Berserker

Title: Berserker

Author: Emmy Laybourne

Series: Berserker # 1

Publication: October 10th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 288

Source: Netgalley

Summary 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.


My Thoughts:

I had a hard time wrapping my head around Berserker. This is one of those books where I wanted to fall head-over-heels in love with it, but I ended up being so confused at points that it tore me out of the reading experience. I had a hard time coming to terms with the historical fiction meets fantasy because it was so… strange seeing them melded together in this way. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book – I just don’t think I got all that I needed to from it, and that’s sad.

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Taken by Storm

“I thought I might actually cry. That was so unlike me, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare didn’t get sad. She got mad. Or better, she got even.”’

Title: Taken by Storm

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Raised by Wolves #3

Publication:  May 22nd 2012 by EgmontUSA

Pages: 314

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

In the eye of a storm stands Bryn, the alpha of the Cedar Ridge werewolf pack. She is young. Female. Human. Physically weaker than any werewolf, she could never survive a battle with another alpha, the strongest, fiercest, and canniest of his pack.  
 
Yet she cannot refuse a summons from the werewolf Senate. A rogue werewolf is attacking humans. The risk of exposure threatens to destroy pack life, and the center of the crisis is Cedar Ridge territory—her own lands.
 
Bryn has no choice but to attend the meeting, a gathering of the most powerful werewolves on the continent.  The subject is the rogue wolf, but Bryn knows the other packs want what she has. Her territory. Her females. Her pack. 
 
They want her death. 
 
Werewolf law prevents the other alphas from making a direct attack. It also prevents her former alpha, the mysterious and powerful Callum, from coming to her aid. But it doesn’t prevent Bryn from knowing what she wants. To keep her lands. To protect her pack. 

To survive.


My Thoughts:

This is it. The series finale to end all series finales. I know Taken by Storm has some hate, and I totally get it -this is not a happy book. This is not a happy end, wrap it all up with a pretty romance bow. This book is brutal, it rips your guts out. Taken by Storm is the epitome of a bittersweet end. It hurts, but you learn to live with it. It is so fitting, so perfect, for the world Barnes created with these wolves. Ugh, I love this series so much.

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Trial By Fire

“Hierarchy was like breathing: the only time you thought about it was when something went wrong.”

Title: Trial By Fire

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Raised by Wolves # 2

Publication: June 14th 2011 by EgmontUSA

Pages: 357

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were.  With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves.


A Gif List of Feels:

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Raised By Wolves

“Nobody knew what it was like to be torn between what it meant to be human and what it meant to be Pack better than me.” 

Title: Raised By Wolves

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Raised By Wolves # 1

Publication: June 8th 2010 by EgmontUSA

Pages: 432

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it.  That doesn’t mean that she’s averse to breaking a rule or two.  

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian’s basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents’ murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she’s shaped?


My Thoughts:

This is one of my favorite book series of all time. It’s not perfect, it’s not the best, but reading it is like coming home after a long, long time away. These books, Bryn’s story, is just so darn good. It pushes and pulls and takes from you until you’re not sure you’ve got anything left to give. It makes you scream and laugh and cry, really cry, because this series is the epitome of a bittersweet ending. I honestly don’t know why I reread these when I know what’s coming… oh wait, yeah I do, CAUSE THIS SERIES IS FREAKEN AMAZING!

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A Conjuring of Light

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

Title: A Conjuring of Light

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic # 3

Publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor Books

Pages: 624

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.


Basically Me By the End:

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A Gathering of Shadows

“Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die – dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.” 

Title: A Gathering of Shadows

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic # 2

Publication:  February 23rd 2016 by Tor Books

Pages: 512

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.


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Girls Made of Snow and Glass

“You’ll see too, one day. Once you grow older, someone else will be waiting to take your place, someone younger and prettier than you. I knew that day was approaching for me. I knew even when you were still a child. So why am I so surprised to learn that I’m being thrown aside? Why am I always so surprised?”

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Series: Standalone

Publication:  September 5th 2017 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


My Thoughts:

You know those times when you struggle to get into a book regardless of its wonders? That is how I felt with Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Honestly, I can’t tell you if it was over hyped or if I simply missed the underlying message of what was going on. I’d heard amazing things about the book. I’d heard it was a wonderful feminist retelling of Snow White… but I struggled regardless. There was, is, so much more beyond the surface of this book and, in all honesty, I simply didn’t give it the time it deserved.

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