Fat Cat by Robin Brande Review

Thursday, December 31, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥
Cat is smart, sassy, and funny. But thin, she is not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors.

When I first picked this book up from the shelf at my library, I thought two things: (1)Hey, I've seen some pretty good reviews for this! and (2)This book has the potential to be...shallow. I'm not the kind of girl who really enjoys reading books that don't have some depth to them. I don't read the Gossip Girl series or books that revolve entirely around romance. Why? It's not because there's anything wrong with the books themselves. It's because when I finish a book with a message that strikes a chord in me, there's a moment where everything feels complete and whole and blissful. I love those moments. :)

Getting back on track...I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fat Cat was full of witty humor and strength. Cat was a completely lovable character; she was intelligent and sweet and a hard worker. Robin Brande wrote this in a smart way. The story itself was entertaining and fast-paced. All of the characters were believable and three-demensional. I was hooked- I stayed up late to learn the final details of her project, and her personal journey. And, when I closed the back cover in the end, I had one of those aforementioned moments. :) Don't waste time; go pick it up for yourself!

Rating: 9.5/10

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥
When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different—dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy—her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life, meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on. Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart. -Goodreads

Although I had heard bits and pieces about this book from looking around the book blogosphere, the first time I read a full review for In a Heartbeat was from Sandy at Pirate Penguin's Reads. She really enjoyed it, so I think that I'll give it a try! Fingers crossed I can find it at the library!

<3 Cate

My Top Five of 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
It's the end of the year already! Here are my top picks for 2009; I enjoyed reading each and every one of these- I hope you'll do the same! I have no doubt that 2010 holds just as many thrilling, hilarious, grips-you-til-the-end reads. :)



Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale Review
and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson


Ophelia by Lisa Klein Review
and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen Review


Paper Towns by John Green Review


What were your top picks?
Also, feel free to take a survey I created to get some feedback on the blog; it would be very much appreciated! Click here to take survey.
<3 Cate

Challenge Overload

Monday, December 28, 2009 | | 7 comments ♥
Before I get into this post, I just wanted to remind you that I created a New Year's Survey, and I'd love to get your feedback! There are more details in my previous post. :) Click here to take survey

Okay, it's very possible that I may have gone a little overboard with my challenge participation this year. To be honest, I don't really even know exactly what I have to do for each and when to finish them by. So, this post serves two purposes: to help me be a little less scatterbrained and to give you the opportunity to join some challenges- I'm sure it's not too late for some of them!



First up, The Sarah Dessen Challenge, hosted at Em's Bookshelf. I'll admit, I did start this challenge way late; it began in May, but there was no final challenge date, so I decided to hop on board! I gave myself until the end of the school year (June 9th) to read and review all nine Sarah Dessen Books. So far, here's what I've got!

That Summer
Keeping the Moon
Someone Like You
Dreamland
This Lullaby= Finished!
The Truth About Forever= Read, but no review yet
Just Listen
Lock and Key= Read, but not review yet
Along for the Ride= Finished!




This Challenge is being hosted by Nicole over at WORD For Teens. The books for this challenge must involve water - be it about pirates, mermaids, or the coast of California, fiction or nonfiction. All need to be read (and in my case reviewed) by September 19th, 2010! Unfortunately, I'm VERY behind on this challenge! Here are my ten chosen books:

1.Bloody Jack, by L.A. Meyer.
2.Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie.
3.Piraticia by Tanith Lee
4.Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall
5.Pirates! by Celia Rees
6.Benjamin Manry and the Curse of the Blood Bones
7.The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
8.Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli
9.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
10.The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway



Ahh, the Alice Challenge. I don't believe that I have read or reviewed anything for this list whatsoever...yikes! I have until August 21st, 2010.

Tasks (Part I):

*Read and review Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
*Read and review Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
*Read and review Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin (publish date December 2009)

*Read and review one other book from the list of "retellings and sequels" or "literature with allusions and influences" from the list here . If you know of a book that will work that is not on the list, you may use it, but please have it approved as part of the challenge first.


Tasks (Part II)

*Watch and review Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland
*Watch and review one live action (already released) movie version of Alice in Wonderland.
*Watch and review Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (due for release in 2010)
*Watch and review one other movie listed under "Film" here



And last, but certainly not least, The 100+ Book Challenge, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Thank goodness books can cross over for all challenges on this one! I don't have a definite list; I think I'm going to just take this year as it comes! I have until the end of December, next year!


