Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

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Title: Pushing The Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Published: 25 July 2012
Source: HarlequinTEEN Australia
Reviewed: Sapphireddragon
SapphiredDragon Rating: *****

Synopsis (via Goodreads): “I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

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. And 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.

Review: I don’t tend to read too much YA Contemporary as generally it is not one of my preferred genres but I had been hearing good things about Pushing the Limits so when given the opportunity to review it by HarlequinTEEN Australia, I took it curious to see it if it would live up to everything I had heard.

It did! And then some!

Pushing the Limits is easily one of the best reads of 2012. This is due to a combination of the writing, the story itself and the characters.

This novel is written is written in first person tense in alternating chapters by the two main characters Echo and Noah. This helps really get into the heads of the characters and become invested in the story from the first page. The writing itself flows really well, keeping you inside the story and connected to the characters.

The story itself is gritty and current and could easily take place in any high school in any town. Echo is trying to recover the memories of an attack that has scarred her in more ways than one and to recover her place in her life while Noah has his own scars due to the loss of his parents and trying to regain custody of his brothers which have caused him to become the stereotypical bad boy everyone expects of a foster kid. The story of these two finding their place together and back in their lives is riveting. No instalove here. Trust and then love is earned and such a vital part of the story despite all the obstacles and reasons why they shouldn’t be together.

However it’s the characters I think, that make this novel. Both Echo and Noah are such real, three dimensional characters, you can’t help but feel empathy for them and Katie McGarry has really filled out the peripheral characters also such as Lila the best friend and Grace the friend who is only a friend in private. One cannot help but relate to Echo as she is struggles with her relationships with her father, stepmother and feel for Noah, whose life seems to be in ashes around him.

I could go on and on about this novel as I really enjoyed it on so many levels and even after I had finished it, I was still thinking about days later.

If you want a current YA Contemporary novel with believable characters and engrossing storyline then I thoroughly recommend Pushing the Limits.

A five star read and most definitely one of the reads of 2012

Sapphired Dragon xx

In My Mailbox #31

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Welcome to In My Mailbox, a meme run by The Story Siren where each week over 200 bloggers post on their blogs the books they have bought, received to review or won in the past week.

To find out more information, get involved yourself or see what’s in other bloggers mailboxes this week head over to The Story Siren or to find out what is in my mailbox this week, keep reading.

Don’t forget to comment and post your IMM link or just let me know what’s in your mail box this week.

Another HUGE week! Got heaps of awesome titles. Now I just need to sit down and read them all :-). All synopsis’ via Goodreads

For Review (Print Books):

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Circle of Silence by Carol M Tanzman (thanks to HarlequinTEEN Australia)

THE BIGGEST STORY OF MY LIFE COULD BE HOW IT ENDS It’s my turn to run a “Campus News” crew, and I’ve put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets-until a student lands in the hospital under “strange” circumstances.

I “will” blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt…or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don’t trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is “not” important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast…be sure to watch “Campus News” at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (thanks to HarlequinTEEN Australia)

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

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. And 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.

For Review (E-books):

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Stormdancer by Jay

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

Giveaways Won:

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Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Thanks so much to Lisa of Badass Bookie and Allen & Unwin for this awesome giveaway prize 🙂

Now that Brooke Berlin’s caught a taste of fame and her movie star father’s attention, she wants to launch a blog that will position her as the ultimate Hollywood insider, but she hardly has the time to write it herself. . . .

Enter green-haired misanthrope Max McCormack. Max reluctantly agrees to play Brooke’s ghost-blogger for an impressive salary, and the site takes off, but how long can their lie last? Brooke can’t live up to the blog’s intellectual wit in person, and Max soon begins to resent hiding her genius behind a bandage-dress wearing blonde. Can the girls work together to stay on top or will the truth come out and ruin everything they’ve built?

Purchased:

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Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

The people of Alban are afraid.

The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny.

Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one – not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.

When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil?

For Neryn has heard whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King’s reign.

A place called Shadowfell.

A story of courage, hope, danger and love from one of the most compelling fantasy storytellers.

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Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

“Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown”—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

Purchased (For my daughter):

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That’s not my… Box set Fiona Watts & Rachel Wells

Library:

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Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dear Reader,

Life is great for me. I have my chicory coffee, my warm beignets, and my best friend on the cell phone. Once the sun goes down, I am the baddest thing prowling the night: I command the elements, and I know no fear. For centuries, I’ve protected the innocent and watched over mankind, making sure they are safe in a world where nothing is ever certain. All I want in return is a hot babe in a red dress, who wants nothing more from me then one night.

Instead, I get a runaway Mardi Gras float that tries to turn me into roadkill and a beautiful woman who saves my life but can’t remember where she put my pants. Flamboyant and extravagant, Sunshine Runningwolf should be the perfect woman for me. She wants nothing past tonight, no ties, no long-term commitments.

But every time I look at her, I start yearning for dreams that I buried centuries ago. With her unconventional ways and ability to baffle me, Sunshine is the one person I find myself needing. But for me to love her would mean her death. I am cursed never to know peace or happiness-not so long as my enemy waits in the night to destroy us both.

Talon of the Morrigantes

Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them…

Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Go to school. Get good grades. Stay out of trouble. That’s the mandate for most kids. But Nick Gautier isn’t the average teenager. He’s a boy with a destiny not even he fully understands. And his first mandate is to stay alive while everyone, even his own father, tries to kill him.

He’s learned to annihilate zombies and raise the dead, divination and clairvoyance, so why is learning to drive and keep a girlfriend so dang hard? But that isn’t the primary skill he has to master. Survival is.

And in order to survive, his next lesson makes all the others pale in comparison. He is on the brink of becoming either the greatest hero mankind has ever known, or he’ll be the one who ends the world. With enemies new and old gathering forces, he will have to call on every part of himself to fight or he’ll lose everyone he cares about. Even himself.

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Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole

The first in a new series about an exclusive school with a terrible secret—you’ll be dying to join the chosen Few

The Darke Academy is a school like no other. An elite establishment that moves to a new exotic city every term, its students are impossibly beautiful, sophisticated. and rich, and the more the new scholarship girl Cassie Bell learns about the Academy, the more curious she becomes. What sinister secrets are guarded by the Few—the select group of students who keep outsiders away? Who is the dark stranger prowling the corridors at night? And what really happened a year earlier, when the last scholarship girl died in mysterious circumstances? Cassie quickly discovers that a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing, but knowing too much can be deadly.

Blood Ties by Gabriella Poole

Suspense builds in the second tale of the Darke Academy, where true graduates take life by the throat

This term the secretive Darke Academy has moved to New York, and Cassie Bell is no longer the innocent new girl. Now she is strong, determined, and hiding secrets of her own. Cassie has been introduced to the world of the Few and is struggling to come to terms with her astonishing powers, a dangerous romance, and the malevolent spirit inside her, demanding to be fed. When an old enemy returns, bent on revenge, Cassie is tested to the limit. Can she rescue her friends from a horrific fate, or will she end up destroying them to save herself?

What was in your mailbox this week?

Teaser Tuesday #31

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My current read is Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and my two lines are from page 141:

How could such a question come out of the mouth of someone who looked so ethereal? Glinda the Good Witch had a dirty mind.

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Synopsis (via Goodreads): SO WRONG FOR EACH OTHER…AND YET SO RIGHT.

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.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!