Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Spotlight: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

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Dare You To

Pushing the Limits #2
By:  Katie McGarry
Published:  May 28, 2013
Pub. By:  Harlequin Teen
Source:  Publisher (NetGalley)

GR's Summary:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

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....

Lindy's Thoughts

I loved Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!  It was one of the best debut's that I have ever read, and instantly turned me into a huge fan of Ms. McGarry's multi-faceted writing skills.  When I learned that there was to be a sequel, and that Pushing the Limits was to be part one of a series, as you can imagine, I was ecstatic!  Then I saw the cover, and read the summary!  Talk about sexy, sensual, and seductive!  I instantly added Dare You To, to my wish list.  After I received my very own copy from Harlequin on Netgalley, I was ready to read an excellent story, and my expectations were high!  Let me tell you, that this story was AMAZING!!!!!!!  I devoured it, and am suffering from a major book hangover.  Ms. McGarry created an heartbreaking, and beautiful love story, that you will never forget!  She also created characters that will make you feel, relate, connect with, sympathize with, and most importantly, these characters will leap off of the page, and take on a life of their own.

Dare You To is told in the dual perspectives of the two main characters Beth and Ryan.  Beth has had a dark, dangerous, and abusive upbringing.  Her mother is a heroin addict, alcoholic, and is codependent on malicious, controlling, and abusive men.  Unfortunately, Beth has been told that the reason why her father left her mother was because of her, and her mother chose Beth over her husband.  Beth has abandonment and trust issue's because of this, and the fact that everyone she has ever loved, has hurt her, used her, or left her.  On top of this, her mother's current loser boyfriend beat her up, so she had to move out and live with her Aunt Shirley (her mother's sister.)  Beth feels responsible for her mother, and picks her up everyday from the bar.  Sometimes her mother is so drunk, she is knocked out cold.  Beth is on a first name basis with the bartender there, and he calls her whenever her mother is out of control, so she can get her mother before he has to call the cops on her.  Beth only has two friends she can count on.  Noah (one of the main character's from Pushing the Limits,) and her best friend Isaiah.  I fell in love with Isaiah, and I'm pretty sure anyone else who reads this story will too.  He loves Beth so much, that he would do anything in his power to help her, make her life easier, and make her happy, even if it meant sacrificing his own happiness.  He is so protective of her, and has been the one constant good thing in her life.  However, Beth feels nothing but friendship toward him.  She loves Isaiah deeply, but isn't "in love" with him.  Beth's whole life changes, when she takes the blame for her mother's actions, and gets arrested.  Beth's Aunt Shirley, calls Beth's Uncle Scott for help.  He agrees to hire a lawyer, and get Beth out of jail, on the condition that Beth's mother sign over her parental rights.  He sees the horrible situation that Beth is being brought up in, and tells Beth's mother, if she doesn't sign over her rights, he will call the police on her.  Needless to say, Beth's mother signs over her rights to Uncle Scott, and consequently, Beth's life will never be the same... 

Ryan, is the other main character in the story.  His dream is to be a pro baseball player one day, and he's a talented pitcher and leader for his high school baseball team.  To all outside appearances, Ryan has the perfect life.  He's upper middle class, popular at his school, passionate about the sport he loves, has two best friend's Chris, and Logan who he is extremely close to, and comes from a great family.  However, appearances can be deceiving.  Ryan's family is falling apart.  His older brother Mark whom he has always looked up to has been cast out and shunned by the family, his father is constantly pressuring him, and is hard to please, his parents put on a show to the outside world, even though they can't stand to be around one another, and all they do is fight.  Ryan tries to be the perfect son, at the cost of his own happiness.  Then, one day, Chris dare's Ryan to get Beth's phone number, and after he meets her, their lives become entangled from that point on, and Ryan falls for Beth hard.

Dare You To was not just an amazing story.  It also had fully developed characters, that made a lot of growth throughout the story.  It spoke about real life issues, such as, drugs, alcohol, abuse, family dysfunction, learning how to trust again, standing up for yourself, and others, and making the right decisions for yourself without the influence of others.  It is a story that felt authentic, flowed easily, was fast-paced, and had the right amount of description, conversation, and action.  Dare You To was a story that I shed tears over, connected with, and made me think about my own life.  It was a meaningful story, that had a lot of life lessons, and important messages.  Aside from that, it also brought a great romance, chemistry that felt real between the two main characters, and many swoon-worthy, sexy, and steamy moments.  Dare You To was a well-balanced story that incorporated numerous positive elements, was seamlessly told, and will appeal to readers of all ages!

My Rating

I give Dare You To 5 Emotional, Heartbreaking, Beautiful, Sorrowful, Soul Searching Stars!  This series is a must read!  I am now highly anticipating Isaiah's story, Crash Into You!  After all, I am madly in love with Isaiah, and he is my current book boyfriend!  Everything Ms. McGarry write's is amazing, beautiful, authentic, and relatable.  I recommend this story to reader's that love reading a beautiful love story that is gritty, dark, tension-filled, swoon-worthy, sexy, full of character growth, and will make your heart melt.  This is a story that you will want for your library.  Most of the books that I own are ebooks.  I only buy my absolute favorite's in hard copy for my book shelf, and this is one of the select few that will be gracing my book shelf.  As Beth would say, "I Double Dog Dare You," to read this amazing series!  You won't regret it!  

My Favorite Quotes:

"I'd love to kiss her right now.  Not the type of kiss that makes her body come alive.  The type of kiss that shows her how much I care-the type that involves my soul.  
~Ryan (Kindle Loc. 2730)

"My hand presses against his chest.  His heart continues in the same steady beat I've come to depend upon.  Isaiah is my rock.  The string that holds me together when I'm ready to fall apart.  He's the anchor that keeps me from floating away when I go to far.  His heart has been the one constant rhythm in my life and I don't want to let it go.  
~Beth (Kindle Loc. 2857)

"The way he stares at me-it's as if he doesn't even see the outside anymore.  His eyes pierce me as if he can see my soul and the thought terrifies me.  I feel like I'm naked in front of a window, and the whole wrold is judging me."
~Beth (Kindle Loc. 3130)

The Way Ria Sees It

Dare You To was nothing short of awesome! I loved Pushing the Limits and I knew I was in for a great ride! My heart broke for everyone involved, at some point. Not sure if it was a good thing or not. I’ll say this from the moment I started, I was not content unless I was reading. Like, wake up in the middle of the night, wonder whats going on in the book, then thee ‘ol, “aw Fuukit, there’s only one way to find out.” I don’t want to spend a whole bunch of time talking about Pushing the Limits, but it was what set this all in motion so...I feel I must. Echo and Noah were epic! Beth and Ryan, not as much but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Beth more and I highly recommend this book. If you enjoyed Pushing the Limits you MUST read this book.  I will be honest in saying I didn’t enjoy DYT AS much as PtL, still amazing and the characters jump out at you and become a part of you.  Regardless read it for yourself...See if you’d agree ;) The writing and story wont let you down. 

D-rugs, a life numbing, and self destructive tool, punishes everyone around you and destroys your soul. 
A-bandoned, a little girl is found but the innocent “little” girl is dead. Whats left is hard and lost. Pain and mistrust rule her heart.
R-yan, provides a glimmer of hope, a chance for change, he will fight everything that stands in his way. He is determined, strong, a leader, she etches her way into his heart. 
E-xpectations, of a girl who would amount to nothing, of a perfect pitcher with a perfect family, all of these will fly out the window when these two re-write their destinies. 

Y-oung, Scotts heart has always been too big he makes me melt. He has done everything for Beth, he loves her the way her father should have. He will see to her heart finally being free.
O-utrage, friendships end, fists fly, and hearts are broken. Isaiah has always been there (Beth’s constant). Both are broken and affected. It will take them both walking away to perhaps find a way to forgive and grow.
U-rgent, two lives collide in a final decision cementing these two together. Beth loves Ryan.... it will take almost losing him completely before she takes a stand and does whats right.

T-rust, complete and totally scared but not alone. Beth is open and bare. What once was the impossible for her has become very attainable. I see her achieving dreams she never knew she had. 
O-pen, and free these two have so many choices. They have both provided second chances for each other. The not so perfect and the worthless have a real grasp on happiness.

As I mentioned before my heart breaks for EVERY character, I mean it EVERY single character...Wait, no, NOT TRENT...he elicits very awful feelings from me...of which I wont share but trust me they’re not very nice. Now for more 
pleasant things...

My Fav’s 

Has had an amazing masked life, once he really begins to see whats in front of him he decides to fight. I love his perseverance, I love that he knows whats right and has never wavered. Whether he is telling Gwen the way “it is” or he’s defending Beth or a drunk girl at a party, Ryan doesn’t shy away from whats right. It’s not the easy route but its honorable and I admire him for it.

Has been handed an awful deck...I’d say hand of cards but man since she was a little girl things have been awful for her. I can see why she becomes the way she does. I love that she lives her life with her head held high, and doesn’t have self pity. She loves full force and is loyal to those that have a piece of her heart. I was thrilled when she reconnected with Lacy, and happy that she and Allison found a way to come to terms with each other. 

**Secret time shh don’t tell any one...**
I was not happy when Beth referred to Echo as crazy! I love that girl and would defend her like rabid dog...

My Rating

4.0 Taco Bell, Broken windows, Drunken Addict, Skater Girl, Jock, Pink Ribbons, Tainted Locker, Barn Realization, Trapped Bird, Rainy Day Confession, Walmart trip, Forgiven Brother, RainWater Bottle, George and Olivia filled Stars!! I highly highly recommend this book. For fans of Pushing the Limits this is a MUST READ!! Get your copy ASAP! Serious discussions in our future, I can see it.

Ro's Thoughts

Dare to You, by Katie McGarry is a phenomenal novel from the Pushing the Limits Series.  I thought this novel was fast paced, and the characters were well rounded.  The perspective of the story is written in dual narration.  One of the main characters is Ryan Stone.  Ryan is the golden boy/jock of Bullitt High School.  He is the pitcher for the baseball team, the all American boy next door, who has scouts coming out to assess him for the major leagues.  Ryan has a father that is the city councilman, and the leader of all things, in the small community he lives in.  His and his wife's reputation in the community are more important than their children's lives, hopes, dreams, and well being.  Ryan loses himself in baseball, with dreams of joining the Cincinnati Reds.  To the outside world, he comes from the perfect family, rich, and couldn't want for anything.  In actuality, he comes from a dysfunctional family, with parents that don't know how to communicate with one another, and a father that runs a dictatorship.  Ryan has an older brother named Mark.  Mark has a secret that could burst the facade of his parents perfect bubble.  The family is told that they are not allowed any communication with Mark, and he is ousted by his father.

Elizabeth, (Beth) Risk is the girl from the wrong side of the tracks.  She comes from a dysfunctional family.  Her father left her and her mother at a young age, and her mother fell apart.  A drug addict, and alcoholic, she is on probation.  Beth is a hard core girl on the outside, but actually pretty sensitive under all the layers of her persona.  Beth's mom has a boyfriend named Trent,  that beats her and her mother, and is nothing but trouble.  There is an incident at the beginning of the story, and Beth has to protect her mother by taking the rap, and ends up in jail.  Her uncle, Scott Risk, her father's brother, comes to get her out, on the condition that she goes to live with him and leaves her old life behind.  If Beth doesn't do what he says, he will see that her mother pays from breaking her probation.  Beth has two best friends, Isaiah and Noah.  She is crushed at the choices she has to make, but is self-sacrificing for her mother's safety, though her mother doesn't seem deserving.  She agrees to go to Bullitt High School, and live with her uncle Scott, and his bitchy wife, who is completely against this awful girl coming to live with them.  She has jumped to conclusions because of Scott getting her out of jail, without knowing the facts.

Scott Risk use to be a pro-baseball player, and promised Beth he would return for her when she was a little girl, but didn't return for her until she was older.  By then, Beth had been let down too many times, and had some hard knocks.  These included abuse, drugs, alcoholism, and boys using her, and leaving her.  By the time Scott takes Beth in, she is hard core, with an earring in the nose, and a smart mouth and disposition, in which she doesn't give a damn who she hurts.  She rather enjoys shocking people, and uses it to her advantage, until Scott puts her in her place, and she realizes she has to tow the line or her mother will pay the price.

Scott is the impotice that brings Ryan and Beth together, though unbeknownst to him, they have previously met on a dare.  Ryan and his best buds, (Chris and Logan) refer to Beth as, "Skater Girl," and Beth refers to Ryan as, "Taco Bell Guy."   What started out as complete hatred on Beth's part for Ryan turns into a tender caring love for Ryan that she is constantly battling.  Ryan is a good guy, and tries to show Beth over and over again that she is worthy of love, and that he will be there for her.  Unfortunately, someone always has to be hurt in these relationships where there is a sort of triangle.  Isaiah happens to be the odd man out.  He is Beth's best friend, and always there for her to lean on.  His love for Beth is so heart wrenching, and I had a box of kleenex next to my bed.  Your heart will break for him.

Ryan and Beth are both searching for the same things, someone to love, trust, care for, and share things with.  Both of them are living a lie, and have many secrets from their friends, and each other that come to light.  Ryan finds his voice, and learns to stand up for what he believes in eventually, and Beth learns how to trust again.  Unfortunately, Ryan has to hide his relationship because of outsiders, especially his father.  He loves Beth more than anyone in his life, and will take chances I think even surprise himself.

Ms. McGarry has put together a thoroughly insightful novel, with well rounded characters, and dual narration, where the characters grow and mature at a good pace.  The readers will laugh, cry, get angry, and will definitely be drawn into the primary and secondary characters lives.  The romance that develops between Ryan and Beth will leave you with flutters in your stomach.  This is definitely more on the New Adult side of YA.  The life lessons are not tip-toed around.  Ms. McGarry gets right to the heart of it all, and to the darkest places imaginable.  It says, "Wake up people, be there for your children, no matter who they are, or what life has been put in their path."  The love of a parent to a child should not have conditions on it.  Love with your whole heart, and be there for your children first and foremost.  Appearances do not make a family unit, and image isn't everything, as in the Stone family.  This is a terrific accomplishment for Ms. McGarry.  Congratulations to her and Harlequin on such a fine novel in this wonderful series.  I am greatful to Harlequin for allowing me to review this wonderful love story, and well written novel.

I loved this novel, and I give, Dare You To, 5 Devastating, Sorrowful, Haunting, Loving, Reversible Stars.

Book Trailer


Ryan Stone
Beth Risk

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About the Author

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website,, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

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