Monday, April 11, 2016

Built (Saints of Denver #1) By: Jay Crownover

Hey ya'll!! *WAVES
I know I have been super MIA this past couple months, and I will have a new post up soon explaining everything... But until then I wanted to drop by and leave a fun review for one of my fav authors.
I got involved with Jay Crownover's books back when ROME came out a couple years ago. And I've been hooked since.
I was still a newbie blogger, maybe out there a whole 6 months (If even that) when Harper Collins found me somehow and reached out to be a part of the awesome puzzle style cover reveal.
Pretty sure it was actually the first cover reveal I ever did... And I was just like I have no clue what I'm doing. You mean this is a thing blogs do??? How do I know what to do??? Do you contact me??? Do I contact you??? GOWWWDDDD I was so lost hehe.
Then that next summer I went to Book Bash in Orlando and actually got to meet Jay. I think I had maybe read Rule and Jet by that point (I had a hard time with the books that follow different characters in each book back then) And I knew Rome because I had done the cover thing, so I was so excited to actually get to meet her. I had no idea what I was getting into haha (I've met Jay I think 3 times now, and every time is a cool experience. She is so fun and crazy and I remember that first time so well though because she was actually pretty tame that meeting, and after my last couple times I'm just like wait was that the same author hehe)... That whole event in general was another new crazy experience. I had no idea what I was getting into with that (It was so overwhelming, but one of the best experiences I've had)
But I can now proudly say I have come a far way from that point, and have fallen even more for the amazing men Jay writes.

Book Bash 2014
(I share this pic so you can see how big of a dork I was during all this. I mean can we talk about the fact you can't even see my eyes in it haha. But seriously it was such a fun event, and I really introduced me to so many new authors that I read religiously now)

Decatur Book Festival 2015
(Hey look I'm wearing the same shirt haha. I'm dubbing it the signing shirt from this point on lol.
Same cheesy smile, and still no eye balls to be found, but it's a little less fangirly looking lmbo)

Apollycon 2016
(See I can be way more normal now. Still no eyes in the pic, but I don't look like a total weirdo haha. Authors are like my rock stars though. So a little fangirling can be expected hehe
I feel like I have come a far way from that fort picture though, I can act more like a professional blogger than a weirdo freak lol)

Also something I want to add is I've never actually physically read any of Jay's books... What am I talking about you ask????
A friend back when I started these was introducing me to audio books, and RULE just happen to be my first ever audio. And I mean if you haven't done these books in that format you are seriously missing out. The narrators for every book from her are the most amazing people,and after starting her books that way I could never actually bring myself to read them on my own.I mean I have here and there when I couldn't pull an audio out and would have to go to my nook instead. But her books on audio are an experience all their own. And while I've mentioned listening to audio books before I'm not sure I've ever done an audio book review, so I will have some fun this review and do a hybrid of sorts and give you a review, and an audio review. Wish me luck haha ;)

Sometimes a real hero lets you save yourself . . .
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation while Zeb spends his working with his hands. But none of that has stopped Zeb from wanting the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her—even if the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest.
Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior. When he shows up at Sayer’s door needing her professional help, she’s both disappointed and relieved that she won’t get the chance to find out just how good he could be.
But as they team up to right a wrong and save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide cannot be ignored.

So now that you know some of my past with blogging, and get to see in full color the depths of my dorkyness let's get this thing started.

Like I said above... I listen to all of these books in audio form. It started back with The Marked Men books, continued with the Welcome To The Point books, and now I'm keeping it going with the Saints of  Denver. 
Let me make something clear though. It's not that I don't enjoy jay's books as books. I just a have a few authors that I prefer to listen to the adios of (Kristen Proby, Jay, Christina Lauren)
All of those books are amazing regular reading style, but when you listen to them, it just changes something, and makes the books about 187% better. The narrators chosen for each character are matched to that character perfectly. I mean it would be exactly the way I would picture them sounding in my head. And I really can't tell you how much I want to convince you to go listen to all of Jay's books in that format. It will seriously change the way you see them. You will love them even more than you already do.
It adds so much depth to the feelings jay is able to write her characters having. Especially with Sayer and Zeb in this case. Both characters are a little... broken? I'm not sure that's really the word I want. But they have both been through a lot in their lives and when I listened to this one the narrators were able to portray those emotions and struggles in such a way that had my emotions all over the place. (if you don't know, I'm not very emotional when it comes to that sort of thing. I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry... This wasn't one, but that doesn't mean that it didn't wring me listening to it.) Jay has a way of writing that speaks to the reader in general. She creates these characters that are relatable, and a bit larger than life. But still makes them so normal and you get to see the things they struggle with. She makes you feel the things they do with her writing, and let me tell you. An author that has an ability to connect her characters and story that well with readers is an amazing one in my book. We get all the hot heavy romance, but still with the soft gentle struggling aspect that makes these fictional characters real in a way. And allows for the reader to connect to them like they were someone they met on the street rather than are reading about in a fictional book. I could totally picture myself hiring Zeb to come do work on my new house I just moved into, or grabbing a drink with Sayer after work.

I want to kinda jump to Sayer and Zeb themselves after all that. Because now that I've babbled on about how real they seem I guess I should explain them a bit more huh?

