Dienstag, 26. September 2017

Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map--the key to a legendary treasure trove--seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.
More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My opinion: Yeah, my book from the april box. I'm getting it, you see? Actually I'm reading the book from June, so it seems like I am catching up. yeaay.
To be honest, especially this book was very short with a little more than 300 pages, but still.
And it was also a fast read because it was pretty good. It was a very refreshing version of a YA novel. Alosa is a fierce, self confident and very barefaced main character. She knows the pirate life and has no problem with being brutally if it is necessary. But she's also really funny, so Mrs. Levenseller gets the balance just right.
In the story Alosa must fake her own capture and pretend to be a prisoner as she hunts down the map piece on board a ship led by Draxen, a ruthless young captain. His brother Riden keeps an eye on her and I really loved the exchange of blows between those two.
Also a good point were the mythical creatures in the plot. With all the shiny mermaids in the Disney stories one easily forget the sirens, a more dark version of the mermaid.
Beside from Alosa I love characters like Enwen. How brilliant is he? He would definitely my first choice when it comes to arrange a crew.

There was only one thing I found strange while reading this book. Alosa gets scanned many times but still everytime the men overlook something or Alosa succeeds with another trick to break out of her cell. It's ridiculous how often she manages her breakout.

But disregarding this little remark, I really loved the story. It was refreshing and I often bursted out laughing while reading. So I can't wait to read the second book!

The cover is fitting and when I look at Alosa she really reminds me of a female Jack Sparrow. And for obvious reasons the title is a good choice as well.

Would you read this book again? Oh yes :)

Mittwoch, 20. September 2017

Caraval - Stephanie Garber

Summary:  Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

My opinion: Isn't it gorgeous? This cover is soooo beautiful I can't stop staring at it. I don't know if one can see it on this photo but the blue star behind the word Caraval twinkles. So great. I have a thing with beautiful cover designs. Maybe I mentioned this before already. Hihi.
The book was part of my february Owlcrate Box with the theme Run Away With The Circus. And I can say that Caraval isn't really a circus, but still it matches perfect with this theme.
Caraval is a game that takes place on a different location every year. And you never know the target of this years game until you enter it. The winner of this game gains a wish.
Scarlett wanted to see Caraval ever since because she wants herself and her sister to escape from their abusive father at least for a few days. But she never got an answer to all her letters from the Master of Caraval.
Finally, when she nearly accepts that she will never see the game, she gets an invitation.
And when she enters the game she enters a world where a dress costs desires, fears or even days of your life. Where a simple drink can cost you the ability to see colors. It is more magical and more impressive that she could have imagined. But Caraval is also dangerous. Nothing is like it seems and one of the biggest warnings says:

So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.

I tell you, I really love the book. I definitely got swept away in this magical world. It was like a mixture of Alice in Wonderland and The Hunger Games. After a few pages I didn't know, who to trust and what to expect from the characters. One minute you think you have the story and the characters all figured out, the next minute the storyline takes you on a completely different direction! There were just so many twists, turns, and puzzles. Maybe even a little bit too much of it in the end. But that is my only complaint. (Despite the fact that it was ridiculous to me, that Scarlett always wears dresses while playing the game, searching for clues and following hints. But well...maybe it was for the kind of glamour atmosphere.)
As a plus the book has also a beautiful design on the inside. Every new chapter starts with ornaments and floral design and for example everytime Scarlett recieves a letter, it is printed like a real letter in the book. Those details often make the difference, don't they?

The greatest part of the story was the constant breeze of danger and behind the words. You never know if this is only a magical game or wether there is more behind it.
So I couldn't stop reading and the end didn't make it any better. Such a huge cliffhanger, oh man....

So I'm looking forward to book number two.

Would you read this book again? Yes.

Dienstag, 19. September 2017

Durch alle Zeiten - Helga Hammer

Elisabeth ist eine einfache Frau aus den österreichischen Alpen. Mit siebzehn Jahren verliebt das Mädchen mit dem Madonnengesicht sich in einen jungen Mann aus angesehener Familie. Diese Liebe darf nicht sein und lässt doch beide ihr Leben lang nicht mehr los. Klar und tiefbewegend schildert Helga Hammer eine archaische Bergwelt, geprägt von harter Arbeit und gesellschaftlichen Zwängen, von den 50er Jahren bis in die Gegenwart.

Meine Meinung: Nach einigen Wochen habe ich mal wieder ein paar Leseproben bei Vorablesen inhaliert und ich habe mich so sehr gefreut, als die Mail kam, dass ich ausgerechnet dieses Buch gewonnen habe. Die Leseprobe hat mich sehr angesprochen und wie ihr wisst mag ich es ja immer noch viel lieber, wenn die Geschichte auf wahren Begebenheiten beruht. Das ist hier der Fall.
Gewechselt wird zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart im Leben von Elisabeth. Man lernt sie als fröhliches, offenes und zuversichtliches junges Mädchen kennen. Im Vergleich zu ihrem älteren Ich, das durch das Leben auf den Boden der Tatsachen geholt wurde. Durch einige impulsive Entscheidungen in Elisabeths Leben ist bei weitem nicht alles so gelaufen, wie sie es sich ausgemalt hat und oft droht sie schier zu verzweifeln von Sorge um das Geld, um die viele Arbeit, um ihre Kinder, um ihren gewalttätigen Mann. Doch eine Konstante gibt es in ihrem Leben. Eigentlich zwei. Ihre Jugendliebe Niklas und ihre Heimat, die Bergwelt. Beide erhalten sie aufrecht.
Ein Roman, der unter die Haut geht.
Der einen mit der Frage konfrontiert, wie viel Zukunft eine Beziehung hat, in der man nicht mit ganzem Herzen liebt. Wie sehr sollte man sich den gesellschaftlichen Konventionen beugen? Man einen Ansehen glücklicher, als die Person, die man eigentlich liebt?

