Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Start Us Up (Park Avenue Promise, #1) by Lexi Blake ~ Book Review with Excerpt

She’s a high-tech boss who lost it all…
He’s an up-and-coming coder…

Start Us Up, the steamy, swoon-filled first standalone romance in The Park Avenue Promise Series from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is available now!

From New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake, discover The Park Avenue Promise Series...

Three young women make a pact in high school—
to always be friends and to one day make it big in Manhattan.

She's a high-tech boss who lost it all...

Ivy Jensen was the darling of the tech world, right up until her company fell apart completely after she trusted the wrong person. Her reputation in tatters, she finds herself back in the tiny apartment she grew up in, living with her mom. When a group of angel investors offer her a meeting, she knows she has to come up with the new big idea or her career is over.

He's an up and coming coder...

Heath Marino has always been fascinated with writing code. He's worked on a dozen games and apps and is considered one of the industry's more eccentric talents. But now he's back in New York to spend time with his grandmother. She was known as one of the city's greatest matchmakers, and he wants to know why. Surely there's some kind of code in his grandmother's methods, and he's going to find them.

When Ivy meets Heath it's instant attraction, but she's got a career to get back to and he just might be her on-ramp. It could be a perfect partnership or absolute heartbreak.

Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo!

Keep reading for a look inside Start Us Up!

“Were you planning on introducing me as your boyfriend?”
I shake my head. “No, but I wasn’t going to correct anyone if they got that impression, and now that I’m saying the words, I feel like an idiot. I’m not some sad chick who always needs a boyfriend. Nick was actually only my second long-term relationship. I’m perfectly content on my own. I don’t know what came over me. I can tell him the truth.”
“And waste my knight riding in moves? That feels harsh. Was the kiss that bad?”
“You know it was not. It was a perfectly fine kiss.”
“It was a pretty good kiss.” There’s a wealth of masculine arrogance in his tone, and I wish I didn’t find that charming coming from him.
It had been my only kiss in the last six months, and probably the most passion I’d had from a guy in a couple of years, and that was so sad. “It was a kiss we both need to forget because we’re going to be working very closely together for the next couple of months. We’ve got to hire at least one, maybe two contractors.”
“Where are we going to put them? I don’t know if you noticed, but neither one of us has a whole lot of space. I was a little worried about where I was going to put you.”
“They can work remotely if we can’t find someplace cheap.” The remote work might be a necessary thing since I intend to have one of the coders working on what I want them to work on—an interface for a social media/commerce app. I can give Heath a little, but I know what CeCe wants. The AI and Heath’s unique framework is what will sell this project.
“And if we get full finding?”
I like that he’s an optimist. One of us needs to be. “Then we find a small office probably somewhere in Jersey because that’s what we’ll be able to afford and we spend the next three or four years working our asses off only to fail because some asshole swoops in two months ahead of our launch date with something too similar. Then we can decide if we want to spend the money on the inevitable lawsuits, but that’s only if we get the choice. There’s also the possibility that someone out there gets word of what we’re doing and preemptively files for a patent that will block us even though the fucker doesn’t have enough to prove concept. Then, it’s back to the lawyers and we decide if we have deep enough pockets to fight, and that answer is almost always no.”
Heath stands, and I can’t help but notice how tall and fit he is. I need to take some me time because my brain is spending too much energy on how hot he is. He starts to lift one long leg over the railing.
I pop up. “What are you doing?”
His head turns slightly, lips curling in a mischievous grin. “Ending it all. I’ve seen the future, Ivy. It’s not worth it.”
He’s teasing me. I’m not sure why it rankles. Or maybe I am. “It can happen, and it does all the time. This is the big leagues, and it’s a battle every single day.”
He looms over me, so close I can practically feel the warmth of his skin. “Is it war or baseball? I need to know because you are the queen of mixed metaphors, and I want to be sure I’m all kitted up. So glove or rifle?”
He’s really not ready for this. “Both.”
“All right, then.” He glances down at his watch. “I should go. Apparently I’ve got both a game and a war to prepare for. I’m going to need some sleep. Now I know you said we shouldn’t kiss again, but we already went there so…”
I take a big old coward’s step back. If I let him kiss me now, it won’t be because someone’s watching and we need keep up our “cover.” It will be because I want him to, and I can’t want him to. I just can’t.
I’m lying to him. Oh, it’s for his own naΓ―ve good, but I’m still lying.

I have been a fan of Lexi Blake's for a while now; I have enjoyed her Masters & Mercenaries Series, Nights in Bliss Colorado Series (written under the pen name Sophie Oak), and her less erotic but just as captivating Butterfly Bayou Series. So when I saw that she was starting a new series about three friends living in NYC, where I am from, I was instantly intrigued.

START US UP is Ivy Jensen and Heath Marino's story. This book starts with a prologue, and I highly recommend you read it because it sets up not only this story but the series, in which we meet the three friends Ivy, Harper, and Anika, and learn how their lives as teenagers are going and how they see their futures.

Ivy's life has just taken a nose dive, and she returns home to start over, which is never easy for anyone; let's say that her mom doesn't make things any easier for her. Their relationship is not a warm and fuzzy one and hasn't been since her father passed away years ago. 

Heath needs some help with his coding, so Harper suggested that Ivy help him; yes, she is playing matchmaker, but she's hoping to get her friend out of her funk and maybe get the spark of life back into her since things fell apart.

Heath and Ivy have a tremendous instant connection; even better is how he is always there to hug her when she needs one. You'll understand what I mean when you read the story. Can a hug a day keep the grouchy away? 

I enjoyed the start of the PARK AVENUE PROMISE Series and look forward to seeing what mischief each of Ivy's friends finds themselves in their stories. 

I recommend this book to readers that enjoy Contemporary Romances, Strong Female Characters, Found Family Romances, Grumpy/Sunshine Tropes, Romances with Mental Illness Representation, Nerd/Geek Romances, Workplace Romances, Chick Lit, or Romances that have no 3rd act breakups and some steam.

Happy Reading!!!

**I have voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book for my Blog, Nadine's Obsessed with Books**

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. Since starting her publishing journey in 2010, she's sold over three million copies of her books. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn't until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings.


  1. Love the review! xo
    I haven't given this author a fair shot, so I'm going to add this and hope I enjoy it at least half as much as you did :)

    1. Thank you Natalie. 🫢
      I think you will enjoy this one, it's a little steamy but it's not like her M&M series, it's more of a chick lit/women's fiction read.