Salvaged

Salvaged by Jay Crownover

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

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EXCERPT:

I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

 

REVIEW:

Salvaged is the story of two people who have taken the hardest hits in life, and yet come together to heal each other. Poppy was abused and tortured by her ex husband and is still having trouble dealing with people. Hudson was cheated on twice by his ex fiance, who is now in love with a woman and pregnant with his child. The two are so damaged, and yet find comfort in each other.

 

Jay always manages to create fresh and interesting characters that feel real. I loved Poppy and Hudson, they both had such a great journey, together and separately. Two people who needed someone to love and want them for who they are and to be treated with respect. I am so glad Jay wrote this story, it’s for all those people who never thought they would get the love they wanted and deserved.

 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked MenThe Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

Website: http://www.jaycrownover.com/
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Riveted

Riveted by Jay Crownover

3.5 stars

“I was the girl that everyone always assumed was good… so they never asked… but he had and the world stopped.”

Riveted is the story of Church and Dixie. Dixie is that girl who is always sweet and happy, who never lets it show when life gets her down. Dixie knew early on that Church was the man for her, but he didn’t get the memo. Coworkers at a bar, Church is aware that Dixie is attracted to him and a nice person, so that’s why he asks her to come home with him to the South when there’s a family emergency.

Dixie goes with Church knowing she shouldn’t, that she’ll lose her heart even more than she already has. But maybe this trip will be the kick in the pants Church needs to see the good thing he has right in front of him.

“No matter what kind of armor we wear, all of it has a chunk, a dent that speaks to a battle we fought and lost.”

Jay Crownover is an author I always come back to if only for one thing: her characters. I love the dynamic, lovable people she brings to life in her books, you never get the same character twice. Her books are a much needed escape from reality, even when her characters have issues, I am always happy to peak into their lives for a little bit.

My favorite parts of this book were Dixie and Church themselves, I felt they were developed really well and neither one of them annoyed me at any point in the book. I understood their actions and what justified them.

I enjoyed this book, but mostly the second half of it. I’ve noticed something in this book, as well as in Honor and Charged: Crownover has been getting long winded with her writing and it’s been taking away from my enjoyment of the book. The first 100 pages of this book felt super long and almost nothing plot wise happened, and this went away the last ⅔’s of the book which picked up a lot for me. In the nicest way possible, I really hope this doesn’t continue, because I almost didn’t keep reading because of the long winded writing. It felt way too long and a lot could be edited out. That’s just my opinion.

Anyways I am excited for Salvaged and cannot wait for Poppy and Wheeler’s story!

“Sometimes all people can see is what’s different, but those differences are what make us who we are.”

Honor

Honor by Jay Crownover

4 stars!

“Sometimes you have to burn it all, level it all to the ground, for something new to sprout out of the ashes.”

Nobody know knows Nassir would call him the good guy. But that doesn’t mean he’s always a bad man. For years he has watched Keelyn, knowing what is between them and waiting patiently. Keelyn has recently fled the point after being put directly in the face of danger. She has no desire to go back, but when Nassir visits her in her new home, she cannot stop thinking about his offer.

Together they have the ability to rule The Point, but is that what Keelyn really wants? Or will she let the fears of “what if” stand in the way of her and Nassir.

“So simple yet so unbelievably complicated. Everything about this man always was.”

Reading this book one thing became very clear to me: Jay Crownover put her heart and soul into writing this story. You can feel how much it means to her when you read it. Nassir is a new kind of character, one you normally only find in the dark romance novels. But what I liked about him was his logic behind his actions and the fact that he was a very rational man, he just understood the kind of world he lived in wasn’t unicorns and rainbows.

Keelyn was a great protagonist, a strong woman who didn’t take crap from anyone. She wasn’t afraid to smack down anyone who crossed her which was kind of awesome. A very compelling story with diverse and intriguing characters, this is a book by Jay Crownover you don’t want to miss!

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting something more for those we care about.”

ARC provided by publisher via Inkslingr/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Charged

Charged by Jay Crownover

Review:

4 stars!

“It’s better to have nothing with the right person than to have everything with the wrong person, isn’t it?”

