Saturday, April 30, 2016

ARC Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

You guys, YOU GUYS!!! I cannot believe that I got an ARC copy of Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff!!! I entered several giveaways and didn't win (congrats to those who did though!). I was pretty much resigned to having to wait to buy it on its release day, May 17th 2016. So you can imagine my unmitigated glee and terror when I saw that Emma of Miss Print had a copy up for adoption! I almost didn't message her about it because I was sure someone else had snatched it up before me. Then I figured, screw it, the worst she can do is say someone had gotten there before me, so there is no harm in asking. And oh my ~HAPPY DANCE~ it was still available! Seriously though, Emma just about made my year when she agreed to adopt it to me! I binge read it in between studying for my exams and it was absolutely brilliant. My love for this book is going to be pretty hard to put in to words, but I'll do my best!

I think I'm going to start with the only part of the book that was disappointing; the cover. Now, if you've seen any of Brenna Yovanoff's previous covers (if you haven't, here is a link to her goodreads page), you'll know that they are usually very unique and eye catching. I'm not sure what direction they were trying to go with this cover, but it is underwhelming. Even with the ombre, the color is just so blocky, and the people blend in so much, that I find myself not interested/drawn to any part of the cover. I also don't feel like the pose the people on the cover are in is very indicative of the story.

The writing was very captivating. I found myself caught up in the sentences and was farther along in the story than I realized! The characters were relatable in a subtle way. I especially saw myself in the main character, Waverly, but I don't want to say anything because I feel like it would give the book away. The plot itself was so intriguing. I have to admit that the story wasn't what I thought it would be based on the synopsis, but that isn't a bad thing! I honestly think that the direction the book took was better than the way the synopsis made it seem. There were a few plot twists, but they weren't the twists I thought they were going to be, so I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Overall, I have to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars! Other than the cover, I really don't have any  complaints. I would definitely recommend this book! Although, if you're a fan of Brenna Yovanoff's earlier works, I will say that this one is considerably less dark than her other books.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bookish (Not so)Goodness: These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson

I like short stories. They're especially good for when I'm waiting in the car. It just so happened that I had several hours to kill and had These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson, which I received from Blogging for Books for review, in my backpack. I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while now because, as an Army brat, reading stories about the military makes me feel at home.


Unfortunately, I was beyond disappointed with this book. Actually, I have a serious problem with this book in that it only shows the stereotypical violent, maladjusted veteran/soldier type. There is no denying that there are people who have bad personalities or who find it difficult or impossible to adjust to civilian life but that isn't the only type there is! There are also veterans/soldiers who retire or decide not to re-up and adjust perfectly well to civilian life. There are also soldiers who are good, brave, kind men. I should know; my father is one of them! I also have many friends who are military or former military who are the best kind of people. It's books like these, ones that only acknowledge the ugly side of military life, that perpetuate negative stereotypes! As an army brat, and a future soldier, this really bothers me. You should represent the good with the bad. [Side note; I realize the author is a former soldier, but that doesn't mean his representation of military life isn't skewed.]

As for the writing, it was good in its form. The stories flowed well and the open-ends were very attention grabbing. The only story I actually liked was Kids. It was this odd dance between disgust and grudging acquiescence that made me rate this book 1.5 out of 5 stars. I wouldn't recommend it and I will be getting rid of it as soon as I possibly can.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ARC Review: The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

When I first saw the cover of The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy, I knew I had to read it! The cover is gorgeous and the synopsis was absolutely intriguing! Not to mention the fact that I love historical fiction! I was really thankful that Blogging for Books sent me a copy to read and review.

Unfortunately, the cover was the best part of this book. The chapters were split between historical and contemporary, and neither were my cup of tea. The historical chapters were choppy and rushed. I didn't really like any of the historical characters either. The contemporary chapters were well written, but I couldn't get over Eden's attitude and just plain bitchiness. If I hadn't had to review this book, I probably would have DNFd it after the first couple of chapters. Ultimately, I gave this book 1 star out of 5.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

ARC Review: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano + Giveaway

Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long since I've done a review. School has kept me extremely busy and I haven't had much time for reading. I'm back now, with an ARC review of Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano. The ARC was sent to me by the wonderful Emma of Miss Print. This book releases on May 3rd, 2016, and I am so happy I was able to get an early look at it! This will be a spoiler free review and all of the actual info contained within that is not my opinion can be found in the synopsis or on the cover (there is one spoiler, but it doesn't really give anything away, and you probably won't even notice it).

The cover was what initially caught my attention. This isn't really a big surprise because i am very much a judge-a-book-by-its-cover type person. I'm not usually a fan of people on the cover (side note: people's faces in pictures really freak me out. I don't even keep pics of family out where I can see it because I always feel like they're watching me, and books with people weird me out too) but the shadows and the positioning of the model really drew my eye. The font of the title is also really cool. I liked that the font fit the title but, as I read, it also ties in really well with the book.

After I saw the amazing cover, I had to read the synopsis. This also isn't very surprising because I read the synopsis of every book before I decide to read it. I liked the juxtaposition of being imprisoned but being free, being innocent but feeling like you should be locked up. I also really liked that the synopsis gave just enough of the story to reel me in, but not so much that it gave anything away.

Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down. It started off pretty slow, which surprisingly didn't bother me, and picked up a little bit as the book went on. It was never fast-paced, but I think that was a good choice on the author's part because the pacing of the book fit the circumstances the character found himself in. I also really liked the just-enough-but-not-too-much supernatural element it had.

The main character, John "Smoke" Conlan, was very intense and compelling. At first, I couldn't figure out his motivations, but they were slowly revealed over the course of the book. I wouldn't say he would be relatable to everyone, he certainly wasn't for me, but that actually made him seem more human. He struggled with his choices and made mistakes. He wasn't perfect. I also liked Pink. She wasn't as large a part of the story as I thought she would be, but she was a good foil for Smoke.

I did have two  problem with this book, which ultimately led me to rate it 3 out of 5 stars. First was the way some things were described in the book. Most of the characters in the book are in prison and they do stereotypical prison things, but most of these actions (and others) are described in a vague wording that doesn't impart how truly gritty and violent they are. But, there is one situation in the book that is told in excruciating, gruesome detail and I think the whole book needed to be told that way instead of glossing over the unsavory elements. By avoiding being explicit with the actions and situations of the characters, the author actually made me detach from the story. The second problem I had with the book was the epilogue. It read more like a joke alternate ending because, from what I saw, there was no lead up to it and it seemed out of character for Smoke to make the decision he did based on what he had previously been working toward in the story.

Neither of these problems kept me from reading and enjoying this book. Actually, I liked this book a lot and I think it will appeal to a lot of people. This is definitely a book that I would recommend and the more reviews there are, the more people will potentially have the chance to read it. I also know how hard it is to get ARCs. That's why I'm going to give away my ARC copy of Holding Smoke: