Author: Lauren Layne

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & Corrupt

Posted May 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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dnf

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 guess it had to happen sooner or later. I DNF’d my first Lauren Layne book and I’m still pretty surprised about it. If you know me then you know of my love of all things Lauren Layne. I adored her Oxford, Sex, Love & Stilettos and Wedding Belles series. I am enjoying her Love Unexpectedly series. There hasn’t been a book of hers that I absolutely hated (I have hated some character antics and thought processes but I haven’t hated any books) so imagine my surprise when I just couldn’t get into this book.

This book follows Luc Moretti, a New York Police Officer who is being praised for being a hero and Ava Sims, the reporter who is covering his story. Ava and Luc do not like each other and Ava’s attitude pissed me off too much for me to continue on. The way that she yelled at Luc, who was giving her a parking ticket because she was parked illegally on a public street pissed me off because she was yelling that he was violating her freedom of speech. WTF does that even mean? She was working so she’s above the law now? I’m sorry but…

Don’t even get me started when we get to the present time and she sees Luc again for the first time in three years. On top of Ava’s attitude, she’s a reporter and I have a love and hate relationship with reporter heroines so after some convincing from my besties, I stepped away from this one. I’m sure she got better as the book wore on but I just couldn’t do it so that was my first DNF.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Published by Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 361
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dnf

Jessica Darling's in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the uberhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she's assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years--and the summers in between--while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

I’ve been wanting to read Charmed Thirds since I finished Second Helpings…the only problem with that is that I read Second Helpings years ago and I don’t know if it’s my old age but Jessica Darling was exhausting to read about and I was disconnected from everyone (including Marcus and I loved him before) so after a while of not really caring what was going on and wanting Jessica to take a breath, I just stopped reading this. It just didn’t hold my interest so I moved on.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Corrupt (Devil's Night, #1) by Penelope Douglas, Jeremy York, Tatiana Sokolov
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: November 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 460
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dnf

Erika

I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael

Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.

Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

Corrupt was a book that was brought to my attention by well, everyone. I’ve been seeing such good things about this author and this book in particular that I bought it and prepared myself for an interesting read. There’s a darkness to this book and to the hero that I just could not get behind. I tried three different times to get past what the hero and his friends were doing, to get past what they blamed the heroine for and though I was told that not all is what it seems, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it and it was messing with my reading mojo so I stepped away from this one. Who knows if I’ll pick it back up later, I just know that I can’t do it now.

Have you DNF’d any books lately? Share your DNF stories with us. Which books should we steer clear from? Help a sister out!

dnf

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Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Posted April 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #4
Also in this series: Good Girl
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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four-stars

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Lauren Layne strikes again. She has written another fabulous contemporary romance that hit me in my feels and made me laugh. She has a knack for writing great characters that are completely relatable and super funny and that’s really my jam so I’m super happy that I read this one.

Georgie Watkins is a rich girl who is an expert in socializing. She spends her days recovering from her partying nights and when her neighbor Andrew Mulroney starts his day at 5AM, she’s usually coming in from ending hers. On top of being a workaholic, Andrew is a health nut who looks down his nose at Georgie bringing in donuts every morning for the doormen that work at the front desk of their apartment building.

They meet each other in the lobby every morning and they share a witty banter that just filled me up with goodness and I enjoyed each of their daily chats. They don’t like each other and they love to antagonize one another and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Georgie was a great heroine who seemed to sense in herself, a quiet unrest that she didn’t understand until interacting with the snob, Andrew Mulroney. She realized that she was bored. She was growing up and she wanted more out of her life than nightly visits to the club where she danced the night away with her friends and flirted with cute boys who lived their lives, the exact same way that she lived hers. She wanted more and she also had a huge ol’ crush on Andrew, who seemed to take great pleasure in putting her down every chance he got. She didn’t understand her crush but ran with it anyway because it wasn’t going anywhere. The best part of her days were her morning arguments with Andrew and she wasn’t going to give those up.

Andrew doesn’t like Georgie. At least, he doesn’t think he does. She’s everything that he doesn’t have time for. A spoiled rich girl who isn’t doing a damn thing with her life other than partying with her friends. He’s too smart and too driven to throw away his life by doing…nothing. But that doesn’t stop him from looking forward to battling wits with her at 5AM, every morning. It also doesn’t stop him from admiring just how pretty she is. When a particular battle of wits ends with him challenging her to spend a day in his shoes (he doesn’t think she’ll last a day), she accepts and things change for the two of them.

