Author: Lauren Layne

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted January 7, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #3
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Marriage on Madison Avenue is the final book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne and IMO, it was the weakest book in the series. I still enjoyed it but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Love on Lexington Avenue and Passion on Park Avenue. I was bummed out about not enjoying this book nearly as much as I was prepared to love it because it’s got the best friends to lover trope and a fake relationship trope that I’m super trash for but I was disappointed in a bunch of little things that I didn’t completely recover from by the end of this one.

Audrey Tate and Clarke West have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Since they were kids. They have amazing chemistry that everyone but themselves can see but they’ve never gone down that road before because they’ve always been such great friends and who wants to mess with that? Not these two for sure. Audrey is a social media influencer and when the haters start to talk about her in a not so great light, a fake engagement to her best friend seems like the way to fix her problems. When Clarke’s ex-girlfriend tries to come back into his life, he’s got his own reasons to want a fake engagement to his best friend. So Audrey and Clarke become “engaged” and plan to only keep up the ruse for a little while, just until the rumors about Audrey die down and Clarke’s ex-girlfriend goes away. Only things don’t go down the way that they planned and before they know what’s what, their engagement goes on longer and longer and starts to feel a lot more real with each passing day.

Here’s what I did like about this book. The book still had the strong female friendship that I adored in the previous books and I loved seeing how protective both of the previous heroes were over Audrey…even against Audrey’s own best friend. I loved seeing Alexis Morgan make an appearance in this one. I also still really enjoyed both Clarke and Audrey individually and the romance was still a good one even though I had some issues.

The lack of communication between Clarke and Audrey had me rolling my eyes down the street. You guys are best friends, you tell each other everything but you can’t tell each other that you’re in love with each other? Clarke, you let Audrey find out about your Dad’s deal on the day of your wedding? You guys love each other so much, have each other’s back but you let each other settle for a marriage of convenience instead of pushing each other to hold out for true love the way that you guys both deserve? On top of that, the way that their engagement kept getting bigger and bigger when they had every intention of calling it off made me mad too. They were wasting so many people’s time and it just annoyed the crap out of me. I would have much preferred the conflict to be more about Clarke and Audrey figuring out that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time without the drag out, knock down fake engagement that started to piss me off the longer it went on and the deeper Audrey and Clarke got into the planning of a fake wedding.

Despite my issues, Lauren Layne still kept my attention throughout this entire book and though I was still annoyed with both Clarke and Audrey, I was glad that they got their heads out of their asses and figured their shit out. I thought the ending was rushed but by the time that came around, I was ready for the happy ending so I wasn’t too annoyed with that. So while this book wasn’t one of Layne’s best, it wasn’t all bad. I came for the female friendships and wasn’t disappointed in the least in that department.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


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Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted October 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #2
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue, Marriage on Madison Avenue
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There’s never a bad time to fall in love in the city, right? Wrong. According to the recently-widowed Claire Hayes, it’s very, very wrong. In fact, after finding out her late husband was a liar and a cheat, Claire’s convinced there’s never a good time for romantic notions. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her philandering husband, Claire sets out to redesign her entire Upper East Side brownstone and make it her own. But when she meets gruff and often-cantankerous contractor Scott Turner and realizes not all men are scumbags, Claire must decide if she’s ready to risk her heart again.

Scott needs a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and bluntly makes it clear to Claire that he only took on her house for that reason, adding that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess on his job site. But when long work days soon turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…? Scott knows he’s not one to settle down, but then why can’t he bring himself to put the finishing touches on Claire’s house and move on to the next job?

Filled with laugh-out-loud scenes that blend perfectly with the touching friendships Layne brings to life on the page, this “hugely entertaining” (USA TODAY) novel is perfect for fans of Lauren Weisberger.

Love on Lexington Avenue is the second book in Lauren Layne’s Central Park Pact series and it follows the second friend in this series trio, Claire Hayes, as she finds happiness again after her disastrous marriage to her cheating husband. So this series kicks off in Passion on Park Avenue, on the day of Claire’s husbands funeral. She finds out that he wasn’t the faithful husband that she always thought he was and she can’t bring herself to go to the funeral. She finds herself sitting on a bench in Central Park and it is there, that she meets her late husband’s mistress and his girlfriend.

