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.
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.*
Title: Like Candy
Series: Candy #1
Author: Debra Doxer
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genre: YA Mystery/Romance
* * * * *
Revenge is sweet, just like candy.
Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.
Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.
Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.
Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.
My ****4.5**** Star Review
AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! This book will have you pulling out your hair!!! Debra will bring you right off the edge of your seat and then POW! You have to wait until the next book… I’m talking cliffhanger of epic proportions! The kind that make you want to write Debra up, and pray that she’s already written book 2 and stashed it somewhere, and that you’ll be lucky enough to miraculously get your hands on it in the very near future. LIKE NOW!
The whole story is laced in mystery and you slowly get clues dropped as to what’s going on. The chemistry between Jonah and Candy is soooo intense that you at times will feel certain they are destined for each other. But then, you’ll wonder if there’s any possible way. Will familial loyalties get in the way? Or maybe even Candy’s need for revenge, particularly in dealing with her own variety of mean girls.
Candy and Jonah have both had to endure great traumas in their lives, and they’ll have a moment when they think they can make things better for each other. I’m just hoping that ultimately happens, but I’m dreading the wait and the possibility that they might not.
•$50 Amazon gift card and an ecopy of Like Candy
About the Author ~ Debra Doxer
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
Connect with Debra. She loves hearing from readers.
Title: A Date With the Devil
Author: Kira Adams
Publication Date: Contemporary Romance
Genre: May 31, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
Title: The Mason List
Author: S. D. Hendrickson
Publication Date: Jan. 10, 2015
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance