Three Rivers, by Chloe T. Barlow

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Grade: A-

Doing it at: 15%

Catnip: Dead Husband’s Friend, Strong Female Lead, Sexual Healing, Light Bondage

Shame Scale:  No shame. This was a good read!

Fantasy Cast:  Issac Marion (he wrote Warm Bodies and I needed a cute author and he is adorable), Mila Kunis

Book Description:

How do you start over when you gave everything to one life, one plan, and lost it all?

Althea refuses to allow herself to love again. Imprisoned in grief at twenty-four after her husband’s sudden death, she’s convinced her heart died along with him. She spends her days honoring his memory by clinging to the legal career he helped her to build and to the remaining pieces linking them together.

Griffen’s been running from his past. Despite success as an author and investigative journalist, he’s been traveling through life on autopilot. For a decade, he’s chosen perilous adventures and meaningless sex over the danger of any attachments. When he finally returns home to Pittsburgh, he’s slammed by the awakened memories and regret he’s spent years trying to escape.

A chance encounter brings them together. Their instant desire for each other – and the bond they discover between them – shocks them both. Despite her best efforts, Althea can’t resist Griffen’s charm or his intriguing proposition – if she agrees to a no-strings affair with him for the two weeks he’s in town, he swears he’ll walk away when their time is up. Assured she can test the waters of a new life while keeping her vow never to betray her husband’s memory by opening her heart to another, Althea throws herself into the escape Griffen provides her.

Their perfect plans go awry when the intensity of their connection overwhelms them. Will they risk it all on the chance of something great together…or will the power of their secrets and guilt tear them apart.

Right from the beginning, I had a feeling I’d like this book. It takes place in my hometown, and I was secretly overjoyed at every mention of a Pittsburgh landmark. The book begins with Althea (Tea) and her son Johnny. We learn that Tea is a widow and that her husband Jack passed away in a car accident right before she found out she was pregnant. She is fortunate and has an amazing support system of women, two best friends (Jenna and Aubrey), her mother-in-law and mother, that help her cope with everything. Her friends, after 5 years, push her to go out and date. Maybe even consider a one-night stand. She’s had a few unmemorable dates since her husband’s death. But plain and simple, Tea needs to get laid. Her friends get her gussied up and take her out and insist that it’s time Stella Got Her Groove Back. With all the luck in the world and a few drinks helping to loosen her up a bit, she meets Griffen.

But not with Taye Diggs, sadly.

But not with Taye Diggs, sadly.

Griffen is a writer. His book has been made into a movie. He’s hometown famous! But, he has some severe writer’s block happening since the death of his friend Jack. That’s right. His BFF was Tea’s dead husband. And somehow these two had never met. I find this hard to believe, but it’s fiction. So they meet in a bar, exchange a lot of flirty back-and-forth, and Tea signals to her friends that she’s going for it. She feels a strong connection to Griffen, and understands that her vibrators just aren’t doing the job that a man can do. After a few drinks, they head back to Griffen’s hotel and get down to business. Let me tell you, the down and dirty in this one is HOT. Slow and deliberate. Griffen is obviously feeling a connection, one that he hasn’t felt in a while with a woman. The problem is, Althea is honestly looking for a one night stand to get her back in the saddle. And it works. She feels sexually liberated when she sneaks out the following morning. Griffen, however, makes it his mission to find her and spend time with her for his remaining two weeks in Pittsburgh.

The next morning, Griffen is asked by his mother to attend a birthday party being held for his dead friend’s son. And although he has already decided to find Althea, he puts his plans on hold to appease his mom and suppress a little of the guilt he feels for losing touch with Jack right before he died. The shock when he walks in the door and see Althea is fantastic, and very indicative of small town/ big city Pittsburgh. Everyone knows everyone. It’s probably one less degree of separation than Kevin Bacon. They both muddle through the party, managing to have most of the awkward conversation away from the overbearing ears of Carol, Jack’s mother, who still refers to Tea as “Jack’s wife.” She’s kinda nuts. But grieving, so it’s forgiven. Althea also manages to avoid David, Jack’s former coworker, who has, since Jack’s death. been possessive of Tea and her son. Griffen works hard to win over all the women, Tea most of all. He plays football with her son, helps with the food, and at the end of the day, offers up a suggestion she can’t refuse. Two weeks, no strings attached, dates, sex, whatever. Who could pass that up?!

