Passion on Park Avenue

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

I read Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne over the long weekend and it was so much fun! I’m a huge fan of this author so I loved getting to know brand new characters, most of which will be getting their own stories. 
This book is Naomi and Oliver’s story and it’s a flirty, slow-building enemies-to-lovers romance. The banter is snarky and humorous, the characters are complex, and the romance drove me crazy with anticipation. This was a perfect start to the series and it already dying for the next book!

I highly recommend adding this to your TBR list.
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Summary from Goodreads:

"For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…"

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun and enjoyable read for me!  I don't read a ton of contemporary romances but this book has me reconsidering that.  One of my absolute favorite tropes in romance is the (I'm not sure what this is exactly called but this is what I'm calling it) hate to love romance.  I adore when the main characters despise each other but ultimately can't fight their attraction to one another!  It's my favorite so it was a sure fire thing that I was going to enjoy this book with that kind of set up.  I think one of the reasons that I enjoy this type of trope so much is that it usually means that there isn't any kind of insta-love which is my least favorite romance trope. The romance between Naomi and Oliver was a slow burn of the best kind in my opinion.  Also, just to let other readers know - this is a book that I've been recommending to readers who want a romance without the steamy scenes.  I just wanted to throw that out there for any other readers who are looking for that kind of romance!  In this book, Naomi remembers Oliver instantly from her childhood when they meet for the first time but Oliver doesn't remember her.  This leads to some humorous moments as Oliver can't figure out why Naomi seems to despise him on sight.  Especially as he is as attracted to her as he is annoyed with her for the way she is treating him.  The chemistry between these two was just absolute perfection so I couldn't get enough of reading it.  I also really enjoyed the friendship that Naomi had between two other ladies which is the kind of setup of this trilogy.  I don't want to give too many details on how they become friends, but I'm now eager to read both of their books so I can see them get their happy ever after as well.  This was just a fun read for me even though there were some serious aspects to it.  Oliver's father has Alzheimer's disease which plays a prominent part in this book.  The disease isn't glossed over and it is something that Oliver is constantly dealing with throughout the book.  I really liked the end of this book and am eager to get my hands on the next book in this trilogy.  

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this book and am looking forward to reading more by this author.  This is actually the second book that I've read by Lauren Layne - the other book that I read was Cuff Me which had more of a suspense vibe to it than this book did.  Two very different books but both books that I enjoyed immensely.  Looks like I have another author whose backlist I need to catch up on!  Also, I can't believe that I haven't mentioned this before but how gorgeous is that cover?  I love it!  It was almost a shame that I read this book on my e-reader so couldn't experience that cover in its' full glory.  Ha!  I would recommend this book to fans of romance but also to readers who are starting to get on board with the new wave of romantic comedies that are becoming so popular as of late.  This book was just a plain fun read at times and I think that there are many other readers who will enjoy it as well.  An easy book for me to recommend!

Bottom Line:  A fun and enjoyable read that has me excited for the next book!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.  Thoughts are my own.
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Naomi Powell, Claire Hayes and Audrey Tate meet at the funeral of a man they were all involved with at the same time, and however unlikely, they became fast friends. In the first book of the Central Park Pact series, Naomi's story is told. Naomi's telling story is that she grew up poor and her mother was a housekeeper. At one of the homes her mother worked for, she lost her job and they were thrown out. Before this happened, Naomi was all but bullied by the family's son.

When Naomi gets an exclusive apartment in the Upper East Side of New York, she still feels like an outsider. She feels uncomfortable around her new neighbors, but especially Oliver Cunningham. There is a very good reason behind her feeling strange around Oliver. He is the grown son of one of her mother's ex-employees. As Oliver tormented her as a child, he especially does so now. However, this is for entirely different reasons. For one thing, he is entirely too attractive. Meanwhile, meeting up with Oliver's father brings a lot of angst to Naomi, but for very good reason she is forced to adjust her view of the older man. 

