In My Mailbox: Week Four

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention the really cool things, like books! If you would like to participate and have your own “In My Mailbox” post, you can find more information here.

I also wanted to gain some feedback from this feature. Do you like that I have the synopsis posted with the books cover, or should I simply link the title to another link where you can read the synopsis if you are interested?

Willow by Julia Hoban

“Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow Randall’s parents drank too much wine and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it– Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed.

Now seventeen, Willow has left behind her home, friends, and school– numbing the grim reality of her new life by secretly cutting herself. But everything changes when one of Willow’s new classmates, a boy as sensitive and thoughtful as she is, discovers Willow’s secret and refuses to let her destroy herself.”

I have a copy of Willow! Yay! A signed copy! Because I’m special like that. I’m really excited to read this one. I’ve been hearing great things about it, and I’m not surprised. The premise of the novel sounds captivating/intriguing, I mean did you read the summary… wow. Not to mention that Julia is super cool and extremely nice.

Need by Carrie Jones

“Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.”

So this one says…. “Now fans of Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Marr have a new author to devour..” Sounds good to me! Not to mentioned I’ve wanted to read it since I saw those sparkly gold lips. And maybe, just maybe I might have read this one… yesterday. But you’ll have to wait for my review to see if it puts SM and MM to shame.

Purge by Sarah Littman

“Janie Ryman hates throwing up. So why does she binge eat and then stick her fingers down her throat several times a day? That’s what the doctors and psychiatrists at Golden Slopes hope to help her discover. But first Janie must survive everyday conflicts between the Barfers and the Starvers, attempts by the head psychiatrist to fish painful memories out of her emotional waters, and shifting friendships and alliances among the kids in the ward.”

I’m very intrigued by this one! Very much so after I found out that the author herself suffered from an eating disorder when she was a teenager. I’ve never had a eating disorder, but I too suffered, and still do at times, from a distorted self image. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the author tackles this serious issue.

After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr

“Maia Morland is pretty, only not pretty-pretty. She’s smart. She’s brave. She’s also a self-proclaimed train wreck.Leigh Hunter is smart, popular, and extremely polite. He’s also completely and forever in love with Maia Morland.Their young love starts off like a romance novel—full of hope, strength, and passion. But life is not a romance novel and theirs will never become a true romance. For when Maia needs him the most, Leigh betrays both her trust and her love.”

I hadn’t even heard of this book until it came in my mailbox! But now that I have it, I’ll admit it, I’m interested! I mean, what does Leigh do! I must know! Although I’ve never heard of the author either (is that bad?) she has Printz Honor book award from her other novel My Heartbeat.

Yes I got another copy! This is the one I traded Lenore for. Obviously I would have picked a different book, had I known that I was going to be receiving a copy! But it worked out just fine and I sent my other copy out to a fellow reviewer. You might have heard of him, James a.k.a. Book Chic.

And just so you know James, I send it out yesterday, so it is on it’s way. Hope you like it!

If you want to see the summary for this book you can check out another “In My Mailbox” post, here.

Okay so now you know what’s in mine, what did you get in yours? You can sign the Mr. Linky below, if you would, please link your actual post, so that it is easier to find! Thanks! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know that I am still recovering.



YA Connection: Week of Nov. 21-28, 2008

The YA Connection is a collaborative column collected by Kristi (The Story Siren) and Steph (Reviewer X). In it can be found links from around the YA blogosphere, including, but not limited to, contests links, author blog links, review links, and miscellaneous news pertaining to the age group. Also, Kristi and Steph hold weekly contests accompanying the column, as well as a book and author spotlight.

If you’re a blogger, author or publicist looking to have your links added, please email Kristi at thestorysiren (at) hotmail.com or Steph at reviewerx (at) gmail.com. Any book donations for giveaways are also greatly appreciated. Please note that the spotlights are not up to suggestion, but rather decided by both Kristi and Steph.

Usually Steph hosts the contest for the YA Connection because she’s cool like that, but unfortunately she is out of books and cash. So, I thought I would host a contest this week. I have an extra copy of Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz. Revelations is the third novel in the Blue Bloods series. If you would like this book to reside on your bookshelf, please email me at thestorysiren(at)hotmail(dot)com, subject: YA Connection Contest. Please include your name and address in the email. Deadline is Friday December 5, 2008. Contest is open to all. And if you want an extra entry leave a comment on Steph’s post telling her how much you love the contests she hosts for YA Connection.

Contests (Compiled by Steph)

Presenting Lenore is giving away a “publicist’s choice” pack and a signed set of the Gemma Doyle books (!!)

Harmony Book Reviews is giving away a copy of Amigas and School Scandals by Diana Rodriguez Wallach.

