Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"The Proverbial Mr. Universe" by Maria La Serra

The Proverbial Mr. Universe
by Maria La Serra

The Proverbial Mr. Universe by Maria La Serra is ON SALE for only $0.99 for a limited time (US only).

The Proverbial Mr. Universe is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Dear girl with the red scarf,
Love was never meant to be conquered;
you have to surrender to it.
Trust me. After all, I am Mr. Universe.
When the universe conveys a message, you listen.
Olivia Montiano just caught her fiancĂ© cheating. Now she is forced to question what she wants out of life and love. Striving to live up to her father’s unrealistic standards for the past twenty-three years, every decision she has ever made was with her father’s wishes in mind - until she finds mysterious, handwritten letters tucked away in places only meant for her. That’s when she realizes she’s been on the wrong path all along and gives her heart to a guy her father thinks is entirely wrong.
Washed-up abstract artist Nick Montgomery has had quite a few setbacks in life. He’s become accustomed to never needing anyone, thinking he’s just fine - until he meets the girl with the red scarf. She’s not his type. But the universe has other ideas. Nick has a secret he’s keeping from her, afraid it will bring their new relationship to a sudden halt.
Will they figure out what the universe holds for them?

Book Video

She looked away, self-conscious, turning her attention to the canvases around the room. “So are you going to show me the reason you brought me here?” Olivia’s eyes grew darker.
Nick tried to swallow the knot in his throat.
What was the reason?
He didn’t realize it was going to be this difficult, to be so close and not be able to touch her. It took everything in him not to watch as she removed her soaked sweater, placing it on the back of a chair. He was conscious of how her damp cotton tee clung to every curve. Rubbing the side of his face, he inhaled one slow breath, taking in her fragrance and awakening everything inside himself.
He knew they weren’t going to pick up where they left off. If Olivia wanted him, she would have to say it. She would have to make the first move.
Right…the reason he brought her here suddenly came to him.
Nick motioned for her to follow him to the other side of the room.
“So, what do you think?” Nick showed her a large canvas lying on his work table.
“Very organic. Is it a flower?” She crossed her arms in front of her, slightly turning her head up to meet him for some confirmation.
“Yeah, it turned out that way,” he said, embarrassed.
He never realized the softer side of himself. His past work had always been edgy and emulated destruction. There were no words to describe how Nick processed his work. It came from within; it was seeing things and feeling them, bringing them to life with one brushstroke at a time.
“I love that you use the dark blue at the top and how it fades gradually at the bottom. The use of magenta streaming through the empty spaces…beautifully done,” she said, looking at him as he watched her so intensely.
“Am I saying something wrong?” She laughed.
He loved it when she took an interest in his work. He folded his arms across his chest, leaning further on the table behind him, mustering his strength to keep from placing his hands in her hair.
“There’s no wrong way to analyze abstract art. It’s meant to inspire without understanding, almost like classical music. It means something different to everyone.”
“So what does it mean to you?” she asked.
“Ah, well…I guess I was thinking of you when I was working on it, and this is the result.” He pointed back to the canvas.
She smiled in a way that made him think his answer satisfied her. “Am I your muse, Montgomery?” she taunted.
She had no fuckin’ idea.
“All the time.”
He couldn’t help but pull her closer to him, holding her there, lightly brushing her bangs out of her eyes. For a moment he thought he might just kiss her and would have if she didn’t pull away so abruptly. He deserved it. He had hurt her by completely shutting her out.
“I’ve got to go,” she said, walking back toward the chair to gather her sweater.
“I have to go.”
“I thought you said you didn’t have plans.”
“No, you told me you had nowhere to be. I, on the other hand, never said anything.”
There was an elephant in the room that he desired to destroy. He needed to tell her, and if she left, he wasn’t sure if he would ever find the courage again.
“Roshambo.” He smiled. “I win, you stay here with me.”
She looked right through him, her lips twitching to one side. “Okay.”
“ROSHAMBO,” they said in unison.
He smiled more brightly.
“Okay, I’ll stay for a little while longer.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"An amazing debut novel from a new author!!" ~ Shrimalya Srinivasan
"Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend it." ~ Amira Hairston
"This was a really sweet, clean, story about Olivia, Nick, and some wonderful inspirational quotes and advice from 'Mr. Universe'. It's a slow-burn relationship that blossoms between Olivia and Nick with the help of serendipity. [...] Loved this thoughtful, well-written book, and I definitely loved the notes from the mysterious 'Mr. Universe'." ~ Amazon Customer
"If you love Fate and Destiny/Missed Connections type love stories, then you will love The Proverbial Mr. Universe as it is one of those sweet, feel-good type stories where though the characters have their up's and down's and obstacles - you are filled with hope that everything as Mr. Universe would say 'Ends up as it should'." ~ Paula L. Phillips
"The Proverbial Mr. Universe was a well written and beautifully romantic book! It was a fresh concept which kept me reading and not wanting to put it down! I fell in love with the characters and was sad when the book ended because it was like these people were my friends and now they were gone!" ~ Katie

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
When artist Nick Montgomery first spots Olivia Montiano, he is immediately attracted to her and starts stalking her (there's no other word for it) to find out more about her. They finally meet just after Olivia breaks up with her fiancé Dario, and the sparks sure do fly - but not the good kind! Olivia places him firmly in the friend zone, while Nick is reluctant to commit to a relationship because he, too, is dealing with a recent break-up. With their timing all wrong, with Olivia's father vehemently opposed to their relationship, and with Nick hiding a pretty big secret from Olivia, will these two lost souls ever find happiness? Maybe, with the help of the sage advice Olivia receives from the mysterious Mr. Universe.
The story is told from both Olivia's and Nick's points-of-view, interspersed with cute hand-written notes by Mr. Universe (these are the best parts of the book). Olivia and Nick are a likable pair and are surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, but there really isn't much of a story here; it's basically just the interactions between two people with complex family histories. It's slow-going, and there's a bit too much repetition, introspection, and repetition. And, while the cover is cute, it doesn't suit the book and it definitely doesn't match Nick's description.
I read an ARC that was so full of editing errors (including incorrect prepositions, missing words, incorrect word usage, a mixture of tenses, punctuation errors, poorly-phrased sentences) that it was practically unreadable. I can see from the Amazon preview that some, but not all, of these errors have been corrected. A note to the author/publisher: you are doing both yourself and the reviewers a disservice by releasing such a poor review copy.
Warnings: coarse language, domestic abuse.

About the Author
Maria La Serra, a fashion designer, turned writer, lives in Montreal with her husband and two children. She will try everything at least once, except for skiing, hiking or camping-okay anything relating to activities done in the great outdoors. The Proverbial Mr. Universe is her first novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards.