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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I re-read this whenever I can
This is one of those books I can re-read -- I'm doing my review only now because I've just re-read it! As a reader who looks to learn from other authors, this is one story that taught me not only great lessons in writing technique, but also was a great read in weaving intense psych plotlines -- I couldn't put it down, I got lost in Katherine's world, as I did Alice, and...
Published on April 8, 2012 by Tamara J. Pratt

versus
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars UGH!
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere

Where to start...

There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. First lets start with the setting. For the most part the setting is unclear, ambiguous but then the main characters all go for this weekend holiday in a town located in New South Wales, Australia. I was...
Published on August 19, 2010 by Irish of Ticket to anywhere


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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars UGH!, August 19, 2010
By 
Irish of Ticket to anywhere (Central MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere

Where to start...

There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. First lets start with the setting. For the most part the setting is unclear, ambiguous but then the main characters all go for this weekend holiday in a town located in New South Wales, Australia. I was like...yes...finally a clear setting and one that makes the language of the book make sense. Australians just have a slightly different way of speaking than Americans - the cadences of words are just different. But then when the gang meets up with Ben - the author makes a point to say that he was Australian and that one reason why Alice dated him was for his accent. That just baffled me as by this point I thought they were all Australian. Then a few pages later Ben is telling a story and mentions when he first came to the state....and I just went huh? It didn't make sense since the only place that was ever mentioned was a place location in Australia - and living stateside you don't exactly make a weekend trip to Australia....especially when you're trying to keep things on the cheap.

Note: in talking with another blogger who read the Australian version of the book the setting was very clearly stated as Sydney, Australia...so it seems that for whatever reason the American publisher decided to try and remove those references.

But moving on...lets talk about sequence and the flow of time. This book has three distinct time periods in them and there is no real rhyme or reason to the authors jumping from one to another. The changes just became this jumbled mess for me which would knock me out of the story. I believe it was done as a way to try to heighten the suspense and make the thrills more thrilling as random bits and pieces of the past, present and future were revealed. But my suspense wasn't heightened the odd changes just annoyed me more than anything else. Especially during those times with the perspective of the book would change. For the bulk of the book the story was told in first person but every so often the I's would change to you's and it never really worked for me.

Then there is the plot.

The very first line tells you exactly what happens to Alice there is no suspense there. No shock. The story is just so flat and bland and I figured out what all the big reveals where before they were made official. The characters also all came across as flat and one dimensional. Alice was narcissistic and crazy and she appeared so form the start...she then just spirals out of control and it just doesn't ring true. Katherine is a girl trying to escape her past by forgetting it and when things get hard or rough she just turns her back on the darkness and tries to pretend it doesn't exist. This is not healthy behavior and not something that you want to do when the person you are trying to forget is crazy.

This book didn't work for me on so many levels and its not one that I can recommend. Beautiful Malice is also a book that is often billed as Young Adult but I don't get the YA vibe from it when I read it. The phrasing and the way the characters speak (in their bad dialogue scenes) is way more adult than teen. What about you...have you read Beautiful Malice? What did you think of it? Let me know if the comments below.

As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I re-read this whenever I can, April 8, 2012
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This review is from: Beautiful Malice (Kindle Edition)
This is one of those books I can re-read -- I'm doing my review only now because I've just re-read it! As a reader who looks to learn from other authors, this is one story that taught me not only great lessons in writing technique, but also was a great read in weaving intense psych plotlines -- I couldn't put it down, I got lost in Katherine's world, as I did Alice, and the ending ultimately showed a character who had grown in ways that one only can when life springs from regret and tragedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh My Books!: Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, September 20, 2010
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
Posted at: [...]

Katherine is a 17 years old girl who used to think only about her boyfriend and parties...until the day of her younger sister's death. She move out of her town, and now she's quite and wants to be alone.

But then she meets Alice and everything changes. She's so beautiful, popular and interesting, that they become friends very quickly. They are close and Katherine, slowly, starts to think of Alice as her best friend. She even shared her most deep secret...what happened the day her sister died. But Alice is mean, and sometimes acts like crazy. She hurts people for fun, and when Katherine decides she doesn't want to be friends with her, things start to get ugly.

The writing and the characters were amazing. I couldn't stop reading, and I felt as if Katherine was real, talking to me, telling me her story. I felt sad and angry for her, it was unfair. But life is unfair, and if she's teaching us something is that sometimes life is too hard, but you have to keep living.

And Alice is scary. She has some serious problems, besides being mean. I would freak out if she would start to follow me, threating me, calling my parents...It's scary because it's real. People sometimes acts like this, trying to scare you, hurt you or just bother you. You can't go anywhere because she's there, you have to turn off your phone, move out.

Sometimes sad, creepy, and shocking; it's a very intense story. At the first chapters you don't know what happened except that Rachel, Katherine's sister, is death. But then the story unfolds and in every chapter you learn something new. The story jumps from the present to the past and vice versa, so you know what's going to happen but you don't know how or why.