The romance between these two was adorable and just so much fun. The chemistry was strong and the sexual tension made its presence known from the very beginning. They were both such great characters on their own that bringing all of that awesomeness together made for a very enjoyable story. This is a story that I didn’t even know I wanted and I’m glad that Lauren Layne provided because she delivered the goods with this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Broken by Lauren Layne

Posted April 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Broken by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Broken by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #1
Published by Flirt
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 252
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three-half-stars

Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both... or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

Broken is the second book in the Redemption series by Lauren Layne. It’s another solid contemporary New Adult book about two people falling in love while one is returning to the land of the living and the other is looking for redemption.

Olivia Middleton has betrayed her boyfriend and she hasn’t been able to get over it so in an effort to redeem herself, she takes a job caring for a war veteran who was injured overseas. She needs to give back to someone in need to wipe the smear that has tainted her reputation ever since she kissed Michael and cheated on her ex-boyfriend, Ethan Price. When she arrived in Maine, far away from New York, she was expecting to care for an older veteran but the hot grumpy guy before is her charge and she’s not at all sure what to do with this unexpected attraction.

Paul Langdon is living with survivor’s guilt and it’s chasing everyone out of his life. He’s scared off caretaker after caretaker and no matter what he does, his rich father keeps sending new ones his way. He doesn’t want to be around people. He’s got scars that are both on the inside and the outside and all he wants is to be left alone. When Olivia comes to live with him, his father made it clear that this is the last one. If he can’t or won’t let Olivia help him, then he’ll be cut off and disinherited. Paul has reasons for needing the money and so he’s got to let the gorgeous new, close to his age caretake, take care of him.

They don’t get along at first because Paul is a dick but Olivia is a lot stronger than she looks and he doesn’t scare her away. She’s got redemption on her mind and he’s not going to take that away from her. She’s going to bicker her way through his defenses and she’s going to help him get better, even if it kills her.

This book was a lot different from Isn’t She Lovely. The tone was less playful and a little darker. Olivia is Belle and Paul is the Beast. She goes to live at his fortress and she melts him with every day that they spend together. Their romance in the end was lovely but there were times when I wanted to punch Paul in his junk. He was stubborn and willful and sometimes a little cruel because that shit that he pulled with Michael? That shit was not funny.

Olivia was hard to take at times too but in her heart of hearts, she was a good heroine. She never meant to hurt anyone, least of all, Ethan. She learns a lot about herself and she grows the heck up in this book and I was glad for it. She faces some truths about herself that were hard to take but she didn’t back away from these life lessons and that made me happy for her in the end.

Paul comes around as well. He was a real beast in the beginning and even in the middle but in the end, he comes out of the dark and he really turns his life around. His love for Olivia was real and it was big and it redeemed him in my eyes.

Overall, this story was a solid read with hard times to get through. The romance was passionate, and it was real and I adored both characters in the end. Lauren Layne did a great job of bringing these two opposites together in a way that was believable and right. It’s not my favorite book in the series but it was still a good one. I just love this woman’s writing to pieces. She’s so stinkin’ good at what she does. I hope she writes forever. If you haven’t given this series a try, you should fix that.

three-half-stars

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Review: Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

Posted December 16, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Someone Like You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Someone Like You by Lauren Layne
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 228
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five-stars

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

I couldn’t start this book fast enough. Nick and Nereyda had already read and loved it so I knew that only good things awaited me so the first chance I got, I jumped in. I’m so happy to report that Lauren Layne does not disappoint with Lincoln Mathis’ book.

From the moment readers have met Lincoln Mathis, they have been intrigued by this man. He’s not the relationship type, gets all of the girls but at the end of the night, everyone leaves happy and with no hard feelings. There aren’t any crazy ladies trying to break down his door for explanations about why he never called. There aren’t any hurt feelings. Everyone loves Lincoln Mathis and with everyone in his circle of friends pairing up, it’s Lincoln’s turn, right?

Wrong.

Lincoln has no interest in pairing up with anyone. You find out why he feels the way that he does when you dig into his story and I won’t get into those things in this review because…you have to read those things for yourself.

Lincoln was everything I hoped he would be and more. I went into this book, ready to know what Lincoln’s been hiding from the rest of the group and to really dig into his personality and his background. I wasn’t disappointed. I got all of that and more. I think Layne did a great job of giving readers what they’ve been waiting for and bringing Lincoln to life. We got to see what Lincoln was really about and I was here for that party. I loved every minute.

