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★ GIVEAWAY: Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings! (US/Canada)
2 copies with signed bookplates! ends December 21st!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

In My Mailbox 2009/12/27

Each week I will post a list of the books I've borrowed, received, or bought. I will keep a weekly tally in each post, as well as a yearly one on the sidebar. All books with PoC themes/authors will be listed for the "New Crayons" meme.
All prices are listed in Canadian dollars.
(hosted weekly by The Story Siren / The Printed Page; New Crayons by Color Online)

Tally for 2009/12/27
Borrowed: 0
Received: 5
Bought: 8
Christmas gifts for friends: 2
Total Cost: $50.88 (gifts not included)

Came by a holiday book sale on my way from the subway station to the mall, so I got myself a book from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series - one I've been meaning to start for a while now - and a Christmas present for Ah Yuan.

Discworld #29:
Night Watch
by Terry Pratchett
Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all. Then the lightning struck and now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in. Living in the past is hard. Dying in the past, however, is incredibly easy.
But he must survive, because he has a job to do: he must track down a murderer, and teach his younger self how to be a good cop. He must also change the outcome of a bloody rebellion. There's a problem: if he wins, he's got no wife, no child, no future.
This is a Discworld "Tale of One City", with a full chorus of street urchins, ladies of negotiable affection, rebels, secret policemen and other children of the revolution. Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a hard-boiled egg!

I've been through the first few pages and I'm finding Pratchett's writing to be every bit as wonderfully witty and engaging as everyone else is saying it is. Will definitely be looking for Colour of Magic (book 1) first though since I usually prefer starting a series with the first book.
Bought at holiday sale table ($5.99)

The Camel Bookmobile
by Masha Hamilton
The Camel Bookmobile is a fictional tale of an American librarian who leaves Brooklyn to work for a relief organization in Africa that sends books on the backs of camels to forgotten villages. Her intentions are entirely pure but, when the bookmobile causes a feud among the nomadic tribe it aims to help, she realizes her good deeds may come with a high price.
The actual Camel Bookmobile made its first run almost a decade ago. Three dromedaries trudged through arid northeastern Kenya to bring a library to settlements so remote they had become nearly invisible. Lacking roads, clean water, and food, those who inhabited these villages had never been to school much less held a book in their hands. The books that came to them were rare and precious gifts, allowing them to briefly escape the reality of squalor and destitution.

It's got PoC characters and books, two themes Ah Yuan's said she likes a lot, so I hope she enjoys this =)
Christmas gift for Ah Yuan ♥

Next, after crashing at Ah Yuan's place, she gave me these two books:

Vorkosigan Saga #3:
The Warrior's Apprentice
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Between the seemingly impossible tasks of living up to his warrior-father's legend and surmounting his own physical limitations, Miles Vorkosigan faces some truly daunting challenges.
Shortly after his arrival on Beta Colony, Miles unexpectedly finds himself the owner of an obsolete freighter and in more debt than he ever thought possible. Propelled by his manic "forward momentum," the ever-inventive Miles creates a new identity for himself as the commander of his own mercenary fleet to obtain a lucrative cargo; a shipment of weapons destined for a dangerous warzone.

Ah Yuan thought my brother would like this because he liked Ender's Game. I might give it a try, but the cover kind of frightens me...
Gift from Ah Yuan ♥

Soon I Will Be Invincible
by Austin Grossman
Doctor Impossible — evil genius, diabolical scientist, wannabe world dominator — languishes in a federal detention facility. He's lost his freedom, his girlfriend, and his hidden island fortress.
Over the years he's tried to take over the world in every way imaginable: doomsday devices of all varieties (nuclear, thermo-nuclear, nonotechnological) and mass mind-control. He's traveled backward in time to change history, forward in time to escape it. He's commanded robot armies, insect armies, and dinosaur armies. All failures. But not this time. This time it's going to be different...
Fatale is a rookie superhero on her first day with the Champions, the world's most famous superteam. She's a patch-work woman of skin and chrome, a gleaming technological marvel built to be the next generation of warfare. Filling the void left by a slain former member, Fatale joins a team struggling with a damaged past, having to come together in the face of unthinkable evil.

I've been on a superhero binge lately, partially because I just watched The Dark Knight after LOVING the Iron Man movie. And then I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was so hilarious and sad 8v8. This book seems to go with the same tragicomedy feel, and I'm all up for a tragic ending if it's necessary.
Christmas gift from Ah Yuan ♥

And then, because Ah Yuan had some coupons she NEEDED TO USE LIKE NOW, we went for a short shopping spree at Indigo on Christmas Eve.

by Tony Ballantyne
It is the twenty-third century. Herb, a young entrepreneur, returns to the isolated planet on which he has illegally been trying to build a city–and finds it destroyed by a swarming nightmare of self-replicating machinery. Worse, the all-seeing Environment Agency has been watching him the entire time. His punishment? A nearly hopeless battle in the farthest reaches of the universe against enemy machines twice as fast, and twice as deadly, as his own–in the company of a disarmingly confident AI who may not be exactly what he claims…
Little does Herb know that this war of machines was set in motion nearly two hundred years ago–by mankind itself. For it was then that a not-quite-chance encounter brought a confused young girl and a nearly omnipotent AI together in one fateful moment that may have changed the course of humanity forever.

