Book Review – The Ground Rules by Roya Carmen

by Maryse on June 24, 2015 · 25 comments

in My Book Reviews

The Ground Rules (Book 1) (The Rule Breakers Series)
<— Whoooooohoooooo my book-friends!!! Looking for a book to pull you out of that “safe” book lull and excite you while making you second-guess your emotional sanity? THIS ONE!!! The blurb of all *ooooomphy* blurbs had me raving about how badly I wanted to read this one, on release day. I mean… TWO gorgeous married couples that decide upon an “arrangement”? With rules, of course. But rules were meant to be broken. *waggles eyebrows*

…physical attraction is a powerful thing, an all-consuming thing. I didn’t want it, and I certainly wasn’t looking for it, but there it was, nevertheless.

I should have run in the opposite direction. But I didn’t. No… I yielded to it.

It’s amazing how life can change so easily— veer off the path. A single moment, a decision you make, however insignificant, can change the course of your destiny.

A quick “reaction” video review of this book. :)

There are no boring parts here. And so I’m telling you all right now, I gave it 5 stars (and I’m saying this for those of you that want to go in blind and can’t read anymore – even though I won’t spoil it…). Five. Stars.

Maryse: I’m finishing The Ground Rules you guys and it’s rocking my world. LOVE IT!!!! oooooooh the badness and the titillation. *fans self*

Jean: I know it will give me pains in my stomach and the only other books that really did that were the Thoughtless series…..

Maryse: The Ground Rules does give you some of those Thoughtless tummy aches & butterflies. ;)

Amy: My resolve to wait for the next book after Ground Rules is breaking down…the whole premise just sounds soooo different and intriguing! And I’m assuming pretty hot as well from the fanning that Maryse is doing. ;)

Fabi: You have me dying to read The Ground Rules.  :-)

In fact, I found myself delightfully overwhelmed, and it didn’t stop until the end! Pulling every emotion out of me from trepidation to titillation, from infuriation to elation. And then I cried. Good cry or bad cry? I’m not telling. But I couldn’t help but shed tears as my heart was so immensely affected. And being that this book was entirely from HER POV, that just made it even more affecting. Because every action or thought from the other parties was something that I could only experience from her eyes… making me second guess everything along with her. Yep. I love me some romantical-angst. Tee hee. I said romantical. :P

I knew I was in for some serious emotional and romantic angst, and I was anticipating some “Arsen” vibes. And I got ‘em. But I knew right off the bat, that what made this one just a bit “safer” than Arsen, was the fact that it was agreed upon by everyone involved, and they all “knew” exactly what would be going on. I was already in!

But it was the enthusiastic recommendations from my angst-loving book friends that made me decide on this one next.

Kandace: Maryse – I’m feeling really shouty right now. I picked up The Ground Rules by Roya Carmen from your list this week and I freakin’ loved everything about it. I think this is the authors debut book and it was sooooo good. The Ground Rules is a sensual story about a normal couple (Gage and Mirella) who one day cross paths with the alluring and enchanting Weston and Bridget. And oh boy…. their world is about to change because of this chance meeting (it’s sooooo good, did I already say that? LOL!!). The rules seem simple enough, but as emotions and bonds form, slowly the rules become muddled. We slowly start to see the cracks in their plan. This story is very erotic, sensual and forbidden. I found myself rooting for a certain couple. Their chemistry was off the chart HOT. I was a little nervous going into this book. I picked it up in a whim and read it straight through in one sitting. I can’t wait for the next book. I’m totally obsessed. Now I’m stalking poor Roya for the next book.

Steph: I bought Ground Rules yesterday afternoon, wrote a review this morning. So so so good. I really fell in love with the characters. All of them. I kinda wished they would just all end up together, one big happy family. lol~… I did love it so much. I read “Arsen” right after (a having an affair book, not consensual) and loved it as well. Maybe even more? Both were excellent and I 5 star both.

DianeM: You guys should try The Ground Rules!! … it was SO good! Finished at 2am, could not put it down or sleep. It totally felt like Indescent Proposal (remember with Robert Redford?!) Gah! So good, I haven’t stayed up all night to read since last year lol… it’s 100% unapologetic swinging and both couples have kids AND it’s gonna be a trilogy FYI (cliffhanger wasn’t bad, felt complete)… It was high angst for me Amy, had a bit of an Arsen feel but the husband is the tattoo covered bad boy

But there were some that weren’t ready:

bev: So, am i the only one that is scared of Ground Rules?

