Passion on Park Avenue

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

4.25 Stars / 1 Steam Fan 

The storyline of three women and one connecting factor of a man, a douche, horrible man. Naomi has risen from the ashes of her childhood to make something of herself in New York. When she is offered an apartment in the same building that she grew up in by her childhood bully Naomi's journey begins. Oliver has had a difficult family dynamic which he is truly seeing while taking care of his father. Naomi and Oliver have a connection that was a fun and frustrating journey. I liked the circumstances that Naomi, Claire, and Audrey come together and the friendship that they bond together. This was a sweet and funny women's lit story with a dash of romance. I look forward to reading about the other ladies in the group. 

This specific video review will be included in the August 2019 wrap-up. 

For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
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The premise of this story feels like it should be something that I wouldn't really enjoy. The way these three women befriends each other is wild!! I can't even imagine making friends with anyone involved in this situation but something about it just works. I do wish that we had gotten to see more of the bonding period with the ladies from the time they first meet to when the particulars of Naomi's story begins. I feel like we'll get to see more of their connection weaved throughout the series though, so that will be helpful. 

Have you ever read a book and just fallen in love with all of the characters but then when forced to sit down and explain why you can't come up with anything? That's how I feel about Oliver and Naomi. I really liked their characters but there is nothing particular that stands out as to why I like them so much. Perhaps that's the reason why I did? I'm over jerky heroes and the heroines who save them. I like that both Oliver and Naomi could stand on their personalities individually and that I wasn't waiting on one to complete the other. I like that while there was conflict, there wasn't a lot of drama just for the sake of drama. 

I really think that I'm going to love this series!! 

* I received an ARC from NetGalley for voluntary review
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Passion on Park Avenue is better than the blurb let's on.  I saw it was a Lauren Layne novel and nodded sure. I was intrigued by the blurb. But I had no idea what I was in for!

This group of New York women have a meet cute that is unforgettable, a bond that shouldn't work but does, and an outlook that is refreshing. Naomi, Aubrey, and Claire are going to keep you interested, engaged, and begging for more. But enough about want to know about Oliver. Sigh. Well, it's...complicated.

Past, present, and future are a mess with these two. But only one person knows that! Secrets, history, and judgement keep them apart, while passion drives them insane. Passion in Park Avenue has some delicious push and pull. I love feisty and Naomi is the epitome of feisty.

It's easy to fall for these two and keep falling. Friends, family, and complications make park Avenue the place to be in this story.
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A story where Naomi Campbell has made it from nothing to the top in the fashion world. Now with the big move of her company to new offices and her to a new apartment, she receives a call from the Upper East Side and a place that she and her mother once lived. Her mother as a housekeeper, they shared a room together. Now they are asking her to come for an appointment for an interview as a new tenant. She goes just to see and realizes that it was her mother’s last act before dying. Now going into the interview is a grown man Oliver Cunningham. This person was her nemesis when she lived there for she lived with his family. Now he was giving the interview and does not remember her. The bantering continues to the point that she even gets the apartment. Wanting to make right the wrong that was done to her and her mother so many years ago she realizes she can’t because his father is ill and does not remember. She must now work through her own emotions, but she is also falling in love with the man. Her problem with him is she still sees the boy that did not stick up for her and her mother when they kicked out because of his father, and that not night they slept on the street. He did not get it until then and both of them must forgive the other one if they want any kind of chance for a new beginning. A wonderful story, full of emotion and has very good characters. Very much worth the read.
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The premise to this series is absolutely delicious; three women realize they’ve been sleeping with the same man at his funeral, not realizing he’s been married the entire time. There’s two unknowing mistresses and the wife, who form a fascinating bond when they accidentally meet each other. I loved seeing these women not at each other’s throats and being catty, but rather putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the lying and cheating man, where it rightfully belongs. But I digress…
Passion on Park Avenue introduces us to mistress number one, Naomi. Once a girl on the wrong side of the tracks and the poor daughter of a maid that cleaned apartments on Park Avenue. Now Naomi is a strong and fiery successful business owner that can afford any apartment she wants. But then a peculiar happenstance lands her on the waiting list for an apartment in the exact building where her mother used to work and also the place that changed both of their lives forever. It also lands her in front of the boy that made her life a living hell that’s now turned into a man that she’s desperately fighting her attraction to.
Oliver is absolutely perfection. Lauren Layne has written the quintessential nice guy but with plenty of broken edges that you can’t help but fall for. Oliver is just trying to adjust to his new normal after losing his mom to cancer and now dealing with his father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Oliver doesn’t know why the woman sitting across from him in the apartment interview for the building he lives at is looking at him with so much animosity. All he knows is that he’s inexplicably drawn to her, no matter how much she sasses him.
Admittedly, while I understood Naomi’s grudge towards Oliver, I struggled with her inability to tell him who she was. I didn’t feel that this should have been something that was dragged for the entirety of the book. I struggled truly connecting to her reasoning pst the halfway mark. I did absolutely loved their slow burn road back to each other again. Two kids that hated each other years ago, now are the perfect match as adults. I loved the slower pacing of the relationship development and the additional peeks into Oliver and who he was then and who he is now. He was honestly my favorite part of the boom. I also really loved the friendship between the women and the camaraderie that they all share.
I really enjoyed the story but I also couldn’t help but wish there was slightly a little more romance. This is most definitely a slow burn, but I didn’t feel like we get enough when they finally DO get together to satisfy my romance cravings. This missed the typical sensual sizzle that Layne’s book usually have and I couldn’t help but wish we got that here. Ultimately this was still a wonderfully entertaining read that I enjoyed from beginning to finish and I eagerly anticipate the next books in this series.
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I received "Passion on Park Avenue" courtesy of Net Galley and it'll be released on May 28th. 

