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

* * * * *

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!!!

Tour Schedule

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 ~ Arivaca: Guardians of the Light

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Title: ARIVACA: Guardians of the Light

Author: John Poulsen

Publication Date: Dec. 13, 2014

Genre: YA/NA Sci-fi/Thriller/Adventure/Romance

Jesse Ballard’s life is filled with misfortune. His parents are dead, he’s been convicted of a crime, and a dark secret torments his soul. But when he’s incarcerated on a ranch for troubled teens he discovers his troubles have just begun. A Supreme Power has literally hijacked his life, bringing him to the ranch to make him the guardian of a powerful relic that was hidden away 2600 years ago when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed.

Given superhuman powers, Jesse is suddenly thrust into a strange and perilous world of supernal treasures, killers and demons—battling the dark forces who desperately seek the sacred artifact. Thinking he’s on a one man mission, Jesse is shocked to learn that Cedar Lane, a girl who seriously despises him, may have spiritual gifts essential for keeping the relic safe. Without her help, he’s in jeopardy of losing not just the relic, but his life.

As Jesse unravels this secretive and dangerous world he learns the ups and downs of young love, and both the reward and peril of following his divine call.

Goodreads * Amazon

My ***3 Star*** Review

When first meeting Jesse, I felt sorry for him. I even wondered if it would be possible for him to have a big turn around in the story. But then I learned Jesse had a different side to him that didn’t quite fit with the stoner bad boy stuff. I’m not even sure that a person exists out in the real world like him, so it threw me off a little. Then couple that with the fact that the beginning of the story seemed to drag and the conversations seemed a little unnatural, and I just wasn’t feeling this story in the beginning. Oh, and the minor characters all fell flat.
But, I did slowly start seeing more depth to Jesse, and a slow change began happening in him. That seemed realistic. The book slowly started gaining appeal.
After 30% in it finally grabbed my attention. A good romance began to slowly build along with sexual tension. Exciting and dangerous adventures began taking place. There were some gruesome and violent situations that I think would appeal to male readers.
The ending is slightly cliffhangerish. You get the end of a storyline, but are still left hanging in many ways.

Summation and final thoughts ~ It took a while for this book to grab my attention, but ultimately it did and I would read the next book. I enjoyed the slow change in Jesse’s character and the slow romance building. However, I found it strange to be enjoying some sexual tension in a book about saving God’s relics. I didn’t feel like there was enough significance placed on the actual items Jesse was meant to protect. Ultimately it felt like you could have swapped out God’s relics for anything and made very little changes to the story and it would have still made sense. That might have been because I would have expected a stronger presence from God and/or a heart change in Jesse towards God, but those were nonissues in this story.
*I received a copy via NetGalley and Folded Corners in exchange for an honest review.*

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

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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

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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

Review ~ The Scorch Trials

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Title: The Scorch Trials

Series: The Maze Runner #2

Author: James Dashner

Publication Date: Oct. 12, 2010

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

Goodreads * Amazon

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

The Scorch Trials picks up right where The Maze Runner left off. If you haven’t read The Maze Runner then you probably won’t want to read this review as it will probably contain spoilers.

As I did with the first book, I read this book aloud to both my youngest and middle child. My daughter occasionally gets interested but her excitement often wanes. I think that has to do with her age, though. Now my son, he is all excitement over every chapter. The book is full of action and every chapter ends with something that begs you to turn another page. There are tons of twists and it’s completely unpredictable. We’ve enjoyed coming up with lots of theories along the way.

There are some things concerning Theresa in this book that will leave you questioning everything. People are pit against each other. Not all will survive. Who’s really good? Who’s just playing the game of survival?

This second book ends in a similar fashion to the first and begs you to pick up book 3. To appease my daughter, we’re currently reading a different book for now, but I think as soon as we’re done, we’ll be back to book 3 for our next read aloud. My son & I are really curious how this trilogy will end!

Happy Reading,

Alison