Love Story by Lauren Layne: High Expectations?

Posted February 14, 2017 by Nick & Nereyda/ 17 Comments

Love Story by Lauren Layne: High Expectations?Love Story (Love Unexpectedly, #3)
by Lauren Layne
Series: (Love Unexpectedly,
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 210 pages
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two-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Nick:  You guys know just how much I adore Lauren Layne and her books. And lately, every book of hers has felt like a super hit to me. So it pains me to even say this, but I was very disappointed by Love Story. I had a lot of expectations. I mean it’s a second chance romance + a road trip + Lauren Layne! What could go wrong?

Nereyda: I feel the same way unfortunately. I was so excited for this one because I’m such a sucker for romances with exes, one of my all time favorites with that trope is written by Lauren Layne (The Trouble With Love), but this one was just very…underwhelming. Maybe my expectations were too high because it was Lauren freaking Layne, or maybe it was the story and characters, but this wasn’t my favorite LL book.

Characters

Nick:  I usually have no problem enjoying Lauren Layne’s characters, but here, oh boy. Let me get to the positives first. I really enjoyed Lucy’s character. I connected a lot to her especially with her aspirations and her willingness to work her butt off to reach her aspirations. She was really sweet, and was a good person. But as the story progressed, I felt like she was also spineless at times, which honestly isn’t a particularly attractive quality in a heroine.

Then there’s Reece, who I was fully expecting to swoon over, but who mostly just made me want to punch him in the nuts. I was actually quite keen about his character, at first. He had that broody, grumpy thing going on for him, that I seem to devour in romance novels, but the more I got to know him, the more unlikeable and frankly, intolerable he became. The guy had very low self-confidence, and what’s worst he was so insecure about Lucy and her success that he kept cheapening her ambitions. I can take a grumpy hero, but one who is an absolute asshole to the heroine because she has goals that are beyond him? Yeah, no thanks. I feel like I could have gotten behind his character had we actually seen him understand how messed up his feelings were, but we don’t.

Nereyda: I feel like I just didn’t really care for these characters. Nothing about Lucy really stood out to me. She was just…there and like Nick mentioned, she was pretty spineless. And oh man, I am so disappointed with Reece’s character. *sigh* I am so over the asshole type of guy in romances, but there are times when an author can actually pull this off. The whole time I was reading this, I kept hoping that Lauren Layne could pull off Reece’s character somehow and save him from assholeness. Sadly, that was not the case. He was just so damn angry at everything. He was angry at his life, at his choices, the opportunities he never got and worst of all, he was mad at Lucy for having all of those chances and opportunities and it made him turn into an outright asshole with her at times.

Romance

Nick:  Despite my issues with the characters, I did find parts of the romance to be enjoyable. I liked seeing a lot of the flashback scenes between Lucy and Reece, and thought they were really sweet. Not to mention, Lauren Layne knows how to write strong sexual tension between her couples. There were plenty of sexually charged scenes in the book that were very well-written. But I think, in the end, I just didn’t feel like Lucy and Reece connected emotionally as I hoped they would. I needed to see more of them being communicative, instead of jumping into bed to avoid talking to one another.

Nereyda: This is Lauren Layne after all, so the romance parts where still good. These characters had great chemistry and when they weren’t arguing, their friendship was actually really sweet. But I think the fact that I just wasn’t really feeling their characters made me not care for the romance. Even when they finally kissed and got together, it was rather underwhelming…

Road Trip

Nick:  I always enjoy a book with a road-trip in it, because it feels like a way for me to actually travel while I’m actually on my bed. I expect lots of sights and scene descriptions. And I got that here … only the sights and scenes were motel rooms. There was so much potential here that went very much unexplored.  Writing this review has made me realize just how much this book didn’t work for me. I love Lauren Layne, and I will still be reading everything that she pens, but this wasn’t the book for me. If you’re new to her books, I don’t recommend starting with this one.

Nereyda: This was another reason I was so excited for this book, I love books with road trips! Road trips with exes, even better! Sadly, the road trip part was actually just glossed over. What we got instead was them arguing most of the time, them not talking to each other, Reece misunderstanding everything Lucy did, and we only got to read about a few of their stops along the way. I’ve come to realize that Lauren Layne’s books either feel like contemporary romances or NA romances. I prefer her contemporary romances so much better although I do like her NA romances too. This one fell into the NA category for me and unfortunately it just wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped. Lauren Layne still remains one of my all time favorite authors, even though this wasn’t my kind of book. I highly recommend you still give her a try. Her Wedding Belles series, Oxford series, Stiletto series and Blurred Lines are great books to read if you haven’t tried anything by her.

