Because you can't judge a book by its cover


Recently, in an attempt to save some money by not purchasing every child’s book I see for my son, he and I made a visit to the Scottsdale Civic Center Public Library. I don’t know if it is because I spent way too much of the last twelve years of my life in University Libraries or if it is because I grew up in a fairly rural area of Utah (St. George to be exact) and my memories of the library are of a small library but let me say that I LOVED it!! Their children’s section is in a wing by itself with a large foam castle with “reading towers” inside (wanted to climb inside with a copy of a Nancy Drew novel and just read in a way that I always wanted to as a child), an incredibly large number of children’s books and, my absolute favorite, board books that you can check out for small children. (Which is fabulous since my son is not to be trusted with real books at only 8 months of age, granted you do have to watch out for the ones that stick but still, board books!)  I was delighted to discover that they offer a children’s story time for children under the age of 2, James and I plan on attending it a couple of hours after this post goes live.

While I could wax poetically about the children’s section and what they have to offer for even longer, it was really the romance section (and the covered parking, I live in Phoenix and the fact that I can park in shade means I will continue to drive to this library) that really sold me on this library becoming my library. Growing up in a smaller community, when I started reading more mainstream romance novels, I was devastated when I went to the library only to discover they had only about 40 books in their “romance” section and they valued them so little that you didn’t even have to check them out, you were just asked to only take four at a time and bring them back whenever. (This attitude towards romance novels and romance readers I have ranted about at length so I won’t bore you with that here but think about how that made this teenage avid reader feel about her reading choices but I digress!) From the rural public library I then moved to spending time at University and then eventually a law school library where I don’t think they even knew what contemporary fiction was, let alone romance novels. But the Scottsdale Library had 13, that’s right 13 bookshelves, front and back, of just romance novels. I felt like I had found some long lost friends! I gleefully started to wander up and down the aisles, desperately trying to decide what I could and couldn’t take home with me to read (and what I owned and didn’t own) but only made it through three before my chunky monkey decided he was done of the day. But don’t worry, I was able to find three books for me to take home before he became too distractive to other library patrons.

I am so excited to have rediscovered the public library and look forward to spending many an enjoyable hour there. Do you have library you love?

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Novel Reaction will celebrate its fifth birthday/anniversary (what would you call the starting of a blog?! Anyways I digress) this June. I started Novel Reaction as a place to just post the occasional review and author spotlight, since then it has grown into so much more than I ever could have imagined when I started it five years ago. I remember when I started posting a review once a week and I was worried about having enough to say that I could continue to regularly post once a week (Haha! I should know my ability to ramble on and on better than that!).  For awhile there were five reviewers besides myself providing reviews, as a result of that I had the freedom to be really picky about what was posted review wise (I was trying to provide more clean romance novels even though I read a lot of the mainstream romance novels) but about a year ago I lost all of my reviewers except one (Jillian) to life events happening (jobs, kids, etc.) at about the same time and I even took a break for about year while I took the Arizona Bar (twice) and was ill with pregnancy. At first I was really disappointed that Novel Reaction was changing so much but then I realized that it is just like everything else in life, there are seasons when certain things make sense and then things change and that is okay. Novel Reaction is going to be changing again (but in a good way) in that I have decided to review a children’s book once a week.

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I love books! Obviously or I wouldn’t be here weekly writing reviews. I find myself in the fabulous position of sharing that love of books with my son (he is currently eight months old) and it has amazed me how at even such a young age I can tell when he really likes a book or just is okay with the book. With me reading so many children’s books (and some of them over and over and over again) I realize, more than I did as a child, that like all other genres there are some fabulous books out there and some not so fabulous books. I decided that I wanted to share the gems that I have found with you, my readers. In addition to providing my thoughts on the book I will provide my son’s reaction (as much as possible) to the book. If there are any books I need to read to him please share, this is a new genre that I haven’t spent any time with since my youngest sister (Jillian who reviews here) out grew them.


Just wanted to wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day! The older I get the more thankful I am that I spent as much time as I did with my mother (she passed away from cancer almost seven years ago) and the more appreciative I am of the women in my life who have willingly filled in when my mother couldn’t. Mothers come in all different shapes and sizes and relationships to us, so while not all of us may have biological children we may all be mothers in some way. I hope your day is filled with laughter and good books.

zebra regency novelsI was writing reviews (Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance series)  and getting ready for a couple of blog tours (Mariah Stewart and Jill Shalvis) and I realized that they were all small town feel good contemporary romance novels. I enjoyed all three novels and have read numerous other books in those series but it got me thinking about tastes in reading tastes changing. When I was in high school my mother belonged to the Zebra Regency Romance novels automatic mail lists (does anyone else remember those?!) and I devoured them every month, especially those about debutantes making their debuts. Now, numerous years later, (I’m not going to say how many years later but know that I didn’t have a cell phone in high school if that says anything) I find myself preferring novels where the heroines have a few more years under their belt.

I started to wonder what it is that changes our reading tastes? Why is that something that once we devoured now we find annoying or boring? The first answer is obviously life events in our personal lives. We change as individuals, surviving trials, loss, momentous moments of joy and life changing seconds. But even beyond this changing as an individual I think it also depends upon what is currently going in our lives. When I was pregnant I found myself only wanting to reread novels that I had already read, even authors who I eagerly await with baited breathe for their new releases I wasn’t really interested in reading. I don’t know if it was the uncertainty of pregnancy (so many things could go wrong), the exhaustion that is growing a human being so not wanting to have to focus intently, or what exactly, but that is all I read for nine months and then as soon as my son was born I eagerly grabbed new novels ready to read as normal.

Now I think this is different than being in reading phases (you know, that feeling of wanting to read a certain type or genre of book) but actually changing what you read. What do you think? Have you reading tastes changed over the years?

Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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