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Be Light Like A Bird By Monika Schroder

Title: Be Light Like A Bird
Author: Monika Schroder
Published: 
September 2016 by Capstone Young Readers
Genre: Middle-grade realistic fiction
How I got the book: I downloaded it onto my Kindle through BookBub

Summary:

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must tackle issues with the environment, peer pressure, and bullying. More than that, she must cope with the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it as she discovers what it means to be a family — and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

BookBub emailed me a couple of months ago that this book was for free. After seeing it was middle-grade (I love a good middle-grade every once in a while) and reading the summary, I thought it’d definitely be worth a try.

rp-plot

Told through Wren’s point of view, we learn that her father has passed away. She is sad and doesn’t know how to grieve. All she knows is to go to her mother. Her mother, on the other hand, is angry. Wren, being 12-years-old, doesn’t understand grieving or death and she can’t imagine why her mother is so mad. It begins to tear their family apart.

After a couple of moves, Wren finally feels as though she may have a place where she belongs. She makes some new friends, some nice and some not so nice, she does pretty well in school, and she discovers a place she knows her father would love.

Due to a report at school and Wren and her father’s love of bird watching, Wren fights for beautiful a pond to not be torn down and turned into a dump.

I don’t know how I can explain this plot and do it justice. The overall message is grieving and talking about it. However, there’s a subplot of Wren dealing with who her real friends are as well as working on her school project and setting up a petition. And the art of bird watching is woven into all of that.

This plot is gold.

rp-characters

Each character was crafted wonderfully. Wren made an excellent protagonist and I think her 12-year-old was spot on. I was angry at her mother in the beginning for what she did to Wren, but I learned to sympathize for her.

Theo, Wren’s best friend, made an excellent best friend. I wish I had a Theo.

Victoria and Carrie were the definition of a “mean girl” and “minion” and it was perfect.

Wren’s father was important even though he’s never seen in the book, a lot is learned about him. And you really don’t know what to think of him.

All the supporting characters – Randle, Mrs. Russo, Theo’s dad – were all great supporting characters as well. Everyone had their own voice and their own purpose.

rp-writing-style

I read this book in one day. It’s about 240 pages long, so you can see that as quickly or not. It went by pretty quick for me because I was so intrigued.

While I thought the beginning was a bit slow, it all made sense in the end. The book is broken up into chapters but after a few of them a new “theme” sort of comes into play. Yet, it was all tied together at the end.

I had tears in my eyes for a good chunk of the novel and if you know me well, you know that’s what sells it for me.

rp-overall

I really don’t think I did this book justice. I think I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t be organized and I’d be rambling.

This book was so well crafted, well paced, and just overall a great piece of art. It conveys an important message that I think everyone should read it. It’s pretty inspiring.

Be Light Like A Bird by Monika Schroder gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“You don’t want to just float around in life like a feather. You want to determine your own direction – fly and soar like a bird.” -Monika Schroder, Be Light Like A Bird

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Rejection Comes With The Profession (5 Ways To Deal With Getting Told No)

Today’s guest post is brought to you by author Tyfany Janee. Thanks, Tyfany!

Rejection is valuable. It reveals to us when our work or skills are still not good enough and need to be improved.

If it is painful for a reader to tell you that he does not like your work, the more it is that a publisher does. Why? Because editors are professionals in literature, they have seen and struggled with works of all colors, and therefore, have a greater understanding with books.

If a publisher says “no” to your work, there will be reasons why he has rejected it. From experience, we can say that nothing would be more pleasing than the scenario where all the works that were received by the publishers had enough quality to qualify them for publishing.

Look at it this way: do you get angry when the doctor tells you that you are sick, that you must rest and that you have to follow a treatment? Nobody likes to be told that he is ill, right? especially if it’s said by a professional who knows what he speaks. So, when your write up is faulty, the publishers always give you a ‘no’ … even if it hurts.

Here are five ways to deal with getting told no:

  1. Give yourself a break

If the publishers send an email saying that your work cannot be published because it has this or that defect; Okay, you’ve already received the news. Now … get away from that email as soon as possible, run! Let it pass a reasonable time until you assimilate it (if you are strong and do not allow yourself to be easily frightened, maybe within a few hours). Take the time you need to accept the rejection. You may even feel the typical post-traumatic symptoms (denial, hatred, acceptance …) on a small scale. At this point, staying away gives you enough time to assimilate the effects of the rejection and move on.

  1. Do not take the rejection as personal affair

Once you have assimilated the letter, put yourself together and read it again, keep your head cool and send all available pride in your heart for a walk. The first step in recognizing a mistake is to take a humble stance.

Do not worry if your blood boils a little as you re-read the notes. It is understandable but remember that you should not take criticism as personal; It is about learning from mistakes, not about wallowing in failure and putting on a bitter mood.

Every writer, from the most professional to the lowest, has once been rejected. Every book, movie or story you like has once been rejected as well. Probably not just once. Maybe dozens, or even more, hundreds of times. It’s part of being a writer, as rejection is part of what we are as creative beings.

  1. Do not resort to self-publishing

Being rejected is not enough reason to run and self-publish. Seriously, it’s as if you say, “Everyone hates it, so why not punish readers by publishing it? But on very few occasions, the pattern of rejections does indicate that self-publishing is an option. If you already had a lot of these: “It’s good, but I cannot do anything with it,” it means that the publishing industry is not willing. At this point, you could take a risk and self-publish.

Rejects make you harder. Accept them, absolve them. Let the blow in. We’ve all been knocked out. This is your chance to get back to your manuscript in hand and keep blowing like a potential professional.

  1. Take the rejection as an opportunity to acquire more knowledge

After being rejected, do go ahead and put yourself in the position of the publishers. Source for possible reasons in the most objective and neutral way.

The truth is that the fire of rejection purifies us as long as we do not burn all our sense of positivism while trying to assimilate it. The writer, when rejected, learns a great deal about himself, his work, the market, the business. Even authors who decide to self-publish should, from time to time, expose themselves to the sharp heels and teeth of the machinery of rejection. The writers who have never been rejected are the same as spoiled children who receive prizes for everything they do without ever having to make their way to the summit through the snow and wild leopards.

  1. Strive to improve

When you start to write, there will always be comments about your work. Some good and some bad. You must receive both of them in the same way.

If someone criticizes your novel by saying that the argument is loose, it may be time to review it.

Neither should you be depressed if at first you “destroy” your work. Far from abandoning your drive for writing, you must improve. Learn from this, and so your next books will be better.

When someone wants to become a writer, he must be strong. Not only to handle criticism, but also praise, which in most cases tend to be more harmful.

In conclusion, many writers do not accept rejection or support any negative commentary on their work. Unfortunately, rejection comes with the profession and to become successful, you must live with it and accept it as it proofs that you really are a writer.

About Tyfany Janee:

 Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

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Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard | Book Review

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Published: October 2006 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?

My Review:

I have read this book before. According to my Goodreads account, it was way back in 2012. I’ve been getting into the show again now that it’s ended. I’ve decided to finally get around to reading the books since I have most of the series sitting on my bookshelves.

We get to know five high school girls: Alison, Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna. They’re the best of friends, each with their own dirty secret(s). They are the most popular girls in school, Alison being the ring leader of the group.

On the summer before high school begins, they have a slumber party. When the girls wake up, Alison is gone. She was never found. This book takes place three years later. Aria, Spencer, Emily, and Hanna have moved on and aren’t really friends anymore. But once they start receiving odd messages that not only sound like Alison, but are also threatening, that they come together to figure out who is doing this to them.

That’s about it. Even though this is just book one nothing really happened. I felt as though this was more of an introduction to the series. We learned a lot about the main characters, but that was about it. Nothing really happened until there were about 20-30 pages left in the novel. Because of that, it was a bit boring.

I enjoy all the characters in the book. Aria comes home from living abroad with her family in Iceland for two years and winds up crushing on her new English teacher. Hanna had transformed her chubby self over the summer before high school along with Mona, who was a “loser” when Ali ran the school. Hanna and Mona are the new “It” girls. Spencer is just as overachieving as ever while she tries to hook up with her sister’s boyfriend. Emily is the star swimmer for their school’s team. And when new girl Maya moves into Ali’s old house, Emily begins to question her sexuality.

Ali was most certainly the alpha dog and practically ran the whole school. A lot of people are glad she’s gone and they feel safe again. Still, even though she’s a total mean girl, I think Ali is one of my favorite characters. She seems to have it all together, even though I don’t agree with her tactics on how to get people to do the right thing.

This book is written like any other general novel. It’s a typical young adult “high school drama” type story. Still, nothing was really special about the writing style. I didn’t fall in love with the author’s words and some of the characters just felt like supporting cast (that includes the main girls in some parts). It’s not bad and certainly easy to read, but I’m not excited about it.

When I first read this in 2012, I had given it a five-star rating. I changed it to three. One, I think I’ve martured a lot in five years and this whole high school drama is a bit overrated to me. Two, because nothing really happened in this book. This is book one in a long suspense series, but we got more background than anything else, which is a pretty slow start in my opinion.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard gets…
3 Stars3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“They felt kind of like dolls, with Ali arraigning their every move.” -Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars

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Sample

Guests appear on my blog three times a month. If you would like to know more about this, please visit my Guest Bloggers Wanted page.

