I am very happy to join GCRPromotions today and review Stephanie Lawton's Shelf Life. You can find the other tour stops and more details about the tour here!
Shelf Life (Crestland County #1)
by Stephanie Lawton
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: IJP Press
*Mature situations and sexual content - recommended for ages 17+*
It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you.
All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle.
Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead.
Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance.
Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?
Join us all day December 3rd on Facebook as we chat with Stephanie, as she celebrates Shelf Life's launch day with giveaways, excerpts, special content, free downloads, & more!
Shelf Life did not end up being anything like I'd expected it to be. You may assume that due to the brighter colors of the beautiful cover and the not-so-angst-ridden synopsis that this is a generally light-hearted novel. You know what they say about people who assume though, right? Plus it's Stephanie Lawton that we're talking about here, so light-heartedness? Who are we kidding?
This novel is about a boy named Pete Wilson, who is entering college after his not-so-great of a high school experience in his rural Ohioan town. Now his best friends have deserted him after a horrible drunken incident at a party, and his parents are struggling to keep their farm afloat. Shelf Life is about Pete's discovery of courage, and strength as he works against the odd to keep everything he, his family and his friends have worked for going strong.
Shelf Life is an addiction at its finest, and at its dirtiest. This book is pretty dark in some places, which isn't surprising because from reading Stephanie Lawton's other works, it's obvious that she lives to show the controversial side of life. I had one major issue with the novel, that is actually a big plot point (and semi-spoiler): what happens to Lewis (Pete's best friend) at the party they attend in the first fifteen percent of the book. It, to this day, disturbs me. It's awful, and I've never heard of anything like it but it broke my heart for Lewis, Pete and Lindsey.
I grew up in Ohio and spent nineteen years of my life there, so seeing a book set in a place I am highly familiar with was very interesting. I'm not used to the rural side of the state being portrayed. I loved it! The setting was very realistic (though, there are more cornfields in my area than cattle). The fact that Lawton stayed realistic to the true farming side of Ohio made for a very satisfying read.
The characters were overall pretty great as well. I liked not only seeing so much of Pete, but getting to know minor characters as well (even though a few seemed to fall off of the face of the planet before the end of the story). I would love to see more of Lewis, though. I can't imagine what is going through his head after everything he's been through and I hope the next installment gives us a chance to know him better. Pete's growth during the story is pretty fascinating to read. He finds his courage, and admits his faults. I love his interactions with his family and friends. It all felt very realistic, which is great as a few contemporary books I've read lately have been extremely UNrealistic.
The plot flowed very well. I had no issues with that, and actually finished the book in one sitting. I planned on reading just a few chapters before I got ready for work and stopped to get something to eat before my shift, but thanks to Stephanie Lawton, I got to work three hours later unshowered and unfed. Damn her for making this so wonderful! But really, I am very happy I read Shelf Life. The author wrote another great story, that has me looking forward to more. I would definitely recommend this to NA fans, who aren't afraid of scenes that will make you squirm!
I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review.
Big thanks to GCRPromotions and Stephanie for allowing me to join the tour!