Saturday, June 21, 2014

{Book Review} Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Title: Better When He's Bad
Series: Welcome to the Point #1
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 17, 2014


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’s 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, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.

***Mature readers only! Violence and sexual material.

There is something inherently sexy about a bad boy, be it the songs he rocks, the bike he straddles, or the horse he rides. Yet, what if the "bad" in the boy could not be tamed? What if it were more than his womanizing, egomaniac ways? What if he was criminally bad and had no remorse for his crimes, in fact, he never planned on going straight? Would he still be as insanely hot?

I can only testify to my opinion, and that would be... yes, because in the pages of a book, the worst of the worst can bring women to their knees. Also, loyalty is a trait to be admired in a world where selfishness seems to be put above selflessness. But that's not a rant for this blog... a reminder, maybe, but not a rant.

If you've read Rule, Jet, Rome, and/or Nash, also by Jay Crownover, you know these guys to be a bunch a misfits banded tighter than blood through tough lives and the love of ink. They're all out for a good time, including booze, women, and old fashioned boys games. They are fun. Fun to look at, fun to be around, and certainly they must be fun to sleep with... well, the women who tame them certainly think so, at least. Best I can say, they are fun to read about.

Better When He's Bad is not a fun book, nor is it about a man sowing his wild oats. It's gritty and raw, even cringe-worthy at times—but in the best of ways. I would say Jay Crownover stepped her writing up to phenomenal heights with Bax and his story. (I'm twitching to read Race's story next.) When I read the first paragraph, I had to wonder if the same woman who is still writing the Marked Men series could possibly be the same woman writing the Welcome to the Point series. And no, I don't mean that literally... of course she's the one writing both series, I just believe this shows the range she has as an author, as well as the growth of her writing along the way.

What I loved: Bax and the people who surrounded him are mysteries in of themselves. The twists and turns, and the completely unexpected. I loved the way I sat on the edge of my seat wondering how Bax was going to get himself and Dovie out of an unfathomable mess. I loved Bax for having at least one person he would protect besides himself. Jay's ability to draw out the suspense where Bax is concerned speaks to my earlier argument about her ability as a writer.

My thoughts about the notorious Bax, in particular, are: While criminals are not my ideal choice in a companion, Bax made it appear possible. Or should I say, Jay made it appear possible. The trouble Bax jumped into wasn't nickle and dime crap. He walks out of 5 years in prison to find himself involved in something bigger and much scarier than before, primarily because he's found a female worth taking care of.

My thoughts about Dovie: She is Race's sister, and Race is Bax's best friend, but the three of them couldn't be more different. Honestly, I'm not completely sure how I feel about Dovie. To be so good, she certainly stepped up and handled Bax like a natural. The one thing I couldn't piece together in my head, was when exactly they fell in love with each other. One second he's her protector, the next he's unwilling to let her go. I'm not certain I ever completely bought their relationship, but at some point I forgot about how they became what they were and just went with the story.

What I could have lived without: There is one scene I could have lived without ever reading, and no, I'm not going to discuss it, I'm not going to tell you which scene it is, I'm just going to leave it on the wayside and pretend like it never crossed my eyes. So why bring it up at all? Because it is particularly violent and put an image in my head I can't erase. I'm a grown woman, and if it bothered me, I want people to be warned that there is graphic material associated with the book. Was it enough for me to not reread the book? No, I'll probably just skip over it. Would this book have gotten 5 stars without it? No. The lack of me buying the entire romance played into that. Was the scene pivotal? I honestly have to say yes. Perhaps there could have been a better way, though I can't think of a more shocking and captivating one.

Bravo, Jay Crownover! I'm going to admit to being more of a Marked Men girl myself, and I'm looking forward  to Rowdy in October, I believe. But don't you worry, with just the small snippet of Race's story, I'm excited for Better When He's Bold.

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