ARC Review: ☆Broken☆ by @_LaurenLayne

Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both… or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

 Releasing: September 2, 2014

4.5 Beauty and the Beast Stars

I almost want to laugh at how messed up we are.
Two completely shattered souls doing a weird approach-and-recoil dance around each other.

Remember Olivia from Isn’t She Lovely? She was Ethan’s ex girlfriend who broke his heart. Ring a bell? What started out with a lighthearted take on Pygmalion, now continues with an angsty and emotional take of Beauty and the Beast with Broken. This is the story of 2 damaged souls, Olivia and Paul. One is seeking penance while the other seeks oblivion. Can they heal each other without shattering their already broken pieces?

I wasn’t sure how I would like Olivia in her own book since saying that I liked her in Isn’t She Lovely would be an understatement. Lauren Layne certainly managed to redeem her in my eyes. With a deeper look into who she really is and the things that drive, you can tell that beneath the rich society girl is a also a girl that made a mistake and is looking for any way to redeem herself. She’s also running. Running from her daily life and her daily reminders of what she did and can no longer fix. So she takes a job in Maine caring for a war veteran. She just didn’t see Paul coming…

Paul is scarred and angry. He’s angry at the world, he’s angry at his life, and he’s angry at anyone that breaks his reclusive routine. So when his father announce that the new caretaker after the many before that he’s already run off is his last chance, he’s less than thrilled about it.

Ladies, let me just tell you, if you like your heroes to be colossal (and I mean COLOSSAL assholes) prepare to fall for Paul. Paul is the epitome of broken. He’s scarred inside and out, and his road to redemption is not a fast one. This is not someone that lays their eyes on Olivia and insto presto he’s smitten. Oh no. He was downright callous, but you still can’t help but fall for him. Your heart will hurt for him at the same time you will want to throttle the living daylights out of him and his treatment of Olivia.

The author gives the reader just the right amount of small tidbits and tiny morsels of the man that he can be, that will leave you almost torn between loving and hating him at the same time.

But don’t be fooled, because those few morsels are rare and few in between.

You want me?” he asks against my mouth. “You want my hands on you?”
Little alarm bells are going off in the back of my head. There’s no warmth in his words. No kindness, or even desire. He’s playing some sort of cruel game in which my body is definitely the playing board. And I’m a willing participant.

At times my head would be spinning between his rage and the small glimpses at the broken soul he hides beneath the cold and broken exterior.

Little by little Olivia begins to do what no other caretaker before her has accomplished; she begins to chip away at his walls. But will he let them down enough to let her into his heart?

Somewhere inside of me, a demon is telling me that I’m going to disappoint her. That I’m going to destroy her.

This book had a much more serious, emotional, and angsty undercurrent. And when I say angsty, I mean ANGSTY. But there’s also a small dose of steam to break it up

Soon followed by more angst.

What can I possibly tell you about this book other than it’s a must read? What else do you need? Read it and see for yourself. I know I for one cannot wait to see what this incredibly talented author has in store for the next book in the series. Dare I hope for Michael’s book next?

**ARC courtesy of publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

All quotes taken from the Advanced Reader Copy of book and may differ from the finished published version

Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

The rules are clear—until they’re broken. Lauren Layne puts a New Adult spin on Pygmalion, also the inspiration for Pretty Woman, and gives the classic love story its edgiest twist yet.

“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund… or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating “them.” And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

5 I found myself a new auto-buy author stars
Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?

That ridiculously happy person in the gif with the permanently goofy smile stuck on her face…that would be me the entire time I was reading this book. You’re probably sitting there thinking, it couldn’t have been that good, right? Well ye of little faith, it was.

Ok, well maybe not quite make me almost pee good. But it was adorable, funny, entertaining, and heart warming.
(See what I did with the gifs there? No?)

This was a fresh new take on Pygmalion, and I adored this book. I was hooked from the first few lines…

In real life? The meet-cute isn’t the least bit cute. It’s more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now.”

In this book you meet Stephanie; a withdrawn, snarky, goth clothes and dark makeup wearing twenty one year old college film student. Stephanie’s main goal right now is to ace her screenwriting class, and she doesn’t need any distractions. But then she literary bumps paths with the ridiculously good looking and preppy rich boy, Ethan. The sparks started flying right away. Nothing I love more than 2 characters that have hate at first sight with an underlying current of sexual tension.

“It’s just that I think you forgot to change out of your country club uniform.”
“Does the surly mood come with the goth outfit? Or do you have to buy it separately?”
“Could you please watch where you’re pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps is hurting my eyes.”

I was in snarky sarcasm heaven with these two.

Stuck working together for a class, can these two really tolerate each other long enough to survive their assignment?

When an opportunity presents itself that can help both Ethan and Stephanie, an ideal screenplay idea forms. Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. Stephanie needs a place to stay. So why not pretend to be together for the sake of a mutually beneficial set up? And the icing on the cake? The fake relationship is the perfect idea for their screenplay.

But what happens when pretend slowly begins to develop into real feelings?

I loved the depth the author managed to give these characters considering the somewhat fluffy story they were in. Stephanie and Ethan both captured my heart and I couldn’t help myself but completely fall for both them.

This book was like all my favorite movies got together. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me swoon. It was, and forgive the cheesiness factor here, lovely.

If you enjoy the NA genre, you really cannot go wrong with this book. It will put a smile on your face and keep it there the entire time you’re reading it. You will fall in love with both of these characters and the story. I know I did.

**ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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