Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | | 11 comments ♥

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
-Author's website

I know this one came out a long time ago, but I still haven't gotten around to it! Have any of you read it? Liked it? I've heard wonderful things about Libba Bray and her writing, and I have a feelling I won't be disappointed! :D

<3 Cate

Review Policy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
What I read and review: While I generally read books in the YA genre, I also occasionally enjoy middle grade and adult books. I especially love fairy tale retellings, as well as realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, chick-lit, and some non-fiction. I would be delighted to receive review copies! I do not particularly enjoy reading science fiction or books about vampires, zombies, etc. I would also like to mention that books I read are primarily clean (i.e. no vivid sexual scenes.) I would greatly appreciate it if this would be taken into account when offering book for review! I will gladly accept ARCs for review, however I am currently not accepting e-books or PDFs.

How I review: In my reviews, I will post the title and the author, as well as a summary of the book, usually from the inside cover or from Goodreads. While I do not break my reviews down into sections (i.e. plot, characters, etc.) I generally address these in my reviews, as well as the overall feeling I have for the book. At the end of each review, I post a rating on a scale of one to ten. Although there is no specific formula, I generally enjoy reading books that I rate eight to ten, and will usually reread. Books rated in the six/seven range are pretty good, and those rated five and below I probably didn't enjoy.

A note about honesty: While I can guarantee a review for a book, I cannot guarantee a positive review. I state my opinions clearly and honestly, but I still keep in mind all of the hard work that went into creating the book. I do my best to be fair to the author, and in situations where I do not enjoy the story, I will do my best to highlight redeeming qualities.

How long it will take for me to review: While I try to post reviews within a month of receiving the book, it truly depends, especially during the school year. My studies come first, so reviewing may not always be timely. Of course, if you would like me to have a book reviewed by a certain time, please let me know and I will adjust my schedule accordingly. In regards to ARCs, I will gladly post my review a few weeks before it's release date, if you would like.

Note: Although I will never sell an ARC, I may use it for a giveaway. If you would prefer for me not to do so, just let me know.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! I look forward to working with you; if you have any other questions I have not answered, please feel free to email me.

Please contact me at: sparrowreview(at)yahoo(dot)com

The Line by Teri Hall Review

Saturday, March 27, 2010 | | 9 comments ♥

An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line. Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right? -Goodreads

I was completely surprised with how impressive The Line was! My expectations were a little low, I'll admit, just because it's sci-fi, and I'm not a big fan (I always say that, but then I usually end up liking it anyway, haha!) I liked how The Line was mostly rooted in what (I consider to be) relatable times and technology. There were some advancements, of course, but it was easy to understand how they worked and the impacts they had on the story.

I thought Hall did a fantastic job with the characters, although I found that there was no real antagonist besides the government. That could definitely change throughout the next books, but I was a little disappointed with how many characters had a change in heart. There wasn't a specific character that could be blamed. However, I felt like it was very easy to connect to Rachel and the choices she made. I can't wait to see her develop over the rest of the series.

I only wish it was longer! It was only a little over 200 pages. I know there will be other installments, but I was a still disappointed that there wasn't more. All in the name of suspense, I know, I know. *sigh*

Rating: 8.5/10

ANOTHER Cover Contest

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
Okay, so Princess Bookie is holding yet another cover contest! Since my last cover kind of flopped (didn't get any votes,) I decided to try again, this time with a more light-hearted book, Forgive My Fins, by Tera Lynn Childs. Hope you like it, and I hope you vote! :D

For some reason, Blogger makes the photo slightly blurry, so it may help to just click on the image. :)

Here's the original cover:
<3 Cate

Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, March 21, 2010 | | 1 comments ♥
Hello, everyone! I hope you've had a lovely week. Spring break is coming soon for me- it's the week after next, so I'll have some extra time to work on the ol' blog. And reading time. :D However, it looks like this week will be extra busy so if you don't hear from me as much as usual, don't be alarmed, haha. I'll still be around on Twitter, no doubt.

This week was a busy one, filled with lots of posts! Here's a quick list:

*A review of the newly released Alice in Wonderland movie
*A review of After by Amy Efaw
*Some fun news regarding a shout-out in Read, Remember, and Recommend for Teens
*An Under the Lamplight interview with Nicole from WORD for Teens
*An In My Mailbox post

Today I also just played around a bit on Picnik, a photo editing site, and came up with this image. I'm hesitant to use it, because it's a painting, and I don't want to infringe on any sort of copyright laws. Does anyone know the particulars of these kinds of things? Also, what do you think of it?

