Book Review: Reaping Me Softly, by Kate Evangelista

Reaping Me Softly 450X679Omnific Publishing
Release Date: October 2012
YA Paranormal

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?


Reaping Me Softly opens with an introspective solo scene. Death has a migraine. It’s not really surprising with the paperwork he has to keep up with. A hundred people die every minute on earth and he has to sign every single one. And it’s not just him. Nikolas Clark, the Reaper of Georgia, has been going through the motions for several lifetimes now. He’s so bored, so depressed, so fed up, that he forgets to take in residual energy from the souls he reaps. He’d have faded away to nothing if not for Arianne Wilson, a girl in his chemistry class, who just happens to be in the right place at the right time.

Arianne is a troubled girl. (What teenager isn’t to some extent?) At school, she’s in the crosshairs of the school bully, cheer captain Darla, and so is everyone who talks to her. At home, her family is divided. Both of her parents work. Her mother also spends nights at the hospital with Carrie, Arianne’s sister, whose first kidney transplant is failing while she’s on a waiting list for another. Arianne donated that kidney. She’d donate her other one if her parents would let her. Even if it were possible, she died on the operating table the first time around. Since then, Arianne’s been able to see ghosts, naked people who show up just about everywhere. She can’t talk to them. They don’t bother her. She’s gotten used to them.

At the opening of the story, there is news of a car accident on I-75. She doesn’t think much about it, until two classmates from her chemistry class, including her lab partner, are called to the principal’s office. This leaves Nico Clark without a lab partner, too, so their teacher puts them together. While Arianne is drooling over Nico, she drops hydrochloric acid on her skin, and Nico saves the day by knowing exactly what to do.

I wouldn’t exactly call Nico and Arianne’s relationship “instalove.” Arianne’s had a crush on the guy for years. Nico, however, does fall flat on his face in love rather quickly. Despite having multiple classes with her over the year, and having a locker right next to hers the year before, he has no recollection of having seen her before. Granted, he’s been depressed by his Reaper occupation and his being in school is mainly about fitting in. His best friend teases him, often, for being incredibly dense. But Nico goes from oblivious to lovesick in five seconds flat, and after she saves his life, he really is done for, to the amusement of his Reaper mentor, Tomas, and even Death himself. However, the author remedies this with a punishing ending that promises to make the boy work to keep Arianne.

Reaping Me Softly, is a cute book with serious themes underlying the sweetness. Darla, the bully, is a monster that keeps the entire school, including teachers, on a tight leash. Carrie’s declining health and the literal accumulation of death surrounding Niko and Arianne keep mortality close at hand. The prose is at times a bit too flowery, and in one scene, I remember reading through it three times before I understood what the author meant. These problems aside, I enjoyed reading it. So much, I moved the sequel, Unreap My Heart to the top of my reading list.

Reaping Me Softly is a clean YA read. There’s a scene depicting battle between two Reapers and the aftermath torture. There is no drinking, little swearing, and no inappropriate touchy-feely scenes. I would recommend it to fans of Evangelista’s other paranormal novels, Taste and Savor, and of YA paranormal romance in general.

I was given an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

★★★★

About My Book Reviews

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My 2014 Reading List

ShadesOfBlueBanner-430x1024So, I missed my reading goal for 2013. By 73 books. I’m a little embarrassed to call myself a reader. This year, I’m taking a slightly different approach. I’ve created a collection on my Kindle, and when I find a book that interests me, I’m going to add it to the “2014” folder.

God only knows when the next Protectors novel is coming out, so I will be getting my Hildie McQueen fix from her Shades of Blue Trilogy, which appears to have four stories. (More the merrier, I say.)

Also on the list is this six-pack of paranormal romances that I got on sale for $2.99 on Black Friday!

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AND Kate Evangelista’s Savor left me seriously sad that the sequel isn’t already available. I’ll be consoling myself with these two pretties when I get through the other ten mentioned above.

unreap reapingMeSoftly

ARC Review: Savor (Vicious Feast Book 1), by Kate Evangelista

savor_1600Savor (Vicious Feast #1), by Kate Evangelista
Crescent Moon Press
December 2013
Paranormal Fantasy
Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you’ve got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.
I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.


In Kate Evangelista’s YA paranormal romance, “Taste,” sixteen-year-old Phoenix McCay falls asleep in her school library, misses curfew, and finds herself in the beautiful, and frightening world of Barinkoff Academy’s “night students.” There she becomes the unwitting subject of a science experiment, the obsession of dueling princes, and the catalyst for a long-simmering revolution.

