Monday, June 30, 2014

The Wager (The Bet #2) by Rachel Van Dyken: Paperback Pre-Release Launch w/ Excerpt, Review & Giveaway


Lose a bet, lose your heart...

What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they've been thrown together in a wedding party. It's awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she'd always hoped he could be.

If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend's other best friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn't forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake's already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake's falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . .

Releases in Paperback on July 1st

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JAKE PACED IN front of the door. Char had texted and said she’d stop by around noon. It was officially five minutes past. Where was she? He needed to find a way to get back his job and his manhood, preferably in reverse order.

The morning had started off normally enough, with Grandma doing her damn yoga and then demanding he drop her off at her bridge group. But even when Grandma asked for one thing, it was never just one thing. No, she’d demand you do something else, fail to give an explanation, and then look at you like you were an idiot if you asked why.

He felt like a kid again, like he had the time Grandma caught him stealing M&M’s from the convenience store and then bought him a five-pound bag and demanded he sit and eat the entire bag in front of her.

Her reasoning was that it would keep him from stealing again. Because if she ever caught him with sticky fingers, he’d either have to consume said object or wear it around the house.

In high school it had happened again with beer. She’d given him a six-pack and told him to chug until he got sick. It took him three before he was puking. Naturally, Grandma had finished the rest of the pack.

Suffice it to say, it was always wiser to agree with the woman than to tempt fate. So he drove her around town, played the nice grandson, and then prayed to God she would finally hire him back so he could stop playing chauffeur and wedding planner.

Good God, he was going to turn into a woman waiting for that damn irritating girl.

The doorbell rang.

He ran to it. Then stopped and took a few deep breaths. Yup, definitely turning into a woman. He was acting like this was a first date or something! It was Char! Char! He had to repeat her name several times out loud before he was able to finally pull the door open.

Her smile lit up his dark mood, and suddenly he remembered all over again why he stayed away from girls like her.

They were trouble.

They promised you pleasure and in the end wanted commitment, something any guy would run from—especially a guy like him. He didn’t deserve anything like it—he wasn’t that much of an ass to not know that a girl like Char, well, she deserved one of the good ones.

Not him. Definitely not him.

Her eyes lit up when he smiled.

Shit. He was going to have to stop flirting with her. She was going to get the wrong idea, and he was going to lose his mind if he had to partner up with her for the entire wedding week, wondering if she was just waiting for the right time to pull a knife on him.

“Come in.” He opened the door wider and fought hard not to stare at her backside as she walked past him and her heels clicked against the marble floors. Clearly she’d been at work. She was wearing a tight pencil skirt, white blouse, and red heels.

Poor choice.

Because now he was thinking about Grandma and her stupid airport story and…

“Jake?” Char’s soft voice brought him back to the present. “Did you hear anything I just said?”

“No.” He laughed awkwardly. “I was, um, just admiring your shoes.”

“My shoes?” Her eyebrows arched in amusement. “You have a thing for heels?”

“On you?” He nodded. “I think I just might.”

Shit, there he went again. What was wrong with him? It was like second nature with Char, as if he couldn’t help but be drawn to her. His body involuntarily moved toward her. Was it her eyes? Her hair? A little voice, one he hadn’t listened to in a long time, told him no. It wasn’t physical; it was something completely different, something foreign. Something he really didn’t want to think about or dwell on too much, because then he’d have to admit to actually having a heart, which meant only one thing… Eventually it would break, only this time he wouldn’t have anything to fall back on, just air and nothingness.

About the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

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Review by Yvette:

Rachel Van Dyken’s The Bet will always have a special place in my heart, not just because it was the first book I reviewed for my blog, but because the complicated love triangle between the Titus brothers and their childhood friend, Kacey, is one of the funniest, sweetest, and most heartwarming stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. In The Wager, Jake Titus gets to redeem himself from his previous womanizing ways when he comes in close contact with childhood friend and former fling, Char Lynn. Sparks fly between Jake and Char, and there is never a dull moment throughout the story as they get swept up in the never-ending chaos courtesy of good ole Grandma Nadine.

Rachel Van Dyken uses a multi-narrator format in The Wager, which I loved because it allows readers to connect with four different protagonists and to follow their separate storylines to completion. While The Wager is in large part the story of Jake and Char, former protagonists, Travis and Kacey, also contribute to the narrative. The stories of the two couples seamlessly interweave with each other, bringing a double dose of romance, joy and laughter to the book.

Much like with Travis and Kacey, the chemistry between Jake and Char is so potent that it erupts in spontaneous bouts of passion, which take form in either heated arguments or steamy kisses... and sometimes both. The atmosphere surrounding the couple is equal parts playful and hostile, with their shared history offering ammunition for their incessant verbal clashes. Aside from wanting to kick Jake in the nuts every so often, I genuinely enjoyed his and Char’s witty banter.

While all the characters are immensely entertaining in their own right, Grandma Nadine is the heart of The Wager, providing numerous opportunities for hilarity and shock value. Much like in The Bet, she is back to her scheming ways, stealing each scene she’s in with her eccentric and elaborate attempt at matchmaking. I’m not sure how many different types of laughter there are (giggling, chuckling, guffawing, etc.), but I’m fairly certain I experienced them all by the end of the book.

Rachel Van Dyken consistently creates incredibly likable characters with underdog characteristics, which makes it easy to sympathize with them and to root for them to have a happy ending. The Wager is a light, yet emotional read which I easily finished in one sitting. The story and its characters captured my interest with the book world’s most adorable prologue (or maybe tied for the honor with The Bet), and didn’t release my attention until the last page of the epilogue, which is largely devoted to setting up the third book in the series.