I found the painting here.

This week, my affiliate, Kirthi, from Pages celebrated Author Appreciation Week! She dedicated several days to her favorite and most influential writers.

Day 1: Maria V. Snyder and Laura Resau
Day 2: Beverly Cleary and Barbara Park
Day 3 and 4: Jenny Nimmo and Lemony Snicket
Day 5: J.K. Rowling (One of my all-time favorites too)
Day 6 and 7: Debut and multi-book authors

Hope you have a wonderful upcoming week!!

In My Mailbox

Saturday, March 20, 2010 | | 9 comments ♥
Hi everyone! Spring is finally here! I actually got two books in my mailbox this week! IMM was created by Kristi from The Story Siren.

The first is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcis and Maragret Stohl, which I won at a contest hosted my the lovely Lucy at Delightful Reviews. I had no idea how thick this book was until I received it; I think this may have to be a summer read, as 550+ pages is quite a lot to handle during the schoolyear. ;)

And the second is Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens: A Reading Journal for Young Adult Book Lovers by Rachelle Rogers Knight. This is the book that I'm featured in, along with dozens of other YA bloggers. I actually just started flipping through this one last night, and found that there was more than two pages of fairy tale retelling recommendations. I was in heaven.

What have you heard about these two reads and what's in your mailbox this week?
<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Nicole from WORD for Teens

Friday, March 19, 2010 | | 0 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 the fantastically funny Nicole from WORD for Teens is joining us!

C: Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
N: WORD for Teens - Worthy Of Reading & Discussing - is a spazztastic, random, fun, not quite normal book blog. Did I mention spazztastic?

C: What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
N: I can't remember not loving to read. Books have just ALWAYS been there.

C: How were you introduced into the blogging world?
N: My mother! She runs a blog called Celebrity Do-Gooders and yelled at me to make a book blog when she thought I was talking too much.

C: What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately? Lately? I got to interview Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King. I love her - she's so funny and so nice.

C: What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
N: Eek! It depends on the movies. For instance, I couldn't stand the Eragon adaption - but I love the Chronicles of Narnia movies more than the books! It all varies.

C: You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
N: Right now? I'd snatch Gail Carriger's Changeless, the sequel to her uberly awesome Soulless. I'm SO looking forward to it.

C: What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
N: No book is a guilty pleasure. My guilty pleasure TV show? I'd say Glee, except I don't feel guilty about it! Haha. Probably BBC's Merlin. It doesn't stick to Arthurian legend at all, but it's soooo good. I love BBC.

C: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
N:I love everything to do with the Renaissance Faire. The outfits, the food, the jousting, the people...
... maybe that's why I love BBC's Merlin so much!

C: If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
I don't know who I'd cast, but I'd have Tim Burton direct it, just because it'd be bound to be epic.
(And that JDepp and Helena Bonham Carter'd get stuck in there somehow. Which would ROCK.)

C: Anything else you’d like to add?
N: Books are love!

A Bit of Exciting News

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | | 7 comments ♥

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a lovely Saint Patty's Day (did you remember to wear your green?) Anyway, I have some exciting news to share...

Yesterday, I found out that Sparrow Review is going to be featured in a book called Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens by Rachelle Rogers Knight. It essentially "offers more than 2,400 award-winning and notable reading suggestions in many genres, cross-referenced to help parents and teens chose the right books for them." Apparently there is also a section where YA book bloggers are featured. For me, you guys, this is amazing. I am so incredibly flattered to have been chosen for part of this project, and I thought I would share the news with you.

If you're interested in learning more about this reading guide, you can visit the website, where there's a more detailed synopsis as well as information on where it can be purchased.

So exciting!

<3 Cate

After by Amy Efaw Review

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥

Certainly not someone like Devon- straight-A student, soccer player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother. But desperation and panic drove her to do what most people can't even imagine. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder.

Because of the nature of this book, it's very difficult to review. It's hard to look at the writing quality or the characterization when the topic is so hard-hitting and difficult to comprehend.

