Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

High school senior Shannon Card needs money. And lots of it. She's been admitted to Wellesley College, but her dad just lost his job, and somehow she has to come up with a year of tuition herself. But Shannon's dream of making big bucks waitressing at the local casino, the Collosio, disappears faster than a gambler's lucky streak. Turns out that balancing a full tray of drinks in high heels is neither as easy nor as lucrative as Shannon hoped.
Aces Up
When Shannon receives a mysterious invitation to join Aces Up, a secret network of highly talented college poker players, at first she thinks No way. She has enough to worry about: keeping her job, winning the coveted math scholarship at school, and tutoring her secret crush, Max. But when Shannon musters up the nerve to kiss Max and he doesn't react at all, the allure of Aces Up and it's sexy eighteen-year-old leader, Cole, is suddenly too powerful to ignore.

Cole's assurance that Shannon has natural talent- along with his amazing kissing ability- makes Shannon believe that a life of riches, ease, and constant making out is right around the corner. But could it really be this easy? And with Wellesley in her sights, does Shannon have the guts to call Cole's bluff?

Genre: YA Contemporary/YA Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Aces Up is a comical, fun, fast, sweet read with an excellent moral story. Lauren Barnholdt's writing style will attract many readers, she writes in such a way that you feel that you are taking this adventurous journey right along with the characters.

Shannon is a very likable female protagonist that many will be able to relate to, not so much in the situation she finds herself in, but in her personalty. She is extremely smart, almost quirky in her antics and she can be somewhat paranoid(comparing her situations to 48 Hours Mystery or something of that sort). Cole is hot and carries that sexy dangerous vibe, but there is something aloof about him. Max has many things going in his favor, he seems overall sweet, charming and genuinely nice, but he will come off as a little lost and confused. I loved the new, unexpected friendships that happened and the dynamics between Shannon and her sister, Robyn. They both added immensely to the story, driving the point of the story across even more.

The plot line moves quickly, without any dull moments. You get enchanted with the glamour along with Shannon, not paying attention to the wily ways of those around her.

Aces Up will have readers laughing-out-loud(possibly rolling on the ground), swooning from the sweetness and learning(hopefully) to trust in your friends and family, not get swept away by a sexy face and dollar signs and ultimately that doing the right thing is always, well, right and that working hard will pay off! A meaningful story that grabs the reader, pulling them in with witty banter, and great characters(this is, after all, a Lauren Barnholdt novel)! Do not miss out on this one!


  1. Ooo! I have an ARC of this one! I should definitely pick it up soon! Great Review Julie!! :D

    1. Thanks, RJ! It's a really fun read! :)