I've really done an about face over the last year when it comes to audio books. I enjoy listening on my daily commute and I almost almost have one downloaded from my library's Overdrive app that I'm currently listening to (in addition to whatever I'm currently reading). However, I'm a total purist when it comes to reading and while audio books can be fun, for me it's never as rich an experience as actually reading the physical book. Because of that, my thoughts are pretty brief and I'll be combining a couple reviews in each Sound Bites post.
Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover
Narrated by: Sophie Eastlake and Michael Rahhal
Synopsis: 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.
WHAT I LIKED: Shaw and Rule were both characters that I connected with and felt for. Both were damaged and dealing with issues that shaped how they lived their lives. I enjoyed seeing how their differences (the good girl who always conformed and the bad boy who didn't care what anyone thought of his choices) both kept them apart and drew them together. I loved how they were so accepting of one another. There was a fun cast of secondary characters and the dual POV totally worked for me. Even some of the oh-so-familiar tropes didn't bother me (good girl/bad boy, total manwhore) because I was so invested in the characters.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The "big secret" Shaw had been keeping was painfully obvious and by the time it was revealed was almost anti-climatic. Also, all the heart to heart talks Rule had with his brother and friends felt so implausible. I just don't buy that these 20-something guys were sitting around discussing their feelings and relationship woes like they did. Not believable.
Jet (Marked Men #2) by Jay Crownover
Narrated by: Callie Dalton and Cal Wembley
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 Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand 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?
WHAT I LIKED: I liked seeing these two secondary characters from the first book in the series get their own story. Jet's loyalty to his mom continually put him in difficult situations and while sometimes it seemed over done I couldn't help but admire his desire to protect his mother. Jet was hard-working and focused and I just really enjoyed his character. And the ending was so good it helped make up for some of the stabby thoughts I was having for Ayden. While I wasn't quite as invested in this one as I was with Rule (the first book in the series) it was still a really enjoyable read.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Ayden made some seriously stupid choices and refused to just talk to Jet about what was going on in her life. She was (almost irrationally) determined to keep her past secret and instead of trusting Jet she made decisions on her own that affected them both. (Characters who make these self-sacrificing decisions because it's what's "best" for the other person is a big pet peeve of mine.) The whole "old Ayden and new Ayden" thing was overdone and became too repetitive. Ayden's determination to keep the secrets of her past was really run into the ground.
Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Narrated by: Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell
Actually, he looked like a god. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out. I might have picked it up. I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers. I might have held on to the mystery man's phone for days, until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me. So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk's office. I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first, though.
I didn't expect him to text back.
I didn't expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn't expect to fall for him - all before we even met.
WHAT I LIKED: Stuck-Up Suit was fast-paced, with lots of banter and had a twist that I did not see coming. Soraya was a sassy Brooklyn girl who took no crap. Graham really was a stuck-up suit and could be a jerk, but I actually warmed to him pretty quickly. I thought his back-story (both with his mother and with his ex) was interesting and went a long way in explaining who he was. I liked the fact that he never wavered from what he wanted and he never gave up even when his situations arose that made his life more complicated.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The lightning speed at which Soraya and Graham's relationship progressed kind of made my head spin. They went from meeting, to sex, to being all up in each other's lives in the blink of an eye. And a decision Soraya made three-quarters into the story almost ruined the whole thing for me. I really can't stand it when a character makes some self-sacrificing decision about a relationship without discussing it with their partner because they decide it's what is best for the other person. Naturally, it's always the wrong decision and makes everyone miserable and unhappy. In this case, it changed my feelings about Soraya because it was such an asinine decision and also because, from a writing standpoint, it felt like drama for the sake of drama when it really wasn't needed. It *really* annoyed me here and lessened my overall enjoyment of the story.