The cover's caught my eye numerous times during my visits to Indigo/Chapters, so this time I finally bought it. Cross-centuries storyline with a hint of mystery and a hint of dystopia. Yum.
Bought from bargain bin at Indigo ($4.99) *hardcover

Looking Glass Wars #1:
The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor
The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook.
The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss' parents.
To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

This is getting made into a movie soon I think? Either way, a modern-fantasy crossover of Wonderland characters and a darker look at the adventures of Alice. The hype over the new remake of the original story has me kind of excited to read this author's interpretations too.
Bought from bargain bin at Indigo ($5.99) *hardcover

First Law #1:
The Blade Itself
by Joe Abercrombie
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian - leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.
Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.
Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.
Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.

I featured another of Abercrombie's books in one of my first Wishlist Wednesday posts. The author is known to have wonderfully awful heroes - maybe even "villains" in that sense - as his main characters. I'm really looking forward to reading this story from the not-so-nobles' point of view.
Bought full price at Indigo ($14.99)

Knight and Rogue #1:
The Last Knight
by Hilari Bell
Need a Hero? You've got one in Sir Michael Sevenson.
Although there hasn't been a knight errant in over two hundred years, this young noble has decided to revive the trade. He's found himself a reluctant partner in Fisk, a clever rogue who has been given the choice of serving as Michael's squire or going to jail for a very long time. Now Michael and Fisk are on a quest to right wrongs, protect the innocent, and make the world a happier place.
It's not going to be easy. On their first attempt at rescuing a damsel in distress, they break a lady out of a tower, only to discover she was there for good reason: awaiting trial for poisoning her husband. Now the would-be heroes must find Lady Ceciel and return her to justice or be condemned themselves.

This was a surprise find in the teen section, shoved between some bigger names I've heard of before, but luck had it that I was looking really closely. Looking through the first few pages had me falling in love immediately with the pseudo-medieval world, the unique magical laws, and the snarky narrator in Fisk. The gullible but noble Michael is equally endearing, and I can't wait to read more about their developing friendship. This was given as a gift for a friend whom I thought would like the BBC's Merlin-esque set-up of the characters, but I'm probably going to get myself a copy later too =D
Christmas gift for a friend

Then, me, Ah Yuan and a few other friends went to watch the premiere of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. ♥ It was quite amazing on pure eyecandy level, but it wasn't brainless explosions either. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. makes any movie way more than just watchable 8D I thought Jude Law was quite good too. We were all kind of wowed by the sheer fabulous-ness though lol I am dying for the sequel (since it's so BLATANTLY HINTED AT) already, but the second Iron Man movie might tide me over while I wait 8D

Boxing Day wasn't that special. Didn't find anything particularly cheap at the 30% off hardcovers sale at Indigo. I did get myself 4 books from BMV though, since they're on sale all the time =D All the books have been on my wishlist for a while, so they count towards the Christmas theme, I guess?

Looking Glass Wars #2:
Seeing Redd
by Frank Beddor
Wonderland finally seems as if it's getting back to normal. Queen Alyss is back on the throne, and reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Dodge. But the fight for Wonderland is far from over. King Arch, in nearby Boarderland, is conniving to overthrow everything for which Alyss and her friends have fought so hard. Even worse, King Arch has found an ally in the recently returned Redd, who has been biding her time and gathering new and evil assassins in the Catacombs of Paris. With enemies circling and danger looming, someone close to Alyss lets her down-and threatens the future of Wonderland forever.

Just got the first book of the Looking Glass Wars trilogy (see above) and this was on sale at BMV, so obviously I snatched it.
Bought from used bookstore ($4.99)

Fairy Tales #1:
by Mercedes Lackey
Tsar Ivan has eight sons; all are brutes like himself except for happy-go-lucky, least-favored Ilya. Cast out through the machinations of his jealous, competitive brothers, Ilya stumbles onto an enchanted castle, distressed damsels, a garden of questing princes turned to stone, and the secret of the shapeshifting woman called the Firebird. In love with a captive princess, Ilya enlists the Firebird and a charming, crafty vixen to help him battle the sorcerer. But is settling down with a princess what "happily ever after" really means?

The cover is so gorgeous I've been staring at it for a long while now XD; I've mentioned before that I loved The Black Swan, which was Lackey's retelling of the Swan Princess fairy tale, and this is the first in that ill-fated series that was never returned to - though she did start the Elemental Masters series that also dealt with fairy tale retellings. Anyways, I really love unconventional fairy tales, and the fact that the summary hints that the hero isn't just going to marry the princess he saves makes me very interested in the ending. My brother has expressed interest in this book too even though he said he's slowly losing interest in books, so I hope I can get him to like reading again =D
Bought from used bookstore ($6.95)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
The year is 1806, England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains, the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrel. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.

