May 26, 2012

Rachel Vincent Appreciation Weekend




The Soul Screamers Reading Challenge is almost over. I can't believe it. I'm sitting here staring at If I Die and getting so super excited that ONE MONTH FROM TODAY Before I Wake will be in my hands, on my shelf, on my Kindle and in bookstores around the country.

But I digress.... I'm not creating this post to talk about my excitement for this next book in the Soul Screamers Series. I'm here to talk about one of my most favorite authors of all time. Why? Well, because she's awesome. That's right. She is.

This reading challenge would not have been the same without her monthly chats. Which she has offered up because... you guessed it... she's awesome.

And it would not be nearly as amazing without her offering to sign a ton of books for the giveaways. Or to offer up two amazing prizes that are ONE-OF-A-KIND.

But she's not awesome only because of how she has so generously helped out this challenge. She was awesome loooooong before and will continue to be so looooong after.

So. What do I think I know about this author? What do I think makes her awesome? Lots of things. Many of which I'll be kicking myself about because I forgot to mention them here. But here goes....

She is a passionate writer.

Whether you're as huge fan of her stories as I am, the fact is that it's evident in the stories she writes just how passionate she is about writing them. Not one of the stories I've read felt like she phoned it in. Not even in the slightest. Every angst-filled moment you can tell was thought through, fought for and delivered with love, care, concern and maybe just a little wicked enjoyment.

She cares for her characters.

Yep. Even the ones she makes bad things happen to. Even the ones she kills. Each of them have a story. They're not "insert extra here" characters. They all have depth. They all have a reason. They all play a role. Even if it's an evil one or one you just can't stand.

She is a dedicated and hard worker.

While it may be hard to believe, I'll just bet she has a life outside of writing. She talks often of a #1 who must take up even a fraction of her time. She speaks of having a passion for baking - and does a show and tell with those gingerbread creations that are totally amazing. And yet she constantly seems to be working.

She makes those word counts. She meets those deadlines. She doesn't let down her publisher or her fans. She fights and struggles and imagines and creates and manages to get it all down in a way that is exciting and intriguing. And does that sound easy? Does that sound like it takes no time?

But she also manages to blog. And post updates to facebook. And tease bits and pieces from her stories. And markets herself. And shares her time with fans. And travels to events, signings, conventions. And if that weren't enough...

She knows her craft.

I am not an author. I don't work in the business. But I attended one panel she spoke on and the things she said made so much sense. And some of those other, newer, writers who were there definitely took note of the things she said, the wisdom she imparted.

And the fact that she is currently writing two amazing series with very different characters and worlds and manages to keep everything straight is a testament to not only how hard a worker she is but how skilled she is at what she does.

Writing is creative. I'm sure there are parts to it that are a ton of fun. But it's also a business. And yet she manages to create stories that don't feel like she's only looking to line her purse with cash. Her stories feel like labors of love. They feel like they're written just for the readers and not to meet a marketing target. And they tease, entice and excite. They go in directions that aren't always popular and they delve into very dark and real issues that aren't always everyone's cup of tea. But she goes there and she does it anyway.

She is an amazing person.

While I've only  met her briefly and only "know" her online, she constantly goes above and beyond and gives so much to her fans. More than we could ever ask for. More than she has to in order to keep an online presence.

She doesn't have to do all that she does to keep a fan-base and yet she does. She has a publisher with a marketing team who help to promote her books. She doesn't have to share aspects of her personal life with us, and yet she does. And even though she will still always be a rock star to her fans, she allows us to see that she is, in fact, a very real person.


What do you think?

I could go on. And on. And on. And yet I won't. Because this isn't the me show today. It's about this amazing author. And so, I'd love it if you would - whether you're participating in the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge or not - SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS about the author in the comments this weekend.

Is there something in it for you? Maybe. There might be something amazing for one or more of you. But I won't say. I'd rather you leave a comment just because you think the author deserves to be appreciated, as I do, and not because you could potentially win some prize.

And I would love it if you SPREAD THE WORD. Not because I care about blog traffic - this blog goes away after the challenge. Not because I am working in cahoots with the author - she has NO IDEA. But because every so often an author who gives so much deserves some recognition just because.


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And just in case you haven't seen, heard, met, read or know about Author Rachel Vincent, here's just a little bit about her....

