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Early Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

July 30th, 2014 Kaitlin Posted in Review No Comments »

Beware the WildTitleBeware the Wild

AuthorNatalie C. Parker

Genre: YA Gothic Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062241524 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062241528 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

Southern Gothic gets a whole new twist in this debut novel, sure to appeal to fans of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.The swamp in Sterling’s small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who’s had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what—and who—the swamp has taken.Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won’t want to miss.

Quick & Dirty: Beware the Wild was a richly imaginative story set in a swamp. The character development was strong and I enjoyed the originality of the plotline.

Opening Sentence: It’s no secret, ours is the meanest swamp in Louisiana.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

In Beware the Wild Sterling’s brother, Phin, runs into the swamp after a fight. This is not your average swamp, however. It has all the dangers of a normal one — alligators, dangerous bugs, deep muggy waters, the possibility of being lost — along with the extra perk of magic, and a dangerous force connected to it is calling the shots. When suddenly everyone seems to be convinced that Lenora May, a girl Sterling hasn’t seen before in her life, is her sister, Sterling is determined to get back Phin.

The main character, Sterling, has some issues with trust. That’s just to be expected considering her father beat his family when consumed in his alcoholic rages. But her brother has always been there for her. He’s helped her through the darkest times. So when he disappears, she is extremely motivated to get him back. Her love for Phin carries her through the book and I especially love the way that she’d have flashbacks to certain memories that really got across their bond. I also loved how she learned strength from her problems and developed across the span of the pages. Her view on Phin made me despise Lenora May, at first, but as Sterling warmed to her so did I. It becomes clear how much she hated taking Phin’s spot, but how much she is relishing leading a normal life after being trapped in the swamp for generations. Sterling’s struggle in trying not to let her focus waiver in getting back Phin is admirable and sweet. I felt for Sterling and connected especially with her, Phin, and Lenora May.

Unfortunately the same connection did not last through to Sterling’s love interest, Heath. Supposedly Heath and Sterling have history back in the years before. However, it did not shine through in any flashbacks or other ways as it did for Phin. I really wish that it had because for Phin it helped me connect — even without actually getting to see the character much in the novel. And for Heath I could have used the extra connection. As it was, Heath just irritated me. He is accepted by Sterling as an ally way to quickly and their relationship feels very rushed. I wish I could have had some more cutesy fluff conversation rather than all deep ones before their eventual getting together. Actually, I shouldn’t say eventual, because it did not take very long.

Lastly, I should discuss the setting. The whole idea of the swamp is very unique and cool. I wish the authors writing style was slightly more creepy and original like the setting so the two could match better, but it wasn’t much of a problem. The magical aspects of said swamp are fun and intriguing. I especially liked how Sterling’s bracelet helped to protect her and how the bracelet has it’s own little backstory that is revealed at the end.

Altogether, I enjoyed Beware the Wild. It was interesting enough to draw me in and keep me invested. Even though there was some slight confusion and a few noticeable plot holes, in the end they were overridden by the plot and setting. The writing style was simple but I had no problems with it, the swamp was mysterious and eerie… The one thing I didn’t appreciate was the love interest. Heath flat out made me annoyed. The pacing was good although I might have added some less deep, more fluffy conversations to add light moments to a mostly dark story. Sterling was relatable. To conclude, Beware the Wild was pleasing and rich. There are things I could have changed that knocked two stars off, but for anyone who enjoys a mysterious, eerie tone in a book will not be dissapointed.

Notable Scene:

“What are you waiting for?” she asks again. Her irritation is split evenly between me and the girl I’ve never seen before in my life.

“What?” I ask.

“Sterling.” Mama points her spoon in warning. “Don’t start tonight. You and your sister, pull that cotton from your ears, for Pete’s sake, and come in for dinner.”

“My what?” I ask, but she’s already gone. The screen door slaps three times behind her.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Beware the Wild. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

July 29th, 2014 Steph Posted in Review No Comments »

Alias HookTitle: Alias Hook

Author: Lisa Jensen

Genre: Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250042151 (Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-1250042156 (Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

“Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It’s my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy.”

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

Quick & Dirty: Lisa Jensen takes a well-known story and turns it on its head, managing to make Captain James Hook someone you can root for in this engaging and bewitching story.

Opening Sentence: Second star to the right of what?

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this book at first. On one hand, I have for some reason never liked the story of Peter Pan. I’m not sure why, but I just never connected to the story. On the other hand, I love a good bad boy in my fiction: Trent in The Hollows series, Spike on Buffy, Loki in the Avengers movie. So, I figured this book could go either way in terms of whether I liked it or not. Thankfully, I fell on the side of liking it.

