Cruel Summer by James Dawson

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Title & Author: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Publisher/Year: Indigo/2013

Genres: YA Thriller, YA Mystery

Format: Paperback (U.K. version)

Source: Book Depository

Other Books By Author: Say Her Name, Hollow Pike, Under My Skin, All of the Above,   Love Hurts

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Jane was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

A compelling and psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Cruel Summer has been on my TBR list for about a year now and just a couple of weeks ago I finally got the chance to read it. It proved to be even more of a page turner and was packed with more mystery and thrills than I had been expecting. I loved the alternating points of view between two of the main characters, Ryan and Alisha. It gave two sides/views of what was going on as the two had different ideas about what happened to Janey.

I really liked all of the characters and the end left me in complete and total shock. I constantly changed my mind as to who I thought killed Janey and in the end while I was completely surprised, there was a part of me that was still shocked. I was also taken off guard by who the killer was. In my opinion is was the least likely character but once the reader learns why they are seeking revenge it becomes perfectly clear and all makes sense (the motive). Each character has a different personality but together they all seemed like a fun group of friends.

Cruel Summer was a page turner that I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to them next. The ending wasn’t the one I was hoping for because let’s be honest we all want a happy ending, but it was perfect for the book. Cruel Summer paired with Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas would be one hell of a pair for you to bring along on your summer vacation. Both had similarities to me but different stories and I loved them both. If you have read either Cruel Summer or Dangerous Girls I’d recommend reading the other because they are like two peas in a pod. You can’t like one and not the other. I cannot wait to read James Dawson’s other YA book I have, Say Her Name. Once I do I will post a review for that as well.

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City Love by Susane Colasanti

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Title & Author: City Love by Susane Colasanti

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: So Much Closer, When It Happens, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, Keep Holding On, Take Me There, All I Need, Now and Forever

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

For years I have been reading books by Susane Colasanti and I love all of her books. It is extremely safe to say City Love is no exception and actually by far my favorite out of all of her books. I fell head over heels in love with Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna from the start and only continued to fall in love with the story as I read each page. I was thrilled to find out that City Love is not a standalone novel and can’t wait for the second book to come out. Every chapter is told in a different girl’s point of view, and they each deal with their own love, drama and issues throughout the book. I liked how each girl experienced something different from the others and that they were all different personality wise as well. The book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger for each girl and left me wanting more and wanting to know what was going to happen to Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna.

Sadie, who was also a character in Susane’s book So Much Closer, is back as one of City Love’s main characters. Although she is already a New Yorker and wants to leave home ASAP, she stays in NYC for college and moves into an apartment with two roommates, Darcy and Rosanna. Sadie is such an optimistic and romantic at heart, believing her one true love is just around the next corner. She’s kind and always bubbly and happy especially when she meets a total hottie at her internship who is into all of the same things she is.

Darcy comes from California to New York City for college. She also comes from money and with her dad’s credit card. She is definitely not your typical spoiled rich girl at all. She uses her money often to treat her roommates to dinner and even treats Rosanna to a new wardrobe. She wants the people around her to be as happy she is. This summer is her “free for all” after a nasty break up back in California but when she meets a certain guy who she just can’t get out of her head she may break her own rules.

Rosanna leaves one city for another, Chicago for New York. She comes from a large family and is paying her own way through college through financial aid and loans. When she first gets to New York she didn’t realize how expensive everything would be and soon is left with a whopping seventy three cents in her bank account. Rosanna works at a summer camp to pay for her share of rent and makes friends with a girl named Mica. Rosanna is cautious and seemed a bit shy to me. She is against the “Wall Street type” but when she meets the brother of a co-worker she can’t help but to come back for more.

All three girls are so different and all come from different backgrounds. They each bring so much to the story that I couldn’t imagine City Love without one of them. At the end of the book each of their stories is left with the reading dying to know what is going to happen next and wishing that all three girls will get their happy endings that they all deserve. I cannot wait for the trilogy to be finished and I have a feeling it will be one of my favorites I have read. I strongly recommend City Love if young adult books are your thing, this is one you will not regret.

Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

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Title & Author: Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: The Trouble with Flirting, Epic Fail, The Last Best Kiss

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Claire LaZebnik’s latest twist on a beloved classic asks the age old question: Could the girl who knows everything be wrong about the guy?

As the stepdaughter of a TV star, Ellie Withers has it all: an amazing house in LA, a devoted friend who loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and a burgeoning romance with handsome Aaron Marquand. But Ellie isn’t the kind of person who’s content with simply having it all—the people in her life have to be equally happy. And, of course, she knows exactly what they need.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all. Most surprising, though, is that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

With her signature witty narration and swoon-worthy romance, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story: Jane Austen’s Emma.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Wow. Wrong About the Guy was exactly what I had needed after having some bad luck with books the past couple of weeks. I immediately was sucked into and loving every part of Wrong About the Guy. I flew through this book in a couple of days. It was something light, fun and cute and was very refreshing since I had been hung up on reading young adult thrillers lately. I loved the storyline although it was pretty predictable. I loved all of the main characters and the relationships between them. This was the first book by Claire LaZebnik I read and now I cannot wait to read some of her other young adult books.