Julie: Ok – add me to the list that is scared of The Ground Rules.

Laura: Yeah im scared of the ground rules too!

MichelleS: My fear is that it will spark the same kind of reaction that 50 Shades did: usually vanilla people trying to be kinky – and now, usually vanilla people trying to be swingers? AND, I don’t ever want to have the conversation with my husband, or anyone of my friends, even for fun, about who we’d pick – because that would hurt my feelings…. you think so-and-so is hot? I never knew!!!

Shell: I absolutely loved ‘ The Ground Rules’ , it’s so well written and girls there is nothing to be scared of. I can’t wait for the second book to come out.

Maryse: Okay I see some are concerned it’s a “kinky” read but it’s not like *that*.They don’t have orgies and group sex or anything like that… it’s not “erotica”… They just… date each other (and stuff) separately (with permission)… without details so as not to cause jealousy… but feelings (good & bad) still come into play… of course. :P

And then MichelleS (whom I consider somewhat picky… ;) ) caved. AND LOOK!!!!!!! Lookit right now! What she said? EXACTLY!!!

MichelleS: OMG – you guys….. YOU GUYS…… I decided to go ahead and go with Ground Rules, and not wait for Maryse’s review, based on her little video cheerleading alone. OMG. I stayed up until 3:00 trying to finish it because I couldn’t put it down. But my eyes were hurting so so bad. I had to go to sleep. Now I have about an hour left and I have a “do not disturb” sign out (figuratively speaking). This book is so good. Don’t be afraid. It’s not weird or kinky or anything. Just constant butterflies in my stomach!!! YAY!!!

Rox: …So, so good!! We needed a new plot line and something keeping us on our toes and it got me out of my book funk!

See? Seeeeeeeeee YOU GUYS?!!! I promise. If you can even sorta handle the “extra-marital situations” then this one will keep you captivated and emotionally invested like you haven’t been in a LONG time. It. WAS. GOOD!!!!

So what’s it about? Well… LOL! My video review right here pretty much gives you the “short & bitter-sweet” version but I’ll tell y’all right now:

So Gabe & Mirella are both good looking, they’ve been together since high school, and have had two adorable daughters. They are happily married, albeit possibly a bit bored and maybe taking each other for granted.

Still, both are pretty solid with each other, attracted to each other and have an active sex life. We don’t go into this book being mad at either of ‘em. In fact, we immediately connect with Mirella when she ruminates over her somewhat monotonous life.

I’m happy I still fit into my favorite dress. But on the other hand, I’m a little depressed. I’ll probably never get to wear it again. Let’s face it— my life is not exactly full of charity balls and glamorous events. Gabe and I don’t get out much— our idea of a date night is a hearty meal at the local family restaurant and a movie, or perhaps the occasional dinner with friends.

“Why do you look so sad?” Claire asks, a dash of concern in her sweet voice.

Because Mommy has no life. 

I smile to reassure her. “I’m not sad, Claire. It’s just… I’m probably never going to wear this dress ever again.”

But one night, trying to spark some fun into their couple, Gabe and Mirella have a date night at a fancy restaurant, only to be dismayed realizing the restaurant messed up their reservations, and they don’t have a table. But the gorgeous couple that they’ve been chatting with while waiting, Weston & Brigette, come to the rescue! Their table is ready, and they have room for two more!

Oh YAY!!!

And they hit it off. Supermodel-esque Bridgette is unabashedly flirting with Mirella’s sexy bad-boy tattooed husband (Gabe) and he’s eating it up.

I still can’t get over how flirty she was with him— another woman’s husband, a father.

And while Weston is equally gorgeous, his reserved and distinguished nature fascinates Mirella.

I find myself checking him out— hey, if she can chat up my husband, I can at least sneak a peek at hers. He’s truly beautiful in the classic sense— chiseled features, olive skin, dark sleek hair, not a strand out of place— he’s as sleek and put-together as his wife.

Everyone leaves the evening rejuvenated and just a little… *ahem* excited.