In the early 18th century, James Benjamin Hookbridge was just a regular guy. Misfortune falls on him and turns him to piracy, which then eventually leads him to being cursed to a place that supposedly only exists in dreams: Neverland. There, he must continually fight a horde of young boys, led by the infamous Peter Pan. Hook is doomed to die time after time, only to be resurrected to go through it all again. After two hundred years, he is ready to die for real, eager to find a way around the curse. Then one day, something happens that has never happened before: a grown woman appears in Neverland. Stella Parrish. As Hook begins to open up to her, he begins to feel something he hasn’t felt in a long time. Hope. Maybe his torment won’t last forever. Pan isn’t happy about a woman showing up in his land, however, and Stella faces danger at every turn. Will Hook lose both Stella and his newfound hope, or will they be able to end the curse forever?

There are a number of positive things to say about this book. It’s remarkably well written and engaging. I found myself immediately engrossed, as the book opens with Hook resurrecting to find himself among his dead crew. This serves to put Hook in a sympathetic light, when all we’ve ever seen him as is a villain. As we learn more about his past and get to see Peter Pan in a light we’ve never seen before, that sympathy grows. I will say it’s possible some readers may have problems identifying with Hook because of his past deeds, but I personally had no such problem.

One of my favorite books from high school is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I find the idea that being separated from society will lead people to follow their baser instincts incredibly intriguing. The same idea is displayed here with Pan and his Lost Boys. With no true authority figures, they have no moral compass, and it is incredibly disturbing to see. Maybe never growing up is not such a good thing after all.

On the negative side, the beginning of the book does occasionally drag a bit, mainly due to going back and forth in Hook’s timeline. This back and forth is necessary for the reader to learn what brought Hook to this point, but it does disrupt the flow of the story. Once the story stays firmly in Neverland though, the pace picks up considerably.

All in all, I found this an incredibly intriguing and satisfying read. I believe fans of the Peter Pan story will enjoy this take on the tale. I am also proof that those who aren’t as fond of Peter Pan can also really enjoy this unique version of the story. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author!

Notable Scene:

The Neverland, they call it, the infant paradise, the puerile Eden where grown-ups dare not tread. They are wise to fear it. but all children visit in their dreams. He finds them by their longing, stray boys for his tribe and girls to tell him stories.

They are not always English children, although he is partial to London.

They have erected a statue to him there. Fancy, a public statue of Pan, the boy tyrant in his motley of leaves, like a king or a hero. While Hook is reviled, the evil pirate, the villain. There is no statue to me.

I’ve heard all the stories. I know the world thinks me not only a simpering fop but a great coward, so affrighted by the crocodile I would empty my bowels at the first sinister tick of its clock. But it’s the ticking itself I can’t bear, the tolling of the minutes, the very seconds, that I am forced to spend in the Neverland for all eternity. Elsewhere, time is passing in the normal way, but not here. Not for me and the boy.

“It’s Hook or me this time,” the boy jeered as the massacre began. But it’s never him. And it’s never me. Since then, he has defeated me innumerable times, but never quite to the death. He wills it so, and his will rules all. How often have I felt my skin pierced, imagined in my wounded delirium that Death has relented and come for me at last? Yet every time, my blood stops leaking, my flesh knits. Sooner or later, my eyes open again to yet another bleak new day, with nothing to show for my pains but another scar on the wreckage of my body.

Is it any wonder I so often tried to kill him? Would not his death break the enchantment of this awful place and release us both? But I never best him. He flies. He has youth and innocence on his side, and the heartlessness that comes with them. I have only heartlessness, and it is never, ever enough.

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FTC Advisory: Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Alias Hook. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

July 27th, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

In A Handful of DustTitle: In a Handful of Dust

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Post- Apocalyptic

Series: Not a Drop to Drink (Book #2)

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 006219853X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062198532 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

Quick & Dirty: Realistic story that really pulls at your heart strings. I am so glad McGinnis decided to revisit this world that I loved so much from Not a Drop to Drink and this was an amazing sequel that I really enjoyed.

Opening Sentence: Maddy died hard.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Lucy has luckily grown up in a loving community in the rural state of Ohio, filled with great friends and a loving adoptive mother. The world they live in is brutal and filled with people that will do anything to survive. Years ago before Lucy was even born most of the water became contaminated and led to the majority of the population dying off. Now clean water is the most important commodity you can possess and lucky for Lucy she has never had to worry about going without. Lucy figured that she would eventually marry and grow old in her community, but soon all of her dreams change.

