Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: The Naturals #1
Pages: 308
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: November 5, 2013
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

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. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My Review:

I was quite taken with this book, it took me some time to really get into the story and everything that was happening but once things started coming together the book truly got interesting. I felt this book was similar to an episode of Criminal Minds with teenagers. This book had a great supernatural type element to it, but Jennifer Lynn Barnes also adds in the creepy aspect with chapters titled YOU that seem to be the person that is on a killing spree.

To be honest, when I first started reading this book I really didn't think I would enjoy it all that much, but as I saw Cassie learn more about her ability and really grow up a little more I began to like her as a character. The characters in the book all have their own special ability that when they work as a team, help them be able to track down serial killers. It is interesting to see how Cassie trains, she learns to track habits of people and work backwards to learn the behaviour of a person.

What really kept me interesting, was the underlying mystery of the murder of Cassie's mother. Cassie believes that by joining the program she will be able to find her mother's murderer, I felt that it added a great backstory to Cassie's life and why she would jump at the chance to join such a special program.

If you are a fan of mystery/thrillers, or CRIMINAL MINDS, this book would be a great one to pick up. I'm interested to see what is next for these characters after everything that went down in this book. It was a great start to a series, that I believe will become darker as the books continue on. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 272
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime—an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman's life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today.

Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley's involving and moving novel follows Stella from childhood, growing up with her single mother in a Bristol bedsit, into the murky waters of middle age.

It is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley's observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles, pressing us to exclaim with each page, Yes, this is how it is.

My Review:

I truly had an amazing experience reading this book, Tessa Hadley truly brings Stella's life out in the pages of the story. Not only do readers experience Stella growing up but it also shows how the environment affects people, as Stella grows up in the 1960's and moves through time.

Stella has a difficult life and she seems to fight back when she can, this story shows that some people will not let all this drama get to them and they will keep climbing and adapting to the changes around them. Readers meet Stella as a young girl who has a bright mind, but through many troubles she grows and learns about herself. This is a story about a smart girl who has some difficult decisions to make, and the people she meets throughout her life really change her experiences.

This is a book that truly shows the challenges of life that many people go through, and Tessa Hadley truly brings out an experience in her story. The relationships that Stella has through her life truly define how she turns out as an adult. I really enjoyed seeing the different people that come in and out of Stella's life and those that really help her learn how to do things. These people truly make a difference to Stella helping her get back on her feet after many troubling times.

It is nice to read a book that deals with such realistic situations, it is what truly kept me going with this story. I wanted to read about someone who has to deal with tough, real life problems, and seeing that they can get through life and fight through problems and come out stronger than before. Truly, this was an amazing book that I recommend to many people!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Haze by Paula Weston

Publisher: Tundra
Series: The Rephaim #2
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from Tundra Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gaby Winters' life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. And then Rafa came looking for her.

With him, her blood-soaked nightmares stopped. But now they are reality. She is one of the Rephaim - a wingless half angel, descended from the Fallen. Demons exist and they are hunting her.

She knows she's alive when she's meant to be dead. And that means maybe Jude is too. So why isn't she out there looking for him?

My Review:

Around this time last year I was asked to take part in the blog tour for the first book in this series SHADOWS and I enjoyed everything that was happening. There was mystery and action, so when I was offered the chance to take part in the tour for the second book I definitely jumped at the chance. HAZE begins right where SHADOWS leaves off, if the first book had a good amount of mystery and action, this book picks up right along with that.

Throughout this book Gaby is still reeling from the revelations that were brought about her life and she is still trying to come to grips of the person she was in the past. As the demons continually hunt for Gaby, she begins to believe that her brother Jude may be alive. This book attempts to answer some questions that readers have from the first book, but there are still so many questions left, which will definitely keep readers coming back for more from Paula Weston.

There is still so much going on, and I wonder how long this series will go on for, there is a good amount of action, but I feel like the story is still a bit slow and there is a lot of information still being thrown at readers. Paula Weston adds in a little more history that adds more to the danger of the Rephaim, making readers want to see more and really get deep into the memories of what has happened with Gaby and Jude in the past.

The characters are still just as amazing as I thought in the first book, each of them is tough, especially some of the newer characters, and yet they have a vulnerability to them as well, making them very well-rounded. I am interested to see if things will heat up in the next book, and I hope I don't have to wait too long for more of all these characters.

Also as a part of this tour, I took a character quiz and I ended up with Maggie. I definitely loved hearing that. Check out the books to learn more about her and everyone else!

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