Review: Broken at Love

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Broken at LoveBroken at Love by Lyla Payne
Series: Whitman University #1
Published by Author on March 12, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 338
Format: eARC
Source: Author

When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopathic half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.

College sophomore Emilie Swanson knows Quinn’s reputation—after all, he did send one of her sorority sisters into therapy earlier in the semester—but the game and his charm bring them closer together and soon she starts to believe there’s more to Quinn than people think.

But what if the more is something darker than a game of toying with emotions and breaking hearts?

Quinn and Emilie might be falling for each other, but there are secrets he’s not ready to tell—and lifestyle changes he’s reluctant to make. She willingly stepped on the court, but if Emilie finds out she started out as nothing as a pawn in Quinn and Sebastian’s twisted game, she might never forgive him.

To his surprise, Quinn finds that he might finally care about someone more than he cares about himself…even if that means letting Emilie walk away for good.

First Sentence: “‘And Alexandria Ikanova, the eighteen-year-old from Russia, takes her fourth-round match in straight sets, knocking off the reigning U.S. Open champ.'”

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I did read a so-called “New Adult” novel, and not even one that’s trying to actually make NA a real age grouping rather than just a sub-genre of romance. Broken at Love is a straight-up romance set in college, complete with the super-experienced guy that every single straight woman in the world wants to sleep with. Even weirder, I liked it.

Broken at Love doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Romance plot lines have been done to death, and I didn’t espy anything particularly original here. You’ve got the guy who sleeps around to show that he can, because deep down inside he’s a lonely little boy scared no one will ever love him because of his deep-seated daddy issues. And, of course, the love of the only woman ever to turn him down for sex can change him. You’re probably rolling your eyes right now, and, believe me, I get it, and feel the same way.

On the other hand, though, I could not put this book down. It’s like when I watch kdrama: I know exactly where the story is going, but I am SO TENSE waiting for it to get to that point. Lyla Payne does a marvelous job keeping up the sexual tension. Actually, she even does a good job with the sex scenes, because none of them made me laugh at their ridiculousness. This book is hot, so if that’s what you like from NA, then you’ll want Broken at Love.

What I appreciate most about Broken at Love is that for all Quinn is a player and a bit of a douche, he has lines he won’t cross that keep me from completely loathing him. Quinn doesn’t lie to women and he would never force a girl to do anything with him that she didn’t want to, nor will he stand for his frat brothers to take advantage either. So yeah, he breaks a lot of hearts and does so with really shitty intentions, but he leaves the decision to the women. The fact that he never promised an emotional connection keeps him just slightly likable.

Also, I like that Emilie actually is a strong character. She fights for what she wants, and doesn’t need a man’s help to get it. Both she and Quinn are fighting with their parents’ expectations for them, and it’s Emilie who actually has enough courage to go for her dreams and who inspires Quinn. Plus, Emilie does let herself become a conquest of Quinn’s, even though she didn’t think she was that kind of a girl, but she does so with her eyes open, knowing he’ll probably leave the next morning. She could have been smarter about it (like forcing him to get tested, because if this were real life he would probably have STDs like whoa), but she owns her choices and doesn’t blame them on anyone else. She’s very much characterized as being way stronger than Quinn in just about every respect, which is awesome.

The romance definitely dominates the other themes, so unless you like romance novels, I really doubt you’ll enjoy this. However, if you like romance, I recommend Broken at Love, because it was hard to put down, which is a high commendation.

Favorite Quote:

“Her eyes sparkled, and I loved that she didn’t get shy and embarrassed like we’d just committed a crime. A lot of girls did that, and it always bothered me. It was sex, not murder. If we both wanted it—and we did—feeling shame ruined one of the better parts of life.”

14 responses to “Review: Broken at Love”

  1. Eileen says:

    Yay! I’m glad you actually really liked this one, Christina! The story sounds kind of like Beautiful Disaster’s, but the characters sound a lot better! I love how Emilie was really strong, too, and Quinn sounds like a total jerkwad lol.

    Yay for the plot engaging you, too! I’ve never watched a kdrama but I suspect that they’re really good 🙂

    Great review!

    • Christina says:

      Hmmm, I didn’t read Beautiful Disaster, but I’ve heard enough to know it would piss me off, and this one didn’t. Quinn’s definitely nowhere near as messed up as Travis, as evidenced by his ability to not be abusive. He is really messed up and not super likable though.

      You should watch a kdrama! I can’t get enough of them!

  2. Stephanie says:

    The guy who sleeps around b/c he’s wounded inside is actually not my favorite trope (and it is in Beautiful Disaster), but I will definitely still read this one at some point! Glad it was enjoyable!

  3. thebookwurrm says:

    This one is most definitely not for me. I used to be insanely into romance when I was in high school (mostly because it was the only genre readily available in Fiji, romance set in the outback? hell yeah, haha) but I oversaturated myself and now cannot handle books that primarily deal with it and not with, you know, saving the world. However, the fact that you watch kdramas makes you win at life. Are you watching any currently? I just finished Ghost and it was pretty interesting. No romance for once, haha.

  4. Lynn K. says:

    There’s something about these New Adult novels that are so addicting. Predictable but page turners. o___o

    That being said, I’ve had my fill of them for the time being but I’ll definitely mark this down and come back to it someday.

  5. Ok I need this book. I was shocked to get down to the bottom after reading and see that it only got 3.5 actually. I think I would totally love this, I like that the sex scenes were super hot and a non laughable way. Laughable sex isn’t that fun… I say this from experience. Well here’s another for the TBR!

  6. Renae M. says:

    Haha, Even though you liked it, you can still point out the less-than-amazing bits. Taking a wild guess, I’m going to predict that I won’t like this at all, since I can barely handle squeaky-clean fluffy YA romance.

    But if I ever wake up from a coma with the unstoppable need to read romance, I will be sure to give this a go!

    • Christina says:

      OMG, hahaha. I don’t read much romance either, but I like it every so often, especially after all of the squeaky clean YA romances where I’m like omg KISS ALREADY.

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