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I used to hate the fact that my world is built on half-truths, held together with white lies. My life itself is an illusion requiring constant effort to maintain. I lie better than almost anyone I've ever met. But if I know the truth about anything, it's this: when people say the devil is in the details, they have no idea how right they are
"It was a nice service, right?" My best friend, Emma, smoothed the front of her simple black dress, both brows furrowed in doubt. She shifted her weight to her right foot and her heel sank half an inch into the soft ground. "I mean, as far as funerals go, it could have been worse. People cried." She shrugged, staring out at the slowly departing crowd. "This would have been awkward if no one had cried."
It was awkward anyway. Funerals are always awkward, especially in my social circle, where the definition of "death" is under constant reevaluation.
"It was a lovely service, Em." I watched as people fled the open grave in slow-motion retreat, eager to be gone but reluctant to let it show. There were teachers, shell-shocked but in control, looking out of place without their desks and whiteboards. Parents, looking helpless and scared. Classmates in dark dresses, black slacks, and uncomfortable shoes, most in the same clothes they'd worn to the past few funerals.
We were all much too familiar with the routine by now. Whispered names and details. A day off for mourning. Excused absences for the viewing. Counselors on call for grieving students during every class period. And finally, the funeral, where we said goodbye to yet another classmate most of us had known for most of our lives.
I was one of those who'd cried, even though I was among the few who knew that the star of the show—the recently deceased herself2—was actually still with us. Right next to me, in fact. A guest at her own funeral.
Sabine leaned closer, Nash's hand clasped in her right one, because her left was still encased in a cast. A curtain of thick, dark hair fell over half her face, shielding her from most of the thinning crowd. "So, seeing yourself in a coffin wasn't awkward? 'Cause it was awkward for me, and I'm not the one being buried today."
"Oh, no, the viewing was totally horrible," Em admitted, her brown eyes wide. Those eyes were all that was left of her, other than her soul. Everything else was Lydia's. Thin, angular face. Petite bones and slim build, similar to my own. Limp brown hair. Freckles. Feet that didn't quite fit into Em's favorite pair of shoes, stolen from her own closet while her mother and sisters shopped for her casket. "But the funeral itself—that was nice, don't you think?"
It was, as it damn well should have been. Em had left funeral details—in her own handwriting—in an envelope on her vanity table the day we'd picked up her shoes and a few other essentials. Once Ms. Marshall was thinking clearly, she'd probably wonder why her seventeen-year-old daughter had given so much thought to how she wanted to be buried, but grief had eclipsed her skepticism at least long enough to arrange the funeral of her daughter's—albeit morbid—dreams.
"It was beautiful, Em," Tod whispered, and I glanced up to find him standing next to me, where there'd been only damp grass a second before. It took more self-control than I'd known I had to keep from throwing my arms around him and trying to melt into him, which had recently replaced hoping for world peace as my new favorite impossible task.
I couldn't throw myself at him because most people couldn't see him. Reapers are sneaky that way.
Beyond that, I couldn't indulge in an embrace from my boyfriend—that word felt so inadequate—because today wasn't about comforting me. It was about burying Emma. Being there for her.
And planning vengeance. Justice for Em and for everyone else Avari and his fellow hellions had possessed, tortured, or taken from us. Today was about plotting retribution for Emma's boyfriend. And for Lydia, and for Sabine's foster mother, and for Brant, Nash's baseball teammate.
And for Alec.
My hand twitched at the thought of him, as if I still held the dagger. I could almost smell the blood. I could still see him in my mind, one of my few real friends, his eyes filled with pain and confusion, staring up at me in fear. Until they'd stared at nothing.
I swallowed my anger at Avari and what he'd taken from us, determined to avoid ruining Emma's perfect funeral with the bellow of rage itching to burst free from me.
Today was a new start for Em, and a new start for us all. We could no longer afford to be victims in Avari's quest to walk the human world. Beginning today, we were soldiers. Warriors, battle-weary and not yet focused, but warriors nonetheless.
