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.

Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews. Echo wakes up in a strange place and she’s having a difficult time getting her bearings. It’s too dark to make out much and as she’s feeling around she touches something stringy like hair. She realizes she’s not in her bedroom or even her home. She hears creepy laughing and screaming and what she thinks might be a cutting tool. She’s spooked and terrified and she’s told by a scary nurse/nun that she’s now in Middle House. The other residents are young people also and Echo assumes that Middle House is an orphanage but the truth freaks her out even more. She learns to accept being a Middle House resident and gains friendship and help from the others as she discovers why and how she was brought to Middle House. The beginning of the book led my mind one direction and the continuation led it to a completely different direction. I don’t want to give the mystery away because it’s the reason I kept reading. Reminiscent of Everlost by Neal Shusterman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and a tiny bit of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Bad Girl Gone is a supernatural romance surrounded in mystery, 4 stars.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

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Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi! Kai and her parents are consumed with grief over the suicide of her sister Jen. I like how the story covers their grief and how each of them handles everything differently from finding Jen, her letters to each family member, the funeral preparations, their relationships with others and work and school when they try to get back to “normal”. All of this is covered in the first half of the book then Kai hits rock bottom and her friends and family don’t know how to help her, so she’s sent to a grief camp. This turns out to be the best possible choice. Small group discussions and activities help the teenagers learn how to move forward without forgetting the loved ones they have lost. Helping others seems to be the best way to overcome sadness because of thinking about someone else instead of just yourself heals broken hearts. I’m impressed with this book, the realistic feel of it, and I fell in love with the characters and wanted them to heal. The background of the story is interesting also and I appreciate the author being willing to share her personal experiences along with her pain. The resources included at the end will help many readers know where to find the help they need; 5 stars for a beautiful story of experiencing loss and the hope that brings light back into our lives.

Release by Patrick Ness

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I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.

Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes. Eddie has taken a job in the Alaskan bush while he’s on academic probation from college. He wants to earn money and turn his life around and he feels that the next year of his life can do this for him. This book contains new adult language and is geared toward college age young adults . Desolate Alaska is more dramatic than Eddie thought it would be. He makes some good choices and then some bad choices and that’s when things spiral out of his control. I enjoyed the descriptions of Alaska and its wilderness and the sled dogs were pretty impressive! 4 stars for this coming of age story with its unique setting and characters.