Review for This Side Of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

This Side Of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: This Side Of Salvation
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

David more or less gave up his life 40 days ago. He’s parents believe in this crazy thing called The Rush, which is basically the Rapture where all the good people are called up to heaven and the baddies get stuck on Earth for the apocalypse. He thinks they are nuts, but he also thinks they need help and he agrees to follow their crazy path, if they swear to get help after the Rushed date comes and nothing happens. But giving up everything hasn’t been easy. He misses his friends, his girlfriend, and baseball like nobodies business. Now the rush has come and gone….and his parents are nowhere to be seen. Can he uncover the mystery of where his parents went? Did they go home to Jesus or is there are more Earthly explanation?

I started this with a bit of trepidation. For me, religion and fiction don’t mix…actually they do because in many cases because I am an atheist so most religions feel a bit fictional to me, but that’s beside the point. In my experience, YA and religion don’t mix well unless it’s a christian (or insert specified religion here) novel. There are very few authors that can even touch of the subject of religion without feeling preachy. I hate being preached to, so I was more than a little nervous here. But I have loved everything I’ve read by Jeri, so I knew I had to give it a chance. She handles the subject matter exceedingly well. David is heavily religious no matter how you look at it so a good portion of this deals with God and the Bible and so on, but I never felt like Jeri was attempting to push that path on me.

Speaking of David, I both applaud his dedication to his family and want to smack him upside his head. The moment when he realizes that he has truly given up everything important in his life for this ridiculous religious ideal his parents are trying to push on him, I wanted to rail at him. How the fuck could you do that? I truly praise you for being so dedicated to forcing your father into the therapy he so desperately needs, but is it really worth it? Aren’t teenagers supposed to rebel? Aren’t you supposed to use those years to realized that it’s your life and not theirs and you must live it to your standards? And don’t even get me started on his parents! How can you do that to your kids? Take away their hopes for the future and force them to give up something so important? Especially when you know certain truths that I won’t reveal? You sir and madam win the bad parent of the year award, along with all the other Rushers.

Mara is the sibling I could really embrace. She’s the “good” child who finally rebels when Mom & Pop attempt to force her into Rushing. She promptly utters a fuck off and says she’ll pay for her schooling herself if they won’t help and proceeds to live her life as independently as she can while still residing under their roof. How can I not love the girl who can’t make herself believe in God and insists on continuing her education despite her idiotic parents naysaying?

This is one of those complex novels that really makes you stop and think about how far you’d go to save your family. Would you be willing to temporarily sacrifice everything? Knowing that you may never get back to where you were? Will your girlfriend still love you when this is over? Will your baseball team let you back in the game (tehehehe, you lose)? It’s pretty addictive, trying to figure out the mystery of the rush.

I only had small two small issues. The first being I’m not a baseball fan and therefore I don’t particularly enjoy reading about baseball. It wasn’t terribly bad, only having a few scenes in the field, but I could have done without them. The second being the way it was written, jumping back and forth between before the Rush and after. I really appreciate the effort in trying to tell the story in a different way and how it catches your attention because you start off with the mystery of where the hell the parents are, but every time it switched time frames, I wanted to skip ahead and see where that particular timeline went. It would have been a bit less frustrating if it was told in a linear timeline.

Beyond those two issues, I really enjoyed this. It was so much more than I was expecting and it couldn’t be more different than Jeri’s previous works. No paranormal romance here, just fanatic Christians and a boy’s journey to come to save what’s left of his family. I recommend it for anyone wanting a novel that will leave you thinking.

****Thank you to Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review for Lust for Life (WVMP Radio #4) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Lust For Life by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: Lust For Life
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLICATION DATE: November 27, 2012
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 352 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: From publisher
RATING: 4 stars

Lust For Life is the last book in the WVMP Radio series. Maybe that’s why I was so sad starting it. I don’t want this series to be over. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of Ciara’s sarcasm and anti-holy powers. Plus, there is Shane. Damn he is fine…even if he’s Catholic. I really can’t say too much about the plot without giving anything away. Most of the things I want to say are uber spoiler-y and I’m just not in the mood to spoil things for anyone. I will say that I don’t think this one was quite as good as the first one. Things are mostly the same formula. Ciara and Shane are happy, something bad happens, someone tries to kill them, they struggle, then defeat the bad guy. Not a bad formula, but it felt a little boring in this one. It was a mite too predictable.

Well except for the very end which I didn’t see coming at all. Complete shock and what a way to end the series. All in all, it was great, but I am incredibly sad to see this series go. You will be missed.