Overall, this book was amazing and I think you should definitely read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I have mixed feelings about this book, August 13, 2010
By 
Carla (Porto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
**contains spoilers**
I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, but I feel that the most important events in it lack in explanation, like I waited the whole book to be elucidated and then nothing happened. But let's start from the beginning shall we?

Beautiful Malice tells the story of Katherine, a seventeen-year-old who just moved to a new city and consequently to a new school. She's a loner until the day the exuberant, loud, kind-of-crazy, extremely beautiful, and that you know will do something really bad and die for it (this isn't an actual spoiler since the opening line of this book is I didn't go to Alice's funeral), (m)Alice invites her to her birthday party. After that they become close friends to the point Katherine trusts her with her demons: the family's tragedy concerning Katherine's baby sister Rachel. There's a lot of mystery around this subject since the beginning, and Katherine surely takes her time before sharing with the reader what the (hell) happened (for pity's sake!). Finally one discovers that it has to do with teenagers (and pre-teenagers, really) going wild with alcohol and getting a lift from strangers (you stupid, stupid, STUPID girls, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?), which makes needless to point out how bad this situation unfolds. But the mysteries don't end up here, (I have to admit the author knows how to keep you hooked...) and now that that one is unveiled, you just want to know what's the deal with Alice, what will that nutcase do, how will she die, and I'm betting all along it will be over the top tragic, chainsaw-messy, and that she'll totally deserve it. It wasn't.

In its whole this book kind of reminded me of a thriller/suspense, with absolute no familiar face actor or actress, low budget movie that sometimes it's on very, very late in generalist tv (and which I probably watched already). But while Beautiful Malice's premise might not be new, it sure tells an enthralling story about tragic, life-shattering events and the strength that is needed to pursue new beginnings, and if the (lack of) action disappointed me, the story itself did not. Above all things I enjoyed the fast-paced, direct writing style used in this, somehow it helps to keep and rise the reader's anxiety of what will happen next.

Recommended to teens everywhere, so they will know what (please) not to do in the (God forbids) same situations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, psychological thriller about a toxic friend, October 14, 2013
Beautiful Malice is about an unhealthy friendship that turns toxic and malicious. From its innocent beginnings getting to know a person, breaking them out of their shell and suddenly becoming BFFs, the novel takes an unexpected dive where the same friend becomes psychotic, co-dependent and downright scary. I haven't read any books that delve into the topic as deeply as Rebecca James has, and it is frightening because of how realistic it is.

Katherine has moved to Sydney with her parents to start a new life, away from the intense media scrutiny and reputation that has been built after her sister was murdered. She keeps to herself at her new school but one day, befriends the charismatic, beautiful girl called Alice. Alice is friendly and charming at the start, but slowly reveals her dark side as she spirals into self-destructive, malicious behaviour. This is the story of how Katherine escapes from a toxic friendship and Alice's evil clutches.

Beautiful Malice is an intense, addictive and compelling read. Alice is a truly psychotic character, going from sweet and friendly to scary and hurtful throughout the book. The dark depths to what she does to Katherine and Robbie in the book is horrific, and I couldn't tear my eyes away. I just needed to find out what was wrong with her and how it was all going to be resolved throughout the book. It's the type of book that tells us the ending at the start, and we sort of have to put the pieces together as we're reading the novel.

It was refreshing to see the focus of the novel to be on the friendship and the drama rather than the romance itself. Although there is a bit of insta-love, I'm sort of glad there was a bit of happiness in Katherine's life, after being subject to such a horrible friendship and past.

Published as a young adult book in 2010, I think this book more accurately matches up with the new adult genre today. The high school drama and romance takes a back seat and the book deals with some real, psychological issues such as toxic friendships, dealing with murder, teenage pregnancy and bullying. I think Rebecca James has done a fantastic job with the genre and proud to say that she's an Aussie author.

From its innocent beginnings, to finding happiness, to its inevitable crash and burn, Beautiful Malice was enveloping from start to finish. I found it scarier than a B grade horror movie, and that's how you know when a psychological horror is done well. Perhaps the scariest part of all is that I know people who have exhibited signs of what Alice has done, creating endless drama just for attention and her own self-satisfaction. I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers and new adult reads that aren't solely focused on the romance. Now if you excuse me, it's time to go to sleep with the lights on...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling and satisfying read., March 25, 2013
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This review is from: Beautiful Malice (Kindle Edition)
This story gripped me from the first page. The pace, characters and plot make it a thrilling and satisfying read that is hard to put down. I would recommend this book to Young Adults and beyond. I am now seeking out Rebecca James' next book, Sweet Damage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuine, real and creative, April 16, 2012
This review is from: Beautiful Malice (Kindle Edition)
I saw this book in the store a few years ago and was hesitant to buy it. I read the blurb and it just didn't entice me whatsoever. However, I did purchase this book and was pleasantly surprised. The plot is wonderful, creative and real. As an Australian myself it's not often that I find an author from my own country that I love. I have re-read this book multiple times and the excitement and enjoyment remains the same. The storyline is not dull, its a 'get in your face' book, not afraid to confront serious and traumatic circumstances. The author does not shy away from this. The novel is easy to relate to, realistic and makes you want to connect with the protagonist. When Katherine feels sorrow, the audience feels sorrow. When Katherine feels joy, the audience feels joy. When Katherine feels hopeful for a new beginning, so does the audience. This book is definitely special and one that I would highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Entertainment, July 12, 2011
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
I got this book randomly at a blowout sale when a local Borders was closing. I am an an avid reader and enjoy everything from the classics to the cheesy romance novels to super suspense thrillers. I had never heard of Rebecca James or this book so I had no expectations.