Naomi has made great strides as an adult. She is now the CEO of an accessory company and has more more to spend in several lifetimes. She certainly can choose whatever path she wants in life. Oliver is an architect and is very successful. They are a fine pair, even if their past - and now their present - clash.

Passion to Park Avenue is a a warm, sensitive and compelling read. Watching Oliver and Naomi find their way to love was quite enjoyable. This story is much tamer than Lauren Layne's 21 Wall Street series. What it lacks in spice it truly makes up when it comes to being quite an emotional read, especially when it comes to Oliver's father. I look forward to reading the other two books in the series, Love on Lexington Avenue, due in September, and Marriage on Madison Avenue, publication date TBA.
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I liked some aspects of this story but for the most part, it just wasn’t clicking for me. I found the relationship the three women formed extremely awkward. I never got that feeling of bonding between them, it just felt odd to me. They'd make jokes about their connection and it felt incredibly stilted and fell flat. 

I did like Naomi and Oliver but it was such a light, slow burn romance with nothing major happening that I never really felt their connection. I liked their interactions, they could be sweet, but it was lacking that want and need. This is not my first time reading Lauren Layne, she’s one of my favorites, so I went into this expecting fun and fresh and sexy. For me, that was not this. 

It took me a while to get into the story and I spent the first half wondering if I should DNF. However, I was invested enough that I wanted to know what would happen so I stuck with it. It's not super descriptive and some thing's felt like a footnote or glossed over. I didn't warm up to Naomi until the end, she's a pretty brash character that could hold a major grudge and it almost felt over the top. Towards the end, she softened and I liked her much more. That’s when her personality shined. 

The story wasn’t bad, it just wasn't for me. I was missing the fun and the heat and playfulness.
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3.5 stars rounded up to 4

This is a cute, light book and I'm sure I'll read the rest in the series when they come out. It's certainly not mind-blowing or life changing in anyway, but who doesn't love reading a story of unlikely friendship and love?

The book starts off with three women meeting in Central Park while avoiding the funeral of a wealthy man who died unexpectedly. The women happen to have something in common... One is the wife of the man who has passed away and the other two are the mistresses (none knew about the others). Instead of instantly hating each other, the women bond over their poor luck in relationships and vow to help each other avoid falling into similar situations in the future.

One of the women, Naomi, is a self-made woman who has built a jewelry empire (a subscription box, obvi), but she still isn't able to fully let go of things from her childhood. When she moves in to an old money apartment building on Park Ave. that holds a lot of negative history for her, it's with the intention of proving herself to some of its residents. The only problem? One of those residents happens to have grown up into a pretty attractive and charming man.

Like I said, it's a cute read. Oliver, the man in Naomi's building, really is a charming and likable character and it's easy to see why he's hard to resist. It's hard to believe a friendship like Naomi, Claire, and Audrey have is possible, but it's also a fun concept. I imagine the next books in the series will feature the stories of the other two women (they're in the book a lot, but we don't get too much on their individual histories).

If you're looking for a beach read that's a little bit smarter than the typical chick lit and you love stories of friendship and falling in love, this could be a good choice for you!
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I really loved the premise of the story. The writing was great! I loved the friendships. The story had a great start, I was hooked from chapter 1, but while reading, i felt some parts beginning to really drag on. I did enjoy the build up, but was hoping for a quicker pace, especially the romance, I was hoping for more of Oliver/Naomi. Overall a very cute and fun read.
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QueenZany 4 Star Review
Passion on Park Avenue
by Lauren Layne

Passion on Park Avenue is drop dead swoon-worthy fun!
All curled up in one divinely entertaining novel. That most defiantly will leave you a smile to your face! Well because there is nothing better than enemies to lovers, plus the banter that goes on for days!! So Love it!!!
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Need something light, fun and romantic to read then look no further! This is a wonderful easy read that I devoured and has made me want to go and read Lauren Layne's back catalogue.

