Junction

Whenever my name escapes your lips, you make it sound so sweet
Like I’m the only one out there when there are millions with the same name everywhere
Your fingers brush my skin, you make it feel like I was struck by lightning
Electric currents rush through my veins, when all you did was brush hair off my face
And when I look at you my heart forgets to beat, you make it so hard to breathe
You voice is the sweetest melody in my ear as you shush my every fear
Every scar is forgotten and I am reborn again in heaven.

You make me smile in my sleep, even when you’re miles away from me
Every day, every moment, is a journey across the world to you
Every day, every moment, is a promise to you
That one day I can sleep right beside you
That one day I can make you happy the same way you do
Until that one day, we’ve both made it through.

For now, I watch as our love grows and blossoms; multiplies and doubles
I watch the world rotate on its axis, while our love remains timeless
I watch rain fall above our heads, and smile because we know it ends
I watch you from a distance and yet my heart lays right in your hands
In the meantime I’ll live without a heart while we are apart
But never for once think my love will ever be lost.

I might forget every now and then, about all the promises I made inside my head
Some days are hard with you gone, and there’s nothing to hang-on
I still believe in you and me, and that one day it all will be
We’ve gone so far, following the stars
One day we’ll walk the same path, as if we were never apart.

Friday, March 31, 2017

It’s the last day of March. And yes, around this time exams are common. In fact I have an exam later today. I used to study weeks in advance –determined to get only five mistakes, if not a perfect score. That was the expectation I have always lived with. What for? What’s the difference between an A and a B? These letters have always defined me when in reality they’re singular letters that don’t even have a proper definition.

I’ve grown tired of picking through my every task and figuring out which is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. I’ve come to accept that every aspect of me blossomed with the desire to please others. It’s become my addiction. One that I’ve tried to overcome, but could never get rid of.

I’m not one to inspire disappointment in anyone. I’ve made it a habit to follow scripts and recite my parts. I’ve tried in vain to stop but the thoughts of being unwanted and therefore irrelevant is unbearable.

I’ve worked very hard to reach where I am today. I’ve worked very hard for my position in this family. I can’t let it all go to waste. All those years of developing myself and maintaining a reputation –the struggle for reaching perfection, it cannot go to waste.

I just wrote a paper for a class (psych), it was in relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization was on the very top. Basic needs such as food and water are easily satisfied; safety was never my concern; and so I find myself stuck on the third level which is the Belongingness and Love Needs. I’m stuck here. But if you ask me, self-actualization should come first before Belongingness and Love Needs. Otherwise we become part of the stereotypes where we think and act based on how others want us to –which is why before we ask for someone to love us, we must first achieve self-actualization: get to know ourselves, achieve full potential, and further develop who we are, the way we want to. After this, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

A

Love Me Please

​See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

My Rating: 3 stars


“I stepped towards him, hoping that being closer to him would release me, make me happy again, I want my daddy to love me.”


There are a lot we need in this life, but only one thing is most essential that we are lost without it. Love. As children, we seek our parents’ love, as adults we seek our love’s love and as parents ourselves, we seek our children’s love. 

See What I Have Done has perfectly portrayed what happens without love. To live trapped behind walls of torment, years of wrong, unsaid words, and dreams unlived. I’ve read about the Lizzie Borden Murder Case and have been more confused by what really happened, who really did it. In reality, Lizzie Borden remained the prime suspect however due to circumstances, was aquited. However Sarah Schmidt may have brought a whole new perspective here and honestly the last line on the acknowledgements gave me a chill. What does that mean, exactly??

Although it makes sense that perhaps a third person was involved however was not able to get the job done, I can’t make sense of it all. I don’t get what showing a piece of Abby’s skull and the axe head do anything to confirm Emma’s doubts? Would she really just believe a total stranger? She didn’t even confirm with her Uncle. But Emma always knew and suspected Lizzie, but her childhood promises kept her bound as it always had. She promised their mother she wouldn’t leave Lizzie alone and that she would take care and love her as long as she lived —something she had done until the very end. 

The murder of the pigeons likely was what made Lizzie snap. It actually happened in the actual case and I found it very morbid. Honestly the entire book is very morbid. But it’s really not new to have children murder their parents in cold blood. You see, abuse whatever the form, causes so much twisted thoughts and dark emotions from people especially at such a young age where we are not certain what we should do about all the darkness that lurks. It’s no brainer that a no good home as Bridget so delicately put, brings about no good at all. Our surroundings help shape us.

