Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Reviews and Giveaway: My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee Cavenaugh sometimes has the irresistible urge to scream like a banshee accompanied by a feeling of absolute certainly that someone near her is going to die. Is she crazy like her aunt , uncle and cousin seem to think? Or is there more to it?

So….confession time. I was not so sure I wanted to read this series after Rhiannon Hart’s review last fall in which she called MY SOUL TO TAKE “an AUTOMATIC FAIL … badly in need of a gender overhaul”. But I picked it up anyway, prepared to be full of righteous indignation and maybe even to skim through it if the going got tough. But then something happened I was completely unprepared for: Rachel Vincent sucked me into Kaylee’s world so completely, I didn’t come up for air until I was finished with the second book.

These books are plot driven packages of literary crack, with well-thought out world building, mythology and afterlife concepts that are just plain fun. In that context, it’s hard for me to summon too much outrage that women are portrayed as hysterical harpies that can only be calmed by men (although I would certainly make this a talking point when discussing Kaylee’s romantic relationship with impressionable younger teens).

Book 1 is your typical girl finds out she’s not really human like she always thought she was and that she has a special talent which will help her save others. We find out the truth of her origins as Kaylee does and get to know other paranormal beings along the way, all while solving a mystery of otherworldly proportions.

By book 2, MY SOUL TO SAVE, most of the back story is established, so Kaylee gets involved in a mission to uncover a plot engineered by entertainment moguls to provide demons with fresh, young souls. There are thinly veiled references to Disney and its tween/teen stars like Britney Spears (Whitney Lance) and Lindsay Lohan (Lindy Cohen), and the whole set-up gives us a chance to explore a richly imagined netherworld filled with dangerous plants and strange creatures.

BUT…the ending of book 2 made me very angry. It’s what I like to call the ole switcharoo. You are invested in a certain outcome, the characters are invested in that same outcome and then somewhere in the third act, the rules are changed and everyone’s supposed to be satisfied with some hollow victory?! Ummm… nope…NOT SATISFIED!

That doesn’t mean however that I am any less excited about reading book 3 in the series, MY SOUL TO KEEP, (due out June 1st) or the prequel short story MY SOUL TO LOSE (available for free download at the official SOUL SCREAMERS website).

For all of you who want to give this series a try, I have a two pack including MY SOUL TO TAKE and MY SOUL TO SAVE for one lucky commenter on this post. Just tell me what book(s) you consider literary crack (yes, I am looking for more!) and you are entered to win. As always, 1 extra entry will be given to those who spread the word either via linking to the contest from your blog (sidebar is fine) or tweeting with @lenoreva (make sure you indicate this in an extra comment for it to count). This contest is US only and will close at 11:59 PM CST on February 10th.

I also have one copy of MY SOUL TO SAVE to give away to someone who already has MY SOUL TO TAKE and who lives in the US. If this describes you, be the first one to claim it in the comments, and it is yours. (ETA: Claimed by thruthehaze)


Unknown said...

I REALLY wanna read this series - it sounds awesome and I have been wanting it for a while - ugh why do there have to be so many awesome books out there? crack I really enjoyed Mortal Instruments series - they were soo good...and um, The Pace had a neat story line! :)

Thank you for the giveaway!

Heidi Willis said...

This may not be your cup of tea, but a few years ago I read a series of historical fiction by Bodie Thoene called the Zion Covenant beginning with Vienna Prelude. I didn't expect to love them, but I was totally sucked in, and I lost a few weeks of my life reading ravenously one book after another. I've given them to several friends, who all felt the same way.

I don't read much fantasy, and the YA I read tends to be stuff you've probably read, like Harry Potter.

I look forward to seeing what others suggest!

Heidi Willis said...

I tweeted too! :)

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I ate up the first book in this series and Im also a fan of her adult series the Stray books, but I havent been able to get into book 2 yet.

throuthehaze said...

I already Have my Soul to Take and Would love My Soul to Save

I love the Mortal Instruments series

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

Can I claim it? lol I live in the US

Margay Leah Justice said...

For me, literary crack would be the Twilight series, Wicked Lovely and Tantalize.


Orchid said...

OMZ! I ahve been dying to read this series.
Literary crack, hmm, It not a supernatural type series, or even new, but it would have to be the Tomorrow series by John Marsden.

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

tetewa said...

I'd love to be able to give this series a try! I also enjoy The Morganville Vampire series!

Staci said...

They sound like a blast!! Would love to win!

donnas said...

I really liked my Soul to Take and am excited to read My Soul to Save.

I thought The Mortal Instruments series was like literay crack. I seriously couldnt put it down and had to go out and get the rest of the series to read them in order once I started.

Im in the US.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

April (BooksandWine) said...

Oh Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is totally book crack. Then when you finish those books, read the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong.

Vanessa said...

"These books are plot driven packages of literary crack"

LOL! I'm not eligible for the giveaway, but I just wanted to let you know that this is a GREAT review!

Carla said...

Fab Review!! Did you see Rachel Vincent's post today?? she mentioned you, go see <3

Ann Diana Dinh, said...

AH! I've been hearing so much about this series...I really want to read it.

Book, I really enjoyed reading The Cathy's Book series. And to have all the "extras" that comes with it, it's so awesome.


samantha.1020 said...

I think these books sound delicious...I can't wait to read them. This may be cheating but Rachel Vincent's werecat series are literary crack for me. I've only read the first 3 and I have found them to all be amazing. You should definitely give them a try.

Michelle Santiago said...

i'd love to try this series. i've been hearing about for a while. my current lit crack is the hunger games series.

bookmakeupreview at gmail dot com

i also tweeted

holdenj said...

