Book Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

I’d been reading a lot of hype about Good Girl since I follow the author on several different venues. I’m always excited for a Lauren Layne novel, and though this one felt a little different from her previous work, it was still enjoyable.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
While hiding out from the media, a country singer falls for an attractive caretaker, not knowing he’s actually the owner of her hideaway. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

America’s Sweetheart…or Homewrecker
Jenny Dawson enjoys her career as a country singer sweetheart, but when the media starts calling her a homewrecker based on the lies of another country star, she goes into hiding at an old house in Louisiana that she remembered from her childhood as a musical retreat. It’s obvious from the start that Noah, the caretaker, doesn’t like her, but she figures she can avoid him for the time she’s going to be there.


A Man With Issues
Noah is grumpy and kind of a dick in general. And he’s not just the caretaker, he’s also the owner. His parentage put him in two different worlds, a poorer world where he struggled and then, when his dad found him, the world of the wealthy. He’s hiding out too, from a psycho ex-fiance who doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “done.” When he meets Jenny, he lets her think he’s just the caretaker.  Also, he’s convinced she’s a diva and decides that other than checking her out, he really doesn’t want to have anything to do with her.

That Caretaker is So Hot Right Now
You can definitely see where this is going. The trope is standard, and it’s not a secret that in close proximity, these two are going to get their hook up. But it’s in the details that this book is so enjoyable. Jenny is likable and sweet and not really the diva Noah seems to think she is. Contrary to what the media says, she’s not experienced, but she does have a wild side that she starts to think Noah could help her explore.

Though he redeems himself, Noah isn’t as good of a character. He’s written well, but he’s kind of a jerk, pushing Jenny away, then getting close to her only to push her away again. He’s confused, sure, and he’s dealing with the whole fall out of his cancelled wedding and cheating ex, but he made me so mad at the way he’d get all up in Jenny’s business and then completely ignore her. And he knew he was doing it too.

In the Mind of a Head Case
What redeems the romance is that the story switches between Jenny and Noah’s first person point of view, and so instead of just seeing Noah playing mind games with Jenny, we actually get inside his head to see his reasoning behind acting like a tool. Does it justify it? No, not really, but it does help us sympathize and it makes for more feels when we actually get to see him hurting as well. At least to a small degree.


The Romance Factor
The romance was there, but it wasn’t as strong as I was expecting. There was an amazing break up scene at the end (before the HEA, of course), and though Jenny and Noah had some really cute moments, and even though I didn’t end up hating Noah, there were a lot of times I really wanted Jenny to just smack him. 3/5

The Steam Factor
There are some really good sexy times in this book. Even if Noah is an emotional mess, the chemistry between him and Jenny was hot and well written. I also liked Jenny’s adventurous nature and her calling Noah out on his slut shaming at one point. While the romance didn’t always mesh perfectly with the sex, it was still a strong point of the novel. Also, innovative use of zip ties gets brownie points. 4/5

Final Thoughts
While an enjoyable read, this wasn’t my favorite LL book. I wasn’t disappointed per se, it just didn’t grab me as much as some of her previous ones. I’ll still be looking forward to her next book in this series though. It was still a good afternoon read with a hot and sultry setting and cute dogs as co-stars. So not a full win…but still a win.

Book Review: Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

I love the Moretti brothers. I love friends to lovers romance. I love the angst of two people who are very obviously in love but don’t know who to let the other one know because they don’t think the other one is interested.  This book was several hours of sheer reading crack.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
Partner detectives who’ve been close friends suddenly find tension in their relationship when she becomes engaged. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Emotionally Frozen
I love heroes who have a vulnerable side, and Vin Moretti fits that to a tea. He’s stoic and gruff, and the only person other than his family that he’s accepted into his life is his partner, Jill. In fact, he’s sure he has a thing for her. But Vin is convinced he lacks normal emotions and that he doesn’t have it in him to love someone. Though he can’t pinpoint a reason for his cold nature, his mom sheds some light on the subject at one point in the story. Talk about an “aww” moment.

Jumping Into Marriage…to the Wrong Guy
Jill, on the other hand, is a ray of sunshine who has a lot of love to give, and she’s at the point where she’s ready to settle down and give it. Since her first choice, Vin, doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings (other than the friendly ones), she says yes when a man she met in Florida asks her after having only known her a few months. He’s the kind of guy most women would love to marry, but Jill finds herself struggling with her choice when she gets back to New York. She should be happy, but she’s not.


The tension and build-up between Jill and Vin is amazing. Though they’ve never had a problem communicating before, they suddenly find themselves in situations where they don’ talk because of the weirdness between them. In fact, their perfect work record even looks like it’s going to get its first mark when they can’t figure out any leads on the recent murder of a actress. I love their banter. Layne brings her epic dialogue skills to the story, while at the same time pulling us effectively into each characters head.