Claire was devastated when she found out the depth of her late husband’s infidelity. So much so, that she decided to never fall in love again and to never remarry. She wanted a fresh start so she figures that remodeling her house will help kick off the next chapter in her life. With the help of Naomi’s boyfriend Oliver, Claire finds herself hiring his friend, Scott Turner, to remodel her house.

Scott Turner needs a break from the hustle and bustle of his big shot career. He builds big money high rise buildings, the biggest and best hotels and one of a kind gems of buildings but he needs a break and he misses his dog…so he takes on a home renovation job for his buddy Oliver’s friend so that he can go home and get that break. And so that he can see his dog…only the job is a lot more complicated than he thought because, his new client is around all the time, distracting him from the job and shoving pink paint samples under his nose at every turn. They do not like each other but the longer they’re around each other, the more their animosity toward each other shifts into something different. The chemistry between them is off the charts and they both feel it, but Scott isn’t one to stick around and Claire needs stability so trying to figure things out gets really interesting.

You guys, I’m really digging this new series. Lauren Layne is my favorite author right now and she just keeps writing fabulous book after fabulous book and I’m super glad for that because she’s writing loads and that means more fabulous books for me to read. This book isn’t any different either. I enjoyed getting to know Claire, getting to know Scott, seeing them grow together in love, and seeing everyone from the previous book made for a fun book. I’ve seen loads of reviews where readers aren’t all that wowed by this series and I can’t relate because I enjoyed Naomi’s story and I really enjoyed this one and ho boy am I looking forward to Audrey’s book. I am a super fan of Layne’s writing and I am super glad that I read this one because it’s got everything you’ll need in a romance. A steamy romance between two characters that are perfect for each other and a cast of characters that you’re going to want in your own life. Good stuff. You should read it. 🙂

Final Grade

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


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Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Posted September 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Good Girl by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Good Girl by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Loretta Rawlins, Eric Michael Summerer
Series: Love Unexpectedly #2
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame, An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 217
Length: 7 hours and 54 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: three-stars

Lauren Layne brings all the unpredictable heat of her USA Today bestseller Blurred Lines to an all-new cast of characters! Country music’s favorite good girl is hiding away from the world—only to find herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.  

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.  

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

Rowena told me not to read this book. She said I would hate the hero. She even wrote it in her review from two years ago:

This book was a fast read. It was cute and steamy and though the story might not work for everyone (because I know Holly and Nath’s reading tastes, I hesitate to recommend this book to you guys. I feel like you would want to burn Noah’s house down, Holly), I enjoyed this book.

Rowena knows me, and she knows what I like and don’t like. So why didn’t I listen to her about this book? I don’t even know. I started it before I realized it was the book she told me not to read. Then I couldn’t stop once I got going. I kept thinking Noah would get better. But he never did. Rowena was right. I wanted to burn his house down.

Jenny Dawson is a pop country star who is looking to get out of the spotlight for awhile until a scandal blows over. Another pop country star has claimed to have slept with her – which is annoying but not a big deal until his wife confirms it. Then several other jerks come forward and claim they, too, had affairs with her. Now America’s Good Girl is getting tarred and feathered. She isn’t really broken up about the rumors, because she knows the truth, but she also doesn’t want to deal with all the backlash. So she rents an old crumbling mansion in the middle of nowhere Louisiana where she spent summers as a kid, at a music camp. It’s where she wrote her first song, and a place she hopes to recapture her peace.

Noah Maxwell didn’t even realize he owned a falling down mansion in Louisiana until he got an email from Jenny asking if she could rent it. Now he’s stuck out there doing repairs and making it livable. The last thing he needs is some spoiled princess pop star showing up and demanding shit, but he does need to get away from his life for awhile and the mansion proves the perfect distraction to everything he doesn’t want to deal with.

When Jenny assumes his friend is actually the owner and that Noah is the caretaker, Noah doesn’t correct her. It’s kind of freeing not to be Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the Walcott heir with too much responsibility and too much money to ever be taken seriously. But once he admits he’s attracted to Jenny, telling her the truth becomes a bigger thing than it sound.

Here’s the thing, in the beginning Jenny and Noah’s back and forthing was kind of flirty and fun. They were trading barbs that, while loaded, still had the flavor of sexual tension, so they worked. Then shit changed. They had a sexual encounter and Noah turned into the world’s worst dick. Then he apologized (though what he said/did needed a helluva lot more than a simple apology). Then he was a dick again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For the rest of the fucking book. He would kiss her, or fuck her, then say something shitty that made her feel bad about herself or them. Then he would apologize and she’d forgive him. And then it would happen all over again.

But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst thing is this: He didn’t actually come clean about who he really was until THREE CHAPTERS FROM THE END. And even then it wasn’t his choice. Someone else outed him. I don’t get how he can spend 95% of the book being an absolute dick and lying about who he is, and the last 5% is supposed to make me forgive him. Newsflash: It didn’t.

Plus, I didn’t understand why Jenny kept forgiving him and going back for more. More insults, more sex, more whatever. The few flashes of decency we saw from him weren’t enough to make him worth common courtesy, much less all the kindness and love Jenny showed him. Not that she was all sweetness and light, but she was quick to forgive him every time he lashed out, and that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I admit the story was engaging. I kept wanting to stop, but couldn’t. I am kind of curious about Noah’s two friends, but not enough to actually brave another book in this series.

The moral of this story is, I need to listen to Rowena when she tells me I’ll hate a book. Because she’s usually right.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Love Unexpectedly

one-star


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted August 20, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Samantha Cook, Zachary Webber
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Hard Sell
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-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.

This is the second book that Rowena chose for both Holly and I for our Summer Reading Challenge. While this book was Rowena’s favorite in the series, it comes in second for me.

Kate Henley is Kennedy Dawson’s executive assistant. She keeps his life running smoothly, both professionally and personally. It’s been years since Kate first came to work for the three best friends. Years since Kate fell in love with Kennedy Dawson. After years of not being noticed and then overhearing Kennedy say that she’s not appealing in the least, Kate works on getting over Kennedy. Which she does.

Kennedy Dawson is very old-fashioned. He likes his life well-ordered and boring. After years of being single, he’s dating a model which is out of the norm for Kennedy. Everything is going along exactly how Kennedy planned, which involves no messy emotions and certainly not love. Then he starts seeing Kate in a way that he’s never seen her before.

Kate doesn’t want Kennedy to notice her. She got over her crush on him years ago and she’s not looking to go back and pine for him. Kennedy ends up being more persistent than she ever expected and pursues her with a single-minded focus that she’s only ever seen in him.

I really did enjoy this book. I expected Kate to be love sick over Kennedy, but that was not the case at all. She was a very strong woman, which I always appreciate. Kennedy was very likable as well. I really enjoyed their story. I feel that this was a good conclusion to the 21 Wall Street series.

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

21 Wall Street

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted August 14, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Samantha Cook, Zachary Webber
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 , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Huge Deal
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 243
Length: 7 hours and 8 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads 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.

Matt Cannon and Sabrina Cross have a non-conventional relationship. The day they met, Matt took Sabrina to bed. Then he said something to her that cut deep. Since that night they have a love-hate relationship. They love to hate each other, but they can’t quit each other. They both know that their unhealthy relationship has to end, but neither is willing to put an end to it. Their relationship changes when Matt is photographed at a party in Vegas. His image at Wolfe Investments takes a dive. His bosses want him to “change”. The only person that he can go to for help is Sabrina.

Sabrina is a fixer. She fixes problems for people. She’s in the know for just about everything in New York. If you want something done, Sabrina is your girl. When Matt comes to her telling her that he needs to change his image in order to keep his job, she doesn’t want to help. Matt isn’t asking her to help him from the sidelines. He’s asking her to be his pretend girlfriend for a month. Sabrina has long been in love with Matt even though he destroyed her with his words during their first night together.

Both Matt and Sabrina find it too easy being a couple. They just have something together. Matt decides he’s not going to let it go. Until, like an idiot, he fucks it up. He thought that they wanted the same thing, but the woman who seemed so grounded in reality now wants to marry for love instead of a simple partnership. After growing up with unhappy parents, Matt wants nothing to do with “love”.

I loved this book. It was my favorite in the series. Matt and Sabrina were fire. I loved their banter, I loved how they both pretended like they only wanted their relationship to be pretend. Their relationship wasn’t easy for sure, but it was a pleasure to read. The only thing that confused me was when Jarod Lanham, Matt’s potential client showed up. I didn’t understand why he wanted to be involved in their situation. He stirred shit up and I still don’t understand why he was even a character. It was strange and it took me out of the story a little bit.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

21 Wall Street

four-stars


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