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

<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.

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.

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:

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
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