I am super excited to be the first stop on the book tour for Isn’t She Lovely, a wonderful New Adult romance from the very talented Lauren Layne! Lauren has been kind enough to answer some questions and to tell us all a little bit more about Isn’t She Lovely.
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 up manipulating 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?
A few of my thoughts:
This was a really fun book to read. I enjoyed the bright and sweet take on the Pygmalion/makeover theme.
On the surface of it all, Isn’t She Lovely sets out on a fairly regular path – hot, rich guy and surly Goth girl get thrown together on a project, he needs a fake girlfriend, she agrees to the makeover, it all happens, people are transformed, all are happy. To some extent, it does follow this path – and good on you too, Lauren Layne. That is a story line that when done intelligently, as this author has, it can be fantastic.
The Pygmalion (or more recently, Pretty Woman) theme is one I really enjoy. I think what I enjoyed about how this played out was that it wasn’t all about one person trying to prove something, and being the sole instigator of any conflict. Both of Stephanie and Ethan had their reasons for doing what they did and I loved that neither felt forced into their roles.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of Stephanie and Ethan. Despite their youth (both are 21), they both had a real sense of being mature. Sure, some of their behaviour was that of typical young people – but hey, they are young. Almost from the beginning, the sexual tension between them is palpable. They hide it with terrifically witty banter. Even when things do get a little steamy between them, I loved that the language and interaction between them didn’t automatically default to marshmallow-fluff.
Both have gone through heartache and the loss of people important in their lives (in different ways) and the ways in which each deals with that pain and hurt are totally what I would expect of someone of their age.
This won’t be a spoiler-laced review – I think you should read it rather than me tell you the whole story first. If I hadn’t had to get a work-appropriate amount of sleep last night, I would have happily finished this in a sitting. Isn’t She Lovely is a funny, smart and nicely different twist on a well-addressed theme.
I give Isn’t She Lovely 4.5 out of 5.
And now for the interview:
Hi, Lauren! Welcome to My Written Romance!
Can you give us the Cliff’s Notes version of what your book is about?
Well, at it’s most basic, this is a Pygmalion story. You know, the ancient Greek myth in which Pygmalion creates a woman out of ivory (or stone, according to some versions) and then falls in love with her.
George Bernard Shaw wrote a play about the same topic, which was the basis for My Fair Lady, and has also inspired movies such as Pretty Woman and She’s All That.
In other words, this is a story about a guy who “creates” a woman for his own nefarious purposes, only to fall head over heels. The guy, in this case is Ethan Price, a Manhattan playboy who’s looking to avoid his matchmaking mother for the summer and needs a fake girlfriend.
Stephanie Kendrick is a gothed out film student with a major attitude and a housing crisis. She agrees to Ethan’s scheme for the free rent, only to learn that there’s a lot more about the pretty boy than she initially thought.
What is it that you love about this book, and in particular your hero and heroine?
The banter. I feel like I say that about all of my books, because it’s my favorite part of ANY story, but this one in particular made me laugh out loud a few times as I was writing it. Ethan and his white polo shirts and yachts is just so different from Stephanie and her multiple piercings and boots, and the the contrast between them made for some pretty great banter.
As far as what I love about Ethan? He’s a gentleman with an edge. He’s the ultimate combination of jerky and sweet, and this probably says something about my psyche but I LOVE that.
And Stephanie? She’s just plain bold. She has some skeletons in her closet that she needs to work through, but she’s not a damaged or weak character. She’s not afraid to call Ethan on his BS, but similarly she’s also up for examine her own issues.
What is your favourite part of the writing process? Is it creating characters, world-building or is it typing The End?
Definitely not world-building. That’s DEFINITELY on my constant “list of things to work on.”
And while typing The End never EVER gets old, I think my favorite part is that feeling immediately after finishing the gnarly first draft, when the book stops seeming like an impossible “to do” item, and starts to show potential.
I guess you could say I love taking all of the brainstorming and tweaking that takes a book from a work in progress manuscript into an actual book.
Who is your writing superhero? Why?
Uh oh — I’m about to go cliche and unoriginal, but…JK Rowling. The Harry Potter series isn’t even remotely close to my own work, but that woman is a master storyteller. It’s both inspiring and completely intimidating, but she’s definitely THE author who always makes me think, “Come on, Lauren. Do better!”
In terms of my own genres? Cora Carmack in the New Adult world. She’s got this fantastic sense of humor, and there’s a quick wit about her characters that is something that really can’t be taught.
And in contemporary romance…Nora Roberts. She has such a clear voice, a snappy style, and let’s not forget the tiny fact that she writes like eight million books per year.
Outside of writing, what do you do to relax?
Oh man — this past year has been whirlwind, and I don’t feel like I’ve done much EXCEPT writing. But when I force myself to close the computer? I’ll go another cliche route here and say that there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good glass of wine and an even better book on my Nook.
What’s next for you?
I have a New Adult and a contemporary series in the planning stages right now, but since they’re not official yet, no talking about them 🙂
But I will say that I’m about a third of the way done with a new NA manuscript, and I’m LOVING the hero. He’s my most complicated guy yet, and he’s been both challenging and wonderful.
Thank you so much for stopping by My Written Romance today, Lauren. It’s been wonderful chatting with you!
Now I’ve spoken with Lauren and told you all what I enjoyed about the book, I think you should get hold of Isn’t She Lovely and find time to read it.
Here’s a little bit about Lauren:
Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After a few years in Manhattan, Lauren is now a recovering city-girl, adjusting to a slower pace in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband and badly behaved dog, both who get neglected for days at a time when she’s drafting a new book. Lauren will, however, happily break for wine.
You can learn more about Lauren on her website, http://www.laurenlayne.com.
Tour Wide Giveaway
The lovely folk at Loveswept Flirt, as part of the book tour for Isn’t She Lovely, are very generously giving away some great prizes. On offer are a $15.00 eBook gift card to a retailer of choice, as well as two “I ♥ New Adult” t-shirts. Sounds like something you want to win? Just complete the Rafflecopter form below to take part.