Thursday, August 26, 2021

Crooked Crows by Elena Lawson Blog Tour

Crooked Crows. Boys of Briar Hall. Book One. Elena Lawson. Blog Tour.

Unapologetically f*cked up. Heartlessly cruel. Broken beyond repair.

Corvus, Rook, and Grey – The Crows.

Bred in a world of gang wars, violence, and secrets, they rule the bloody town of Thorn Valley and all the people in it… too bad for me I’ve never been good at kissing ass or keeping quiet.

Even if their savage spirits awaken something inside of me I thought was long dead, I can’t break. I won’t.

They think they scare me, that I’ll run and hide, but the joke’s on them. The Crows aren’t the first monsters I’ve faced, and they won’t be the last. There are worse evils out there waiting to take their stab at Ava Jade Mason.

I say let them try. I’m tired of running. Tired of holding back my darkness. Thorn Valley isn’t ready for a new boogie man. Too bad I’m already here.

Crooked Crows is a dark, enemies-to-lovers, reverse harem romance, meaning the main character will have more than one love interest.

Warning: This series contains foul language, explicit sexual content, graphic depictions of gang violence, and jealous/possessive themes. Recommended for readers aged eighteen and up. Please read responsibly.


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Crooked Crows by Elena Lawson

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ava Jade is sent away to a new school by her aunt, after losing her father; who knows where her mother is. Ava Jade is not someone you want on your bad side. She was raised to take care of herself. She doesn't take trash from anyone and when she is pushed by the mean bitchy girl at school, Ava Jade fights back. This puts her on the radar of the "bad boys."

Corvus, Rook, and Grey are The Crows and they run the school. Their adoptive father runs everything else. What these boys haven't learned yet, and they will, is that Ava Jade doesn't back down. The funny thing is that each of the three wants her in some way.

Ava Jade is attracted to each of the boys; she wants to know what they are up to. What kind of bad stuff they are doing and why? Will it get her in trouble or get her pulled into their circle?

I was pulled into this story by the intrigue surrounding Ava Jade and the boys. The attraction between them could be good or might end them all. This is a first for me from this author and I cannot wait for more.

Crooked Crows is the debut in the Boys of Briar Hall series, as well as the first I've read by new-to-me author, Elena Lawson.

I need to preface this review by stating the novel's opener was not a hook for me. I struggled several times, picking the book up, attempting to read a few pages, then putting it down again. Having the boys open the novel wasn't a choice I would have made (from a professional standpoint). AJ being a singular narrator vs the three boys would have made for easier digestion of info, less chaos or confusion at word-one.

Once AJ was narrating, I was off, hooked and read to the very last page in a singular sitting.

AJ's father recently passed, his sister becoming AJ's benefactor. After a hard life, it's impossible to switch from independence to subservience, even if that means a brighter future. Attending Briar Hall places her in the crosshairs of the boys.

The three adopted sons of the leader of the local gang affiliation. To be honest, I spent most of the novel confused as to which of the boys had which personality/appearance, their voices so similar. It does get more firm as the story progresses, so book two should be a good divide as to the boys being separate individuals. Of course, they go to school but conveniently have a home of their own nearby the school, with no adult supervision. Of course, they're bullies and misogynists and everyone is terrified of minor children. Of course, they're built like grown men, not like the rest of the teen male population.

As usual, I never truly get a bead on WHY the boys bully her. As a sucker for this genre, maybe three times in hundreds of books has the bullying actually make a lick of sense. This wasn't one of them. The reason weak. But I rolled with it, enjoying the tension.

I won't go into the plot to avoid ruining the experience for readers. Just roll with it, don't think too deeply on things, as they won't get explained. Backstories, personalities, and emotions are just hints, blips on the pages. But since I rolled with it, not thinking too deeply until writing this review, I was thoroughly entertained.

To be honest, there are many issues, but they didn't seem to take away from the addictive storytelling. Other than the difficult opener, a bit too forceful to try to sound badass, there were a TON of loose threads that were never explored or explained, just left dangling, and I hope they're revisited in the sequel. The minor ones will be lost, as they were book specific.

AJ's backstory for one, just snippets one assumed we'd circle back to but never did, the narrator musing as if the reader just knew what was happening. Her two friends, whom she never communicated with, her father's death, why she hated gangs, the first kill.

I'm not a fan of using this style of writing for mystery sake. It's not a mystery when you're literally inside the narrator's mind yet it doesn't get explained. That's a flaw in the writing. A mystery is part of the plot, not evasions inside the narrator's head to add unnecessary confusion. If you don't want the reader to know how the dad died or who these two friends are, don't introduce it as major plot points.

The entire novel surrounds the death of her father, with no real details nor explanations. How does one think about it yet hide it from readers who are literally reading the thought?

What's up with the smell? AJ and Rebecca both smelled it, thinking it nasty, never investigated it, and it was just dropped half a page later. It wasn't AJ after two showers. I expected a dead animal in the dorm suite or something.

That's my point. Things like that. Just brought up as if major, then left hanging or never brought up again. It was bizarre. I understand how the writer knows what's happening and it doesn't transfer to the pages (been there, done that). This is where early readers and an editor should make note of it (awkward, confused, what's this about, explanation needed, is this going to be answered later).

With all that being said, I read it cover to cover, invested in AJ, wishing I had the next immediately. I just hope the author solidifies the boys' voices and personalities, while also making sure, small or large, plot points aren't left hanging. I'm not speaking of a continuing arc over an entire series, but small stuff like the smell, and large stuff, events that shaped the character, like numerous mentions of a first kill but no real info given.

Recommended to fans who enjoy bully romances and reverse harem. I'm looking forward to reading more from the author's backlist, as well as the sequel.



Author Bio

ELENA LAWSON writes stories full of feisty heroines and unforgettable heroes. She may also have a small thing for bad boys and often gravitates towards the darker things in life. When she comes out of her writing cave, she can be found obsessively rearranging her bookshelves, drinking an unreasonable amount of wine, or cooking overly fancy meals for her family and friends.

Connect with Elena

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Elena's Lawless Lair


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Candi Kane PR.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Crooked Crows (Boys of Briar Hall #1) by Elena Lawson to read and review for this tour.

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