What challenges are you participating in this year?
Have a wonderful day!
<3 Cate

New Year's Survey

Thursday, December 24, 2009 | | 1 comments ♥
Hello, everyone, and Happy Holidays! This will most likely be my last post until next week, and it's a little different than usual.

I've created a survey, just to get some feedback and help me make some New Year's Resolutions for the blog. I really hope you'll take the time to fill it out- all comments and suggestions are much appreciated. Click here to take survey

Also, if you look on the sidebar, there's a pretty little button, that (with some team effort) was made just for you! Feel free to take one! And special thanks to Sandy and Melanie for helping me figure out all of the technical stuff! :)

Thanks a million, and have a Merry Christmas!
<3 Cate

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
A Blue So Dark, by Holly Schindler

Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.


Oooh. Pretty. The cover is so beautiful. I can't wait to read this one; the plot is so originial- I'm looking forward to May 2010!!!

<3 Cate

Call Me Sonya Grey by Sonya Grey Lloyd Review

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥

Call Me Sonya Grey is a personal collection of poetic verse that is at once inspiring and challenging. Beginnng with the loss of her mother at age nine, Tupone Lloyd began collecting her thoughts in 40 poems in a diary from early childhood through her twenties. In Call Me, Tupone Lloyd describes the daily battles of self-image and self-expression she experienced growing up after the passing of one parent and the estrangement of another. With the death of her mother, Tupone Lloyd lost a part of everything she had known. Two states away, she finds herself with a different family, school, friends, home and a new name. The verses written during this time are one woman s exploration of her raw, emotional responses to dramatic life changes. This is Sonya's story. Call me Sonya Grey. -Goodreads

Call Me Sonya Grey was, to say the least, heartfelt and poignant. Emotionally, the reader is put through the wringer; I might consider picking this one up on an especially gloomy day.

I'm a big fan of poetry. In this case, not all of the poems were my cup of tea (not to say that I there weren't plenty I found fascinating- which I did!) There were times that I just didn't connect with what Llloyd was trying to get across, but I think that because her situation was one that I cannot truly relate to, it was harder for me to completely link myself to the writing. However, I did enjoy reading it almost as if a diary...it chronicled her journey of growing up.

If you're a poetry fanatic, I'd suggest you pick this one up. It's an interesting view on how the author has chosen to express her life through words... and well chosen ones at that.

Rating: 7.5/10

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.
Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid— and Caitlin herself. -Goodreads


I saw Hold Still at Books-a-Million last weekend, and I was seriously thinking about taking it home and setting it at the top of the TBR pile. From what I could tell, Nina LaCour has taken a truly solemn subject and made it into something a little more bearable. I'm very interested in reading!

Dream Library

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥
We all have one. The library we dream about.



Um, yes, this does happen to be the library from Beauty and the Beast. It is ahhhmazing. I'm not really sure how you would get to all of the books near the top, but I have a feeling it would take me a while to get there. Plus those spiral staircases are gorgeous.

Do you have a dream library? Do tell!

<3 Cate

Dream Life by Lauren Mechling Book Trailer

Saturday, December 12, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥
You may have heard of the lovely Lauren Mechling, who has co-written the 10th Grade Social Climber series and is the author of The Dream Girl series. You can find my review of Dream Girl here. I'm excited to help spread the word that the second installment, Dream Life, is coming out on January 12th of 2010! I hope you find this little preview as interesting as I did! (Also, does anyone else like the music as much as I do?)


Dream Life by Lauren Mechling -- Trailer from Richie Williams on Vimeo.

So exciting!
<3 Cate

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥

For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacĂ© have begun to track her down. . . .

I've always been a sucker for novels revolving around dancers, you? Yet another to add to my list! The cover is also beautiful. Are you interested in reading?

<3 Cate

Paper Towns by John Green

Monday, December 7, 2009 | | 1 comments ♥

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

My first John Green novel. Though most would choose Looking for Alaska as their first choice, I decided that I'd go for what I could get most quickly from my library. :) I'm not really regretting this decision, as of yet.