Sehr schön wird hier aber auch gezeigt, dass das Arbeiten früher noch anders war. Zum einen war es viel einfacher, eine Arbeit zu finden, zum anderen wurde aber auch härter gearbeitet. Im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes hat man sich den Buckel krumm geschuftet. Erst gestern habe ich ein sehr interessantes Gespräch mit meiner Oma darüber geführt. Ich habe ihr von dem Buch erzählt und dass es einen nachhaltigen Eindruck auf mich hatte und sie hat mir erzählt, wie sie früher gearbeitet hat. Das war schon sehr interessant und lässt mich stark an mir zweifeln, wenn ich bedenke, wie oft ich schon nach 8 Stunden Schreibtischarbeit stöhne.

Am faszinierendsten für mich war ganz klar, dass Elisabeth niemals ihren Lebensmut verloren hat. Durch alle Zeiten hat sie sich durchgekämpft (daher finde ich den Titel auch unsagbar passend und wunderschön), die Zähne zusammen gebissen und immer irgendwoher Kraft geschöpft, um weiter zu machen. Um so berührender war das Nachwort der Autorin - die offenbar eine Freundin von der im Buch beschriebenen Elisabeth ist - für mich. Eine sehr inspirierende Frau mit einem bewegten Leben.

Das Cover finde ich ebenso wunderbar wie den Titel. Der Ausschnitt eines Schwarz-Weiß Fotos einer tanzenden Frau vor einem farbigen Hintergrund. Zeigt den Wandel der Zeit und zeigt Elisabeth, wie sie ihr Leben gelebt hat. Immer in Bewegung.
Ein tolles Buch!

Würdest du dieses Buch erneut lesen? Jaaaa :)

Dienstag, 12. September 2017

RoseBlood - A.G. Howard

Summary: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

My opinion: I can tell I was so excited to read this book from my january Owlcrate box. The theme was Classic Remix and once I saw the book I was sooo happy because I am really fond of The Phantom Of The Opera - both, the film and the book. But maybe my expectations were a little bit too high.
As in the book Of Fire And Stars I read a few weeks ago, the story starts with a young lady - Rune -  who has a special gift. Or curse, however you might call it. Once she hears music she must sing, otherwise she becomes ill. But when she sings, she feels ill, too. Her mother doesn't know how to help her daughter and so she sends her off to a music school in France. RoseBood. I'm sorry, but that's a stupid name for a school, isn't it?
When Rune arrives at RoseBlood she soon sees a young boy who apparently isn't one of the students. Day by day she gets more nervous because she read that RoseBlood is built on the former place of the opera house of the real Phantom Of The Opera. Is it possible that the Phantom still lives? Maybe the Phantom want to lure her? Her school uniforms disappear and one evening, there is an invitation on her desk in the room. An invitation for an infamous rave club in Paris. People say that everyone who visits this club has lost memory of what has happened there...
But when she finally met Thorn, the young guy she suspected to be the Phantom earlier, everything changes. Rune and Thorn have a special connection at once but there is a problem. Erik, Thorns father, is the real Phantom and he needs Rune for a maniacal plan.

I like the idea of the story and the paranormal twist but there are also so many things I couldn't quite get along with. For example: Rune and Thorn often meet each other at the graveyard. Why for heavens sake is there a graveyard on the school area. There is no reason but making the story a little bit more creepy. Then Thorn wears a mask, like his father. But of course he has no scars or incinerations. He says it's better for him so everybody thinks he is the Phantom but he stays hidden like his father so it makes no sense for me. Then there are the new friends Rune get to know at RoseBlood. I like them very much, they are funny and understandable, BUT one of the names is Sunflower Summers. Even if it would be a stage name it would be horrible. She is called Sunny by her friends but sorry, that doesn't change anything. I know it's a dram but I can't get over it :D. And it's the same thing with the Phantom Of The Opera owning a rave club in Paris. A rave club? No! That simply doesn't fit for me. I know it is a modern retelling but it should match with the original figures.

Nevertheless the writing was beautiful. A.G. Howard has a talent for catching this especial atmosphere around the Phantom story.

He'd walked as a ghost in the gloomy bowels of this opera house for so Long, darkness had become his brother, which was fitting, since his father was the night, and sunlight their long forgotten friend.

She also did a lot of research for the book. I can't tell the ins and outs because I don't want to spoil anybody but she fugured out a lot about the role models for the original Phantom Of The Opera story and I really appreciate that. I also like Rune and Thorn as single characters. When they are together, it is a little bit too soppy for me. Even there, saying that they are meant for each other is not enough for me.

The title only fits because it's the name of Runes music school and as I said before, I don't know why a school needs such a terrible name. It's the same Thing with the cover. Why picture a girl with the mask of the Phantom. Maybe it should be Rune, but she never wears a mask in the book.

So you see, I am not quite happy with this book and I'm sooo sad about it. I wanted to like it :(
Did anybody recognize such problems after reading a book?

Would you read this book again? No, I don't think so.