Sunday, January 5, 2014

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: MARKED MEN SERIES by JAY CROWNOVER

Rule (Marked Men, #1)Series: Marked Men #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 10/22/12
Format: Paperback
Pages: 339
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars


Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess—and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw—even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17866388-rule

Boy, have I spent the last year missing out, or what? I bought Rule right after it released (due to a great review by my friend Rachel at Readers Den), but didn't get started right away because I'd heard that the writing needed some heavy editing. I just didn't want what could be a great story to be overshadowed by errors, ya know? Then, once Rule was picked up by a publisher, I heard that it had been cleaned up, and it rocked. At that point, though, I was on such an overload of NA romances featuring a good girl/bad boy that I didn't want what could be a great story to be overshadowed by my tiredness. The series kept going strong, I kept hearing good things. But then the publisher started sending me print copies of the series, and I decided to at least give this book that had been sitting quietly but not forgotten, on my to-read list, a chance.

Now I want to slap myself silly because I loved Rule. It took me very little time to realize that although the story seemed to hold the characteristics that have me wary of the sub-genre -- the tattooed bad boy, virgin heroine, the angst and drama of two opposites colliding -- and it did hold these characteristics, but something about Rule stands out. The story is not built on contrived trivialities and sex, drama and spinning in circles just to waste time. Rule is built on very, very strong characters with a complicated and tangled past. It is built on passion and pain. And it is built on a love worth fighting - and rooting- for.

I am so, so damn glad I finally gave this series a try. I highly recommend Rule for anyone who loves complicated, well-developed characters, and a strong story. I can see that Marked Men is going to be a new favorite series for me. Perfect for fans of Rock Me, by Cherie Lynn.




Favorite Quotes:

  I had the best sex of my life with a girl I had thought was way out of my league and in love with my dead brother. Yeah, Nash was probably right, if anybody could put up with all the crazy I was rocking I should probably lock her in quick because even I could see how seriously screwed up I am.


  I kissed her. I kissed her so that she could feely regret, my desire to do right, the way that she had a piece of me now and I wasn't letting go. I kissed her because I had to and kissing her made me feel better.


  "What if I ask you to give me everything, Shaw? What if I want it all? Won't that make me just like all the rest of them?"
  She made a noise in her throat and then broke into a smile that nearly killed me on the spot. She was just so lovely and pure. "No, because you don't have to ask for anything. All of it is already yours. You're the only one I've ever wanted to give it to."



Jet (Marked Men, #2)Series: Marked Men #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 5/28/13
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars

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?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17204860-jet

And....my love affair/obsession with the Marked Men series has been continued with Jet. Let me rephrase, my love affair/obsession with the Marked Men series has grown by leaps and bounds with the second installment, Jet, and has turned me into a super happy camper.

This book had a lot of potential. Having already established Jet and Ayden in the first book, and knowing that a raging chemistry was ready to explode and consume both, it was no task at all to happily dive into this book. Jet and Ayden were even better than I anticipated. They both have pasts that contribute to the turmoil of their present, and even though they each seemed resigned to their "doom", I never felt as if they were defined by it. At times Jet and Ayden even seemed consumed by their fears, but it never felt contrived. Did they always do or say or feel like I wanted them to? Not a chance. But I always understood their motivations, even when I didn't like the outcome.

I'm not going to recap every little detail about Jet; I always think the story is better left for readers to discover on their own. But I want to briefly point out how much I love Jay Crownover's storytelling. Not only does she write a compelling story, but she creates truly dynamic characters. Her character development is outstanding, a true attribute. It's clear she lives and breathes her characters and their lives, and because she does that, we readers get that privilege as well.

Jet really gives the readers a chance to not only know Jet and Ayden better, but also Nash, Rowdy and Cora. I was also happy that we get more of Rule and Shaw and how their life is changing. It's no secret that the next book in the series, Rome, features Cora. Having gotten to know her more in Jet, I am so excited for this. Rome was a big part of Rule, and all indications are that he doesn't appear to be the same nice and supportive guy we met in that book. I have a feeling that Cora, in all her wicked sweet glory, will be the perfect match for Rome.


Favorite Quotes:

  There was Ayden Cross, nobody, from Woodward, Kentucky, and Ayden Cross, chemistry major, from Denver, Colorado. They were two parts of the whole and at times I thought one was going to smother the other and there would be nothing left but ash and bad memories.


  By the time my brain reengaged, he was starting to pull away, but now that seal had been broken there was no stopping the flood. Desire blazed first and foremost, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, keeping him right where he was. He tasted like whiskey and the sweetest type of sin there was.


