Genre: YA

Monday, June 03, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

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I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 28th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Harlequin Teen
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Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

After Pushing the Limits became one of my favorite reads of last year, I went into this one with a lot of enthusiasm and high expectations. I’m sad that I didn’t en up loving it as much, but I still quite enjoyed it and am happy that I read it. I also can see why so many are enamored by it, if I had read it at another time I might have enjoyed it much more as well. As it stands I’ve been reading a string of similarly plotted books lately so my patience for certain elements of the book has been worn thin.

Unlike with Pushing the Limits, I had a difficult time with the characters and romance in this sequel. I liked the characters okay, and the chemistry is definitely not missing between them, but the back and forth, hot and cold romance they develop went on a little too long for me until I became utterly exhausted with it. Beth is dealing with a drunk mother who has an abusive boyfriend, making her somewhat of a bitter person who blocks everyone out. She has a hard time opening up to anybody, let alone letting anyone get close enough for her to fall in love. Consequently, she’s not an easy character to like, but she’s meant to be that way. We’re meant to sympathize with her situation, which I did, and like how she grows out of it through the story (like expected), but this did not happen until after she had me wanting to rip my hair out. The problem was more with how she dealt with Ryan than anything else. Athletic superstar, popular, rich, and with a bright future ahead of him, Ryan is Beth’s polar opposite. It’s, at the same time, the allure and the downfall of the romance. Beth being so cautious makes it extremely difficult for Ryan to get her to let him in. At first this was a great kind of frustration. The kind where you yearn for them to finally open up to each other and become rocks to lean on, however this fails to happen for what felt like an extremely long time, I began to lose my eagerness and gain some irritation. My patience for Beth to finally get a clue that the whole world wasn’t out to get her ran out and I simply wanted to slap her silly for trying to ruin every good thing she had. I get that she’s had a very very hard life, her crappy attitude was just making it worse for herself which made it hard for me to connect with her more than on the surface. Perhaps her keeping everyone at arm’s length worked TOO well 🙂 I also can’t fail to mention the constant referral to Ryan’s looks. She must have described his gorgeous godliness over a dozen times in the book. We get it, he’s sculpted perfection, let’s move on, shall we?

No matter my complaints, the characters are still carved into real human beings. The character development doesn’t miss its mark as Katie, again, creates realistic characters with hearts you can feel beating and breaking. Even though I was a little irritated, I still couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards both of them. Beth for her screwed up upbringing, and Ryan for the pressure he was brought up under. Another part of these books that I enjoy is how it’s not JUST about the romance. Beth has to acclimate to a whole new life where she feels anything but welcome, while Ryan is looking at his family crumbling after his brother announced he was gay to a father who thinks the most important thing is perfect outward appearance.

As with any companion novel it’s always fun to see old characters again. While I loved hearing from Echo and Noah in their brief cameos in this book, Isaiah stole my heart away. I love his character and my heart broke for him in more ways than one. His character has just as much soul and presence, getting his story line ready for the next book. The 3rd installment of this series will be his story, and I absolutely cannot wait for it as I have a very big feeling it will be my absolute favorite. I just hope he gets his happy ending or I may be found in a puddle of my own tears.

Dare You To may not have been as good to me as I had hoped, but I still found myself flipping the pages eagerly, waiting and hoping these two will finally give in to each other completely. The love and chemistry they share make all the hurt and frustration worth it.


3 Hot Espressos

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Posted by on 05/28/2013 • 24 Comments

If it wasn’t for my friends’ recommendations I don’t think I would have read this book. The synopsis makes it sound like it involves an annoying, bratty main character who whines and complains about stupid high school stuff. Lucky for them, my friends didn’t fail me and I found myself really enjoying it. The protagonist, Rose, is a little younger than I usually like my MCs – at only 14 and starting high school – but in a way it brought me back to how jarring it can be to go from one grade to the next where, suddenly, the rules are different, boyfriends and sex seem to be constant hot topics, and popularity seems to be what counts.

Rose is someone I think a lot of people could relate…

Review: Rush by Eve Silver

Review: Rush by Eve Silver

Posted by on 05/20/2013 • 35 Comments

Every single thing about this book annoyed me. It’s not a terrible book in theory: the premise is interesting and it has a strong heroine, but its execution left me so incredibly irritated.

Rush starts with a bang when we’re immediately lifted into a whirlwind of a plot, one that screams originality and awesomeness up ahead. It was for sure original; awesome, however, it is not. Let’s begin with Jackson, and how his character was used in this book. When Miki is pulled into this strange “game” where she’s told she’s on a mission to rid the earth of aliens before humanity is extinct, Jackson acts as their leader of sorts. It’s obvious that he knows everything we want to know, but all he does is dangle it in front…

Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Posted by on 05/17/2013 • 26 Comments

The first Jennifer Brown book I read made me an instant fan of her work, and Thousand Words shows me she has more than one story to tell; one she tells admirably. This time, we meet a girl – Ashleigh – who had her life turned upside down when a private picture text to her boyfriend goes viral.

With technology allowing us constant and worldwide communication, sexting is an issue that was not even possible when I was in high school (way to make me feel old!), so stories like these are real eye openers to the damages that an online world can have with a simple error in judgment. Especially to someone as young as Ashleigh who is in an age where you feel invincible, yet mistakes happen, friends…

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

Posted by on 05/15/2013 • 35 Comments

Set in beautiful Paris, 1899, The Beautiful and the Cursed is a unique, violent, sometimes disturbing YA Gothic involving demons, Gargoyles, and… something unexplained that is one of our main characters.

With the appearance of two dead bodied within the first 70 pages, I knew I was in for a good time. Though not a bad thing (for me), this book was a little more violent than I expected. Aside from the initial dead bodies we’re treated to gory bodily remains and beastly attacks–which were pretty cool I might add. Hell hounds make for really awesome evil! To protect from these creature are gargoyles; amazingly described as these massive beasts, gargoyles have to protect the humans residing in their estates, and can turn to and from human form. This gargoyle…

Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Review: Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Posted by on 05/10/2013 • 27 Comments

This book takes mind-fuck to a whole new level–and excuse my french, but there is really no calling this one any different.

Charm and Strange is… well it is very definitely strange. This is probably one of the most baffling books I’ve read. I was unable to stop thinking and questioning and wondering about every single thing that was going on in this book. It felt like it was going to go one route, only to leave me completely bewildered by the direction it did take. While you will likely want to discuss this book the second you turn the last page, once the ending comes, so does clarity. The confusion is not an irritation while reading either, on the contrary, it’s a fascinating and spellbinding confusion that keeps you…

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Posted by on 04/18/2013 • 30 Comments

Now THIS is how you write a book, ladies and gentleman! With the slew of dystopian and post apocalyptic novels coming out you can only imagine how refreshing it is to stumble upon a truly refreshing, incredibly well created novel about an alien apocalypse. And don’t let this term fool you, aliens may not be running rampant on our planet (yet), but Yancey has succeeded in making this event just as realistic as any other world disaster. Plus, in my opinion I think it’s a little naive to believe we’re the only life form with intelligence in the universe. Could this happen to us? Absolutely! I believe it!

Told via multiple perspectives, this novel begins with the introduction of our main character; Cassie. With a lot of luck, sure, but…

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Posted by on 04/16/2013 • 31 Comments

A powerfully emotional novel, If I Stay is a journey through life and death, in the eyes of a young girl who has lost just about everything.

After a disastrous car accident, Mia finds herself looking down at her own battered body, barely alive. This is one case where, immediately, you get a feel of who these people are, their realness, the love they have for each other. With only a few minutes of getting to know them before the accident, I already felt a connection with Mia and her whole family, turning an already emotional novel into a gutting one. Mia’s loss and grief is tangible through Gayle’s effortless writing style. It’s a tragic tale of unimaginable life changing loss that will make you thankful for everything and everyone…