In My Mailbox #30

In My Mailbox is brought to you be Kristi at The Story Siren and is where I share the books I received during the week.

Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron

Told in a voice that’s honest, urgent, and hilarious, Struts & Frets will resonate not only with teenage musicians but with anyone who ever sat up all night listening to a favorite album, wondering if they’d ever find their place in the world.

Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.

When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?

I'm halfway through reading this one and finding it to be aimed more at middle-grade boys who are interested in starting up a band. Wouldn't recommend at this point but I am still keen to finish it off.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

This Lullaby is the next challenge in my quest to complete every single Sarah Dessen book and to finally have read every single book that an author has released. I cannot wait for her new book, Cut and Run to come out next year and I'm even excited to read the pint-sized Infinity.

Viking marauders descend on a much-plundered island, hoping some mayhem will shake off the winter blahs. A man is booted out of his home after his wife discovers that the print of a bare foot on the inside of his windshield doesn’t match her own. Teenage cousins, drugged by summer, meet with a reckoning in the woods. A boy runs off to the carnival after his stepfather bites him in a brawl. 

In the stories of Wells Tower, families fall apart and messily try to reassemble themselves. His version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, wayward sons. Combining electric prose with savage wit, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a major debut, announcing a voice we have not heard before.

Short story fiction is not my usual choice of reading but something about this book caught my eye, I think it is a combination of the title and cover. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kiss and Break Up by Kate Kingsley

Half term may be over but the chaos has just begun. Mr Logan has run off and eloped with Miss Sharkreve leaving the Lower Sixth with a new housemistress - the tyrannical, catty Mrs Dicks. And with the rules getting tighter at St Cecilia's the students are getting way more creative in finding ways to break them - especially as they're all feeling a bit frisky. 

Tally, broken hearted and on the rebound, sets her sights on safe bet Rando, while Alice and Tristan decide to take their relationship to the next level. Things between Dylan and Jasper are seriously heating up - could she finally have found a guy who won't disappoint her? 

As tensions reach an explosive high, a pool party at Rando's country estate should be just the thing to cool everyone down. Or will it push the temperature up a notch?

I'm really surprised at how little attention this series has garnered, it's caught my attention enough that I have all three books in my possession but it has such low ratings on GoodReads that they are basically sitting at the bottom of my reading stack. Keep an eye out for the sparkling binder if you're thinking of picking this one up.

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees 

Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance. 

This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.

Fool's Girl has a really pretty cover, I have no idea what folly is without looking it up so I'm sure this book will be a lesson well-learned. It comes out April 5th in Australia and July 20th for the US.

What have you read recently that deserves much more attention?

Contest: Thou Shalt Not Dump the Skater Dude...

Thou Shalt Not Dump the Skater Dude and Other Commandments I Have Broken by Rosemary Graham

Tall, blonde, and pretty, Kelsey may look like a perfect California girl, but she doesn't feel like one.That is, until she starts dating a popular skater dude named C. J. Logan. But after a while, the life of a skater girlfriend begins to wear on Kelsey, and she decides to go it alone. C. J. doesn't take being dumped lightly, and he starts spreading rumors about Kelsey. Now Kelsey has to save her reputation and work on building her new identity—as a star reporter for the school's prestigious newspaper. Check out the rockin' trailer for Rosemary Graham's new book, Stalker Girl.

One North American resident will each receive a copy of Thou Shalt Not Dump... by leaving a comment below before June 29th. Open Internationally. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

Contest: Tome of the Undergates

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes
18th February 2010 | Victor Gollancz

Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the shict despises most humans and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions. So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well. They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out. Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.

One Australian resident will receive a copy of Tome of the Undergates by leaving a comment below before June 27th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

Guest Post: C. K. Kelly Martin (And Contest!)

C. K. Kelly Martin, author of The Lighter Side of Life and Death has offered up some of her time today to interview Mason, the main character from her novel released May 25th.

In The Lighter Side of Life and Death sixteen-year-old aspiring actor Mason Rice falls into bed with a close friend, a girl he’s had a crush on for years. When that doesn’t turn out the way he hoped he becomes involved with a woman almost eight years his senior. Last week we caught up with Mason outside the coffee shop where he works part-time and asked him a few questions, which he was kind enough to answer.   

Q: You were friends with Kat Medina for three years before your relationship changed, literally overnight. Do you think she knew about your feelings for her previously and if so, why did nothing happen between you two earlier?
Mason: I think she knew, yeah. There’s always been a vibe between us. But at the same time I wasn’t really her usual type. Maybe part of it was also that she didn’t want to risk ruining a good thing. Crossing that line, things get really confusing. I thought I could handle it but it messed with my head a lot.
Q: Your step-sister Brianna, who you often clash with during the book, says that she feels you always want to be liked. Do you think that’s true?
Mason: It’s definitely true. I don’t like having people mad at me, especially my friends, but really I don’t like arguing with anyone if it can be avoided. I don’t know…maybe it has something to do with being a model when I was a kid too. It sets up a situation where you’re always looking for approval.
Q: And now you’ve decided you want to be an actor. Is that another way of looking for approval?
Mason: Not externally. I mean, I don’t want to be one of those guys that makes the sexiest man alive list. I want to be a real actor, whether on the stage or in movies, and tackle the difficult roles. I want to do it for myself, stretch myself, not for other people’s approval.
Q: Can you share some of your thoughts about your recent role in your high school’s production of All My Sons?
Mason: It’s a really emotionally intense play. Even when it was just the cast at practice you felt this buzz in the air but with the audience in front of us it became totally electric. I have a lot of admiration for the Chris Keller character. He’s principled to a degree that I think is very rare and he still inspires me to want to try to be a better person. I was lucky to be able to play him and the experience definitely intensified my interest in acting.
Q: Do you think The Lighter Side of Life and Death is fair to you? Do you believe you come off looking at sympathetic as you hoped?
Mason: Basically, yeah, I think it’s fair. There are things I wish I didn’t say or do during that time so I’m sure at points I sound like an asshole, especially with Brianna (who went out of her way to make it difficult to be nice to her but I still could’ve tried harder). What I’ve realized is that I wasn’t completely fair to various people and in some cases those same people weren’t entirely fair to me either. I needed to talk more and not just let things happen.
I have to say that I feel weird about some of the details of my sex life appearing in the book. I didn’t even have what could be described as a sex life before the events in this book and now everyone will know about my first time…and the second. Those aren’t things I would’ve told people about. It’s personal.

Q: What's your romantic life like now? 
I don't think I can answer this in any depth without giving too much of the book away so let’s just say there is somebody in my life right now and she’s amazing.
A: And how about your sex life? 
Like I said, it’s personal. At least from now on.

One winner will receive a signed copy of The Lighter Side of Life and Death and the t-shirt shown above by leaving their email address in a comment before July 4th. Open to U.S. and Canada. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

In My Mailbox #29

In My Mailbox is run by The Story Siren.
Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers
by Valerie Lawson

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5)
by Richelle Mead

by Ann Brashares

Q: What's at the top of your wish list?

Contest: 3 Book Pack

One winner will receive a copy of Going Bovine by Libba Bray, The Year I Turned Sixteen: Rose, Daisy, Laurel, Lily by Diane Schwemm and The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan.

One U.S or Canadian resident will receive this 3 book pack by leaving a comment below before June 21st. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

    Contest: About A Girl

    About a Girl by Joanne Horniman
    1st February 2010 | Allen & Unwin

    I remember when we lay together for the first time and I closed my eyes and felt the crackle of her dark hair between my fingers. She was all warmth and sparking light. When I was with her, my skin sighed that the centre of the world was precisely here. 

    Anna is afraid she must be unlovable - until she meets Flynn. Together, the girls swim, eat banana cake, laugh and love. Some days Flynn is unreachable; other days she's at Anna's door - but when Anna discovers Flynn's secret, she wonders if she knows her at all. 
    A beautifully crafted novel by award-winning author Joanne Horniman that explores the tension between the tender moments that pull people together and the secrets that push them apart. 
    'True originality, charmingly realistic from first page to last.' Lucienne 
    'I really really liked the dreamy sort of feel, like her other books. Heartfelt and lovely.' Emma

    One Australian winner will receive a copy of About A Girl by leaving their email address in the comments below before June 20th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

    Contest: 4 Book Pack

    Up for grabs are the following 4 books: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, Impossible by Nancy Werlin and Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang.

    One Australian resident will receive the four book pack by leaving a comment below before June 18th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

    In My Mailbox #28

    In My Mailbox is a featured started by Kristi at The Story Siren. 
    Lately, I seem to be averaging about 5 books per week which I am perfectly happy with as there 
    always ends up being one amazing book in each pile, this weeks pick of the week would have to be The Sky Is Everywhere purely for the creative way this book is put together, it was not high up on 
    my reading pile but upon viewing the elastic bookmark that gives it the feel of a diary and the many realistic looking letters and notes featured throughout made me want to pick this ASAP. Next up we have Happy As Larry, a quirky book from an Australian author that seems dark yet fun at the same 
    time which is emulated in the cover perfectly. Then we have Shark Girl, a book I haven't heard 
    much about but I'm keen to pick up due to the swimming themes showing up in my current read, 
    Forget You by Jennifer Echols. Then there is the latest release in the Girlfriend Fiction series, 
    The Boy/Friend, a set of books that I keep coming back to even though they all end up with only 3 
    star ratings. And finally, the craziness that is Would You Eat Your Cat?, I initially chose this book 
    because of obvious reasons but taking a closer look it actually looks really interesting. it sets up a 
    few moral dilemnas and leaves you to decide how you would handle the situations.

    Out of all the books you received this week, which has the 
    best cover?

