Tag Archives: The Naturals

[SERIES RECOMMENDATION] The Naturals – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

NOTE: I originally posted this at Speculative Chic.

Upon hearing the premise for Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s YA crime series The Naturals, I was sceptical. Teens working for the FBI sounded more fantasy than contemporary. But I gave the first book a chance, and it isn’t bad as I feared. Killer Instinct is definitely an improvement, and I was well and truly hooked.

But the series really shows its genius in Book 3, All In. It must’ve been a nightmare to research and organise, because it involves the Fibonacci sequence. And the serial killer case carries over into the series closer, Bad Blood, which is mind-blowing brilliant.

This is exactly how a series should be: consistently high quality. I recommend The Naturals series to anyone and everyone if given the chance. If you can suspend your disbelief in regards to the premise, you’ll be rewarded above and beyond. It’s essential for any YA or crime bookshelf.

The Naturals: Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

Killer Instinct: Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

All In: Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

Bad Blood: Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

[REVIEW] The Naturals – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals (The Naturals, Book 1)
Quercus (UK: 7th November 2013); Disney-Hyperion (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

In a world where book packaging and retellings are all the rage, it’s not hard to imagine someone watching Criminal Minds, or whatnot, while thinking, “How can I make this YA?”

Whilst Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Naturals is NOT the result of book packaging or retelling, its concept requires too much suspension of disbelief. The FBI is adult. These “Naturals” are teenagers, who are supposedly better at crime-solving than the FBI. Even though FBI agents go through strenuous training and years on the job, these teens’ abilities are “natural”, rather than learned. Nothing paranormal – just Special Snowflakes.

Minus the chapters from the killer’s point of view, you’d be surprised to go through 100 pages (a third) of the book until the case is even mentioned. Even later for the teens to get involved. Generally speaking, origin stories (of how someone joins a group) make better prequel novellas, rather than wasting time in a novel. But without the origin story here, you only have roughly 200 pages (or less) of relevance.

The main character is completely superfluous. The Naturals already have all the bases covered without her: a lie detector, a probability calculator, an emotion-reader, and a profiler. If Cassie Hobbes had a different ability, her presence would be justified. Instead, she’s just another profiler.

But apparently Cassie and the other profiler, Dean Redding, have some complementary thing where she presents the victim’s POV and he presents the killer’s. They’re love interests, too, so…kind of creepy. But this is part of a love triangle, mind you – Cassie must choose between moody Dean and fun Michael. We’ve read enough YA romance to know that Cassie and Dean are soul mates, or some tripe, so the love triangle just seems like time-wasting.

The case turns out to be about Cassie, as if to justify her inclusion, but…still not impressive.

As someone interested in psychology, The Naturals should’ve worked for me. Maybe it would’ve, if I’d turned off my brain’s logic. But I shouldn’t have to stop thinking in order to enjoy something.

7th October 2014 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals (The Naturals, Book 1)
Disney-Hyperion (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

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 realise 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. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. 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.

Rachel Cohn
Emergent (Beta, Book 2)
Disney-Hyperion (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Zhara, the First. Elysia, her clone. On the surface, they are identical. But looks can be deceiving. When Zhara plays, she plays to win. She thought she had escaped the horrors of Doctor Lusardi’s cloning compound. But the nightmare is just beginning. Elysia has taken everything from Zhara – a softer, prettier version of herself and an inescapable reminder of all she’s failed at in her life. Now the man Zhara loves has replaced her with Elysia. Zhara will get her clone out of the way, no matter the cost. Elysia has finally learned the truth: she has a soul. Her First is alive. She knows it hurts Zhara to see her with Alexander, but she can’t give him up. The genetically-perfected Aquine has chosen as her as his life mate, and their days together are limited. Elysia can’t remain in the Rave Caves off the shores of Denesme forever. Revolution is brewing on the island paradise. Hundreds of soulless clones remain imprisoned like Elysia once was, slaves to the whims of their owners – wealthy human inhabitants of the island. As a group of clones and humans, led by Alexander, plot an insurrection that will turn Denesme’s world upside down, Elysia knows her place is fighting by his side.

Rinda Elliott
Blood of an Ancient (Beri O’Dell, Book 2)
Samhain (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Beri O’Dell is on a mission. She has to rip back into a hell dimension fast, but needs two things first – the blood of an ancient and a fix for her friend Blythe’s magic, which careened out of control after the battle with the Dweller. Finding ancient blood isn’t easy when the old ones are rare and unwilling to donate. She needs to find Blythe’s former mentor…except the woman has lost her mind and joined a travelling band of singing witches. That’s not the only magical monkey on her back. Nikolos is imprisoned, and after a screwed-up spell lets her witness the horror that has become his life, her fear for him grows by the day. Now there’s another problem – a powerful being unleashed during the battle with the Dweller likes her gluttonous new existence, and will kill anyone who threatens it. But Beri has a few tricks up her costumed sleeve, even if it means mining the darkness of her soul to set everything right…and get Nikolos back in her arms.

Becca Fitzpatrick
Black Ice
Simon & Schuster (US, UK, CA, & AU: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that’s about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think. Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it’s only a matter of time before things turn deadly…

Mira Grant
Parasite (Parasitology, Book 1)
Hachette Little, Brown Orbit (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the Intestinal Bodyguard worm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.

