Michelle Moran Guest Post and Giveaway! CLOSED

30 May 2010

I love history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And like most of you, one of my most favorites is Egyptian history. I was interested in Egypt ever since I was old enough to understand what the History Channel said about it. I learned the basics, like mummification (they stick a stick up your nose and pull out your brains) and how to build structures like the pyramids. Then I went into more detail, and then I read Michelle Moran! I first read The Heretic Queen and I fell in love. It was historical fiction, it had court and politics, it had plot and adventure and romance, and it involved history before the story took place. In other words, it was perfect! The next book I read was Nefertiti, which I was supposed to read first, but I didn't know! It was just as amazing. You should check out my reviews on them. So the kind and amazingly wonderful and pretty Michelle Moran has agreed to do a guest post and giveaway! Take it away!

Also: I added pictures and captions to make the post more colorful. :D


Life and Libraries in the Ancient World- Michelle Moran

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by readers is what life was like two thousand years ago when Julius Caesar walked the corridors of the Senate house and Cleopatra visited Rome. Surprisingly, life for the ancient Romans was not unbelievably different from today. The Romans had many of the little luxuries that we often associate exclusively with the modern world. For example, baths were to be found in every city, and public toilets were viewed as a necessity. The toilets depicted in HBO’s Rome Series are copies of those discovered in Pompeii, where those caught short could find a long stretch of latrines (much like a long bench with different sized holes) and relieve themselves next to their neighbor. Shops sold a variety of wigs, and women could buy irons to put curls their hair. For the rain, there were umbrellas, and for the sun, parasols. Houses for the wealthy were equipped with running water and were often decorated quite lavishly, with elaborate mosaics, painted ceilings, and plush carpets.

(public toilets mentioned above)

In the markets, the eager shopper could find a rich array of silks, along with linen and wool. You could also find slaves, and in this, Roman times certainly differ from our own. While some men spoke out against it, one in three people were enslaved. Most of these slaves came from Greece, or Gaul (an area roughly comprising modern France). Abuse was rampant, and the misery caused by this led desperate men like Spartacus to risk death for freedom.

For those few who were free and wealthy, however, life in Rome provided nearly endless entertainments. As a child, there were dolls and board games to be played with, and as an adult, there was every kind of amusement to be had, from the theatre to the chariot races. Even the poor could afford “bread and circuses,” which, according to Juvenal, was all the Romans were really interested in.

For those more academic minded, however, there were libraries. Although I don’t portray this in Cleopatra’s Daughter, libraries were incredibly noisy places. The male scholars and patrons read aloud to themselves and each other, for nothing was ever read silently (the Romans believed it was impossible!). Other cities were renowned for their learning, too: Pergamum (or Pergamon) was the largest and grandest library in the world. Built by the Greeks, Pergamum became Roman property when Greece was captured and many of its people enslaved. The library was said to be home to more than 200,000 volumes, and it is was in Pergamum that the history of writing was forever changed.

Built by Eumenes II, Pergamum inspired great jealousy in the Egyptian Ptolemies, who believed that their Library of Alexandria was superior. In order to cripple this Greek rival (and also because of crop shortages), Egypt ceased exporting papyrus, on which all manuscripts were written. Looking for an alternative solution, the Library of Pergamum began using parchment, or charta pergamena. For the first time, manuscripts were now being written on thin sheets of calf, sheep or goat’s skin. The result of this change from papyrus to parchment was significant. Now, knowledge could be saved by anyone with access to animal hide. Manuscripts (although still quite rare) were now available to more people. Alas, so impressive was this vast Pergamese library of parchment that Cleopatra asked Marc Antony to ship its entire contents to her as a wedding gift. This transfer marked the end of Pergamum’s scholarly dominance, and is the reason why, today, we remember Alexandria as possessing the ancient world’s greatest library.


Michelle Moran has kindly offered great goodies up for winning!

  • A hardcover copy of Cleopatra's Daughter
  • An ancient Roman coin complete with certificate of authenticity
To enter you must fill out THIS FORM
Must be a follower of Pages
This giveaway is international Ends: June 16th 2010

Reivew: Everlasting

Title: Everlasting
Author: Angie Frazier
Stars: 4
Summary from Goodreads
Review by Kirthi

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.
My thoughts:
The cover is so lovely, especially the pale colors: blue and purple.

So what's not to love? Romance, betrayal, magic, and adventure! Not to mention sea and ships! Ever since I watched Pirates of the Caribbean, I've been drawn towards books about pirates and ships. Everlasting, sadly, does not have pirates. ~sigh~

Beginning: A sort-of fast introduction brining the reader into the setting of a story, like the start of the movie, where the camera drops in on a scene and setting. It was very smooth, the writing. Angie Frazier didn't introduce all the characters at once, but rather evenly brining the characters in, one by one. A good start to a promising book.

Middle: Like a road: straight but occasionally bumpy. I liked how everything moved at a pleasurable pace, and how the plot slowly unfolded like an un-rolling ma; one finds out more, the big picture.

End: Occurred quickly and made me devour the last pages. The outcome of events was surprising, but I loved it!

Characters: Yes! Jackpot! We have a winner! Camille, out heroine, was not weak and flimsy! She was strong and adventurous and brave!! A great example of how heroines should me. Camille trumps Nora (Hush, Hush), Grace (The Dark Divine), Luce (Fallen) and Bella (from-you-know-what-book)
There were some parts where Camille showed signs of failing her high-reputation, but she got right back up on her feet.
Oscar infuriated me, but he was so romantic! He wasn't my favorite love interest. I mean, he was evasive, mean (sometimes), and nosy. But he was Camille's love interest, and he was romantic at times, but I didn't like him as much as I could have.

