Author: Lauren Layne

Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted May 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Hot Asset by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 266
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four-half-stars

A sexy agent hounds Wall Street's hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he's met his match in Lara McKenzie-a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case-the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading-could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one, and Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She'll do anything to prove he's guilty. He'll do anything to prove he's not. But it's only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It's become a pleasure-and there's more at risk than she ever dreamed.

Hot Asset is the first book in Lauren Layne’s new 21 Wall Street series. It features a hotshot broker who is being investigated for insider trading and the SEC investigator who is digging into his entire life. Sparks fly whenever they’re together so you know this was going to be a good one.

Ian Bradley grew up with nothing. No family, no money, no handouts so he worked really hard to make sure that he doesn’t have to worry about money or need any handouts now. He knows that he’s fortunate to have the life that he has now and he plays just as hard as he works. He lives the life of a bachelor and tries to live without regrets but when he comes into the office and is blindsided by an insider trading investigation on him, he needs to get his shit together and figure out a plan. And just as soon as he stops staring at Lara McKenzie’s long legs and fine ass, he’ll get right on that. Haha.

Lara McKenzie has a dream of joining the FBI, just like her parents. Her dream job is within reach but she has to get through her present job in order to get the recommendation that she needs for the FBI gig. She’s hoping that this latest investigation will lead her to a big case that will lead her one step closer to the FBI. She’s investigating a broker on Wall Street who thinks the world rises and sets with him. He thinks he’s above everything and she’s not surprised that he might be a little shady. Anything to get to the top, right? But the further she digs into this case, the more she realizes that Ian Bradley is not the guy that everyone seems to think he is.

Both Ian and Lara battle their attraction while she’s investigating him. It’s thrown them both off of their game because they don’t know how to handle it. Nothing can come of the attraction, not now anyway but the more they get to know each other, the more they want each other.

Lauren Layne did a great job of meshing both the Wall Street and the SEC worlds in this story and I really enjoyed it all. The characters, the romance, the dialogue, it all worked and I am so here for the next book.

Lara was a fun heroine because she knew what she wanted and she worked hard to achieve all of her accomplishments. She acted on what she felt was right, no matter the cost and how can you not respect someone like that? She was confident in her work and she was also confident in herself as a person and I just really enjoyed getting to know her.

Ian was a great hero and I enjoyed getting to know him. The bits and pieces of him that made him the person that he grew up to be, seeing the family he created for himself and seeing him take care of the one man who was as close to a father figure as he could get just warmed my heart so much. He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t polished but he was real and I dug him. I also really enjoyed seeing him fall for Lara and that was completely believable. It happened organically and seriously, Lauren Layne is really good at bringing couples together. She delivers the goods and I will definitely have ants in my pants until I can read the next book in this series.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

four-half-stars


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Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly) by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
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Goodreads
four-stars

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

“Lauren Layne writes characters I want to tackle and keep as my best friends, woven into smart, sexy, utterly romantic tales of love.”—Violet Duke

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Every time that Lauren Layne releases a book, I’m going to read it. She’s been my go-to author for fabulous contemporary romances for the past couple of years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. An Ex for Christmas is the fifth book in the non-series, Love Unexpectedly and it’s another sweet romance that I ate right up.

Kelly believes in fate and in all things psychic so when she’s trying to make her way home for the holidays and a psychic stops her to tell her that she’s already met her one true love, Kelly is shook. She’s so shook that she gets home and ropes her best friend Mark into helping her make a list of her ex-boyfriends because one of them is her one true love and she’s going to find him. So she goes on this mission to track down her exes, put them through a date to see if there are any sparks left and well…you know how that goes.

Mark just got out of a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and he’s making plans for his future when his best friend Kelly comes home with the crazy plan to track down her exes and marry one of them. He’s grumpy about it because what man wants to be caught up in that tangle of junk?

Mark and Kelly were adorable together. I love how comfortable they were with each other and how loyal they were to each other. When Kelly thinks that Mark’s girlfriend is cheating on him, she gets super mad on his behalf and I thought that was fantastic. Mark couldn’t have cared less because he was getting ready to put his plans into action and when he’s sidelined by Kelly’s crazy plans to nab an ex, I loved seeing him battle his emotions with that.

Lauren Layne does a great job of telling this story while only giving us Kelly’s POV. I would have liked to get inside Mark’s head from time to time but I caught onto his deal pretty early on so I didn’t think the book suffered much from not having it. Mark was the perfect kind of grumpy that I adore to pieces so I was all aboard the Mark train.

