Sunday, April 11, 2010

In My Mailbox #37

In My Mailbox brought to you by The Story Siren

 In our ever-shrinking world, where popular Western culture seems to have infected every nation on the planet, it is hard to find even a small niche of unspoiled land--forget searching for pristine islands or continents. This is the situation in Alex Garland's debut novel, The Beach. Human progress has reduced Eden to a secret little beach near Thailand. In the tradition of grand adventure novels, Richard, a rootless traveler rambling around Thailand on his way somewhere else, is given a hand-drawn map by a madman who calls himself Daffy Duck. He and two French travelers set out on a journey to find this paradise.
What makes this a truly satisfying novel is the number of levels on which it operates. On the surface it's a fast-paced adventure novel; at another level it explores why we search for these utopias, be they mysterious lost continents or small island communes. Garland weaves a gripping and thought-provoking narrative that suggests we are, in fact, such products of our Western culture that we cannot help but pollute and ultimately destroy the very sanctuary we seek

The Princess Bride - William Goldman ( I love this movie but have never read the book... so I figured it was time!)
 The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a "good parts version" of "S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." Morgenstern's original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern's mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the "Classic Tale" nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

On a day that started like any other…
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.

A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years, from the time the king's grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere.
And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. And Lumatere is safe.
Until the 'five days of the unspeakable', when the King and Queen and their children are slaughtered in the palace. And an imposter king takes the throne.
And a curse is put on Lumatere, which traps those caught inside and forces thousands of others to roam the land as exiles, dying of fever and persecution in foreign camps.
But ten years later Finnikin is led to another rock to meet the young novice, Evanjalin. A girl plagued by dark dreams, who holds the key to their return to the Land of light... 

A trite coming-of-age novel that could easily appeal to a YA readership, filmmaker Chbosky's debut broadcasts its intentions with the publisher's announcement that ads will run on MTV. Charlie, the wallflower of the title, goes through a veritable bath of bathos in his 10th grade year, 1991. The novel is formatted as a series of letters to an unnamed "friend," the first of which reveals the suicide of Charlie's pal Michael. Charlie's response--valid enough--is to cry. The crying soon gets out of hand, though--in subsequent letters, his father, his aunt, his sister and his sister's boyfriend all become lachrymose. Charlie has the usual dire adolescent problems--sex, drugs, the thuggish football team--and they perplex him in the usual teen TV ways. [...] Into these standard teenage issues Chbosky infuses a droning insistence on Charlie's supersensitive disposition. Charlie's English teacher and others have a disconcerting tendency to rhapsodize over Charlie's giftedness, which seems to consist of Charlie's unquestioning assimilation of the teacher's taste in books. In the end we learn the root of Charlie's psychological problems, and we confront, with him, the coming rigors of 11th grade, ever hopeful that he'll find a suitable girlfriend and increase his vocabulary.

Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique.

Following her father’s emotional breakdown, Veronica moves with her family from Portland to tiny Hoodoo, Oregon, where her parents open an inn. Her father’s condition improves and her mother, a celebrity chef, is just fine, thank you. But Ronnie is bereft, unable to get over all the things she’s left behind in the big city. And then the young girl she’s been babysitting dies—an accidental drowning, the authorities think, but Ronnie’s not so sure and sets out to investigate. Beaufrand does a nice job of building suspense and integrating a gradually developing romance that surprises Ronnie and will satisfy readers. Less rewarding is the gradual unraveling of the plot and an ending that is at once predictable and anticlimactic. Nevertheless, the characters are appealing, the setting is well realized, and there is more than enough suspense to satisfy most mystery fans.

 The pace never slows in this gripping novel that begins when 15-year-old Michelle blasts past her competition at a regional track meet. What even her best friend, Kiki, doesn’t know is that Mish is running just as hard from her past, when she was known as Princess P, the daughter of a leader in one of South L.A.’s toughest gangs. While her family is in jail, Michelle has turned her life around with the help of a great, if neurotic, foster dad. Then the gang resurfaces and kidnaps Kiki and Michelle. In her powerful narrative, Michelle slides into gangsta mode, explaining jargon and gang behaviors to Kiki, and uninitiated readers, without distracting from the story. The characters are all developed and memorable, especially Michelle and Kiki, who almost hurtle from the pages, and the sense of place is vivid. Even as the cinematic action and violence races along, readers will never lose track of the story’s driving question—can Michelle ever leave her past behind?—as they race to the ambiguous conclusion.

For Review: From One ARC Tours
Joy is used to Hearing Whispers--to walking down the street and instantly knowing people's deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister Jessica, the family gift is a curse and she uses it to make people's lives--especially Joy's--miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a mysterious and frightening Whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means running away with a boy she barely knows--a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

So what did you all get?


  1. Oh man do I love If I Stay.
    I have over 60 books that are in need of my TLC, so I'm actually not letting myself buy any books. To say I am dying would probably be an understatement. :]

  2. Aw, I really, really hope you love WHISPER. It's a fantastic YA Debut! :-)

  3. I've never seen that cover for If I Stay. I like it a lot though. Whisper sounds so good & I also really need to read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Pretty much this week = awesome. Happy reading! :D

  4. I LOVED If I Stay. Grab you some tissues cause you're gonna bawl. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my all time favorite books too. I didn't know there was a book out for Princess Bride...I think I'm going to have to pick that up.

  5. I really liked If I Stay, the paperback cover is much nicer than the one on the hardcover. And you got Sapphique, I loved Incarceron and am debating whether or not to order the UK edition of Sapphique since it won't be published in the US until January. Have a great reading week :)

  6. Great books! Totally want to read Sapphique! Happy reading!

  7. Great Books! Finnikin Of the Rock looks excellent!

  8. Great books! Happy reading. My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

  9. I'm so jealous that you won the Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped. I tried for that one too. I guess it was just not meant for me to read yet. I hope that you enjoy.


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