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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: NEED by Stephanie Lawton: Review!

Okay, I have to start by saying...if you've never read WANT (Stephanie's first book), you have to. Like...HAVE to. Seriously. Go ahead, I'll wait... *twiddles thumbs* *scours internet for Zac Efron pics*

Okay, so yes, WANT rocks. And I could gush about it for days. But today it's all about the "sequel" to WANT, perfectly titled NEED. And I only gots four words for ya: Oh. Em. Effin'. Gee. If you enjoyed WANT, you are gonna curl your toes over NEED, trust that. Check it out:

by Stephanie Lawton
pub date May 17, 2013

product description from goodreads.com

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 fiancĂ©. 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?

Now, if that smokin' cover (holy hotness on a cracker, Batman) and wicked description doesn't spike your curiosity, then check out my review:

(note: I tried to remain spoiler-free, but be warned that I might not have been successful)

Oh, what can I say about Stephanie Lawton's latest novel, NEED. A whirlwind bundle of love, passion, anger and sex, all rolled into a pretty pink basket of perfect prose that will slip right inside your mind and take up root, NEED gives hot a whole new name.

The story picks up after WANT, the novel that introduced us to the love-him-but-hate-him-more uber jerk, Isaac Laroche. I will be the first to admit that after WANT was over, I wanted to find Mr. L and give him a swift kick in the jittles. So I was a teensy tiny bit apprehensive about NEED, seeing as how it was a story all about him. But knowing how brilliant Stephanie is with a pen, I dove right in. And Holy Mother of Pearl, did I do a complete one-eighty. 

In NEED, Isaac epitomizes redemption. Seriously. From the very beginning, my anger and disgust toward him melted away, replaced by sympathy and hope and, yes, love. There, I said it: I love Isaac Laroche (WANT fans, bear with me). Oh, Isaac. You, sir, are a tormented soul. His pain, his self-torture, his NEED to repent for past sins--they are all over this novel, bleeding onto every superbly crafted page like a stuck pig. Here are just a few of the the countless lines that so precisely show Isaac's hurt and depression:

Robert: "You can't stay away from it forever. It's part of who you are."
Isaac: "Don't want to be who I am."

Robert: "You know I'll be there every step of the way to help you."
Isaac: "Yeah," I drawl, "but you're the only one."

Isaac (to Julianne): "No," I tell her. "No more tears. I'm not worth a single one."

Isaac (to Julianne): "Please leave room in your life for me, even if it's only as a friend. I need you."

Gah! Can't you just feel his pain? His hatred toward himself? The struggle Isaac has with himself and what society has made him feel he's done is perhaps the strongest element of this book, and the main reason I just know it's gonna be a massive hit.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about NEED is the presence of Heather, Isaac's ex. In WANT, she was a bit player, a part of his past that I felt was better for being just that: his past. So when she first appeared in NEED, I was wary. Oh, was I wary. I wanted Julianne!!! Ahem. As I was saying... 

Heather is the perfect compliment to Isaac, and it is she that ultimately saves him from himself. She's a breath of fresh air in his life (in the form of some pretty risque, sexy good times, lemme tell ya!), and you can't help but fall head-over-heels for her just as you do for Isaac. By the end of this novel, I was literally praying things would work out for them. I won't tell ya if they did or not. I'm mean like that...

One thing that surprised me about this book was the number of times I literally had tears in my eyes. It's rare that it happens to me (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS comes to mind), but when it does, it's oh-so-good. And NEED is chock-full of tear-jerking moments, believe me. I so badly wanna go into vivid detail about said moments, but I won't. Suffice it to say that there are many. And they are painful. But oh man, are they damn good.

On top of an at-times heartbreaking story of redemption and love and hope, NEED is also filled with humor and laugh-out-loud moments. Since they're not spoilery, I wanna share just a few lines that made me spit Diet Coke:

For once, I'm drooling over thighs and breasts that have nothing to do with blondes or redheads.

I'm no mind reader, but I'm sure all of us just mentally peed a little.

Uncle Robert's closet looks like Mr. Rogers and Colonel Sanders had a textile orgy.

hahaha! Oh man, I'm laughing again as I'm writing this! Seriously, too darn funny. That is the brilliance of Stephanie Lawton: her ability to take a painfully real, heartbreaking time in someone's life and infuse humor into it. Because honestly, don't we all tend to do that in our own lives? Use humor to cope with loss or pain? I know I do. And I recommend you all do that. Or at least give it a try, because humor can help our minds accept things we otherwise couldn't. That's how the painful pages littered throughout NEED are digestable--through humor. I think without Stephanie's genius, I couldn't have finished this one, truly. Some moments were just... Okay, I'm stopping now, before I start crying again.

The one final thing I can say is this: Beyond the pain and accusations and loss and Southern aristocracy, NEED is ultimately a story about redemption. And that, no matter how seemingly undeserving and out of reach, it can always be had for those willing to work for it.

Be sure to visit Stephanie on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her website, and enter the Goodreads Giveaway to win your very own copy of NEED!