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Book #Review: Need by Stephanie Lawton (@Steph_Lawton) @InkspellPublish #New Adult

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Need
Need by Stephanie Lawton

Blurb: Isaac Laroche is cursed. All he wants to do is hide out and feel sorry for himself. Never mind that he got caught sleeping with his seventeen-year-old piano student, or that he abandoned her when the truth was exposed.

Isaac’s feisty high school sweetheart has different plans. Heather Swann has returned to their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to regroup after breaking up with her troll of a fiancé. She’s restless and looking for a diversion, but she bites off more than she can chew when she sets her sights on rehabilitating Isaac with her unorthodox sexual, mental, and physical plans.

The two quickly reconnect, but their happiness is threatened by family secrets, old vendettas and the death of a beloved father-figure.

Can Heather handle Isaac’s baggage, or will her own come back to haunt them both?

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars for this decidedly grown-up sequel.

My Review: After reading and enjoying the first book in this series, WANT, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would feel about a sequel featuring Issac after the events that closed the first novel. As someone who really rooted for Dave when it came to Julianne (yes, I like nice guys), I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to really relate to or sympathize with Issac as a main character.

I need not have worried. Ms. Lawton was able to draw me into Issac’s angst and really feel for him, despite what a cad I thought he had been. By the time he’d run into Heather again, the author had me squarely on his side and feeling badly enough for him to want to root for him to find happiness.

I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, so I will keep the plot points talk to a minimum, but I will say that this book is definitely more maturely written than WANT. There are some interesting “adult” oriented themes here that would appeal to a more mature audience. Saying that, I did feel the shift to an NA genre from the original’s YA stamp was warranted, and made sense for the story when you consider Issac was a great deal older than Julianne in the original story.

I really enjoyed getting another glimpse into Stephanie Lawton’s skewed deep south society. Being born and bred in Upstate New York, I’ve often wondered if life in the south is really that interestingly dysfunctional.

NEED earned 4.5 stars from me. Shy of five, mostly because despite my general “like” of Heather, I never really felt connected to her the way I was to Julianne in the first novel. I am, however, willing to concede that some of that is my own bias — having enjoyed WANT so much.

I would not hesitate to recommend this one, and if you read the first novel, it is a MUST READ.

View all my reviews (Goodreads)

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Cover Reveal: NEED by Stephanie Lawton (@Steph_Lawton) #IwantNEED

I’m quite excited to bring this particular cover reveal to you, as it is for the Sequel to the fantastic New Adult title, WANT, written by my friend, and fellow Inkspell author, Stephanie Lawton.

If you read WANT, or have seen the cover, you will see why the cover for NEED is just perfect.

Here it is…

Need.v4-final

Need

By Stephanie Lawton

Published by Inkspell Publishing

http://www.inkspellpublishing.com

Release date: May 17, 2013

Blurb:

Isaac Laroche is cursed. All he wants to do is hide out and feel sorry for himself. Never mind that he got caught sleeping with his seventeen-year-old piano student, or that he abandoned her when the truth was exposed.

Isaac’s feisty high school sweetheart has different plans. Heather Swann has returned to their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to regroup after breaking up with her troll of a fiancé. She’s restless and looking for a diversion, but she bites off more than she can chew when she sets her sights on rehabilitating Isaac with her unorthodox sexual, mental, and physical plans.

The two quickly reconnect, but their happiness is threatened by family secrets, old vendettas and the death of a beloved father-figure.

Can Heather handle Isaac’s baggage, or will her own come back to haunt them both?

NEED Goodreads button:

Need

Steph

Author Bio:

After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.

A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.

Links:

Author website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Character Interview: Jake Morris from SHRAPNEL by Stephanie Lawton @EvernightTeen #UpperYA

Welcome back to the blog. Today I have a special treat for you all — an interview with Jake Morris, one of the main characters from Stephanie Lawton’s newest YA release, SHRAPNEL.

teen-shrapnel4Jake is a pretty blunt guy. Just the way I like em, so I’ll forgo the fluff and get right to the questions.

Can you tell us your name and the title of the book you live in? 

I’m Jake Morris, and the book was originally called Surrender, but got changed to Shrapnel.

Describe to our readers your role in the book. 

I’m seventeen, and I guess I’m the romantic underdog. I prefer the term ladies’ man, but whatever. I’m also empathic, so there’s that.

How did you convince your author to put you in this book? For example, did you visit a dream or make yourself known some other way?

Heh, I showed up in the shower. Granted, there were a couple other characters that also showed up, but we all know she likes me best. And may I just say, MILF.

Is your author easy to work with or controlling? 

Who, Steph? She’s awesome. I mean, yeah, she put me through some crappy stuff, but she surrounded me with hot chicks, fed me bacon and gave me some damn hilarious lines in the book. What’s not to love?

Would you tell us about one of your favorite friends from this book? 

Hmm, I guess she’s a friend, though I’d really like more, but her name is Dylan, short for Dylanie. She’s a really cool chick. Hot as hell, but really funny, too, and she knows what she wants. Plus, she slaps me on the ass, so I’m her friend for life.

What would you like our readers to know about you? 

I’m not a complete freak. I mean, yeah, I have these weird abilities, and they sometimes make me do weird things and have epic freak-outs in front of packed movie theaters, but if you put that aside, I’m still a normal guy. I notice when you give me the side-eye or move to the other side of the hall. It hurts and it blows.

Did you learn anything during your adventure in this book?

Holy shit, did I ever! I learned how to … wait, I can’t give that part away. I also learned that girls … crap. I can’t give that away either. Okay, here’s something I can spill. I learned that looks can be deceiving. Oh, and that I love black lace underwear. *grins*

Can you tell us what you think is the most exciting thing that happened to you in your book?

You wouldn’t believe me if I did. You’ll have to read the book.

Introduce us to your main adversary?

Well, in some ways, I’m my own worst enemy, but overall, the guy’s name is Jackson. He’s a ghost from the Civil War that makes all of our lives hell. He hates me because I’m competition for Dylan, plus I know a lot about Civil War history and I’m a major threat to his plans and secrets.

Is there anything you would like to have done but your author stopped you?

Dude, I was in a house with two hot chicks. What do you think? Granted, I really only wanted one of them, but still. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Here’s your chance to speak your mind. What do you want to tell everybody?

I’m not crazy. Also, I’m a damn good kisser. I read can your emotions so I know if what I’m doing is working or not and adjust. Pretty wicked, right?

Flash questions:

  • Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Freaked out in front of a packed movie theater filled with everyone I know from school, including the girl I was crushing on. I don’t remember it, but they said I jumped over a couple rows of seats before I fell down the stairs.

  • Biggest regret?

I let things go too far at the end of the book. I should have stepped in way earlier and not let Dylan do what she did.

  • If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be, where, and why?

Hmm, when I turn eighteen I’d like to start some sleeves. On one arm I’d get representations of all the emotions I get from people, and on the other arm, I’d put representations of all the ways I’m able to help them. You know, like fear on one arm, and a guiding hand on the other. Or love on one arm, and two hearts joined on the other. Pretty mushy, huh?

  • Favorite book?

The Complete Poems of Christina Rosetti

  • Someone asks you to go skydiving. What’s your answer?

Oh, hell yeah!

  • If they were to name a crayon color after you, what would it be?

Emo Orange

  • Were you easy or hard to write?

Easy. I’m the guy version of her.

  • Absolute worst thing you’ve ever done?

I scared the crap out of my parents. I didn’t mean to, but they didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to fix it. I think they lost a lot of sleep and my mom totally dyes her hair to cover the gray. (She’s going to kill me for telling you that!)

  • Detail about yourself that’s not in your book?

I kick ass at Guitar Hero.

There ya have it. Thanks so much Jake. If the ladies weren’t interested in you before, they sure are now.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of SHRAPNEL, here are the BUY Links:

Cover Reveal: Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton (@steph_lawton) @evernightteen #YALit

I completely excited to have a chance to be part of today’s cover reveal, as it is for the release of my good friend, Stephanie Lawton’s latest YA story, SHRAPNEL which is being released by Evernight Teen. I’m so happy she found such a good home for the story, and I can’t wait for the actual release date. If this story is half as good as her first novel, WANT — then we are all in for quite a treat.

Without further ado, here is the amazing cover for Shrapnel.

Title: Shrapnel
Author: Stephanie Lawton
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Upper YA
Release Date: January 2013
Keywords: Civil War, Confederate Gold, LGBT, bullying, goth, psychic

Blurb: It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.

Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.

None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.

About Stephanie Lawton:
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.

MY THOUGHTS: Let me say that I LOVE this cover. Very YA and very goth to me. Really gives you a sense of the characters without really telling you anything. Just enough mystery and eye appeal to make me want to pick it up and see what it’s about.

SO… what do you all think? Love it Hate it? Share your opinions below.

Happy Release Day to WANT by Stephanie Lawton #WANT_SLawton #YA

Forbidden fruit can be the sweetest—or the most dangerous.

Back of the Book: Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her.

She can’t understand why he suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.

Will Julianne accept the help she’s offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

Early Praise for WANT:
“A heart-rending, romantic, and compulsively readable debut. You will remember Juli and Isaac for a long time to come!” –R.A. Nelson, author of Teach Me and Throat

“A powerful masterpiece, exploring tough issues, sweet love, and high stakes…”– Aubrie Dionne, Author of “Paradise 21”

“This story opened my eyes to how exciting contemporary YA romance can be” – Lisa Voisin, Author of “The Watcher”

GIVEAWAY

Please visit my webpage to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway, since WordPress won’t allow me to host the widget from here 😦

ENTER HERE

EXCLUSIVE BOOK BIRTHDAY DISCOUNT!
Buy the book now at Inkspell Publishing Store and enjoy a special EXCLUSIVE 30% discount! Offer valid only till 14th June!