I’m also having a hard time finding more contests. Add on to comments?

I found a few more around lurking so I’m going to add them to Steph’s list.

The Compulsive Reader is giving away a copy of Revealers by Amanda Marrone and Francey by Martin Dubow.

Carol of Bookluver-Carol’s Reviews is having an excellent contest!

Alea of Pop Culture Junkie is having a slew of giveaways!

Stephanie of Juiciliciousss Reviews is giving away a copy of Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos.

Tower of Books is giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon!

Author Musing (Compiled by Steph)

A.S. King (The Dust of 100 Dogs) still rules all.

Alexa Young (Frenemies) is SUCH a girl. Hey, her words, not mine. But I must be one too, cos that movie trailer is so fully totally amazingly capturing my attention. I blame Alexa.

Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder) got her jacket blurbs!

Heather Davis (Never Cry Werewolf) got her cover!

Danielle Joseph (Shrinking Violet) talks about how she picks character names.

Sarah Dessen (Along for the Ride) got in a domestic dispute. The question is: Should they use paper towels or dish towels?

Jackson Pearce (As You Wish) shares a funny mall story.

Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice) goes back in time and looks at an entry she wrote when she received her first editor rejections, before her book was accepted for publication.

Jennifer Hubbard (Black Mountain Road) wrote an excellent post about flashbacks. As a reader, I have to say, too many of them is like dying a slow, painful death. Unless they’re needed, of course.

Justine Larbalestier (How To Ditch Your Fairy) asks if those who like to get their books signed prefer unique messages along with that too, or not?

Lisa McMann (Fade) posted the winners of her huge Contest O’Thanks.

E Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks) recaps the National Book Awards.

All C.K. Kelly Martin (I Know It’s Over) wants for Christmas is a new government. Just adding this in, C.K.’s blog is filled with a lot of thought-provoking political posts, for those interested.

Meg Cabot (Being Nikki) as usual tackles a wide range of subjects I can’t describe in one sentence only, so you know what? Go check it out. You even get a picture of her bookmarks and book plates, all of which are very pretty.

Author Spotlight

Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. She enjoys Archie comics, Trailer Park Boys, and other fine art. Pierre Trudeau is her hero and if you are a volcano, she would like to know you. http://courtneysummers.ca/

Blogger Blurbs (Compiled by Kristi)

Gabbi of All Five Stars reviewed Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith. “I thought this book was pretty good, but it was kind of like a more sensual version of Stephenie Meyer’s novel.”

The BookWorm of Au Courant reviewed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. “The Hunger Games was a unique book that I looked forward to reading ever since I saw its book trailer. I was not disappointed.”

Cat of Beyond Books reviewed Graceling by Kristin Cashore. “I have never read a fantasy novel where the heroine was intent on giving self-defence lessons to others. She wasn’t all that self-centered either, like I find with other fantasy novels.”

Amee of Bookity Book Books reviewed The Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky. “It is a more realistic portrayal of a teenage romance than you’d find in most YA. It’s quick, interesting, and at times, laugh out loud funny.”

Book Chic reviewed Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn. “I absolutely loved this book. During my time volunteering at the library, this book came across my path when someone was returning materials and it looked like a very intriguing and original book.”

Kate of The Book Nymph reviewed A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker. “This book captured the thoughts and hearts of teenagers, and shows just how harsh high school can be, yet at the same time, just how wonderful it can be.”

Hillary of The Book Reader reviewed Private by Kate Brian. “I was very surprised by this book and I’m very excited to read the rest of the series.”

Em of Em’s Bookshelf reviewed Chalice by Robin McKinley and Bite Me by Parker Blue.

Hope of Hope’s Bookshelf reviewed Death by Latte by Linda Gerber. “The book is over before you even want it to be with all the events in it!”

Kelsey of Just Blinded Book Reviews reviewed Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab. “Overall, it was a bit of a let-down after all of the glowing reviews I’d read about it.”

Liv of Liv’s Book Reviews reviewed Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodriguez Wallach. “Mariana is definitely a character I want to visit again because despite the issues I had with Amor and Summer Secrets, it’s a rather endearing book and it makes for some nice light fluff on a dreary day.”

Lenore of Presenting Lenore reviewed You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay. “Still, I liked the world creation so much that I would definitely be interested in reading the planned sequel Undead Much!”

Chelsie of Read Read Read reviewed Skinned by Robin Wasserman and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Reader Rabbit reviewed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. “Utterly captivating.”

Kelsey of Reading Keeps You Sane reviewed Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra and You Had my at Halo by Amanda Ashby.