"Passion on Park Avenue" captured my attention because it takes place in New York, is a modern love story mixed with a touch of revenge, and the cover is pretty stunning. I read this book in maybe a week or so; it was an incredibly easy read due to the characters, the story and the writing.

While I am an intense reader I really appreciate the beauty of an easy, interesting book. "Passion on Park Avenue" was straight to the point story with a predictable plot, like your favorite romantic comedy and I loved every moment of it.

The novel centers around Naomi and her two new friends who have just discovered they have something very specific in common. It is the catalyst for the entire novel and the story takes off from their first meeting.

Naomi is a New York businesswoman who started her own accessory business but has a hidden secret about her past, one that comes up when she is approved by a co-op board for an apartment on Park Avenue. Naomi meets her delicious looking next door neighbor, Oliver Cunnigham and immediately dislikes him. Why? Well, you'll have to read to find out.

I know a lot of people hate the word 'chick-lit' but I personally love it because it is literally a romantic comedy in book form. I definitely classify "Passion on Park Avenue" as a chick lit book but it does go a little deeper than that. It deals with familial issues, illness, and a lot of other heavy topics but does so in a light way. It's a really great marriage of different genres.

From the Goodreads title, it says "Central Park Pact #1" so I'm assuming we will be getting more books which is very exciting! There is a lot left to this story so I'm excited to see where it goes next.

If you need a light, quick read you should definitely check this out when it is released on May 28th. I think this is going to be my new favorite series!


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4 The Stars of Something Different Stars
* * * * Spoiler Free
Lauren Layne understands how to present a series. She draws you in and takes you on an adventure. Her use of New York City and its cultural views have always set the feel of what was to come. If the series is living in Manhattan then we know Layne will use it to be a major part of the tale. Because in my mind and my timing living there...There is nothing like Manhattan! There is this energy which will become part of you and you will remember it always.

When an author decides to do a series, there has to be something to link all of the books. With this series, Layne created something unique, something which was more than a "Cute Meet". She created a situation which brought together three women who had something very unusual in common. She had them all deciding not to attend an event, to end up on a Central Park bench realizing what tied them together and dealt with it in a compassionate way towards all of them.

This realization of what each of these different unique women had dealt with laid the foundation of friendship between them. They decided to look out for one another so that they Never fall for what happened before. Each of these women was capable, strong and brought their special talents to the group. We are intrigued and want them to flourish.

This first entry focuses on Naomi Powell, the self-made entrepreneur who has one of the up and coming accessory/jewelry company. This is a woman who was never made to feel as if success was part of her future. Oh, her mother was an advocate for her but the circumstances of her life lessons were not those of most CEO's. Her mother was a maid to a family living on Park Ave so Naomi would be there but not allowed to feel as if she belonged. There was a boy who would torture her, tease her and make her life difficult.

Then the boy did something even more horrible, something unforgivable. He lied and that lie changed everything for her and her mother. The impact of this planted the seed of revenge...something which festered and grew deep inside Naomi.

Now Naomi is very successful and is looking to move into her next apartment/condo. As she looks throughout the city, she receives a call saying the same location where she lived where her mother worked, has an opening and her interview with the board is upcoming.
Stunned and later finding out how her name was listed, Naomi decides to meet just to experience it.

Oliver Cunningham does not have time to interview a potential buyer of the available apartment in the building. The fact that he has grown up in the building and has 2 apartments shouldn't have anything to do with it. The way he was pushed to meet with this possible neighbor made it impossible for him not to...So here he is sitting across a desk from a woman who seems to hate him without even knowing him!

Naomi couldn't believe this was happening...There plain as day was her nemesis, Oliver Cunningham, all grown up and becoming this annoyingly handsome intelligent man. Oh, and on top of it...He has No Idea who she is...that she is the little girl he tormented and changed her life with his lies.

Lauren Layne gives us a story which looks at the idea of revenge when one has grown, presents another view and allows the idea of love between two people who never thought it would be presented this way. Each of these characters had very deep backstories which formed their perceptions and who they were. It is the coming together which allows them to blossom and grow to be who they are meant to be.

The added bonuses in this book are the other women supporting Naomi. We are given a taste here and there which causes us to be interested in the upcoming stories. The next one, Love on Lexington Avenue, will be coming soon.
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This was okay for me. I typically love all of Lauren Layne's books but this one just lacked its usual spark. It feels too sanitised from the setting to the story. I couldn't quite my finger on it because I liked the characters well enough. And their chemistry was fine but nothing spectacular. Like I said, it was okay and fine.
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Unfortunately this did not catch my attention quick enough for me to keep reading. I know some people will enjoy the book, but I had to DNF it.   I have so many reads on my TBR that I can not push myself to hard to read something that doesnt draw me in right away.
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Imagine your husband died and during his funeral you meet his mistresses. 

PHEW - This was an interesting read. While I find it doubtful that I'd have the capacity to become close friends with two women my deceased spouse was sleeping with, I did enjoy this book. 

This novel shows you the true value of having good and strong relationships to carry you through hard times.
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A cute rom-com! Almost a second chance love story though the love interest doesn’t remember the main character and she initially attempts to trick him. It took a little while for me to get in to it but it picks up and unfolds to a fun romance.
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Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors, so naturally I was thrilled she was writing a new series. The early teases sounded so good. When the cover for Passion on Park Avenue was released, I basically swooned. (I'm a little bit in love with NYC, ok?) I started hearing early buzz for the book that slightly tamped down my excitement, but I still wanted to read it. I'm glad I did, too. It was a wonderful book, even if I thought it felt a little more like women's fiction than romance with the fade-to-black. (Not that it's a bad thing, mind you. It's just not what I've come to expect from her.) 

I really did love Naomi and Oliver. Their story had plenty of ups and downs. Emotional roller coaster, anyone? But with the angst was a healthy dose of chemistry, laughs and a slow burn that I just couldn't wait to catch flame. Unfortunately it never really exploded because of the fade-to-black. BUT, the characters (including the ladies Naomi made the pact with) and storytelling made up for that and made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. All in all, the Central Park Pact series is off to a promising start, with wonderful writing and characters I definitely want more from. I can't wait to read the next book!

Favorite Quotes:

"The next time you look at me like you want me to kiss you, I will."

"You're no longer a puzzle I'm interested in solving."

Her heart might belong to Oliver. But her pride was still her own.
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Naomi is still haunted by her past. She has made her way in Manhattan but she still feels like the poor little girl from the Bronx. Sitting in Central Park one day with her boyfriend's wife and another one of his mistresses (yes, how awkward and yet convenient) she makes a deal with the ladies that they will each help one another in their dating life. I had wondered how that would work. It was an easy going friendship with them and I can see the set up for the other two ladies to get a book of their own.

Naomi is ready to move into her Tribeca condo when she is called in for an interview for a co-op on 517 Park. This is the same building where she lived at with her mother as a housekeeper before they were discarded into the street. She has so many bad memories and it all returns as she comes face to face with Oliver, the boy who teased her.

I liked how easy going Oliver was. He was in a bad spot dealing with his father. Naomi on the other hand was so resentful and she knew Oliver never remembered her. She was shaken by the state of his father's condition and it was a difficult process. I felt she carry this way too long in her dealings with him. 

Eventually the truth gets out and her world get rocks but it all works out in the end. 

Overall, a cute quirky contemporary.

