Monday, February 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Better When He's Bold by Jay Crownover


From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover, comes the second book in a combustible new series, Welcome to the Point, that is sexier, darker, and better than ever.

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who is bad. . . . Welcome to the Point.

In a dark and broken kingdom, a ruler has be fearless to control the streets and the ruthless people who run them. Race Hartman is just bold enough, just smart enough, and just lost enough to wear the crown. Places like The Point will always have bad things and bad people, but the man in control of all that badness can minimize the devastation. Race has a plan, but can he prevent total annihilation without destroying himself?

Brysen Carter has always seen the real Race—a guy too pretty, too smooth, and way too dangerous. Basking in his golden glow is very tempting, but Brysen knows she’ll eventually get burned. She has enough problems without the risky danger and mayhem that comes with a guy like Race. Too bad Brysen faces a threat close to home that might be more dangerous than anything The Point has ever produced.. And the only person interested in keeping her safe is the one man she can’t allow herself to have.

Sometimes being bold is the only way to stay alive. But can she let Race save her life . . . if it means losing herself to him?

4 Star Review by Trinette Dungee

On the outside Brysen Carter seems to have it all. She pretty, she drives a fancy car and she’s from a well off family but Brysen’s life is anything but easy. Her mom’s a pill-popping alcoholic and her dad’s a gambling addict whose pretty much lost everything they own. She’s had to move back home to watch out for her little sister and try to hold everything together before her family completely falls apart. To make matter worse she’s got a stalker who sends her strange text messages and tries to run her down in dark parking lots. Add to that, the one person who might be able to help her is the one person she knows she should stay away from, her best friend’s older brother Race. Race is your classic pretty boy; he’s charming, charismatic and considering he’s involved in all sorts of illegal activity…he’s all sorts of bad news.

With Race Hartman, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get. He’s a former trust-fund baby. When Race learned of his father’s less than ethical business involvements and the fact he has younger sister who his father tried to have killed, has Race leaving his privileged lifestyle and running to what he now sees as his family- his half-sister and his best friend. Race works the illegal circuit to help take control of and turn around the ugliness that is “the Point”. Through his sister Race meets Brysen who he is immediately attracted to but the ice-queen doesn’t make it a secret that she wants no parts of him and his world. But when he learns that Brysen is in trouble he does everything in his power to help and protect her.

I’m a huge Jay Crownover fan; have been since I first read Rule. I’m such a fan of the Marked Men Series that I was afraid to try a new series but I decided to bite the bullet. With this book I’ve done something I’ve never done before…I PURPOSELY read it knowing there was a previous book in the series. I also just glanced at the synopsis; I didn’t fully read it so I kind of went into this blind. Well, I’m happy to report that I am a bigger Jay Crownover fan! The first line to hook me into this story was Brysen describing Race. Yeah she described him as good looking, which is pretty typical as stories go but what grabbed me was the way she described him:

Race wasn’t a good guy and my life was hard enough without adding in the kind of complication he was bound to be…Race wasn’t just a bad guy, a criminal, he was the bad guy. He was running numbers, loan-sharking, operating illegal gambling houses, helping his best friend chop and move stolen cars, and making sure every man, woman, and child in the Point knew he was the guy calling the shots on the streets now.

To her credit Brysen does everything she can to deter Race. She’s knows he’s as attracted to her as she is to him. She’s doesn’t encourage or lead him on, in fact she does her best to be as cold and as rude to him as possible. Once Race realizes she’s in trouble Brysen doesn’t stand a change against him. Aside from the fact that he’s attracted to her, she’s his sister’s best friend that makes her his to protect. Race knows she’s hiding something and that her “icy-exterior” is what keeps her from falling apart.

“Race . . .” She trailed off and all I wanted to do was scoop her up and put her somewhere flat and climb all over her. She was hurt, and it was totally inappropriate, but my libido didn’t care. “Why are you doing this? I’m friends with your sister, not you. I’ve never even been very nice to you. Why are you being so helpful?”….
“I take care of my own, Brysen. Like it or not, that includes you.” I stepped away from her as her pretty mouth fell into a little O of surprise. I was getting to the bottom of what was going on with Brysen Carter, and while I was at it, I was kicking down that stupid wall she had erected between us.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a  “romance book” if you will, where the “bad guy” is really a “bad guy”. Yes, he does have redeeming qualities but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a criminal.  I mean where was my “oh he’s not really a criminal, in the end we find out that he didn’t really do it”? Oh, he did it all right and then some.  Race doesn’t hide who he is or even attempt to sugar coat it for Brysen.  And that’s what really works for me with this book and I hope the series. This guy is exactly who he is, he doesn’t apologize for it. It’s simply “this is my life, this is my life-style…can you handle it?” Which gives Better When He’s Bold that realistic edge that I love.

In fact the characters from the “Better When He’s Bad” are still “who they really are”.  There is no “at the end of the story they see the error of their ways and go on the straight and narrow”. Nope everything’s not wrapped up in a nice neat pretty bow at the end. They are still the same people involved in the same activities knowing that at any given moment it could all come crashing down; they just hope for the best. Brysen’s best friend (and Race’s sister) pretty much sums it up when she describes her life with her boyfriend Bax ,

Bax has a scary and dangerous life, but he leaves it in the Point when he comes home to me, and that’s where I want it to stay. I trust him to keep himself safe. I trust him to keep me safe, and that’s all that matters to me.”

These guys are pretty much products of their environments dealing with the hands there were dealt the best way they know how.

In the midst of all the criminal activity and stalking going on there is the sexual tension and attraction between Brysen and Race. Brysen eventually gives into to temptation and Race gladly accepts. I love how Race is so straight forward with her about what he wants or what he sees happening between them.

“This”—he pointed a finger between him and me as he pulled open the car door—“is happening. Maybe not now because it isn’t a good time for you, and maybe not later because I might not be around all that long, but at some point in between, sooner or later, it’s going down. Be ready for it, Brysen.”

“I don’t really think that’s a great idea. Besides, we haven’t even touched on the fact that I do officially have a stalker.” He took a step even closer and the finger he had used to rub my cheek he now used to push some of my hair back behind my ear. It was probably the most kind, most reverent touch I had felt from another person in my life. That it was coming from this complex and troubling man hit me in all of my warm and squishy places.

Of course during all of this Brysen and Race learn that they have more in common than they thought. Each realizes the lifestyles they had growing up where just facades. They realize the ugly truths about their families and are there to help the other find a way to move passed the hurt and disappointment.

As I mentioned I didn’t read Better When He’s Bad but you can rest assured that I'll be snatching it up as well as any other books that come out in the story. I love, love, love a story line that has supporting characters that you know will end up with their own stories. Titus’ story is next and I’m just hoping there will be a book for Booker and Karsen. Where as my Marked Men were edgy…these Point Men promise to be edgier and sexier and I have a new favorite series.

About Jay Crownover:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs. 

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