Series: Brown Family

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Posted August 1, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren DaneReviewer: Rowena
Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2) by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #2
Also in this series: Laid Bare (Brown Family, #1), , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2), Never Enough (Brown Family, #4), Drawn Together, Inside Out
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley Heat
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 291
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new novel of "toe-curling" erotic romance from the national bestselling author of Laid Bare.

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Brody and Elise discover in each other the wild, physical passion they need. But it'll take a shadow from Elise's past to make them look beyond what they need-to what they truly desire.

I started my Summer Reading challenge with one of Holly’s picks and I’m happy to report that I really liked it. I read Coming Undone by Lauren Dane and I completely adore the Brown family.

So this book features the eldest of the Brown siblings, Brody as he falls head over heels in love with his new single Mom neighbor, Elise Sorenson. Brody spent most of his life taking care of his younger siblings after their parents died and he’s never thought much on it. He just did what needed to be done. He’s been doing it all his life and being the head of his house, it’s second nature for him to boss his loved ones around. He loves to take care of those that he loves and the more time he spends with Elise and Rennie, the more he wants to take care of them…and that goes into overdrive when Elise and Rennie need some protecting.

Elise is new in town because she needed a fresh start. She’s coming off a really bad marriage that came with a lot of emotional baggage and she needs to leave all of that baggage in New York so that she can give her daughter a bright future. Her late husband’s in-laws are giving her trouble no matter where she goes and it’s getting exhausting fighting them to keep her daughter. They’re rich and they’re mean and they blame her for everything. It’s important to her that she fight them on her own. That she handle her own business but having Brody’s support means the world to her. She hadn’t planned on falling in love with Brody but it happened and while their relationship isn’t perfect, it was still theirs.

The romance between Brody and Elise was a grown-up kind of romance and I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing them come together and I really liked seeing how close Brody got to Rennie. They bonded really early on and the love that Brody felt for both of his girls was cute. I liked getting to know Brody’s siblings through their interactions with Brody.

I really connected with Elise’s character because of the way that she always thought about Rennie first. She was a good Mom who did the best that she could and you can see how genuine her love for her kid and her parents were. The way that she reacted to Raven is how I, as a mother, would have reacted and even though Raven was a freaking shit for the way that she treated Elise, Elise handled her a lot differently than I would have but even so, as awful as Raven was, I didn’t hate her. Her jealous game was strong. I wanted to punch her when she tried to get in between Elise and Brody but I got over it once Raven did.

Overall, this was a great story. The sex was freaking steamy as shit and I really felt that Brody and Elise were in love so kudos on Lauren Dane for giving us a sweet romance with lots of heat. I’m definitely interested in continuing this series.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Brown Family

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Inside Out by Lauren Dane

Posted April 12, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Inside Out by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Inside Out by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #3
Also in this series: Laid Bare (Brown Family, #1), , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2), Never Enough (Brown Family, #4), Drawn Together, Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2)

Publication Date: November 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


WORTH THE WAIT

Ella Tipton is a survivor. In the wake of an attack that nearly left her dead, she has spent each day putting her life back together. Once vibrant and outgoing, she's needed to reclaim the best parts of who she was while retaining the hard-won lessons. There hasn't been room for any romantic entanglements, even if she were ready. Still, it doesn't mean she has to stop sneaking looks at Mister Tall, Dark and Tattooed himself.

Security professional Andrew Copeland isn't quite sure when his jones for the lovely and decidely skittish Ella developed. He's known her for years, has watched her triumph over the pain she's been dealt. Cope is no stranger to women, but he knows the nervous flush he gets every time he talks to Ella is different from any attraction he's had in the past. Determined to get Ella to let him in, Cope does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense.

While Ella's sure Cope is just being nice, the prospect of being able to touch him and and gain the tools to push away the last vestiges of her fear is more than she can resist. Soon enough, Cope shows Ella his feelings are far more than friendly, and he reignites something deep inside her. It isn't long before desire and love turn them both inside out.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2010.

The first time I read this book I was left feeling a little disappointed. While the other two books were slow moving in parts, I found this one to be rather slow from beginning to end. I kept wanting..something. Some kind of culmination or showdown. Upon re-reading the book, however, I was much more satisfied. I really liked the slow slide the characters took into love. This series is about real people finding real love. So it wasn’t dramatic or crazy. That took some getting used to.

