Review for Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: Shine
SERIES: Shade #3
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 399 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: From publisher
RATING: 5 stars

When this arrived, I thought I would die of excitement. I had no idea it was coming so when I opened the package and saw this book I literally started jumping and screaming and I really think my husband thought I ‘d lost my mind. The gif below pretty much says it all.

::stares dumbfounded at the computer screen:: Wow, just wow. I don’t know whether to celebrate that the series had a great ending or to fall to the floor crying because it’s over. X_X

This book is amazing. Seriously, you have to read it. If you have read the other 2 books, then this is a must. If not, then WHY THE HELL HAVEN’T YOU? Go buy the first one, NOW.

Whew, now that’s out of my system, I can get down to business. This story follows Aura and Zachary in their last adventure to discover the truth behind what caused the Shift. They go up against everyone from government agencies to trained assassins to crazy cult people who want to sacrifice them. Here is the only spoiler I intend to give you about this novel, they do end the Shift. It definitely doesn’t occur the way anyone expects it to, myself included. It was an awesome thrill ride and I am more than a little sad that it is over. It kind of makes me wish I would have draw out the read a little more instead of reading for every spare second for 2 days straight because I couldn’t stop. This is definitely one of those books that you make time to read.

The one big thing that I learned while reading this novel is that I am definitely Team Logan. I was pretty sure I was on his team before I started, even though I really do like Zachary too, but this one really solidified that fact for me. For all of you who want another glimpse of him, you’ll only get it in flashbacks and a brief letter because he really did pass on at the end of Shift. That is what made me realize it. As much as I love Zachary, I missed Logan’s presence. As did Aura, which is something I liked as well. Instead of her just moving on, she still grieves over him a bit and knows that part of her will always love him. She thinks of him at the most inappropriate moments, sometimes even while she is with Zach. And Zach, being the wonderful guy he is, doesn’t get angry with her. He is just so caring and tries to help her through it. Damn….am I sure I am Team Logan?

Yep, I definitely am. Hot rocker with an Irish heritage who curses like a fucking sailor and loved Aura so much that he got her named tattooed across his chest? Yes ma’am that’s for me. Sorry Zachary.

I think it goes without saying that the characters (and their development) is great. They all seemed so real to me. They still do in fact, while they are wondering around in my skull. None of them have that over the top perfection thing that a lot of YA characters have going on. They make mistakes, they get into trouble, but they always do what they think is best and they always give it everything they’ve got, so what more could you ask for? Jeri Smith-Ready is very talented at fleshing her characters out and making them life like (and not just in this book, her WVMP Radio series is just as amazing). She also is very talented at making you feel her characters pain. Within this entire series, I could truly feel Aura’s grief and despair over every horrible thing that was happening, right along with her excitement and joy over every good thing that happened. But the pain part stands out to me, because it seems much unlikely for me to fall into a depression over something that has happened to a character in a novel than it does to see me smile about something that happened to her.

For all of those teens out there looking for smut, you’ll find a decent bit in here. Kudos to Jeri for not shying away from teen sex. It isn’t super graphic, but it was definitely well written and super steamy (if any of you are looking for even more steam, go check out Wicked Game by her because the scenes in there are so damn steamy, you’ll overheat. Damn, I sound like a fucking advertisement. Seriously, if you liked this series, you’ll probably like it. It is amazing so GO.BUY.IT. NOW GODDAMMIT!). I enjoyed seeing Aura & Zachary’s relationship grow and watch them struggle to hold it together while they were in different countries.

I just can’t say enough about this book. Or this series. Mrs Smith-Ready deserves an award for the simple reason that she made me love this love triangle when I abhor love triangles (almost as much as I hate cliffhangers). This series has been one that has stayed with me. Generally, a few months after I finish a book, I do well to remember the characters names and maybe some of the very basic plot, whereas with this series, even before I started reading Shine, I could still see the story very clearly in my head. I’d be driving somewhere and a song would come on the radio and it would make me think of them. Like the first time I heard The Ghost Of You by My Chemical Romance after reading this, I couldn’t stop crying because it made me think of Logan & Aura so much. It’s the same with Chasing Cars & Run by Snow Patrol (which are both on the Shade playlist on Jeri’s website). The song that makes me think of Shine is Set The Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol. It just seems to fit the story perfectly. I hope everyone else enjoys this as much as I did.

****Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

TITLE: Dead Rules
AUTHOR: Randy Russell
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 376 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

This novel follows the (after) life of Jana Webster. After dying in a freak bowling accident, she wakes up on a school bus surrounded by people she doesn’t know on her way to a Dead School feeling alone and out of place. The teachers are boring and nothing makes sense. Sliders, Grays, Risers, what did it all mean? How is she supposed to do this without Michael by her side? They do everything together and he must be going mad with grief now that she is dead. Desperate to communicate with him by any means necessary, she joins forces with the school’s number one baddie, a Slider named Mars Dreamcote. After attending her funeral and seeing Michael getting nearly molested by her “grieving” mother, she makes a radical decision. Why should they be forced to suffer through a lifetime without each other? The easy answer is that shouldn’t, so she devises a plan to kill Michael so they can be together forever. Before she can achieve that, she knows she must become a Slider. She is a Riser, which appropriately means she is on her way up after Dead School, whereas Slider’s fates are less fun. But while at Dead School, Sliders are more connected to the Earth so when visiting they can, if they choose to, be seen or heard by people and touch things whereas Risers are mere spirits unable to interact with anything while on Earth. Jana acts out in every conceivable way she can think of, doing everything from sneaking off school grounds at night to dancing topless at the school’s dance in order to be demoted to a Slider. The entire time she is trying to achieve this, Mars is trying to convince her that her memories from her last night are Earth are a bit biased and that maybe her death wasn’t an accident.

Initially I was rather annoyed with this novel. Jana was one of those super annoying girls who doesn’t seem to have a life at all away from her boyfriend. They are so intertwined that she always introduces herself as Jana Webster of Webster and Haynes (as in Jana Webster and Michael Haynes). I understand being a little too dependent on your significant other and feeling more than a little lost without them, but not being able to thrive at all is a little absurd. Deciding that you are so lost without them and that they must be just as lost without you so the best course of action is to kill them so you can be together is totally ludicrous. When she decides that this is the only suitable conclusion she can come to, I was shocked and very angry.

Really Jana? The only fucking solution is to murder him?!?!? What’s worse is she seriously believes this down to her core. With things heating up a little with the dreamy Mars who is constantly trying to tell her that her life wasn’t all that it appeared to be, I couldn’t believe she was still so dead set on murdering him. ****SPOILER****The only thing that stops her is the fact that if she kills him so will go straight to hell and therefore will not be able to be with him, which Mars only tells her after she succeeds in becoming a Slider. ****END SPOILER****What kept me reading when I could barely tolerate her was learning about this completely unique world. Everything is so different and there are so many rules that are only vaguely referenced by her roommate. The only thing that is clear is that she shouldn’t be hanging around Mars and his friend Wyatt. But Mars seems to be the only person who actually thinks instead of blindly follow what he is told and he is the only one who can help her.

I loved that although this novel mainly follows Jana, you get to see a bit from other people’s perspectives, like Mars and Michael. ****SPOILER****Though I was more than a little shocked to find that Michael was a cheating asshat. ****END SPOILER**** Once again, I was totally in love with the main guy, Mars Dreamcote. Hot, funny, thinks for himself, secretly a good guy, the coolest name ever, the whole enchilada just had me wondering why Jana was chasing Michael instead of opening her eyes to gorgeous creation that is Mars. She shows some attraction to him, but never wavers from her devotion to Michael. ****SPOILER****Even when Mars tells her that Michael might be responsible for her death, she won’t even acknowledge that her death was could have been intentional, claiming that Michael was just paying a harmless joke that went wrong. What she doesn’t know yet is that Michael is an even bigger ass than even Mars thought he was and has been cheating on her for some time and planned to use the “harmless joke” to dump her. ****END SPOILER**** When she finally does get demoted to a Slider, everything changes. ****SPOILER****Because her demotion is due to a suicide attempt that Mars thwarted, Mars gets promoted to Riser while she gets demoted so he can no longer help her and she must soldier on with only Wyatt’s help. Confronting Michael and hearing him call her a “bitch” turns her world inside out and then she finally gets what she has been working for all this time. Michael accidentally falls to his death and ends up at Dead School with her and she wants nothing to do with him. But it’s all good because she seems to have found herself and she is now hopelessly in love with Mars. ****END SPOILER****

This novel has a great ending. Although Jana’s narration is annoying, she gets better about halfway through the novel and once that happened, I couldn’t put it down. One of my biggest annoyance is Jana though is her use of the phrase “fart fudge popcorn” in lieu of cursing. Every single time she said it, I wanted to chunk the novel across the room and never pick it back up. I understand that some people don’t curse (though I don’t necessarily understand why…), but at least use something that doesn’t sound so ridiculous! I’ll take Zooey from Marked’s constant use of “bull poopie” over that. The other reason it bugged with is the fact that she is dead and she wants to be demoted so why not go the extra mile and start blurting out profanities like crazy? Even though she soon learns that it takes something major to get you demoted (not even dancing topless at a school function came close to having an effect), you should still do all you can to achieve the goal and I am sure that wouldn’t hurt!

Review for Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray

Afterlife by Claudia Gray

TITLE: Afterlife
SERIES: Evernight #4
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 360 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

I just finished this and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This final installment of the Evernight series follows Bianca and Lucas when they are forced to go back to Evernight because Lucas was unfortunately turned into a vampire and Bianca into a wraith. When they return, Bianca’s existence is kept secret because they know Mrs Bethany is hunting wraiths and don’t want to risk her safety.