After was written in a very matter-of-fact way, which I think was exactly the way it needed to be written. The idea of "dumpster babies" is grounded by emotion and opinion, both weighty and tricky to approach. However, Efaw's third person point of view addressed this issue. Had she put the reader directly into Devon's shoes, this story could have easily been too overwhelming.

I also loved Dom's character. For every emotional breakdown Devon had, Dom was there with a voice of calm. She wasn't preachy or condescending. She was a capable and sensible attorney that didn't share her oppinon of Devon's crime. It was relieving to have a well-rounded character amidst the mess.

Although I think After had a powerful message to spread, it wasn't my favorite read. It was heavy and saddening. I would recommend it to those interested in the 'dumpster baby phenomenon,' but I would consider the overall mood of the book before jumping right in.

Rating: 8.5/10

Alice in Wonderland Movie Review

Monday, March 15, 2010 | | 7 comments ♥

I'll admit, yesterday when I went to see Alice, I had high expectations. After all the hubbub and the big names and the fantastic reviews, I was expecting to be blown away. Sometimes Tim Burton movies creep me out a little, and I was worried that this new version of the movie would be disappointing. Or freakishly creepy.

However, this film went way beyond my expectations. The special effects alone were spectacular. I was blown away by the Wonderland; it was gorgeous. It was crazy and wild and beautiful and memorable. The creatures were interesting and well-developed. The acting was also phenomenal, especially Helena Bonham Carter. I'm not sure if I thought she stole the show as they said, but she was pretty amazing. As was Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway. Also, why did no one mention that Alan Rickman was in this?? Just another plus in my book!

I wasn't quite sure about the plot line...I originally thought it would just be a recreation of the book, but I found out that Alice was much older, I wasn't sure how that was going to play out. I think everything wrapped up nicely, and, yeah, maybe it was a little cheesy towards the end, but I thought it was sweet. And perhaps it hinted at another installment???

Also, did anyone else notice there was quite a bit of eye-stabbing? That definitely grossed me out. And it wasn't just once- it was multiple times. That bit was the only part I wasn't fond of.

If I were you, I'd head on over to the movie theater, grab a coke icee, a pack of twizzlers, and a ticket to Alice in Wonderland. Right. Now. Do it. You'll regret it if you don't.

Rating: 10/10

Cover Re-Creation

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
Princess Bookie is holding a contest to re-create a cover of a 2010 novel! I decided to go with Holly Schindler's release, A Blue so Dark. Here's what I came up with:

What do you think?

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa Review


Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series

Truthfully, my feellings for this book are still conflicted. The Iron King has a great premise; it's very ingtriguing. I generally like fantasy, but this was one case where I felt that there was a lot of sci-fi mixed in, which isn't really my cup of tea. There were some bits, like the ordeal with the people of New Orleans, that seemed a little over-the-top for me, and I didn't really feel like each scene advanced the plot.

However, I really loved the dark humor that was used throughout. Grimalkin's dry, witty lines kept me reading throught the places where the plot was lacking or where the writing was a little under par. I think I'llvbe sticking out for the rest of the series, just for that. And to see what happens with Meghan/Puck/Ash. Personally, I'm leaning toward Ash on this one, you guys. He's mysterious. Of course, Puck has a heart of gold, but he's old. Ash is old too.

What's with the centuries-old love interests these days? I mean, it doesn't really matter if they're in the bodies of gorgeous young guys; it's the idea that he's 100+ year old person falling in love with a sixteen year old girl. To me, that screams pedophile. Gross.

Rating: 8/10

Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, March 7, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
Hey Everyone,

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend! Here, spring is just around the corner- which means (that's right!) Flip Flop Season. Haha. ;P

For those of you who haven't seen this little weekly wrap-up before, I'm glad to inform you that Kirthi from Pages asked me to be her affiliate, and now we're doing this weekly feature. :)

This week, Kirthi re-reviewed The Heretic Queen, after researching ancient Egypt. She found herself enjoying the book much more with the extra background information. I think this can be said of any book set in another time period; it's definitely easier to understand if you have a good idea of what you're reading.

This week, Kirthi received Anastasia's Secret and My Invented Life in her mailbox. I don't know about you guys, but I love learning about Anastasia. Anyone remember that movie from the '90's with Meg Ryan and John Cusack? LoveLoveLove.

