Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Broken (from Goodreads):
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?
Technically, Isn’t She Lovely is listed as #0.5 and Broken is #1; but Isn’t She Lovely is a full length novel and preceeds the events of Broken.
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2013 – April 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Own-eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I don’t know how I stumbled upon Broken but I have a feeling I either used a coupon or found it randomly on sale for under $2. Regardless, I would have found this book somehow. It’s right up my alley: war veteran, a girl who needs to redeem herself and buckets of sexual tension with a “hate to love you” scenario. Yup, this is everything I love in New Adult–but does it deliver?
The Concept / Book Order:
Notice how I mention Broken first? I didn’t realize that Isn’t She Lovely was a full length prequel until I was halfway through Broken. I actually didn’t remember it existed until the moment I looked it up on GoodReads. It really isn’t necessary to read it first–but I do think it makes things easier to follow chronologically. On the other hand, the “sins” Olivia and Michael feel they need to be redeemed for are all revealed in Isn’t She Lovely so I think you lose that slight mystery aspect to their pasts by reading it first.
I read Isn’t She Lovely last and I think that I’m glad that I did just because I liked learning about Olivia and Michael’s characters in their own books. I really don’t think you can go wrong by reading Isn’t She Lovely before or after Broken either way but I do recommend reading Broken before Crushed.
Isn’t She Lovely has that 90s romantic comedy feel to it but one that is completely aware that it does and works it to its advantage. It was definitely more modern and there are a lot more heartfelt issues at play. It was fun but serious when it needed to be and was the perfect pick-me up for my reading slump. Simply New Adult at its finest!
Broken has a very Beauty and the Beast vibe to it. You have a man who doesn’t leave his house because of his own self-esteem issues and into his life comes a beautiful girl who changes everything. But unlike the sweet, goody-two-shoes Belle, we get Olivia who is jaded in her own way. It was great to watch these characters grow individual as well as together. I enjoyed the “love can heal” message behind this book. It’s definitely the darker and spicier read of the group.
Crushed has a completely different plot. It’s more of a fun when it comes to the drama. It’s the classic Ugly Ducking story meets the falling-for-the-guy-helping-you-fall-for-the-other-guy situation. Of course there is a lot more at play, but I was sucked into this story immediately and I think it is a great way to wrap up the series.
I really enjoyed Ethan and Stephanie’s characters in Isn’t She Lovely. Not only was their situation a lot of fun to read about it but I just loved them as people. They had a lot of great growth individually and as a couple and that made reading their story very enjoyable.
What I loved about Broken is that these characters made me work to like them. You don’t instantly love them but you see how vulnerable they are and watching them grow into great people is what keeps you around. As I said before, their growth was well balanced with the romance and I really enjoyed that.
I immediately fell in love with Chloe in Crushed. SERIOUSLY! I was two sentences into her POV and I knew I was in store for a great character. Her development was also great and complimented her male lead perfectly. Together, they were so much fun to read about. Definitely a standout for me!
Isn’t She Lovely has a great romantic premise and it’s one of my favourite to read about in New Adult books: the fake girl/boyfriend relationship that becomes more. It’s just so much fun to read but also has such great character development that it is a total blast to read about.
With the romance in Broken, it started on the line between healthy and unhealthy to me. It definitely got better and definitely won me over by the end. It helped immensely that I began to see why these two worked as a couple as their stories were revealed. Learning more about them really pushed the romance back into the healthy zone for me.
I adored the romance in Crushed. It was New Adult PERFECTION in my eyes. It worked really well and it quickly added these two to my favourite couples! <3
Series Rating: 4.5/5
Isn’t She Lovely 5/5 | Broken 4/5 | Crushed 5/5
One of my favourite New Adult series that I’ve read in this past year! They have the perfect blend of romance, character development and fun.
Read if You Like: new adult romances, character development
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy the “cliche” romance situations like fake relationships, etc.
- Everything Between Us by Mila Ferrera
- Beautiful Player by Lauren Christina (Beautiful Bastard Series #1)
- Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola (Crush Trilogy #1)