Tag Archives: Teen Paranormal Romance

My Soul to Take: A Soul Screamers Novel – Rachel Vincent
Book Reviews
January 22, 2010 posted by Nikki

My Soul to Take: A Soul Screamers Novel – Rachel Vincent

She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

Kaylee has spent her adolescence riding on the coat tails of her best friend, Emma. Emma is one of those beautiful, cool and popular types, and although Kaylee doesn’t quite make the cut, the fact that she’s Emma’s best friend means that she’s been accepted by most of the cliques around school. But Emma’s the one that gets all the attention, Kaylee’s usually just along for the ride. So when Nash, one of the cutest boys in school, starts paying attention to her, Kaylee can’t believe her luck.

But Kaylee has a secret. She can sense when someone is about to die. It’s all consuming and comes in the form of something resembling a panic attack. When she starts flipping out in front of Nash at a club one night, she thinks her chances with him are shot.

Nash sees something in Kaylee that he’s never seen in many people before. He sees who she is for real and it doesn’t bother him in the slightest. In fact, he actually likes the creepiness that comes along with Kaylee. Nash thinks that together, he and Kaylee could be amazing – in more ways than the obvious.

Kaylee doesn’t understand why she can sense immanent death, and the last time she tried to tell someone about it, she ended up in the loony bin, all drugged up and the center of one kooky psychological study. After she got out of the hospital, she knew that she had to keep her secret to herself. Then girls start dying all around her and Kaylee knows enough about her ability to identify their deaths as anything but coincidence. She’s not so sure she can keep her secret to herself for much longer. There is something about Nash that makes her want to trust him, makes her want to confide in him. When she does, Kaylee almost doesn’t believe what he tells her.

Almost.

Kaylee’s character development throughout the story is solid and believable, and her reactions to Nash’s news about what, and who, she is hits the nail right on the head. Nash is dynamic, and something tells me that he’s going to be paramount to the popularity of this series, but I have a feeling that we are yet to see just how powerful, how strong Kaylee is. I suspect she’s going to grow into one heck of an amazing role model for young readers everywhere.

With the right amount of romance and supernatural action all mashed together, Vincent’s prose is simple and easy to read, making My Soul to Take an easily digested treat.

My Soul to Take is a supernatural feast. I have a feeling that readers, both young and old, are going to love this series.

Pages: 279

Publication Date: 2009

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: I froze in the middle of my fuzzy purple rug, horrified by the very thought of standing between a reaper and his intended harvest. “Nash, he was doing us a favor.” But they both ignored me…

My Soul to Save has also been voted by our loyal forum members as our bookclub read for the month of February. We’ll be kicking off discussions from February 1, 2010. Click here to join in the fun.

Betrayals: A Strange Angel Novel – Lili St Crow
Book Reviews
November 17, 2009 posted by Nikki

Betrayals: A Strange Angel Novel – Lili St Crow

She’s no angel . . .

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she’s just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn’t entirely human. (So what else is new?)

Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there’s a big problem— she’s the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn’t be so bad, but Dru’s killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide. . .

Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart?

What I liked about Strange Angels (the first in this series) was that it wasn’t set in any kind of school for the creepy supernatural, like so many other YA paranormal books. So when I realized that Betrayals was set in a supernatural school for the kooky and the gifted, I was a little disheartened. But I was wrong to judge so fast. Let me clear this up right away, Betrayals is no high school novel and Dru is certainly no high school gal.

School never was her thing, so when Christophe dumps her and Graves at the Schola – a school for not so human folk – Dru wonders what he’s thinking. School? What’s the point? She can already fight. She already knows everything there is to know about all the beasties in the world … or so she thought.

Dru has never been great at following the rules, and decides that class can go stuff itself where the sun don’t shine, to hell with the consequences. And consequences there definitely should be. Everyone else at the Schola are severly punished for missing class, but not Dru. No one seems to even care that she’s skipping all the time. They’re not training her either, which is a worry because that was the whole reason she was dumped in this place to begin with. Christophe promised that they’d take care of her, help her refine her fighting skills. So far, all they’ve done is feed and house her.

Dru knows something is up.

