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Coming Soon: All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

all inTitle: All In

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Naturals #3

Genre: Teen Fiction

Release Date: November 3, 2015

The Overview: Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days…. After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in her mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

 The Naturals landed itself in the #1 spot as my favorite book of 2013. Killer Instinct was just as good, and I am simply beside myself with excitement for All In. I love the premise, I love the characters, I love the mystery, and I love the psychology behind everything. I’ve always been fascinated with shows like Criminal Minds and CSI but have always been too squeamish to actually watch them. The Naturals series satisfies all of my morbid fascinations, but does so with a charming YA flair! I strongly recommend the series – read it… READ IT NOW!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

killer instinct

Title: Killer Instinct

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Naturals #2

Genre: Teen Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance. But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

killer instincy 2

The Review:

Considering that The Naturals was my favorite YA book of 2013, you can understand why I was so concerned Killer Instinct wouldn’t live up to my expectations. After all, the first book BLEW ME AWAY and it seemed like two outstanding, well-crafted novels in a row might be just too much to ask. So imagine my delight when I settled in to binge read Killer Instinct and it was just as AMAZEBALLS as the first one!

Both books in the series have been consistent with these attributes: fantastic characters who I want to learn more about with every passing page, an excellent and perfectly creepy perspective that takes you into the mind of the killer, a cool concept for a plot that is complex without being convoluted, and really interesting applications for each of these teenagers’ talents (which is my favorite element – it’s really neat to see how an analyzer, a statistician, an emotion reader, and a lie detector pull together their skills to solve crimes).

Barnes puts together these complex mysteries that somehow make you feel like your part of the story. I learned from The Naturals that, as far as suspects go, every character is fair game. It made the story interactive in a way, because with every new character introduced or new situation unveiled, I immediately had to reevaluate what I knew up to that point to try to figure out “whodunit.” It was written so well that I was literally suspicious about everyone! It makes these books so much more fun to read because I felt involved in trying to figure out who the killer was throughout both entire novels. The difference for this book is, while last time I was a casual detective, this time I was in full-blown Sherlock Holmes mode! It was so much fun to read, I can hardly stand it.

Part of why I think I enjoyed it so much is that I don’t get to utilize my freakishly honed detective skills very often (I may be exaggerating a little bit). You see, I’ve always been fascinated with shows like Criminal Minds, and love learning how crimes are solved, but I am usually too squeamish to actually sit down and watch them… pathetic, I know. In any case, The Naturals series provided all the same crime solving awesomeness, but without the gore (the visual stuff, anyway. I can totally handle the written stuff).

Overall, I think I’m in love… These books are self-contained mysteries, but there’s an overall arc growing between them that makes me want to pee myself with excitement over what the next novel might bring. I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year to see what happens next – this is seriously the biggest woe us book-lovers have to deal with, isn’t it? I can tell you one thing though, it will be well worth the wait!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer instinctTitle: Killer Instinct

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Naturals #2

Genre: Teen Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

The OverviewSeventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance. But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

Killer instinct 2

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

The Naturals landed the number one spot in my Top YA books of 2013 and I am positively thrilled that the series will continue this November! It was such a smart read – involving teenagers naturally gifted with different skills that make them ideal candidates for solving crime. Cassie, the main character, can accurately predict things about people just by analyzing their appearance and mannerisms. It was absorbing, intense, and entirely fascinating, and I imagine the second book will be just as amazing. You’d better believe I’m dropping everything to read Killer Instinct the day it comes out!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The naturalsTitle: The Naturals

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: Naturals #1 (of more, I hope!)

Genre: Teen Mystery

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

The naturals

 The Review:

I want to start out by saying that I loved this book. It was intense, fast-paced, fascinating, and totally absorbing. In short, it had everything I’d hoped to find in a novel but with that extra-special something that turned it from great to phenomenal! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and was definitely a “drop everything until you finish it” type of read. I plan on recommending it as often as I can, and here are a few reasons why:

Concept: this was such a cool book! In a market flooded with protagonists sporting supernatural abilities, we forget sometimes how strong people can be without them. These teens can solve crimes by using different elements of observation and analysis, and I found the process by which they did this entirely fascinating. What’s more, there were different types of analyzers – the main character could predict with great accuracy by observing people’s personalities and tendencies, while other characters did things like analyzing emotion, detect lies, and (my favorite) utilize statistics and probability. They fine-tune all their abilities at a miniature FBI boarding school through case studies and simulations. I’ll say it again, it was fascinating!

Story: The book was composed brilliantly. It was essentially a murder mystery that took place over the course of a particular serial killer’s series of crimes. Every so often, we’d get a glimpse into the killer’s mind which majorly creeped me out and made the whole story more intense. I often see writers struggle to convey a well-rounded villain, especially when they’re presented in short snippets before each chapter. Barnes is one of the few I’ve read to not only nailed the creepy, believable villain part but did it without losing any momentum for the story.

Writing: there’s so many elements about the novel that I found clever, even aside from the things and I talked about above. Even the way the story was composed was brilliant – there were so many elements you could tell it took a lot of time and thought, and it came together seamlessly. Every scene had a purpose and added to the snowballing journey to one heck of an ending. I got so involved that I held my breath in places. What’s more, although I had dozens of theories, I never really knew for sure “who did it” until the end.

Overall, this has become one of my favorite books ever and I can see myself reading it over and over again in the future (even though I already know who the murderer is). I’m also planning on reading everything this author has published, as she’s quickly become one of my new favorites!

Recommended Reading: I’m going to suggest this one to any customer looking for their next great read in the teen department (heck, I’ll probably bring it up to people browsing in mystery and fiction too because it’s one of those books that has potential for wide audience appeal). I’ll especially be on the lookout for anybody who loves mysteries and shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds (or to people like me who have always been fascinated by those shows but are too squeamish to watch them). I can’t wait to talk to other readers who loved it to!

Other books you might like:

 Giveaway!

IMG_4201Days after finishing this awesome book, I was lucky enough to meet the author at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. She was awesome – taking the time to talk to me without being freaked out by what I can only call my “fangirl” moment. It was truly a privilege to meet her and she even signed the pile of books I brought her –including a beautiful new hardcover of The Naturals. And guess what?

I got one for you!

 Just click the link below and enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win! Some rules apply:

  • The contest will run for two weeks (until November 21st) and I will be emailing the randomly picked winner shortly thereafter. If the winner doesn’t respond to my email within 48 hours, I’ll pick a new one.
  • Please be honest – I will disqualify all your entries if you mark something you haven’t done.
  • I will be shipping via UPS, and won’t be responsible for anything lost in the mail (although I will have tracking, so I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that).

I’m sorry to say that this is a US only giveaway. I recognize that a good portion of my readers are from other countries and want you to know I appreciate you just as much as my US readers… I simply cannot afford the shipping.

Click Here to Enter!

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