Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a fun way to exhibit the books we recently acquired.

*All titles link to goodreads or Barnes & Noble*

For review:

Fated by Alyson Noel

*Special thanks to St. Martin's Press*

-I'm super stoked to read this!!!!! The premise sounds so good!


-Claudia Gray and Lauren Oliver did a book signing at a bookstore about 4 hours away from where I live. I wasn't able to go but I did arrange for the bookstore to have these books signed and personalized for me. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to prevent this, my name is spelled wrong on both of these. But I'm still excited about them anyway!


Bought:

Balthazar by Claudia Gray
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

-I visited my local used bookstore and stumbled upon these R.L. Stine books! I just had to buy them because his books were such a big part of my childhood, and I haven't read Missing or Dangerous Girls so I'm excited to read those.

I've recently become a big fan of H.P. Mallory, and I absolutely adore her Jolie Wilkins series, so when I read on her blog that she lowered the price of the Dulcie O'Neil eBook series to just $2.99, I knew I had to buy it! I'm sure I'll love this series as well!

What's in your mailbox? =)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Hickey of the Beast by Isabel Kunkle

Published: March 15, 2012
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
Format: ARC, 273 pages
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
My rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads: 

Connie thought freshman year might suck. She never thought it'd be literal.

Bad dreams? No big deal. After all, Connie Perez is starting her first year in the prep school her mom runs. Anyone would be a little stressed, right? When she starts dreaming about strange creatures and places that don't make sense, she doesn't think much about it: there's other stuff on her mind. Then she starts noticing that the people she dreams about get sick right afterwards.

Then everything gets weird.

There's something bad on the campus of Springden Academy. Something that feeds on students and warps their minds. And, as Connie and her friends try to figure out what's going on, it starts to look like she's the only one who can stop it.

Freshman year was hard enough without having to fight evil after class.

Hickey of the Beast is a hilarious look at coming of age in a school where there are no secrets, but plenty of mysteries, and where supernatural studies take on a whole new meaning. It's a story about all the things that make growing up hell: boys, history class, annoying little brothers, and saving the world from evil. When the supernatural comes to school, it's no field day - and that's before you factor in homework.

I need to go ahead and start off this review by saying that I probably would have given this book a higher rating had it been around for me to read when I was about 13 or 14 years of age. I can totally see my younger self liking this book just fine, but unfortunately I'm in my mid-twenties now and just couldn't quite get into Hickey of the Beast.

The premise of the book is actually pretty cool, but the execution of the plot was not what I was expecting. For one, the entire book is basically written like a letter; with Connie (the main character) telling the entire events of this story to her friend Amanda. Although sometimes I forgot this, I'm still not too crazy about this format, but it wasn't exactly a deal-breaker. Unfortunately, I had a hard time actually finishing this book because for the most part, I found it to be boring. But I am glad I pushed through it because the ending was a bit interesting--even though it was pretty obvious who was responsible for all of the sinister activity in the book.

Connie is the main character, and she basically plays the role of detective in this paranormal/mystery themed book. She's a freshman with some unique and previously untapped abilities who, with the help of her friends, has to solve the mystery of who and what are behind some very bizarre and dangerous incidents at school. While I feel like her character wasn't always believable as a 14-year-old, she was decent and likable, and as a plus she did provide me with a few chuckles. There were also a couple of moments where I had to hold my breath because some of the situations Connie got herself into were dangerous and just plain creepy. I do wish Connie's abilities had been elaborated on, though.

Again, let me say that this book wasn't terrible, it just would have been better received by a much younger me. So if you're looking for a paranormal/who-done-it sort of book with a younger vibe to it, then give this one a shot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blogging tendencies (comments welcome!)

As you may have noticed (or not), I'm kind of a sporadic kind of blogger. I try to at least post once a week, but sometimes I don't. I'm the kind of person who feels the pressure easily sometimes, so that's why I have a pretty laid-back approach to my blog--since I don't want this to feel like a job or stop being enjoyable. I realize that this attitude may cost me in some ways, but I'm happier if I'm able to do things--like read and write book reviews--at my own pace. I have a full-time job, 2 cats, a dog; and I often find myself busy with chores, since I live alone in a house and have to do everything myself. I commend all of those bloggers out there who are in school, have children, are married, etc. I don't know how you find the time to be so involved! But you rock!