Randall. Where have I heard that name before?
A Curse Dark As Gold- Elizabeth C. Bunce
In both Everlasting and A Curse Dark As Gold, the Randall's were both husband characters that the heroines didn't love. Randall could be a term used for arranged-marriage/engaged-whom-women-are-forced-to-marry.

Anyhow, I couldn't help but to point that out.

Overall: Satisfying, but lacking in some areas, but good overall.
Conclusion: An enjoyable read!

Out in the rain!

29 May 2010

On the current novel I'm writing, I'm working on a chapter that's all about rain. So for two days, it's been raining, as a gift, like the sky and the earth want me to write. Isn't it fantastic?

This is my first video upload too! My feet look really dark in the video because my umbrella was over me. My umbrella was green!

This video is the story of the path water takes. It starts from a pool of grass and water on one end of the end of my backyard driveway, and it ends on the other end. The other end reminds me of a miniature lake, I could film a movie there or something.

Random Rambling! My choice in music and 303!

So on my survey, a few people told me I needed to add some personal stuff on my posts. I have a review of Everlasting by Angie Frazier that I'll have up tomorrow though :D
So I've gotten all these great comments about my I-pod on my sidebar with Viva la Vida. I'm thinking about changing that to a different one, what do you think?

Music these days just isn't music anymore, not the music it once was. Now there's a bunch of trashy lyrics, ear-splitting drums and screeching, uncomprehending rap, and unusally over-repetition of the words "oh" "yeah" and "baby". I mean, what happened to the melodious music, flowing soft as time.

I prefer Classical and New Age. New Age can be described as "haunting" and "spiritual".
New Age:
This term, New Age describes a movement in western culture to explore spiritual matters without the constrains of any set religious doctrine. Known as the "New Age Movement", it contains many of the same elements found throughout different religions. New Age itself is not an actual religion, it is more of a conglomeration of many peoples "private" beliefs.
From Answers.com:

  1. Of or relating to a complex of spiritual and consciousness-raising movements originating in the 1980s and covering a range of themes from a belief in spiritualism and reincarnation to advocacy of holistic approaches to health and ecology.
  2. Of, relating to, or resembling New Age music.
A style of modern music characterized by a relaxing or dreamy texture derived from quiet harmonies and drones, often incorporating synthesizers and acoustic and ethnic instrumentation.
One major example of a New Age artist is Enya, who've I've mentioned so many times before. I mean, her music is about nature and earth and life, it isn't about some guy who's lusting after this pretty girl and wants her to come back, no. That type of music is selfish and sick, but music about the world around us, the air, the grass, that means something.

Lets compare some lyrics shall we?

Down by Jay Sean and Lil Wayne:

Baby are you down down down down down,
Downnnnnnn, downnnnnnn,
Even if the sky is falling down,
Downnnnn, downnnnn
Ooohhh (ohhh)
(Verse 1)
You oughta know, tonight is the night to let it go,
Put on a show, I wanna see how you lose control,

(Bridge) So leave it behind cause we, have a night to get away,
So come on and fly with me, as we make our great escape.

So baby dont worry, you are my only,
You wont be lonely, even if the sky is falling down,
Youll be my only, no need to worry,
Baby are you down down down down down, Dowwwnnnnn, Dowwnnnnn,
Baby are you down down down down down,
Downnnnn, Downnnnnn,
Even if the sky is falling down,

(Verse 2)
Just let it be, come on and bring your body next to me,
Ill take you away, hey, turn this place into our private getaway, (Bridge)
So leave it behind cause we, have a night to get away,
So come on and fly with me, as we make our great escape,
(So why dont we run away)

So baby dont worry, you are my only,
You wont be lonely, even if the sky is falling down, Youll be my only, no need to worry,

Baby are you down down down down down,
Dowwwnnnnn, Dowwnnnnn,
Baby are you down down down down down,
Downnnnn, Downnnnnn,
Even if the sky is falling down,
(Verse 3)
Lil Wayne:Even if the sky is falling down like she's supposed to be,
She gets down low for me,
Down like her temperature, cause to me she zero degrees,
She cold, overfreeze,
I got that girl from overseas, Now she's my miss America,
Now can I be her solger please,
Im fighting for this girl,
On a battlefield of love,
She got me look like baby cupid sending arrows from above,
Dont you ever leave the side of me,
Indefinitely, not probably,
And honestly I'm down like the economy, Yeahhhhhh

So baby dont worry, you are my only,
You wont be lonely, even if the sky is falling down,
You'll be my only, no need to worry,
Baby are you down down down down down, Dowwwnnnnn, Dowwnnnnn,
Baby are you down down down down down,
Downnnnn, Downnnnnn,
Lil Wayne: Ahoo, Ahoo, Ahoo,

Even if the sky is falling down,
Downnnnn, Downnnnn,

Note: the bold-face text is text that I am disgusted with. First, notice how they refer to the female character in this song as nothing more than a cold, unfeeling female with a body. I mean, it's so degrading of women today! They refer to women or girls as "baby" I mean, really! And Lil Wayne's gonna be her soldier, huh? Like she can't protect herself, phshh. This song is so degrading, I hate it! Also, look at the over repetition of "down" and "baby".The grammar is so awful, I think I'm going to cry. Speak in full, proper sentences, you're both adults for crying out loud! This sends bad examples to our generation of teens. It promotes texting in incomplete words (which I despise) and promotes insulting the female gender. Erg.

