Tuesday 1 May 2018

Release Day Blitz, Review & Excerpt ~ Rising: Vincent & Eve #1 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

Book Description:

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.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“I love how delicate you are. Soft. You’re a siren on a quiet street. You’re all I hear.”

For a debut author, Jessica Ruben is certainly stamping her mark on the indie book world with Rising. If I didn’t know before hand I would have thought this was written by a seasoned professional. I love the fact that Jessica Ruben took a lot of my favourite tropes and blended them effortlessly to deliver one unputdownable read. We have MMA fighting, mafia and a YA/NA vibe, with the prospect of a college style romance coming in subsequent books. I am practically giddy with excitement. My mind is awash with theories, potential plot lines and excitement with what is to come. I cannot wait to see where this author takes this story.

Our heroine is an innocent eighteen-year-old girl called Eve. Eve comes from the wrong side of the tracks but is trying to make the most of her life and getting the hell out of the “Blue Houses,” a crime-ridden, down-trodden area of New York. Eve is extremely intelligent, studious and quiet, she keeps herself to herself and walks in baggy, hooded clothes to not draw attention to herself. With gangs in the neighbourhood all vying for dominance, the Blue Houses is not a safe place to be and she cannot wait to escape. I am intrigued by her family dynamic, I love her relationship with her sister, but her mother is another matter. I have a few theories regarding this relationship and I’m on tenterhooks.

“I’m the listener. The dreamer. The girl with her head in a book at all times. But even I know that in order to survive here, I’ve got to belong. Loners get picked on and picked off.”

Vincent is certainly the enigma, and while I guessed who and what he is, it did nothing to quell my interest and that constant need to know more. Jessica Ruben dangles Vincent like a carrot throughout the book and you are the rabbit, frantically chasing it down. Vincent is also known as The Bull; an underground MMA fighter and it is at one of these fights where he first meets Eve. As soon as these two meet, you feel their connection, but Vincent, knowing what his life entails tries to keep Eve at arms-length, but at times it is impossible.

“It’s just a trace of something unique, and it doesn’t make him look kind. In fact, his face and entire demeanor is absolutely feral.”

Despite Vincent being quite scarce at times whenever his presence is on the page, you feel him. Vincent exudes that chemical attraction to the reader and you cannot help but be drawn into his story and I bet he will top many a BBF list by the end of this book. As I said above, he is certainly the enigma, but in all the scenes between him and Eve, you get to see the real Vincent. The fiercely protective side of him, the side that wants to do the right the thing, the generous, loving side of him and it is this side that has left me frantically wanting more. Vincent is quite the contradiction and it is the internal war that he fights that keeps him from doing what his heart wants.

“We’re quoting poetry right now and my heart is so full I want to jump up and down and scream. Who the hell is this man? No, really. Who? An MMA fighter from an underground fighting ring? A poet?”

This is a trilogy, so there is a lot more to this story than just this book, but Jessica Ruben did a fantastic job in setting the scene and building a solid foundation to what I am sure will be one hell of an entertaining and action-packed trilogy. The ending of this book is in a good place and will definitely leave the reader salivating for the next book, I know I am. There is still so much we don’t know and I for one am eager to find out.

“When we’re together, I feel like we’ve got something more than just attraction. It’s deep; I can feel it. But he disappears. And then he’s back. I’m having emotional whiplash.”

I adored our heroine, the quiet brainiac and I loved the fact that Vincent was just as well read as her and their conversations over books, in particular, had my heart to fit to burst. These two have so much in common and yet so little. I cannot wait to see where this trilogy goes, I for one will be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one, bring it on…and quickly. I cannot recommend this book enough.


“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.

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