Thursday, July 24, 2014

Delightful Discoveries #72

Delightful Discoveries are books that I have discovered recently... old, new, just released... from blogs, Goodreads, libraries, friends, or bookstores. 

PerfectedPerfected by Kate Jarvik Birch


Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

Lies I Told
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink 

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family. 

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Gail Carriger, this thrilling, high-stakes novel deftly explores the roles of identity and loyalty while offering a window into the world of the rich and fabulous.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

A Murder of Magpies

A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley


Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.

Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.

Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.

Just as Vayda and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.

One of the Guys
One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures any day. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a "lady" while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date to make Emma's ex jealous. Soon word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends—the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The Taking (The Taking, #1)Title: The Taking 
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date:  April 29th 2014
Pages: 357
Genre:  YA Sci/Fi 
Series: The Taking #1
Source: Audio


A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

I am a big fan of the Body Finder by Kimberly Derting and when I discovered her new series, about aliens, I was super excited. I waited a bit longer than anticipated to dive into this book but I finally read it (listened to it) and I loved it. The book wasn't what I was expecting but it was still super good. I can't wait for the next book. 

Kyra gets in a fight with her father one night and decides to walk home. She trips, there is a white light, she wakes up behind a dumpster the next morning with no memory of what happened. She makes it home to discover  her parents are divorced, she has a new brother, her boyfriend is in college and his kid brother is grown up... five years has passed with her missing and she has no memory of those last five years at all. Creepy really. After much deducing and digging up information she finds out she was taken by aliens that night and returned five years later, there are more like her, there are those that believe her, there are those who think she's crazy, and there are those that are chasing her. She is on the run, hiding, surviving, with the help of others like her and a very good and loyal friend. Its a crazy story really.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit slower than I thought it would be but there is a lot of background and story to uncover. I felt that this book just barely tipped the iceberg and there is so much more coming and I can't wait to read it. I felt this book was just a build up for the next in the series. 

The story wasn't the only build up in this book, there were also many relationships that were being explained, built, and discovered. There were many parts of Kyra's life that changed and I think the author did a wonderful job uncovering the past and explaining the present. With Kyra's memory and five years being gone from the very beginning there were bunches to explain and get used to. Some were her memories from before and others were her getting to know the present as new. I was able to connect to her easily and I felt I really knew her and I really liked her. 

Kyra was a very independent and strong character. She didn't just accept all that was going on. She had questions, she was frightened, she was confused, and she was determined. She made it through taking one day at a time without giving up. She was a real trooper. 

There is a bit of romance in the book and even though it was a bit fast I enjoyed it. It was sweet and with all the mystery and running, it was nice to have a tad of romance. It just gave a little bit more good to the story. 

I was hoping for more actual aliens, and this is the one thing that disappointed me. Even though it was clear aliens were involved, the aliens were never introduced and barely made an appearance, when they did it was nothing that would answer any of my questions. So that was just a bit disappointing. I am sure there is a reason for the taken and the returned so hopefully there will be more on that in the next book. 

Like I said most of the story was basically a build up for what is coming and a bunch happened in the last quarter of the book that just left me on the ground when the last page was read. I didn't know what to think or where to go because it just ended. Not on a cliffhanger but with a big question of what now. So yes be prepared for the ending. 

I really really enjoyed it. Not perfect but pretty darn close. 

Kimberly Derting
Kimberly is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster), and THE TAKING trilogy (HarperTeen). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the ideal place to write anything dark or creepy...a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who provide an endless source of inspiration.

Teaser Tuesday #113 and Top Ten Tuesday #103

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Bloggers choose two
sentences out of our current read to peak others' curiosity.

The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth


A darkly humorous and imaginative story
After she discovers The Terrible Thing, Easter Deetz goes looking for her sister, Julia, but ends up pinned under a giant boulder with her legs crushed into tomato paste. Bored, disappointed, and thoroughly dismembered, Easter slowly bleeds to death in The Woods with only sinister squirrels to keep her company. As The Something Coming draws closer, memories of Easter's family surface like hallucinations: a mumbling father who lives alone in the basement; a terrifying grandmother who sits in her enclosed porch all day; an overly loving mother who plays dead in the bathtub on Sunday nights.
As the story of her life unspools, Easter realizes she's being stalked, making it very difficult for her to bleed to death in peace. Will The Something Coming save her? Or will it do her in entirely?

But maybe none of that really happened. Because you know that there's something not quite right with the way you see things anyway. Even before you started losing blood. 

Top Ten is an original feature/weekly meme created here at
The Broke and the Bookish that features a great bookish top ten every week.

This weeks topic is top ten classics. I am horrible have not read many classics. Not even in high school so these are the classics I would like to read someday.. and the ones I have read and loved. 

Top Ten Characters to be stranded on an Island with me:

This changes for me but right now they are: 

1. Katniss from Hunger Games
2. Tarver from These Broken Stars
3. Sam
4. Nick
5.Cas (all above from Altered)
6. Sage from The False Prince
7. Ren
8. Kishan (from Tigers Saga) 
9.Scarlet from Scarlet 
10. Cinder from Cinder

So I picked survivors that could help me survive and I tried to pick the ones with a big personality so the conservations would be interseting. Who Would You Pick?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)Title: The Midnight Thief 
Author: Livia Blackburne
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date:  July 8th 2014

Pages:  368
Genre:  YA High Fantasy 
Series:  Midnight Thief #1
Source:  ARC 


Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

I love a well written high fantasy and its hard for me to find those. This one was a pretty darn good one. I didn't love it as I hoped I would, but I did enjoy the read. The story if full of big characters, crazy enemies, but of wildness, and a whole lot of fantasy. The only thing that held me back just a tad was the pacing. The book did lag a bit for me at times but still enjoyable. 