On top of everything, I'm also an introvert, and I have hermit-like tendencies where I feel very comforted by just being closed off and alone at my house (I know, it sounds weird and hard to understand if you don't feel the same way). This also sort of translates to my blog as well, which is why I seem to drop off the radar for small periods at a time. Sometimes I'm just not as motivated as other times.

So in case my rambling has failed to make any sense, the point I'm trying to make is that although I'm a little inconsistent, I hope you'll still be interested in my posts, even though I don't post as often as others. Also, I always try to make time to visit the awesome blogs I follow when I do get random bursts of blogger energy, so this is why my visits and comments are sort of sporadic! I promise I do still care!

Does anyone else feel this way sometimes? Please comment if you like, I'd love to hear someone else's opinion on the consistency or inconsistency in regards to posting and keeping up your blog. =)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Published: September 13, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 325 pages
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Paranormal, Romance, YA
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from Amazon:

Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.

Reading this book was such an enjoyable experience! The author has brilliantly woven fact and fiction together to result in an amazing story. Mixing the paranormal aspect of werewolves with the historical events of the Titanic may sound outlandish, but believe me when I say that once you begin reading you will find that these two concepts work so well together! There's really never a dull moment in this book; the excitement starts immediately and just continues to flow throughout the plot, never wavering. Claudia Gray does such a splendid job of painting a clear and historical picture of 1912 and the Titanic. She also knows how to write one heck of a romance!

This story is told through the perspective of Tess Davies, who is a ladies' maid to a wealthy (and mostly snooty) family, the Lisles, in the year 1912. She's a young woman with a kind heart and big dreams of escaping the servitude of the Lisles family. The opportunity to start a new life in America arises when Tess' employers plan a voyage aboard the Titanic, and as you can imagine, gaining her freedom becomes the least of her worries after a while. Not just because of the peril she'll be put in aboard the Titanic, but also because of the chain of events that unfold after a chance meeting with a handsome stranger, Alec.

Tess is such a great character, and her situation as a poor citizen and servant seems like a very accurate depiction of what it must have been like for people like her back then. This is why when she meets the mysterious Alec, their growing attraction to one another is severely frowned upon because of his status as a wealthy young man and her status as a poor servant girl. Not to mention the supernatural circumstances that surround Alec could easily complicate a relationship on their own. But despite all of the obstacles, dark secrets, and anguish in their way, Tess and Alec are very strong-willed people, and it's clear that they belong together. I was certainly rooting for them throughout the entire book!

One of the things that is so fantastic about this book is that there is one thing the reader knows is going to happen for certain, above all else, and that is the sinking of the Titanic. You know what's coming but you have no idea how the author is going to portray it and what will become of the characters. There were times, though, when I would be so wrapped up in the intensity of Tess and Alec's situation, as well as the malevolent secondary characters, that I found myself randomly remembering, "Oh yeah, this ship is going to be sinking any day now! Holy crap!". That just goes to show you how much is going on within the span of almost a week. But approaching the end of the book and reading about the ship going down is truly a chilling experience, and the author makes you feel like you're right there in the chaos and tragedy. Knowing the outcome of the Titanic, however, still doesn't prepare you for the excitement and conclusion of the book!

So if you enjoy anything involving the Titanic (or even if you don't!), werewolves, seriously creepy characters, and a fantastic romance, then definitely pick up Fateful A.S.A.P.! It will far exceed your expectations.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #1


Feature and Follow Friday is a meme/blog hop hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read . It's a great way to meet and connect with new bloggers.

*You can follow me via GFC, Networked Blogs, Linky Followers, or RSS. :)

Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

The best book I read in the last month was Fateful by Claudia Gray! Werewolves and the Titanic really make a fantastic combination, even if the two sound odd together. I highly recommend this book--it turned out to be WAY better than I thought it would be (but I adore Claudia Gray to begin with, so I should have known better)!


