Broken At Love by Lyla Payne

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 4, 2013)

Format: Kindle edition

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 8/10

Plot: Quinn Rowland’s professional tennis career and relationship with the hottest female tennis player both went down the drain last year after he suffered an injury. He’s been a mess ever since. His half-brother, Sebastian, has the perfect remedy: a love game timed along with the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. For two weeks during each one (the French Open, US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbeldon), Quinn must seduce a pre-appointed girl, sleep with her, and make her love him. Sounds easy and it is up until his brother picks Emilie Swanson to be the next girl. Would be artist Emilie doesn’t fall into bed with Quinn like all the other girls and her up front attitude intrigues him. But as the game goes on and Quinn tries harder and harder to seduce Emilie, the tables begin to turn and Quinn must come to terms with the fact that he might be the one being seduced after all.

Review: Guys, straight up: I really enjoyed this one. It’s everything you hope to find in an impulse buy. There’s a hot tortured hero who just needs the right girl to help him turn his life around. A devious sibling who plays the villain extremely well. A forthright and open heroine who refuses to play the game. And a cast of secondary characters that feels real and will make you laugh more than once. When I buy a book with no prior knowledge, I don’t really have high hopes; all I want is to be entertained. Broken at Love really surprised me because the writing is very good and the heroine refuses to be a doormat. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of emotional and difficult scenes to get through, namely when Quinn goes on a bender and Emilie confronts him for being a total player, but the heroine always stays true to herself and her ideals. I really liked that aspect because too often any more, I see girls allowing all sorts of shenanigans in the name of love. There’s verbal abuse, physical abuse, and some weirdo scenarios that make me cringe but luckily, this book doesn’t give us any of that and takes us a step in the right direction. Emilie has to put up with a lot from Quinn and she is a strong woman who wants to help a man she cares for. But she doesn’t stop being who she is nor does she give up her dreams. She simply adds Quinn into the mix and hopes for the best. It is refreshing to say the least.

This book has been getting some flak for being predictable but come on! If I could roll my eyes via internet I would [wait–is there an emoticon for that?]. Honestly, I didn’t buy this book to be shocked or surprised or forced to think really deep thoughts. There’s a picture of a couple almost kissing on the cover so I’m pretty sure I can guess what’s going to happen and if I can’t, I should re-evaluate this whole book reviewer thing. I bought this book so I could feel good about life when it was done. And the story of Quinn and Emilie’s rocky beginning and first forays into true love gave me exactly what I wanted. There was nothing that made me gasp or cry or think about the characters for days afterward. But I finished it with a big smile on my face and a happy outlook, wondering who on earth was going to set Quinn’s half brother, Sebastian, straight.

This is a book that will keep you entertained and happy through a combination of good writing and unique plot line that ends in a sweet happily ever after.

In the end I’m giving this: 8/10.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 9. Emilie was a breath of fresh air in this era of NA heroines who let themselves get used and abused. She was strong and a good foil for Quinn, an example of girl who falls for the wrong guy but tries to make the best of it and see the good in him even when he makes it very difficult.

How much did I like the hero: 8. Quinn loses major points for joining this tennis seduction game and treating girls as disposable goods but he wins them back for realizing that there’s more at stake than just himself and his feelings. He’s sweet, sexy, and does an about face that is bittersweet to watch.

How believable is the plot: 10. From what little I know of frat life, this seems right in line with it: seduction games and lots of beer, partying all the time, and very little focus on school. The whole book felt very real and alive which to me = completely believable plot.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Lyla writes extremely well. Everything just flows effortlessly and the action is mixed very well with the lulls for dialogue. She writes some hilarious secondary characters like Emilie’s roommate and the seedier sides of life feel immediate and tangible.

How much did I want to keep reading: 8. With a story like this, I didn’t want a cliffhanger. I just wanted a feel good ending that would wrap up the storyline. I got that. The only loose end is finding out what happens to the villainous half-brother! We all know he needs a tough woman to turn him around too but how he’ll ever find someone to put up with him is beyond me…

Final Score: 8/10

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