Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vicarious by Paula Stokes: PLAYLIST!!

 Hey there guys!!

This week another of my fave 2016 books that I beta read last year comes out and I cannot wait till I can read the finished copy of Vicarious!! And now I can read it while listening to the songs that inspired it because Paula is here to share them all with us, even with the lil extra bit of commentary & explanation!

So here is the Spotify link for those of you like me that use Spotify ALL THE TIME:

Vicarious by Paula Stokes

And now I give it over to Paula!:

When I create a playlist, I “watch” the book like it’s a movie in my head and select songs that fit individual scenes. I also try to find songs that match the tone of the story. Vicarious is a gritty, high-tech mystery with a lot of action scenes and dark emotions. I think you’ll find that this playlist captures those elements quite well. In case you don’t use Spotify, I have linked to official licensed (AKA non-pirated) YouTube videos where available.) Enjoy!

POWER by Kanye West
Even though Vicarious starts with a prologue and then flips to a scene with both sisters in the penthouse apartment where they live, the movie in my head has always begun with a scene panning in over the city of St. Louis at night. There are gray skyscrapers, and sidewalks crusted over with ice. People cluster in front of the businesses that line the darkened streets--businessmen, club goers, drug dealers. POWER captures both the urban feel and frenetic energy of the area where Winter and Rose live.

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
I heard this song on YouTube in 2012 when I was writing the first draft of Vicarious (which back then was called Goodbye Rose), and there was something about the feel of the song that just clicked with the manuscript. I probably listened to Radioactive at least two hundred times during the revision process, because something about it always transported me from the real world back into the world of Vicarious.

City Hunter (Instrumental) by Oh Jun Sung from the City Hunter OST soundtrack
If Radioactive is the right music for Winter and Jesse walking across the frozen streets near the beginning of the book, this short instrumental piece is the right accompaniment as they break into the Phantasm building, navigate the darkened offices, and then run away after getting caught. Thanks to Eli from The Silver Words for this pick. This kdrama is not on Hulu, but I must find somewhere because it sounds epic!

My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up) by Fall Out Boy
This is another song like Radioactive where the music and lyrics together capture the essence of the entire novel. I have always imagined this song being used in my book-movie’s trailer. But since my book-movie is a purely hypothetical thing that exists only in my mind, I’ll pick an actual scene to slot this in. It would be perfect for the high-energy scene where Winter and Gideon are sparring on the rooftop.

Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
After Rose is killed, Winter struggles with anger, depression, and hopelessness. There’s a point where she’s in the bathroom and she’s supposed to be taking a bath but she can’t even find the energy to do that. She’s just sitting up against the wall, thinking about her sister. This song is perfect for that scene.

(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do by The Crystal Method
Winter tries to push past her depression by focusing on finding out who killed Rose. One of the places the clues lead her to is a hot new dance club called Zoo. This song by fits the ambiance of the club as well as Winter’s mindset during the scene.

Disturbia by Rihanna
After leaving the club, Winter and a couple of friends find themselves in a high-speed car chase during a snow storm. Given the events leading up to the chase, I think Disturbia is the perfect accompaniment to this particular action sequence.

Bad by Infinite
I wanted to include at least one K-pop song on this list because K-pop is so popular with young adult readers. (This book is actually more K-rock or K-metal, but those songs are a lot harder to find on Spotify.) So here we are. This is a song about a guy who loves a girl so much he’s afraid she might ruin him. After the car chase, there are multiple scenes that show how far Jesse will go to protect Winter—maybe too far. Is she going to ruin him? You’ll have to read to find out ;)
Thanks to Minjae for the song recommendation!

Beautiful by Akon, featuring Colby O'Donis, Kardinal Offishall
Later in the book, Winter is playing one of Rose’s ViSE recordings from Inferno, the dance club in the building next door to where she lives. Rose’s clubbing experiences are a lot different from Winter’s, and this song fits the theme of that ViSE perfectly. In fact, I’m pretty sure all of the people in this video are at Inferno with Rose ;)

Falling to Pieces by Faith No More
This sounds like it should be about Winter’s state of mind as she deals with the death of her sister, but the lyrics do a better job of describing Winter’s feelings for Jesse. Gideon sends the two of them to Miami to record a ViSE, and spending the night in a hotel room with Jesse brings all of Winter’s conflicting emotions bubbling to the surface.

Always by Saliva
“I hear a voice say ‘Don’t be so blind.’ It’s telling me all these things that you would probably hide…” Winter has major trust issues when it comes to men. She wants to trust Jesse, but when she finds out a secret that he’s been keeping, she becomes as angry as the lyrics to this song. “I love you, I hate you…”

Terrible Lie by Nine Inch Nails
When Winter finally finds out who killed her sister, she becomes even angrier than she was about the secret Jesse kept from her. An angry girl doing angry girl things needs some angry NIN music to go along with.

Two Against One by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, featuring Jack White
After Winter gets angry, she calms down and has to face some harsh realities. But is she strong enough to accept the truth? Or will she fall apart without her sister there to hold her together? This song is perfect for when she’s piecing together the entire puzzle in her brain.

Chop Suey by System of a Down
Chop Suey is a close second to Radioactive when it comes to transporting me into the world of Vicarious. (I know, I know—the songs could not be more different.) This song is fifteen years old, but it still feels very cutting edge to me, with its mix of thrash metal guitar riffs and lead vocals that transition into a softer bridges and choruses. There’s a part near the end of the book where Winter is desperately sprinting up the stairs, that fits exactly with a part near the end of this song.

Vicarious by Tool
The last song in a playlist is always the one I imagine playing while the credits of my “book movie” are running. This song is not only the obvious choice, but both the lyrics and music do a great job describing Winter’s frame of mind as she transitions from the end of Vicarious to the beginning of the sequel. The band Tool does not believe their albums should be experienced piecemeal, so this song is not available on Spotify. (Pili here - I ended up adding a tribute band version to at least let you listen to the lyrics and the music as close as possible).

Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they've escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it's bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city's hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you--for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn't sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.

Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the story of an unbreakable bond between sisters in this unforgettable high-tech thrill ride.

About the author:

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts. She’s the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.


  1. Yay for awesome promo post sweetie :D Thank you for sharing. <3 YAY for awesome music :D I am pretty curious about this book. <3


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