Restoring Harmony Playlist

Friday, November 26, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
I had the opportunity to read Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony (review here) through The Teen {Book} Scene! As part of the book tour, I was asked to make a playlist of songs that I feel fit in with Restoring Harmony. Since Molly, our main character, plays the fiddle, I tried to find some more folksy songs, and then I threw a few extra in. I've linked all the songs with their Youtube videos. Enjoy!






1)Spit on a Stranger- Nickel Creek
2)Sunny Came Home- Shawn Colvin
3)We Used to Wait- Arcade Fire
4)Long Time Traveler- The Wailin' Jennys
5)After the Storm- Mumford and Sons
6)Belong- The Cary Brothers

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

Thursday, November 25, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
The year is 2041, and sixteen-year-old Molly McClure has lived a relatively quiet life on an isolated farming island in Canada, but when her family fears the worst may have happened to her grandparents in the US, Molly must brave the dangerous, chaotic world left after global economic collapse—one of massive oil shortages, rampant crime, and abandoned cities.

Molly is relieved to find her grandparents alive in their Portland suburb, but they're financially ruined and practically starving. What should've been a quick trip turns into a full-fledged rescue mission. And when Molly witnesses something the local crime bosses wishes she hadn't, Molly's only way home may be to beat them at their own game. Luckily, there's a handsome stranger who's willing to help. Restoring Harmony is a riveting, fast-paced dystopian tale complete with adventure and romance that readers will devour.
I was able to read Restoring Harmony courtesy of The Teen {Book} Scene.

Dystopian stories have always been a favorite of mine; they're usually fast-paced and brimming with suspense and the ever-present longing to explore the world the author created. Thankfully, Restoring Harmony does not disappoint on any of these counts. The reader is led on a journey through a futuristic and poverty-stricken North America, with Molly, our determined and musically-inclined main character.

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite bits of the book are the harvesting scenes. As a kid, I used to have a vegetable garden, and I loved collecting all the tomatoes and squash and cucumbers. So while I may just have positive connotations with gardening, I found those scenes in particular to be very lovely. It's clear that Anthony put a lot of heart into this book, and I'm sure I'm not the only reader to see that. Go look for it!

<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
When Jill, a competitive high school fencer, goes with her family on vacation to the Bahamas, she is magically transported to an early eighteenth century pirate ship in the middle of the ocean.






So even though the synopsis for this one isn't exactly detailed, I'm definitely intrigued! In general I enjoy pirate stories (who doesn't love Pirates of the Caribbean, even as a guilty pleasure?), but I don't think I've actually ever reviewed one on Sparrow Review, despite several bloggers pleading with me to read Bloody Jack. Who knows though, maybe Steel will put me in a pirate-y mood?

<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been ther ...more Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is, until Justine goes cliff-diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.

Though her parents hope that they’ll be able to find closure back in Boston, Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. After discovering that Justine was keeping a lot of secrets, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor, hoping that Justine’s boyfriend might know more. But Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death.

Soon, it’s not just Vanessa who’s afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes host to a string of fatal, water-related accidents in which all the victims are found, horrifically, grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa turns to Caleb’s brother, Simon, for help, and begins to find herself drawn to him. As the pair try to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life forever.
First of all, the cover for Siren is full of intensity and is so striking I just want to snatch it from my computer screen and start reading. Not to mention the plot has me hooked already. *Runs to the library*

Have you read this one? It's been out since July, so hopefully someone has! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
<3 Cate

Update

Saturday, October 9, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to apologize for my lack of posting lately. As you probably know, I'm a senior in high school, and this next month is pretty much the most crucial and busy one of the year! Most of my college applications are due at the beginning of November, so it'll be more difficult for me to find time to read and post. I'm going to the best I can though! I'll have up some reviews and maybe some guest blog posts. (: I'll be around, don't worry!

xxx Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia knows her role in life. But everything changes when she learns, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess–a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city, her best friend, Kiernan, and the only life she’s ever known.

While struggling with her new peasant life, Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins–long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control. Returning to the city to seek answers, she instead uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history forever.


I had first discovered this book on Goodreads, then later saw it on several blogger's websites with a different (not illustrated) cover. I noticed that they still kept a bit of the original cover on the necklace she wears. (I felt so smart when I saw that, haha!)

Honestly though,The False Princess sounds right up my alley! Royalty, magic, and fairy tales! WANT!

Guest Post: Mindi Scott, author of Freefall

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
Through The Teen Book Scene, I have had the pleasure of welcoming Mindi Scott to Sparrow Review! Mindi is the author of Freefall, which comes out today! I asked Mindi about how her reading experiences have affected her writing process. Here's what she had to say!