Tea takes him up on the offer. It’s only two weeks. Almost no commitment, loads of steamy sex, and at the end of the time, Griffen disappears back to New York City. She feels like unattached sex is just what’s needed in order to bring her back into the dating scene. Her friends offer Griffen a ride back to his hotel after the party, and divulge tons of information about their friend. They want to insure that Tea has a perfect time over the next two weeks.

So Althea puts her trust in Griffen. And loves every minute of the time they spend together. They date. They spend real quality time together. They do it pretty much constantly. (This chick has some solid friends offering up babysitting for her. All the single moms I know never have this much down time. Ever.) Griffen play football with her son, Johnny. It’s picture perfect. Until Griffen visits his childhood home and opens a lock-box that used to belong to him and Jack as kids. It was something they would use to hide things from Griffen’s abusive father, a safe place to keep things like dirty magazines. But now there’s a flash drive that wasn’t there before. And it’s encrypted and secured. The investigative writer comes back into focus and starts unraveling the information that dead friend Jack left behind.

The remaining novel is a little mystery, a little action, and lot and lots of sex. Lots of really good sex. Honestly, I felt like cheering this woman on for finding this guy. These two have fantastic chemistry. And the backdrop of the story thrilled me, since it’s my city and all the landmarks I love as well. Yinz should read it!

Stay, by Emily Goodwin

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Grade: C+

Doing it at: 74%

Catnip: Kidnapping, Accidental Pregnancy, Secret Love

Shame Scale:  I felt really awful reading this.

Fantasy Cast: I can’t fantasy cast this book. I wouldn’t want to think of anyone in the same position as the characters.

Book Description:

**Trigger Warning: This book is dark and is not suitable for readers easily offended by realistic tellings of human trafficking, those that do not wish to read about hard topics, or readers under the age of 18. If you want a feel-good, sexy read, this is NOT the book for you. Stay does not fit neatly into one genre. It’s part erotica, part dark romance, and part suspense thriller. It is a dark, gritty, and harrowing tale about finding love in the darkest of places. Read at your own risk. **

I felt like I was walking to the end of a plank precariously hanging over shark-infested water. When I jumped, sharp teeth would rip into me and the cold water would steal my breath away. The monsters would take everything from me, leaving me shivering and naked in the water. The only difference was that tonight I would be pulled from the icy darkness and forced to do it again. There would be no release from death, only pain.”

Home after her first year of college, Adeline Miller is looking forward to a stress free summer filled with reading, working on her blog, and spending time with friends. But all that changes in an instant when she is witness to something terrible, something she wasn’t supposed to see.

Beaten, drugged, kidnapped.

Adeline Miller is ripped from her innocent and carefree life and thrust into darkness, into a world full of pain and horror. As a sex slave, she is forced to do horrible things, and have horrible things done to her. One of her captors has a past as dark as the world she is now living in. Will getting close to him mean freedom? Or will he pull her deeper into the shadows?

*Stay is a bit of a departure from the fluffy stuff we normally read on Mybookshame, and while it wasn’t our kink, we know it might be your kink. The ladies who read and blog here firmly believe in “I Like what I Like!” as a rallying cry. 

This book was a tough read. And I don’t mean it was tough to read like Grey has been for many. The plot deals with human trafficking, a very real and very terrifying thing. Our lead character, Adeline, has an ideal life. She’s only 19. She’s an avid reader and blogger (much like some other girls we know). She lives at home with her parents and little sister. Then one day she decides to attend a Pride Parade with a couple of friends, sees something in an alley that she shouldn’t have, and just like that, is kidnapped. Poof.

