May 16, 2018

Review: Rising by Jessica Ruben


We're celebrating the release of RISING by Jessica Ruben! One-click your copy today!



NA Contemporary Romance
Cover designer: Okay Creations
Release date: May 1, 2018

Blurb:
As the bus approaches my stop on the Lower East Side, I raise the hood of my black sweatshirt. Anonymity is key in my neighborhood—particularly as a lone female walking at night.

All I want is to leave my crime-ridden shadow of a home in New York City. I’ve done everything I can to keep my head down and focus on my studies. College is my only goal; love has never been on the map…
That is, until my sister brings me to an underground fight, where I meet a gorgeous and mysterious man: Vincent.

He is the ghost in my shadows, showing up to feed me pieces of his upper-crust life, then evaporating into darkness until his next visit. I’m falling hard and fast. How can I trust him amidst the depth of his secrets?

Vincent may be even more dangerous than the dark world I’m trying to escape.



Mafia, gangs, an underground mma fighter, and an ambitious young woman trying to escape the life that's been holding her down? Yes, please! Even if I wasn't already intrigued by all of that, the cover would have sold me! It's gorgeous, and there is no way this cover whore could pass it up! 


Eve is a bookworm from New York City living in a neighborhood where street smarts are the only kind of intellect that seems to matter. Desperate to leave her life of poverty behind, she focuses all her effort on finishing school. College is her goal, and she doesn't intend to let anything get in the way of that. 

Eve's life becomes complicated and dangerous when a local gang member, Carlos, takes an interest in her. With just a few more months until graduation, she tries her best to lay low. If she can just make it a little longer, she can move on with her life and never look back. 


Aside from Carlos trying to throw a wrench in her plans, a new type of distraction comes along in the form of a sexy underground mma fighter named Vincent a.k.a. "The Bull".  They have an instant connection, and when they are together, everything is perfect. The problem is he's always disappearing for periods of time with no explanation, and despite their obvious romantic feelings toward one another, he refuses to classify them as anything more than friends. 

Regardless of his disappearing acts, Eve can't stop her intense feelings for Vincent. With so much else going on in her life that could derail her plans, she needs to focus on what's important. Besides, how can you fall in love with someone that is constantly running away?


Rising by Jessica Ruben is a well-written NA romance filled with drama and mystery sprinkled with suspense. It's not overly steamy though there is definitely some of that in there, too. I would say the focus is on Eve's struggle to escape her circumstances as much as the romance. I appreciated that she always kept her eye on the prize and didn't let worrying about Vincent throw her off course. 


This is the author's first book, but I wouldn't know it if I hadn't been told. The quality of the writing is impressive for a debut, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. NA Romance fans, this one's for you!! 


EXCERPT:
“Carlos is out,” she says in a rush. I look at her face, feeling my stomach sink. She’s playing with the hem of her shirt and glances at me nervously. Finally, her gray-blue eyes bore into mine, and I know that she’s gearing up to tell me some serious shit.

With trembling hands, I put down my coffee mug. “Tell me.”

“Yeah. Well, I heard he made bail—” She stops, clearing her throat. “I also heard that he’s, um, angrier than usual.” She stands, bringing the rest of the carafe of coffee to the table and pouring more into my cup.

I lick my dry lips. “What do you mean?”

She moves to the edge of her seat, pushing sugar my way. “Well, I was on the stoop yesterday. It was my day off. I was hanging out with everyone and listening to Mr. Samson talk about a new jazz club that recently opened up in Harlem. We were all getting high with someone’s hash, shooting the shit—”

“And?” I raise my eyebrows, waiting for her to get to the point.

“Juan came over, and sat with me.” She slightly shifts her head to the side and presses her lips together. “Well, he told me that Carlos is out now. And, he’s been talking shit all over town that he and you have some unfinished business. Juan wanted to tell me because he’s scared for you. I know he’s an annoying little shit, but after he heard...” her voice trails off.

I blink once, twice, three times.

“There’s more,” she says on an exhale. “Apparently, he hooked up with some girl last night. Beat the shit out of her. Ms. Santini from Three-A was on her way to work and stopped to drop off her trash by the dumpsters. Apparently, she heard a moaning sound. When she saw the girl, her clothes were torn. She was beaten up and started bawling about Carlos…”

My head gets dizzy, but I force myself to hear every detail. “An ambulance took her away, but she was in pretty bad shape.”

I want to ask more questions, but the terror has a clamp on my throat.

“I think you need to stay close to me for a while, okay? The Snakes are getting more aggressive. They want the Blue Houses as their own territory, and it looks like they’re trying to instill some bigger fear on the streets.” She drops her gaze. I know she’s afraid. Every girl in the Blue Houses probably heard the story by now.

“Yeah. Okay. I’ll make sure Angelo knows I need to leave before it gets dark out.”

“Good idea. We need to sync our schedules so you aren’t walking alone at night. I’m gonna talk to some other people and try to get their schedules down so that everyone has a buddy or something at night. I’m sure when everyone hears about this, we won’t be the only ones who are scared.” I nod my head and stand up mechanically, rinsing my mug and walking to my room to digest the new information. After grabbing my stuff, I check my purse to make sure that my gun is still inside. I lock myself in the bathroom and load and unload the gun a few times, reacquainting myself with the weapon. If Carlos comes, I’ll be ready for him.

Getting to work, I let Angelo know the details of what’s new with Carlos. He’s angry and continues to tell me that I shouldn’t be so stubborn and I need to let the Borignones get involved. But I refuse. I still don’t want any debts to my name. I’ve made it this far, and I believe I can wait it out a little longer.

Work passes in a blur. I’m convincing a girl to sell her diamond ring while Angelo sells the two violins and a Cartier watch to an elderly couple who want to buy something for their grandchildren.

When the day is done, Angelo insists on calling a car to take me home. I sigh deeply, knowing that the driver will be one of Angelo’s associates. But considering the fact that Carlos is out of jail, I’m not going to complain. I nod my head and take his ride in the name of safety.

I get in the huge black Escalade and see a massive man sitting in the driver’s seat. Swallowing hard, I remind myself that he’s not an enemy, but on my side. He drives me right up to my building and I gingerly walk out, my shaking hand inside my purse, gripping my gun. I’m scared as hell, but it makes me feel a modicum of control. The driver enters the building with me and steps into the elevator as well.

We reach the fourth floor when I tell him he can go. “I can get into my apartment fine now.” He nods his head wordlessly and re-calls the elevator to bring him back downstairs.

I get up to my door without incident and let out the breath I was holding while I pry my fingers off my gun. “I’m okay,” I say out loud, turning my head and letting my gaze run up and down my hallway. It’s empty. I pull out my key and step forward onto my threadbare Welcome mat when I feel like I’ve kicked something. I look down, confused at what’s on the floor. It must be Janelle’s sweater that she dropped on her way out. I bend down to pick it up and freeze.








About the Author:
Jessica Ruben lives and works in New York City, where she spends her days dominating in the court room as an attorney. Come nightfall, she writes romances centering on gorgeous alpha males and the intelligent women who love them.

Jessica is an insatiable reader, and will devour a few books a week without batting an eyelash. Books have always been her drug of choice, and she has no plans on detox anytime soon. She has three wildly delicious children and a husband who, for reasons unimaginable to her, loves her brand of crazy.

http://jessicarubenauthor.com

1 comment

  1. Another fabulous review jessica!!! Loved it!! Can't wait to read!! Shared on all my socials!!

    ReplyDelete

ON INSTAGRAM

© Chatterbooks Book Blog. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.