I loved the main character, Ellie. She was so easy to relate to. She has just a few close friends she can really trust and she likes to see everyone around her be just as happy, if not happier, than she is. Besides being a bit controlling of situations, she was an extremely likeable character. Her best friend, Hannah, was a good friend to Ellie although a bit immature at times which occasionally got annoying, but understandable. Ellie’s tutor, George, was funny and seemed standoffish at first but I grew to like him throughout the book and was happy what had happened in the end. As for Aaron, I knew from the beginning what was going on. I’m not sure how obvious it was or if I just guessed really well, but he also was extremely arrogant at times and was the character I liked the least in the book.

Wrong About the Guy was overall a five star, amazing book. I cannot wait until it is published so I can go buy myself a copy and read it again. Until then I have plenty of time to read Claire LaZebnik’s other young adult books which I can only imagine are as great as this one. Wrong About the Guy is a book I’d recommend to anyone, especially if you need a break and want to just relax with something light and happy.

Compulsion by Martina Boone

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Title & Author: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse/October 28, 2014

Genres: YA Paranormal, YA Romance

Format: Paperback & eGalley

Source: Around the World ARC Tours & Edelweiss

Other Books by Author: Debut YA Novel

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts On This Book

I was a bit skeptical when I first saw an ARC copy of Compulsion on Edelweiss. I was kind of interested but at the same time I wasn’t too sure about it. I requested it, as well as signed up to read it on a book tour. I am so incredibly I happy did because I absolutely, positively loved Compulsion! It wasn’t what I was expected and was a lot better than I had expected as well. I was sucked into the story and fell in love with the main characters almost instantly.

When the book began, I fell right in love with Watson Island and the plantations. The author does a great job giving you the perfect visual of the island and the homes. If Watson Island was a real place, chances are I would have left the following day to go down there. The island itself along with the location of Barrie’s aunt’s house, Eight’s house, and Barrie’s cousin’s house really set the scene up for the story. It almost seemed magical and too good to be true, which of course we find out is true.

I immediately liked the main character Barrie. Although in the beginning of the book her mother had just passed away, she was never really miserable or sulky. There were some moments when she would hold back when she was around Eight and I wanted to yell at her to stop. As for Eight, where can I find a guy like that around here? He was so caring and sweet and always seemed to be around when Barrie needed his support the most. He is definitely my new fictional book crush. Other characters like Pru, Barrie’s aunt, were great too. Martina Boone did a amazing job describing the characters and making you like the good ones and despise the bad.

The curse and “gifts” that surround the island really drew my interest when I began reading. Barrie has a gift of finding lost things and in the beginning of Compulsion she thinks it’s just something she experiences. Later she learns that her mom and aunt both posses(ed) the same gift as well and Eight and his family have their own gift of reading people’s minds. Unfortunately for Barrie’s uncle and cousins, they were stuck with the curse of wanting what the Watson’s have. The story of the fire carrier and yunwis and how the families came to possess either their gifts or curses really was the icing on the cake. Add in a semi-heated romance along with some family drama and there you have it.

I really enjoyed Compulsion and will be buying a published copy for my bookshelf later this month. The second book of The Heirs of Watson Island is scheduled to be published towards the end of 2015. I am so incredibly anxious for it to come out because I cannot wait to see what happens to these characters next. I would absolutely recommend Compulsion to anyone who enjoys YA fiction. Warning though, you may have a book hangover when you are finished because I certainly did. Also take your time and savor this book! Do not rush through it because taking my time was definitely a very smart choice.

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

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18309670Title/Author: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Publisher/Year:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) – April 28, 2015

Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books from Author: Creed, SILO

My Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

“A girl takes over her twin sister’s identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.”

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy’s shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she’s chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy’s world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy’s life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister’s life.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Just by reading the summary of The Secrets We Keep, my heart broke for the main character, Ella. I could tell that not only would this be an emotional story, but it also seemed very original as well and I definitely love originality. From the minute I began reading, I was just sucked into the story. I loved absolutely everything about it from the plot line to the characters. The only single complaint I would have is that it didn’t go on forever. I loved the main characters, Ella/Ella as Maddy, Josh and Maddy’s boyfriend. I feel like a lot of other reader’s will probably have mixed feelings on Maddy’s boyfriend, but I honestly liked him. I felt like he knew the whole time Ella was pretending to be Maddy and he still was there for her and helped her through everything. As for Ella and Josh, they are perfect. My heart broke for Ella a million times throughout the book. I wanted to jump into the story and tell her that her parent’s love her as much as they loved Maddy and that she had friends who cared whether or not she survived. Ella is the kind of character I could see myself being friends with or getting along with in real life and I think that’s another reason why I really liked her. As for Josh, where is a boy like him in my life? He was such a sweetheart and so caring and just overall the ideal boyfriend. Guys around here should take some lessons from him.

I felt so much emotion when I read this book. I shed some tears when the accident happened and I got frustrated with Ella a few times when she would come up with these crazy ideas in her head that everyone loved Maddy more. I couldn’t put The Secrets We Keep down because I had to know what was going to happen and know what Ella was going to do next. I personally don’t have sister but reading this story and hearing what Ella did for Maddy, I feel like I may have done the same thing for some time before coming clean. I felt sorry for her for how guilty she felt and how she felt like she had to “be Maddy” since she felt like she was the one who killed her.

Honestly, The Secrets We Keep is just one of those amazing books that will claim a spot in your heart and you will love it. I definitely did and I will be buying my own copy and rereading it countless times when it is published. Rarely do I find a book where I loved it so much that I am almost speechless because I feel like my review could never do it justice and The Secrets We Keep is hands down one of those books. The one thing that I have to say it read The Secrets We Keep when it comes out. You’ll love it (it’s impossible not to) and thank me for it later.