I recently went to a wedding where the minister told the bride and groom, “I hope that your love for each other will continue to grow and that you’ll look back and think of this as the day in your marriage when you loved each other the least.”

That really stuck with me. I could relate it to my relationship with my husband. And also . . . to Young Adult fiction!

You see, during my pre-teen and teenage years, I was a big-time reader. At any given time you could find me in bed with a book, on the couch with a book, on the floor with a book, on a lawn chair with a book, in the bathtub with a book. Books and me were BFFs and all that stuff.


Some of my favorites back then were by Judy Blume, Cynthia Voigt, Victoria Holt, John Grisham, and Melanie Rawn. In case you aren’t familiar, the genres represented are middle-grade/YA, historical romance, legal thriller, and fantasy.

Kind of a big range, right?

When I decided in 2004 that I wanted to write a novel—for real!—the first thing I had to narrow down was which genre to write. Obviously, I’d been interested in quite a few types over years, but what would be the best choice?

So, that summer, I was at the library constantly. I read piles and piles and piles of books of all kinds. I quickly came to the conclusion is that the stories that truly spoke to me were contemporary young adult novels, so I decided that that was where I would begin with my writing.

Now, here it is six years later, and I’ve come a long way as a writer and as a reader. Looking back on my pre-teen/teen years, and even that summer of 2004, I can truly say that my love for YA has grown SO MUCH since then. And it continues to grow every day! ♥

Thanks so much for stopping by, Mindi!

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | | 0 comments ♥

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.
Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.
Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.
So I might be one of the few that didn't LOVE The Dark Divine (review here)but I am willing to give the sequel a try. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the quality of the writing improves.

Plus, these covers are positively gorgeous. Even if I don't enjoy the book itself, I will always be able to drool over the cover. ;)

<3 Cate

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Review (Spoiler-Free)

Monday, September 27, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
The third and final installment of The Hunger Games series. If you haven't heard of it before, don't waste time feeling ashamed. Go pick yourself up a copy.












The first two-thirds of Mockingjay were torturous. Not that those chapters were terrible (they weren't by any means,) but it was so hard to have to wait to find out what happened. Some bits were boring, but the story gently rolled along until the last third. That's when it kicked in for me. The action began, you feel that tell-tale rush you get when Suzanne Collins is on her game. Mockingjay didn't disappoint. Only, in this one, each loss felt increasingly heartbreaking. There were points where literally it was blow after blow after blow; it became emotionally overwhelming. But, it was in those moments that you had to applaud Collins. She knows how to write a tough, strong female character. Katniss, even when she was broken, didn't bother to fix herself, not even attempt. She just did what was needed. She pulled it together, even when there wasn't anything to pull together. Impressive.

I loved the epilogue, especially the last line. It was perfectly imperfect. I wish there had been more explanation for what Katniss chose with Gale and Peeta. It felt rushed almost, wrapped up too quickly. I had never personally been able to choose between the two, but what Katniss decided felt right. I liked the ending, even though it seemed a bit jagged. There needed to be strings attached.

Rating: 9.5/10 (for those boring bits at the beginning. The end made up for it though.)

Under the Lamplight: Melanie from Melanie's Musings

Friday, September 24, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥

Blog Link: www.melaniesmusings.net

Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
Melanie's Musings is an eclectic book blog where I review books of many genres, with an emphasis on YA.

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
My dad's a big reader. It runs in the family, along with insanity.

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
Through the awesome www.randombuzzers.com. Some of the folks in the forum were talking about their book blogs, and after reading a few, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
Since it's summertime, I've really just been enjoying how much time I'm able to spend on my blog without feeling guilty about it. It feels good to start feeling on top of things again!

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em? Love 'em! Even though the books are almost always better, I love 'em. If I had it my way, everyone would be mandated to read then watch North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and then Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. Although those are actually mini-series. Still, you should watch them!

You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
Everlasting by Angie Frazier- from what I hear, the romance in the book is great. And I love me some romance.


What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show?
Glee- The music is amazing, but the plot gets so completely ridiculous at times.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I hate surprises, especially when I know there's a surprise coming, and no one will tell me what it is. They get me paranoid.

If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
Would it have to be true to life? If so, I have no idea. However, if it could be some alternate universe that slightly resembles my life but not really, I'd love for Amanda Seyfried, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, and Meryl Streep to all have some part. Also, could I have a charming, adorable male lead. Please?