Charged is the story of Avett and Quaid, a couple no one expected but one that was explosive. Avett is a pink haired rebellious daughter of Brite, the man Rome bought his bar from in the previous series. Avett has had her low moments but while she was never the good child she never ended up behind bars. Until now that is when her ex-boyfriend drags her into a situation that gets way out of hand. Quaid is the attractive and ruthless lawyer hired to represent Avett.

On the outside Quaid and Avett don’t make any sense; she has a rocker chick look, and he’s the man in the expensive suits. Avett doesn’t want to depend on the lawyer, but as time goes by she begins to realize she needs to accept help in her life and not just from Quaid. Together they embark on a journey of self-realization and discover the person they want to be in their own lives. But that doesn’t necessarily mean reality won’t set it.

“Nothing is guaranteed, especially love, but only a coward doesn’t roll the dice and take a chance on it when it’s right there in front of them.”

First off I gotta say Jay Crownover writes some of the best introductions in her books. Almost every time I read one of her intros I either tear up a bit or am inspired. Sometimes both! Second, I love the way Jay writes her characters. This is the twelfth book I’ve read by her (and I’ve been hooked to her books since Rule came out) and I can honestly say none of her characters ever feel repetitive or the same. On top of that I feel Jay writes some of the best female characters out there, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses and showing how those things combined can create a beautiful person. Many of these women in her books I wish were my friends.

This book comes across as an opposites attract story, but I feel it was more than that. This book was more about how we all have so much in common despite what we appear to be to other people on the outside. Avett’s personal journey was one that was tough to go through because for every failure, she brought herself down more than anyone else could. It was a long journey to the point where she felt she deserved to be forgiven for her past wrongs, but it’s one worth reading.

“The fact that when you were a bad person, bad things happened to you and I knew I deserved them all. Every lesson I learned, I held close and let prick at me with sharp barbs over and over again.”

Avett and Quaid had explosive chemistry and the two of them just worked. I normally am not a huge fan of large age gaps but the nine to ten years between them worked fairly well. Avett at this point was done with her crazy years and not acting immaturely in the timeline in the book. Quaid had reached a point in his life and career where he knew what was worth fighting for. He knew when to appreciate a laid back woman and he didn’t place a bunch of expectations on Avett, her just supported her.

The only thing that I didn’t love in this book was there was a bit of instalove and very little angst. I was kind of hoping for more verbal dialogue between the characters but there seemed to be a lot of internal dialogue from both characters instead. And a lot of the time the characters were a bit too insightful than real people would be, saying all the right things at exactly the right time. But it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book at all.

I think many people would enjoy this book and would enjoy Avett and Quaid. While this book can be read as a standalone I recommend reading the Marked Men series first as well as the two other books in this series as it enhances the experience for the reader.

“I’m glad you finally found you.”

ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

 

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Excerpt:

Avett

“This is a bad idea.” I knew it. I could feel it deep in my bones and the allure of letting go, of doing what I always did, and falling headfirst into disaster, was pulling at me hard. But I was supposed to be changing. I was supposed to actually be sorry, not just saying it and turning around into the next catastrophe. I knew kissing Quaid Jackson was going to lead to all kinds of sorry and sorrow. I knew it as much as I knew I didn’t care and that I was going to kiss him and chase this bad idea until it crashed and burned, like they always did.

“You made a lot of them lately. What’s one more?”

He was right. What was one more? Especially when it looked like him, when it smelled sleepy and expensive like he did, when it felt hot and hard pressed up against me. What was one more awful choice when it came with lips that were firm and demanding as they landed against mine? What was one more when it was attached to rough hands that brushed along my exposed rib cage and paused under the achy swell of my breast? What was one more bad decision on top of all the other ones that had led this particular mammoth-sized bad decision to my door?

I had plenty of time, tomorrow, to do the right thing, but now I was going to enjoy the hell out of the wrong thing as he pressed his mouth more insistently into mine, taking the choice of which came first—the kiss or the story—out of my hands. Maybe that was why I was so drawn to him, so attracted to everything there was about him. He didn’t give me the room or the chance to make any kind of choice, good or bad. He decided and I followed his lead towards victory or towards ruin…and this kiss felt like it had everything in it to ruin both of us.