Graves, on the other hand, loves his new home. He’s learning to fight, learning to control his new wolfy talents and somehow, he’s found himself in a position of power. He thinks Dru is just being stubborn, that she’s lived her life in fear for so long she doesn’t know any other way. Dru thinks Graves is drifting, distancing himself from her a little, but Dru is kind of blind sometimes. Perhaps Dru should be asking herself why Graves is spending so much time with others rather than whether he actually wants her around anymore.

And then there’s Christophe. Cryptic, tall, dark and handsome Christophe. If it weren’t for him, Dru and Graves would probably be dead by now. That warrants a certain amount of trust, right? But what does she really know about this guy (other than the fact that he makes her heart go thumpa thumpa)? Christophe is a bit of a ‘legend’ at the Schola and everyone seems to have an opinion about who he is and what he stands for. Will Dru be able to see through the stories and find the truth?

All the things I didn’t like about Strange Angels are no longer an issue in Betrayals. Where I found Strange Angels a little slow and disengaging, Betrayals is fast-paced, beautifully written, and masterfully suspenseful. Lili St Crow nails the art of writing action scenes, carving up the pages with just the right balance of description, dialogue and inner monologue. Where I was happy to take breaks reading Strange Angels, I was unable to put Betrayals down. I was found reading in the toilet, in the bath, at the dog park, in the supermarket. Everywhere I went, the book came with me.

As someone who didn’t like Dru much in the first novel, I was unbelievably happy with how her character developed in this instalment. Her rock hard exterior (which I found annoying and even a little unbelievable in the last book) softens somewhat in this novel and readers are privy to more of her personal, private thoughts. I feel I understand her more now and I found it difficult to dislike her. There were even times where my heart ached for her.  I didn’t care too much how her story played out after reading Strange Angels, but I’m happy to announce that I’m now completely invested in her trials and tribulations. I desperately want things to work out for her and I hope that she gets everything she needs to survive in this bitter and twisted world. Dru … you go get em girl!

Betrayals is a supernatural heart stopper full of all the best kind of paranormal beasties around. A must read for fans of Urban Fantasy fiction.

Rating:: ★★★★½

To read our review of Strange Angels, click here.

Author Interview: Maggie Stiefvater
Author Interviews
September 29, 2009 posted by Nikki

Author Interview: Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is one of our fave authors here at yaReads. So when we were presented with the opportunity to run with her as our feature author for the month of September, we jumped on it. Although we realize we’re now in the very last days of September, we reckon her interview is better late than never. As always, she’s got some pretty interesting things to say. Be warned, this one contains spoilers!


Why did you choose Minnesota as your setting?

I was looking for someplace that already had a resident wolf population in the United States. Someplace cold. Cold and suburban. I could’ve done Wyoming, but I lived in Wisconsin, right next door to Minnesota, for a few years as a kid, so I had some experience of the landscape.

Grace thinks the reason she never turned into a wolf when she was bitten was because of the fever she got straight afterwards … are you going to elaborate on this in future books?

Oh am I ever.

When was the exact moment that Sam realised he was in love with Grace?

That is up to reader interpretation. I’m inclined to think it was probably while he watched her read on the tire swing. Readers love other readers.

Some of us here at yaReads are also wondering what exactly happened to Jack’s body. Can you tell us?

At which point? You mean, after he met his untimely end? I’m assuming he’s buried out in the back forty. The FBI could probably have a field day with Beck’s backyard.

Can you dish any goss about the next novel?

No, I can only be enigmatic and say that there is a lot more Isabel, and Grace, and it will be fun.

In an age where more and more books are being adapted for screen, we love to try and ‘cast’ the characters in our fave novels. Who can you envisage playing Sam and Grace?

I actually did a long blog post about this (http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/123623.html) but the short version is that I see Alex Turner (the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys) as Sam and Eliza Bennett (from Inkheart) for Grace.

In the event that someone wanted to buy it, would you sell Shiver to a film company?

In a New York minute. There is considerable interest but that’s all I can say at the moment.

Since Lament came out, you’ve been super busy. How long did Shiver take you to write?

Four months.

For you, what has been the best thing about your ride to literary success so far?

Whew. Um. It was pretty wonderful seeing the cover for Shiver for the first time. Also, hitting the bestseller list was pretty amazing and woozy-making.

Any downsides?