I really liked how the book jumped around in time and didn't just tell the story straight out. It made the puzzle come together nicely in the end. The story was captivating and it certainly kept me reading on page after page. I wouldn't call this the best writing out there. It's simple in a nonchalant kind of way. I think it's geared more towards teens than an older audience but I still enjoyed the book and the characters. I like how to story unfolded but as someone older than a teen (I won't say how old!!!), I was wishing more from a good story. But still, a very good summer read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Predictable, but I Couldn't Put it Down!, April 11, 2011
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
1 year ago, Katie Boydell was involved in an unspeakable tragedy. Weighed down by guilt and the cruel words of the media following the crime, she has changed her name to Katherine Patterson and started at a new school. Alice Parrie is charismatic, fearless, and exactly what Katherine needs. Flattered by Alice's attentions toward her, Katherine clings firmly to their budding friendship. Slowly Katherine's pain begins to ease, and she is able to confide in Alice her darkest secrets. But Alice has secrets of her own, and Katherine starts to recognize an ugly and bitter side to Alice--one that frightens her and threatens to destroy the small happiness that Katherine has worked so hard to keep.

As much as I really liked Beautiful Malice, I had Rebecca James's plot twists figured out less than halfway through the novel. I'm not sure if it was the author's intentions for the reader to figure out the truth of so many things so early on, or if I was just really sucked into the story and it caused my mind to work in overdrive to understand Alice and the motives behind her actions. Or maybe it was because this isn't the first novel out there which uses this plot device. Although nothing was much of a surprise for me, I liked the way the truth behind Katie's tragedy was weaved between chapters about her present existence. It was a slow build-up, but added to the tension and intrigue. They were devastating events, and written in haunting prose.

Katherine is a sympathetic character, and I had a hard time condemning her for her supposed role in her sister's accident. Like Katherine, I was completely fascinated with Alice and her independence, completing understanding at first why Katherine would want to be friends with her. Alice was the most fleshed out character, in my opinion. As I read, her visual image became clearer and clearer in my mind. Robbie is a sweet, gentle soul, though far more emotional and talkative than most 20-year-old males. He felt the least believable to me, but I couldn't help but like him anyway.

Beautiful Malice will be an enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers, devastating murders, and beautifully broken protagonists and antagonists. The ending, though predictable, was bittersweet and just what I had hoped for. Rebecca James plotted this out thoughtfully and with precision.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James, March 10, 2011
By 
Brianna Soloski (Las Vegas, NV United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Malice: A Novel (Hardcover)
Beautiful Malice - Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James is one of the best books I've read this year. A stunning debut novel, Beautiful Malice tells the story of Katherine Patterson (formerly Katie Boydell) and her life after the murder of her younger sister, Rachel. Wanting to move past it all, Katherine moves in with her aunt, in an effort to start her life over. Early on, she meets Alice, who befriends her by inviting her to her birthday party. Drawn in by Alice's persistence, Katherine agrees to go, not knowing what to expect. What she gets is a friendship with someone who is harboring so many secrets it could make your head spin.

As we go through the story, which is three different parts of Katherine's life - her life just before and as her sister is raped and murdered, her life after meeting Alice, and her life in present day - we are introduced to several other characters, including Alice's boyfriend Robbie, Phillipa and Mick. Katherine's relationship with each of them is intense, with good and bad moments for each.

I really enjoyed the way the story was written with the alternating chapters - it made things much more suspenseful and made me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next in each part of the story. The book kept me on my toes the entire time - I couldn't wait to keep reading to find out what happened. On the other hand, I also wanted to read slowly and savor it until the very end. The twists and turns were just perfect.

Watching Katherine grow into herself as she made new friends, met her boyfriend Mick, and found out she was pregnant was interesting. Despite all of the problems that Alice eventually caused for her because of the situation with her sister, Katherine handled things with grace. Although she certainly had moments when she was frustrated, she took things as they came, especially after meeting Mick. Finding someone that loved her the way he did really shaped who she became.

There were many happy moments throughout the story and they added a certain lightness to all of the sadness and loss that Katherine experienced - first, her sister, then Alice and Mick. But in the end, she finds happiness where she least expects it (which made me happy - I was rooting for her and Robbie the whole time).

I loved Mrs. James' writing style. She kept it simple, but with detail. I never felt like I was left out of anything, but not so included that it was overwhelming. Does that make sense? I guess what I mean is that there was just the right amount of detail and the storytelling wasn't overshadowed by any extraneous stuff. I look forward to more books from Mrs. James in the future.
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Beautiful Malice: A Novel
Beautiful Malice: A Novel by Rebecca James (Hardcover - July 13, 2010)
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