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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Love Story by Lauren Layne

I hope you had a good Valentine's Day, I certainly did! I spent a quiet evening with my family watching Dr. Strange ;)

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: February 14, 2017

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.

What’s it About? Love Story is a second chance romance between childhood sweethearts Reece Sullivan and Lucy Hawkins who have years of misunderstandings to clear up. They get that chance when Lucy receives a job offer in California and she decides to drive cross country. Her family helps her out by giving her the keys to the family station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch is that she won’t be going alone. Her brother’s best friend Reece is going along because he also got a job in California. Reece and Lucy’s past isn’t general knowledge so her family isn’t aware that these two can’t be in the same room for more than two minutes without hurling hurtful accusations and insults at each other. But two weeks in a car has a way of forcing things to the surface.

Describe the hero in five words: Bitter. Loyal. Stubborn. Smart. Snarky.
Did you like him? Yes and no.
Why? Reece sacrificed a lot to care for his father and that isn’t something that is easy to overlook. He had a lifetime of hardships and tragedy that shaped him into the closed off man he was but at the same time it left Reece with some serious abandonment issues which did influence his personality. I was definitely on board with how vulnerable Reece’s back story made him. He was alpha with a dose of insecurity and he could be emotionally hurt as evidenced with his past with Lucy. It left a lasting impact and I felt for him, he was caught between a rock and a hard place because while his relationship with Lucy imploded, Reece was still considered family by the rest of the Hawkins and he genuinely cared about them. At the same time though I felt he was so stupidly stubborn to hold onto something long passed that it blinded him to the opportunity he had to set things straight and to get answers he needed. Reece really didn’t have any growth until maybe the last fourth of the book or so. By then it was a case of too little too late to be believable. He had moments of being flat out mean with Lucy too and that I couldn’t excuse with “Oh but his past with her…”

Describe the heroine in five words: Tough. Determined. Stubborn. Snarky. Intelligent.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? The fact that Lucy left home to accomplish her dreams despite how hard it would be had me liking her. She was young and ambitious without being callous and cruel about it. Her youth did show in her sometimes immature behavior towards Reece, actually they brought out the other’s inner brat. Lucy made the best of her situation though and she had moments of true compassion towards Reece even when he didn’t deserve it. She didn’t take his crap though, if he snapped at her she snapped back. I’m glad she wasn’t a doormat for Reece to take out his frustrations on because she didn’t deserve all the blame for their failed romance. She got big points for trying to put herself out there and not only be there for Reece as a friend but to show him she still cared about him even though he could be nasty towards her at times.

How convincing were the main characters as a couple? Here is where I ran into some trouble. The physical attraction was there buried under the mutual animosity but that’s what dominated Love Story: Lust and Resentment. I loved the flashbacks to their youths because I got a feeling of how much they loved each other but that didn’t exactly have me believing in their love in the present. It wasn’t until maybe that last fourth of the story that they finally did what they should have did sooner: Talk it out like adults. No insults. No assumptions. Just the bald truth. That last fourth was the real kicker, that’s when I felt their connection but I needed that connection much sooner or at least the beginnings of change instead of rushing it at the end.

Is there a “Scooby Gang” worth mentioning? Except for Lucy’s family in the beginning it’s just Reece and Lucy the whole way through.

How “Lost” did you get in the story? The alternating first person POV gave me insight into both characters’ driving traits and I loved that about Love Story. First person has always given me a hard time getting into the story but being able to see things from Reece’s point of view and then Lucy’s gave me a bigger picture to go on and allowed me to be fair to both characters. The premise of a road trip was fun even if Reece’s actions weren’t always likable.

Click It or Skip It? Click it if you’re a fan of Lauren Layne, angst ridden second chance romances, or road trips!

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