It was the first time in my life that a bad idea felt like the best idea I had ever had.

 

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About CHARGED:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation…or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

BUY LINKS:

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And don’t miss the first titles in The Saints of Denver Series!

LEVELED

BUILT

About Jay Crownover:

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Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs. 

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Built Release Blitz!!

Studio portrait of young bearded man --- Image by © pinkypills/Corbis

Built by Jay Crownover-Release Week Blitz!

About BUILT:

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series, Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn’t matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn’t return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.

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My 4.5 star review of Built–> Click me!!

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Excerpt

He took a step closer to me and put his finger under my chin so that I had no choice but to look at that darkening green gaze. “You know what is a big deal?”

Without thinking I put my wet hand on the center of his chest and watched as my handprint covered the place where his heart was thudding heavy and strong. He felt so vital and real, like everything I had had my hands on before him was just make-believe.

“What?” My voice came out more of a whisper than anything else.

“We hung out, I bought you dinner, we talked about our families and shit. We shared. This was a date, Sayer. Maybe not the best first date ever but it was still a date, so you know what that means.”

I did? I was still trying to get my head around the fact that it really had been kind of a date when his head lowered toward mine and my lips tickled as his beard got close enough to brush against them.

“It means we went on a date, so now you should absolutely put your hands on my dick…a lot. My gentlemanly tendencies only reach so far and with you they have about reached the end of the line.”

I gulped a little. “Oh.” That sounded like so many different kinds of dangerous and delicious. I had never asked him to be a gentleman, and frankly one of the reasons I was so attracted to him was because he seemed so rugged and untamed by the conventions I was used to and bored to death by.

“Yeah, oh…which I fully intend to make you say over and over again while I’m as deep inside of you as I can get.”

When his mouth settled over mine, it was an entirely different mess I was suddenly worried about. There was going to be no cleaning up the wreckage that was going to be left of my heart and body when this man was done with me and that felt entirely like a great big deal even though I was helpless to stop it. It was one mess I intended to embrace and not apologize for even if that went against everything I had ingrained deep down within the very core of me.

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About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs. 

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

BUILT Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

Giveaway

Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTE3MmMxYTA5NWI0YjhkMjZkNWU0YzM1M2E1YzU2OjI5NQ==/?

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Built

Built (Saints of Denver #1) by Jay Crownover

4.5 stars!

“After everything the past has tried to bury us under, we owe it to ourselves to be brave, to do more than float.”

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We caught a glimpse of Zeb and Sayer in the Marked Men series, and now we have their full story in a new series! Zeb Fuller has made some mistakes in his life, leading to him doing a turn in jail. Zeb has reformed himself, building up a successful construction business, but it’s hard for people to look past his rough, tattooed exterior.

Sayer Cole is Rowdy’s half-sister who moved to Colorado the second she found out she had a brother. Sayer hires Zeb to renovate her house, and the two seem to spark an attraction. But every move Zeb makes is shut down until he gives up hope of ever wooing the pretty lawyer. Now, the house is complete and Zeb has no concrete reason to stay in Sayer’s life, until he finds himself in a situation where he needs a lawyer. Now the two are working together, and soon Sayer gives into Zeb’s attention. But inside her head is a myriad of issues holding her back, and it’s up to Sayer to overcome them.

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I think my favorite part of all of Jay Crownover’s books is that they make me think. After finishing them, I often find myself reflecting back on them instead of powering on to the next book. Built was no exception, I found my head filled with thoughts of Sayer and Zeb. I was totally enraptured by these two characters, together and as individuals. Sayer is a more complicated heroine with insecurities (which I LOVE), and Zeb has his own insecurities as well. I love stories where the man has to break through the woman’s walls instead of the woman chasing the bad boy.

