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.

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review 27 Hours by Tristina Wright. Rumor loses his father when they’re attacked by Hellhounds and a dragon. A gargoyle, speaking their language, rode the dragon as its leader. When the gargoyle spoke he yelled to find Vala, so they seem to be searching for someone. Rumor’s dad ordered him to run and to warn others of an imminent attack. Rumor ends up in Epsilon. He meets with Dahlia, an old acquaintance. The hormones all over the place became confusing. Then we meet Jude who sees emotions and intentions of others in different colors. He knows deception and truth because of his sense; I did enjoy this power. Dahlia’s best friend Nyx wears hearing aids and they practice sign language together, which is awesome and interesting. Nyx has a crush on Dahlia and this became too sappy. The setting is eventually explained, a two hundred year-long journey from Earth to colonize in space. I kind of got tired of hearing about everyone being gay because if somewhere down the line there are no heterosexuals then we will become extinct and if colonization is a priority then reproducing should be a priority also. I guess maybe they can produce test tube babies or something similar. This book is more about categorizing sexual preferences and less about the plot, which was annoying to me. I enjoyed the descriptions of the chimera and found them interesting. I also enjoyed Braeden’s and Rumor’s sarcastic humor. The conflict and prejudice of the war on the Saharan moon took precedence for a while and that’s interesting enough to pull me into the story but then, for some reason, even though everyone is worried about death and impending battle in less than 16 hours, they act like they have time for sex. Attraction and love were being confused with each other. Just because you’re attracted to someone you just met, doesn’t mean you love them and I feel that too many people use the word “love” too lightly. 3.5 stars for the storyline and world building.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Never Apart by Romily Bernard

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Never Apart by Romily Bernard. This story is different from what I expected but I still enjoyed the concept, the characters, and the twist. It began as a science fiction story dealing with parallel universes and it turned into so much more! I don’t want to ruin the plot for any potential readers, so I will just say that the story alternates between then and now, the characters of Grace, Ander and Finn kept my interest and their actions kept me guessing. 4 stars for a unique book!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review A Messy Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan. The story begins with theater students putting on a show with another school and describing how much fun the improv acts turned out. I kind of wish I could have been in that audience. Later, Ellie and her stepbrother Craig head to the beach and then to a house party after being invited by Jason, the guy who acted out improv with Ellie at the show. That’s how Ellie and Jason met, an improv performance. While Ellie is walking to a fire with Jason at the party, she falls and ends up at the hospital and everyone thinks she’s broken her leg. When her mom, Craig and her friends Hana and Quinn are visiting with Ellie in her hospital room, the doctor informs Ellie that she has cancer. I love how people rally around Ellie and how she keeps her attitude as upbeat as possible. The school counselor is fantastic, Ellie’s mom is amazing and Craig is the best stepbrother ever. The author’s note describes her own battle with cancer and her involvement with improv and the similarities she has with her character Ellie and just like Ellie, she had many people show true support when she needed it most. This heartwarming story is enjoyable to read and is full of endearing characters! 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Avalonia Chronicles Books 1 and 2 by Faarah Oomerbhoy

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The Last of the Firedrakesby Faarah Oomerbhoy is a tale about a girl named Aurora. Aurora had been with her adoptive family since she was two years old until their fatal car accident and now she’s living with her adoptive father’s brother and his family. Her aunt is rude and lets Aurora know often that she’s not cared for and her cousin gives her the same treatment. The family visits an estate where Uncle christopher gives Aurora away to a dangerous looking man, named Lord Oblek. Lord Oblek takes her back into the tapestry that he came out of. Aurora is taken to a prison and placed in a pit with other prisoners who are scheduled to be executed the next morning, Kalen and Finn. The two of them are Fae and each has a distinct personality. The Black Wolf, Rafe who is a mage, saves all three from the prison confines. When they arrive at their safe meeting place, Rafe discovers who Aurora truly is as she tells him how she came to be a prisoner. Aurora is the rightful heir to the kingdom that Morgana stole from the king and queen when Aurora was two years old. Aurora needs to stay hidden or Morgana will have her killed just as she killed the king and queen all those years ago. The safest place for Aurora, according to Rafe, is with her granduncle Duke Gabriel Silverthorne. Once she has met the duke and his family, Aurora is sent to attend a magic school, Evolon, to receive magical training. On the way she meets with a thousand-year old Fae that changes Aurora’s appearance so Morgana will not find her. Aurora now goes by Rory and she’s enjoying and learning from her classes but she’s still trying to get used to her plain appearance a little at a time. This book has many similarities to Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings but stands well on its own merits of dynamic characters, increasing plot twists and conflict. The setting is described beautifully and The Last of the Firedrakes is a wonderfully told fantasy worth 5 stars!

