Release Launch/Reviews/Giveaway: Stop! Alison G. Bailey

Alison G. Bailey
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Expected June 25, 2015

Every life has a different path full of sharp turns, smooth curves, and steep drop offs.
Hollis Murphy has a plan—college, career, boyfriend, love, marriage, family. A predictable, normal life. She’s on track until an outside force causes her to crash and burn. They call it an accident, because that’s the only word they know to explain what happens to her. It helps everyone move on with their lives, except for Hollis. She holds on to the belief that she’s been targeted for a reason.

Risher Stevenson is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the hottest boy Hollis has ever laid eyes on. He fits perfectly into her original plan for a normal life. Everyone loves him.

Benton Daniels is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the bravest boy Hollis has ever met. He doesn’t fit into her life but gives it purpose and makes it extraordinary. Everyone hates him.
One is bullied. One is tormented. All are judged. How will it STOP?

Click here to listen to the Stop! playlist
“Name?” she said, impatiently.
I was so flustered that for a second I’d forgotten who I was. “Hollis Murphy.”
She scribbled something on a spreadsheet and handed me a packet with my name and the number two hundred ten typed out on the front sticker, which I assumed was my room number.
In a flat bored voice, she said, “Everything you need to know is in the packet. Should you have any additional questions or needs after reading the information, please ask your RA. Have a productive semester. Next!”
Clutching the envelope to my chest, my gaze shifted back down, and I walked quickly out of the office.
As I turned the corner, a loud deep woot! jerked my attention down the hall. I took one step before crashing full force into something solid and warm. Stumbling back, I dropped the envelope. Once my balance returned, my eyes focused on a gray T-shirt with cut off sleeves, stretched across broad shoulders. When I glanced down in search of my envelope, I couldn’t help but spot the narrow hips and round ass covered in black basketball shorts. As I squatted to pick up the envelope, a tanned forearm came into view. My gaze roamed up to find the arm was covered in bulging muscles.
“Oh god, I’m so . . . sor…ry,” I stammered, my cheeks heating with embarrassment.
     “Here ya go,” a deep voice said.
Reaching for the envelope, my gaze inadvertently shot up to the warmest green eyes ever created. His dark brown hair was cut short on the sides, longer on top, and tousled. The perfect amount of scuff peppered his strong jawline, with deep dimples framing a sexy lopsided smile. The air was immediately sucked from my lungs. He wasn’t just hot, he was boy band hot.
     A deep chuckle drifted down before I realized he had stood up and was extending his hand to me.
Oh boy! I get to touch him.
I slipped my hand into his and felt an immediate jolt of electricity. The muscles in his arm twitched. He felt it too.
“Thank you,” I said, as he helped me up.
    “I’m Risher Stevenson.”
    He was actually introducing himself to me.
    It had become a habit not to look directly at anyone, especially a stranger. I automatically angled my head down and to the left, to hide the messed-up side of my face. But those green eyes locked me in place. 
    “Hollis Murphy.”
    “Nice to meet you Hollis Murphy.”
    “Sorry again about running into you. I need to do a better job at watching where I’m going.”
    The tip of his tongue slipped between his lips before they formed into a slight smirk. Just as he was about to speak, his name came barreling down the hallway.
    “Rish! Get your ass down here. We’ve got a ton of boxes to haul in.” A blond-haired guy was standing at the end of the hall.
    “I gotta go finish helping my friends move in.”
    I nodded.
    Risher took three steps before turning back toward me. “Don’t do too good of a job.”
    My eyebrows squished together in confusion.
    “At watching where you’re going. I hate to think I won’t get rump bumped again.”
He winked before jogging away.
    I Sasquatched those shoulders, those hips, and that ass all the way down the hall.

Stop! is one of those books that touched me so profoundly, but it's going to be hard to review without spoilers. So forgive this random purge of my thoughts and feelings that will count as my review. 

This book had me feeling so much! It was current, illuminating, thought provoking, infuriating, heartbreaking, intriguing, inspirational, humorous,  romantic, and surprising all at various times.

These characters have some flaws and differences, but have such beautiful hearts and so much to give. They crave acceptance, to be heard, and to be loved for who they are. But at the same time they have such fears, insecurities, and feelings of unworthiness that plague them with doubts of others' intentions. They have learned hard lessons about judgment, intolerance, lack of trust, and cruelty.

This story centers on college student Hollis Murphy whose life changed a year ago. She hides her imperfections as best she can, but has lost some of her spark for life. Risher Stevenson, the handsome, popular, outgoing young man that seems drawn to her and sparks her interest (FYI...I totally fell for Risher). Hollis' quiet, isolated, room mate Abigail. And Benton, a mysterious young man who has also been judged and ridiculed. And to throw in some humor and a bit of craziness there are Hollis' outgoing best friend, Maggie and Risher's outspoken and slightly clueless best friend, Chuck. And there are some definite antagonists that I loathed!

These people and events are a catalyst for change and had a profound effect on each other.  I enjoyed the chemistry and witty rapport between them, the peeling away of layers, and the connections  that were developed. They were thrown together and were diverse, but in many ways were kindred spirits. Their hidden issues were gradually woven into the story and their secrets were revealed as they felt safe enough to share.

This is a story of survival, tolerance, hope, change, and trying to live life. The characters had their own personal growth, but also grew in the larger framework  as they began to form bonds and trust with those around them. But it is not an easy process. There are mistakes, misunderstandings, and situations that were beyond their control. I was enthralled from the beginning and it just kept building as the story developed. As their lives became more intertwined and situations become more intense, I found myself tearing up or crying several times, furious, and completely gutted. I wanted to reach into the story and defend these characters that I became so attached to. But at other times I was smiling swooning, or laughing. But all along I was feeling something and I was completely invested in their relationships and journeys. 

Alison G. Bailey has an engaging writing style that pulls you in and makes you feel. This book is full of layers, depth, twists, and surprises. And it abounds with important  messages that we can all learn from and emulate. The characters are so real and so vulnerable that you just want to reach out and hug them. I was simply left an emotionally drained mess after this book, but it was such a special, poignant, inspiring journey and I cannot recommend it enough. It is one of my top reads of 2015 so far. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 Hollis Murphy has spent the past year avoiding the public eye as much as possible, and when she does go out, it is with thick theater-style makeup covering her scars. But before she had dreamed of college, and it’s time to make that move.

As she tries to know her roommate, the cute guy she ran into at orientation (literally), and the other students on campus, Hollis is both surprised and in awe at the lives of those around her.

I love how this book handled sensitive subjects. It never shies away from making the scene real, but does so without making it a caricature. The potential for a glossed-over or inorganic reaction was there at several points, but the book faced those situations head on and with a truth that both honored the characters, the situations, and the sometimes sticky reality.

Hollis and Risher are so sweet together. He is incredibly thoughtful and sees her, not her scars, in a way that makes her feel comfortable and begin to open up to the world around her. That’s not to say they don’t have challenges, or that Hollis is instantly comfortable in her skin, but I love the way he builds her up and supports her.

Told from Hollis’s point of view for all but a few chapters, I found her to be a great narrator for this story. She has her own trauma to work through, and because of her past she has a sympathy for others also trying to hide that readers could not have felt had the story shifted narrators or been told by any other character.

There are a couple other characters that I can’t find the words to describe without spoilers. I loved Benton. His entire struggle was so emotional and on several occasions brought me to tears with such strong feelings. I hurt for him, even while I loved that he found Hollis. Her roommate’s parents had my hackles up almost from the beginning. And the chain of events that is set off in the second half of the book made for the best plot turn I’ve read in a long time.

I knew going into this book that it would be an emotional ride. I haven’t read a book from Bailey that hasn’t felt that way. But this one takes the cake. It challenged me, it made me think, it made me laugh and cry. The struggles these characters faced put me in Hollis’s shoes, watching Risher and Benton and everyone else around her as if I was living that life. When I finished this book, I wished my daughter was older so that I could let her read this. I wanted to talk to my husband about each one of the characters. I couldn’t let these people go without processing their journey.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She attended Winthrop University and graduated with a major in Theater. While at school Alison began writing one-act plays, which she later produced. Her debut novel, Present Perfect, landed on Amazon's Best Seller List and appeared on many "Best Reads of 2013" Book Blogs. The novel won Best Book at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention Awards. Her second novel, Past Imperfect, was published in February of 2014 and appeared on several best books of 2014 lists as well. Presently Perfect, the third and final book in The “Perfect” series was released in Dec 2014 to rave reviews. In March 2015 all the love, swoon, heat, and angst were combined into the Perfect Series Box Set.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! These reviews left me speechless. Thank you ladies so much for them. :-)


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