Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Tour for Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Join me today in welcoming Lauren Layne and her delightful read Isn't She Lovely to my site!  Keep reading to get a taste of this book along with my impressions of it and to learn even more please visit the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win a $15 bookstore GC and some promotional t-shirts too!

The rules are clear—until they’re broken. Lauren Layne puts a New Adult spin on Pygmalion, also the inspiration for Pretty Woman, and gives the classic love story its edgiest twist yet.
“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”  
Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund . . . or does he? 
As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade. 
But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind upmanipulating them. And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see? 

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It's not often that I find a book worthy of rereading, but everything about Isn't She Lovely has me wanting to squeal with delight and reread it whenever I need a pick-me-up.  From its true-to-life witty banter to its immensely likable and compelling protagonists this story grabbed my heart from the first page and kept me enthralled to its heartwarming end.  As a recent convert to the NA genre this story has set the bar very high and it will be hard for others to match its simple yet cheer-inducing storyline.

On the surface this story seems stereotypical in its Pretty Woman theme of one man changing a rough around the edges woman and falling in love along the way.  But the talent of Ms. Layne creates a story that digs deep into each character's psyche to make them real to readers and thus fully invested in their outcome.  The dialogue crackles with their verbal sparring that's playful early on and slowly transitions to close friends and finally understanding lovers.  The changes to their relationship are subtle but no less impactful as these two loners come to rely on one another to heal from past betrayals.

Stephanie was once the popular girl in school until the death of her mother, and a boyfriend's betrayal, led her down a path of darkness.  She's now a Goth girl in looks and words which keeps her safe from more pain.  She's a loner and likes it that way.....Until she meets, and is then forced into working with, the preppy and outgoing Ethan.  She at first thinks he's a walking stereotype in his pricey clothes and pearly whites but as she unlocks his emotional layers she discovers someone likable and lovable.  With their project underway she fights the changes to her appearance even as she finds them easy to return to and completely become the woman Ethan's used to.  On the cusp of something special she offers an ultimatum that puts her heart on the line and could end their HEA before it's even begun.  I adored Stephanie in both her personas.  She's outspoken but has a knack for seeing into people's souls.  She can be abrasive while putting a smile on your face.  I ached for all she'd been through and was rooting for her every step of the way.

Ethan's had his fair share of pain too after discovering both his girlfriend and mother in other men's embraces.  Everything he once held true has been destroyed and his life now feels out of control.  Taking a theater class and meeting Stephanie takes him out of his comfort zone but give him a much-needed kick in the butt.  Through the writing of their fictional story they get closer together as long talks lead to heartfelt confessions and mutual healing.  Ethan finds himself counting on Stephanie's support as she becomes his port in the emotional storm he's dealing with.  A moment of uncertainty though will require a grand gesture worthy of an Oscar but one he's more than willing to enact to reach their HEA.  Ethan was a delightful contradiction with emotional layers I never expected.  He's charming, witty, and sexy and exactly what Stephanie needs to reach for the sun.  He's the quintessential hero and I find him still in my thoughts!

Ms. Layne has created a heartfelt story with immensely likable characters telling the story from their viewpoints in a realistic way that's endearing and compelling.  The sexual tension crackles from the moment their eyes meet and sensually morphs into something more.  Though the theme is well-known the author makes it her own in a refreshing and joyous tale full of surprises.  I can't praise this story enough and look forward to what this author creates next!

My rating for this is an A+

*I received this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Layne moved to New York City, where she now writes full-time. She lives with her husband and their plus-size pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.

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