Naomi finally has everything that she has worked hard for – an excellent business, money, status and a place among the elite of NYC! Finally she has the opportunity that she has been working for, to show the family that caused so much hurt to her and her mother, that she is more than just “the help”! But “revenge” doesn’t quite take the form she thought it would, especially when she meets adult Oliver and sparks fly! 

This is a very sweet, slow burn, enemies to lovers romance. Well not that Oliver ever really hated her, but you know! I thoroughly enjoyed this book – Naomi has a huge chip on her shoulder and even though Oliver can see it, he can’t work out what caused it! Oliver is so confident in who he is and what he has going for him, that he knows he can get through the barriers that Naomi has erected and he’s willing to take the time. 

I will say that I found Naomi to be a little self-righteous and this made it a little hard to connect with her – I think that she has her reasons, but was happy to see that by the end of the book, she appears to have gotten over it! And I did love the progression in her character throughout the book. She was a much nicer person in second half of the book.

I am looking forward to reading the next books in this delightful series. (I don’t normally comment on the steam aspect of books, but I saw that a few people expected more steam in this one – I however loved the fade to black in this book. The steam was most definitely there but in angst and tension rather than sex!)

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for this ARC!
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Lauren Layne is a go-to Author for me. I love the way she crafts a story and Passion on Park Avenue was no different. Did it have a different vibe than some of her other books? Yes, it did. But I adored this book and can't wait to read more in this series!

I liked Naomi-and I know she might not resonate initially with every reader-but I really did like her. Start to finish, I championed her. I understood where she came from and applauded how she became the woman she is in this book. She's strong, she's smart and she's sassy. She's the kind of woman I would definitely want to be friends with; the kind I want to have in my corner on any given day.

I liked Oliver right away-I understood why Naomi felt the way she did, but I was ready to let bygones be bygones for Oliver. He's loyal and sweet.

I liked watching these two come together. I believed in the journey that they took together. It felt authentic for these characters, and that's the best possible way to feel about a book relationship in my opinion. Naomi and Oliver stayed true to themselves and I appreciated that. Did we have a ton of sexy times? No, but the romance was still there for me.

This is the start of a series and I'm definitely anticipating the next story. Books like this are why Lauren Layne is one of my go-to Authors. I loved this title and absolutely recommend it!
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Passion On Park Ave was such a fun read! Thx @gallerybooks (via @netgalley) for the digital ARC. I was honestly hooked from the very beginning, the friendship set-up is very creative (and kind of hilarious tbh). I enjoyed the trio of unlikely girlfriends and loved the focus on Naomi in this first of the series. I was a total sucker for Oliver so I was rooting for them the entire time. I think my favorite part was Naomi’s evolution and growth as a person (vendetta-specific). Can’t wait for the next book in the series! I’m going to need physical copies of these for my bookshelf!
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Passion on Park Avenue is the first book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne. The story has a fun, flirty, ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it; it centers around three New York City women who meet when they learn they had each been in a relationship with a now-deceased man. These three – Naomi, Claire and Audrey – are all smart and beautiful and vow to become friends instead of letting the cheating playboy come between them. 

‘Passion on Park Avenue’ features Naomi Powell who is the founder of a billion dollar company. One of the things I loved most about this light and sexy novel is that the author is intimately familiar with New York City. I loved the metropolitan setting! (One of my pet peeves is when an author tries to set a story in a place they know nothing about and have done no research.) Naomi grew up in extreme poverty when her mother was fired from her housekeeping job by a wealthy Park Avenue matron, because Naomi’s mother was having an affair with her husband. Naomi and her mother, who lived in the apartment, were kicked out and bounced around from various places. As a child, Naomi was best friends with Oliver, the son, who lied when confronted about his father’s affair and Naomi never got over the betrayal. 

So when the chance to live in the very same Park Avenue building comes up, Naomi takes it, even though can live anywhere she wants. But what she wants is revenge on Oliver for the long-ago betrayal. 

This book has a lot of heart and soul which elevates it above many contemporary romances. Oliver was a very well-rounded character. He was not the complete jerk that Naomi remembers. He is now bearing the burden for caring for his ailing father and he truly does not recall Naomi. All he knows is that she is really getting under his skin! 

”Naomi Powell had brought him back to life, made him realize that he hadn’t died with his mom, or with his father’s diagnosis; he’d just been living that way.”

This was a relatively low-angst story which is perfect if you need to escape for a few hours into a well-written, frothy romance. The enemies-to-lovers trope is very well done by Ms. Layne. The love scenes fade to black so this is not an explicit romance, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I also enjoyed the subplot about Naomi getting her own reality television series which I hope will be explored in more detail in the future books. 

"Naomi's face tilted to his, and for a moment Oliver's breath caught with an unfamiliar sensation. Want, yes. Desire, sure. But this moment was different. Fuller somehow, as though this woman belonged to him not just for right now, not just for a night, but for always..."

This was my first book my Lauren Layne and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light, adult romantic comedy. The cover for the second book in the series, ‘Love on Lexington Avenue’, has already been released and it is beautiful! I am very much looking forward to reading Audrey and Claire’s stories. 
(ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
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4-4.5 stars

This book was so freaking cute that I almost completely forgive the fade to black. Almost. 

There’s just so much amazing build up and fun banter and we wait so long that it just kinda leaves you kinda deflated when it fades to black.

There is so much Lauren Layne goodness in this though and it’s impossible to stay disappointed for long.

The first chapter will absolutely hook you right away and Naomi and Oliver’s back and forth will keep you hooked until you reach the end. I love the relationship between them but I also absolutely fell for the friendship Naomi, Claire and Audrey build. I couldn’t put this one down and can’t wait for more from these gals!!!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I LIVED for all the Anne of Green Gables references and loved the girl power aspect of the story. My aunt died with Alzheimer's, so the bits with Walter were always more difficult to read. As for Oliver, anyone who will read the entire Anne of Green Gables series because of you in a couple weeks is a keeper.
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“Passion on Park Avenue” is a witty, slow-burning, enemies-to-lovers romance that makes for a great summer read.  Boasting an intriguing premise and likeable characters, the story pulled me in right from the very start.  And while I enjoyed this newest Lauren Layne romance, the slow buildup towards an eventual “fade to dark” love scene was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown.  Still, I found “Passion on Park Avenue to be a quick, delightful read and a really good start to a brand new Lauren Layne series about 3 women of the Upper East Side.
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Not only is the friendship between Noemi, Claire and Audrey refreshing and inspirational given the way they met but the chemistry between Noemi and Oliver is off the charts. This is a wonderful start to a series that is cute and querky and yet full of passion. I can't wait to see what will come next as Claire and Audrey both embark on their journey.
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I absolutely adored Passion on Park Avenue. It was a witty enemies to lovers romance. 

I loved both characters and was rooting for them to be together. Oliver's Dad was endearing even when he gave you every reason to hate him. 

I wanted a little more steam but loved the book anyway. 

i can't wait for the next books. I have a feeling I will love this series. 

Lauren Layne writes her books like they should be movies.
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Passion on Park Avenue is the first book in a brand new series by Lauren Layne. Naomi, Claire, and Aubrey found themselves sitting on Central Park the day of their lover's funeral and after that they kind of stuck together, hence the title of series (Central Park Pact). You see one of them was married to the dead man while the other two were his mistresses and none knew about the existence of the other two.

I was trying very hard to actually like the book, but in the end, I couldn't. Naomi spends ALL of the book being mad at Oliver for not defending her mother 20 years ago and she still holds the grudge even after she got to know the person who he was TWENTY years later. She kept postponing the revelation that she was the child of the woman his family wronged to a point where I grew tired. I don't believe that she fell for Oliver and the only reason she said that she did is that this is a stand-alone novel and the couple had to have a happy ending. I hate when characters are full of pride and stubbornness and don't change and that's what she did. The wrong person did the grooving. I would have been mad too if the person I was falling in love with was keeping an important secret and I found it out by accident. Oliver is a changed man and Naomi is acting like an old grumpy lady.