Kelly took her sweet ass time figuring out who her perfect mate was but I had a good time seeing her fail at every date she went on so I wasn’t annoyed at all. She was great fun to get to know and I liked seeing her come into her own. She had a sweet relationship with her parents and with her friends from high school so all in all, this was a good read.

This was the perfect read to read heading into the holidays…it was fun, flirty and had a smoking hot hero that was grumpily perfect for the sweetheart of a heroine. Lauren Layne continues to shine in my eyes and I’m already thirsty for more. She seriously can’t write fast enough to suit me. I’m so greedy when it comes to her books. She’s just so good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Made for You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Made for You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Made for You (The Best Mistake, #2) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #2
Also in this series: Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1)
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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When the Wrong Guy is Oh-So-Right

Will Thatcher is exactly the type of sexy playboy good girls like Brynn have always avoided. And yet there was still something about him she just couldn't resist. When Will moved across the country three years ago, Brynn vowed it was time to put him behind her. She never thought Will might have other plans . . .

Back in town, Will intends to get what he's always wanted-gorgeous, unforgettable Brynn. For years, he tormented the untouchable ice princess in a desperate bid for her attention. Now he has a new plan, and he'll do anything to rewrite their stormy past. This time, he's out to show Brynn that the imperfect man might be the best mistake of her life . . .

Made for You is the second book in Lauren Layne’s The Best Mistake series and it’s another winner. This book follows Sophie’s perfect sister Brynn as she falls in love with Sophie’s best friend, Will.

Brynn and Will have hated each other since high school and yet because Brynn’s parents have adopted Will into their family because he’s best friends with Brynn’s sister, Brynn has never been free of him. They bicker with each other every chance they get and Brynn’s hostility is coming from a place of embarrassment. Will is the guy that hung her bra up on the flagpole because he got his feelings hurt when she turned him down for a date. Brynn was bullied in middle school and used the opportunity of a new school to reinvent herself so that she can escape the Dumpy Dalton nickname.

But Will transferred and didn’t know Brynn’s history with bullies. He first sees her and she’s hot. He’s very interested in her and when she kicks him in the nuts, they circle each other while bickering about everything under the sun. He’s everything she has no interest in (a guy who can’t commit to one woman) and she’s the ice queen that rubs him the wrong way.

Everyone that knows them, know that they do not get along but all of that goes to the curb when Brynn shows up on Will’s porch with a proposition that Will can’t deny. After their night of passion, Brynn wants to go back to the way things were and she tells Will that they made a mistake and because Will has been secretly in love with Brynn all these years…he takes off. It must be nice to just up and sell your house and move clear across the country without any kind of plan. That’s something only rich guys like Will can pull but holy cow, he must have been big-time hurt to be rejected and then do something as drastic as a move to Boston (from Seattle).

But when he comes back and is determined to win Brynn over, my heart went into overdrive for him. The romance between Will and Brynn wasn’t easy to get through because they frustrated me at every turn. I wanted Will to be more forthcoming about his feelings and I wanted to smack Brynn upside her head and tell her to wake up and smell what’s right in front of you. She overthought every single thing and it was frustrated at times because goodness, get it together already but alls well that ends well because when they finally get everything out in the open and their truths are revealed, I cheered out loud because what a scene that was.

I wanted Will for myself and I just adored the hell out of him. He won me over in Sophie’s book with how fiercely loyal he was to her but it was in this book that I fell in love with him. Lauren Layne sure knows how to write the big reveal scene because when Will smacks Brynn in the face with his declaration, he squeezed my heart right out of my chest. It was so good.

I totally see why Will is Lauren Layne’s favorite hero. He was all that and a big bag of chips. And a coke, too. The way that he harbored all of those feelings for all of that time just completely melted me and I could not wait for Brynn to figure it out and make an honest man out of Will. All of her casual fling business with Will needed to go and when she finally wakes up and starts living her life without plans and without her lists, I was glad.

These two made a great couple and the chemistry between them was hot and it was strong. This is a book that I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


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Review: Only with You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Only with You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #1
Also in this series: Made for You (The Best Mistake, #2)
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 369
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four-stars

Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . .

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

I picked this series up because in one of her Lauren Layne’s newsletter, she mentions the hero in the second book of this series is her favorite hero (that she wrote) so of course I had to pick both books up so that I can meet this William Thatcher and boy am I glad that I did. This series was great!

