Tag: Random House

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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
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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Sunday Spotlight: For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

Posted April 2, 2017 by Rowena in Features | 12 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned.

Sunday Spotlight

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Lauren Layne’s books. She writes my kind of contemporary romances with witty characters, steamy romances and a main couple that hits me with feels all over the place. This week, I’ll be featuring my favorite book in her Wedding Belles series and it’s a book that I hope will capture your attention long enough that you’d want to give it a try because it really is a great read.

For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne
Series: Wedding Belles #2
Also in this Series: From this Day Forward, To Have and To Hold, To Love and To Cherish
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Random House, Loveswept

Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.

Heather and Josh were two fantastic characters with amazing chemistry. They were next door neighbors that got on each others nerves because Josh kept Heather up all night with his blaring music and loud sexy time shenanigans. Watching these two battle wits for an entire book made for quite an entertaining read.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Memorable Scenes

Here is a reason why I love this book so much and am featuring it today on the blog. Just a little taste of the chemistry and banter that I loved through out the entire book. You’ll definitely want to check out the entire book for yourself.

“Don’t do it, 4C.”

Heather glanced at Josh as he came and sat back in the chair next to hers, reaching for his coffee.

“Don’t do what?”

“Don’t go all soft on me now and let me think you’re nice. I won’t be able to handle it.”

“I am nice,” she insisted. “Super nice.”

“Excellent,” he said, back to his easy charm and wide smile. “So would now be a good time to tell you that my band’s coming over to practice tonight?”

Heather shoved her empty coffee mug his way. “Let’s just say that you making me more of that heavenly coffee is your best chance of me not strangling you with a guitar string.”

He scooped up her mug and stood with a wink. “Damned if I don’t like you a little bit, 4C, especially when you’re all pissy and shit.”

Heather ignored this, pointedly looking out the window as she waited for him to return with more of the insane coffee.

But damned if she didn’t like him a littl bit, too.

The Wedding Belles series is a charming series about three women who work as wedding planners together. Each book follows a different Belle as she journeys her way to her own happy ending and For Better or Worse follows Heather Fowler. Heather’s story is my favorite book in the series and it’s a lot of fun. You won’t be sorry you read it so get on it..and if you don’t have your own copy, enter below for a chance to win a copy through our Sunday Spotlight giveaway.

Wedding Belles Series

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are some of your favorite books by Lauren Layne? If you haven’t read her yet, what books are you looking forward to reading by her?

About the Author

Lauren Layne

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

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Retro Review: Shadow Music by Julie Garwood

Posted February 22, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Reviews | 15 Comments

Retro Review: Shadow Music by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Holly
Shadow Music by Julie Garwood
Series: Highlands Lairds #3
Also in this series: Ransom
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General
Pages: 438
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Throughout her acclaimed writing career, Julie Garwood has captivated readers with characters who are compelling, daring, and bursting with life. Now one of the most popular novelists of our time proudly returns to her beloved historical romance roots–in a thrilling tale of love, murder, adventure, and mystery set against the haunting landscape of medieval Scotland.
For Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, Scotland is a land of stunning vistas, wild chieftains, treacherous glens, and steep shadows–skullduggery, betrayal, and now murder. Prized for her exquisite beauty, the daughter of one of England’s most influential barons, Gabrielle is also a perfect bargaining chip for a king who needs peace in the Highlands: King John has arranged Gabrielle’s marriage to a good and gentle laird. But this marriage will never take place.
For Gabrielle, everything changes in one last burst of freedom–when she and her guards come upon a scene of unimaginable cruelty. With one shot from her bow and arrow, Gabrielle takes a life, saves a life, and begins a war.
Within days, the Highlands are aflame with passions as a battle royal flares between enemies old and new. Having come to Scotland to be married, Gabrielle is instead entangled in Highland intrigue. For two sadistic noblemen, underestimating Gabrielle’s bravery and prowess may prove fatal. But thanks to a secret Gabrielle possesses, Colm MacHugh, the most feared man in Scotland, finds a new cause for courage. Under his penetrating gaze, neither Gabrielle’s body nor heart is safe.
A gripping novel that delves into the heart of emotions–unyielding passions of love, hate, revenge, and raw desire–Shadow Music is magnificent gift from Julie Garwood and a crowning achievement in her amazing career.
From the Hardcover edition.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Man, I love me some early Julie Garwood historicals. She lost me with her romantic suspense. I remember being so excited when she announced she was releasing a new historical. I’m still pretty disappointed it didn’t live up to my expectations. I wonder what would happen if I read it now? I might need to reread it and see if I still feel the same. 

