Book Review: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Nov 26, 2013 by

Book Review: "Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarryAt one time, it seemed like Echo had everything.  She was pretty, smart, had amazing artistic talent and was dating the basketball star.  But then something happened, and Echo just isn’t the same – she’s considered to be more of a freak than anything.  And now she has terrible scars up and down her arms that she hides from everyone, and has no memory of how they got there.

Noah had everything going for him too – until a house fire made him and his two younger brothers orphans.  The foster care system has split Noah from his brothers and he wants to do everything he can to get them back and in his custody after he graduates.  But the system, and life just gets him down and he tunes out to partying, drugs, and one night stands.

Echo and Noah are thrust together courtesy of their high school counselor…  and they help each other in more ways than they ever could have hoped.

So, my book bully friend has been telling me about this book for such a long time…  and I finally got the chance to read it.  I use the term “read’ loosely here – it is more like I devoured it!  I just couldn’t put it down!  Echo and Noah really took me by surprise…  I didn’t realize just how involved I was getting in their story until something really intense happened to Echo, and I found myself holding my breath.  And there were tears.  Smiles and laughter too – plenty of that as well.  It is really just emotional all over, and I loved it.  I really did.

Echo and Noah have had such different experiences, and tell their stories in alternating point of view narration.  Their individual histories help them really understand each other on such a deep level – a true connection.  But there is so much that can get in their way!  They also each have their own set of loyal and trustworthy friends, and their counselor is awesome.  These people become crucial to their overcoming their individual obstacles, and the way that it all plays out is incredible.  This was really much better than I expected, and I am so glad I read it!  I will absolutely read on in the series, as the next two books follows the story of different characters introduced here.

*****
Pushing the Limits
by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen, 2012
391 pages
Series:  Pushing the Limits #1
Source:  Purchased New
*****
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Book Review: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

Nov 26, 2012 by

“We’re off to see the Wizard…  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!”

This is one of my all time favorite movies.  I have always loved it – and remember fondly when it would be shown on television once a year.  My family would turn it into an event with popcorn and my brother and I were allowed to stay up late.  Technology being what it is today, I own the DVD and watch it often with my kids (or maybe by myself.  I’m not ashamed.)  I’d always wanted to read the original book, but just never got around to it.  Until now.  This is pretty much the general rule, so I was not particularly surprised.   The story is pretty much what you think it is:  a little girl and her dog get caught up in a tornado, which brings them from their mundane life in plain Kansas to a magical world.  Now in this unfamiliar land, she meets up with a Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and a Cowardly Lion with whom she travels to find the Great Wizard of Oz to have their wishes granted.  Along the way, they meet with Wicked Witches, Good Witches, Flying Monkeys, and Munchkins.

Book Review: "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank BaumIn the book, they meet many other curious creatures which add to the adventure.  Other major differences?  (Here is where I’ll start mentioning spoilers)  I always kind of loved that in the movie, the Scarecrow, etc. were imagined versions of people Dorothy knew in Kansas.  Also that her whole adventure was when she was out cold unconscious after being hit in the head during the tornado.  However, in the book, this just isn’t the case.  The world of Oz is real, and real time passes while Dorothy is there – enough time for Uncle Henry to build a new farmhouse, to replace the one presumably still sitting in Munchkinland.  This really is a huge difference, and makes the entire story more of a fantasy, and not just a dream.  Does that make sense?  Also, I really liked that the book made reference to the fact that Dorothy needed to sleep and eat during her long journey on the yellow brick road.  Many people are also put off a bit that Dorothy’s shoes are silver and not ruby as in the movie.  But you have to remember that when the movie was released in 1939 – it was one of the first to be in color, and ruby slippers look way more impressive than silver.  On a much smaller note – The Flying Monkeys used to scare me in the movie, but I like them much more in the book.

I also just wanted to mention that I listened to most of this as an audio book, narrated by Anne Hathaway.  She did a great job, though some of her “voices” for characters were somewhat interesting!

*****
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
Originally published 1900
Narrated by Anne Hathaway
Series:  Oz #1
Kindle/Audible version
Source:  Purchased New
*****
Links for purchase:


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