When I first got accepted into HerCampus (after months of waiting and an assumption that I didn’t get in), I didn’t realize just how awesome this blog community was. Through HerCampus, I virtually met Kayla from Caught Between the Pages, and smiled with giddyness because in the midst of all of the fashion, beauty, future mother, newlywed, college party life blogs, I felt like I finally found another blogger who understood my love for books! Kayla thought of an absolutely brilliant idea for a creative bookworm blog post. She suggested that we share some of our favorite books with each other, and out of the ones that the other hadn’t read, we would look at their book covers and try to guess what the book was about.
Kayla picked some awesome books, or I assume they’re awesome because I haven’t read them yet, and I hadn’t ever heard of any of them either, but the book covers look pretty intriguing. We had to go against the old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and make assumptions about each of the books purely based on their covers. Here are the books that Kayla chose and my predictions of each of the books’ plots.
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
The cover shows a young girl with a backpack on walking out of the forest and toward the city. Maybe the name of the book is a play on the fifth generation of a kind of people. These people have lived in the forest for years, and this particular generation is eager to live in the real world with other people, particularly in the city. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The review on the cover says “Unlike anything I’ve ever read,” which really doesn’t help me. Since there is a castle on the front, I’m thinking maybe it’s a Snow White-esque story. Maybe there is a jealous step-parent or aunt or uncle who is jealous of their younger family member, and they want to rule the kingdom. Since there are thorns and branches, maybe this is symbolic of the “forest” that the younger family member is ostracized to. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce
This is a very elaborate book cover. I could go anywhere with this. The white creatures in the back are obviously evil, and the guy holding the gold thing (probably Nicholas St. North) is the protector of the younger girl, possibly her father, and possibly the ruler of a kingdom. Maybe the white creatures are followers of the Nightmare King mentioned in the title, and they were sent to bring down Nicholas St. North. Nicholas is forewarned of their coming, and has to find the gold thing in order to defeat the Nightmare King. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This looks like it would be a typical teen love story. Since they’re both wearing headphones, I’m going to assume that they are brought together by music. It’s a really cute cover! I feel like I would enjoy this book, just by the look of the cover. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
It looks like this is part of a series called The Goblin Wars, and at the bottom, a review says “Ancient Irish myths and legends mix and mingle with the modern world in this fast-paced fantasy.” So I’m assuming that it has to do with a war involving goblins. It looks like the figures are about the size of flowers in the forest, so maybe these goblins live in the forest undetected by humans who assume that their presence is just a myth. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Every Day by David Levithan
On the front, it says “Every day a different life. Every day a different body. Every day in love with the same girl.” Since both the guy and the girl are flying around, I’m going to assume that this is symbolic of a soul. Maybe the guy travels into a different body every day. The words make it seem like he lives a different life every day. Somehow he always seems to be attracted to this one girl, and maybe the book is a focus on how he can figure out how to stay in one body in order to be together with the girl. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
The cover of this book is kind of eerie. Maybe the girl has some sort of magic power. Maybe she can travel into people’s dreams and often causes them nightmares. The front has the word “Spellbinding” in it, so I’m definitely thinking that she’s some sort of witch or something. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
Deadline by Chris Crutcher
Well, on the front, it says “What if you only had one year to live…and you knew it?” So I’m guessing it’s about a guy (since it’s a guy on the front) who has been diagnosed with some sort of terminal disease that is going to cause him to die in a year (or it could be about a guy who committed a crime and he’s sentenced to the death penalty in a year, but he’s in the sunshine, so we’re going to go with the former). I’m thinking he’s in high school, because the guy in the picture looks kind of younger. So I’m sure it’s just about him trying to fit in a bucket list of things to do in the next year before he dies. Read the actual synopsis of the book here.
It was a lot of fun guessing the plots of these books even though I was definitely way off on almost all of them (apart from Every Day and Deadline. Kinda). Be sure to look at Kayla’s prediction on my blog.
