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Isn’t She Lovely (Redemption #0.5), by Lauren Layne

Isn't She Lovely______________________________________________________

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 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?______________________________________________________

“Wait, you want me to be your live-in girlfriend? What is this, a Pygmalion version of school-project partners with benefits?”

 This book was my first from Lauren Layne. Since I’ve finished it, I have read three other books by her, that were equally funny, endearing and heart warming.

Now Isn’t She Lovely enters in a category of books that I haven’t read in some time now: the lovey-dovey kind. But as far as those go, I have to say that Lauren Layne is really good at what she writes about. This book, even though quite predictable, was able to “surprise” me to some extents and even though the plot is a classic in the romance genre, Mrs. Layne was able to turn a somewhat fluffy story in a quite original Pygmalion romance that had me hooked only a few pages in. Actually, the first lines of this book had me hooked when I think of it.

“In real life? The meet-cute isn’t the least bit cute. It’s more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now.”

I seriously loved the characters of this book. Stephanie’s voice, even though quite sarcastic, was very enjoyable and she often made me laugh. Ethan turned out to be both what I expected him to be and not and I liked finding out who he really was. Her first encounter with Ethan was very entertaining and even though they both went heavy on the sarcasm and clichés, case in point…

“It’s just that I think you forgot to change out of your country club uniform.”
“Does the surly mood come with the goth outfit? Or do you have to buy it separately?”
“Could you please watch where you’re pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps is hurting my eyes.”

…I loved it and it had me grinning like a fool at my Kindle. I was actually looking forward to their exchanges and tongue lashings. The sparks fly between the two even as they realize that they have nothing in common. Or so they think. And since I’m a complete sucker for UST, I was in sexual-tension-heaven with those two!

“You guys completely stink of sexual tension. She leaped a mile when you brushed a bug off her arm. And every time you look at her, I think you’re going to set her on fire.”

Like I said, even though the plot is quite predictable, the author managed to give her characters (and her story) a depth that I wasn’t expecting considering the somewhat fluffy story. And I loved that she was able to do so. That’s really what made this story stand out from the rest of them. Ethan and Stephanie are two very different characters dealing with very different personal issues but they both succeeded in making me fall in love with them.

“What Stephanie and I had had nothing to do with that fool Pygmalion or that stupid statue, and everything to do with two people perfectly right for each other.”

This book reads like a one of those movie that leave you with this feel good vibe. It was just the right balance of cheesy and sweet with actual depth to it. I laughed, I swooned and yes, I rolled my eyes at Stephanie and Ethan when they weren’t very cooperative, but quite simply, this book was just plain lovely. If you are looking for a nice, funny and cute NA romance, look no further because you’ve found you’re next read.

“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”

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