Thu, July 17, 2014

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt Review

Through to You book cover

Through to You book cover

Through to You
By Lauren Barnholdt
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Simon Pulse, 256 pages
Source: Publisher

Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-way Street and Sometimes It Happens.

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…

— description

One of my biggest pros about Through to You is also a potential con: Lauren Barnholdt writes a spot-on teenage boy.*

Penn isn’t ready for commitment. He doesn’t know what he wants. He’s hiding things from his parents. And he is certainly not very suave with Harper. With so many YA novels these days writing a glorified teenage dreamboy instead of a realistic one, this was so refreshing.

On the other hand: Old Lady Syndrome. Yup, this old lady was like “OMG, Penn, grown up!” I’m a lame know-it-all when I read sometimes and it ruins everything.

Which is such a shame, because I adore Lauren Barnholdt — especially One Night That Changes Everything. And overall I did like it — I applaud Barnholdt for writing characters who made me remember what it felt like to be a teen. It’s just that that isn’t always easy to read, you know?

I also would have liked Harper to show a bit more passion. She says she loves dance, but I never quite felt it.

Overall verdict: I’m not raving but still do think it would be worth your time.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Note: I originally wrote that as “Lauren Barnholdt really nailed the teenage boy here,” which has a different meaning entirely and is quite awkward. Ahaha, sorry, Lauren! This is why you always reread something twice before posting it to the Internet.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: lauren barnholdt, romance

Wed, July 16, 2014

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson Review

The Kiss of Deception book cover

The Kiss of Deception book cover

The Kiss of Deception
By Mary E. Pearson
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Henry Holt, 492 pages
Source: Publisher

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

— description

“What? What?! WHAT??!?!??” — me reading The Kiss of Deception.

Okay, so…I read a lot. That’s probably an understatement. I read CONSTANTLY. So it’s sort of hard to surprise me as a reader. I get a little jaded, like “Been there, done that.”

So for me to react to a book that strongly? Gosh, I love it. It’s like crack.

Thank you, Mary E. Pearson.

You guys. This book was so creative. Okay, I suppose a slight warning: It’s a slow fantasy, with buildup and not a ton of action. I guess if I had to pick anything, that might be a slight holdup for some of you. But, whatever, if you like fantasy at all, read it anyway.*

But DON’T read any other reviews or really look very closely at the book description. Just dive into it. Trust me. I used all caps on that “don’t,” so you know I mean it.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Sigh. I can see why I’m never blurbed in books because I get all crazy and ineloquent, but hey at least I have passion!!!

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: fantasy, mary e. pearson, romance, royalty

Tue, July 15, 2014

Shopping My Own Shelves

Friends, I need your help! I realized there are some books that have just been sitting on my shelves for ages and I need to straight up decide: Read or give away?

So I’m hoping you can help me. From the pile below, would you recommend any of these?


What do you think? Have you tried any of these? Thanks in advance for your help!


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Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Mon, July 14, 2014

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen Review

17 First Kisses book cover

17 First Kisses book cover

17 First Kisses
By Rachael Allen
Publication date: June 17, 2014
HarperTeen, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

— description

Rachael Allen’s 17 First Kisses is filled with bitter female friendships, player dudes and plenty of backstabbing. Does that happen in high school? Oh yeah. All the time.

So maybe that’s why this was a bit of a rough read for me. I kept thinking of the poor girl out there somewhere who is actually dealing with this, and it made me feel sick to my stomach.

Still, I know a lot of you love this type of story and have much higher tolerance for it than I do. But, hey, I’m a wimp and I don’t deal well with cheating stories.

Yet, I had no problem reading through to the end – and I’m a big ole book quitter so I guess that means something. What do you think? Will you give it a try?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: cheating, rachael allen

Fri, July 11, 2014

This Week in Review – July 11


what i did

WHOA two weeks since my last review and I feel like I did a zillion things. Some highlights: I went to a bridal shower for my dear friend Erin and met her future sister-in-law, Maddie, who reads this blog. Hi, Maddie! It was such fun to meet you!


Then I braved this freaky looking storm. Don’t you feel like the Dementors are about to come out of these clouds and get me?

storm 5

The weather cleared up just in time for me to spend four days at the beach. Ahhhh.


My mother-in-law and I were enjoying quite the view while reading our Kindles.


Then we celebrated the Fourth of July with a bang.

fourth 2

Speaking of bangs…


I got ‘em!

links i loved

Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring ‘greying’ 33-year-old wizard
If you haven’t gone over to Pottermore to read this cute & short new Harry Potter story, you must!

Silver Shadows Sampler
Also, a sampler’s out for the first part of Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead aka the new Bloodlines book coming out aka OMGGG.

books i added to my shelves


Thank you to Harper, Egmont, Random House and Simon & Schuster for these goodies I got in the mail:

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Oblivion by Sasha Dawn
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Girl Defective by Simmone Howard
Sharing You by Molly McAdams

For my Kindle, many thanks to Harper, Little Brown, Harlequin and Simon & Schuster for these eBooks:

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White book coverJust Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan book coverI Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre book coverPerfect Couple by Jennifer Echols book cover

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
Perfect Couple Jennifer Echols

books i read


Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke
Boomerang by Noelle August
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine
Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Hope you all had a beautiful past two weeks and have a fun weekend ahead of you! Happy reading <3


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Posted by: Anna   •   In: this week