on May 1, 2018
Buy on Amazon
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.
Review + Excerpt: Rising by Jessica Ruben!!
What a debut novel from Jessica Ruben!!! I was not expecting this to blow me away and Rising did just that!! I freaking FLOVED it!! I was sucked in from page one and the story didn’t let go of me until the last page! Rising is a suspenseful coming of age story about a high school senior looking for something better than life in the projects. Its a story of survival and finding love when you least expect it. It’s heartbreaking, it’s gritty, and a story of rising above the crappy cards you were dealt in life. I cannot wait to read more from Ms Ruben and will be a forever follower of her work! Rising will be on my Best of 2018 list as I thought it was a huge 5 star read!!
Eve is a eighteen year old high school senior that lives in a gang infested low income housing building in New York. You would think she would become a product of her environment but she is has always been book smart, not street smart. Her goal is to get out of the projects and attend college but with so many factors working against her she must stay focused on the end prize. freedom. Her older sister, Janelle, is always there for her and looks out for her. She dropped out of high school and had to get a job to help pay the bills so Janelle was not going to let the same thing happen to Eve. Their mother is more of a part time mom only coming home when she is coming down from a bender or not with her latest client. Eve isn’t a party girl, she would rather get lost in a good book then socialize but when Eve takes her out one night, she doesn’t realize her life is about to change.
Janelle takes Eve to a club where they also have underground fights. The main effect features The Bull and Eve is immediately in awe of the male specimen she is watching. She’s never seen anything like him. She is only used to the thugs and punks from her neighborhood. The Bull aka Vincent is like an enigma that she is drawn to. After the fight she seems him at the bar and they seem to hit it off. Their chemistry is off the charts and they both can’t resist the pull they feel for one another.
Time goes by and it seems that Eve sees Vincent on occasion. Every time they are together she feels like there is something more but Vincent seems to keep her at arms length. He give her bits and pieces of himself and Eve knows he’s holding back. With graduation and college on the horizon she knows she must focus getting out of the projects and going to college so she accepts that maybe her time with Vincent isn’t now. She accepts that a guy like Vincent is not for a girl like her. He oozed sex, power, and money where she was just a girl from the wrong side of town with nothing to offer.
What does the future hold for Eve? Will she be able to rise above her upbringing and make it out of the projects or will she be like her mother and be a slave to the gangsters and thugs that are on every corner? Rising is a MUST read book and I just LOVED every second of it!! I cannot wait to see what is next for Eve as she starts a new chapter in her life!
Buy NOW!!!Purchase from Amazon
“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.