I adored Ella and Cope both separately and as a couple. They had amazing chemistry and really got each other. They were both willing to look past the surface and see the real person inside. Because of Ella’s past, I expected most of the conflict, or hesitation, to come from her. She was in an abusive relationship and suffered greatly for it. We watched her recover slowly through the previous books, but I expected she’d still have some baggage.


So it was kind of a surprise to see that Cope was the one with the issues. Sure, Ella suffers still because of her past, but she made a decision not to let her past rule her life, and aside from a few bumps here and there, she’s stuck by that. She’s fairly well adjusted, and works hard to confront her fears. It was wonderful to see such a well-adjusted character come out of something so tragic. 


Cope’s issues weren’t the result of a tragedy. They were just insecurities that come from never quite measuring up to his perfect older brother. That’s not to say he didn’t love his family and get along with them, because he did. He just didn’t feel like he was quite good enough. He definitely recognized what a gem Ella was, and didn’t hesitate to snatch her up.  I think the depth of his feelings took him by surprise and he wasn’t sure how to deal with them. I loved that Ella didn’t let him get away with it, though. She called him on his crap and made him deal with it. 


Issues aside, Cope was an amazing man. He was sweet and caring, and he really took the time to understand Ella. The packages he sent Ella totally melted me. The first one she opened had my heart stuttering. Although parts of it moved slow, it was the moments like those that really made the book. 


As always, it was good to see the Brown siblings and their crew together. Erin and her men really played a large part in the novel, because of issues she was having. Elise and Brody were also featured, as the novel revolved in part around their engagement party and wedding. I like that Dane wove the characters together without taking away from Cope and Ella.

Another great novel in Dane’s Brown Siblings series. I love that the focus of these novels is directly on the characters and their growing relationship, instead of outside conflicts and misunderstandings.


4 out of 5

Brown Family

four-stars


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Review: Drawn Together by Lauren Dane

Posted September 23, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Drawn Together by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Drawn Together by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #6
Also in this series: Laid Bare (Brown Family, #1), , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2), Never Enough (Brown Family, #4), Inside Out , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2)
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fiction, Erotica, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty is more than skin-deep…
Tattoo artist Raven Smith is blunt and hard, broken and jaded, dark and beautiful. While she doesn’t hide her painful past, she does keep a wall around her heart. She’s free sexually—but no one gets to the real Raven beneath the prickly exterior.
With a voice like smoke, Jonah Warner is a smooth-talking, highly successful attorney, with a body that should never be hidden by a suit. He’s the kind of man who never takes no for an answer and always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Raven. She’s a survivor, and he finds that incredibly alluring.
Jonah gets under her skin in a way Raven has never experienced. He makes her break all her rules—including her no-monogamy rule.
But when a figure from Raven’s past shows up at the tattoo parlor and drops a bomb into her life, their relationship will face the ultimate challenge…
MATURE AUDIENCE

Jonah sees Raven at an engagement party and wants her. He approaches her about getting a tattoo and – correctly – reads the invitation she extends for more. He decides to take her up on both. What he didn’t expect was to want more from her than a good time in bed and some ink. He wants to uncover all her secrets, break all her rules and watch her submit to him. Not so much because he wants to dominate her, but because he wants to see her let herself go.

Raven has never met anyone she wanted to break her personal rules for..until Jonah. He touches something inside her she didn’t even realize was there. Something soft and tender. She finds herself agreeing to be in a monogamous relationship with him – something she’s never done before. Ever. If that isn’t bad enough, she also finds herself coming to care for him. To looking forward to seeing him each day. To craving him on a level much deeper than the sexual. It scares her, no doubt, but she isn’t able to walk away.

Jonah comes from old money. His brother, and closest friend, is dating a woman their family deemed unacceptable at first. Raven worries she won’t fit into his world, but she’s willing to make an effort. Though she has a hard time curbing her tongue and tries to avoid his social scene as much as possible. There were some great scenes that came out of her attempts to behave herself.

