Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 1/24/16

Hello again! It is time for Betwixt the Book’s weekly wrap up. Once again, we’re talking about all our context this week, from The Pied Piper Calls to My Life is a Notebook to the YouTube channel. Also per usual, there is some sneak peeks about what’s coming up this next week AND a bonus mini-haul from Gretchen!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

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Worth it Wednesdays: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

Pushing the LimitsTitle: Pushing the Limits

Author: Katie McGarry

Goodreads DescriptionSo 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.

Why it’s worth it: I got Pushing the Limits as an ARC back in 2012, and I still can’t tell you why I requested it in the first place. I don’t like contemporary YA romances, as a rule. They all seem the same to me, and I get bored easily.

I’M SO GLAD THAT I DID THOUGH, because this book is such a stand out.

I think the best thing about Pushing the Limits is that it isn’t just a love story. I mean, it certainly is a romance–and a really, really good one–but it also takes the time to give Noah and Echo lives outside of their romance–really, really 3D lives. They’re both struggling through real, serious struggles in their own, individual lives, each of which could have been a singular novel on their own. But then their stories twine together, and they fall in love and give each other strength while doing so.

One thing that always irks me in YA contemporary romance is that there is usually one person in the romance (typically the girl, but not always) who is having the struggle, and then the other one comes in at exactly the right time to be their hero. Or, worse, they both have very shallow struggles going on that take a backseat to some kind of star-crossed love. In my ARC review of Pushing the Limits, I wrote that it was actually NOAH’S finale that made me tear up, as opposed to Echo’s, which NEVER happens to me. I usually identify with the girl more, and usually the guys are really trite besides. Noah and Echo are both important, integral and real parts of the story–something I have rarely found outside of Katie’s books.

I did also review the second book in this series, Dare You To, on my blog, but I read the whole series and loved every one. Sure, I didn’t really have the intense, visceral reaction that I did to Pushing the Limits, but that doesn’t make the whole series any less worth it.

Read it if you’re looking for: contemporary romance that isn’t cliche, books dealing with serious topics, love that isn’t insta-love, realistic romance, a tear jerker, swoon worthy leads

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

Alright, folks, guess I got the Valentines themed one. This is amusing, because one blogger on this site is bitter about Valentines this year and one is not and GUESS WHO’S DOING THIS LIST! But no, actually, this list is still going to be really hard to put together. Gosh. Uh. Well, here’s some in no particular order!

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ARC Review: “Dare You To” by Katie McGarry

Dare to uDare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Goodreads | Amazon

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….

4 stars

Thanks to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for this eARC! This title is now available.

In the beginning I accepted one thing. I knew that I could in no way love this book as much as I loved Pushing the Limits. But I had faith in Katie McGarry to come through and write something that would rip at my heartstrings. Thank God I had so much faith, or I might not have made it past the first part of the book.

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Top Ten Beach Reads

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

So here is my definition of a beach read: mind candy. I don’t want anything in the way of emotional upheaval, and I just want to laugh a little. My brain doesn’t want to have to work hard to process anything. So here are my top ten beach reads, in no particular order.

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Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

I’M SO EXCITED I’M BACK TO DOING THESE! It actually required the CAPS. I’ve been away at school for so long and so busy that these have been impossible because I wasn’t able to visit all the blogs that visited me. But now I’m home and finals are over and I’M BACK!

This Top 10 list is probably the weirdest, most eclectic list I’ve ever put together, mostly because I’m not ashamed to admit I usually avoid books entirely about tough subjects. These are most certainly not all young adult books, and some of them are historical fiction because why cheat halfway?

whiteoleander1. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

I was given this book at way too young an age, but the details of the story stuck with me. This book is a visceral showing of the foster care system, neglecting mothers, violence and sex. I honestly can’t believe I finished it.

2. Beloved by Toni Morrisonbeloved

This is a classic for a reason. It makes this list because I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as it did. What do I know about slavery or rape or killing my own children? Nothing, thank God. But this book made my stomach churn and my eyes water and left me thinking, hard.

Who I Kissed3. Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Look, a young adult book! When I heard the premise of this book–that the main character kills a boy with a kiss because there was peanut oil in her lipstick and he was allergic–I wasn’t sure it was going to go over well with me. I wasn’t sure it would work. But there is a real dealing with of grief throughout this book, both in terms of the main character, the victim’s family and even the main character relating this to her dead mother. It worked much better than I thought.

4. Nerve by Jeanne RyanNerve

I didn’t read this for handling of tough subjects, but I got it. Throughout this story, the main character deals with peer pressure, how far you’ll go for fame – and what happens when a room full of teens are given guns and told only one survives. My stomach was rolling with the action, and it stuck with me long after.

League of Strays5. League of Strays by L. B. Schulman

I’m still not sure how I feel about this book, but one thing’s for sure: this is one of the more candid, stomach churning pictures of bullying I’ve allowed myself to read.

6. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryPushing the Limits

The levels of adoration I have for this book are limitless. Despite the fact that this is billed as a contemporary romance, it really is so much more. The themes of family, love (besides relationship!) and healing after a huge traumatic incident are really strong and truly touching.

Code Name Verity7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Technically, this is historical fiction. Personally, I think this is about so much more. I mean, the tagline is “I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.” This book deals with the bonds of friendship and the horrors of war all in one. I mean, the book OPENS with the main character being interrogated by the Gestapo. I very rarely cry for books, but this is one of those times.

8. The Last Song by Nicholas SparksThe Last Song

I know that these books are pretty cookie cutter and all, but this book had such a personal bent for me that by the end of the book I was bawling my eyes out. I still can’t read about the character of the little brother without sniffling.

mistress of rome9. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Okay, this is historical fiction, so I’m kind of cheating. I mean, these “tough subjects” are somebody’s life. However, what I was struck by was a rather smaller part of the book, which is the physical and sexual abuse that Thea goes through at the hands of the Emperor. It was striking in how little it was underscore.

10. Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Uccistreams of babel

I had almost forgotten about these books before I went looking for ones to fill this list, and now I’m struck with the need to read them all over again. These books are striking examples of what happens when you find yourself at Death’s door, when your mother overdoses and leaves you to die on your own and just about love in the face of death in general. Both it and it’s sequel just floored me.

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!