I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen – Sylvie Simmons

GUEST REVIEWER – Surly Joe

  • sylvie-uk2Title: I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
  • Author: Sylvie Simmons
  • ISBN: 0061994987 (ISBN13: 9780061994982)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: September 18th 2012 by Ecco (first published October 18th 2011)
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Genre/s: Non-Fiction/Biography
  • Print Length: 576 pages
  • Source: Purchased

DESCRIPTION –  (from Goodreads) The legend behind such songs as “Suzanne,” “Bird on the Wire” and “Hallelujah” and the poet and novelist behind such ground-breaking literary works as Beautiful Losers and Book of Mercy, Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential artists of our era, a man of powerful emotion and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life—sex, religion, power, meaning, love. Cohen is also a man of complexities and seeming contradictions: a devout Jew, who is also a sophisticate and ladies’ man, as well as an ordained Buddhist monk whose name, Jikan—“ordinary silence”—is quite the appellation for a writer and singer whose life has been anything but ordinary.

I’m Your Man is the definitive account of that extraordinary life. Acclaimed music journalist Sylvie Simmons crafts a portrait of Cohen as nuanced as the man himself, drawing on a wealth of research that includes Cohen’s personal archives and more than a hundred exclusive interviews with those closest to Cohen—from his lovers, friends, monks, professors, rabbis and fellow musicians to his muses, including Rebecca De Mornay, Marianne Ihlen, Suzanne Elrod and Suzanne Verdal—and most important, with Cohen himself, whose presence infuses these pages.

Starting in Montreal, Cohen’s birthplace, where he first found fame as a poet in the fifties, Simmons follows his trail, via London and the Greek island of Hydra, to New York in the sixties, where he launched his music career. From there she traces the arc of his prodigious achievements to his remarkable retreat in the mid-nineties—when on the cusp of marriage to a beautiful actress and enjoying the success of his best-selling album to date, he entered a monastery on a rocky mountaintop above Los Angeles—and finally to his re-emergence for a sold-out world tour almost fifteen years later. Whether navigating Cohen’s journeys through the back streets of Mumbai or the countless hotel rooms where he has stayed along the way, Simmons explores with equal focus every complex, contradictory strand of Cohen’s life—from the halls of academia to the arenas of rock ’n’ roll—and presents a deeply insightful portrait of both the artist and the man whose vision, spirit, depth and talent continue to move people like no one else.

leonard-cohen

HallelujahLeonard Cohen

You finish listening to a song of Leonard’s and you know he’s said everything he had to say, he didn’t let the song go till he was done with it.”
Sylvie Simmons, I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen

REVIEW

CohenFive hundred pages deep into Sylvie Simmons biography I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, she describes the 75 year-old Canadian icon as he steps onto a small stage in a Fredericton, New Brunswick theatre at the start of his 2008 tour. He is “in his sharp suit, fedora and shiny shoes, looking like a Rat Pack rabbi, God’s chosen mobster”. He is playing to an intimate audience of 700, It’s a tune-up. Weeks later, he will be at the Glastonbury Festival in England in front of over 100,000 people. He is on a wave that will last almost two years and cross continents. It will become the biggest, most successful, most critically-acclaimed tour of his career, grossing over $50 million. After 50 years of work and conflict, drugs and depression, always searching for truth, always fleeing from convention, the poet/writer/singer-songwriter/performer is at his pinnacle. He is loved and respected worldwide. He is the epitome of cool.

cohen-beadsLeonard Cohen has lived a remarkable life and it is intimately documented in I’m Your Man by Simmons, a music journalist and author of both fiction and non-fiction. From his early years of privilege, growing up in an affluent Montreal community in a household that included a butler, a gardener and a chauffeur, she traces his most unusual path, having amassed an astounding amount of detail from over 100 interviews with Cohen’s friends, lovers, family, acquaintances, and with Cohen himself.