Curious about some “behind-the-curtain” scenes? Read Stephanie’s short story “Aftertaste” for free! Just visit the FREE READS page of the Inkspell site to download.

Purchase Links for WANT:

Purchase through InkSpell Publishing
B&N
Book Depository
Page and Palette (Indie Bookstore)
Amazon

Guest Post by Stephanie Lawton: “What a snob!”—How I got the idea for Want #WANT_SLawton #YA

ImageBook ideas come from any number of sources: TV shows, a song, a dream. Mine came from a snobby lady at a Mardi Gras parade in Mobile, Alabama.

It was our first Mardi Gras since moving to the Deep South from Ohio, and I was in the midst of an epic case of culture shock. I couldn’t understand why-oh-why the wives of the parading mystic society members wore hats, heels, pearls and fur coats to a parade. It was seventy degrees outside!

We’d been to a number of parades and had a great time mingling with other average Mobilians, but on this day, one of the older, more prestigious societies was rolling. Usually the wives sit in the grandstands provided for them. We ended up next to a group who chose to watch from the street, for whatever reason.

Our kids were quite young—our daughter was one and our son was four—and very cute, which means they got a crap-ton of stuffed animals and other throws tossed their way. When we got too much stuff, we made sure to share with the other people around us. It’s an unwritten rule in Mobile that you take care of the kids near you so everyone has a good time.

The fur-coated ladies next to us had apparently not gotten the memo. They hogged all the throws and when one suggested they share, I overheard the other tell her, “No way!”

Now, what on earth does a wealthy, middle-aged woman need with several pounds of beads and trinkets that are clearly meant for children? She was so rude that I took a picture of her from the back so I could remember that moment.

She stayed with me and I began to ask myself questions: How insecure is she that she flaunts her fur coat in tank-top weather? How bitter must you be to refuse to share with a bunch of little kids? What secrets is she hiding under that coat and big hair? What is her husband like? Her poor children?

And this is where my character Julianne was born. Her mother is so preoccupied with keeping up appearances that she can’t see how dysfunctional she is and that she’s transferring it to her children, especially her gifted seventeen-year-old daughter. Add in a father who’s unplugged, a brother who’s left the nest for college, and a mentor/grandfather-type whose sudden illness turns Julianne’s world upside down, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster … or a YA book.

Image

Back of the Book: Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her.
She can’t understand why he suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball-the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite-forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.

Will Julianne accept the help she’s offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

Purchase Links:

To say thank you: Win Isaac’s mask

GIVEAWAY!!! You should enter!!

WANT by Stephanie Lawton (@steph_Lawton): A Review #AtoZchallenge #blogging #bookreview

I thought for W day, I would post my review of the YA novel I just finished titled, WANT. (appropriate, right?)

Want
Want by Stephanie Lawton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying this book was absolutely nothing like what I expected when I sat down to read. I have read a fair share of YA books, but WANT is miles above anything I have read from this genre lately.

Stephanie Lawton presents us with a southern world, steeped in tradition and dark secrets. The MC, Julianne is flawed and “real” and I was rooting for her from page one. What a wonderful departure this was from the usual perfect life, beautiful flawless MC’s present in so much of today’s YA fiction.

About halfway through the novel I had worried I wouldn’t be pleased with the ending based on how the story was unfolding, but boy was I wrong. Ms. Lawton drew me into her southern world and had me gnawing my nails as I prayed for Julianne to make the right choices — pick the right man. Don’t even get me going on the hotness of the men — one dark and brooding, one the perfect southern gent (even if he is a Yankee).

While some of the subject matter was deep and emotional, I feel it was well handled and none of the drama read as over the top or gratuitous. All of it lended to the authentic feel to the story.

Really enjoyed this one a great deal and will be looking for more titles by this talented new author.

View all my reviews

From Fellow Inkspell Author: Stephanie Lawton (A Chance to Get to Know Her Better)

From Fellow Inkspell Author: Stephanie Lawton (A Chance to Get to Know Her Better)

Stephanie Lawton

After following some fellow writer friends’ blogs, I’ve come to realize I must come across as kinda serious on here, which is hilarious since I’m one of the goofiest people I know. I have the mouth of a sailor and the sense of humor of a sixteen-year-old boy, but I guess in an effort to be “professional,” I may have sacrificed personality.

So. Here’s a totally self-indulgent post to prove I am not a robot, no matter what CAPTCHA says. (Completely stolen from fellow Inkspell author Brooke Moss.)

A. Age: Really? We have to start with age? Okay, fine. I’m 32. But I look older (thanks for those genes, Dad). It was cool when I was in high school and got mistaken for a college student or hit on by my boyfriends’ dads, but now? Not so much. Especially when people assume my mother and I are sisters. (Stop dying…

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