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents
author : Joe Brusha
pages : [hardcover] 230
The creators of Grimm Fairy Tales and Return to Wonderland bring you a dark new addition to the Grimm Universe. Pan never wanted to grow up and now he’s found the key to immortality and a way to rule the realm of Neverland forever. All he needs is a steady supply of children to complete his sinister plans. Once a magical paradise, Pan has reshaped Neverland into the ultimate nightmare for any child unlucky enough to visit. Only one child has ever been able to escape. Now as an adult, Hook may be the only person who can put a stop to Pan’s madness.
I’ve always loved the story of Peter Pan and lately I’ve been trying to get my hands on every retelling out there. I thought that this would would be a nice twist to the already altered story because this is a graphic novel instead of a regular story. The summary was more than enough to gather my interest though I think the overall execution of the idea was nothing short of disappointing.
What the weak plot couldn’t make me forget was the hyper sexualized images of every single female introduced into the story. Completely unnecessary, of course, and almost enough to make me put this down without finishing it. Knowing that the library I picked this up from had this in the YA section made it worse, too, because of the grossly disproportionate female bodies, accompanied by as little clothing as possible. It was disgusting. What makes it worse is knowing I like this comic book format but won’t be able to enjoy it because of the way girls in general are portrayed. When Wendy is fighting for her life, the author even goes so far as to explain that the only reason she’s effective is because she needs to save her kids. No explanations needed for the men who’ve never been in fights before, of course.
I really didn’t like this book. Even getting over the images the plot was nothing unique. I’ve read evil Pan stories before and this one was more predictable than scary. At least in other tales where he feeds on the youth of children there are better characters and action, even if the plot is basically the same. Before reading this I considered getting other books, companions to this in the Grimm Fairy Tales Presents series, but I think I’ll leave this art and this writing alone and try to find something much more enjoyable to spend my time on.
Snow White, Blood Red
editors : ellen datlow & terri windling
pages : [hardcover] 367
Once upon a time, fairy tales
were for children . . . But no longer.
You hold in your hands a volume of wonders — magical tales of trolls and ogres, of bewitched princesses and kingdoms accursed, penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day. But these are not bedtime stories designed to usher an innocent child gently into a realm of dreams. These are stories that bite — lush and erotic, often dark and disturbing mystical journeys through a phantasmagoric landscape of distinctly adult sensibilities . . . where there is no such thing as “happily ever after.”
I really wanted to read this book because it was a collection of retold and twisted fairy tales and I’m obsessed with books like that! I felt like that would be no different, that I’d love the stories in this book, but I ended up feeling like most of them were mediocre at best.
I did like how some of the stories focused on the less well-known fairy tales, so even if I didn’t know the specifics of those stories I could always see the fairy tale feel of the writing. Yet a lot of it didn’t click for me. I felt like most of the tales were supposed to have a darker feel than what actually came off for me and that didn’t really sit well with me. I wanted more, something that most of the writing in this anthology didn’t give me. Some of the parts that were intended to be shocking thus ended up being bland.
One distraction that I had during this book were the amount of mistakes and typos in it! Several times in each story I noticed misspellings or bad punctuation. In a finished copy of a book like this, when it isn’t even the first edition published, shouldn’t have that many errors.
I think that if you’re looking for good fairy tale retellings, even of the darker sort, you can skip this anthology and look elsewhere for something better and more worth your time. I do think that people would enjoy some of the books in this collection so perhaps that might draw more people to this anthology even if all of the stories didn’t meet my expectations.
If you like this book, you might also like Steampunk! or Teeth: Vampire Tales
Jane Austen’s World: The Life and Times of England’s Most Popular Author
author : maggie lane
pages : [hardcover] 144
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of the world’s most popular novelists, a sharp and witty writer whose stories enchant on their own and in numerous film and TV adaptations. Jane Austen’s World takes a look at the woman behind the literature, revealing her private life and examining the world she inhabited—a time when England was developing into a colonial power, the Napoleonic Wars raged, and the Regency took hold. No other book truly captures Austen’s spirit as well.
I was so excited to read this book! First of all, Jane Austen is a fantastic author and I’ve been trying to read more of her work. Now I’ll be able to read the rest of her novels with all of this background information about her life and the time period that she was living in. I think that this is an important read for any Jane Austen fan or just someone who wants to understand her writing better. Maybe you could read one of her books, read this, and then see what new information you pick up after during a reread of your favorite of her novels.
There’s so much in here that I never really thought about but realize, maybe belatedly, was exceptionally important to the people in that time and thus to the characters she was writing. While of course people enjoy her writing as it is because she still has fans everywhere, there’s so much history and information in Jane Austen’s World that I think it’d be a disservice to her work not to at least be a little informed about how she might have thought before you try to judge her books.
If you’re interested in history, literature, the context in which these books were written in, you most definitely need to look into picking up a copy of this book. It’s an easy but informative read and the layout is just beautiful as well. Filled with wonderful pictures and the only known drawing of Jane Austen, this will look great on your bookshelf and you won’t regret taking a look at this great book!
Breakfast of Champion
author : kurt vonnegut
pages : [paperback] 302
In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
Breakfast of Champions is the second book that I’ve read by Kurt Vonnegut and I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than the first. I think that I was initially turned off to his writing style because of how early I was introduced to his work and the confusing manner in which my teacher attempted to approach the novel. Breakfast of Champions was much more enjoyable, as I could actually begin to understand the intended meaning behind it all and could appreciate the absurdity as well as the criticism embedded within the narrative.
That being said, I still didn’t really enjoy this book and I don’t think that Vonnegut is the author for me. He can be witty and funny, yes, but there is something about his writing style that just doesn’t grab me and really turns me away from his novels. I know that plenty of people love and revere his work and I can see the potential greatness within it, but I know that it’s for other people to find and won’t be for me, ever.
I’d recommend Breakfast of Champions to Kurt Vonnegut fans, people looking for something absurd to read, or people who have nothing better to read. I don’t think I’ll ever pick up a Vonnegut novel on my own.
I reached my goal of reading 100 books in 2012! While I’m really proud of that accomplishment, that just makes choosing my favorites even harder! After all, I read so many that I’ve been looking forward to for ages and found so many new favorites! Stand alone books, starts to series . . complete series in one year! So much has been happening and I’m thankful great books to entertain myself with and to expand my way of perspective.
Best Zombie Novel Read : Warm Bodies (And I really, really can’t wait for the movie in February!!)
Book that Surprised Me Most with How Much I Loved It : The Name of the Star & Beta I expected them both to be okay reads and they each are now in my all-time favorites!
Best Series Starter : Shatter Me & The Immortal Rules
Book That Made Me Cry : The Fault in Our Stars
Best New Take on a Fairytale : Sisters Red
Best Book I Received for Review: Quaranteen
Best Additions to Series I Already Love : Ashen Winter & A Conspiracy of Kings
Series I Started and Finished : Anna Dressed in Blood & Girl of Nightmares
Best Stand Alone : Every Day
Book that Gives Me All the Feels: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter #1
Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
pages : [paperback] 310
memorable quote: “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
favorite characters : hermione & dumbeldore
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason …
HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
No, this isn’t the first time I read this! But as I needed to reread the series for a class I’m taking based entirely on Harry Potter, I realized I never reviewed one of my all-time favorite book series. Here we go!
I love this book! It’s the one that really got me into reading especially because I could never predict how it was going to go in the end. The characters were awesome and I love to hate the Dursleys. They’ve always been able to make me laugh, despite how horrible they really are. And who can say that they’ve never wished they could go to Hogwarts? Though I could do without being raised by that horrible family.
I also love the original of this book. Owls that carry the mail . . the castle of Hogwarts . . all of the different spells and tricks that they learn! Even the teachers are interesting. There’s a little bit of everything in here for everyone. Well, except for Voldemort, but no one likes Voldemort.
I don’t really think that I need to tell you to go out and read this. But if you haven’t by some chance read this . . Go out and read this!