As a child, “he seemed conventional, respectful of his teachers, the least likely to rebel”. But while his appearance was conformist, his mindset was to seek. As a teenager, he would wander the streets of Montreal at night, passing bars, cafes and strip clubs, looking through windows at the otherworldliness of a strange subculture. His searching would become international as well as spiritual, literary and chemical. By the time he was in his early ‘30s, a published poet and novelist, Cohen had lived in New York, London, Paris and Greece. He had socialized with Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Morrison, Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, played guitar with Jimi Hendrix, and had a 24-hour “relationship” with Janis Joplin. His relationships with hash, speed, opium, acid and alcohol lasted much longer. His spiritual searching has included Judaism, Scientology, Hinduism and, most importantly, Zen Buddhism, where he lived in a California monastery for five years and was ordained as a monk.

BLThe accolades that Cohen received in his later years were a long time coming. In 1966, his second novel, Beautiful Losers, was described by the Toronto Star as ‘the most revolting book ever published in Canada”. Some of his early music was called “blatantly bad…deliberately ugly, offensive”, also “matter-of-fact to the point of being dull…just irritating”. But by 2009, Cohen had received virtually every award and honour possible – Junos, Grammys, countless accolades for his poetry, the Order of Canada and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His song Hallelujah, which took five years to write, has been covered by over 300 artists in the last 20 years.

By 2012, the year I’m Your Man was published, and in his late ‘70s, Cohen was in more demand than ever. He had risen, fallen, and risen again. After a lifetime of complicated and intense relationships – with women, with record and publishing companies, with his words and music and with himself – he was also, finally, at peace.

LCQ

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

simmonsSylvieSylvie Simmons is a London-born, San Francisco based music journalist, named as a “principal player” in Paul Gorman‘s book on the history of the rock music press In Their Own Write (Sanctuary Publishing, 2001). A widely regarded writer and rock historian, she is one of very few women to be included among the predominantly male rock elite. She is also the author of a number of books, including biography and cult fiction. – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Email – sylvie@sylviesimmons.com

CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia,  Circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.

 

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For Anne – Leonard Cohen

GUEST REVIEWER – Surly Joe

“Deprivation is the mother of poetry.” ― Leonard CohenThe Favorite Game

Leonard Cohen Poem copy

Before his fame and acclaim, Leonard Cohen published this short poem in a 1961 collection called The Spice-Box of Earth. They were new words from an apparently old soul. Bittersweet, filled with regret, the poem is a brilliant twenty-four word realization that something very special was gone. It is stark, simple and stripped-down, where what is left is all that matters, like Hemingway removing his adjectives or Eric Clapton stressing the silence between the notes of his guitar solos.

So what is left? Presumably a young man thinking about his former lover. There is no explanation as to why the separation occurred but its reason is secondary to what he is experiencing in the current moment, and that is the discovery that he has been forced, perhaps by his own behaviour, deeper into adulthood and cynicism. Annie is gone and, in his hindsight, so too is the pure, idealistic love that he unknowingly had. Suddenly the world seems large and empty, the man-child is insignificant, and the concept of how to proceed is daunting.

In order to protect his ego and heal his wounds, he initially tries to remove himself from emotion. Annie becomes Anne. A name that is cute, tender and innocent is now more formal, stiff, detached. Despite the obvious feelings that remain, he attempts to create separation. The poem is not “To Anne’”. It is more formally “For Anne”, as if he was only addressing an acquaintance. The title implies he is trying to be aloof, but he is quickly exposed and the poem’s first three words open the floodgates to his remaining emotion.

Leonard Cohen’s first book of poetry, written in 1956 when he was a student at McGill University in Montreal, was called “Let Us Compare Mythologies”. In this poem, Annie has become his mythology. She is a story that he is re-reading. He may progress. But not yet. He is stuck. The word “compare” appears three times, more than any other word. It is the action in which he is trapped, like a hamster on a wheel.

The end result of “For Anne” is that there isn’t yet an end result. There is just the realization that what he had, and what he didn’t appreciate when he had the chance, is gone. But only because it is gone could he discover what he had in the first place.

LCLeonard Norman Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.
Cohen’s earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1968 album Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music melodies and instrumentation, sung in a high baritone. The 1970s were a musically restless period in which his influences broadened to encompass pop, cabaret, and world music. Since the 1980s he has typically sung in lower registers (bass baritone, sometimes bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female backing singers.
His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships. Cohen’s songs and poetry have influenced many other singer-songwriters, and more than a thousand renditions of his work have been recorded. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008 for his status among the “highest and most influential echelon of songwriters”.

Leonard Norman Cohen. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 10:18, May 27, 2014, fromhttp://www.biography.com/people/leonard-cohen-9252529.

PAPER LOVE (Chicago Christmas #2) – Aubrey Wynne

It’s her extraordinary inner beauty that captures his heart. 

 

PAPER LOVE

Chicago Christmas #2

Aubrey Wynne

Released Oct 18th, 2016

 

Growing up in a Papua New Guinea mission, Joss Palmateer is a gentle soul with a unique view of life. Still adjusting to a new home in the U.S and the sudden loss of her mother, love is the last thing on her mind.

Sexy physical therapist, Ben Montgomery, meets his sister’s friend and the sparks fly. He takes it as a challenge when she ignores his advances, but it’s her extraordinary inner beauty that captures his heart. With the help of a stray homing pigeon and an old origami legend, Ben sets an unwavering course of romance to win her love.

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aubreywynneBestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night.

Obsessions include history, travel, trailriding and all things Christmas. Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards and Dante’s Gift received the 2016 Golden Quill and Heart of Excellence award, as well as being a Maggie and Aspen Gold finalist.

Besides her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release “A Vintage Romance” series inspired by tales of her stepfather, who served for theBritish Air Force in WWII. The stories will be set in the 40s & 50s. Her medieval fantasy series will launch in 2017 with Rolf’s Quest.

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MAKING CHRISTMAS (A Novella) by Laura Chapman

Brings the warmth of the holiday season to life.

 

MAKING CHRISTMAS

A Novella

Laura Chapman

Releasing Nov 8th, 2016

While settling into a new career in a new community, Ivy is determined not to let the holiday season pass her by. Enter the grownup advent calendar: twenty-four days of festivities to celebrate Christmas. What begins as a bit of fun turns into a mission to spread cheer when she meets Everett. After learning about his bad Christmas attitude, she invites him to join her quest. Despite his initial reservations, Everett quickly gets caught up in the spirit of the calendar. But when new feelings surface and are impossible to ignore, Everett’s inner curmudgeon threatens to put a damper on the whole experience.

This holiday novella from Laura Chapman brings the warmth of the holiday season to life.

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EXCERPT

From Making Christmas

“About my project,” she begins. “I’ve always loved the holiday season. Everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve then Christmas and New Year’s Eve—it’s a magical time. Plus, I was born on Christmas, so the holidays are extra special. But the past few years I’ve been so busy with work and . . . stuff . . . that I kind of lost track of them. It was always more important to focus on getting the next big ad campaign out than stopping to smell the sugar plums.”

“Ad campaigns? You’re in advertising?”

“No—not anymore.” She taps her fingers on the edge of the counter. “I left my old agency earlier this year to start an Internet-based company with my friend. We moved to Lincoln in October because it’s a welcoming place for startups. Anyways, the past few years the holidays have gone by in a hazy, chaotic blur. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again this year. I’m going to stop and smell those sugar plums.”

I almost ask what sugar plums smell like but go with a question that makes more sense. “So you’re celebrating the holidays with a Christmas coffee?”

“Today,” she agrees. “Then tomorrow I’ll have another festive activity waiting for me.”

She digs into her purse and removes a piece of red card stock. It’s covered with tiny green paper pockets, each neatly printed with a number counting up to twenty-four. Twenty-four.

“It looks like an advent calendar.” Just like the ones my grandma gave my sister and me every Christmas until we graduated college.

Her eyes light up. “That’s exactly what it is. This is my grown-up advent calendar. I saw one on Pinterest—though, they had twenty-four bottles of wine lined up in a rack to drink every day of December leading up to Christmas. I like wine, but I’m not a big fan of all the varieties, which would defeat the purpose of drinking twenty-four different wines. It also didn’t seem like the best way to celebrate the season. Do you connect binge-drinking wine with Christmas?”

“No. But maybe some people do?”

“I suppose, which is kind of sad. But I probably shouldn’t judge what works for other people.” She shakes her head. “Anyway, over Thanksgiving I started thinking about what I wanted to do this holiday season. Books I wanted to read. Movies I wanted to watch. Experiences I wanted to have. So I made a list. Using the list, I created a calendar with each of the items reserved for a different day. I wrote everything down on different pieces of paper. I folded them up and randomly scheduled them throughout the month. That way, I’ll be surprised every day.”

“You made a random schedule? How will you know if you have time or the materials you need to do it?”

“I’ll make the time.” She turns to the counter when the barista arrives with three cups. Over her shoulder, she asks, “Do you want to try gingerbread or eggnog?”

I don’t know. “Eggnog.” I guess.

She hands me one of the cups and takes the other two. “Actually, I do know what I’ll be doing one day because I had to buy tickets. I want to see The Nutcracker—I haven’t been since I was a little girl. But everything else will be a surprise.”

I’m listening to her explanation so closely I don’t even realize we’ve stepped out of the coffee shop until the cold bites my face. She has certainly shaken up my morning routine. “Do you really think a Christmas to-do list will suddenly make the holidays better?”

“I do.” She grins when I shake my head. “Do you doubt it will?”

“I don’t know.” I lift a shoulder. “It seems like a stressful way to spend the month. And for what? An overly commercialized holiday that only racks up charges on our credit cards while people are starving and struggling in the world. All the while, people miss their deadlines and pile more work on your desk because you’re the single guy in the office and they have to get to

their kids’ Christmas programs or go bake cookies at their mother-in-law’s house. Christmas was fun when we were kids, but as adults, it kind of sucks.” I shake my head again. “No offense to you and your plan, but most years I want to get through the month of December with as little fanfare as possible.”

“Interesting.” She says nothing else but studies my face again for a couple of seconds. I nearly squirm under the intensity of her gaze. “Well, I hope you enjoy the coffee. Merry Christmas.”

WHAT HAPPENS AT MIDNIGHT

A Novella

Laura Chapman

Releasing Nov 8th, 2016

Romantic comedy junkie Natalie lives out those fantasies in real life three New Year’s Eves in a row when fate throws her together with the same handsome stranger. A heartbreaking turn of events leaves her swearing off of love, forevers, and the holidays (bah humbug). That is until the mystery man from her past reappears years later. Over a holiday season, Natalie struggles to reconcile the whimsical notions of her past with the practical sensibilities she has worked so hard to develop. With the countdown to a new year looming, she must decide whether or not she is willing to give happily ever after another shot.

In this holiday novella by Laura Chapman, celebrate the holiday season with a love story about second, and fifth, chances and learning to trust your heart.

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Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.

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WILD BOYS/BAD BOYS AFTER DARK Series by Melissa Foster

Everything’s naughtier after dark… 
Meet the Wild and Bad boys, hot, wealthy, and loaded with sinful pleasure.

 

WILD BOYS AFTER DARK: HEATH

Wild Billionaires After Dark #2

Melissa Foster

 

Indulge your inner vixen with these sexy billionaires!
Meet the Wild Boys… Four fiercely loyal, sinfully sexy, uber alpha brothers, 
about to fall head over heels for their leading ladies.

Everything’s naughtier after dark…
No last names. No strings. No ties.
Except of the silk variety.

Dr. Heath Wild and Allyson Jenner only wanted a simple tryst. But Heath couldn’t live with just one night, just one taste, of Ally–and Ally couldn’t escape the memory of his hands on her skin, the way he looked at her like she was his obsession, or his seduction, which had pushed her to the edge and had made her want to do things she never had before.

One night leads to one tantalizing phone call. Can one phone call lead to forever?

 

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WILD BOYS AFTER DARK: LOGAN

Wild Billionaires After Dark #1

Melissa Foster

Stella “Stormy” Knight is an expert at hiding—her feelings, her past, and her identity. Sometimes all that hiding takes its toll, and she needs to come out from under that heavy suit of armor and cut loose—but it never takes her long to put it right back on and disappear without a trace.

Navy SEAL vet turned private investigator Logan Wild is relentless in his pursuit to discover the truth for his clients. He works hard, plays even harder, and always walks away unscathed and untethered. Until he meets mysterious and sexy-as-hell Stormy, who leaves him craving more than a one-night stand.

Passion ignites, secrets are shared, and their deep connection is impossible to ignore. But in order to have a future, Logan must uncover Stormy’s dark past—and when he does, he’ll hold her fate in his hands.

