Sweet Liar ~ Release Day & Review

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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.

Goodreads * Amazon

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

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Like Candy Tour, Review & Giveaway

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Like Candy

Title: Like Candy

Series: Candy #1

Author: Debra Doxer

Publication Date: July 28, 2015

Genre: YA Mystery/Romance

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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.

Goodreads * Amazon

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.

Giveaway (INTL)

balloons free

•$50 Amazon gift card and an ecopy of Like Candy

Enter Rafflecopter HERE!!!

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About the Author ~ Debra Doxer

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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.

Blog * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter

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Happy Reading,

Alison

ARC Review ~ Never Always Sometimes

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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 ~ Eleanor & Park

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Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date: Feb. 26, 2013

Genre: Mature YA Romance/Coming of Age

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Goodreads * Amazon

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

I LOVED this book. Loved it. It was everything real and deep and intense that exists when two teens fall in love. Then add in the fact that they totally didn’t even want to fall just made it all the better. Then throw in that they’re two misfits, not the typical heroes and heroines of your modern day romances. What can I say? It was just awesome!

My only complaint would be that I wanted MORE. LOTS MORE! It was just so beautiful and so ugly all wrapped into one.

Mostly it was the extremely slow paced falling for each other that sucked me in. The intensity in just a single touch that pulled me in – a touch as simple as one hand to another. The FEELS were just simply wonderful! I don’t know what took me sooo long to finally read a Rainbow Rowell book, but I’m so incredibly glad that I finally did!

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Slammed by Coleen Hoover

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Title: Slammed

Series: Slammed #1

Author: Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: January 5, 2012

Genre: Contemporary YA/NA Romance

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Goodreads * Amazon

So, I’ve read every single book out there that Colleen Hoover has written, except her first Slammed series. BUT, I’m rectifying that now with my very own personally autographed series!

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

It’s kind of weird reading her first book last. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, I did expect the typical CoHo, but I know first books can sometimes be a little off while authors are finding their groove. And, after reading the first little bit, I thought I was in for that, but then, oh, she grabbed me. She reached right out of the pages, grabbed me by my shirt collar, and yanked me right inside!

I’m talking one plot twist after another. Joy. Pain. Will. Did I mention Will? He SLAMMED me! He owned me with his first poetic words. I mean, all of a sudden I am LOVING POETRY! Seriously! I’m making the crap up in my head, staring at the back of my eyelids when I should be in bed! She’s inspiring! You can’t read these words without the urge to go write.

As is typical with all of Colleen’s books, you’ll fall for all of the characters. She always does such an amazing job at developing all of her minor characters.
You’ll love Lake. She struggles, but you’ll completely understand. Your heart will break for her. And Will. Did I mention Will? Yeah, well, he’s
AMAZING!

There really isn’t much more that needs to be said. As I’ve mentioned previously, CoHo doesn’t need good reviews. Her name speaks for itself!

P.S. I’m already reading Point of Retreat, so expect a review soon. I mean I did devour Slammed in just one evening!

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 ~ Reluctant Guardian

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Title: Reluctant Guardian

Author: Melissa J. Cunningham

Publication Date: September 20, 2013

Genre: YA Paranormal

Guarding Brecken Shaefer-a dark and dangerous rebel-is harder than it looks. Death was nothing like sixteen-year-old Alisa Callahan thought it would be. Resting on pink, fluffy clouds for eternity with her gram and best friend sounded like a dream come true. After all, enduring one torturous experience after another in her short life deserved some kind of reward, right? Unfortunately, eternal rewards aren’t given out so freely when you take your own life. Required to pay the debt for committing suicide, Alisa must become a guardian. It sounds easy enough, but not when the boy she is forced to protect has a dangerous secret and wants absolutely nothing to do with her. Brecken Shaefer isn’t any normal teenager. He has special gifts that are sure to make Alisa’s afterlife miserable. When feelings develop between them, everything spins out of control. Not only must Alisa face her own demons- but to protect Brecken, she must face an evil so heinous that it threatens to destroy their souls completely. Alisa is tired of hiding from her past. When the easiest thing to do is run, can Brecken give her the strength to stay?

Goodreads * Amazon

My ***3.5*** Star Review

High points ~ There’s a lot of mystery to the story. I enjoyed getting both POVs. It’s unpredictable.

Alisa has a lot of growing up to do. She’s weak, a liar, and has zero respect for authority. She doesn’t recognize a good thing when it’s staring her in the face. She’s very immature. This is typical for some teens, but definitely not all. I didn’t feel like I could relate to her. She made decisions that would totally contradict what I would have done.

Brecken is in a situation that leaves him feeling hopeless. He’s very mature, though. I liked him from the start. However, there is a point in the story where he starts acting immature all of a sudden, and it just didn’t fit his character. Alisa is supposed to be his guardian and help him. The good thing is that she’s not just helping him. He’s helping her! In the process of this, they start falling for each other. I found myself questioning this over and over. He’s alive. She’s dead. I’m sure there could be a context in which I would buy this scenario, but I struggled with it in this story. But, I also had an issue with the fact that Brecken loved Alisa when he seemed so obsessed with his girlfriend Jill. He would say he had feelings for Alisa, but his actions pointed towards Jill.

At one point there’s a switch from third person to first person in the middle of a scene. It threw me off for a minute. But, overall I think the idea of the story is great. I think the execution just needed some tweaking. There is a good message in the end to be learned. But, I would have loved to see Alisa grow more in her maturity.

The ending is interesting. You will find closure in one sense and in another, feel like it’s ending on a cliffhanger. Despite the problems with the book, I’d still read a follow up story to Brecken and Alisa.

Warning: There are some dark parts to the story dealing with satanic rituals and sacrifices.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Half-Life Blitz Tour, Review & Giveaway

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Title: Half-Life

Author: Tina Ferraro

Publisher: Leap Books

Expected Publication Date: March 24, 2015

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Half a life is not worth living.

Probably not a good idea to take advice from your dead twin sister. High school sophomore Trisha Traynor and friends have played the Halloween mirror game for years, the one that’s supposed to show a glimpse of the guy they’ll marry. But no one’s ever seen anything.

Until tonight—when Trisha is gob smacked by the candlelit arrival of her long-deceased twin sister, instead of her crush, Kirk Maxwell.

In a voice and vision that only Trisha can hear and see, Chessie claims to be back on a compassionate journey. Trisha fears she’s gone nuthouse crazy. But she nonetheless follows the instructions Chessie outlines in their nightly conversations, until she finds herself stepping across some ethical lines, and probably ending all chances with Kirk.

When a sisterly showdown ensues, resulting in the shattering of the mirror, Chessie’s gone again, and a heartsick Trisha sets about righting her recent wrongs. That is, until she stumbles upon the real reason Chessie had come back and the most important glimpse yet that the mirror could never predict.

Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Leap

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“How soon,” Chadwick asked, “is too soon to tell you I love you?”
Every muscle in my body froze. Three days ago we’d hardly known each other. Since then we’d had a few conversations and one kiss. It wasn’t like we’d been struck by some love-at-first-sight thunderbolt from the heavens.
Heavens. Oh, Heaven!
No, Chessie…no. You swore you couldn’t get inside people’s heads, control people’s feelings..

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

This book starts out with a really interesting opening scene, and kept my attention from that point on. Trisha participates in a little ritual on Halloween that results in a visit from her deceased twin sister, Chessie. Chessie, has a mission, but she’s not really sharing it with Trisha. However, Chessie does share some very specific tasks with Trisha that she must complete.

This story has a very young YA feel to it. Trisha is still quite immature and in need of some growing up. She’s not completely ditzy, though, and when it matters most she makes the right decisions.

Apart from the slight darkness of the séance-style ritual that may bother some parents, this is a clean story with some great messages and life lessons that I think most parents would be glad to have their young teens read. Trisha has to face multiple issues typical teens deal with today, including dating issues, drinking, and wanting to be popular. In the end, she sees clearly what really matters.

I give this 4 sweet and innocent stars, and highly recommend it to fans of the lower YA paranormal romance genre.

About the Author ~ Tina Ferraro

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Tina Ferraro been writing since she learned to hold a pencil, and sold upwards of a hundred short stories to national magazines before turning to novels. She is the author of three Random House novels, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, How to Hook a Hottie and Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, which have received distinctions such as the ABA Book Sense Award and two RITA nominations.

Her fourth YA, The Starter Boyfriend, has spent time on Amazon’s Top 100 Lists. She lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband, two cats and whichever of their three young adult children is in town. When not writing, she enjoys playing Facebook Scrabble, swimming, and chasing coyotes out of her neighborhood.

Twitter * Facebook * Website

Others on the Blitz

March 16th

Word to Dreams

A Little Bit of R&R

Twinning for Books

March 17th

Tattered Book Blog

Somewhere Over Yonder

Forever Lost In Other Worlds

March 18th

After the Last Page

Electively Paige

Queekie Girl Reads http://thequeekiegirl.blogspot.sg/

March 19th

Reese’s Reviews

CiCi’s Theories

Girl With Pen

March 20th

Michelle’s Minions

Lindsay and Jane’s Views and Reviews

Good Reads with Ronna

March 23rd

Jessica Bayliss

Ali’s Books

Emma Michaels

Giveaway Time!!!

Prize ~ $10 Amazon GC!

Rafflecopter Giveaway ~ Click HERE to enter!

Happy Reading,

Alison