Monday, January 21, 2013

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 279
Rating 4/5 Stars

My Soul to Save picks up shortly after the action in My Soul to Take - Kaylee is living with her newly returned father, comfortably ensconced in her relationship with Nash and learning more and more about her abilities as a bean sidhe courtesy of lesson’s from Nash’s mom.

Kaylee’s quest to save the soul of Tod’s ex-girlfriend Addison takes her deeper into the Underworld – literally. Using her bean sidhe wail, Kaylee can cross the line between worlds and bring others with her, so she, Tod and a reluctant Nash do just that.

My Soul to Save raises the stakes from the first book which is what I always look for in a sequel. Addison’s plight forces Kaylee to look at things from a less black and white perspective that I found immensely appealing. One of the biggest turn offs for me is a hero or heroine who only deals in goodness and while Kaylee is definitely still the poster child for Good, she’s being forced to accept that the real world comes in shades of grey.

There are two really clever aspects to My Soul to Save, one of which is Vincent’s further exploration of the Underworld. The way she describes it reminds me of the movie Constantine in that the demons exist in our spaces, just on a different plane of existence. I’ve read books where the world building is clunky and forced, where it’s obvious that the writer is just trying to be different without putting much thought into the ramifications of what they’re doing. Vincent’s Underworld is not like that. It’s well thought out – especially in the way it connects to our world via places of high human activity/energy.

The second aspect that I found absolutely brilliant is Vincent’s not-so-subtle allusion to the Disney Machine that produces packaged pop stars. From Britney Spears to Lindsay Lohan to the Jonas Brothers and Zac Efron, it’s not hard to believe that there are some deals-with-the-devil going on behind the scenes. I love the idea that these kids like Eden and Addison literally trade their souls for fame and fortune and that to break their contract and get them back comes with incredibly high consequences.

Much like in My  Soul to Take, Kaylee ‘wins’ in the end, but not without cost or consequence. Some are saved and some are lost and she’s left to deal with the fallout. Again, I appreciate that. Tying everything up with a neat little bow is the best way to take the wind out of my sails and turn me off from a series.

Now, last but not least, the brothers Nash and Tod. I figured we’d hit something resembling a triangle at some point and while Tod has taken great pleasure in driving Kaylee nuts from the moment they met, it wasn’t until the end of My Soul to Save that I thought ‘aha! Let the triangle begin.’ I’m all for it. I’ve enjoyed Nash and Kaylee, although I’ve continued to be suspicious in regards to his seemingly sudden and unwavering affection for her when all signs and his reputation indicate he’s something of a player, but I’m ready to see what Tod has to offer her.

Plus, I’m always, always a sucker for the ‘bad’ boy.

I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series - My Soul to Keep - and I have faith that Ms. Vincent will continue to weave a compelling tale.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Martha's Bookshelf. Thank you, ladies, for hosting!

The rules of this giveaway stipulate that I must offer something that a reader, blogger or author would enjoy, so what could be better than my old standby of offering a book (or books) of your choice from the Book Depository. This time, however, you have $20 to spend, so if you want to get two or three books or a bunch of bargain books, it's your choice to that $20 as you see fit.

Now, I normally wouldn't do this, but if you don't follow me could you please consider it? I'm only 6 followers away from 600. It's not a stipulation to enter or to win, but it would totally make my week if I could hit that milestone.

Thanks for entering! Good luck and be sure to check out the rest of the blogs entered in the hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 14, 2013

No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer!

For this giveaway, I'm offering a book of your choice from the Book Depository (up to $15). 

To enter, reply to this post with your name and a way to contact you and you're all set. 

Thank you for entering and be sure to check out the other blogs in the hop!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bad Boy Rehab Hop

Welcome to my Bad Boy Rehab Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Book Hookup! Be sure to check out their blogs!

Bad Boy (n.) person
1. A guy who has many characteristics of a naughty, naughty boy.
OMG let the drooling begin.
2. A heartbreaker with a five o’clock shadow.
3. Independent and willful. Does what he wants when he wants. Never follow trends, they follow him.
4. Someone that’s not looking for trouble, but there’s a serious sense of danger about him.
We love danger!
Usable Note: A bad boy is a gorgeous man with MANY layers and is INSANELY irresistible to women.
 *raises hands*… YES PLEASE!

For this hop, it's Reader's Choice. I'm giving away a copy of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington, Poison Princess by Kresley Cole or Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 7, 2013

YA Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my YA Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Mod Podge Bookshelf. Huge thanks to them for organizing the hop.

For this hop, you'll be entering to win a copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.

Goodreads description...

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

To enter, simply fill out the form below and be sure to check out the other blogs in the hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Take
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 279
Rating: 4/5 Stars

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my review of My Soul to Lose, but dude. It would suck to be a banshee. True, it's not often that one is around someone who is about to die, but still. All of that uncontrollable screaming? That would be awful.

My Soul to Take picks up with Kaylee post-mental hospital visit and jumps right into the action. Kaylee and her best friend Emma sneak into a club where Emma's older sister works and with zero ado, we're introduced to Nash - an uber hot, popular jock who starts making eyes at Kaylee. While they flirt and dance,Kaylee wonders why Nash is showing her the slightest interest. She is not Emma or her cousin Sophie - boys like Nash don't go for girls like her.

Struck by the stirrings of another 'panic attack' as she's dancing with Nash, Kaylee fears another trip to the mental institution is on the horizon. Nash, however, proves surprisingly adept at calming her down and they leave the club without incident. The next morning, however, she learns via a news report that the girl at the club who seemed to be the source of her panic wasn't so lucky.

She was dead.

And thus begins the mystery that leads Kaylee to learn the truth about who and what she is, what role Nash plays in all of it and that the world is not nearly so black and white as she once thought.

Vincent had already sucked me into Kaylee's world with My Soul to Lose and in My Soul to Take she continued to build on the world of banshees, reapers and other things that go bump in the night. The plot is engaging with plenty of well-executed surprises, the teens are teens and while Kaylee is definitely a good girl, she's got spirit and doesn't just roll over when she feels that she's been wronged or lied to. Especially when she feels she's been lied to.

Given the 4-star review, you can rightly assume that what quibbles I have with this book in no way affected my enjoyment. I would have liked to know more about Nash and his interest in Kaylee. Supposedly, he's a player, but aside from Kaylee's concerns over the matter, they never have that conversation where she voices her fears that he might just see her as another conquest - the fact that they're the same species merely a nice bonus. In a few ways, Nash is almost too good for a supposedly super popular jock, surrounded by typical jock friends.

As I read one YA novel after another, I try to keep in mind that teens are inherently insecure and would question why a guy or girl that they considered above them on the social/looks hierarchy would be interested in them, but I am really tired of the trope. Vincent does well with it in that Kaylee doesn't allow herself to be crippled by these insecurities, so aside from my initial eyeroll, I let it go.

Kaylee is also one of those characters who I feel suffers from a little of the Bella Swan/Katniss Everdeen Syndrome in that she's almost unbearably selfless. Her willingness to put herself at risk for the sake of others wasn't as ridiculous as Bella or Katniss and I do understand why she'd want to save nameless/faceless girls. Living with the guilt of 'letting' someone die isn't something I'd look forward to experiencing myself. Still, there were times when I would have appreciated more of a sense of self-preservation from Kaylee.

Like I said, though, minor quibbles. I've already read the next book in the series and unless something drastic happens, I'm looking forward to reading them all.