Family Dynamics
Of course, we get appearances from all the Morettis and the new Moretti wives and girlfriends from the previous books. One of the main themes for Jill is that the Morettis have always treated her like family, but she realizes that when she marries the other guy, she’s going to lose that. I liked that her inner conflict was mostly about Vin, but it was also about the relationship she’d built with his entire family.


The Romance Factor
The conflict that comes when two characters are in love with each other but don’t think the other reciprocates is the best. Vin goes between feeling possessive and determined to win Jill to feeling like he’ll never be able to give her what she wants, and poor Jill is pulled in all sorts of directions. 5/5

The Steam Factor
The sexy times are few but effective. Because the build-up is so strong, it feels explosive and sensual without being overly graphic. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This series was great from the start, but I think this one is my favorite (and I thought the 2nd one would be hard to beat). There was a romance, a little bit of danger, a lot of sexual tension, and the great side characters and developed relationships that are always found in the author’s novels.

Book Review: Steal Me by Lauren Layne

I’ve realized something about myself. I am a second-book girl, meaning that when I read a series, in most cases, I might like the first one, but I absolutely love the second one. This has proven true several times, and it was proven again with the second book in Lauren Layne’s New York’s Finest series. Frisk Me was good, but Steal Me gave me so many warm fuzzies.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One-Sentence Synopsis
A moody police captain who feels he can’t have a career and a relationship starts falling for the waitress who has a habit of spilling things on him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Dark, Broody Type
Anthony Moretti. So moody, so sexy, so conflicted. Due to something that happened with an ex-girlfriend, he’s resigned himself to the fact that there’s no way he’s cut out to work for the police department and maintain a relationship. He also hates it when the waitress who has endeared herself to his whole family spills things on him. And it happens all the time. Totally a case of food as foreplay, right?


Miss Independent
Maggie is a waitress who’s trying to get on her feet and become her own person after growing up with a lazy brother and an alcoholic father and being married to a man who wanted her to give everything in the relationship while he gave nothing. She’s super sweet, but that was part of the problem. She was a pushover. Now she’s determined not to be that person anymore.

Love in the Time of Crime
Besides just being kind of a crab-ass, Anthony is also irritated that he can’t find the burglar known as Smiley, a criminal who seems to be trolling the police department with his shenanigans. So when Maggie turns out to be a huge help for the case, he finds himself in close proximity to her more than not. Then he realizes how lonely he is, but he also realizes it’s not that easy for him to separate his personal and professional lives.

The Romance Factor
I’m such a sucker for the “lonely” characters, the ones who just want someone to be with, even if they think they can’t have them. Considering both Anthony and Maggie fall into this trope, I was all sorts of in love with both of them. Also, there’s a scene where Maggie “realizes” that like all the other men in her life, Anthony just uses her when he needs her. Obviously, we know that’s not the case, but that angst! So well done and enough to give me those feels. 5/5


The Steam Factor
Though there are steamy moments, compared to some of the other things I’ve read, the sexy times in this one are relatively tame. However, Layne writes really good sensual scenes, and so while Maggie and Anthony might not get as down and dirty as some other couples, they still made me melt. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This is a strong book in the series and I love the Moretti family. There’s a lot of build-up to the third one in the series as well, which seems like a friends to lovers type thing or a co-worker love story…either way, I can’t wait to read it, and I hope it stands as strong as this one did.

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is on point this year with two new series: her New York’s Finest series and the Oxford series, which is a spinoff of the Stilleto stories and features characters from the same world. I said in an earlier post that I had a hard time getting into the glam of the world, but Stiletto must have prepared me well, because I loved this book.


I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
Two competing sports writers are thrown together as co-workers, but the close proximity leads them to take their relationship beyond professional boundaries. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The guy banter in this book is hilarious and witty without getting sexist or douchey. There are a few scenes that definitely push the boundaries of what’s appropriate in the workplace, but there are never any scenes where the guys are threatening or disrespectful to Penelope, and I liked that. I want to hang out with these guys.


Penelope is adorable and nice, but not in an annoying way. She makes a great tomboy, and I loved her quirky ability to remember sports stats.

The Romance Factor
Penelope and Cole teach a very important lesson: if you make a pact not to fall in love in a romance novel, you know there’s going to be angst. Okay, so that’s a bit meta, but that one scene spoke volumes and just heightened the rest of their foreplay and (lack of) communication. 4/5


The Steam Factor
Again with the foreplay. Cole and Penelope trying to stick to a weekends only agreement only made it steamier, and the sex scenes were blush inducing. 4/5

Final Thoughts
Maybe it’s because the Stiletto series warmed me up, but I loved spending time in the Oxford world and can’t wait to see what happens to the rest of the guys. Layne keeps getting better and I can’t wait to see what she brings to 2016.