Bio & Photo courtesy of the author's blog.
Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series, from Mira books. Stray, Rogue, Pride, Prey, Shift, and Alpha are available in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia, and are being published in Turkey, Norway, Sweden, Finland, India, France, and Italy.

Also, look for the Soul Screamers books, Rachel’s young adult series! My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, My Soul to Keep, My Soul To Steal, and If I Die are available now, and Before I Wake will be on the shelf in the US and Canada on June 26, 2012. The Soul Screamers series is also being published in the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Spain.

Rachel’s new adult series Unbound debuted with Blood Bound on August 23, 2011 in the US and the UK, to be followed by Shadow Bound on May 22, 2012.
And just some of the places you can find her: Twitter, Facebook, Blog

May 20, 2012

Helene's Review of If I Die

If I Die

(Note: Helene's review does contain major spoilers for If I Die)

If I Die is my favorite Soul Screamers’ Novella and the first full book I read in English.

I couldn’t wait for the French version so I ordered the book in English. I read it twice to have a better understanding and I re-read it when I ordered it in French.

I love this book. It is so good.

Kaylee has yet to fight a bad creature but she must also fight again the time. She has just five day to live. The main character is going to die, how is it possible?

This book is more intense because she has not a lot of time. She wants to protect her friends before she dies.

The fight again the incubus is so great. He is not a hellion, he lives in the human world but he is too dangerous. A new enemy, and a new fight, I love that.

I love this book too because Kaylee chooses Tod. She understands that she loves Tod. I love when they are together. Tod tells her about his life and his death. They are so cute together. They are for each other but it’s very sad because they have not a lot of time being together.

In the last chapter, I think my heart stop beating when Levi kills Tod. I want to cry and I can’t believe this. It can’t happen. I don’t want my favorite character die. So, I’m so happy when he comes back in the end. The ending is wonderful.

I can’t wait to read the new book. Kaylee is dead but she has an afterlife. It will be very interesting to see how she will “live” now.

Just one month to wait.

May 19, 2012

SSRC: My Soul to Steal Spoiler Chat



In case you hadn't heard, this month's Spoiler Chat with Author Rachel Vincent for the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge is coming up this week! And this month's chat will be about My Soul to Steal AND Reaper.

This is the last official month of the challenge, but there will be a spoiler chat for If I Die after the challenge has ended.

SAVE THE DATE!

DATE: Wednesday, May 23rd

TIME: 6:00PM Eastern/3:00 PM Pacific

LENGTH: Approx. 1 hour

WHERE: Rachel Vincent's chat room. CLICK HERE to read the author's post for details. A live link to the chat room will be posted on her blog 30 minutes beforehand for those of you who want to stop by early.

WHO: Anyone is welcome to join in, even if you aren't participating in the challenge.

DETAILS: This spoiler chat will ONLY be for spoilers from the fourth book in the series, My Soul to Steal AND the novella, Reaper. So, please keep your questions limited to the events and characters in those books only. NO SPOILERS ABOUT IF I DIE.

So if you aren't sure which book your question comes from, play it safe and save your questions for the If I Die chat or try to keep it generic and spoiler-free.

If you are up-to-date with the challenge, or you have read If I Die and are already getting excited for Before I Wake, I know it will be tough to not talk about If I Die. But PLEASE TRY AND WAIT. You don't want to spoil it for those who haven't yet read - or finished - it.

***

So, I hope you'll be able to attend the chat this Wednesday. Mark your calendars. Because, after the long wait, we'll finally be able to talk all about Sabine Campbell!

And once again, as this chat is taking place in Rachel Vincent's chat room it does require a login. So stop by a few minutes early so you don't miss anything! Because you won't be able to see what happened before you log in. And you won't be able to ask your questions until you're given a "voice."

If you prepare a few questions in advance you won't forget them if you get caught up in the chat. And don't be shy! Rachel Vincent is awesome and tries to answer ALL questions unless they are spoilers for a book not covered by the chat.

And if you have any questions before chat day, leave a comment here and I'll try to answer it!

