Book Review: Leveled by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, buy Romance

Pages: 

224 pages

Part of a Series?:

Prequel Novella to the Saints of Denver series. This is a spinoff of the Marked Men series.

Release Date: 

November 2nd, clinic 2015

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GoodReads Summary: 

Orlando Frederick knows what it is to be leveled by pain. Instead of focusing on his own, he’s made it his mission to help others: sports stars, wounded war vets, survivors of all kinds. But when Dom, a rugged, damaged, sinfully attractive cop, makes his way into Lando’s physical therapy practice, he might be the biggest challenge yet. Lando loved one stubborn man before and barely survived the fallout. He’s not sure he can do it again.

Dominic Voss is a protector. The police badge he wears is not only his job, it’s his identity, so when he’s sidelined because of an injury, the only thing he cares about is getting back on the force. He expects Lando to mend his body, he just doesn’t realize the trainer will also have him working toward a hell of a lot more. As attraction simmers and flares, Dom sees that Lando needs repair of his own…if only the man will let him close enough to mend what’s broken.

My Review:

Dear Jay Crownover:

Damn girl, you write some good M/M. And I think this was a GREAT introduction into the Saints of Denver. It may have taken me some time and push to get into the Marked Men series but I fell hard and I’m so excited for the Saints of Denver series. More tattoos, more sexy men and more romance and drama. Everything that makes Jay’s novels fabulous.

So I loved this short introduction into the series. I discovered recently that I really enjoy reading M/M stories. I wasn’t sure if I could relate to them at first. I’m obviously not a boy. I’m not a boy attracted to other boys. I’m great at hetero-romances and I’m great with lesbian romances (yay for being bi!) but I wasn’t sure if I could connect.

I was proven so so so wrong. I loved the first few M/M books I read and now I seriously love this book. Dom and Lando have such a quick, and crazy relationship but I love every single moment of it. I love how they meet, I love the immediate chemistry, I love how they fall in love. I’m rooting for them from page one to the last page. There’s something about them that just seems to work.

Plus, sweet jesus, Jay Crownover has a way of writing the sexiest scenes sometimes. She makes me pant even in an M/M story and I love it.

I did have a small problem with a decision that Dom makes at the end of the novella. I thought it was a slight cop out and I was a little disappointed that he made it. I have been trying to rationalize it as sacrifice or compromise or something like that but I don’t know, its hard for me, especially…okay, its so hard to do this without spoilers. But read it and talk to me and I’ll explain haha. Because despite this little tiff I had, I still loved this novella and can’t wait to read the first book in less than a month!!!

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, dosage Contemporary, information pills Romance

Pages: 

400 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #6 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

April 21st, 2015

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GoodReads Summary: 

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

My Review:

Oh Asa. The finale of this series was so much fun, so emotional and just the perfect way to bring this entire family to a conclusion. I’m working on my own NA romance series and the last book of my series is going to involve a bad boy trying to redeem himself so I was excited to read this book, not only because its the conclusion, but because I was excited to see how Asa, who we meet in book two and see throughout the series, falls madly in love with a cop.

We meet Royal in book 4, Nash’s book, because she lives across the hallway from him. And immediately as soon as we met her, I knew I loved her. I knew she was going to be important. She’s gorgeous and sassy and hard working and obviously dedicated to her job as a cop. I love the connection she immediately has with Asa and I love her just period. She’s struggled with her mom, even though she loves her, she struggles with her guilty over what happened to her best friend and partner in the field and she struggles to figure out who she is and what she wants. She seems so confident and perfect in the other books but I love that you really get to see her in this book, and she’s flawed but she’s determined, and she’s incredibly determined when it comes to Asa, and seeing that he’s changed and worthy of love, and most importantly, worthy of her love.

Then you have Asa. See I love Jet and Ayden so I got a very negative first impression of Asa and even though Rome likes him, and he becomes friends with Nash and Rowdy and he’s obviously becoming a better person, its hard to get rid of those feelings about him. But once you’re in his brain and you can see what he went through and how he legitimately struggles to be a better person…its just so hard NOT to fall in love with Asa. He genuinely wants to be a better person; he does. But its hard for him, and its also incredibly hard for him because he’s determined that he’s a bad guy, he’ll always be that way and he doesn’t deserve anything better. That struggle keeps him from becoming the best person he can be and it prevents him from being the person Royal knows and wants.

But when they come together, and pick up the pieces and put each other back together, and fall in love…its just absolutely perfect. They both find a family and a new chance with each other and they are folded into the Marked family and oh, the feels were so real as I finished this book. I loved the way Royal and Asa were so magnetic and meant to be together and I love how they sort of saved each other but I also loved how everything from book one until this comes together. You see everyone in the Marked family come together, get married, start families and all of those things and I just can’t handle how it was just the perfect ending.