I was incredibly impressed by the sheer wit that is so apparent in Paper Towns. Each character was quirky and funny and memorable; I was reminded of Sarah Dessen's supporting characters. There were only a few moments where I thought that the crude humor had gone a little too far, but I decided to overpass those in light of the fact that this is John Green, and, according to most, he is brilliant. I agree.

The overall story was fun and interesting; I especially loved Margo's night of revenge. There were several points in their little jaunt that I found myself laughing hysterically, and others that everything felt solemn and in slow motion. One other thing that I especially loved about this book was that there was an exceptionally clear voice. Reading was like hearing Q speaking, and that aspect made Paper Towns all the more enjoyable to read.

Rating: 9/10

This post would be incomplete if I did not direct you to John and Hank Green's vlogging webpage, Vlogbrothers. You can find many hours of entertainment on the other end of that link. :D

IMM (there's actually something in it!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥
Although I didn't manage to take a trip to the library this week, I have a nice box of books to share- I actually won a contest from Chelsea over at The Page Flipper! I've heard a lot of good things about the Maximum Ride series (I've heard there's even a movie in the works), and I'm glad that I'll finally be able to read them!

Here's the list!

* Maximum Ride: Max (paperback)
* Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback)
* Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback)
* Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback)
* Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback)
* Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback)
* The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback)
* Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover)

It seems I have a lot of reading to catch up on! What's in your mailboxes?

<3 Cate

Wish List Wednesday and All That Jazz

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | | 1 comments ♥

"This small book, based upon the speech given by Bono at the 2006 NPB, delivers an inspiring and powerful message. Here, in Bono's own words, is a reflection on his own faith and a challenge to people of all faiths to reach across boundaries and come together on behalf of what the Scriptures call "the least of these. -Goodreads"

The mere idea that Bono has a book out intrigues me. I'm glad to hear that behind those sunglasses is someone who cares about the world. :) What are your thoughts?

Mini-Update!
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving break! I'm still recovering from the massive amounts of stuffing and mashed potatoes. Whew! Expect a review of John Green's Paper Towns will be up soon; be looking for that later in the week! Currently I'm reading a great book of poems, Call Me Sonya Grey, by Sonya Tupone Lloyd. What are you reading?

<3 Cate

Ophelia by Lisa Klein Review

Saturday, November 21, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥

Ophelia is young, vivacious, and falling in love with a prince who cannot return her affections without arousing suspicion. And so they meet in secret—embracing in stairwells and castle turrets, reaching passionately for each other under the cover of darkness. His name is Hamlet; her name is Ophelia. And if you think you know this story, think again. Because when bloody deeds turn the court of Elsinore into a place of treachery and madness, Ophelia alone will find the means to escape, with nothing more than the clothes on her back…and one very dangerous secret. -Goodreads

I was completely blown away by Ophelia. It was so beautifully crafted that I immediately fell into the story. It was incredibly difficult to put down, and I think that there really isn't much more to say than this: Don't let this book make it's way to the bottom of your TBR pile. Read it. You won't be disappointed.

Although Shakespeare can be intimidating, I didn't find Klein's take on the play to be confusing at all. In fact, I'm very glad that I read it before the play. Now that the characters are more firm and solid in my mind, I think it will be much easier to comprehend than if I had gone in blind. I'm looking forward to reading her other novel, Lady Macbeth's Daughter.

Rating: 9.5/10

<3 Cate

P.S. I'm sorry for the lack of postings lately, everyone. I haven't been feeling well these past few days; I think I'm catching some sort of head cold. I have been doing a lot of reading, however, and hope to have a few more reviews up within the next week.

IMM

Sunday, November 15, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
Thanks to Kristi from The Story Siren for coming up with this great idea to share what's in our mailboxes!


First, I received Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst. I won this in a contest, and I'm very excited to read another retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon!




Okay, so this may not be book-related, but I was very excited when the first two seasons of Gilmore Girls (only the best show of all time) came in the mail this week. I have a feeling a marathon is coming up soon...Anyone else a fan?

