The Great Gatsby by Review

Monday, May 31, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
>It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. -Goodreads
Although Gatsby was assigned reading for my English class, but I found that it wasn't like most school reading; I truly enjoyed the story. Fitzgerald wrote in a simple style that was easy to follow, one that I found difficult to put down. The characters intrigued me the most. Nick was relatable, I appreciated having a companion in this strage and hedonistic world. Though Daisy frustrated me, she was probably the character I most enjoyed reading about. Every time I could have sworn her head was filled with fluff, she would say something that was on the fine line of intelligence or depth. I think most of the characters surprised me in one way or another; I enjoyed peeling back their layers one by one.

I stayed up late in the night on several occasions not only to finish the number of chapters we were required to read, but to read it for my own enjoyment. I must say, I was a little saddened by the ending, but I thought it fit the story well. I will no doubt buy a copy for myself soon, so I can reread it, and discover pieces that I missed or can find new meaning in. If The Great Gatsby is not on your bookshelf, don't hesitate to add it.

Rating: 9/10

In My Mailbox and Update

Sunday, May 30, 2010 | | 6 comments ♥
In My Mailbox was created by the lovely Kristi at The Story Siren.


At Books-a-Million this week there was a buy 2, get one free sale on the classics, so I snatched them up! I've read both A Little Princess and Swiss Family Robinson before, and loved them. Although I have yet to delve into King Arthur, I've become all the more intrigued by the British television show, Merlin.


Finally, school is DONE!! More time to read, more time to blog- it's going to be a fantastic summer, I can just feel it! It also gives me time to work on my challenges, which I really doubt I've made any progress on as of yet this year. I'll be doing a midway challenge post within the next week or so, as well as catch up on all of the reviews that I haven't written yet: Beautiful Creatures and The Great Gatsby.

Right now, I'm in the middle of Shiver. OH. MY. It's just soooooooo incredibly well-written. LoveLoveLove.

I'll be seeing much, much more of you soon, my friends. But now I am off to bake some scones and custards for the holiday weekend. My family is eating well tonight. ;P

<3 Cate
P.S. I can't wait to hear about everyone's BEA adventures! (And live vicariously through you, haha)

<3 Cate

....Knock, Knock?

Sunday, May 23, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
Hi. :) Remember that one girl who was on her blog 24/7, posting her reviews of books? The one who chatted to fellow bloggers and actually checked her email?

She's been posting once or twice a week now, keeping the ol' blog afloat and trying to make good grades. She promises she'll be back in full swing soon. This Friday is her last day of school, and she'll finally be FREE from exams and tests and projects.

OH, and, she'd like to point you over to the sidebar, where you will see that Sparrow Review has broken 200 followers!! *happy dance*

Wait...what's that? Contest? SOON? Yep, I'm sure that's what she said...keep you're eyes peeled, my friends. :D

Thank you all for being so patient!
<333 Cate

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth Review

Thursday, May 20, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. And when fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different — dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy —her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life,meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on.
Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up In a Heartbeat; I liked the whole premise of the novel, but I was unsure exactly what sort of story it would be. I didn't know whether I was diving into a heart-breaker that would require a box of Kleenex, or a sweet, sappy tale that would leave me smiling. In truth, it was both, although you might only need one tissue.

What I was surprised to learn was how simply it was written- I certainly don't mean that in a negative way, but this is a novel that can easily be read from ages tweleve and up. Keeping that in mind, the reading was light and the plot was not chock-full of complex layers. Which, once again, wasn't a bad thing, just an unexpected one.

Truly, though, the story was fantastic, and actually very educational. I had no idea that the idea from In a Heartbeat was actually based on real situations where patients who had received transplants experienced changes that could be linked back to their donors. In that respect, I applaud Ellsworth for taking on a topic that must have taken quite a bit of research to put together. The ending was very satisfying, and there where a few tear-jerker moments. All in all, a great read.

Rating: 8.5/10

Wishlist Wednesday

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
Cassie has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her its a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else dared to follow.

Oooh this one looks SO GOOD. And the cover is just stunning! Can't wait!!

Under the Lamplight: Em from Em's Bookshelf

Friday, May 14, 2010 | | 4 comments ♥
Under the Lamplight is a bi-weekly meme that I have created to get to know the blogging community! If you're a blogger interested in being interviewed, please email me.

This week Em from Em's Bookshelf is joining us this week!

Could you give a little blurb on your blog? Em's Bookshelf is a place for me to review teen books that I've read. I mostly review books that I enjoyed and want to recommend to others, and I sometimes write about book publishing news...when it strikes my fancy. :)

What got you hooked on reading- did you love it as a child, or was it something you grew into?
I've always loved reading.

How were you introduced into the blogging world?
I started looking for book reviews online and found this whole community of people that liked to talk about books as much as I did. From there, it was just a few steps to start my own blog.

What’s been the most fun or exciting thing you’ve been able to do on your blog lately?
I took a break this winter, only posting a couple of times a month. It has given me time to think about where I want to go with my blog and the break totally renewed my interest in blogging!

What’s your opinion of books made into movies? Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Hmm, that's a hard one. It's a mix for me. Some I love, some I hate, and most I can appreciate that the movie is totally different from the book and that's ok.

You can only afford to purchase one book at the bookstore today. What do you choose?
The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart which will be out at the end of March...would be awesome to get it early. :)

What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure T.V. show? Or book?
I have a lot of guilty pleasure TV shows...Castle (cause it's about a writer!), Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl (I'm a little tired of Season 3 but I'm hanging in there), and recently I started watching Life Unexpected (pretty good although sometimes cliche).