  I wanted to turn around, wanted to put my arms around her, but letting her hold on to me, letting her put me back together was what I needed right now. So I just kept my eyes closed and stretched my hands out to brace myself against the wall. I couldn't see my mom's battered face anymore or feel my dad's face break under my hands. All that mattered was Ayden, and that she could make it right, make me right.


  "He makes me smile just by being in the same room. When he touches me, I forget to breathe and when he sings to me, oh my Lord, when he sings to me there are no words to describe what that does to me.
.... I might be in love with him, but I can't be, because I'm not willing to be the one who destroys him."



  "Jet Keller, I love you, and there is no future for me without you in it. I'm never going to bed with a man who isn't you again. I don't care if you're a rock star or a car salesman, I just want there to be a 'you and me' forever. "




 

Rome (Marked Men, #3)Series: Marked Men #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 1/7/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars


Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line. But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with someone perfect.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.

Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever . . .

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17798233-rome?from_search=true

I have a book hangover, and I have no regrets. I set out to read the first half of Rome before bed, and every intention to follow through. The problem, this book was so great...so incredibly great....that I ended up "one-more-chaptering" and before I knew it, I had a finished book clutched to my chest and it was 3am. Sure, I was exhausted the next morning, all day, but when I have a book that will not let me go, a book that had me crying into my pillow as I read, white-knuckling the whole way through, it's best to not fight it. I was powerless against Rome and I am way okay with that.  
 
Rome surprised me, both the book and the man. Cora surprised me too. Their story surprised me in the very best way. I don't really feel that I had a particular path in mind for them, but I did in a way expect for a linear path for Rome and Cora. Well, I should have known better because their story was far from my presumptions, and I loved the windy and twisty path that led Rome and Cora to their happily ever after. It was sad. It was sweet. It was complicated. It was sexy and romantic.
 
Like the first two books in the series, Rome includes much page time with the entire Marked crew and their significant others. Rule and Shaw definitely played a huge part in Rome; Jet and Ayden were around a fair amount as well. All indications are good for Nash, Rowdy and Asa having wonderful stories to tell in the future, particularly Nash, since his book will be up next. With the lady who appears to have caught his eye and the bomb that's dropped near the end, Nash's book will clearly be heavy and spectacular. I can't even believe that Asa is now a part of the crew. I despised him so much in Jet, but sometimes the most infuriating and surprising characters have the best stories to tell.
 
Needless to say, I loved Rome. I love the Marked Men series. I can't wait to read the remaining books in the series. I am so so happy I gave the Marked Men a chance.

 
 
Favorite Quotes:

  "What did you call me?"
   "Captain No-Fun."
   He let out a chuckle that sounded rusty from lack of use and he shook his head at me."Staff Sergeant No-Fun is more accurate.
   I gaped a little in surprise that a sense of humor actually lurked somewhere under all that muscle and broodiness.
   "I call my dad 'Admiral Ass Hat, he doesn't really think it's funny."

  The scar on his forehead twitched again. "Your dad was in the navy?"
  "Oh yeah. He was totally Popeye."
  "Was he really an admiral?" There was a shade of respect in his tone.
  "Yep, so you can imagine how thrilled he was trying to rein me in when I was younger."
  He chuckled again and this time it didn't sound so much like it hurt him. His eyes glinted at me as he pulled the door open to follow Rule out into the Colorado sunshine.
  "I don't know, Half-Pint, something tells me reining you in is probably a pretty good time."


  "Because I'm freaked out that whatever I say might be the wrong thing. And right now, being with you is the one thing that feels solid and real... You're so full of color, so vibrant you never get lost in all the gray in my head. I don't want to lose that."

  Happiness wasn't something I remembered bright and clear, but this feeling, it was powerful enough that I understood why men went to war over it, fought to the death for it.
 

 
 
The Marked Men Series
 
Rule (Marked Men, #1)  Jet (Marked Men, #2)  Rome (Marked Men, #3)
(covers lead to GoodReads)
 
 
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



GIVEAWAY

I have the entire Marked Men series to give away, courtesy of the publisher!
Open US only. Must be 18+ years of age to enter.
 
 
 
About the author
Jay CrownoverI'm supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I'm an natural redhead even though I haven't seen my real hair color in years, I'm a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I've been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.

I love to write, love to read and all I'm interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.
 
 
 



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35 comments:

  1. Yaaaaayyyyy!
    I was so excited to see you loved Rule! I just read Rome last week and although I really loved Rome and Cora, the whole *spoiler* pregnancy thing was hard for me because you know I'm not a big fan of those. But it worked for them and I want updates from them on the next book.
    I didn't read Jet because I don't like rock star romances (sorry!) but I might listen to the audio.
    Rule is still my favorite of the two. Despite that he was a bad boy and she was a virgin, neither of them got on my nerves. Can't wait for Nash!

