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.

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.

Waiting on Wednesday #7 – “Magonia”

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

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Expected Publication: April 28th 2015
Pages: 320

First thought

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Clicked on “Want To Read”! 
Wait a minute …. What is the book even about?

… I hope it’s worth the Cover.

Reading the summary and feeling like

“Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?”

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.

I haven’t read “Stardust” but I’ve read “The Fault In Our Stars” and damn, that book made me cry like a baby. If this book is even near to John Green’s masterpiece or the movie “Stardust” (which I love very much, so you better be good “Magonia”!)  – I’ll be so happy to discover a new story about destiny, love and some otherwordly stuff.
It reminds me of Trial By Fire. The main character suffers from a disease too and struggles to have a normal life – but then, she magically gets sucked in another world, where her “weakness” is actually Power.
We’ll see. But the Cover is still magnificent…

What is your opinion? Overrated? Underrated? What did you pick for your WoW?

Images via here and here and here

Waiting on Wednesday #6 – “Winter” (The Lunar Chronicles)

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

Title: Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Expected: TO BE AWESOME. If not, you better explain yourself, Marissa Meyer!

I’m just staring. Seriously. Something about this cover is so hypnotic .. I can’t explain it. Staring. Oh God, I should better keep this under control. You can read the summary to give you a little taste of what’s coming, I’ll stare in the meantime.

What is going to happen?

“When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen.”

“Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.” (Goodreads)

Why should you be as happy as I am?

All the ones who loved the Lunar Chronicles will understand. The others – well, you should probably catch up. I know, some people say they’re bad books and some people have different tastes or are a somehow insane (No. I’m serious. This books work just this way: You like them or you don’t. Fortunately, I do.)
I am SO going to love that book, because Cinder, Scarlet and all the others are gonna ***** the ***** out of that evil glamourous queen. Or, at least, I hope so.
… aand I love happy ends, okay, it shouldn’t be too “love, peace and harmony” but it would be nice, if the author finds the endings every character deserves.

I want it. Now.

That’s all I’ve got. So, what’s your opinion? What did you choose as Wow? Let me know!

Images via here and here and here

“A Wicked Thing (Sleeping Beauty)” by Rhiannon Thomas

As promised: I’m back and finished the book with the beautiful cover.

Title: “A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Released: February 24th 2015
Pages: 337
Rating: 3/5 ★


What’s the book about?

“One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.”

Opinion

I was really cautious with my expectations. It sounded and looked wonderful, but I wasn’t sure, if it could live up to the standards I’ve set the moment I saw the cover.
Never mind, this book is good. At least, it’s not bad. I’m really not sure, if I like it or not.
The Protagonist – Aurora – is always calm, thinking, dealing with this situation she’s trapped against her will. Apparently. She could walk away, the moment she wanted (she knows that) but she doesn’t.

We’re tossed into a kingdom, 100 years after Aurora went for her magical nap, were the throne is passed on (seemingly) every 20 years. Someone murders the old king and becomes the new king while the people are starving.
There are rebels, riots everywhere, cruelly punished by the King – Aurora’s future Dad-in-law.
The three “possible” interesting matches of Aurora are either a bitter rebel from the streets, the kind but rather clumsy Prince Rodric or the charming but smart Finnigan, Prince of a country behind the great ocean waves.
I couldn’t really connect to Aurora, because she was too calm. Yes, in the end she stood up (in her way) to the “bad guys”, but I expected rather a real spectacle not just hide and seek, if you know what I mean.
The problem is: I still haven’t figured out who is “good” or “bad”. Okay, I get it, who the bad guy is, but who can you trust?


One big flaw: Aurora does not know what she wants. She doesn’t really even try to find out. Someone who doesn’t know what he or she wants is basically someone who does not know who he is. Who is Aurora? (It’s okay to not know, what to do, but not know, what to want is really difficult for a character. She has no direction, no motivation and loses depth)
After finishing the book I asked myself just one question: What’s the point?

Despite these flaws, I enjoyed the book. I’m looking forward to the sequel.
“A Wicked Thing” should be recommended for those of you  who can bare a more silent, subtile book. .. Is it silly, to like Celeste, the Witch who cursed Aurora? Well, I do. Maybe you’ll do, too.
Read the book to find out.

Images via here and here and here.

#QuickTip #4 – “Nicholas Flamel”

English “QuickTip” below
          

“San Francisco 2007. Am helllichten Tag wird in Nick Flemings Buchhandlung unter Einsatz von Magie ein altes Buch gestohlen. Die Zwillinge Sophie und Josh staunen nicht schlecht, als der Buchhändler sich als der berühmte Alchemyst Nicholas Flamel zu erkennen gibt, geboren vor über 670 Jahren! Er hat einst das Geheimnis ewigen Lebens entdeckt und nun sind die Mächte des Bösen hinter ihm her. Ein atemberaubendes Abenteuer beginnt …”

(via hier)

Glücklicherweise ist diese Reihe bereits abgeschlossen, das heißt kein ewiges Warten auf den nächsten Band, sondern ihr könnt euch alle gemütlich hinsetzen und diese wirklich fantastischen Abenteuer genießen. Die Figuren, die euch begegnen werden scheinen aus jeder Mythe, jeder Kultur und jedem Märchenbuch zugleich zu stammen und ich kann euch definitiv versprechen, dass nicht nur die Cover euch gefallen werden!
Josh und Sophie sind wirklich außergewöhnliche Protagonisten, sie kämpfen nie nur stur gegen “das Böse”, sondern lernen immer mehr und sind nicht stupide, wie so manch andere weibliche Protagonisten!
Uralte Geheimnisse werden gelüftet und dabei kommt der Spaß und das Witzige auf jeden Fall nicht zu kurz.
Nachdem mich diese Reihe einige Jahre begleitet hat (Im Sinne von: “Ist das Buch schon in der Bücherei verfügbar?”), kann ich es nur allen anderen ans Herz legen. Nur so nebenbei: Da muss nicht nur eine Welt gerettet werden …
Ich glaube auch, dass diese Bücher nicht nur für Teenies geeignet sind – da ist noch sehr viel Luft nach oben.

Teil I: “Der unsterbliche Alchemyst”
Teil II: “Der dunkle Magier”
Teil III: “Die mächtige Zauberin”
Teil IV: “Der unheimliche Geisterrufer”
Teil V: “Der schwarze Hexenmeister”
Das Finale: “Die silberne Magierin”

5/5 ★

       

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Ever heard of “Nicholas Flamel”? …. I bet you did (if you haven’t read Harry Potter then go and be ashamed of yourself! This is common knowledge.) and are ready to dive into a whole new kind of story, where the twins Josh and Sophie discover ancient secrets, because the “nice-kind-of-neighbour-bookshop-owner” is actually one of the greatest Alchemyst’s of all time. Guess what, it’s awesome!

          

“Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects – the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.”

(via here)

These books are unique and I’m so glad that I’ve read them (in German, obviously, duuuh). The main protagonists Josh and Sophie are really as captivating and multifarious as each new character we get to know (and there are A LOT!). You meet all the mythical witches, gods and every creature you’ve feared in your nightmares, while the battle of “Good” and “Bad” (More like: “Let’s play an ancient game!”) is continuing. I loved it and would recommend it to everybody who’s not only in love with Fantasy but also with great kind-of-treasure-hunts, travel and a lot of twists and turns.
Get ready to accompany Josh und Sophie and that all-mysterious-but-very-cool Nicholas Flamel! … and by the way: There is more than one world to be saved… JUST READ IT!

