My Soul to Save Review

When people die, Kaylee screams. It’s what she does. As a bean sidhe/banshee Kaylee sings for the person’s soul as it floats out of their body. When she’s done with her song, the soul is gone. So when Kaylee attends a concert for a popular pop star and doesn’t start singing when the girl drops dead, she doesn’t understand what’s going on.

Apparently the pop star didn’t have a soul anymore, so there was nothing to sing for. Popular teenage celebrities are selling their souls to the Netherworld for fortune and fame and they have no idea what they’re getting into. Replacing their souls is Demon’s Breath and when it is time, a reaper will come to collect the Demon’s Breath and then the person is no more. Their soul will be tortured forever in the Netherworld and they will never be at peace.

But none of this is known to these young celebrities when they signed on the dotted line in a binding contract to make them famous. All they knew is that they would forever be popular and have all the money they could ever need.

Kaylee has seen firsthand what happens when someone sells a soul to a reaper. She doesn’t want to see anymore people suffer and is determined to retrieve the souls back to the celebrities before their time runs out. The only problem is this requires a trip to the Netherworld and Kaylee has never been there before. It’s an extremely dangerous place and without knowing what she is getting into, she might never come back. Kaylee, her boyfriend Nash, and his reaper brother Tod embark on a journey to save some souls but will they lose their own in the process?

My Soul to Save is the second book in the Soul Screamers Series featuring Kaylee Cavanaugh, a bean sidhe/banshee. This is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy series but is written in a way that adults can equally enjoy it as well. I fell in love with this series after reading the first book, My Soul to Take. This second book is much darker, grittier, and scary at times.

The suspense was exciting, the romance between Nash and Kaylee really heated up, and the reader gets to learn more about Tod, the reaper. This series has so many interesting layers to it and I am thrilled with each new development. Kaylee is no longer just standing by singing for people’s souls; she’s doing whatever she can to save them now. She is a determined, strong, brave, teenager that is on a mission to help people and refuses to quit even if it means risking her own life.

I read My Soul to Save all in one day and could not put it down for a second. I HIGHLY recommend this series to young adults and adults alike who are looking for something fresh and different to read. This is book two so if you are new to this series, I recommend reading it in order for full reading enjoyment. Overall, My Soul to Save is superb and bypassed all of my expectations. Rachel Vincent has really outdone herself with this new installment in the Soul Screamer Series. Look out for the third book, My Soul to Keep,  due out June 1, 2010.


Guest Author Skyler White

Please welcome debut urban fantasy author, Skyler White! Skyler's first book, ''and, Falling, Fly'' will be released on March 2, 2010.

Summary from Amazon:

In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels-turned- vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must put medicine against mythology in an attempt to erase their tortured pasts...but at what price?

Olivia, vampire and fallen angel of desire, is hopeless...and damned. Since the fall from Eden, she has hungered for love, but fed only on desire. Dominic O'Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist plagued by impossible visions. When his research and her despair collide at L'Otel Mathillide-a subterranean hell of beauty, demons, and dreams-rationalist and angel unite in a clash of desire and damnation that threatens to destroy them both.

In this fractures Hotel of the Damned, Olivia and Dominic discover the only force consistent in their opposing realities is the deep, erotic gravity between them. Bound to each other finally in a knot of interwoven freedoms, Dominic and Olivia-the vision-touched scientist and the earth-bound angel, reborn and undead-encounter the mystery of love and find it is both fall...and flight.

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 here

                                              Why I Love My Cover
                                             By Skyler White

I’m a serial fretter. It’s something I’m working on. I try to worry less. But I end up worrying that I worry too much, so I with the intermediary layer and just let myself fret. So it wasn’t long after I learned that and Falling, Fly had sold that I started worrying about what it would look like. A book cover is someone else’s creation, but it will be your face – the first impression you will make on readers and future friends.

It’s worrisome.

And it’s a bit of an arranged marriage. Your editor, like a good mother, knows your book – not necessarily better, but more objectively than you know yourself. And you trust her. You trust her to see the weaknesses you may not be aware of, and compensate for them. You trust her to craft the back-cover copy in a way that is both true to your voice, and also a sales tool. And most match-making editors do consult their author-children, but we’re not privy to the back-and-forth, the conversations and debates. I turned in a twenty-slide PowerPoint deck with ideas and images from blogs, magazines and album covers. And I assume it mattered, but ultimately, the entire process is shrouded in mystery and possibly magic dark or entrails. As an author, you just don’t know; you can only imagine. And worry.

