Blog Tour (Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway): Easy Virtue by Mia Asher

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Are you ready for Blaire?

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Easy
Title: Easy Virtue (Virtue #1)
Author: Mia Asher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 205 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis
Love is selfish…

My name is Blaire.

I’m the bad girl.

The other woman.

The one who never gets the guy in the end.

I’m the gold digger.

The bitch.

The one no one roots for.

The one you love to hate.

I hate myself too…

Everyone has a story. Are you ready for mine?

Grace Review
I’m not sure how to put into words my feelings at the end of this book.  Mostly because I am torn over how to explain my thoughts on the main female character, Blaire.

Let’s be clear, Blaire is not the heroine.  She is the anti-heroine.  Any sympathy I had for her is brief.  You’ve been warned.

It is obvious that we are supposed to feel some animosity towards her.  She is a gold digger.  A woman who lets men use her, so long as they buy her gifts and pay her bills.  What I struggled with was whether the author intended me to have some compassion for her. There were brief moments when she had flashbacks to her childhood, that I did feel sorry for her.  But as an adult, who had morphed from an ugly duckling into a sexy vixen, I felt very little for her.  She made her bed (with 1000 thread count sheets) and she had to sleep in it (or fuck, as she seemed to do so well).

Blaire is emotionally flawed, stemming from her upbringing and the lack of love and friendship that everyone needs to build self-esteem. It’s clear that that lack of support in her early years, profoundly affected her.  My heart broke for as she described how her parents and classmates treated her.  It would take the strongest of wills to survive that daily torment.

As her body changed, and she got new attention.  After years of being ignored and put down, she was starving for the attention she now received, even though it was under immoral circumstances.

My body?  What was considered fat as a child is now called boobs and ass.  Guys want it.  They want me.  They want to touch me, grope me, feel me . . . they want to screw me.  And it feels good to be wanted . . . so good.  It makes me feel powerful, and like a potent drug spreading inside your bloodstream, I want more.

I struggled to understand her life direction.  She seemed to give up on the idea of love.  I wanted her to be a fighter, not just accept fate.  But she seems to have lost the fight years before.

Many say love will set you free, but I disagree . . . love is a cage, a very painful one; its gilded bars made with yearning, heartache, and unfulfilled dreams.

There are obvious reasons why you might have issues with Blaire and her behavior/decision making, but in the reviews I’ve read, I’ve seen no mention of two things that I absolutely can’t stand behind:
Cheating – her first relationship alone was with a married man.  No excuse for that kind of decision making in my mind.
Lack of ambition and outright laziness – Blaire doesn’t appear to be dumb.  In fact, she seems to have a good understanding of arts and literature.  But she does JACKSHIT with it.  Her “career” was working as a hostess at a high end restaurant, looking for the next man to bleed dry, financially.  Here’s an idea: rather than rely on a guy, who in the end will make her feel more worthless than she already felt, why wouldn’t she carve own path, make her own money, and build up her worth (beyond the bedroom)?  But Blaire is so focused on what happened to her in the past, she doesn’t think clearly about her future.  Making men take care of her finances is the easy route. Hence the title?

While I second guessed her decisions every step of the way, that is actually part of the book’s appeal.  Honestly, if I was to rate this book based on how I liked the female character, it would be 2 stars, but I don’t think a book rating should always be based on how well you like or don’t like a character in the story.  How can I like/love a story if I don’t like the main character(s)? (See Gone Girl).  In my opinion, you can get past character judgements with quality writing, how the story is laid out and progresses, and how well it captures your attention.  And that is why I gave this book such a high rating.  This book is risky, touching on areas that most people would feel are morally wrong.  Blaire is a whore essentially and the author doesn’t hold back, she pushes limits and challenges you to think about it all. The book had me fanning myself one moment, then yelling at my kindle the next.

Did I cheer for Ronan and hope for the fairy tale ending?  Of course I did!  But honestly, if that’s how it played out, it probably wouldn’t seem right.  The author doesn’t take the easy route and that is ultimately the right thing to do.

