Monday, 11 August 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry and Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

These were both reads that I was super excited for and when I received e-ARC's for both I was over the moon, safe to say neither of them disappointed.

Book Title: Take Me On
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Mira Ink, June 6th, 2014
Source: e-ARC via NetGalley
Format: E-book, 544 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
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 id everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last give seconds in the ring without her help. West is keeping a secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping him fighting for her is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault her 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.
Being a hardcore Katie McGarry fan receiving Take Me On before it was published is like... its like being allowed to have two extra brownies after your initial allowance. Which is a good thing. When I found out that the Pushing The Limits series was getting another novel, and read the blurb I was so excited, whilst reading Crash Into You apart from Rachel and Isaiah, West was a secondary character I was interested in - and now he gets his own story! Admittedly the GR blurb doesn't do the book justice, if anything it makes it sound cliched, knight in shining armor, etcetera, but its really not.

Take Me On takes place at the end events of Crash Into You, the previous book in the series, and I think McGarry worked with West's guilt at his sister's, Rachel's, accident, really well and made it quite a tangible part of the story. Whilst I loved West's character and how he matured under his circumstances, Haley is my favorite, I mean, female kickboxing badass protagonist? Yes, please! But not only that, Haley hasn't got the perfect life, far from it, she has family issues and other personal issues that give her character depth.

As always the accuracy of McGarry's story-lines are impeccable, due to a lot of research I'm sure - it just shows how much effort goes into something like this. With her usual trademark emotional twists and turns, and general gritty, urban, feel, McGarry did not disappoint with the latest installment; I loved it!

*I also mentioned Take Me On as my YA Romance pick over on Reading with ABC, for their Best Book I Ever Read feature, which you can see here*

Rating = Four Bookish Birds

Book Title: Take Back the Skies
Author: Lucy Saxon
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK, June 5th, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Format: Paperback, 378 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She's one of the privileged - she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever. So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat's world becomes more turbulent than she could have ever imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life one and for all...
Now I'm not usually one for fantasy, but Take Back the Skies seemed right up my street and then... well, I'm having a very Fire and Flood like dilemma now, if you read that review you'll know that I really enjoyed the book but I could see plenty of flaws, same thing here. 

Whilst I think that the story and world was brilliantly thought of and the start of the book was very promising there were flaws... Flaw number 1) Fox, just... I was conflicted about Fox as he reminded me a lot of a once close friend, but those mood swings, honestly, I couldn't take it - and then there's the romance, its pretty obvious that Cat and Fox will get together eventually, and they do, and its terrible. You have a 17/18 year old and a 14/15 year old (the same age as me) saying they love each other and won't love anyone else, blah, blah, blah please, just no. Flaw number 2) Cat's 14/15, she basically tell's the crew, oh you know what let's overthrow a government, we don't even need to wait, we'll do it tomorrow, and all the adult, they're just like, yep, yeah, brilliant, we'll do that. I'd understand if you was at least 17 or 18, nearing adulthood, but just turned 15? No. Flaw number 3) No build up, there was no build up to decisions, no transition, everything was done with words and very conveniently so. Flaw number 4) Take Back the Skies reads like more of an MG novel than YA, perhaps if I was eleven I would have enjoyed this much more and the flaw's wouldn't have irritated me as much. 

Now, even I know that previous paragraph sounded pretty harsh, but, yes there's a but, I really did enjoy Take Back the Skies when I just read instead of analyzed. It was well paced and a fun read, Cat's character is pretty much perfect for the story-line; rational and isn't afraid of calling other people out and making her own point - I find that she was easy to sympathize with and quite likable, I just felt that she was a bit immature at times. In short, on one hand I loved Take Back the Skies, and will definitely read any upcoming sequels or other novels by the author, but it needed a bit of fine tuning.

Rating = 3 Bookish Birds

*Thank-you to Mira Ink for the e-ARC of Take Me On, and thank-you to Bloomsbury and the Take Back the Skies team for my various ARC's of TBTS!*

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