Tag Archives: paranormal

Croak by Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Published: 20th March 2012 (paperback)
Format: E-reader
Pages: 320
RRP: £5.74
Rating: 13/14+

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

The premise of this book really caught me eye so I just had to join in the book tour! I was not let down. This book is very fun to read and provided me with a lot of enjoyment.

Uncle Mort was, at first, pretty scary but I think he was one of my favourite characters because he was both mysterious and hilarious. When I first read his name I thought of the French word mort which means death… the upcoming interview with Gina Damico shows it was unintentional, though!

The entire idea behind this new way of death and the subsequent afterlife is completely new and different from what has been portrayed in books and TV before… so at first it was all a bit confusing with new vocabulary but like in other fantasy books it becomes easy to pick up on.

Many other reviewers felt the same as me about Lex at the beginning. Being a juvenile delinquent means she is pretty hard to like but she grows and finds out answers throughout the book.

The book was written in third person so I felt that it was slightly more difficult to relate to Lex, since we did not get to delve completely into her mind. Other people’s opinions and thoughts were not usually looked at so a better choice would have been first person, so as to fully enjoy Lex’s character.

The overall writing quality however was really slick and I just plain enjoyed this book. I am glad this is a series because I would like some more answers!! I am sure there is more to some characters than meets the eye…

A fun, slightly mysterious and dark book with a good helping of comedic banter and romance. A great blend!

Rating
Plot: 8/10
There was a lot of action and events and that kept it thrilling.
Writing Quality: 9/10
Gina Damico has a lovely, in-depth writing style and the quality is great.
Originality: 9/10
Personally, I have not encountered a paranormal book about grim reapers…!
Characters: 6/10
The characters were developed and fun to read about.
Descriptions: 7/10
The descriptions provided were great.

39/50 = 80%

===================================================

Thank you so much to Teen Book Scene/Netgalley for the copy of the book.

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Take
Author: Rachel Vincent
Published: January 2011 (UK)
Format: Finished paperback
Pages: 345
RRP: £6.99
Rating: 12+

If being a teenager wasn’t hard enough, Kaylee Cavanaugh has realised that she’s not like her classmates. Not only is she one of the most uncool girls in her class, she soon discovers she has the unnerving ability of knowing 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 and proving she has what it takes to be cool. But a normal date is hard to come by when her highschool crush 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…

…….oh no… Yet Another Teen Paranormal Romance? (YATPAR?)

There are now so many of this type, in this genre, around, that sometimes it gets a bit hard to approach a new one with any enthusiasm, to be honest. You more or less know what you’re going to get – teenage girl (New to Town/Doesn’t Quite Fit In/Has Issues) meets teenage boy (who would usually be out of her league) causing both hormones and the paranormal to act like mad. Having said that, “My Soul to Take”, despite ticking all the YATPAR boxes, is a decent enough read. Kaylee, Our Heroine, isn’t perhaps as much of a misfit as in other series, as she has a good friend Emma who she sneaks into nightclubs with etc., and an annoying cousin called Sophie (she lives with her aunt and uncle since the death of her mother). She also behaves just like a teenager, in most situations.

So it turns out that Kaylee isn’t actually human but a banshee (or bean sidhe) which means that she can sense when someone is about to die, and is forced to let out an ear-splitting scream when this happens. But there are suddenly far too many deaths of young teenage girls, so Kaylee and Nash try to find out what’s happening, wiht the help of other non-humans.

The whole book seems to be in quite a rush, but as the action all takes place over a few days this is OK. There isn’t a lot of description of setting and surroundings in this book but I suppose we all know what an American High School looks like by now. I think the book is set in Dallas. However the people aren’t very well described, we know her friend Emma is blonde and beautiful, and Tod is blond and curly-headed, but have no idea what Our Heroine looks like, or her boyfriend Nash, which is a pity as little details can all add to the atmosphere. But instead of sparkling skin we get whirling eyes. To clarify, just the coloured bit of the eyes, not the whole eyeball, which would be alarming. And just how many descriptions of snogging does one book need, actually?

However, despite the fact that these comments might all seem a bit negative, there is actually a fairly decent, well thought-out story in here, with a few surprises along the way to keep you guessing. I like the concept overall, and there are more to come in this series which I think might actually benefit from not requiring all the explanation that inevitably comes when there’s a new fantasy world being set up.

Overall, I was impressed with how the book swerved past the usual barriers of teen paranormal romances. For example, as I mentioned before, both the heroine and her boyfriend weren’t described all that much, and I think this helps to back up my point, as in most YA paranormal romances ‘the boy’ is described in so much detail, you would believe you know this boy, when you don’t, and maybe it shows that this book aims to be different. By being different, it has made a bigger impact on me, and I think that helped me to enjoy this book more. I thought the writing quality was fine, and the action was fast paced and kept you wanting to read it.

Rating: arriving soon

=======================================================

My Soul to Take the first book in the Soul Screamers series about a teenage banshee growing up in high school. The series focuses on themes of self-discovery; as Kaylee discovers her own species and the tragedy in her past, and forgiveness; as Kaylee is betrayed by someone she loves and has to decide whether she can forgive him and take him back. The books also explore issues including self-image, selling out for profit and drug abuse. The second book in the Soul Screamers series, My Soul to Save, is published in March.

I did enjoy reading this book, so I am thinking of getting the second book in the series!

Thank you ever so much to the publisher, MIRA, for sending me a copy of the book for review!