Jennifer's Reviews > Before I Wake

Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 26, 2012

it was amazing
Read from June 25 to 26, 2012

That was amazing!!! Tod & Kaylee *SWOONS* *FANS SELF*

I only have notes and favorite quotes for chapters 1-4 but I'll add more soon!
Read-a-long thoughts
Fave quotes and thoughts for each chapter.

(view spoiler)

From Rachel Vincent's Blog
On Wednesday afternoon, I finally let go of the Before I Wake manuscript. Which means I turned it in to my editor. Well, I turned it in to two editors, actually. My editor has already finished it. She says she's still processing the ending. I think I may have scared her. Or scarred her. This is the fourteenth novel we've worked together on since 2006, when she began editing my first novel, Stray, which came out in 2007. You'd think I'd know exactly what she's going to think about every element of everything I write by now, right?
Yeah. Not so much. I have no idea if she'll actually like the ending or not, once she's done processing. Honestly, I have no idea whether or not I'll like the ending, after she's done processing. I fiddled with it over and over, delaying turning the book in because I was scared. Yes, fourteen novels in, I was scared.
You see...If I Die was a game-changer in the Soul Screamers series, in several different ways. It's also gotten the best critical response (at least from readers and blog reviewers) of anything I've ever written. (Which probably means it'll be a commercial failure. I'm pretty sure commercial and critical success are mutually exclusive.) What that means is that If I Die was INCREDIBLY hard to follow. Why? Because each book in a series needs to be better than the previous book and the plot must flow naturally from the conclusion of the previous story. But everything has to be taken up a level. Everything. Bad guys. Drama. Plot. Emotion. Angst. And the characters have to develop or evolve. For the main character (at least), that evolution must be in the form of maturity.
BUT... (You knew there was a but, right?) But, the next-levelness of the whole thing canNOT be over-the-top. It must all be believable and feel natural.
Let me just say, that's HARD. And I have no idea whether or not I succeeded.
I had several goals in mind for Before I Wake. They are these:
(Do not read what's below if you haven't read If I Die. It's not overtly spoilery, but it hints at stuff. If you have read If I Die, you can highlight the text below to read.)
Put Nash and Tod back on speaking terms, and begin the healing.
Show what a powerful force the Hudsons can be, working together.
Put Kaylee and Nash back on speaking terms, and begin the healing.
Show the consequences of Tod's heroics in If I Die
Show the results/consequences of Kaylee's new...everything.
I took a shot at all of that. NONE of it was easy. I have no idea how successful I was.

HMMMM Tod & Nash working together...I can't wait to see this!
44 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Before I Wake.
Sign In »

Quotes Jennifer Liked

Rachel Vincent
“So don't. Come hang out with me at work. We can play naughty dress up with the hospital gowns and rearrange the supply closets.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“Forever used to feel like a curse. Now it feels like a promise.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“This seems headed into girl-fight territory," Tod said. "Should I make popcorn?”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“Should I assume the lure is a certain attractive young dead man?”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“Change your mind about playing doctor?"
"No, but I hear candy-striper uniforms are pretty cute.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“Of every moment I've ever not-lived through, this one is the best”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“It's suspiciously quiet in here, and there's a Tod shaped dent in the bean bag. For the sake of both my sanity and my temper, I'm going to pretend I can't tell that you're in his lap, so could you pretend that this is still my house and you are still my daughter, and I'm within my parental rights to kick your boyfriend out after 11:00 p.m.?”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“My shirt got torn in a fight. Yours evidently has a fast-release tab.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“I always knew my sexual prowess has the power to save lives."
"You can turn anything into an ego boost, can't you?"
"I have a healthy sense of my own worth. But I have an even better sense of yours."
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Rachel Vincent
“You're not lost, Kaylee. You can't ever be lost, because I'll always know where you are. And if I'm not there with you, I'm on my way, and nothing standing between us will be standing for very long.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake
tags: love

Rachel Vincent
“But my hands are in the right place."
"Heart," I corrected. "Your heart's in the right place."
"Yeah, but my hands are in an even better place."
And so they were.”
Rachel Vincent, Before I Wake

Reading Progress

06/25/2012 page 1
0.0% "Should be hitting my kindle in 20 min! So excited! Will type out my read-a-long thoughts into my review" 4 comments
50.0% 3 comments
70.0% "Chapter 11 was the best! Once I got there I could finally sleep now back to reading."
show 3 hidden updates…

Comments (showing 1-38 of 38) (38 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Adriana Rios de Biedermann Thanks for this!!!! amazing... o love the series and definily IF I DIE was a OMG from the begining to the end.... And I reaaly dying for this new book and the BIG consequent for the action taken

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

OMG OMG!!! I'M SQUEALING! I can't wait for this book to come out! Is she talking about Tods consequences for what he did to Thane? And what about Kaylee and Nash? There's very little chance they'll get back together now. I don't know if Im sad or happy about that.

Jennifer I think Tod's consequence is Thane and maybe him not taking Kaylee soul too? I thought Levi forgave him but maybe not. As for Kaylee and Nash, I think they will go back to speaking terms and become possibly friends again.

Shireen Zehra I wish Sabine would get out of the picture...she is my least favorite character...!

ஐAndreaஐ WOW!!! I can't wait! July is soooo far away. I hate Sabine, and if her and Nash get back together I will be really upset.

Sadia Have you seen the cover? It's so preeetty :')

Jennifer Sadia wrote: "Have you seen the cover? It's so preeetty :')"

Yes I LOVE it! Although I was hoping Tod would be on the cover with her.

Sadia Jennifer wrote: "Sadia wrote: "Have you seen the cover? It's so preeetty :')"

Yes I LOVE it! Although I was hoping Tod would be on the cover with her."

Oh, me too. Tod would've looked so cute :)

Lisa Howe TOD.... :)

i miss him.

Kassie Is it just me or is anyone else nervous for the reasons all these editors are possibly scared/scarred?! I love Tod and I'm nervous as to what his consequences will be. Has anyone else thought maybe Kaylee will have to retrieve Thayne's stollen rotten soul? Thus leading to the discovery of Tod's involvement? I hope I'm jumping to conclusions. Oh man I can't wait for this book!

message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Howe Kassie wrote: "Is it just me or is anyone else nervous for the reasons all these editors are possibly scared/scarred?! I love Tod and I'm nervous as to what his consequences will be. Has anyone else thought maybe..."


Mitchii I think I fainted when I read the excerpt. Tod!!!! <3

Jennifer Mitchii wrote: "I think I fainted when I read the excerpt. Tod!!!! <3"

It was pretty awesome!!! I would have definitely skipped school to play naughty dress up!

Heather (hungrycookiemonster) The Tod excerpt was taken down I think. Oh darn.

Jennifer I just went and it's still there

Well here it is!

I WAS A VIRGIN SACRIFICE. AND YEAH, IT'S JUST as creepy as it sounds. I died on a Thursday, at twenty-seven minutes after midnight, killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school____

I've always hated Mondays, but this particular Monday, a beautiful day in late April, seemed ready to deliver its very own brand of hell. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror at seven-thirty in the morning, staring at myself, trying to decide exactly how alive I should look. In the movies, people are always faking their own deaths, but I couldn't think of anyone else—real or fictional—who'd faked survival. I'd have to blaze this trail all on my own.

How pale would a person look twenty-nine days after being stabbed to death? That would depend on the severity of the wound, right? On the number of organs injured? On the amount of blood lost? Since no one at school knew any of those details, they wouldn't know if my performance was off. So I could play the part however I wanted. Right?

No one had to know that my pale skin and sweaty palms were really the result of a colossal case of first-day-back nerves.

My stomach churned as I stared at my reflection, wondering how I could possibly feel so different, yet look exactly the same as I had before I died, except for the new scar. Exactly the same as I would look next year, and the year after that, and a decade after that, and for as many centuries as my afterlife lasted.

"Kaylee! Breakfast!" my father called from the kitchen.

"I'm dead, Dad," I called back, dropping my hairbrush into the drawer. "I don't eat anymore."

A minute later, my father appeared in the doorway in a grease-splattered T-shirt and jeans, frowning at me. "You don't have to eat. That doesn't mean you shouldn't. I think you'd feel a lot better if you had something warm in your stomach."

I turned and leaned against the counter, crossing my arms over my chest. "That's not really how it works."

"No arguments. I made pancakes and bacon. I want you at the table in five minutes."

I sighed as his footsteps retreated toward the kitchen. He was trying. I wasn't sure what he was trying, but he was serious about it.

I crossed the hall into my room for a pair of shoes and blinked in surprise at the empty space at the center of my room, where the bed used to be. It had been four weeks since we'd gotten rid of the ruined mattress and sheets, and I still wasn't used to the new purple quilt that had replaced the blue comforter my psychotic math teacher had bled out on.

After my death, I'd avoided my room for nearly a week until my father figured out what I'd been too embarrassed to tell him—that I couldn't go in there without seeing it all in my head. Reliving my own death.

That night, he and Tod had rearranged every piece of furniture I owned until my room was unrecognizable. That was three weeks ago, and I still couldn't get used to seeing my bed against the wall, my desk slanted across one corner of the room. But this time when I glanced into that corner, I couldn't help but smile.

