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.

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

Flashback Friday (3)

Friday, September 18, 2009 | | 2 comments ♥

Hello Everyone! This is my third Flashback Friday entry, which is essentially a post where I share a little about a favorite book of mine from when I was younger. You're welcome to participate- I'd love to hear what books you loved at a young age! Please just leave a comment with a link!

This week, I decided to showcase Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. Yet another survival story! I believe this one is about a girl who is left to fend for herself on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

To be honest, this boook wasn't very popular at my school library. Each 4th grade student was required to read a certain number of books per month, and most kids picked the shortest stories they could find. However, I remember taking this book home and devouring it within a few hours. The plot was very intriguing to me, and it became one of my (many) favorite books.

Coming up next week there'll be a twist- a book that I didn't like so much...stay tuned to see!

<3 Cate

Excuses, Excuses

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥
Hi, Everyone. It is Thursday. I last posted Sunday.

Homework is the villain in this situation. It has the ability to eat away large chunks of free time.

Super-Sparrow (me!) is currently finding a way to defeat the stress-inducing monster. So far, no luck.

Review up soon. Until then, you know where to find me. {knee-deep in homework}

<3 Cate

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale Review

Sunday, September 13, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥
Enna's life was not meant to be simple. When her brother, Leifer, brings home a mysterious piece of vellum that teaches him how to set fires — without a spark, without flint — Enna cannot decide if this power is one she wants for herself, or something that should be extinguished forever. And when Bayern, their country, goes to war, the choice becomes nearly unbearable. Enna never imagined that the warm, life-giving energy of a fire could destroy everything she loves, but she must now save herself and Bayern before fire consumes her entirely. ~Author's website

I may as well have dedicated these next few weeks to Shannon Hale. Her latest book in the Bayern series, Forest Born, comes out this week, and I'm quickly trying to reread the others before it releases. Enna Burning is the second installment, the first being The Goose Girl, and it has turned into one extended- and gorgeous- fairy tale.

Enna Burning is so incredibly...passionate. With that comes a darker side, but one that I think this tale needed. Every part of this book was fluid and beautiful, each chapter bleeding into the next. Shannon Hale writes some of the most lovely descriptions I have ever read; they build up the scenery without making you feel as though you're reading a paragraph about what the city looks like. The experience is almost like seeing, no, living, the story.

Maybe I'm verging on fangirlish post here, but I don't always consider that a bad thing. Do you?

Rating: 10/10

Flashback Friday (2)

Friday, September 11, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥

Hi everyone- Happy Friday! I decided to create this little weekly post called Flashback Friday, which essentially features a book that I used to love when I was in elementary school. I just want to share a few little anecdotes about my reading habits as a kid. You're all welcome to participate as well- I'd love to see what books you all enjoyed when you were younger!

Okay, so this book is called My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. This was one of my fourth-grade favorites, about a child who runs away from home and learns to survive by himself on a mountain near to his home. Eventually he trains a falcon, hence the bird in the picture.

I'm not really sure why, but I'm a sucker for survival stories. I loved reading about how he carved his home from a tree, how he fished, and how he spent his days on the mountain, completely content with the choice he made for himself. Although I'd never contemplated running away, my nine-year-old self was imerrsed in the story and could relate to the main character.

If you do choose to put up your own Flashback Friday, please leave a link in the comments! Have a wonderful weekend!

<3 Cate

P.S. Sorry I haven't posted a review this week- homework has taken up most of my reading time. This weekend I'll have one up, I promise!

Book Preferences

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | | 3 comments ♥
This little questionnaire was fun, but never-ending. Please feel free to do them yourself! Thanks to Melanie from Melanie's Musings for posting this!

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
Although I own mostly paperbacks, I like hardbacks more. I hate when paperback covers start to curl outwards; it's not so nice to look at.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Well, Barnes and Noble is no doubt bigger, but Borders (or at least the one nearby) is very quaint and feels homey. However, I love the chairs at Books-A-Million. Sooo comfy!

Bookmark or dog-ear?
Although I hate to admit it, I dog-ear occasionally. Only with well-worn copies though, I promise! With new books I usually end up using my library receipt as a bookmark.

Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
More than likely, I get my books from the library. Otherwise, it's a combination of both. I generally like going to bookstores though- it's much more fun to browse!

Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random?
Everything on my bookshelf is by author. However, any books that are not on the shelf are in random nooks and crannies around my room.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
I mostly keep my books. However, my church has an annual book sale, and I donate books that I don't want to read anymore.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
Remove it; I hate when dust jackets slide around on the book when you're trying to read.

Short story or novel?
Usually novels, but when I find a beautiful gem of a short story, it makes me wonder...

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
For me, it's no contest. Harry Potter.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I'd rather stop at a chapter break, but if I'm not within 5 or 6 pages of it, I just set the book down where I am.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Once upon a time, of course!

Buy or borrow?
Almost every book I read is from the library; it's a rare occasion that I buy books.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
All three, I think. I've come to appreciate book reviews more since I began blogging. I usually pick up a title if a friend recommends it, and I love to browse the store or library.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
I've come to dislike cliffhanger endings, but I am also dissatisfied if a book ends too neatly. So, I like a pretty bow, but with a few threads loose.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
During the week, I read at night, but on the weekends I love reading in the afternoon.

Stand-alone or series?
I generally enjoy stand-alones more, but a series can be wonderful too.

Favorite series?
The Books of Bayern, by Shannon Hale. She's an amazing author.

Favorite children’s book?
Forest Child, by Marni McGee; the story is so sweet and the pictures were gorgeous.

Favorite YA book?
That is a cruel question, and I have no answer.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Aria of the Sea, by Dia Calhoun is a such a good read, but I haven't heard much buzz about it.

Favorite books read last year?
The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.

Favorite books of all time?
I think it's a little early to proclaim that, considering I'm only sixteen. I'm still trying to get through the classics. Ask me in ten years and see what I tell you. ;)

What are you reading right now?
Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale. Forest Born is coming soon!

What are you reading next?
Probably River Secrets, by Shannon Hale, and then Forest Born. Knocking out the entire series in a month!

Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old?
Ummmm...I'm trying to think back to when I was eleven. I think I was obsessed with Gail Carson Levine at the time. You know, Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. But, if they don't like fairy tales, then they're out of luck.

Favorite book to re-read?
The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. I could read those over a hundred times and never get bored.

Do you ever smell books?
Just old books. I never really thought to smell a new book before.

Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries?
Not usually.

<3 Cate


Monday, September 7, 2009 | | 4 comments ♥
Hello, everyone; I hope you've had a lovely weekend. Having Labor Day off has been wonderful- it's been pouring rain all day. Perfect reading weather.

Right now I'm in the middle of this:

And on Saturday I bought this:

Shannon Hale and Joan Bauer rock, and that's all there is to it. Since I don't have a review to post up for today, or the creative energy to pose a fun question, I hope you all enjoy looking at these pretty pictures. Hopefully if you stare at them long enough you will determine that, yes, you really do have the urge to order these from Amazon, or go search your library shelves. You shall be rewarded. :)

<3 Cate

Flashback Friday (1)

Friday, September 4, 2009 | | 8 comments ♥

Hi everyone- I hope you're all enjoying the last bit of summer! I decided to create a little weekly post called Flashback Friday, which essentially features a book that I used to love when I was in elementary school. I just want to share a few little anecdotes about my reading habits as a kid (or a younger one, at least!)

My first book is Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a second and third grader, I was obsessed with these books. It's quite possible that I read the entire series several times over. There was just something about slipping back in time to the prairies, with the wagons and cotton dresses, that made me always want to come back. I think that I even dressed up as Laura Ingalls one Halloween, bonnet and all. There were no boundaries. ;)

What were some of your favorite books as a younger kid?

The Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink Review

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | | 6 comments ♥

I had mixed feelings about The Prophecy of the Sisters. Let's start with the positive, shall we?

The storyline was good. Beyond good- great. Intriguing, suspenseful, and original. I think that's what has attracted so many readers; this is a story that hasn't been told before. We YA lovers flock to these in particular, don't you agree? Also, I positively loved the characters Sonia and Luisa- they were the glimmer of light in the dark subject matter. In fact, I found that all of Zink's characters had genuine personalities.

However, I did feel like the writing quality brought the book down a notch. I hate to say that, because the idea was so unique and well thought-out. But, I felt like it just could have been written...better. I can't pinpoint exactly what I felt was wrong, but sometimes I felt that sentences or paragraphs could have been worded differently.

I believe the good outweighs the bad in this situation, and I will definitely be reading the next installment of The Prophecy of the Sisters.

Rating: 7.5/10
Newer Posts Older Posts Home