My reaction to this book was wholly unexpected. Dane hasn’t disappointed me yet, but I didn’t think I’d love Raven as much as I did. I also didn’t think Brody could be topped as my favorite hero of this series, but I think Jonah managed it.

Raven has been a regular character in this series from the beginning. She wasn’t easy to like in the earlier books, as her blunt, sometimes fierce attitude rubbed the wrong way. As the series progressed, however, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued with her. What saved her for me was how real she was. Yes, she was blunt and honest – sometimes brutally so. But she never pretended to be anything but what she was. You have to respect that in a person, whether you agree with their actions or not.

Here we were given more of Raven. Not just more of her past, but glimpses inside the person she is. Her likes and dislikes, her fears and insecurities, her strength and independence. She became so much more than a smartass who was protective of her friends. I was curious to find out more about her guarded past. She’s hiding secrets and I wanted to see them uncovered. I didn’t expect to come to have major respect for her along the way, or for my admiration to grow into caring. She’s prickly and stubborn, but I think Dane did a credible job of showing another side of Raven. Her vulnerable underbelly was exposed, but not in a way that took from what she was before.

Jonah was an unexpected presence for both Raven and me. He kind of moved into her life unexpectedly. Before she realized it he was already under her defenses. I didn’t expect Dane to take Raven the direction she did, and I can say the same about Jonah. His brother Levi was somewhat domineering and I expected Jonah to be worse. He wasn’t, though. He was very definite in his likes and dislikes, but he didn’t treat Raven as anything but an equal. His need to care for her came through as just that, caring. He didn’t want to smother her or make her something she wasn’t. He just wanted her to feel loved and cherished.

This was a tender, sexy, emotionally compelling novel that really opened up both characters. I don’t know what to say about this novel except it was absolutely fabulous. Dane at her best.

 

4.75 out of 5

Brown Family

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

five-stars


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Review: Never Enough by Lauren Dane

Posted September 22, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Never Enough by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Never Enough (Brown Family, #4) by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #4
Also in this series: Laid Bare (Brown Family, #1), , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2), Drawn Together, Inside Out , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

From the national bestselling author of Inside Out--a sizzling story of insatiable passion. Gillian Forrester spent her life running...until Miles came along. The moment she held her older sister's unwanted newborn, Gillian stopped running and began building a life for her adopted son. Now, thirteen years later, Gillian's sister reveals the father's identity on her deathbed-a revelation that shakes Gillian to her core.

Adrian Brown is the epitome of the successful rock star. It takes a lot to shock him-but the bombshell that he has a son rocks his world. And Adrian is even more surprised when the buttoned-up elegant woman who's raising him ignites his erotic and romantic attention-and engages his heart.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book since I read the first one, Laid Bare. In Never Enough, we finally get Adrian’s story, Erin and Brody’s youngest brother. He’s a full out rockstar, though he has taken a year off to refocus himself. When Gillian Forrester contacts him saying she needs to speak with him, he’s suspicious. With a nudge from Brody, he agrees to meet her, but he does it reluctantly. As soon as she tells him why she’s there, he freaks out and accuses her of being a gold digger. Once again, it’s Brody who has to push Adrian into doing the right thing.

Although I understood Adrian’s reluctance to accept what Gillian said as fact, I felt his reaction was quite a bit over the top. To freak out and call her a whore and a gold digger in public is a pretty big deal. I also don’t know that it was in keeping with the character I’ve grown to love through the last few books. Yes, Adrian had become somewhat jaded, but it wasn’t to the extreme it was portrayed in this novel.

I also really struggled with how quickly their relationship progressed into the physical. Gillian hated Adrian – rightfully so – for treating her the way he did. Yet the day he shows up on her doorstep she kisses him. And the next day they’re sleeping together? That didn’t make sense, especially since Gillian’s first priority should have been her son. To sleep with the dad he didn’t know existed until that day..well, it just didn’t jive with the rest of her personality.

The rest of the book was extremely well done and what I’ve come to expect from Dane. The characters were well drawn and there was a good balance between the romance and the story. Watching Adrian get to know his son was heartbreaking and beautiful. That he was robbed of so many years actually hurt me. Family is important to all the Browns and Adrian is no exception. I love this aspect of the series. The closeness the siblings and their families have with each other is refreshing.

Gillian’s childhood was less than ideal. Her father was a pedophile and her mother a drug addict and a drunk. The only stability she had in her life was her grandmother. When her sister turned up pregnant Gillian put her musical career aside to adopt and raise him. I liked that she put him first. It wasn’t always easy for her. She had doubts and fears the same as every mother on the planet. She did her best to ensure he grew up well adjusted and happy.

Both Adrian and Gillian had trust issues, which worked against them in different ways. Gillian had a hard time letting go and allowing Adrian to step up and be the father. Adrian had a hard time letting go of his past issues and giving Gillian the time she needed to open up to him on her own. It was good that Dane took the time to explore these, though I did become frustrated with both of them at different times.

In the end I enjoyed much about this novel, but I didn’t love it as I did the previous three.

3.5 out of 5

Brown Family


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Review: Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Posted January 25, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Coming Undone by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2) by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #2
Also in this series: Laid Bare (Brown Family, #1), , Never Enough (Brown Family, #4), Drawn Together, Inside Out , Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 291
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new novel of "toe-curling" erotic romance from the national bestselling author of Laid Bare.

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Brody and Elise discover in each other the wild, physical passion they need. But it'll take a shadow from Elise's past to make them look beyond what they need-to what they truly desire.

This is not a paranormal. I just wanted to put that out there again, since I really thought – until Ames corrected me – that this series was PNR. I think it was something about the tattoo on the cover. Or something. I don’t even know.

Brody gave up most of his dreams to raise his younger brother and sister after his parents died. Now that they’re grown and settled into their lives, he’s finally content. He has a great house, a solid business and the love of close friends and family. He isn’t in the market for a relationship, but a fling with his gorgeous next door neighbor might be the only thing missing from his life.

Elise is just getting settled in to Seattle. After escaping an abusive marriage the last thing she wants is to start another romance. She just wants to focus on building her business and raising her daughter. When Brody approaches her about a fling, she’s all for it. As long as they both understand it won’t go any farther, things will be just fine. Right?

I really loved the progression of this novel. The timelime spans more than a year, which gives Brody and Elise plenty of time to get to know one another. Their relationship starts out casual, but slowly moves into deeper territory for both of them.

I really loved Brody. He was a solid guy, content with his life and totally sure of himself. He’d been hurt in the past, but he wasn’t suffering from any major hangups. I think the sheer normalness of him is what worked so well. He could be any man, or all men. He wasn’t dark and brooding, but nor was he shallow. He was just a guy who loved his family and was settled in his life.

Elise showed major strength and growth throughout the novel. She isn’t broken the way Erin was in Laid Bare, but she had scars from her past she had to deal with nonetheless. I liked that she faced them head on and didn’t try to stick her head in the sand about her lingering baggage. I also really liked that she was comfortable with her sexuality.

I really love how family centric these books are. Too often I think kids are shown as little more than window dressing in novels, but that wasn’t the case here. Not only was she a fully fleshed out character on her own, but Elise’s daughter, Rennie, was really integrated into the story. The way she and Brody interacted was lovely and sweet. I love that he fell in love with both of them. It was wonderful the way Brody’s friends and family accepted Elise and welcomed her into their fold. Not because she was dating Brody, but because they genuinely liked her.

I was bothered by Elise’s martyr complex. She assumed a lot of guilt and blamed herself for a lot of the things in her past that she had no control over. I’m all for taking responsibility for your actions, but Elise felt she was responsible for every bad decision ever made by anyone close to her. Which was ridiculous. I did like that Brody called her on it, though.

Brody’s relationship and feelings toward his ex, Raven, also bothered me. Not because he was still in love with her, but he indulged her way too much. I didn’t understand why he was so dense when it came to her. It was obvious to everyone but him that she was trying to cause trouble, and still he defended her or brushed it off. She wasn’t a crazy ex, but someone the whole family was close to, so I know that made it harder. But in the end I just kept thinking, “Are you really that dumb?” I did like that Elise tried to understand their relationship, though. That showed growth and maturity on her part.

This beautifully written, character driven novel is a must read.

4.5 out of 5

Brown Family

four-half-stars


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