Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for L.J. Greene’s novel Side Effects. Read on for a synopsis, excerpt, my review, author bio and links and don’t forget to enter the give away where you could win a $50 Amazon/B&N gift card! Click on the banner above to follow the tour!
Who can you trust? Ally Michels is fresh out of her MBA program at Cal and has landed her dream job at hot, up-and-coming video game developer, Jet Stream Studios, all thanks to her uncle, Jet’s largest venture capital investor. She’s feeling pretty good about her future until an inadvertent blurt in a company meeting brings down upon her the dangerous attention of Jet’s co-founder and chief developer, Marcus Abby. Beautiful, brilliant, and vicious, Marcus is every bit the arrogant, deceitful founder her uncle warned her about. But in the power-fueled world of venture capital investing, things aren’t always what they seem. When Ally finds herself caught up in a play for corporate control, she must work with Marcus to save the company and an ideal she believes in, while navigating perilous family loyalties and fighting to hold onto her own integrity. For Ally, there’s just one rule: never, ever trust Marcus Abby. Because the one man she needs to stop a high-stakes plot is the one man who has every reason to want her gone. SIDE EFFECTS is an adult contemporary, twisty, underhanded, certainly unscrupulous . . . romance.
For the first time I struck a blow. I could see it in his face for just a moment, before the reaction was quickly shuttered.
As usual he turned the tables with another question. “What are you going to do?”
“What am I going to do?”
His response was a hard stare.
And then it dawned on me—the murderous look in the board meeting when I started to speak up about the game wasn’t about me. I was partially right that he didn’t want me to defend him; he didn’t want them to know what I’d seen. He was worried about that. Was still worried about it. That’s why he’d sought me out.
I probably should have gone to Julian. After all, I loved this job, this company. I wanted to see it succeed and to contribute to that success over many years. These charades Marcus was playing—whatever they were—could threaten everything. There was good reason to think the things they were saying about him were true. And he certainly had no love for me.
So maybe it was just bizarre empathy for someone who probably struggled as I did to fit in in a world that told us we had to be an athlete or a supermodel or a jokester to be considered enough. Or maybe it was because we were the same age, both fighting to be taken seriously
despite the obvious handicap of our youth. Or maybe I just respected him and what he’d accomplished, even if I didn’t like him.
It must have been that. Some Midwest sense of fairness that said a man should be judged on the full merits of his work.
I was certain of one thing, if nothing else. “It’s not my place to tell them, and I won’t.”
Marcus studied my face, hard, as though this answer was somehow suspect. But the long, searching look wasn’t quite laced with the usual hostility. It felt surprisingly . . . unguarded.
“Marcus, what are you doing?”
But that question was one bridge too far. I saw the moment he shut down, his expression closing to something significantly more restrained. His usual.
So fine, whatever was going on here, whatever repercussions may come to him, this was a situation he had brought upon himself, and he had no one else to blame for it.
“Never mind,” I said into the silence. “You don’t trust me.”
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When Ally, an up and coming super star fresh out of her MBA program, lands her dream job at a promising video game developer thanks to her Uncle, she couldn’t be happier. When an unfortunate mishap during a meeting puts her on the radar of one of the company’s founders – Marcus Abby – things start to take a turn for the worse. Marcus is a storm cloud personified. He’s rude, abrasive, vicious, and brilliant – just like her Uncle warned her. However, when corporate issues start to threaten the very company Ally has come to love, she has no choice but to work side by side with Marcus in order to save it. She only has one rule: Don’t trust Marcus Abby; because even though she’s the only one who can help him with this, he also holds her future, or lack of one, in his hands.
Sometimes you just need a contemporary romance to cleanse the palate. A story that you know how it’s going to end and can generally pick most of the twists that will come up. A lot of people condemn predictability, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need. I was taken in by the cover of this story when I first came across it, and the synopsis piqued my interest as well because the back drop of it falls inside a video game company, and I am an avid gamer. Even though it wasn’t so much the forefront of the story, I still loved that this was based where it was and I feel like it added a little bit of a difference to a story that could have sounded like so many others.
This story is a definite sunshine personality clashing with the raging storm cloud, and I actually really loved it. I haven’t read many books with this at the heart of a relationship and I really enjoyed how different Ally and Marcus were to each other. Ally is this bright, fresh, happy and bubbly personality, while Marcus is this alternative, grouchy, strange genius. At least, that’s how I read them to be. So having these two personalities falling for each other was just super cute and I absolutely loved it! I really enjoyed how the characters were written. They all had their own distinct personalities and individual voices which is great. I found Ally to be such a likeable main character and she’s someone I could really get behind, I also found I wanted to protect her because she’s this marshmallow who likes to see the good in everyone. I absolutely LOVED Marcus’ character, I think I saw a lot of myself and my peers in him. He just wanted to do what he had always dreamed about, what he was passionate about, and people who cared only for money were trying to take that away from him, so even though he comes across quite abrasive in the beginning, I couldn’t help but really root for him when it came down to it.
The story line itself was intriguing and I found that while I could predict what big things were going to happen, the little plot drivers I couldn’t. The need to know what was going to happen to certain characters kept me reading, and the story was engaging yet easy to read. I feel like this gave us a bit of a look into what can happen in a corporate world, and I believe that Greene wrote some of this from experience (If I read correctly in the end notes) so I thought that was pretty cool and really lent a feeling of believability to what was happening.
I loved the tension as we could see Ally and Marcus begin to notice each other more, and their interactions before the fireworks were uber cute and had me smiling to no end. Something about that sunshine personality falling for the dark, gloomy genius just does it for me I guess! I loved that Ally could read Marcus’ body language and actually see things that others couldn’t, it was a refreshing change from a lot of contemporary romances where the female seems to be utterly clueless as to how the love interest feels about her. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, we all don’t want to get our hopes up incase they’re dashed against the rocks below and we’re left bleeding and hurting, but sometimes, it’s obvious.
All in all, this was a great contemporary romance, I haven’t read the others in the series but I would be inclined to go back and check them out as we meet some of those characters in this one. I also feel like the extra scene at the end didn’t have the desired effect on me because I didn’t know the history of the characters Marcus was interacting with so the gravity of the situation was lost on me. It was still a nice little addition and I’m sure long time fans of the series would have really enjoyed it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links
LJ Greene is a self-professed obsessive multi-tasker who writes boring stuff by day and lets her inner romantic fly by night. This California native is married to the most amazing man and has
two beautiful children, now old enough to read her books but still not interested because of the ew, gross factor. She’s an avid reader of all genres with an embarrassingly large ebook collection, and a weird penchant for reading the acknowledgements at the end of a novel. She’s also a music lover with no apparent musical talent, a travel enthusiast, and a cheese connoisseur.
The book will be $0.99.