You’ll know your cover is on its way to you, but you won’t know when it will arrive, so while nervously anticipated, its actual presence in your inbox will inevitably come as a shock. I worried for months. I pestered my agent with questions and my real (and self-chosen) husband with the chronic fretter’s dark boogeyman: What If.

Now, in my defense, and Falling, Fly is a difficult book to render visually.

Olivia is the fallen angel of desire. Her appearance alters subtly to conform to the tastes of whoever wants her. If she looks in the mirror alone, she can’t see herself at all, so how could an artist render her face? He shadowed it heavily with her hair.

Olivia is a vampire, but her feeding teeth are retractable quills on her tooth and nail edges that allow her to feed from those who want her – and she would break her teeth against anyone who did not – without their knowledge. And because she can’t have fangs, she has a dagger. There’s not even a butter knife in the story, but the artist found a way to make her visually as dangerous as she is invisibly.

Olivia is sick of humanity. Everyone you don’t love tastes the same. In the course of the book, she returns to the secret, Irish, subterranean Hotel of the Damned to bury her hope with her severed wings. And the cover gives me the hopeless underground dark in a slanting beam of filtered light, and the Irish earth in the mortared stones behind her.

And then there are her wings. Olivia’s have been entombed for millennia, blood-caked and bone-broken, in a red rock sarcophagus. But her wings are part of the cover too, borrowed from a headstone or funerary statue, and rendered in stone. The symbol of flight in the one material you know cannot fly. And that captures Olivia’s spirit. It illustrates the book’s title. It encapsulates my book.

There’s been a lot of controversy about book covers recently, about images that aren’t just poor fits, but are actually counter to the intent of the book. I feel for the authors who I imagine must feel like an artistic child whose athlete-mother can’t remember she hates sports, and gives her to a jock in marriage. And some of the brides are just grateful to be married and too fearful of parental displeasure that they don’t feel safe asking for a better match.

I think that’s sad, because ultimately as an author you have to trust your editor to choose for you. You have to believe they’ll pick the right mate for you, the one you need. You want to learn to love him, this chosen-for-you spouse, who just shows up in your inbox one day as you’re dashing out the door already late for something else.

And there it is. The image that will hold your book in its paper arms. And the soles of your feet and fingertips start prickling, and the sip of coffee you were taking when you saw the subject line goes cold in your mouth. Because he’s gorgeous. He’s better looking than the boys you admired at the book store. And he’s yours.

At this point, it becomes difficult not to squeal and caper, to retain some dignity. You are, after all, about to be a wife and published author. Surely dizziness and giggles suggests an immaturity unworthy of what’s coming next, but what the hell. You’re too happy to worry about that. Or anything else. And when the worries surface about other things, about blog tours and print runs and reviews, you console yourself some with your good luck in husbands, real and paper-bound. And sometimes you blog about it.

We have one copy of  ''and Falling, Fly'' to giveaway
Open to everyone, everywhere
Leave an email address in the comments if you don't have a blog
Contest will end March 2nd at 6:00 pm EST
Comment about book covers and how they affect your book buying
Leave a comment or question for Skyler White


Winners of The Bricklayer

The winners of a copy of The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd are....

Sandy Jay

Amanda Leigh

Congrats! I will email you both through the addresses you provided. Thanks to everyone for entering. Stick around because on Tuesday, urban fantasy author Skyler White will be here guest blogging!


The Bricklayer Giveaway!!

Book Description from Publisher's Website

Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail. . . . And there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer.

The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an ex–FBI agent who's been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable—and more deadly—by the hour.

A woman steps out of the shower in her Los Angeles home and is startled by an intruder sitting calmly in her bedroom holding a gun. But she is frozen with fear by what he has to say about the FBI—and what he says he must do. . . .

A young agent slips into the night water off a rocky beach. He's been instructed to swim to a nearby island to deposit a million dollars demanded by a blackmailer. But his mission is riddled with hazardous tests, as if someone wanted to destroy him rather than collect the money. . . .

Vail has resigned himself to his dismissal and is content with his life as a bricklayer. But the FBI, especially Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon, needs help with a shadowy group that has initiated a brilliant extortion plot. The group will keep killing their targets until the agency pays them off, the amount and number of bodies escalating each time the FBI fails. One thing is clear: someone who knows a little too much about the inner workings of the Bureau is very clever —and very angry—and will kill and kill again if it means he can disgrace the FBI.

