Bookclub #3: The Night of the Solstice by LJ Smith

Like many of you, I’m an admitted LJ Smith fan. My formative years were spent reading ragged and dog-eared copies of the books, The Secret Circle, Vampire Diaries, and The Forbidden Game. I always assumed I was from some long lost branch of some long lost witch family straight out of the Night World. BTW I’m not.

Well, recently it was discovered that I never read LJ Smith’s first two books, Night of the Solstice and Sword of Valor. The ever quick witted Rebecca from Crunchings and Munchings review blog was fast to tweet, “@iloveyafiction never read them either! I’m totes thinking 1 of these for book club. You in?” Yes, friends, I am so in.

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Time for the Weekly Roundup!

It’s Monday: Weekly Roundup time! All of this past week’s reviews summed up in one line for your buying convenience.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout: New in town, Katy, discovers that sexy aliens live right next door and she helps them learn about the greatness of humans while they save her from scary light sucking alien enemies all while maneuvering through the intricacies of high school. Rating: 10 aka buy this book stat!

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner: Girl genius Carrie Pilby lives a depressing existence in Manhattan with no friends and follows her therapist’s advice to find hobbies, friendship, and love. Rating: 3.8 aka well written but infuriating main character.

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt: Hannah falls in love with her best friend’s bf while the best friend is away at summer camp and Hannah is stuck back home working at a greasy diner and trying not to stalk her creep of an ex-boyfriend. Rating: 6.8 aka worth reading if only for Noah the sexy bf’s boyfriend though he is a dirty, dirty cheater.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: Macy learns how to grieve and live again after the death of her father through the help of a wacked out catering business and a hottie delinquent named Wes. Rating: 10 aka buy this book stat!

Ready Player One by

Ernest Cline: In the future, Wade battles the rest of the dystopian world in order to locate a dead man’s bagillion dollar fortune (and there’s a lot of 80s references to either annoy or make you nostalgic). Raing: 8 aka there’s not a lot of lovey dovey stuff but if you dig the 80s

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or dude books, you’ll like this.

The Forbidden Game, Volume I: The Hunter by LJ Smith: Jenny must duke it out with Julian, a sexy elemental ice lord from Norse myth, intent on making her his queen by forcing her to play a game for the lives of her best friends and boyfriend. Rating: 10 aka buy this book stat!

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler: Former basketball star Chelsea leaves her annoying bf, Gabe, to spend the summer in Minnesota being trained by a hunky yet damaged wilderness trainer named Clint. Rating: 5 aka boring enough to be unmemorable but well written and vaguely interesting.

Shipwrecked Summer by Carly Syms: Hoping to find true love at her last summer before college, Lexie visits her grandma in Ship’s Wreck, NJ, and meets two potential guys, Anthony the cutie next door, and Jeff the most abrasively nasty lifeguard on the Jersey Shore. Rating: 2.4 aka stay far, far away unless you want to throw away your money.

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The LJ Smith Cover Battle Royale: Which is better for the Forbidden Game, 90s cover or 2000s cover?

In posting my latest review of the Forbidden Game, Volume I: the Hunter, I came across the cover used most recently when the book was republished. Frankly it scared me. The cover from the mid-90s was cheesy and cartoonish, but Julian was hot and it presented the right mix of quirky and eerie. Today’s cover just makes Jenny look like a cracked out tranny. Likewise, a lot of LJ Smith’s more recent covers just don’t do it for me. Maybe I’m too much a child of the 80s but quite frankly I hate them. They’re too modern or gothic or dark…I don’t know what it is exactly, I can’t quite pinpoint it, but they’re just awful. I’m going to present all her book covers for the Forbidden Game and you judge for yourselves.


The Forbidden Game, Volume I: The Hunter

90s cover:

2000s cover:

Winner: clearly, 90s cover! Why doesn’t Jenny look wholesome anymore? She has on far too much eye makeup, her mouth is open all vapid-like, and seriously, that’s not Jenny! Jenny’s hair really is blonde. This girl is just one hot Jenny mess.

The Forbidden Game, Volume II: The Chase

90s cover:

2000s cover:

Winner: still the 90s cover! I mean, is that even the same girl as the first 2000s cover? It looks like a different person altogether, one who is even more open-eyed, more make-up wearing, less blonde, and more tranny-like. Can’t they be consistent in this day and age? Come on, we have awesome computers but we can’t put the same face on the cover of book two?

Last Chance…

The Forbidden Game, Volume III: The Kill

90s cover:

2000s cover:

Winner: Okay this one is a close call. 90s version Jenny has her shirt tucked into her jeans! For shame! That’s one crazy fashion faux pas. I was going to mention Julian’s leather vest because it’s hard to pull off wearing one of those but if anyone can it’s him so no points deduction. At least in the 2000 cover the hot mess is no longer looking directly into the camera. Now this over the shoulder profile shot could almost be sexy…except Jenny isn’t sexy. She’s wholesome. So lose the makeup, do something about your fried blonde hair, and step aside, cover girl, because 90s cover is our winner!!!

Bonus Round!!

The trilogy was published as one novel in the 90s and 2000s and the covers didn’t get any better but let’s duke it out one last time.

The Forbidden Game Trilogy

90s cover:

2000s cover:

Winner: I thought it would be impossible to make Julian look bad, but 90s cover does it. He looks BAD and not in a good way that makes me think of sexy times. They really dropped the ball with the 90s cover. It looks like a poorly designed halloween cartoon and that

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mime/clown gives me the willies. Now in the 2000s cover, the chick is actually innocent looking and her hair looks much more natural than the hot mess in the first 3. She actually looks fresh faced and winsome. Oh no…I never thought I’d say this the trilogy cover category, 2000s cover is the clear winner!!!

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