Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

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Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read Berserker by Emmy Laybourne! Hanne has inherited Norwegian Berserker powers and supposedly this is what drove her mother away. Hanne lives with her drinking father, two brothers and a younger sister. Her eldest brother Steig wants to move to America, get a teaching job and bring his siblings to America when he has enough money. Hanne’s story alternates with Owen Bennett’s, who’s treated badly by his family because he’s the product of Mr. Bennett’s past affair. Hanne is overtaken by the Berserker powers when she senses that her family is in danger and she kills the three men that mean to cause harm to her family and her father ends up dying also. The four siblings run away from their home. Meanwhile, two men, Rolf and Ketil, are sent by a Baron, their employer, to hunt down any Nytte, anyone with Norwegian descent that has inherited Viking strengths. They all travel to America. Owen meets the siblings when he saves Sissel from a moving train so she can be with her family. Owen becomes the family’s guide. Along the way to their uncle’s home in Montana, the group braves many setbacks and they also meet Ketil and Rolf. The story comes full circle with much action and adventure involved and the loyalty of friends and family is what I enjoyed the most in this book. 4 stars for a suspense filled mythological adventure!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Shearwater by Derek Murphy

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I thoroughly enjoyed Shearwater by Derek Murphy. The book opens with an intense prologue of a woman being stabbed by a man and then she grabs the knife and stabs him. Then they both plunge off the cliff and into the water. The first chapter jumps to thirty two years later and the main character, Clara Clark, is waiting for her parents to show up and watch her perform at her high school. While she’s singing, police show up to tell her that her parents perished in a car accident. Her mother’s will states that if something happens to her parents, guardianship goes to her grandfather in Ireland, her mother’s father. The problem is, she didn’t even know he existed. The longer she’s in Ireland, the more mysterious and strange her surroundings become and she begins to learn piece by piece why her mother left Ireland behind all those years ago. On her sixteenth birthday, her looks become more defined, sleek and beautiful and now she truly resembles her mother. Her heritage is slowly revealed and the mystery around the killings grows deeper. The creative story and plot make this a very interesting read and complex characters, mythology and historical legends of mermaids, Atlantis and humans weave together for a fun fantasy read; 5 stars!

Legion by Julie Kagawa

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read and review the fourth book in the Talon Saga, Legion by Julie Kagawa!  This is a perfect addition to the already popular Talon, Rogue and Soldier books with just as much action, intrigue, romance and suspense!

Each of the books in the Talon Saga are told from a different character’s point of view. Talon is told in Ember’s point of view, Rogue is in Riley’s and Soldier is told in Garret’s point of view. Legion brings back all of the main characters and their points of view, including Dante’s. Dante is Ember’s brother and has been loyal to the dragon rule all  along because he believes he will be the dragon in power someday.  At first, he wanted to help his sister succeed and only cared about pleasing their instructors and taking care of her.  Then he had an epiphany about the position of power he could be in someday.  This changed his entire perspective. The strong, dynamic characters are worth cheering for while the tension builds in this addition to the Talon saga. I didn’t see the specific conflict coming and was shocked and appalled at the Elder Wyrm’s use for Ember Hill!  This book is as amazing as the rest of the series and is suspenseful and intriguing with new mysteries springing up and adding to the un-put-down-ability of the story. 5 stars for characters I love and the building anticipation!  I am already anxious for the fifth book in this series and I plan on a complete re-read when the entire series is complete!

Frostblood by Elly Blake

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Frostblood by Elly Blake! Ruby is Fireblood, (can build heat and flame within her body and can expel both), and loses her mother in an attack on their home. Ruby is taken as a prisoner because Firebloods are persecuted. She spends some time in prison, then is released to go with Frostblood (can build cold and frost within their bodies and can expel both) people and taken to Forwind Abbey. The abbey catches on fire and one of the monks blames Ruby, so she runs away. Arcus, a mysterious resident of the abbey, finds her in the woods, alone, lost and with no horse. He takes her back to the abbey and she makes an agreement with Brother Thistle and Arcus that she will stay and help them if they explain their purpose to her. They finally have mutual trust and their backstories unfold gradually. This adventurous tale comes to life full of action and intrigue in a beautifully described fantasy world. I enjoyed the depth of the characters and how the explanation of the Frostblood world unfolded – 5 stars! I am anxiously looking forward to the sequel, Fireblood which is scheduled for publication September 2017.

 

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill! This fantasy story contains a refreshing new plot idea and wonderfully complex characters. The main character, Britta, has lost her father and after her allotted two months of mourning, will now lose her home. She has been told that her one true friend, Cohen, killed her father. Britta has the gift of knowing what is truth and what is a lie. She feels that Cohen did murder her father. She has been given an offer to catch Cohen and then she can keep her father’s home. She ventures out to find Cohen and discovers him and so much more about her past and her family. The believable characters and the clever and cohesive world building make this book one of my favorite reads and I am anxiously awaiting the sequel that comes out December 2017! I give Ever the Hunted a 5 star rating for a highly recommended fantasy read!

How to Hang a Witch

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The instant I began reading How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, I felt pulled into the story. What’s not to love? The history of the Salem Witch Trials, clever characters and an interesting synopsis immediately piqued my curiosity! Told in Sam Mather’s point of view as she moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. The two of them reside in Sam’s grandmother’s house while Sam’s father suffers in a coma that has lasted over three months already. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men who hanged witches during the Salem Witch Trials. A group of students, known as the Descendants, because they are actual descendants of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials hangings, immediately dislike Sam because of her last name. Her neighbors, Jaxon and his mother, are friendly and they knew Sam’s grandmother well and took care of her and her home when she couldn’t anymore. Jaxon seems to be the only friendly person in the entire school, including the teachers. The relationship and banter between Jaxon and Sam makes me smile and when they find a hidden room in her house, the mystery begins.

The author’s beautiful descriptions bring the historical homes to life and portray the magnificence of a Massachusetts autumn. The mystery, suspense and the curse all grow in intensity and I am never quite sure who Sam can trust. Wonderful and creative writing, dynamic and complex characters and a plot that everyone can relate to make this an amazing book. The author’s notes share what is historically accurate and what’s fiction and her personal genealogy makes me think that she needs to write more historical fiction! 5 stars – perfect from beginning to end!