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Review: If I Die

If I Die by Rachel Vincent is the fifth book in the Soul Screamers series. It will be released in the U.S. on September 27, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats.

It is currently available to pre-order online in paperback format only at Amazon and in both formats at Barnes & Noble.

Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 288 pages. (Note, the ARC for this review was 342 pages.)

Goodreads description:

No one wants to be this teacher’s pet . . .

Everyone else is talking about Eastlake High’s gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck, but Kaylee Cavanaugh has bigger things on her mind. Kaylee’s a banshee—her scream is a portent of death.

But the next scream might hit too close to home. Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline has almost run out.

Yeah—it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself from her own problems, Kaylee is determined to defend her school against the latest supernatural threat. That hot new teacher is really an incubus, who feeds from the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend’s delinquent ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human either.

But Kaylee’s running out of time, and those who love her will do anything to save her life.

Anything.

Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die.

***

Every time Kaylee Cavanaugh thinks things are beginning to settle down at Eastlake High, something always happens. When she suddenly has to fight against singing for a soul in the middle of her new math teacher’s class, she can hardly believe it.

She knew that as long as the Netherworld’s base of operations sat just below the thin veil that separated the school in her world from theirs, things wouldn’t be quiet forever, but she hoped they would remain normal for just a little while longer.

Long enough for her to figure out if she and Nash are really meant to be, or if his past betrayals were just too much for her to forgive. And long enough for her get used to the idea that if she gave him up, he would get back together with his ex-girlfriend Sabine, who has been waiting not so patiently for it to happen.

With the clock ticking down, will Kaylee once again be the savior that everyone needs her to be? Or will time run out, with each new complication slowing her down, leaving Emma, Nash, and all of Eastlake at risk.

***

If I Die is the most thrilling, heartrending, explosive and exhilarating book yet in the Soul Screamers series by author Rachel Vincent. The pace never lets up, and the surprises just keep on coming.

Once again the story picks up shortly after the events in the previous book, My Soul to Steal, and readers are immediately pulled into the next puzzle that Kaylee needs to solve.

But before readers can even begin to unravel this mystery, the author delivers a shocking blow that makes this story even more riveting. And from then on, each moment is filled with apprehension as readers come to grips with what just might be the most heartbreaking ending yet.

As Kaylee tries to deal with a new threat to Eastlake high school and keep her friends and schoomates safe from harm, she must also decide whether she’ll truly be able to forgive Nash or if she should let him go, for her own happiness and his.

And with an even bigger threat to herself, a mara still intent on getting between her and her boyfriend, and an unexpected complication in her already over-complicated life, Kaylee must put the pieces together and make up her mind before it’s too late.

Author Rachel Vincent has yet again delivered a story in her highly addictive series that is unputdownable. If I Die is even more gripping, torturous and all-consuming than its predecessors. Readers will be put on an emotional roller-coaster that won’t let up until long after the book has been read.

With five full-length novels and two novellas already written and with two more to come, the Soul Screamers series is immensely entertaining and has managed to carve out its own unique niche in this genre.

If I Die is a must read for anyone who enjoys a nail-biting story that will keep them tied up in knots from start to finish, an incredibly fast-paced mystery with twists and turns that will keep them guessing, and a love story that will break their heart over and over.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6] Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

If I had to come up with just a few words to describe this book they would be: Unbelievable. Unexpected. Amazing. Shocking. Mind-blowing.

If I Die starts right off with a punch to the solar plexus. I’m not kidding. It nearly killed me before I even got started. I did not look at the blurb on the back of the book or even really think about the meaning behind the title when I started reading it. I read this quite early – this review will have been sitting in drafts since the beginning of June – and so I read it long before the buzz on this book started heating up. So, everything in this book was a complete shocker.

Even though I read it early, it had been awhile since I’d read the previous book in the series, and when I picked this up for some reason I thought this would be an easy-breezy kind of read. I completely forgot how every single book in this series by the author has at least one heart-stopping moment and that with each book I can never fully catch my breath I’m so completely tense from beginning to end. It is literally like the air is being squeezed out of my lungs.

This is my favorite book in the entire series. I thought the first one was, because it was the first, it was new, it was different, it was exciting, but this one has that beat. It was a complete surprise. It has made following this series worth every single moment of heartbreak, anguish, torment and distress I suffered along with Kaylee.

Often, in a series that has as many books as the Soul Screamers series, they tend to lose some of that appeal. The story can feel like it’s dragging and has overstayed its welcome. It is totally the opposite here. Not only is the story not flat or stale, this is the most exciting installment yet.

Everything I love about Rachel Vincent’s writing is back in this book – the sarcasm, the humor, and that absolutely amazing way she has of building tension – but there is way more. I thought I’d met every possible baddie that the author could throw at us from the Netherworld. Well, a whole new repulsive one managed to slither its way onto the pages of If I Die.

And talk about steamy. Who knew wholesome Kaylee would raise some eyebrows in this book.

But I am always a sucker for a love story. And boy does this book have one of those. And yes, it did make me cry. Twice.

Another thing I love about this series is that the characters are not only memorable but that you actually care what happens to each one of them. Even if you don’t like them, you still want to know about them. They’re not just an afterthought.

Somewhere early on in this series I went from being a huge fan of Nash to Team Tod. And that almost never happens. I always think the first guy is the guy for the heroine and that’s pretty much it. But that Reaper is a definite charmer. And he won me over long before the novella, but that was the clincher.

As I don’t include spoilers (if I can help it) I can’t talk about any of the many, many things that made me laugh, cry, or just hold my breath in anticipation. But there were so very many. And I can’t tell you why my heart was broken and mended and broken all over again. But it was.

I cannot recommend this series enough. It is one of my very favorites, and is one of a handful that makes my heart drop to the pit of my stomach at least once in each book.

***

If you’d like to check out my review for the fourth book in the series, My Soul to Steal, click here.

This review is based on an ARC I received through a trade.

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