Thursday, September 19, 2013

Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B. Rowl: Release Blitz, Giveaway, Review, Excerpt

It's time for a Release Day Blitz and Giveaway event, where corks aren't the only things being popped in celebration of Aurelia B. Rowl's newest release.

About the book...

Popping the Cherry

If you missed any of the exclusive teasers from the ten-day countdown, you can find them all here or by going to:


Buy it now...

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Mature Young Adult/New Adult fiction
Release date: 19 September 2013
Publisher: Carina (Harlequin UK)
ISBN: 978-1-472-01805-2

Amazon UK ¦ Amazon
Nook UK (coming soon)
Kobo (coming soon)

About the author...
Aurelia B. Rowl lives on the edge of the Peak District with her very understanding husband, their two fantastic children, and their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. She regularly wows them all with her curious, hastily thrown together meals when she gets too caught up with her latest writing project... or five!... and she has developed the fine art of ignoring the housework.

Aurelia writes Young Adult/New Adult crossover fiction and contemporary romance. She is currently busy writing the standalone companion novels to both Popping the Cherry and Christmas is Cancelled.

To find out more about Aurelia, you can visit her website: or you can find her hanging out online, far too often, at the following:

‘This, my dear Lena, is an intervention.’
‘A what?’
Heads turned to look at us, my words coming out louder than intended.
Gemma waited until everybody had gone back to minding their own business. ‘An intervention,’ she said, completely matter-of-fact, using the same tone she’d use to tell me I had lettuce stuck in my teeth. ‘We, as in all four of us—’ she paused for dramatic effect and waved her hand to include Flick, Chloe and Piper ‘—are all agreed that you need our help.’
‘Is that so?’ I asked.
Flick suddenly seemed determined to avoid eye contact but I refused to let her off the hook. She finally gave in and offered me a small shrug, along with a resigned smile.
Not good.
The heavy feeling in my gut got even worse. ‘Help with what, exactly?’
Gemma met my glare head-on. ‘You need to lose your virginity.’
‘Pardon?’ I hissed, unable to believe my ears.
‘Don’t you see, Lena?’ she said, not backing down so much as an inch. ‘You have so many hang-ups about sex, you’re like a faulty telephone.’
‘You’re joking, right?’ I forced out a laugh. Gemma jutted out her jaw even further, not even a flicker of a smile. My nails pierced the apple, the juice running down my fingers to form a satisfying puddle on the table. ‘Don’t tell me this is your big plan.’
‘It’s a damn sight better than being dumped.’
‘Whoa, hang on,’ I said, narrowing my eyes to accuse each of them. ‘Are you all saying I should have slept with Damian?’
‘No way.’
‘Eww, no.’
‘Not at all.’
They all answered at the same time, their voices jumbled together so I couldn’t be sure who said what. At least we were all agreed on something.
‘You can do a million times better than him,’ Flick said.
‘Which is exactly what I said,’ Gemma said. ‘And that’s where we come in.’
‘We had a little brainstorming session and came up with the most wicked idea.’ Gemma reached into her tote and produced a piece of A4 paper with a flourish. I could already see Piper’s cursive handwriting running down one side.
‘Wicked as in evil and demonic, or wicked as in excellent?’
‘It’s good to see you’ve still got your sense of humour.’
‘Who’s joking?’
Gemma ignored my outburst and started to slide the page towards me, but then she noticed the state of the table. ‘Bloody hell, Lena, what did the apple ever do to you?’ She prised the mangled apple out of my grip and dumped it on my tray. ‘You’ve well and truly murdered it,’ she said, grabbing a load of napkins. She tossed one to me, then used the rest to mop up the juice and bits of pulp. ‘Right, let’s try that again,’ she said, finally getting back to the sheet of paper and offering it to me. ‘Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it.’
In no mood for one of her silly games, I snatched it off her and scanned the page. It turned out to be a list of names, all of them boys, and some of whom I recognised. And then I noticed the title: ‘Operation: Popping the Cherry’. I leaped to my feet and fired a glare at each of them in turn, trying not to shout. ‘Are you shitting me?’
Flick at least flinched and mouthed, ‘I’m sorry.’
‘So what am I supposed to do?’ I asked, caught in two minds whether to tear the list into a thousand pieces or scrunch it into a ball. ‘Work my way down the list and sleep with them all?’
‘Are you going to at least hear us out before you go off on one?’ Gemma sounded infuriatingly calm compared with my wailing-banshee routine.
‘I don’t even know who half of these guys are.’ I settled for tossing the page back onto the table in disgust. ‘Why not just shove me at the first guy to walk in here and pay him to have sex with me?’
‘It’s not like that, Lena, and you know it.’ Gemma snapped, finally biting back, but, instead of getting drawn into a slanging match, she took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Composure restored. ‘I know you’re spoiling for a fight, and I know this is hard, but you know we’d never do something like that to you.’
‘Hmph,’ I grunted.
‘Can’t you at least give us two minutes to explain?’
As I stood mulling it over, trying to decide whether to stay or flounce off as I’d intended, I noticed the glances and raised eyebrows being directed my way. Being the only one of our group standing up, combined with my raised voice and Gemma’s hissing, I was drawing way too much attention. All of the fire left me and my legs gave way before I’d made the conscious decision to sit back down.
‘Thank you.’ Gemma seized the opportunity and slid the list back across the table. This time, she kept her hand on it as if expecting me to try to destroy it. She wasn’t wrong. ‘These are just a few of the names we came up with. Guys we thought you might like, but wouldn’t necessarily think of yourself. Now it’s your turn to add your own potential candidates to complete the shortlist.’
‘Candidates? You make it sound like some kind of election.’
‘In a way, it is,’ Chloe said, speaking up for the first time. ‘Take a look at the list and get to know some of the guys on there that you don’t know already. Go on a few dates maybe. And then you cast your vote.’
‘As in . . .?’
‘Uh-huh.’ Chloe lowered her voice, ‘You have s-e-x with them.’ She even spelled out the word ‘sex’ as if it would deter eavesdroppers and lessen the impact.
‘And this is the best you could come up with? Your brilliant plan?’ I said to no one in particular. ‘What happened to saving yourself? Waiting for the right person?’
‘Saving yourself? This isn’t the 1950s. All you’re doing is missing out on something fun. No guy expects you to be a virgin on your wedding day these days, so you might as well get it over with.’
‘Get it over with? Jeez, Gemma, you make it sound like going for an injection?’
‘Let’s just hope it’s more than a little prick when the time comes, then, eh?’ she said, waggling her eyebrows up and down. Her quick-witted innuendo earned a chorus of giggles. I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of making me smile but—damn it—the corners of my lips were curving up whether I wanted them to or not.
‘So, I just have to go on a few dates and see if any of these guys get my mojo going enough to want to . . . you know . . .?’
‘Exactly.’ Gemma grinned at me, looking mightily pleased with herself. ‘You see, ladies, I told you she’d get it,’ she said, exchanging high fives with the others. ‘So what d’you say, Lena? Are you up for it?’
Am I?
My Review:  Seventeen year old Valentina "Lena" Bell has just failed her driving test and has been dumped by her boyfriend, the reason being she wouldn't have sex with him.  She thinks she is the only virgin still out there, a fact that she isn't too happy about, yet afraid to do anything about.  Her friends Gemma, Flick, Chloe, and Piper decide it is time for some intervention and convince her that the best solution to the problem is to get laid.  Thus Operation Popping the Cherry commences.  Lena has a list of potential cherry poppers and her friends haven given her until her 18th birthday to get her cherry popped, losing her V card.  Her best friend Gemma is all over this and plays matchmaker, coach, and instigator.  After a date with a potential cherry popper goes bad, Lena finds herself in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation, which Gemma's brother Jake rescues her from.  She and Jake just click and she really likes him, but of course he is off limits because he is Gemma's brother, older, and of  wouldn't be interested in her, or so she thinks.  Jake really seems to like Lena to, even giving her driving lessons, and seems to always be there when she needs him, yet she still considers him off limits.  One thing leads to another, a potential cherry popper becomes a best friend, and in the meantime her arch nemesis Alice causes trouble of epic proportions.  She continues her quest for the perfect popper, yet despite the great guys out there, she only has eyes for the one she can't have, and the one she can't have thinks she doesn't want him.  Lena makes choices, some good, some not so good, but in the end will she give in the peer pressure and give it up, or will she wait on true love?

Popping the Cherry is a cute and fun romance.  There is a lot of British humor in the story, which was also entertaining.  While fun, the author also touches on some serious issues, including bullying and giving into peer pressure.  I liked Lena's character and enjoyed watching her develop throughout the story, though she did frustrate me a little regarding Jake, but by the end she had transformed into a mature young lady.  I loved Jake, and he and Lena had great chemistry.  While I liked Lena's friends, Flick was my favorite.  Gemma, Jake's sister, was the main obstacle in them getting together, which made me not like her as much.  I also really ended up liking Nathan, potential popper turned friend, and he was truly a really good friend to Lena. Then there was Jake's grandmother, who was a hoot.  Jake really outdid himself and ended up being totally swoon-worthy.  I enjoyed the romantic aspect, and as far as the sexual aspect goes, the author has written it in such a way that I would consider it suitable for older YA readers (15-17), as it does not go into explicit details.  Overall, Popping the Cherry is a fun story that isn't to heavy, yet incorporates a good message for teens at the same time, and is something that I think would especially appeal to that age group.
To get the party started with a BANG, Aurelia B. Rowl has teamed up with several other Young Adult and New Adult authors to come up an awesome giveaway, with over twenty books in the Release Day Blitz prize kitty just waiting to be won.

For full details of the prizes, click here or go to:

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I saw this one and almost requested it! I am glad you ended up really liking it. I love British humor so I do think I would enjoy this one. :)

  2. This does look pretty good. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Ellen. Nice review!

  3. Nice excerpt. Good review. Sounds like a fun read :)

  4. I like the excerpt, sounds good. Great review.

  5. British humor, eh? This sounds like a really fun read and I think I'd like it when I'm looking for a lighter read, too. I often find I'm reading more darker books and need a break sometimes >.< I also want a cherry, now!

  6. This sounds like a fun, light read! I'm pleased to see you enjoyed it, definitely adding this to my TBR pile.

    A great review Ellen :)

  7. Thank you for hosting me, Ellen, and for your fabulous review! I'm so pleased you enjoyed Popping the Cherry :)

    And thank you to everyone adding it to their TBR list, I hope you love it!!


Thanks for your comments. I love hearing from you!

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