    The ALL IN Giveaway

    I hope you're excited because I am about to conjure up a list of amazing prizes that will be won by TWENTY followers.The trick is, I'm not going to tell you which prizes have duplicates available. Take a look at the list below to see what you could be crossing off your wish list.


    the prizes | the goodies | the haul
    + The Karma Club by Jessica Brody +
    + Broadway Lights by Jen Calonita +
    + Salvaged by Stefne Miller (Signed) +
    + Mistwood or Shadow Hills bookmarks +
    + The Espressologist by Kristina Springer +
    + The Julian Game by Adele Griffin (ARC) +
    + Fame: Taylor Lautner by Kimberly Sherman +
    + A Field Guide for Heartbreakers by Kristen Tracy +
    + Vampire Island by Adele Griffin (Three-book series) +
    + Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee (Signed ARC) +
    + Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (and Signed Bookmarks) +
    + Change of Heart by Shari Maurer (and Signed Bookmarks) +
    + Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook (Signed) +
    + Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman +
    + Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman + 
     + Reality Check by Jen Calonita (+ Signed Bookmarks and Postcards) +

    Entries close July 31st and winners will be notified by email shortly after. The first place winner will get to pick any prize off the list then the second place winner will choose their prize and the third place winner and so on...

    Contest: The Rock and the River

    In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father's nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.

    4 U.S. residents will each receive a copy of Th Rock and the RIver by leaving a comment below before June 16th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

    Contest: Ballads of Suburbia

    Ballads of Suburbia
    by Stephanie Kuehnert

    Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara McNaughton likes best. Not the cliched ones where a diva hits her highest note or a rock band tones it down a couple of notches for the ladies, but the true ballads: the punk rocker or the country crooner telling the story of their life in three minutes, the chorus reminding their listeners of the numerous ways to screw things up. In high school, Kara helped maintain the "Stories of Suburbia" notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre and often tragic events from suburbs all over and personal vignettes that Kara dubbed "ballads" written by her friends in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. Those "ballads" were heartbreakingly honest tales of the moments when life changes and a kid is forced to grow up too soon. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she was leaving town after a series of disastrous events at the end of her junior year. Four years later, Kara returns to face the music, and tells the tale of her first three years of high school with her friends' "ballads" interspersed throughout.

    Four U.S residents will each receive a copy of Ballads of Suburbia by leaving a comment below before June 15th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

      Contest: Borderline

      Borderline by Allan Stratton
      9th March 2010 | HarperCollins

      Fifteen-year-old Sami Sabiri is a typical suburban teen. He is a good student, has a close group of friends, and struggles to live up to his father's expectations. He faces some bullying at school because of his Muslim faith, and does not get the support from the administration to stop it. When his dad cancels a planned trip to Toronto with him, Sami begins to suspect he might be having an affair. He checks up on him and unknowingly stirs up a completely different investigation of the man's behavior. Is Sami's dad a terrorist? What ensues is a tautly paced thriller with well-crafted characters and realistic teen dialogue. It is the plausibility of the plotline that makes it, ultimately, so disturbing. The FBI breaks into the Sabiris' house one night, destroys their belongings, and takes Sami's father away. The teen's troubles at school are neatly juxtaposed with the assumptions made by the FBI about his dad, and ultimately lead toward a positive resolution to Sami's relationship with his father. This is a great, fast-paced read that will have particular appeal to fans of the television show 24. It is also notable for its characterization of a strong male Muslim who is true to his faith and struggles to do the right thing throughout. While the cover art is not compelling, this title will make an excellent booktalk. Once it finds its way into the hands of teens, word of mouth will ensure that it circulates.

      One North American resident will receive a copy of BORDERLINE by leaving a comment below before June 14th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

      Contest: Gamers Quest

      Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff

      Tark and Zyra are teenaged thieves on a quest. In a world of magic and science, where dragons and mages exist alongside drones and lasers, they endeavor to reach the haven of Designers' Paradise. But their world is not what it appears to be and their haven is about to come under threat of destruction. Can Tark and Zyra save Designers' Paradise ... and their own world? Check out more at

      One winner will receive a copy of Gamers Quest by leaving a comment below before June 13th. Open Internationally. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

        Contest: Wintercraft

        Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw
        13th May 2010 | Headline

        Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane -- the High Council's most feared man -- recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft -- a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.

        One winner will receive a copy of Wintercraft by leaving a comment below by June 12th. Open Internationally. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

          Contest: $65 Buyster Giftcard

          $65 Gift Voucher

          I received a frying pan and salt shaker courtesy of buyster a few months ago so I am very happy to offer up a giveaway to the followers of my blog for a $65 voucher that can be used for anything in their store. They have a wide selection of furniture, floor lighting, kitchenware, luggage and much more available to all Australian homes.

          If you'd like the chance to win a buyster giftcard and you're located in Australia, leave a comment below before June 11th. VIEW ALL CONTESTS.

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