And that’s when a request for another meeting comes their way. Weston and Bridgette would love to get to know them… and perhaps explore other aspects of the other couple, privately.

I’m no idiot— I’ve put two and two together.

Two and two together.

That’s exactly what we’re talking about here.


Damn, part of me wants this, despite every bone in my body telling me not to.




I mean… everyone essentially “loves” their spouse in this one. So… how does that work, exactly? ;)

I think both of us know, deep inside… our relationship is about to change.

And that’s where I’ll leave you on her journey. ‘Cause let me tell you. WHAT A JOURNEY IT IS!!

Was it perfect?  For my reading enjoyment, pretty darn close! I LOVE the opening chapter and her thoughtful look at herself and where she was at. I loved the intro to her sweet children. It got a little rough after the initial “meeting” with that gorgeous couple (I found the dialogue between her and her husband, and her own internal thought process a little… bumpy, for me, which had me wondering if I’d be able to connect to them), but it picked up and found it’s rhythm soon enough!

It took me on a wild ride, kept me enthusiastically reading, made me feel crazy, AND best of all? Had me wanting to continue onto the next book IMMEDIATELY. Desperately. Now THAT is a book I can recommend!

My hearts starts to pound… hard. I have absolutely no control over the damned thing— if it’s anything, it’s damned, this heart of mine.

YES!!!! God I love that line!!!

5 stars!!!

P.S. A fun little conversation between Kandace and I and our BIG ANGSTY love for this book (don’t look if you like to go in fairly blind). We don’t *spoil* anything but just in case it gives you preconceived notions… ;)

Maryse: *****% and OMG I feel like crying with *spoiler* so bad… and *spoiler* is breaking my heart…. GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK!

Kandace: I KNOW! I was such a mess. this is the part where Lori messaged me at 3AM. I had to hold her.

Maryse: No serious. I’m freaking crying, and I totally did the forbidden and told my mom about *spoiler*… and now SHE’S crying. I read to her *spoiler*’s parts too

Kandace: are you done?

Maryse: No. LOL!!! I’m aching too hard… okay goin’ back in

Kandace: go go go

Kandace: tic tock… I’m waiting. Are you recording yourself. I wish I was there to hold the camera for you.

Maryse:  not done yet… almost and no I missed the tears part. Grrr! Silly me. I was too enthralled with the book I forgot to capture the good part on video. *sigh* ok back to my book … ugh. My heart ******!!!!!!!!!!!! I want #2 NOW!!!!  This was FANTASTIC! So full of emotion and REAL people thoughts.

Kandace: I find myself spending my day begging people to read this book. I haven’t really read anything else. I wish I would have waited but then again I would have missed out on this book. It’s worth the ending to read something that gave me all these “FEELS”

Maryse: *sigh* my heart…. I swear I have the after-awesome-book trembles right now. And you’re right… knowing how much I love this one, I’m glad I didnt wait until #2 was out. I got to experience something BIG

Kandace: Lori messaged me at 3 AM because she had them too. I can’t believe I woke up to chat with her. Normally, I would just roll over and go back to sleep.

Maryse: yeah but THIS one was too adrenalizing to sleep over. LOL! I totally get that! GAH!! I’m seriously SHAKING! I love it. I swear… this one was like the olden-book days LOL!

Kandace: I don’t remember feeling that intensity in forever We could have been her. I wanted to be her… I loved when she gave him the *spoiler* after his *spoiler* I feel a bit concerned for their *spoiler*.

Maryse: LOVED that. Totally had him breaking his own rules.

Kandace: yes. I cried the *spoiler* they had *spoiler*.

Maryse: I was so upset when *spoiler* had *spoiler*

Kandace: grrr. and she *spoiler* it was her idea. and when he *spoiler* I wanted to *spoiler* him

Maryse: yep. ;)

Sign up for my weekly newsletter

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

MichelleS June 24, 2015 at 6:43 PM

Agreed! 5 stars! Only bad part – was that it ended. When is book two coming out already? That little teaser at the end??? OMG. What was that?? Has my head spinning.

Maryse June 24, 2015 at 6:47 PM

Fall…. fall!!??? GASP! I don’t care. Totally worth it.