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
A story about getting into college. You know, taking the campus tour, talking to the gargoyles, flirting with the were-tigers, riding the dragons...

While visiting the campus of Princeton University, 16-year-old Lily discovers a secret gate to a magical realm and must race against time to save herself, her world, and any hope she has of college admission.
I'll admit, while I have a copy of Sarah Beth Durst's Ice, I have yet to read it. I've heard so many great things about her as a writer, I just haven't gotten around to it! Enchanted Ivy (love the play on words) looks awesome, and the cover art is amazing. Just the synopsis makes it sound like you're wandering into a fantastically magical world. Cannot wait!

<3 Cate

NEW LAYOUT!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | | 10 comments ♥
Hi Everyone!

I just wanted give a shout-out to the very lovely Shay Bocks of Dumplin Design Studios! She created my gorgeous new layout; I hope you like it! Please take a button, which is on the right sidebar, I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks so much!
<3 Cate

Rae by Chelsea Rae Swiggett Review

Monday, September 20, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Rae is beyond socially awkward.
Since she was a little girl, Rae knew something was different about her. The sound of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack. Being called on in class was enough to push her over the edge. She feared the unknown, life, death, people . . . even fear itself.

By the time she reached ninth grade, Rae was muddling through life in relative silence, convinced everyone was mocking her, judging her, picking her apart, bit by little bit. Rae knew she couldn’t keep going on this way. She knew something had to give.
This book is near and dear to the heart of many book bloggers, as it was penned by our very own Chelsea of The Page Flipper. So after winning Rae in a contest, I was completely ecstatic to dive in.

In person, I would consider myself very shy. I don't raise my hand in class, I'm no good at small talk, and I absolutely HATE presentations. There was one passage in Rae that follows her thoughts throughout the day leading up to a class presentation. The only thing that ran through my mind was "That's me! That's exactly how I feel!" And, honestly, I don't think I'm the only one who will find her story relatable- everyone has been socially awkward. After you make that personal connection with Rae, the story skyrockets. It's a quick read- about 150 pages- but it became riveting. I really hope Chelsea continues to write. I'd pick up her next book in a heartbeat.

Also, can I say how much I loved the Gilmore Girls references? Check plus!

Rating: 8/10

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
I'm kind of just blown away by the premise of this novel, and I am so beyond intrigued it's ridiculous! A group of high school vigilantes getting their revenge. Being in high school, sometimes you wish there was a way to get back at everyone who's wronged you. I guess if you can't do it in real life, you may as well live vicariously through someone else. ;) Definitely one worth waiting for.

<3 Cate

In My Mailbox

Sunday, September 5, 2010 | | 9 comments ♥
In My Mailbox was created by the lovely Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week was actually a busier one for me in terms of books! I about a few, I recieved a few, and I was able to go to the library. :)

Bought: I know I'm really behind as far as getting my hands on this book. I had requested it from the library- as number 480 on the queue- and decided I was too impatient to wait for it! I'm only a few pages in, but I realized I've missed Katniss' story so much. :)

Put me in front of the classics display and Barnes and Noble and I'll buy just about anything. Hence the Virginia Woolf novel, haha.

For Review:
I'm SO EXCITED for this book. And the cover is so shiny! I'm ready to dive in!

From 1 ARC Tours:
How will I get any work done this week? So many good reads!

From the Library:
I've seen this cover around the blogosphere a lot, but I haven't seen any reviews yet (or more probably I just haven't been looking in the right places.) I'm lovin' that faeries are so popular in YA now.

I had seen that Nicole at Word for Teens (on her blog or her Twitter, I don't remember...) that she had loved Unwind. Then I saw this on the shelf and snatched it up!

Have a lovely weekend!
<3 Cate

School, Layout, and YOU!

Sunday, August 29, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
I don't know about the rest of the world, but for me, school started this week. This year I'm finally a senior (!), but whoever said that the last year of high school was the easiest LIEDLIEDLIED. It's been nearly impossible to tackle the giant pile of homework every night, forget reading for pleasure. It'll undoubtedly take me a few weeks to get into a rhythm of finding time to read and write reviews, and I honestly can't promise that things will be very timely until I figure that out. School has always come first and foremost, and although I ADORE my blog and my followers and all my blogger buddies, my posts may be slowing down a bit for the beginning of the school year. Hopefully, though, I'll get things sorted out very soon!

