Tag: New Adult

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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Buddy Review: Managed by Kristen Callihan

Posted January 5, 2017 by Rowena & Bookish Ames in Reviews | 12 Comments

Buddy Review: Managed by Kristen CallihanManaged by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP Series #2
Published by Kristen Callihan on November 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon|Barnes & Noble

It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

Rowena: Our second buddy review will feature Managed by Kristen Callihan, the second book in Callihan’s VIP series. Managed follows Kill John’s manager, Gabriel Scott as he fumbles his way to his happily ever after with the band’s new social media manager, Sophie Darling. The band is on tour and lots of things are popping off left and right, like people falling in love. Scottie is the band manager and he’s the details man. He takes care of everything the boys need so that they can focus their energies on the music.

Scottie has some issues that he works through in this book and Sophie Darling helps him with those issues. I thought it was kind of weird at first but their relationship was just so much fun that I was able to look past a lot of the weirdness that jumpstarted everything.

But first things first, what did you think?

Ames: I really enjoyed it. I like grumpy heroes and from Gabriel’s initial reaction to seeing Sophie in the seat beside his on the plane, I knew he was going to be a grumpus and Sophie was going to be just the woman to shake him up a bit. And she did!

What did you think was weird at first?

Rowena: I ended up really liking both Gabriel and Sophie but I thought it was weird…that Gabriel hired Sophie for that side job. I mean, I know that there are professionals that do that kind of stuff but it’s still pretty weird that hottie McHot Pants Scottie needed to hire someone to cuddle him so he can sleep in peace. But even with that weirdness, I still really enjoyed the romance and getting to know both Gabriel and Sophie.

Gabriel had some serious issues that he worked throughout this book and I didn’t understand some of them (like how he needed to get away from Sophie after she was attacked) but I still enjoyed him as a person. He was one of the good ones and it broke my heart a little at how he didn’t think he mattered as much to everyone around him. The way that he held himself apart from everyone, to protect himself emotionally was just…sigh. Sophie Darling did him a solid by making him realize that he was a lot more important to his loved ones than he thought and when he finally realizes that, I cheered.

Sophie was a fabulous heroine. She wasn’t perfect. She didn’t always do or say the right thing but always, her heart was in the right place. I loved her wit, her determination to do right after the wrong she pulled with Jax before. She was fun, caring and I hurt when Gabriel took off after she was hurt. Gabriel more than made up for all that when he got back. I loved their romance. I want to be the reason someone can sleep peacefully at night. Ha!

What did you think of the romance and both the hero and heroine?

Ames: Gabriel had to make it a business transaction to give himself some distance. That way it was about his need to sleep, not his craving for a connection with someone. He was afraid to let Sophie in. It was weird though. LOL

I loved Sophie. She was the right balance between having a carefree spirit but caring for others. When we find out her connection to Jax at first, I was definitely thrown by that whole thing. But it shows how great all the characters were that they could forgive…and then finding out the truth about that night led to more healing for everyone.

Gabriel. I know I said it but I love grumpy heroes. And he was that. Of course its all a front to keep people away. And you’re right, Sophie was great at showing him that his friends cared about them and that he could let them in. I like that he was willing to let her in. And I loved his loyalty. I could forgive him having a dumb moment at the end of the book. That’s actually a beef I have, that misunderstanding was so predictable. As soon as I read that what’s his name was asking about Sophie, I could see how it would play out and that’s the way it did.

Other than that, I really enjoyed how their relationship developed. That scene where he fed her? Right when she joined the tour? Awwww. He was paying attention.

​Rowena: Yeah, I understood as I kept reading but my initial thought was…weird.

Yeah, the whole misunderstanding was low key dumb. I mean, if he had just taken a moment to process, he would have known better but yeah, to immediately jump to that conclusion made me want to kick him. Still, I loved him. I loved Sophie and I loved everyone in their circle of friends. I can’t wait to read Brenna’s book. That one is going to be sizzling with sexual tension and I’m all about that.

I think what I loved most about both Sophie and Gabriel was the amount of attention they paid to each other. They really grew to know each other and they cared deeply about each other even before they got involved romantically and I liked seeing their relationship evolve in the proper way.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I did the first book and it’s got me excited for more. Do we know who is getting their story told next? Whoever it is, I’m ready.

Grade: 4 out of 5​

Ames: I really liked that they paid attention to each other as well. They really meshed as a couple. And I like the rock band setting. All the things that bothered me were minor so I have to give this one a 4 out of 5 as well. I want more from this series! I can’t wait for whoever the next book is about – I like all the characters!

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