Tag: Montlake Romance

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted July 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #2
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 247
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.

Hard Sell is the second book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series. This is another book Rowena chose for me for our Summer Reading Challenge. I enjoyed it more than the previous book.

Four years ago Matt and Sabrina had an amazing night together. Then Matt said something insensitive and they ended up in a weird cycle of hating each other and fucking occasionally. Since Matt’s best friend is the brother of Sabrina’s heart, they see each other a lot socially, but they mostly avoid each other in private. When pictures of Matt at a strip club end up in the Wall Street Journal, his firm makes it clear he either cleans up his image or he’s out. He needs a relationship, stat. And there’s one person who can make that happen.

Sabrina is a PR genuis and New York’s best fixer. Need a reservation at an impossible to get into club, a date for Friday night, dirt on your soon-to-be? She’s your girl. So she isn’t surprised when Matt comes to her asking for help. She is surprised when he insists she be the one to act as his fake girlfriend. But she isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

I really liked Sabrina’s job. It was great watching her schmooze and dazzle.

People think they’re paying me big money to solve their problems, and technically they are, but what they’re really paying for are my connections and how well I know people. Name a judge: I know her favorite type of French wine. Name an attorney: I know his phone number and his niece’s birthday. Name a socialite: I can give you a list of every person she’s ever dated. Name a hedge fund manager: I can tell you the name of his wife and his mistress. I don’t have a little black book; I’ve got an entire encyclopedia, and there’s nothing little about it.

When she comes to Matt’s rescue the first time, I cracked up at how surprised he was.

Sabrina lets out a little gasp of pleasure. “Mr. Feinstein, is that you?” She taps her hand against the man’s knee as he sits on the barstool, the gesture playful and familiar.

I brace, expecting him to glower at her, but instead he’s grinning broadly.

“Look at you, sitting all quiet in the corner,” she says, leaning in to peck his cheek. “Does Geraldine know you’re brunching without her?”

Geraldine? Who the hell is Geraldine?

Feinstein adjusts his glasses with a smile. “She’s visiting her sister in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. The Sams were kind enough to let me be a third wheel.”

“And Amy?” Sabrina asks. “How’s she liking Harvard?”

“Nothing but happy phone calls these first few weeks,” Mr. Feinstein says proudly. “We couldn’t be prouder, and also, more grateful. Without you making that phone call . . .”

“Oh stop,” Sabrina says with a wave of her hand. “Amy’s brilliant. I’m sure she’d have gotten into Harvard without my help.”

My head is spinning. Sabrina knows Adam Feinstein? And his wife? And helped his daughter get into Harvard?

I really liked Sabrina and Matt together. They had a great love/hate thing going on with lots of chemistry. They knew each other well after years of pseudo-friendship and hanging out together, so they played the fake-relationship well. But they also had the power to hurt each other because of that, and Matt often said insensitive things. Most of the time he didn’t even mean to be an ass, but that’s how he came across. I liked watching him realize he was hurting her, then try to make it right.

“Everything okay here?” Ian’s quiet voice comes from behind me.

I let my chin drop to my chest for a moment. I love Ian like a brother. I do. He’s my best friend. But sometimes . . . sometimes . . .

I envy him. I envy him the role of Sabrina’s savior. Her friend.

I envy that he’s the one she runs to. That he’s the one who gets to look out for her. Protect her.

Meanwhile, I’m the one who hurts her. The one she needs protecting from.

I really like Layne’s writing, too. It’s engaging and makes her novels easy to breeze through. I’m super excited to jump into the next book. I’m told we’ll get a book for Jarod, one of the secondary characters, too. I can’t wait.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

21 Wall Street

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted July 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hot Asset by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Hot Asset by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hard Sell
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 266
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-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. 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 21 Wall Street series. Rowena assigned this to me for our Summer Reading Challenge. It was a quick, light read.