The worst book I read in the last month is actually one I'm currently reading and almost finished with, called Hickey of the Beast by Isabel Kunkle. The premise of the book sounded cool but I think my main problem with the whole thing is that overall I find it to be boring, and I think it's just too young for me. I could see my 12 or 13-year-old self liking it though.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave me a comment and I'll come check out your post as well! =D

-Shanon

Thursday, March 15, 2012

SKID OUT Music Madness Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone, and welcome to Escaping With Fiction's tour stop on the Skid Out Music Madness Blog Tour hosted by the author of the Heavy Influence Trilogy, Ann Marie Frohoff. Please read the description for her novella, Skid Out, and then I'll explain the details of the tour and giveaway.

A novella prequel to the edgy Heavy Influence Trilogy about young, intense and reckless love between a rising rock star and his younger muse. Follow their journey through temptation, deception & forbidden love.

17 year old high school senior, Jake Masters, front man of a rising rock band, finds new interest in his younger freshman next door neighbor Alyssa Montgomery. Their relationship breaks hearts; stirs jealousy and band infighting. When they’re brought to new found awareness of body and soul, will rightful boundaries be crossed? Will the right decisions and choices, which are detrimental to the band and its future, be made through the haze of infatuation? Will Jake’s absences on the road lead to another filling his shoes? Jake and Alyssa’s lifelong friendships are strained and tested; secrets are kept, admitted and shared. Family bonds are broken, as others grow stronger. Who knew a first love could cause so many problems? Then again, in their eyes, there are no problems as long as they’re together. In the end, will his new found muse bring down everything he’s worked so hard to achieve or will she inspire positive creative change; that will carry him and his band to stardom.


*To read my review of Skid Out, go HERE.* =)

This blog tour is to make everyone aware of the awesomeness that is the Heavy Influence Trilogy! The author, Annie, is offering up some really fantastic prizes, and ONE lucky winner will get FOUR different things--a gift card, a CD from one of the bands that wrote original music for this series, an Mp3 and an eCopy of Skid Out (the Heavy Influence Trilogy prequel novella)! So please continue reading and fill out the Rafflecopter form at the end of this blog post to enter the giveaway.

Also, I'll be posting an interview with Ann Marie Frohoff soon, so be on the lookout for that because Annie is so nice and awesome that you'll definitely want to find out more about her and her trilogy! Plus, I may be adding an extra entry on the Rafflecopter form that pertains to her interview, and extra entries are always helpful. =)

The first book in the trilogy, First Kiss, is due to be released this summer. The prequel novella, Skid Out, is already out and available on Amazon for .99 cents! You'll also get an Mp3 of the song "Transpose" by Bad Suns when you purchase Skid Out. "Transpose" is the actual song featured in the novella, so that's pretty awesome! Also, I've been told that when you purchase the book and are following the instructions on how to download the song, you will also get a sneak-peak of the first three chapters of First Kiss (unedited version). How spiffy is that?! To get to the Amazon page to purchase Skid Out, click HERE.  *To receive your Mp3 download of "Transpose" by Bad Suns, please email your order receipt number to: heavyinfluencetrilogy@gmail.com and it will be promptly sent.*

In addition to the blog tour giveaways, Annie is generously giving away a KINDLE FIRE on her Facebook page!! To enter that contest, click HERE. 

Here's the giveaway being held on this blog:

The author is offering a FANTASTIC prize pack!! ONE lucky winner will get the following:

-eCopy of the novella, Skid Out
-Mp3 of "Transpose" by Bad Suns
-$25 gift card to Amazon
-CD from the band Dead Country (listen to their music HERE)

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! *U.S. only*

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a fun way to exhibit the books we recently acquired.

*All titles link to goodreads*
 
 
 

Won:
 
Vamplayers by Rusty Fischer
Shadows by Cheree Alsop
Galdoni by Cheree Alsop
 
-I won Vamplayers in a goodreads giveaway hosted by the author, Rusty Fischer. I'm pretty excited to read this book, the premise sounds awesome and original!
 
