Review: Broken by Lauren Layne

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Book 1 of the Redemption Series


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?

5 sweet stars!

This was the first book I read as I emerged from my blogging/reading funk, and man, what an excellent way to whet my appetite again for reading and reviewing!

BROKEN's cover is very understated. It's very simple, and honestly one that people might pass on over as "probably just another NA romance novel". Yes it is an NA novel, but it's definitely not a "just". It is satisfyingly romantic and sweet, the kind of read that has you frowning, smiling, and then squealing into a pillow. It's not too dark or too angsty, but it's not cheesy. Honestly the story is predictable; however, Lauren Layne's writing makes it all seem fresh. She made me want to keep reading---and keep on reading until the last page. Reading BROKEN is like eating your favorite ice cream flavor. It makes you happy when it's given to you. You'll savor and enjoy it even if you've already had it a thousand times before.

I love many things about this novel. The characters, Olivia and Paul, are very likable. They also feel very real. I sympathized with them. I cheered with and for them. I thought they were well fleshed-out. Oh, and they had some very steamy, sexy moments too! 

If there's one word I can use to describe the dialogue it would be snarky. The fun, inoffensive type of snarky, if you know what I mean. For instance:
Paul: "You're one messed-up piece of work."
Olivia: "Yeah, but you're starting to worry that you might like me," I say confidently. "Considering I also give you a boner, shit's gonna get reaaaaal complicated here in the next few months."

Although the synopsis hints at a very emotional and angst-ridden story, the atmosphere is made more casual and even lively by the snarkiness of Olivia's thoughts and words. That is then balanced by the more serious tone of Paul's POV. 

I really love that the author shifts from one POV to another. It helps us readers understand the characters more, see more into their thoughts and emotions. It's the reason why even though Paul behaved so much like a capital A-S-S at the beginning, he was still able to win me over. Even years after the tragic event that resulted in his injuries and the deaths of his comrades, he has yet to resurface from the gloom of depression and guilt. He was once the handsome quarterback whose friendship was likely coveted by everyone. Now though? He either gets pity or gets turned away. Thank goodness for Olivia's arrival. She is truly the reason why he finally took his head up out from his ass (I told you, he was unpleasant at the beginning) and begin to show signs of life. 

I once read a feedback about BROKEN, that it's like a modern-day Beauty and the Beast. Indeed it is! :) Paul is clearly Beast with his surly attitude and penchant for hiding in the dark, not wanting people to look at his scarred face and body. Olivia is very much like Belle: a beauty with attitude. She doesn't realize it, but she changes people's lives whether by direct or indirect results of her actions. 
"Olivia hasn't just taught me how to love. She's done something much bigger. She's taught me how to live.
And I don't want to do it without her."

I just fell in love with BROKEN as much as I did with the fairy tale. Olivia and Paul even have library scenes! Those were some of my favorites. Watch out for the last chapter! That one had me biting my nails in excitement and worry. I was on tenterhooks wondering if will she, or won't she…? LOL Well anyway, I'll let you find out more about this lovely story yourself.

For my recommendation: Definitely for readers who love romance, just a wee bit of angst, excellent chemistry between the hero and heroine, and beasts becoming princes!

Lauren Layne

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.

** My thanks to Random House Publishing group for the review copy (via NetGalley).
**Quotes were sourced from Goodreads.



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