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By the Rules

(Evergreen Grove #3)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  28 reviews
He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.

No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…

AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and a vicious attack by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet have
Published January 19th 2016
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  71 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Liz at Fictional Candy
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, mm, romance
I've been waiting since book one (At The Stars) to get AJ's story, and now I finally have!! AJ has been this enigmatic and charismatic character since the beginning, and he grabbed my attention on every page he graced. To say I loved his book would be putting it lightly. By The Rules is absolutely the best m/m romance I've read!

I've read a few male/male romances. Not a ton, but a few. And none of them hold a candle to AJ and Hayden. Why? Romance. Elisabeth Staab brought the romance. She brought
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: love-bytes, m-m
When I read through some of the other reviews of this book, it was amusing to see quite a few of them mention – “if you don’t usually read m/m books you should still read this one” – or something along those lines. However I’m coming at this from the opposite direction and I’m going to assure you that despite the fact the first two books in the Evergreen Grove series are m/f, if you don’t like to find vagina popping up in your books, you can very safely read By The Rules as a standalone gay roma ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full Review posted at Book Lovin' Mamas

By The Rules was everything I expected and more because hello…it's AJ's story. AJ has been a favorite character of mine in the Evergreen Grove series since book one. I was anxious to find out who Elisabeth was going to hook AJ up with because he deserves every bit of happiness too.

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend you do. If you are a fan of M/M romance, you'll definitely enjoy the third book in the series. I give this book 4.5 stars a
Talk Supe
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
4.5 Stars

By The Rules is awesome! my favorite in the series so far! I knew AJ's is going to be an awesome MC & Hayden us a great match for him. The best part is how EStaab didn't make this angsty and wrote drama to make us weep. I did shed some tears but only because its so sweet and heartfelt. Who's next?
Jean Smith
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
‘Life is short, break the rules...

I have no idea why MM romances appeal to me, but they do. Why do men always seem to fantasize about two women together? It’s a mystery I’m not even going to try to answer. Suffice it to say, I enjoy reading about two hunky men and all their maleness (and sometimes not so maleness) being all over each other and in love. Perhaps part of the equation is being able to relate to them even more than I do when I read an MF romance. Rather than connecting with the heroi
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I know, this isn't our usual read, but...Elisabeth Staab is one of my favorite authors. She wrote The Chronicles of Yavn (vampire PNR) and the Lone Wolf series (werewolf PNR) then she went off the rails and started writing contemporary romance. I really don't enjoy F/M contemporary romance. I got my reasons and most of them have to do with the female leads. My exception is gay (M/M) contemporary romance. No time to go into all the reasons, but I love the dynamics and emotional conflicts more tha ...more
Joyfully Jay
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wendy
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

This is the third book in the Evergreen Grove series. The first two in the series are M/F romance stories in which AJ is a secondary character and now we get his story. For those of you who are not fans of M/F romance, no need to despair, this book can be read as a standalone. I hadn’t read the others in the series before reading this and didn’t feel as if I missed out on anything.

This story is told in alternating points of view between AJ and Hayden, two souls who
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Karen by: Talk Supe
I really liked this one!

Lots of drama but I loved how it was written. The author tackled some very dark issues but the story still felt light and hopeful, while still giving weight and respect to those issues.

I'll have to go back and read the previous two books. I loved the authors writing style.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Why I read it: I got an email saying this was up for a blog tour and I read 2 sentences of the blurb, went 'SOLD!' and signed up ;) M/M romance has a dear place in my heart, I don't read enough of it. I DO read fan-fiction and struggle to find published work I love as much, which is why almost all my romance reads are M/F *sigh*

But this? I had a feeling it'd be
Laura Roberts
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’ve not really read many male/male orientated novels. So whenever I stumble upon one, I have to admit, I do start reading with slight trepidation, not really knowing what to expect. By The Rules though….. There was no need. I actually found AJ and Hayden’s story to be completely adorable. Not sure this is how Elisabeth wanted the story to be portrayed, but I can’t help it. I fell in love with these guys as a couple.
Hayden is trudging through life, day to day, living in New York with a fiancee h
Brandee (un)Conventional Bookworms
*3.5 Stars*

By the Rules served as my introduction to Ms. Staab, whom I've wanted to read for quite awhile. I will absolutely be readin gmore from her. I did not read books 1 and 2 from the Evergreen Grove series prior to read By the Rules and while I'm sure having read those would have added depth to the story with character development, I certainly was not lost.

I really liked both AJ and Hayden. AJ is quite the character. I can see the compassion shining through him and that's something co
Katie Blythe
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
*This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

AJ Fabin tries to live a quiet life. He is a gay man who has had a very difficult past. After being kicked out of his parents’ house, he had to make a living so he did anything and everything to make money. He’s since put that behind him and he works as a handyman in a rundown motel and is always ready to help a friend in time of need.
Hayden Price is only in his old hometown Evergreen Grove instead of New York because his
Jamie Deacon
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
‘By the Rules’, the third book in the ‘Evergreen Grove’ series, is this author’s first full-length foray into the male/male genre, but I sincerely hope it won’t be her last. There’s something so compelling about opposites attract romances, and the heroes in this story are as different as two people can be, at least on the surface. In addition to featuring vibrant characters and snappy dialogue, this novel explores the folly of making assumptions, and the importance of taking the time to get to ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oooops, I did it again..... I read a book from a series without realising it! I really do need to pay attention when I sign up for ARCs - but when I was offered the chance to read Elisabeth Staab's book by Anna over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup I jumped at the chance 'cos the gal hasn't steered me wrong with her book suggestions before now!

