Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blog tour: Deep Blue (Blue Series #1) by Jules Barnard + excerpt, review & giveaway

Deep Blue (Blue Series #1) by Jules Barnard
New Adult contemporary romance
Paperback/eBook, 291 pages
Published March 11th 2014 (first published March 6th 2014)

Deep Blue Synopsis:

First loves, second chances… 

When Cali Morgan kicks off her perfect post-college summer in Lake Tahoe, she has everything she ever wanted: acceptance into a top law program, a gorgeous boyfriend, and an incredible summer planned with her best friend.

Confident about her place in the world, Cali makes it her mission to be her friend’s wingwoman and help her meet guys. What Cali doesn’t count on is running into Jaeger Lang, one of her older brother’s high school friends, or the sparks that fly when she’s around him.

Jaeger has changed, and it’s not just the added height and muscle. There’s something about him that’s deep and a little scarred. In spite of the changes, Jaeger becomes a top pick for her friend—if Cali can keep her hands off him.

But when Cali’s boyfriend dumps her and her carefully laid plans begin to unravel, she finds herself questioning what it is she truly desires. In the midst of doubts about her future, one thing is very clear: she wants Jaeger for her own. The question is, has her friend already fallen for him?

Purchase here: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Later that night, I slip on heels, black pants, and a short-sleeved, light blue blouse with a crisscross back that I found on sale at my favorite boutique. The color offsets my hair, and the front dips low. The top shows a respectable amount of cleavage, except I’m wearing a push-up bra, so the effect is just shy of obscene. I feel a slight twinge at spending money on the blouse, but I’ll start looking for a new job straight away.

I walk into the living room, where Gen and Tyler are fighting over the remote.

“You’re here rent-free!” Gen says. “You don’t get control of the remote too.”

“We’re not watching What Would William Pelt Do? I might as well de-ball myself right here.”

Gen lifts a finger, her eyes closed. “A—that’s gross. B—William Pelt is a hockey player. He’s an athlete. You love sports!”

Tyler looks to me in exhaustion.

“Leave me out of this,” I say. “Gen, if he doesn’t let you watch the show, record that shit. William Pelt is hoooot.” Not as hot as Jaeger, but then again, no one is.

“Tyler,” Gen singsongs. “If you let me watch this, I’ll make you popcorn.”

His hand darts out and tickles her under the arm. She screams, and he grabs the remote while she’s disabled. “Dude, you’re gonna have to offer more than popcorn to get this back.”

Gen glares at him, rubbing her armpit. Tyler’s tickles hurt like hell. He burrows deep. “You have the mentality of a fourteen-year-old. How do your students take you seriously?”

“I’ve got skills to pay the bills,” he says, and flips through channels.

“I take that back. You’re like, ten, because I haven’t heard that juvenile statement since fifth grade.” Gen sighs and checks the time on the wall impatiently. The show must begin soon. “Fine, I’ll do a load of laundry.” Tyler keeps flipping. “Two loads?” Her face brightens and she crosses her arms. “I’ll set you up with one of the cocktail waitresses at Blue.”

Tyler stops channel surfing and eyeballs her. I grab my purse and steal a twenty from his wallet when he’s not looking. He wouldn’t want me stranded without cash. I’m doing him a favor by planning ahead. “Keep talking,” he says.

“One of the pretty ones.” Her expression is all innocence in a way only Genevieve can pull off, but I know better. She may not have gotten straight As in school like Tyler and me, but that girl has street smarts.

All the exceptionally pretty waitresses at Blue are as dumb as rocks—not that pretty girls are necessarily mentally hindered. Gen is an example of gorgeous and intelligent mixed in one, but in the case of the other Blue waitresses, the stereotype holds true.

“Done,” he says, and hands her the remote. She does a victory dance on the couch, complete with bouncing and fist pumping. Tyler stares at her chest, his rapt expression indicating the victory dance alone was worth the sacrifice. Gross.

A knock sounds at the door. My heart speeds up. “Okay, kids, I’m off.” I lunge for the knob. I’m not ashamed of Jaeger or our relationship. I’d just rather not face “the parents” on the couch.

Too late.

“And when will you be home?” Tyler asks, his domestic debate forgotten. I glance back and he’s scrutinizing me. He eyes my cleavage and frowns.

“If I’m lucky, not till tomorrow. Toodle-oo!” I pinky wave and open the door. Stepping out, I bump into a confused Jaeger and yank the door shut. I slump against the surface. “Don’t go in there. It’s dangerous.”

Deep Blue by Jules Barnard is a fun, engaging read with likable characters and plenty of drama. Cali and her best friend Gen have rented a cabin overlooking a lake to spend the summer hanging out and working before they separate in the fall to go to graduate school. Cali seems to have it all together: boyfriend, admittance to Harvard Law School, loving brother and mother. As the summer progresses, she learns not everything is as it seems. When she meets Jaegar, there is something familiar about him which is stirred up when he tells her who he is-her older brother Tyler's closest high school friend. Sparks immediately fly between them further complicating Cali's life and the decisions she must make about her future.

This contemporary New Adult romance grabbed me from the beginning. Cali is a young woman on the cusp of 'adulthood' facing that time when she has to firmly decide which direction to take her life in. Studious and intelligent, it's her heart which needs a boost. She's been in a two year relationship with Eric, but when he visits her in Tahoe she notices he's distant. He speaks more about graduating and hanging with his friends than he does their future. Warning number one. The second warning flares up when Jaeger comes back into her life. He's built, hot, fun to be with and nice. What? A New Adult romance with a 'nice' guy? Jaeger is easy to like and I felt my alliance for Cali slip numerous times over to his camp-he's an all around truly great guy. I also liked Gen dealing with her heartbreak and instant attraction to a guy with a girlfriend (the previous cause of her broken heart).

Cali faces her share of drama during the summer while she works at a casino. There's plenty of entertainment and social outings including unromantic events which turn into surprising romantic--dare I say sexy--events like fishing at dawn and eating burritos late at night. The areas I thought the author excelled in were characterization and bringing that extra special 'spark' to normal everyday things like simple conversations between two people blazing with chemistry. I kept waiting for Cali to realize what she could have with Jaegar.

Deep Blue's story and characters engaged and hooked me. I will say the rise of certain events right before the end made my eyebrows raise when the added story lines were either quickly ended or dissolved. They took away from an otherwise satisfying and romantic summer read. Since I liked Gen, I eagerly await her story in the next book in this series. I can't recommend Jules Barnard's Deep Blue any higher than I have with my review. Fun, flirty, sexy and full of drama, the Blue Series is a welcome addition to the overflowing New Adult market. A definite pack-in-suitcase or load-on-ereader to peruse while on vacation. Let Cali's story take you away.
Rating: 3.5
Cover comment:
What's not to like with this cover? 
Book source: 

Jules Barnard Bio:

Jules Barnard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.

Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.

Links: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Author Goodreads | Deep Blue Goodreads
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