Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Dance by Alison G. Bailey

The Dance
Alison G. Bailey
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Expected May 11, 2016

The Dance is the story of what happens after the happily ever. 

Bryson Walker stumbled heart first into the steady rhythm of her life, never questioning whether other possibilities existed. She had been Will’s girl since their junior year in high school, followed him to college, and married him soon after graduation. 

In every respect, they were a loving and successful couple, until a series of missteps shattered all of Bryson’s truths. Maybe their life was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. A performance that was never based in reality.

Hart was barely an acquaintance. He and Bryson shared one brief moment during senior prom, full of friction and heat that ignited a spark. But that night Bryson walked away and Hart let her go. 

Years later, twisted fate brings Bryson and Hart together again, causing her to wonder if this is her second chance at once in a lifetime.

Photographer:  Abigail Marie, Non Pa'Reil Photography
Cover Design: Murphy Hopkins, Indie Solutions

I want to welcome you to the not so fictional world of The Dance. Where life’s never as it seems. Where commonplace collides with the unexpected. Where happiness and unhappiness are very much intertwined. Where social class defines one’s fate. Where love and hate is an intricate labyrinth. 

A world where you can never go back in time, only forward. A world where sh*t happens, good and bad. Yes, there is a more politically correct way of stating that but then again, when is life ever politically correct. You and I both know reality never plays by a certain set of rules. It likes to remind us often that it absolutely cannot always be wrapped up in pretty little bows. Instead, reality teaches us how to survive within this crazy roller coaster ride full of twists and turns. An expedition consisting of miracles and tragedies, life and death, love and hate, success and failure, etc. 

The Dance is the epitome of the above. A soul searching story about affection, indifference, compassion, regret, and second chances. Will, Bryson, and Hart are stunning characters, rich with development and personality. Their chemistry, emotion, and connection vivid and palpable. Their weaknesses and growth written with such precision and care. Each individual touching my heart in a myriad of different ways—even Will. The feels going bone deep. 

The journey through the dark, beautifully unique and poignant. The journey towards the light, raw and emotionally striking. In a triangle where drama could have been overdosed at any given time kept pertinent to each scene, concrete, and believable. A perfect mixture of lightheartedness and heartache. Not to mention, Alison Bailey has proven yet again she isn’t afraid to color outside the lines, tackling subject matters that make the reader think, even if it means pissing off some readers.

If you love reading books where you most definitely won’t walk away unaffected than I highly recommend this second chance romance.

Thank you, Alison G. Bailey, for the complimentary copy of The Dance.
Sometimes you get what you think is the fairy tale, but reality does not turn out that way. Real life has challenges and trials that can be hard to face. People change. And sometimes things are not always what they seem. And it is easy to become what the other person wants versus exploring your own needs.

Bryson and Will were high school sweethearts. One night at a dance, Bryson shared a moment with Hart and had an opportunity that could have changed the course of her life, but she stayed on the same path with Will. They built a life but faced unexpected challenges that tested them.

Ten years down the road, when Hart reenters her life, a rapport develops and turns into a much needed friendship. She begins to feel respected, challenged, supported, and  to gain confidence. But their underlying attraction also brings complications. Bryon is stuck in between wanting to move forward with her life, but also being pulled back.

I adored Hart. He was sweet, sexy, funny, bossy, and seriously just made me smile. He was strong and a fighter, and overcame obstacles. His support and tenderness toward Bryson was something she truly needed. But he had his own issues and personal flaws holding him back that made him an enigma at times especially in the beginning.

Bryson was sweet and used to being taken for granted. She had lost herself. But we gradually see her grow and build confidence as Hart challenges her and believes in her.  But Hart is not a man who believes in happy-ever-after. He can only offer the present. And Bryson has her own problems adding complications. Exploring anything with Hart definitely means operating without her usual safety net.

They have struggles to deal with in regards to what they can handle and need. And even once they figure it out, life keeps throwing them curve balls. They both had to be vulnerable, honest, gain trust, and face demons to even begin to overcome fears.

Hart was a unique swoonworthy hero. He was protective and loving. He had his own issues and demons, but he had such a good heart. Bryson was a little hard to take at times especially in the beginning, but I enjoyed seeing her insecurities and fears give way to more personal growth and empowerment. Her kind, giving spirit really shined at times. I really loved them together...they were fun, flirty, and had great chemistry.

The side characters added drama and humor. Will was as source of drama the whole book, but in varying ways. But his influence definitely shaped Bryson during the various stages of their lives. Her best friend Sophie was so much fun, and his friends Colin, Ronnie and Doug were a great group. The friends added comic relief when needed and a good support system.

I'll be honest. I was not sure what to really expect with this story. And it was much more than I could anticipated. There were some hard topics and challenges. There was definite angst. There were surprises and twists. It brought out various emotions.

It's about empowerment, finding fulfillment, following your dreams and reaching out to grab happiness when you can. Sometimes timing is everything. Faith, support, love, friendship, and trust are powerful tools that can aid in healing and providing hope. It highlights the need to be understanding, kind, and compassionate. Bryson and Hart's lives did not go as planned, but despite their crooked paths, they found each other again.  Every choice has a consequence, but sometimes the alternative path ends up right where it is supposed to.

This book takes you on a journey. It is a long one spanning over a decade with many ups and downs. The subject matter can be serious and difficult, but it also has humor, romance, and sweetness. It is a true love story about multi-faceted characters that evolve throughout the story. It was poignant, heartfelt and well written. Alison really painted pictures of the scenes in her writing that brought the reader right into them. And the characters had strong dynamic personalities, conflicts, and chemistry. She is not afraid to take on uncomfortable topics and does not sugar coat issues. All of this combined created a story with a long lasting impact.

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

Bryson had a lot of learning about herself to do in this book, both in what she was capable of and what she wanted from life. As a high schooler, she met and fell in love with Will. The storybook tale of their romance stood, despite a moment at their senior prom where Bryson faced a possible change to her story, one that would lead to a bad boy rather than her sweet prince. But she wanted the prince and thought she had found him in Will.

Years passed before she ran into that bad boy again, and things had changed for both of them in the meantime. They develop a friendship that fills a gap in both of their lives. Bryson needs an ear and finds it in Hart’s solid presence. But it can’t be easy when your fairytale isn’t as perfect as it looks from the outside, and Bryson struggles with what she wants and needs.

Hart was the bad boy with a heart of gold. I liked him from the moment he spoke at prom, though I didn’t understand his reaction after prom until much later. His own struggles and the way he calmly handles (most of) the challenges that jump out to derail him made me love him even more.

There were times I wanted this story to go a different direction. I struggled with the pacing because I couldn’t stand Will and the way he treated Bryson, even in the beginning. Bryson’s relationship with Will throughout most of the book was a point of frustration for me. It brought so much angst to the story, but it also needed to be that way based on who they were to each other.

When I reached the end, I realized it didn’t matter if the timeline fit what *I* wanted for these characters, it fit for them. There were so many factors involved in Bryson’s decisions that I couldn’t help but feel conflicted as I watched her struggles.

I still would say that the beginning and parts of the end went on longer than I think was necessary. This was a story filled with ups and downs, much like real life. It is unconventional in the treatment of the hero and heroine, but this is one of those hold-on-and-follow types of stories. I wish things could have worked out easier for Bryson and Hart, but overall their story was a great journey.

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

The Dance
I stood in front of the glass wall, mesmerized. The fake sunlight shimmered down through the water, bouncing off the yellow, green, and pink coral. The blue glow of the tank gave the dimly lit nook a mystical dreamy feel.
The prom committee had pulled off an epic feat this year. Instead of having the dance in our gross school gym it was being held at the new state-of-the-art aquarium downtown. Once the student committee agreed, Megan Sims, head cheerleader and overly developed youth, was given the task of presenting the new location idea to the faculty advisor, Mr. Hall. During the meeting, as Megan waxed poetic about riding the waves of hope out into the ocean of the future, she hoisted her massive boobs up to meet Mr. Hall’s sightline. Three seconds into Megan’s spiel the dude was so titnotized that he would have offered up his first born in order to pay the rental fee.
At first, I had my doubts about spending my final prom at the aquarium. The fishy décor didn’t exactly scream romance, but I had to admit, it was pretty cool. The dance was in Ballroom A, which opened up onto a huge deck facing the Charleston harbor. Inside three giant purple octopus chandeliers hung down from the ceiling, casting cool shadows on the walls covered in varying shades of blue. Big white coral sculptures were at the four corners of the room. Tables draped in white linen with candles and seashell centerpieces outlined the room, leaving a huge space in the middle for dancing.

Alison G. Bailey

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I was born and raised in Charleston, SC. I attended Winthrop University and graduated with a major in Theater. While at school I began writing one-act plays, which I later produced. My 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. My 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. My fourth novel, Stop!, released in June 2015, becoming a bestseller in YA/Teen category.
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