Monday, September 21, 2020

Devil's Rock Series Review by Sophie Jordan

2020 has been the year where I try to finish up my series that I'd started and hadn't finished. The Devil's Rock series by Sophie Jordan was one of those series. I have happily completed this series and couldn't be happier.

All Chained Up
Devil's Rock #1
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

Published by Avon
Release Date: March 29th, 2016

There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .

“When the prison doors are open, the real dragon will fly out.”—Ho Chi Minh

I wrote the review for All Chained Up back in 2017. Here's a link to my original post.

My Review:
I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews surrounding this book, and I can see where some of the complaints might be, but I still adore this book.

Briar Davis had a violent father and is afraid of falling for someone like him. When her boss asks her to volunteer to help at the Devil Rock prison in the clinic Briar is so not excited to participate. Too bad no one else wants to volunteer and Briar wants a promotion so next thing she knows she’s walking into a maximum-security gated prison. The prison is where she meets Knox. He’s delicious and sexy and very dangerous. Knox has been in prison for eight years with his brother on a murder charge. Knox immediately wants Briar even though he knows he will never have a chance with her. Then a dangerous situation hits the prison and Knox saves the day which lands him a reduced sentence. Knox didn’t expect to see briar again, but when they run into each other the chemistry they were trying to deny while at Devil Rock prison evaporates.

I loved this book so very much. This is the first book in the series and it really kicks off the series with a bang. I have read Sophie Jordan’s YA series and I wanted to finally check out one of her adult romances. She did not disappoint and I could not be happier to find that she writes YA as well as she writes adult romances.

Briar and Knox both get POV’s in this story, which is always a win in my book. Knox has been through a lot and he is trying to deal with being out of prison and the struggles that come along with that. Being in a relationship with Briar is difficult because he doesn’t think he deserves her, and a lot of people look down on him for being a prior criminal. He has to jump through some extreme hoops to get to a spot where he feels he deserves her. Briar has some hand-ups due to her abusive alcoholic father. Briar is concerned when she starts falling for Knox that she’s falling into old patterns. The relationship between Knox and Briar were drawn out nicely to show they had a relationship outside the swoon-worthy sexual relationship.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this story was the prison scenes. I feel like this book shined a light on the prison system. The difficulties with how people can get more time to their sentence for scenarios out of their control, what solitary confinement does, power trippy guards, and the difficulties a lot of them have when they get out of prison.

I really enjoyed All Chained Up. I enjoyed getting to know the other characters in the next couple of books will be about. I loved Briar and Knox and the difficulties and struggles they faced both together and individually.

Hell Breaks Loose
Devil's Rock #2
Mass Market Paperback, 359 pages
Published by Avon
Release Date: July 26th, 2016

Hell hath no hunger like a man let out of a cage . . .

Shy and awkward, First Daughter Grace Reeves has always done what she’s told. Tired of taking orders, she escapes her security detail for a rare moment of peace. Except her worst nightmare comes to life when a ruthless gang of criminals abducts her. Her only choice is to place her trust in Reid Allister, an escaped convict whose piercing gaze awakens something deep inside her. Reid is nothing like her other captors.

He’s tougher, smarter…and one blistering look from him makes her hotter than any man ever has.

Reid spent years plotting escape and revenge...years without a woman in his bed. For this hardened felon, Grace Reeves isn’t just out of his league—she’s from another planet, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Escaping Devil’s Rock was tough, but resisting this woman could be the end of him. For a man with nothing to lose, protecting her . . . claiming her as his own, becomes more necessary than his next breath.

My Review:
I really enjoyed Reid's story. I got to see a little bit of what type of guy he was in All Chained Up and was thrilled to hear he was going to be getting his own book.

Reid was framed for a murder he didn't commit by his old boss. Now after years in prison, Reid's escaped and looking for payback. He knows he's never getting out of prison, but he wants to take the real villain of his story with him. When he goes to check on his brother he finds the presidents daughter tide up and he knows things just got more complicated. Now his goal is to keep Grace safe while taking down his former boss.

Grace is miserable. She's being forced to marry someone she has no interest in. She gave up graduate school so she could be there for her father on the campaign trail and she's been told she's as exciting as an old candy wrapper. One night she plans to escape, if not for a couple minutes to get some food unsupervised and is kidnapped. She doesn't know what to think of her instant attraction to Reid, but she doesn't trust him.

I enjoyed Hell Breaks Loose. It was fun and I was rooting for Reid and Grace the whole time. I like how Reid just soaked in his freedom and how he took care of Grace when he didn't have to. He was probably my favorite character in the whole book. Not saying I didn't like Grace, I did, but Reid stole the show.

Fury On Fire
Devil's Rock #3
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published by Avon
Release Date: January 31st, 2017

When you live next door to the big bad wolf . . .

After years in prison, North Callaghan is finally free. But the demons haunting him still make him feel like a caged beast. He loses himself in work and hard living, coming up for air only to bed any willing woman to cross his path. So when his new neighbor snares his interest, he decides to add another notch to his bedpost. The only problem? Faith Walters is a white picket fence kind of girl.

Prepare to be devoured.

Faith’s new neighbor is the rudest man alive. He’d rather grunt at her than speak and he takes her “welcome-to-the-neighborhood” scones without a thank you. She knows she should run for the hills from the ex-con. If only he weren’t so smoldering sexy…if only the sounds of him with other women didn’t drift through their shared wall and fill her with longing…and if only he didn’t look at her like they were a collision waiting to happen.

My Review:
Fury On Fire was my least favorite of the series and where I saw the decline in....not quality per se, but just unfinished endings.

We met North in All Chained Up as Knox's younger brother. North is struggling now that he's free. Having spent the majority of his late teens and early twenties in prison all North wants is the guilt to go away. He doesn't feel like he fits anywhere and just buries himself in work, booze, and women.

Faith is so ready to be on her own and out of her father's home. She's excited to live on her own and build her house up. She never expected to meet North, the rudest neighbor in the history of ever. Despite his rudeness Faith is drawn to North and when she isn't thinking of kicking him in the nether region she thinks about kissing him.

I really struggled with this one. North was a dick and he had no real redeeming qualities throughout the book. He was just a douche and it sucked because I would have loved to have read about the North from All Chained Up. Instead, I got this subpar character that I honestly didn't care about.

The other issue with this story was how it ended. It was left very unfinished in my opinion. Spoilers ahead: North and Faith have a fight, North sees a for sale sign at her house, realizes he's a giant douche, and then tells Faith he loves her. The end. Seriously. We don't get to see North and Faith meet each others families or work out their past traumas or anything. It was basically sex and douchy behavior and I wasn't a fan.

Beautiful Lawman
Devil's Rock #4
ARC Edition, 368 pages

Published by Avon
Release Date: December 26th, 2017

From the wrong side of the tracks and with most of her family in jail or dead, Piper Walsh is used to everyone in town thinking the worst about her. It doesn’t seem to matter that she’s worked hard to build a good life for herself. So she isn’t surprised that when she comes into contact with Sweet Hill’s wildly irresistible, arrogant sheriff, Hale Walters, they’re instant adversaries. Piper has nothing in common with the town golden-boy-turned-lawman—and she refuses to be a notch on his bedpost.

Despite rumors, Hale avoids fooling around with the women of Sweet Hill, many of whom are hoping to get him to the altar. But staying out of Piper’s path is proving near impossible. The infuriating troublemaker clearly has no respect for his badge. As she continues to push his buttons, it becomes clear to Hale that he must either arrest Piper—or claim her as his own.

My Review:
I was looking forward to this one since I met Piper in the previous book. Knowing her story was next was definitely something that got me through book three. Piper has had nothing but bad luck since she was born. The town of Sweet Hill is anything but sweet to her and her family. They see her and her sister as nothing but trouble despite the fact that they've never done anything but keep their noses clean.

Piper works a job she hates at the strip club and wants nothing more than to quit. When her sister gets in trouble and ends up at the sheriff's office Piper couldn't be more annoyed that she has to run into Hale, the town Sheriff again. The two of them butt heads like nothing else.

I loved Piper. She was the best. All she wants is to provide a better life for her sister but she's plagued by guilt from the past. I was super shocked at the secret she kept and that definitely kept me flipping the pages in this story.

I liked Piper and Hale's story. It felt realistic and I enjoyed the sizzling chemistry between the two characters. It was definitely an enemies-to-lovers story and I am a sucker for those.

My one big annoyance to this story was Hale. I struggled to like him. He was such a pig, and not in the cop sense. He only wanted to help Piper because he wanted sex and I didn't like that at all. He was pretty aggressive about it too and that was a big turnoff for me.

Beautiful Sinner
Devil's Rock #5
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published by Avon
Release Date: October 30th, 2018

Locked in with the town bad boy . . .

Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.

If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.

My Review:
Beautiful Sinner was another one that was a tad lackluster in my opinion compared to books one, two, or even four. The story and characters weren't nearly as developed or interesting.

Cruz is finally out of prison. Thanks to his sister and Hale he was released early for the crime he didn't commit. Sadly the town doesn't like that he was released and wants to know why he took the fall for something he didn't do.

Bri has been in love with Cruz since middle school but she thought he never noticed her. She's back in the town she hates to take care of her grandmother as her siblings couldn't find the time. Her editor and ex want her to find out and make Cruz a story. Bri just wants to avoid him until it's time for her to go home.

I liked Cruz a lot but I feel like I didn't get an adequate amount of time to get to know him as a character. His parts in the story felt very rushed and they often jumped around it spots.

Bri was a character I could have lived without. I don't know what it was about her character I didn't enjoy, but she just landed flat for me. I didn't like how immature she was in the story and so content to live a miserable life for no real reason.

I didn't hate this story but it wasn't my favorite and it stinks this was the one to round out and complete the series.

Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.

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