Hey everyone! Welcome back and if you’re new, I’m Amanda from A Court of Books and Love.
Today I have a book review for you. It will be spoiler-free.
The book I will be reviewing today is Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones.
**I got this book from NetGalley for my honest review**
This book was originally published in August of 2016. It is the first book in a series called Dirty Money. As of right now (Jan 19th, 2018), there are four books out in this series. I would recommend starting from book one and reading in order.
This book is about Emily, a mysterious female, who meets Shane, a high class man, in a coffee shop in the building where she was trying to get a job and where Shane obviously works. They both need a release so they decide to have a one night stand. Except neither want it to end. But with all the secrets Emily is trying to keep hidden and the war going on between Shane’s family, neither wants, or needs, a relationship. Now Shane and Emily need to figure out how they are going to balance working together along with their own personal lives.
It is an adult book. There is most certainly foul language and sexual content. Also, there are trigger warnings for this book. Please refrain from reading if you are triggered by being outed (there’s mention of blackmailing someone by threatening to tell his wife and the public that he is gay) or miscarriage (used in the form of blackmail).
I ended up giving the writing category 1 out of 2 points.
The writing itself was fine for what it was. There was so much about it that could have been improved on. I believe I had a copy that hadn’t been proofread so there are SEVERAL very noticeable mistakes in writing. There are a TON of inconsistencies. One minute, they are holding their coffee, the next they are picking it up off the table.
I can’t vouch for how it is now because, like I said, I believe my copy wasn’t proofread.
I feel like the writing itself was fine. Definitely potential for improvement but it was easy to read.
I ended up giving the characters 3 out of 4 points.
I really enjoyed the characters. They are definitely well fleshed out and have secrets and quirks that keep them interesting. My issues really have more to do with the story. But these characters were great, the relationship was great.
I took off a point because they seemed to be very flighty with their feelings. Is that a proper description? They would be set in one choice, then the next minute they are feeling the opposite.
The pacing in this got a 0 out of 1 point. (I may have to change how I have this one set up. I may take a point away from Characters and move it to here for future books, this would be a 1 of 2 if I did that)
The pacing just seemed off to me. I was uninterested in the beginning, addicted and invested in the middle, then it just dragged at the end. The fact that nothing was even solved (I’ll talk more about that in the story portion), makes it even worse. It’s a short book (a little over 250 pages) but the last third just DRAGGED.
I gave this book 2 out of 4 points for the story.
The premise of this seems so interesting. It seemed like it would be a quick, smutty read. I figured I would sit down and be invested in the relationship (I always am) and I would get through it quickly. But holy crap, no.
I was invested in the characters and relationship. This issue is that there was SO MUCH back and forth. The characters couldn’t make up their mind about anything.
This book has 3 main things that it’s focused on: the relationship between Emily and Shane, the war between the Brandon family, and Emily’s secrets.
I was left hanging on all of them. I feel like NOTHING was resolved at all in this book. Honestly, I feel like it would have been better if this book lost a lot of the filler scenes and instead went farther into the story. I didn’t need 250 pages of back and forth in a relationship when there were SO MANY conflicts going on.
I feel the story that this book focuses on was literally just an intro. The best part was meeting the characters and seeing how they interact. But I feel that’s all this book really did. Introductions.
I gave this portion 2 out of 4 points.
I really loved this book when I picked it up again after reading the first portion. I was texting my friends and saying how much I was loving it.
But in the end, I was disappointed. I got invested and needed to know what was going on. But then there was just more back and forth and the same stuff over and over again.
Overall, it was a fairly quick read for me but it was highly disappointing after I got invested.
So, overall this book got 8 out of 15 points. That amounts to 3 out of 5 stars.
I most likely won’t be continuing on with this series. It wouldn’t be worth the investment for me. This was too much of an introductory book and I just didn’t enjoy it.
If you’re fine with all of my complaints, I would recommend this. It has an interesting premise and I would like to see how the series ends. I just won’t be reading them myself to figure that out.
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