Review: Built by Jay Crownover (Saints of Denver #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by HarperCollins via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.

She was pliable and liquid, melting into my touch and wrapping around me like she no longer had bones or any sort of structure to keep her upright. I was the only thing holding her together and straight and that made me growl in deep satisfaction. I would craft her, mold her into something that was made up of nothing more than desire, want, need, and satisfaction if she gave me the opportunity.

My introduction to Jay Crownover's writing was via Rule in 2013, the series starter to her widely successful Marked Men series. Since then, she's gone on to make quite a name for herself, becoming a bestselling author with not just one, but now two successful series--Marked Men and The Point. After having read both Leveled, the prequel novella, and Built, the first full-length novel, I have no doubt that her Saints of Denver series is going to be joining the ranks of her first two. Built was a book that I had no problem reading in one sitting, not even getting up to go get a drink of water or take a bathroom break. Nope. Zebulon "Zeb" Fuller and Sayer Cole's love story held me captive from the prologue all the way to the last word in the epilogue. There's nothing easy or simple with their story, but it's the kind that proves that the things and the people worth fighting for are the ones that may leave you battered and bruised emotionally, but boy, the rewards could last you a lifetime, if you only decide to say yes and take a chance.

There was very little that felt familiar about this book, and the fact that I ended up loving Zeb was a surprise because bearded guys, whether in real life or in the books I read, have never really done it for me...until the big guy with the equally big heart came along, that is. The book went in a direction I wasn't expecting, and Sayer being the closed-off lawyer with an icy exterior was something that I actually appreciated because then we get to witness the transition she goes through in the story. Zeb's is one that you see coming because of the new circumstances in his life, and it makes him even more endearing. When he and Sayer are together, we glimpse at the Sayer waiting to come to life--the one that wants to feel and experience whatever life throws her way. The years of emotional abuse her father put her through, however, weigh heavily on her, and as strong as her feelings are for Zeb, she wavers on whether to pursue anything with him. I loved how Zeb decided to handle the situation and respected how it was all necessary.

Many challenges stood before Zeb and Sayer, both as individuals and in terms of their being a couple. I don't want to give away what other things they had to face together aside from their potential relationship, but suffice it to say that it was what grabbed my heart and refused to let go. I became as emotionally invested as Sayer did because it was difficult not to, not with the potential of the broken hearts that would be left behind if things didn't work out. I rooted for Zeb and Sayer because these two so needed a happy ending together, especially Sayer who never really knew what love and family was about until she met her half-brother Rowdy St. James. This was a story about recognizing the things about ourselves that may be holding us back from leading the kind of lives that would bring us peace, love, acceptance, and joy. Making those changes can often be difficult, but we have to make the decision to do so for ourselves and at times, need to re-build from the ground up. Jay Crownover knocked it out of the park with Built. Five-plus stars. ♥

Release Date: 05 January 2016

Date Read: 05 January 2016

Learn more about Jay Crownover.

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