Review: Leveled by Jay Crownover

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I have a secret to tell you.

I’m not into M/M love stories.

There. The truth is out. But, but… but. Jay Crownover released a new series, called the “Saints of Denver,” and I thought, “okay, Kim, time to show yourself (and your mother) that you have restraint. You have willpower. You CAN save money, dammit! You will NOT buy ‘Leveled.’ You just won’t.” You’ll read other people’s reviews on Goodreads and, THEN, purchase that real first full novel in the series.” See, restraint? I got this.

Um. No, I didn’t.

I read other people’s reviews. I saw that it had an average of 4 point something stars in Goodreads ratings. So, I tell myself, “you’ve spent money on books that you stupidly thought were good when they only had 3 point something ratings, what’s 3 bucks for a novella that’s marked by a 4-star rating, minimum?” Restraint? I don’t understand that word.

If there is an addiction-support group for book nerds/collectors, I’m a definite shoe-in. Especially if they’re luring me in with free books.

But, I digress.

Like I said earlier, M/M books ain’t my speed. However, this one was written in 2 stars Ms. Crownover’s signature romantic and dramatic flair that I often forgot that the main characters were both male. Orlando “Lando” Frederick previously appeared in Ms. Crownover’s “Marked Men” series; he was Remy Archer’s secret lover in Rule’s book.

Okay, wanna hear another secret? I never read Rule’s book.

Yup. I just happened to jump into Jet’s book, after Goodreads recommended I get into it a long time ago. Then, I just downed Rome, Nash, Rowdy, and Asa’s books like water. I felt like I got Rule’s story already, just by reading the other books in sequence. There was no point in going back and reading Rule’s story, when I already know how it went. Similarly, if you’ve read Marked Men before, and you’re just diving into Lando’s short story, then you’ll get it as well.

Now, comes a big question: should one read “Marked Men” first before starting “Saints of Denver?” My personal opinion is: I think if you’re starting with “Built,” then you need not go over the Marked Men books first, since they have completely different storylines. But, if you gave in to the little devil on your shoulder, like I did, and got “Leveled” first, then you have to kinda sorta perhaps have an idea of the Marked Men. You may not appreciate Lando and Dominic Voss‘ story if you don’t know some of the characters who made cameos here Again, that’s my opinion. You, of course, have the opinion to ask Ms. Crownover herself.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, my review for “Leveled.” It was okay. The sexy scenes were hot (thank you, Ms. Crownover). Dom was hotter. Lando, I feel for ya, hon. Thank goodness you got over the guilt and drama over Remy. Plus, the book made me salivate all the more for Sayer’s story, after Lando met her at his gym here.

Gotta remind myself, though, about that thing called restraint. Knowing Ms. Crownover’s penchant for writing serial books with interlinking characters, I think I might be addictively spending more $$ just to beat my own devil-book back.


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