A horrible disease hits their community that leaves many dead and others with permanent handicaps. No one knows for sure where the disease is coming from but it looks as if the only solution for Lucy is to leave behind the only home she has ever really known. There are rumors that California has desalination plants that make it possible to always have clean water, and offer a possible “normal” life. Lynn decides that the best course of action for them is to pack up and journey across the country, and hope that they will be able to make it to California in one piece.

Lucy was a refreshing character in such a depressing setting. She was always happy and full of hope even when times got hard. I loved her sense of humor and how she could always seem to lighten the mood. But at the same time she knows when to take things seriously, which I respected. Her life is by no means an easy one, but she has learned to be grateful for what she has. Also, it was very different being inside Lucy’s head then it was being in Lynn’s head from Not a Drop to Drink, which I really liked because I looked at the world from a completely different perspective. Lucy sees opportunity as a good thing and I felt in general this book was had a more positive feel to it. I really liked Lucy and thought that she was an interesting character to get to know!

I loved that Lynn was the same person I met in the first book, but she grew into a better version of herself. She has opened her heart to a few people but she still doesn’t trust easily. She knows that this life is hard, but she has also finally learned that there are things worth living for. Her relationship with Lucy is very sweet and her motherly side actually helped me to connect with her on a much deeper level. I also am a mother and the things Lynn sacrificed for Lucy was out of a motherly love that I can easily understand. Seeing this side to Lynn made her more human to me and I am really glad I got to see that from her.

In a Handful of Dust is a realistic heartwarming story about sacrifice, love, and the will to go on. I will admit that the setting is a rather depressing one but that just made it that much more real. The fact that there is a possibility that this really could be our world someday if we aren’t careful was both intriguing and scary at the same time. There were a few times I felt that the story moved a little slower then I would have liked, but overall, I thought that the pacing was very good. I really loved the entire cast of characters and I am glad McGinnis decided to give us another book in the series. It helped satisfy some of my curiosity after finishing the first book in the series. I really enjoy McGinnis’ writing style, she knows how to drag your heart through a meat grinder, but she also does a wonderful job putting it back together. Overall, I am a huge fan of this series and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a realistic young adult post-apocalyptic story!

Notable Scene:

“I had real plans once, you know?” Carter said. “I was starting to think maybe you and me, we could have a little place of our own, someday.”

“Yeah. I was starting to think that too,” Lucy said, tears catching in her throat.

They looked at each across the void they could not bridge, their silent, saltwater good-byes streaming down their faces.

“You should go,” Carter said abruptly, turning away from her. “Stay safe, stay with Lynn. Name a baby after me.”

“Shit,” Lucy choked. “I’ll name two.”

“Now that’s just stupid.”

Lucy laughed through her tears, and he turned around. “Go on now, Lucy. It’s not going to get any easier.”

She turned and ran through the woods, crashing through the underbrush and into the wet grass that whipped at her legs. The cold night air felt like it would burst her lungs but she kept running, sprinting past the still bodies of the sick.

Not a Drop to Drink Series:

1. Not a Drop to Drink

2. In a Handful of Dust (September 23, 2014)

FTC Advisory:  Harper Teen provided me with a copy of In a Handful of Dust.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Rule by Jay Crownover

July 27th, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

RuleTitle: Rule

Author: Jay Crownover

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Series: Marked Men (Book #1)

Publication Date: December 30, 2012

Format: Paperback, 339 Pages

ISBN-10: 006230240X (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062302403 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters 

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight–A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want–and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

Quick & Dirty: Amazing story that really pulls at your heart strings. I loved everything about this book and would highly recommend it to all new adult romance fans.

Opening Sentence: At first I thought the pounding in my head was my brain trying to fight its way out of my skull after the ten or so shots of Crown Royal I had downed last night, but then I realized the noise was someone storming around in my apartment.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Shaw London has the looks of a picture perfect life. She is a pre-med, straight A student and comes from very rich and influential parents. She has an amazing boyfriend that fits her perfectly or so everyone thinks. But Shaw doesn’t want perfect she wants the one thing she knows she can never have, Rule Archer. Ever since she was 14 years old she has been madly in love with Rule but he never looked at her that way. Shaw was best friends with Rule’s twin, Remy, and even though everyone thought they were a couple, their relationship was strictly platonic. Remy brought her into his family and they all treated her like she was the daughter/sister they never had. But three years ago Remy died in a car accident and it tore his wonderful family apart.