What did you get this week? Leave your link in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out! <3 Cate

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | | 1 comments ♥

Blanche Kelly's dad is a famous indie rock icon, but not many people at the private school she attends on scholarship know this. Her father left when she was in the first grade, and she can’t quite forgive her mom for not understanding that an artist like her dad needs the time and space to connect to his muse.
When Blanche creates an all-girl rock band, their sound captures a wide audience and the band is invited to compete at the Coachella Music Festival. Blanche feels this could be the perfect time for a reunion with her father. Won’t he be proud to hear her band? Won’t he be happy to get to know his only daughter?


I don't know if any of you remember, but about six or so years ago, there was this T.V. show called Joan of Arcadia. It followed a teenage girl, Joan, who was not in the least religious. However, she saw God (as many different people), who sent her on 'missions.' It's still one of my favorite shows. Anyway, Barbara Hall was one of the main writers for the show, and she has also authored Tempo Change.

The entire premise of this book intrigues me, but I mainly just want to experience Barbara Hall's writing. The cover's pretty awesome as well.

Also, I now have links to my Twitter and Library Thing on the sidebar!

<3 Cate

Green Books Campaign: Syren by Angie Sage

Monday, November 9, 2009 | | 5 comments ♥

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

Becoming more eco-friendly has always been an important aspect of my life; I am glad to see that the environment is taken into consideration even in books! Syren is made with FSC-certified paper, and is published by Bloomsbury. I'm glad to see that large-scale publishing companies are getting envolved in the effort to help create a greener society!

In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island, one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He's stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle.
There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus—can he escape the persistent call?
Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangled with some nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna's father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship's hold.
-Goodreads

Although this is the fifth book in the Septimus Heap series (which I haven't read before), I decided to take it on for this event. Though I wish I had time to read the first four books, I found Syren to be enthralling. Filled with dragons, ghosts, a princess, and magyick, this book is the epitome of fantasy. Also, I really enjoyed seeing the small illustrations at the beginning of each chapter- it was a lovely Harry Potter flashback. Speaking of which, if you are a Harry Potter fan, I think that you will be very impressed with Angie Sage's work. It's beautifully crafted, and a chunky fantasy read.

What are your opinions about eco-friendly books? Are you a supporter? :D

<3 Cate

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr Review

Thursday, November 5, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥

Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already-worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel. -Inside cover

When I first began reading Once Was Lost, I didn't really connect with the writing style; Zarr writes in a very matter-of-fact way that I've never really come across before. However, as I began to understand the inner-workings of Sam, I realized that the voice Zarr uses really did suit her character. In truth, both the style and the story grew on me.

The way Zarr tackled religion left me impressed; she didn't press faith on the reader, but also wrote honestly of Sam's doubts in God without hesitation. And what really struck me was how she not only crafted the aforementioned beautifully, but she also made it relatable. Every thought, emotion, and action from Sam felt understandable and mostly realistic.

Although this was not a favorite book of mine, I applaud Sara Zarr, and I do think that I will be looking around for a few of her other books to see what else she has to offer.

Rating: 8.5/10

<3 Cate

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥

I've fiddled around with Waiting and Wednesday and pondered over Want it Wednesday, but I've found myself leaning towards a meme that also focuses on books that have already been released that I'm interested in reading. Hence Wishlist Wednesday. :D

Fifteen-year-old Mackenzie Hill knows something is up when she arrives home to find her father making a home-cooked dinner, instead of his standard delivery pizza. But nothing prepares her for the bombshell announcement: Mackenzie and her dad, alone since the death of her mother a year ago, are moving to Jerusalem, where her father has taken a position as a visiting professor at a university.

The adjustment from life in Canada to life in Israel is dramatic - though it's eased somewhat when Mackenzie is befriended by an American girl in her new school. The biggest shock of all comes when Mackenzie faces the wrath of her new friends, new community, and even her own father after she begins dating a Muslim boy.


I have been dying to read Mackenzie, Lost and Found by Deborah Kerbel. And although I haven't heard too much buzz around this book, what I have heard has been only good. Earlier this week, Briana from The Book Pixie wrote a review that only piqued my interest even more so than before. Also, this cover is beautiful and striking; I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!

Has anyone else read this? Did you enjoy it, or were you disappointed? I'd love to hear your opinion!

<3 Cate

Looky What I Found...

Monday, November 2, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥


This photo makes me smile. The Book Thief in all it's glory. And vintage. :)

<3 Cate

Photo from weheartit.com

Flashback Friday

Friday, October 30, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
The Wayside School was supposed to be one story high, with 30 classrooms side by side; instead, it was built sideways, with 30 one-classroom stories. As befits such a strange school, these tales are a bit strange too. In one, Jason is stuck to his seat by a large wad of chewing gum. His teacher tries throwing ice water on him (to chill the gum to brittleness) and turning him upside down. She even contemplates cutting his pants off. Finally, though, he falls from his upside-down position when kissed (ugh!) by one of the girls in the class. Other tales include a bit of a moral, such as the story of Kathy, whose assumption that no one will ever like her is proved right, or the story of Bebe, who draws quickly but without artistic merit. The quirky humor in this book is appealing to children. -Goodreads

One of my favorite elementary school teachers used to read Sideways Stories from Wayside School outloud to us every day after lunch. They were a favorite among the class, mostly because of each anecdote's ridulous hilarity. I didn't find out until much later the Louis Sachar (author of Holes) also wrote this book, which came as a complete surprise. I really enjoy reading an author's work when they dabble in humor, and this read seems like a perfect example.

Feel Free to do your own Flashback Friday post- I'm looking forward to seeing what books you liked as a child!

<3 Cate

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Review

Saturday, October 24, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
Born into a family of slaves, Frederick Douglass educated himself through sheer determination. His unconquered will to triumph over his circumstances makes his one of America's best and most unlikely success stories. Douglass' own account of his journey from slave to one of America's great statesmen, writers, and orators is as fascinating as it is inspiring. -Goodreads

This was the first book of the year that my English teacher assigned us to read, and I was interested in what Frederick Douglass had to offer. It's a very quick read- only eleven chapters; and I wondered what message he would try to express.

The best way I can describe this narrative is with a vocabulary word I learned this past week: Pithy. It sounds like something negative, but I found that it's definition suited this work beautifully: it means powerful and concise. (You can understand why I love my English class...I feel much more intelligent after leaving!) Truly, though, this is one of the most meaningful and significant books that I have ever read.

Please take a few hours out of your usual reading and pick up The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It's a decision you won't regret.

Rating: 10/10

In My Mailbox (3)

Sunday, October 18, 2009 | | 10 comments ♥
I have an IMM post for you this week! Special thanks to Kristi over at The Story Siren for creating this fun meme.

Received:


I am participating in a blogger event in November, and have chosen to read Syren, by Angie Sage. I actually have not read the other four books in the series- does anyone know if I need to read the previous installments to understand this book? More information to come later!


From the Library:



I actually decided to take up Sandy (from Pirate Penguin's Reads) on her recommendation of The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker. Thanks, Sandy! It truly does look interesting; has anyone else read this before?

Have a relaxing rest of your weekend!

<3 Cate

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting Review

Saturday, October 17, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥
The Body Finder is essentially the story of Violet, a junior in high school, who has a gift. The gift of finding the dead. When a serial killer is on the loose in her small town, she takes on the responsibility of finding him before he hurts anyone else.

Okay, so normally I'm not a fan of books with a paranormal premise. I'm a fairy tale kind of girl. However, I was intrigued by the whole idea of Violet's ability, and her interest in using it for good. And, after I picked it up, I found it nearly impossible to set down. Seriously. Ms. Derting keeps you on the edge of your seat, and throws in some some huge twists (one nearly killed me, I could've sworn...)

Also, I just have to mention Jay. I have decided that he is second only to Wes, of Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. Sa-woooon. You know what I mean. :)

Definitely pick this up- a quick and enthralling read!

Rating: 9/10

<3 Cate

Books and Music

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥
This is actually a post from a little over a month ago, but I decided to run it again because I didn't get any responses. (Must have been a bad day for comments) Anyway, I really would like to hear what you think about the link between books and music. Here's the previous post:

After reading a post on books about music, I began pondering the connection between the two. Not in the way of subject matter, but in how we listen to it while we read. Usually I have my iPod plugged in while I'm reading, just for some background noise. And, sometimes, when I reread a particular book, I'm reminded of the soundtrack that I was listening to when I first read it. So, naturally, I play it again the second time around. It's a circle.

{Here's where my question comes in}

Has this happened to you? If so, what books and what music? Here are a few examples of mine....



