Bodice Rippers & Erotica Book Reviews: J.A. Redmerski

The Edge of Always
The Edge of Never

The Edge of Always by J.A. RedmerskiBook Cover of The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

Read by Tracy in November 2013

Tracy recommends as a sequel that adds to the storyline

The Blurb: A New York Times #2 bestseller! The hotly anticipated sequel to the bestselling New Adult novel, THE EDGE OF NEVER - a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller He was taking the long road. She was taking the road to nowhere. It just so happened that it lead to the same place...Camryn Bennett and Andrew Parrish wanted a life less ordinary - and together, against the world, it's only getting better. But out of the blue, their perfect life together is rocked by tragedy...Struggling to cope with a different future, Andrew soon realises that Camryn is hiding a world of pain. Desperate to bring her back to life, Andrew is sure that if they can get out on the road again, everything will fall into place. If only he can convince Camryn that their love is worth fighting for...

The Reality: I enjoyed The Edge of Never which I read back in July 2013, so was pleasantly surprised when this downloaded onto the Kindle. You have to love pre-ordering titles! After reading many sequels recently which have become slush fests and lack the original punch of the story, I was not holding out high hopes for this book. I presumed it would lose the impact and just continue on the same journey. The Edge of Always picks up a few months after where The Edge of Never ended. Andrew Parrish and Camryn Bennett have had a very difficult relationship, filled with many ups and downs and this doesn’t change for the couple. There are many hurdles and for a couple so young and who have had a whirlwind romance, it would probably have ended in tears and separation. However, Andrew and Camryn manage to overcome most of them, and the rest makes their relationship stronger as they realise, no matter what is thrown at them, it is better to face it head on together. I think the difference with this story and a lot of other "young adult" titles is that their relationship and lives aren't perfect. Life doesn't always provide happy endings, and neither does the book. I can't go too much into the details due to spoilers for the story. After Camryn finds she is pregnant, life for the couple will never be the same and they are faced with giving up their free spirited lifestyles. However, after Camryn suffers from a bout of homesickness they return to Raleigh to settle down, but soon life turns upside down. This makes you realise that you don't have to plan every minute of your days after all "I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life." Camryn unexpectedly finds herself trapped in a secret lifestyle. When Andrew finds out, he is desperate to drag Camryn back into the present; back to the girl he met on a bus and fell in love with. So they hit the road and soon realise that they can't go back and capture the past, they must look to the future.

"In that second of tragedy I was reminded about death all over again and how fast it sneaks up on a person." "We can't control death," I say. "There's nothing either of us can do to avoid it or to hold it off. All we can control is how we live our lives before it comes for us. So, let's promise each other things that we can hold true to no matter what."

Usually when something happens that seems unfair, it's just Life's way of making room for better things to come."

I did feel that in The Edge of Always there is a bit too much pressure on the fact that they can't live without each other etc. This is a bit unrealistic because as heartbreaking as it can be when a relationship ends; things do go on and mostly for the better. I worry that teenagers will feel that they must too attain the almost unattainable perfect relationship status. However, hopefully the readers are emotionally able to disassociated fact and fiction and read this book for what it is - a good look at how young lives are flexible and that you should live for the now and stop worrying too much about the future. Get in the car and drive, discover and learn.

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The Edge of Never by J.A. RedmerskiBook Cover of The Edge of Never (#1) by J.A. Redmerski

Read by Tracy July 2013

Tracy recommends as much better than most "Young Adult" books out there and drives home the message of how important it is to live in the moment, to follow your heart and not waste a precious second of your life.

The Blurb: Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish. Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the centre of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?"

My Review: I am not a huge fan of books that are targeted towards the Young Adult genre, they tend to be full of angst not ending anywhere, however, this was different and I found myself reading it through the night. The story of Camryn and Andrew is told by alternating points of view, something that can be annoying, but it is a continuous flow with no repetition. Although the characters have had their own heartbreaks in their young lives, they realise that life is for living and this turns their lives around. The pace of the book is great, there is no constantly going over the same ground time and time again and it certainly goes through a range of emotions as well as some jaw dropping twists. A long of YA books tend to focus on sex, but this book actually has a storyline to go with it, so yes it can get steamy, but I didn't feel that was the main focus, more two people getting to know each other and venture into unchartered territory. Camryn was a strong female character and after losing her boyfriend in a car accident she struggled to get over his death. Her family have been through a lot with her parents divorcing, her brother ending up in jail and her recent boyfriend cheating on her so you can imagine she has lost faith in relationships. Eventually she finds herself faced with a choice that sees her closest friendship crumble and decides that the best option is to get on the first bus out of town. On the bus is Andrew, who himself is using the road trip to delay the inevitable family reunion. Andrew was an equally strong character who just had that rapscallion feel about him. Although there is chemistry between the two, I felt both characters were level with each other and able to hold their own as they discussed their hopes and dreams for the future. There were some great laughable moments, when Camryn gets so drunk she sleeps on the tiles of the bathroom floor, waking up with lines on her face – so loved that, as I remember doing that when I was her age, and more embarrassing when I was older. There are a few niggly issues with the book and as usual it is the editing, it could have been a bit tighter, but for once I got through that. Even better is that this is just the first book in a series.

This was a self-published book but has subsequently been picked up by Harper.

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