Should I also mention that she is dating another man? She goes on a few dates with another man and while nothing happens, it got annoying because most of the book is spent on her hating Oliver which led to an underwhelming romance between them. The only thing that saved the book from been considered a complete disaster is the secondary characters. The other two women were great and I look forward to their books. They didn't seem to be hung up on something that happened in the past and hating the wrong person. Oliver was just a kid for God's sake! And Naomi didn't even have a solid revenge plan, which made the whole revenge thing laughable.
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Naomi is the embodiment of the American dream; rising above her lowly beginnings to create a successful business and take ownership of all areas of her life. However, under the surface, Naomi has the emotional scars obtained in childhood that subconsciously control her ability to form meaningful relationships.

Although Naomi’s relationship with her mother was strained due to the events of their past and the bitterness her mother harbored, Naomi maintains a deep sense of loyalty to her mother following her death. Leading to an unexpected surprise from her late mother as a way of laying the past to rest.

Even though the incidents in the past shaped the person Naomi has become, she hasn’t lost any of her empathy and compassion despite being the sole beneficiary of her mother’s venom. It is her innate ability to accept people that enables her to deal with her own emotional baggage.

What originally starts as a quest for justice transforms into a journey into feelings and an unexpected partnership.

Oliver is a very different person than he was as a boy. He is very self-aware and has been from a young age, sadly not in time to redeem himself with Naomi as a child. However, his charm and tenderness will melt the coldest of hearts, Naomi’s included 💕

Ultimately, we have to understand that people can change especially through the events they experience in their lives.

Passion on Park Avenue also deals with the subject of dementia in the narrative and its effect on family members caring for a relative afflicted with this awful disease. As someone who has been in that position, I have to say while the subject matter presented a traumatic point for me, Lauren dealt with it realistically but with sensitivity and understanding of the conflicted emotions experienced.

The friendship formed between Naomi, Claire, and Audrey, while originating from extremely unusual circumstances was one of my favourite parts of Passion on Park Avenue. I am eagerly awaiting their individual stories.
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I am head over heels in love with this new series from Lauren Layne. Firmly planting herself at the top of my one-click list, Passion on Park Avenue does NOT disappoint.
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4 1/2

Lauren Layne is such a reliable writer that I know when I pick up one of her novels that I am going to be immediately involved and happily flipping pages until I come to the end. Passion on Park Avenue is no different.

While Passion on Park Avenue starts with an interesting meet-cute, one that involves two mistresses and the wife of a philanderer who, avoiding the funeral, walk a short distance to Central Park, recognize that they all wear the same shoes…and evidently shared the same man. On the outside, the women may vaguely resemble each other in that they dress similarly and all wear the same watch, a gift from the heartless philanderer, but inside they are so very different.

The first story involves Bronx-born Naomi, who is prickly but strong, compassionate and sometimes speaks without a filter. Naomi learns that her application is in the running for a select Manhattan apartment, which is interesting because she never put in the application. She realizes that it’s the work of her mother who died just months earlier and who wanted the people in that select building to see what Naomi had become: the CEO of an accessory empire. The interviewer is Naomi’s childhood nemesis, Oliver, the son of a philanderer who had an affair with her mother.

Layne never writes a one-dimensional story and Passion on Park Avenue is no different. Naomi doesn’t have it in her to enact any kind of revenge against the people who made her mother so bitter. The circumstances have changed and the people have changed and likewise, Naomi changes. The story is multi-layered and lays the groundwork for the upcoming stories. I only hope that the upcoming heroines, Audrey and Claire, are as spunky and interesting as Naomi.

Passion on Park Avenue is an excellent vacation read that I devoured in a day. If you’re a Lauren Layne fan, you will love this book! Add this to your summer TBR list!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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