The two men that kidnap her are Zane and Jackson. She is thrown in a car trunk, driven to an unknown location, then locked in a closet located in a basement with no food or water. She is brutally hit over and over again along the way. After she’s been in the closet for a while, she hears voices. They belong to two other girls. Although they are also in the basement, locked up, they ignore her pleas for help.

Eventually she is dragged upstairs to meet Nate, the brains of the operation. He laments on the fact that Zane smacked her around too hard and that she’ll need time to heal. This is when the panic Adeline is feeling kicks into high gear. Heal for what exactly? She makes an escape attempt, and is easily subdued by Zane, who is already showing his sadistic side. He drags her back down in to the basement, tries to rape her and is stopped by a quick knee to the stomach. At this point in the book I was questioning my reading choice here. The writing itself is good, but the subject matter is difficult to say the least.

Before meeting her basement roommates, she snoops around and discovers only sleazy clothes in the dressers and essentially nothing else. This is just further evidence to back up what she already fears. Then she meets Lily, Phoebe and Rochelle and there is no more guesswork involved. They divulge all the details of their lives, and now hers, while she listens in horror. The only escape is death, and that almost seems better.

Adeline is put to work, and her first “job” is described in horrific detail. Thankfully, it is only the first one that’s detailed. From this point on, Adeline is raped repeatedly by various men and tossed back in the basement after. Jackson is the one in charge of feeding the girls and doing their laundry, as well as several tasks upstairs in the pristine farmhouse. Adeline begins to notice small things about Jackson that clue her in that he may be suffering the same fate. He frequently is bruised and beaten, and is very timid around Zane and Nate. My brain started screaming “Stockholm Syndrome” but it is revealed that he is also owned by Nate.

It’s easy to see the plot being driven by Adeline’s unfaltering faith in humanity and her need to escape. Her and Jackson end up sharing more than just slavery in the end. But honestly, this book was brutal. The subject matter is heavy and dark. PEOPLE are sold and traded. It’s stomach-turning. I would not recommend this unless you are prepared. There is a mostly happy ending, and Adeline is a vigilant hero who is desperate to escape and see her family again. There is a companion novel told through Jackson’s POV, but I’m not sure I want to venture any further into this genre.

Size Matters, by Stephanie Haefner

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Grade: C-

Doing it at: 70%

Catnip: Hot Cops; Single Dad; Kidnapping; Strong Female Lead; Friends to Lovers; Wall Sex

Shame Scale:  Low. I wouldn’t want to read this on a city bus in paperback form because of the title, but the content itself isn’t too shamey.

Fantasy Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal and Elizabeth Banks

Book Description:

In this saucy, sexy, laugh-out-loud romp, a lingerie shop owner and single mom falls for the hunky cop who just happens to holster his own perfectly sized weapon.

Bryn, co-owner of Classy ‘n’ Sassy Lingerie shop with her best friend Mia, is ready to get back out in the dating world after losing her husband to the war overseas. Diving into bad first dates, online set-ups, and guys who just can’t get the message, Bryn can’t stop thinking about Eli, the sexy neighborhood cop who’s also a great dad. But between Bryn’s dead husband and Eli’s messy divorce, will these two have what it takes to overcome their baggage and fan the flames between them?

Size Matters was given to us as an Advanced Reader’s Copy.  It’s due to be released on June 1st…so if you have it on pre-order, you may want to skip this review, because thar be spoilers. From the get-go it reads like a romantic comedy, and makes you feel like, as a reader, you’re really just snooping in a friend’s diary. Immediately, we are introduced to Eli and Bryn. Naked. Well, almost naked. Fooling around and trying to get to the good stuff. But they both have kids. And jobs and mothers and dead husbands and ex-wives and all the stuff that interrupts sexy times. So, they settle for cuddles and move on.

Bryn owns a lingerie shop that also specializes in sex toys. So she’s surrounded by and is asked to discuss sex all day. Eli is a cop with an awful, confidence destroying ex-wife. He spends his days thinking about Bryn. With both of them being single parents working to figure out the whole dating thing, every encounter seems to end in disaster. Once, Bryn’s mom calls. Another, one of the kids wakes up. Every married-with-kids couple has experienced these interruptions, I’m sure. But Eli also has some major mood killing hang-ups about his size, completely because of his horrible ex Kristen. And Bryn finds the lack of confidence to be kind of a big deal breaker. Eli, despite being sexy and funny and a good person all around, has this giant (or small) thing that he focuses on and Bryn finds it annoying. She wants a guy that knows who he is and knows how to work it, small or not. Eli’s insecurities make it extra awkward.

So, they break up. Or at least stop seeing each romantically. Bryn tries online dating. She hits on her dead husband’s friend.  Bryn’s dear friend/coworker tries to set her up with her boyfriend’s friend, Troy.  And in the meantime, she starts throwing together a huge event for her shop, complete with models and an 80’s theme. The online dating starts off with just IMs and casual flirting. The first date with Troy goes reasonably well. Despite everything looking up, Bryn can’t get Eli out of her head. I suppose it doesn’t help that all his kids and all her kids go to school together and that her son has a crush on his daughter (because they’re pre-teens, it leads to a couple uncomfortable adolescent discussions about appropriate times to masturbate.)  Eli has also started dating, but his attempts are not going as smoothly. His new woman is aggravating and demanding and I wanted to punch her. Thank whatever they break up quick.

On Bryn’s second date with Troy, things are heating up. And just as they are speeding away from the restaurant in order to get vertical, Troy is pulled over. By Eli. And because he’s a cop, he does everything in his power to make the date fizzle out. One more strike out for Bryn. This poor girl is never getting laid. And the seemingly cute guy that she’s been chatting up online has turned stalker on her. Time to delete her profile. And it’s at this point in the story that Troy becomes a giant douchebag about her kids. You know, because a single widow has plenty of ways to get rid of her three small children at the drop of a hat. Of course. He even laughs at her son. During his birthday party. And then tries to feel her up. During her child’s birthday party. He’s a meathead that no one really likes, but Bryn seems to see something in him (I think she just wants to get laid).

Following the disaster that was a 10-year-old’s bday party, Eli finally hashes it out with his ex to find out why she thinks he’s such an awful person. She doesn’t, apparently. She’s just a bitch. And Bryn is deflecting stalker internet boy as well as explaining to meathead Troy that her children dictate when and if she’s able to go out. Again. Jesus, this guy can’t seem to get it. I want to smack him.

Finally Eli works up his nerve to just go after Bryn. This took forever. Both of them are pining for each other through the entire book. (JUST FRICKING DO IT ALREADY) He shows up at her shop, in uniform (hot), and just goes for it. He doesn’t say anything (hot), just stalks across her office, grabs her up and bangs her against the door. And we get a chance to find out what all the fuss downstairs is about. Small? I think that’s what he was worried about. Bryn describes it as beer can sized. Those are the words used. Beer can. Us Shame Girls actually spent a little time (a lot. stop judging) Googling what that might look like. Google is disappointing. Luckily, we have active imaginations and too much free time.

After Eli’s wall bang and declaration of love, Bryn has to break it off with Troy. He doesn’t make this easy. (I would have dumped him after date one, but I’m not as desperate as Bryn.) Troy stops over in the middle of the night hammered and thinking he’s getting some action. Then Eli shows up after his shift. With some quick thinking, and a lot of regret, she convinces Eli to come another night and lets drunk Troy sleep it off in the living room.

The weekend of the lingerie’s shop event comes, and Bryn and her coworkers are ready to model the store’s new lingerie line. What follows is action, some near naked strutting around, kidnapping, action, drunk guys, a little more action and a savior. And a giant Brady Bunch Happily Ever After. This book was okay. Not great. I read it, but I found it to be a little vanilla and bland compared to the other books that Mary and Cleone have forced on me (and I haven’t even gotten to the really dirty ones yet). And I was sad I didn’t figure out the mystery of the penis until almost the end. But Haefner is an established author with several other books and I know her fans will appreciate this one.