So…when are those Saints of Denver books coming out hmm? I’m ready for them ;)

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Rowdy by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, shop Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

322 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #5 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

October 21st, 2014

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GoodReads Summary: 

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

My Review:

Moving along in my determination to finish the Marked Men series ever since I fell massively in love with Jet in book two, now we are on to Rowdy and Salem. And I’m not going to lie, this was the book that I was probably the least excited for. I have this thing about names. I know that sounds kind of weird but its true! I don’t like weird names. My friends laugh because my book characters have been Summer and Charlie, McKinley and Jake, Zoey and Ash, Evie and Austin, Sydney and Carson, Lucy and Jesse. Boring names, according to them. I honestly had no idea how I was going to get past their names.

Yeah, I got past their names so fast. And that’s because Jay creates such beautiful, familiar, fantastic, amazing, emotional, awesome characters in both Rowdy and Salem. What I love the most about these two is that this is a reconnection for them. Its sort of like Saint and Nash but not really. Rowdy and Salem have always been in love with each other, always, but it just took a lot of time and distance and reconnection for them to figure it out and once they do? Bam. Its just gorgeous as hell. These two characters are vibrant and alive and they are the most memorable in the series because of how real and unique they are.

I also love the story that goes along with this, other than just the romance. I love Salem finding her place in Denver, and I loved the story with her sister and her family. Obviously I don’t like what happened TO her sister because its just awful as hell but I like that we get to see how Salem changes from who she was when she was with her family and how strong she is now and how she’s able to be there for her sister. Its a touching story, and seeing Salem dealing with her past and moving into the future, its just awesome. I also love that we see Rowdy struggle with the same thing, struggling to put aside what happened in the past and accept all the amazing people that have come into his life and become his family.

They both go through similar struggles but they’re brought together and I think being together is what makes them even stronger by the end of the book and I love that kind of story. I love that there isn’t one relying on the other but they rely on each other, make each other stronger and they come out, together, in the end, bigger and better people. That is what makes this book SO damn good.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Nash by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, buy more about Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

302 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #4 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

April 29th, 2014

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GoodReads Summary: 

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down… and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

My Review:

So besides Jet, I think Nash ended up being my favorite in this series. I absolutely love the story of Saint and Nash. Oh I love it so much. By this book, I knew that I was completely sold on this series. Done. Over. I’m a huge fan and I’m ready to just lay down my heart to the Marked Men. And then here’s Nash to just make me fall massively in love with him.

Saint isn’t as much my favorite as Nash but I can see her, I can relate to her. Simple words said when she was in high school have had an affect on her for her entire life. Her entire life! That’s incredible. But it feels very very real. Words have an insane power over us, both good and bad. Sometimes, I think, especially the bad. Which is what happens to Saint, and what makes it worse, those words are said by none other than Nash himself.

Then you have Nash, who is revealed to be the son of the man he thought was his uncle his entire life. And as he’s finding out this incredible truth, which feels like a punch in the gut because Nash already saw him as a father figure and feels betrayed, he also finds out the guy is dying. Legit dying. And it brings a lot of things into perspective. After drinking himself into a stupor and then being “saved” by Saint…the two of them just keep running into each other. Its magnetic. They’re obviously meant to be together.

I think the best part of this book, to me at least, is the way they are brought together. How their insecurities and the drama going on in their lives and both of their tendencies to be scared at times gets in the way but they just keep getting pulled back together. They have an incredibly beautiful romance and I love Nash from page one to the very last page of this series. Because even as his world is being turned upside down and he finds out he has a father, and he has to take over Marked and open up a whole new shop, and all of this, he just takes it. He goes with it in the best way he can and he makes it work. And he falls in love along the way.

Only book four and the feels are real…stay tuned for books five and six…

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Rome by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, unhealthy Contemporary, online Romance

Pages: 

387 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #3 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

January 7th, 2014

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GoodReads Summary: 

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . ..

My Review:

While this review will not have any spoilers, there is potential for spoilers for Rule and Jet. Please click those titles for reviews!

 

Moving along in the Marked Men series…Rome. Oh Rome. I don’t even know where to begin with Rome.

I think what I mostly like about this book is Cora. Cora is a this tiny little pixie who is a spitfire and keeps her boys in line, and that sometimes includes Rome as well. But Rome brings out a softer side in her and I think she does that back for him. I think the circumstances that brought them together were unexpected but I love that they were able to bring them together. Okay, that’s so vague and its hard to write about Cora and Rome without writing spoilers.

