Series: Welcome to the Point #1
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: eARC, 384 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.
Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.
Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.
Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.
Though I don’t read a lot of dark stories, I have been known to partake in some grittier reads every now and then. Better When He’s Bad was one of my most highly anticipated books of spring because it was written by Jay Crownover. I know how well Jay writes pierced and tattooed bad boys with hearts of gold, but I couldn’t wait to see how she handled a darker story with a guy who truly was bad. Better When He’s Bad had a very different feel than any of the other of Jay’s books that I’ve read and I enjoyed it nearly as much as the others. I feel like this is going to be more of a ramble than a review, so bear with me.
To call Bax a complicated character would be an understatement. He was sexy, tattooed and trouble with a capital T. An ex-convict who has spent his life on the wrong side of the tracks, with the wrong friends and the wrong women, Bax wasn’t looking for redemption. He wasn’t looking for love. I knew before I started the book that he wouldn’t be the totally swoonworthy book boyfriend type. I expected some amount of redemption for his past and I had a pretty good feeling I’d be in for some seriously sexy scenes because he just seemed like the type to ooze sex appeal. I wasn’t wrong about any of this. I just didn’t know how deeply his story and his sacrifices would affect me.
Dovie was the complete opposite of Bax in so many ways. The only things they truly had in common was that they both grew up in The Point and they both loved Race and they wanted to save him. Where Bax was hard and cold, Dovie was light and thoughtful. She truly was a good girl. She was also incredibly strong and determined. If you’re looking for a book with a smart and tough heroine, you’ve found it.
There was no insta-love or even insta-lust between Dovie and Bax. Dovie was far from Bax’s type and he wasn’t at all impressed. Dovie knew guys like Bax would be nothing but trouble and she didn’t have time for it. Somewhere, however, along the way, they found a way to come together against the streets they were fighting. Bax protected Dovie and Dove humanized him. Once the sexual chemistry began to build between them, I knew it was all over. And you want to talk about some HOT scenes? This book has them. Holy hell. I was hiding my iPad from my fellow passengers because I was afraid they’d see the dirty talk and judge me. Let me tell you, Bax does dirty talk well. But these two shared more than just hot times in bed (ahem, and other places). The built something very real, even if neither of them was willing to admit it.
There was more than a little mystery to this book, too. There were a lot of questions to be answered and Jay did a fantastic job with this complex plot and these characters. I thought the book was well-paced. I read the majority of it during a flight and had a really difficult time sitting it down when it was time to get off the plane. I had no idea what path the story would take and couldn’t have predicted it all had I tried. I truthfully didn’t expect to get emotional over this book, but I can’t deny that I spent a good portion of my flight home with tears in my eyes as I finished the book.
Bax and Dovie both undergo quite a transformation during this book. There’s no way they couldn’t have with all they’d seen and done. But what I loved most about it was that their transformations seemed so authentic. Nothing was forced or unrealistic. Love does have the power to change and it did indeed change both of them. This book shows that sometimes the last person you think you need can end up being the best thing to ever happen to you, even if the road is rough.
There were several scenes in this book that were so powerful and tense that they took my breath away. I wasn’t kidding when I said I read portions of the last part of the book while trying to keep tears from streaming down my face in public. Had I been reading at home, I’d have probably given in to the emotions and had a good hard, ugly cry while I read those scenes.
Jay has a great blurb at the end of this book about why the Welcome to the Point series won’t have a playlist. In it she explains how the sound track to this series is the sound of the streets and that The Point is as much of a character in this story as the people who live there are. I actually got chills when I read this. Jay did a fantastic job of giving life to The Point during this book. The Point is unlike any place I’ve ever experienced in my life – or any place I ever want to – but it was so well explained in such detail, I was able to see, hear and feel it for myself. I felt like I was living it right along with the characters. I’m beyond intrigued by these characters and their stories, and The Point itself. Oh, and the teaser for Better When He’s Bold at the end of this book? Holy crap. I’m completely hooked and I need more of this story ASAP.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.