Rating: 5 Stars

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Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1) by J. Daniels: Release Blitz & Giveaway


When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there's only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?

Click to Buy Books by J. Daniels on Amazon:

About the Author:

J. Daniels was born and raised in Maryland.

After putting her kids to bed, she escapes into her cheeky world where some of her characters kiss, and some of them do a lot more than kiss.

She is an avid reader and enjoys everything from unconventional romance to fantasy novels.

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Teaching Roman (Good Girls Don't #2) by Gennifer Albin: Release Day Launch


Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective. So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.

Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year. When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.

Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallarta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.

But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.

 Click to Buy the Good Girls Don't Series on Amazon:

About the Author:

Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. A recovering academic, she turned to writing her own books. In her free time she sits on the National Novel Writing Month Advisory Board, laughs (and cries) with her mom writers group, and watches too much Doctor Who (if that's possible). Gennifer lives in Poulsbo Washington with her family.

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The Saint (The Original Sinners #5) by Tiffany Reisz: ARC Review


Before she became Manhattan's most famous dominatrix, Nora Sutherlin was merely a girl called Eleanor…

Rebellious, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Marcus Stearns—Søren to her and only her—and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Eleanor is consumed—yet even she knows being in love with a priest can't be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. When she vows to repay him with complete obedience, a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets that will change everything.

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.

Click to Buy The Original Sinners Series on Amazon:

About the Author:

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the highly acclaimed series The Original Sinners. Her first novel, THE SIREN, won the RT Editor's Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012. Slightly shameless, Tiffany dropped out of a conservative Southern seminary in order to pursue a career as a writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend, author Andrew Shaffer.

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Review by Michelle:

Being so awestruck, consumed, affected, and filled with such complete and total reverence for a book, a series, and an author that you are rendered speechless is far from a bad thing. Having to then somehow put such profound and overwhelming feelings into words in an attempt to convey just how riveting, emotive, laudable and flawless a book is, now that's the kicker. I'm not sure that I can ever do The Saint by Tiffany Reisz justice with words that no matter how strong, how imposing, how gushing seem inadequate and superficial. Suffice it to say that it just doesn't get much better than this. The Saint is pure perfection. From beginning to end I hung on every word, savored every moment, and relished every experience.

As a devoted fan of The Original Sinners series I have been on pins and needles waiting for this story to clear things up, put the pieces together, and gain some perspective into an extremely mysterious and enigmatic man. But this, this masterpiece blew me away. So clever, witty, intelligent, thought-provoking, and stimulating. Simply put, brilliant. The Saint is certainly one of my favorite books of the year. I would even go so far as to call it one of my favorite books ever and, as much as it pains me to choose, I am forced to declare The Saint my absolute favorite of the far at least.

We know without a doubt that Nora is incontrovertibly, wholeheartedly in love with Soren. There is even enough evidence to recognize, no matter what your opinion of Soren, that he loves Nora as well. The problem is, he was always so guarded and easily misunderstood that it is often difficult to like him and close to impossible to side with him. In this story we see a whole different side of Soren in which we are finally exposed to the true depth of love he has for Eleanor and have the opportunity to witness him not only fall hard and fast for her, sacrifice for her, introduce her to his lifestyle, open up to her, train and mold her, but also to watch him express these feelings. An expression that is sometimes in the traditional, customary ways we are all familiar with and sometimes in his own distinct and particular ways. I wasn't always Soren's biggest fan. A big turning point for me was actually during The Mistress as I became more and more intrigued by this man, more attracted to him, and eventually downright infatuated with him. The Saint pushed me over the edge between attachment and aversion that I was so precariously balanced upon. I became so enamored, so enthralled, so firmly on board with Soren that I was often anxious, disconcerted, and dismayed by the decisions Nora made and the feelings she was developing which seemed to be leading her in the opposite direction of her priest.

We also all know from past experience that these books are H-O-T. There is no two ways about it. They are sexy and sensual, titillating and tempting, exciting and arousing. The Saint is all this and an emotional and arresting love story. This was by far the most moving, heartwarming, and sentimental of the series. Although I knew this would be the story of Nora and Soren's beginning, I still never expected to feel so many extreme, earnest emotions so viscerally. It stole my breath and made my heart soar more times than I could count. I fully expected this story to be anything but your typical run of the mill romance and it certainly proved to be unconventional and one of a kind, yet it was still wondrously beautiful and surprisingly tender.

The thing is, we all think we know the whole story by now. How could we not after four previous books? But as is characteristic of Tiffany Reisz, she always has a surprise or two up her sleeve. There are quite a few twists, a couple shocking revelations, and new discoveries abound making The Saint completely unpredictable despite knowing most of the background and making you feel like you are learning every detail of this tale for the very first time.

Everything about The Saint is just plain genius; the way in which the story is recounted, the further exploration of characters that we have come to love and cherish, the playful, witty, evocative dialogue, the insight into a history we already know and the way in which new developments are seamlessly worked into and divulged within the events of the past, the gripping and hypnotic storytelling, EVERYTHING.

The Saint is an impressive and exceptional addition to a remarkable and unforgettable series. It is truly a phenomenal story and it is inconceivable how these books just seem to be getting better and better. Although I am not entirely sure how one out-does perfection, I am sure Tiffany Reisz will find a way.

Rating: 5+ Stars