Sunday, July 14, 2013

By Referral Only Blog Tour: review and giveaway

Welcome! We hope you are enjoying this Sunday. We are one of today's last stops on the By Referral Only Blog Tour. This tour is hosted by Ink Slinger PR. We are shining the spotlight on this book and author today, sharing our review, and offering the tour wide giveaway too.

By Referral Only (Whitman University, Book 2) 
by Lyla Payne
New Adult contemporary romance
Paperback/eBook, 199 pages
Published July 1, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

After being unceremoniously dumped freshman year because of her family’s “new money” status, Ruby Cotton has taken care not to put her heart on the line. No matter how enticing Emilie and Quinn make it look, relationships are scary and hard—while a string of flings is easy and fun. That’s what Ruby wants. Easy and fun. The only problem is, when it comes to satisfaction in the sack, most of the boys at Whitman are nothing but pretty window dressing and false advertising.

Ruby takes it upon herself to make campus life more fulfilling, creating a referral database that allows female students to rate their sexual experiences, thereby informing girls of what they’re getting into before agreeing to a date.

When her acting partner, Liam Greene, finally shows some interest, Ruby figures she won’t need to utilize the helpful gossip. He’s handsome, fun, and most importantly, not a guy she’d ever fall for hard enough to let him break her heart.

Not only that, but dating Liam gives Ruby the perfect excuse to say no to Cole Stuart.

As a star swimmer and heir to honest-to-God Scottish royalty, Cole sits at the top of Whitman’s A-list—but he’s also the lowest rated referral on Ruby’s website. The ratings make rejecting his repeated requests for a date a no-brainer, but her real reason for avoiding Cole runs deeper than a string of unsatisfied exes.

He’s gorgeous, he oozes sweetness and charm, and the electricity between them could power half of Whitman, but Ruby knows it will only last until his family or friends convince him she’s not good enough.

Before she knows it she’s falling anyway, waiting for the other shoe to drop but clinging to a tentative hope that Cole might be as different as he seems. When the secret behind his low ratings comes to light, that hope is torn apart, and Ruby wonders if she was right to give him her heart…and whether she has the strength to let him keep it.

About the author: 
Lyla Payne

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked. In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

Goodreads | Tumblr | Website | Facebook | Twitter: @lyla_payne

First, I have to say author Lyla Payne can write intense stories. Her characters, their situations and conflicts are unlike so many of the NA I read. I enjoyed the first Whitman University novel, Broken At Love (my review ), and I'm glad to say I LOVED the second! 

By Referral Only not only had a refreshing premise, lead characters and conflicts, I was instantly hooked into Ruby Cotton's story. I loved how she was an actress and total Shakespeare fan. She reflected a cool exterior and didn't want to lose her heart to any guy at Whitman (after her experience with Michael). There were also some tough themes in this story touching upon 'old' family money and 'new' money. Ruby was hard on herself since her family was considered 'new' money and not respected nor admitted into the higher echelons of the truly affluent dynasties of Whitman students. When she slipped into her Cajun lingo while showing Cole how to clean shellfish, he called her a "Cajun Princess" in a sweet way. 

Ruby is a strong woman bent on protecting her heart while yearning for the real love her roommate Emilie has found with Quinn. Ruby is drawn to Cole Stuart the first day of Speech class but refuses his request for a date. Whenever they do meet, he is a complete gentleman, saving her from a downpour, complimenting her acting, while flirting and trying his best to affect her. She's drawn to his sexy Scottish brogue, good looks and sweet manner, but stays back because he comes from Scottish royalty. 

Ms. Payne created such a memorable couple with Ruby and Cole. Their dynamics, their interactions and intense relationship touched me. Ruby's website was a cool idea and I enjoyed her theater scenes immensely. Watching her realize Emilie's words about her settling for a cad like Liam when she was so attracted to Cole rang true. This story has so much going for it: an independent, realistic leading lady with a broken heart, a hot leading man with a secret, a genuine close friend, social status, theater, and a sizzling attraction. 

The pacing was so consistent and constant, I read straight through, totally forgetting about time. Everything seemed to work for me from dialogue to conflict to being believable to trusting the characters--everything. By Referral Only is a sexy, smart, theater geek loving New Adult romance which will entertain readers and make them wish for their own Scottish guy to call their own. For once I believe the couple--Ruby and Cole--are both swoon-worthy. Loved this book!

Rating: 5
 Cover comment:
This is an "OK" cover. The cover for Broken At Love was sexy so I expected this one to be as well. Oh well, the story is fantastic.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review during a blog tour.

There is atour-wide giveaway of a Whitman University Swag Pack including a signed copy of BY REFERRAL ONLY and BROKEN AT LOVE and a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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