Amelia Kahaney
The Invisible (Brokenhearted, Book 2)
HarperCollins Teen (US & CA: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

After a perilous accident that literally stopped her heart, Anthem Fleet was left with a jagged scar down the front of her chest – and a strength she is still learning to control. Her new powers helped her avenge the death of the boy she loved and led her deep into Bedlam City’s dark underbelly, where she fought a network of shadowy criminals. But Anthem doesn’t want to be the crime-fighting vigilante that Bedlam needs. She just wants to go to school, practice ballet, and help nurse Ford, her friend and partner, back to health. But when a mysterious group called the Invisible starts attacking the privileged North Siders, Anthem’s whole world is thrown into chaos. Invisible’s threats seem like harmless pranks at first, but as their demands escalate, people start to die. Now Anthem must step up and be the hero that the city needs, or Bedlam will fall…once and for all.

Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
This Night So Dark (Starbound, short story)
Disney-Hyperion (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US)

Tarver still has nightmares about the night, six months before the Icarus crash, when he rescued a group of civilian researchers being held hostage by brutal mercenaries. Now Tarver and Lilac must reconcile his memories of that fateful night with the truth that they uncovered on a mysterious planet after the Icarus crashed.

Marie Lu
The Young Elites
Penguin G. P. Putnam’s Sons (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumoured to possess more than just scars – they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites. Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fight a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

Jessica Verday
The Beautiful and the Damned
Simon Pulse (US & CA: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Cyn Hargrave is on the run, but she can’t escape her dark past. The brother of her murdered boyfriend is convinced she’s the killer – and now he’s tracked her down. Cyn has only one person to turn to, and she can’t stand him. Avian knows the evil that lives inside of Cyn, but he’s still compelled to help her. As the thirteenth Revenant, he’s scorned by Heaven and unwanted by Hell, so he understands what it’s like to be a part of two worlds and not fit into either. Together they will need to deal with the danger that follows her – and the danger inside of her – before one of them destroys her.

October 2014 Releases

Done with September 2014 Releases? Here are October 2014 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist. NOTE: The images and formatting don’t show up properly through Feedly, so click the title of this post to view it on WordPress.

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Now Available for US Pre-Order

Kelley Armstrong: OTHERWORLD NIGHTS: 28th October 2014: Buy (US)
Jennifer Lynn Barnes: THE NATURALS (paperback): 7th October 2014: Buy (US)
Steve Bein: YEAR OF THE DEMON (paperback): 2nd September 2014: Buy (US)
Steve Bein: DISCIPLE OF THE WIND: 2nd December 2014: Buy (US)
Andrea Cremer: SNAKEROOT (paperback): 4th November 2014: Buy (US)
Alaya Dawn Johnson: LOVE IS THE DRUG: 30th September 2014: Buy (US)
Marie Lu: THE YOUNG ELITES: 7th October 2014: Buy (US)
Carrie Mesrobian: PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY: 1st October 2014: Buy (US)
Devon Monk: HOUSE IMMORTAL: 2nd September 2014: Buy (US)
Elizabeth Norris: UNBREAKABLE (paperback): 11th November 2014: Buy (US)
Cherie Priest: MAPLECROFT: 2nd September 2014: Buy (US)

5th November 2013 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Keri Arthur
Darkness Splintered (Dark Angel, Book 6)
Penguin Signet (US & CA: 5th November 2013); Hachette Little, Brown Piatkus (UK: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Risa Jones has angered several powerful people, and now she’s feeling the pressure from all sides. In particular, she’s come under the eagle-eyed scrutiny of the vampire council – some of whom consider her a monster who should be destroyed. But then they decide to offer her a secret, bloody bargain: to save her own life she must help them defeat Hunter, the lethal head of the council… As the search for the keys to hell heats up, Risa realises that she has no choice. For the sake of the people she loves, she must find the keys – and get rid of Hunter – before the next gate is opened and brings the world closer to all hell breaking loose…

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals
Hyperion Teens (US: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes 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 realise 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. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. 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.

Rachel Caine
Daylighters (Morganville Vampires, Book 15)
Penguin (US & CA: 5th November 2013); Allison & Busby (UK: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Something drastic has happened in Morganville, Texas, while Claire Danvers and her friends were away. The town looks cleaner and happier than they’ve ever seen it before, but when their incoming group is arrested and separated – vampires from humans – they realise that the changes definitely aren’t for the better. It seems that an organisation called the Daylight Foundation has offered the population of Morganville something they’ve never had: hope of a vampire-free future. And while it sounds like salvation – even for the vampires themselves – the truth is far more sinister and deadly. Now, Claire, Shane and Eve need to find a way to break their friends out of Daylighter custody, before the vampires of Morganville meet their untimely end…

Marie Lu
Champion (Legend, Book 3)
Penguin (US, UK & CA: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic – and each other – and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defence. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.

Jackson Pearce
Cold Spell
Hachette Little, Brown (US: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Kai and Ginny grew up together – best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together. But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora – a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough. If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved – and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?

Angie Smibert
Memento Nora (Memento Nora, Book 1)
Amazon Skyscape (US: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

In Nora’s world you don’t have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC – a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take the pill that will erase it. But at TFC, a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora’s life. She doesn’t take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realises that someone needs to remember. With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. It’s an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?

J. A. Souders
Revelations (Elysium Chronicles, Book 2)
Macmillan Tor (US: 5th November 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was. But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home. But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past. But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous. Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…

November 2013 Releases

Done with October 2013 Releases? Here are November 2013 Releases. For future releases, check Reading Wishlist.

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