Now for some lyrics by Roma Ryan (my favorite poet) and sung by Enya

Deora Ar Mo Chroi by Enya
[Irish (Gaelic) Translation]
deora ar mo chroi
Ba dheas an la go oiche
Na glortha binne i mo thaobh
'S aoibhneas i gach ait gan gruaim
Athas ar mo chroi go deo

Ma shiulaim o na laetha beo
An ghrian 's an ghealach ar mo chul
Nil uaim ach smaointe o mo shaoil
Deora ar mo chroi go bron
tears on my heart
It was beautiful all day [1]
The sweet voices by my side
And beauty without dispair everywhere
Joy in my heart forever

If I walk from the alive days
The sun and the moon behind me [2]
I'll only need thoughts from my life
Tears sorrowfully on my heart

[Adaptation by Roma Ryan]

tears on my heart
How beautiful the day and night;
the earth is singing in the wind,
the voices rise and touch the sky
telling all the earth's believing,
and in the night sighs fall down,
and from the skies sighs fall down on me.

And when I move away from view
my voice is singing in the wind,
it rises up to touch the sky
telling all that I believe in,
and from the night earth shall sing,
and from the night earth shall sing,
and from the night earth shall sing again.

Note: The bold-face text is text that I love so much. How inspiring and beautiful is that? It's so amazing, I don't think my large vocabulary can even pick a word to describe how breathtakingly phenomenal these lyrics are. It's one of the top played songs on my I-pod.

So what am I listening to now? A few new songs to the play-list of the novel I'm working on "song of the lost"

Tears of an Angel by RyanDan

Forest Rain Shower 5

Sometimes we have to go down to the basics, the soft relaxing music of rain falling down, the sound of tree's rustling in the wind, even the sound of silence.

And WOW, I've reached 303 followers! I'm so excited, thanks so much everyone!

Book Blog Hop (4) plus new blog!

28 May 2010

Hello! Shalom! Namaste!
Yes, it's time for another Book Blog Hop! I'm in love with this event, really. Meeting other people and other bloggers is just so much fun! I would post about all the amazing blogs I followed recently, but that'd be a LONG list. But you know who you are :D
I have a new mentoree! She's my friend, Grace, from school. And I think I can say that I inspired her to make a blog! ~cheers~ I know, I'm so inspirational like that! I designed her header and button for her, and all that stuff. I'm not a pro designer, so don't laugh.

Her blog is really new, and so far, I'm the only follower, so head on over, you blog hop people!


So hello visitors to my blog! I shake you warmly by the hand! I feel like Willy Wonka!

"Good Morning Starshine! The Earth says hello!"

In which I critique YA!

25 May 2010

Topic #1: Love Triangles

I LOVE love triangles! They are amazing! But what's really weird is that there are no girl love triangles. A guy usually never chooses between 2 girls in books, but the opposite. There are 2 guys involved in a Male love triangle:
  • The hot, smoldering guy who makes the heroines' heart race every time she see's him
  • The I've-been-her-best-friend-for-life guy who the heroine goes to for comfort and all
I'm more biased towards the hot smoldering guys, because they usually TAKE ACTION and chase after their girl, whereas best friend guys are too cowardly to chase after their girl. The best-friend guys waits till the heroine and the smoldering guy are together until he finally admits that he's "in love" with the heroine.
What I say is "You weak, cowardly more-than-best-friend-guys!!"
Quote Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
"Next time, pick up the courage to ask me before somebody else does!"
Oh my gosh, I just realized something! A FEMALE LOVE TRIANGLE IN HARRY POTTER!! Hermione chooses between Victor Krum and Ron. In this case, however, she goes for cowardly Ron-who-never-asked-her over brave 'ol Victor Krum. Interesting....
Topic #2: Girls beat Guys in YA!

Have you ever noticed how a whole lot of YA books are told from the female point of view? What about those guys out there who read books?? There won't be any for them to actually like. There are, however, good "guy books" like:
  • Daniel X- James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride- James Patterson
  • Artemis Fowl- Eoin Colfer
  • Airman- Eoin Colfer
  • The Percy Jackson series- Rick Riordan
  • Eragon + Eldest + Brisingr- Christopher Paolini
  • Gone- Michael Grant
Notice how all these books are written by guys only. Female authors, I think, tend to make their characters "female" because they can relate to being a girl, you know? I'm guilty of writing from the "female" POV on my novel...but hey, I'll do my next book (if I get that far) from the Male POV, deal :D

I think the main reason why, is because most guys don't really WANT to be authors, they dream of being, and I'm just guessing here, sports stars, computer-people, and comedians or whatever. Mostly sports I guess.

So what do I say? I say "Get out there, guys, and WRITE!"

OH wait, I just have this story to share with you guys (story-time!)
In Language Arts, we, for extra credit, could write our own ending to "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, so I, being the awesome writer I am, went home and type up 3 pages of my ending. We had a contest the next day, and the only two people who volunteered to read their story out loud. Me and a kid named Connor. Connor and his horribly immature violent-game-loving friend with cruel, beady black eyes, wrote a crude ending in which Jonas, the hero, goes to a gas station with Gabriel. The gas station blew up, and Jonas and Gabe died. Or was it that they got shot by border patrol...I forgot. But they were snickering in class behind me, blushing and laughing at their story. I heard snippets like "get's shot" and "giant explosion" and "nukes" as in "nuclear weapons".

I guess this is what type of stuff guys in middle school want to read about.

Topic #3: Parents

In some books, mostly all books, don't you notice how little a role parents play? Examples??
  • Perfect Chemistry- Simone Elkeles
  • The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
  • Wake- Lisa McMann
  • Hush, Hush- Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Leaving Paradise- Simone Elkeles
  • Sea Change- Aimee Friedman
  • Shiver and Linger- Maggie Stiefvater
  • Fallen- Lauren Kate
  • Wondrous Strange- Lesley Livingston
I think it's mainly because teens are so angsty these days. They "hate" their parents most of the time, so involvement of parents in YA books is less popular and more unfavorable. In my current novel, I killed off the heroines parents. There are several ways to get rid of parents in YA Lit:
  • Kill them off, simple. But the hero/heroine will be traumatized (I think)
  • Missing. Hero/Heroine might go in search of them.
  • Divorced- more explainable and easy.
  • Doesn't care- a negligent, free-minded parent who doesn't monitor his or her child.
Am I missing any?

