What is it about Lauren Layne books that I can never quite give them five full stars? It's not that they are bad. As a matter of fact, they're so awesome that she's on my favorite writers list that has under 20 authors. But that's not because she's THE BEST CR writer out there. It's because she's consistent.
Her books are the too-happy-to-care-if-I-shouldn't kind, and on that front she almost never fails to deliver. I always get too wrapped up in the story to give a damn if there are cliches or predictable plots. Which is good, because with Layne is never original with the storyline itself. It's the way she does it that makes her rise above other authors.
Things you will never find in a Lauren Layne novel: non-frowned up slut-shaming, douchebags for heroes, TSTL heroines, abusive relationships, forced humor, violence and/or rape being justified, unsafe sex, romance trying to compensate for lack of plot, static characters.
As if all that were not enough, this author embraces the cliche and makes it her bitch. It's kind of like when tv shows make fun of their own inconsistencies. Take, for instance, Glee:
And while I'm writing this, I have this Merder scene in the background because I wanted the characters in LL's books to have a tenth of the depth Shonda Rhimes characters have. Which is, you know, an average amount for deep, well-done characters because no one can top Shondaland (I'm not fangirling or anything but LET'S TALK ABOUT MOTHERFUCKING LEXIE GREY AND MELLIE GRANT AND ADDISON MONTGOMERY AND ALEX KAREV AND APRIL KEPNER OR SHOULD I SAY APRIL (show spoiler) *).
Don't get me wrong. I felt Michael being confused about his own identity and Chloe having her mind and heart at war about what society expects from her and what she actually needs. I loved that the message this book sends, especially through the male protagonist, is that it's not about the scale, it's about health and feeling confident in your own skin. That's why I'm so in sync with authors like Samantha Young or newfound queen Penny Reid. They understand that even if some thing don't affect the actual storyline or even the ARC of the series, they make the tale more real.
Anyhow, Crushed was still amazing. I love this trope, these characters, and the way Lauren Layne made them come to life. It was a perfect ending to the Redemptionseries, with the story coming full circle. And I say end of the series because, even if she hasn't officially said it, one of the best things about the author is that she doesn't drag on series just because they are profitable. Although I wouldn't mind some short stories or novellas in the future, I understand right now she has her hands full with the Oxford guys.
Shout out: Lauren, if you need any help with those, I'm here for you. And even though I haven't met them yet, I'll be good and step up for New York's Finest, too.
*I'd talk about Connor Walsh but THAT SHOW IS NOT ACTUALLY WRITTEN BY SHONDA.