I'll start with Sayer, as is my normal style to start with the heroin.
I really liked her character. While I normally take to Jay's male characters more (I mean who wouldn't. They are tatted, pierced, a little broken, romantic, amazingly kind... Ok I'll stop haha)
I really think Sayer may be one of my favorite female characters Jay has written yet. I mean just her job alone blows my mind. She is fierce and loyal to her clients, and really does a job that is mostly male dominated better than any man could. She also picked up and  moved her entire life to be close to family she didn't even know she had until very recently. That alone takes guts. I know personally the farthest I've ever moved from any of my immediate family has been 5 hours and I traveled home any chance I got. Now while my situation is much different from Sayers. Even moving away from the familiarity of my home for literally the unknown scares me and I couldn't imagine doing what she did at all. And I actually think that makes me like her more. Because she did something that I wish I could and was brave enough to do, and she gives me hope I would be able to do something like that if I ever had to. Fictional characters can be role models too ya'll!!

I know I mentioned that both Zeb and Sayer were sort of broken characters (Still not sure that is the word for it, but we're going to go with it until I find a better one)
Sayer's family experience is one I wouldn't wish on anyone. It was loveless and dull to say the least. Lacking of any sort of compassion or color mentally and physically. Sayer is the epitome of put together and proper, but because of the way she was raised she lacks the sparkle and vibrancy of life. That is until the very colorful Zeb enters her world. He shows her that life isn't all muted grays and blacks and that even the smallest things can bring joy and life to something. But it isn't only him that manages to do this for her. Rowdy and Salem, along with Salem's sister Poppy and the whole Marked men crew in general do what they can and help Sayer in their own ways. Poppy especially. In helping her, Sayer begins to see things differently and wants to be different. She sees that there are people who need her. And in caring for someone who could be a little more broken than she is helps her to fix things about herself as well.
She is a great character to watch grow as the story progresses, and I'm so happy Jay decided to give us her story.

So on to Zeb I guess...
This man... Gosh, he just is one of those incredible Jay Crownover men I was telling you about. And this on eis all tattooed and bearded??? Yes please! I have a love for those me. Fictional or not hehe.
But Zeb is just sort of special. He is one of those characters tat is fiercely loyal to the people he loves and cares about. To the point that he is willing to do whatever he thinks needs to be done to protect them. No matter the cost to himself. 

I will admit, I was completely intrigued by him back in The Marked Men and the more we learn about him the more I fall in love with him.

Zeb has been through some pretty crappy things in the pursuit of taking care of the people he loves. One decision in particular he did to protect someone dear to him had lasting repercussions Zeb fights with every day. Not because he is fighting his demons really, but because that decision changed the course of his life and he has to work extremely hard to prove he isn't the bad guy. It breaks your heart in a way to see such a good person struggle with that sort of situation when the only reason they were put in it was because of love for someone.

But I have to say. Zeb is incredible in the fact that despite dealing with all of his other problems he works extremely hard and is even willing to change things about his entire life when a new person is thrown into the mix of things. He works so hard to prove he is the kind of person this new one needs and will do whatever he must to be a part of their lives. While also balancing his new relationship with Sayer and deciding if she is willing to accept him, flaws and all. (Yes there is another person that comes into Zebs life.... And I'm not talking about Sayer. Obviously haha. But I won't give anything away. Don't worry ;) )

But all that Zeb goes through for even just Sayer... Trying to win her over and help her deal with her own internal issues proves the kind of man he. He really cares for her and wants to help. But even he has his breaking points too, and Sayer has to decide if he's worth it.

I also want to talk about Poppy a little before I wrap this baby up. She is Salem's sister, yes Rowdy's Salem. And if you remember back in Rowdy, she moved in with Sayer after wanting space from Salem when she moved to Denver to escape her awful past and be able to start healing.
She is this shy little thing, scared from what she went through, but on the mend. Sayer sort of takes her under her wing and tries to give her an environment she will feel comfortable in. But Poppy kinda has this way of not only being able to heal herself but also helping Sayer to as well (Sort of like I mentioned above) We see these two women who have such different experiences but who retreat into their selves to protect them. And while small things like letting Poppy pick a color of a wall seem sort of insignificant. Giving her a choice at something has a way of helping to put her on the mend. And while yes, Sayer really deals with some intense stuff. Poppy to me is the one I kinda looked up to throughout the story. She is just so inspiring in the fact that she was able to go through what she did,and yet still be strong enough to say that won't stop me.It may slow me down, but I will get back up, and I will be even stronger no matter how much time it takes. It really stuns me sometimes how attached to the supporting characters I become. Because while I loved Sayer and Zeb, Poppy and that other person I won't say who they are really touched my heart and I think had the biggest impact on me.

This story was definitely one of my favorites that Jay has written. (I'm sure by now I've explained my whole not ever crying thing in enough posts... I am an emotionless weirdo for those who don't know.... No not really, I just don't cry very often or anything) And while this book didn't make me cry, it definitely had me feeling things. It was just such a beautiful story about finding some sort of peace with your past and almost even redemption in ways. But also was such a great story at proving everyone deserves to be loved and cared for, even when you've been told you don't or haven't been shown that sort of care and compassion before.

Built is absolutely marvelous, and I hope that I've been able to convince you to at least give it or any of Jay's books a shot. They are truly amazing and by far some of my favorite books.

I give Built: ***** 5 Stars *****