Anyways!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have SO much more to critique. On my list is:
  1. Weak, flimsy, dependent, emotional female heroines shining a dark light on the how women/girls have been looked down upon based on gender.
  2. Too perfect male hero's who are dominative and mean (Patch, Edward)
  3. Cliche plots
  4. Boring beginnings
  5. etc...

Maybe I should stop now....whoa! LOOK HOW MUCH I WROTE!! The little "scroll down" box thingy is this small:

I'm going to stop now :D

Plant a Tree! Extra Entries!

You all know I really like the environment, and trees are one of the biggest eaters of Carbon Dioxide, they're like the world's sink. So, why not plant a tree? One for each of you would be 283 trees!

I don't have enough money to do another giveaway, so the most I can offer you is extra entries in my Super Huge Giveaway/Contest. +10 entries!

There are two ways to plant a tree, +10 for each!

carbon neutral coupon with kaufDA.de

  1. Write a blog post about the initiative + insert your favourite button (or just post the button on your blog)
  2. E-mail the link to your post to CO2-neutral@kaufda.de
  3. We plant a tree for your blog in Plumas’!

Note: We plant a tree for each domain. Please copy the HTML-code and paste it in your blog. Make sure the carbon-neutral button works, the HTML-code must not be changed. Use the carbon-neutral-white button for a white background or the carbon-neutral-transparent button for different colored backgrounds. If you need help, please contact CO2-neutral@kaufda.de. We are looking forward to planting your tree!

"Maybe Only God Can Make a Tree, but Only People Can Put a Price on It"

"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen"
~Henry David Thoreau

Save our environment!

300 Follower Giveaway + Teen Ink Contest= Super Huge Giveaway/Contest!

24 May 2010

I'm 19 followers away from 300, and I've grown impatient, so I'm having an early 300 Follower Giveaway ALONG with my Teen Ink Contest.

300 Follower Giveaway:
Must be a follower
Can link anywhere

Teen Ink Contest
Must be a follower
Must vote on at least one of my articles

Fill out form HERE

Here are the articles:
Never Stop
Bullied for Loving the Environment
Eyes that Cannot See

I've gotten many comments on how I sound so much older than 13, I take that as a compliment. Thank you!! :) My goal is to get my articles popular and build a portfolio of writing.

But wait, what do you win???

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Before I Fall- Lauren Oliver
How To Say Goodbye in Robot- Natalie Standiford
Forbidden Sea- Shiela A. Nielsen
A Conspiracy of Kings- Megan Whalen Turner

My Invented Life- Lauren Bjorkman
The Lonely Hearts Club-Elizabeth Eulburg

There will be 2 winners!
1st place will win a choice of 2 books
2nd place will win a choice of 1 of the remaining books

The rest I keep :D (I have a tiny bookshelf)

This is a U.S./Canada contest, I can't afford international. If you're international, be sure to visit my Prophecy of Days + Swag Giveaway, it ends June 6th 2010, so if you can't do this Giveaway+Contest, you still have that.

So: This giveaway+contest ends June 26th 2o10, U.S./Canada residents only. Good luck!

Weekly Wrap Up (5) and awesome video

23 May 2010

This week on Pages!

It was the Last Day of School! And I had a great interview with author Aimee Friedman. I had a great Blog Hop too and met a bunch of great people.
I'm 20 followers away from 300. I mean, WOW! I'm planning an enourmous book giveaway to celebrate, so come on you one- of- 20- people- out- there- who- haven't -followed- my- blog, what are you waiting for!!?

On Sparrow Review, Cate reviewed In A Heartbeat, which is a book that I think is very interesting, and a book that I want!

I have two new affiliates that I'm just WAITING to announce, you'll get the news on May 31st, mwhaha.

Oh yeah, and one of my all time hero's, Meg Cabot, made this hilarious video about Little Women. Meg Cabot's sense of humor is incredibly funny, her series Princess Diaries are seriously amazing.

Writing Blog Hop!

22 May 2010

Hello my awesome bloggers! On my other blog, Dreamer, I'm hosting a Writing Blog Hop inspired by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books. It's for all your bloggers with writing blogs who have wanted to join the Book Blog Hop, but just couldn't. So go ahead and enter Here and start hopping, or running. I prefer running as some of you may know. You can call it a Blog Run if you want..

Blue Book Weekend (2) Interview with Aimee Friedman!

(I absolutely LOVE this cover!! If I ever get my book published, I want this cover artist. I swear, just LOOK at it! I love the swirls)

My friend Precious and I noticed last week that there were a LOT of Blue Books getting published, so we started Blue Book Weekend! Precious already has her post up here, she interviewed author Angie Frazier and is hosting a beautiful signed swag giveaway!

This weekend, I have Aimee Friedman, author of Sea Change, for an awesome mini-interview. I suck at doing interviews, really. They're so hard, finding the right questions! Anyways, presenting Aimee Friedman!

1. Tell us a little about yourself

For as long as I can remember, books, reading, and writing have been my passion-- so it's no surprise that I also work as a book editor, in addition to writing: I love being immersed in the world of literature. I also love movies, art museums, music, and fashion. I'm a real New York City girl--I was born and raised in the city, and live here still. As a result, I don't have my driver's license, but I know where to find the best slice of pizza, how to hail a cab in the pouring rain, and which subway line to take just about anywhere.

