Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein

Premeditated A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

My Review:

This book was a gripping story with fascinating characters.  The way Dinah was determined to get revenge was interesting, and it kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.  There were a few scenes in the book that were really sad, and I liked how well written and emotional they were.


Dinah clearly cares for her cousin, and that is the motivation that is really driving all her actions.  Her methods of revenge involve some things that are pretty extreme, and it seems like she really does want to ruin Brooks' life.  At the beginning of the book, it isn't quite clear what he actually did to Claire, but it becomes clearer as the story progresses.  As Dinah kept getting revenge on him, I was really hoping that he was the guy who hurt Claire, because he seemed really nice, and he didn't seem like the type of guy who would do something like that.  I really hoped that Dinah wasn't hurting the wrong guy.  Dinah did many bad things to him.  She set him up to be tested, and get a false positive, for drug use.  She also got him in trouble for speeding.

From the first time we meet Brooks, I really liked him.  I felt conflicted because I didn't think I was supposed to like him since he was the guy who hurt Claire.  He seemed like a sweet guy when they first met.  When Dinah went over to house, I felt bad for Brooks because it clearly was tough for him to live with his dad.  It didn't help his situation with his dad when Dinah switched his college interview so he'd miss them, since his dad was pretty mad about that.  We find out some stuff in the end about what really happened to Claire.  I wish Dinah hadn't been so quick about going after Brooks as revenge, because she really hurt him.

Though Dinah is on the opposite side of the country from her parents, they still have a part in the story.  I really did not like her mom at all.  She said some really insensitive things about Claire, her niece.  When something happened to Claire, she didn't even go tell her own sister that she was sorry for their loss.  She seemed to just have the attitude that Claire had done it to herself.  She didn't seem to mourn for Claire at all, and I thought she was awful.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1) Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. 

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong. 

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

My Review:

The characters and the story told in this book are really interesting and unique.  This story is very contemporary, but then there's a part that isn't quite contemporary that you don't find out about until later in the story.  The relationships and the revenge make the story interesting.  It's a fast-paced read that keeps you turning the pages.


Of the revenge targets in the book, I believe that Lillia's was the least deserving.  Lillia's target was Alex Lind, one of her best friends, and a boy that she thought was in a secret relationship with her younger sister.  I can understand why she was mad when she thought he was with her sister.  Lillia is very protective of her freshman sister, Nadia, and I liked that about her character.  Many of the people that Lillia was friends with were not very people, so I was surprised that she was friends with them, since she seemed like a good person.  The only person in her group who I ended up liking was Alex, which is funny since she was trying to get revenge on him.  I actually think Lillia and Alex would make a cute couple, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen in the next book or not.

Kat is another one of the girls who wants revenge.  Her story intertwines with Lillia's in a few ways.  First of all, she's kind of been in a secret relationship with Alex during the summer.  She clearly really likes him.  In my opinion, Kat is the only thing that is keeping me from completely hoping that Alex and Lillia become a couple.  I would like them together, but not if that hurts Kat.  So I'm pretty torn on who I want Alex to be with.  You might think that she would also direct her revenge at Alex, since, if he was with Nadia, he was also cheating on Kat, but she chooses a different target.  Her target is Rennie, Lillia's current best friend, and Kat's ex-best friend.  Lillia and Kat have been friends too in the past, but, while Lillia simply didn't fight to stay friends for her, Rennie initiated ending the friendship with Kat, and she was mean to Kat as well.  Sometimes I would occasionally like Rennie a little, but only when she with Lillia alone, and there were many times when she did things that made me dislike her.

Mary is the last one in this group, and she has the most heartbreaking story of all of them.  She wants revenge on Reeve.  He is a guy in Lillia's group of friends, and Rennie has a huge crush on him.  Of the three targets of the revenge, he is the most deserving.  I never liked him at all, and he was a complete jerk.  Mary knew him when they were both in middle school, and he gave her the nickname Big Easy because she was heavy.  One of the worst things about Reeve's character was how he wasn't always awful to Mary in her flashbacks.  He would be nice and friendly to her when nobody else that he knew was around.  They were the only people from their school who didn't live on the mainland, so they had to take a ferry to Jar Island every day.  They developed a strange sort of "friendship," but it was never really a friendship.  When anyone else saw them together, Reeve was mean and awful.  I think he deserved what they were doing to him, because he had hurt Mary so much.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

January Wrap-Up

I'm going to start doing wrap-ups at the end of each month.  I'll put the books I read that month, as well as the books I'm planning to try to read during the next month.