Jet, by Jay Crownover

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Another guest post from the Paperback Purist, who has been ruined so completely, she’s just going to go ahead and review this whole series for us. #sorrynotsorry

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 36%

Catnip: Tattoos; Rock Stars; Deep Dark Secrets; Fun Piercings; Dual Narrative; Series; Lead Singer

Shame Scale: Medium. The cover is just a guy trying hard to give you a smoldering look and failing. And he’s not even that hot.

Fantasy Cast: Adam Levine and Nina Dobrev

Book Description:

The second book in the Marked Men series from Jay Crownover – a sizzling story of love, lust and longing
With his tight leather jeans and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes, but even his touch sets her on fire.
Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Alden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows first hand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.
Will the blaze burn into an enduring love… or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?
This the second in Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series. Her characters all overlap from book to book (there’s 6!!) and each focuses on a specific couple. We already met Ayden and Jet in the first book, Rule. Ayden is the cute Southern girl/roommate of Shaw, and Jet is friends with the tattoo shop guys. The story line overlaps at a show. Jet’s band’s show. And Ayden has been mooning over Jet for a while – long enough to make a move when Jet offers her a ride home after the show. Jet quickly shuts her down, not because he’s not feeling something as well, but because he recognizes that Ayden is special and deserves more than him. (This line of thinking seems to be a pattern with the Marked Men. I mean, if a formula works for you, ROLL with it. Whatever. But I may be wrong. I’ll let you know when I write the next review for Rome.)

Fast forward a year. Ayden, Jet and Cora (tattoo shop piercer and front desk girl) are ROOMMATES. Queue the awkward sexual tension. Cora and Ayden rate every girl who does the walk of shame from Jet’s bedroom, which seems to be a decent number. I’m not talking the manwhore status that Rule received in Book 1, but close. The year spent not making out has done nothing to put out the fire between them. The two of them are constantly eying each other up while walking around half-naked and acting insanely jealous about every love interest the other might have. Ayden’s boyfriend is a super kind, super boring college guy that Jet likes to call Argyle Sweater Vest. Ayden only sees security and a 401k in her future. I’m terrible, because I can’t even remember the character’s name. I’ll just call him Sweater Vest as well.

Jet’s life as a lead singer has been on the upswing. He owns a recording studio with an excellent ebb and flow of artists, and his band is content playing locally and never signing to a major label. But I’m going to be really honest here….Jet is boring. He’s SO NICE, YOU GUYS. He’s got this whole rocky childhood thing he could draw from, he could drink too much or get high or anything. He’s a rock star, for crying out loud! Other than the slow parade of one-night stands, he’s not really the out-of-control lead singer I had hoped for. He’s responsible and hard working and a business owner and blah.

The big turning point for both happens at one of Jet’s shows. Ayden arrives with Sweater Vest, despite the fact that she’d dumped the guy. And all of Jet’s feeling for her finally surface. Leaving Sweater Vest behind, Ayden follows Jet backstage, which is where the magic happens. It’s not the trashy sex scene in the dirty dressing room that you know you want, but probably the one you deserve. Just a little hot and steamy fooling around that gets slightly out of hand. And after, it’s clear the attraction is not something they can ignore. The connection between Ayden and Jet is fiery. The first time they get down to business, it’s all sparks and electricity and good, good stuff. But he’s just so nice. He sings old country songs under his breath to Ayden after sex because she doesn’t like metal. He loves his mom. I wanted more garbage and drama from the rock star than I got, but he does have that whole downstairs piercing thing going on. (THANK YOU, CORA!)

There are so many obstacles and so many secrets that get in the way once they agree to do something about their feelings. Jet is honest, and knows that he and Ayden are not on the same page with most things. Ayden’s past is catching up to her fast. Jet’s parents are tumultuous, and he is thrown in the middle while defending his mother. And just when things are getting good, Ayden pushes Jet out. In her mind, she’s saving him. Her past is not something she wants to collide with her present and, unfortunately, it’s staring right at her. Jet, although heartbroken, has his own demons to fight. Literally and figuratively.

