December 13, 2013

Jeri Smith-Ready: "Lust for Life"

Title: Lust for Life [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: WVMP Radio (4th of 4 books, but there's also a free-download novella that is book 3.5 in the series. See Jeri Smith-Ready's site)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2012
Age: 18+ (though Jeri's site actually says 16+, but I think the whole series would be better handled by more mature readers.).
Stars: 2.5/5
Pros: Original take on the overused vampire theme. Right amount of action and drama.
Cons: The final resolution is a bit too convenient and over the top for my tastes...though there were hints in the book (that I apparently decided not to take. All my fault, I suppose). There's an unlikely love story - which, on top of that, lacks real closure - and some of our old vamp friends get too little screen time.
Will appeal to: Those who crave for a happy ending more than yours truly does...

Blurb: Ciara’s con-artist parents taught her three keys to survival: keep low, keep quiet, and most of all, keep moving. But managing WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll - not to mention becoming a vampire herself - has kept her in one place long enough to fall madly in love, adopt an undead dog ...and make more enemies than she can shake a stake at. To protect Ciara, her fiancé, Shane, has traded his flannel shirt and guitar for a flak jacket and crossbow. If she survives to walk down the aisle, will she recognize the man waiting at the altar?  (Amazon excerpt)

Review: I'm perfectly aware that I tend to have very high standards when it comes to...well, pretty much everything LOL. Don't get me wrong, I can stomach cheesy stuff, and even like it more than "sensible" one. [That's why I'd choose Haven over Under the Dome anytime. Also, Duke is fun ;) - which is a bonus]. But there are two things that irritate me to no end: 1) sappy romances; 2) contrived happy endings. I wouldn't go as far as saying that Smith-Ready incurred in both these (for me) unforgivable sins while writing Lust for Life, because she's too intelligent for that. Nevertheless, she came fairly close.
Not that there weren't clues about said ending, so I suppose it shouldn't have sounded as outrageous as it did to me. Heck, the first clue is even incorporated into the introductory playlist... 

...Not to mention a few hints here and there in the dialogues (though they are apparently supposed to work in reverse, planting the opposite suggestion in our minds). And not to mention that Smith-Ready has been slowly driving Ciara into a corner, first with the vampire thing, then with a peculiar effect that such vampiric condition has on her. So, it's not like there are tons of ways out of all that. Upon closing the book, and especially after rereading it, I could see a clear, deliberate pattern, spun since the very first installment of the series. But this didn't prevent me to feel partly cheated. To me, it's like Smith-Ready played with a huge card slipped into her original deck when we weren't looking. Magic I can deal with - but what happens with Ciara and Shane is like a whole new rule has been added to their game just in order to let them win. Because even with their respective powers woven together, what happens is too much for me to swallow - it sounds like they have to get a happy ending at all costs. Also, said ending has a sappy flavour I've never tasted all the series through. On the other hand, I don't know how else the saga could have ended - but again, I'm not the author, so it's not like I should have an alternate finale myself. (Though the thing-that-shall-go-unnamed crossed my mind of course, only I thought it could happen in a more...plausible? way). What I know is, I feel cheated.
Also, with the grand dénouement, most of the characters sort of freeze and hardly get screen time anymore. It feels rushed, though it probably isn't, given the time and dedication Smith-Ready gave to this novel. But it's like they aren't important anymore, after Ciara and Shane get their happy ending.
So yes. I feel cheated. [...]

Other than that...there's a love story that I don't buy, and isn't even resolved one way or the other. There's the hottest vampire sex complete with a device that is required on the occasion, but to me is mainly an excuse to write a bondage piece. (And some of you may remember I'm not comfortable with explicit sex in my books. Not to mention S&M stuff, even when tamed). There's action and violence, because so much is - literally - at stake. There are new friends and old enemies (...frenemies?) or the reverse - and surprises and revelations. There's some of Smith-Ready's best writing precisely in the part of the book I have reservations about. There's the strong, brave assertion that maternal instinct is not necessarily an integral part of a woman (yes, brave, because this is still one of society's taboos to date).
I suppose your average reader would have little, if any, issues with this book. Maybe they could point out that some members of the original vampire crew are underrepresented, but apart from that, I guess I'm in the minority when it comes to the rest of my concerns. I was able to override some biases of mine while reading this series, but the epilogue was a bit too over the top for me to swallow. On the other hand, fans of romantic & sexy tales (I hate the word "sexy" when it comes to books, but its use here is appropriate) and happy endings will love this this novel for sure.
Lastly, as with the previous installments, this book is titled after a song - "Lust for Life" by Iggy Pop, 1977 (from the eponymous album). And again, every chapter is also named after a song, while Smith-Ready provides the usual book-related playlist.

For my review of "Wicked Game" (first installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Bad to the Bone" (second installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Bring on the Night" (third installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Let It Bleed" (installment 3.5 in the series) click here (warning: big spoiler in this one! It couldn't be avoided, being available in the blurb itself...).
For more Adult books (also by Jeri Smith-Ready) click here.


  1. Awww I'm sorry this didn't work for you. I hate when a series ending is bad.

    I always thought it would end the way it did but I thought it was going to happen for a different reason. SPOILER - I thought her blood meant more to the big picture and ALL vampires than it ended up meaning. END SPOILER

    I did like it but like I said - it was mostly what I was expecting.

    1. Hmm, I think I know what you mean. You did have an interesting idea...but it seems like Jeri particularly wanted a happy ending for the main couple, while she didn't really care for the others in the end. I still feel they didn't get enough screen time.


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