Sunday, September 1, 2013

eARC BOOK REVIEW && AUTHOR INTERVIEW...Beneath the Surface‏ (Reluctance #1) by M.A. Stacie

Kyran Reese is a man in control. Driven when it comes to work, focused when it comes to play. From his office to the chalk circle of the bare-knuckle boxing ring, his only thought is to win. That thirst heightens when Dale Porter enters his life. His brother’s assistant should be off limits, but her witty comments and sarcastic comebacks have him desperate to get her between the sheets.

When Dale agrees to Kyran’s relationship stipulation of no labels she’s sucked into a whirlwind of lust, money, and underground boxing. Dale fights her growing affection, trying to hide it when the world around them spirals out of control. All too soon she realizes she can’t hide her true feelings any longer.

Has Kyran finally met his match? Could playing to win mean playing for keeps?
Expected publication: August 29th 2013 by TWCS Publishing House (first published August 1st 2013)

“I have f*cked you. Numerous times, in fact. We will continue to do so because, seriously, Dale, it’s amazing....Now, get on the floor. I need to feel you wrapped around my d*ck. Now.”

I'm disappointed to say that I struggled immensely to get through this book.  The story was slow and the main characters, Kyran and Dale (both sound like guys names, eh?), were nothing special.

Kyran, is a shrewd business man with a secret.  He is very frigid, emotionally stunted and guarded, and needs to be in control of everything he does.  He develops a deep attraction Dale the moment she steps into the office as his brother's assistant and at first tries to avoid her but we all know that kind of stuff never lasts long.

"Ms. Porter’s were far more welcoming, though—all wide-eyed and emanating with honesty—whereas his were guarded. He let very few see beneath the surface."

Dale, on the other hand, has a flair of character but none that could upkeep the entire story.  She comes to work for Taylor Reese after she loses her previous job and is spurned by her now ex-boyfriend and ex-bestie.  Uh oh!

She also develops a strong attraction for Kyran and they embark on a tumultuous affair with no strings attached sex.  This of course, proves to be futile as both develop early feelings from one another from the get go but are too stubborn to admit it.  Especially Kyran!! Dale does acknowledge it and constantly asks Kyran "what are we?, what are we doing?" but Dale is always like, "I don't know." Ugh. Face plant on the floor.

I did in a sense feel for Kyran though as he is an utterly broken character.  Kyran basically runs the entire family business by himself since his co-owner, younger bro Taylor, is irresponsible and always getting himself into a heap of trouble.  His mom died when he was young and his father has retired from the company and married a woman around Kyran and Taylor's age (much to Kyran's chagrin).

He finds release in a fight club so that he can in some way feel something.  But of course, as the CEO of a company he has to keep this hobby of his a secret.  Not a good image for business.  Kinda hard to hide though when Kyran keeps getting cuts and bruises don't you think?

With tensions, hearts, and everything on the line how will things turn out for Kyran and Dale?  How will Kyran's family and the company react when they find out the secret he's been hiding from everyone?  What will become of of Kyran's brother?  Will he get the help he needs?

Over all, plain and unoriginal read for me.  Nothing relatively that I haven't read before. :'(

My Rating:

-Overall : 7
-Plot : 7
-Writing : 7
-Characters : 7
-Cover : 9

M.A. Stacie Interview:
                                                                                                                                        Hi M.A. Stacie,
My name is Kawehi and I’m a newbie blogger from Kawehi’s Book Blog.  I had the privilege to been granted the ARC of “Beneath the Surface” by your marketing officer and would like to ask you some questions.  So here we go! ;)

Blue=ME   Black=M.A. Stacie

 How did you come up with the idea for this book?  What inspired you to write it?
The idea came to me at the most random time. I was watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony where David Beckham brought the torch down the Thames on the speedboat. His grin, suit and power just hit me. 
I plotted the whole story out while watching the rest of the Ceremony. It’s the fastest I’ve ever written a novel.
Are the characters based on anyone you know? No, they’re not. I don’t think I could write a novel about anyone I knew. I’d feel too nervous that they’d work out it was them!

I noticed that there is boxing included in this story involving heart throb protagonist Kyran.  Are you personally a fan of boxing?  If so, who’s your favorite boxer?
I’ve had the idea of writing a book with a boxer hero for a while now. I know a few people who box—one teaches it, so I knew I’d have plenty of people to ask about the techniques.  The underground part was unknown to me, but after a few delving questions to those people I found out the bits I needed to know.
I loved watching a few live fights between boxers, though always took my notebook and pen. The atmosphere around the ring was always electric. It was something I wanted to capture in the book. I hoped to make each one of Kyran’s fights more than simply Kyran and his opponent. I wanted to convey the electricity.
I found the experience incredibly primal. Boxing wasn’t something I watched before, but now I understand the flow of each fight, I find it fascinating. The men have to read each other, calculate their next move and play along with their opponent until they see a chink in the other person’s armour.  Before I understood it, I thought the whole fight was just a series of ‘lucky punches’. 
I really enjoyed researching for this book as it opened my eyes to something I wouldn’t have normally been interested in.

Both Kyran and Dale go through a lot in their lives and relationship.  Is there anything you would like readers to take back from them or from reading your story?
The romantic in me would say that ‘there’s someone for everyone’. Or that ‘the right person makes every battle worthwhile’. However, with any of my books I just want the reader to enjoy it. That’s the greatest compliment an author can ever get.

When reading “Beneath the Surface,” there were parts where I envisioned certain songs highlighting those moments.  Did you listen by chance happen to any particular music when writing scenes of this book?  And if so, any sort of music playlist that comes to mind?
I go for lyrics when getting a playlist together for a book.  It doesn’t matter who is singing it as long as it fits the tone.  I listen to music a lot while writing. It helps with my concentration, especially if I’ve chosen it for a specific scene.
Choosing songs for Beneath the Surface turned out to be much more difficult than usual. Kyran is so confused about his emotions, and Dale isn’t exactly clear either. It left me with quite a miss-match of songs and genres. However each of them worked for specific scenes.
One More Night – Maroon 5 (Also perfect for the boxing in the video)
With You -Linkin Park
The End - Ellie Goulding
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke/Pharrell
First Bad Habit – Vanessa Hudgens
Come Undone – Plabebo
See Me Through – Rascal Flatts
Alone In This Bed – Framing Hanley

I was also curious if there is going to be another book in the series?  According to Goodreads, it states that this is the first in the “Reluctance Series.”  If there is, is there anything you can reveal about the second installment?
The second book is Taylor’s story. It will be titled Behind the Scandal. It will start from the moment Taylor leaves Sea Pointe and focus on his journey. 
There will be a third book in the series too. That one will be Trace’s, Dale brother, story.

Do you have any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
To just write.
Sounds simple, huh?
When I first started I was told so many ‘rules’. One of them was that publishers don’t like first person point of view books.  Unwritten Rules was just that. My publisher never had a problem with the point of view, nor did my readers, and I’m more than impressed with just how many I’ve sold. 
That isn’t the only ‘rule’ I was told, there were many more. Ignore them. Write your story. It will find its own market/publisher. If you mold your writing the fit what everyone else tells you it will no longer be the story you thought up. Stay true to yourself and the story you wanted to write.
I’d also tell them to surround themselves with honest people. An author needs people who will tell them the truth, who will give them a genuine critique and not just offer up the niceties. The most honest statement can be the hardest to swallow, but in my experience that one truth has always turned out to be a correct assessment. It’s always helped to better my plot or writing.
Those people also come in handy when you get the inevitable bad review.  They’ll set you straight on whether a good point was made. Trust me, I’ve been more than thankful for my little group of honesty on many occasions. They are the people you can rely on no matter how my books you sell, not matter how long it takes you to write a chapter and no matter how many rejections you get.
They will help keep you going.

Anything you’re currently reading?  What do you look for or think what makes a good story?
I’ve been working my through the Gillian Flynn books, and loving them. The characters she writes have so many layers. Her books are fascinating.
I like books to suck me in, to make me lose myself within the story. I don’t have a particular genre, though I usually read romance. I just like anything that has me submerged in the plot.

Lastly, do you have any quotes that you live by?  Quotes of inspiration?
I don’t ‘live by’ any quotes but I do have one that helped me through some tough times a few years ago. I even have the quote tattooed on my forearm. It’s a line from the song ‘Alibi’ by ‘Thirty Seconds to Mars’. The line is: ‘I fell apart, but got back up again.’ Just reading it reminds me that no matter how bad things get I can still pick myself up afterward.

Before I conclude this interview, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your day to respond to my questions and inquiries.  I really appreciate it.

I was first introduced to your story when a friend of mine had added it to their TBR shelf and Goodreads and instantly knew I had to read it.  I’m obsessed with alpha male characters that can fight (e.g. boxing, MMA) so when I saw the cover and synopsis of your book I was instantly appealed.
Thank you so much for joining to blog tour, and I hope you enjoyed Kyran and Dale’s story xx

Glad I did read it. :)

Once again, thank you for your time and input and I hope to hear from your works again!


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