In other news, I won a blog layout makeover from Dumplin Designs!!! EEEK! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have a fresh new look for Sparrow! Hopefully in the next month or so I'll have a brand new shiny layout. :D

Also, the part of this post that concerns YOU! You all know about my feature Under the Lamplight (more info on the tab above!)If you have any interest in being interviewed, I'd absolutely love to have you! Please just email me at sparrowreview(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thanks!
<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Melina from Reading Vacation

Friday, August 27, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
Under the Lamplight is a bi-weekly feature that I have created to get to know the blogging community! If you're interested in being interviewed, please email me.

This week we have the very sweet Melina from Reading Vacation joining us!


Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
I am not your typical book review blogger because I am only ten years old. Don’t let my age fool you though. I read on a high school level and review middle grade and age appropriate YA books. When I am not at school or working on homework, I am reading and reading and reading some more. You can easily tell that reading and blogging are my hobbies. I started my blog in March, so I am still pretty new to the whole blogging world. I have met so many nice and helpful people, like Cate! Now that school is out for the Summer, I will have even more time to read and blog. I am planning some interviews, giveaways, and other surprises. I hope you’ll come visit me.

Here is a link to my Reading Vacation blog.
http://readingvacation.blogspot.com/

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
I have always loved to read. As a young child, my parents read fairy tales to me every day and night. When I was old enough to read on my own, I made my way from princess and fairy books to chapter books. Now, I am rarely seen without a book in my hands. I read all sorts of books – basically, anything I can get my hands (and eyes) on. Let’s just say, they know me at the local library!

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
I started posting book reviews on the Glogster edu web site for school. Since Glogster is so limited in what it lets you do, my mom introduced me to blogging instead. All I can say is “wow” to blogging!


What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
I hosted my first giveaway! I gave away my signed copy of White Cat by Holly Black. The fun thing is that I had gotten the book at my very first book signing. So it was doubley-fun!

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
It depends. I loved the Twilight books and movies. For Lightning Thief though, I loved the book but didn’t care for the movie.

You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
Midnight Sun

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
I will admit that I enjoy watching Total Drama Action. In case you don’t know, it is a reality show cartoon on Cartoon Network. The new season, Total Drama World Tour, begins this Summer.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I was named after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife in the movie, Total Recall.


If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
My movie would be called “Different” because I am not afraid to be different. Selena Gomez could play the part of Melina since she has long dark hair, just like me.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Cate, for this awesome opportunity to be featured on Sparrow Review.

<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Freak. That’s what they called seventeen year-old Donna Underwood in high school after a horrific fey attack that killed her father when she was just a child. Her injuries and rehabilitation resulted in magically enhanced strength, thanks to the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. As a child of the alchemists, she is both blessed and cursed with a magical heritage that doesn't leave much room for boys, parties and homework.

Now, after ten years of wishing for a normal life, she finally has to accept her role in the centuries-old war against the darkest outcasts of Faerie: the Dark Elves. Aided by a gorgeous half-fey dropout, Donna must race to save her best friend’s life - even if it means betraying one of the world’s greatest secrets and confronting the very thing that destroyed her family.
WANTWANTWANTWANTWANT!!!

The cover is awesome. The concept is awesome. The super-strength is awesome.
Please, just let me read it already.

<3 Cate

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White Review

Monday, August 23, 2010 | | 7 comments ♥
Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal. Normal is so overrated. -Goodreads
It wasn't until I finished Paranormalcy that I realized I hadn't read a good, laugh-out-loud funny book in a long time. Kiersten White's humor shines in her book, making it impossible to not instantly adore Evie and her infatuation with all things sparkly and pink. This includes her bejeweled taser (affectionately nicknamed "Tasey,") which is always nearby. It's Evie's girly nature- even her love for Easton Heights, a teen soap- that truly made this book for me. Evie longed for normal, she had guilty pleasures- she was a teenager. Being a teen myself, I so greatly appreciated a connection with the main character.

There's also the whole kick-ass aspect of this book. Evie means serious business when she bags/tags paranormals. She's definitely not afraid to use Tasey, that's certain. However, it should be noted that Para is not just a book of fight scenes; it's strongly backed by White's voice, which was the absolute BEST part. It's light and funny in all the right places, and completely in tune with a teenager. I was incredibly impressed by her debut, and if there's not a sequel I think I'll just die. *begs and pleads*

And Lend. Gorgeous, sweet, wonderful Lend. Sa-wooooon. Maybe Evie will share?