Ian Bradley is at the top of his game as a Stockbroker on Wall Street. He’s making seven figures and living the high life both in and out of the office. But there’s more to him than meets the eye. He grew up in foster homes after his parents died in a car accident, and he’s never forgotten his roots. Still, work hard, play hard. That’s his motto. He’s happy to play the field just as much as he plays the market. Until Lara McKenzie turns up in the break room. Ian is immediately attracted, but he’s completely intrigued when she turns him down. …Until he finds out just who she is, and why she’s there.

Lara is determined to join the FBI. Both her parents are career FBI and she wants to follow in their footsteps. She’s biding her time and making a name for herself at the SEC until she can get a recommendation for Quantico. Taking Ian Bradley down is just the kind of high profile win she needs to secure a letter of recommendation for the FBI. But from the beginning, things aren’t adding up with Ian. There’s no evidence to prove the anonymous tips they’ve gotten about his Insider Trading. But Lara isn’t giving up until she’s uncovered everything about Ian. And if she’s extremely attracted to him and falling for him with every piece she uncovers, well…no one has to know.

This was a super fast read for me. I fell right into the story and didn’t come up for air until I’d finished it. There isn’t anything new or outstanding about it, but it was a fun read nonetheless. I really liked Ian right from the start. He’s a total player, but he has integrity and works hard for his play time. I liked his baffled attraction to Lara, and how he couldn’t seem to get her out of his head.

I liked Lara, too, but I struggled a bit with her role in Ian’s life. The fact is, in the real world, if their relationship had come to light Ian could have suffered greatly for it. But this is fiction, so I let it go (mostly). Still, I liked her as a character and I was impressed with her integrity. She did the right thing, even when it was difficult.

There’s not a lot of relationship angst outside of Lara investigating Ian. They both admitted they were attracted and I felt like, right away, they were there for one another. I’m really looking forward to the next two books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

21 Wall Street

three-half-stars


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Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Posted March 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #3, Mercury Pack
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Wild Hunger , Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 366
Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

A pack Alpha and his estranged, true mate wrestle with painful secrets, ruthless enemies, and their own irresistible attraction, in the sexy third book of the Phoenix Pack series.

Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before.

Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Carnal Secrets is the third book in the Phoenix Pack series, and the start of the Mercury Pack series by Suzanne Wright. This is another book I thought I read, but didn’t mark down. The details were sketchy, so I’m calling it a new read.

Shaya Critchley is a submissive wolf whose mate keeps rejecting her. She’s done with waiting on him and feeling hurt when he doesn’t claim her, and she’s done not having full control of her life. Determined to start fresh, she relocates to Arizona and begins working in her friend’s hair salon. She’s just settling in and starting to feel content when Alpha Nick Axton – her erstwhile mate – shows up.

Nick is battling an illness no one else knows about. He wanted to stay away from Shaya for her own good, but he can’t fight the pull of her any longer. He’s determined to win her over, even if that means leaving his old pack and going it alone with her. As an Alpha, mating a sumbissive wolf, and making her Alpha Female means never really having full control of the pack, since she can’t disobey a direct order from someone dominate. But Nick is tired of living without her. But Shaya has been hurt one too many times by his actions in the past. It’s going to take all he has to win her over….if he can do it before it’s too late.

Shaya got on my nerves a lot more than the previous two heroines did. I understood why she felt hurt and angry over Nick’s rejection of her, but her “punishing” him for it went on way too long. The lengths she went to to push him away were ridiculous. The more she acted out and pushed him, the more immature she seemed.

There’s also an easy fix to the submissive Alpha Female problem. Turns out Shaya isn’t the type of submissive who has to obey more dominate wolves. That seemed a little too convenient and kind of lazy on the author’s part.

I liked Nick quite a bit. I really liked what a great alpha he was, and how people just naturally followed him. All these wolves kept showing up and sort of forcing him to become their Alpha, which I thought was hilarious. Despite being a natural leader and a dominate wolf, Nick doesn’t like people and really just wanted to be left alone with his mate. I cracked up every time they sort of out maneuvered him and he took another step closer to forming a new pack.

The suspense plot of who is after Shaya and why didn’t really interest me. I know others really like that aspect of these books, but I’m not a fan.

