Review: Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Book Title: Killer Instinct
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series: Book Two in The Naturals series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
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?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I loved the first book in this series and I could not wait to start in on the second book. I was a bit worried about the second book not being as good as the first one. Sophomore slump and all that. I was excited to see what was in store for Cassie, Dean, Lia, Sloane and Michael.

Especially Cassie and Dean. Cassie went through a rough patch at the end of The Naturals. After Locke, after the bombshells that were leveled on Cassie I was worried. I was worried that she would spiral out of control like so many others would do if they were in a similar situation.

But I was also curious about Dean. We had learned that his father was in prison as a serial killer. Serial killers fascinate me and Dean being the son of a serial killer was really interesting. I wanted to know where it went.

So Dean was definitely fascinating in this book. The way he pulled away from Cassie and the rest of the inhabitants of the house was hard to read because they just wanted to help him, but he wasn’t receptive to their help. The interactions with his father were so fascinating, the interview had me hanging on every word on the page.

“Because if you’re a part of Dean’s life, you’re a part of mine.”

That, right there, is so very creepy. It’s the kind of creepy that could bring nightmares.

I did enjoy this book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first one. I adored the first one, but I only liked this one. I wasn’t as invested in this one as I was in the first one. I will be giving it 4 stars. I am still excited to see where this series goes next.

Week 4- NaNoWriMo 2015

I promised you guys I’d keep updating you even though I’m not technically doing NaNo anymore.

I am still working on last year’s NaNo project. It’s been slow going, but I’m learning not to rush the process. I don’t want to rush my writing or rush my thought process. In the past I’ve had family members scold me for not writing at least 5k a day. Like that’s the lowest word count a person should achieve per day.

Total bullshit.

There is no “set” word count a person should have to meet in order to be a writer. And to think otherwise is crappy. A person is a “real writer” if that’s what they see themselves as. Even if they only write 250 words a day. Even if they spend an entire month outlining their next WIP.

I am taking this writing thing seriously, but I don’t want to stress myself out. When I stress out, my heart acts up and I really want to avoid that as much as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

Hope you are getting ready for a big meal with loved ones. I am probably still asleep, but I will be making the stuffing this year, like I do every year. I’m trying a new recipe this year, so I HOPE it turns out well. My mom is making the cranberry sauce and my grandmother is making the rest of the meal. We’ll be eating over at her house.

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It’ll be a small gathering just like it always is. Just my mom, my brother, my uncle, my grandmother and myself. My grandmother’s husband will probably join us midway through dinner after he comes home from his stepdaughter’s house (previous marriage) We’ll watch a movie before dinner (I think it’s Napoleon Dynamite this year)

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We do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, carrots, cranberry sauce, pie. The carrots are a bit nontraditional, but they’ve been important to me since my grandpa died when I was 7. He always used to make them for me.

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So I hope all of you American readers have an amazing Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones. I am so thankful to all of you for sticking around as the blog underwent some changes recently. I am currently contemplating more changes, and I will keep you updated on those as decisions are made.

CHANDLER

Waiting on Wednesday #32

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
PDT
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads
Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.

My Thoughts
First of all, this cover is gorgeous. It hooks me in right away, which is what a cover is supposed to do. The synopsis pulls me in further. Sister stories are my jam. I am hoping this book is an improvement on the sister stories I’ve read in 2015. Throw in the blackmail aspects of this book and it all adds up to something I’m super stoked about.

What book are you waiting for?

TTT: Top Ten Books I’m Thankful I Took A Chance On

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This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.

This week was a rough topic. It was a semi-freebie centered around Thanksgiving. I focused on books that I may have been nervous about or against, but ended up enjoying.

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Damage Done looked really good, but the cover didn’t really excite me. The book turned out to be one of my favorite books of this year.
Placebo Junkies looked promising, but by the time I got to it, I was nervous about all the hype I had built up for it. It turned out to have one of my favorite protagonists of the year in it.
A Madness So Discreet also looked promising, but since I hadn’t been a fan of the author’s previous work, I was nervous. Plus the fact it was a historical YA made me even more nervous. This book turned out to be one of the biggest surprises, if not the biggest surprise for me.

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Every Last Word was hard for me to read because it sometimes felt like I was reading a story from my own life. So glad I pushed through the feels and read it.
Everything, Everything was so hyped up in my own head that I was actually scared to read it. So glad I read it anyway.
My Heart and Other Black Holes was a hard read because I had been so disappointed by other “suicide books” I ended up LOVING it.
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The Creeping could have gone either way. I like horror novels, but they generally aren’t the first books I pick up. This one ended up being awesome.
Paperweight looked amazing, it was supposed to be amazing and it was. The first half of the book was difficult to read because the protagonist was difficult to like.
The Wrath and the Dawn had received high praise from everyone and I was so nervous that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I pre-ordered it without reading it first. I took a chance and it paid off spectacularly.