Megan of Simply Books reviewed Paper Towns by John Green and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

Tempestt of Temppatt reviewed Burn by Suzanne Phillips. “All and all, Burn did keep me hooked to the end and the fact that what I thought was going to happen didn’t happen offered an unpredictable plot twist.”

The Book Muncher reviewed Paper Towns by John Green and The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer.

Taren of The Chick Manifesto reviewed Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz. “Ultimately, I think of Revelations the way I do about The Godfather Part III. Unlike a lot of people, I actually really liked The Godfather Part III. It’s just hard to appreciate something for what it is when it’s inevitably going to be compared to the awesomeness that came before.”

Interviews (Compiled by Kristi)

Carol of Bookluver-Carol’s Reviews interviewed Anna Levine author of Freefall.

Bookworm of Bookworm Readers interviewed Sasha Watson author of Vidalia in Paris.

Gabrielle of Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen interviewed Jay Asher author of Thirteen Reasons Why.

Mrs. Magoo Reads interviewed Melissa Walker author of The Violet Series.

My Favorite Author interviewed Margaret Ronald author of Spiral Hunt.

Lauren of Shooting Stars Mag interviewed Jordanna Frieberg author of In Your Room.

Book Spotlight

Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty

Old flames are reignited in this eagerly awaited fifth and final book in the Jessica Darling series. Captivated readers have followed her through every step and misstep, from a tormented, tart-tongued teenager, to a college grad stumbling toward adulthood. Now a young professional in her mid-twenties, Jess is off to a Caribbean wedding. [SPOILER ALERT! Proceed with caution if you haven't read Fourth Comings.] As she rushes to her gate at the airport, she literally runs into her former boyfriend, Marcus Flutie. It’s the first time she’s seen him since she reluctantly turned down his marriage proposal three years earlier—and emotions run high. Marcus and Jessica have both changed dramatically, yet their connection feels as familiar as ever. Is their reunion just a fluke or has fate orchestrated this collision of their lives once again? Partly told from Marcus’s point of view, Perfect Fifths finally lets readers inside the mind of the only person who’s both troubled and titillated Jessica Darling for years. Expect nothing less than the satisfying conclusion fans have been waiting for, one perfect in its imperfection.

Our Reviews

Kristi reviewed: You Just Can’t Get Enough: Gossip Girl The Carlyles by Cecily von Ziegesar, Untamed: A House of Night Novel by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You Sophie Talbot.

Steph reviewed: the fangirly Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson and the mehish Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz.

Visitors of The Story Siren this week!

Thank you so much everyone for taking the time and leaving a comment on my blog! I get so excited every time I see one! I just want you to know that I really appreciate your support and that you continue to make my work at The Story Siren feel appreciated. THANK YOU!

The Book Muncher
Lenore of Presenting Lenore.
Paradox of Paradoxical.
Tempestt of Temppatt.
Book~Adorer of Book~Adorer Forever Reading.
Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.
Emily of that one girl emily.
Shalonda of Shalonda’s Blog.
Diana Dang of Stop, Drop and Read.
Sarahbear9789 of Sarah’s random musings.
Stephanie of Juiciliciousss Reviews.
Meredith of Meredith’s Musings.
Tay-Toe of Taylor’s Rambles.
Hillary of The Book Reader.
Lauren of Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf.
Amee of Bookity Book Books.
Sara of What a Girl Reads.
Valeria of Happy Shrub Friends.
addicted reader of Reading is a Drug.
Lindsey of A Kindred Spirit’s Thoughts.
cata ananias
YA Book Realm
Liv of Liv’s Book Reviews.
TruBlu93 of Starry Night.
Jennifer Banash author of The Elite.
Gabbi of All Five Stars.
Vanessa of What Vanessa Reads.
C. Leigh Purtill author of All About Vee.
cindy of The Book Book.
Wendy of Seriously?
Sarah Cross author of Dull Boy.
cat of Beyond Books.
The Solicitous Scribe
R.J. Anderson author of Faery Rebels.
Book Chic
Shooting Stars Mag
Speed Reader of My Favorite Author.
Tina Ferraro author of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys.
Keri Mikulski author of Screwball.
Tehani Wessely of Australian Small Press.
Amanda of That Teen Can Blog!
Harmony’s Book Reviews
Zoealea of Zoe’s Book Reviews.
The_Book_Queen of TBQ’s Personal Book Palace.

Stefania K., Yan, shelburns, Rima, WannebeWriter, AmandaSue, BookBegger, GirlwiththeBraids, kimmyl, smrtria1220, ellie_enchanted, Jessica, LitMuse, Tiffany, Judi, and Lexie.


