Friday, June 28, 2013

REDESIGNED (Off the Subject #2) by Denise Grover Swank

An Advance Release Copy of this book was provided by the author, Denise Grover Swank, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Denise!

AUTHOR: Denise Grover Swank -- Twitter | Website
PUBLISHED: Self-published June 9, 2013
GENRE: New Adult, Romance
PAGES: 294
SOURCE: ARC from author
BUY IT: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Find it on Goodreads

*May not be suitable for audiences under 18.*

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.

When After Math, the first book in Denise Grover Swank's New Adult series, Off the Subject, ended, I was skeptical about the book focusing on another character in the fictional confines of Southern University. I'd grown so attached to Tucker and Scarlett and didn't want to see them fade into the background.

But once again, Swank's beautiful writing and well-crafted story line lured me in. Redesigned exceeded all my expectations.

Within the first two minutes of reading Redesigned, I was absolutely obsessed. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. For two days, it was my purse book. I refused to leave home without it. Whenever I had a few free moments, I was diving in. When it came to the end, I was left wanting more.

Off the Subject's second volume takes place not long after After Math ends. This time around, Caroline Hunter, Scarlett's best friend, is the starlet. Caroline sparkles and shines and is a character so easy to relate to.

Not unlike her best friend, Caroline has pieces of her past that she hides and would rather forget. In fact, the pieces are so big, its nearly her entire history. She is extremely protective of her future and is determined not to live the life that she once did, back when she was Carol Ann Hunter, living in a beat up old mobile home in Shelbeyville, where she felt unsupported by her parents, who were content to live that lifestyle for the remainder of their days and who made Caroline choose between them and college.

But Caroline Hunter drove away from Shelbeyville to Southern University anyway, determined to create a better life for herself, quite literally sewing it together piece by piece as she decided to major in fashion and pursue her dreams.

With senior year moving at the speed of light, Caroline can see the finish line and only has a few things left to achieve -- the most important of those being to secure a spot on the committee for the program's spring fashion show.

Caroline finds herself on the committee but at odds with its chairman -- a man named Reed Pendergraft. Reed, an acquaintance of Scarlett's and a graduate student studying math, does not get along famously with Caroline, who spurned his advances at a party earlier in the semester and then watched as Caroline chose a shallow misogynist with a hefty bank account over him. But despite their constant fighting, Caroline can't help but find herself attracted to Reed.

Over the course of the novel, Caroline fights an internal battle with herself -- to follow her heart and her hormones to Reed Pendergraft or to keep searching for a more suitable mate whose bank account will ensure that she never find herself starving in a trailer park.

When Caroline's precious fashion show receives assistance from the Monroe Foundation, a prestigious, deep-pocketed organization with a focus on philanthropy for needy children, she ends up on a collision course with a past she never wanted to remember, let alone visit.

Caroline is a character whose issues and emotions run deep, and with each new challenge she faces, those depths are explored. With every turn of the page, the reader peels back layer after layer of the onion that is her psyche to uncover those things closest to her heart and soul and those things she fears. This exploration of character along with the passion, heat, intrigue, and intoxicating dynamic between she and Reed creates literary magic.

Swank's newest installment in the Off the Subject series is an incredible read: fast, yet filled to the brim with a plot that never stalls out. It's the perfect summer read, whether you find yourself on the beach, your own front porch, or like me, inside and listening to a thunderstorm. Redesigned is an absolute must read for women young and old this summer.

Swank's third book in the Off the Subject series, Business as Usual, is expected to be released late summer or early fall.

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