Review: The Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood

Posted May 27, 2016 by Shannon in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Rule Book by Jennifer BlackwoodThe Rule Book by Jennifer Blackwood
Series: The Rule Breakers #1
Published by Entangled: Embrace on May 9, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Forbidden, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 290
Buy on Amazon

Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide

1. Don't call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don't stare at hot boss's, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don't get on the malicious first assistant's bad side.
4. Don't forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don't break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.


Buy it here: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK


“You smell like bean dip and bad decisions.”

I had a lot of fun while reading The Rule Book. Like, a lot, a lot. I laughed, I smiled, I swooned, and laughed some more. In my opinion, this is a fantastic representation of the romantic comedy genre. More and more often these days authors are leaning towards satire or crudeness to appeal to readers as funny. I’ll be the first to say that yes indeed, some of it is fun, but it can also quickly become (again, my opinion) a little trashy. Jennifer Blackwood writes comedy with a fresh outlook and a modern voice. Her sense of humour matches my sense of humour. I found this book downright hilarious, but the best part has to be that it’s not even an ‘in your face’ type of comedy. Noticeable, yes. Tasteful, yes (as tasteful as you can be anyways while starting at your boss’ *ahem* neither regions 😉 ). But it’s not over the top. Jennifer isn’t trying too hard to be funny, it’s easy. She doesn’t force the conversations but rather lets them flow through her keyboard. If you doubt what I say, go back and read the synopsis until you believe me.


Oh and I’m Canadian. We take our maple products very seriously (don’t get me started on the truck of maple syrup that was stolen – it was national news) so I can confirm that this is in fact funny.

Lainey is a spunky college grad with an MBA in social media relations. She’s always positive, upbeat, and sassy as can be. Granted, most of it is just from her inner dialogue but still, she’s amazing. I’m pretty sure she’s my spirit guide. Or I want her for my best friend, I’m not too picky. She seems like she’d be fun to hang out with and a good person to have on your team during a scavenger hunt. I really appreciated her character for what she was doing and why she was working so hard. Seriously, my girl was putting up with grinch like first assistants, horse-dogs, a carnivorous elevator, the whole works. All with a smile on her face and family in her heart.

There came a time in someone’s life when they had an opportunity to take some variation of a personality test. Between fashion magazines and Buzzfeed quizzes that asked me which Harry Potter character I’d be (Ginny, obviously) this was a monthly occurrence. And in each one, they’d have a question that went a little something like this: Your enemy gets his ass handed to him, how do you feel?
a) Jazz hands it up, yo
b) I have the emotional stance of Switzerland on this topic
c) Aww, I have the sudden urge to console them
While I’d always circled C (did anyone ever fully tell the truth on those things? I mean, seriously), right now I was breaking out the inner spirit fingers, dancing the “Cell Block Tango,” because really, he had it coming.

Brogan was 1. Adorable. 2. So sweet and 3. Swoony. He made me have googley eyes and my heart go pitter patter. Brogan made me melt like an ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie. He even acted like one too – harder edges, warm and soft centre. Yum. He was genuinely a nice guy too, not like some of the other CEO type romances where they’re aloof and standoffish. He’s a warm and caring human with a good head on his shoulders.

Brogan smiled and focused his attention to me, grabbing the back of my neck and placing kisses along the bridge of my nose, my cheeks, the line of my jaw.“I love your freckles.”
He continued down the curve of my neck. “And the way you look at me when you think no one is watching.” His fingertips scorched a path along my spine. “Wanting you isn’t even a strong enough word. I need you.”



It may have been a slower start/burn than some are expecting but I didn’t have any problems with it. There were important background scenes taking place and knowledge given that the reader needed later down the road. And what do people expect? That a CEO will spend every hour with his second assistant? Not even the main assistant – the assistant’s assistant, basically. Uh… No. The scenes with Brogan and Lainey started out hilarious and moved into more of a charged and simmering tension type of atmosphere. I enjoyed the pacing and found it to be believable and appealing.

After I finish a book I generally check on Goodreads to see what other people are saying. Imagine my surprise when I saw this book is rated as an average 3.75 stars – I thought it should’ve been much higher. Then, when I went to read some of the lower reviews, they were all the same. They all faulted the book for being a slow burn and having fade to black sex scenes. I’m sorry, but what?! That’s ridiculous to me! I was pissy about my sagrets (cigarettes). I would never low ball a rating for a book because it’s not extremely explicit. I actually found this aspect to be extremely refreshing! So often these days I skim sex scenes. Unless you’re getting some crazy acrobatic stuff in there, it’s mostly the same; they all kind of bleed together in my mind. Boy part meets girl part – yup, I understand the mechanics. So the fact that Jen built up the intimacy between these characters without showing the physical connection is commendable in my eyes. Never once did I feel like the story lacked because of this or that I was cheated as a reader. If you want guaranteed explicit, go find yourself a harlequin.

“Brogan was a nice guy (normally an excellent thing). A lot of girls underestimated the effect of a nice guy. Sure, bad boys were appealing—who didn’t like a dangerous guy that would promise nothing but sin and heartbreak on the back of their Harley? But a nice guy, that was dangerous. Those were the guys that you’d want to bring home to mom. The type to bring you breakfast in bed and pick up tampons from the supermarket on his way home from work because you’re busy stuffing your face with ice cream and crying over the unfairness of Rose losing Jack in Titanic (there was totally room on that piece of driftwood for the both of them). Yes, the nice guys were the real danger, because something told me Brogan wouldn’t be someone I could recover from quickly, if and when this ended.”


One of my absolute favourite things about Lainey is how she wouldn’t take crap from Brogan when it came to their relationship. Yes it was scary. Yes people make mistakes. But she would make him own up to it, work for it. It bothers me so much when a hero will apologize for *insert dilemma here*, has puppy dog eyes, the heroine forgives him and they ride off into the sunset. Not sure what fairytale world that is, but that’s not how life works. Mistakes happen, apologies happen. You either take time to work through it or step back. Lainey was always upfront if something had upset her, so Brogan could understand how or why she was hurt. There were no mind games. And with some prompting, the same was true in the opposite effect. Lainey could stand up for herself and what she deserved, refusing to be looked down upon or treated like crap. I was giving her a virtual fist bump every so often because even if she thought she was struggling, she was absolutely killing this whole thing called life. The resolution these characters had in The Rule Book has been one of my favourites in a long, long time.

“I did this to him. The rule-maker broke all his rules for me. And that meant everything.”


That brings me to the epilogue. I mostly don’t like epilogues. I feel like they’re too forced to have that happy ending years down the line and everyone is married with kids and blah blah blah I don’t care. I want an ending that stays true to the characters. Don’t compromise the entire story just to have an ending that readers will deem appropriate. So the epilogue of is book? LOVED IT! It was so stinking cute! Like cuter than a baby. Or a puppy. Maybe not a puppy cause those are damn adorable 100% of the time but you get the point. My heart squeezed and then did a big happy dance. Now I feel like watching Mean Girls.

“I like when you break your rules,” I said, breathless.
His gaze softened, and the tenderness in his eyes made my heart pound heavily against my ribcage. “I’d break every last one for you,” he said. “I never knew what I was missing until the day we met.”

Jen is a new to me author but if this is what she’s about, I can’t wait for more! Hopefully there will be a Rule Breakers 2 coming soon with Zoey’s story.


*An ARC was received from the author and IndieSage PR in exchange for an honest review.



About Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and contemporary romance author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s binging on Veronica Mars episodes and white cheddar popcorn.

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