There’s an incredible amount of busywork that is associated with it — a ton of emails and edits and non-writing things. Also, there’s some pressure to make the next book at least as good as the last one.

In books about paranormal teen relationships, why do you think the boy is most often the one with the supernatural abilities?

I think because it’s more interesting to look at the supernatural from the outside, and the protagonists are often girls because that’s the intended audience for a lot of YA. So we get these girls looking at these supernatural guys from the outside. Thought in Lament, Deirdre also has her supernatural bits, and it’s not at all the dynamic in Ballad. Also, you’ll see a complete shift in Linger.

The YA paranormal romance genre is huge right now. What is it specifically about werewolves, vampires and the dark side that you think is so appealing?

For me, it’s because I believe in that . . . *something more*. Something outside of ordinary. It’s not that I believe in werewolves or faeries per se, but I do believe in . . . something more. And writing about them lets me write about that feeling of wonder and curiosity. I also love to play with metaphor, and werewolves are great metaphors for all sort of different things.

Can you imagine yourself ever writing in a different genre?

I could possibly shift from urban fantasy to dystopia. I have a lot of ideas in that department. But I think I will always write something that can be classified speculative fiction.

What are you working on at the moment?

The third book in the Shiver series, Forever.

Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Book Reviews
September 3, 2009 posted by Nikki

Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

When Grace’s community decides that they need to do something about the ‘wolf problem’ in the woods, Grace flips. Her wolf is in those woods. She has to stop them before its too late. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much of a commotion to get the hunters to pull back. A little screaming about her friends being in the woods here, a little pleading helplessly there, and its done. But when Grace goes home, she almost can’t believe what she’s seeing. There’s a boy on her door stoop, bleeding half to death, and instantly she knows instantly who it is. She’d know those eyes anywhere. She’s been looking into them for the last six years, wistfully hoping – wishing – that things were different. Well, it seems that life is about to give her what she wants for a change, even if it is for a short time only.

Sam can’t believe it’s her. He can’t believe she’s here, seeing him, looking at him like that. He can’t believe that he was shot and it brought on a change. A few minutes ago he was a wolf, and now … well, now he was human, but unless he did something about the bleeding he wasn’t going to be anything soon.

And so starts the snapshot in time that is Grace and Sam. It seems that there isn’t even a question of whether they’re together or not. Sam and Grace, although hesitant to assume the other’s intention initially, are instantly an item. They’ve been watching each other – falling in love with each other – from a distance for six years now. The time for formalities has long passed, especially considering they have so little time together in the first place. Sam knows it in himself, he can feel the end coming – this is the last year that he’ll change back to a human. Ever. The problem is, it’s the middle of winter. The cold is what makes him change in the first place. In order to keep Sam in his human form for a long as they can, Sam and Grace do everything they can to keep Sam warm. But Minnesota winters are tough, and sometimes, nature is unbelievably unpredictable. Will their race against the weather be all in vain, or will they get their happily ever after?

As far as paranormal romances go, this is, hands down, the best one I’ve read in a long while. Grace is a formidably strong character that will go to great lengths to protect her own. When it comes to her heart, there’s no messing around. I reckon girls everywhere are going love Grace; they’ll love who she is and what she has.

Sam is more than just the lust-worthy teenage heartthrob that we see in YA fiction so often these days. He’s got the emotional maturity of someone who far surpasses his years and seems to understand the ins and outs of love entirely. He loves Grace – completely and absolutely – and he knows exactly how to treat a girl. It doesn’t get better than this, girls. Sam is, without a doubt, the Edward Cullen of 2009.

Maggie Stiefvater totally steps up to the plate with Shiver. I’ve been a fan of hers right from the beginning, but I have to say, Shiver completely blew my mind. Once I started reading, there was positively no stopping. I felt drunk – love drunk! Too much Sam and Grace will do that to you.

Watch out for the ending, though. As I’m sure it will leave some ambling around despairingly. I know I was! As angsty as it was, the ending was totally appropriate and totally necessary. I commend Maggie for taking the path she did – this one is definitely an example of the road less travelled in YA lit, and is a breath of fresh air! I am totally in love with Shiver, and I plan on telling absolutely everyone I meet about this one.

Rating:: ★★★★★