May 17, 2012

SSRC Month Four Winners



Prize #1 - The Rachel Vincent Shadow Bound pre-order OR Rachel Vincent book of your choice ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository to TWO WINNERS


Winner One - #26 - Jen at Midnight Book Thief

Winner Two - #51 - Ron at Stories of My Life

Prize #2 - A T-shirt or Tank of your choice from Rachel Vincent's Urban Quill shop to TWO WINNERS


Winner ONE - #26 - Jen at Midnight Book Thief

Winner TWO - #19 - Always Hoping for More


Prize #3 - A signed copy of My Soul to Steal to ONE WINNER


Winner - #25 - A Book Obsession

Prize #4 - A signed copy of If I Die to ONE WINNER


Winner - #18 - Always Hoping for More

Add-on Incentive - $50 in books of your choice from Amazon or The Book Depository


Winner - #16 - Riffs and Reviews

Well, Random seemed to land on the mid-number ranges this time. I did a few "test" Random's after the fact and they kept landing in the late teens and twenties. Go figure!

WINNERS, if you do not wish to receive your prize - please let me know by email at fiktshun[at]gmail[dot]com or in the comments and I'll choose another winner or winners. If you choose not to accept your prize, I will give you an extra entry into the end of challenge giveaway.

Winners of Shadow Bound or the book of your choice, please contact me by email with your address details and your book of choice.

Winners of the T-shirts or Tank tops send me a link to the T-shirt or Tank you want, any color preferences and size preference along with your address details.

Winners of the signed books, please contact me by email with your address details.

Winner of the $50 in books of your choice from Amazon/The Book Depository, please email me with your book selections and address details. Note that books priced at TBD must be USD prices through the US website. If you aren't sure about the total cost of your books, give me a list, in order, and I'll add books to the cart until I hit the $50 mark.

Congratulations to the month four giveaway winners! We're officially in the last month of the challenge with the best prizes yet. Good luck!

May 15, 2012

SSRC Mini Challenge: Fearless and Niederwald Redux


As promised, I am bringing back the Mini Challenge for "Fearless" and "Niederwald" now that everyone has had the chance to meet Sabine in My Soul to Steal.

"Fearlesscan be found in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology and "Niederwald" can be found in the Enthralled anthology.

These short stories were not listed as part of the original Extra Credit reads on the main blog, but I have been allowing them to count as an entry into the monthly giveaways and the end-of-challenge giveaway.

So if you have reviewed either - or both - short stories during any of the challenge months and haven't yet left a link, you can leave your link in the MONTH FIVE link-up list. Each review or thoughts post for each short story will count as one entry.

Even if you enter the Mini Challenge Giveaway, you CAN still leave your link or links in the MONTH FIVE challenge link up at Fiktshun. This Mini Challenge just gives you an EXTRA chance to win a book.

AND...

If you wrote a review for either - or both - of these short stories during ANY month of the challenge, you can enter this Mini Challenge! You can enter even if you entered the previous Mini Challenge giveaway, as long as you didn't win that Mini Challenge.

Sorry if I've gone a bit off topic, but here are the details you need...
The Challenge
To read and review - or share your thoughts about - "Fearless" and "Niederwald."
The Rules
  1. Read either or both "Fearless" and "Niederwald" between January 15 and June 14, 2012. (It can be a re-read, but it must be re-read between January 15 and June 14.)
  2. Review or post your thoughts on either or both books between January 15 and June 14, 2012.
  3. Post your link to each review or thoughts post in the Linky below. Make sure you leave a link for EACH post.
  4. Reviews or thoughts post MUST be dated between January 15 and June 14, 2012.
  5. You can get up to TWO entries for this mini challenge giveaway.
  6. There will be TWO winners.
  7. Entering this Mini Challenge does NOT prevent you from entering your post links in the MONTH FIVE link-up reading challenge at Fiktshun.
  8. Even if you entered the previous Mini Challenge for these stories you can enter the links again for this Mini Challenge as long as you weren't the winner of the previous challenge.
The Prize
Winners will receive a Rachel Vincent book of your choice from Amazon or The Book Depository. Prize can include a pre-order of Before I Wake.
Reminder
If you don't have a blog, Facebook page, Goodreads account or Tumblr, leave a comment below and if your thoughts or review is positive, I will post it here on the SSRC.

***
Good luck and Happy Mini Challenge!

Let's see those posts...

