Tag: Random House

Book Boyfriend of the Week: Gage Barrett

Posted February 23, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

Lauren Layne strikes again! She introduces another hero that made his way onto my favorites list with her new release, Runaway Groom. Gage Barrett was such a fun hero and there wasn’t much about him that I didn’t enjoy. Book Boyfriend of the Week: Gage BarrettRunaway Groom
by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do I Don't #2
Also in this series: Runaway Groom
Published by Random House, Loveswept on January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 217
Add It: Goodreads

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

Gage is the star on the Bachelor-type reality show called Jilted. He lost a bet and his best friend signed him up. He didn’t expect to actually fall in love with one of the contestants…but when he meets Ellie Wright, his world tilts. Trying to get her to realize that what he feels for her is real and not just part of the fictional show they’re on made for some great reading.
He blinks and I could have sworn I hurt his feelings. “I’m real, Ellie.” “You’re Hollywood,” I correct.
Gage brought the goods in this book and he’s definitely a hero that you’ll want to take notice of. He’s pretty great. Here’s who Lauren Layne has posted as her muse for Gage and that’s exactly how I saw him in my head. She’s so good at this stuff.

Buy the Book

Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne January 30, 2018 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Series Order

Until next week…enjoy!

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Buddy Review: Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne

Posted February 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Runaway Groom by Lauren LayneRunaway Groom
by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do I Don't #2
Published by Random House, Loveswept on January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View:Alternating First Person
Pages: 217
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy It: Amazon|Barnes & Noble
Add It: Goodreads
five-stars

For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.

So, after not missing any months in 2017 and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done….we started off 2018 forgetting to do our buddy review so to make up for that, we’re reviewing two books together in February. Wish us luck! The first book of 2018 was Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne and it takes place mostly on the beautiful island of Maui at a beach resort in the thick of the reality show, Jilted. Jilted is a bachelor type reality show where one guy will date 20 girls over the course of the show and week after week, girls will be dropping like flies and going home. The last girl standing will be married to the Runaway Groom, Gage Barrett. Ellie Wright can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into auditioning to be one of the girls on Jilted. Gage Barrett can’t believe he lost a bet to his best friend, a bet that puts him right smack dab in the middle of a freaking reality show where girls will be competing to become his…wife. Both Gage and Ellie don’t want to be in Hawaii. They don’t want to be on the show and yet, somehow a friendship blossoms between them anyway. Will a fake romance turn into a real one? Rowena: Holy cow, this book was good. It was the perfect book to read after a really bad book because Gage and Ellie’s antics perked me right up and it was so good that I read the entire thing in one sitting. I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about it. What about you, Ames? What did you think? Ames: Like you, I read this book in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down. The energy between Gage and Ellie was great and I had to find out what antics they’d get up to next. Their bantering and bickering was funny. I definitely lol’d a few times. So Ellie gets talked into the show as a way to promote her and her best friend’s t-shirt company. Right from the first episode that goal is met with visits to their website and sales of the shirt going up. So Ellie considers her job done and so she wants to go home. She really isn’t impressed by A-list actor Gage Barrett, his looks or his attitude, so she just acts like herself in all her interactions with him. And even though Gage himself doesn’t want to be on the show (he lost a bet!), Ellie’s don’t-give-a-shit attitude appeals to him. But it wasn’t only Gage and Ellie that made the book fun. I liked the other contestants on the show too. Of course they were a few crazies and cutthroat women who took the competition too seriously, but I liked how those other contestants balanced out the interactions between Gage and Ellie. And the humour. Really, that’s what kept me flipping pages. Quickly into the story Ellie tells Gage that she wants to go home and he promises her she’ll be on the chopping block to get eliminated…but things happen that make him break his promise and I loved Ellie’s rage every time that happened. LOL Rowena: Every single time that Gage sent someone home, I laughed out loud. I didn’t care that it was after midnight and my house was already asleep. I laughed out loud. The funniest one was when he sent Skylar home. Bwahahahaha, that poor girl got in the way so she had to go. You’re right. The energy between Gage and Ellie was fun and it was sweet and I ate it all up. YES! The other contestants cracked me up, too. From Evil Eden to Crazy LeAnn to side action Paisley, I enjoyed what each of them brought to the story. Oh man, the rage that Ellie had every time Gage couldn’t send her home was a freaking riot. Gosh, there was so much to like in this story that I’m pretty bummed we’re not getting another one. Normally, I can get pretty annoyed when characters don’t talk things out. In fact, in the last book that I read, I got really upset at the heroine for not opening her mouth and getting mad at the hero for things that happened before she came along but Lauren Layne did that in this book and she wrote it in a way that made me sit up and take notice. The first thing that came to mind was, “This is how it’s done. This is how you make a reader connect with how dumb the characters are acting right now” Layne did a great job of making us readers understand why Ellie didn’t speak up when she probably should have. She did a wonderful job of making it easy for me, as a reader to connect with Ellie’s character and her assumptions about Gage before she even knew him. I thought the way that she flushed out both Ellie and Gage’s personalities and their individual journeys made for a great reading adventure. I was seriously here for it all. This book drives home why I enjoy Lauren Layne books so much. Her stories are filled with humor, with fantastic chemistry and characters that can charm the socks off a dragon. Gage was such a fun hero and Ellie? Well, I want Ellie to be my best friend. I absolutely loved this story and there wasn’t one thing about it that I hated. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. You? Ames: I agree that Lauren Layne writes great contemporary romances. Her characters really shine and I love her humour. And she writes her heroines very well. I need to be able to connect to heroine and understand her motivations and she knocked that out of the park with Ellie. Ellie was fun and her loyalty and friendship defined her as a person. This was also apparent in her budding friendship with Paisley. With a show that pits women against each other for a man, LL did an awesome job of not making all the women villains. Kudos to her. I’m giving Runaway Groom 4.25 out of 5. Thoroughly enjoyable and I have to say, reading about a book in Maui during this cold winter of mine (seriously, it’s been hellishly cold – think -40) was a nice bonus too.
I Do, I Don’t Series
Final Grades
Ames: 4 out of 5 Rowena: 5 out of 5
five-stars

