Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Rule

RULE
Marked Men #1
Jay Crownover
Contemporary New Adult
339 pages
William Morrow
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
Rule gives us a romantic setup that never fails to pull on our heartstrings from the very beginning, Shaw's unrequited love for her late best friend's brother making us ache from the moment she bursts into his room on the very first page and is forced to bear witness–as she has so many times before–to just how alone she is in her feelings. What's so beautiful about this particular pairing is the lack of angst in their relationship, rather than brooding and pining on one or both sides we get a more raw, visceral type of pain, one that extends deep beneath the skin to leave wounds that aren't always visible. There's no shortage of drama or tension, but instead of our fingers winding through our hair to tug in frustration we find an uncomfortable twist in our guts, our desire to see Shaw get the one and only thing she's ever truly wanted for herself matched only by her own, and we read on with breath held, hoping Rule doesn't destroy the heart he doesn't even know belongs to him.

Shaw is a young woman we react to immediately despite starting our time off with Rule's perspective, knowing from the synopsis she's loved him for years and, as a result, flinching on her behalf when she finds him yet again with a naked girl whose name he can't remember. She handles everything miraculously well, shoving her hurt so far down he can't possibly see it even if he opened his eyes laughably wide, and when her moment comes to have Rule just one time, she pounces on it with a clear head despite the alcohol lowering her inhibitions. She doesn't expect anything more from their encounter–doesn't harbor any delusions that he'll suddenly develop feelings for her–and we can only admire her for taking the risk but being honest enough with herself to keep the fallout from cutting so deeply she can't stanch the bleeding.

Rule plays a role we've seen before, oblivious as can be to how Shaw feels and only taking notice of her physically once he sees her dressed in a skimpy work uniform, but for all that he seems cliché, there's an addictive quality to him that extends beyond the fictional women drawn to him like moths to a flame and into reality to snare us as well. Luckily, he has a core group of friends who don't hesitate to mock him for his previous obtuseness and the shallowness of the situation that finally forces his eyes open, allowing us to find humor instead of irritation in the circumstances. His relationship with Shaw is in no way easy, but their struggles feel perfectly genuine and realistic, combining with some rather impressive family dysfunction to have us tied up in knots from which we have no desire to escape. He makes mistakes, pushes when he should pull, and falls back on old habits when his fight or flight reaction kicks in and sends him running, but through it all he never moves beyond forgiveness, and we can't help but root for the two of them with every fiber of our being.

Overall, Rule is a new adult romance at its best, full of sharp edges that find our soft spots and leave bruises, but with repeated contact those edges finally begin to soften, leaving us with a warmth and happiness worth all the discomfort along the way. The secondary characters are deeply intriguing, the kind that have us sprinting to the computer upon finishing to see when we can expect their stories to find their way into our hands, and sparking in us a renewed sense of anticipation even as we glory in the replete feeling we have thanks to Shaw and Rule.

Rating: 4/5
 

Find Jay:

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay last week, if you didn't get a chance to check that out, you can do so here!

This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

33 comments:

  1. I guess NA is the new dystopian ;)

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    1. It's definitely exploded as a genre!

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  2. Unrequited love is one of my favorite romances and this one stood out for me! I immediately loved Shaw and wanted to smack Rule. Thank goodness he redeemed himself pretty quickly. Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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    1. YES! Unrequited love just makes my heart hurt, but I love the setup so much. And yes, I definitely wanted to smack Rule a time or two. OPEN YOUR EYES, MAN!

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  3. Ooof I would have overlooked this one if not for your review, Jenny. That cover doesn't appeal to me at all. That said, I love how you described Rule's character, as well as his addictive persona. If a character can make me overcome my preconceived notions, it's worth a shot. Wonderful review, Jenny :)

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    1. He's a bit tricky to really like in the beginning since you know how much Shaw loves him and he just keeps sleeping with other women, BUT, I saw a whole lot of growth in him throughout and I couldn't not love him in the end:)

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  4. This sounds great. I have heard mostly good reviews for this one but I haven't got to read this one yet. I'm currently not in mood for NA but soon hopefully. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Great review, Jenny :)

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    1. When you're back in an NA mood Tanja, I hope you give this one a try!

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  5. I still haven't read this one but I did read the second and really enjoyed it. I need to make sure and read this one as well!

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    1. I need to get my hands on Jet Ali! Musical men are HOT:)

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  6. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this book, Jenny. I tried to read it when it was still self-pubbed and I struggled with the characters and I sort of despised Rule.
    I know a lot of people did enjoy this though, so I'm not surprised you did too.
    Lovely review, Jenny. I hope the rest of the series is as good for you.

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    1. Rule will definitely split readers I think, at least in the beginning, but I liked how he grew throughout the book and really started trying with Shaw:)

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  7. This does sound like a lot of NAs already out there...but I have a hard time passing up a brainy girl and a tattooed boy.

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    1. Right? It doesn't matter how many times I read it, I always love this setup. And I think the characters are really well done, very flawed but genuine:)

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  8. Oh yay for an angstless romance! Although Rule sounds like someone I would smack upside the head for his mistakes, I'm glad that he goes beyond the cliche.

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    1. There's plenty of tension and drama with them, it's just not the over the top push-pull kind of drama, and that's what I loved about it. Shaw doesn't kid herself into thinking Rule will see her any differently than he has before, and Rule keeps on trying to prove that his eyes are finally open:)

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  9. I've been curious about this one for awhile, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it, Jenny. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. I did really enjoy this one Keertana! I'm looking forward to the rest of the series:)

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  10. I am INTRIGUED, Jenny. I've read few NA novels, but your reviews make think I should fix that ASAP.

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    1. YES! I quite enjoyed this one, and of course you know I'm a massive Cora Carmack fan. I would recommend her books as well:)

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  11. You mean there's a romance book, a NA one at that, with no angst? Seeing is believing, Jenny! I don't read NA precisely for that reason - I just can't handle the angst and the unnecassary drama, but this I have to read.

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  12. Rachel really loved this book, and I'm quite pleased to hear that there is a lot of depth to this story, despite the cover which I don't find highly appealing! When I'm the mood for NA I will however be giving this book a go! Gorgeous review as always Jenny! :)

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  13. "His relationship with Shaw is in no way easy, but their struggles feel perfectly genuine and realistic, combining with some rather impressive family dysfunction to have us tied up in knots from which we have no desire to escape. "--agreed 100%. I'm so glad that you loved this one too. I loved it way back when I read it.. I believe last year? I'm not sure.. when it was self-pubbed. You have no idea how many grammatical and editing mistakes there were. It was bloody horrible! *__* I really liked the story though and I can't wait to read the rest of this series :)

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  14. Oh another NA both you and Savy have me wanting. I didn't think it is possible, but you both have me craving several. I thought this would be the one genre I could pass up... but no! LOL Yep, adding this one to the wishlist too...

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  15. Awe Jenny what a wonderful review, I feel for Shaw already and I am oh so curious about what lies beneath the surface of Rule..totally adding this one to my list!

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  16. I'm glad that the angst and stuff wasn't frustrating. This one sounds pretty good, especially after your interview the other day along with your review. I may have to check it out.

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  17. Blod is right, NA is totally the new dystopian. I haven't been reading that much of it lately because I've been a bit turned off it, so I really depend on waiting to see what my favorite bloggers love before adding new NA books to my TBR pile. So glad to hear you loved this Jenny! I definitely want to meet Rule and Shaw now. This is going onto the wish list for sure. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

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  18. I am curious about this series, but I wish it didn't have all those rough sharp edges you mention. I am really tired of NA being all about drama. It feels too repetitive right now.

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  19. Jenny, I'm soooo happy that you liked this book! I adore this series. I have Rome to read on my Kindle App! Eeeppp!

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  20. I keep seeing great reviews of this, and I'm definitely curious, but I have a big problem with these types of set ups. The girls who pine away after the boys who sleep with anything in a skirt. How hurtful it is to the girls, and how much I want to slap her and tell her HE ISN'T WORTH IT. I already want to do that. Especially if he's going to fall back on old habits. BUT I do trust you in the romance department, and I see that Siiri liked this one as well, so I may give it a try and see if I like it. This guy will have to step it up big time though…

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  21. Oh, fantastic review, Jenny! I've been curious about this one ever since you featured it on the blog and I can see now why you liked it so much. These types of unrequited love stories... they can be frustrating to read, but at the same time sort of addictive because you just can't wait for the moment when the guy/girl finally opens their eyes and realizes what they've been missing! I'm glad this one played out well. It sounds exceptional!

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  22. You too! I feel like I'm the only one who hasn't started this series. Rule seems like a guy I would hate initially, but with more layers and secrets unveiled, I might warm up to him. I don't know what ti think of Shaw, she seems strong and I like that she didn't expect Rule to fall in love with her after a night, but for some reasons, it looks like she comes with a lot of drama and probably baggage. Well there's nothing better than an overly emotional and drama filled story, I'm definitely going to read it. Great review, Jenny!

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  23. I loved this book too. Great review Jenny.:)

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