September 2, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Redesigned (Off The Subject #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Redesigned (Off the Subject #2), by Denise Grover Swank
Published June 10, 2013
Publisher:  Createspace
Format: ARC - received at BEA
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(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.

So, lightning can strike twice in the same place. Denise Grover Swank has once again written an incredible new adult novel full of angst, emotion and math problems. 

In Redesigned, Caroline Hunter meets Reed Pendergraft at a party, and to say that they don't hit it off is putting things mildly. She tells him that she won't date him because he doesn't make enough money and he tells her she's a shallow gold digger. Not really the basis for a lasting and loving relationship. Yet, something about Reed gets under Caroline's skin - so much so that, even when they are forced to work together on a project and every meeting between them ends in disaster, she still finds herself thinking about him all the time. Finally, things get real and so do they, but things in both their pasts could threaten the shaky foundation on which they're standing.

My favorite romance stories tend to be those where the guy and the girl start out hating each other. There is a fine line between loving and loathing sometimes. Both require some seriously strong emotion, and it's easy to confuse the two. Maybe that's why insta-love stories really irk me. I love seeing couples really work for their HEAs.

And, perhaps this is why I enjoyed Redesigned so much. Reed and Caroline are really horrible to each other for awhile. So much so that, I was feeling really pissed off after each conversation myself. They engage in low blows and mud slinging so much that I was left wondering how they were going to find themselves in a place where they could finally move past all that and find common ground. And, when that moment came, it was SO much sweeter than if they had made mooney eyes at each other at that very first meeting.

Caroline was hard to like for awhile. She really was a pretty shallow person, even if you could understand her motives for being shallow. It didn't negate the fact that her actions reeked of gold-digging desperation, and it's hard to respect a character like that.

Reed, however - that guy could be the poster child for the hot nerd. Yes, he was awful to Caroline, but I could understand why he acted that way based on how she treated him at first. And, yes, he was overprotective of his sister, but I can respect any guy who goes out of his way to protect those he loves.

Redesigned is told from Caroline's POV only, and there were many instances when I found myself wishing so much that this was a dual POV book. Then again, not knowing what Reed was thinking and doing only added to his mysteriousness and made me all that more curious about what he was hiding. So, I guess it's not really a bad thing.

The pacing of the story was perfect. From the first moment when Reed and Caroline meet (which was in the first chapter) until the very end, there was never any lulls in the story or times when I found myself wanting to skim or skip ahead. And, once they get together, I found I couldn't put the book down. The heat factor was off the charts - I loved the sizzling chemistry, and Denise Grover Swank captured that so well.

One of the best parts of Redesigned is that we saw plenty of Scarlett and Tucker from After Math (Off The Subject #1). Scarlett and Caroline are still BFFs, and now we can see that, because of Scarlett's relationship with Tucker, he and Caroline have a really special relationship too. He's taken on a sort of big brother role with her, and it made my love for Tucker grow even more (and I didn't think that was possible).

Denise Grover Swank needs to bring on more Off The Subject books, like NOW. Because I think I have a new addiction.


Kim said...

This sounds really interesting. I think I'll have to look into this series now. Great review :)

Unknown said...

I am SO glad you liked this one Krista! I fell so hard for Reed. He is total hot nerd boy who can talk dirty to me ANY DAY! LOL. Caroline was definitely hard to like at first, but after a while, she really became a likeable protagonist. Though, I agree- I would have loved to see Reed's POV on this! Great review friend! I am also ready for the next Off The Subject book!