The Cure for the Pain- John Foreman (just that one song) and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak



What a Heart is Beating for- Chris Rice and The Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale




Girls and Boys- Ingrid Michaelson and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen


What do you think?


Update and Award

Sunday, October 11, 2009 | | 0 comments ♥

Hi Everyone; I hope you're having a lovely October! At the moment I'm going through sort of a book rut. The good kind. I have about three or four books that I'm trying to get through at the same time, some for school, some for fun. I'm only a few chapters into all of them, which doesn't make for timely reviews. Nonetheless, I'm making my way through them slowly but surely! Anyone else have this issue?

Also, I'd like to thank Sarah over at Book Duck for giving me the Great Look Award! Here's the description:

This award is meant to pat on the back the ones paying particular attention to their blog presentation, and god knows some of them looks awesome! Of course none of them are pretty empty shells, so there's no shame to mention how nice their blogs are!

Have a great weekend!

<3 Cate

Flashback Friday (4)

Friday, October 9, 2009 | | 7 comments ♥

Flashback Friday is a weekly (although recently I've been letting it slide...my bad) post that highlights a book that I liked when I was younger. You're welcome to join in- I'd love to read about your childhood favorites, or even books that you didn't enjoy so much.

This week I'm showcasing a book that I remember reading in late elementary school, and I absolutely hated it. Some may scowl at the fact that I really disliked this classic (which I'm sure is beloved by some), but I'm being honest. Anne of Green Gables was just not my cup of tea; one reason being (from what I remember) was that Anne talked SO MUCH. A very long-winded young lady. For some reason the way the book was written plucked my last nerve.

It was the only reading test that I ever failed. :(

Have any of you read Anne of Green gables? If so, what did you think?

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets Review

Monday, October 5, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets is a collection of over 600 6-word memoirs written by teens.

This book was wonderful. Amazing. Touching. Heartfelt. And FUNNY. It's a quick read- you could probably get through it in less than an hour if you really wanted to. I absolutely loved it though, because everything written was raw and honest. I truly don't have anything else to say but this: GO OUT AND GET IT.

Rating: 10/10


P.S. All-time favorite was "I never got my Hogwarts letter." (Don't we all feel that way?)

HMS Challenge

Sunday, October 4, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

This Challenge is being hosted by Nicole over at WORD For Teens, and it didn't really sound like any challenge I had heard before. Go sign Mr. Linky at the link above if you're interested! Here's the fabuloso description:

Way back when, the ocean had yet to be explored. We knew nothing about it. Then, the HMS Challenger was sent out - its challenge? To scope the ocean and learn it's secrets.

With that in mind, readers, I challenge you to read (or reread) ten books between now and September 19th of 2010. But not just any ten books. These books must involve water - be it about pirates, mermaids, or the coast of California, fiction or nonfiction.

The question is - can you handle it?


My ten books are as follows:

1. Bloody Jack, by L.A. Meyer. {Firstly because I've heard many wonderful things and secondly because I just checked it out from the library}
2.Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. {Mermaids AND Pirates! AND Never-Never Land! Beat that!}
3.Piraticia by Tanith Lee {Nicole recommended this on her post. I trust her judgement. :)}
4.Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall {oooh. Title is intriguing, don't you think?}
5.Pirates! by Celia Rees {Title is self-explanatory}
6.Benjamin Manry and the Curse of the Blood Bones {I believe I won this book on a contest over at WORD For Teens...one less to search for!}
7.The Life of Pi {Supposed to be amazing- and it has a shipwreck!}
8. Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli {I've heard wonderful things about this author! Can't wait to dive in! Excuse the pun.}
9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain {Oooh.}
10. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway {Probably the hardest of the challenge. Because, well, it's Hemingway. But it's fairly short and supposed to be very good.}

So very excited!

<3 Cate

Forest Born by Shannon Hale Review

Friday, October 2, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥

The fourth installment in the Books of Bayern, Forest Born, follows Rin (Razo's sister!) on the final journey of the series.

I thought that Shannon Hale took a little bit of a twist with this book; it was quite different from the rest of the Bayern series. Rin was a much more emotionally wearing character than Isi, Enna, or Razo. And although the books are usually written in close third person, I sometimes almost felt like I was reading in first person, just because of the focus on Rin's struggles. Rin isn't my favorite lead character, but she certainly was interesting to read about.

