Rule, Jay Crownover

Title: Rule

Author: Jay Crownover

Sub-genre: Bad boys? I dunno.

Rating: Meh.

Aww! Look at them soulful blue eyes, and fake sleeve tattoo! He looks super young, and in fact he is. I don’t think that character is older than 23. Makes me want to call him a Dashing Young Whippersnapper.

This is the first I’ve read from Jay Crownover. When faced with a whole series of romance novels that don’t have dukes, princes, werewolves, vampires, ex-cops, or Simple Girls Moving Back to Hometowns, I was a little dumbfounded. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. You are a boy with tattoos, and, what? A shapeshifter? Nope? Just a boy with tattoos? Okay.

A Man Named ESPN 3

“Rule” is the first book of Crownover’s Marked Men series. I love that this series is just titled whatever butch name the author could think of. Rule. Jet. Rowdy. Nash. Rome. The only way it could be more butch is if the author titled them Random Masculine Objects: Knife. Barbecue. ESPN 3. Camouflage. Libertarianism.

I could do this all day.

I’m not personally into the Bad Boys thing. I feel the same way about Cirque De Soilel: it’s fluff and nonsense. You gotta back it up with something beyond the tattoos and lip rings, or I’m not interested. That being said, it was a refreshing to step away from the masterful manly man ex-cop that is pervasive throughout romance novels set in modern times. So many authors are still from a generation where getting one small tattoo on your butt is still considered Full Scale Societal Rebellion. It’s nice to read something that is closer to how my generation sees things.

I finished the book. It didn’t piss me off. But also didn’t pull me in.  Two things that bothered me. If you read romance novels you might have noticed that most female heroines suffer from an olfactory obsession. How many times have I read “he smelled good”? And then they try to explain it, usually ending with “and something indefinably male/ [guy’s name]/ him.” Well this dude, Rule, rolls out of bed after a crazy night of debauchery, throws on some Axe body spray, and hits the road with the girl, taking a one hour drive in a small car. All I could think was, “omg, he must smell awful.”

You Whippersnappers and Yer Sneak YA

Also the girl isn’t even 20 when the book starts. This series is not billed as YA, but I kind of think that this is a Sneak YA, something that is billed as adult but will attract young adults in a Omg-I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Reading-This way. The characters are coming of age, still connected with their families, adjusting to life as an adult as well as the typical romance. If those are not YA themes, I don’t know what are. I can just imagine my high school self stumbling upon this book and freaking loving it. Now that I am an old, bitter, jaded woman I can’t help but shake my fists at these youngins, with their lives ahead of them, telling them they don’t know their minds being so young. Turn down that music! And stop driving so fast! No one has compassion for my poor nerves…

Of course, it can’t be YA because there are a few explicit sex scenes. Nothing too crazy, but I did learn some interesting things about piercings.

Also, at the end of each book, the author lists a “soundtrack” for that novel. Awww! If I liked that sort of thing, I would track down the songs and listen to them while I read the next ones. But I don’t. So I won’t.

Probably won’t read the rest of the books available. Except maybe Rome. He’s the older brother and has his shit together more than the other boys introduced in this novel, so I might entertain the idea of skipping the rest and reading that one. We’ll see.

Long story short, I could see someone being into this series if you 1) like bad boys or 2) are tired of all the cops, ex-military, and cowboys that make up the Non-Magical Present Day Romance section.

ONTO THE NEXT BOOK!

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