Author: Lauren Layne

Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Posted March 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 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
Point of View:Alternating First Person
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

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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Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

Posted March 15, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren LayneIsn't She Lovely
by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #0.5
Also in this series: Crushed
Published by Random House, Flirt on January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View:Alternating First Person
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

The rules are clear—until they're broken. Lauren Layne puts a New Adult spin on Pygmalion, also the inspiration for Pretty Woman, and gives the classic love story its edgiest twist yet.

"Who knew that pretending you're not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?"

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she's pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn't exactly Ethan Price's type, either. He's probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund... or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie's a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan's brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan's privileged world, the "acting" begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating "them." And Stephanie faces a question she's too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

Super Librarian Wendy is hosting this year’s TBR Challenge and March’s prompt was: Comfort Read (Favorite Author? Favorite Trope? Favorite Sub Genre?) so I chose to finally start a series by one of my favorite authors that has been sitting on my bookshelves for a long ass time. The Redemption series by Lauren Layne is a contemporary NA series that follows a trio of friends who are ripped apart by betrayal. They’re each trying to move on from the betrayal in the only way they know how and each book follows a different couple. Ethan Price is taking a summer class at NYU, taught by his god-father, so that he doesn’t have to be around his father’s company, interning with his ex-girlfriend. He’s not ready to see Olivia and deal with the aftermath of their break-up. When Ethan meets Stephanie Kendrick, she’s the last person that he wants to spend the summer with. She’s moody and attitudey and she dresses like an extra on a Marilyn Manson video but she’s got a mouth on her that never fails to make him laugh and she’s got some pretty great boobs as well. Stephanie Kendrick is taking a summer class to keep her from going to her father’s house for the summer. She doesn’t really feel like her father’s home is her home and she’ll do whatever it takes to not spend any time there. He’s got a new wife that is not her Mom and a step son that is okay but on principle, Stephanie hasn’t gotten too close to him. So she’s spending the summer in a screenwriting course and is paired up with rich, preppy boy Ethan Price who is too pretty for his own good but who can give as good as he gets when it comes to exchanging witty banter. When Ethan and Stephanie are paired up to write a screenplay together, they become friends. Well, not really since they both still don’t like each other but Ethan needs someone to play his girlfriend and Stephanie needs a place to crash so…a bargain is made and the party begins. Holy cow am I a bonehead for waiting so long to get this series read. I enjoyed the hell out of this book. The chemistry between Ethan and Stephanie was explosive and their banter was sexy and just so much fun. I zipped right through this book and if I were to name a gripe, it would probably be that the book ended. I enjoyed the ups, the downs, the getting to know you, the surprising jealousy and just every little thing in this book. Ethan was a great hero and Stephanie was pretty fantastic herself. They were characters with flaws and issues that needed to be addressed and you really see the growth in both of them. Lauren Layne hit this one out of the park and the minute I finished it, I jumped right into the next book, Broken. This was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.
4.5 out of 5
four-half-stars

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Mini Review Round Up (4)

Posted November 17, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 8 Comments

Mini Review Round Up (4)Irresistibly Yours
by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #1
Also in this series: I Think I Love You
Published by Random House, Loveswept on October 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance.

Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.

Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.  Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

With Someone Like You releasing just next month, I did some re-reading of the first two books in the Oxford series because I’m not ready to say goodbye to these guys. I also did the re-reading because I was slumping big time and needed something to dig me out. This book did the trick because I’ve been reading non-stop ever since. So this book follows Cole Sharpe, a freelance writer for Oxford Magazine, as he battles for a permanent position at the magazine with Penelope Pope. Penelope Pope is moving to New York from Chicago and she’s basically running away from some drama that went down back there. She wanted a fresh start and thinks that Oxford is the place for all of that. When she interviews for the Oxford position, she feels good about it and she’s pretty excited to hopefully be a part of this team. When she meets Cole, she doesn’t think he’ll see her as anything other than a friend so she immediately friend zones herself even though she is crushing big time. Pen’s experience with guys are…they friend zone her every single time. She’s a tomboy, she knows entirely too much about every sport there is and she can spout of sports stats like a freaking machine. The last guy that she dated ended up doing her dirty so she’s going to steer clear from men for the time being. She strikes up a friendship with Cole and things are going great. Even though they’re competing for the same position at Oxford, they can’t stop hanging out with each other. Cole didn’t plan on getting buddy buddy with his competition but Penelope is fun. She’s cute and he wants to pick her brain so they become friends and they plant themselves into each others lives and I just really, really enjoyed their friendship that turns into more story. Both Cole and Penelope are great characters who are great apart but better together. Lauren Layne really shines with writing characters that readers will cheer for and relate to. This was a fun contemporary romance that isn’t to be missed so if you haven’t read this book…fix that cause it’s fun!
My Rating
4.25 out of 5
Mini Review Round Up (4)I Wish You Were Mine
by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #2
Also in this series: I Think I Love You
Published by Random House, Loveswept on February 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

I Wish You Were Mine is the second book in the Oxford Series and it’s a book that isn’t as popular as Layne’s other books but me? I loved it! I liked getting to know the new guy at Oxford and seeing him form attachments he didn’t even want to begin with. I’m not normally a sister’s ex romance kind of reader but I was a fan of both Jackson and Mollie. I thought their story was sweet the first time I read this book but I loved them just as much the second time around. Jackson Burke is a big time football player from Texas that has retired from the NFL. He was in a car accident that injured him and now he’s sidelined from the job he loved and is now working as a fitness writer for Oxford Magazine that is in New York, not Texas. He doesn’t know anyone in New York except his ex-wife’s sister, Mollie and even though they used to be close, they’re not so close anymore and Jackson is sorry about that because he misses her. Mollie Carrington is over her long ago crush on her ex-brother in law (yes, you read that right) so she can definitely catch up with him over drinks and not fall in love with him all over again. She can totally do it. Wrong. The more time they spend together, the harder they fall and…I loved them. I loved Jackson. I loved Mollie. I loved seeing them become eachothers champions and I really loved how each of them became home to the other. Their romance wasn’t an easy one, it’s another one of those friendships to lovers type of romances and I enjoy those so much. Lauren Layne hit me in my feels at every turn in this book because the romance wasn’t easy. These two were connected before and it was a messy connection but when all is said and done, you can’t help who you love and I loved that these two let go of what they should feel and went with how they really felt because *swoon* I just adored them together. This was another fabulous contemporary romance by Lauren Layne and everyone should read and fall in love with them too. 🙂
My Rating
4.25 out of 5
four-stars

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