May 13, 2012

Renee's Review of My Soul to Steal

My Soul to Steal


This book has presented me with a bit of a problem. While I loved all of the new elements introduced into the story, namely the world's most determined mara, it frustrated me so much that I almost had to throw the book against the wall a few times. Almost. I could never bring myself to put the book down because I just had to find out what happened next. Of course, I already knew, considering this is a reread, but everyone changes so much in this book that it feels like I'm finally rediscovering the characters that I knew from after If I Die.

There are some new things that I was glad to see had slipped through the cracks the first time around. I began to notice the little details that I had missed before, like who is always there for Kaylee when she needs them, and who is definitely… not. Seemingly insignificant changes in the way certain people look at her – insignificant because they never really mattered until later on in the series. That doesn't mean that they weren't noticed, just that there were more important things going on at the moment, so they were overlooked.

And there was so much going on in this book. Just because Kaylee was going through a bit of a rough patch in the romance department, doesn't mean that there won't be some world, or at least Texas, threatening dilemma for her to solve.

Then there's Sabine. The first time through this book, I hated her for everything she was and everything she did to Kaylee. It just wasn't fair. She had been through so much already and she still felt responsible for saving the world with her own two hands. Now there's a Nightmare with abandonment issues determined to pry her maybe-boyfriend from her cold, dead hands. The universe was tragically out of balance.

This time, I looked at it in a whole different way. After reading the short stories from Sabine's point of view, "Neiderwald" and "Fearless," I can completely understand why she's not willing to play fair. She never meant to hurt Kaylee – in fact, on many occasions she called her a friend – it's just that she was the one thing standing in the way of her life. And Nash was her life; he was everything she needed to keep going on, and once he left, she had nothing.

It doesn't take a genius to see that Kaylee and Nash are no longer perfect for each other. Kaylee doesn't need Nash like Sabine does, at least not any more. Whether she likes it or not, he has changed, and the Nash that she fell in love with is no more.

But she is not alone. To take the place of her fallen hero is another, one that I have been very glad to see. Whether or not he will stay is one question, but without a doubt, he will be causing quite a bit of trouble, which is why we love him oh so very much.

Rating: 4 stars

May 8, 2012

Reading Mind's Review of My Soul to Steal

My Soul to Steal

This is probably my least favorite books of the series, maybe because I didn't really like Kaylee in this installment. She was lacking self-confidence and was a little bit erratic. But let's see why.

In My Soul to Steal, Kaylee is trying to get to trust Nash again but the idiot- sorry, I wanted to say Nash- has clearly decided it's okay to mess up with her, because now that his ex girlfriend Sabine, a mara, is back and he's not with Kaylee anymore (even if he wants to come back with her), he spends lots of time with this sex-personified girl.

I don't want to really add anything to this summary because I don't want to spoil the book, but I have to say that Kaylee should know better than put up with all the crap Nash is trying to make her buy. She is usually strong and independent, but in this book she seems to take a step back. She's unsure about Nash, she doesn't know what to do, and she is jealous and has every right to be so, because I don't feel like Nash is acting quite right towards her. I mean, spending all that time with a girl who feeds on fear? Nope, Nash, you're doing it the wrong way. And Sabine…God, I hated her! She's always in the way of Kaylee and Nash and she's a pretty mean and nasty girl. Luckily, we get to see more of Tod in MSTS, and we finally start to see how his affection for Kaylee grows, how he's willing to help her in any way he can. At least, one of the Hudson's boys is doing right to our lovely girl! And his humor is one of the things I love the most about my favorite reaper.

I also liked Alec quite a lot and was glad we had the chance to know him a little bit better. And Emma, too, was really enjoyable and I'm always very pleased to see her around.

This book is more focused on relationships rather than the action and there is a major cliffhanger, so make sure to have the next book near so you can dive right into it.

Anyway, apart from the whole Kaylee-Nash-Sabine drama, I have to say that Rachel is doing an incredible work with this series: it started off quite calmly but now you can see how much the characters have grown, how they have changed and become more mature. I love when a series develops like this, it feels 'real', and so do the characters, which are not perfect but are absolutely believable.

I gave the book 4 stars, both on my first reading and now on this re-reading. It wasn't a 5 only because I wanted the next book and had to wait!