Sophie Dalton is a waitress who known in her family as the flighty one. She’s never really settled into a career path and compared to her perfect sister, she needs to get her life together. That fact is smacked into her face when she in Vegas for her cousin’s bachelorette party and gets stuck in an elevator with a guy who mistakes her as a prostitute. The guy is perfectly put together and he’s a rude jerk who acts like he’s too good to make small talk with her so when they get out of the elevator, she’s glad to never see him again.

Grayson Wyatt spends his days saving hotels from ruin and making money. He works and works and works and goes home and works some more. He’s a loner by nature and he’s never really felt comfortable around others so he’s awkward and that fact is driven home when he gets stuck in an elevator with a gorgeous woman who is dressed like a prostitute and he behaves like an ass. Since he’s not all that interested in making things better, he walks away from the experience figuring he’ll never see her again. Only when he moves to Seattle and the first person he makes friends with is his elevator companions sister, things get really interesting.

The last person Sophie expected to see at Sunday dinner was the jerk from the elevator and she’s not at all happy that the hot elevator guy is dating her sister. She may not have wanted him for herself but she didn’t him for her sister. She’s not happy that he’s back in her world and if the glare he’s shooting her way is any indication, he’s not happy either. But one family dinner can’t be all that hard to get through, can it?

Well, that family dinner got Sophie a job working with Gray every day of the work week and they went from not wanting to see each other again to seeing each other every single day. The sparks fly every time they’re within spitting distance of each other and it was such fun getting to know these two.

Gray was a bit hard to like in the beginning because his attitude was so off-putting but I’m glad that I stuck around because boy does he change from beginning to end. He doesn’t have everything together and he’s so damn lonely and he doesn’t know why he keeps saying the wrong things and seeing him finally get his shit together and tell Sophie that she’s his was freaking fantastic. I just adored him to pieces and I completely bought his feelings for Sophie and her feelings for him.

Sophie was such a fun heroine. She was a good person who didn’t have her life together but she wanted to figure things out for herself. She didn’t have the highest self-esteem, something that her family contributed in but she was smart and she was strong and I really liked seeing her come into her own.

Lauren Layne writes sexual tension really well and it showed in this book. The romance between Gray and Sophie was at times frustrating but no less fun because these characters were funny and they were normal and real. I know plenty of Gray’s and Sophie’s and even Brynn’s and Will’s in my real life so I really connected with their characters here.

All in all, this was a fun story that I zipped right through and it’s another winner for me from Lauren Layne. She writes the good stuff, what can I say? I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Posted August 15, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Ready to Run by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Ready to Run by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do I Don't #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

Lauren Layne is writing a Bachelor type series and Ready to Run is the first book. It follows our heroine Jordan Carpenter as she makes her way to a small town Lucky Hollow in Montana to try to get firefighter Luke Elliot to join the cast of her upcoming Bachelor type reality show called Jilted…as the bachelor. Jilted is a reality show that will help runaway grooms find true love.

Jordan can’t figure out why this guy wouldn’t want to join the show. Who would walk away from that much money? Apparently, Luke Elliot has no problem walking away from the money and her. He just wants to live his life out of the limelight and wants nothing to do with a tv show, a big shot city slicker and he doesn’t want his personal life and the reasons he walked away from each of his exes to be public knowledge. He had a good life and he didn’t want strangers all up in his business.

Jordan is trying to make a name for herself in the television business and her boss is really excited about this new reality show. If she wants to move up the corporate business ladder, she’s got to land a heartthrob that viewers will connect with and Luke is the perfect candidate for that. It’s too bad he wants nothing to do with Jilted.

The romance between these two was kind of more of the same that you normally get from Lauren Layne. She writes a lot of those hate-to-love romances and while I liked Luke and Jordan, they weren’t my favorite hate-to-love couple of Layne’s. Jordan was chasing a guy for a tv show with no good reason for not giving up and moving on. She kept pressing this guy even though he made it plain that he wasn’t going to change his mind. She set up camp in his hometown and infiltrated his family, his friends and expected him to what? Be elated? Come on now…

Luke was not happy about the fact that he was attracted to this woman who wanted to turn his life into a freaking circus but damn, the attraction was there and it was strong as hell. The longer she stuck around, the more pissed off he became because the attraction wasn’t anything he planned on acting on but the more time that he spends trying to dodge her, the more he realizes that there’s more to this city girl than meets the eye. His interest in her grows and feelings creep up because this is a romance novel and even though this isn’t my favorite Lauren Layne novel, it still held the charm and warmth that I’ve come to expect from a Lauren Layne book.

I’m definitely interested in reading the other books in this series and I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get to see some of my favorite characters from this book in those ones. I really did like the small town of Lucky Hollow.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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