Month: March 2017

Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Posted March 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Crushed by Lauren LayneCrushed by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #2
Also in this series: Isn't She Lovely
Published by Random House, Flirt on April 14th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: The Totally Doable 2017 RBLB Reading Challenge

Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?

Crushed is the last book in the Redemption series by Lauren Layne and it’s a book that’s been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time. It’s also my March entry into the 2017 Totally Doable Reading Challenge that I’m participating in. I kind of cheated because the prompt for March was finish a series you started and I just started this series but it’s been sitting on my TBR pile for a while so it needed to get read and I’m including it.

Michael St. Claire did the unthinkable. He fell in love with his best friend’s girl. He sat on that love for years and year because Olivia was Ethan’s girl but his feelings never went away. There wasn’t enough alcohol, girls or anything to distract him from where his heart belongs. When he finally can’t take it anymore, he kisses her and she kisses him back and things went to shit after that. On top of that, he learns some news that rocks his life right off its axis.

Just like Olivia, Michael leaves New York to figure some shit out. He sets out to find….his real Dad. His real Dad that lives in Texas, a long way from where he was born and raised. He’s not sure what he’s going to do with the information yet but he’s got the summer to figure things out and in the meantime, he’s taken on some jobs. He’s a part time tennis instructor, personal trainer, and bartender. Lots of things to keep him busy. Busy while he plans out how to get close to Devon Patterson….his half brother.

He’s got a couple of ways to go about this but the one way that holds the most appeal is through Devon’s girlfriend, Kristin Bellamy. Michael works that direction until he meets Kristin’s sister, Chloe. Chloe is nothing like her beautiful sister. She’s witty and she’s loud and Michael spends most of the time around her, wanting to shut her up but Chloe is in love with Devon and he figures that if they help each other out, he’ll get what he wants and she’ll get what she wants.

Michael has no plans on giving his heart away again because he’s been there, done that and he’s learned his lesson. That way only leads to heartbreak and he’s had enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.

Kristin is Michael’s usual kind of gal but Chloe is the sister that has captured Michael’s interest and nobody is more surprised by that than him.

Chloe has been in love with her sister’s boyfriend since they were kids. Since before Devon became popular. She’s loved him since he was the little nerd, poring through Harry Potter books with her but once the braces came off, the baby fat came off, Devon moved on to the popular crowd and Chloe has never really gotten over her crush. That crush has turned into a wild love that hurts Chloe at every turn to see him with her sister. Her sister doesn’t deserve him but until he sees that for himself, she can’t do anything else but…wait. When Michael St. Claire becomes her personal trainer and her cohort in trying to get Devon to see her as more than just his girlfriend’s sister, things take a turn she wasn’t expecting. The quiet bad boy that seems to go through the girls in her hometown is not a fixure in her life and feelings are growing.

This book is my second favorite book in the series. I took a break between Broken and Crushed because I wasn’t a fan of the premise of this story. The breaking up a couple, the fat heroine turned skinny but Lauren Layne takes care of us because I loved this book. I adored Michael and I loved Chloe. Chloe’s personality was bigger than her body and she was such a fantastic character that I couldn’t wait for her and Stephanie from Isn’t She Lovely to meet. I just knew that they were going to be fun together and I wasn’t wrong.

The romance hit me with all of the feels that I love feeling while reading my books and I just adored seeing Michael and Chloe come into their own at the same time that they were falling in love with each other. They had so much in common, things that they didn’t know about each other but the reader did and goodness, I just loved how Layne brought these two together. It was fun. It was passionate and I just couldn’t get enough of these guys…all of them, except Kristin. This book ended the series on a high note and I’m super glad that I decided to pick these up. I don’t know what I was waiting on. This was a fun series and I highly recommend it.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Week in Review (54)

Posted March 27, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 13 Comments

I’m going to change this feature up a bit and review my entire week, not just my week in books. I’ll be recapping what I’ve read and what I’ve watched.

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks for me. I attended the funeral for one of my best friend’s Dad. The services were beautiful and very Greek. I’ve never been to a Greek funeral before so it was an experience for me. Lots of standing and sitting and praying. Kind of like a Catholic service but in Greek. Lots of people came to the services to pay their respects to the family and it was a reunion of sorts. I saw childhood friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in years and it was a sad way to come together but I was so happy to reconnect with old friends.

I also went to my first strip club and man was that an experience. My friends took me there on a Monday night so it wasn’t on and poppin’ or anything and I think I was grateful for that. The joint we went to was dark but not bad. It looked like the strip clubs you see in movies and on TV. My stripper was drunk af. I tried to make it rain for her but she popped her legs right in my face and I almost touched her vagina so I jerked back in my seat, all shocked. I was so embarrassed that I just chucked my dollar, dollar bills at her like a softball and ran back to my table. After she was done, she came to our table to give me a hug and hung out with us. I thought it was strange at first but then I just went with it and asked her everything I was interested in knowing. You know, things like, “How do you spin so fast on the pole when you’re this drunk?” and “Do you choreograph your own routines?” and “How did you get started in stripping”. I left the strip club knowing my strippers entire life history and my friends are probably never going to let me live it down but I don’t even care. It was a memorable experience and my stripper was really nice…and really drunk. Haha.

I also got really sick later on this past week and that wasn’t fun at all. I was nauseous and all things bad and because of that, I missed an author event that I was looking forward to attending with my friend Holly. Instead, I stayed home and tried to get better and for the most part, I’m okay. Fingers crossed that whatever I had is gone for good.

Currently Reading

Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they’re determined to make him into NYC’s newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD’s finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he’s more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn’t in love with Officer Moretti. That’s why she’s going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava’s determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there’s something about a man in uniform . . . and she can’t wait to get him out of his.

I started this book last night because I wanted some more Lauren Layne goodness. I’m going to be so sad when I don’t have any more Lauren Layne books to read for the first time but holy goodness, the heroine is on my last nerve and I’m still in the beginning. The way that she is toward the hero makes me want to throat punch her because she’s bitchy and I’m just not feeling her attitude. I hope she turns things around. We’ll see.

What I Read


Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas (re-read) | 4.5 out of 5
How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell | 3.75 out of 5
If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell | 4.5 out of 5
Blame it on the Duke by Lenora Bell | 4 out of 5
Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy | 4 out of 5
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne | 4.25 out of 5
Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen | 4.25 out of 5

Lots of good reading for me. I’m stoked about this!

Book Boyfriend of the Week


Mike Beacon in Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen and Dalton, Duke of Osborne in If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

This week is a lot harder for me to pick just one book boyfriend because I pretty much loved all of the guys I read about. But, I have two book boyfriends this week because both of these guys totally rocked my socks. I loved the both of them so much and drooled my way through both of their books. Beacon…the strength of his love for Lauren and the need for him to be there for the women in his life. Gah, totally got me. Dalton with the love he had for his family, the grief he went through day in and day out for his little brother and then the love that grew between him and Thea was just all kinds of great. Loved them both!

What I Reviewed

Archangels Kiss by Nalini Singh (Buddy Review with Holly) | 3.75 out of 5
When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine Heath | 4 out of 5
Havoc by Jamie Shaw | 4 out of 5
Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas (Buddy review with Ames) | 3.75 out of 5
Retro Review of Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn | 4 out of 5

What I Got

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Second Chance Season by Liora Blake
The Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

Love Story by Lauren Layne
Undeclared by Julianna Keyes
Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett
Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
Steal Me by Lauren Layne
Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

What I Watched on TV

I’m enjoying every single one of these shows. They’re all so freaking good.

What Movies I Watched

Kenna and I walked to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast and we were looking pretty beat up, having come straight from Kenna’s basketball games but we didn’t even care because we both loved the movie. We’ve been waltzing to Beauty and the Beast around the house ever since. Haha.

I also Logan and holy cow did I love that movie. So freaking good. I cried so much and am so bummed about things that happened in the movie but even with all the crying, it was a damn good movie. Loved it!

There you have it, my week in review. How was your week?

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Buddy Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Posted March 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Buddy Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa KleypasMarrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on May 31st 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Goodreads
four-stars

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

Rowena: Marrying Winterborne is the second book in the Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas and its the book that Ames and I chose to buddy review for March.

This book follows Lady Helen Ravenel, as she falls in love with Mr. Rhys Winterborne. This book kicks off when Helen pays a visit to Rhys to let him know that she does not wish for their engagement to end. Rhys has been smarting ever since Helen’s sister in law came to him and told him that Helen wanted to end their engagement (without telling him herself) and that she didn’t want to ever see him again. Kathleen, Helen’s sister in law didn’t tell Helen what she was doing. She just took it upon herself to end Helen’s engagement without consulting with Helen or Helen’s guardian, her cousin Devon first. Now, I have my own thoughts about that and I would have stayed mad about how all of that came about but Kathleen apologized to Helen and like Helen, I forgave her.

So Helen has to talk to Rhys and explain to him what happened and literally propose to him to get him to agree to stay engaged to her and this was the start of Helen growing into her own. When we first meet Helen in the first book, she is quiet and reserved and always trying to keep the peace at the same time that she’s trying to stay in the background. It was only when Rhys came to her home, injured and in need of some tender caring that Helen came out of her shell to help take care of him and nurse him back to health.

Rhys, on the other hand wants Helen. He’s wanted her ever since he opened his eyes and laid them on her so he was pissed when her sister in law came to tell him that Helen doesn’t want to marry him. Rhys has issues with not being accepted by the aristocracy and you see him struggling to overcome those issues over the course of the book. I thought that Helen really brought out a more caring Rhys and I absolutely adored that.

So what about you, Ames. What did you think about this one?

Ames: I thoroughly enjoyed Marrying Winterborne! I was reminded at tiimes of Dreaming of You and that made me like this one even more. Helen is a gentle lady and Rhys was this big bold businessman who didn’t want to appear vulnerable in any way. But Helen was definitely his weakness! I love when the big tough guy is brought to his knees by his love for a woman. And that was Rhys. Helen definitely got under his skin. And I have to say, this book definitely starts with a bang! I like that Helen went to him to fix what Kathleen had said and that he jumped on that and sealed the deal. Helen can come across as a meek pushover but she had a core of steel and she definitely went toe to toe with him after that. She had a quiet strength that was what he needed. I loved Rhys character and him and Helen together were great.

I do have a complaint about Helen though. I was starting to get SO ANNOYED with her over her not telling Rhys her secret. Like how many chances did she have? I mean she more than made up for it with what she does what she does right after (rescuing you know who) but seriously, if she hadn’t of done that and kept wringing her hands over telling Rhys, I would not have enjoyed this book. But just as I was getting to the tipping point, Lisa Kleypas flips a switch and I got over it and loved Helen again. LOL

What did you think of Helen, Wena?

Rowena: Overall, I really liked Helen. I loved seeing why she was so reserved and getting to understand the burden that she has been carrying for a long time. I loved seeing her blossom into someone who didn’t need others to think or act on her behalf and seeing her go to Rhys in the beginning made me sit up and cheer for her because that took a lot of balls. I loved that she really came into her own person throughout this entire book but like you, I was hella annoyed that it took her so long to come clean with Rhys about her big ass secret.

Also like you, had Helen not done what she did, my enjoyment of the book would have suffered but Kleypas takes care of us and we should probably learn to trust her already. Sheesh. LOL.

Ames: I agree, we should trust her. But I really don’t like getting annoyed with characters so I was really bracing for the worst. haha But Helen also had a redeeming quality – I don’t like blackmail so I was very happy with how she handled that situation.

Overall, I loved Rhys and Helen’s story. These were two characters I could get behind and I enjoyed how their story played out. I’m giving Marrying Winterborne 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Between Helen taking so long to come clean and Rhys being a dickhead from time to time, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first one but it’s still a solid read. Lisa Kleypas writes wonderfully romantic stories and this is no exception. Rhys and Helen’s story was dramatic and passionate and I enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book so that’s saying something. I give this one 3.75 out of 5.

four-stars

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