemed that for the last week or so, my body was willing but my spirit was not.  Sadly, worrying too much makes it so.  However, yesterday some bit of good news came on the ‘war’ in my hometown so I was able to get several essays cooking but will upload it one at a time.  First place comes by way of me updating on the outgoing mails I was able to post on Friday. 🙂

To Sara in Asturias, Spain for Swap-Bot’s Blind Surprise Swap (September).  I hope she likes all the surprises I wrapped especially for her. 🙂

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These postcards en route to the U.S. and Malaysia for Swap-Bot’s 52 Postcards in 2013.  The PC above is one of the rare PCs of my emirate (Fujairah).  And the PC below shows one of Kish Island’s view in the Persian Gulf.

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I still have quite a few letters to seal and send.  Here’s hoping I can update again soonest.

Thanks for dropping by, dear readers.  I hope you’re having a great weekend.

Beep! Beep! Incoming Mail (with another Book Giveaway Win)

I am thankful that I am continuously receiving mails that divert my attention from the crisis in my hometown.  Otherwise, I will probably go mad from all the tension and heartbreak.

Anyway, here’s what I got these past 10 days.

…from Heather in Michigan, USA for a Blind Surprise (August) swap in Swap-Bot.  As you can see, the envelope is partially destroyed, but Emirates Post placed the parcel inside a transparent plastic envelope when I received it.

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…a letter from Robyn in Australia.  The stamps made me smile…so cheerful and casual.

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…and my recent book giveaway win from Jolina Petersheim ~ The Outcast , hosted by Tamara of Traveling with T.  It is autographed so another one in my special ‘signed books’ collection.

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Thank you for passing by, dear readers.  A blessed week to everyone!

9/11

Last night I was trying to remember exactly what I was doing when NY’s Twin Towers were hit that marked the historic tragedy that was 9/11 which left the entire world appalled at the atrocity.  And I did.

I was pretending to study for my Accountancy (duh) board exams with the TV on and tuned to CNN.  When I have a TV, it’s always tuned in to a global news network.  It’s one of my idiosyncracies, I guess.  Hence, the minute most Americans learned of the attack, I was with them.  I was stunned.  How can the strongest nation in the world become vulnerable to this kind of attack?  Then it broke my heart when I saw people trying to run for their lives and some were caught on camera losing their lives while at it.  I never left the front of my TV.  I wanted to know every teeny bit of news I could get.  Luckily for me, I had no work to worry that time that I can spend every waking moment getting all the news I could get.

I’m recounting this because I feel like the same young woman of twelve years ago when 9/11 happened.  The only difference today is I have work to answer to.  Thus, I can only get news of what’s happening to my hometown when I am off duty.  Which, by the way, makes me so helpless.  I know that if I’m with my family, I won’t even know what to do, but the thing is I’ll be with them.  I’ll be sharing every bit of emotion – fear, anxiety, anger, to name some – with them.  Unfortunately, I am here thousands of miles away.

But good always overcomes evil.  Thus, I am very hopeful that peace will return to my city soonest.  I have 9/11 to thank for this hope.  And like everyone out there reading, I will never forget, too.

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Th World Trade Center (now)

A photo shared by Susan Elizabeth Phillips on her Facebook page.

Keeping Calm from Miles Away

 

With frayed nerves keeping me wide awake this tense evening, I’m reading until some good news come my way from home.  I just hope as the morning dawns in Zamboanga City, innocent hostages would be released unhurt.

 

Other related news:

* http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/484401/mnlf-storms-zamboanga-city-leaves-6-dead

 

[Photo courtesy from Facebook-The Book Connections.]

NO TO (CIVIL) WAR IN ZAMBOANGA CITY

Hello, dear readers.  I was meaning to post something light today as this is my day off, but the news that I was awaken to made me change my mind.  Philippine rebel forces attacked my beloved hometown, Zamboanga City, using civilians as human shields against answering defensive attacks by the Philippine Armed Forces.  It saddens me that once again these lawless group is using Zamboanga City for their self-centered motives by putting fear into innocent civilians only because Zamboanga City remains steadfast in its stand in saying NO to any and all attempts to make it part of the autonomous region.  Sigh.

Right this moment, I fear for my family and all Zamboangueños as these rebels are attacking villages and holding hostages anyone who come across their paths.  I just hope the President of the Philippines together with the City Mayor do something NOW to right this insurrection before the day ends to avoid more deaths of innocent civilians.

As a favor, dear readers, I ask you to say a prayer that peace once more will reign and Zamboanga City will have a peaceful night today.  Thank you so much.

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Related news:

http://www.mindanaoexaminer.com/news.php?news_id=20130908170831

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/09/08/13/2-dead-4-hurt-mnlf-clash-zamboanga-city

http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/09/09/1190051/zamboanga-city-shut-down-mnlf-men-attack-its-villages

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/09/09/1190261/netizens-ask-prayforzamboanga

http://www.philstar.com/nation/2013/09/09/1190311/pnp-hopes-end-zambo-situation-soon-possible

http://m.ustream.tv/channel/rmn-zamboanga-tv

[Photo courtesy of Facebook.]