Anyhoo, the small fact that I hadn't read the first two books didn't in any way detract from my enjoyment of By The Rules and has given me another series to
Amber Belldene
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure--Elisabeth is an author friend and we first connected when she was writing really great, fun paranormals. I missed the chance to beta read this one, and so I can write a purely objective review!

I have to say I am a fan of her contemporaries even more than her awesome paranormals! Her writing is top notch and her characters are so lush and multi-dimensional. Across this series, they have great sexual chemistry, but it translates into soooo much tenderness and care with each other-
Melissa Woods
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: evergreen-grove
What did I think of By the Rules?

Hmmm....The only thing I can think of to describe it is (in typical AJ fashion) Oh-Em-Gee!! I was so excited to read this book, because c'mon you know that AJ is your favorite too!! I just could not get enough of this story!!! I will not give anything away, I'm not a spoiler kind of girl! I will warn you that if you're put off by the idea of 2 gay men expressing their love then this book might not be the one for you. Me? I couldn't care less. We are all equal in
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finally! AJ's story, and it was magnificent. I loved that I have read every book in this series, but still had no idea where this book was going to go. I knew I wanted to know more about AJ and his problematic past. I knew that it was most likely going to be very emotional and probably painful, but I also knew it would be fantastic. It was better than I could have hoped for. I wasn't expecting Hayden at all. Elisabeth Staab flawlessly brought him into the story, and not only made it work, but ga ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
AJ and Hayden are my favorite boys right now! By the Rules was sweet, emotional, sexy, and funny AF. I've never used the highlight function on my kindle app, but I used it three times. Three times! I'd just read a certain line and I thought, "Yes. This. So much this."

I've been a big fan of Elisabeth Staab's work ever since I read King of Darkness (sexy vamps...rawr! Check it out!!), and now that she has entered the realm of M/M? Be still my literary heart.
Janette Lopez
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is no secret how I love Elisabeth Staab books but she has outdone herself on this one! AJ is basically the towns eccentric do-gooder. He has a big hart but has been hurt one time to many. I was in love with him from the start his bigger than life personally won me over.

The hurt he carries with him got to me. As this story progressed I was really rooting for his happiness. This book was amazing and I tell you I never wanted it to end! I can't wait for the next in the series!!
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome read

I became invested in AJ's story reading the first two books in this series. I wanted him to find someone to love him as he so deserved. I became so wrapped up in the storyline that I spent the last 20% or so of the book dreading the knowledge that it was coming to an end. This straight girl wanted the story to continue forever.
Erzabet Bishop
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book hooked me at the start. I really liked the world the author has created and the chemistry between the two characters. Spicy hot. This one is a keeper and I can't wait to read more of the series.

Rita C
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
The characters are well developed and grow throughout the story. The relationship felt very organic, not rushed or forced. Really enjoyable story.
Terri Jones
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book!

AJ and Hayden separately are compelling. Together... I have never seen so many messes that left me lost - because each one has his reasons! The supporting was also good. Some m/m treats women in particular like a name and a dismissive attitude are enough. Not here. They're not all fleshed out, but the important ones are, lending Evergreen Grove a nice three-dimensional sense. (I suppose, had I read any of the series, that would be even more evident.)

Highly recommended. Because yes th
Viviana Izzo
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been eagerly awaiting "By The Rules" and while this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

I love Elisabeth's writing style. It comes across as simple, however, it immerse the reader in the world she created. The style is easy to follow and allows the emotions of the character to flow though the words and onto the readers. You, as the reader, connect with the characters and fall for them. When they are happy, your heart smiles and when one is going through so
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't know how or why, but I finished it!
No really - So. Much. Drama! I don't even...
Was there romance? Well....
Was there some sort of misunderstanding? The whole book was one
Did the characters grow? Yes, after the 99.9% mark. I guess.

I could go on and on and on etc. I won't.
I'll say just this as someone who reads romance on a daily basis and who loves m/m. Also, Please note that this is MY issue.

I thought that the first 40% were okay. I wasn't completely bored but the constant push
Elisabeth Staab
Aug 25, 2015 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: wrote-it


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Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance about vampires and werewolves and emotionally wounded boxers (oh, my!), she enjoys date night with her husband, reading with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series. Keep up with all the latest shenaniga ...more

Other books in the series

Evergreen Grove (6 books)
  • At the Stars (Evergreen Grove, #1)
  • Acts of Creation (Evergreen Grove, #2)
  • Piece by Piece (Evergreen Grove, #4)
  • Losing the Fight (Evergreen Grove, #5)
  • Don't Let Go (Evergreen Grove, #6)

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