Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarry

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

Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarryPushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Written by Katie McGarry
Published July, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
376 pages
Provided by Harlequin Teen Australia
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Loss & Grief
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two-stars

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins - the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket--explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

I am completely in the minority on disliking this 2012 debut by Katie McGarry. I realise this and unfortunately I can’t change it, no matter how much I wish I could have fallen in love with this book like so many other readers. I didn’t like the characters or the predictable flow of events – and I couldn’t bring myself to invest in the romance between Echo and Noah.

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Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John Green

Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars (Standalone)
Written by John Green
Published January, 2012 by Dutton
313 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
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three-stars

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at Cancer Kid Support Group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

The Fault in our Stars was a very compelling and addictive read, one that I enjoyed and was able to devour in practically one sitting. Although this book had hardly any time to settle into the long, bleak waiting room that is my Kobo E-Reader, I still feel that the story itself was just ‘okay’.

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Review: “Time Between Us,” Tamara Ireland Stone

Review: “Time Between Us,” Tamara Ireland StoneTime Between Us (Time Between Us #1)
Written by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published October, 2012 by DoubleDay
362 pages
Provided by Random House Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Time Travel
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four-stars

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

What I found most charming about Time Between Us was the fact that Tamara Ireland Stone managed to make this book feel like a great little contemporary romance novel. While time travel was a huge part of the book, it WAS easy to forget that time travel wasn’t a normal factor in a relationship.

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Review: “Spark,” Brigid Kemmerer

Review: “Spark,” Brigid KemmererSpark (Elementals #2)
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Published August, 2012 by Allen & Unwin
345 pages
Genres: Elemental, Fantasy, Romance
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four-stars

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own…

What a wonderful follow up book to Brigid Kemmerer’s Storm! Spark is, dare I say it, even better than the first. Gabriel Merrick’s chapter in the series is heart-pounding, sexy and completely engaging read. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, what are you waiting for?

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Review: “Of Poseidon,” Anna Banks

Review: “Of Poseidon,” Anna BanksOf Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
Written by Anna Banks
Published May, 2012 by Egmont
384 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Mermaids, Romance
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two-stars

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom…

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

I had high hopes for Of Poseidon: great cover, fresh new author, a surprisingly intriguing blurb… I admit I caved and bought the first two in this series by debut author Anna Banks when I saw them on the shelves, after a long time pining over them and a while away from reading. Of Poseidon disappointed me. While not terrible in it’s entirety, it certainly dashed my hopes of finally finding the YA mermaid series I’ve been searching for.

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