Monday, February 29, 2016

Hell School: Fresh Meat by Heidi Angell

Welcome to the next stop in Heidi Angell's Hell School book tour! I'm so thrilled to be able to be a part of this, I have enjoyed reading all of Ms. Angell's books and jumped at the opportunity to review an ARC of her upcoming story of a high school freshman in a new school. Best of all, I know that her books are always worth reading, they're consistently packed with interesting, relatable characters and entertaining plots. Hell School: Fresh Meat did not let me down, and earned its 4 out of 5 stars for tackling such tough subjects as moving, high school, and having a stalker, while keeping a light, entertaining air throughout the story.

From the Publisher:
High school is hard, especially when you're a freshman in a new town, surrounded by people you don't understand and who don't understand you. Sam was overwhelmed just trying to fit in. Then she is singled out with the first letter.

While some girls envy the “romantics” of this unknown admirer, Sam can tell something isn't right. Sam wanted to just blend in, but someone's eye is fixated on her. As the letters and bad poetry continue, so does the nagging in Sam's stomach telling her this is not normal.

When things escalate from strange to creepy, Sam's world becomes a nightmare. Twisted admiration is stalking her around every corner in the high school from hell….

My Thoughts:
I am so impressed and full of admiration and respect for Ms. Angell, who has stated that this story was based on true events. I couldn't even begin to imagine having to put up with the unwanted attentions of an unknown suitor, but could appreciate that it would have stopped anyone from really having the high school experience that they were looking for. Kudos for being able to explore such a traumatic experience, and put it out there for others to read and learn from!

I was both intrigued and a little confused at how the story flowed from page to page. It was at times difficult to keep track of how much time had lapsed, or what was even going on, which I'm going to say went along with the fact that this story takes place from a high school student's perspective ;) I know that my mind was pretty easily side tracked by seemingly important details, so it was interesting reading this kind of a story. Heidi does a great job tying Sam's experiences with her stalker into the story, such that rather than making it the sole point of the story, it becomes an underlying theme in Sam's life, lurking near the surface of her consciousness, but only poking its head out when prompted by yet another letter with bad poetry taped to Sam's locker. Poor Sam is just trying to get through her freshman year of high school, having moved across the country and just trying to learn the lay of the land, but she gets to deal with fear and stress because somebody just can't take no for an answer.

Like I said before, Ms. Angell always manages to make her characters realistic and relatable, even in her other stories which stray from 'real' fiction and delve more into imaginative fantasy and adventure. I felt like I could identify with Wes and Clint, particularly since high school guys are stereotyped into only being interested in one thing, and are often thought of as incapable of having a platonic friendship with a girl. While Clint (and to an extent Wes) both appear to be attracted to Sam, I thought it was great character development that this did not define them as characters, nor did it define their interactions with Sam or with the other girls in this story. It played a part, of course, but it was not their main trait in the story.

There you have it, my newest review and part in Heidi Angell's Hell School: Fresh Meat tour. This book is set to be released on March 14th, so check it out on Amazon and Smashwords when it's out!

- Justin :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Coming soon...

It's been a little disheartening that life has pulled me away from this little side project of mine, and it is my sincerest hope that I can put more back into this blog. I'm determined to have at least 1 post per month, which shouldn't be difficult considered I've really jumped back into reading recently (audio books go a long way when you drive at least an hour a day). What I am planning on doing is a full revamp of my blog, but I could use some support and advice in doing so. Anyone who has experience with this is more than welcome to post in the comments with some suggestions for making my blog more user friendly, and a more exciting little corner in cyberspace. :)