After the Kiss by Lauren Layne

When I started my love affair with Lauren Layne’s books, I had the chance to read the last two in her Stiletto series thanks to NetGalley. I liked them so much, I went back and bought the whole series, but then got sidetracked and left them on my digital shelf. I finally decided to read the first one, which kicks off this contemporary series that I imagine has a Sex and the City vibe (though I can’t say for sure, as I never watched Sex and the City).

After the Kiss

One-Sentence Synopsis
A columnist is given an assignment that leads her to pick a guy and reluctantly take their relationship to the “next level,” not knowing that the guy she’s picked is betting that she can be his quick fling. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Glamorous characters, such as the stars of this book, take me a little while to warm up to.. But once I get my reading groove, I have a ton of fun in this world. Julie is a commitment phobe who is completely fine with dating a guy but stopping before anything gets serious. Mitch tends to get too serious, so when a co-worker bets him he can’t just hit it and quit it, he’s determined to prove himself.

There was a lot of shades of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but that’s what made it so fun. Julie and Mitch are good together, establishing early that neither is what the other expected and falling into an ease that they don’t normally experience with other people.

10 Days

I especially like that Julie willingly embraces her own private nightmare, the boring at-home movie night, when it comes to Mitch. Though it seems like such a silly thing to fear, it’s all part of Julie not wanting to fall into that boring couple relationship that she’s watched her friend fall into.

The Romance Factor
There is some delicious angst here, and the point of view change is always so good in a Layne novel because the hero has just as many emotions as the heroine, and the reader gets to experience them all. So many feels! 4/5

10 Days 2

The Steam Factor
Julie and Mitch definitely have some sexy times, and while they’re not written in extreme detail, they’re fast and steamy and left me a bit warmish. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This series is fun, and I intend on not only reading the other one I haven’t yet read, but doing a re-read of the other two as well.

Goodreads Review: Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

As I write this, I’m getting ready to pack for another Becoming an Outdoors Woman weekend, this one for the spring, but I wish I could say I was excited. I’ve taken several steps back in my health journey, and am currently back at walking with pain. However, by the time this actually publishes, I’m hoping to be back in shape and walking all over the place (having survived BOW, of course). As for this book review, I think we all know how I feel about getting a Lauren Layne ARC. It’s like Christmas, but I get it a few times a year or whenever she releases a book and NetGalley loves me enough to approve me for it, as they did with this one. This book is set to release in August, and if you like friends to lovers stories, this one is one of the best I’ve read. 

Blurred LinesBlurred Lines by Lauren Layne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Parker knows that men and women can just be friends. Best friends, in fact. She knows this, because she and Ben have been best friends for 6 years and have never had the urge to sleep with each other, even as roommates. So when her boyfriend dumps her, Parker comes to conclusion that she just wants casual sex. Then she comes to the conclusion that since she needs to have a connection with someone first, casual sex with her best friend is just the thing the doctor ordered. Because they’ve been friends so long, it’s not going to get weird, right?

Friends-to-lovers is one of those tropes that I find fun and realistic (to a degree), and I love the way Lauren Layne made this trope work. It’s a familiar story, but the way it plays out is fun and kind of like crack…I had a hard time putting this book down. I seriously wanted to skip a gaming session to read this book. I didn’t, but I did manage to stay up and finish this book in a few hours, so win for me!

The plot moves along at a good pace and builds well to the angst of the 2 characters. Their friendship is solid, and I liked the foundation of a good, comfortable relationship. What makes the story better is that it doesn’t start with unrequited love. One is not consciously in love with the other, and though I don’t mind that trope either, I really liked that we got to watch both persons’ feelings develop alongside each other.

Parker and Ben are adorable as besties. I loved how comfortable they were with each other and like all of Layne’s dialogue, theirs is easy and familiar. It’s like reading a book about people I know. Their chemistry comes across to the reader early, but it’s great when characters are blind, even more so when other characters pick up on it.

There were also some really interesting side characters, such as Ben’s friend Joe and Parker’s co-worker Eryn, who’s kind of a bitch at first but ends up having layers. I also loved Parker’s family (her mom is kind of a riot).

The Romance Factor for this book gets the coveted 5/5 because it gave me all the feels. The romance is sweet, and yet Ben and Parker have to get through some rough stuff to get to their happy ending. As for the Sex Factor, I think I’ve been ruined by other books that are super steamy, so this one seemed a little bit tame. But, it’s still getting a 4/5 because even though they’re not detailed, the sexy times are pretty hot…and super sweet.

I think the only thing that pulled me out of the book at times was that since I’m used to hearing Parker as a man’s name, there were times I forgot who’s POV I was reading from. I’ve never had that problem in any of the books before, and I love the switching of POVs by chapter, so it was just a matter of me backing up and re-reading from the right person’s view to get what was going on, and I honestly cant’ blame the author for that. It was all me.

