Friday, June 6, 2014

Take Me On - Katie McGarry

Take Me On - Katie McGarry
Take Me On by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Harlequin Teen!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for. (from Goodreads)

Not going to lie - Take Me On is the McGarry book that started off slowest for me. In fact, it even got to a point where I was worried I wouldn't end up liking it. But, in the end, the magnetism of McGarry's writing reeled me in and I fell hard for this book!

Take Me On has McGarry's signature story elements: relationships, dramatic moments and romance. These things would have fallen flat without compelling main characters in Haley and West. Haley is a tough chick, skilled at fighting, disciplined, strong and determined to be good. It's hard to get a read on her initially, but as pieces of her heartbreaking history are revealed, it's really hard not to want her to get the things she deserves out of life.

One of those things I think she deserves is West, who we met in McGarry's previous novel Crash Into You. West is stubborn and full of pride, the type of guy who won't back down from a challenge. While this can be misconstrued as arrogance, it's actually a great cover for the surprising vulnerability he feels about who he is, his family and his role among them. Witnessing his side of the story in Take Me On was something I really enjoyed, if it's not obvious.

It's clear, based on the cover and the summary up there, that a romance is brewing between Haley and West. Their relationship didn't just start up out of left field; the novel chronicles the progression between their first meeting and their relationship beautifully. It was lovely to witness them letting their guards down around each other, and slowly but surely falling in love.

However, it's not just their romantic ties that deserve to be highlighted when it comes to relationships in Take Me On. I also really found the complex family dynamics in both of their families interesting, as well as the budding friendships in this book (Hiiii Abby, Jax and Kaden!). McGarry has an ability to write relationships that feel real and raw, rubbing against sore edges with misunderstanding and yet breaking down into something vulnerable and true and filled with concern and love. This is actually probably the thing I love most about it, next to West (who is totally vying with Noah for the position of my second favorite McGarry boy; Ryan is still the first!).

Take Me On is another solid addition to the Pushing the Limits series! While it hasn't knocked Dare You To from its position at number one, I really do think McGarry consistently writes good novels. I enjoyed getting to know West, Haley and the rest of their loved ones, as well as the circumstances that bring them together (both romantically and otherwise). Whether you're already a fan or new to McGarry's series, I can definitely recommend this one!

9 comments:

  1. I think Dare You To is my number one for this series as well.

    I was just not that into Crash Into You. I feel optimistic about Take Me On after reading your review :-)

    Glad that Abby is in this one too -- I kind of want her to get her own book. :-)

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  2. I've only ever read Dare You To but have been eager to read all of her other books. I wasn't sure about this one at first since I'm not a big fan of boxing but I decided that since it was a Katie McGarry book that it just had to be awesome! Thanks for a great review...I'm really looking forward to this one.

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  3. Crash Into You is my #1 :D Loved this one though!

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  4. I agree with you-- one of my favorite things about Katie McGarry books are the family dynamics and side plots. There is always so much more going on than the actual story being told! I get wrapped up in all the secondary characters and end up crossing my fingers that they each get their own book! *Ahem* ABBBBBY!

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  5. I'm so happy that despite the book starting off slowly for you, you still enjoyed it! I've been looking forward to reading about West ever since Crash Into You! I love that he's vulnerable underneath his tough exterior. And yes- complex family dynamics and relationships are exactly what makes Katie's books standout! She's so excellent in perfecting character arcs- no wonder we can't get enough of any of her characters. Needless to say, I can't wait to read Take Me On! Great review, Alexa! :D

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  6. I love how completely immeshed I've become in this world McGarry has created. I agree that the slow building relationship between Haley and West was lovely to watch and the complex family dynamics are something that I continue to love about her writing. I do think things dragged a bit for me near the end, but definitely a great addition to the series. I hope she writes more!

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  7. I actually loved the first half of the book more than the second - the slow burn to Haley and West's relationship was really well done; I think about 50 pages could have been cut toward the end. Otherwise I agree with everything you said! Katie McGarry's books are so addicting, from the romance, to the family dynamics, to all the supporting characters. I will be just fine if this is a series that just goes on forever haha.
    So glad you enjoyed, Alexa! Great review. :)

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  8. I was surprised at how much I liked Take Me On because it was a lot like Crash Into You which I wasn't into at all. I liked all the family stuff, too, even though Haley's evil uncle really creeped me out. And of course the relationships, I agree that Katie McGarry is just great at them. Somehow she takes these dramatic relationships and makes them not seem totally nuts. And Dare You To is my favorite, too, yay! :)

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  9. Your first paragraph-- yes, yes and YES. It started out so slow for me too. I thought UH OH. But then West turned on his charm, and all was right in the world. Katie McGarry has a knack for writing those sexy "bad" boys. She said on Twitter yesterday that she blushed while writing West, which I thought was so cute :) Take Me On also has my favorite secondary characters of her books so far: Jax and Kaden. I wrote in my review about how much I loved the fact that they respect Haley's talent as a fighter, and I love the close bond that they share. Great review!

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