GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: By the Rules (Evergreen Grove #3) by Elisabeth Staab + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review: By the Rules (Evergreen Grove #3) by Elisabeth Staab + giveaway

By the Rules (Evergreen Grove #3)
by Elisabeth Staab
M/M Romance
Release Date: 1/19/2016
He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.

No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…

AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and attacked by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet haven. He may be lonely, and he may stick out like a sore thumb, but the folks like him well enough. When he’s not dodging his old pimp, things are peaceful.

Hayden Price is having a quarter-life crisis. Engaged to a woman he can’t connect to and working a job he secretly hates, he comes to Evergreen Grove to help his mother through a health scare. Returning to his childhood home makes Hayden reevaluate a lot of things, including himself. When he meets AJ and finds he can’t stand the mouthy jerk—almost as much as he can’t stop thinking about him—he has a lot more to change than his career.

To be together, they’ll both have to break all of their rules.

By the Rules is book 3 in the Evergreen Grove series, but reads as a standalone.


I know, this isn't our usual read, but...Elisabeth Staab is one of my favorite authors. She wrote The Chronicles of Yavn (vampire PNR) and the Lone Wolf series (werewolf PNR) then she went off the rails and started writing contemporary romance. I really don't enjoy F/M contemporary romance. I got my reasons and most of them have to do with the female leads. My exception is gay (M/M) contemporary romance. No time to go into all the reasons, but I love the dynamics and emotional conflicts more than F/M stories. So when Elisabeth wrote a M/M book for her Evergreen Grove romance series I was all over it!

First off, the town of Evergreen Grove is set in NC! That's my state, so right off the bat I was happy. It didn't take long after that for me to fall in love with A.J. and Hayden's story. The story alternates between A.J. and Hayden's first person POV. This kind of threw me before I got a handle on their personalities. But A.J. is a beautiful technicolor unicorn onion! Okay, stay with me on this one...by onion, I mean he has many layers that get revealed as the story progresses. While we get equal POV time from both guys, A.J. is the star of this story. You could tell Staab had a strong connection with this character and was very comfortable with him.

The story has just about every gay and straight romance troupe out there...but they are all my favorites and avoid being cliche. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, it went the other way. Sometimes in subtle ways and a few times in the "BAM, didn't see that coming" way. Plus there is a lot of humor. By the Rules pushed all my buttons! The good ones...

Don't want to spoil all the subplots and relationship highs and lows, but the story left me with all sorts of warm and fuzzies. If you've been M/M romance-curious this is a good one to try.

Here are some of the ways Hayden describes A.J. before he really gets to know him:
"The coffee that I nearly spilled on that bullet train masquerading as a colorfully-dressed asshole."

"Are you some kind of rainbow ninja or something?"

"The technicolor jerkoff is killing me."

4.5 "Curious" Sheep




SharonS

Excerpt (AJ’s POV):
I jog down Main Street to get to Cassie. I’m reaching for the door to Delia’s Coffee Shop and Bakery when the damn thing swings wide to reveal a younger man wearing a suit and tie. At least I think he’s younger. I’m nearly blinded first by his face, and then by the door smacking me in mine.

When I swing around to confront him we collide, hard chest meeting hard chest. I put my hand up to brace myself and wind up grabbing a firm pec, only missing smacking faces when he jumps back with one arm out to avoid smashing his to-go cup. We get close enough that his stubble scritches against mine and I smell mint on his breath as he pulls away.

I guess I should appreciate that in spite of getting harassed by my old pimp and nearly having my nose broken (again) this morning, Cranky Businessman didn’t add second degree burns to my Early Morning Shit List.

“Jesus, man. You know people are coming out of here carrying hot drinks, right?” His accent is strange, but I hear a definite hint of ballsy New Yorker in there, which makes him seem even more of a cocky bastard with his tall, broad body and that pricey Brioni suit he’s wearing. His eyes flare before they narrow and sharpen. He glares at me, coal-dark stare scraping from the top of my rainbow hoodie to the bottoms of my sneakers in judgement.

Yeah, well. Screw him very much

About the Author:
Website-FB-Twitter

Elisabeth Staab started hunting mutant hedgehogs back in 1842… Oops, wrong bio… Elisabeth Staab digs coffee, saucy stories, and sexy things that go bump in the night. Once, she ate dinner in a jail and liked it. She lives in the Washington DC area with her incredible family and does her best to juggle life while ignoring the laundry.

Follow the Tour
For more chances to win follow the tour! You can find the rest of the tour stops HERE.


The Giveaway
There’s a tour wide giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card! 
For a chance to win just fill out the giveaway form below!

48 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the review and can't wait to read the book.

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    1. Thanks for checking it out! Happy reading!

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  2. I really enjoyed your review and got intrigued by the excerpt. I somehow missed this series *gasps*. It's now on the TBR list. :-)

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  3. Thanks and enjoyed your review and the excerpt!

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  4. Thanks for the spotlight and review!

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  5. I love romance that has humor, this one sounds great!

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  6. Very nice review! Definitely a book worth checking out.

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  7. loved your review, looking forward to it

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  8. I am really liking the cover and the great colors you chose.

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  9. This sounds excellent, I'm very excited to read it. I know it can be read as a stand alone but I'm definitely going to read the series. I've been in a rut and this is just the type of story to get me out!

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  10. I liked your review. Love your site. I'm going to have to check this book out.

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  11. Is it true that sometimes the right thing to do isn't in the book?

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  12. Wonderful review and thanks for the update!! Rita Spratlen

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  13. Boy, the mention of North Carolina brings back such wonderful memories. When we were in college my roommate and I worked one summer at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, at a summer camp. We had a blast! The camp was located at the base of three mountains and the scenery and wild flowers were gorgeous.

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  14. Sounds good.

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  15. Love the excerpt. Looking forward to reading . Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  16. Love the excerpt. Looking forward to reading . Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  17. Count me in!!! Sounds like a fantastic read!!! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win & good luck to all who enter!!!:)

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  18. Count me in!!! Sounds like a fantastic read!!! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win & good luck to all who enter!!!:)

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  19. Thank you for the exerpt and review. It sounds like a good read.

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  20. Your review helped me tremendously.

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  21. I liked your review. It makes me curious to read it. thanks for sharing!

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  22. The excerpt sounds really terrific!

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  23. I enjoyed the review, thanks for sharing with us.

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  24. I loved the excerpt! Good luck on the book tour! And thank you for the awesome giveaway!

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  25. "mutant hedgehogs" LOL! Enjoyed the excerpt.

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  26. Awesome review and excerpt -- put it on my to read list -- thanks for sharing and for the giveaway

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  27. awesome review and excerpt -- on my list to read -- thanks

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  28. liked the excerpt, thank you.

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  29. I really enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a great book.

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  30. This sounds super interesting and pretty steamy! I already like A.J...he sounds like a jerk, but still an intriguing character.

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  31. Great review for a great book.
    Marilyn

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  32. Thanks, I enjoyed the excerpt and it sounds intriguing!

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  33. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the review!

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  34. Sounds like a fun book and how can I not read a book that got 4 1/2 sheep. Love the sheep with fangs!!!

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  35. Haven't read it yet, but I have liked other books of your's that I've read. I can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance at giveaways.

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  36. I love your post here today. I appreciate the great writings and books.

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