Friday, May 21, 2010

ARC Review: My Soul to Keep

My Soul to Keep
Rachel Vincent
Fantasy/Young Adult
Soul Screamers series/Book 3
Harlequin/June 2010
ARC from Publisher/Net Galley

*Possible Spoilers for Books 1 & 2*

Isn't that a gorgeous cover? My favorite color!

From the author's website ~

When Kaylee Cavanaugh Screams, Someone Dies and Kaylee is About to Scream Her Head Off...

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understand her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.

Until something does.

Demon's breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow, the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends - one of whom is already hooked.

And when the epidemic hits too close to home, Kaylee will have to risk everything to save those she loves.

If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for?! It really is that good! I don't know how Vincent does it but she keeps the plot interesting, the tension up and the mystery in full force. And then there's the teen angst. It feels real, not over the top. And boy does it bring back some memories. :)

Kaylee is a very likable heroine. She's smart, responsible and has an innate kindness. She isn't the most popular girl or with the in crowd, at least not until she started dating star football player Nash Hudson. Now that she's with Nash, Kaylee goes to the parties with the popular kids. It's at one of these parties that something goes wrong and Kaylee find herself deep in Netherworld trouble again.

Kaylee Cavanaugh has certainly evolved as a character since book 1, My Soul to Take. In the first book she discovers who and what she really is. And why she has these amazing screaming fits that earned her a trip to the psyche ward. She's a bean sidhe or banshee. The screaming starts when someone nearby is going to die. She now has some control over her screaming and with the help of her boyfriend Nash, who is also a type of bean sidhe, her screaming experiences don't exactly terrify her anymore. It's still a scary experience but now she's not alone and in the dark. Now she has Nash, his brother Tod, Nash's mom Harmony, who's also a bean sidhe and Kaylee's father is back in her life. You would think with all these people she wouldn't feel so alone but there are still times when Kaylee has to make some hard decisions that she handles with maturity and strength beyond her years.

This time we find Kaylee and Nash back together after a month long grounding Kaylee endured after the last run in with the Netherworld. On this night they are just two teens, going to a friend's party. I like that we get to see this side of their relationship. The normal teen side. They are hanging out, making out and just being teenagers. But this is Urban Fantasy and the unthinkable happens. What seems to be an alcohol induced accident turns out to be Demon's Breath induced. Not a good thing! Kaylee and Nash find themselves right in the middle of what has the potential of doing serious harm to many of their friends and classmates.

Kaylee is a good kid but she's not the perfect teen. She has real teenage problems. One of them is Nash. Oh, sure he's a great guy but he's also a guy. And he's an experienced guy when it comes to sex. He doesn't exactly pressure Kaylee but he does make it clear that he wants them to take the physical part of their relationship further. Kaylee, while very attracted to Nash, is still hesitant to take that final step. I thought Vincent handled the sexual situations very well. The situations were realistic in the portrayal of two teenagers with raging hormones. They both want to go all the way (not sure if that term is still used) but also realize it's a big step in their relationship. Kaylee shows her maturity in knowing that once she takes that step with Nash, there's no going back.

The world building, which to me is extremely critical in Urban Fantasy, is intricate yet makes perfect sense. You can throw any kind of creature and mythology at me but it's got to make sense. If I'm lost and can't follow the logic, then chances are, I'm not going to keep reading. What Vincent has created in her Netherworld is a fascinating place. It's like looking through the mirror and seeing a reflection except it's distorted and filled with the unknown and the horrific. It's eerily similar yet terrifyingly different. The way the mythology works makes sense in that there is a balance to the "gifts" Kaylee, Nash and the bean sidhe have been given. I like that Vincent doesn't throw everything at us at once but continues to build on that world as the series progresses. In My Soul to Keep, we meet more beings and creatures that populate the Netherworld, adding to the overall world building with their existence and abilities.

There are lighter parts the the story. It's not all doom and gloom, in fact, Kaylee is not only smart but funny. She can be a smart alec when the occasion calls for it and even when it doesn't. Kaylee, like many of us uses humor when she is nervous or upset. Sometimes she tries to use it to defuse a tense situation. Her outlook on the world is one of realism with a dash of pessimism thrown in.

In My Soul to Keep, Vincent has written a story that had me reading late into the night. I thought I knew where she was going with the Demon's breath and the kids getting hooked on it. In part, I had it right but there were some parts that totally threw me, in a good way. Those parts kept me on the edge of my seat. There's a lot of "edge-of-your-seat" moments and I loved those parts. It took some thinking and planning to getting everything to work out and towards the end I wasn't sure exactly how it would happen. That's the best part, knowing that these characters just have to be okay, yet not quite sure how the author is going to pull it off. Loved It! There is a point in the story where I feel such empathy for Kaylee. What happens to her is shocking and wasn't easy to read but it did make sense in the overall story arc. It left me wondering where she will go from here.

Another wonderful addition to the Soul Screamer's series. I'm looking forward to reading more but will have to wait until My Soul to Steal comes out.

Rating: A

Go here to read the free prequel My Soul to Lose

My reviews for books 1 & 2

My Soul to Take
My Soul to Save


  1. LOL, skipping your review... I'm definitively going to read this series this summer. Definitively :D Thanks for the review Leslie!

  2. Wow!!! I love your review!!! It sounds like a great book!!! Definitely going on my TBR!

  3. nath ~ You got book one at RT right?
    Have you read the free prequel yet? It's good. Read it before you read book one.

    LoR ~ This is a wonderful series. You can get a good feel for the story and Vincent's writing style in the free prequel on her site. I read it and it grabbed me and got me started on the series. :)

  4. Yeah, I got book book 1 earlier and book 2 at RT. I'll read the prequel too :D Thanks!

  5. Okay, so I'm not reading this series, lol! BUT, my daughter (who didn't used to read anything but mysteries) is now into YA!! And she's going to read this series... so, hmm... if she likes the first book, guess who'll be reading it too, just because. :D

    I loved the review for the 1st book and I'm loving this one too. :)

  6. nath ~ now I'm nervous. LOL I really, really hope you like this series. :)

    Hils ~ so you're daughter is trying another genre... I wonder who influenced that. ;) I hope she enjoys it and you too. Don't forget to read the free prequel. It's not necessary to understand the series but it's a good read - about 80 pages.

  7. I read your review and am going to check the other ones you did of this series. Lol. You and Nath has gotten me intrigue with YA books when I've never wanted to check them out before. Thanks for the heads up about the free prequel, it's a great way to engage this reader's interest!

  8. Tabitha ~ you're welcome! A free, short read is a great way to get readers interested in a new series.

    Nath has added a bunch of books to my TBB & TBR lists. :)

  9. Oh, I'm so impressed that you scored an ARC for this one! I just finished My Soul to Save a week or so ago, so I'm very anxious to read this one. I really like Kaylee's character, too. She's a very typical teen when it comes to her social life, but of course not so typical when it comes to the fact that she's a bean sidhe, but even then... she deals with that aspect of herself with a realistic blend of maturity and innocence or naivite maybe.

    This is a very nice series. Bland statement, I know... but it is!

    Great review!!!

  10. Christine ~ if you like ebooks, try "NetGalley". They have a bunch of great Harlequin ebooks you can request for review.

    I just adore Kaylee. Vincent writes her in a very realistic way. :)