I won ebooks of Shadows and Galdoni (which I've heard fantastic things about) from Talk Supe! Go check these ladies out by clicking on their blog name, because their blog is awesome!
 
 
Bought:
 
Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) by Amanda Hocking
Balthazar by Claudia Gray
Partials by Dan Wells
 
-I'm pretty psyched to read all of these! I've already read the Trylle Trilogy, but I definitely want to re-read it now that it's being re-released so I can check out the bonus content.
 
When I read Claudia Gray's Evernight series, Balthazar quickly became one of my favorite secondary characters of all time, and I was always rooting for him. So I'm SUPER stoked to read Balthazar!
 
As for Partials, I've heard nothing but great things about it and the premise is very intriguing!
 
 
What's in your mailbox? =)
 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe


Hello everyone! It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe. There's just something about his poems and stories that really speak to me. Anyway, I was reading some of his poems and I felt compelled to share one of my favorites--which is titled "Alone". When I first read this poem it really touched me, and I feel quite a connection to it. I think a lot of people can relate to this poem as well...

Alone

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were---I have not seen
As others saw---I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov'd, I lov'd alone.
Then---in my childhood---in the dawn
Of a most stormy life---was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold---
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by---
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

-You can interpret this poem many different ways (even if Poe meant something different), but I know what it means to me. It may sound heartbreaking, but I find it to be beautiful and honest as well. Poe had such a wonderful way with words. I hope you get as much from this poem as I do. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Themed GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone!

I'm doing another giveaway, and this one may seem random and odd, but I've never claimed to be normal (haha!). Let me explain:


March 4th-10th, is Dental Assistants Recognition Week! Why is this information relevant to this giveaway/my blog, you ask? Well, it just so happens that I am a Certified Dental Assistant--have been for 6 years now. I found myself simultaneously thinking about the recognition of my profession, and the fact that I would like to do another giveaway, and BAM, I had an idea to sort of incorporate these two things and do a themed giveaway!

So, in honor of Dental Assistants Recognition Week, I am going to be giving away a copy of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. This book seems like the perfect book to be giving away because the main character, Karou, collects teeth for her guardian (and this is briefly mentioned in the description for the book). In addition to this book, the winner of this giveaway will also get their choice of Cupcake OR Bacon flavored dental floss, as well as teeth erasers (with cavities in them that I think are removable)--which is kind of amusing and awesome, if you ask me! Just continue reading and fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter (click "read more" to get to the form if it's not showing up).

 Here are pictures of all of the items that one lucky winner will get:



So whether you think this post is just plain weird or fantastic, the main thing to realize here is that Daughter of Smoke & Bone is an AMAZING book, and I hope whoever wins it will enjoy it as much as I did! Plus, the dental floss and tooth erasers are amusing whether you choose to use them or not. =P

To read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, go HERE. =D

Here are the contest rules & information:

-U.S. only
-Must be at least 13 or older to enter
-Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen
-This contest will run from March 4th-17th (I'm throwing in an extra week just because!)
-All of these items will be shipped via my Amazon Prime account

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Published: February 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 441 pages
Genre: Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult
Series: Delirium
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

 Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Delirium is such a wonderfully written novel--one with tremendous emotional depth. Lauren Oliver truly has a way with words, and she really knows how to write a powerful and striking story that will hold your attention all the way through! I especially appreciate how great she is at translating the emotions of her characters so that you feel everything right along with them. The premise of this book peaked my interest immediately, and once I started reading it the story proved to be just as engaging. There are quite a few powerful messages to be interpreted as well, ones that really make you stop and ponder.

The characters in this book live in a world where love is considered a disease, and it's mandatory that everyone get "cured" when they reach a certain age. This cure makes everyone a more sad, lesser version of themselves; and I couldn't help but think of these cured individuals as "drones", because that's exactly what they are. Pretty much every aspect of these people's lives are controlled; who they marry, how many kids they have, etc. Big brother is always watching and listening, ready to jump on you and persecute you if you don't follow the structure and rules laid out for the entire population. They enforce this lifestyle by means of cruel punishments and violence. Everyone is brainwashed into thinking that they live this way because it's in their best interest.

This book is told through Lena's perspective. She's approaching her 18th birthday (curing age), and her story starts off with her being excited and relieved for the cure. It was such a rewarding experience seeing how much her character grows throughout this book. She was one of those cautious people who was scared into thinking that love is a heinous disease that will threaten your welfare and cause chaos. Her views were sort of understandable though, given her family background and past circumstances. But her views and her world changes when she meets Alex. I loved watching their romance progress and how much Alex actually changed Lena's entire life and way of thinking. Their love is just so pure and beautiful, and I was rooting for them from the beginning. Alex awakens so much in Lena; like hope for a better life and a fierce need to fight for what she feels so strongly. She learns to fight against the odds of being a product of her environment.

I also really think that Lena's best friend, Hana, is fantastic. Despite the limitations they were put under, their friendship is so strong and loyal. Hana is definitely one of my favorite "best friend" characters of all time. Lena's cousin, Gracie, is also such a special character. For being a little girl who never speaks, her actions and silence are profound in my opinion. I'm hopeful that these two will be around for more of the series.

Delirium was quite the ride, and I can only imagine that the second book will include just as much intensity as this one did. I know that I was definitely an emotional wreck during the final moments of this book, which left me yelling and teary-eyed. Therefore I'm really itching to get my hands on the second book and find out what Lena's future will bring!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tagged!

The awesome Rachel @ Unforgettable Books has tagged me! Thanks so much Rachel, I really appreciate it!

Here are the rules of being tagged:

1) Answer the questions that the tagger set for you in their post.
2) Create 11 questions for the people you tag to answer.
3) Tag 11 people and link them to your post.
4) Let them know you tagged them.
5) Include these rules and the person who tagged you in your post.


Okay, so, I'm going to be a little rebellious and deviate from the rules of being tagged because I honestly don't think I can pick just 11 people to tag in return. Plus, I'm a bit frazzled this weekend and truthfully I just don't have a lot of time. :(

But I am definitely going to post the answers to the clever questions that Rachel asked me and 10 other bloggers!

Here are Rachel's questions, along with my answers:

1) What is a book you thought you wouldn't like, but did?

Well, I honestly wasn't sure if I would like Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake because I tend to shy away from books that are told through a male's POV. But I ended up absolutely LOVING it, so I'm glad I gave it a chance.

2) Do you prefer first person, second or third person?

I think I relate more to first person. But I suppose I'm not too picky about it as long as the book is written well.

3) Where do you prefer to buy books?

Amazon.com and my local Books-A-Million store get a lot of my money!

4) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I've always wanted to fly. I think that would be so cool!

5) What book or book series caused you to enjoy reading?

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series sparked my passion for reading when I was a kid. I still have every Goosebumps book that was ever bought for me, or given to me!

6) What books are you looking forward to the most this year?

I'm really itching to read Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. I am such a fan of Edgar Allan Poe and I love when anyone writes a story incorporating him or his work!!

7) What is your fondest book memory?

My Dad taking me to the library to get books from R.L. Stine's Fear Street series!

8) Who is your favorite male character?

Well, the first one to pop into my head is Varen from the book Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. He is hot in a totally non-conventional way, and I love that! He's dark, writes poetry, and he has a lip ring. I mean, come on, how could you not adore that?

9) What do you think of love triangles?

If they are written well, I don't mind them. Because sometimes when there is only one romantic option, everything gets so drawn out, especially when this happens in a series. At least when there are a couple of options, the waters can be tested and there's more intrigue.

10) What secondary character in a book do you wish was the main character?

This is a great question! Let's see......well, I honestly can't think of one at the moment. I will say that I wouldn't want any other character to take over for Kylie in the Born at Midnight series by C.C. Hunter; but if there could be a spin-off series or book, I would love to read about Miranda's life (she's a funny witch).

11) Name the book that always makes you smile? 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. That book is just so adorable and fantastic!


-Once again, thank you so much Rachel, for tagging me!! I had fun answering your questions! =D

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