Warriors, at least for the moment, in black formal funeral attire. All except for Tod, who could wear whatever he wanted because no one other than the five of us could see him.
I started to take his hand, hoping no one would notice such a small motion, but then Emma made a soft, strangling sound and I looked up to see her staring ahead, frozen like a deer in mortal danger.
Her mother was heading straight for us.
"Kaylee, thank you so much for coming." Ms. Marshall sniffled and reached for my hand, and her tears triggered more of my own. "Thank you all." She glanced at everyone but Tod, whom she couldn't see, and when her gaze lingered for a second on her own daughter, hidden behind a stranger's face, Emma burst into fresh sobs.
"We wouldn't have missed it, Ms. Marshall," Nash said, while I wrapped one arm around Emma.
Sabine stared at us both. The funeral hadn't upset her at all, that I could see, and she obviously didn't understand why it had bothered us, beyond the lie we were telling the world, since Emma was still alive and mostly well.
"Thank you." Ms. Marshall sniffled again, and she didn't seem to notice that her own heels were sinking into the soft earth. "I know Emma would be happy if she could see you all here now."
Em sobbed harder.
"I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met." Ms. Marshall dabbed her eyes with a damp tissue and held one hand out to her own daughter.
Emma cleared her throat and shook her mother's hand. Her mouth opened, but nothing came out.
"This is my cousin. Emily," I said. "She's just lost her parents, so she'll be staying with me and my dad." That was the best story we could come up with. It was heavy on coincidence, but just as heavy on necessity—Em had to live somewhere, now that she'd lost everything she'd ever had. Except for us.
Ms. Marshall's expression crumbled beneath a new layer of sympathetic grief, and her voice shook. "I'm so sorry for your loss, Emily."
But if Em heard her, I couldn't tell.
"She loved you so much!" Emma threw her arms around her mother and buried her tear-streaked face in her mom's hair. "She wouldn't want you to forget about her, but she doesn't want you to worry either. Or to " Em nearly choked on her own tears, and we all stood there looking as helpless as Ms. Marshall looked confused and devastated. She was crying again, and so was I. "Or to you know stop living. She wants you to live," Em said into her mother's ear. "And to hug Traci and Cara a lot. And to make yourself happy. She's sorry she called your boyfriend an idiot. It shouldn't matter that he's kind of stupid, if he makes you happy, so Emma would want you to go for it."
She finally released her mother and stepped back, wiping tears with her bare hands. "So you should go for it."
Ms. Marshall's tissue was soaked and when she blinked, more tears fell. "I didn't realize you knew Emma. Do you go to Eastlake?"
"She will," I said, when I realized Em's flood of words had dried up, leaving her speechless and evidently mortified by her outburst. "But she knew Emma from before. We were all three really close." I couldn't tell whether or not Ms. Marshall believed me—or whether she was even capable of thinking my hasty explanation through at the moment—but she nodded and wiped at her cheeks again.
"Kaylee, when you feel up to it, I hope you'll come over and take something from Emma's room. To remember her by. I'm sure she'd want you to have whatever you'd like."
"We will," Em said before I could speak.
Ms. Marshall frowned, then nodded again and started backing away from us in heels crusted with mud from the recent rain. "Thank you all for coming." Then her two remaining daughters each put an arm around her and led her to the long black car waiting with its engine running.
"I think I scared her," Emma whispered, clutching my hand.
"Yup." Sabine's nearly black eyes were dilated and her mouth hung open just a little. As a mara—a living Nightmare—Sabine fed on fear, but she'd been going hungry a lot lately, since grief and anger had finally overwhelmed the nearly constant state of fear we'd all been living in for the past few months.
"I'm pretty sure it's rude to feed from the dead girl's family at a funeral," Nash said, one arm around her waist, his fingers curled around her narrow hip. He used to hold me like that. I used to like it. But Nash and I were over. We'd been over before we even knew we were over, and I still wasn't sure he'd completely accepted that yet. But it made me feel better to see him touch her in public.
He'd been touching her in private since the very day we broke up.
Sabine lifted both brows at him. "You expect me to believe that if someone threw a pie in your face at a funeral you wouldn't lick your lips?"
"If someone threw a pie in my face at a funeral, I'd " Nash frowned. "Well, that'd be really weird."
"Weirder than seeing yourself buried?" Tod's hand slid into my grip, his fingers curling around mine, now that there was no one near enough to see me holding hands with empty air. No one except Sophie, my real cousin, and her boyfriend, Luca, who watched us from the other side of the open grave. They knew all about Tod. In fact, my undead reaper boyfriend hardly even registered as "strange" to Sophie anymore, considering that her own boyfriend was a necromancer. And that Luca and Sabine were the only ones among us who'd never died.
Nash's death was classified information, available on a need-to-know basis, and so far, his mom and brother didn't think anyone needed to know. Including Nash.
Emma and I had both died twice, and for me, that second one actually stuck. Now I was a "resurrected American," better known, in colloquial terms, as life-challenged. Or undead. Or the living dead. But I'm not a zombie. I'm just a little less alive than your average high school junior.
"No," Nash said, in that short-tempered voice he seemed to save just for his brother. "Having a pie thrown in my face at a funeral would not be weirder than seeing myself buried."
"Then Em wins this round." He glanced around at the last of the mourners, including my father, who leaned on his crutch, chatting softly with Harmony, Tod and Nash's mom, and his own brother—my uncle Brendon. "Let's get out of here. I've had enough death for one day."
That really means something, coming from a reaper.
"You okay?" I tossed Emma a T-shirt from my dresser, and she pulled it over her head. We were nearly the same size, now that she was Lydia. Which meant that the clothes we'd snuck out of her mom's house no longer fit her.
"Yeah." She kicked one of Styx's rubber dog bones out of the way and stepped into a pair of my jeans. "I don't know what happened at the cemetery. I mean, it's not like I'm really dead, but as soon as my mom started talking to you, I just lost it."
That was true. She'd been staring at her mother and sisters for two straight days, at the viewing the day before, the funeral today, then the actual burial, and she hadn't lost it once. Not until her mother was within arm's reach.
"Don't worry about it. You've been through hell this year, Em. I'd be worried about you if you weren't upset." Though actually, I was worried about her. Very worried.
Emma sat on the edge of her bed to pull on a pair of sneakers, and if I'd reached out from the end of my bed, I could have touched her. We'd given up nearly all the floor space in my room for the extra twin bed, and I'd had to get rid of my bean-bag chair, which was a real shame, considering we didn't actually need a second bed. Emma could have had mine—I hadn't slept in it once in the nearly two weeks since my birthday/her death-day, in part because I no longer needed sleep, though I'd discovered that I did need rest.
But telling my father that I was spending most of my nights at Tod's place, whether or not my reaper boyfriend was actually at home, would have been.
Well, that wouldn't have been a pleasant conversation. Even if my dad had his suspicions about how physical our relationship had become, I was in no hurry to confirm them. I may have been practically grown—and technically dead—but I would always be his little girl. He'd made that more than clear.
And I loved him for it.
More comfortable in our regular clothes, Em and I met everyone else in the front of the house, where Sabine had helped herself to a soda without getting one for anyone else. "All I'm saying is that Emily and Emma are practically the same name. No offense, Em," she added when we walked past my father's chair, where the mara was perched on the arm, hopelessly wrinkling the black slacks she only wore to funerals. And, truthfully, she only wore those because Nash had insisted black jeans weren't good enough.
"None taken." Em headed into the kitchen and took a seat at the bar, where she rested her forehead on her folded arms.
"At least she wasn't named after a can of soup," Tod said, and Sabine shot him a scowl. Her last name—Campbell—had come from a hungry worker at the church where she'd been abandoned as a toddler.