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I don't post much about my personal life on my blog so there's probably a lot that people don't know about me. Here's 3 things. I wrote horrible poetry in high school...seriously, it makes me cringe when I read it now. I love rock climbing and white water rafting. And I really want a puppy.

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

Thanks so much for stopping by, Em!

<3 Cate

Dark Divine vs. Beautiful Creatures

Thursday, May 13, 2010 | | 3 comments ♥
These past two weeks I've been participating as a judge in the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle, making the decision between The Dark Divine and Beautiful Creatures. Which will go on to the next round?

For me, this was an easy decision, based on mostly on one factor: the quality of the writing. Both of these stories have incredible plot lines; they're actually similar in their paranormal aspects. However, The Dark Divine's writing just couldn't match up to Beautiful Creatures, which is filled with a Southern lilt that's almost impossible to top. Truly, both were fun reads, but I found Beautiful Creatures to be much more enjoyable to read (despite its length!)

I could probably go on for paragraphs and paragraphs, detailing character development and such, but I wanted to put this in a quick nutshell. Please head on over to The Shady Glade to read more about the book battle!

Final Decision: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl

<3 Cate

Lost for Words by Alice Kuipers Review

Monday, May 10, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
All Sophie wants to do is forget. But it's not easy now that everything's changed. The house feels too big, school drags on for too long, lights are too bright, the room spins, and her hands get sweaty for no reason. And she can't remember why she was ever best friends with Abigail, who is obsessed with parties and boys. Only the new girl, Rosa-Leigh, with her prose poems and utter confidence, might understand. But talking to her seems impossible.

Lost in memories of the life she once had, Sophie retreats into herself. But there's only so long she can keep everything bottled up inside before she explodes. Maybe by confronting the tragedy of her past she'll figure out how to fix her future.

I admit, when I signed up for this ARC tour at Around the World Tours, I mostly picked it up for the cover; it's positively stunning. I glanced at the synopsis, and it sounded interesting, so I put my name down. It turns out this read was a little more than I bargained for.

The first half of the book was very, very tedious. We wait and wait and wait to learn what horrific thing could have shaken our main character, Sophie, so terribly that she's plagued by panic attacks and has trouble reaching out to her friends. But, really, you don't find out until the later chapters, which, although made sense with the story, wasn't my ideal for good pacing. While there were definitely some major events going on during the first part of the novel, it all felt like a foundation for the last few chapters, where everything started to pick up.

Besides the pacing issue, I felt that this was a very interesting read. Sophie was a wonderfully complicated character; she was very three-dimensional, and even relatable, despite what she had gone through. For the most part, she was easy to root for, even when she made decisions that I didn't approve of. By the end, I was exceptionally fond of her character, and had my fingers crossed her situation worked out well.

Although this definitely wasn't my favorite book of the year, it's definitely worth a read, if you have a little extra time on your hands.

Rating: 7.5/10

<3 Cate

In My Mailbox

Sunday, May 9, 2010 | | 8 comments ♥
In My Mailbox was created by the lovely Kristi of The Story Siren.

This week I actually got a few books from Around the World Tours. Arc tours are an addiction, I tell you. And I'm not the only one- there should be a club with t-shirts!

Lost for Words by Alice Kuipers

I hadn't heard anything about this book until I saw it on the tour list. I have to admit, I decided to go for it because of the cover; it's simple and intriguing. Have any of you read this one?

I've been soooo excited for this one!! Eek! 'nuff said, eh?

<3 Cate

I'm Free! (Almost)

Friday, May 7, 2010 | | 9 comments ♥
Hey Everyone! Sorry I haven't been around much this past week; I've been studying like crazy for my AP US History exam. I finally took it today, and I think I actually did a decent job on it!! :D

Thankfully, I only have one more AP exam (English), next Wendesday, and then I'm FREE!! Which means I'll be able to get back into the swing of reading very, very soon!

Right now I'm finishing up Beautiful Creatures for The YA Debut Book Battle (link in the sidebar.)I'll be sure to post up my review in the next few days! :)

<3 Cate

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain Review

Monday, May 3, 2010 | | 5 comments ♥
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held.

I wrote this review as a judge for Alyssa's YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle.

I have a feeling that I am the minority here in the blogging world- in the midst of number of people who loved this one. *cringes* But I will continue.

There were definitely aspects of this book that I enjoyed. I adored Grace, the main character, who is very grounded in her sense of morality. She has a very strong sense of herself, which I appreciated. She isn't too perfect however, in that she is wonderfully flawed in her weakness for Daniel. I wasn't too fond of Daniel myself, he started out so grungy and screwed up; I didn't trust him very much. Also, the twist on the werewolves story was very original. Despain weaves it into the tale very well, I didn't find it confusing at all. Sometimes I feel like the whole werewolf concept is overused, but this was refreshing.

However, I didn't think the book was especially well-written. It was a quick read, and an entertaining one, but I wasn't exactly impressed with it. In some way, I understand that the writing can be secondary, especially when the plotline is so captivating. But I thought Dark Divine truly could have been stellar had it been more well-crafted.

Will I be sticking around for the next in the series? Maybe. I've never been a huge fan of paranormal, nor do I ever think it will ever be my favorite genre. However, I'm sure that there are plenty of paranormal stories out there that will knock my socks off. Maybe even the sequel to this one.

Rating: 7.5/10

<3 Cate
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