Rating: 9/10
<3 Cate

Calling All Scrapbookers

Thursday, August 19, 2010 | | 0 comments ♥
I have a gift for you! Basically, a few years ago, I was very involved in scrapbooking, but fell out of it as school (and blogging!) took up more of my time. Now I'm trying to make more space for books in my room and am looking to see if any of you, my readers, would be interested in taking them off my hands! I have about a half a dozen books in very good condition that I am willing to send to you at NO CHARGE, not even shipping. (I'm in desperate need of space, as you can tell!) If you're interested, please email me at: sparrowreview(at)yahoo(dot)com
Please note that this is on a first-come-first-serve basis. The titles include:

*Scrapbook Page Maps by Becky Fleck
*Focal Point from the editors of memory makers books
*Out of Bounds by Jodi Amidei and Torrey Scott
*Papper Cutting Techniques for Scrapbooks and Cards by Sharyn Sowell
*Type Cast from the editors of memory makers books
*Dee Gruenig's Rubber Stamp Treasury- Original Ideas for Creative Sationery, Party Paper, etc.

Thanks so much!
<3 Cate

P.S. Also note that I cannot ship internationally, sorry!

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.
Last year, when I read Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters, I remember really getting into the story. I'm not a big fan of creepy paranormal books, but this one drew me in. The idea that twin sisters could be played against each other still blows my mind. The quality of the writing was a little iffy, but I was definitely intrigued enough to read the sequel.

Have any of you read it yet? Thoughts?
<3 Cate

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken Review

Monday, August 16, 2010 | | 7 comments ♥
Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.
NOTE: This post may contain copious amounts of fangirling. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I squealed after reading the last line of Brightly Woven. Literally SQUEALED. I didn't know I was even capable of making such a sound. Truly, though, it was a well-deserved squeal.

Brightly Woven reminded me of Eragon in the sense of the journey that Sydelle took, minus all the dragon talk. (Although it should be noted that there is mention of a dragon slaying!) I instantly fell in love with the richness of the story, with the complexities of Palmarta and Auster, and, of course, with North. North, the wizard love-interest whose sense of direction lacks- despite what his name implies- was exceptionally swoon-worthy. Although he was undoubtedly harsh and crude to start, North becomes a character that is both sweet and unforgettable.

If you haven't picked up Brightly Woven yet, you MUST! Right now, go request it from your library or order it online. This is one of my favorite books of 2010. Please go make it one of yours, and let me know what you think of it! I'll be on the lookout for Alex Bracken's future books, and I highly suggest you check out her blog. (I'm an avid reader of it!)

Rating: 10/10

<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Kirthi from Pages

Friday, August 13, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
Under the Lamplight is a bi-weekly meme that I have created to get to know the blogging community! If you're interested in being interviewed, please email me.

This week Kirthi (I'm her affiliate!)from Pages is joining us.

Blog Link: http://the1bookblog.blogspot.com/

Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
Pages is a YA book review blog that includes:

Book reviews
News about books
Blog Awards
Occasional movie reviews
Some non-book-related posts
Contests and giveaways
Genres of books reviewed are:
Fantasy Fiction
Science Fiction
Historical Fiction
Paranormal Fantasy and Fiction
Teen Fiction

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
I loved it ever since I learned to read in Pre-K. My mom used to work at a library and she’d take me there every day and I’d be sitting in the Children’s section with my nose in a book. Growing up, I was famous for reading “too much”. It really shocked me that my other classmates didn’t read, or didn’t LIKE reading!

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
I thought I’d share my thoughts on the books I loved so much, so I thought I’d make a site, but they were complicated, and blogs were much easier, so I got a blog.

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Wow, perfect question! I absolutely hate them. If you make a movie out of a really good book, the movie will always be bad, especially when the movie skips out on stuff in the book. I hate it when actors ruin the image of the character I have in my head. Like Edward Cullen, when I read the book a year before the movie came out, I had this awesome mental picture of a totally gorgeous Edward. Then the movie came out, and Rob Pattinson demolished my totally gorgeous Edward metal picture into a thousand pieces.


You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
Ooh, tough one. I’ve recently been obsessed with Michelle Moran books (Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen) so I would buy her other book (which I haven’t read) Cleopatra’s Daughter.

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
Chocolate. I love love love LOVE chocolate, without it, I feel empty. I know too much chocolate is bad for me, but come on, who can resist chocolate?


