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.

Fracture by Kaitlyn Davis

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Fracture by Kaitlyn Davis is the third book in the Midnight Ice series. Pandora discovers things about Jax and about Sam. Now she has to choose between them and stay strong to keep her choices with conviction. Pandora has deep loyalty to her werejaguar friend, Naya and she’ll do whatever it takes to save her. I love Pandora, her loyalty and integrity. The author’s descriptive language brings the characters to life and makes the setting beautiful at times and other times painful, but always real enough to put me inside the story and into Pandora’s world. The ending is a cliffhanger and has left me anxious for the next and final book of this series. 5 stars for this supernatural fantasy!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to read and review Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Jane is stuck in a rut, unhappy with her present life situation because she’s lost her loved ones and feels alone and desolate. Kiran, Jane’s ex-tutor, invites her to visit her rich family on their private island. She takes Kiran up on her offer and meets many new people. Jane accidentally eavesdrops and overhears a strange conversation. She discovers the jobs that Kiran’s family members and visitors pursue. Two art pieces are missing, presumably stolen, and Jane wants to solve the mystery. When the art mystery is solved, Jane learns about her aunt’s true past. Then the plot changes somewhat and the story becomes more science fiction than mystery. The story just got weirder and weirder after that with strayhounds and a place called Zorsted. Though, I do appreciate the author’s notes that help explain the path of writing that this book took during its creation and the research and sources that she used. 3.5 stars.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review A List of Cages by Robin Roe! Julian doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, at school or at home where he lives with his uncle. He likes to hide in a small secret room behind the school stage where he can be alone and no one knows where he is. I immediately felt protective of Julian and hated how people assumed that he was stupid and treated him horribly. He’s had a tragic past and he’s presently living in an unhappy world. Adam knows Julian because his family fostered him for a while after the death of his parents until Julian’s Uncle Russell stepped into their lives and took Julian away. Uncle Russell is a force to be reckoned with and has more issues than anyone realizes. This tragic and touching realistic fiction story earns 5 stars!

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

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Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau is an intense fantasy adventure. Carys and Andreus are royal twin siblings hiding a secret from the kingdom. When the power outage overwhelms Garden City, chaos follows. Andreus helps fix the outage problem right before their brother Micah and their father, the king, are brought home from the warfront by the King’s guards. Both Micah and the king have been killed and the only witnesses to their deaths are soon killed also. The secret the twins are hiding is the sickness Andreus suffers from; it causes him weakness and is supposedly the curse that the seer prophesied after the birth of the twins. The Elders have set up a tournament for Andreus and Carys to compete against each other for the throne, since both the king and his heir are dead. The winner will be the new ruler of their kingdom. They compete unwillingly and try to make the tournament go in favor of Andreus. The danger builds and the suspicion grows stronger as Andreus and Carys struggle to learn who they can trust. It saddened me how quickly Andreus believed that his worth was above everyone else’s. I love the ingenious, clever way the story is told with the alternating points of view of Carys and Andreus and how they overlap at times. This way of telling the story makes the reader’s emotions take a roller coaster ride. I would love to see a map in the sequel and I give this book 5 stars for the adventure and intrigue!

It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

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Thanks to NetGalley and Inkshares for the opportunity to read and review It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett. The prologue reveals an archer shooting at a group of friends. At first, it seems like a prank until they see that their friend is badly injured. Chapter One opens with teenagers planning a weekend trip to the woods for some LARPing- live action role-playing- and when they arrive in the woods, their roles are set out for them. They head out for their adventure and everything seems as it should be, for a while. The group meets other players at set stations and are given points, powers, caution and advice. Eventually, their roles, powers and enemies become real and they fall into danger. The commoners, thieves and creatures are real and so is the danger and violence. They have to rely on each other to survive. This unique book with a LARPing concept is fun, creative and original; 4 stars for a survival adventure wrapped up in a fantasy setting!

 

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

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Voluntarily read and reviewed an arc of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review One was lost by Natalie D. Richards. The first two chapters show the setting and describe the main and surrounding characters. The action and suspense begins in the third chapter. There’s some kind of animosity between Sera and Lucas that comes to light a little at a time. As I read, I learned more about the four main characters and the struggles each of them has in their lives. Being in a forest is a perfect setting for a horror story and the bridge washing out helped move the danger of being stranded along. Nice steady pacing of the mystery and suspense. The book kept me wondering to the end. Great horror story for young adults, 5 stars!

The Border by Steve Schafer

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I was asked by the author, through Goodreads, if I would like to read and review his book, The Border by Steve Schafer. I found the synopsis interesting and decided I wanted to check into it and I am very happy that I did! The Border begins with a great introduction containing action and intense suspense and tragedy. This is an excellent book, earning a 5 star rating from me, and I couldn’t put it down. I needed time to process all of the story’s events before writing a review because the story felt intensely realistic and the dynamic characters are complex and original and touched my heart and mind. The story also shows humor in the face of death, with greed making terrible events even worse. I’m definitely purchasing this book for the library when it’s available on September 5, 2017! The author created a fictional tale and characters based on the struggles that real people have gone through and he did this beautifully! I know students whose family members have crossed the Mexican/American border and some that have done this themselves. The story opens with an innocent quinceanera with neighbors, family members and friends attending. The fun lasts for moments before tragedy strikes in the form of gang members and guns. We have all heard about the violence and drug wars and poverty in Mexico. The Border opened my eyes to these problems with clarity and empathy. Four teenagers survive the shooting and run for their lives because a gunman spotted them. The story deals with their loss of the lives they have grown up in and the difficult trek they embark on to find safety. Their journey is in no way easy and they learn to rely on each other. Heartbreaking, educational and interesting realistic fiction story worthy of 5 stars! Highly recommended!

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!

The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Castaways by Jessika Fleck. Olive is relentlessly bullied by three girls she has named The Trio. She meets her friend Tawny at the pirate-themed traveling carnival after hours, so they won’t be bothered by anyone. They decide to go into the corn maze, which has a mysterious and dangerous past. Teenagers have gone missing and never come out of the maze. Olive ends up going into the maze alone and, while running from bullies, she ends up being transported to a secluded island where no one ages. This island is completely surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see and seems to be inescapable. Olive meets people on the island that are considered missing in real time. These teenagers were born long ago and have stayed teenagers and only have memories from decades past. Such as sixteen-year-old Tilly, who is from Sheffield England, 1940 and fifteen year old Lewis from 1953 Memphis, Tennessee. Olive discovers each of their stories and secrets and she eventually shares her own. They all realize that they transported to the island because they were running from something and they work together to find out how to face their problems and give each other the hope of returning home someday. I fell in love with the island inhabitants and relished the relationship between Will and Olive. This book is so much more complex than I thought it would be when I first began reading it. The complicated story line and dynamic characters all come together to make The Castaways an interesting read and the cover is perfect for this story, in more ways than one. 4.5 stars for the fantasy realism and lovable characters!