December 1, 2011

For Better or For Worse • With Good Behavior

Today, I'm one of the stops for the blog tour for The CONduct series by Jennifer Lane.  If you haven't yet read With Good Behavior (the first of the series), scroll a little further to see my review and why I think you should be reading this book.  Also, there's some goodies to giveaway at the end of this post.

With Good Behavior book cover
With Good Behavior by Jennifer Lane
(Twitter || Facebook || Blog || Goodreads)
Series: The Conduct Series #1
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || e-book
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost. Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

When I read the synopsis for With Good Behavior in the email that Jennifer sent to me, I was immediately intrigued by the story. My curiosity got the better of me and I agreed to read it. I'm very glad I did, as it turns out that this story was compelling and enjoyable.

Jennifer has a fantastic way of using the simplest words to paint us a convincing and very real world. I fell in love with the Chicago she showed us through the eyes of Grant and Sophie, with elements of both normal life and the mafia culture interspersed quite cleverly throughout everything. As a reader, I felt like I could see both the good and evil sides of the reality the two main characters lived in and I appreciated how much more real that made things (since in real life, there is always good and bad).

Sophie's calm, sweet, level-headed demeanor may be typical of a few romance heroines, but it was her background in psychology, her stubborn tenacity and determination to fight back that made me really like her. She was unwilling to settle for the circumstances she found herself in and I loved how she rebuilds her life slowly but surely after serving her time in prison.

And Grant, well, he's easy enough to fall in love with. Because there was so much emphasis on his amazing eyes, that is what I tend to imagine in my brain first when I think of him - dark, piercing, intense eyes that make your stomach flutter when they turn their gaze on you. But apart from his gorgeous eyes and physique, I think it's his caring, thoughtful attitude to Sophie that made me love him most. He's very considerate, kind and there's a sincerity to the way he feels about her that made me catch my breath whenever he thought or spoke about it.

Their relationship felt so authentic that it, on occasion, brought tears to my eyes. I loved how, despite the odds stacked against them, their feelings never wavered - and always, whether consciously or not, put the other first. Despite the particulars (both of them as parolees, the mafia family, etc), I thought that their relationship mirrored any real relationship - with its imperfections amidst the beauty.

There were, of course, a few personal qualms I had with the novel. I thought they fell in love a little too quickly; but then again, it could have been lust first, love next. I also thought some events in the story were a little too dramatized; but then again, we are talking about a mafia family after all. 

Overall, With Good Behavior was fast-paced, intense and there were a couple of surprising twists that got me to gasp out loud. It started off a bit too slow for me, at times becoming quite typical, but it eventually picked up the pace until I couldn't put it down. I liked where the book came to an end - and it's got me hooked enough to want to pick up the second book in the series, Bad Behavior.

I've only read the first book, so I'm pretty excited to eventually pick up Bad Behavior, where the story of Sophie and Grant and the rest of the mafia continues.  And we're very lucky that for this blog tour, we have not just one but TWO great giveaways!

Giveaway #1: The CONduct Series eBook Giveaway!

Prize: an ebook copy of either With Good Behavior or Bad Behavior!
Enter the giveaway HERE.

Giveaway #2: The CONduct Series Blog Tour Grand Prize

Prize: a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Enter the giveaway by commenting on all the blog posts on the CONduct Series Blog Tour.
You can see the list of participating stops HERE.

It was a pleasure to read and review With Bad Behavior, and I hope you all get a chance to read it.
Click here to view The CONduct Series Tour Schedule and visit my fellow bloggers!


  1. I have literally been trying to comment on this post since you published it. I would read a little bit then something would come up and I would come back to it again and another thing would come up. You get the point. But now I AM commenting on this, so it's all good. This sounds like such a fun series! It is an adult series I assume??? Anyways, I am slowly reading more and more adult-ish books and this one has definitely caught my interest. It sounds like a great love story :)

  2. Nice review. I think mafia does equal drama. :)

    Can't wait to read this series.

  3. I love what you are saying about this book and cannot wait to read it for myself.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. Actually, now that you put it that way, I can see how the falling for Grant might have happened quickly for Sophie since he is a lot like Logan. But I loved the book!

  5. Awesome, awesome series! can;t wait for book #3!!!

  6. I get more and more excited about reading this series with each stop on this tour. Thanks for posting your review :)

  7. This is an awesome series! So exciting. Thanks for highlighting Jennifer's captivating work.

  8. A Tale of Many ReviewsFebruary 6, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Well thought out review. Thank you for participating.

  9. Thank you so much for that lovely review, Alexa! I am a bit obsessed with Grant's eyes, LOL. The actor Wentworth Miller inspired his character. And I appreciate the feedback about the characters falling for each other a tad too quickly. I was thinking that since Sophie had fallen for Logan, there was something familiar about Grant that drew her in quickly, but I can see how it could look like it was too fast, especially since they both have trust issues. And my editor is trying to rein in my penchant for drama in my current YA novel we're editing, ha ha. Happy reading!


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