This month I read 11 books.  They were:
Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Champion by Marie Lu
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (for school)
Reality Boy by AS King
The F-It List by Julie Halpern
Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone 
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

I liked most of the books that I read this month.  This year, I'm trying to balance the 1st person female POV books I read with more 1st person male POV, and 1st person dual POV with a male and a female so that the number of ones told by a male that I read is closer to equaling the number of books told by a female that I read.  Each month, I will also include the breakdown of gender POV of the 1st person books I read that month.  This month, the only book that wasn't 1st person was Things Fall Apart.

Female POV: 5 books
Male POV: 2 books
Dual Male-Female POV: 3 books
It looks like I did pretty well with reading some more books that have a male POV this month.

Books I Plan on Reading in February (this is subject to change):
Pivot Point by Kasie West (I'm rereading this before Split Second comes out)
Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
The Selection by Kiera Cass
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Split Second by Kasie West (I have this preordered, and I'm so excited for it)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (I want to reread this this month)
Unwind by Neal Shusterman (I've read this before, but I remember little of it, so I'm going to reread it before continuing the series)


Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin, #1) Moshav? What’s a moshav? Is it “shopping mall” in Hebrew? I mean, from what Jessica was telling me, Israeli stores have the latest fashions from Europe. That black dress Jessica has is really awesome. I know I’d be selling out if I go with the Sperm Donor to a mall, but I keep thinking about all the great stuff I could bring back home. 
Unfortunately for 16-year-old Amy Nelson, “moshav” is not Hebrew for “shopping mall.” Not even close. Think goats, not Gucci. 
Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… 
Goodbye pride—hello Israel.
My Review:
I have enjoyed all of  the other books by Simone Elkeles that I have read, so I was excited to start a new series by her.  And this book did not disappoint me.  It was a cute, light, and fun read overall, but it also had some more serious moments.


Amy's character started off as not very likeable, but her character grew a lot over the course of the novel.  She went into Israel with many preconceived notions about how much she was going to hate it there.  She was quite dramatic about some things, like mentioning how Israel is a war zone.  She didn't seem to realize that there were many people not involved in war living there as well.  I liked seeing how she changed as she got to know Safta, her grandmother, who was very kind to her.  I loved how, by the end of the book, she realized how much she really liked that summer.

There was a lot of family stuff going in the novel, and it was interesting to read about.  Before this summer, Amy had only seen her dad, Ron, once a year.  She doesn't really respect him, and she says some pretty bad things to him sometimes.  It was good to see their relationship change throughout the book as they began to care more about each other.  When Amy goes to Israel, she meets her cousin Osnat, though she mishears the name as O'snot, and Amy nicknames her Snotty.  They have a very strained relationship, and they are both mean to each other.  As the novel progresses, the reasons for Snotty being mean to Amy become clearer, and their relationship changes.  And I already mentioned the relationship between Amy and Safta, which I really liked.

There is a romance in this book, and, while the boy was sometimes sweet, he also did some that kept me from completely liking his character.  Before they started dating, Avi was actually quite mean to her.  There was a scene when he was in her bedroom while she was changing, and she didn't see him there, and he didn't say anything to let her know that he was there watching.  I think he should have been respectful and alerted her to his presence.  Ultimately, I'm not sure if I like them as a couple or not.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Releases I'm Most Excited For

February 4th:
Stolen by Erin Bowman - This is a novella to go along with the Taken series.  It tells Bree's story, and she is a very interesting character, so I'd like to learn more about her.
Alienated by Melissa Landers - This sounds like a good alien book.  I really love this cover as well.  I am looking forward to checking this one out.
Something Real by Heather Demetrios - This sounds like an interesting story.  I find it funny that the family's last name is Baker, and they have twelve kids, and the people in Cheaper By the Dozen also have the last name Baker.

Stolen (Taken, #0.5)Alienated (Alienated, #1)Something Real

February 11th:
Split Second by Kasie West - I absolutely loved Pivot Point.  I bought it as soon as it came out, read it right away, and then read it again during the summer.  I want to see what happens next in this series.  Also, this book is going to be the POV of both Addie and Laila.  This is a book that I am really, really excited for.

Split Second (Pivot Point, #2)

February 18th:
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor - This sounds like a sad and touching book about friendship.  I think it will be a really good read.
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White - I loved Mind Games, so I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  This series has one of my favorite sister relationships in books ever.

Maybe One DayPerfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)

February 25th:
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg - Of Eulberg's books, the only one that I have read is Take a Bow, and I really enjoyed it.  This book sounds like an amazing and sweet romance.
Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens - This sounds like an emotional read.  I look forward to reading this one.

Better off FriendsFaking Normal