Berserker by Emmy Laybourne

Berserker (Berserker #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group, Feiwel & Friends

Date of publication: October 10th, 2017

Genre: YA, historical fiction

Number of pages: 352

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find Berserker: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Are Hanne’s powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It’s not Stieg’s fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous “gift”–she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

Trigger Warning: None

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Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis by [Banks, Anna]

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Feiwel & Friends

Date of publication: October 4th, 2016

Series: Nemesis

Nemesis – Book 1

Ally – Book 2 (expected publication date is sometime in 2017)

Where you can find this book: Amazon|Barnes and Nobles

Goodreads synopsis:

The princess didn’t expect to fall in love–with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora’s gift could save Tarik’s kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

A thrilling futuristic fantasy in which the fate of the world’s energy source is in the hands of a prince and princess who are rivals, by the New York Times-bestselling author of the Syrena Legacy.

My review:

This book has been in my TBR pile since I heard that it was going to be published. When I got an ARC from NetGalley, I was pumped. I couldn’t wait to sit down and read it. When I did, I was utterly absorbed in the story.

I loved Sepora. She was ballsy. Who would fake their death, trudge across a desert, take on slave traders, save a half-fish/half girl cannibal and then escape from the royal harem? She would. She also had to hide the fact that she is a Forger of spectorium, a rare metal that all the kingdoms need. Not an easy task since she produces it like sweat, but she has her ways.

I liked Tarik and felt bad for him. He had just lost his father to and incurable illness called the Quiet Plague that is running rampant through his people. At the age of 18, he is responsible for running the kingdom of Theoria. Which is a considerable task but he has a hidden ace up his sleeve. He is a Lingot. A Lingot is someone who can tell if someone is lying just by listening to them. An advantageous trait to have for a Pharaoh.

I was thrilled that the Theorians were modeled after the Egyptians. I have a strange fascination with Egyptian mythology and love when it is used in a book. I am still trying to figure out what Sepora’s people, the Serbulians, are modeled after. I want to say Vikings, but I am not too sure.

Sepora and Tarik’s romance was a slow burn. There was an attraction, but neither one of them did anything until the end of the book. It worked for me because they were able to work on other aspects of their relationship.

Sethos is my favorite secondary character, followed by Rashidi and Cy the Master Healer. Sethos was the epitome of a 15-year-old, and I loved it. From wanting into the pharaoh’s harem to just being the annoying younger brother, it was awesome. I liked Rashidi because he was older and gave Tarik some sound advice and Cy the Master Healer because he was a 13-year-old prodigy. He was willing to everything and anything to stop the Quiet Plague.

The ending of the book, I didn’t like. While I understand what happened had to happen, doesn’t mean that I like it. Nothing was resolved, and that meant everything in Book 1 would be carried over into Book 2.

I want to add that I LOVE the cover of the book!!!

How many stars will I give Nemesis? 4

Why? I loved the plot and the characters. The only thing I really didn’t like was the ending (see above)

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age Range: Teen

Why: Very clean. No sex (just one kissing scene), no violence, no offensive language. Just some pretty descriptive scenes of the Quiet Plague

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving by [Roehrig, Caleb]

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Feiwel & Friends

Expected date of publication: October 4th, 2016

Where the book can be found: Amazon 

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Book synopsis:

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. All eyes are on Flynn—he must know something. After all, he was—is—her boyfriend. They were together the night before she disappeared.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. As he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

My review:

All I have to say about this book is (and I am stealing this from the great George Takei)… “Oh My“. I read this book within 1 day. From the first chapter, where I met Flynn and January, it gets its hooks into me and didn’t let go. I mean, I stayed up late to finish this book and I never do that.

I was irritated with Flynn during the first half of the book. He wasn’t exactly forthcoming with the police about January’s state of mind the last time he saw her. He acted like your typical teenager….gasp. But he started to grow on me by the 3rd chapter. By the middle of the book, I was gasping in surprise over what was being revealed about him and January.

While we are on the subject of January, I felt bad for her and then irritated with her. She lived in a dysfunctional household. Her mother, who used to be her best friend, is no longer emotionally available. Her stepfather is concerned with how her disappearance will look on his campaign run. And her stepbrother was a spoiled creep who gave me the creeps in his scenes. No wonder she lied about everything to everyone including Flynn. She made him out to be a bad guy to everyone. I felt bad for him.

I thought I had this book figured out and then there was a huge twist that came up and stirred everything up. Settled back down and bam, I was hit with another twist, just as big. I didn’t see either of these coming and they both took the breath out of me (love it when a book does that).

3 Things I liked about Last Seen Leaving:

  1. Plot
  2. Flynn
  3. The plot twists

3 Things I disliked about Last Seen Leaving:

  1. The cops
  2. January (see above)
  3. January’s family

How many stars will I give Last Seen Leaving? 4

Why? It was a gripping whodunit interwoven with a touching coming of age story. The characters were very believable and they jumped off the page and into your mind with every page read. There was almost no lag in the plot and the twists in the plot made the story.

Would I reread it? Yes

Would I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age range? Teen on up

Why? There are some mild sexual situations, some strong language, and some mild violence. Oh and a teacher that just exudes bad vibes and a stepbrother who is super creepy.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**