          

“The Alchemyst” #1 / “The Magician” #2 /  “The Sorceress” #3 /”The Necromancer” #4 / “The Warlock” #5 / “The Enchantress” #6

Images via here and here and here and here and here and here and here

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) – Richelle Mead

4.5/5 ★

Unfortunately, I’ve started this series way before I even had the slightest wish to blog about books, but I love this series enough to write a blog post although not many people have read the last five Books.
At this point I should probably confess that I’m a huge Richelle Mead-Fan (I’ve read the whole Vampire-Academy-Cycle within a week. Yah. That’s called obsessing over something… You should thank Richelle Mead, because in these books Vampires aren’t sparkling or feeding from animals. No offense, I’ve liked twilight too until the movies destroyed everything there was.)
Enough jabbering, let’s get to the point!

Title: The Ruby Circle
Author: Richelle Mead
Released: February 10th 2015 by Razorbill
Price: 11,53 €
Pages: 348 pages

 Summary

“Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.” (aka Goodreads)

Opinion

I love them, I just do. At this point I can’t stay objective anymore. I’ve seen Sidney and Adrian, the main characters, evolve that much and the story never even comes near the danger to bore the reader (I have no idea how Richelle Mead manages that). There are always turns or new truths discovered that you hang on (In this particular book you are still frightened but after reading over ten books written by this author you kind of know, how she works. Still, there are surprises but -0.5 are for predictable  events) The only thing I struggled with this one: I was so damn curious about everything I sometimes couldn’t get myself to read it like you drink a good wine, not drinking hastily and enjoying every drop. Yah, that’s exactly not what I did.
I think I inhaled the story (I’ll re-read it soon, so I can notice all the little details!)
Definitely a book I would recommend, but everyone who already started the series will read it anyway..:D (Maybe I’ll review the previous five books but then I had to re-read A LOT!)

Images via here and here

Scarlet (A Robin Hood story) – by A. C. Gaughen

4/5 ★

Scarlet is a book I wanted to read for a veeeery long time. So, here we go!

Yes, I’ll admit it … one of the “I-love-the-cover-let’s-grab-it!”-Books. I mean, look at it! Every girl who loves stories about girls disguising themselves as boys because they’re so much smarter than everyone else will take this book back home.

What happens?

Scarlet is a thief, a pretty good one. Working hand in hand with Robin Locksley or better none for Robin the Hood and his two fellows Much and John (John Little), they steal from the rich and give it to the poor – so that they can pay their horribly high taxes to the cruel and mean and very, very bad Sheriff of Nottingham.
We are leaving Scarlet’s obvious eating disorder out and will deal with the real problem here. Some douche bounty hunter was hired by the unforgivingly very bad Sheriff to get the “band”, as they call themselves, caught or killed (killed, I think).
While Scarlet is the “every-time-someone-asks-questions-about-my-past-I’ll-hide-somewhere”-type, Robin tries to figure out how to save the people of this poor little town and how to get Scarlet to unravel herself. Turns out, there are way more secrets that you would’ve guessed.

Opinion

I really had to get used to Scarlet’s slang. I don’t know if this was really regular for the commoners but she was (actually) the only one talking like this. That was quite annoying but never mind, you get used to it very quickly.
Scarlet is a very fascinating character, with fascinating I mean: Sometimes you want to slap her though in some other moments you are just surprised how badly she wants to survive anything. It was clear from the beginning that she was hiding everything about her, but you get to enjoy the journey when she is talking about her past and you are trying to piece everything together.
The interpretation of John little was a bit confusing. In “Scarlet” he’s a lady killer and creeping me out, I can’t really say why but he is!
Robin, by the way, is just perfect. Cute, good-looking, handsome, charismatic, brave etc. but sometimes he has his outtakes (as Scarlet does – that’s why they fit together perfectly!). For God’s sake, tell Scarlet if you like her and Scarlet, get yourself together and figure out what you want.
What struck me most were the brutality and the big amount of blood that was shed. (For a girl’s book, let it be understood) It’s not the lovely tale of Marian and Robin, where you can turn everything into a happy ending – it’s the story of starving, desperate people who need a hero like “Robin Hood.”
I liked it, but I was missing the spark. Sometimes everyone gets so whiny or the story is stagnating and last but not least: No kissing. … and I mean, no kissing of the people who should kiss! … I know, I know, that’s so girly.