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  2. Agreed on EVERYTHING you said about Rule:) Hahaha. I (obviously) saw Nereyda's comment and just as she, I haven't read Jet. For an entirely different reason though--I don't like the cover. Yes, I'm THAT shallow. But I don't like that cover and for some reason, I wasn't that interested in Ayden and Jet, though your review, my dear friend? MAKES ME WANT TO DROP EVERYTHING AND READ IT NOW. I agree that Jay has the ability to make every character stand out and truly be a well-developed person. I'm glad that you love these books so much *off to comment on Rome's review in your other post*

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  3. I really need to start this series! I have heard such great things about all of them. But now they have your stamp of approval so it's pretty much guaranteed that I will enjoy them... especially since it had you "one more chaptering" those are the best! Great reviews!

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  4. I haven't started this series, but I've heard nothing but raving reviews! I love the sound of the character & family dynamics. Also, I'm a bit obsessed with tattoos, so I'm always intrigued by any book where they play a role. ;) Thank you for sharing your reviews & giveaway!

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  5. I haven't started this series yet, but it sounds really good and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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  6. I haven't read this series yet, but I would love a chance :) Thanks so much for sharing!

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  7. I haven't started this series yet, but Rule is waiting for me on my kindle.

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  8. Finished Rule last week and am halfway through Jet right now!!!!

    Jennifer
    YA Sisterhood

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  9. I absolutely LOVE this series. I have not read Rome yet.

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  10. I want to read these, I keep hearing great things!

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  11. I haven't started the series yet, but looking forward to it!

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  12. I have only read Rule, and loved him so I know I will love the other guys too.

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  13. I have not started this series yet!

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  14. Rule is the only book in the Marked Men series I have read so far. I loved this book so much that I have it in paperback & ebook. I have to say I loved Rome all through this book so I can't wait to read his. Next up, Jet. Can't wait to read Rome though.

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  15. I haven't read them yet ;) Can't wait to though.

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  16. I've only read Rule so far, mostly because the cover model of Jet freaked me out - but I loved Rule and all of you girls talking so much about Rome... I'm thinking I need to get back on track. ;-)

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  17. I've read both Rule and Jet, and I prefer Rule. But, I always end up like the first couple of the series best!

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  18. I haven't, but I really really really want to!

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  19. I loved Rule, and I'm darn excited for Rome <3

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  20. Counting the hours to Rome!

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  21. I haven't started this series yet. Looking forward to it.

    Kidsue99@yahoo.com

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  22. I'm so thrilled you loved this series, Andrea! I was totally hooked on this story as well, and I feel your pain staying up that late, but sometimes you just can't put a book down! Rome was just so *sigh* everything I love in a fictional guy! Captain-No-Fun and Half-Pint stole my heart! Love the quotes you picked as well. I can't wait until Nash's story! Great review! :)

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  23. I guess you could say I'm a lover of !!!s as well, Andrea! Lol! ;)

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  24. I haven't read this series yet, but boy do I want to now! If I book kept you 'one-more-chaptering' all night, Andrea, it must be good! ;) I look forward to meeting all the Marked Men.

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  25. Somehow I didn't notice the first reviews, it's been a long day, and I'm not at my sharpest, lol! I have to agree with you, Jay Crownover creates complicated and compelling characters with stories that immediately suck you in. Oh, the angst between Shaw and Rule in the first one! The longing of that unrequited love from Shaw pulls at your heart strings hard! I loved Jet and Ayden's story as well, but Ayden did try my patience a little bit. Still, great stories all the way around. Excellent reviews, Andrea! :)

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  26. Oh, forgot to say thanks for the shout out! Sorry for the million comments. :)

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  27. I have not read any of these books yet but they are all on my wish list. I can't wait to get started on them.. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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  28. I love this series!!! Shaw and Rule are just the best!! I loved reading about them and I cannot wait to read about Rome!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!! :)

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  29. I just finished reading Rule and it was awesome! I'm starting Jet today!!! I loved all of your reviews, and am even more excited to continue this series, because I can tell how much you loved it! I agree Ms. Crownover knows how to create dynamic characters! Her storytelling is awesome! Excellent Reviews Friend!

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  30. LOVE this series and Rome is so my favorite! I'm so happy you loved it too.

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  31. I have not started this series but I have looked at it in the stores on online many times. I just wasn't sure where to start. I have heard that this is an amazing series!

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  32. I haven't yet, but any author that can write a book that can keep you up all night seems worth to read!

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  33. Awesome reviews. I've had Rule forever and I can't wait to find time to read it and the rest of the series. I've heard really god things by everyone so far.

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  34. OMG I love this series! It took me by surprise by how obsessed I've gotten about it. I need a Rule/Rome sandwich.

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  35. I've heard great things about this series! Thanks for the chance to win em!

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