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Book Boyfriend of the Week: Dax Vaughn from Man Candy

Posted January 12, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

This week’s book boyfriend snuck up on me because when I first met him in the other books of the series, he didn’t really stand out to me. I mean, I was curious about him but I wasn’t expecting to love the hell out of him the way that I ended up doing after finishing his book. Dax Vaughn was a delightful surprise and I seriously adored him. Man Candy by Jessica Lemmon Series: Real Love #3 Also in This Series: Eye Candy, Arm Candy Genres: Contemporary, Romance Publisher: Random House, Loveswept
Is there room for two in that sleeping bag? When it comes to love, a chiseled loner takes the scenic route in this irresistible standalone from the author of Eye Candy (“Truly the perfect romantic comedy.”—Lauren Layne). Dax: After spending the summer buried up to my eyeballs in my family’s affairs, I’m ready for a break. The kind of break where I can spend two solid weeks camping and fishing in the company of absolutely no one. Then I find myself directly in the path of a drop-dead gorgeous tornado by the name of Becca Stone. Who can resist a night with a damsel in distress? Especially when she happens to be a leggy blonde? The last thing I expect is for Becca to show up on my cabin doorstep the next night, shivering in the rain and ready for seconds. Becca: One minute I’m admiring the rock-hard jaw of the Magic Mike lookalike who walks into my bar, and the next I’m getting fired by my own brother. Loudly. In front of everyone. Luckily Dax Vaughn is a gentleman who aims his white-hot smile at me. Oh, it’s on. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. Then a torrential storm washes out the main road and causes a massive power outage, giving us two whole weeks to enjoy each other’s company. At which point Dax will go back home, leaving “us” in the rearview mirror. That’s the plan. Or it was . . . until I started falling for him.
Dax Vaughn won me over with how grown up he was about his feelings and how realistic he was about what was happening with Becca. I loved how he instantly recognized what was happening and let himself just feel everything without crowding Becca.

“My gut tightens. I know that feeling, but it’s been eons since I’ve felt it. White. Hot. Attraction.”

Then there was the way he missed Becca. It was sweet at the same time that it was sexy, and again, grown up. I really liked that about him.

“Hang on, gorgeous,” I warn, but she turns her face to the side to make sure I see her smile. Absolutely. Missed. That smile.

My heart hurt for Dax when he realizes how much he felt for Becca and how scared she was to return those feelings. Finding out his romantic past and seeing him go through it all again with Becca, I felt for him…felt all of the things. Felt so much love for him and was so glad when he finally got his happy ending.

“No Becca. No note. It’s fine. It is. Disappointing, but fine. What we had was last night, and last night was fucking spectacular, and now it’s in the rearview. Totally fine.”

Here’s the guy that came to mind whenever I tried to picture Dax…though the guy on the cover is freaking yummy. If you haven’t read his book, I recommend that you try it out. Dax is my favorite hero in the series and he’s very different from all of the other characters. He’s gruff and he’s grumpy but he’s oh so sexy. If you want to read my review of the book, check it out here.

Buy the Book

Man Candy by Jessica Lemmon January 9, 2018 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Series Order

So who are some of your favorite book boyfriends that you read about this week? Do you love Dax just as much as I do? Share!
Until next week…enjoy!

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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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