Tod sat in my desk chair, his curls golden in the glow from my bedside lamp, his eyes as blue as the ocean, the one time I'd seen it. Styx was curled up on my bed, asleep, paying the reaper no attention whatsoever. Half Pomeranian, half Netherworld guard dog, she was the fiercest, most dangerous six pounds of frizzy fur and pointy teeth I'd ever seen, other than her littermates. She was also a living, breathing, growling security system, bred to warn me when danger approached on either side of the world barrier.

It had taken her weeks to understand that growling at Tod wasn't going to get rid of him.

Tod's brother—my ex—was wrestling with that same conclusion.

Tod stood as soon as he saw me, and I couldn't resist a smile, in spite of the nerves still twisting my insides into knots.

My arms slid around his neck and delicious, tiny little sparks shot up my spine as his hand settled at my waist, and I secretly marveled at the fact that I was allowed to touch him whenever I wanted.

This was still new, me and Tod. Our relationship was only a month old, yet somehow, he was the only thing that still seemed to fit, since my death. Going through the motions in the rest of my life—an ironic term, if I'd ever heard one—now felt like trying to fit into clothes I'd outgrown. Everything was uncomfortable, and too tight, and not as bright as I remembered.

But Tod was the same. Only better.

"Aren't you supposed to be at work? Eventually Levi's going to notice that you keep skipping out," I said when I finally had to let him go. Levi, his boss, had a soft spot for Tod, but in their line of work, leniency could only go so far. Tod was a reaper—more than two and a half years dead, but perpetually nearly eighteen. He worked the midnight-to-noon shift at the local hospital, reaping the souls of those scheduled to die on his watch.

Except when he was delivering pizza. And helping me pretend I was still alive.

"I had a break and I thought you might be nervous this morning. So I brought you this." He handed me a paper cup of coffee, and I took a cautious sip. Caramel latte. My favorite, and the only edible thing I still seemed to crave since my unfortunate demise. "And this." He spread his arms, showing off a physique even death couldn't mar, and I wanted to touch him some more. Then some more after that. "I figure one or the other will make you feel better."

"Both. They both make me feel better." I pulled him close for a kiss, then didn't want to let him go. "I don't wanna go back to school today."

"So don't. Come hang out with me at work." Tod dropped back into my desk chair and swiveled to face me while I knelt to grab my sneakers from beneath my bed. "We can play naughty dress up with the hospital gowns and rearrange the supply closets."

"Isn't that dangerous? What if they can't find some important drug or equipment in an emergency?"

Tod shrugged. "Nobody's gonna die without my help, anyway, so what's the harm?"

The harm? Potential brain damage. Paralysis. And all kinds of other nonlethal catastrophes. Fortunately, his grin said he was kidding, so I didn't have to go through with the lecture.

"Kaylee!" my dad shouted, and Tod sniffed in the direction of the hall.

"Is that bacon?"

"And pancakes." I shoved my foot into the sneaker and tugged on the laces to tighten it. "He thinks I should start my first day back at school with a healthy breakfast. I think he's been spending too much time with your mom." In addition to being an amazing amateur baker, Harmony Hudson was the only fellow female bean sidhe I knew.

"It's not a bad idea," Tod said. "Breakfast is my third favorite meal of the day."

"Not today." Standing, I tugged him closer so I could slide my hand behind his neck, my fingers playing in the soft curls that ended there. "I think he needs some father-daughter time."

As grateful as my father was for everything Tod had done to try to save my life, he'd had his fill of houseguests for a while. Tod and I had spent nearly every waking moment together since my death, and for two people who didn't need sleep, that was a lot of moments, even with his jobs and my training standing in the way.

"Oh, fine. Enjoy your pancakes and homework."

"Thanks. Enjoy your sick people. Will I see you at lunch?"

The blues in his irises swirled like cobalt flames, and something deep inside me smoldered. "You'll be the only one who sees me. You don't need to eat, anyway, right?"

"Oh, now I don't need to eat____"

He pulled me close again, and that kiss was longer, deeper. Hotter. Touching Tod made me feel more alive than anything else had since the moment my heart stopped beating.

"Kaylee, please come eat something!" my dad yelled, and Tod groaned in frustration. He held me tighter for just a second, then stepped back and let his hand trail down my arm slowly. Then he was gone, and for a moment, I felt empty.

That was a scary moment, but one I couldn't quite shake. I'd thought that being dead-but-still-there would feel a lot like being alive, but I was wrong. I felt like I was out of sync with the world. Like the planet had kept spinning while I was gone, and now that I was back, I couldn't catch up.

I grabbed my latte and headed for the kitchen, where I dropped into my chair at the card table we'd been meaning to replace with a real one since my dad had moved back to town seven months ago. The plate in front of me held four pancakes and—I swear—half a pound of bacon. Fried, not microwaved, as evidenced by the grease splattered all over the stove and adjacent countertop. My dad was serious about this traditional home-life thing.

