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Review: My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent was released in the U.S. on August 1, 2009 in paperback, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at Amazon and in paperback and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble.

It is also included in the Soul Screamers Volume One omnibus. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads)

Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 384 pages.

My Soul to Take is the first book in the Soul Screamers series by author Rachel Vincent.

***

Goodreads description:

She doesn’t see dead people. She senses 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. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash 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.

***

Kaylee Cavanaugh knew she wasn’t crazy. She didn’t know what was wrong with her, but she knew she didn’t need to go to the mental hospital. Again.

The fact that she had these panic attacks that made her scream bloody murder for no apparent reason didn’t mean she’d lost her mind. Did it? She didn’t think so.

But now, every time she screamed, something bad seemed to happen. A girl would die. Which made her incredibly curious and more than a little afraid. Was it just a coincidence or was she having premonitions? Or maybe was she so completely delusional that she couldn’t tell what was real anymore.

Whether it was all in her mind or something more sinister, Kaylee had to find out the truth. And fast. Because if she could predict and prevent even one person’s death, she had to try. Being called crazy she could live with. Letting someone die she couldn’t.

Especially if her next predication was for someone she cared about. Because if she couldn’t save them, once she started screaming she might not be able to stop.

***

My Soul to Take is the refreshingly original, incredibly addictive and wholly engaging first book in author Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series. It is a story that is filled with mystery and surprises, twists and turns and a wonderfully unique take on the legendary banshee.

Readers will be drawn into the world the author created from the very moment they meet Kaylee Cavanaugh. She is instantly likable and her sarcasm, quick wit and honesty are hugely appealing.

All her life, Kaylee has been having what she thought were out-of-control panic attacks. They’d gotten so bad that her aunt and uncle had her committed to a mental hospital to see if they could fix what was wrong with her. But aside from those times when she just couldn’t stop screaming, she felt completely normal.

Normal enough to sneak into a club with her best friend Emma. Normal enough to agree to dance with Nash Hudson, the popular and incredibly swoon-worthy senior who finally noticed she existed.

But when she felt the need to scream, right in front of Nash, she wasn’t so sure how normal she really was. And now that her most embarrassing secret was revealed, she wasn’t sure she could ever feel normal again.

Especially when the need to scream seemed to be caused by a girl she’d never met before. A girl who appeared to be surrounded by a dark shadow. And a girl who died only a short time later with no obvious cause.

As Kaylee tries to figure out what it all means, she learns that her family has been keeping secrets from her. Secrets about who they are and who she is. And shocking secrets about the world she lives in.

Author Rachel Vincent introduces readers to a new kind of paranormal mystery with My Soul to Take. The pace is quick, the writing is clever and imaginative and at times simply beautiful, the characters are funny, charming and entertaining, the love story is one that will immediately grab hold, and the suspense will keep readers thoroughly engrossed.

With writing and characters that are incredibly easy to connect with, a heroine who is not only relatable but lovable, a male protagonist who is charismatic and totally irresistible, and a story that is gripping and different and intriguing, My Soul to Take is one must read book that is absolutely unputdownable.

Reviewer gives this book…

On a personal note:

So. Freaking. Awesome. I am seriously in love with this series all over again.

Whether it’s the first time you’ve read it or the tenth, this book will take you on a ride, it will give you chills, it will grab and squeeze your heart and keep you utterly captivated right from the start.

I know, because it did that for me on my first read and it did exactly the same thing on this, my second, read.

There is no slow wind-up to this story. There is no long “getting to know you” period for the characters. You know right away what the dynamic is between Kaylee and Emma. You get a feel for exactly who both girls are and even though they are completely different, there’s no surprise that they’re friends.

Then there’s Nash Hudson. You know exactly who he is. He’s popular, he’s charming, he’s incredibly good looking and he only has eyes for Kaylee and not for her much more outgoing and curvy friend. And as much as you don’t want to trust him, you can’t help but notice that he only sees Kaylee. Which makes you love him instantly. It’s what made me fall head over heels for him within minutes of meeting him.

And, of course, then there’s this amazing, riveting, incredibly entertaining story. It really does pull you in immediately. I love that you get the first clue that something’s different about Kaylee in that very first scene. And while you may know, or think you may know, what’s wrong with her, she doesn’t.

I loved learning about the bean sidhes and how the author made those characters and their abilities unique to her story. I loved getting these small glimpses at things that may be important in future books in the series even though they didn’t play a large role in this book. Especially the Netherworld.

And I totally loved the mystery. The first time I read it I was just as clueless as Kaylee. I was so completely and totally surprised by just how things ended. And on the re-read I picked up on all those hints that I didn’t even realize were hints that first time.

But what I loved most was Kaylee. She is such a lovable character. She is funny and sarcastic and humble and honest and good. She wants to do what’s right, she cares about her friends and she definitely doesn’t play the victim.

She’s a fighter and just doesn’t accept things with a nod. She challenges people and is unbelievably determined. If she hadn’t tried to solve the mystery things would have been very, very different. And even though Nash may have been her savior on a couple of occasions, I have no doubt she would have pulled through without him.

Between the characters, the writing and the story line, I couldn’t possibly pick my favorite. They all work in harmony to create this story that is just so easy to devour and made me want to rush right into book two. Or even start reading it all over again. Even after the re-read.

***

I have a ton of favorite passages – many of them sarcastic, some of them the kind that leave you breathless. For my favorite I opted for breathless.

“Me,” he whispered back, leaning forward so that his lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His scent enveloped me, and his cheek felt scratchy against mine. “You should be thinking about me.” His fingers intertwined with mine in my lap, and he pulled away from my ear slowly, his lips skimming my cheek, deliciously soft in contrast to the sharp stubble. He dropped a trail of small kisses along my jaw, and my heart beat harder with every single one.

*** First time readers may not want to read this next part. No spoilers, but does talk about my feelings about Nash***

My thoughts on the re-read:

My Soul to Take was every bit as awesome as I remembered it. It was actually even better than I remembered it to be. I first read My Soul to Take back in early 2010 before I started blogging. I stumbled across the series and took a chance and I loved it. So much so that I devoured all available books back-to-back-to-back.

I immediately fell in love with Nash Hudson, and the whole concept of bean sidhes was new and fascinating and completely different.

Going back to this first book just about two years later, knowing all that I know about what transpired over the course of those other four full-length books was tough. But I was still excited to do it.

I wanted to remain steadfast in my dislike of Nash. I didn’t want to risk falling for him all over again only to be heartbroken. But I also wanted to see if I noticed Tod this time around, because he didn’t even factor on my radar during that first read.

Well, I fell for him again. He was just so unbelievably nice and perfect for Kaylee. He was supportive and charming and sexy. And he was there for her whenever she needed him to be. So, yes, I fell for him. Again. And I’m sure as I read each book in this series, he will destroy me all over again.

I am actually shocked that there were no surprises as far as the larger details are concerned. I remember this book. Which is not at all a common thing for me this far into a series. Of course I remember the characters, but I remember the mystery, I remember the events and I remember just how things ended. Way more than I thought I had, would or could.

I’ve devoured well over two hundred books since I last read My Soul to Take so I wasn’t sure just how much I’d remember. But I remembered everything that was important.

But it was the subtle details that were once again new to me. Details that either I missed the first time around, or that I didn’t fully appreciate because I was racing through the book, as simply a reader, trying to find out what was going to happen next and how the mystery was going to resolve itself.

What I missed on the first read was just how amazing so many of the passages are. Lines like these:

 A bolt of uncertainty shot through my heart, piercing my determination like a spear through flesh.

Some were even more vivid, some were beautiful, some were torturous and some were sarcastic, but all of them amazing. These passages were what kept me captivated this second time around, when I already knew about the love story, knew the answer to the mystery, and knew how things would turn out way down the road. And these passages were what kept this book memorable for the past two years since I last read it.

On the re-read, I noticed some of those hints at things to come later in the series that I didn’t know were important. I was able to see Aunt Val as a more sympathetic character than I did the first time. And I noticed just how good Kaylee was for Tod, who, as a reaper could have become cold and inhumane without her.

I did not find any reason to dislike Nash in this book or pick up on any clues that I might feel differently later on.

I am so glad that I took the time to re-read My Soul to Take, which had been my favorite book in the series until If I Die was released. And I can’t wait to continue on with My Soul to Save.

***

Book trailer for My Soul to Take:

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