****Thank you to Pocket Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Wild’s Call (Aspect of Crow #0.5) by Jeri Smith-Ready

The Wild’s Call by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: The Wild’s Call
SERIES: Aspect Of Crow #0.5
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLICATION DATE: March 18, 2009
PAGES: 63 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 stars

The world collapsed seven years ago and Elysia has just been trying to get by ever since. When Darien steps back into her life urging her to come with him on the journey towards their spirit animals, she tells him that he’s nuts. But she really has nowhere else to turn, so she goes anyway.

Like the dystopian novels that are flooding YA right now, this book had me fascinated by its world. The world has collapsed and now there appears to be no form of governments and its basic survival of the fittest. While I found myself enraptured in this world, I wasn’t all that crazy about the two main characters. Though Elysia’s mistrust of everyone is well founded, I just can’t get around her mistrust of Darien, someone who was her best friend for the past ten years until one drunken night ended in disaster. And Darien seemed to come off as the typical “save the world” hero type. Nothing really new or exciting about that.

I just didn’t love this the way I thought I would. I still hold high hopes for Eyes Of Crow, but this didn’t up the level of excitement like I expected it to.

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 Wicked Game (WVMP Radio #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: Wicked Game
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 361 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

Can I just say that I love this book? Seriously, these is the first book in the WVMP Radio series which is now officially my favorite vampire series (knocking the Sookie Stackhouse series from the spot). I love everything about this book. I seriously can’t think of anything I didn’t like.

This book follows Ciara Griffin (pronounced KEER AH) in her pursuit of a normal life. She fails to find it, in fact she finds a life that just gets stranger. She finds a job at a radio station as a marketing manager and they give her a manual to read to introduce her to the station’s unique world. The manual contains the most basic information about vampires. Ciara, naturally, thinks this is insane and calls to resign immediately because she doesn’t find the prank funny. Boy is she in for a surprise. She soon runs across one of the DJ’s in a bar and learns the hardway that they weren’t fooling her, the DJ’s truly are vampires (all six of them). She takes her job back and comes up with an awesome marketing plan. To keep the station from going under, why not promote the truth as a gimmick to get listeners? Tell the world that, yes, we are a station full of vampires which is why our broadcasts only play at night and each DJ only plays music from a specific period of time (because it is their ‘lifetime’, the period of time in which they were made into vampires and therefore that is where their mentality is stuck).

::blank stares:: …so she wants the real vampires to pretend to be humans pretending to be vampires to get attention for the station?

That would be correct. And it works like a charm until an older vampire decides it is a dumb idea and wants to kill them all if they don’t stop. During all this craziness, Ciara starts to develop a relationship with the youngest DJ, Shane McAllister. Obviously a rocky, interesting relationship since she refuses to be a donor for him to feed off of.

Seriously though, this book is so different than most vampire novels and the main character is so far from the generic heroines that it had me doing mental happy dances. How can you not love a girl who was raised by con artists? And the vampires are all OCD in an incredibly indearing way. Shane’s obsession with alphabetizing things really struck a cord because I am similarly obsessed with how my books/cds/dvds are organized.

Speaking of Shane…::drools:: damn can Mrs Smith-Ready create a leading male character. After reading Shade where she has not one but two amazing male leads, I didn’t think it was possible to have another one I adored this much but I was wrong. Now granted, Shane isn’t perfect and he definitely doesn’t knock Damon from The Vampire Diaries (books not the show) from his perch as favorite male vampire ever (because let’s face it, there is no way a catholic vampire is gonna ever rock my world THAT much given my very athiest religious outlook) but he is definitely high on the list. He’s tall, he plays guitar and sings, and he is hot as hell…need I say more?

Here, this is what I imagined Shane to sound like when I was reading:… Is this because he was described this way or because I have a sick obsession with the one known as Shimon Moore (in the video, he is the blond one)? Well, I’ll never really know, but I’d like to think it’s the former.

So everyone who likes vampires, con artists, rock music, and amazing writing should read this. Seriously. GO BUY IT NOW.

Disclaimer: those with issues with cursing, description sex, or hearing the main character bash Christianity a time or two might want to steer clear.

Review for Requiem for the Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready

Requiem For The Devil by Jeri Smith-Ready

TITLE: Requiem For The Devil
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
PUBLICATION DATE: April 15, 2001
PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing
PAGES: 387 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

This book gets a 4 stars because I liked most of it. The ending wasn’t really my cup of tea, but the rest of the book amazed me. When I started it, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, I just knew that I loved Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade enough to want to read something else by her. Lucifer, as a character, well, I adore him. Stubbornly leading his comrads to do evil deeds and fornicate and enjoy life as he saw fit rather than how anyone else told him he should. The more I read, the more I though “this is awesome”, watching him fall in love for the first time and see the havoc that reeked on his life. About the last 50 or so pages, that all goes to pot. If you want the perfect ending, stop after Gianna agrees to marry him the second time. As soon as he puts the ring on her finger, STOP READING. Just saying, I want my endings happy.

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.