Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Book Summary: Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Mayais attacked by a man any times her age-and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself, and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Liana's Summary: Marguerite grows up with her brother Bailey in Stamps, Arkansas, staying with their grandmother, Annie Henderson. They do not consider themselves to have a mother and a father-- so when, suddenly, they meet with their parents once again, they see them as strangers. Well, at least Maya does. Maya is sexually assaulted by a man three or four times her age- and must live with it as she grows up.

Rate(1-10): 7.5

Friday, October 25, 2013

Discussion #13: So many books, so little time.. This again!?

So, I've run out of scheduled posts, and I feel so guilty because I haven't read since August. That's like, extremely sad. No books = no book reviews, and book reviews make up most of my blog posts.

I've titled a discussion post with "So many books, so little time.." before, hence the "This again?!" part of it.

I just wanted to discuss with y'all, reading should be viewed as a sacred pastime and there's supposed to be time for it every day, but frankly, for me, I've had no time at all since school began.

I feel stupid for taking two AP classes without getting the feel for it first.

Each day I'm working until 11PM with homework, or even later, and getting around 5-6 hours of sleep-- before, I usually got 8-9.

And now there's no time to read.

I itch to get some reading done, but I also itch to balance my grades..

What do you guys think? Is reading as important as schoolwork, and should it be viewed as a sacred pastime?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Post: Amber Forbes, When Stars Die

Hey all, today we have a guest post by author Amber Forbes!

When Stars Die doesn't have a specific point of inspiration. It came from the mind of a fourteen-year-old who received the biggest burst of inspiration in her writing life. For once it was an original story that was entirely my own, with little outside influence, other than my dreams and my desire to write about witches and convents. But the journey of getting When Stars Die to how it is today was not an easy one.
 
First, I didn't even write When Stars Die first. I wrote its sequel, which was originally called Witch Tourniquet, meaning a witch that stops the bleeding--so a witch that stops the suffering. The original intention of this book was that the main character, Alice, was meant to set all witches free because she was a chosen one. I wrote this book, and it was a 180,000 word monstrosity filled with bad writing and clich├ęs galore. And to think I wrote a query letter for this book, certain I was ready for publication. It wasn't until someone told me that 180,000 was too long did I start tearing the book apart and revising it. I parced it down to 90,000, but that still wasn't good enough. So I kept tinkering with it over the years, receiving beta reader feedback and everything else necessary to create a solid work. It still wasn't enough.
 
It wasn't until I met Georgia McBride, founder of YALITCHAT, did I begin to seriously work on my writing. She tore my book apart, but I suppose I was a gifted writer because I took her comments and was able to make it right the first time. So she went chapter-by-chapter, critiquing everything. Then we got to a point in the book where everything de-railed. I think I fixed the de-railing because I sent it off to her former intern to have it critiqued, and she loved it. But I began to realize something still wasn't right. This is when I realized I needed to bring When Stars Die back out (which I started at fifteen and put it on hiatus for years), in order to make Witch Tourniquet work, which is now called Stars Will Rise.
 
I worked on When Stars Die for a year, outlining it and re-outlining it. The outlining process made such a difference in my overall storytelling ability. It made it easier to order things, spot plot holes, and made sure that something happened in every chapter. When Stars Die wasn't overall a difficult book to work on, to be frank, because I took the skills I learned from Georgia for Stars Will Rise and applied it to When Stars Die. Then I found AEC Stellar Publishing through Shannon Thompson, decided to take a chance on this new company, and ultimately landed a contract with them. I have been very pleased with my experience so far.
 
As for Stars Will Rise, I have kept most of its original content but am in the process of tearing the last half apart to ensure the sequel is better than its first book.
 
Last, I want to share an excerpt with you of When Stars Die:
 
The sound is a dagger scraping crosshatches on a frosted windowpane, its echoes loud in this insensible room I’ve been locked in for the past few days. I want to remedy my fears over the sound, but I’m more terrified of the impending trials that will determine my readiness to be professed in the Order of Cathedral Reims. The trials are the reason I have been locked in here.
Colette sits beside me, lost in knitting a scarf she has been working on for a week—the amount of time we’ve been trapped in here with minimal food, water, and sanity. Her ability to shut out the world with a click of the needles is something I have always envied. For her, the world is nonexistent.
But not for me.
The sound strips my nerves raw, so I tighten my shawl and rise from the creaking mattress. My boot-clad feet meet the floor, and in spite of my stockings, cold still shoots through the soles, hibernating in my bones. Pulling in a deep breath of biting air, I tiptoe over to the door and press my eye to the keyhole that overlooks a bright hallway. The air freezes in my chest. I knew I heard those blasted shadows, the eerie, almost impossible sounds they make whenever their black cloaks trail along the cobbled floors of Cathedral Reims. Sometimes I wonder if they’re witches, people born of the Seven Deadly Sins and considered worse than murderers in the eyes of the law. Then I remember my little brother is nothing like them. They are mere shadows. Mere shadows.
Two of them stand outside the room. I recognize them. The tall one is Asch, and the little one is Sash. I don’t know where I heard their names. Here, in my dreams, in nightmares, or somewhere else.
I wish they would go away. I wish, I wish, I wish. I close my eyes. Open them. They are still there. Why must they be here? Theosodore, our Mother Superior’s lackey, could gather us any moment for the first trial, a trial that will test everything we are made of, and here are Asch and Sash teasing my nerves with their cold, white fingers. But I don’t know what it is about them. They haven’t done anything in the two months since I’ve started seeing them, but their presence makes sharp fear burrow into my muscles and knot them. I believe I’m the only one who can see them. This frightens me. Perhaps waiting for these trials has made me mad.

Links:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmberSkyeForbes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmberSkyeF
Blog: http://amberskyeforbes.wordpress.com
Webpage: http://amberskyeforbes.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18387010-when-stars-die
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Stars-Amber-Skye-Forbes/dp/0989312879/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381354240&sr=1-2&keywords=when+stars+die

Bio: Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn't like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward...again. But she doesn't care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Awards: Since June 2013

BOOKS OF THE MONTHS AWARDS

Now I'll do this. Book awards. This shows my favorite read out of the entire month. I'll be starting from June, since this is my first awards post.

Click on the picture of the book for a link to my review/post!

June book of the month award:

July book of the month award:
August book of the month award:

This book. Made my whole entire month. It's making my day right now just looking at the cover. Go read this series.

And that's sort of it. I didn't read anything in September. Scandalous, scandalous me..
Well, how about you guys? What are your favorite books of June, July, August, and/or September?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Author Event: Marissa Meyer, SA Bodeen, Alexandra Bullen Coutts, and Leila Sales at A Great Good Place For Books: Oakland, CA

Hey all! Last Sunday was such a blast for me. I went to A Great Good Place For Books, and met Marissa Meyer, one of my all time favorite authors, SA Bodeen, Alexandra Bullen, and Leila Sales. All were fabulous.

These ladies were so nice! I got my copies of Cinder and Scarlet signed. I'm so glad Fierce Reads decided to stop by near my home. Unfortunately, no matter how much I wanted to get the other books, I was too poor and forever will be...
As I was there, I hauled Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for twenty bucks. I just know it'll be worth it-- it gives me the jitters!