This story is about Kyra, Tristam, James, and some really big scary cats. Krya grew up an orphan, she survives by being a thief. Tristam is a knight, works for the palace, protecting it from danger. That danger at the moment is James and some evil cats. James is the leader of the assassin's guild and is currently looking to take down the palace and all they stand for. The big scary evil cats are just that. Huge wild cats who eat people. This is the story about how all their lives intertwine.  

I absolutely loved the story behind all that happens in this book. I love how there are 3 different stories happening but they all come together to become one story.  This was a great fantasy story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was good, not as complex as most High Fantasies and it worked well for the story. The pacing was off for me at times, like I said. There were a few times throughout the book I found myself just skimming, then there were times that I couldn't stop reading for even a second. I like my books to be more evenly paced. So that was an issue for me but I made it through the read and with a smile on my face. 

The characters were well developed. I especially like Kyra. I felt her struggles throughout and understood her quite well. She was a real survivor and would do just about anything to help those she loved. Which is what led her to the assassin's guild. She would do just about anything but kill. She is also a very lost character. She tries her best to understand herself but without a past she doesn't know who she truly is. I felt her pains, I felt her love, I felt her desperation and I felt her loyalty. I really liked her. Tristam was another pretty awesome character. A little harder to get to know and little less complicated but he was a loyal friend, brave, cunning, and a true hero when it came down to it. I fell a little for him.  James was a jerk but smooth, I hated him from the start, but only because his part was written so well. 

There is a bit of romance, slow and in the background. It was sweet and so not overwhelming. The story was truly about Kyra and finding herself through a bunch of ruckus, pain, and secrets. It was about the past and the present, two worlds combining, and about friendship. I really did enjoy the story. 

I liked it a bunch and I will be waiting to read the next book. 

Livia Blackburne
Email: liviablackburne [at] gmail [dot] com

Twitter: @lkblackburne


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated (Alienated, #1)Title: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date: February 4th 2014
Pages: 344
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Series: Alienated #1
Source: Audio


Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

I've had this book on my TBR list for quite a while and kept putting it off for some reason.I finally pulled the audio out of my library and dug in. I know there were many raving about this book and I was really afraid I would be disappointed so I didn't set my expectations high. I have to say I was quite surprised but this book instead. It was wonderful, it was sweet, sad, anger inducing, humorous, and fun. I loved it from beginning to end and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book.

The book is set in the future.... not sure how far off in the future.... and the student exchange program has advanced from country exchanges to planet exchanges. Cara has been chosen to participate in this program which means bringing an alien  into her home and her life. This is not something that is approved by all humans. There are some that accept it for what it is... Cara and her family... then there are those that are fanatics, crazy and obsessed then those that are hateful, extremist who believe aliens and humans should remain on their own planets. Cara must decide where she stands in it all.

Loved it Loved it Loved. This book was everything I look for in a great read. The story was light and fun full of romance and a few steamy scenes but had some underlying serious issues too. Some drama, some mystery, some secrets. It had it all including some very wonderful characters. 

The characters were of course my favorite part. I love well developed characters especially when they have great interactions with other wonderful characters. Cara and Aelyx  were just awesome. There is Cara, the sensible, safe, steady student kind of girl. Her life recently was turned upside down when her mother got sick with cancer. In the middle of all the crappiness she fell for a friend, grew closer to her best friend, kept up her grades, and tried to get through it all. Now life seems a bit back on track and she is asked to bring an alien into her home. Aelyx who is rude, arrogant, blunt, and very very good looking. What I liked about meeting the characters is that even though the point of view was 3rd person, it was written from both Cara and Aelyx's point of views. So I was able to connect easily with them both. 

I liked both of these characters. Cara had her moments of stupidity but really not many. She was a pretty steady character. Reliable. I knew her responses and thoughts before she did. She was very predictable but in a good way. Nothing was hidden, she was every bit of the person she portrayed. Aelyx was actually the opposite. He was very unpredictable, he had secrets from the veryobeginning. It was clear he was up to something but it was unclear until later on. It was hard to gage his true feelings. He was arrogant but also very modest. He didn't have great confidence in humans but he did in Car. He was very inter sting and even though he had a few faults he was very lovable, kind, and caring... just a little slow to the caring part. 

Lots of romance, slow, sweet, and steamy. Not too many steamy scenes but enough to make the book juicy in parts. Most of the time the romance stayed on the innocent side. Tolerance, intrigue, friendship, then love. Just how I like it. But yes there was passion and the hot scale ran high for me. 

So yes great characters, great story. Age old story of different races being violent and angry and with a few that were accepting and understanding. I really enjoyed how many of today's issues were brought in but with a touch of future. I like that the story was funny and light in some parts but then quite serious and intense in just a moment later. The writing was great for me, comfortable, just as I like it. Enough meat to carry me through without boredom to lose me. Pacing was awesome. I never felt rushed but I just flew right through the pages. A definite page turner for sure. 

Loved it, recommend it. Just read it.

Melissa Landers

Melissa Landers writes light, romantic sci-fi for teens and the young at heart. ALIENATED is now available from Disney Hyperion, and the sequel, INVADED, will release February 3, 2015.
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