If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Broken by Lauren Layne / @_LaurenLayne

Series & Title: Redemption, Book 1: Broken
Author: Lauren Layne
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Loveswept: Flirt
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

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?

Know what's so great about contemporary romances? They mirror someone's reality. Pain and suffering aren't things I wish on anyone, but people live with one or both everyday. Emotional pain can be just as bad as physical pain. Denial, anger, and depression are all common reactions to whatever pain someone's feeling, but those reactions can be hard for others to deal with.

The intensity of Paul's pain is so well-written, there was little doubt left in my mind that his pain went deeper than scars and a shattered leg. It was emotional. Add to that the cause of his pain... He wasn't a pretty man to be around. He was surly, cynical, arrogant, and mean. Sometimes he was all of those because he didn't know how else to be, sometimes because he didn't know how to handle what he was feeling or thinking.

I wish I could say Olivia wasn't like that, that she was perfect for him because she was opposite of him. But she wasn't. She was just like Paul, running from a situation she didn't want to address, hiding from truths she didn't want to hear. Unlike Paul, she was willing to eventually face her past and deal with it but only after she was forced to.

Attraction wasn't an issue for these two. Their pasts were. Sex and euphoria were temporary escapes from the elephant in the room: Paul's refusal to really start living. Olivia said it best, "I love you, Paul, but I won't live for you." The decision to live beyond the walls imprisoning him had to be his choice. She couldn't make it for him, couldn't live like that with him. Just as she faced her past, he needed to face that one thing keeping him finally moving on.

This is a beautiful story about love borne from pain and tragedy and complete brokenness. It's about realizing how strong you really are, how physical appearances mean little to the one who loves you more than life itself. Ms. Layne did a stupendous job taking two twenty-somethings, making them grow up under difficult circumstances, and transforming into completely different people. Olivia and Paul might still be young in life, but they are old and strong enough now to handle anything that comes their way because they've overcome what held them back for too long: fear.

Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Layne moved to New York City, where she now writes full-time. She lives with her husband and their plus-size pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.