2. How did you come up with the idea of Sea Change?

Growing up, I'd always been fascinated by the ocean, and The Little Mermaid was my favorite fairy tale. A few summers ago, I was riding on a ferry, and I was looking down at the sea foam, and had a thought: What if the gender roles of The Little Mermaid were reversed? What if it was the boy who came from the sea, and the land-living girl who fell in love with him? From that seed of an idea sprouted Sea Change.

3. How did you think up the title “Sea Change”

The phrase "sea change"-- which means a sweeping, meaningful transformation--comes from one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, THE TEMPEST. Actually, a few lines from that play are the epigraph at the front of Sea Change. In many ways, the book is all about change--the change that Miranda undergoes while on Selkie Island, the legend of the mer-people who change from land to sea creatures, and how falling in love can be the greatest transformation as ever. So with all that in mind, the title "Sea Change" seemed very fitting for a book that was so much about the sea...and transformation.

4. Did you have any say in what the cover was going to be like?

I did! I actually found the photograph that became the cover image! To read all about that experience, check out this guest blog I did: http://www.melissacwalker.com/blog/2009/06/win-it_wednesday_cover_stories_sea_change_by_aimee_friedman.html

5. Who’s your favorite character?

My favorite character I've written recently would be Katie Wilder, the protagonist of my book, The Year My Sister Got Lucky. She's very similar to how I was at fourteen--an aspiring ballet dancer, a daydreamer with an overactive imagination, a romantic, and someone who was not above spying on people...She was a lot of fun to write, and I think, as a result, many readers have connected with her as well.

6. Socks or no socks?

Super-soft cashmere socks in the winter. Bare feet and freshly painted toes in the summer.

7. Chocolate, yes or no?

The biggest yes imaginable. A day without chocolate is a sad day indeed.

I so agree with the chocolate, who can resist the wonderful delight that is chocolate? I'm a Dairy Milk and Lindor Truffle chocolate lover, you?

For more Blue Book stuff, check out my book reviews for Claire de Lune and A Blue So Dark!

Last Day of School

21 May 2010

What was really surprising was the the guys seemed to show true emotion. As I sat looking out the window on the bus, there were the three troublemaker boys of my class. They stood awkwardly next to each other, laughing and smiling genuinely for the first time. And then one of them gave another a one-armed man-hug and waved goodbye.
A girl hugged her boyfriend for a long time, their fingers digging in each o
thers backs. She kept her face straight, with a small, grim smile on her face. Her boyfriend smiled back and then sauntered away. As soon as she got on the bus, tears began to roll off her eyes and she couldn't stop crying.
All over the bus and car and walker spots across the front of Simpson Middle School were students giving each other long hugs, and unnecessarily crying out "I Miss You!".
It was so much harder on the 8th graders, who were moving on to separate high school. They lingered outside as long as they could, saying goodbye and shedding endless tears.
The teachers, all of them, not just the ones on bus duty, were waiting outside, saying farewell to their students too.

And then they departed. One by one the buses filed out the parking lot. The teachers lined up against the school, waving to each bus. Cars drove away with sad children in them, and people walked home together on that last day.

All the while I sat in my lonely seat on the bus, feeling heartless. I don't think I'll miss them, my classmates. It didn't really feel like the last day of school. I know that my friends are going to be gone for 2 months, but really we were all going to come back.

On the way home, I listened to Storms in Africa Part 2, and the lyrics began to have a double meaning. I said goodbye to my life in 7th grade, to my classes, to my friends, to my daily routine, to my teachers.

One teacher, Mr. Fuller, really touched me this year. His parents and brother all died of cancer, and his wife died too. He lives all alone with his dog, and to him, his students are his children, since he has none. All year long, he loved us, and forgave us, and never punished us. But the teens in our grade didn't repay the awesome favor, instead they yelled and shouted in class, wouldn't listen to Mr. Fuller. The argued back and were horribly disrespectful. I wrote him a card the day before, a card telling him that he was great.
I remember on the first day of school, my friend and I laughed at his southern accent, but now I realize that it hardly seemed recognizable. He resembles a gray-haired, jolly, bunny rabbit, a big stuffed bunny rabbit with a large heart.
He gave an end-of-the-year speech. It was sappy and lovey-dovey, but my friend Didem and I loved it so much. We were crying in the audience. He said quote "I learned that no matter how much you love a person, they may not love you back the way you love them". Seriously, that moment I felt horrible, like a cruel mean person.

And now I'm writing a story. A story of a girl finding herself and finding love after pain, and I'm dedicating that story to this wonderful teacher, Mr. Fuller.

So this year was amazing. My only 7th grade year with the best people, the best teacher, and the best staff. Thanks so much!!

Oh yeah, and I looked forward to blogging every day after school, meeting and talking with all my online friends. You guys are amazing too!

Book Blog Hop (3)

Hello new blogger visitors! Don't you love the book blog hop? I'm hoping to reach 300 followers, so if you'll follow me (only if you like my blog and are genuinly interested) then I'll follow yours. Or you can just stop by to say hi. Hi!!!
Seriously, don't you love this "Hop" I'm more of a "runner" but "hopping" is okay for me. I feel like a bunny! Hop Hop Hop...okay calm down Kirthi, you're getting a little too excited...

Anyways! How do you like my blog?

New Profile Picture?

18 May 2010

I always want rain as my profile picture. It's my symbol, along with trees. So I noticed that my current one got a little...old. So, I'm searching the web for a better picture! Would you like to vote?
The choices are:

1. Rain -Original (below)

2. Second Rain (below)3. Third Rain (below)
4. Fourth Rain (below)You can comment with your opinion, or vote on the poll on my sidebar! Thanks so much for helping! These pictures are given credit to on my page

Mini-Interview with Anne Osterlund!

And so, the wonderful Anne agreed to do a mini-interview. She's a wonderful person, and great writer!

1. How did you feel about publishing your first book, and realizing that you were going to be an author?

Like the thing you have hoped and dreamed and prayed for more passionately than anything in the previous three years has come true. (Way more excited than, say, when a container of premium chocolate chip mint ice cream mysteriously appears in your freezer).

2. Who were the first people who you told when you learned you were going to be a published author?

People? What people? There weren’t any people home. I told Tease & Dance (my extremely supportive number one cats). And Tom and Becky (two directionally challenged but likewise supportive dogs). And every other furry within a half-mile radius.

3. After receiving the news, how did (do) you spend your time waiting for the release of your book, Aurelia?

Revising, revising, revising Aurelia. And writing, writing, writing Academy 7. And teaching sixth grade, directing Julius Caesar, painting the rooms in my house, planting roses, attending the Pacific Northwest Book Conference, volunteering for the Willamette Writers Conference, and hmm…panicking.

4. How much do you appreciate readers and bloggers and media? We all appreciate you!

More than the foresaid chocolate chip mint ice cream.
And the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
An exquisitely built tree house.
A movie that makes you laugh or cry or sail a hundred feet above the earth’s surface.
A song that brightens the 6:00 a.m. drive in the dark on a foggy winter road on the way to work.
And a birthday with homemade lasagna, watermelon, and angel food cake, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries.

Isn't Anne incredibly funny or what?

Blue Book Weekend: Review of Fallen

15 May 2010

Thanks to my awesome friend Precious, from Fragments of Life, for coming up with this incredible idea! Recently, it's caught our attention that "Blue Books" are very atrractive, and that books should be blue. Examples?Well, you get the point! So this weekend, Precious and I will post some awesome stuff on the blue books we picked to shine the spotlight one. Today, I'm shining the spotlight on Fallen, by Lauren Kate! Thanks to Teens Read and Write for an ARC of Fallen, which didn't have the beautiful cover.The cover is apparently really good, and depressing, and beautiful! I give it 5 stars :D

Review on Fallen!

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Stars: 3
Pages: 452
Summary from Goodreads
Review by Kirthi

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

My thoughts:
After all the talk about Fallen, I was kind of disappointed. Really, all of Fallen was a mixture of ideas from other books.

Fallen Angel?- Hush, Hush and City of Bones
Bad Boy?- Hush, Hush and a lot of other books
Jealous other boy?- Other books
Immortal guy falling in love with the same girl (reincarnated) over centures?- Evermore
Forbidden love?- Evermore and lots of books
New girl at school- so over repeated in many books
Talkative, chatty BFF- lots of books Hot guy/bad boy/mysterious guy named Daniel?- The Dark Divine

Anyways, the list can go on and on, but I'll stop. However, I did like how smooth everything flowed together, all the chapters and events; smooth as chalk.
Beginning: Slow and boring and confusing. I had no idea what was going on until somewhere in the middle.
Middle: Gradually getting more interesting and juicer.
End: Abrupt and rushed

Characters: Luce is a plain, weak, and obscure. She played the old role of a shy new girl who obsessed over a dark and dangerous guy. I see no fury or vengeance, or uniqueness in Luce, her character just doesn't appeal to me.
Daniel is so cliche! His character is a rip-off of all the other male, hot, fictional characters out there. He's just like Damon from Evermore, who is just like Edward from Twilight, who is just like, oh you know what I mean! Daniel is also moody and has problems interpreting his emotions.
There were some good parts though. The romance, for one, and the fast-paced action at the end!

Overall: Fallen is an average medley of popular teen fiction from the past year
Conclusion: Not a must-read, just a read-if-you're-curious book.

Do you have a favorite or interesting-looking blue book you wanna share?

Book Blogger Hop! (2)

14 May 2010

It's time for another Book Blogger Hop! Oh yeah! It's time to meet new people, thank you Crazy for Books! I kind of lost interest after the first Book Blogger Hop, but then I realized that I was being a little anti-social, so I did another Hop.
So new readers of my blog, what do you think? :)

Amazon Kindle Commercials

12 May 2010

These Amazon Kindle Commercials strike this sort of, nostaglic, simple and sweet pitch for readers around the world.
As much as I love their commercials, I prefer paper to electronics. It's a lose lose situation for both on my part, saving trees or saving energy? The tree is my symbol, but energy is important too...hmm.

Anyways! The music in these commercials too! The first one won my heart, the second one is still holding my heart captive. How cheesy do I sound now?

The original:

The 2nd:

Don't you LOVE it???

P.S. Sorry I haven't been posting reviews, I'll be posting soon (currently I'm working on a review for Perfect Chemistry)

Random Rambling! Spanish and Trailer!

10 May 2010

Hola my friends! I feel incredibly Spanish! I wish I were Spanish! I'm still all psyched from reading "Perfect Chemistry"and I wanted to express how much I love Hispanic/Spanish people. I'm jealous of them, so badly!

  1. Family. I love how close Spanish/Hispanic families are. From all the books I read involving them, they seem so close and loving and understanding. Three cheers to Spanish/Hispanic families!
  2. Humor, Don't you love how humorous Spanish/Hispanic people are? It's not the cold British humor (Simon from American Idol), but the warm, hilarious humor.
  3. EspaƱol! I love how fast Spanish/Hispanic people can talk, and I love it when they speak Spanish. The language of Spanish is just so awesome, so smooth and cool, and happy, you know? Whenever I think of Spanish, I think of jolly, happy, lively, vibrant families having fun. You all have no idea how jealous I am about that!
  4. Values. Friendship is, from what I know, a big thing to Spanish/Hispanic people, and I think that's one of their best qualities!
  5. Good looks. I swear, I have not seen an ugly Spanish person in my entire life, they are like, gifted with good looks!
Spanish is a required subject for 8th graders at my school, so I'll HAVE to take Spanish no matter what, but I'm happy about that! What I'm not happy about is that there are Spanish/Hispanic people in my grade (who are my friends) who speak Spanish; They'll breeze by the class with straight A's, while I'll be walking around with an English-Spanish dictionary.
Gaby, a blogger from Venezuela, recently inspired my life long desire to learn another language. I'm trying to learn Spanish now, by reading Gaby's blog. I'm guilty, however, of using Google Translate.

