Review ~ November 9

November

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Goodreads * Amazon

*****My 5 Star Review*****

I’m a big time reader. I am always reading. I’m not a big TV watcher and I spend my evenings in a book. I often read from about 8pm till about 2am. I get in other reading during the day, too, as part of my homeschooling my kids. I don’t go anywhere without my kindle. So, the truth of the matter is that I usually have my nose in at least a few books every day.

Now here’s the thing. I finished November 9 Thursday. It’s Monday afternoon and I still haven’t picked up a book. Talk about a book hangover! It’s like I’m stuck!

As usual, Colleen does dialogue so well. Even lacking a great plot, her dialogue would ROCK! Here’s the thing. This plot also rocked. It was really like two major plots all rolled into one, and the first plot was strong enough that if you wiped out the rest of the awesomeness, I still would have given it 5 stars.

I also loved all the bookish talk! It felt like a constant shout out to bookaholics like myself! It was pure awesomeness.

You can expect hilarity. You can expect tears. You can expect an unforgettable story that will stick with you looooong after the last page! HIGHLY recommended to all contemporary romance fans.

Happy Reading,

Alison

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Sweet Liar ~ Release Day & Review

sweet

Sometimes lies are sweeter than the truth.

Beauty is alluring; it can disguise the ugliness beneath. But scarred beauty is even more potent to a girl who vowed never to let her heart be broken again. It was an easy vow for Candy to keep until she met Jonah, an arrogant boy with a face that would be too perfect if not for the scar that marred the skin beside his eye.

That imperfect boy earned her trust and won her heart, but the ties that bind people together are fragile, especially when lies are told. Trust is also fragile, and once broken, doesn’t heal like a heart. Trust has to be earned again, and Jonah desperately wants Candy’s trust back.

But Candy has more than Jonah to worry about. Her father is in trouble, and she intends to help him whether he likes it or not. People tell her he’s a bad man, and that may be true, but he’s not all bad. Deep down, she understands his brand of badness because she’s so much like him.

When Candy finally learns the truth, she’ll have to grow up fast, let go of old grievances, and realize that being vulnerable doesn’t make her weak. In fact, opening herself up may be the very thing that makes her whole again.

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My 4 Strong Stars Review

If you haven’t already read Like Candy, then please go HERE to check out the first book in the series. This review will contain spoilers if you haven’t already read the first book. 🙂 This is such a unique series. There aren’t many YA romantic thrillers out there.

So, I was only 20% in when I encountered my first shocker of the book. The first of several things to come that I didn’t foresee. This story is full of little twists and turns. I got all of the answers I was looking for from book one – What exactly is her father involved in? Is he guilty of a crime? If so, was there a good reason? What is Jonah’s involvement? And his father’s? Yep, but I’m not going to reveal any of those here.

I will say that Candy’s search for these answers will leave you madly flipping pages. There are some very intense, heart-pounding moments in this book. There are some comical moments and sweet moments mixed in, too. The nervous energy is always palpable, though, as you know there’s at least one man out to do Candy harm.

Ultimately, I quite enjoyed this series. I would absolutely read it if Debra decided to write more on it. By the end of the book you will have all the answers you were originally looking for, but you’ll still be left wanting more. Fans of contemporary YA, romance, and crime thrillers will find this a great blend of the three!
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Wrath & the Dawn

wrath

One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Goodreads * Amazon

My *****5 Star***** Mini Review

Oh my gosh. This book. So. Very. Good!!! Oh, Khalid! The weight of the world is upon him, but his heart…I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel. May 2016 will not get here soon enough!

Fans of Aladdin, I can’t imagine you not LOVING this book.
This isn’t an Aladdin retelling, but Aladdin’s story plays a role in the book. A key role in keeping Shahrzad alive. But, that’s only the beginning of the story.

This book can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. If it was on the big screen it might rate a PG-13 for some language (rare) and violence.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ A Date With the Devil

A Date of the Devil

A Date of the Devil

Title: A Date With the Devil

Author: Kira Adams

Publication Date: Contemporary Romance

Genre: May 31, 2015

The Monster.

In one moment, my entire life was ripped away from me. I ignored the warning signs until it was too late. Until I became the victim.

He took my life away from me; my freedom, my courage. I’ve lived my life in debilitating fear since that fateful day.

The Savior.

He was there the day it all went down, and he’s been by my side ever since. He’s been the only thing that’s kept me going.

He’s my best friend, but he wants more. I’m terrified to lose him. I’m terrified he’ll leave.

One tried to kill me.

One brought me back to life.

I’ll never be the same person again–that girl died when the match was dropped. Too much has already been stolen from me.

It’s time to take back what’s mine.

Goodreads * Amazon

My ***3.5*** Star Review

Let me start with my own misconception here. Somehow I thought the “Monster” and the “Savior” were going to be the same guy. I was wrong. I’m not even sure what gave me the idea to think this, except maybe the cliché of it. I’ve been reading lots of stories lately where this would have fit. Anyways. There’s a really bad guy and the good guy.

Let me start with the bad dude. He’s a really, REALLY bad dude. I’m talking crazy. The book starts out giving you a glimpse into extreme domestic violence. It’s ugly. Not for the faint of heart. However, it’s short lived.

Enter good guy, Tyson. Tyson has been there for Bryce since the night of the brutal attack. He becomes the best friend while Bryce recovers. Her attack was so devastatingly brutal, though, that she doesn’t even want to step outside.

This story picks up about a year after the ill-fated night of the attack. You’ll get glimpses of both the past and the present. Some tough issues are dealt with in this story, but ultimately I would call this a love story. It’s a short and quick read that kept me constantly flipping the pages.

So, what did I not like? I’ll warn you that this will be spoilerish, but I’m not sharing how it all wraps up. Up to this point, I’ve really just clarified the synopsis and expounded just a little. Okay. So my yuck with this story is Tyson. In the very beginning I LOVED him. I thought the story was heading to a wonderful best friends to lovers tale. But, not very long after meeting Tyson he decides to lean in for a kiss that is rejected. He pretty much decides to have a hissy fit and avoid her. It’s the whole I can’t be your friend when I’m in love with you. This works in a lot of stories – stories where you’ve been along for the ride a while and you get the passion. Unfortunately you aren’t getting much of the friendship to understand his feelings. Then he rushes to fill her spot, which really had me questioning how much he actually cared for her at all.

Ultimately, I think some will really enjoy the story and others will be like me and find fault in Tyson. I wasn’t in love with this one, but I’d definitely try another Kira Adams story as I enjoyed her writing style and she kept me interested.

Happy Reading,

Alison

ARC Review ~ Never Always Sometimes

never

Title: Never Always Sometimes

Author: Adi Alsaid

Expected Release Date: Aug. 4, 2015

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance/Drama

Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Goodreads * Amazon

My ***3.5*** Star Review

Let me start with saying that I was completely wrong about the direction of this story. It’s for the most part a fast paced read that held my attention. The writing style suited me perfectly, but the direction the story took wasn’t for me.

Julia is your typical teen facing issues of a broken home, but hers is a unique situation. She’s been raised by her two dads that adopted her. They love her and she loves them, but she’s constantly trying to gain the attention of her birth mother who remains just out of reach for her. Most of her life choices stem from trying to gain her mother’s attention.

Then there’s Dave. Dave’s also from a broken home of sorts. But his is the result of having a deceased mother. In the beginning, his world revolves around being Julia’s friend.

Julia and Dave have relied fully on each other. They don’t need anyone else or their clichés. But, when they decide to try to spend the last couple months of high school doing the cliché thing to do…well, everything changes.

Warning!!! From here on out my review will be spoilerish so I can share exactly what I disliked about the story, but without giving away how it ends. You can email me if the ending matters to you. I know personally I wouldn’t have been dying to read this book if I would have known how it would all turn out. Here goes the spoilers, though. You can expect a triangle. You can expect cheating. You should not expect a perfect love story about two best friends falling in love. There’s no angst. It’s just really quite depressing in many ways.

I’d recommend this to fans of YA drama that don’t care if things all work out in the cliché way. This book is definitely NOT a cliché.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Distance Between Lost and Found

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Title: The Distance Between Lost and Found

Author: Kathryn Holmes

Publication Date: Feb. 17, 2015

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

Goodreads * Amazon

My ****4.5 Star**** Review

This is one of those books that sucks you in with the first line. There’s a good bit of mystery as to Hallie’s story with Luke, the preacher’s son. You feel sorry for her, but then you’ll start questioning everything she does, everything that’s happened. But, the answers slowly start leaking out. Then when Hallie finds herself lost with Jonah and Rachel, everything will eventually come out.

While the kids are lost, there are some pretty scary moments. The drama is intense, but I would still have to say that this story is character driven. The main story always revolves around Hallie coming to terms with her past and a possible reconciliation with her former friend Jonah whose interests may be a bit stronger. Hallie’s new friend Rachel plays a key role in helping Hallie recognize her own faults and role in her current circumstances.

There are lots of discussions throughout the story about God and his existence and role in their lives. The next sentence may be spoilerish to some, but some parents may be concerned about the direction the story takes concerning God, so I’ll share. Ultimately, the author takes no definitive stand one way or another, so readers can draw their own conclusions. You could make plenty of arguments for or against His existence and role in their lives, and quite frankly I think this book can make for some awesome discussions between teens and their parents – not just concerning God, either. There are lots of issues and blurred lines in this story that can make for some great teaching and mentoring points. I highly recommend this book for teens and parents looking for books that inspire great discussions and debates.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Sin Eater’s Daughter

sin

Title: The Sin Eater’s Daughter

Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1

Author: Melinda Salisbury

Publication Date: March 1, 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

Goodreads * Amazon

My ****4 Star**** Review

So I wasn’t crazy about Twylla when she was first introduced, but I still found myself intrigued with where the story was going. I felt hopeful for a redemption of her character. I did slowly get that, although it takes quite a while before she seems to start thinking for herself. My very slow to come liking of her was one of my downsides to this story.
It was the introduction of Prince Merek, and Twylla’s guard, Lief that made things interesting. If you’re into love triangles, then this book might just be for you. Twylla is betrothed to Prince Merek. This is an arranged marriage and the two hardly know each other. Merek seems to have some opinions that differ from his stiff and vicious mother, but Twylla isn’t sure that she can trust him. Is he sincere or is he trying to set her up?
Then there’s Lief. Lief slowly starts to open Twylla’s eyes to the truth around her. She has a hard time not developing feelings for Lief in the process.
There are some serious twists and turns in this story. There’s more than one whopper that will be dropped on you. The twisted character of the queen will truly astound you! But, evil could be lurking behind the warm eyes of anyone.
The end will leave you gasping and wanting more!
So, overall, I enjoyed this on a whole. I’d recommend this to those that like YA fantasy with some romance blended in.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Dreamfire by Kit Alloway

dreamfire

Title: Dreamfire

Author: Kit Alloway

Publication Date: Feb. 24, 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy

Joshlyn Weaver has always lived with a big secret. Ordinary kids spend their free time going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and searching on the internet.

But for her, an evening at home usually means entering people’s dreams. For many generations, her family has been part of a very powerful and very secretive society of dream walkers. Tasked with the responsibility of lowering the world’s general anxiety — which only leads to war and strife in the waking world — their job has always been to stop nightmares before they go too far.
By stopping nightmares while sleeping, they help to stop nightmares in real life.

But when an ancient feud within the dream walker society resurfaces right when a seemingly unconnected series of very strange and very scary events start occurring during her dream walks, Josh finds herself in a race against time. The one true dream walker has never been known. Could she be the one?

Goodreads * Amazon

My ****4 Star**** Review

It was the uniqueness of this story that grabbed me the most. I enjoyed the fantasy elements and unpredictableness of them.

This book has a young YA feel to me. The characters are interesting but not extremely complex. Josh’s emotions seem to be all over the place. She can be very fickle. I think I would have enjoyed this book better if she would have been a little bit more mature. It became annoying that she was always saying one thing and then doing another. She’s supposedly falling for a boy, but with her reactions and thoughts all over the place, I didn’t feel it as strongly as a typical YA romance. So, I wouldn’t even really classify this as romantic, as it was the plot and fantasy elements that really drove this story for me.

It didn’t suck me in immediately, but it was always intriguing enough to make me want to keep turning the pages. There were some high intensity moments and plenty of mystery. There were times that I felt like I was begging for answers, and it really added to the story for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I just think that if Josh would have acted just a little bit more mature – adding to the romance side, I would have not liked this story, but loved it. I will warn you that you’re going to get a crazy whack ending!

Happy Reading,

Alison