Leveled: Saints of Denver, Book 0.5

LeveledAuthor: Jay Crownover
Book Name: Leveled
Series: Saints of Denver
Order: #0.5
Genre: Romance/LGBT
Rating:  Good
3+stars


Blurb:  We all need a hero…let the Saints of Denver begin

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.

Review:  According to the intro at the very beginning, this book is sort of a cross over between Ms. Crownover’s Marked Men series and her upcoming Saints of Denver series.  We get to see many of the characters from the Marked Men series, even if briefly and this has much the same emotional feel as the stories in that series.

This was a sweet story that I did enjoy but it was a bit on the predictable side of things.  I had a harder time connecting with Dom’s personality emotionally than I did Lando and that made a few situations feel a little clunky or even a little one sided.

There were also just enough editing errors that I kept getting pulled out of the story to figure out what was actually being said that it was a bit frustrating.  More so because I normally really like Ms. Crownover’s writing.  I think I might have enjoyed this a bit better if their story was given the time and attention that all of her other characters normally get instead of making this a shorter novella.

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Better When He’s Bad: Welcome to the Point, Book 1

Better When He's BadAuthor: Jay Crownover
Book Name: Better When He’s Bad
Series: Welcome to the Point
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Rating:  Good
3+stars



Blurb:  Welcome to the Point . . .

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad. . . . Meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he was the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft . . . and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con the Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she’d have for a guy like him. But it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize . . . some boys are just better when they’re bad.

Review: Normally I really like Jay Crownover.  Her Marked Men series is one of the better New Adult series I’ve read.  But this book just seemed to be missing the extra spark that made those books so good.

This does lean towards a darker side and I’m normally fine with that, but I just had difficulty connecting with these characters and this story.  I usually really enjoy books with those less than perfect, struggling characters and this had those kinds of characters but there was just something about both of them that lacked something that, as a reader, I needed.  Maybe it was that Dovie was a bit too perfect and unfailingly loyal.  Or maybe it was that Bax mostly didn’t have lines that he wasn’t willing to cross.  Both cases sort of flatten those characters for me.

This was still a good book, but just not as good as I’ve come to expect from Ms. Crownover and maybe that is just as big of a reason why I didn’t like this one quite as well as some of her others.

 

Asa: Marked Men, Book 6

AsaAuthor: Jay Crownover
Book Name: Asa
Series: Marked Men
Order: #6
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars

 

Blurb:  You never know which moment might lead to forever . . .

Asa Cross struggles with being the man everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t 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 also 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 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. And she knows chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

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

Review:  This is the last book in the Marked Men series.  Because of that, it is almost impossible to write a review without reviewing the series as a whole.  While the books are connected because of the characters, you can generally read them in any order and not feel lost.  I actually read book 4, Nash, before I realized that there were other books before it.

The characters in this series are all quirky, messed up, struggling with who they are and how they fit in their world.  Basically, they are real and human and totally believable.  They are the kind of people that I’d love to know in real life.  Asa and Royal are no different, though Asa may be a bit more messed up than most.

I have loved this series.  When I first saw in the intro at the beginning of this book that it actually was the end of the series, I was pretty disappointed because it has been a refreshing change of pace for the romance genre.  Thankfully, Ms. Crownover intends to write around the characters I’ve come to love by focusing a new series on some of the supporting characters we were introduced to.

As this was the end of the series, we saw a bit more about the previous characters and where they were at in their own relationships than we have in previous books.  I like that it was done in such a way that it didn’t take away from Asa’s story.

The resolution at the end of this book was a bit of a twist that I didn’t see coming.  It was an interesting perspective when it comes to relationships as it isn’t something that I think most people would even consider, but I liked that it was so out of the box.  Much of this series deals with out of the box characters and situations and this one was no exception.  It really makes a person think of where there own personal line of what they are willing to live with or compromise may be.  It really was a great ending to an already wonderful series.