I don’t want to post spoilers because I want everyone to read Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series. The characters are full of surprises, genuine, and likeable. And having each book roll into the next gives them all more depth and an opportunity for the reader to become attached. I’m halfway through the next book in the series, Rome, and all the crossover timelines are done well. (And man, those Archer boys are HOT!)

Check it out on Amazon:

Wrecked, by Prisilla West

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Grade:  D

Doing it at: 60%

Catnip: Tattoos; Dark Secrets; Friends to Lovers; Dramatic Rescues; Kittens; MMA Fighter

Shame scale: Medium. The cover is really just abs, but everyone knows what you’re reading.

Fantasy casting:  Channing Tatum and Britt Robertson (or some other giant, ripped guy and tiny girl. I don’t really care.)

Book description: 

“There would be no happy ending for us. He was too damaged. I was too broken.”
Two years ago, Lorrie’s mother was murdered. But that wasn’t the end of it. Reeling from the tragedy, Lorrie’s father spiraled into alcohol, depression, and finally suicide.
The two most important people in Lorrie’s life are both gone but she’s still alive.
Trying to recover from the tragedy, Lorrie returns to campus, ready to pick up the pieces of her life. All Lorrie wants is to get back to “normal.”

Then she meets Hunter. The man, the legend, “The Hammer.”

Hunter is a cage fighter who takes on every fight like he’s got nothing to lose. His life is a tangled mess of girls, booze, and fist fights. And while it may seem like he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat. Lorrie knows that Hunter is exactly the type of guy she should stay away from, especially in her fragile state, but Hunter has other ideas. As Hunter and Lorrie grow closer together, will they be able to overcome their pain and heal each other? Or will they both end up wrecked?”

I’m stuck in this shame world and I don’t know how to get out.

Wrecked. Ugh. I hated this book. Really, honestly hated. It gave me all the clichés you could ever want. Lorrie is the poor, loner college girl who had to drop out because of a huge family tragedy. Hunter is the strong, womanizing MMA fighter with a deep dark secret. Toss in a couple gossipy bimbos who like to give blow jobs in tandem, the ever-concerned roommate/bestie who loves to set up blind dates and a box of kittens and you’re done. Book written.

Lorrie’s return to school after her mother’s murder and her father’s suicide is filled with tension. She wants only to keep her head down, attend classes and move on with her life. (She also, for whatever reason, is very concerned about being old for a sophomore. This is annoying, since she is only 20. NOT. OLD.)  Her first act back on campus is to stop at a small bridge and reread her father’s suicide note. Then she falls into the small, frozen lake. And, just as you would expect, the hottest guy she’s ever seen ever is the one who pulls her out. Hunter takes her back to his place, warms her up in the most boring way possible (with actual dry clothes and tea and a warm shower), then she flees. Actually runs away.

Her best friend convinces her that a blind date is what she needs. Armed with fake IDs, they meet the guys in a bar. And although they are very minor, barely mentioned characters, they are douche bags. Lorrie hears excited voices and shouting from another part of the bar and excuses herself to catch the action. Lo and behold is hot guy Hunter, standing in a cage ready to fight another guy. They make eye contact, and immediately after the fight, he’s found her and is making his move. They walk together, he asks her directly to date him and she skirts around it and asks to remain friends. Together, they study and watch movies and adopt six abandoned kittens that they bottle feed. You know, friend stuff.

The friend-thing only last so long. Lorrie overhears gossipy bimbos #1 and #2 in the bathroom talking about how great it was to give Hunter a blow job, and she’s immediately jealous. There’s a confrontation, it eventually evolves into forgiveness, and then on Valentine’s day, an interrupted kiss. When they sit down to talk about that kiss, they just end up having all the sex everywhere all over his apartment and burn through his stock of condoms and lube. Seriously, they go from awkward friends to raging sex fiends doing it in every position in like half a page. They include sausages and grape jelly and role-playing into all this sex. They hit “we did it 10 times” at twelve hours. I think they cover more in two days than most couples would be comfortable covering in two years. It’s absurd. I yelled at the book. NO ONE HAS THAT MUCH SEX IN 12 HOURS! And it’s really the only substantial sex part in the book. (There’s a mutual masturbation scene later, but it’s meh at best)

It’s obvious that Hunter has a Secret, but Lorrie is pretty wrapped up in her own drama to notice, and jumps to some conclusions as they do in these books. You have to read to find out more. And, since this is first in a series, Lorrie and Hunter’s story doesn’t end here. I don’t think I’m going to bother reading the sequel. I found nothing redeeming about this book. But, everyone has their own tastes and you may love Hunter and Lorrie. Someone has to.

(Edited: I kind of liked this one. Maybe your standards just haven’t dropped enough yet….   – Mary)

Rule, by Jay Crownover

Meet our friend, and guest reviewer, The Paperback Purist. PP is a reader of Books: real literature type books in actual paper book form. At least she was.

Mary and I weren’t content to be in this trash book vortex on our own, so we decided to corrupt some friends to join us on our journey. And PP was ripe for the ruining. Two weeks ago she was reading Gaiman for fun, was horrified at the thought of reading electronically, and wasn’t spending her days ruminating over the 300 synonyms for cock that pop up in our book selections. Flash forward and she’s burned through Bared to You, Beautiful Disaster, Sweet Filthy Boy, and is currently reading a book with stalkers and virgins and BDSM. How did we break our friend you ask?

We gave her Rule.

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Grade: B+

Doing it at: 24%

Catnip: Tattoos; Piercings; Odd couple; Best Friend’s Brother; Deep Dark Secret; Virgin; Dual Narrative

Shame scale: Medium, it’s still a sex book. And the guy on the cover is cute.

Fantasy casting:  Random tattooed internet guy and Amanda Seyfried

Book description: 

“Sometimes opposites don’t just attract – they catch fire and burn the city down

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.”


Once I gave in to Cleone and Mary’s insistence that I give up my quality literature and delve into the dirty written-word underworld, I found myself unbelievably hooked. This one was an easy start to my decent into romance. Jay Crownover is a quick read, her characters are likeable and real, and even though the story line was fairly predictable, I wasn’t reading this expecting a M. Night Shyamalan twist.

Shaw is the typical good girl. She’s rich, smart and beautiful. And her life is somehow still tragic. Her best friend is dead and her parents seem to barely tolerate her. Lucky for her, her dead friends’ parents love her, and invite her to Sunday dinner every week. Sadly, she has deal with waking the dead friend’s super hot twin brother and his flavor of the week every Sunday as well. (coughMANWHOREcough) This is just awful for her, mostly due to the secret feelings she’s carried for him from the beginning. Rule is a tattooed/pierced rich bad boy who is young and rebellious.  And he’s a successful tattoo artist. And he’s just plain pretty.  And he loves random women.  These two HATE each other at the beginning. HATE. But swimming just under the surface is some good old fashioned lust. Tequila helps. And right away, virgin Shaw is smitten.

The budding relationship that follows is challenged by seemingly everything: disapproving parents, stalkers (the ex-boyfriend always seems to be a stalker), jealousy….and a giant secret about the dead best friend/twin brother (I’ll let you figure that one out.) We get to see the couple go through the make-up/break-up routine more than once. And Rule is so emotionally disconnected at times that Shaw just has to save him. And by save I mean blow.

But Crownover keeps the sexy times hot and consistently spaced, so just when you reach the “come-on-get-naked-already” point in the story you are rewarded with a pierced penis description. That alone makes the 40 pages in between worth reading.

I will read more by Jay Crownover. She writes well, and her story sucks you right in. Also, she has an entire series devoted to tattooed men. Sign. Me. Up.

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