It was a little slow paced and boring for a while, but you finally find out what Mrs Bethany is trying to do, use the wraiths to become human. Apparently, combining a wraith and a vampire restores the vampire to life. That’s a completely insane notion, but in this novel, apparently it’s a reality.

But the ending was rather lackluster. I’ve read a lot of reviews of people pissing and moaning that Bianca stays a wraith, but I wasn’t really that surprised. She has an important power as a wraith and eventually will have a purpose. Lucas being turned back into a human was also the only option besides him committing suicide. The idea of him remaining a vampire was ridiculous. Seriously that’s like Sam & Dean Winchester suddenly deciding that being a crossroads demon for Crowley isn’t such a bad idea. So obviously this isn’t my issue with the ending. The ending between Bianca & Lucas was fine, they’ll have a happy life together and it leaves you with a feeling of hope for their future. My issue was that she didn’t wrap up the other characters stories. Balthazar is going to stay and tend to the horses? That’s shitty, but he’s getting a whole series, so I can deal with that. But what of Raquel? Dana? Vic? Ranulf? Patrice? Maxie? They are all just left kinda standing in the yard of Evernight while Bianca & Lucas ride off into the sunset. I’d like just a brief epilogue implying they all live happily ever after, please.

Review for Hourglass (Evernight #3) by Claudia Gray

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

TITLE: Hourglass
SERIES: Evernight #3
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 339 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 stars

Well, this seems to be one of those series that gets progressively worse. I liked the first one pretty well and the second one was decent enough, but this one irritated the fuck out of me. Bianca is just as annoying as she is in the previous novels.

In this novel, Bianca and Lucas run away from Evernight and both start working for the Black Cross (along with Raquel). The Black Cross trains the newbies but Bianca struggles to get blood because they are in lockdown and she is not allowed to leave on her own. Then Balthazar got captured and Bianca & Lucas save him. Eventually, the Black Cross figures Bianca out and her and Lucas run away. I hate the way this novel ends. Hate, abhor, loathe…none of them seem like strong enough words. After that ending, I’m wondering if/how this series can have a happy ending and it better fucking have a happy ending.

Review for Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

TITLE: Anna Dressed In Blood
SERIES: Anna #1
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2011
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 4 stars

Yet another book that was bumped from 5 stars due to a cliffhanger ending. But, beyond that, this was an AMAZING book.

Follows a ghost hunter named Cas. It is written in first person, which I love and it is very well written. It was blessedly absent of a love triangle and had some great gory scenes (a guy literally gets ripped in half). It had twists that I wasn’t expecting. Overall, great book that I highly recommend.

Review for Shade (Shade #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: Shade
SERIES: Shade #1
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

Wow….this book left me a little speechless. If you are looking for a fun light novel, look elsewhere. When I bought this book, I was expecting a light spooky teen novel similar to The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, but that’s not what I got. What I got was so much more.

This is the story of Aura Salvatore living in a world where all children born after a specific date (known as the Shift) can see (and hear and be tormented by) ghosts. Aura just happens to be the first child born after the Shift. Aura’s life takes an unexpected turn when her boyfriend, Logan dies suddenly. Aura struggles for to hold on to her relationship with Logan in his ghost state and goes through grief so deep I didn’t think I would recover, much less her.

Enter new student Zachary, who sets up the basic love triangle. Now usually I hate these types of triangles (mostly because the girl in the middle of the seem one dimensional ie Bella from Twilight, Zoey from House Of Night novels, and so on), but this one made me love it while breaking my heart. Aura has real depth and fights her attraction to Zach tooth and nail because she loves Logan so much.

Damn Jeri Smith-Ready for making me fall for both guys. This woman definitely knows how to make you feel the pain of her characters and I cried enough during this book that I literally had to let my pillow air out because it was too wet to sleep on.

Lucky for me May 3 (the release date for the sequel) isn’t too far away, but I think regardless of who Aura ends up with, I’m gonna be sad because I love them both. I also look forward to seeing where Aura’s research about the Shift leads.

Review by The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth #1) by Stacey Kade

The Ghost & The Goth by Stacey Kade

TITLE: The Ghost And The Goth
SERIES: The Ghost And The Goth #1
AUTHOR: Stacey Kade
PUBLISHER: Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group
PAGES: 281 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

This was a very entertaining read. The heroine is quirky and bitchy and almost impossible to like in the beginning (reminds me a bit of Elena from The Vampire Diaries-the books not the show), but you love by the end. The hero is her opposite and I immediately felt the urge to give the poor guy a hug. He pretty much get tortured by the spirits he sees and picked on by the school principal. It was a bit cliched in the whole pretty girl falling for goth guy she wouldn’t have given the time of day before tale, but I wholly enjoyed it.