Through to You

Author: Lauren Barnholdt 
Pages: 256 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Format: Paperback (ARC) 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 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…

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Penn and Harper are two people who should never have met. They run in different social circles, take different classes, and have very different ideas about what constitutes a good time. But a note dropped on Harper's desk changes all that.

Soon Harper and Penn find themselves in the midst of a whirlwind romance - but all good things must come to an end, and when Penn decides to shut Harper out emotionally, the relationship can't possibly last.

Can Penn find a way to let Harper in, or was the relationship doomed from the start?

My Thoughts: I've been a big fan of Lauren Barnholdt's novels for years. They never disappoint, and they always keep me hooked from start to finish. Through to You was no exception. 

Harper was an extremely relatable character - Lauren Barnholdt's characters always are - and you feel for her when things with Penn get tough. I loved that the characters were so complex and layered, and that both Harper and Penn had rich back-stories and lives outside of their relationship. 

The writing itself was flawless and the plot flowed nicely. I loved the switching point of views, as well as the ending.  

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fun summer read, and to fans of Lauren Barnholdt. Fans of romance and contemporary lit will also definitely enjoy it! 


Sea of Shadows

Author: Kelley Armstrong 
Pages: 416
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

My Summary: Moria and Ashyn are twins of legend. They are the Seeker and the Keeper, and their job is to protect their section of the kingdom from threats both physical and spiritual. They take their jobs seriously, despite the fact that neither ghost or invader has threatened the safety of the kingdom.

But something felt different about this year's ceremony, and Ashyn knows something has gone seriously wrong when members of her guard begin to disappear. Back in the village, Moria begins to notice that neighbours and friends are disappearing, and the children of the village have all gone. 

As the truth is revealed, Moria and Ashyn set out separately on a journey that will lead them away from the only home they've ever known - and back to each other.

My Thoughts: This was a solid fantasy novel, with an extremely unique premise. I personally enjoyed it immensely. Kelley Armstrong's expertise is apparent in her trademark multi-dimensional characters and top-notch world-building. 

The pacing of this novel was very well done, and the story flowed beautifully. I also really liked the relationship dynamics between the twins and their companions, and the twist and turns of the plot kept me hooked. 

Final Thoughts: All in all, this was one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I recommend this novel to fans of fantasy novels, as well as any fans of Kelley Armstrong's books.


Odin's Ravens

Author: K. Armstrong & M. Marr 
Pages: 342 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Seven kids, Thor's hammer, and a whole lot of Valkyries are the only things standing against the end of the world. 

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right? 

But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. 

But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

My Summary: Matt Thorsen and his friends knew that going to the Underworld to rescue their friend Baldwin wasn't going to be easy, and they definitely didn't expect to return relatively unscathed. But upon return to the mortal world, Matt and his friends learn a disturbing secret that could mean that even their families aren't to be trusted as the battle for the future of the world nears.

My Thoughts: Another solid installment in this refreshing new series by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr! 

I really liked that this installment went deeper into the motivations behind Fen's actions, as well as giving us a better glimpse into the mind of Matt. The characters in this novel feel so real - they have insecurities and family issues and recognize that they aren't prepared for what they need to do - and that makes it incredibly easy to relate to them.  

The elements of mythology woven through the novel were perfectly done. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times at the juxtaposition of modern day teens and ancient Norse gods and monsters.   

The writing - as per usual with these authors - was flawless. I really enjoyed the way the point of view jumped from character to character, as it really set the tone of the novel and helped you understand the characters. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for a refreshing middle-grade read with a new spin on mythology, as well as fans of the Percy Jackson series. 


City of Heavenly Fire

Author: Cassandra Clare 
Pages: 725 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance?

I'm gonna keep this review short and sweet so as to refrain from accidentally spoiling anything for those who haven't read it yet, but I just need to say one thing first:


Glad I could get that out.

On to business: this conclusion to one of my favourite series of all time is one of those rare few that does not disappoint in any way, shape, or form. I loved the introduction of the new characters, and the development of the old ones. I flew through this novel; Cassandra Clare's writing pulls you into the world of the Shadowhunters and doesn't let you leave even after you've turned the last page. I adored every minute of this book, and the second I finished I reached for my copy of City of Bones, not quite ready to part with the characters and the world I'd to which I'd become so attached. 

If you haven't already, I definitely recommend you check out anything of Cassandra Clare's. I'm sad to see this series ending, but I'm also really excited to read Emma and Julian's story. Thank you, Cassie! It's been a pleasure.

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure

Hello everyone! I just wanted to take a minute to discuss a great new product I recently had the pleasure of receiving for review purposes from Influenster: Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure. 

You've probably heard about them before, but here's a quick recap: the imPRESS Press-on Manicure is a quick and easy way to jazz up your nails for any event or occasion. Simply chose the right size for your nail and stick! No mess or fuss required - they stay on all day without any glue or adhesive. I personally LOVED how secure they felt, and the fact that I could remove them whenever I wanted if I needed to (I don't know about you guys, but my main quarrel with getting fake nails at the salon is that I can't remove them when they're getting in the way of me doing something).  

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure to anyone looking for an alternative to getting their nails done at the salon for an event. Check them out! And if you have already, let me know what you thought in comments.