What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a book reviewer (and blogger) I don’t tell anyone, and nobody knows that I blog. I'm sort of afraid of what they'll think of me. I’m sure my Language Arts teacher would go crazy over it :D

If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
The Life and Times of Kirthi. It would cast ME, Aishwayra Rai, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and…a random guy. Aishwayra would be my mom, and Johnny would be my dad, and Orlando would be my brother (I wish!) and random guy would be a random guy. I’d hire a bunch of girls to be my friends too! Haha

<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons. Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

Although I've seen mixed reviews for this novel, I still definitely want to give it a try. Pretty much every book I've read that's had dragons I've enjoyed. Eragon. Dragon Rider. Harry Potter. No doubt because they're amazingly awesome creatures. And, despite any negative reviews I've read, the cover draws me in, and I'm always willing to give books a chance.

<3 Cate

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway Review

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood

I received this book through Traveling ARC Tours!

It's pretty safe to say that the majority of this story is told through the dialogue between the three sisters, April, May, and June. This was a major plus, considering that practically every bit of conversation was quote-able and chuckle-worthy. The wit was sharp and the sarcasam overflowing. I really appreciated the humor; it was almost like watching a wacky magic-infused Gilmore Girls episode. Each sister was fleshed out in the best way, with an individual sense of humor and a few flaws that will make you shake your head. The characterization was stellar.

However, I felt like the climax of the book was very flat. It wasn't so much that it was a completely predictable read, more that the build-up was lacking. Although the reader knows there is some imminent danger, because the book was so character-based, it's difficult to imagine that any of the sisters would come to great harm. It was pretty easy to sense that in Benway's writing.

Overall, a light, enjoyable read perfect for any last-minute beach trips. :)

Rating: 7.5/10

In My Mailbox and a Quick Personal Update

Monday, August 9, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
In My Mailbox is a meme created by the lovely Kristi at The Story Siren.

If you know me, you know I love packages. LOVE. So when I got not one but four (!) it's pretty safe to say that I'm beyond excited. Let's see what I got, shall we?

From We Love YA! Tours:

I'm a big fan of books set in futuristic worlds, but this one doesn't just include science. It has MAGIC. *glitter* Oh yesss. I'm pumped.

From a Lovellllly Blogger Buddy:

When I opened this I literally sat on my bed and just gaped at the fact that I was holding this gorgeous, gorgeous book in my hands. I owe much thanks to my friend. At the moment I'm about halfway through and am falling in love with Lend. And Tasey. ;)

From Contests:

I enjoyed Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver (review here!) Her writing is probably some of the most poetic I've found in YA Lit, so I'm very happy to have a book of hers to add to my shelf! Unfortunately, I haven't read Lament as of yet, but it's been added to my TBR pile.


I have heard a great many wonderful things about Maria V. Snyder and about Valek. Both have been incredibly positive, and I can't wait to dive in!

Personal Update:
I'm sure you've noticed my lack of reviews lately. Please know that it's not been for my lack of reading! I've kept a book in hand these couple of weeks for long car rides to college tours/senior portraits/beach trips. Most of today will be dedicated to catching up on reviews and my inbox and such. I'm desperately trying to get back on track, and I'm hoping that you, my lovely readers, will bear with me just a little longer.

Much Love,
Cate <3

P.S. Have you checked out Book Blogger Rebellion, headed up by the ever-funny Nicole at Word for Teens? No? Well, scurry on over! Because we book bloggers do more than read, you know!

Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted!

Friday, August 6, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
Today we have the love Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of books including The Education of Bet and Crazy Beautiful. You can find my review of The Education of Bet (which I adored) here.

You write books for kids, teens, and adults! Do you find it at all difficult to transition from one to another in your writing process?
No. In fact, I think it's what keeps me fresh. I'm an eclectic reader who enjoys reading books in many different genres and for all age groups, and I'm the same with my writing. By the end of this year I will have had 19 books published and I've sold a total of 23. If they were all in one genre or just for one age group, I'd probably be burnt out and done by now. As it is, I feel like I'm just getting started.

How much and what kind of research was required for The Education of Bet?
Less than you might think. I've always loved books set in Victorian England and I find it's a period that's very accessible to me when I'm writing. Since The Education of Bet is inspired in large part by a book I read when I was younger - Tom Brown's Schooldays, by Thomas Hughes - I re-read that before starting and then I was pretty much good to go.


Who would ideally play Bet and James in the movie version of The Education of Bet?
I'd cast Emma Watson who's done such a wonderful job as Hermione in the Harry Potter films as Bet. For James, I'd like someone who'd be new to audiences so I looked over at the New Faces Models & Actors website, coming up with this guy, Adam Barnes.

What is one book that you would recommend to young adult readers, and why?
Talk about a difficult question! Just one??? The temptation is to pick the one book that would provide the best life lesson, but of course there isn't such a book. So I think I'll simply say my favorite YA book that I read in 2009: Freeze Frame, by Heidi Ayarbe.