I would have given this a solid four stars if it hadn’t been for how immature Shaya was. As it is I’m going to give it 3.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack

The Mercury Pack

three-stars


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Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Hot Asset , Hard Sell
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is the third book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series and it is legit, my most anticipated release of the year. I have wanted Kennedy and Kate’s story since they were first introduced in Hot Asset. I pre-ordered this the minute I found out that it was up for pre-order and I read it in one sitting the night that it was delivered to my kindle. You guys will have to excuse me because I can’t help myself. I fangirl over everything that I read by Lauren Layne. Are we friends? Nope. Do I get paid to scream from the rooftops over my love of all things Lauren Layne? Nope. Do I hype myself up for all of her new releases? You betcha. Did she deliver a romance worthy of the hype that I gave this book in my head?

I am a sucker for the unrequited trope and Lauren Layne did such a fantastic job of showcasing that same trope for both Kennedy and Kate. We saw Kate’s feelings for Kennedy over the course of this series but in this book, we saw the tables turn and saw Kennedy waking up and catching on to what everyone already knew…that Kate was his lobster.

I think what I was most looking forward to in this book was seeing the usually staid and reserved Kennedy finally lose his cool over a woman, but not just any woman. No, I was looking forward to him losing his cool over the woman. Over Kate. The Kennedy that we know and love is low key a fuddy-duddy who is not exactly a prude but low key maybe is a prude? That probably doesn’t make sense to people who haven’t read this series but trust me, that’s Kennedy’s charm. From the jump, you can tell that Kate has a different relationship with one of her bosses. She’s got three but there’s only one that rubs her the wrong way. There’s only one that brings out the snarky personality in her…and for two books, I wanted to know the full background that explained the combative nature of Kate’s relationship with Kennedy.

Oh man, the waiting damn near killed me but boy did I eat up every single word of this book. I was here for all of the drama, all of the passion and I was definitely here for the explosion. Holy cow, Jealous Kennedy was a sight to behold. I freaking loved seeing Kennedy so jealous and not even realize that he’s jealous. I loved seeing him twisted up in knots over Kate being with anyone not him. I was over the moon when he finds Kate at his parent’s anniversary party on the boat. I had the biggest smile when Kate finally yells at him about the word she’d use to describe him. My feelings and my emotions were wrapped up from beginning to end and I thought Lauren Layne delivered a damn near perfect romance for two of my favorite characters of hers. She never fails to write the kind of romances that I need right now and that I read in one sitting. Is this book perfect? Probably not to everyone but it was damned perfect for me. Kate and Kennedy forever!

Grade: 5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


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Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright

Posted February 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #7
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Carnal Secrets
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Length: 11 hours and 1 minute
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Wild Hunger is the 7th book in Suzanne Wright‘s Phoenix Pack series. This may be my favorite of the Phoenix Pack books. I prefer the Mercury Pack overall, but this is my favorite of the Phoenix books. Jill Redfield narrates the audio and I felt she did a good job overall, though the breathy voice she does during love scenes was a turnoff.

Frankie Newman was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother and father were killed. She has no idea she was once part of a pack, because her grandparents kept the knowledge from her. Once she finds out, she has to decide if she wants a relationship with her father’s family. Trick Hardy has been not-so-patiently waiting for his mate to come along. He knows right away Frankie is the one. He’s determined to give her space to figure out what kind of relationship she wants to have with his pack, and to get used to the idea of mating with him. But he refuses to walk away.

I loved how determined Trick was to find his mate and how open to the bond he was. I also really liked how patient and understanding he was with Frankie. He didn’t push her to give more than she could. It was sweet. I also liked how little drama there was in their coming together. They took their time getting to know each other, but they both accepted that they were mates right away. It was refreshing from previous books, where one mate or another was resistant. Frankie had a tough go of it, feeling betrayed by the people who raised her, as well as dealing with meeting her father’s family. She had a good head on her shoulders and I liked how she dealt with everything.

As I said, this is my favorite of all the Phoenix Pack books. Trick’s patience and understanding, coupled with Frankie’s down-to-earth approach to her situation really worked for me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack


four-half-stars


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