All good things must end: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Book #3) – Leigh Bardugo

5/5 
It’s over. So sad. One of the books I want to continue reading until … until I’m nothing but dust. Okay, now I’m definitively exaggerating! But still, I’m so glad that I’ve read this trilogy. Let’s get to the review, shall we?

 There will be no summary this time because I think if you’ve read Shadow and Bone and the sequel Siege and Storm, there is no need for a summary. This book is the last one and a brilliant conclusion of the series.

I was really afraid how the author will entangle all these hints and I am relieved to admit, that Leigh Bardugo solved it perfectly.
Alina is more and more struggling with her power, with the burden on her shoulders and the dark thoughts that’ll come every night. They still need to find the third amplifier to defeat the Darkling, but while the story gets darker and darker and their path is covered with more and more loss, they don’t give up. Mal is the centre of this undaunted hope. There was a quote in the story, I can’t really piece it together but it was something like “hope is like water, it always sneaks through”. This describes perfectly their situation.
You get to like the characters even more, even Zoya, that spoiled powerful beast, who can be quite helpful when she wants to be.
The showdown is … I can’t say, that I’ve expected more because I didn’t really know, what I was expecting, but it was adequate. I won’t spoil the ending but I’m glad it ended this way.
His writing is as terrific as in all the books before. I know, I haven’t really mentioned his writing or the concept of his story because I was so distracted by the storyline. I’m sorry. But all I can say is that he knows how to touch the readers heart with his characters (I’ll admit that there was an incident when I wanted to flush the book down the toilet because I thought something really, really bad has happened. Anyway. He made up for it. Fortunately.) and make them as human as possible without losing their essential traits to make the story come alive. (And all the characters still manage to be funny. Kind of. Fascinating.)

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Book #1) – Leigh Bardugo

5/5 ★

Actually, I wanted to review “Alera – Zeit der Rache” but after I (finally) finished it I was so bored out of my mind, I couldn’t waste anymore time on that really below-average sequel. I’ve never skipped so many pages before, all I wanted to do was strangle everyone. EVERYONE. Thank God it’s over. There is nothing worse than a stupid main character. Nothing!
Now let me get to the good part.

         369 pages, 7,95 € Kindle

 What’s happening?
The story takes place in Ravka, a very icy country with slight russian touch, which is divided by the Fold (insert dramatic music), ” a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh”. Sounds jolly, doesn’t it?
Alina and Mal are two orphans who grew up together (and she has a serious crush on him ever since). They serve in the First Army of the King. But one day Alina discovers that she has some really awesome powers (when her ship was attacked and her best friend Mal was in deadly danger) – she is a sun sommoner.
The Grishas, another word for snobby and spoiled magicians, who can heal or summon fire or do some other crazy stuff, take her under their wings. Especially the Darkling, the most powerful Grisha of all time. He can summon pure darkness (If that’s not cool, I don’t know what it is).
Apart from Mal she learns to fight and to control her powers and grows more and more fond of that good-looking Darkling, who wants to destroy the mold with her powers, so that there can be peace and blablabla.
But as always there are some very dark secrets…

Opinion:

I loved it. Every single word of it. As I am an admirer of the russian language (I have no clue why, actually. My mom is from a slavic country, maybe that’s it?) I love to read about anything that only seems to be slightly russian.
Alina is an outsider, always was and that’s why I like her so much in the first place. She isn’t shallow as others or pretentious or dumb (sorry), she follows her heart and tries hard. The reader is Alina at some point, you get sucked in so badly that after finishing the book you finally remember that you are actually sitting at home and not fighting in the colds of Ravka.
You are also enchanted by this world of magic and rough reality at the same time (yes, it sounds like a contradiction but it’s not). I am eager to catch up witch the sequel. Tomorrow, another train ride is due. I’m already too excited to sleep.

ps: I hope my grammar isn’t that bad.