Your next book for teens, The Twin’s Daughter, is due out this month. (It looks fantastic, by the way!) What were your first thoughts upon seeing the incredibly gorgeous cover?
The interesting thing is that the cover you see now isn't the cover we started with. I liked the first cover very much - it had an old-fashioned look to it and a very dark feel - but the publisher decided liking wasn't enough. They wanted me to be in love with the cover and they wanted to be in love with it themselves. Between the first cover and the final they must have gone through over 20 versions before this one finally leaped out at us all. I think it's safe to say that now we are all in love.

And, for the record, how do you pronounce your last name? ;)
Lauren is exactly as it looks. Logsted is exactly as it looks too, even if people are always trying to insert an 'a' into it to make it Logstead. It's the Baratz part that people always stumble over. Just take the Barrett in Elizabeth Barrett Browning and make it sound plural, like Barretts, and you'll have it.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
The greatest unsolved mystery of American history--what happened to all the colonists who landed on Roanoke Island in 1587?" Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World. Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love—kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.

First, I loved Lisa Klein's other book, Ophelia. Loved. So when I saw that her next book, called Cate of the Lost Colony (that's my name!)I was supersupersuper-excited! Plus, living in North Carolina, I'm very familiar with the tale of the Lost Colony, and I've always been very interested. I actually got to see the play once on Roanoke Island. Fantastically awesome.

If you haven't read Lisa Klein's books before, I suggest you head over to the library immediately. And if you have, we're just going to have to wait longingly for Cate.

<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Priya from Book Crumbs

Friday, July 30, 2010 | | 6 comments ♥
This week the lovely Priya from Book Crumbs is joining us!

Blog Link: http://priyaganesan.blogspot.com/


Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
My blog, Book Crumbs, consists of Middle Grade and YA book reviews (with a few classics and children’s books thrown in); poetry and other writing; any book related info; movie reviews (and trailers); interviews with authors and bloggers; arbitrary musings on absolutely random things; and more.

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
I always loved reading as a child. I would come back from the library with huge stacks of books that I would finish in a few days. My school librarian in elementary school also had a big influence on me – she recommended great books and encouraged me to keep reading. I’ve always been a bookworm since then!

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
I first started blogging in June 2006, when a friend showed me her blog and encouraged me to start one. I was in fifth grade at the time and only posted poems and random stuff like weather forecasts. In the summer of 2008, though, I discovered Miss Erin, and I was inspired by her blog and her involvement in bookish things to start blogging about all the books I read.

What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
In January, I got the opportunity to interview Shannon Hale about her new graphic novel, Calamity Jack. I’ve been a fan of Shannon Hale since I first read Princess Academy and The Goose Girl, and I was so excited that I got the chance to talk to her.

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
I’m always excited to see movies that are based off of books. Usually, I’m pretty disappointed because nothing can match up to the book! But there are a few movies which I think are just as good as the book, such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – I still don’t own any of the books in the series!

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
I love watching Arthur on PBS Kids sometimes – I think that the episodes are timeless and most people can sympathize with the characters despite age differences. As for a guilty-pleasure book, I’m still an avid fan of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I started reading the books in fifth grade, and I can’t stop! Every book ends in a cliffhanger, and I just have to read the next one.


What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I HATE crayons with a burning passion.

If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
I don’t know what it would be called, but I do know that it would be very, very boring. As for casting, it would be ideal if I could play myself, but if not, my sister could play me. Or maybe it could be an animated movie…

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Cate!

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

I lovvvved the first two books in the series. Suzanne Collins writes the kind of books you can't set down for a second. (Literally...when I was reading Catching Fire I had trouble leaving it for meals, haha.) However, that was, for me, because of the Hunger Games event itself. Will there be a third Games? And, if not, will Collins still be able to hold my attention?

My guess is yes. She's pretty talented.

<3 Cate

Going off on Vacation

Saturday, July 24, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that for the next week, I'll be going on vacation! Although I have a couple of scheduled posts, I won't be on the internet very much during the week. I'll be coming home next Sunday, August 1st, so after that most everything should be back to normal.

Have a lovely summer, and I'll see you next week!
<3 Cate

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Um, you guys. It's a fairy tale retelling. I'm all over this. Lovvvvve. :D

Have any of you managed to get your hands on this gorgeous, gorgeous book?

My Blogoversary Contest Winner!

Sunday, July 18, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥
With the help of Random.org, I have the winner of my Blogoversary/200 Followers Contest to announce!