MichelleS June 24, 2015 at 6:51 PM

I don’t even 100% know who I am rooting for…. how weird is that? Not 100% – maybe 70-30…… crazy….

Maryse June 24, 2015 at 6:59 PM

I know… and I have an idea (maybe the author already HAS this idea…) but I wanna post it somewhere where only us who’ve read it can see it (not that it’s spoiler-ish but it sort of is…)

I think this would be awesome!

Diane M June 24, 2015 at 7:36 PM

Fantastic review!! Love the videos, keep making them!!! I haven’t read the teaser yet (I have no idea why) but I’m dying to know what you’re thinking, you should start a spoiler discussion!!

Maryse June 24, 2015 at 8:20 PM

Diane I haven’t read it either because I hate being teased. LOL!!!

YES! I’m going to start a spoiler chat for this and post what I am wanting… ;)

Maryse June 24, 2015 at 8:21 PM

And thank you about the video. LOL!!!

Kandace June 24, 2015 at 8:25 PM

Let be know if you start a spoiler chat.

Amy June 24, 2015 at 8:41 PM

No words.

Well, other than SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

I’m so excited to start this one! :D

Diane M June 24, 2015 at 8:48 PM

Yes, i’m in too! i haven’t read anything else yet, it’s still in my head, need to discuss more!

Diane M June 24, 2015 at 8:49 PM

Yay Amy!! Make yourself comfy and enjoy!

Maryse June 24, 2015 at 9:03 PM
Steph June 24, 2015 at 9:57 PM

Excellent review, glad you liked it! Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy w/ the books that make me go crazy!! HaHa

Chris June 25, 2015 at 4:24 AM

I read this book after this review and totally loved it. The writing was soo good and loved the story. I can’t wait for the second one now. Thanks so much for recommending.

Sharon June 25, 2015 at 5:38 AM

This is just the angst I need right now! Only about 25% in, but don’t want to put this down! I will not read spoilers, I will not read spoilers!

Marit June 25, 2015 at 8:54 AM

Wohoooooo! Love the review ;) I’m starting it now. I hope we like it as much as KING, Amy ;) !!!

emma June 25, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Finished it last night…… loved the ride . could not put it down.

Amy June 25, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Marit, I haven’t read King yet but I was cracking up over your reaction! ;)

Marit June 25, 2015 at 4:07 PM

Not read KING? *gasp* :p I’m telling you girl, this is the book of the year ;) !!!!!! But know the feeling with too many books ;)

Sharon June 26, 2015 at 5:40 AM

Anybody know when books 2 and 3 of The Ground Rules comes out? I was book drunk from #1, I’m Hungover! I need more. IMMEDIATELY. This is the best angsty book I have read in a while. Who do you root for? How does it end? That blurb of book 2 . . . Where is it going? I need to know! NOW!!!! I can’t even pick up another book and I was on such a roll.

marina June 26, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Ummmmmm…… WOWZA. This book was quite the ride. I just now finished and I’m dazed. Immediate funk. I didn’t read your review before reading it. Wanted to go in blind. Just saw the 5 stars and so I had NO CLUE it has a follow-up. I kept looking at the percentage to see how this book was even going to end! SOOOOO GOOOD. I def. could not figure out how I wanted it to end. Absolutely unputdownable. My contacts are glued to my eyes because I’m not sure I even blinked! Not sure if I can do the other POV. Going to the spoiler discussion now!

Michele June 27, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Maryse after your review I stayed up all night and read, I could put it down. I watched the clock tick by 2…3…4…5 I just couldn’t stop. It was so so good!!! I would rank it up there with Thoughtless and Beautiful. How do you start another book after that one, I can wait until book 2. I always love your recommendation!

Jean June 27, 2015 at 6:09 PM

Started and finished this book today! Could not put it down! Definite 5 star read and glad I didn’t wait for second book! My head is spinning right now….. Gotta check out the spoiler link and check out everyone’s thoughts…

Nan June 29, 2015 at 11:37 AM

Just finished Ground rules! It was sooooo good, Maryse! Thanks for the recommendation! I couldn’t put it down, just had to finish it! Can’t wait for book 2!

Rebecca July 6, 2015 at 2:19 PM


……sorry for the shouty capitals, but I’m really wanting to read it! :)

Leave a Comment


Notify me of followup comments to this post via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: