Monday, February 8, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt and Giveaway: Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox

Hi lovely people! Welcome to the blog tour for Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox. This Lovestruck novel is a cute one! Check it out, and enter to win prizes!

About the Book:

Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox
Book Twelve of the What Happens in Vegas series
Publisher: Entangled Lovestruck
Publication Date: February 8, 2016

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Official Summary:

He may be at a romance readers’ convention, but a naked woman in the elevator is not what horror writer Ryan Wheeler expects. Now he can’t take his eyes off of her—and not just because he saw her naked, though her luscious curves certainly aren’t helping the matter. She’s beautiful, funny, snarky…and a complication he doesn’t need.

Running into her teen heartthrob while naked wasn’t exactly part of romance novelist Andi Palmer’s weekend plans. Worse, he doesn’t recognize her and gives her a fake name­. Years ago, he shot her down in the worst possible way, and now this? It’s time for a little down-and-dirty revenge. 

Ryan’s more than a little turned on by this good girl who wants to be bad. But things aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re keeping from one another might just end this sexy little rendezvous before it ever begins….

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. Cathryn has two teenagers who keep her busy and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. When not writing, Cathryn can be found laughing over lunch with friends, hanging out with her kids, or watching a big action flick with her husband. 

Walk away, Andi. Just walk away.

She looked at the gorgeous man on the mattress, his erection straining against his boxer shorts and beckoning her touch. A thrill raced through her. She had him exactly where she wanted him. Now all she had to do was turn around and walk out the door.

So why wasn’t she leaving?

He crooked his finger, the gleam in his eyes exciting…frightening. A shiver of want wracked her body, and a little moan caught in her throat. There was something undeniably raw, almost primal about him as he beckoned her closer. Big hands pushed his mussed hair from his forehead, the move making him looked rugged, irresistible.


Her heart fluttered. Maybe she’d bitten off more than she could chew. Common sense dictated that she’d accomplished her mission and it was time to go, but need overshadowed sensibility so instead she stood still, her entire body burning as she visualized herself under that hard torso, exploring the sparks between them.

Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t fight her attraction to him. She wanted him today every bit as much as she did all those years ago. But her plan was to entice him and then take him down, not to fall into bed with him, no matter how appealing that sounded. Her thoughts whirled, and she couldn’t seem to move, to force herself to hightail it out of there. All she could think of was the ache inside her, and how Ryan could satiate it.

Leave, Andi. Pick up your damn feet and walk to the door.

She blew her hair off her face, willing her body to move, but Ryan grabbed her by the waist and pulled her on top of him, calling her bluff and complicating her mission. He rolled until she was under him, then gripped both of her hands in one of his and pinned them above her head. A gasp caught in her throat as he took control from her.

She should put a stop to this. She needed to put a stop to this before she got in too deep again, but God, it felt good to be caged between his hard body and the soft mattress. His eyes never left hers as he shifted his weight, his thumb sliding under her bra strap.

“Do you have any idea how sexy you are?” he asked, his eyes focused on her mouth.

He ran his knuckles along the strap, going from the outer edge of her breast to her shoulder and back again. Pleasure like she’d never before experienced hit, and he’d barely even touched her yet. What would it be like if she stayed in this bed, let him caress her stomach, her legs, the needy spot between her thighs? She could stay and take what the boy of her dreams denied to her all those years ago.

How tempting.

“Ry—” she began, but her words were lost on a moan the second his lips closed over hers. He tasted like mint and rum, and long hot nights of sexual satisfaction. Her body burned as his tongue slipped inside and tangled with hers. His groin bumped hers, as his kiss fueled her hunger. His lips pressed greedily, hard enough to leave his mark on her and effectively shut down her brain. A whimper escaped her lips and suddenly all she could think about was this man and what he was doing to her.

He broke the kiss, and his mouth curved as his glance met hers. He brushed his thumbs over one nipple, the rasp of lace caressing her sensitive flesh and sending warm shivers straight to her core.

“Such a bad, bad girl, coming into my room and tormenting me with this sexy lace number.” The smile fell from his mouth, his eyes darkening with hunger. “Look at you now, though. Completely at my mercy.” His lips crashed down on hers again and he devoured her mouth like a man who knew what he wanted, and planned to take it. As his tongue slashed against the side of her mouth, demanding she give him everything, her nipples tingled, and her sex moistened—all from a kiss. Good God, no man had ever done that to her before. His hand went to her thigh, and he ran it up, tracing her curves, and hips, going higher until her reached her breasts. He fingered the slip of material.

“In case you didn’t know. Black lace is my favorite. The second I saw you in it, you were done for, sweetheart.” He pushed his cock against her thigh. “I let you have your fun, but this is my room, my rules. Now we’re doing things my way.”

The Giveaway:

Review: Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox

Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox
Book Twelve of the What Happens in Vegas series
Publisher: Entangled Lovestruck
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

He may be at a romance readers’ convention, but a naked woman in the elevator is not what horror writer Ryan Wheeler expects. Now he can’t take his eyes off of her—and not just because he saw her naked, though her luscious curves certainly aren’t helping the matter. She’s beautiful, funny, snarky…and a complication he doesn’t need.

Running into her teen heartthrob while naked wasn’t exactly part of romance novelist Andi Palmer’s weekend plans. Worse, he doesn’t recognize her and gives her a fake name¬. Years ago, he shot her down in the worst possible way, and now this? It’s time for a little down-and-dirty revenge. 

Ryan’s more than a little turned on by this good girl who wants to be bad. But things aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re keeping from one another might just end this sexy little rendezvous before it ever begins…

What I Liked:

I was supposed to review this book with my other post going up today, but given that I didn't like this book very much, I wasn't about to skew my rating to fit the tour. I had a good feeling about this book, but it just wasn't for me! The good thing is, unlike the title might insinuate, there is no hint of love triangle (I didn't think there would be). But I was not pleased with this book overall, sadly.

Romance writer Andi Palmer is having terrible luck in Vegas - she gets stuck in a hot elevator in the hotel while trying to make it to her meetings at the romance writers convention. She's trying to change when the elevator starts working again, and in walks someone she knew from when they were kids. Someone who was horrible to her. Ryan Wheeler is at the hotel to chase ghosts (he's a horror writer), and he doesn't expect to find a half-naked woman in the elevator. Sparks fly, but something is off about Andi. They can't deny the attraction between them, but there are too many secrets between them too. 

Despite what the title might imply, there is no love triangle in this book. Andi sees Ryan and immediately thinks that he is Nolan (who is his younger brother). Nolan and Andi knew each other in grade school, and Nolan wasn't particularly nice to her. Years later, Andi thinks it is Nolan she is speaking to, and Ryan doesn't realize that Andi thinks he's Nolan (it's not obvious). When he gives her his name, she thinks he's lying and hiding his identity, and that he doesn't recognize her (she used to be overweight and very different - her words, not mine).

There were so many awkward and cute scenes in this book, which were pretty funny, for the most part. There is ONE hot scene, and it's pretty hot (not super hot though). The book is short, so you'll blow through it very quickly. Of course, all three of things things I just mentioned are easily dislikes too. Read on for what did not work for me!

What I Did Not Like:

Possible spoilers. Ahead. Possibly. I'm just going to start typing, so you are warned as of now.

I honestly don't even know where to start. I was really up and down, with Andi. At the very beginning, I liked her fine. And when she crashes into Ryan in the elevator - literally - I was really enjoying the book. But then her crazy and stupid plans for revenge kind of made the story take a nosedive. She basically forces him to do a male model strip thing for the romance convention (he's not a male model, but he's built like one, but that's not the point!), and he's uncomfortable doing it (though it might not seem like it). Are you kidding me?! I realize that she thinks he is Nolan, the boy who humiliated her WHEN THEY WERE CHILDREN, but exactly that - they were CHILDREN. You're telling me you haven't let go of that s*** yet, after nearly over ten years?! Fifteen?!

I felt bad for Ryan during this entire book! Andi became such a brat, and he had to beg and grovel for her attention, and she's over there trying to get "revenge". Poor guy! He eventually figures out who she thinks he is (he calls Nolan and asks), but he doesn't tell her that he knows. The convention is only a week long, and he doesn't want to ruin the chemistry between them. I get that. 

But then, at the climax, when Andi finds out that he has known that she thinks he is Nolan, she flips the f**k out. It was so dramatic and exaggerated and I almost lost my d**n mind. SERIOUSLY!? You're going apes**t because he didn't tell you that he knows that you think he is Nolan?! Not at one point did Ryan lie to her - he told her his name is Ryan (it is), and that he isn't who she thinks he is (she kept interrupting him and changing the subject, whenever he tried to bring it up). 

And now, when she finds out, SHE's the one that's butthurt. After making him do a male model stripper-esque event (he did NOT sign up for that), making him feel uncomfortable in front of numerous thirty women, and SHE'S the one hurt?! I just don't get it! He never lied to her or deceived her - she's a complete dumba** for one) holding on to vengeful feelings like that FROM HER CHILDHOOD (let it go, idiot), and two) feeling hurt and betrayed and other dramatic feelings because "you didn't tell me?!". Calm the f**k down.

Ugh. Andi was fine at the beginning and then just became a drama queen. It doesn't help that this book was super short and so all of this drama seemed really condensed and not spread out. We go from the male-model event to sleeping together to going on a date, all within like, twenty-four hours of meeting each other.

And that's another thing. After ONE WEEK, Ryan is popping out the I-love-yous. When Andi finds out the Big Secret about Ryan's identity, she runs away and he goes chasing after her (UGH! Idiot! I HATE it when the man is the one groveling, when the woman is so CLEARLY at fault too!). Why in the world are you going after this air-headed woman!? Someone please explain.

Can we talk about how Andi is a romance writer, we're at a romance convention, and there is only one LOUSY sex scene in this book?! (There might have been one other, but it was extremely short, and totally does not count.) It could be due to the fact that this book is super short, but I was so disappointed by the lack of heat! So, so disappointed.

I'm done. I'm not going to apologize for my blatant dislike of Andi. She kind of ruined the book.

Would I Recommend it:

Absolutely not. I haven't read anything by Fox (although I am curious about her Brazen novels), and I see that this is the twelfth book in a series. So I suppose if you've read part of this series, go for it? Or maybe not. It was pretty bad. 


1.5 stars -> rounded down to 1 star. I tried! I thought this would be awkward and adorable (it was awkward, and I suppose on the surface, it was adorable), but maybe too fluffy and too dramatic for me. And definitely too short!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

What I Liked:

I'm just going to say this now - this review is going to be vague and weird and probably not make a lot of sense. Which is fine, because it'll reflect the book really nicely. You'll see!

This book was so strange. All of Tucholke's books are strange. I loved Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and really liked Between the Spark and Burn. I liked this new book too! Tucholke weaves a beautiful and strange tale of two girls and a boy, each the hero and villain of their story.

This book is so strange, I don't even know how to summarize it. Usually I'd try to summarize the book in my own words, in the second paragraph of this section. I don't even know where to start. We have Wink, how is one of those weird Bell children. Wink is quiet and imperturbable, impossible to bully despite being a perfect target. She's a dreamer, living in books of magic and fairy tales. Midnight is lonely boy whose mother and stepbrother moved to France, leaving him and his father. Poppy is a mean, cruel bully, a girl who has all the attention. 

This book is told from each character's first-person point-of-view. The story starts with Midnight's. In the beginning, we find out that Midnight and Poppy have a sexual relationship. Poppy doesn't care about Midnight, but Midnight is infatuated with her. They're neighbors. And then he and his father move to an old house next to Wink's farm. Midnight decides that it's time to let Poppy go. But you leave Poppy when she lets you go, not when you want. Midnight doesn't want to be anything to her anymore. Especially when he officially meets Wink, and feels peace with her.

And then things get weird. Poppy doesn't like that Midnight is walking away from her. Sure, she doesn't care about him. She doesn't care about the other two boys she has sex with, either. But she doesn't want anyone to not want her, or not want to be her. Everyone hates her, and she knows it a little, but she craves the attention that her parents don't give her.

So when Midnight starts hanging around Wink... that's when the story takes off. I won't spill anything more. I never liked Poppy, but it was intriguing to be in her head. I didn't hate her, but I didn't like her at all, but I felt a little bad for her too. 

I liked Wink, with her weird tendencies and her head-in-the-clouds way. She's very smart, and eclectic. My favorite character had to be Midnight though. As much as this story is about Poppy and her jealousy, and Wink and her determination to live a fairy tale, the story seemed to move around Midnight. Everything came back to Midnight. His character development was the most important, of the three of them. 

You're probably thinking, this book has love triangle written all over it. It actually does not! Wink and Midnight are a thing pretty much from the moment they meet. Before they meet, Poppy has her claws in Midnight. But he knows how toxic whatever they have is (they are not dating, and Poppy is having sex with other people besides Midnight). The romance is strange, definitely not a type that you're used to seeing in YA... you'll have to experience it for yourself.

This whole book, really. You have to read it to know how strange and mystical and odd the book is. I can't even summarize it, or explain specific things I liked and disliked. It's so different from other books in YA, and not just in terms of the writing style. This book is weird! How many times have I used that word? Probably too many - but you get what I'm saying!

I liked the parallel story that was being told. Wink reads a story to her younger Bell siblings, with Midnight listening. This story kind of parallels the actual story. Which makes sense, because Wink wants to be living a story, a fairy tale. Interesting part of this book!

I enjoyed this book, weirdness and all. There is a bit of mystery to it, coming down to the end. There seems to be paranormal elements, but it's a contemporary novel. I liked this book a lot! If you haven't read one of Tucholke's books, I highly recommend doing so, to experience how vastly different this book is, from most YA books!

What I Did Not Like:

This is one of those books that leaves you wondering, am I even sure of anything that I just read?! I had that feeling a lot, especially as the book started to wrap up. Not a bad thing at all! Just slightly bothersome if you're like me and want concrete statements, not the go-around. Also, I would have liked the romance to be something else (not saying anything specific), though I totally see why the author went about it the way she did. *vague Alyssa is vague*

Would I Recommend It:

I personally recommend this book (or Tucholke's debut duology), her books are ones that you want to experience. There are so different from most YA books, in almost every way. Unconventional writing style, storytelling, character development, world-building, romance, ending. Everything is nothing like you've seen (in my opinion)! And the stories are good, too.


4 stars. Another Tucholke success, for me! I liked this book (a standalone, yay!), and I can't wait to read the next story Tucholke has for us, whenever that may be. 

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Welcome to the blog tour for Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! I am so excited to share my interview with Melissa. There is an excerpt of the book, and a neat giveaway too!

Meet Melissa Gorzelanczyk!

Alyssa: Hi, Melissa! Thank you so much for joining me today on my blog! And happy debuting!

Melissa: Aww, thank you, Alyssa. I’m thrilled to be here.

Alyssa: What was the first “thing” to inspire you to write Arrows?

Melissa: My husband’s best friend Nate had the idea of a story centered around the idea of “cupids among us.” He decided not to finish his book, and when I asked how he felt about me using the premise for a teen novel, he encouraged me to go for it.

Alyssa: What’s another YA contemporary novel that has similar themes as those in Arrows?

Melissa: One that immediately comes to mind is The Girl Who Fell by fellow debut Shannon M. Parker. 

Alyssa: Arrows is a standalone? Or will there be companion novels? Or sequel novels? :D

Melissa: Right now, it’s a standalone, though I *may* have written a sequel, just in case.

Alyssa: Ooo! I'm on board with that. ;) I know that most authors have zero control over the covers, but I must ask – how do you feel about the cover of Arrows? Did the design team accurately portray the novel, in the cover? (Personally, I think the cover is lovely!)

Melissa: I did have a say in my cover—my agent worked that verbiage into my contract—so when my editor Wendy Loggia was presenting Arrows at the art meeting, she asked me to send her all of my ideas for the cover. Sort of a wish list. 

I’ve always loved simple, striking things in general, so you might say designer Ray Shappell hit the mark dead center.

Alyssa: How about the title? Did you choose it? Your editor? Were there other titles in contention?

Melissa: Arrows has been Arrows since I started the first draft.

Alyssa: Is there anyone you’d like to mention, any critique partners or family members or friends, anyone that played a unique or special part in the creation of this story?

Melissa: My journey to becoming published has been a group effort from day one. My husband Shea is the biggest supporter of my work, even now. He’s known to scour Google for any nice reviews and posts about Arrows (or mean ones, which he thankfully avoids sharing with me). 

Way back when we started dating (about 12 years ago), he said one of the things he liked about me was that I was a writer. In other words, he’s a rare gem.

When I told him I wanted to quit my day job and try writing books, he said, “Okay, I think you can do it.” With his support, and wise critique from my beta readers, along with a wealth of knowledge I’ve gained from joining the SCBWI, my dreams have come true. Obviously my agent Carrie Howland and editor Wendy Loggia deserve to be listed here, too. 

Alyssa: A wonderful team and support system. :) And that’s it from me! Thank you so much for stopping by, Melissa, and best of luck with the release!

Melissa: This has been lovely. Thank you!

About the Author:

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. She is a proud member of the SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens and the Class of 2k16. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

About the Book:

Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. 

Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

The Excerpt:

Read the excerpt HERE!

The Giveaway:

Stacking the Shelves (#163)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, January 31st to Saturday, February 6th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

EDITED: Here we are!

Never heard of this one! My thanks to Harper, but o.O

I am SO excited to read this book! The ending of Madame X left me conflicted.

Another surprise novel I haven't heard of (though the publicist may have emailed me?). Thank you, Random House.

Thank you, Penguin! A lovely surprise. I'll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in March!

Other awesome swag and goodies from Katharine

Thank you so much, Katharine! So excited to be part of the Princesses. :)

Thank you, Becky! I especially love the map. :D

Various AWESOME buttons
From Amber! She's the best. <3 Thank you, chica!

From NetGalley:

I am SO excited about this book! I adored The Marriage Contract so much.

From Edelweiss:

This will be my first Kenneally book! I want to see what all the fuss is about. Plus, soccer!

Such a long week! I couldn't wait for the weekend. How was your week?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Promo and Giveaway: Life Lessons From Gayle Forman

Happy Friday, fabulous readers! No review today (life got in the way), but I do have a rather sad yet uplifting post for you all. I'm helping promote Gayle Forman and her powerful contemporary novels. While I haven't read any of them (I am terrified!), I adore some of the quotes in her books.

With that, I will share a few of my favorite Forman quotes, and songs that I think pair well with the quotes!

“You were so busy trying to be my savior that you left me all alone.”

Gayle Forman, Where She Went

I love this quote! It reminds me of people (especially parents) who work so hard to provide for their families to give them a better life, but this distances them from the people they love. So bittersweet yet so real. Like the song!

“I have a feeling that once you live through something like this, you become a little bit invincible.”

- Gayle Forman, If I Stay

The quote belongs on a mug or a poster or something! It's a more uplifting quote, and I think the song fits it well ("wings", you know).

“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.” 
or in Spanish (which is gorgeous), 
Morir es f├ícil. Lo duro es vivir.”

- Gayle Forman, If I Stay

Living really IS hard. Giving up (which, in this case, is dying), can seem like a much better option sometimes. This quote seems tragic, but it's also a motivational one.

"Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it.” 

- Gayle Forman, If I Stay

This quote is so sweet! Never give up on long, no matter how hopeless or broken everything seems. 

(This post probably tells you something about the type of music I like.) :D

Check out some of Forman's books!



(Click on the covers for Goodreads information!)

The Giveaway:

5 winners will receive a complete set of Gayle Forman paperbacks. Ends 02/15. USA only.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Swoon Thursday (#158): Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton!

I yanked Jin back toward me. My knuckles skimmed over the edges of the sun tattooed over his heart. That was the last thing I noticed before I kissed him.

His jaw tensed in surprise for a moment; his hand gripped my arm hard enough to hurt. And then his body was flush against mine, pushing my back against the wall of the train.

I was a desert girl. I thought I knew heat.

I was wrong.

The contact sent a rush through me so sudden, I started to pull away before I caught fire. But Jin trapped my face in his hands. There was no nowhere to run to. Nowhere to go.

Nowhere I wanted to go. 

- ARC, pages 113-114

I ADORED THIS BOOK! Five stars from me - you need to read this one!