SAVOR brings along the principle characters of the parent novel, personalities and social status included. Phoenix is beautiful and caring, but somewhat trapped in herself. Luka still calls the shots, while Demitri maintains the upper hand in a very delicate dance of mutual love and hate with his cousin. Demetri’s younger brother Dray is geeky and adorable. Luka’s sister, Yana is stylish, savvy, but with her wings clipped by her brother’s tight control. But SAVOR gives these characters a few twists. For starters, former Night Students are no longer bound to their underworld kingdom, burdened by the facts of their very existence. In fact, Evangelista left the world of “Taste” mostly in the Young Adult aisle when she turned her focus to a new heroine.

Dakota Collins is a college senior, whose strength, determination, and independence is plain as day to anyone with eyes. Her depth perception is crippled by an injury that compels her to wear an eye patch, yet she pursues a career as a photographer. She’s talented, driven, and professional. She is amazed that Luka Visraya, the hottest bass player on the planet, would entertain the idea of being the subject of her spring project, but he invites her to spend a month at his house, with unfettered access to the entire band, on condition of a non-disclosure agreement. The only rule seems to not ask questions people don’t want to answer.

Here, Ms. Evangelista gives us “Almost Famous,” set in the Beast’s mansion, with Morpheus at the front gates offering Belle red and blue pills. The world of Vicious, Luka’s band, surpasses her expectations before she even gets to their house. It’s opulent, frenzied, isolating, and at times, mad.

Incapable of taking a bad picture, Luka is a battered doll beneath the skin. He is twenty-something going on fifty under the weight of his father’s expectations, from which his band has been his one relief. There is a trend among celebrities who stop getting told “No.” Michael Jackson and Britney Spears are prime examples, and Luka has all the ingredients in his life to self-destruct. He’s got more money than God and has the privilege to what he wants. He’s overworked, under pressure, depressed, has an alcohol problem, and people cower under his rage.

Dakota shares a lot with Luka in that she is also a battered doll. Horribly scarred, she maintains her self-esteem by pushing everything she has into photography and saying “screw it” to the rest of the world. Unlike Luka, to whom the word “no” would be defiance of his authority, to Dakota “No” is just simply a word. It looms over her with 50-50 odds of being the answer to any question she asks. Thus, she has an advantage over the other occupants of Luka’s household in that she doesn’t have to put up with his crap. He never says as much, but it is clear in their scenes together that Luka loves having someone unafraid to put him in his place. It’s a good thing, too, because the boy needs sensitivity and sexual harassment training.

SAVOR is a fun, sexy introduction to what I anticipate to be a mind-blowing series. It is intended for adults, contains mature (sometimes erotic) subject matter. I would recommend it to fans of NA Paranormal Romance.

***I was given an ARC by the author in return for my honest opinion.***

★★★★★
About My Book Reviews

Evolution Thursdays: Kate Evangelista

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Kate can be found at the following places online: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Lovely readers, meet Kate! Kate, lovely readers.

First of all, I would like to thank Wendy for inviting me over on her blog today. It’s a pleasure. *waves at everyone*

Thank you for coming, Kate! What gave you the idea for Taste?

The main idea for Taste came from the practice at the school I used to teach at. In the afternoons they would ring this bell that signals to the students that they should all move to the guardhouse to wait for their parents to pick them up. Of course, there was a practical reason for this, but my brain started thinking of something else. Like: what happens at night in this school? So, the Night Students were born.

Do you recall the first scene you wrote?

The first scene I wrote was Phoenix waking up in the library to the tolling of the school bell. I knew from the very beginning that it was how the story would start.

And that scene is killer! How about a scene that you loved but ended up cutting?

Definitely. It was a scene that involved Phoenix and Luka. Very romantic. Sadly, I couldn’t keep it. Sigh.

Oh…I have a soft spot in my heart for Luka. And I usually have an a-ha moment, where an insignificant detail becomes something really important. Did you have a moment like that? Will it spoil the plot to tell me what it was?

Yes, I had several of them while writing Taste. I can’t share them here because it would spoil too much of the book. Safe to say, when I write, I usually don’t know what happens next until I start a new chapter, which is why most of my aha moments are spoilery. *laughs*

Are you surprised where the story took you? Or if ended up where you planned, were you surprised how you got there?

That’s the thing about Taste. I already knew how it would end from the time I started writing it, so it was just a matter of connecting point A with point Z.

I understand that. Finally, what story idea is sitting in the class right now, raising his hand madly, begging you to call on him?

So many. The situation brings me back to my teaching days when everyone wanted to answer the question. But I’m thinking of trying a contemporary YA romance. I’ve never written one of those yet.

Thank you for joining us for Evolution Thursday, Kate! Everyone, I admonish you to go directly to Amazon and buy this book. It’s seriously in my top five favorite books ever.

Come back next week for Evolution Thursday. Shannon Eckrich is going to tell us all about “The Other Side of Forever.”

Book Review: Taste, by Kate Evangelista

Taste, by Kate Evangelista
Crescent Moon Press, April 2012

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.


The clang of a bell wakes Phoenix McKay from a nap. Before the second clang, she is on her feet and racing for a door that weighs a metric ton (or, might as well, given her penchant for slacking off in gym class). She slips. A third clang. She manages to open it just enough to slip through. A fourth clang follows, then a fifth. She’s late…unforgivably late…for the only appointment of her day that really matters. She stands outside as the sixth and final bell clangs, staring at an undisturbed blanket of show across Barinkoff Academy’s parking lot. The school had one rule, inflexibly enforced: no students on campus after curfew. The last bus back to the dormitories left ninety minutes earlier.

It’s cold, dark, and the dorms are miles away. She figures that if she’s going to get expelled anyway, she might as well try to find a janitor or someone to give her a ride. But the people she finds in the hall aren’t Barinkoff staff. They’re freakishly beautiful, guys and girls alike, and dressed in clothes from another century. One gleefully informs her that they are the “Night Students.” He casually mentions wanting to taste her. She doesn’t know what that means, but the look in his eyes leads her to believe he might mean it literally. Just as she thinks running might be a good idea, she finds herself behind a Mr. Tall-Dark-Handsome. His name is Demetri and he clearly intimidates the others. First, he asks the young man if he heard him correctly. Did the word taste cross his lips? He then commands all of his classmates to say nothing about Phoenix to anyone before taking her away, an order that shocks them all.

Demetri leads her straight away to a secret passage that connects the library to the chemistry lab. After introducing her to a young mad scientist reminiscent of Topher Brink (Dollhouse), her savior ingests a half-dollar size pill and then he drives Phoenix home. He promises that the Headmaster needn’t know about her breaking curfew if she promises to never miss curfew again. In doing so, he unknowingly breaks the first rule of Phoenix…never tell her what not to do.

If I could fill out an order form for the perfect novel, the result would be Taste. Kate Evangelista had me hooked from the very first sentence. She begins with a flawed first-person narrator in an acute, undesirable situation before immediately turning up the danger factor. Through Phoenix, she reveals to the reader a parallel world that is subtly sinister on the surface, with a separate cast of players that arrives and departs with the sun. From there peels back the layers on this world that lies behind and beneath Barinkoff Academy as if they were the petals of a flower. The pacing is like a choreographed dance between Phoenix, Demetri, and two other Night Students named Dray and Luka. The dialog is precisely to my liking; saying just what it needs to, at the right time and in the right way.

From the very first word, the details build into a steady crescendo of tension, along the main plot, the romantic arcs, and underlying subplots. When the climax hits, the strings start popping one by one, dropping the story by degrees, as if it were a weight suspended from them.

Through it all, Evangelista’s cast never drops character. Demetri is stoic, duty bound and passion driven, and keeps his priorities straight to a fault. Luka, his diametrically opposed frenemy, is carefree, careless, and manages to be deep and shallow at the same time. Phoenix’s wealth and privilege aside, she is sad, confused, curious, and intimately aware of how unfair life can be. The author’s voice is pitch-perfect.

I would recommend Taste to fans of Beth Revis’s Around the Universe, (along with anyone 15 and older who reads), with a word of caution: Hold onto something, or this book may well blow you away.

Taste Book Trailer and Excerpt Reveal

Taste
by Kate Evangelista

At Barinkoff Academy, there’s only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.


Before you read the excerpt below, be on the lookout for a hidden link somewhere on this page to a super EXCLUSIVE bonus excerpt.


Excerpt of Taste:

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue?—My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.

“Phoenix.”

I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

“Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.


When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Crescent Moon Press