Series: Marked Men #1
Published by William Morrow on May 7th 2013
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.
Reading slumps are never easy or fun especially when you’re a voracious reader and/or a book blogger with a TBR of panic inducing enormity! For the past few weeks I’ve stopped and started some of my most anticipated reads, books I ached to own that *finally* went on Kindle sale and books that other people raved about and to be honest I was feeling a little like Austen Powers and wondering whether I would ever get my mojo back. Enter Rule…a New Adult novel. Yeah I know I was surprised too. I have ranted and raved about several New Adult books since I picked up my first ever one around this time last year and had actually considering making it a resolution to take an NA break because it was same ol’ same ol’ and I didn’t think it fair if I ranted about books but Rule, you tattooed cute little punk made me fall for you and Shaw hook, line and sinker!
I admit I probably never would have read this except I had the chance to review the third book in the series Rome which intrigued me so much that I had to go back and start the series and I am so glad I took the leap. At first glance Rule seems like the typical New Adult churned out at an alarming rate these past months, tattooed bad boy/man whore and the sweet virginal chick who manages to tame the wild peen and keep it all for herself “my precioooouusssssss”. For me however Rule was so much more and I am loving this world that Jay Crownover has created!
Rule is the story of Rule Archer, a tattoo artist from Colorado, living it up with his roommate Nash, working hard and partying harder. Saturday nights mean anonymous sex and Sunday mornings mean childhood friend Shaw comes to pick him up and drive him home for brunch with his estranged parents. Rule’s twin brother Remy was Shaw’s best friend and was tragically killed three years previous. Since then the grief has torn the Archer family apart with eldest brother Rome enlisted in the military and Rule becoming increasingly antagonistic to his parents in his efforts to live his life the only way he knows how. In the middle of it all is Shaw, talented, wealthy and big-hearted, she’s Rule’s polar opposite. On the fast track to becoming a kick-ass doctor she’s caught in between the Archer boys’ Mom and Dad as she watches Rule’s parents tear into him as their grief over the son they lost overcomes the relief of still having his twin alive and Rule himself whom she is secretly in love with while he never gives her a second glance believing her to simply be his dead brother’s lover and the thorn in his side. When a drunken confession changes everything and they finally see each other clearly both Shaw and Rule’s eyes the couple must now find a way to save the only thing that can give them the peace and happiness they both crave.
Rule was such a great read for me because it took the NA stereotypes and really turned them on their head. Rule may have tattoos, he may party hard, drink like a fish and screw whatever chick is willing to give it up no questions asked but that doesn’t make him a “Bad Boy.” He’s a guy who knows what he wants and rather than wringing his hands wondering what people will think about him he follows what he wants and makes sure he gets it. I liked that he was a straight talker. He can come off as someone who’s got no depth but it’s clearly a defence mechanism. A way to protect himself from the guilt he feels from losing his brother. He may complain about Shaw but it’s obvious he has affection for her, he’s just so used to thinking she’s off limits he’s willingly blinded himself to her allure. His talent for ink and his clear love for his friends was heart-warming and one of my favourite aspects to his character.
Shaw was another wonderful character and I loved her immediately and like Rule her personality jumped off the page for me. Yes she is a good girl but so what, I am too, it doesn’t mean we don’t have layers and Shaw is no special snowflake. Deprived of love by her parents who are more interested in appearances, shy and uncertain Shaw latched onto Remy’s kindness and when he brought her home she finally found a place she fitted into and craved the love given so easily by the Archer’s. Instantly falling for Rule and carrying a torch for him for years was never easy but with Remy’s friendship she found it easier to bear. His death thrusts Shaw into an uncomfortable position of holding the family who “adopted” her together and facing the pain of having to deal with Rule’s weekly conquests as a result. I really felt for Shaw particularly in her relations with her parents. When she is threatened by her ex, Gabe, instead of concern for her safety her parents sweep aside her terror because he’s from a “good” family and she needs to be more open. Their attitude killed me and at times I felt like screaming “Wake up!!”
I loved the chemistry between Rule and Shaw and in particular loved their uncertainty with each other as they learned about each other and struggled to find a rhythm that suited them both. I felt the relationship developed naturally and was never rushed which surprised me given the short time span of the book. I loved how the newness of their feelings gave them courage not only to pursue their new found tie with each other but how it spilled over into other area’s of their lives particularly Shaw’s and her bravery as she stood up to some seriously tough situations was admirable and really made me root for both her and Shaw throughout their story.
I really liked the pacing of this book, despite the length of the chapters I felt it flowed well and I was pretty much addicted and eager to pick it up when chores interrupted my enjoyment.
One thing that really stood out for me was the development of the secondary characters. Even ones like Remy who are only talked about were easy to visualise and I felt I really got a handle on their personalities which makes me super excited to read the other books in the series.
There were some heavy themes in this book particularly grief and how insidiously it can affect a person’s outlook on life. I felt Jay really did a good job of handling the darker aspects and my emotions really went on a roller-coaster particularly in the last third of the book. I was seriously pissed at times and loved how rounded out Jay made the characters.
I loved the message of the book, how appearances can be deceiving and how people’s perceptions of you really don’t matter as long as you hold yourself to a standard that you can live with and makes you happy. Roll on Jet and Rome because Rule has definitely made me a lover of NA again!