I felt for Emma and her yearning to be free and Lizzie and her yearning to please. I enjoyed the multiple points of view —all carefully unraveling the dark thoughts behind a person’s face. Sarah Schmidt made my heart race in anticipation. A part of me wished Lizzie hadn’t done it and that she thought of another way. But perhaps at that time, there was nothing else she could think of but putting an end to all her sufferings. The book made it clear that she’s become mental and weird in her ways, who wouldn’t? Perhaps everything else broke and was lost. She lost it.

Thank you Grove Atlantic for granting me an ARC of this book via NetGalley. Three stars for keeping me at the edge of my seat, for the eloquent writing that made me feel, fear, and vividly watch as love proves to determine and break a person’s being. 

Love Never Dies

 My Life as A Bench by Jaq Hazell

My Rating: 3 stars

In love, there are always walls; steps to climb and obstacles to overcome. I’ve read books about lovers being separated by social status, age, sex, race, time, and distance. But books like this reminds us that in the end, love wins. 

This book is about Ren and Gabe; how we find love so unexpectedly and lose it just as easily, and yet it’s still there. At the age of seventeen, with her entire life ahead of her, Ren dies unexpectedly and finds herself as a bench. Yet even as a bench, Ren still feels her love for Gabe and struggles to relive every moment from the day they met, the love they shared, to the fate that drove them apart. 

The bench thing is an odd concept really, but I suppose nothing is completely gone as long as someone cares enough to remember. However I’m not one to believe in spiritual possessions and the like. I do believe that people seek peace whether in this world or beyond so it does somehow make sense. Perhaps I just don’t think about what happens afterwards. 

The book further tackles subjects on family, friends, and overall life as a teenager. There was a point in the book that talked about teenagers and their self-absorption. Honestly, I don’t think it’s just teenagers. I think everyone is self-absorbed in a way. It’s just that teenagers are more rebellious and find the need to fight against things that they don’t agree with. 

I’m not a very romantic person either and honestly romance isn’t even my genre. But it was easy to fly through the chapters of this book and involuntarily cross my fingers that love proves to defy gravity, break logic, and even crossover the spiritual world. I did not find the need to roll my eyes, so for those who are tired of clichés this could be your next read.

Overall, 3 stars. I love the cover, the title just screams supernatural. I won’t lie however, it was a tad bit predictable. Maybe that’s just me finding the cliché in every romantic story whether in real life or in fiction. And yet it didn’t become boring; the writing style made it easy to keep going and to finish the book. The characters felt a bit bland however, even though the concept is fresh; the book really needs more building up. There was no climax, although the ending was satisfying thank goodness. I understand it must’ve been a challenge to write in a perspective of a bench so kudos to the author for making it work and seem so natural.

I was lucky to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I recommend this book to hopeless romantics, to people who have felt love and grief, and to the rest of us who have forgotten what it felt like and what it means to live, to love, and to die.

“Tall Trees Catch Much Wind”

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My Rating: 5 stars

Thank you Scribner for granting me an Advanced Readers Edition of this book in exchange for an honest review, I am very honored.

It’s always so difficult to read books by Lisa See. It provokes not only my thoughts but my emotions too. Whether she takes us back to China in the 19th century (See: Snow Flower and The Secret Fan –loved that one and likely the first Historical Fiction I read and the reason I fell in love with this genre), or the present years, Lisa See pulls us inside this wormhole and takes us into an adventure. I’ve never felt more in reality than when I read her books.

I always take my time with her;  I make sure to digest everything properly, taking the time to stop every now and then whenever certain passages or chapters have really stirred me up. I take time to reflect and think about how my life is somewhat like her characters in every book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Honestly that’s why it’s so difficult to read her books, I’m too emotionally attached because she perfectly depicts Asian culture, tradition and life overall.

The book was phenomenal as always. Very well-researched, but you wouldn’t even notice it. It wasn’t overly exaggerated and in a sense, you just know that the author is speaking from the heart and not the mind. She doesn’t only know, she understands; and I love her for it. I loved learning about tea and pu’er. This book really got me researching what tea cakes look like and I really really want to taste pu’er, (trust that I will be looking for it EVERYWHERE). Also, I’ll guiltily admit that I’ve drank more tea than I usually do ever since I started reading this book. Cheers to tea and its million health benefits!

What I love about this book is that it doesn’t hate on tradition. Sure, it portrays the ignorance and mistaken beliefs tied with tradition, but even then, the author manages to still preserve the love for tradition even when there is a more logical reasoning beside it. Asian culture is very complex, it has so many expectations and stereotypes that often dictate and obligate people to comply with it. We struggle with change and often in Asian societies today, we are torn between advancing and adapting to the modern world without the expense of losing our traditions or insisting on living with old habits and superstitions. We struggle for balance between the two worlds, because we were taught never to forget the values that were handed from generation to generation; at the same time we are aware that changes are as essential to life as breathing.

I will guiltily admit that like any other Asian, I went to cram schools, had tutors, and I also play an instrument. I honestly don’t know why this is so, and the book just made me stop and question my entire being. Why, why, why!? Why are Asians so obsessed with school and being an overachiever? ASIAN STEREOTYPE. Welcome to our world full of pressure and expectation that we simply don’t know who we are without any of it. Of course it could be just me but the characters in this book would surely agree.

It’s sad, really; on so many levels. Growing up in this environment, whether you’re an Asian living in the West or living right in homeland, it’s as difficult as it will ever be. It’s suffocating just like smog that rests right in our lungs. And no matter how hard we try to expel it, we will always seek our parents’ approval. Even as grown-ups, the expectations from our family won’t cease. It’s an endless cycle. I was particularly affected by the exchange between the Chinese adoptees. I was literally cringing, especially the part where Haley’s adopted mom said, “That could be you one day” while they were listening to Sarah Chang who I later know of as a violin prodigy. I understand why Haley gave up the violin after that.

Read this book if you want to understand what we endure, how we do it, and more importantly why. In any circumstance, we could just say no and take control of our lives. We could be ourselves. But to be accepted is to be loved; we were raised to always choose family over anything else. There’s even superstition that if you made your mother cry, you wouldn’t grow to be successful and would one day crawl back into their arms and you can only hope they take you back.

I must admit I cried, really. It’s harsh, it’s painful and it makes you wonder if you’re loved or just this object of love. Most of the time, I just feel like this figurine being polished every now and then for others to see and adore. Haley and the rest will agree. But you know, it’s not all bad. I mean yeah, we miss out on all the fun and excitement but we walk steady paths. We don’t stray too far from discipline and values that will ultimately lead to our success. Happiness, well that will come later. This is what it means to be Asian. And this is why Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the U.S.

“Tall trees catch much wind.”


And yet we stand rigid and strong.

The ending, I couldn’t have wished for anything better. It definitely sealed the deal. Another Asian belief is that there is no such thing as coincidence. Everything follows its own path and you’ll find yourself further, and then nearer to where it all began.

Tesseract

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Rating: 4 stars

First of, thank you PenguinRandomHouse UK Children’s for giving me an advanced reader’s copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was honestly a bit anxious for the writer because it was written in a first person perspective and that doesn’t always work out; it’s very limiting in a way. However Jack Cheng did an awfully good job at changing voices and honestly the overall idea of it being recordings is just brilliant! Although I must admit, I had to skip a few passages that felt a bit too irrelevant but well you know it being an eleven-year-old’s point of view, there’s bound to be some blabbering.

Alex is very sweet and innocent as you’d expect eleven-year-olds to be. But more than that, the author manages to bring in the whole universe –which in turn, makes See You in the Cosmos a very fitting title.

This book just makes you want to smile and hope that things will be okay. It just paints nostalgia as bright as the stars on a clear night. I felt eleven again, back when everything was all just questions no one was willing to answer and so it was always an adventure to find the answers on your own. For me this is what childhood is. The reality is that things aren’t what it seems to be and it’s very important to never lose our inner child who sees the world in 4D.

One good thing to note is that Alex is half-Filipino. Definitely raised an eyebrow at his aye yai yai expression…I mean I don’t think we Filipinos do that??? Hahaha but in any case, I got a bit curious as to why the author chose to make Alex half-Filipino as opposed to being Mexican.

I give this book four stars because it was a good read. I love the cover, the characters, the life lessons; however, I felt that it was too contrived in terms of writing style. But to be fair, it’s hard to write in a child’s perspective. Children have a very precious way of seeing the world, and sometimes we lose that as time passes by.

I would recommend this to children ages 12 and beyond; for those looking for a stress-free fun read, and definitely for those who love astronomy jokes 😉

Oh and I’ll leave you with some quotes from the book that I really liked and are highlight-worthy:

”Most people give up on what they want. They’ll come across the first little obstacle and they’ll give up, and then they’ll try to tear down the people they see doing what they felt like they couldn’t.”

“Sometimes it involves that, but it’s much more than that too. There’s a part of it that’s, like, letting go. Like a sacrifice but in a good way. You trade a part of yourself for something that’s even bigger than you, and it feels good but weird at the same time. It’s totally worth it, though.”

Endeavor

Just wait and see,

Tomorrow will be better,

Patience is key,

Hold on a little longer.

Breathe and let go;

Release water from the dams,

Let the snow thaw,

From the warmth of both your hands.