Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rough Boys Trilogy by J. Vaughn - Trilogy Review

Today I'm featuring J. Vaughn's Rough Boys trilogy. She recently had the third one come out. I purchased the first book but received the second and third. Below is my honest review of the trilogy.

Synopsis: A runaway, a dreamer, a gorgeous femme … are they rough enough to survive the brutal city?

Ty is only seventeen when he flees in terror from his homophobic father, but surviving on the streets is more difficult than he could possibly have imagined. When bad choices send Ty spiraling toward ruin, can he be saved by love?

Dani leaves home with stars in his eyes but his feet on the ground, fully expecting his road to success to be long and difficult. What he doesn't expect is to fall head-over-heels in love with a gorgeous, self-centered rock star. Can Dani find happiness with the arrogant Englishman or will his heart be broken?

Kaeden is banished by his conservative Asian parents when he comes home with extreme hair, false eyelashes, and glittering fingernails. He naively accepts a position with a male escort service, dreaming of fancy parties and wealthy men. Instead he finds himself playing Russian roulette with his heart.

This gritty urban romance follows the lives of these three young men as they forge strong bonds of friendship in spite of, or maybe because of, the challenges they face.

My thoughts: So this book sets the tone for the series. We see a lot of characters, but they're so distinct it's easy to remember who is who and what their story is. That exists through the entire story, which was great because I hate having a hard time remembering the characters. Ty's story is sad, and if abuse bugs a reader, his story will be difficult to deal with. He truly has the worst story of all--so much of what happens to him isn't his fault but he has no choice but to roll with the punches life dealt him. Kaeden's character was adorable in this story. He seemed so shy but  he was in no way self-effacing.

Dani... well, he was interesting, though the most 'normal'. He had a dream, and he sacrificed and worked hard for his dreams to come true. We also have their love interests. Sean and Nigel both needed to grow the hell up, but they were the epitome of their style of character--young, dumb, yet talented. Ben... I had trouble with his perfectness, but he was such an endearing character that I found it easy to overlook.

Synopsis: In this second story of the Rough Boys series, Abe finally finds Ty, but is he too late? Is Ty too broken to be fixed? Admitting to himself that he’s gay and in love with Abe may be the key to Ty’s salvation, but his father’s cruel abuse has conditioned him against the love of another man. And his father isn’t finished with him yet.

Dani’s faith is put to the test when he feels abandoned by Nigel. Is he brave enough to listen to his heart and put the pieces of their romance back together?

Sean falls hard for Kaeden, but the beautiful, exotic femme is not interested in a drug addict who isn’t wealthy enough to support him in the lifestyle he craves, even if Leather’s drummer has a heart of gold and superstar talent. Kaeden’s rejection could just be Sean’s ruin—and his own as well.

My thoughts: I think I enjoyed this story most of all the trilogy. Ty is a character I wanted to take home and cuddle. Abe was a gem. Sometimes his restraint was too much, but I liked that he let Ty make all the moves. And the fact that Ty wasn't miraculously cured from his problems, both the abuse and the drugs, kept this the most realistic.

Dani, though, him I wanted to beat the crap out of. Sure, he'd been hurt before... but the lack of communication was stupid. I am not a fan of 'not talking' as the basis of conflict though, so it annoyed me quite a bit more than it might other people.

Synopsis: Ty and Abe are deliriously happy together—which makes more than one person crazy for revenge. Can they survive Tim’s jealous backlash as well as Ty’s father’s psychopathic “cure” for their relationship?

Dani learns some surprising things about himself as he and Nigel take their relationship to the next level.

Sean and Nigel’s band, Leather, is climbing the charts, but fame and fortune won’t mend broken hearts, and when one of Kaeden’s escort dates goes horribly wrong, Sean takes foolish chances with his life and love.

The boys face more danger and heartache in this gripping final novel of the Rough Boys series.
My thoughts: This story was a good sum up of the first two. We got to see the featured couple, Sean and Kaedan, quite a bit but there were scenes from Abe and Ty's story too. I thought Nigel and Dani got a bit shafted, but they were so happy and had the most stable relationship out of the three, so that was OK. Overall this book was well-written. I expected more internal drama from Kaeden's situation, to be honest, and I'd hoped to see him interact with his family far more as well. Much of the story was from Sean's POV though. I loved his turnaround, and I liked that he had moments of doubt and weakness. It made him more real.
Originally this series was part of an online release. I believe that contributed to my biggest quibble with Revenge. The story skipped much of the angst between Kaeden and Sean. Which is a hard thing to say because, damn, left and right were buckets of drama. But we don't get to see Sean freaking out to the point where the drugs tempt him. We don't get to see Kaeden going from fair to middling emotion-wise to incredibly depressed--instead that part is narrated in as an observation from his mother's POV--and without that I wasn't nearly as connected to the ending. Ty's dad's motivations were all tied up in a neat bow, when I think leaving him without the big redeeming factor would have been better. The ending also felt a bit rushed to me, with Kaeden and Sean's reunion too easy.
 Overall... I enjoyed the story, but as a true contemporary series I had to suspend a lot of disbelief. There were also some timeline problems. Yet I still really enjoyed the story, and the author's ability to make me care about her characters even though I wanted to roll my eyes at a few scenes and the masses of gay boys popping up left and right. J. Vaughn's writing was smooth, and within a few pages I was sucked into each story. The visuals were perfect. I didn't have to try and figure out who was going what, going where, or when the events were taking place. Overall, a very strong 4 out of 5 for the entire series. I'd rate a little lower for the 2nd and third books, if I were doing them individually but since I know that isn't how the stories were originally shared, I decided a 4 star was fair.
If you have a chance, you should pick up a copy of one or all of the eBooks! You can find the series on Goodreads to more reviews, or follow the links to find stores where you can buy the Rough Boys trilogy.

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