NOW! The magical trailer that has captivated us all!

My thoughts:
All the paper cut-outs were meticulously made, which made it even more beautiful. I love how delicate and beautiful it is, how is flows so nicely with the book. It deserves to be nominated one of the best book trailers ever. I love it, love it, love it!!! Don't you?

Weekly Wrap Up (4)

09 May 2010

This week on Pages:
5/3- Interviewed Jessica from A Fantatic's Book Blog
5/4- Interviewed Brent from Naughty Book Kitties
5/5- Interviewed John from Dreaming in Books
5/6- Reviewed Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke
5/7- Interviewed Author Christy Raedeke + Prophecy of Days book+swag giveaway!
5/8- Made a call to International Bloggers for Guest Posts!
5/9- Weekly Wrap Up (you're reading it)

This week on Dreamer:

5/3- I feel so appreciated!
5/4- My Second Ending to The Giver
5/6- I'm published on Teen Ink!
5/8- A short story: Battle

This week on Sparrow Review:

5/3- The Dark Divine Review
5/7 Cate is almost free from her exams!
5/9- In My Mailbox

Phew, so many links! You can see that I've been very busy :D

Call to International Bloggers!

08 May 2010

Hello, International Bloggers of whom I love so much!

Recently, I've been incredibly interested in culture and life in other countries, History and Social Studies are my favorite subjects. I was hoping that maybe you international bloggers would like to do a Guest Post on my blog about life in your country (and maybe about how Climate Change has affected you?)
I know this doesn't directly tie to books, but maybe you'll read a historical fiction or nonfiction novel about a country and you'll be 'educated' about it :D

If you're interested (yes!) then shoot me an e-mail (raokiki6(at)gmail(dot)com) and we can work things out!

Countries that I'm particularly interested in:
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Scotland
  • Great Britain
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • European countries
  • France
If you live in another country other than the one's I listed, it's totally fine to still do a guest post, don't think I'm not interested in other countries :D

Interview with Christy Raedeke + Giveaway! CLOSED

07 May 2010

I'm extremely privileged to have debut author Christy Raedeke over on Pages for an interview! She's the brilliant author of Prophecy of Days, ranked as one of my top favorite books!

Tell us a bit about yourself, anything!

Anything? Hmm, where to start? I love the color periwinkle, ice water with lemon, and yellow cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting. I am unintentionally secretive. Sleeping is very important to me and I look forward to it every night. I make big plans and run headlong into things that terrify me and then wonder why I keep doing that. I really want a full-body x-ray of my skeleton. I’m incredibly opinionated, even on things I don’t really know anything about. I am shy but I cover it up most of the time. Should I stop now?

What was your inspiration for Prophecy of Days?

I set out to write the book that I wanted to read as a teen. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient mysteries, symbols, and other esoteric stuff. Writing this book allowed me to delve deeply into the subjects that interest me and make connections that perhaps other people had not made.

What is the main message you’re trying to get out to your readers?

My message is this: the world is full of wonder and mystery. Look around, ask questions, try to put the pieces together. There are more people under 25 on the planet than ever before in history. You guys are a driving force—you can make the world what you want it to be.

How much research did it take to finish Prophecy of Days?

It took a LOT of research! But that’s really something I love. For the last few years I read far more nonfiction than fiction in an attempt to get things as accurate as I could.

The cover is beautiful! What do you think? Did you have any say on what you wanted it to look like?

I’m so glad you like it! My design input was pretty limited. I told my editor that my dream cover was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because I love the mix of modern design and fresh colors with an ancient symbol, and I thought this would work well with the content of the book. My cover designer, Kevin Brown, deserves all the credit for coming up with such a great look. Though darker and more masculine than I expected, the minute I saw it I fell in love with it—which is great since I have to look at it all the time!

Are your characters based off of anyone in your life?

Every character is completely fictional except one. The character of Uncle Li is based on a real person, Dr. Shan-Tung Hsu. Dr. Hsu has been my Feng Shui teacher for about fifteen years. He’s the head of the Blue Mountain School of Traditional Chinese Feng Shui, has a Doctorate in Chemistry, is a Qi Gong Master, and has written several books—he’s a true Renaissance man! Dr. Hsu has taught me so much about the subtle arts of Five Element Theory, Yin Yang Theory, Tea, and Feng Shui.

How did you come up with the name “Caity Mac Fireland”

I honestly don’t know! I don’t remember coming up with it but I do remember Googling “Mac Fireland” a million ways because I wanted a Scottish sounding name that did not really exist.

Is Math your best subject (like Alex) How did you work these numbers?

I laughed out loud when I read this question! No, math is not my best subject. I came sideways to it and learned what I needed to… My big regret is not pursuing more math and physics in college.

There are many Buddhist and Confucius beliefs and text used in this book; where did that come from?

This is probably weird to admit, but I’m kind of obsessed with Chinese and Tibetan hermits, those people who go off and live in caves for years and years to meditate. I think own every book ever written about Asian hermits! I don’t know why I am so drawn to them, but through my reading I’ve picked up a lot about Buddhism and Confucianism. Add that to what I’ve learned from Dr. Hsu, and you’ve got a serious undercurrent going.

Technology plays a key role in Prophecy of Days, are you a computer expert or something?

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any stretch, but I did start working in the high-tech world early on. I started at Microsoft in 1988 and had email and internet access before anyone else I knew. I think just by being in the world of computers I’ve absorbed enough to write technology into a plotline.

When you first looked at the Mayan Calendar (the one at the back of the book) what were your first thoughts?

I knew I was looking at something important, and I wanted to know everything about it. It’s difficult to look at the Tzolk’in calendar—to think about all the time and energy and knowledge that went in to creating it so many centuries ago—and not believe there’s some powerful stuff encoded within it. From the moment I saw it I was hooked and I had to learn more.

Are you fluent in another language other than English? (Like Mayan words, and Gaelic words?)

Not really. I took French in high school and college and studied in France my junior year. Nowadays I can read a bit of French but that’s about it.

(I know this is silly but…) Do you believe the world is going to end in 2012? If/when it does, what are you planning to do?
I absolutely, positively do NOT believe the world will end in 2012. I do believe we are on the cusp of a transformation, though.

The Shadow Government? How? Why? Really?

Yes. Really. I swear I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but after reading books like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, I was shocked into having to learn more.

Even though you explained it on the most basic terms in Prophecy of Days, I still don’t understand how the Mayan Calendar works?

For the one I talk most about in the book (the Tzolk’in) there are 260 days instead of 365, like our calendar. Each day has a symbol (there are 20 total symbols) and a number (1 through 13). Both the number and the symbol mean something, and when you combine them in different ways, you get different meanings for the day. If you want to find out what your Mayan birth date means, you can look here: http://xzone.com.au/maya/login.php

There are no acknowledgments in the book, is there anyone in particular you would like to thank?

This was a huge FAIL on my part—I thought the publisher asked for acknowledgements when it was time to put that section in. But then once I got all my last edits in, the book went to print! I felt terrible. The only consolation is that there is a second book and I’ll be able to properly thank all the people who helped me reach the dream of being published. The acknowledgement section is what I read first when I get a new book, so I’m kind of sad I don’t have one.

Thanks for the interview, Kirthi! I really appreciate your interest in my book.

Thanks for being interviewed! I'm so super excited!


Enter to win a copy of Christy's debut novel, Prophecy of Days and awesome silver-tasseled bookmarks!

Fill out THIS FORM to enter

This is an international contest and ends 6/5/10

For Europeans. it ends 5/6/10

For everyone, it ends June 6th 2010

Review: Prophecy of Days

06 May 2010

Title: Prophecy of Days
Author: Christy Raedeke
Stars: 4.8
Pages: 384
Summary from Goodreads
Review by Kirthi

PROPHECY OF DAYS, BOOK ONE: THE DAYKEEPER’S GRIMOIRE is the story of Caity Mac Fireland, a girl from San Francisco whose parents drag her to an isle off the coast of Scotland to manage some family property. Caity finds that a Mayan relic is concealed there, intentionally left centuries ago by Mayan Daykeepers in an attempt to keep their profound knowledge about the year 2012 alive into the current era.

As she delves into this world of secret knowledge, Caity is helped along by a visiting family friend and Feng Shui master, Uncle Li; a Mayan elder named Bolon; and Mr. Papers, her pet monkey that communicates through origami. A handsome Scottish lad, Alex, gets pulled into the intrigue, as do several other people with questionable motives and loyalties. Caity must weave together a tapestry of information in order to make her radical discovery, a mystery protected by an elite coterie of power-brokers who influence world events. Caity’s twenty-first century mind is put to the test as she tries to uncover the answer to an ancient riddle while trying to outwit this powerful group that will stop at nothing to control the secret, and her.

My thoughts:
I was searching through Flux.com one day and first saw the cover of Prophecy of Days and new I had to read it. I mean, what is there not to love? My three favorite colors are mixed in: green, gray, and blue. Beautiful! The title though, really caught my attention. So mysterious, and haunting and perfect! A three-word way to explain the entire book.

One of the best things that I loved about this book was the facts. Being a history freak, especially an ancient history freak, Prophecy of Days was like a fun, interesting, intriguing, and juicy textbook. No, no, it's not the big, fat, ugly boring textbooks, it's the phenomenal textbooks that had no existed until now!

Before reading this book, I had no idea about the 2012 Doomsday rumor, I only knew that it the Mayan Calender predicted the end of the world to be in 2012. Prophecy of Days easily explains it all with the bonus of trapdoors, hidden rooms, shady characters, a great setting (I ~heart~ Scotland and Ireland) and the hot boy involvement. I mean, Prophecy of Days is a book that was like, written for me! I love how there were wonderful Buddhist and Confucius text discreetly mixed in amongst all the excitement, it added a nice touch.

Don't laugh, but I took a bunch of notes because I'm a neat freak, and notes really help with understanding. I strongly suggest you a copy and write in it, or have a pad of sticky notes (and pencils) handy :D

Beginning: I wasn't sure I liked how Caity was talking to the reader using "you" a lot, in the first few pages, however, it soon went away later on. It was good to know the setting and time and all the need-to-knows at the beginning though :D

Middle: Stuffed with facts. Trapped me in with inky words!
End: Dun-dun-dun-DUN! Betrayal, one of the best endings :D

Characters: Caity Mac Fireland is a good heroine, a daring, bold, take-action-immediatly type of heroine. I didn't think she was characterized enough on personality, talents etc... but the delicious plot made up for the loss of characterization.
Alex, our dreamy male character, sounds incredibly cute, but I was dissapointed on the lack of romantic involvement between him and Caity.
The other characters, besides Caity, Alex, and her friends, scared me, but I guess that's why I kept reading :D

Conclusion: Thick and rich with scientific, historical, mathematical, enriching writing, Prophecy of Days is a must read for everyone!

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