I loved going through Sayer’s personal journey, seeing the reasons why she was so closed off and how hard she worked to overcome them. I wouldn’t say Zeb helped her get over them but more so was the reason why she fought to overcome her insecurities and issues. Sayer in return helped Zeb realize his worth, that he was a good man deserving of love without judgement. Despite their physical differences, the two were perfect for each other. Crownover’s books contain an excellent theme on how appearance has nothing to do with who someone is on the inside, and not to make snap judgements about someone based on their appearance and to look deeper. And I love how the old series mixed with this new one, it was like visiting with old friends.

I would have liked to see more dialogue and action than inner monologue with the writing. There were times when a character would have an inner monologue and it interrupted a scene, leading me to forgot what was going on or I skimmed ahead to continue the scene and then returned back to read the inner monologue. I would have liked to see more of Sayer and Zeb outside the bedroom, but I can also understand how plot wise that wouldn’t have worked.

Overall I think this is an amazing start to the series and I am dying to read the next one. No really, Quaid and Avett gave me freaking chills in the small amount they were shown together in this book. I can only hope it’ll be explosive in the next book.

“I choose you, Sayer. Lover, lawyer, and all the shit you are in between that, I choose it. I choose us. When you’re ready to accept that, you come find me.”

ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Leveled

Leveled  by Jay Crownover

4 stars!

“Bad stuff happens sometimes and it happens to people we care about. You can’t live life insulated because you are scared of getting too close.”

Leveled is the story of Dom and Lando. If you’ve read the Marked Men series you are familiar with these two men, Dom was Royal’s cop partner who was injured on the job, and Lando was the man dating Rule’s twin brother Remy before Remy died. Dom needs a physical therapist to get him back in shape to pass his test to go back to the force. Dom gets a recommendation on Lando from a friend, and the two have an instant connection. Lando attempts to ignore their attraction based on the fact that Dom is his client, and he works a dangerous job.

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“Most things that are easy aren’t worth much. It’s the things you have to work for that matter the most.”

I really enjoyed this short story, it was nice to see two side characters from a previous series get some closure, especially Lando. What happened to Remy was tragic and he never really seemed to get over it. Dom I liked the most as a main character, he followed his attraction to Lando but also stayed true to who he was. Being a cop was a huge part of who he was, and he wasn’t going to give that up. I can understand Lando’s struggle with Dom’s career to an extent, but after a while I thought he was being a dick about it (luckily he saw that too and cleaned up his act).

This was a great start to a new series, combining past characters and creating something new, providing closure while beginning something fresh. I am really excited for the rest of the Saints of Denver series and this was a great way to kick off the series.

Giant high five to Jay Crownover on her first M/M romance, I think she did a fantastic job. The steam factor wasn’t as high as I would like, but in terms of building a relationship between the two it was entirely believable. My one teeny tiny criticism would be that all of the character often seemed to say exactly the right thing to each other, to a point of being almost cliche with every sentence, but it didn’t happen too often. Oh, and the use of the word turgid. Twice. No me gusta.

“I can’t live my life waiting for it not to hurt before I start existing again.”

Better When He’s Bold

Excerpt and giveaway to be posted on February 7th!


Better When He’s Bold (Welcome to the Point #2) by Jay Crownover
4 stars!

“I need you to keep me from turning into something I hate, but I can’t ask you to give yourself to the streets, to this life, if it’s not what you want.”

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Better When He’s Bold is the second book in the Welcome to the Point series. While it is technically a standalone, there is a lot of crossover from the first book so I highly recommend reading that one first.

Brysen is your typical college girl. She goes to school, works, and studies hard. Except for the fact that her home life is falling apart. Her mom is a depressed drunk, her dad appears to be oblivious and Brysen has a sixteen year old sister to take care of. And, it appears Brysen has a stalker.

Race is the King of the Point and former rich boy from the Hill. Collecting bets and loaning money, he’s exactly the kind of guy you stay away from. But Race has had an eye on Brysen for some time, and he can see through her ice queen facade.

After a series of circumstances bring the two together, their chemistry is off the charts and the two decide to make a go of things. But can they fit into each others different worlds?

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The whole premise to the series is the main guys being bad. And yes while they are men who do bad things for a living, I as a reader don’t consider them bad guys. Case in point, they don’t treat the women they love like shit. For the boys from the point, if they love a girl, family or not they’ll do anything not to hurt them. I’ve read so many books where the main guy isn’t “bad” yet I found awful because he treated the main girl horribly. And that’s the relief of reading an author like Jay, is that I can trust her not to disappoint me by giving the reader an nonredeemable asshole that all the girls sigh over.

“I’m glad you’re not absolutely physically perfect, Race. Trying to handle all the obvious perfection is distracting and hard as it is. Knowing there are parts of you that aren’t flawless makes you so much more human.”

I loved the development of Race in this book. In the first book he was mostly in the background, talked about but not seen. In this book we get his perspective of events that went down and justifiable reasons for his previous actions. Race may do bad things, but he doesn’t murder people and he treats his sister and Brysen well. Plus, he’s a hot blonde, what more can a reader want?

Brysen was an interesting character because of how strong she was. She held everything together for her family and worked hard to do it. The stalker plot surrounding her was engaging for me because she wasn’t being stalked based on how pretty she was or a dark obsession, it was literally someone wanting to fuck with her life. And that was some scary shit happening to her.

“Life is a mess. I have someone trying to kill me and you’re right in the thick of a war on the city. What better conditions could you think of to fall in love?”

My only nit-picky thing about this book was Karsen, the sixteen year old sister. She was way too damn perceptive for someone her age, and any time she opened her mouth I honestly couldn’t see her existing in real life. Hopefully she grows up in the series soon because then I would believe the things that came out of her mouth.

I’m crossing my fingers that Booker and Stark get their own books! Hot scarred bodyguard and tattooed computer geek? I can’t decide which one I want more!

ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review

Top 10 books I read in 2014

There are so many books I read this year that were winners. Bravo for a wonderful year in books! These are the top 10 books this year that stuck their hooks in my heart and will never let go. I highly recommend picking up all of these books for a an amazing read.

10. The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller by L. B. Simmons

Beautiful story of a young woman who must come to terms with her past and present.

9. Hothouse Flower by Krista and Becca Ritchie

The story of Daisy and Ryke and how their friendship becomes a full blown forbidden romance. Must read all of the previous Addicted series books before this one.

8. rock by Anyta Sunday

An M/M romance between two stepbrothers in New Zealand. This book has some serious feels.

7. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A young married couple takes unusual risks to save their marriage when they find they cannot stand each other anymore. Both agree to take an extended amount of time apart from each other to find out what they want.

6. Thin Love by Eden Butler

The angsty and intense romance of college sweethearts Keira and Kona.

5. Dust to Dust by Karina Halle

The conclusion to the Experiment in Terror series, Dex and Perry must fight the ultimate evil in their lives.

4. Rome by Jay Crownover

The unlikely romance of military man Rome, and pixie tattooed Cora.

3. The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

Modern day telling of the Medusa myth, and the God Hermes who saved her.

2. Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young

Friends to lovers tale of Nate and Olivia. I’ve lost track of how many times I have reread this book this year. Truly a masterful romance!

1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

The 3rd book about Celeana Sardothien, the king’s assassin. I can’t say much else for fear of spoilers, but I’m pretty sure my head exploded with how amazing this book is!

 

Rowdy

Rowdy (Marked Men #5) by Jay Crownover

3.5 “It’s not you, it’s me” stars

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I wanted to love this book, I really did. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Rowdy is the story of Rowdy (duh) a hunky tattoo artist with a sexy pompadour, and Salem a Hispanic pin-up type girl who comes to work for Rowdy’s shop. Turns out Salem and Rowdy knew each other when they were kids, until Salem fled the restrictive home in a small Texas town and left Rowdy an abandoned kid in the dust. Ten years later they meet again, and Rowdy ain’t happy about it.

I somewhat enjoyed this story, but it mostly fell flat for me. Both Rowdy and Salem were so indecisive, until they weren’t and it gave me whiplash. First Salem is pursuing him, but Rowdy can’t get over their past. Then Salem is pulling away and Rowdy is pursuing her. I was sitting there for most of the begining of the book like this:

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And then well, it didn’t get better from there. I’m sorry to say I was bored for most of the book and was SKIMMING!! I was even bored during the sex scenes. This is a tragedy!!! Skimming a Jay Crownover book? I LOVE her books!