And the winner is...

(DRUMROLL)

LYDIA PRESLEY!

Lydia, you've been emailed. Please contact me within 48 hours or I will have to choose another winner.

<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Steph Bowe from Hey! Teenager of the Year

Friday, July 16, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Under the Lamplight is a bi-weekly meme that I have created to get to know the blogging community! If you're interested in being interviewed, please email me.

This week Steph Bowe from Hey! Teenager of the Year is joining us. :)

Blog Link: http://heyteenager.blogspot.com/


Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
Hey! Teenager of the Year is funny, happy, awkward and sarcastic. It combines book reviews & author interviews with advice for writers and daily musings of 16-year-old YA author Steph Bowe.

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
My parents read to me a lot when I was little, and I loved reading as a really young kid. I started reading YA when I was 11. Now I devour probably one book every two days.

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
I loved the blog by author Penni Russon (Eglantines Cake) and was inspired to start a blog myself. Then I somehow stumbled across the YA book blogging community, and gave my book a focused theme of YA book reviews.


What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
Announce my book deal! I don't have many friends who are readers/writers in real life, so it was great to have the support of lots of people on my blog.

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Depends on the book & movie! Generally, I prefer books, but sometimes the visual aspect of movies adds something that the book didn't have.

You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
I already read the ARC of this, but I want a finished copy when it comes out: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
TV show: Supernatural.
Book: anything paranormal romance YA...

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
If you didn't know me when I was fourteen, you don't know that I totally shaved my head. I went from having waist-length hair to total baldness. It was a bit of a shock!


If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
I'd call it 'The Girl Who Knew Too Much' and I'd cast Angelina Jolie as an older version of myself. My parents would be played by Paris Hilton and Robert Pattinson.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for interviewing me!

<3 Cate

Shifty by Lynn E. Hazen Review

Thursday, July 15, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
Fifteen-year-old Shifty knows all about moving around and next to nothing about where he came from. When he's assigned to a new foster home and family, he tries hard to keep cool and stay out of trouble. But it seems like the more he tries to do the right thing, the more trouble he finds. As Shifty navigates a series of messy summer adventures, he struggles to find a balance between the street-wise spirit that has helped him survive and his longing for a place to call home. -Goodreads

Honestly, when I received Shifty for review, I was sure that it was only going to revolve around troubled kid who had hit rock bottom. In some aspects, it was. But there was one thing I hadn't counted on: Shifty was FUNNY. Laugh out loud, reread it three times funny. Although, when I first began reading it, I don't think I quite grasped exactly how hilarious it truly was. It didn't hit me until my mom asked about the book, and I recounted all the events that I had read up to. By the time I finished, we were rollin'. I'll never understand how Soli managed to get himself into so much trouble, but it was undoubtedly entertaining.

Here's an excerpt that I found particularly chuckle-worthy; Soli had just been given instructions from an elderly woman to deliver dinner to Lester, who was living in her home:

When we get in the elevator I look in the bag at Lester's dinner, it's a small bottle of water and a big can of cat food.
"Sissy, this is crazy. We can't do this."
"Why not?"
"Because either Lester is a cat, or he's a strange guy who eats cat food."
"Either way," Sissy says, "Lester's hungry."
I wouldn't say this is a traditional young adult book, by any means. There were times I felt that the story could easily fall into middle grade, had Soli been a bit younger. The book as a whole was a good surprise, and I'm interested in seeing what else Lynn Hazen has to offer the YA community.

Rating: 8.5/10

Once Upon a Read-a-thon Wrap-Up

Let me start out by saying what I have learned from this read-a-thon experience, concerning myself, my reading habit, and things in general that I need to keep in mind for the next time I do this:


1) Choose books that are on the short side- you'll feel like you've gotten more accomplished
2) Do your best to block out those three days completely; I took a short break on Tuesday to hang out with some friends and ended up reading only a few pages for the day because I got so distracted ;P
3) I am a slow reader. That's just the way it is. Don't worry too much if you're like me- the read-a-thon is for your enjoyment, not something else to stress over. (Thanks to Sandy for helping me realize that!)
4) Have Twitter buddies! It just makes the experience a LOT more enjoyable.
5) Keep chocolate nearby. I don't think there's a logical reason for this, but I'd recommend it anyway.


In the end, I only read two books, but I ADORED both of them. I was amazed by the sheer imagination used in Brightly Woven, and Sisters Red was downright awesome. Chuck Norris would be proud. I can't wait to share my reviews with everyone!

<3 Cate
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