Friday, November 7, 2014

A Place To Call Home

"It means I've moved around a lot since I left Loveless.
I never stayed in one place for very long and I've never managed to settle.
I always thought that meant I was adventurous, that I had the soul of a gypsy, but Phil made me realize that i was always looking for a safe place to land, a place to call home.
I have never had that before."
--Jay Crownover Rowdy

Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: William Morros Paperbacks
Pages: 416
Publication Date: October 21st, 2014
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Rule & Jet & Rome & Nash
Goodreads Description

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

Oh, my gosh. Where do I start?!?! Jay Crownover's books, especially her Marked Men series and ESPECIALLY Nash and now Rowdy, speak to me on a very personal level. I swear on all things literary, Saint is the closest character I've found to discovering myself in a literary character.'s scary. Her issues are my issues. Her insecurities are my insecurities. No joke but I'm not here to talk about ALL my love for Nash and Saint (and I could be here all day), I'm here to talk about my book karma with Rowdy. Yes, people, book karma strikes again so this won't be a typical review of Belle and Beast, one because I have no Beasts and two because I want a flow of thoughts. Let's try to do this in an eloquent fashion...pardon my flails...

Rowdy is all about finding a place to belong and the discussion of everything happens for a reason. This is something I have believed in my entire life. There have been too many coincidences and too many amazing things that I have been blessed with to not believe that everything has a purpose and happens in the right timing. There is a higher power working with us and this book is just one beautiful example of it. The main motivator in this mantra is Rowdy...which was surprising to me. I didn't expect this kind of divine theory from a male character which just goes to show how much more he has going on underneath that sexy pompadour. His belief of everything working in its own timing was refreshing and beautiful. For a man who had been dealt a shit hand in his early life I didn't expect him to be so open to accepting things working outside of himself. I loved this and I loved his journey to accepting Salem back into his life.

Salem...Salem is yet another Jay Crownover character that I felt a huge connection to. Saint is still the most like myself in literary form but what Saint lacks, Salem makes up for. Salem left home at 18 after surviving a hell of a controlling father. She never looked back and has been moving around ever since. She's been looking for a place to belong and call home without even knowing it. She was adrift before Phil stepped in and invited her to Denver and I loooooved that she felt a connection and a sense of belonging when she moved to Denver. Of course, Rowdy didn't hurt either. Salem is a complex character still working through her feelings about Rowdy's past with her sister and understandably so. She wants to be somebody's number one. She's sick of being in the shadow of somebody she loves dearly but wants to be appreciated for herself.

Salem and her journey is almost exactly what I am going through in my life right now. Most of you know, I recently started travel nursing over 6 months ago. I've been in San Diego, I'm about to go home for the holidays and spend a month in South America traveling. I don't really know where I'll be moving in January. Maybe back to San Diego, maybe somewhere else, maybe Colorado if there's a job, haha. I can understand Salem's gypsy ways because, let's face it, travel nurses actually call themselves modern day gypsies and I JUST was talking about this with another traveler. So reading Jay's dedication and her introduction felt like she was talking directly to me. I have small moments of panic when I think about January and how I have no idea where I'll be in life but that only lasts like 10 seconds because I truly do believe, like Rowdy, that we all end up exactly where we are supposed to be...but I'm still too far on Salem's team to really know where I belong. I'm still searching for that place that feels right, that feels like I belong. Does that place involve love? Yes, if I'm being honest. I have a feeling I'll settle down location wise when I find somebody worth settling down for. Don't get me wrong I love my family in Wisconsin and I'm hoping to be close by but I want to find my own way and place to call home. While I feel like I do have a home, I've always felt just a little removed from it for some reason. I believe everything happens for a reason and everything happens in God's timing's frustrating to keep being a nomad sometimes. Like Salem, I want to find where I belong.

Okay...back to the book. Detour over. Salem and Rowdy's journey to not only each other but their own self-acceptance in a way was what drove this book. Their relationship was started over a decade prior when they were children and them having a past was just one thing I loved about their relationship. I loved that Salem was the one in Rowdy's childhood that helped him feel like he was worth it. It breaks my heart that not only he but countless children in this world feel this way due to loss and abuse and other heinous circumstances. I loved that Rowdy had somebody there to care. Somebody there to tell him his feelings were important and wanting art over football was okay. I wanted to badly to jump into this book and hug them both as children it just broke my heart. And the way they both are able to come back to one another and not only forgive but grow is just...perfection.

Now, we can't forget our other players in this Marked Men game. The glimpses and moments we get with favorite characters past does NOT disappoint. Major developments are happening everywhere and my heart just bursts with feels for all of them. I love these characters so hard and I love seeing them all so happy and growing and still being utterly devoted to one another. The girl time is especially present in this book and these were some of my favorite chapters. All these females have something beautiful and special and unique to bring to the table and OMG we still have one more book...and a spin off series. I hope you keep spinning Jay because I never want to leave your Denver.

If you haven't started the Marked Men series yet, you are so totally missing out. These books are not just about the sexiness of the men or the fierce will of the women, they are about so much more. Jay Crownover writes real people with real insecurities and real problems. Anybody and everybody could find a character they can relate to. Seriously, read the Marked Men, get your life right. Not only are they emotionally deep...there is that element of sexy men and even sexier times.

If you love reading about real people with real problems with sexy men and women...these books are for you.

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