Review: Off The Subject #3, Business as Usual by Denise Grover Swank

20615649Blurb from Goodreads

Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she’s determined to help her brother Reed–who gave up everything to give her a chance at a semi-normal college experience after her rape a year ago. Reed has a secret he’s keeping from Lexi and his fiancee Caroline, and he refuses to tell them what it’s about, even when it’s destroying his relationship with Caroline.

Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University, suffering from sleep deprivation and exhaustion while trying to keep up with his courses and working three part time jobs after losing his full ride scholarship last fall. The last thing he needs is Reed Pendergrafts’s little sister complicating things. Yet Ben can’t get her off his mind, especially when he realizes that she keeps turning up in a black wig where he bar tends. Lexi’s determined to keep her real identity from him, the question is why?

Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published April 10th 2014 by DGS
edition language: English
series: Off The Subject
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
When I finished Redesigned I was so eager to read Lexi’s story. She’s a lovable character with bad past which is my kind of character, by the way. And somehow I really want her to be with Brandon. I think it was because I want him to prove to Reed that he is a good guy and worth enough for her. So when the blurb said that there is a new guy as her love interest, I was kinda hesitated to read it. I don’t want him to end up as being a bad guy just because so then she has another love interest. Now, after finished this book, I’m happy with the way it ended. But then I have another reason I don’t want this series ended. I want Brandon has his own story because I think he deserves his happy ending.

So Brandon left, Ben comes. I liked him. He’s kind, sweet, swoon worthy with baggage, (again) my kind of character. Although Lexi keeps telling me that he’s quite similar to Reed in personality, I didn’t find his character is as strong as him. To be honest, I didn’t know what was wrong. I just couldn’t connect to him instantly. Not the way I connected with Reed while Lexi is still as lovable as in Redesigned, though I have to say that there are also couples of times that I was questioning her action. At that time she seems so naive, I couldn’t believe she do the things she did.

Regarding of their relationship, I think it happens too fast. They are only met three times, with not much interaction and after that they can’t be separated. Although there are that three encounters, it still feel faster than Tucker & Scarlet and Reed & Caroline relationship. I think it’s because there are nothing much in those first encounters. And then both of them have trust issue but when they are with each other, I can barely see it.

However, I still liked the writing and especially because I got two POV here, from Lexi and Ben, thing that I didn’t get from its prequels.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Off The Subject #2, Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank

17788557Blurb from Goodreads

While fashion design major Caroline Hunter may have been born economically unlucky, in college, she’s been lucky in love. Until her senior year at Southern University. She’s gone from a serious long term boyfriend to a string of crappy dates.

Then she meets mathematics grad student Reed Pendergraft.

Reed is everything she’s not looking for. Serious. Headed for a low paying university job. Boring. Caroline spent the first eighteen years of her life wondering where her next meal was coming from. She sure wasn’t getting trapped in that life again with a man living on a professor’s salary.

An encounter with Reed in a club proves she might have pegged him wrong. He brings out a lusty side she never knew she had. But just when she’s about to give in to her hormones, Reed makes a fool out of her.

When she shows up for the first committee meeting for Southern University’s Fall fashion show, a fundraiser for underprivileged kids, Caroline’s horrified to discover the insufferable Reed is the committee chairman. While she refuses to tolerate his totalitarian rule of the committee, she’s not sure she’ll survive the month with her heart—and her pride—intact. Just when she thinks she has everything figured out, she finds that her entire life has been redesigned, thanks to Reed Pendergraft.

Paperback, 294 pages
Published June 10th 2013 by Createspace (first published June 9th 2013)
edition language: English
series: Off The Subject #2
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thought
This is Denise Grover Swank second book I read. I had same excitement as my first one, After Math. As much as I liked and enjoyed After Math, I didn’t give it more than 3 stars, there were things that prevent me to say I really like it. So, when I decided to read Redesigned I didn’t expect much. Apparently it’s more than I expected. I enjoyed and loved it.
The story is simple and there isn’t something new in it. A lot of books have similar story but somehow Ms. Swank
make it works and it really works for me. I can connect with the characters. I love them all they are perfect in their imperfection. And it is surely an emotional story. I feel sorry for Caroline but I’m happy that she knows what she want and fight for it. To be honest, I mostly like when she told her childhood story, it is a sad story but the way she told touching me. I love Reed for his persistent to never let Caroline go, even when he misunderstood her, though I have to admit I kind of want to scream at him and tell him that he was wrong. I also happy to meet Scarlett and Tucker again and read a glimpse of their happily ever after story. I even love Lexi, Reed’s sister, and eager to read her own story. I’m pretty sure Off The Subject #3, Business as Usual will be her story and I kind of hope that Brandon is truly her love interest. Although Reed didn’t trust him, I want to read more about their story.
Result: 4 of 5 Stars

Review: Off The Subject #1, After Math by Denise Grover Swank

17270349Blurb from Goodreads

Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

Paperback, 250 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Createspace (first published March 11th 2013)
edition language: English
series: Off The Subject #1
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thought
I’m more than eager reading this book, if it is possible. I always love reading books with torture-bad past kind of characters. I cannot help it, it’s my sweet torture. So when I had this book, I straight read it, leaving my to-be read next book pile that I’ve scheduled for months.

In some part After Math reminds me of Charade by Nyrae Dawn, both of it have a bad past characters that effect their present life. But unlike Charade, this book told only from one POV, Scarlett’s. She is a very smart mathematic student who set her future to be unlike her mom and her sister. She is in half way to leave her past behind, though she still have a mark from it, her panic attack. That’s why she tent to be invisible, out of people attention. And then one day she has to tutor Tucker, a soccer star who always brings people attention to him.

From Scarlett’s POV, I know that the real Tucker isn’t what people see. He only shows it to Scarlett and vice versa. Tucker can see and understand Scarlett more than her family and her bestfriend and sometime, as Scarlett said, more than herself.

Scarlett’s thought feels real to me, especially when she had panic attack, I can relate her anxiety. But I have to admit I also want to know Tucker’s thought. Reading Tucker’s bad past from Scarlett’s POV couldn’t make me connected to his torture soul. I know what happened to him was a very bad experience yet I feel he doesn’t have good reasons acted the way he did, to Scarlett and mostly to himself. At this point I cannot relate to Tucker.

Although Scarlett’s thought quite real, I kind of didn’t like the way she said something again and again, like when she said she know Tucker for only a few weeks. It is quite repetitive for me and annoyed me a little bit.

I love their relationship, it isn’t instant love. Their built it from trust and friendship. Yet, I also feel the ending was too simple, too plain. I want more drama in it. Something more that make me feel they have overcome their past and it makes their relationship is worth fighting for.

In the end, this is a good story I liked and enjoyed reading it. But there are also a lot of books with this kind of story, while I never give up reading it I expect it has a surprise or a twist of whatever that make it different from others.

Result: 3 of 5 Stars