A Review by Wendy
5 All The Answers You Need Stars
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All of us bring something Valuable to "The Table of Life". We may be Stay at Home Moms, Professionals, Blue Collar Workers... Whatever... It doesn't matter what we do....It is who we are and how we live our lives that matter...and Jay Crownover is a perfect example of this.
It is through her writing about her characters and their stories which has opened minds and relationships for many of her readers, I think. She took a different approach in her book Rule, Marked Men. She brought the focus to young people who maybe were the ones others would look at disapprovingly only because they looked different or didn't understand their spirit and the freedoms they chose. By telling these stories with characters who had complex backgrounds which many have lived through themselves or by family and friends...she has enlightened generations to see more clearly the importance of acceptance and loving from the heart.
In all of her books, the characters each have a burden everyone of us can relate to...and it is through the journey of these characters, they grow and so do we.
In Charged (Saints of Denver #2) we catch up with Avett and Quaid, characters from the first entry, Built. These two seem to be from two different universes.
One is a powerful defense attorney, working to be the best in his field. Image, accumulation of all the trappings are important to him. He wears what is the uniform of success, lives in a sterile Ivory Loft Tower looking out over all of Denver decorated with art he could care less about. Quaid has fought to be where he is and being in control of his image, success and how everyone perceives him is everything. It is the part he has been playing for quite a long time and until he crosses path with Avett, he looks to be on track to be partner at his firm.
On the other hand, we have Avett. She has been on her own personal track....one of self destruction...What had been a sweet free spirited child, curious to experiment and go against the easy safe way...turned into a woman determined to make punishing choices... ones destined to hurt her but unfortunately have ramifications on those she loves the most, her family and friends. What was just a wild child... testing her wings turned into a moth...looking to see where the flame was the brightest and if the burn was going to be too much...so much the better.
Avett is in the biggest trouble of her young life. We know of her relationship with her past boyfriend, an abusive one. She was under the spell of thinking she loved him and when the dye was cast... it was revealed to her he was into hard drugs and selling... He made it difficult for her to see clearly... she thought this was the life she deserved...She did things that she hadn't before under his influence...stole from the cash register at the bar her dad sold to Rome. She became entrenched in his dirty dealings and was hurt/almost raped by the drug dealers looking for a stash he had used himself instead of selling. He took her with him when he was running from the dealers. Saying they just had to stop at the bar for a sec caused her to protest, resulting in him smashing her head into the dashboard. He went in, tried to hold up the bar with a gun and all of it did not end well. Asa and Royal were hurt but recovered...and charges were filed.
Avett is being held as an accessory and this is not something her dad can make better with a few hugs and kisses on a hurt boo boo. Avett has always been a daddy's girl and Brite has been this rock for all around him. He is the quintessential badass man. He served in Vietnam, came back to a world which had no clue as to what these guys had experienced. He found brothers in a motorcycle club and a mentor who saw what type of man he could be..The mentor handed down to Brite the bar he had...and the rest is Denver history. Brite ran The Bar and all of the Marked Men and others have been touched by him. He is like a father figure to many and those that listen...turn a lot of what is personally torturing them around. He has looked out for his girl, loved her up through all the bad judgements and told her, "bad decisions make for good stories, Sprite."
We are in the room were prisoners meet with their lawyers. Avett, with her fading pink hair is sitting at the metal table we have all seen on TV and the movies with her hands and feet locked in cuffs. This isn't playtime... this is real and she is scared out of her mind. She thinks she has finally done it... hit the bottom she has been aiming for since that night so long ago.
Ouaid is sitting there with his thousand dollar suit fitting just so, adjusting his cuff over the top of the line Rolex on his wrist and is looking at her 3 inch thick file. There every infraction she has every had with the law is printed and organized. Quaid starts his standard first meeting speech with all of his clients stating he doesn't want to hear her story... and she is to do exactly everything he says... period if things are to go the way she wants.
Well, nothing goes standard where Avett is concerned... and Quaid's first encounter with her is a telling one...He has handle the slim of the slime and gotten them cleared of charges he was sure they did. But that wasn't his job... his job was to represent and do his best...Yet with this woman... he actually senses she had nothing to do with the robbery or anything the ex boyfriend is saying.
Her pleading to not call the father for bail has him shocked when she says she will fire him if he does...
Quaid does reach out to Brite and Avett is stunned yet relieved to see her father and mother are both there for her arraignment. The process happens and it is the start of what is to come for all of them. While awaiting trial, it is a way for Avett to work through all the pain and hurt inflicted to her mom over the years; a way to look at her life and why doing nothing was her go to action...and trying to learn what all of these feelings she has for Quaid mean if anything...for anything to do with her is destined to destroy him...
Ouaid goes through his own reckoning; the past childhood and scars he has worked so hard to hide sneak into his exchanges with Avett. She is so real, nothing like the women he had experience with....it is refreshing, exciting and stimulating. She is a spitfire and he is drawn to her even when she is everything his career path does not need.
This tale is so much more than the moving parts. It takes family, parental love and lays it out there for all to see. Children need unconditional love... they need to know you will always be there for them even at the lowest of times...It is during those lowest moments when the security of their place in your heart might be the only thing which brings them back from the brink of self destruction...However, tough choices also may be needed too...
We have characters talking to Avett about her need to punish herself... to always take the wrong choice and why...with one of the strongest lessons told...Of letting go and forgiving yourself of the past is the only way to go forward. It is not to say the past actions will disappear... they will always have happened... but in order to live the life you were meant to ... you must forgive yourself...stop looking for punishment because you think you don't deserve good.
And with Quaid...he learns as much from Avett as she does from him. He realizes he is who he is...and there is absolutely nothing wrong in being the person he is... he starts to see things very differently through Avett's open honest way and it feels good.
Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't tell you of the chemistry between these two is off the charts...But then again, it is a Crownover book.
What I loved most about this book was the revealing dedication to Crownover's mother and her introduction. In the dedication, she gave extraordinary props to mom and my heart turned to goo. In the intro she talked about times in her personal life which gave her a sense of Déjà vu while writing this character Avett. She also addressed the need to write the character as she comes, not worrying if she is totally likable... for it is the need of her to be true to the character.
There are powerful lessons in this book... and lucky for us they are wrapped around characters we want to know more about...we care and become involved from the first page. Take the lessons; enjoy the story. There is more to come and I cannot wait.
A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.
About Jay Crownover
I'm supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I'm an natural redhead even though I haven't seen my real hair color in years, I'm a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I've been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that. I love to write, love to read and all I'm interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. Thanks for taking the time to check my stuff out....