What a year.  For those of you that don’t know I moved back home to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I won’t say it’s been good, but it hasn’t been all bad either. Hey, at least I’m where most of my family and friends are, that’s a plus no matter how I look at it

In the year that I was unemployed I started to really write. In 2013 I wrote 8 books, all more than 50 thousand words, a few over 100 and I am proud to say that as of Dec. 31st 2013, there were  25,486 downloads of my books. YEAH!  I am so…humbled, thrilled, excited, happy. The list of adjectives go on and on. But while I write, I also read.

My reading was like my movie watching, I’ll watch damn near anything as long as it’s good,  and in the past it was the same with books. I read a little bit of everyone, and a little of every genre. That is no longer the case. I am an addict for adult romance, and particularly fond of the paranormal kind. Currently my favorite authors are J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood until I die) and Larissa Ione (Who I strongly suspect is J.R. Ward) but I found a few new authors that kept me going this past year and while I re-read some of my  2012 favorites, I also discovered, Darynda Jones, and her wonderful Charley Davidson Series and Shelly Laurenston’s Pride Series.  The grown up, wanna-be sophisticated part of me want to say I sat down and read: Shakespeare, Tony Morrison, Ernest Gaines, hell, even my all time favorite author, Stephen King, but I did not. I did watch a couple of episodes of Under the Dome but I didn’t like the changes, and I did try to read Anna Karenina but couldn’t get down with Tolstoy writing style. I get points for reading Cassandra Claire, Infernal Devices.

And so while I was not reading Pride and Prejudice or any other great author or classic,   I did laugh so hard reading The Mane Attraction (book Three of the Pride Series) that my husband kicked me out of bed…until I finished reading all eight books because I couldn’t stop laughing in the middle of the night. I did find a new man named Reyes Farrow in the Charlie Davidson Serires, he’s the paranormal equivalent of Christian Grey and Gideon Cross. I cried at the end of Clockwork Princess, Cheered when Quinn and Blaylock finally hooked up in Lover at Last, and was held captive for weeks on end reading the Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton (22 books written over 20 years. I read a few more than once.)

So all told I read 63 books last year, more if you count the ones I read two or more times.

I love to read and I love to write and when I’m not driving 40 hours straight across the country, I’m doing one or the other.

Check out full list here.

Kimberly Odum Wells


Christian Grey vs. Gideon Cross

 I find a lot of good books to read when looking in the “Reading” sections of various magazines. This is how I discovered The Hunger Games, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and numerous other books I have read in the last two years. Young adult paranormal romance is my genre of choice right now but I’ll read anything including but not limited, Horror (Stephen King), African-American Literature (Toni Morrison), Fantasy (Cassandra Clare), Owner Manuals, Instructions, Nutritional Data, Warnings and lists of Active and Inactive ingredients. Newly discovered and a pleasant surprise is erotica.

Last year after exhausting all efforts to find a new book to read I came across a review of Fifty Shades of Grey. Being one of those people who always judges a book by its cover I was drawn to the simple and sleek monotone colors of the E L James book cover. After reading the review I quickly decided it would not suit my needs and moved on. I’m not sure what I did find to read. I was waiting for the release of two books from series I had started reading and was dying to continue, The Rae Wilder Series by Penelope Fletcher and The Iron Fae Series by Julie Kagawa.

Any who, in June of this year, Fifty Shades of Grey came back up. By this time it had really gotten some wind in its sails and everywhere I turned I was seeing the book cover again. Finally I relented and did research to find out it was tied to…. TWILIGHT! I don’t know the specifics and don’t really care, the mention of my absolute favorite book was good enough for me, so I immediately read the first book and two pages in told my husband I thought a gifted thirteen year old had written the book. But not finishing a book is like falling asleep in the movie theater for me and I continued on. The first sexual encounter between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele caught me off guard but was a pleasant surprise. The love story developed and while I still don’t see any similarities between Fifty and Twilight it turns out that the book is my 2012 favorite.

Reading the reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey are as entertaining as reading the book. I haven’t really read any good reviews but find it funny how everyone and I mean EVERYONE can’t seem to stop talking about it. I think it’s a lot of people guilty pleasure. By book two the sex dominated the story and I agree with one of the many reviews that I’ve come across and I too, got to the point that I skipped the sex scenes so I could get to the love story (but I didn’t skip them all and halfway through the book I found myself looking at my husband differently and wanting to go out and purchase a riding crop and a ball gag). I think book three is my favorite but by the time I’d gotten that far I was hooked and I’m not embarrassed to say I’ve read them three times.

With certain obsession looming in the horizon that would rival Christian Grey’s I put the book down and decided to try my hand at finishing the book I’d started last year (my first) and revisit some of the young adult books that I’d discovered, as well as, read the new Cassandra Clare Mortal Instruments book City of Fallen Angles.

Fast forward a couple of months:

Fresh out of College Girl – Check , Overprotective roommate – Check,  Mysterious Young Billionaire – Check,  Crazy, Mind-blowing, toe-curling, mutli-orgasmic sex – Check

Gideon who?

Jonesing for a Fifty Shades fix and refusing to read it for a fourth time, I read Bared to You (suggested by many If you Like Fifty Shades of Grey than…)in one sitting. Not sure if this book was meant to ride the coattails of the Fifty Shades books but judging from the book cover, I almost though this novel was a companion book for my beloved Fifty trilogy. This book is better written and has enough similarities that I thought Sylvia Day was trying to show E.L. James what a more accomplish writer could do with the storyline.

I liked that Eva held her own with Gideon from the start. I also like that she had her own demons to deal with, because let’s face it, don’t we all. Anastasia’s sweet never been touched, Oh My, worked my nerves which is why for me all my focus was on Mr. Grey. Both women wants to love against her better judgment and when she does she struggles with her decision until she throws caution to the wind and enters into a no holds barred relationship. Eva and Gideon fight side by side trying to exorcise their past with something that they both love… sex.  Anastasia and Christian takes a different approach caused mainly because Anastasia is so “pure” and so she’s dealing with a very damaged and tortured soul while having sex that she considered wrong but loving it anyway which leads her to look at herself in a different light. In both I found myself rooting for the blossoming relationship early in the book (true romantic that I am). In Fifty the sex scenes were descriptive but in a gifted thirteen year old way. In Bared the descriptive language was sometimes sweet, sometimes jarring and a few times vulgar and I loved every word of it.

But let’s face it. Christian Grey is The Hulk to Gideon Cross’s Bruce Banner.

Gideon shows restraint and reasons through the many problems that he and Eva encounters while Christian makes it happens by any means necessary. His love, and need, and yes,  even his  obsession/addiction for Anastasia, is completely out of his hands. You watch him fight to figure out how to have his cake and eat it too,  But he does through sheer force of will and it makes you fall in love with him each and every time he reaches a new orgasim milestone.

I loved them both Christian and Gideon but it is Christian that I will go to tonight when I settle in with my glass of iced tea and bag of candy and turn on the backlight of my Nook w/Glow and I’m not even embarrassed to say that I can’t wait.