This review was originally published January 8, 2008

This is less a review about this particular book and more my thoughts on the writing of Julie Garwood. Casee reviewed the book here. You can check that out for a plot summary and her thoughts, for they mostly mirrored mine.

Throughout her career, JG has remained a favorite of mine. Well, let me clarify. Prior to Killjoy she was a favorite of mine. Her historicals still call to me on occasion and I find myself picking them up at random, anxious to sink into an old, comfortable story, similar to how I might slip on my favorite sweats after a long day at work, or pop in a favorite DVD if I’ve had a particularly bad day.

But after Killjoy, not only did I think contemps were not her thing, I decided her writing itself deteriorated. The last novel I read by her was Slow Burn. While I enjoyed the basic premise behind it, I was sadly disappointed in the actual writing. Sentences were choppy, paragraphs seemed to bleed together, or go in odd directions that made no sense to me, dialogue was stilted, characters were half formed or one dimensional. I thought the plot was an awesome one, and had it been better fleshed out it had the potential to become her best written novel yet. But instead it fell far short.

After that, I decided not to read another of her contemps. I told myself, and others, that I’d buy her again if she went back to historicals, but otherwise I was done with her. I removed her from my auto-buy list and comforted myself with her old historicals, the ones that got me hooked on romance to begin with.

Then the announcement came. That yes, Julie Garwood, historical legend, would be returning to her roots. Love her older historicals or hate them, you can’t deny she’s a basic staple in romance. I was happy to hear she’d be returning, but somewhat apprehensive. Because although the moment I’d been waiting for had finally come, I was concerned about her actual writing style. The way she wove a story back when was unconventional perhaps, but still engaging. I didn’t think she’d be able to return to that, not after seeing evidence of her decline in her more recent novels.

I’m sad to say I was correct. She may have done quite a bit of head-hopping in her previous novels, but the focus remained on the two main protagonists. In this novel, however, she chose to write in a more narrative style than from one POV or another. So I was constantly pulled out of the story by her glossing over things, or seeming to sum things up. Very frustrating.

I’m also extremely unclear about how they H/H came to fall in love. There was hardly any interaction between the two, and what there was was disjointed and…once again, glossed over. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to her writing. A chapter would start out from one POV or another, and then half-way through she’d jump into a narrative style, summing things up rather than allowing us as readers to follow the progress.

I suppose it would be like me starting a story, in which I use rich, colorful detail and much humor only to say, once you’re engaged and intrigued, “Blah blah, yada, yada, you get what I mean” and then just leave it at that. Frustrating, no?

There were some good parts. When the POV was written from either the hero or heroine, I was drawn into the story. Unfortunately, those parts were few and far between, and when they did happen, they didn’t last long. The basic premise was also a good one, and classic Garwood. Sadly, the point of the plot was lost somewhere in the muddle of switching from one writing style to another, the jumping between characters and places (i.e., from the Barons in England to the clans in the Highlands to the heroine to the hero to the guards of the heroine to her father back to the barons to the king of England, etc, etc) and the mass amount of inconsistencies presented.

A lot of the reviews I’ve read for this book said the Priests provided a lot of comic relief, but I didn’t really see that. Sure, there were some amusing parts, but I think I assumed they played a bigger part in the overall story (with actual read time, I mean) and that just didn’t seem to be the case.

I’m sure I’ll end up buying her next book (assuming she continues to write historicals), just to see if she somehow improves…hmm, or perhaps that’s not the right word. Regresses into her old writing habits? Goes back to being the Garwood I knew and loved? I’m not sure. I have a feeling I’m going to be sorely disappointed when (if) that time comes, however.

On a related note: Ange, The Romance Groupie, posted about this book on Saturday. I mentioned my disappointment in the overall writing in the comments, and she responded with this:

Actually, I’ve noticed that many of the popular authors appear to be going down in the quality department. I’m wondering if it’s the editors, publishers, etc. that are ruining it. It just seems strange that so many great authors have gone bad in the last year or so. Is it just me? Are you seeing this trend too?

I thought about it some, and yes, I have to agree. Some of my favorite authors have seriously declined in the last few years. Could it be because of the publishers or editors? Or is it just simply something with them personally?

Regardless, I’m disappointed.

Even though I said this was less a review and more my thoughts on JG’s writing as a whole, I’ll still rate the book:

2.5 out of 5

You can buy it here in hardback or in eBook format here. When I bought it from Books on Board, they were offering a $5 cash-back incentive, bringing the total book price down to $9.95. I’m not sure if they’re still offering the promotion, but you could email them to see.

two-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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
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: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica Lemmon

Posted December 7, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Lost Boys #2
Also in this series: Waiting for Devlin, Shut Up and Kiss Me
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 176
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Cade: I tried. I really tried. I should be out of this small town by now, finishing my law degree and partnering up with my buddies, but I couldn’t resist one last street race. Now I’m sidelined in the hospital, and while my injuries will heal, I’m not so sure my voice will return. What kind of attorney can’t talk? Yeah, exactly. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to come back from this... until Tasha Montgomery reawakens every competitive bone in my body.

Tasha: I nearly watched Cade Wilson die on that lonely stretch of road. He’s damn lucky just to be alive, even if he doesn’t realize it. I know he’s destined for bigger and better things, but I don’t mind helping him get there as he relearns everything he took for granted. Cade’s a good student, a real perfectionist; I can tell how much his stutter bothers him. But when he lets his kisses do the talking, everything else disappears. And one day, maybe he’ll be able to tell me that he wants me—as much as I want him.

Shut Up and Kiss Me is the second book in the Lost Boys series by Jessica Lemmon. This book follows Tasha Montgomery as she makes that journey on the Cade train. Cade Wilson is the half-brother of the hero from the first book, Devlin. At the end of Fighting for Devlin, Cade is in a street racing accident that lands him in the hospital with some pretty big injuries. Doctors don’t know if he’ll ever talk normally again but they’re hopeful. Tasha is Devlin’s girlfriend’s best friend and is going to school to become a physical therapist. She’s months away from graduating with her degree and she’s already got a job lined up. All she has to do is stay out of trouble and graduate and the life she’s worked for will be hers.

Cade had a plan too. He was on his way to law school and opening up a firm with his buddies. They had their office space all picked out and everything. They just needed to finish school. Then his Dad gets into trouble and Cade wakes up. He spent the last couple of years, trying to get over his ex-girlfriend and while he doesn’t feel anything for her anymore, the impression she left on him is a lot harder to get rid of. He never wants to feel that way again so it’s been all one night stands for him. No more getting serious about anyone. He’s got other things on his mind but after the accident, the life he was planning with his buddies goes up in dust because who is going to hire a lawyer that stutters? He’s got a lot of work cut out for him but first order of business? Re-learn how to talk.

After the third therapist quits on Cade, Cade’s father Paul asks Tasha to try to help his son. Tasha and Cade have history, being schoolmates and all (they go to the same college) and they’re both not fans of the other but of course that changes because duh, this is a romance. Watching these two circle each other, while trying to keep each other at arms length was entertaining. And sweet.

I was expecting a lot of angst after the ending of the last book. I was expecting Cade to be a darker character and Tasha to be different than she was but I’ve got to say, the direction Lemmon went with Cade and Tasha’s story really worked. I was on board with pretty much everything going on. This wasn’t some long, drawn out drama but it had just the right amount of everything thrown in to make the story flow well and endear the characters to the reader. I was happy with this read and am really looking forward to digging into Lemmon’s back list further. She’s been a really good find for me this year and that makes me happy.


4 out of 5

four-stars

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