Review: The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

Book Title: The Taking (The Taking #1)
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA.SciFi
Series: Book 1 in The Taking trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
Diclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Normally alien/SciFi like this really is not my thing. I am very picky about my SciFi but when I saw it on Edelweiss awhile back, I considered it. Even at the end of 2013 I wasn’t totally sold on it but I knew I wanted to expand my horizons book wise. So a couple of days ago, after my blogger friend Andi had bugged me for what seemed like the thousandth time, I picked it up and I devoured it.
Sixteen year old Kyra has everything a teenager could want. She’s got a doting boyfriend, parents who love her and love each other and she’s a rising softball star. Things change abruptly after a fight with her father after a softball game. The fight was over college and her plans to go to college in the fall with Austin, the aforementioned doting boyfriend.
A blinding white light changes everything.
When she comes to, she initially believes that she just fell asleep behind a dumpster. Strange yes, but what is even stranger is the world she finds waiting for her. She learns that it has been 5 years since anyone last saw her. Yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything is different now. Her parents are divorced, Austin is away at college and in love with Kyra’s longtime best friend Cat.
And Austin’s brother Tyler has grown up.
Now I am really not a fan of the whole insta-love thing. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Insta-love doesn’t exist. Insta-lust definitely does and normally I would have labeled the thing between Tyler & Kyra as insta-lust but somehow I didn’t mind it. I rooted hard for Kyra & Tyler. There are so many swoony scenes for the both of them, but my favorite involves sidewalk chalk and a birdcage.
I loved this book. I loved the characters so hard and so much. I do hope that we see more of Simon & Willow in the next book because I really did like them. When Kyra begins to accept that maybe her father isn’t as crazy as her mother says he is, there’s an absolutely heartbreaking scene between Kyra and her mom. Her mom who used to be her best friend. I had a hard time with that scene because I kept thinking of my own relationship with my mom. 
I love books that are full of twists and turns and this book definitely brought that. In addition it also brought the feels in a big way. I was a wreck at the end of the book and it took me several minutes to calm myself down and stop crying. Derting combines, SciFi, Romance, and Contemporary all into one book. That is so hard to do and Derting did it. Not only did she do it, she did it amazingly. Even if you aren’t really into SciFi or if you are picky about it like I am, read this book. You will not be sorry. I am giving this book 5 stars and I cannot wait to see what happens next in this trilogy.

Review: Emma’s Secret: A Novel by Steena Holmes

Book Title: Emma’s Secret
Author: Steena Holmes
Publish Date: June 25th, 2013
Published By: Amazon Publishing
Genre: Family/Mystery
Series: Book 2 in the Emma series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Have you ever had that period of time where no book can hold your interest no matter how hard you try? Ever felt like you are forcing yourself to read something that you just aren’t feeling right then? Well,that’s what they call a “reading slump” Yup, no matter how much you want to read this book or that book,for some reason you just can’t. 

That’s what’s been going on with me the past week. I am even behind in writing & scheduling blogs because I haven’t done much reading. So when I scrolled through my Kindle, I landed on this book. It had looked interesting but I hadn’t read it yet.

Boy am I glad that I settled on this book. It was a great book with family as the center of it. Very few books that center around family weave other people into it well. First let me get this out. Megan drove me bananas. I understand the desire of keeping your child safe,especially since she had been away from you for 2 years. But I do think Megan took it to an unhealthy level. She wouldn’t do girls nights with her friends,preferring to stay with Emma. Yes I understand the need to be near your child who had just been returned to you,but like I said, Megan went overboard.

I felt horrible for Alexis and Hannah. They wanted their mom’s attention too but Megan was too busy catering to Emma’s needs to even notice her older daughters. I cannot blame Peter for the way he reacted either. Megan was hell bent on hating anyone who had anything to do with Emma’s disappearance. Megan’s friend Laurie was far more patient than I would have ever been. It was clear to me that Megan blamed herself and she was going to bend over backwards to make sure Emma was always safe.

What Peter did was nervy of him. I certainly wouldn’t have done it. I probably would have handled Jack in a combination of the way that Megan handled the situation and and the way that Peter handled the situation.

My heart ached for Emma though. She had spent 2 years with an elderly couple.She had bonded with them and suddenly she was thrust back into arms of parents she didn’t really remember and sisters that she didn’t remember. Her mom was pushing her to forget “Grandma and Papa” but Emma was clearly very attached to the older couple who had kidnapped her. Again I think Megan tried to rush things. I kept screaming at my Kindle for Megan to stop rushing Emma.

When kids are returned to their parents after a long absence such as being kidnapped,it’s not going to instantly go back to the way it was before the absence. I think Peter had a much more realistic view of the situation. Megan had significant tunnel vision.

All in all this book was an enjoyable read. I laughed and cried throughout it. It was also a very quick read,which made me super happy. There were a few issues with the formatting,that bugged me and all but Megan were enjoyable characters that had strengths and weaknesses. I toyed with giving this book 3.5 stars because I don’t think I’ll re-read it again but the character development of Emma was wonderful to watch. So I’m giving it 4 stars.