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.

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.