So here’s the thing. Both Cora and Rome have their past affecting their future. Cora is confident but when it comes to love and all that, she wavers. She had her heart broken BIG time. And that’s enough to keep anyone at arm’s length. Then you have Rome who is back in civilian life and not quite sure what to do with it. He’s haunted by the experience he had in the military but he also misses it so much and isn’t really sure what to do with his life now that he’s out.

Bring those two together? And it just makes for an incredibly beautiful romance. Truly. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. They are completely unconventional and they begin a romance after a sort of “whoops, did we just have incredibly amazing sex together?” thing and I think that’s amazing. They obviously had the chemistry and they just went for it and its incredible.  The idea of the little spitfire and the big military guy together? Its kind of comical but I love it too at the same time.

But I also like what this starts for the series. Rome sort of ends up in a situation and it really sets up for the rest of the book. He and this place become a central part of the rest of the series and I love that. I love what it becomes and I wish it were a real place because it feels like a sort of home for them to come together and celebrate and that sort of thing. Its hard to explain if you haven’t read it but I really hate writing about spoilers but I really do love what this book sets up for the rest of the series. I love that we get to see Saint, who is going to appear later in Nash’s book, and I love that it just where this family really starts to become a family.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Jet by Jay Crownover

17866389Genre: 

New Adult, visit Contemporary, health Romance

Pages: 

416 pages

Part of a Series?:

The second novel in the Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

May 28th, 2013

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GoodReads Summary: 

With his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

My Review:

While there will not be spoilers for this book, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for Rule. Please check the blog for that spoiler free review!

 

I love this book! It took me awhile to get to this book but I’m so glad I finally read it. I wasn’t 100% sold on Jay Crownover and Marked Men just from the first book, Rule and my friends kept telling me I had to “get through” Jet to get to the rest of the series. Which doesn’t exactly make me want to jump up and go read it, you know what I mean? We were joking one night, laughing at how I actually would probably love Jet and so I bought it and I stayed up til 6 am reading the book because I was hooked so fast.

This is why I try so hard not to ever give up on an author. They may just pull something out that just blows your mind. Hence Jet.

I LOVE this book. I love the characters so much. I love how absolutely different they are from each other. You have country girl, Ayden, who is going to school, working, doing everything she can to be a good girl, to keep herself from making the same mistakes from the past. Then you have Jet, sexy rock star (he’s supposed to be a metal guy but my obsession with emo boys made me picture him that way the whole damn time. Whatever, its my imagination…), who looks like this bad boy, but he’s got this beautiful heart and he works hard for every single thing he does, even if it might not be that traditional way of doing things and that’s what I love about them.

Jet is obvious so attracted to Ayden and he knows that he just needs to convince her that they’re exactly what each other needs but you get so frustrated with Ayden. She’s so set on her path to find someone stable and successful and someone who fits her perfect, good girl image on paper but she fails to see that what she’s looking for is exactly Jet. Yeah, he’s a little bad boy with his tattoos and his piercings and his metal band and all that but he’s really genuinely successful and ambitious and he wants to be a stable person and I just love it. He’s exactly what she needs and is looking for but he doesn’t look like it so she struggles to get there. And I think she struggles because she wants to be in control and Jet makes her lose control.

Agh all the feels come out just from me thinking about reading this book. I just love it so much.

And yes, it still has broken people and the dramatics. Ayden has a seriously messed up past and her brother, Asa, has caused a ton of problems for her, problems that she just wants to escape big time. Jet has a hard time letting go of his mom, who stays with his abusive dad, even though she’s made her choice to stay with him. But it didn’t bother me in this book and I wonder if it is because I genuinely love these characters. I love how different they are from each other and I love how much they love each other and the journey that takes place in them finding their way to each other. It makes my heart hurt in both good and bad ways.

Plus Jet has the tattoos and the piercings as well, and like I said, I think of him as this sexy emo rock star (sorry Jay, I just had to) and it just makes me want to fan myself. Constantly.

PLUS, I swear these are the most normal names of the series. I like nice, normal, classic names so Rule, Shaw, Royal, Rowdy, Saint, Salem…all these names of characters that I am meeting in this series…they drive me insane. I admit I get very distracted by names that are different. Its hard to concentrate on the story. I know that’s weird, its just a little pet peeve of mine so maybe that’s why I had a hard time with the first book. Jet and Ayden are very normal names to me. Ayden is obviously very normal (in fact, I don’t like it as a boys’ name because its so popular but I love it as a girls name) and my cousin’s name is Jett, so Jet felt okay too. I was able to concentrate on their story and I just loved their story so so so much.

I can’t wait to meet Jay next weekend and get Jet signed because that’s how much I just love love that book.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars