By now, everyone here knows that my blogmate Emily LOVES to read. But it’s a little-known secret HOW MUCH she reads. If there was a reading Olympics, I’m pretty sure Emily would win the gold medal. I can hardly download a book to my Kindle before Emily has finished reading it. And it’s not like the woman is lounging around, reading and eating bonbons all day. She has a job, is mom to three kids with crazy sports schedules, oh, and she’s going to school! I honestly have no idea how she does it, but I’m so glad she does, because when I finish I book that I have to talk to someone about, Emily’s my girl.
Basically, our conversations are much like our joint reviews, which I hope you’re all enjoying reading as much as we are writing them. This time, we both read Love the One You’re With by Lauren Layne. Read on for our thoughts…
Publication Date: December 9, 2013 Length: 228 pages Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Sex, Love and Stiletto, Book 2 Publisher: Loveswept (Random House) Source & Format: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley; digital Official Summary As a leading columnist for Stiletto, Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancé would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men’s magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she’s not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses…or is she? Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what’s-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job…except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto. But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously…
Kindle Gal & Emily’s Joint Review
Kindle Gal: I don’t know about you, Em, but I really like Lauren Layne’s voice. This is the third book of hers I’ve read, and there is something about her writing style that just works for me. Like this:
Watch out for that one, Grace 2.0 whispered. That smile will have you tucking your heart in your panties and handing the whole shebang over before he even buys you a drink.
Her attraction turned instantly to wariness. Okay, then. That was quite enough ogling.
I’ve found the first two books in her Sex, Love and Stiletto series to be fresh and different from the other contemporary romances I’ve been reading lately, and I mean that in a good way! I like the sassiness of her heroines.
Emily: Oh, I agree. Lauren Layne writes a mean, sassy chick! Well, not really “mean,” but, er, you all know what I’m saying. Anyway, I so liked Grace Brighton, the heroine in Love the One You’re With. To be honest, in Book 1 in this series, I was not a big Grace fan. She was my least favorite of the trio of women writers for Stiletto magazine. Grace had come across as boring, settled, and almost complacent, but we are treated to the new and improved “Grace 2.0” in this book. Grace is now a confident and sassy Man-Eater. I loved this version of Grace and the internal dialogue versions 1.0 and 2.0 have over how she needs to act.
KG: I agree…to a point. Grace didn’t make much of an impression on me either in Book 1, but at least she was consistent in her ordinariness. (Is that a word?) As much as I enjoyed Grace’s attempts at being more sassy in this story, I felt like 2.0 was mostly a façade. I wanted way more sass, more swagger, more “woman scorned” angst. To me, a lot of her attempts were halfhearted at best, and the constant back and forth between who she was trying to be versus who she really was made my head spin.
Wow, look at that—we disagreed on something! Usually, you and I are completely on the same page.
Emily: My jaw just dropped…seriously, we disagree? Whoa! I’m shocked! Well, of course 2.0 Grace was a façade – but that is what made her fun. Grace became a REAL character to me because of this internal debate. Before that, she had been so superficial. Could this be our first book tiff? HA! Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll make up and agree on Jake.
At first, I liked Jake a lot. He has all the makings of a fun hero – super sexy, snarky, and a little bit lost. Jake had gotten himself into a job he doesn’t really love, but he has a plan to get back on track. Well, that is until he meets Grace and she throws him and his plan a curveball. Except, then she doesn’t seem to matter enough, he stays indecisive and wishy-washy, and that is when I didn’t keep falling in love. I liked Jake and thought he was a fun character, but I never fell all the way in love with him. What say you? Are we on the same page here?
KG: Yep, I’m with you. I actually had a hard time pinpointing what it was about Jake that didn’t “click” for me, because like you said, he had all the great makings of a hero we’d normally love. I think my issue is that I never saw Jake as the playboy he was made out to be, and for this story to work for me, I actually needed him to be that love-’em-and-leave-’em guy…at least for a little bit. Instead, Jake was smitten with Grace from the get-go, and the whole situation seemed less of a game to him than it should have been. It’s actually similar to my issue with Grace—they both seem to be one thing but really aren’t, which kind of negated the whole story setup.
That said, there were some incredibly FUN moments in this book, and the back half of the story, when they weren’t hiding behind their façades anymore, really worked for me.
Emily: Fun is definitely the right word for this book. Some of my favorite parts of LTOYW were tied to their jobs and the magazines that they work for – Jake writes for a “men’s” magazine, and Grace for a “women’s” one. The article titles were hilarious, like “How to Tolerate His Football Habit” and “You Want Sushi. He Wants Wings. How to Compromise.”
I also totally loved the practical jokes and banter between Jake and Grace during their “He Said/She Said” articles and blog posts, like this zinger from Grace to Jake:
“I took note,” he said, toasting her with the soda cup. “And did you notice my pizza order today?”
Grace nodded, and took a bite of her veggie slice. “Plain cheese. Very nice.”
“Very manly, you mean.”
She grinned. “Yes. Very manly.”
“Excellent. Do you have your phone with you? Perhaps you could just make a little update to that blog post, letting the women of New York know that my boring cheese pizza means I have a massive member?”
I felt like I was getting comic takes on GQ vs. Cosmo, and it was HILARIOUS!
KG: YES!! And I think this perfectly illustrates why I enjoy Layne’s writing so much. Even though this story didn’t hit the mark for me like After the Kiss (Book 1) did, I still laughed out loud and found it entertaining. Anyone looking for quick, fun, sexy stories should definitely give this series a try.
Em: Funny enough, in a rare, dare I say, “disagreement,” I liked Love the One You’re With better than After the Kiss. That’s right, I said it. I enjoyed this fun, modern take on a “Battle of the Sexes” romance. Jake and Grace are a little bit sassy and a little bit sweet when together (not to be confused with Country and Rock ‘n Roll, HA!). For those that like some snark with their Sexy Time, give LTOYW a try!
Wine/Beverage Pairing: Manhattans, which are what Jake’s Midwestern mom wants to make Grace when they go to Wisconsin for a visit.