In my mailbox is a meme that can be found over at The Story Siren, intending to share any books bought/gifted/borrowed over time. I’ve decided to post these on Wednesdays sporadically, with the intention to  share what I’ve got my hands on recently. Thanks to primarily Goodreads and Amazon for blurbs and covers. Links provided if you’re interested in buying any of the books, or reading a few reviews.

*tugs collar* Um.. right. I wasn’t quite expecting to have one of these posts out this week but.. Tah dah! In my defense, 3 I won (thank you very kindly to Rowena Cory Daniels!), 3 are for Dan (though I might give them a read sometime, myself), and 2 I have been looking for for a while. Right, good, glad that’s sorted. Wise Man’s Fear has been ordered too, so big squee!

The King’s Bastard (King Rolen’s Kin #1) – Rowena Cory Daniells

The Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours of new Affinity Seeps, places where the untamed power wells up. By royal decree all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Ab­bey, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Elsewhere others are tainted with Affinity and must fight to survive. Political intrigue and magic combine in this explosive first book in an exciting new fantasy trilogy.

Genre: Fantasy

I’ve had this one on my wishlist for a little while, so when I noticed an international giveaway over at drey’s library, I jumped at the chance. I’m really interested in reading this one. There were, I believe, 4 giveaways in total, and I won the third. I want to say I got lucky but that happened to be the one with only a handful of entrants so I’ll guess that was why (I don’t have much faith in my winning capabilities, Charlie Sheen would hate me). There was the choice between any of the 3 in the trilogy, I picked this one because I haven’t read any yet. Lovely speedy response from Rowena, as well.

The Last T’En (Last T’En Trilogy #1) – Cory Daniells

As the marauding Ghebite army storms her island kingdom, one of the last survivors of the legendary T’En defies the invaders – and becomes the last hope for her people.

Imoshen makes a formidable opponent for the infamous Ghebite conqueror, General Tulkhan. Trained in the ancient arts of war and diplomacy, she has inherited the dark magical powers of her T’En ancestors. According to legend, their wine-dark eyes can see into a man’s soul.

To win back her kingdom, Imoshen must learn to harness the mysterious gifts long forbidden to her. But first she must convince General Tulkhan that a T’En princess is more useful to him alive than dead.

Just as she gains his trust, Reothe, leader of the rebel forces and once Imoshen’s betrothed, forces her to make a terrible choice. Pure T’En, Reothe has learnt to exploit his powers fully. With the last T’En princess at his side, he would be unbeatable.

To save her people Imoshen must choose between her past and her future…

Genre: Fantasy Romance

At least I presume this is fantasy romance from what I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter what it is, really, this and the book below were both added in the package with The King’s Bastard, also free of charge, out of good will. It was a nice surprise to open the parcel and find 2 more books than I was expecting and whatever the reason they were included, I’m very happy they were. The premise of the novel sounds interesting, and I look forward to reading this one as much as the one above! Much love to Rowena.

Dark Legacy (Last T’En Trilogy #2) – Cory Daniells

Genre: Fantasy Romance

I decided not to include the blurb for this one as it’s the second in the series (I really don’t need to keep doing that). I’ll presume the majority of you will either have read it and know, or won’t have and won’t want to pick up any spoilers. So it’s not here. I’d also like to mention that I love Rowena’s cover art. The girl on this one reminds me a little of the Neverending Story – I think it’s the head jewellery.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones #1) – Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones Diary follows the fortunes of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement. Cheered by feminist ranting with her friends Jude. Shazzer and ‘hag-fag’ Tom, humiliated at Smug Marrieds’ dinner parties, crazed by parental attempts to fix her up with a rich divorcee in a diamond-patterned sweater, Bridget lurches from torrid affair to pregnancy-scare convinced that if she could just get down to 8st 7, stop smoking and develop Inner Poise, all would be resolved.

