Rule by Jay Crownover | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rule by Jay Crownover | Book ReviewRule by Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men #1
Also in this series: Jet, Rome, Nash
Also by this author: Jet, Rome, Nash, Better When He's Bad, Leveled: A Saints of Denver Novella
Published by HarperCollins on 2013-05-07
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.The first Marked Men novel in Jay Crownover's combustible New Adult series.

I am sure many of you have experienced the tragedy of leaving your book at work and then having to pick up a new one at home to start reading. After leaving a young adult book in my office, I decided that I needed to pick up a book that goes in the opposite direction. I wanted something easy to read that was equivalent to brain candy. After staring at my stacks, I decided to pick up Rule by Jay Crownover. Okay, you guys, I don’t love these covers and I don’t always love New Adult books, but I honest to god was suckered in by Rule. I am a tiny bit embarrassed by how much I enjoyed the first book in the Marked Men series, but whatever you guys, sometimes I just need a book that is juicy and dramatic and romantic. My brain needs a break and Rule totally gave that to me.

Rule opens with Shaw, a straitlaced, rich and driven premed student picking up Rule Archer for Sunday brunch back home in Brookside which is two hours from Denver where the two live. Rule is in the midst of sending one of his many one night stands out on the walk of shame. Shaw is someone who has been in Rule’s life for a very long time. In high school, Rule’s twin brother Remy brought Shaw home and she just kind of became integrated in the Archer household, especially because although her parents are wealthy, they are distant and cold. Unfortunately, Remy died in a car accident. Rule’s parents blame him for Remy’s death, FYI. Anyways, needless to say, Sunday brunch is tense in the Archer household. OH and I should mention that Shaw has always had this major crush on Rule, but he has no idea and he kind of is a dick to her. Anyways, one night Shaw completely breaks with her character and decides to cut loose with the help of her best friend Ayden. She gets this makeover, and anyways, she ends up drunkenly losing her v-card to Rule. The two begin a tentative relationship complicated by lots of drama both internal and external. Will they get a happily ever after? You know they do, but the journey that Jay Crownover takes us on to get there is utterly riveting.

Jay Crownover’s Rule alternates in first person point of view chapters between Rule and Shaw. I thought I’d talk about Shaw first, because well, she’s good people. Shaw is someone I think plenty of us can relate to, she’s the sort of person who always follows the rules. She doesn’t put a toe out of line. She can’t stand the girl who bullied her in high school. Shaw is also fiercely loyal and the type of girl who accepts people as they are. Sure, she can be a pushover, but part of the fun in reading Rule is seeing Shaw grow into a strong, independent sort of person who is willing to voice her opinions even if they don’t please everyone. I mean, maybe she’s a wish fulfillment sort of character – she’s tiny, she is incredibly beautiful, she’s smart, she’s nice, and she’s wealthy. Still, instead of hating her character for being a Mary Sue, I ended up really liking Shaw. Judge away y’all, judge away.

Rule, the other narrating character, is a total pain in the ass. I mean, lol, I was won over by him sure, but he’s still a pain in the ass. First off, he is a total womanizer. Second off, he’s a hothead, meaning he flies off the handle quite a bit. He does not compromise and can’t ever tone it down. Yet, while those things are annoying, he manages to make them into strengths. How cool is it when someone knows their own mind and sticks to their guns? Rule does that. He’s the type of romantic lead who has all his walls him and you know this is the sort of romance where the girl moves past those walls. Oh! Also, Rule is a tattoo artist and he has all these tattoos and piercings including a Prince Albert. He also is supposedly so good looking that girls give him flirtatious looks when he is out with Shaw. Anyways, Rule is pretty much a major source of drama in this book, but I did not hate it! I KNOW! It is odd for me to say all this — to tell you guys about the things I find annoying but then turn around and be like aww yeah, that Rule is a good male lead. I guess he’s just interesting is all.

As for the romantic, sexytime bits, LOL, I was reading this before bed right, a particularly adult scene, and I close the book and look at Tony and go to him ‘that was intense’ and he replies ‘oh, so you’re reading one of THOSE books.’ Friends, this is one of THOSE books. There are a lot of sex scenes. THEY ARE NOT AWFUL. Granted, Shaw is like magically really good at sex her first time, which LOL. But still. Shaw and Rule have chemistry and even better they communicate about what they do and do not like, to the point where Shaw tells Rule when he’s being boring in bed. Shut it down right now, I am all a flutter with excitement over communication. Anyways, if you want a book that does not have terrible sex, get your hands on Rule by Jay Crownover.

Finally, I want to say that although I found myself totally won over by Rule there were a few problematic things. Like, there’s a ton of slut shaming, all ”skanks” and “whores” and “sluts”. The writing can be a bit on the telling side as opposed to the showing side. The dialogue is not always that realistic. But overall, I enjoyed reading this and am able to compartmentalize the things I find unsavory.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. yayay! i’m so happy you enjoyed it! i absolutely love this series to crazy pieces!

  2. This actually sounds very cute /) I’m not a huge fan of contemporary in general .. And contemporary NA misses the mark a lot… But I think I need to give this one a chance!

  3. Rule has been my favorite of the Marked Men series so far. I’ve never given a second thought to tattoos and piercings and then I read this book and now I’m curious 🙂

  4. I struggled with this big time, and ended up putting it down unfinished. I think I read until after Shaw and Rule (seriously, these names are ridiculous) got together the first ime (I’m assuming there is more than one time).

    I don’t know what it was about Rule (the book), that I just wasn’t feeling, because this seemed like my kind of book.

    I’m glad you liked it, though, and I’m considering giving it another try.

  5. I’ve TOTALLY left my book and had to pick up a new one (I’m NOT a fan of reading multiple books…I like to dive into one completely). I feel your pain (and totally laughed in sympathy with your opening line).

    Really? With all the drama Rule sounds like he brings, you still liked him? That’s high praise, indeed. Hehe. One of THOSE books. 😉

  6. I think that it’s just fun to read books like Rule sometimes! You kind of have an idea of what you’re getting into before you start, but it’s always interesting to see how the author chooses to get the two characters together in any romance. My sister has also read Rule and liked it, and I know a few more people who have as well. I might just have to cave and read it too!

  7. Eeep! You KNOW how I feel about these books. Especially Rule. I have to talk myself out of re-reading this book like once a week. I am SO FREAKING excited for NASH!! I am also more than biased because the love interest is a nurse and the swoony boys hardly even fall for the nurse!…Why, yes, I am taking out personal aggression on literature…totally normal, right? Love your review! And so happy you loved these!

  8. “Anyways, if you want a book that does not have terrible sex, get your hands on Rule by Jay Crownover.” LOL. But really, though.
    I can totally understand being able to compartmentalize things that usually bother me in this book, because I noticed some of the same things you did. But honestly, there’s no shame in basically just loving a book for entertainment value, and Rule was definitely that for sure. And I loooooooved the way Shaw and Rule communicated, too! I mean, TALKING. Actually talking about things not just having pointless conversations. *butterflies*
    I have these books sitting in a pile on my floor and I stare at them all time because even though I’ve read the first four, I just want to keep reading them. How often does THAT happen? Pretty awesome.


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