Tag: Contemporary

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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Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

Posted March 15, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 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
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Reading Challenges: 2017 TBR Challenge

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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Review: Sustained by Emma Chase

Posted March 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 15 Comments

Review: Sustained by Emma ChaseSustained by Emma Chase
Series: Legal Briefs #2
Published by Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books on August 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 267
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Reading Challenges: The Totally Doable 2017 RBLB Reading Challenge

A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.

Sustained is the second book in the Legal Briefs series and the first book that I read for the 2017 Totally Doable Reading Challenge. It’s a book that I read for the first time in 2015 and gave 5 stars to. I was really surprised with how much I liked this book when I first read it because I hated the first book in the Legal Briefs series, Overruled, a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Stanton and Sofia drove me up the wall but Jake and Chelsea? Absolutely loved them.

Jake Becker is a defense attorney who just had an STD scare so he’s trying something new. He’s vetting his sleeping partners. Ha! He’s going to try dating girls before sleeping with them because he’s not trying to have another scare. He doesn’t understand it but with the help of his friends, he’s going to give it a shot. He’s got a date lined up and he’s anxious to get started. He’s appalled that his friends actually date the women that they sleep with because who the hell does that? Apparently, everyone but him. At the rate that he’s going, he won’t get laid for at least two more weeks and he’s not about that life.

Before his timeline can start he meets young Rory McQuaid who successfully picks his pocket but Jake isn’t about to let a young kid get the best of him so he gives chase and catches the little shit. When Jake takes him home to meet with his parents and rat his bad ass out, Jake meets Chelsea and the rest of Rory’s siblings and his life is never the same again.

Chelsea McQuaid is 26 years old and is raising her brother’s six kids on her own. She’s much too busy for a relationship but Jake Becker sneaks up on her in ways she wasn’t prepared for but isn’t exactly against. Sure, she’s got no time for sexy times with her Mom responsibilities overtaking her life but she’s all the kids have and they’re the priority but with Jake becoming more and more of a fixture in their lives, she’s thinking that they’ll be alright.

Of course, things aren’t as easy as she wants them to be but love is worth the trouble, right? Right. Chelsea and Jake were fantastic characters with a story that I eat up every single time that I read it. I read this book two years ago and it was a 5 star read then and this year, it’s a 5 star read still. I completely adored every single child and watching Jake fall for not only Chelsea but every single kid melted me at every turn. From Riley all the way down to Ronan, I was in love. I loved that Jake had a distinct relationship with every single kid. I loved seeing him with the girls just as much as I loved seeing him with the girls and my heart broke in two when things get hard for the family, Rory ran to Jake. I was a puddle of emotions by then.

Chelsea was a fantastic heroine. So strong and sure in the choices she made. From leaving school to jumping into being a Mom to her nieces and nephews, she sat on her own grief to be strong for the kids and my heart went out to her with every passing page. She was caring and she was loving and she was hot too so that was a plus. 🙂

There isn’t a thing that I didn’t love about this book and I understand that it makes this review a freaking fangirl review but it can’t be helped…I’m a total fangirl for Jake and Chelsea. This book man, it’s so damn good. If you haven’t read it for yourself, do yourself a favor and fix that because this book isn’t to be missed!

My Rating


5 out of 5

five-stars

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