Review: Through to You – Lauren Barnholdt

throughtoyou

Title: Through to You [Amazon]
Author: Lauren Barnholdt [website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Edelweiss/E-Galley
Stars: 3.75 of 5

Publisher Description:
It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

My Thoughts:
Lauren Barnholdt is an author on my auto buy list. I have read almost all of her contemporary YA. Some are more serious and some are like Through to You, a story filled with quirky characters, a fun plot, quick one liners and heart. Barnholdt first grabbed me with Two Way Street and crazy crackers Courtney, held me with Right of Way and off her rocker Peyton, and sunk her claws in with Through to You and cuckoo Harper.

Through to You is about Harper and Penn, two totally different high school seniors that end up entwined together by a random note written on a whim and some sparkle. What starts out as innocent hanging out quickly becomes Harper and Penn becoming inseparable. The only problem is that Harper lives to talk to what she’s feeling and bottles everything up until the point of exploding. No matter how close they get Harper just can’t get Penn to truly open up which can only lead to one thing for the two of them…heartbreak.

I keep seeing mixed reviews of this book and I can understand why. Penn is not really all that nice. I mean he shuts down when he doesn’t want to deal with something and runs away. But to be honest that is what I liked about Penn. Who doesn’t shutdown when they don’t want to deal? It’s human nature. Were his methods off at times acting like a two year old? Sure. But I got where he was coming from, his frustrations. He had a rough break with his family life and with his injury and no one had taken the time to push him to deal with it all, well at least until Harper.

Oh Harper, you quirky little cuckoo thing. I just loved her. Much like Courtney in Two Way Street and Peyton in Right of Way, Harper was insane, but in the best of ways. She said and did things that were just nuts and I loved her even more for it. Under all that crazy there was a loving girl that just felt everything. Was she 100% realistic? Nope. She was completely over the top a lot of the times. But that is why I love this kinds of characters. They make reading fun. And Harper and Penn were definitely fun.

There were a few things I didn’t like that brought this down from my usual Barnholdt book love. First it was super short which means everything moved super quick. I could have used a few more chapters at the end opposed to the slightly rushed feeling I felt. I also didn’t like that Penn’s family had serious issues that were never dealt with. That bugged me. I know they were for us to understand Penn and where he was coming from, but it just didn’t feel right that there was no conclusion to them. And I hated Harper’s friend Anna, she bugged the crap out of me.  But those things aside I really did enjoy the story.

Through to You is a quick read. I took less than 24 hours to get sucked into these characters and their crazy lives and personalities. It wasn’t my favorite Barnholdt but it was a fun one. It had all the quirk I have come to love from her writing and I can’t wait for more from her.

Other books by the Author:
twoonenightsometimesthethingright

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Second Chance Sunday – Sometimes It Happen by Lauren Barnholdt

Today’s Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by one of my favorite authors Lauren Barnholdt. I first fell in love with Barnholdt with her quirky story Two Way Street and have been a fan ever since. I have read almost all of Ms. Barnholdt’s books and noticed she has two styles. One, quirky and fun loving and the other, more contemporary, serious. Sometimes it Happens falls into the latter category but didn’t make me enjoy it any less.

sometimes

Title: Sometimes It Happens [Amazon]
Author: Lauren Barnholdt [website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 3 of 5

Publisher’s Description:
This novel opens on the first day of Hannah’s senior year, but the story really starts on the last day of her junior year. That’s when Hannah not only gets dumped by her boyfriend, Ryan, but she also finds out her best friend, Ava, is going to be gone for the entire summer. But Ava’s boyfriend, Noah, is definitely around–and such a good guy that he snags Hannah a job at the diner where he works. Hannah and Noah move from coworkers, to friends….and one night, to something more.

Now it’s back to school, where Hannah will see Ryan, Ava, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, Hannah will learn a lot about love, friendship…and herself.

My Thoughts:
Barnholdt, you did it again. Honestly every time I read one of her books I walk away wanting more and things were no different with Sometimes It Happens. Just like in all other Barnholdt books I fell in love with the name characters. Hannah, Noah and Lacey were some of the funniest people I’ve encountered in a book in awhile. They all played off each other nicely. I wasn’t a fan of Ava, but that is usually a given for me in a book about stealing your best friend’s boyfriend.

Every time I read a book like this I always find myself finding a reason to hate the best friend, the one that gets her heartbroken and stabbed in the back. I did it in Something Borrowed, I did it with The Unwritten Rule and I did it once again with Sometimes It Happens. The way that Barnholdt wrote this version of a classic plot honestly had me rooting for Noah and Hannah. I mean I’m completely 100% against cheating. I hate it and think there is no need. It is messy and people get hurt no matter how it is justified, but like the title says, sometimes it happens. I know that sounds caviler, but the sad fact is its true. Noah and Hannah didn’t set out to hurt Ava but their circumstances lead them to get closer and for things to get messy. They fought it until they couldn’t fight it any more. However Noah was right at the end, they should have talked to Ava before letting anything happen.

But really, cheating aside, I highly enjoyed this book and would love to read more by Ms. Barnholdt as soon as possible.

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Review: Right of Way – Lauren Barnholdt

right

Title: Right of Way* [Amazon]
Author:  Lauren Barnholdt [website]
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Edelweiss/E-Galley
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

My Thoughts:
I first fell in love with Lauren Barnholdt after reading Two Way Street and I have been a fan of her every since. Two Way Street was fun, and quirky, and entertaining. Barnholdt managed to make the characters, who were crazy crackers, completely endearing and likeable and she did the exact same  thing with Right of Way. At first glance this book seems to be almost a duplicate of Two Way Street, but it really was more than that and I feel lucky to have gotten a chance to read it early.

Right of Way is the story of Jace and Peyton. The two met a few months ago at a party held by Two Way Street’s Jordan while Peyton was vacation in Florida for winter. Sparks flew immediately and a long distance relationship began. But just as soon as it started it ended and now Jace and Peyton are faced with seeing each other at Courtney’s dad’s wedding. As if things aren’t complicated enough Peyton finds herself stuck in Florida and her plans to go to North Carolina deteriorating in front of her. When Jace comes to her rescue and offers her a ride, the two embark on a journey they soon won’t forget and one that may just heal their hearts.

What I liked about this and what I really like about all of Barnholdt’s books is the fun, relatable characters. Like Courtney in Two Way Street, Peyton is off her rocker crazy. The things she says and does are just insane, but you can also understand why she reacts the way she does. She’s a teenager, so her emotions are off the chart everywhere. She feels everything to the nth degree and Barnholdt nails that in her stories. The more bizarre the reaction the more down to earth the character feels. Does it always make 100% sense? No. And at times the plot point can get muddied from it, but it serves a purpose and that is what I like about it.

And can we talk about Jace for a minute? Sweet, adorable, clueless Jace. He is so mixed up he no longer knows what he wants. Being around Peyton makes him insane yet he can’t NOT be around her. With her quirks and all, the two of them connect and complete each other in a very unexpected way. I didn’t like how he acted a few times, but teenage boys tend to get on my nerves anyway so bravo for nailing that. HA.

Basically Right of Way brought me back to what made me fall in love with Barnholdt to begin with. It wasn’t perfect, as no book is, but it made me smile and laugh and enjoy myself, and to me that is what makes a great book.  Highly recommend if you are looking for just some reading fun. Can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

*out July 9, 2013

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Monopoly Money Monday and a Vote

Welcome to another installment of Monopoly Money Monday. This Monday I am going to spend my fake $100.00(okay, a tad over) on books. Well Pre-Order books from Amazon that is. It’s funny because you would think it would be easy to buy 100 bucks worth of books but it’s actually really hard. Not hard to pick out the books, but to narrow it down to just $100. But after much struggle I narrowed it down to 9 books** that come out over the next couple of months. Now under no circumstance is this list in any order or the only ones I’m dying for. These are just the ones I could “afford”. Without further ado:

madnessThe Madness Underneath(Shades of London Series) by Maureen Johnson
Price: $11.98
Release Date: February 26, 2013

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades— the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

thingsThings I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Price: $9.99
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

imposterImposter(Slide series) by Jill Hathaway
Price: $11.98
Release Date: March 26, 2013

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.

brokenThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Price: $11.46
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

criminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Price: $11.20
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime – a crime that ends in murder – Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about?

Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional . . . but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

rightRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
Price: $10.98
Release Date: July 9, 2013

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

thousandThousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Price: $10.98
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

15thFifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Price: $9.99
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

annalolaIsla and the Happily Ever After(no cover available) by Stephanie Perkins
Price: $11.98
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

So there you have it, the 9 books I would buy right now if a) the were all out already and b) I had $100.54 laying around(told you I went a little over budget). But really who are we kidding? You all know I will be buying all of these anyway. But man is it fun to pretend today.

*all book descriptions have come from goodreads.com

**Honorable mention: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, The Elite by Kiera Cass, Dare You To by Katie McGarry, How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

And because I love books, I’m letting you all vote on which one I should buy. Please fill out the form below and I will pre-order the one with the most votes by February 11th.

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