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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Who would have thought a romance built around a reality dating show would work for me?

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: August 22, 2017

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

What’s it About? Jordan Carpenter is forced to travel to Montana after firefighter Luke Elliott refuses to answer her phone calls. She thinks he’s a perfect candidate for a new dating show about runaway grooms but he just wants to be left alone. Suddenly Luke is seeing Jordan everywhere, at the local bar, at the county fair, talking to his exes, talking to his friends and he realizes getting rid of her isn’t going to be easy. The bigger problem though is that everyone actually likes her, and Luke is starting to like her himself, so much that they’re spending time together like an actual couple. Only Jordan has to go back to Manhattan soon and she needs Luke to be on the show in order to keep her job.

Overall reaction to the story? Not gonna lie, I was skeptical about Ready to Run. I have a hate/hate relationship with reality dating shows but I was curious to see if Lauren Layne could create a believable romance set among the trashiness of reality “dating.” She did. Jordan and Luke seemed like total opposites on the surface which made them butt heads for awhile but Layne made them more than just the typical city mouse/country mouse couple. She gave them emotional backgrounds and surprising twists that had me smiling, laughing, and loving every moment of the book. My trust and curiosity were justly rewarded.

Describe the hero in five words: Secretive. Kind. Gruff. Stubborn. Loyal.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? I like the grumpy ones okay? I’m weird like that. Luke seemed like the brooding, cranky subject of local town gossip but he was so much more than that. He was a total softie and dedicated to protecting the people around him even if it meant he was target of gossip or the target of a sleazy reality show. I loved how Luke slowly started to show the man he really was which totally contradicted the gossip and rumors about him. He’s a protector through and through but at the same time he doesn’t even realize he needs someone to protect him back.

Describe the heroine in five words: Stubborn. Successful. Smart. Sassy. Kind.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Jordan isn’t a heartless person but she was a determined businesswoman which I totally admired. She was a little clueless as to how all the attention affected Luke, she only had her eye on the big prize: Impressing her boss by getting Luke to be on the show. I liked her dedication to being successful but it was her personality that was the winner. She needed a chance to reconnect with who she was at heart and I really liked that journey. Jordan may have seemed very superficial in the beginning of Ready to Run but she definitely changed a lot and went back to who she was before she lived in Manhattan. Her back story was heartbreaking and explained a lot about who she was.

Let’s talk about the romance: Luke and Jordan were on opposite sides of the conflict so I loved that they butt heads a lot but there was also a strong attraction between them that didn’t immediately lead to anything but more bickering. Lauren Layne built up the relationship through their constant run ins, well to Luke they were a nuisance but to Jordan they were planned in a way. I liked that progression from reluctantly communicating to actively seeking each other out. There was plenty of heat between them but also some sweet, ordinary moments that I appreciated.

How about that supporting cast? The people of Lucky Hollow are a fun group of people. They love each other but they also love to gossip about each other too. They can close ranks around someone they care about too. They gave a real small town feeling to the story without making it feel suffocating.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. I was super surprised at how much I enjoyed Ready to Run and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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