Waiting on Wednesday #19 – “Darken the Stars”

We’ll only have to wait for a few more days…. FINALLY!


Title: Darken the Stars (Kricket #3)
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Pages: 302
will be published on September 8th 2015-

Expectation: DON’T RUIN IT!

What awaits us?

“Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.

As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.

As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.”

Why?

Have you read the Reviews on Goodreads? I’m really scared because Amy A. Bartol seems to have messed things up (in a good and a bad way). I don’t want to have everything in ruins (If I wanted that I could’ve just re-read the Hunger Games).
But still … I’m really eager to get all the answers to my questions.
My new mantra: … ignore the reviews on goodreads ignore the reviews on goodreads ignore the ….

What is your WoW-Pick this week? Let me know!

Gif from here.

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“Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill (breakingthespine) that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.”

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Similiar to “The Name of the Wind”? – They told me: “Read ‘Bloodsong'”. I did.

I’m sorry for disappearing for nearly a month. I’ve had exams and I couldn’t really get myself to write anything about .. anything, really.
Today, I’ll present you the book I’ve read after my “being-depressed-because-the-third-kingkiller-chronicle-book-isn’t-out-yet” – phase. … Okay, If I’m honest: It’s my latest obsession (K-POP) that drained all the energy from me (in a good way…I think.). But here you go.


Title: Blood Song
Author: Anthony Ryan
Pages: 591
Released: January 22nd 2012
Rating: 5/5 (Totally enjoyable)

Summary

The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order. [that’s the juicy “making someone a trained assassin”-Part]

Vaelin’s father was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the unified realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds.[Not that true. He just wanted to with his father, really. Not that “honour and justice”-Crap.] He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world. [Because he’s badass. BAM!]

Seriously? Another one? Why should I read the exact same story again?

That’s what you’re thinking. Another story of a hero, born out of abandonment and the will to strive to greatness … or at least something that sounds similar like that.


First of all – there is no glory or revenge that’s driving this main protagonist. It’s friendship, loyalty and the will to live. I’ve read this book after finishing “The Wise Man’s Fear” from Rothfuss, so I knew I shouldn’t be too disappointed if it sucked.
Guess what – It didn’t.
I really got into the story so quickly, I forgot the book I thought I would compare it to. It’s written very well, the characters are diverse and really, really interesting and there are always some mysteries which have to be uncovered.
Currently I’m on the third and final book on this series and I’m starting to confuse so many characters (the “Game-of-Thrones”-disease), because at one point you’ll pick your favourites and don’t really care about the others anymore. That’s a danger with creating a world with spotting every [damn] character, but I can live with it. The story makes up for it.
If you’re looking for someone as entertaining and shocking as “The Name of the Wind” but slightly less complex and more … rough, actually, than read this book!
… and yes, this is a gif of Assassins Creed. Deal with it.

See you soon.

Gif from here.

Sea of Stars (Kricket #2)

A few months ago the sequel of Under Different Stars was released and I’ve read it as fast as possible but didn’t really feel like reviewing it at once.
But now the fans of the Kricket-Series need to know what awaits them.

Title: Sea of Stars (Kricket#2)
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Pages: 320
Released: March 31st 2015
Rating: 3.5/5 ★

 picture and Summary by Goodreads.

What’s coming?

“Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.”

Opinion

It’s true. This book suffers from the “sequel”-disease. Before you read any further, you have to keep in mind that this Opinion will be full of spoilers (sorry). Just let me say that you should totally read the second book if you are a true fan and can handle a few downs.

Here’s why:

– The book is clearly just a “transition” to the third book and to make up for that Amy Bartol filled the book with so many cheesy scenes between Trey and Kricket, I couldn’t really take it that much longer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved that couple in the first book because the dosage of “Kricket-and-Trey-Moments” was perfect, but now it’s clearly an overdose. Sorry.