Daisy Sinclair was the last person I was thinking of for Lincoln. He was such a big character that I was afraid nobody would be good enough for him. I didn’t think he had an equal (yes, he was that big a character for me) but Daisy was perfect for him in every way. The way that she saw right through him from the jump had me sitting up and taking notice. I loved that she could relate to him on a level that nobody else could. Nobody got him the way that she did and man, her story really hit me in the feels. She was such a lovely character, so different from her twin sister but no less wonderful and I came to love the hell out of her.

I really liked the way that these two came together. First as friends and then their friendship grew into something so much bigger than either of them was expecting. They were both so lonely, their stories so different but they understood each other. They cared about each other. I loved it all.

Lauren Layne is my author of the year. She has literally knocked me on my ass time and time again this year alone and in a year that has been one craptastic day after another, I was glad to have so many of her books to look forward to. This was another wonderfully romantic story that hit me in my feels at every turn and fans of Lincoln Mathis will not be disappointed with his story because it’s great, you guys. So stinkin’ great. I highly recommend this book to everyone.


5 out of 5

five-stars

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Review: To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne

Posted October 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Love and to Cherish by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne
Series: Wedding Belles #3
Also in this series: From This Day Forward, To Have and to Hold, For Better or Worse
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, a contemporary and witty romance series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.

Alexis Morgan has spent the past eight years devoted to turning her tiny start-up into Manhattan’s premiere wedding planning company, The Wedding Belles. Now that her business is thriving, it’s time to turn towards her much neglected personal life, and Alexis approaches her relationships like she does everything else: with a plan. Not a part of that plan is Logan Harris, the silent partner in the Belles, and the one person who’s been there for her since the very beginning. But Alexis needs someone fun, and Logan’s all business, all the time—except when a late night at the office ends with an unexpected kiss that leaves the usually cool and together Alexis reeling.

Logan has lusted after Alexis since the day he walked into the tiny Harlem apartment that used to double as her office. But the ambitious wedding planner has always been untouchable...until now. Alexis has made it clear that she’s on the dating market—and equally clear that he’s not in the running. But when Alexis finds herself in need of a date for her sister’s last minute wedding in Florida, Logan knows it’s the perfect time to show Alexis that there’s more to him than numbers and spreadsheets—and beneath the pinstripes and glasses lies a hot-blooded heartthrob. As Florida’s sultry days turn into even hotter nights, Logan’s out to convince Alexis that the fling of a lifetime could just maybe turn into forever...

As soon as this book hit my inbox, I was all smiles because…finally. Alexis and Logan. It feels like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for this book even though it’s only been a few months. That’s how anxious I was for this book.

Logan has had a serious thing for Alexis Morgan for years. His love for her has gone unnoticed for all of those years and in this book, Logan is fed up. He’s fed up with Alexis being blind to him as a man and he’s fed up with loving someone who doesn’t seem to love him back. Changes need to be made and things need to be shaken up and Logan is more than ready to toss things up in the air and see where they land….especially after he gets a call from his father with the news that he is going to retire and Logan needs to pack his shit up and come home to take over.

Logan knows that he’s stayed away from home for all of these years because of Alexis. She wasn’t ready for him and his feelings back then but things are different now. Logan needs to make some life plans and he needs to figure out where Alexis fits into those plans. Will he continue to be her accountant or will she come to realize that they were meant to be together forever.

Alexis’ past has caught up to her and running away from it and them isn’t a choice anymore. She spent so much of the last few years trying to move on from the hurts of the past that she didn’t realize how big and strong those walls around her are. Things are changing and closing in on her and she really can’t handle much more change so when Logan, the most constant companion and friend she’s had in the last 8 years starts changing their rules on her, she’s really thrown for a loop. She’s kept Logan at arms length because the risk of losing him was high and she couldn’t bear to lose him. The business has always been there for her and has always been the priority but over the course of her story, you see her realize that while the business will always be a priority, it didn’t have to be the only priority.

Lauren Layne has fast become my go to author for fun contemporary romances. She has consistently written books that I have loved and each book in this series has been fantastic. These characters have wormed their way into my heart and taken up residence there. I love all of them and I’m low key hoping that Jessie gets a story of her own because she was just as much a part of the Wedding Belles as Brooke, Heather and Alexis.

There was much to love about this book. Alexis and Logan fumbling their way through and finding their way to each other made for a great reading adventure but the friendships between the Belles and then the boys were great fun too. I want to be a part of their circle of friends. This was another fabulous addition to Layne’s back list and its one that I’ll re-read again and again because Logan is full of yum! I definitely recommend this book. It’s great!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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