The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
"Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warnings, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.
And that's when Lainey and Bianca stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, the girls are sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey's arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous.
After a few "dates," it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. Can fighting for what she wants help Lainey figure out what she really needs?"- summary from Amazon
I really enjoyed Stokes' debut novel, though some people may definitely balk at the heroine Lainey throughout the novel. I know I did a little bit, but what kept me going was the subtle changes I could see in Lainey's character as I read her story and following her along on her journey. She's not always likable but I feel like she's very realistic. People make bad decisions, they're stuck in their ways, and don't want to venture out of their comfort zone (or what they feel has become their comfort zone)- this is how Lainey is. She has the seemingly perfect life, but it just really isn't as perfect as she thought it was.
I really enjoyed a lot of the characters from this book, especially Lainey's friend Bianca and of course the wonderful sexual tension and chemistry between Lainey and Micah. Readers also get a great treat with the recently released prequel novella Infinite Repeat, which is from Micah's point of view.
Overall, a solid debut from Stokes and I'm excited for her next novel Liars Inc., out next March.
I also have a giveaway from Paula Stokes herself! Depending on your location, one winner will receive a signed Art of Lainey paperback and bookmarks (for US residents), or an order of Art of Lainey from The Book Depository and a signed bookplate and bookmarks (for international residents). All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, August 27 at 9pm EST and you're entered. For an extra entry, leave a comment on my interview with Paula from the other week.
FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.