– Why is it an overdose? I mean, they are so cute and sweet and and and … because, they are running away from that psycho Kyon what feels like the whole book aaaand …. I’m not prude but seriously I don’t need 60 % of Trey and Kricket just making out while the world is being torn to shreds. In the beginning there was some confused fighting against them and then some others and … WHAT?! There was not much “story” in this book, it contained what felt like 2 days or so.

– BUT there was a great surprise (thank God, I would have been so disappointed if not!): Kricket’s little sister. Oh, yes. Kricket has a little sister who was taken away by Kyon (PSYCHO!). Yes, this was one huuuuuuge turn-around and I’m loving it! This adds a new spice to the mush, Amy Bartol … “created”. *sigh*

– … aaaand I still love the boys, Trey’s squad. Whatever happens, you need some funny lines from Jax. Or one of the others. Always.

Yeah, you can read it. I did. It wasn’t that bad. I just wished it would’ve been better.

Gif.

Why Beautiful Book Covers Are Dangerous

It starts with a glimpse. You didn’t intend to buy that book (in fact you didn’t intend to buy a book at all because you know you’re broke again) but you did. Why? I tell you, why.

After reading “Magonia” by Maria Dahvana Headley I was disappointed. If I’m honest it’s not because the story was bad (it wasn’t) but because it never had a chance to be this awesome as I want it to be.
We’ll take this book as an example (there are so many other beautiful-Cover-books out there but this one made me think about the difficulties of book covers). If you want to read the Review just click on the Cover (damn, it’s beautiful!)

There are the three stages of the “Beautiful-Book-Cover-Syndrom“.

1. You fall in love with the Cover  even though you haven’t really read the Synopsis on the back (yet).

This is where you can cure yourself quickly – if this book isn’t really your Genre or Type, in 80% of the cases you can convince yourself that you’ll be fine without it.
The remaining 20% are the dangerous ones because you assure yourself that experimenting with new kind of stories is always something good (is it? If you know you can’t read horror books without having sleeping problems and the Cover is dangerously beautiful… I wouldn’t pick the book. I’m stronger than that (or so I believe)).

2. You’ll open the first page at home (or “on the train”, “on your way to work” .. insert whatever you want) and start reading while your brain is singing “THIS WILL BE THE BEST BOOK (eveeeeeeeer)”


 You know … it’s not rational and not healthy for you or your expectations. You should’ve turned around and resisted that sweet temptation. …. You couldn’t. So you read and read and read and if this book is at least a good three out of five you won’t be THAT disappointed.

3. You start panicking because the “Awesome-Factor” hasn’t kicked in yet and you really want to love this book beyond anything.


It’ll be fine, you say to yourself, it’ll come. There will be something … something big and great and AWESOME that is going to make me love this book so hard! Nevertheless, your hopes will be shattered because you realise very quickly – at the end of the road there is just disappointment waiting for you.
I’m sorry.

4. Grieving or Denial. Or Anger. 

You reached the last page. You close the book. You stare at the wall with a blank expression. Yes. It’s true. This book wasn’t great. In fact, it was really bad.
Are you ready to admit that to yourself?

Come on.

… and after that you realise why beautiful book covers are dangerous. No one could’ve lived up to the irrational high expectations you were having after seeing the Cover, because your own imagination isn’t limited by words, number of pages or characters.
The next time you see a gorgeous book cover – you’ll have to resist.

… even though we both know, that won’t be the case.

Gifs are taken from here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

#QuickTip: “Cruel Beauty”

Because I’m currently sick and can’t really do anything without coughing and grabbing more tissues because of my runny nose, I’m doing this really enjoyable book in a #QuickTip.

“This house has many dangers. I cannot save you from most of them.”
I let go and forced a smile. “I wasn’t born to be saved.”


Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Pages: 342
Rating: 5/5 ★

Summary

“Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.”

by Goodreads.