Rule Archer lives his life however he wants to and doesn’t care what other people think about him. He is an exceptional tattoo artist and lives a carefree life with very little attachments. His relationship with his parents has never been great, but ever since his twin died it has been awful. Then there is Shaw, the gorgeous girl his twin spent all his time with. Everything about Shaw screams perfection and Rule is nowhere near perfect. But one night filled with the best sex he has ever had changes everything he has ever thought of the shy gorgeous Shaw. Can the hotheaded playboy tattoo artist and the level headed pre-med student make their relationship work and find love at last?

I adored being inside Shaw’s head. She is beautiful, kind, and spunky, but she also has a lot of insecurities. Even though she grew up very wealthy and has the face of an angel, she wasn’t very popular when she was younger. She has always been a little awkward and had a hard time making friends. Then Remy came along and saved her by making her a part of his family. He made her see that she was someone special and that even though she came from a crazy family she still deserved to be loved. She fell in love with Rule basically the first time she met him and has never been able to get over it. Even after all these years and now that Remy is gone she still has undeniable feelings for Rule. Getting to know Shaw was fun and connecting with her just came naturally. She is one of those girls you can’t help but like and she will forever be one of my favorite protagonists.

You really can’t get sexier then Rule. He has inhumanly good looks, tattoos covering every inch of his body, and some pretty adventurous piercings. He radiates sex appeal and the opposite sex has always noticed. He has never had a girlfriend and never really wanted to one. He has a temper and is very independent. He has always done his own thing and never cared what other people thought of him. Shaw has been like a little sister to him and now all the sudden he sees her in a different light. He has been completely oblivious to that fact that Shaw has always been in love with him even though pretty much everyone else already knew. Even though they are complete opposites in so many ways they are so perfect for each other. I loved Rule and he is a sexy love interest that I won’t soon forget.

This was a raw, passionate, and emotional read that I loved. It’s actually hard to put into words how much this book affected me. I’m not usually a crier in books, but this one had me tearing up multiple times. But it also made me laugh, sigh, and totally blush at times. I thought that the romance was epic and very realistic. It had tension, drama, and a great buildup that lead to me completely falling for Rule and Shaw together. I have read a couple of other books by Crownover but this is by far my favorite book. Her writing is out of this world good and I would recommend picking up all of her books if you are a fan of new adult contemporary romance novels. This is the first book in her Marked Men series, and while it is my favorite the rest of the other books are great too. They all feature a different male and female lead so you can start the series in any order you want. Suffice to say, I obviously loved this story and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a sexy emotional read.

Notable Scene:

“I know what you can do for me to make this officially the best birthday ever.” I wanted to sound sure, to sounds sexy and sultry, but I’m pretty sure I just sounded horny and drunk. I didn’t care. I was

here—the real me—the one who wanted him so desperately and always had. There was no chance at putting her back in her cage now.

I didn’t think—didn’t reason—just used the grip I had on him to pull myself even taller and plant my mouth solidly over his. The ring in his lip was shockingly cold against my own; the rest of him was undeniably hot and hard. It was everything I had ever wanted, and even though he didn’t kiss me back, I still ranked it up there as the best birthday gift ever. I went to settle back down on my booted feet when something shifted, something changed, and Rule went from a passive recipient to something else entirely.

Marked Men Series:

1. Rule

2. Jet

3. Rome

4. Nash

5. Rowdy (October 21, 2014)

6. Asa (April 14, 2015)

FTC Advisory:  I purchased my own copy of Rule.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

July 26th, 2014 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Take Me OnTitle: Take Me On

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: Pushing the Limits (Book #4)

Publication Date: May 27, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 544 Pages

ISBN-10: 03732118X (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-00373211180 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Quick & Dirty: Just like all of McGarry’s books, Take Me On, is a realistic story that tears at your heart strings. With adorable romance, engaging characters, and emotion, it was a quick read that all young adult contemporary fans will love!

Opening Sentence: A DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN at the far end of the barren hallway and the clicking of high heels echoes off the row of metal post-office boxes.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Haley is unlike most girls her age, for most of her life she spent all her extra time in a gym training to be a champion kickboxer. She loved everything about kickboxing and she was good at it, but then something devastating happens and Haley hasn’t stepped foot in a gym since. In the last year her life has turned upside down. First her father lost his job and eventually they lost their home, then things with her longtime boyfriend take a turn for the worst and Haley doesn’t know how to get things back on track. Then one night when she is walking home a group of guys jump her and the most unexpected boy comes to her rescue.

Haley doesn’t know what to think of West Young, but when he accepts a mixed martial arts fight to help her out she knows she is going to get to know him a lot better. He has no idea what he has gotten himself into and if he is going to survive the fight Haley is going to have to once again return to the ring. She decides to train West, but they agree to keep things completely platonic between them. Soon they are spending all their extra time together and it doesn’t take long for things between them to heat up.  They can only fight their attraction so long, but both of them have dark secrets that could tear them apart forever. Will they be able to overcome their fears and learn that love really is worth fighting for, or will their insecurities keep them apart?

Haley was a very easy character to like even though she had a few frustrating moments. I loved that she was a female fighter, it instantly made me respect her for being willing to step out of the norm and be different. She is also a very passionate person that loves her family dearly. The last year has been rough for her but she has stayed strong for everyone even though the people she cares about most have really let her down. I really admire Haley’s inner strength, but at times it frustrated me when she kept everything in. Instead of accepting help from her family and friends she takes on everything by herself and I personally thought this aspect of her personality was overdone. She was a little too over protective and I would have liked to see her open up sooner. But with that being said, I still loved Haley and I am so happy I got to read her story.

West was an adorable guy and I loved him. He comes from a very privileged family but he has always been the black sheep. He likes to do his own thing and he hasn’t always made the best decisions in life. His relationship with his father has always been rocky but recently it has gone from bad to worse. I can actually really relate to West because I had a similar relationship with my father growing up. I was very vocal about my opinion and suffice to say my mouth got me in a lot of trouble just like West. But underneath all that attitude he really does want his father’s approval, he just doesn’t know how to earn it. He is a passionate person that really cares about his family he just doesn’t go about showing it very well. I see a lot of myself in West’s character so that obviously helped me to build an instant connection with him, but he was also just an interesting character to read about.

The relationship between West and Haley was done perfectly. It developed slowly and was full of great sexual tension. I loved the witty banter that they exchanged and they both always had a great comeback for everything. If you looked at the outward appearance these two, they were as opposite as you can get but they were actually very similar in many ways. They brought the best out in each other and they forced the other one to be their best. They had the type of relationship everyone should strive for and I loved them together.

Take Me On was a beautiful story filled with emotion, romance, and drama! Like all of McGarry’s books, it was wonderfully written and covers tough issues that average people deal with in real life. I think that is one of my favorite things about this series, everything that happens to the characters is always realistic. I will admit that for me this story was less memorable then the previous books in the series but that has nothing to do with McGarry’s delivery, it was more that I didn’t connect as much with the issues that were presented. I honestly don’t know why, but I just didn’t find it as interesting as the problems she covered in the previous books. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this story because I absolutely did, it was a quick read that was very enjoyable. I loved the characters and was excited to see some of my old favorite characters make appearances. I also really enjoyed meeting all the new people presented to the world and I am intrigued to see if any of them will get their own story in the future. As always, McGarry’s writing was phenomenal and to be honest I would gladly read anything she writes. I am a huge fan of this series and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. While all of these books can easily be read as a stand-alone, I do suggest that to get the full effect you start from the beginning of the series, but if you don’t want to you can easily start with this one. I would highly recommend this series to anyone that loves emotional young adult contemporary stories.

Notable Scene:

I don’t give a shit if they play poker with the devil. They took me down. That doesn’t happen, and I won’t let that be the final say—especially since I’ll be spending the next four months in this hellhole.

Haley clutches my arm as if I were about to waltz into a minefield. “No!”

I lean into her—our heads less than an inch apart. The crazy ass bastard’s words echo in my head: I know where to find Haley. “Have they threatened you?”

Her fingernails attempt to dig canyons into my arm.

“There are things in my life you can’t understand, okay? I know you meant well on Friday, but to be honest, you screwed everything up, so I’m begging you to listen to me now. Stay away from them, stay away from me and, for the love of God, don’t mention Friday to anyone.”

The warning bell rings. Haley releases me and runs up the stairs. What the hell?

Pushing the Limits Series:

1. Pushing the Limits

1.1 Crossing the Line

2. Dare You To

3. Crash Into Me

4. Take Me On

5. Breaking the Rules (December 30, 2014)

FTC Advisory:  Harlequin Teen  provided me with a copy of Take Me On.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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