This book comes out later this year and I’d already pre-ordered before I received the ARC. This is one I’m going to read again. Romance fans who like the friends-to-lovers trope should enjoy this.

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Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Those who’ve followed my blog for awhile know I have massive reader love for Lauren Layne. Her books hit all my favorite tropes, and the angst she infuses into her novels give me all the feels. So even though I’ve never been a hardcore man-in- uniform reader, I pretty much have faith that if Layne writes it, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Frisk Me

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A cop famous for his heroic deeds caught on YouTube is shadowed by a reporter for a show that could make her career, but guilt over his past gets in the way of the feelings he has for her. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
As expected, I devoured this novel and loved every minute of it, my favorite part being the banter and dialog between the characters. Luc and Ava have amazing chemistry, which always just makes the angst that much better because you feel the conflict (all the heart feels). However, it’s not just their interaction that works in this book, but also their interactions with others. I loved Luc’s family dynamic, and his conversations with his grandmother cracked me up. Feisty old ladies in novels are so full of win, I can’t even.

This book also took on some serious themes, like survivor’s guilt. Though some of her previous books have had serious elements to them, this one definitely stepped it up a notch. I suppose with cop heroes, things have to get serious, but I shed some reader tears at a few heartbreaking points in the story.

Flynn Feels

The Romance Factor
The chemistry and angst that I previously talked about made for some top romance. Also, I loved the similarities between Luc and Ava. This isn’t an opposites attract situation, even though they work in opposing jobs, and the fact that they were so alike led to this great understanding between the two of them…though they still brought the conflict. Definitely a 5/5 RF.

The Steam Factor
The sensuality of the sex scenes added a great deal to the romance, but they were also super steamy. Though not as taboo or graphic as others, it was definitely enough to make a girl have to fan herself while reading in public. 4/5.

Charlie Sheen - Hot Collar

Final Thoughts
This is the first in the New York’s Finest series, and I can’t wait to read the second one. She also has some other things coming out this year, so basically, I’ll be stocked in romance crack until the end of the year. Please Lauren Layne…just take my money!

Goodreads Review: The Trouble With Love by Lauren Layne

This review is a little more “full” than some of my reviews, so I probably don’t need to say much in this blurb other than that if you like contemporary romance, I highly suggest reading Lauren Layne. While this series doesn’t resonate as strongly with me as her other ones do, it’s still really good! I’m kind of on a kick of getting my hands on anything she writes and impatiently waiting for her next book to come out. Check her out on her website and if you’re like me and love the Beauty and the Beast trope, Broken is currently on sale for 99 cents. It’s one of my favorites.
The Trouble with Love  (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #4)The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It seriously makes my day when NG approves me for a title from one of my favorite authors, and right now, Layne is at the top of my list. Confession: I haven’t read the first two books in this series, but I’ve read the third one, and unlike other books in a series, this one (and its predecessor) didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on a lot of crazy plotlines. Right there is a huge plus for the book.

In this installment of Layne’s Sex, Love, and Stilleto series, Emma Sinclair finds herself with her ex-fiance as her temporary boss while her regular editor takes a hiatus. Known as an ice queen who doesn’t smile enough, Emma finds herself envying her friends for finding love while still guarding her own heart, which was ripped apart years ago when her now boss, Alex Cassidy, left her standing at the alter. But, as with all good love stories, there are two sides to this one, and between unresolved issues and Emma having to take a trip back to visit 12 of her exes (at the whim of Alex, who assigns her the story), the two find themselves faced with sexual tension and feelings they both tried to forget.

Everything I have to say about Layne as an author is going to sound familiar because it holds true for every book of hers I read. She is a solid author who knows how to write good, fun romance. Of all her series, I think this one hits the funny bone the most. The banter between the main and side characters is good, and I love that each of the characters have their own distinct personalities.

But even though there are funny parts, there are also steamy parts and sad parts and those moments that make me want to reach into the book and just smack the characters and tell them to knock it off and get with the program. This is another reason I adore these books. Characters who get me involved in their lives. Also, in this book she introduces some of the men who are going to show up in her Oxford series, and now I sort of need those all to be published today. Because even though they were only there for a few pages, I’m already hooked and ready to read their stories.

Another plus, and one I bring up in all of my Layne reviews, is that I love her back and forth style of switching up the POVs between the chapters. She nails the technique, and by doing so, only heightens the emotion and makes it more sweet.

The only reason I’m giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is because the glam city life doesn’t resonate with me as much as some of her other settings. However, it’s a very strong 4 and I’ve already bought the first 2 books in the series, so there will be a full series read/re-read in my future.

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