Steve Vail's options —and his time to find answers—are swiftly running out.

Noah Boyd's The Bricklayer is written with the bracing authenticity only someone who has been a crack FBI investigator can provide. And in this masterful debut Boyd has created a mind-bending maze of clues and traps inside a nonstop thrill ride that is sure to leave readers exhilarated and enthralled.

If you'd like to win a copy of The Bricklayer, leave a comment telling me why you'd like to read it.
Two copies available = two winners.
You must leave an email address in your comment.
This contest will run until February 21st at 6:00 pm EST.

Guest Reviewer Dannie

Please welcome my Guest Reviewer, Dannie from http://readingwatchingliving.blogspot.com/

She has a great review site, check it out!

Dannie won the contest I had to review a copy of Cursed by Suzanne Sabol. Here is her review:

Very rarely do I come across a novel that I can't finish, and it is rarer still that I would give such a novel anything higher then a three out of ten. But here we are.

We open with Hannah, being goaded into something or another by the smexy Damien, accompanied by overusage of adjectives and adverbs (a la Twilight). Someone needs her, see, but she needs Damien and damnit he needs her! and she is "torn between duty and love" (a phrase which is just awkward if used anywhere but the official summary of a novel or the Underworld synopsis) and all this is stated quite clearly within two pages (actually, one and a half). You can see right away that the prose and dialogue is clumsy, but I press on.

Flashback some hundred years later (I think), with an old women banished from her native London and forced into midwifery in the young Americas. She is assisting with the ailing birth of a child with a strange mark. As the mother dies, Merideth informs Henry (the father) that she bears the witch's mark and she must be hid! she is a danger! her name is--Hannah!

Woah, okay. So now shes a child bringing home black cats to her wary father, who despite her witchyness admittidly loves her more then her much less witchy sister Martha and there's a vague feeling that Hannah is irrevocably being spoiled despite the fact that GUYS SHE'S A WITCH! I'm just kind of reeling at the thought that, if this really is early America, wouldn't everyone be up-in-arms about this? Even if it is her father, wouldn't she be thrown into a fire pit or something? Wouldn't Merideth the Midwife called for the nearest lynchers? Even if we could ignore all the fear and death that surrouned witches at the time period, even if I'm to believe Hannah was really hid and protected after her birth, I know she wouldn't have been favored over her signifigantly normal sister. This is so inaccurate with the time period I just kind of want to hit something.

I drudge my way forward several dozen pages, and the lines of time period become so blurred I can't even put a pinpoint on the century anymore. Is it early America, or is it fifties farmlife? Is it NY in the partay? What's happening? My head shouldn't be hurting! Goddamn! Even this wouldn't be a real issue if the writing was rewarding in its own sense, but at its best it comes across like information from a textbook on wicca or something, at its worst just the gratuitous ramblings of an English professor trying to break into the creative novelizations. And this, readers, is why, at page 102, as someones talking to a Reverand and I have stared longingly at my brand-spankin-new copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for half an hour, I put Cursed down, and I do not pick it back up.

But the thing is...I can't give it a horrible review. I can't say it made my eyes bleed, or notably ridiculous, or one of the worst books ever written. Because it wasn't. It's main fault was that it wasn't notable at all. There's nothing that made it stand out from all the other boring/romantic witch stories out there. I couldn't finish it because the story and the characters were just watered down version of far superior offerings from far superior writers, and it was just painful at times. But it wasn't horrible. It was just there, bland and boring and awkward and not interesting enough to even be a zero out of ten.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Winner of Deadtown!

The winner of a copy of Deadtown by Nancy Holzner is.....

John The Bookworm! Congrats! John I will email you through the addy you provided. Thanks everyone for coming by and thank you Nancy for taking the time to talk with readers all week long!


Guest Author Nancy Holzner

Please welcome debut author of the urban fantasy book Deadtown, Nancy Holzner! Nancy will be here all week long talking with readers. I ADORED Deadtown and can't say enough great things about it. It kept me up all night reading and I highly recommend it. Here's a back cover summary to give you an idea of what Deadtown is about:

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.

But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.

And if that didn't convince you, check out my review here!

