Monday, June 9, 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Take Me On
by Katie McGarry 
Read: June 2 - 3, 2014
Published: May 27, 2014 by Harlequin TEEN
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: Contemporary romance, YA, MMA, Kickboxing 

Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

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.

Haley 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.

What I love most about the Pushing the Limits series is that I've become invested in the lives of an ever increasing network of characters, who reemerge in later books and share their family and friends with me. I feel like I know this part of Kentucky well and the people who live there, both the dark and the light places. In Take Me On, I like how Rachel's story connects and informs West's, and the opportunity to see previous characters from his perspective - Rachel, Isaiah and Abby definitely, but also, his parents are more complex after viewing them from a new perspective.  

West and Haley's story reminds me a bit of Rachel and Isaiah's, though instead of cars its focused on fighting. One night Haley is nearly jumped by two guys looking to steal the meds for her father that she's just picked up, and West steps in to help her, not knowing she's a champion kickboxer (though one who has sworn never to fight again). Still it's West who ends up defending her honor by agreeing to a mixed martial arts fight with one of the attackers. Not sure how else to get out of this mess, Haley decides to train him, determined to their relationship professional. Of course that doesn't work out so well for either of them.

I loved the slow building romance between Haley and West, as they began to trust each other and share their secrets. I also like that both of their families were complex and part of their stories. However, Take Me On got a little long in sections and it fell apart for a while in the latter half, when the momentum got lost for a time. This made me sad because until that point, I had been impressed with how each of them approached their friendship and budding relationship, despite the differences between them. After that section, it was hard for me to recapture the excitement, especially leading up to West's fight. I also wish we'd gotten to see a little more of Haley fighting or West training. Still, I'm a fan of Katie McGarry and I'll definitely read whatever she writes next in this world. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Companion/Standalone. So many more people need stories, but will we get them?


  1. I've been falling out of love with this series for awhile now and I just couldn't become interested enough within the first few pages of this to want to continue. I have a feeling I wouldn't have liked it too much even if I had, simply because McGarry's books either work for me or they absolutely don't. I'm sorry to hear the latter half of this brought down your rating, but I'm curious to see what you think of her future books -- I'm definitely not opposed to reading them, just far more wary. Lovely review, Lauren!(:

  2. I wish that we could've seen more of their fighting as well! I thought that the whole boxing/MMA thing was cool, but I feel like we got so much more of the baseball and car stuff in Dare You To and Crash Into You, but we didn't get to see nearly as much of the fighting. I liked this book, but for me it just didn't compare to Crash Into You, which is my absolute favorite of the series.

  3. I read the first book in this series, but I haven't read any more. I liked it enough, but I just didn't love it, and with so many other books to read, I just haven't gotten to it yet. The fact that she trains him in fighting intrigued me, but if that ends up not being in the book much, that's disappointing. I may end up reading this one eventually…great review! ~Pam

  4. It's hard not to get involved in the ever-expanding group of people Katie introduces in her books. I haven't read this one yet (it's near the top of my TBR pile!) but I'm excited to re-meet West (I wasn't the biggest fan of the boy in the other book so he'll have some work to do to bring me around) and to meet Haley!

  5. I am not really ready yet to read books in this genre.. lol :D I have read a few, just not that interesting for me :p But someday. ANYWAY. Amazing review sweetie. <3 This sounds like a great book. And I'm glad you loved it :)

  6. We have very similar thoughts! I definitely liked the first half better, with the slow, torturous, wonderfully done build up of their romance/relationship, but things get too tedious toward the end. I think a certain section definitely could have been cut, saving the book a good 40 pages or so. But this is definitely a favorite series of mine; I hope we get Abby, Jax, Ethan, and Logan's books haha.

  7. I actually liked West & Haley's story more than Isaiah & Rachel's! It took me a while to get really invested and interested in their story, but it did happen. I did like West a smidgen more than I liked Haley though, mostly because I found him crush-worthy :)

  8. Hmmm...I have to admit this is not the couple I was hoping to see next, but I'm still intrigued. I'm so behind, though, that I don't know when I'll get a chance to pick it up. Sad that it doesn't keep its momentum, but like you said, I'll read anything Katie McGarry writes. :)

  9. I just finally got accepted for this and I'm excited because I'm a big fan of this series. I do love a slow burn romance! Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

  10. I absolutely ADORE PTL, and I just haven't had the time to catch up with this series but I am so looking forward to it. I also love that you get so invested in each character's life, and you experience what they experience. Too bad this one dropped a little in the latter half of the book for you, but you still enjoyed most of it. I can't wait to meet West and Haley. Fabulous review, Lauren! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 


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