My biggest issue was I didn’t feel how Rowdy and Salem were so connected. So yeah, they were friends when they were kids. I didn’t see any of that when they were adults. All I saw was insta-lust/insta-love and I didn’t like it!

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Overall, I liked the plot, the idea that two people can find each other and find themselves, but unfortunately I was bored for the majority of the book. I would put this at the same level as Jetwhich was my least favorite book in the series.

Hopefully Asa and Royal can redeem these books for me!!

(I still love you Jay! I just didn’t love this one.)

Better When He’s Bad

Better When He’s Bad (Welcome to the Point #1) by Jay Crownover

4 bad boy stars

“You survived in his world by being the best of the worst.”

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Jay Crownover has done it again! Love this lady’s books! Short review this time:

Bax has just been released from prison after 5 years of being locked up. He wants to find his best friend Race to get some answers to questions about the night he was arrested, only Race is nowhere to be found. While looking for Race, Bax runs into Dovie, Race’s younger half sister. Together the two of them team up to find Race, and they end up finding an attraction with each other.

I thought this was a great engaging read and it had me hooked until the very end. What I loved most about it, is that both main characters weren’t perfect, but they did the best to survive in the world they lived in, good choices and bad.

The chemistry between Bax and Dovie was off the charts, and I wish I had a “bad” guy like this one in my life. My only complaint would be that while technically Bax was a bad guy, I sort of expected him to be worse from the book summary. He was actually a pretty cool dude most of the time, when he wasn’t being a dick.

And Titus better get his own damn book! Or I’m posting an angry gif about it!

“I don’t know how love works, Dovie. I don’t know how to be anything other than this, but I know the only thing that gives me hope is the idea of you and me. I know I’m not the ideal, not the dream guy, but no one will ever fight for you the way I will. I promise you that you will always have the best parts of me I have to give.”

Nash

Nash (Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover

4.25 accepting yourself stars

I think I fell in love with this book before I technically began reading it. In her note at the beginning Jay Crownover wrote: “Revel in the quirks that simply make you you , and do it with pride.” No better words could be used to describe this book as a whole and it set off a great tone for the entire book.

Nash is the story of well, Nash (duh) and Saint. Back in the day in high school, Saint had a giant crush on the unattainable sexy bad boy Nash. After two bad encounters with Nash, Saint found herself crushed and her image of herself destroyed for many years. The sadder part of this was Nash was completely unaware of how he changed Saint and the course of her life. Now, years after high school, the two meet again at the hospital where Saint works. Both recognize an attraction between them, but can Saint get over her past issues with Nash and herself and give herself fully to him?

Acceptance of yourself was a huge theme in this book for both of the main characters. Saint needed to overcome her insecurities about herself, and Nash needed to overcome a childhood of feeling unwanted. These two characters both understood what it was like to be an outcast, which is one of the reasons why they’re so perfect for each other.

I especially liked Saint as a main character. Was she insecure? Yes. Did I get sick of her second guessing herself? Yes. But, she’s real. I really think she’s a character that many girls and women could connect with because most of us went through that horrible awkward phase in high school that sticks with us, it just manifests in different ways.

One of my favorite parts about this book was how when Nash fell for Saint, he stuck to his guns. He knew she was the girl for him and he accepted it and stood by it. Kind of like Rome did for Cora. I love that at least two of the men in this series make a choice and stand by it and don’t give the reader any whiplash with their indecision like other books in the genre. Nash truly is a great guy who had to overcome a lot of crap, and that to me is what makes a best book boyfriend (which Nash totally is).

Something I didn’t like about the book (and why it got a 4.25 star rating) was how the relationship just seemed to fly by. There’d be moments where the book would say something like the characters had been spending time together for a couple of weeks and I was like, “where was I when this happened?”. I definitely wanted a bit more of an in depth look at Saint and Nash’s relationship. I felt the previous book Rome did more of this and I think that’s what made me like that one more than this one.

So anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am ecstatic that Rowdy is getting a book as well. Loved the small intro to that one, it’s going to be awesome!!