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Monday, January 4, 2016

Rule (Marked Men #1) [Rule & Shaw] by Jay Crownover

I enjoyed reading this one, but I gotta say, it's a rounded up 4 star review. Because though it was good, it wasn't great and I had a few issues I'm having a hard time ignoring. I loved both Rune and Shaw, they felt very realistic, especially because they weren't perfect, not even close. Actually NO ONE was perfect in this book, everyone had some sort of an issue which made all of them relate-able and considering most of the people are going to appear in the next installments it does make it more interesting and intriguing to keep on reading the other books in the series. 

Rule and Shaw have known each other for years, since she was a 13 years old, a "rescue" Rule's twin brother brought home. Shaw is sweet and beautiful, comes from a family that isn't lacking in founds but lacking in everything else, especially caring for their daughter's well being. But that whats Remy Archer was for, actually what the whole Archer family is for - their parents became surrogate parents to her and both Rule and Rome (their bigger brother) became her protectors, though her close relationship was always with Remy. No one believed either of them that they were just good friends but Remy knew the truth, Shaw was always in love with his twin brother - Rule. 

When Remy dies, something within the Archer family breaks apart. Rule, never getting along with anyone with his stubborn personality and free spirit, finds himself in a constant struggle with this parents. Nothing he does appeases them, and yet he never actually tried.. Basically the only reason he keeps coming to Sunday brunch is because Shaw comes to take him, even though it means she sees him in his lowest when he escorts his nightly companion out.. Rome is trying to put the family together in his own way but since he is most of the time over the sees - being a soldier - there is very little he can actually achieve. 

The first real interaction between Rule and Shaw (more than the family gatherings) is on her 20th birthday when she is totally and absolutely drunk. Personally I found it appalling! I had very little respect for her behavior and even less for Rule who took advantage of her (even if technically she consented..). The whole deal with alcohol in this book was horrible beyond words. I get it, I understand it's the way these young guys are dealing with their problems, I get that there are a LOT of young men and women who get "shit faced" every week but truthfully? I only see it as disgusting. I was pretty much horrified of their whole encounter that night and the "casualness" both of them showed the day after. 

Yet there was a sweet relationship buildup, Shaw is the only person in Rule's world to actually accept him the way he is and not want him to change. When he realized that, and saw he truly enjoys her company it was no surprise that even though he haven't had a real relationship in his life it was a sort of "natural" thing for him. On Shaw's side of the equation it was pretty obvious that in a way, Rule was what she wanted to be - open and carefree and being with him, being protected and appreciated by him meant the world to her and also allowed her to be more herself in a way the people around her never allowed before. But their problems and the fact they both were childish enough to sulk and refuse to talk were exasperating. The MAJOR drama concerning the whole Archer family was somehow unrealistic. I get that Shaw dropped a bomb on them (mostly on Rule and Rome) and yet, why was it such a surprise and why make such a big deal about it when it's a done fact they have nothing to do but accept? (trying not to spoiler here though I, personally, guessed it from the beginning..). Something about the overemotional, well, everything (!) got was tiring. 

Everything that happened with Gabe (Shaw's ex) was terrifying. I was scared for her well being, it was obvious the guy is obsessed and sick and the fact he was well connected (meaning there is little that can be done about it) was also horrible. I actually know a story a bit similar. Of a guy that used to date a good friend of mine years and years ago, after they broke up he wouldn't let go, and kept harassing her but since he was a cop and his whole family were cops it was practically impossible to get rid of him! This thing can drive a person mad! I think in this one it resolved well, but I wish Rule was more "hands on" near the "big fallout" in this matter (again, trying to be vague here ;)). 

In a way my issues with this one resemble most of my issues with Young Adult novels, were the characters' behavior is childish - either over emotional or just doesn't appeal to me for some reason - here it was the alcohol (in other books it can be obsessive need or jealousy). Also maybe the book was just a bit too long, meaning there was more emphasis on struggles/angst I would have gladly cut from the story. I hope the next ones in the series would have less angst in them. It's not that I generally have problem with angst it's mostly that the angst doesn't feel very mature if it makes any sense.. 

All in all a nice read. Interesting flawed characters, a sweet romance in a sad but realistic setting. It was very engaging and hard to put down, I read most of it in one day. One thing I have to say if there is one thing I don't NEED at the moment is reading a whole series about beautiful tattoos! I have a few I'm planning to get but after the quick move I had to pull last month I REALLY don't have the funds to spend on something I obviously don't need (even if I really want ;)).

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 369 pages, 1-2 January 2016 / On GoodReads

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