Forest Born has one major twist in it, one that I didn't expect AT ALL. After reading one line at the end of a chapter, I do believe my jaw dropped open (no exaggeration.) Major surprise element!

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read. Not my favorite Hale book, but maybe after I've read it a second time I'll have a different opinion; I generally do. If you do decide to take on the Bayern Books, I would recommend starting with the Goose Girl, and not skipping books. It is possible to follow the series out of order, but that surprise element I was talking about earlier- will have a much greater effect if you read the previous books. :)

Rating: 8.5/10

Update

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

Hi Everyone! Sorry for my inactivity of late; hope to be back on track by the end of this week!

Today I learned that I've received the Honest Scrap award from Nina at J'adore Happy Endings- thanks so much, Nina! I've actually never seen this award before, but I think it's a great way to promote honesty and integrity in the blogging community.

This is the Honest Scrap Award. It is for those bloggers who write from the heart.
The rules: Pass it along to seven other bloggers and then list ten honest things about yourself.

My Seven:

Will be up soon! (Homework has created some time restraints for this post)


My Ten:

1. Gilmore Girls, despite being off the air, remains my favorite t.v. show. I have seen every single episode (thanks to Blockbuster mail)

2. I found out that I have never really been challenged in school until this year. I'm not really sure that's settling well with me.

3. I love baking. Cookies, brownies, carrot cake- you name it!

4. I hate heights. Roller coasters are the only exception to this rule. Because, well, roller coasters are thrilling (and you're strapped in.)

5. Getting letters or packages in the mail makes me incredibly happy.

6. I am terrible at talking in front of people, and I haven't found a cure. I still shake, stammer, and cringe before I walk in front of the class.

7. As a kid I was obsessed with American Girl Dolls. Felicity especially. Any of you ever play with those?

8. Ingrid Michaelson is my favorite singer...anyone else like her?

9. Although I've always enjoyed reading, my real frenzy began in the fourth grade, and hasn't slowed much since.

10. If I could wear pajamas to school, I would.

<3 Cate

River Secrets by Shannon Hale Review

Thursday, September 24, 2009 | | 1 comments ♥
Razo has no idea why he was chosen to be a soldier. He can barely swing a sword, and his brothers are forever wrestling him to the ground. Razo is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy.
But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, Razo discovers the first dead body. He befriends both the high and low born, people who can perhaps provide them with vital information. And Razo is the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.
-Goodreads

Thanks for bearing with me through my Shannon Hale phase, everyone! One more to go, and then there'll be a little more diversity in reviews!

River Secrets has never been my favorite of the Bayern Books; I've always been more drawn to The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. This time around, however, my appreciation for Razo's story went up a few notches. I'm not all that sure what happened...but I felt like I could connect with Razo and found him to be such a humorous and lighthearted character.

I'm not going to get too fangirlish now, but if you know me, you know that I adore Shannon Hale's writing style. Each sentence is carefully crafted and incredibly fluid. I can never get over just how beautiful her writing is.

Although you can pick up any one of the books of the Bayern series and understand the plot, I would recommend you start from the first book. Happy Reading!

Rating: 9/10

Let's Be Friends Award

Monday, September 21, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥

Thanks so much to Kathy over at Bookworm Nation for presenting me with this award! I'm delighted to pass it on to other bloggers! First, however, you must read this well-crafted description:

Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers.

I know that many of you bloggers have probably already received this award, but humor me! Know that one more person also finds you incredibly friendly and appreciates your kind efforts:

*Sandy at Pirate Penguin's Reads
*Melanie at Melanie's Musings
*Nicole at Word for Teens
*SuzyQ at From Eye to Eye
*Briana at The Book Pixie
*Rocs at A Beginning, Middle, and End
*Alley at Sarcastic Humour and Chewed Up Pen Caps

In My Mailbox (2)

Sunday, September 20, 2009 | | 7 comments ♥
This week I have and IMM post to share with you. Here are some books I picked up this week:

From a contest hosted by The Story Siren:







From the Library:





I'm excited to read all of these; each looks very interesting and all the covers are gorgeous!

<3 Cate
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