Series: Marked Men #1
Published by Jay Crownover Books on December 30th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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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.
This book was everything I dislike about the new adult genre. And yet I could not stop reading it. The characters drove me nuts, I didn’t like Rule very much, and Shaw was a typical virgin who has multiple orgasms her first time having sex. Drunken sex, at that. I have no explanation for my reaction. I should have really disliked this book and yet I loved it. My thoughts for it are all over the place, so bear with me here. Shaw and Rule were both so damaged by their families in completely different ways. Shaw’s family didn’t really see her as anything other than a way to further their status and a reflection of all of them. Rule’s family, his mother, mostly, didn’t understand him and blamed him for the death of his twin brother. Rule’s family drama was a little more difficult to really feel, because a lot of it felt cliched (“You have tattoos and multi-colored hair. You wear jeans all the time. Woe is us”) but Shaw’s family was horrible. It’s no wonder she felt so much more comfortable with the Archers.
One of the reasons I dislike new adult so much is the ages of the characters. I know, that’s the point of the genre. But I remember being this young. It wasn’t fun. I had no idea who I was, no idea what I wanted, and no idea where my life was going. It was not great book material. And a lot of that was here. These are two people who are just so young. Shaw absolutely hates everything her family puts her through, but she can’t just tell them to fuck off. She’ll ignore their calls, but if they do manage to get ahold of her, she does whatever they want her to do, no matter how she feels about. Including family dinners with her stalker ex-boyfriend, Gabe. Really, their attitudes regarding the ex were almost too over the top for me. I can see those people not wanting her with Rule. The family is extremely image-conscious, and they do nothing that doesn’t have some social benefit for them. A tattooed, pierced, Mohawked tattoo artist does not fit into their ideal family image at all. But to see how Gabe was acting, to hear the things Shaw was telling her family about him and her mother still go as far as to give him the security code to her home was almost too much to believe.
Rule, on the other hand, went the exact opposite way with his family. He had no problem telling all of them to fuck off when they treated him like crap, which was most of the time. I could identify with that way more than I could Shaw’s constant kowtowing. Not that my family treats me like crap, but I have no problem telling them if they do something I don’t like, and if they try to get me to do something I don’t agree with, I don’t do it. Rule rightly cuts them off after a particularly nasty fight, and I was happy to see him do it. His mother’s constant belittling and blaming him for Remy’s death were a little over the top at times, but it was a good reason for us to get to know his older brother Rome better.
As I mentioned, Shaw was a virgin. She’d been harboring a crush on Rule since she was fourteen, and no one else was good enough to take her virginity. Rule was a manwhore when the book opened, and was really shitty to women. I don’t care how many you sleep with, you don’t have to treat them like crap and you especially don’t have to treat them like they’re pieces of shit because they made the decision to go home with you even though they didn’t know you very well. That’s called a one-night stand, dickwad. Women enjoy them, too, without having daddy issues or falling in love with you. Every Sunday Shaw comes over to pick him up for family brunch, and every Sunday she has to watch him kick women out of his apartment. Honestly, the number of women wouldn’t have bothered me, but seeing how he talked to them and treated them week after week would have cured me of any crush I had on Rule. I lost a little bit of respect for Shaw when the only thing that bugged her was how many women Rule had sex with, and not his treatment of them. Also – again. For the love of whatever. The hymen is not inside the vagina. It is not a barrier, and it is most definitely not “in the way.” Come on, authors. Read an anatomy book.
The situation with Gabe, Shaw’s ex-boyfriend, was handled pretty well. It wasn’t just dropped in at the end of the book to amp up the drama in Rule and Shaw’s relationship. It was woven throughout the book, and it was clear that Gabe was a problem. He was a nasty piece of work, and for her family to react to him and his treatment of Shaw the way they did was really telling. I was glad Shaw eventually told them off, but I was sorry it took such a dramatic event for it to happen.
This was a really good start to a new (to me) series. I’m looking forward to reading more of them, though they probably won’t rise to the top of my TBR list. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this, despite how many of the tropes I don’t like on paper.