Opinion

I just wanted something light and sweet for my train ride to University and I was totally surprised what whas hidden behind this beautiful Cover.
While “Beauty and the Beast” was my favourite Disneymovie when I was younger, I’m still excited to read anything in that direction. Fairytale-Remakes are annoying half the world but I’m still in love with them (If they are as enchanted and twisted and beautifu as the originals, of course).
This one didn’t disappoint me – I was absorbed by the story (I just wanted to read few pages and put it aside for later but NO WAY.) and I was delighted that I couldn’t put all the pieces together after 100 pages (what is typical if you read a fairytale-remake because you already know the story)
Many readers won’t approve of what I’m saying right now – but I loved the female protagonist, Nyx. She was bitter, she was cruel and she was already a little bit cracked. She wasn’t the perfect heroine but she was the best she could be. Nyx showed me that there are always the two sides to every person – dark and light (I don’t like the terms “evil” and “good”).
… and yes, I’ll admit it. The male character was intriguing as well *sigh*

An Ember In The Ashes

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Released:  April 28th 2015
Pages: 446
Rating: 4/5 ★


Summary

“What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape.


If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.”

from Goodreads.

Opinion

Phuuu, this book was something! It started out as confusing as it ended but I liked it.
Firstly, the way of writing is pretty good, you get a sense of all the brutality and violence surrounding the main characters Laia and the Mask Elias.

It reminded me very strongly of “The Young Elites” just with more violence and a significant part missing: Hope. I searched for it but everything the characters do or survive or live through seems to be … meaningless. There is just more blood, more desperation waiting for them (Okay, except the last ten pages).

This is the reason why I’ll take one star away from my rating – Hope should be worked into the story as an underlining common thread. Yes, clearly, I’ve enjoyed the read (to stay awake until 2am to finish this book is an obvious indication), but I’ve never seen the hope Elias and Laia are definitely having (everyone has hopes, right?) until the very end.

Never mind this disappointing flaw – everything else was superb. The brutality, the violence and the creepy ruler ship of that “Empire” scared the crap out of me (Even though I didn’t fully understand this political system…).
… and I loved that delicate romance going on between those very fascinating characters of Elias, Hel, Laia and that red-haired Resistance-boy (I forgot the name. He wasn’t that interesting I suppose).

Also, Laia really learned so much in that “short” time. At the beginning she was a coward but she managed to survive a brutal master and much more brutal treatment. I like strong characters that start out weak. It’s realistic that you’re scared and have to learn to become brave. So, thumbs up for this one!

Gif from here.

Love Letters To The Dead

Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Released:  April 1st 2014
Pages: 327
Rating: 5/5 ★

Summary

“It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. […]

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.”
from Goodreads.

Opinion

I should probably admit that it didn’t got me from the first page. I was warily and unconvinced because the main character – Laurel – was so young and I didn’t believe that I could connect with a 14-year old girl.
But I was wrong. This has nothing to do with age itself, more with “coming of age”  and the problem nearly everybody faces: to find yourself while you’re losing yourself in other people.
My english isn’t developed enough to describe the beauty of language, music and story in this book but I’ll try.
There are three things I really liked: The way Laurel spoke about music and art (the Letters she wrote to Kurt Cobain and Amy Whinehouse), the way she made me understand that music and biography of the artists aren’t two different things and how everything that’s broken can be fixed – not perfect & neat, but glued together and beautiful.

There are a few lines I’d like to quote:

” […] He plays the guitar so well, you wouldn’t believe it. But he doesn’t have a band. And he doesn’t try really hard to get one. He mostly plays alone in his room instead. That’s what Kristen says.
I think he does this for the same reason Hannah doesn’t turn in her work when the teachers say she is smart.
I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.”

Bam. There you have it. One of my biggest fears and it seems that everyone else is afraid, too.

This is just a tiny piece of what I was touched by and I really recommend you to look into this beatiful book.
Also, I’ve started to listen to Nirvana and Amy Whinehouse again, because I feel … connected.

However, the lesson I’ll remember from this book is simple: Don’t think about what life is supposed to be like and look at what it could become. Life is not perfect that’s what makes it so real.