Also, Kirthi's poll regarding which Hunger Games love interest was most liked; overwhelmingly, the voters answered with 'Peeta'! We shall see in Mockingjay, my friends. ;)

<3 Cate

Under the Lamplight: Sasha from The Sweet Bonjour

Friday, March 5, 2010 | | 6 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.

Sasha from The Sweet Bonjour has been so kind as to be this week's guest.

Blog Link: http://the-sweet-bonjour.blogspot.com/

C: Could you give a little blurb on your blog?
S: My blog is specifically a YA blog. It features the usual like reviews, interviews, guest posts and cool memes like Waiting on Wednesday and In My Mailbox. I'm trying to figure out some features of my own to run as well to make it more individual.

C: What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
S: I suppose I've always been a big reader. The books that really turned me onto reading where the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. But before that I was turning the pages on Rosy and Jim's Big Day Out and those cool books that make animal noises (I still own them *ahem*) and knew that reading was something I'd always love to do.

C: How were you introduced into the blogging world?
S: Well, I read a feature in a magazine about a year ago that had a list of tips for aspiring writers. It suggested starting a blog to get practising so I did but it was just a random blog that wasn't entirely book related. I then began reviewing on teen book site Chicklish and decided I wanted to have my own book blog to make new friends and basically just write about the stuff I love. So, I took all my knowledge of book reviewing from Chicklish and The Sweet Bonjour book blog was born!

C: What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
S:Well nothing OMG-incredible-throw-my-hands-up-in-the-air-and-scream-like-I-just-don't-care has happened yet but I just love communicating with other bloggers and just sharing my love of reading with anyone that cares enough to read really. That in itself is really exciting and fun!

C: What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
S: It entirely depends on whether I've read the book before. If I have I would probably hate it because most books that have been made into movies have been pretty awful or at least nowhere near as good as the book. If I haven't read the book, I would probably enjoy the film because I'd have nothing to compare it to. I'm still pondering on whether I should read The Lovely Bones because I really want to see the film but I think I'd hate the film if I read it.

C: You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
S: Probably Beautiful Creatures because I absolutely loved the book but I read an ARC so it's gotten pretty skanky and ripped by now so I think I'd treat myself to a beautiful finished copy and just never open it!

C: What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
S: My favourite guilty pleasure show is Glee. You can't help but love it! It immediately cheers you up if you're upset about something!

C: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you? S: I don't have any unbelievable secret. Maybe the fact that I'm writing a book at the moment. I'm quite far into it but I'm still unsure as to what it's about. I just sat down one day and started to write.

C:If your life were being made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would you cast?
S: That's so hard! It would probably be called The Life of a Transparent Anomaly. That pretty much sums me up lol! I'm not really the loudest person at school and people think I'm pretty weird because I tell really bad jokes but I laugh hysterically every time I tell one. I really like Ellen Page who was in Juno so I think I'd want her to be in it.

S: Thanks for having me! :)

Thanks so much, Sasha! Please go check out Sasha's blog. I'm sure she'd love to have you! :D

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev Review

Thursday, March 4, 2010 | | 10 comments ♥
All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.

This one was so easy to fall in love with.

The characters won it over for me on this one- hook, line, and sinker. The fairies and their witty lines, especially. I loved that each character was so well-developed; it was possible to feel like you 'knew' each one, no matter how small a part. And it was so easy to root for Bertie, who I truly have nothing in common with (she's much braver than I ever could be.) I think that's what made the book for me; even though this magical world was nothing like my own, it was easy to slip into the background.

For me, the intriguing plotline and the sharp diaglouge made up for the little pacing blips. The beginning moved slowly, but when the first of a chain of conflicts began I almost didn't realize it was a conflict at all.

Also...Nate or Ariel? Personally, I'm more inclined to Ariel, but his age worries be slightly. Exactly how much older is he than her? Of course, Nate is obviously the more stable and mature of the two- funny, seeing as he's younger- but Ariel seems more adventurous. :)

Oh, I just can't wait until Perchance to Dream!!

Rating: 9/10

Wish List Wednesday

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | | 2 comments ♥

What is Wish List Wednesday? A weekly meme similar to 'Waiting On' Wednesday, however it also includes books that have already been released. :)

This week, for my Wish List Wednesday, I choseRemarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen. I'm a big fan of Jane Austen; I'm very intrigued by the concept of this book. The title speaks for itself- it's a little book full of quotes on reader's views of Jane Austen. Exciting!

<3 Cate
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