Nick & Nereyda

Nick & Nereyda

Nick & Nereyda are two book obsessed friends who bond over their love of Friends and pretty much everything else!

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  • This is indeed surprising! You two are well known Lauren Layne fangirls so this does not bode well for this book. I mean, spineless characters aren’t really my idea of fun to read about so that’s a given. I can also tolerate assholes in little doses, so I have a feeling I’d probably hate the male lead.

    Passing on this one, ladies.

  • Lauren Layne is a favorite of mine as well but I’m not at all surprised that this was underwhelming for you both because I had a feeling that it would be the same way for me.

    For me, it’s this series. As much as I loved Blurred Lines, I struggled with the characters in that one. The heroine got on my nerves so much and then there was Good Girl. OMG, I wanted to punch Noah in the nuts with how freaking assholey he was to Jenny. So I had a feeling that I would probably feel the same way in this book, especially because it was a I hate you to I love you again story. It’s the main reason that I didn’t request this book for review. I’m bummed that you guys didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others which means that I’ll probably feel the same. I still bought it though.

    Great discussion review guys. You guys rock!

  • It’s never fun when an author you adore publishes a book that just doesn’t work. I am with you, Nereyda, on asshole heroes. I’m so over them.

  • Too bad :/ I have only read 2 by her and I enjoyed those

  • Oh wow. This one sounds like a total fizzle. I would be so disappointed in the road trip. Too bad the characters weren’t more enjoyable. Hopefully your next book will be so much better.

  • Oh man what a disappointment. I know you guys love her. I am going to read her this year – I have some of The Wedding Belle books – but I will not start with this one for sure now. Sorry this wasn’t better for both of you.

  • Wow, Layne is almost always a hit with romance readers. Sorry this was a dud! And the heroine sounds like she needs a big dose of personality!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • aww I normally love second chance romance, don’t think I have read anything from her so I am going to check out her other titles

  • Rummanah Aasi

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about this author and I always wanted to try her books. I think I will take your advice and start with her other series instead of this dud.

  • WAIT. DID I READ THAT STARRED RATING CORRECTLY???????? Did y’all just give a Lauren Layne book less than four stars? 2.5 stars????? *looks in the sky for pigs*

    I’m sorry both of you didn’t quite enjoy this book! I guess I shouldn’t start with this one? I feel like the heroine would annoy to no end. o_o

    Great review, ladies! Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  • oh wow….I am very surprised at your thoughts on this. I haven’t read this one, but this author is either a hit or miss for me. I do have a hard time with spineless heroines.

  • I enjoy Lauren Layne’s NA books
    waaaay less that her adult titles, but I continue to pick them up. I have even
    more doubts about this since I’m not a big fan of road trip stories. And I don’t
    like the sound of Nick at all. I probably just skip this one, since I have many
    unread books from her backlist. I still haven’t read her Stiletto and Oxford
    series. Hides in shame.

  • I had your same feelings towards the road trip. It barely felt like one!! And Reece frustrated me so much!! I hope LL’s next book is better than this one.
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  • Oh no, what a bummer! Spineless heroine and hero you want to punch in the nuts isn’t exactly a winning combo. Maybe this one wasn’t as strong as her other stuff because she’s been churning out so many books? I’m still going to give her stuff a try though, probably the Oxford series first.

  • Jasprit

    I’m sorry to see that this book didn’t end up working for you ladies, I know like me you’ve been fans of Layne’s books. Although the second book in this series really didn’t work for me, I was really eager to give this book a go, I even pre-ordered a copy too, but now I think I may put off reading it for a while :/ thank you ladies for the honest review though! 🙂

  • Guys, I am so sad to see you didn’t enjoy a Lauren Layne book (what a shocker!) but I totally get your reasons why. An MC who acts spinless at times and a romantic interest who doesn’t support her success? I cannot see me enjoying that. I mean, we all like a broody guy with issues who figures out who he is and enjoys the love of a good woman, but not if he’s gonna be a dick about it. You know I love Lauren Layne so it makes me sad I may have to give this book a miss… or at least wait for it to be cheap on Kindle before sampling. Glad you were honest, though, I know what I need to prepare myself for.

  • Sigh, I’m sorry this one was a miss for you guys : I’ve been casually reading Lauren Layne’s books (and really enjoyed them! Yup, thanks for the rec guys) but this one just seems like it misses out on the usual magic. Plus, asshole heroes aren’t my type at all. You can say they’re all alpha or whatnot but there’s a difference between assertive and asshole-ish. It doesn’t seem like the heroine has a good character arc either (I’m fine if they grow from spineless to having some semblance of confidence but it doesn’t sound like it in this one). Soooo, this will be one I’m skipping : Thanks for the awesome review!

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author