He’s the bad boy with a bad reputation; she’s the good girl with a dark secret. In Pushing the Limits, debut author Katie McGarry offers readers an inHe’s the bad boy with a bad reputation; she’s the good girl with a dark secret. In Pushing the Limits, debut author Katie McGarry offers readers an intense and gripping love story. Two lost teenagers, lots of heartbreak, life-changing decisions; the novel has everything to keep you hooked to the page!
As I finished reading Pushing the Limits, it was clear to me why so many readers had fallen in love with the novel, covering it with five-stars ratings and raving reviews. This novel is intense. It’s a will-they-won’t-they love story with deep dark feelings and tortured souls, all wrapped in family drama and tragic pasts.
It starts like a story we’ve heard many times : Noah is a bad boy with a heart of gold, who’s been seducing girls and missing class on a regular basis. Echo is a good girl with great grades, and though her popularity has mostly faded away, she still sees Noah as the kind of guy you stay away from.
Their love story is written in the sky from the start, or so it seems. They both have tragedy in common, and their familial situations are complicated to say the least. Noah lost his parents in a fire and is now fighting for the custody of his two younger brothers, which means he has to clean up his act, and quick. Echo is still mourning the loss of her brother and trying to recover her memory, all the while dealing with a strict father and his new, younger, pregnant wife (who is no one else than Echo’s ex-babysitter).
So, that’s all a bit messed up. And despite their differences, Echo and Noah discover they have things in common, and they fall in love, and it is all very sweet. She makes her a better man, he makes her a stronger woman. They grow together through the story and I liked how the author traced their journey; it’s not without obstacles, and its not easy, but I could really see their characters changing and learning from their experiences. I also appreciated that they each had their own story, their own life, and that not everything was about their relationship.
There were a few things that I liked less though. The story is told both from Echo and Noah’s point of view, and I had a hard time with Noah’s. I couldn’t connect to him, his constant use of the words “nymph” and “siren” to describe Echo got annoying fast and I felt it took a little longer for his story to take a clear direction. The book was much more Echo’s story than Noah’s, and I felt maybe the author would have done better with sticking to a single point of view. I also didn’t like Echo’s friends. Sadly, their attitude is something that, in this 400 pages novel, is barely mentioned. It’s mostly brushed aside by Echo, but I feel it could have opened some interesting discussions. There’s also a lot of stereotypes going on in the story, which moderated my enjoyment of the book.
This being said, I applaud the author for tackling many different subjects; death and grief, psychological issues, family, etc. I can’t say too much without revealing a lot of the story, but Echo’s situation is a tough one, and I was glad the author didn’t finish the book by making it all unicorns in rainbows, making it a little more realistic.
In the end, Pushing the Limits was a roller-coaster romance that I enjoyed reading. While it didn’t completely work for me, I have no doubt that readers of romance who love drama and passion will completely adore this one....more
Meant to Be turned out to be exactly what it was meant to be : a cute story filled with humor and fluffy romance, an escapist read that took me(3,5/5)
Meant to Be turned out to be exactly what it was meant to be : a cute story filled with humor and fluffy romance, an escapist read that took me overseas and made me wish even more than before that I could travel to London.
I’d say the story goes pretty much how you would expect it; Julia and Jason do not see eye to eye, but there is a definite romantic tension between. Jason is constantly teasing Julia in a way that spells L-O-V-E, and Julia is equally annoyed and charmed by him. The author took quite a fun road to reunite the two together, despite Julia’s suddenly very active love life and Jason’s mysterious disappearances.
I will say that, for my personal taste, Jason wasn’t the type of character that would make me swoon. While I’m sure many readers will absolutely adore him, I found him too clownish and, yes, a tad immature. Even sixteen-years-old me wouldn’t have fallen for the guy; our personalities simply wouldn’t mesh well. Jason is over-the-top, a bit loud, and doesn’t care about what anybody else thinks – which doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but comes close to disrespect in public spaces. Or maybe, as he would so gently put it, I just don’t know how to have fun!
This being said, I liked him enough to root for him and Julia and happily read through the story. Meant to Be was exactly what I needed after two weeks of painting, moving, cleaning and unpacking boxes : something light, fun, and heartwarming. Let’s not forget about the setting : London! I have never been (yet!) to London, but I was familiar with many names and places used in the story, which only made me more interested by Julia’s adventure. I would have loved to make such a trip when I was in high school (except for the pairing – I doubt mine would have turned out as lucky as hers!)
I only wish is that secondary characters would have been more developed. Other than Julia and Jason, we get to know very few of them, and what we know of them could fit into the palm of my hand. I would have loved for Julia to get to know her classmates better, so that maybe she could get a little less judgmental about them.
If you are looking for an uncomplicated yet entertaining read, Meant to Be is exactly that. I have no doubts plenty of readers with a weakness for YA romance, funny guys and British settings will enjoy this one....more
I knew going it that there was a big chance this wasn’t a book for me; The Selection has been mentioned as a “The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games” kinI knew going it that there was a big chance this wasn’t a book for me; The Selection has been mentioned as a “The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games” kind of book. Not being a fan of the first, and being too much of a fan of the second, I really expected the worst. I think it’s why, despite not enjoying the book, I went through it quite fast and actually finished it without feeling disappointed.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the book’s genre. Is it dystopia? Sci-fi? Fantasy? Honestly, hard to say. Though the Hunger Games comparison leads you to believe this will be full on dystopia with pretty dresses, it isn’t exactly the case. The book is so dystopia-light it is almost dystopia-free. There was a mention of Illéa being once upon a time the United-States, the attacks by rebels and then the castes systems (castes numbered 1 to 8, 1 being the royal family and 8 being the poorest of all). That is not sufficient to call a novel dystopian!
It’s possible the author plans on expending on her worldbuilding in the following books; if that’s the case, it really won’t hurt. Until more details were given, I found it extremely difficult to figure out which kind of society America lived in. Taking place 300 years in the future, there were very few mentions of technology or modern items : tv, portable phones, cinema, jeans… Other than that, I couldn’t figure if they lived in an advanced technological world, or if the wars had almost destroyed everything and stopped most progress.
And then there was America. She is pretty, you see; gorgeous in fact. Except that she doesn’t know it (she will tell you many times, that she doesn’t understand why people call her pretty all the time!) She’s also kind, talented at music, witty enough to get the Prince’s attention, simple, humble… gee, no wonder the Prince falls for her! She is so obviously better than every other girl around her! Her only clear fault was her lying – but it’s not her fault, you see, she is so obviously torn between those two guys!
As for the romance… huh. It was so predictable. So, so, so predictable at every turn. The way America and Maxon’s relationship develops, the conversations they have, the misunderstandings, all of this had little originality to it. The fact that I didn’t connect to America, to the Prince or to Aspen (America’s boyfriend back home) really didn’t help. To be honest, I had more interest for the girls America was competing against; I wanted to hear more about their personal stories, the gossiping, vicious plans to destroy each other, etc. There was little of that though, which made the novel uneventful for me.
I really wish I could add some great positive thought here, to balance this rather negative review. Sometimes a book isn’t for me; it is clearly the case with The Selection. But sometimes, too, I feel that it isn’t only about whether a book was for me or not. For instance, all this could have been saved by great writing. Beautiful prose, compelling descriptions, and I would have overlooked a lot of the least appealing aspects of the book. Sadly, the writing wasn’t anything spectacular, and the characters were so flat that I didn’t care what happened to them (except for America’s maids, three girls I really liked and who had more depth than most of the main characters).
I did have some fun while reading it. I kept reading because the writing, though not fantastic, made it easy to do so, and I kept expecting something big to happen. It didn’t but some scenes were fun enough. Also, I had a huge toothache, so the fact that this book was light and predictable felt good at the time. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be getting in line for book 2 when it comes out, but I am sure plenty of readers will appreciate this “Cinderella” story for its romance, the gorgeous dresses and a worldbuilding that is easy to get into....more
I was going through my list of books read in 2012, slowly starting to prepare my “Best of 2012″ list (one of my favorite time of the year on the blog!I was going through my list of books read in 2012, slowly starting to prepare my “Best of 2012″ list (one of my favorite time of the year on the blog!) when I realized I had yet to review some of my favorites this year. I’ve Got Your Number, read this past March, was one of those. I’m a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella. Even though I’ve grown a little tired of her Shopaholic series, her last two stand alone novels (this one and Twenties Girl) have been some of the most heartwarming books I got to read since I created the blog!
I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting much when I started reading this one. The summary felt a little silly and predictable to me, but in the end, I should have trusted Kinsella to work her magic : the story was entertaining and fluffy and awww-worthy from the start.
Poppy and Sam had so much chemistry! It is quite obvious, even from the summary, to see where the story is going, but the author manages to make the book fun and charming all along. There’s no boring moment, and Sam and Poppy were so absolutely adorable together – whether they were arguing or having a nice sharing moment. The emails and text messages, which sometimes get intrusive in other novels, were nicely paced and added a touch of life to the story, making the characters even more relatable.
I also loved that there was more going on than a simple romance. We learn more about Sam’s business, while Poppy has to deal with finding her ring, dealing with the in-laws and getting everything ready for the wedding. This is not without a few surprises along the way, and the build up to the ending was simply exciting (oh, that scene in the woods!)
Even though I sometimes wanted to hit Poppy on the head with a huge, heavy cushion, it was impossible for me not to like her. As for Sam, he was really likable too, and I always appreciate how Kinsella writes charming yet realistic men. Sure, he has his secrets like everyone else, but he’s not the stereotypical “mysteriously broody man with a deep dark secret”. He’s quite regular, when you think of it, but his connection with Poppy is so perfect it makes them both extraordinary.
To say I absolutely adored this book would be an understatement! It’s one of these books where predictability is comfort, and it’s the way there that makes it all exciting. I absolutely loved it, and I can’t wait for the author’s next book! Fortunately I don’t have to wait much longer, and her next novel, The Wedding Night, should be available in May of 2013. ...more
Unbreak my Heart was so much more than I had expected! It was the perfect summer novel : short, cute, filled with feelings, a tad of romance and gorgeUnbreak my Heart was so much more than I had expected! It was the perfect summer novel : short, cute, filled with feelings, a tad of romance and gorgeous days on the water, under the sun. I thought I was in for something simply light and heartwarming, but the book turned out to be a little more than that.
First I must say that I have very little compassion for liars and cheaters. Most of the time, cheaters are sitting in the "unlikable character" seat, written to be despised by the main character; when they are the main characters, there are often a multitude of reasons generously provided to excuse the horrid cheating behavior (it was just one time - his girlfriend is a horrible human being - it was meant to be - etc). So I started Unbreak my Heart feeling pretty sure I wouldn't like Clementine much.
That didn't happen, at all. Clementine spends a huge chunk of her summer thinking back on what happened, and why. With her we revisit her sophomore year, how she met Ethan, what the two of them shared together. She explains exactly what happened, how she could have stopped it, how she even lied to herself. Like all teenagers, Clementine can be a tad dramatic, but I didn't feel her actions were a cheap ploy to create drama in the story. Instead, I felt it showed her inner turmoil really well (with the added bonus of reminding me my own embarrassing teenage years!) In the end though, Clementine didn't make excuses, and it was so refreshing. She lives with her guilt and her regrets, but through this summer, we really get to see her grow.
Another aspect I really enjoyed was how heartwarming and fun and realistic the relationships were : the ones with her family, with her best friend, with Ethan or with James, the new cute boy Clementine meets on her vacation. Sometimes they get along really well, sometimes they don't, but that's just life, and it was really well written.
I also felt the book was as much, if not more, about friendship, family and staying true to yourself than it was about romance - and I loved that. It made the characters and the story more realistic, easier to relate to.