The Sookie Stackhouse series. Totally addictive, it's a good thing there's 9 or so out already, it's easy to just keep reading them!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Michelle said...

Book crack for me is the Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison. Very, very funny a la Bridget Jones. Also all those Eva Ibbotson romantical books - I'm a sucker.

THanks so much for the review.

mmillet at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Wow, this series sounds really interesting, I would love to read it. Please count me in! :D

Extra entry: Linked on my sidebar at

LOL, love the term literary crack! There are so many books and series I love being addicted to, but off the top of my head I would definitely say the BDB series by J. R. Ward and the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole.

Anna ♥

Brooke said...

I have WAAAY too much 'crack' in my life... Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, Anna Godberson's Luxe series, Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Kelly Armstong's Darkest Power's series and my personal fave... Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series. WHEW! And just a note on your review... I wasn't sure I liked the 2nd Soul Screamers book as much as the first either, but it wasn't the ending that threw me. I thought that was good because it depicted the unselfish love that comes from being a big sister, as well as the old 'you get what you deserve' in the end. (WHY, oh WHY would those girls be sooooo stupid and shallow enough to actually sell their souls?) I think what was missing for me was any real plot outside of saving the soul of Addison Paige. I wanted more character development and more focus on the lives of our main characters. It just felt like it was missing the sub-plots that I love in all her other books.

Last Page First said...

I just finished the fourth and final book in Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl Series, Tap & Gown. I devoured those books in, like, three days, and now I am totally suffering from withdrawal.

If you aren't familiar with the series, it's about a female college student who gets tapped into an all-male secret society at an ivy league university. The books are funny and romantic and very, very addictive.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this.=3

Hmmm.. Book crack you say? Well for me that would have to be the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison. I absolutley love(with a capital L) this series.

Thanks for doing this!
Jennifer M.

Emma Michaels said...

You have gotten an award for being cup-cake sweet from my blog:

Stephanie said...

Actually, these books sound like they'd be a lot of fun. I really want to read them as well.

Literary Crack?? Most definitely, Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire Series. I was kind of ambivilent about the first. But liked it enough to pick up the second. Now, I just can't help myself!!!

Lenore Appelhans said...

LovesSam - Thanks for the tip! I love what Rachel said. She's very classy :)

Anna - Just to clarify...I didn't invent the term "literary crack". I've seen it used around on various blogs and book sites, and I was just waiting for the right time to use it. I think it loses it's power if you use it too often!

Stacey Brucale said...

The Night World Series are definitely literary crack!


CrystalGB said...

I have been wanting to read this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

book crack- I really enjoy Richelle Mead's and Cassandra Clare's YA books.


kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Great review! I don't need to be entered in the giveaway, since I own and have read both books, but I agree with your thoughts on the second book's ending! I still can't wait to read the third book though.

cait045 said...

I just read Rachel's Shifters series and loved it so I really want to read her Soul Screamers series.


Anonymous said...

Nalini Singh's books are my crack- I can't put them down.
Would love to check out the Soul Screamers series.

sconesandcider at yahoo dot com

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Great review Lenore! I agree with you whole heartily!

Lana said...

I read the free prequel that Harlequin has available as an e-book and was definitely intrigued. It's cool to see banshees around (rather than the ubiquitous vampires/werewolves). I'd love to give this series a try! Please enter me.

Lana said...

Ahh - the comment posted too soon.
My literary crack are the Bloody Jack books by L.A. Meyer - cross-dressing, life aboard ships, zany hijinks, and a Huckleberry Finn-like attitude. Just totally suck me in!

Yan said...

Literary crack=Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. It's hard to explain but it really is like crack lol


E.J. Stevens said...

The Hollows/Rachel Morgan series was literary crack for me. I couldn't put them down.[at]gmail[dot]com

Reading said...

Please count me in. My literary crack lately Hush, Hush.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Unknown said...

Count me in!

For your book crack, you should definitely read LIFE AS WE KNEW IT or the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series. :)



delightfulreviews at gmail dot com

Book Sake said...

The Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Mystery Series are crack to me!

MySharonAnne said...

The Vampire Academy series. I'm already jonsing for the next book in the series.



snort. literary crack

Well my first choice is JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood! As soon as I finish the next in the series I am Jonesing for a fix!!!~!
Next would be Vampire Academy Ohhh hellz yeahh 3rd book best last line EVEAH!~!~
So please enter me.
Thanks Lenore for the contest.

Kristen said...

If you delve into MG fiction at all, I'd suggest the Fablehaven series. :)

Please enter me!

dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

My literary crack is anything written by Anne Rice. Specifically, the Vampire Chronicles, but I just love anything she writes. She is a great writer!

Thanks for the giveaway!


Zibilee said...

I am really enthralled with this book after having read your review, so please enter me in your great giveaway! And my literary crack is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. They aren't for everyone, but if you like time travel, historical fiction and ridiculously involving plots, this is definitely a series you would love. Even if I don't win, it would be great to see someone else come to love these books!

KMichelleC87 said...

Well obviously the Twilight series is great and i love it but i don't think it's my favorite, that honor would have to go to the Mercy Thompson series (Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, and Bone Crossed) by Patricia Briggs.

lolahb said...

My crack is the 'Black Daggar Brotherhood.'

Thanks for the contest!

lolahb at gmail dot com

Mandy said...

I loved the Dream Catchers series by Lisa McMann
Mortal Instruments
Harry Potter of corse
Vampire Academy
Hush,Hush was good
The Dark Divine was good
The Maze Runner was good
Unwind = Possibly one of my favorite books ever

Thats all I can think of.

Aik said...

I loved Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Need by Carrie Jones.

aikychien at yaho dot com

Lenore Appelhans said...