Book Review

You Just Can’t Get Enough: Gossip Girl The Carlyles

You Just Can’t Get Enough: Gossip Girl The Carlyles by Cecily von Ziegesar
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Publisher: Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult, ages 15 and up
Pages: 208
Other Titles in the Series: The Carlyles

“After a whirlwind first week on the Upper East Side, the Carlyles have made their mark on Manhattan’s Golden Mile. Owen is new BFFs with Rhys Sterling, but what will happen when they both fall for the same girl? Baby stole resident it girl Jack Laurent’s boyfriend…and then Avery stole Jack’s popularity. Now Jack is on the warpath, and she wants nothing more than to send the Carlyle girls packing their Louis Vuitton trunks.

Is the UES big enough for all their drama?

How can something so wrong…. be so much fun!

I was never interested in reading Gossip Girl, which is why I’ve never read the first series and I’ve never watched the television show. I’d actually like to watch the tv show, but for some reason my satellite doesn’t get that channel! Anyway… like I said I never had an interest to read the Gossip Girls series. I assumed they would be some pathetic pieces of trashy literature. Cat fights, drama, shallow people… why would I want to read about that? Uh… because it’s addicting and fun that’s why!

I am addicted. I love the cat fight, the drama and the shallow people! It’s just like high school, but better because I don’t have to witness all that shit personally. I can turn it off when I want to. And really the writing isn’t trashy at all, the characters… maybe, but not the writing.

Again like with Poseur all the trendy name dropping doesn’t do anything for me and really I don’t care what they are wearing. I just want to know who’s with whom and who’s pissed off about it. I like it steamy, I like it dirty. Yeah, I said I like it dirty.

You know you love me,
The Story Siren


Book Review

Untamed: A House of Night Novel

Untamed: A House of Night Novel by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Release Date: September 23, 2008
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 338
Other Titles in Series: Marked, Betrayed, & Chosen.

“Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey’s adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast’s spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.”

The House of Night series is unlike any other vampire series I’ve read. I really enjoy the series and it’s interpretation of vampires. I’m especialy looking forward to reading the next novel.

I was disappointed in Untamed. After reading all of the previous novels and immensely enjoying them, Untamed fell short of the standard that had been set. Most of the novel was spent on explaining what happened in the previous three novels, and while I understand how that can be necessary, it took up valuable room in this novel that could have been used for things much more exciting. Like Zoey making out with Erik….

Despite its rough spots and flaws, I still was unable to put this book down! The combo writing team of P.C. and Kristin remained true to their signature style! Drama, suspense and humor, all present and accounted for! There were a few grammatical errors that I was surprised to find, but I think that shouldn’t have precedent over enjoying the novel.

I was also surprised with the direction the authors have taken with the character Aphrodite, and I can’t wait to see what happens to her! And while there were a lot of questions answered within the novel, there were also slews of unanswered questions introduced. If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t want to miss this one.


Book Review

Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You

Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You by Sophie Talbot

Release Date: June 1, 2008
Publisher: Chooseco
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 231

“Oh my God. Emily, I got in!!!”

“Trumbull Woodhouse! THE most exclusive, most expensive, most amazing all-girl boarding school has just accepted YOU! It’s the school that turns out famous CEOs, notorious movie stars, and even a Nobel prize winner. And you? You’re just the girl from Hatterly, South Carolina. Just some orphan kid with a dysfunctional foster family and a secret.

What secret? You see things. Things from the future. Whole scenes, actually– like movies with your brain, only they turn out to be real. You used to think everyone got them… but then people started to think you were crazy. So you stopped talking about them, and now your episodes are getting worse. How are you going to hide them living with a bunch of strangers 24/7?

You try to stay below the radar and fit into your new life, that’s how. But an unknown enemy tries to undermine your every effort to belong. Meanwhile, you begin to suspect your new alma mater has a past as strange and difficult as your own. A society sworn to uphold the founder’s deepest secrets has become divided. A war for power seethes just under the campus’s placid calm. And a mysterious missing book of predictions is about to chance your world forever…”

I was really disappointed when I found out this book was not a “choose your own adventure” book, but merely a novel written in the second person. I was so disappointed that I had to stop reading, to stew/pout/sulk over my disappointment. I was expecting to have at least some interaction within the novel.

Thankfully the second person narration wasn’t as distracting as I thought it would be, but I still think the story would have been more effective told from a first person perspective. Okay, so maybe I’m still bitter about it not being a “choose your own adventure” novel, but I was really excited about choosing my own adventure.

The plot itself was interesting, although I found it to be slow at times. The most action happens in the last twenty pages or so, making the ending fly by for me. The writing itself was excellent, I was really impressed. Good characters, check. Eerie mystery, check. Entertaining, check. Despite my lackluster review, I’ll most likely be picking up the second novel in this series.

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