So, I really liked this one. Short and sweet, it's a perfect summer read!...more
I remember being pleasantly surprised by my reading of Die for Me. In a sea of supernatural YA novels, this one had a little something that made it stI remember being pleasantly surprised by my reading of Die for Me. In a sea of supernatural YA novels, this one had a little something that made it stand out. It might have been that I love Paris so much, I was automatically seduced; it might also be that I loved the originality of the revenants and the characters of Kate and her sister. Anyway, I really liked it, and I was looking forward to reading this sequel.
Was it as good as I hoped it would be? Not really. The story is slow to get a start and for a long while, nothing really happens. There are bits of new information, new characters, attempts to investigate, but all of this doesn’t come together before the last third of the book. Even the romance (which never was my favorite part of the novel, but was still cute) didn’t do much for the book.
Another disappointment; the predictability. I’ll repeat myself, but sometimes predictability is a good thing; a happy ending romance, a kingdom saved, the princess being rescued are things that you can expect and happily predict. But the road to this happy ending does not have to be predictable, and that was a bit of the problem here. It lacked a touch of subtlely. That’s not to say the story isn’t interesting; there are very intriguing elements that are revealed, and the world or numa and revenants seems even more supernatural by the end of the book. I loved learning about them, I just wish the twists would have been more… twisty.
I feel this has been more of a negative review so far, which is a bit unfair for what I would say is a 3,5 novel; so let’s talk a little more about the positive aspects of it! First, I really like how the author writes Kate’s narration. She is a little witty, but not in an exaggerated manner. It’s easy to relate to her. I also felt like though her grief for her parents is still present, she is dealing with it better and better. And I can’t deny it : I will never tire of the series’ landscape. I felt there were a few more well known landmarks in this book, but it made it easy to imagine the setting and the scenes.
The ending was great, too. Sadly, I can’t say much more than that without spoiling anything. It will certainly make you want to read the next book right away! If I Should Die, third in the series, will be available next year; meanwhile, the cover has just been revealed this week, so there’s at least that to make us salivate a little while we wait!...more
A year ago, on October 26th, I was reading the last pages of the amazing Lola and the Boy Next Door. This book confirmed what my heart already knew frA year ago, on October 26th, I was reading the last pages of the amazing Lola and the Boy Next Door. This book confirmed what my heart already knew from reading Anna and the French Kiss ; I was in love with Stephanie Perkins’ writing. Even though I liked this second book a tiny bit less than the first, I still loved everything in it.
Starting with Lola. Not being a fan of novels focusing exclusively on romance, I need my characters to have more in their lives than simply daydreaming about their love interests. Lola has that; her love for unique fashion certainly competes with her boy romance, and colors every page with original outfits – wigs included! It was so refreshing to have a character who has a strong passion for something, and to be confident in it, too.
The romance itself was adorable. Predictable, yes, but I think predictability somewhat defines romance in novels. We know where the characters are going; we just want to know how they will! Lola and Cricket – seriously though, Cricket? That’s a name!? I had a doll that was called Cricket when I was a kid and… ok, back on topic! – so, Lola and Cricket really are a cute pair. There is chemistry between them from the start. I don’t know how Perkins does it, but she writes cute like few authors can (though many try!)
I did feel it took Lola a bit of time to untangle the relationships in her life, but at the same time, it made sense. As a teen, you don’t have much experience with life and love; I’ve seen adults do similar mistakes, too. I think this will allow readers of all ages to relate with Lola and the questioning she goes through, all the while rooting for Cricket and her.
Also, thumbs up for her two amazing dads. I loved the family they had, how protective they were of her, and how them being a gay couple wasn’t such a big issue in the book. It was presented as normal, no fuss was made about it. I think we need a balance in fiction: while there is a need for books that address the LGBT issues directly, I think it is also good to sometimes have a lighter side to it. (I hope I’m making sense here!)
So, there’s nothing really negative to say about this book! Stephanie Perkins writes the type of romance I would have loved as a teen, and still love as an adult. If such a thing is possible, I’d say she makes me feel 16 in a good way!