This book ends on a cliffhanger (yes, this is NOT a standalone). I suspected something like what happened was coming, so I wasn’t blindsided (although the possible connection between the two men was a huge shock).  It will certainly make for some interesting moments going forward.  Did I feel sorry for Blaire with this twist? See above.  But if it’s not clear, NO, I didn’t feel sorry for her.  She deserves this because she walked away from a good thing.  Money doesn’t buy happiness, and until Blaire learns this, she doesn’t deserve that happiness.  Maybe that makes me a bitch *shrugs*, but that is my opinion.

I don’t want love since I have no need for it.  I don’t want to feel.  I want everything that money can buy, even if it’s at the expense of my soul, or whatever is left of it anyway.

Personally, I think if Blaire is going to change, and finally open her heart, she needs change for herself, not because of some guy.  Sure, it would be nice if I sweet guy like Ronan (or Lawrence, the sexy beast) could hold her hand thru the process, but honestly, the author has painted Blaire into a corner as a damaged mess, that damage being so deep, I don’t think love can fix everything (despite what the saying might be).  I think Blaire has to conquer her fears and breakdown her walls on her own, because she wants a different life for herself.  Is that how the author will write her story in book 2?  I have no idea.

Which version of Blaire will we see in book 2?  Since she can’t undo her actions, how can she overcome the mistakes she has made?  Will she get the therapy that she so desperately needs?  And what, if anything, is she willing to give up for a chance at love?  I’m dying to see what direction this story takes.  And so we wait . . .

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

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Excerpt
With champagne and caviar inundating my every sense, I slither through the light wooden floors of the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing in The Met. As I walk, I pretend to admire the expensive jewelry being showcased tonight by a famous designer whose name I can’t remember. A multicolored diamond butterfly sparkles to my left and a cobra made out of black stones glistens to my right. Rows upon rows of precious gems twinkle under the soft lights of the room, flooding the space between the walls with the glow of a thousand stars. Furtive glances. Secrets gossiped. Beauty criticized. Lofty music fills the atmosphere as the über rich mingle and pretend to like each other, yet you can almost taste their conceit and derision for one another in the air.

This is Walker’s world, and I love it.

Standing across the room, where the crowd is thinner and the music fainter, I spot Walker’s blond head in the corner of the room, talking to a group of his colleagues and their wives. He looks polished and worth every penny of his trust fund in his sleek black tuxedo, perfectly starched white shirt and black bowtie. His long golden hair parted to the side shines like the sun. He is truly flawless.

I smile because it’s hard to picture that this is the same guy who likes to snort coke off my tits as he fucks me while hardcore porn plays in the background. He looks untouchable and so cool, but his searching eyes, scanning the crowd for me give him up. He’s wondering where I am. He did tell me not to go too far, after all. Soon after we arrived at the party, I gave him some space to talk to his friends and do his thing while I did mine. I hate clingy people, so I avoid being one.

I grab a third flute of champagne from a passing waiter, and try to decide which of the different displays to check out first when my eyes land on a spectacular piece of jewelry. On a bed of black silk, similar to my hair color, lies an extravagant necklace made of diamonds and rubies—a small heaven within one’s reach as long as you can afford the price.

I bridge the space between the glass protecting the necklace and me until it’s within my reach, fighting the urge to touch the cool surface. As if under a spell, I observe how the rows of diamonds embedded in platinum form leaves and thorns. At its center is a rose made out of red diamonds almost as big as my palm.

I feel someone walk up and stand next to me, but I don’t give him or her a second thought as I continue to admire the way the light hits the gems, making them shine.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”

His voice is smooth and commanding, dripping absolute power. I keep my eyes locked on the display. Call it sixth sense, but somehow I know that under no circumstance should I make eye contact with the stranger who speaks like the ruler of the world.

“Yes,” I say simply.

“I wonder how much it is?” the man asks.

“I don’t think it matters … I highly doubt anyone can afford it.”

He chuckles, and the sound is more delicious than his voice. Lusher. “Oh, but I can.”

I smile at his self-assurance. I love cocky assholes. “I still doubt it.”

“You shouldn’t. I only speak the truth,” he retorts coolly. His voice is nonchalant yet his words leave no room for disbelief—a demand and a statement all in one.

Suddenly, the noises of the room become distant. People talking and laughing amongst friends and the orchestra playing all fade away until all I hear is him speaking.

And at this moment, that is all that matters.

“The truth is very subjective, sir.”

“The truth may be subjective but money isn’t. Money can buy anything.”

His answer is like an electroshock, jumpstarting my brain from a champagne-induced haze. My pulse begins to accelerate, excitement making it hard to take a deep breath. Don’t look at him … don’t.

“Oh really,” I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm. He’s right, though.

“Of course. I believe everything,” he pauses, “and everyone has a price.”

Curiosity winning the battle against curiosity, I turn to face him, and what a fucking big mistake that is. When our eyes meet, I feel incapacitated of all sense and movement. The sight of him takes my breath away. This man gives the term “lust at first sight” a whole new meaning.

In my short twenty-three years, I’ve been with extremely handsome men, perfect even, but to classify the man standing next to me in any kind of category would be a disservice to him, and not really fair to the others. Longish, light brown hair wildly framing his face, vacant eyes the color of dollar bills, a slightly crooked nose, and a mouth that begs to be buried deep within your thighs. His beauty is as harsh as it is stunningly perfect. Dressed in a simple black tuxedo and unbuttoned white shirt, the man exudes innate virility and grace, reminding me of a black panther stalking his prey. And just like a panther, it’s the pure raw and powerful energy emanating from within him that I find most attractive. Because just by standing next to him, I get the sense that his word is always the last spoken and his wishes the first ones to be fulfilled. He doesn’t ask, he demands. He doesn’t hope, he expects.

He’s quiet for a moment; his uncanny eyes hold me captive as though they are baring my soul to him and I hate it. I tighten my hold on the crystal flute. I want to look away, but I can’t. The way he’s staring at me makes me want to squirm.

“I wonder … do you have one?” he asks softly before turning to examine the piece of jewelry once more.

“A what?” I ask, momentarily stunned.

He smiles. “A price.”

“For the right amount … I just might,” I say quietly, my heart beating so fast it feels as though it wants out of my chest. As soon as the words leave my mouth, there’s no shock coursing down my body, no rolling waves of shame pulling me down for having said that to a complete stranger—nothing.

And why should there be? I am who I am.

I’m staring at his profile, waiting for him to acknowledge my answer, when a breeze of cool air floats past us, making me shiver. About to chase the goose bumps on my arm with my hand, I watch as he slowly turns to look at me, catching me staring at him. Time stands still as I watch him raise his large tanned hand and touch my bare shoulder, his fingertips lightly grazing the temporary small bumps covering it. Then he smiles as if he knows that my skin is tingling from his scalding touch, and looks away.

“I thought so.”

We remain standing next to each other for another minute or so, the distance between us almost nonexistent. It would be so easy to reach out and hold his hand. The sound of an incoming call breaks the silence, bringing us back to reality.

He takes his cell phone out of the inner pocket of his tuxedo jacket and ignores the call after noting the name of the caller. He lifts his gaze to meet my own.

“Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay. I should go … I’m here with someone,” I reply, not really wanting to leave him just yet.

“Yes, that’s probably a good idea.”

I frown. He didn’t have to be quite so blunt. The stranger extends a hand toward me, holding something in his fingers.

“Here … ”

I open my hand as I feel the edges of what I assume is his business card poke the skin of my palm. “What’s this?” I ask stupidly.

“My business card, of course.”

“Obviously … but why?”

He smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Let’s just say that I’m an interested buyer.”

And then he’s gone.

He turns and walks away from me, disappearing into a sea of colorful gowns and black suits. As the sounds of the party infiltrate my ears once more, I lower my gaze to stare at the simple cream-colored card in my hand. Its simplistic and elegant design draws attention to the name printed in bold black letters on the paper.

Lawrence Rothschild.

I smile and let my fingertips trail his name. It depends on what you’re willing to pay, Mr. Rothschild.

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About

My name is Mia Asher.

I’m a writer, a hopeless romantic, a wanderer, a dreamer, a cynic, and a believer. And, oh yes…I might be a bit crazy – but who isn’t?

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Pinterest

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