"Emma and Emily are pretty similar." Nash sank into my dad's armchair and wrapped one arm around the mam's waist. "Wouldn't you rather pick something different? I mean, you could be anyone you want. It could be fun. None of the rest of us got to pick our names."
Em didn't even look up.
"We called her Cynthia for three days." Tod shoved a pillow over so I could sit with him on the couch. "She couldn't remember to answer. Calling her Emily is just easier."
"Who cares what you call her? Emma is still Emma, and that's all that matters, right? That she survived." Sophie shrugged in her spaghetti strap dress, leaning against the wall by the door like she wanted to stay but needed to be near an exit, just in case.
Posted April 2, 2013
I am not sure what i expected, but it definatly was NOT this. Mind BLOWN!!!! Took me completely by suprise, and that almost never happens. Color me impressed. It was a realistic and brilliant ending to a wonderful series. I applaud the author. Very clever.
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Posted April 1, 2013
Surprises all through out this book, started off a little slow but picked up speed n gave a great ending. I love all the characters in this series, but my favs will always b Kaylee n Tod!
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Posted March 24, 2013
From page one of this book, I was heartbroken. With all my excitement to read this book, I forgot about the devastating finale of “Before I Wake.” Kaylee and her friends have suffered so much. They have died, been resurrected and just barley survived. The opening of this book reminded me that surviving can be extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to get over.
It starts at a funeral and is filled with emotions and tears. For me, the tears did not stop there. Of all the young adult fantasy/paranormal novels I have read, Kaylee has suffered the most. In “With All My Soul,” we experience some of the guilt and shame that her survival has brought her. She lives and is happy with Tod, but others were not so lucky. Even though it isn’t her fault and no one really blames her, Kaylee cannot help but feel guilt at how life has turned out. Everyone from her mother to her best friend Emma has suffered due to their connection to Kaylee. If there isn’t a rogue reaper after her soul, there is an Incubus teacher or even worse a Hellion is after it. That’s a lot for an 18 year old girl to take. That guilt leads her to make some reckless, dangerous and life changing choices. Kaylee makes huge sacrifices all in the name of saving the people she loves.
I cannot end this review without talking about my favorite thing in this series, Tod. For a long time Tod was the saving grace of these books. Just when my frustration with Kaylee, Nash, Sabine, etc would rise Tod would swoop in and say or do the right thing to bring me right back into the story. When the series began, Tod was an interesting outsider. With every book, Rachel Vincent brilliantly built him into an absolutely fantastic YA hero. In a world filled with borderline abusive males, psychotically possessive boyfriends and vampires who have to fight the urge to drink their girlfriend’s blood, there is Tod. A shining beacon. Tod is not perfect. He has done awful things, but his heart is always in the right place. He will do anything, face anything and give anything to protect the people he loves. Even if what he must give his own life. At the end of the day, the person I wanted to have a HEA most was Tod.
This book is jammed! Jammed pack with action, intrigue, romance and all manner of emotions. Everything you have been waiting for happens. Characters you thought you hated turn out to be heroes who step up at the right moment. Secrets are revealed, sins are forgiving and everyone is closer than ever. That of course is when all hell breaks lose and one of the most traumatic climaxes of my book geek heart transpires. I had tears in my eyes on page one and constantly throughout. Soooo much has happened to these kids and their families and the events in this book felt like salt in the wound. I am sorry to see the series end, but happy all the same. I am happy, because I cannot possibly stand anything else happening to these people.
A fantastic ending to an entertaining series. A must read.
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Posted August 7, 2014
Posted June 24, 2014
I absolutely loved this series. Every book captivated me. Like almost all the series I read, the last chapter is lacking. I want more. I'm excited for the fourth book to come out with the extras. I feel these series are rushed to end the book. Over all, an amazing series that I love.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 20, 2013
I LOVE THIS SERIOSE? IF ur wondering about geting this book stop wondering and buy that book trust me u will not regret it!!!!!! Now, stop reafing this go to the overveiw and press buy. GO NOW. AND ENJOY THIS BOOK LIKE U HAVE NEVER ENJOYED A BOOK BEFORE!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2013
Saying good bye to this series was literally hard on me. Even when I bought the book on release day, I let it sit on my shelf for months till I was ready to say good bye. I was nervous as to what would happen to my favorite characters. Being that I have followed this series from the very beginning, even before I was a blogger, it was hard. I still remember the day I bought the first book. A store employee was putting books on the shelf's and I said," Excuse me, do you have any YA paranormal that isn't vampires?" The girl chuckled and looked at her hand which just so happen to have My Soul To Take. She said," Here. Try this one. I read the back and it sounds pretty good." I smiled, gave my thanks and bought the book. Hook. Line. Sinker.
Plot: I knew without a doubt that this plot would be filled with lots of tying up loose ends and a big showdown at the end. Once I started the book it was as if I never left. Taking place in Kaylee shoes once again, the reader gets a first hand experience in action and major decisions.
Love: Of course I love this LOVE! It's a love that I have been rooting for. It's consuming and breath-taking. To see what these two people have gone through and still come out on top, leaves me speechless. I adore how they shared moments of great love and sadness. But most of all, I adored how well it ended for them.
Ending. I anticipated the ending more than anything. When I was half-way through, questions began popping in my head. I wondered how in the end will they get peace. Through clever tactics and smart wording, Kaylee managed to save those she loves with a great sacrifice.
With All My Soul is gripping and successful. A creative story that promises deeper emotions and a superb ending, With All My Soul excels all prior installments. Completing the series, With All My Soul rocks!
Posted July 23, 2013
I have to admit... I cried. alot. from the begining to the middle all the way to the end. We all have been waiting for this day, the day when we read the end of this incredible series and we got it. My heart broke when Emma had to say goodbye to her family. I was surprised when Kaylee told Nash the truth. I cried when Kyle told Todd what she was gonna do. This book brought a lot of surprises. I am happy for this happy ending but sad that it ended. I can't wait to read something else written by Rachel Vincent. I am happy that Sophie matured. Sophie surprised me at the end. She was actually nice. Anyway I have to stop or I might cry again. Goodbye Kaylee and Tod you deserve your happy ending Including the rest of you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2013
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Posted April 15, 2013
the whole series was amazing. i have never read anything that keeps me thinking about it all day long, i cannot get this series out of my mind. i fell in love with Tod's character and wish he was not fictional. with all my soul captures every emotion. i was heartbroken at parts of this book but happy at the end. if there was some-one talented enough to capture every little detail of this whole storyline it would make a great film.
Posted April 5, 2013
I swear reading is going to be the downfall of my grades because I stay up way too late to read "just one more chapter" It's almost 2 in the morning and I didn't even start my essay that's due tomorrow until around midnight because I just HAD to finish this book.
Anyway..... I loved this book! I waited almost a year for it and went to the store the day it came out and I was not let down. I'm sooooo sad that it was the last book but I liked the way Rachel Vincent concluded everything so nicely because for a minute there I thought it was going to have a anti-climatic ending.
I loved the characters in the book even more than ever and really admired Kaylee's bravery and selfishness that she continues to show. I will admit I cried (rather excessively) I won't tell you where because I don't want to give ANYTHING away. This book will definitely be on my favorites shelf and if you can't decide whether or not to get it or not, go for it! I don't think you'll be disappointed, especially of you liked the others. Not to mention how pretty the cover is!!! They just keep getting better and better :)
Posted April 3, 2013
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Posted March 30, 2013
This has been by far the best book yet. Kaylee got her justice, but her pain came first. It humbled me and made me realize how precious life is and how much it chnages.
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Posted March 29, 2013
Posted March 23, 2013