Incoming Mail Update (including a Signed Copy of Undone)

First of all, thank you for dropping by over here.  I appreciate it.  Really.

It has been quite a busy couple of weeks for me at the hospital that all I wanted to do after a day’s work was to plop on my bed and sleep.  I felt my body weakening, literally, so I had to hear the li’l voice in me saying “rest, Jennifer, rest.”  Hence, that’s what I did.  Consequently, I haven’t posted much about my mails.  I’m changing that right this minute by sharing with you what I got in the mail for the past couple weeks.

Postcards!

…from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the U.K.

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…from different states in the U.S.A.IMG_0239[1]

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…from Vanessa in Malaysia for Swap-Bot’s Adventures of the Traveling Postcard R11.  The postcard she wants to make the rounds is of a typewriter, which made me drool.  I love typewriters!  I wish I could keep this one, but I have to send it out so it can travel to far off places in the world. 🙂

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Book!      

…and a signed free copy of Undone sent by Jennifer and Keri of Broken Girl.  This is my first non-fiction book for this year. Thank you so much!

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I hope you all, dear readers, have a lovely weekend in your part of the world.

Review: Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Title:     Burning Sky

Author:     Lori Benton

Publisher:     WaterBrook Press

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If you have to choose between a life you’ve been born in but lost twelve years ago and the life you were forced in but learned to live and cherish in that same twelve years, which would you choose?

This is the dilemma that presses upon Burning Sky of the Wolf clan as she rediscovers her lost homestead.  Burning Sky, so named after a Mohawk Indian adopted her as her own daughter some twelve years ago, journeys back to the land where she was born and taken.  What she will find when she reaches the cabin her father built, she is not sure.  She is not even sure whether her parents and grandmother are still alive, then how can she foresee what lies in store for her?  As she reaches her journey’s end, she finds herself trying to overcome challenges after challenges to regain the land she once called home compounded by her personal turmoils.  For how long can she fight the struggles?  Is she willing to risk everything just to gain back her family’s land even at the expense of losing herself in the process?  Does she even know who she wants to be from thereon?

I started to read this novel a week ago, but had to unwillingly put it aside to catch up on my much-needed sleep until yesterday evening.  If I knew what I knew now, I should have picked a better timing like a day when I don’t have to wake up early for another day’s duty, maybe?  Because even if I could’ve put it down and continue on another day, I just wasn’t willing.  Burning Sky, the debut novel of Lori Benton, starts by grabbing your undivided attention then has the ability to make you curiouser and curiouser as to what will happen to the characters.  The story is very engaging.  Really.  Set in New York in 1784, it clearly describes the landscape after years of war, the people who survived the war and their determination to start over.  The way Lori Benton told Burning Sky‘s story and incorporated these other factors make you rethink whether this is really just a debut novel.  Lori Benton writes like a pro.  I mean her prose is that of someone with years and years and years of experience in what makes a novel a great novel.

The other thing I liked about Burning Sky were the characters that make up the entire novel.  For instance, the male protagonist, Neil MacGregor, a botanist.  He is not the typical male hero.  What I mean is he comes out like a genuine person during the days of the frontier – determined, willful but a bit scared as to the unknown.  He does not put a false front of being strong when he knows he is not, but will let you know he will do everything in his power to protect the people he cares for.  What he lacks in physical strength (because he was injured) he makes up with his strong mind and good sense of humor.  He may not be the stuff of wishful dreams but he sure is someone any woman would want to be by her side in the long run.

Then there is Burning Sky herself.  Born as Wilhelmina Obenchain, you’ll see that she is a sensible woman but with a vulnerability that will make the reader quite sympathetic to her plight.  Her self-reliance can be attributed to her living for twelve years with the Indians, but her innate finesse stems out from her upbringing before that.  I liked her because she is not the so-called damsel in distress.  She faces her challenges head on.  Although her being pragmatic almost cost her her happiness.  Nevertheless, you can be sure that whatever decisions she makes she will stand firm on it.

The other characters I liked in the book are Joseph Tames-his-Horse, Burning Sky‘s clan brother; Anni Keppler, the childhood friend torn between loyalties; and Francis, Anni’s brother who despite his being a special child rises when called upon to see justice prevails.  Without doubt, Lori Benton created characters the readers will like and love.  Characters with both strengths and weaknesses combined that make them truly genuine.

Lastly, the pace of the story is just right.  Not so fast and not so slow.  I hope, dear readers, you’ll get a copy of this novel just to see whether I am right in my review.  Hehe.  I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.  It has all the elements that make up a great read – good story with likeable characters and enough doses of suspense, adventure, and romance.  I highly recommend this novel, Burning Sky.  And I can’t wait for Lori Benton’s next novel.

[Thank you for reading my very first book review after quite a number of years.  I won the autographed copy of Burning Sky from a giveaway hosted by Mona Hodgson.  This review is my personal opinion and I did not receive a request from the author or the author’s affiliations. ]