Book Two and Beyond: Creating a Series
By Nancy Holzner

Deadtown is the first book in a series featuring Vicky Vaughn, and currently I’m in the process of revising the sequel. When I wrote Deadtown, I wrote it as a self-contained book, but one whose story I hoped to expand. As a debut urban fantasy novelist, I knew that I had to prove myself with one book before I started thinking about writing a whole series. At the same time, though, I fell crazy in love with my characters and hoped other people would, too—at least enough to want to know what happens next.

So I was very, very happy when Ace offered me a contract for two books—I could write a sequel! And if readers liked those two books, maybe there’d be more to follow.
Writing Deadtown was the most fun I ever had writing anything. The world-building was absorbing, the characters felt like friends I knew well, and the conflicts they faced were both interesting and exciting to me. It wasn’t a book that wrote itself, but writing it—taking it from idea to sketch to finished manuscript—was a joy.

Writing the sequel has been fun, too. But a sequel presents a set of challenges that I'd never really thought about until one day I sat down to write and there they were, staring me in the face.

The first and biggest challenge, right there on page 1, is bringing readers into your world. In a first book, everyone starts from the same place: No one has encountered the characters or the world before, so you have to introduce those things while telling a forward-moving story. That’s hard enough in itself. But in a second book, you’re now dealing with two sets of readers: those who’ve read Book 1 and those who are stepping into your world for the first time in Book 2. You have to get your new readers oriented without boring those readers who liked the first book enough to come back for more. It’s a real balancing act.

And that’s not all. Because Book 2 builds from the events that happened in Book 1, you need to say just enough about what happened in the first book to make cause-and-effect clear, but without giving away the whole plot of that book. As a reader, I occasionally read series books out of order, and I don’t like it when the author summarizes the previous book before things get moving in this one. For one thing, summary is boring. For another, what if I wanted to go back and read the previous book later, even though I’m taking things out of order? Now that I’ve read the summary, there’s no point.
(And if I did read the books in order, the summary is less a memory-refresher than something to skim so I can find the place where this story gets going.)

The second challenge is continuity. When I was writing the sequel, my memory of the first book wasn’t always as crystal-clear as I thought it was. Shortly after I’d submitted the manuscript for Book 2, I received Deadtown’s page proofs so I could give them a final check before the book went to the printer. Re-reading Deadtown with its sequel still fresh in my mind was an eye-opener. Were Kane’s eyes really that color? And how did I get the name wrong of the politician with a zombie daughter? I had to make a list of things to correct in the sequel during revisions. I’ve started to put together a Deadtown “Bible” that will serve as a reference guide as I go forward in the series.

The final challenge is where to end. Now that I’m thinking in terms of a series—not just a single book that might lead to a series—the story arc has lengthened. I’m thinking further ahead. Situations that arise in Book 2 become seeds for complications and conflicts in Books 3 and 4. And that’s great, because the story becomes richer and more complex. But taking a longer view also means that you can’t give in to the temptation to write a book that’s little more than a bridge between two others. I like a good cliffhanger at the end of a scene, but not at the end of a book—especially if I’ve got to wait a whole year to find out what happens. I don’t mind when the end of a book glances toward the next one, but the story of this book must be wrapped up for the read to satisfy.

As a reader, I know what I like and don’t like in a series. I like a series that moves forward briskly, without a lot of repetition, and that deepens it relationships and conflicts while making each book its own story. As a writer, I’m just beginning to learn how to deliver that.

What are some of your likes and dislikes when reading a series? What makes you feel that a series has gone on too long? What series do you wish would go on and on forever?

Nancy is giving away a copy of Deadtown to one reader who leaves a comment answering the above questions.

Contest Rules:
This contest is open to everyone, everywhere!
Due to unclaimed prizes, you must leave an email address to be entered in this contest if you don't have a blog through which I can contact you.
The contest will run for one week, ending Monday February 15th at 5:00 pm EST with the winner announced shortly after.


Winner of the $20 giftcard....

The winner of a $20 Amazon or B&N giftcard is.......

Jackie from Literary Escapism! Congrats! Just send me an email letting me know which you'd like, Amazon or B&N or even Book Depository if you'd like... (if you can tell me where you buy it on there..I can never find it!) ....or you know what...any online store you'd like for $20. Whatever makes you happy! So just email me and let me know. Congrats! Thanks to everyone who entered and for all the congrats on me hitting 100 followers. Stick around because The Fabulous Nancy Holzner, author of Deadtown is coming by on February 8th and it's gonna be pretty damn cool to have her here!