ARC provided to me in exchange for honest review.
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Lauren Layne is one of those authors where I want to stop everything just to read her newest work.    Stop working, stop Momming(that's a word, right?),  Just sit down, read and get lost in a fantastic story.   Passion on Park Avenue had to wait till the end of the day after the store closed and the kiddos when to bed, but it was so worth the wait. (and the tough wakeup after falling asleep at 2am when I couldn't put it down!) .  Fantastic read and I can't wait for the others in the series!   Highly recommended!
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I hadn’t read a Lauren Layne book until this one, but the summary for this was right up my alley. I loved it so much when I got started because it reminded me of an actual adult version of Gossip Girl, with all of the fancy brand references and rich people in New York City. Those books are major read-bait for me because it’s a world I’ve always been fascinated by but have zero access to.

I enjoyed this quite a bit! Naomi and Oliver were an intriguing pair and I could feel the hate-to-love chemistry for the entire book. I will say that I expected this to be a bit more of a romance though? It obviously had some but the back-and-forth non-romance parts happened for like 70% of the book. The journey was mostly worth it in the end and I’m satisfied, but it just lacked that spark. Honestly, it would have benefited from more steamy scenes to keep things interesting.

I’m more excited to read the upcoming books though! It’ll be great to see Claire and Audrey also get their happily-ever-afters. This trio of gals are strong and funny. I also love that the next two companion books (and the romantic options) were hinted at heavily in this one, so I was able to get in the shippy mood right off the bat.
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Sex & The City for the Hallmark Movie Fans out there! A funny, crisply written novel with romance, friendship, family and glamour on Park Avenue... Can't wait for the rest of this series!
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Naomi has always wanted one thing: an address in the Upper East Side. Only it takes more than address to have the New York Elite accept her. She is already a strong and powerful woman in her own right, owning a jewelry empire as she does. What more can she do to get where she wants to be?

Oliver has always had a thing for Naomi. They grew up together of a sort, as her mother worked for his family. She does not want an association with him at this point, though. She wants to be accepted on her own merits. Can he convince her to try a little with him?

This story felt kind of off to me for some reason. I liked the characters and the story just fine. It just seemed to start off slower than the pace is usually from this author. Overall I liked the struggle and story.

***This early copy was given in exchange from Netgalley and its publishers.
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I usually don't go for romance books that look like, well, this. 

Contemporary romance isn't my thing, but even if it was, rich white lady problems don't really interest me. However, Passion on Park Avenue turned out to be a bit better than I was expecting. 

I didn't like the cheesy set-up in the first few chapters, but it got better as it went along. I liked Naomi's shifting viewpoints on Oliver and his dad, and I loved the sexual tension, but I think she kept her secret for way, WAY too long. I also thought that there were some issues that were dropped and left unresolved, which irked me a little. And waaaay too many descriptions of designer clothes for my tastes, personally. 

Though I liked it but didn't love it, I would still recommend this to friends who like easy reading contemporary romance. It was a fun, summer-readish way to pass a few hours, and it made me intrigued to read this author's backlist. 

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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Oliver and Naomi have known each other since they were kids, and their reunion isn’t exactly what Naomi would have wanted at the beginning. I enjoyed the friction between our characters.  This is a little different story than a  typical Lauren Layne book. I enjoyed it, but it reminded me of a slow build romance/women’s lit.
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Lauren Layne! How have I not read your books?! This was my first from the author but definitely not the last!

What a delightful read. I was in need of something light, a little mushy but not too steamy. This was the perfect blend! Naomi and her girl pact was perfection. I was expecting complete snobbery coming from these UES girls. Instead I found a group that was a reminder of the Sex & The City friendships we all desire.

The love interest in the book was, dare I say,  dreamy? Because he definitely was! I was totally crushing on him throughout the story. If only Oliver Cunningham actually existed... sigh. There were great ups and downs throughout the story. It was a love I found myself rooting for. 

My only complaint, I really wish the author would've touched into Naomi's Bronx roots. I myself am a Bronx girl, who requested this book because of it. It would've been nice to read about some Bronx streets, Bodegas and the many cultural things of my lovey borough. 

Nonetheless, I adored this book. I recommend it to those who are looking for something other than the unusually hot & steamy reads with characters who tend to have no chemistry.The tension and build up between Naomi & Oliver created a very satisfying ending. I cannot wait to read the next one!

Thank you so much to #netgalley and #gallerybooks for allowing me to read this advaced copy!
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