Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Author: Paula Stokes
Series: None
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance/Realistic Fiction
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Format: Ebook
My Rating: 5 Stars
Summary From Goodreads: 
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 warning, 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 the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're 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.
What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

My Thoughts

The only other book I've read prior to The Art of Lainey was Paula Stokes/Fiona Paul's other YA series Venom. I've only read the first one so far, but I loved it. After seeing all the awesome remarks about The Art of Lainey, I had pretty high expectations for it, and I am glad to tell you that they were met! 

The Plot: After Lainey's boyfriend breaks up with her out of nowhere, Lainey and her best friend, Bianca, devise a plan to win him back with the help of General War Master, Sun Tzu. After reading and thoroughly studying the words of the thousand year old strategist, Lainey feels ready to attack her opponent. However, the first part of her plan doesn't go as smoothly as she hoped when she finds Jason in a lip-lock with one of his coworkers. Bianca decides that the best way to throw Jason off guard is for Lainey to date someone else. After confronting a coworker at the Cafe, Lainey persuades Micah to go on fake dates with her. She tells him that if he helps her, she'll help him get back his ex-girlfriend, Amber too. It's a win-win situation for the both of them. Except things don't go exactly as they were planned. After some failed attempts, things are looking a little hopeless for Lainey until Jason reaches out and apologizes, asking her if they can meet up sometime. Lainey is overjoyed that things might be looking up for her, except for the small fact that her relationship with Micah is starting to feel real. Torn between someone completely opposite from her but understanding and her "perfect" boyfriend who she always thought she would marry, Lainey is forced to take a stand while discovering who she really is.
Let me say that there is no love triangle in this novel at all. I repeat no love triangle, so don't be worried! Also, if you're afraid that this will be cliché, I can assure you right now that it is not. In fact, this is probably one of the most unique novels I've read this year. I love how Paula Stokes incorporated The Art of War into the plot and how she took the rules and transformed them into a modern day "battle" plan. I have never read The Art of War before either, but the way Paula wrote it is easy to follow for those who are not familiar with it. 

The characters: When you first meet Lainey, she's not the most like able person. She comes off as slightly snobbish with a "holier than thou" attitude seen in her first conversation with Micah. However, I easily warmed up to her as she developed throughout the story. As she and Micah became closer, Lainey underwent some self discovery as to who she really is and who she was pretending to be for her friends and boyfriend. I loved how the girl at the end of the novel was such a contrast to the girl we first met, showing how much she truly changed. Micah was probably my favorite character in the entire book. My was he swoony. I'll just leave it at that or else I'll never stop. Bianca was awesome as well. Lainey could always count on her to be there. On the other hand, I didn't like Jason very much or Kendall at all. Although Jason did tried to win Lainey back (very poorly might I add), he could never beat Micah. Also, I extremely disliked Kendall. She only did things for her own gain and was so controlling over Lainey. Let's just say that she was not a good person.

Overall, The Art of Lainey was an amazing read with a great plot and fantastic characters. All fans of contemporary YA romance needs to read this. It is easily one of my favorite YA romances I've read this year.          
About Paula Stokes

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Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.
When she's not working (rare), she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She's petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant's trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.


  1. That's what I look forward to Contemporary books the most - the character development, the changes the individuals go through. It's nice to know that Lainey undergoes a change of heart and attitude! I can't wait to see how this book will fare for me :)

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. Same here! I really enjoyed the character development in this one. I hope you like it!

  2. So happy that you loved this. I enjoyed Venom but I didn't finish this. I really had a hard time connecting with Lainey, even though other readers told me she changed a lot through the book. But ... I have Liars, Inc and I think that is going to be my kind of book!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Aww, I'm sad to hear that! She is a hard character to connect with in the beginning though. Have fun reading Liars, Inc! It sounds great!