It was kinda cute.

My father pulled out his own chair and started to hand me one of the coffee mugs he held, but then he noticed the latte, and his smile slipped a little. "Tod?"

"Yeah, but he's gone. He was just trying to help."

He set both mugs in front of his own plate and picked up his fork. "I'm going to assume the steaming cup of Starbucks means he wasn't here all night?"

Translation: Your undead boyfriend is supposed to be gone by eleven so you can pretend to sleep.

"He works nights, Dad." But we both knew that didn't mean anything, when the commute was instantaneous.

For the first couple of days after my death, my father had tried to stay up all night to make sure there were no unauthorized visits, and I didn't bother to point out how futile his efforts were. If Tod and I didn't want to be seen or heard, we

- wouldn't be...

Heather (hungrycookiemonster) OMG you're amazing! I'm not sure why I couldn't access it.

Thank you so much. :)

Mitchii Kelsey wrote: " heres a longer preveiw"

wow, thanks for this. :D

Heather (hungrycookiemonster) Kelsey wrote: " heres a longer preveiw"

Thanks! You rock! ;)

Jennifer Awesome didn't realize such a long preview was available!!!

Jennifer Okay just read the first 4 chapters on there and WOW!!!! Darn it for Kaylee's dad interrupting! That was hot all the wrapping of the legs and moaning.

message 22: by Mitchii (last edited Jun 19, 2012 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitchii Haha, I know, bad timing. ;) I check the google preview last night and I can see up to chapter 11 (with plenty of missing pages prior to it) but the scenes in that chapter were pretty...intense.

Jennifer Mitchii wrote: "Haha, I know, bad timing. ;) I check the google preview last night and I can see up to chapter 11 (with plenty of missing pages prior to it) but the scenes in that chapter were pretty...intense."
What?!?! Damn it! When I looked it showed up to chapter 4 only. I'm gonna look again!

Jennifer Mine shows the full first 4 chapters but nothing past it :-(
One more week but I can't wait!

message 25: by Mitchii (last edited Jun 20, 2012 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitchii Jennifer wrote: "Mitchii wrote: "Haha, I know, bad timing. ;) I check the google preview last night and I can see up to chapter 11 (with plenty of missing pages prior to it) but the scenes in that chapter were pret..."

Yes, just one more week to go. I’m so excited.

Try the GR page for BIW there’s a google preview there, it show up to chapter 11 (until page 190). The scenes are really hot. ;)

Heather (hungrycookiemonster) Mitchii wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Mitchii wrote: "Haha, I know, bad timing. ;) I check the google preview last night and I can see up to chapter 11 (with plenty of missing pages prior to it) but the scenes in that ..."

Is the GR abbreviation for goodreads?

Mitchii Heather (hungrycookiemonster) wrote: "Mitchii wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Mitchii wrote: "Haha, I know, bad timing. ;) I check the google preview last night and I can see up to chapter 11 (with plenty of missing pages prior to it) but the..."

Yes. ;)

Jennifer Mitchii wrote: "
Try the GR page for BIW there’s a google preview there, it show up to chapter 11 (until page 190). The scenes are really hot. ;) "

OMG YES! Thanks! I am able to read samples on many different chapters now!

Adriana C Thanks!! I´m going to read the first 4 chapters right now!

message 30: by Jennifer (last edited Jun 20, 2012 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(view spoiler)

Jennifer OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I shouldn't have read as much as I did cause I majorly spoiled myself with who dies!!! LOL But I wanted hot Kaylee and Tod scenes.

Jennifer "This seems headed into girl-fight territory," Tod said. "Should I make popcorn?"

LMAO I love Tod!

Mitchii Jennifer wrote: "YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[spoilers removed]"


message 34: by Sunnykimmy (new) - added it

Sunnykimmy You are awesome! I'm so reading those chapters. Barnes & Noble also has a longer excerpt than Amazon. I can't wait for this to come out!

Jennifer Google books has the first four chapters but when you go there through goodreads it has previews of pages throughout the whole book all the way to the end. But you will majorly spoil yourself. I read it all lol

message 36: by Sunnykimmy (new) - added it

Sunnykimmy Yeah I found it! I'm in Soul Screamers heaven! Well, sort of, since I'm trying to talk myself out of reading the random pages in the book. I mean, I've waited this long and I'm going to order it, so I should be able to wait a little while longer, right?

OK, I don't blame you AT ALL for reading everything you could get your hands on, cause this is just torture.

Tiffany did you seriously post a link to a PIRATE SITE???? wow!!!!

Jennifer I deleted her comment. Sorry I didn't notice it sooner or I would have. For some reason I am not getting notifications of new comments.

Here is the link to buy the book on Amazon where I purchased my copy :-D

back to top