This is one of those huge literary works that many people have recommended, so I'm going to try it out. My brother loves alternate and military history very much, so I'm shoving this book at him when I see him during the summer too XD I also bought him Leviathan, which is a more young-adult level alternate history. Thing is, this thing is frickin' HEAVY. 1006 PAGES HEAVY. I hope my luggage doesn't get rejected when I board my plane this summer =T
Bought from used bookstore ($4.99)

Warchild ⇒ New Crayon!
by Karin Lowachee
The merchant ship Mukudori encompasses the whole of eight-year-old Jos's world, until a notorious pirate destroys the ship, slaughters the adults, and enslaves the children. Thus begins a desperate odyssey of terror and escape that takes Jos beyond known space to the homeworld of the strits, Earth's alien enemies. To survive, the boy must become a living weapon and a master spy. But no training will protect Jos in a war where every hope might be a deadly lie, and every friendship might hide a lethal betrayal. And all the while he will face the most grueling trial of his lifebecoming his own man.

I actually quite like the cover as sci-fi covers go. Plus, it's sci-fi written in english about an Asian (quarter-Asian anyway) protagonist! Ah Yuan has a copy too and she said there were GLBT themes covered too. I've been trying to read more sci-fi recently, so I'm really looking forward to read this. I've heard each book in the supposed trilogy is a standalone with crossover characters too, though Ah Yuan claims the second book isn't as good as this first one.
Bought from used bookstore ($1.99)

And finally, I went and picked up these ones that were stranded at my old mailing address:

Harry Bosch #14:
9 Dragons ⇒ New Crayon!
by Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch is assigned a homicide call in South L.A. that takes him to Fortune Liquors, where the Chinese owner has been shot to death behind the counter in an apparent robbery.
Joined by members of the department's Asian Crime Unit, Bosch relentlessly investigates the killing and soon identifies a suspect, a Los Angeles member of a Hong Kong triad. But before Harry can close in, he gets the word that his young daughter Maddie, who lives in Hong Kong with her mother, is missing.
Bosch drops everything to journey across the Pacific to find his daughter. Could her disappearance and the case be connected? With the stakes of the investigation so high and so personal, Bosch is up against the clock in a new city, where nothing is at it seems.

This one was my second ever contest win, but I haven't had time to go pick it up from my old mailing address until now. A detective story set in Hong Kong, from a big name mystery writer, so I'm looking forward to an action-packed thriller with lots of Asian cultural references =)
Won from Sweeps4Bloggers *hardcover

Bishop Special Crimes Unit #7/8:
Hunting Fear + Chill of Fear
by Kay Hooper
Hunting Fear:
He's no ordinary kidnapper. Not only does he strike again and again, but he collects the ransom, gets away safely, and leaves his helpless hostages dead. Now, after months of eluding the best that law enforcement can put against him, this monster is looking for a new challenge.
He's no ordinary cop. Lucas Jordan is a profiler in Noah Bishop's Special Crimes Unit. But his uncanny ability to locate missing people comes with a tremendous personal price...and stirs mistrust among the hard-nosed cops he's forced to work with.
Now in Clayton County, North Carolina, where the latest in a string of kidnapping victims has turned up dead, Lucas, with the aid of carnival psychic Samantha Burke, is doing what he does best: hunt fear.
But this time fear is hunting back.

Chill of Fear:
For twenty years FBI agent Quentin Hayes has been haunted by an unsolved murder that took place at a secluded Victorian-era resort in Tennessee when he was little more than a boy. Now part of Noah Bishop's Special Crimes Unit, he's returned to the scene of that long-ago crime to find answers.
Diana Brisco has come to The Lodge hoping to unlock the mystery of her own troubled past. Instead she is assailed by nightmares and the disturbing visions of children who vanished from the resort years before. And an FBI agent is trying to convince her that she isn't crazy but that she has a rare gift - a gift that could catch the coldest killer of all.

Hehe really looking forward to getting into this series. Male psychics!
Both traded from BookMooch

And thus concludes huge X-mas IMM post of hugeness. Happy Holidays everyone!
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Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

Hehe, thanks for Camel Bookmobile~
Tell me if Recursion is any good or not.
lol all these Alice in Wonderland remakes. This is brilliant, imo. I think I read Looking Glass Wars in the past and enjoyed it (something about Alice being a street kid in "our world" and I think I told you about my thing with those messed up homeless kids stories back in middle school) but I think I need a reread because I only vaguely remember. x.x
This is my reaction upon finally reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell's summary for the first time: LOLOLOL WHY SO FAB?! *is bricked* Yeah, er, gonna sneak this away from you during your stay to read it. =D
a;slkdfjal;sj warchild for $1.99 SO JEALOUS.

Laura (The Bookie Bunch) said...

Great books!

Here's what I got:

Have a great New Year!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

What a great group of books... I was going to pick out one that I liked but they all look pretty wonderful.

MarjoleinBookBlog said...

lovely books, enjoy!