If you’ve read and liked Anna, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. Anna and St-Clair do make a few apparitions, but there really is no need of having read the first book to enjoy Lola. Although, you really should read Anna. Now. Go!
Perkins’ new book, Isla and the Happily Ever After will be available in May of 2013. That is way too long to wait if you ask me, so meanwhile, please excuse me if I go rereading my favorite passages of the books....more
This book’s title is almost longer than its text – or maybe I just felt that the book was too short. Yup, that’s probably it! I think I fell for thisThis book’s title is almost longer than its text – or maybe I just felt that the book was too short. Yup, that’s probably it! I think I fell for this one mainly because of the cute cover (it was, hum, love at first sight!), but I have to say, what’s under said cover did deliver an adorable story.
I was really impressed by how dimensional the characters were for such a short novel. Hadley especially was well written and I felt like, in that one single day, I got to know her more than some characters from other books with whom I have spent much more time. And while it was really cute to watch her fall in love, it’s her family’s story that really got to me.
By itself, it’s nothing special really; her parents got divorced over a year ago, and now she gets to watch her father get remarried to a woman she has never met. But rather than being portrayed as a complete brat about it, like I have so often seen in other YA novels, Hadley is portrayed as a normal teenager. She’s not perfect, and dealing with both anger and sadness is hard for her; but she also loves her parents and this is what I felt the most through the pages. Her desire to have her “normal” life back, while knowing that she can’t, really broke my heart.
That said, Oliver looked like he was a great catch. He was certainly fun as a secondary character, and while he had a personality of his own, he never stole Hadley’s spotlight. He completed her well and I loved how they could talk about little things and tease each other easily from the beginning. You could sense that it was not only romance, but friendship that was developing between them.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a really good book that surprised me by having more depth than I expected it to. Easily read in one sitting, this little book warmed my heart – and I hope it will warm yours too!...more
So, just to be clear : this is the kind of book that makes you go “SQUEEE!!!!”, totally. Be prepared for it! It’s really not about the writing (thoughSo, just to be clear : this is the kind of book that makes you go “SQUEEE!!!!”, totally. Be prepared for it! It’s really not about the writing (though it is good), or the originality of the plot (regular will-they-won’t-they type of romance). It’s a mix of both, in fact, added to the wonderful setting of Paris and a set of characters that felt real, that makes this novel an exquisite candy-read that will warm your heart.
Even though she is trapped in a typical romance, Anna is such a breath of fresh air! She does some rights and wrongs, she’s kind of a clean freak, and has a wonderful sense of humor that is particularly present in her relationship with St-Clair. What I loved was that, even though the book is clearly about her romance with this beautiful boy, it’s also about her personal journey. Anna arrives in Paris not speaking French and is, of course, insecure about going out by herself. But she is no lady in distress, and as she learns about the Parisian life, she gets out by herself to do her own things. I liked that.
As for the romance, ah! There is so much to be said, but my words are missing. St-Clair is charming and has a British accent and is a bit tortured and is intelligent and has a great sense of humor too and… see, he’s kind of hard to resist. But most of all, his connection to Anna felt real, from the start. And their friendship too; even though there was a physical attraction, it was obvious that there was a lot more going on between the two.
Having been to Paris last year, I can’t tell you how much fun I had revisiting the city through Perkins’ words. You see, I have been missing Paris like one misses home ever since we went (we are already in the planning for a second trip there!) And every time Anna discovered a new aspect of Paris, I exclaimed in delight “OMG! I’ve been there! OMG! I’ve done this!” I have only love for an author who mentions Victor Noir (I’ve done this!) and Shakespeare & Co (I’ve been there!)
I loved this book. Can you tell?
It would be hard to pinpoint one particular aspect that made me fall for it this much, because there were many. It doesn’t reinvent the genre : but it presents it in such a delightful, fun, heartwarming way that I wanted to read it again as soon as I turned the last page. ...more