Today’s post is brought to you by Robert Sanasi. Thanks, Robert!

Guest post by author Robert Sanasi

I’ve always felt like an artist but I’ve never known – and probably I do not yet- what kind of an artist.

When I was a kid I got very easily fascinated by movie scenes, by lines of a song, by poems, by everything working on the most emotional side of life. And I can’t say that I’ve been writing all my life or that I started when I was five years old or stuff like that. It wasn’t me who chose writing, it was writing that at some point in my life – aged around 22 or 23 – got into my life as the easiest yet most powerful way of expressing myself, of taking out all that artistic sensitivity I kind of had within me since I was a kid. Therefore I started writing quite late compared to the average statistics about writers (I’m happy to have something in common with one of my favourite authors, Henry Miller, in these regards); I began with poems and a very raw and (now I can say) not yet mature prose work resembling a short novel, which was named “Jack of hearts”. It was handwritten and never typed on a computer, so I happen to smile at  thinking it’s still on one of my shelves at home in Italy. After so many years I can’t even recognize my handwriting!

The spark came out by the time I read Kerouac’s “On The Road” for the first time. It was love at first sight. It opened my mind and my heart to a new kind of literature. I come from classical humanistic studies, so I “had” to read and study lots of Italian, Latin, and Ancient Greek literature, as well as the English Shakespeare, Marlowe, the Romanticism and so on. I generally liked it but it seemed so far from me. When I read Kerouac, I thought to myself: “Damn, this guy is writing something about me, something that is relating so close to me…” It actually triggered an action in me: travelling, exploring out of my comfort zone, writing everything down for my own satisfaction. It sounded new, fresh, like a new literature far from any “concept” or “intellectualistic culture”. It was something I felt real and accessable. I realized he had a way of “feeling” the world, things, people and the general life similar to mine. It all started from that, maybe.

Later on I had a sort of hiatus from writing when I moved to Dublin and I was too busy with life to represent it in a proper way. I believe it was a preparation time to everything that came later on: I got ready to write more seriously and professionally, meaning with an audience in my mind.

It might sound bizzarre and unconventional for a writer but I can say my strongest inspiration comes mostly from music – rock music, which I love! Even though I never managed to learn how to play an instrument, I’m always listening to music, so inspiration may come from a word, from a sound, from a vision, from a combination of them that can light up the lamp. This is an ongoing and extremely nice process that helps me a lot.

Lately I try to analyze my own writing and I realize that what I do, in my literary production, is to combine the spontaneous and visionary Beat literature with the rhythm and incisive language of rock. As if I was a “rock writer”. Kerouac and his friends had their own jazz, I have my own rock for help. It sounds fair according to the different times. I like to believe this, but in the arts there’s no big label working.

As quoted in my novel “Dublin Calling”, the main character Jack writes a letter to his old friend Tony saying he’s writing down everything from their own Dublin experiences and what is coming out looks like a mix of a mid-90’s novel and a rock song from 2000. This is definitely the background I come from. And I guess that summarizes my style well, at least in my first literary works.

To me literature – speaking about realistic narrative – must be strong, must shake off, be upbeat and brillliant, far from being boring or too architectonic. Like Cheever and Munro, I don’t care much about plots themselves. I focus on emotions and on the words; on the pleasure of using the right words that the reader will surely empathize with. I like it when I see the story runs by itself and the characters will end up somewhere or even nowhere and I feel this is right. I mostly want to bring out the emotions, empathy and always something original. I like it when everything comes out spontaneously and fast, that’s the best part. It means it’s working fine. Most of the time it’s something autobiographic, sometimes it’s something close to it. Many times it’s a combination of reality and imagination. Of actual life and likely one that often are two sides of the same coin, of the same person. Something like that. Everything takes shape independently. The important thing is to believe in what you are doing. I care a lot about authenticity.

So, getting back to the first point, I still don’t know what kind of an artist I am. I’m writing novels, poetry, song lyrics, and I am even currently working on a script. I reckon being an artist involves a particular way of seeing life differently from the way most people see it or – better saying- miss it. This way it’s not just about making art, it’s all about living life in an artistic way.

They say the artist lives twice. When he lives life like anybody else and when he reproduces it in his own art, own words, own music, own visions. Writing is part of this whole world and it’s easy to begin. What you basically need is a pen with some paper or a laptop. Sit down and start your own magical machine.

About Robert

Robert Sanasi, authorRobert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.

After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.

All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.

Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.

Robert’s Book

Dublin Calling by Robert Sanasi

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