BOOK REVIEW ~ THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE BY LAUREN LAYNE

BOOK REVIEW ~ THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE BY LAUREN LAYNE

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.  After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

This book was SO good! The book gods must be laughing at me right now as I make it well-known I can’t stand insta-love yet fell head over heels myself with this story right from the start, and the entire time I was reading I was either grinning like a fool or crying happy tears. It’s one of those stories filled with so much warmth and love but also a good dose of angst and heartbreak that makes this second chance romance so satisfying to read. As much of a cynical romantic as I am, there are rare times where a book will completely win over my heart and my picky brain will just have to take a hike and this is one of those times. So yeah, this book = winner winner cheesy dinner
When I picked up this book I wasn’t actually paying attention to who the author was or that it was the 4th book in a series; it was the enticing blurb that grabbed me and I felt compelled to read it. Everything about the blurb – jilted bride, seemingly jerk hero, possible love/hate dynamic – called out to me and there’s something so beautifully romantic that a couple with this much baggage could hash out their differences and get a second shot at being together again. Like seriously, does that not stir your heart at all? But anyways, from the beginning it’s implied that Emma was left at the altar by Alex (he goes by his last name Cassidy in most of the book) and the two of them had that once-in-a-lifetime kind of love but misunderstandings and deception broke them apart. Now in present time, they’re both journalists in the same field who see each other regularly because of work but don’t acknowledge each other’s existence. I thought I was going to get some love/hate dynamic here but I was wrong…these two didn’t even feel. It’s like their big blowout froze their feelings.
And with recent developments with work, Alex and Emma are physically closer to each other than ever before. Absence does make the heart grow fonder because both of them reminisce on what could’ve been had their relationship worked out. The story is told in dual POVs, and as the plot progresses, reasons leading up to their fallout are revealed from both sides. It’s obvious that things weren’t tied up then and they certainly aren’t over now…
It was really great character development to see the ice-cold Emma thaw and crack because of her constant
proximity to Alex. On the other hand, while Alex didn’t grovel that much, his present-day actions made my heart go pitter-patter and swoon; he’s hard not to fall for! There was, however, one aspect of this story that was jarring in the beginning but I quickly got over. All the details in the blurb about Alex being sidelined by an injury, leading him to dabble in journalism and Emma being ditched and all? Those things were skimmed over and the story started where Alex and Emma had been working in the same field for a while now, and I was a little disappointed to not get to see that part of their history. Then again, it may have been covered in the previous 3 books and since I haven’t read those, I don’t have that background insight, so just a heads up to all future readers.
Aside from the fact this book began at a different starting point than what I expected it to be based on the blurb, the rest of this story was absolutely fantastic! Most of the book was just all fun and games with a great cast of side characters who each brought his or her own flair to the story, but there are a couple of heart-to-heart scenes between Emma and Alex that hit me hard, like someone was stabbing at my heart with daggers and I wanted them to be together so badly. And by the end of the book my heart was leaping for joy and I was content with the way the story wrapped up.
Since this was a romantic comedy and supposedly fluff, I went into the story expecting a mostly lighthearted read. I never, ever expected to cry but welp, I did! You know those videos on the news you see where so and so did this and it was a good thing, or this guy did this for his girlfriend, and it’s just so overwhelmingly beautiful and touching you shed a tear or maybe a hundred? Yeah…this is one of those stories. In a bad mood? Feeling down? Pick this one up! Escape reality. Give your heart a workout with the way this book runs you through with emotions. You can thank me later
The Trouble with Love is the 4th book in the Sex, Love, & Stiletto series and can be read as a standalone! FYI, this was my first book of LL’s and I had no trouble getting through it.
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