In My Mailbox #8

May 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm (Australian, In My Mailbox, Meme) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where bloggers showcase the books they received over the week.

I got a lot of books this week. I managed to find a Borders that was closing down, so everything was 60% off. Then, my library managed to miraculously procure heaps of books. AND THEN, I decided to buy some cheap ebooks on my Kindle.

Bought

From top to bottom:

Snow by Tracy Lynn; I love the Once Upon a Time series. And this has to be one of my favourites. It has slight traces of steam/magicpunk, and it stays rather true to the story. And, thanks to the Borders sale, it was only $4. How could I possibly resist a book so cheap? Even better, I had a very had time finding the books from this series in Australia,so, I would have gotten this book even if it weren’t on sale.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst; I read this book ages ago, borrowed from the library, and loved it. (In fact, you can find my review for it here), so when I saw it on sale at Borders for $8, I had to buy it.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Basilisk by N.M. Browne; I remember reading this book years ago, and loving it, so I decided to get it. It was cheap, so why not?
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

–  Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink; This book has caught my eye from the moment it arrived here in Australia, but for some reason, I’d been very hesitant in getting it. I love the cover, it has these shiny silver patterns that give it this weird feeling.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository  / Amazon
(if you get it from The Book Depository now, you get to save almost 60%! It’s not even $5 in AUS currency)

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink; I also got the second book in the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, because it was there and it was cheap.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Fury by Shirley Marr; I’d constantly see this book in bookstores, and was always intrigued by it, but never went ahead and bought it. It looks like a really interesting book, and I love the covers. Also, at the beginning of each chapter, there’s a small picture of a mask, and I just love the concept of that. It makes me wonder about the relevance to the story.
Find it on: Goodreads
(Because it’s an Australian book, I’ve had trouble finding it online; it doesn’t exist in Amazon, and it’s unavailable on Book Depository. So if you’re interested in getting a copy of this book, you might have to search hard, or get a friend in Australia to supply you with a copy)

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey; This looks awesome. The cover is amazing, and it’s a retelling, which I’m sure all of you know by now that they’re my favourite kind of story. I can’t wait to start reading this!
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey; Another Mercedes Lackey book that looks awesome. I think it’s about time I read some of her stuff.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Masques by Patricia Briggs; This book looks cool as. Fantasy with werewolves. Can’t wait to get this book started.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

–  Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs; The sequel to Masques, because I get addicted to series far too easily.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

The Saga of the Renunciates by Marion Bradley Zimmer; I love sci-fi, and apparently this has LGBT characters, which is fairly cool. Plus, it’s so big, that it kind of makes me excited. When it comes to books, size does matter. ;P
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Heritage and Exile by Marion Bradley Zimmer; A big book for a low price. This is the kind of thing I live for. 🙂
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Library:

Not only did I go overboard with books from Borders, I went nuts in the library.

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes; With the recent influx of Greek retellings in YA, I supposed that I should check out a few of the newcomers. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and the premise actually sounds pretty good.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

How NOT to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark; I love books about how to write, and this looks like it’d be a great, funny way to learn how not to write.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Thyla by Kate Gordon; This book is about a girl who’s found in the bush with no memory whatsoever. Plus, it’s set in Australia, and I’m a fan of those.
Find it on: Goodreads / Amazon (kindle edition)

Siren by Tricia Rayburn; So, I’ve been eyeing this book for months. Mermaids? Awesome as! Dark, mysterious cover? Heck yeah! I can’t wait to read this.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves; I’d heard a lot of good things about this book, and it’s finally out in Australia, so as soon as I saw this, I just had to grab it.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Mice Gordon Reece; Wow, this looks awesome. A thriller that features what looks like a strong relationship between a girl and her mother.
Find it on: Goodreads / Amazon

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan; The format of this book just looks amazing. It’s all set like a real dictionary, with words that are relevant to the story. I’d like to see how it pans out.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier; I read the first book of this series, Daughter of the Forest, and absolutely loved it.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

The Search for WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi; This is a Middle Grade sci-fi/fantasy book with such wonderful pictures. I really can’t wait to get into this.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Cold Magic by Kate Elliot; So, I’d heard a whole heap of good things about this book. Plus, it looks like it’s a steampunk, and I love those with all my heart.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros; I really like historical romances sometimes. And this one sounds rather exciting.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith; So, I’d recently been watching the TV series, and am really loving it. I figured I might as well read the book series.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast; I’ve been hearing a lot about this series, so I guess I should see what the fuss is all about.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon
(You can get Marked on Book Depository with 60% off, which is a great deal)

E-Books

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz; I got this from Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab.
Find it on:Goodreads

Blood Red Road by Moira Young; Also from S&S, I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, so I’m excited to finally read it.
Find it on: Goodreads / Book Depository / Amazon

The Witches of Santa Anna: The Complete Set by Lauren Barnholdt & Aaron Gorvine; I got this, the first 7 books in this series off Amazon for 99cents. So, if you want seven books for a dollar, I’d recommend that you go get it now, before the offer no longer stands.
Find it on: Goodreads / Amazon (Kindle)

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer; I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this book, a retelling of The Persephone & Hades myth, but with a twist: Hades is a woman. I can’t wait to read it.
Find it on: Goodreads / Amazon

So, that’s my haul for the week. Um, a lot, eh? *laughs nervously*

What did you guys get in your mailbox during the week? Feel free to share your links in the comments. 🙂

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Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

April 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm (4 stars, Australian, review) (, , , , , , , )

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Pages: 304, paperback

ISBN: 9781742373003

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Date Released: May 1st, 2010

Genre: YA / romance / thriller / mystery / contemporary

Source: library

Premise:

Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party-loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to an explosive and devastating finale.

An intense and addictive psychological thriller

Buy it now from The Book Depository

It was hard for me to decide if I had liked this book or not. At first, the writing was awkward and annoying. It mostly consisted of the tortured inner monologue of the main character, Katherine. There isn’t much action, and far too often, there’s the painful scrutinising over the same details, hammering it into the readers head that her sister is dead and that Katherine is suffering greatly for it. At first, it was interesting, but 130 pages in, and it’s been repeated about forty times. Ugh. It started to get boring, and I had very little sympathy for her.

There is little plot, just Katherine hanging out with her friends, Alice and Robbie, doing random things. After about 100 pages, the idea that there’s next to no plot makes it okay, since there is a great deal of character growth, for all of the main characters.

Katherine, I couldn’t find myself liking, mostly because after being stuck in her head for 300 pages, I grew tired of her inner monologue repeating how life-changing her sisters death was every few pages. Yes, Katherine, we know that it hurts and it sucks. No need to tell us so often.

Alice, I have mixed feelings about. She’s very contradictory, doesn’t have a stable personality, and is the kind of person that I wouldn’t want to involve myself with. BUT, despite all that, while we get to know her, we see what really goes on in her head. She’s a manipulative bitch (and I use this term sparingly, but really, she is one), who only lives to cause trouble for others. It’s this bitchiness that makes her character so interesting, and she fuels the story. Everything that goes wrong is done by her hand. And believe me, a lot of things go wrong in this story.

Finally, Robbie. He sort of read more like a middle-aged woman’s wet dream than a sexy 20 year old. Half the time, he’s described as being sensitive and having tears in his eyes, and it’s just pathetic seeing him like this. He’s emotional to the point where he barely contributes much to the story.

Now, this story found a place in my heart for two reasons:
1, it’s a story about rape and loss, and dealing with that loss. Katherine is bothered by guilt that it’s HER fault that her sister was raped and killed, which shows that it’s not just the rape victims themselves that are affected.
2, it’s also about betrayal, and learning to cope with this betrayal, even if it means having to do it alone.

As the story progressed, and as Katherine found herself having to deal with Alice’s horrible ways–which include the death of someone she deeply cares for–the story becomes gripping, as we delve into the past and find out what really happened back at the party that Katherine’s sister was drugged at, leading to her rape. And we find out why Alice is so intent on destroying Katherine’s life, though her reasons mightn’t be completely logical or moral.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 2
Characters: 5
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 4

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Invisible Monsters

April 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm (5 stars, review) (, , , , , , , , , )

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Pages: 304, paperback

ISBN: 9780099285441

Publisher: Vintage

Date Released: November 2nd, 2000 (originally published 1999)

Genre: adult / satire / literary / thriller / dark humor

Source: bought

Premise:

She’s a catwalk model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden motor ‘accident’ leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists.
Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from being a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better, and that salvation hides in the last  place you’ll ever want to look.
The narrator must exact revenge upon Evie, her best friend and fellow model; kidnap Manus, her two-timing ex-boyfriend; and hit the road with Brandy in search of a brand-new past, present and future. (Taken from blurb.)

Okay, let me start this off by saying that I am a massive fan of Chuck Palahniuk. I first started reading his stuff way back when I was 14 or 15. Clearly, most of the themes and situations went way over my head. But upon re-reading this book,  I’ve ignited my love and understanding for the man.

The story is set out so that it jumps all over the place, jumping through time, breaking in the middle of tense scenarios, and filling the reader with bits of seemingly worthless information, that actually builds the story, the way a jigsaw piece may seem insignificant on its own. For some, the all-over-the-place structure may be annoying, and it does take some getting used to. But I quite enjoyed it.
Most of Palahniuk’s books read this way, in a disjointed manner, so I suppose if one doesn’t like any of his other stuff, then they most likely wouldn’t like this.
The writing style is also something that not everyone will enjoy. He uses repetition, is sometimes over the top with his graphic descriptions, and often throws in a sentence or two that seem life changing and philosophical.
This book left me with a few quotes that I believe I must share, because they just make me say wow:

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.”
“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”

“All God does is watch us and kill us if we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.”

What I love most about this book is Palahniuk’s way of surprising the reader with these sudden twists that make you go “no way!”, even though it seems completely obvious in hindsight. Even after reading this book twice already in the last few years, I found myself still being surprised and shocked.

I know that this isn’t much of a review, but I can’t really say much about this book that isn’t completely biased and goes along the lines of “This book is fantastic, it’ll change your life, it’ll change the way you write, speak and see life. It’s a literary masterpiece. I am completely in love with Chuck Palahniuk because of this book.”

So, give this book a chance. I can’t promise you’ll love it, but it’s worth a shot.

Cover: 4
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Level of Interest: 5 (so much, so, I literally couldn’t put this book down, was annoyed when I actually had to due to going on a date. Even managed to finish it in approx 4 hours of on/off reading.)

Total: 5/5 stars.

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