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Little Peach was a tough read from the beginning. I spent the entire book in tears. I am so thankful I decided to read this book with this tough subject.

If you did this week’s TTT, leave me your links to your posts.

Review: The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Book Title: The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published Date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series: Book One in The Naturals trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know why it took so long for me to read this book. Maybe hype reasons, I’m just not sure.

But I am totally kicking myself for not reading it sooner. It was so, so good. It went beyond my expectations. I usually try to go into books with average expectations because I’ve been burned before, but more than once, bloggers had been telling me that it was a “me” book and that I’d love it.

They were right!

It’s very rare that I like pretty much all of the main players in a book. Usually there’s one or two who I am not a huge fan of. That was not the case with this group. I loved Cassie, Sloane, Lia, Dean and Michael, but if I had to pick, I’d pick Cassie and Sloane over the others.

In fact, I think Sloane was my favorite character in the entire book (Sorry Cassie) She was just so awesome, and willing to speak her mind. You all know how much I love outspoken female characters. Nothing fazes her. She crazy intelligent and one heck of a hacker.

“This encryption is pathetic. It’s like they want me to hack their files.”

I wish I had that kind of talent. Where it would take a few keystrokes and I’d be in the middle of something that’s not for my eyes. Sloane was fascinating. Her ability with numbers & statistics was quite fascinating and that was one of the many things that fascinated me about her. I do hope we learn more about her in the books to come.

I also found Cassie to be interesting. She was motivated by the fact that her mom had been murdered when she was 12 and she had been sent to live with her dad’s relatives who she never really fit in with. I understood her desire to solve her mother’s murder. I too wanted her to be able to solve it. Well her and the other teenagers in this program.

The romance was weird. It was a weird romance-square. Between Lia, Michael, Cassie and Dean. If I hadn’t enjoyed the book as much as I did, the romance could have ruined the book for me. I liked them both, but for Cassie, I liked Dean better. Lia and Michael were more on and off again and throwing another person in a relationship like that ruins things.

I want to talk about so much more, but I can’t. I don’t want to ruin things for those who still haven’t read this awesome book. I loved it and I am happily giving it 5 stars.

Week 3: NaNoWriMo 2015

I think I just have to conclude that NaNo is not the right avenue for me. I get burned out easily, my wrists scream in pain and the ideas hit a wall. I truly think NaNo (as great as it is for some people) just doesn’t work for me. It makes me sad thinking about that because I do have so many stories I want to tell.

I will tell them, just maybe in my own time, at my own pace.

The character’s from last year’s NaNo project are calling my name so I decided to return to them. To tell their story of strength, survival and the determination of the human spirit. I can’t say much more about it because I do want people to be surprised when I do finish it.

But I am working on it, slowly but surely.

NaNo just carries within it, a whole fuckton of pressure and usually I don’t fold under pressure, but this is another type of pressure. It’s self pressure, community pressure.

It’s constantly exhausting.

It makes me not want to write anymore.

In other words, it does the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Blog Tour: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

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About the Book
The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
Published November 17th, 2015
Published by Skyscape
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Book Links: Goodreads,WebsiteAmazon
Find out more about signed copies HERE!

Synopsis
Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.
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After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normalneeds a new definition.As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.

Book Trailer



Giveaway US Only
Giveaway Link

About the Author
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Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans, French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy-colored.

One dreary day in London, while dreaming of running away with the circus, she started writing The Casquette Girls. Her debut novel garnered over one million reads online before being acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal. Rep’d by ICM.

Website
Twitter: @alysarden
Facebook
Blog

Waiting on Wednesday #31

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This weekly feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My Pick
BBT
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads
I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

My Thoughts
I am so excited for this book. I feel like YA has a significant lack of books with female friendships as the focus. I think this one will be an awesome read. Friendships are so important in YA and I feel like they aren’t given enough attention in books. Romance plotlines seems to override friendship plotlines. It also sounds like it’s going to feature a toxic friendship, which I also think is important.

What book are you looking forward to?

Stacking the Shelves #85

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581bc-stsThis feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Hi guys!

This month brought me a lot of different books from different sources. If I tried to tell you where each and every one of them came from, it would be a long list. So thank you to my Secret Sister, the various publishers as well as friends, fellow bloggers and my library.

Bought
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The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

-NetGalley-
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Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
In Real Life by Jessica Love
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
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Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard (sneak peek)
Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi (sneak peek)
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (sneak peek)

Publisher
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The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

Blog Tour
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Diamonds are Forever (The Secret Diamond Sisters #3) by Michelle Madow
Half in Love With Death by Emily Ross

Gifted
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A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Infinity Lost (The Infinity Trilogy #1) by S. Harrison
Design the Life You Love by Ayse Birsel
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Library
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The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Oblivion by Sasha Dawn
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

Won
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Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

So let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you plan to soon! Have a fabulous, book filled week, everyone!