The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy was fantastic! Wow, this sequel to the Last of the Firedrakes really packs a punch! Full of action, adventure, intrigue and plot twists, this story continues to pull me further into its world. Love, loss and uncovered secrets built intense relationships and kept my interest. I can’t wait for the next book in the Avalonia Chronicles. 5 stars!

Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor

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I was able to read Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor thanks to a goodreads giveaway of a hardback book and thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an arc! Sparks of light continues the story from Into the Dim, the first book in this series. Hope is with Phoebe and their other companions in the Scottish Highlands. Everyone is adjusting to the drastic change in Hope’s mom and the baby she now has. Hope’s boyfriend Bran has gotten away from his mother, Celia, to tell the companions about his mother’s new plan. After Bran reveals Celia’s plan, the Viators make a plan of their own – to travel back to 1895 and visit Nikola Tesla and his discovery. The trip to 1895 causes extreme circumstances for Doug and Hope when they are involuntarily taken to an asylum and treated with the new drug, heroin. Intense and interesting and on the edge-of-your-seat suspense! Hope describes the asylum and its residents in detail. She also reiterates her previous knowledge of asylum history. Morbidly fascinating and scary. As the comrades work to visit Tesla, they encounter atrocities and tragedy in this time traveling adventure worth 5 stars! I am, once again, anxiously awaiting a sequel!

Warcross by Marie Lu

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to read and review Warcross by Marie Lu! Emi is a young bounty hunter that lives on her own. She desperately needs a bounty or she’s going to be evicted from her apartment in less than three days. She’s smart enough and quick enough to capture a criminal for the police but they give the money to someone else! She goes back to her apartment, despondent, and resigns herself to enjoying the last hours she has with a roof over her head. She hacks into Warcross and her image shows up in the internationally played and viewed game. This catches the eye of the Warcross creator, Hideo, who gives Emi a very well-paid job offer. I appreciate that Marie Lu lets readers know, through dialogue, the correct pronunciation of Hideo’s name. I have heard many students/library patrons discuss name pronunciations in the past, unsure of how to say the name. The game background descriptions are detailed and aesthetic while the game is action-packed and the stakes raise higher and higher for the characters. 5 stars for a new sci-fi read from Marie Lu!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst is an ebook I checked out on Overdrive through Delta High School’s access. The story opens with a mythical quality and the setting of the village in the trees is described beautifully. The first chapter is in Daleina’s Point of view and alternates with Champion Ven. A few chapters are in Queen Fara’s point of view. The Queen is a complex and complicated character. She’s continuously having replacements trained to become Queen. There’s an academy where training takes place to turn girls into heirs for the Queen. She’s tired of hearing about being replaced and she seems to have an underlying cunning and possible ruthlessness. Daleina travels and trains with Ven and the healer Hamon and they take great care of her and help her when she loses her eyesight. The three companions visit the village that Daleina was born in and where her family still resides. She’s saddened by how much time has changed her home. As a challenge, Queen Fara wants Daleina to reclaim a lost village and the village happens to be her hometown. She’s supposed to claim the village from the spirits, then rebuild it and make it safe. Her companions think the Queen is cruel to ask this of Daleina. As often as she works well with her companions and other candidates and proves to others that she’s capable, Daleina never gets over her self-doubt and insecurities. Ven and Hamon have always been confident in Daleina though. The world is interesting and unique because the people completely rely on spirits for everything from warmth, growing vegetation, cooking and all things that come from air, earth, water, trees and fire. The spirits have a natural tendency and desire to destroy all that is human- people and their creations. The story picked up the pace towards the ending and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, The Reluctant Queen. 4 stars for this new vision of a fantasy world.

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read and review If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout! If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The story opens with Lena waking up and not knowing where she is. Time moves backward. Lena keeps to herself and has more than a crush on her neighbor, Sebastian. She’s kind of a homebody and enjoys reading. We get to see into all aspects of Lena’s life and the choices she makes. My heart stopped a few times during the story because of suspense. It also stopped because of the fear of what happened to Lena and her friends and, for a while, not knowing which friends were involved in the accident. This heartfelt story teaches us that we’re all capable of making mistakes and wrong choices and we’re also capable of healing. We also need people to help us overcome and handle grief. 5 stars for another great young adult book from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.

Summoner by S. D. Grimm

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Summoner by S.D. Grimm. Divining rods, a cemetery and a dare open the story. Allie’s new next door neighbor, Cody, is nice and is dealing with the aftereffects of an accident. Cody’s reluctant to discuss the accident and Allie eventually finds out why. For some reason, Allie is hearing a voice, blacks out and acts strange while she’s hearing the voice that no one else hears. It’s embarrassing her and she doesn’t want to tell anyone about the voice. Cody and Allie bond a friendship and more, become best friends and help each other with the struggles they’re both dealing with. The two of them fight together to end the existence of an evil that wants to conquer them. 4 stars for this romantic supernatural read.