 

Dive in for Only $1.99

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Additional Titles in the Series

BAD BOYS AFTER DARK: DYLAN

Bad Billionaires After Dark #2

Melissa Foster

Releasing December 21st, 2016

Everything’s naughtier after dark

Sinfully sexy bar owner Dylan Bad has a thing for needy women. He’s a savior, a knight in shining armor, and his mighty talented sword has no trouble bringing damsels in distress to their knees. Enter Tiffany Winters, a gorgeous cutthroat sports agent who looks like sex on legs, f**ks like she’s passion personified, and wouldn’t let a man help her if she were dangling from a ledge and he was her only hope. One night and too much tequila might change their lives forever. The question is, will either one survive?

 

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Additional Titles in the Series

 

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women’s fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented.

 

Wrong Man Series – SALE BLITZ

#GetTempted for ONLY .99 Cents

TEMPTING MR. WRONG

Wrong Man #2

Kerri Carpenter

Entangled Lovestruck

 

A little temptation never hurt anyone…

Lance Townsend craves freedom after years living a structured existence in the Army. But just as he’s about to start on his bucket list, Lance receives an unexpected request: check in on his goddaughter. The problem? The adorable little girl’s aunt is the one woman he’s never been able to forget.

Carly Quigley can’t believe her brother’s best friend, the man who jilted her years ago, is at her door. He claims her brother asked him to check in on her niece and their fixer-upper, but all either of them can focus on is their undeniable attraction. Carly knows Lance is counting down the hours to leave, which makes him the wrong man for her. Unfortunately, the wrong man has become oh-so-tempting.

Each book in the Wrong Man series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.

 

DRIVEN TO TEMPTATION

Driven to Love #1

Melia Alexander

Entangled Lovestruck

She’s a gorgeous distraction he can’t afford…or ignore.

Aidan Ross might be an engineering genius, but people skills? Not this soldier’s forte. Thankfully, a trusted friend is accompanying him to a make-or-break tradeshow…but then a bubbly redhead hops into his truck, claiming to be his new road trip buddy. She’s a gorgeous distraction he can’t afford. Or ignore.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers—male engineers. With several impressive projects under her belt, she’s on a mission to prove she can hang with the big boys, too. But cracking the sexy, closed-off CEO is tougher than she expects…and hotter than she could have imagined.

 With the tempting woman disrupting his carefully planned schedule, Aidan can’t focus on the road, much less their upcoming presentation. The future of his company is riding on this trip, and if they’re to land a huge account, he has to keep his head—and his heart—in the game…

 

Kerri Carpenter began writing in her grandmother’s kitchen at the age of seven in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. A life-long fan of reading, she got lost in the worlds of The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. She also assumed that everyone had characters and plots forming in their heads at all times.

Once she turned to romance novels, she couldn’t get enough of books with happy endings, so she started writing her own. Now, Kerri writes contemporary romances, usually set in small towns. She enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) poodle mix, Harry.

Melia Alexander is the author of sassy, sexy, fun contemporary romances, but is also fortunate to spend her week days at The Male Observation Lab (a.k.a. her job at a construction company) where she gets to observe guys in their natural habitat. Though they often behave like typical alpha males, in many instances she’s seen through their personas to the heart of who they really are – the heroes of their own stories.

A native of Guam, Melia traded in warm, tropical breezes for the rainy Pacific Northwest. She’s an avid reader who also loves romantic comedies – preferably with a glass of CabSauv and a box of chocolates nearby. In her free time, she’s busy conquering her CrossFit fears: ring dips, muscle snatches, and the dreaded 800 meter run. Her family appreciates her attempts at cooking and cleaning, although she spends it mostly daydreaming about her characters, which sometimes results in a burnt meal and a half-cleaned house.

 

 

Someone Like You (Oxford #3) – Lauren Layne

prerb-someonelikeyou-llayne_final

A man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

SOMEONE LIKE YOU

Oxford #3

Lauren Layne

Releasing Dec 6th, 2016

Loveswept

 

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Advance praise for Someone Like You

“Fun and flirty, sassy and steamy, with a deep emotional pull that will keep you turning the pages.”—Kelly Jamieson, author of Top Shelf

“An unsung hero with a story that touched my heart. Emotional and gripping. A top favorite of 2016 for me.”New York Times bestselling author Melanie Moreland

 

 

 

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

 

 

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