Genre: Chick Lit

But you knew that already, right? I’ve loved the Bridget Jones films for years. I think I first saw it when I was about 14 or 15, and I never got around to reading the books. I’d picked up The Edge of Reason in the charity shop a fair few months ago, I’d been looking out for a not-too-tatty, paperback copy of the first one without the movie cover since then. I relied a little on the fact that I’ve seen so many bloody copies of Bridget Jones that it was bound to show up eventually, so I snapped it up today. I can finally read the books.

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister — and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

Genre: Fiction

I’m kinda hesitant to call this chick lit, because I think of chick lit as being slightly humorous romance stories. This isn’t that at all. And I have a real soft spot for these kinds of heart-wrenching stories. I’ve wanted to read this one for a while, so I was pretty happy to find it in the shop today. I know Jodi Picoult’s writing style is good, I read one of her books in my teens, so I hope to read this one soonish.

What’s Cooking Indian – Shehzad Husain

This comprehensive and inspirational cookbook features authentic cuisine from all over India. Chapters include meat and fish, vegetables, breads and grains, snacks and side dishes, and desserts. Balances exciting new ingredients and recipes with a wide selection of traditional favorites. Includes 120 easy-to-follow recipes, each illustrated with full-page color photographs. The What’s Cooking series also includes: Baking, Barbecue, Chicken, Chocolate, Chinese, Italian, Low Fat, Pasta, and Vegetarian.

Genre: Non-fiction/Cookery

Yeah, okay, I don’t really like cooking, this was one of the books I technically bought for Dan, who is a brilliant cook. I hate cooking. Though, when I’m forced to, it is very nice to have recipe books to hand. I love Indian food, so this one grabbed my attention a little. This one, and the two below, were bought for Dan. Of course, I might give them a read some day, but I had him in mind when I bought them.

The Coldest Winter – David Halberstam

Up until now, the Korean War has been the black hole of modern American history. The Coldest Winter changes that. Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures — Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. At the same time, Halberstam provides us with his trademark highly evocative narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order.

At the heart of the book are the individual stories of the soldiers on the front lines who were left to deal with the consequences of the dangerous misjudgements and competing agendas of powerful men. We meet them, follow them, and see some of the most dreadful battles in history through their eyes. As ever, Halberstam was concerned with the extraordinary courage and resolve of peopleasked to bear an extraordinary burden.

The Coldest Winter is contemporary history in its most literary and luminescent form, and provides crucial perspective on the Vietnam War and the events of today. It was a book that Halberstam first decided to write more than thirty years ago and that took him nearly ten years to write. It stands as a lasting testament to one of the greatest journalists and historians of our time, and to the fighting men whose heroism it chronicles.

Genre: Non-fiction/History

Vermilion Gate – Aiping Mu

Through the clear eyes and rather dispassionate voice of Aiping Mu is revealed her family’s story and the idiosyncrasies, privations, optimism and horrors of life in 20th-century China. Now in England, where she has gained a PhD, Aiping has land-owning forebears–a fact which would haunt her family after the rise of Communism. Her parents were early converts to Communism who were given senior status by the Party only to be later persecuted, imprisoned and tortured during the Cultural Revolution when even combed hair was considered a sign of a hated bourgeois intellectual. Aipings childhood was privileged, but her teenage years, when she joined the Red Guard, a struggle. By the time she was recruited to the army and achieved a university place to study medicine, she had endured years of political persecution, humiliation, family separations and rural starvation. Her adult life was made miserable by a disastrous marriage and the painful disintegration of her family.

Vermilion Gate seems unsparingly honest about Chinese society, the traumatic breakdown of a family and Aipings ultimate loss of faith in Communism. It describes a world which, to Western eyes, at times seems almost that of a folk tale it is so unfamiliar. A work of biblical proportions, reading this saga requires a degree of stamina, but the committed will be enriched by a far greater understanding of the culture and history of this totally different world.

Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir