Review: Dare You To – Katie McGarry

Review: Dare You To – Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #2
Published by Harlequin Teen
Published: May 28, 2013
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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....

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

I heart Beth’s story! She was so lost and alone. Ryan was just what he needed. Although similar to McGarry’s first book, it also was a book all of its own too. Sure Beth and Ryan were opposites like Noah and Echo from Pushing the Limits, but there was something more believable about Ryan and Beth’s connection. As they say, opposites attract and Beth and Ryan were complete opposites.

Dare You To is the story of Beth, who we were first introduced to in Pushing the Limit. Beth has been relying on herself for a really long time and has grown used to it. With her mother being an alcoholic and her mom’s boyfriend being abusive and flat out creepy, Beth has only Isiah and Noah as a support system and the aunt that allows her to stay at her place. But when Beth’s mom is in trouble and Beth sticks up for her, her uncle steps in and makes a deal. Her mom can either go to jail or Beth can come and live with him. Not wanting to send her mom away Beth agrees to go with her uncle where she meets Ryan. Cocky, arrogant, adorable Ryan that never passes up a dare and loves to get under Beth’s skin. Stuck between two worlds Beth has to decide what is more important herself or what everyone else needs/wants from her.

Seriously I wanted to just hug Beth through almost all of this book. She was so lost and was constantly trying to do the right thing even if it was the wrong way. Her walls were so high and so reinforced it is near impossible to get through them and then Ryan comes in and Beth really doesn’t know what to do. She has never been treated the way that Ryan treats her and suddenly she doesn’t know what to feel. The poor thing was so torn on everything in her life. She really broke my heart. But I loved watching her blossom with her uncle and Ryan’s support and to see her finally see she can be more.

All in all, I really enjoyed McGarry’s second book and I loved how she weaved the two stories together without confusing the reader if they happened to read this one first. I look forward to McGarry’s next book and definitely recommend both Pushing the Limit and Dare to You.

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Review: The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

Review: The Iron King – Julie KagawaThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Published by Harlequin Teen
Published: January 19, 2010
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Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

So you may have noticed if you look at my current reading choices that I am reading things outside of my normal comfort zone. Graceling, Shatter Me and now The Iron King are all books I would never normally read. It started with Graceling and has since become my own personal challenge. Every month I am reading a book that I wouldn’t normally gravitate to. For February that book was The Iron King and what a great choice it was. A friend suggested I read it for this “challenge” and I took her up on it. At times I felt like I was reading Alice in Wonderland on crack and that I fell into a rabbit hole of crazy, but even with all of those elements the story really worked and by the end, I was enjoying myself. So much, in fact, I ended up buying the next book in the series. J I apologize for any spoilers you may find. I just couldn’t help myself with this one.

The Iron King is about Meghan Chase who on the outside seems like a normal everyday teenage girl. She has crushes and an iPod and a best friend. She lives at home with her mom, step-father and half brother. The thing about Meghan though is she has never been the same since her father mysteriously disappeared. She feels invisible in her own house and really only feels that her best friend Robbie and her little brother are the only two that even see her. But when strange things start to happen and Meghan’s brother goes missing she makes a choice to open her eyes to what she really is and the world she by right comes from. And when a stony prince enters the picture all bets are off for Meghan. Now she must fight not only for her brother and herself but for everything she has ever known and hope maybe, just maybe to get the prince to melt his heart and take her into his.

Straight up what I liked most about this book was the push/pull of Ash and Meghan’s relationship mixed in with the humor of Robbie.  The book was pretty high fantasy to me so adding a “forbidden” romance was just the ingredient I needed for this story to work and suck me in. The immediate spark between Ash and Meghan was what great book romances are made of and the circumstances that lead to them being together at all were spot on. It dragged me in and held me. Add in the tension between Robbie and Ash, the potentially deadly search for  Meghan’s brother and the many obstacles in the way and I honestly forgot about the fantasy aspect of the book which like I said was pretty high for me.

I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I agreed to read this book. But what I found was a fantasy world with real situations and dilemmas that was beautifully written and interesting. It had strong characters, a strong plot, and a really strong forbidden love story with an ending that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

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