Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review: The Naturals

Book Title: The Naturals

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publish Date:November 5, 2013

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Crime

Series Name: The Naturals (#1)

Plot (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.

Why I Read this Book: I saw this book at my local library and it looked really interesting.  I am a forensic science major so I naturally love crime books.


This book was a little slow in the beginning but the pace really picked up.  I loved the criminal profiling that occurred in the book.  I loved that each character had their own distinct personality and each character was very complex. 

I loved the crime aspect of the novel.  I am not a psychology major, but the criminal profiling seemed to be realistic.  The author has a degree in psychology and also has her PhD so I trust that they are accurate.

After about 50 pages in, the book is very fast paced and filled with action.  There is a love triangle that is a bit cliche, but what book nowadays does not have a cliche love triangle?

I read this book in one day and I truly loved it.  This is part of a series and I am not sure how many books will be in the series.  I think this book would have worked perfectly as a standalone novel, but there were a few things that were left unanswered that may be answered in the next novel.  This is one of the books that I would have preferred to be a standalone novel though.


Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: 16+ for intense scenes and sexual references

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Epic Recs Reviews (March and May)

I started Epic Recs in March, but I have not posted about my progress yet because of business on the part of me and my Epic Recs partner.  If you do not know what Epic Recs is, here is a blurb from one of the creators (Paper Riot):
Epic Recs started out as a feature in which Amber and I force each other to read books. Like an impromptu book club, consisting of just the two of us. Or a game of truth or dare without the truth. It’s awesome. Our friendship depends on these books, so there’s no pressure whatsoever. We both like to force people to read books, so it was an excellent excuse to test our book pushing. Because of enthusiastic and rather threatening comments, we decided to open it up for everyone to join. So do you like book pushing or do you just want a fun book club-ish feature to participate in? Hi!
What are the rules? 1) Find a friend you want to recommend books to (or two friends, or three friends, etc.) OR sign up here and we’ll assign you to a partner. 2) Link up your Epic Recs post at the beginning of each month (stating what you are planning to read, who Epic Rec’d it and what they are reading in return). You are welcome to request a new partner every month. But if you partnership doesn’t work out, you are responsible for telling your partner this. We are not a dating service that breaks up for you. It’s your party! You are welcome to participate every month or just once. It’s totally up to you. You are allowed to deny recs, as long as you and your partner are okay with it. This is totally up to you. Amber and I like forcing books on each other, so we don’t really deny them, but hey, whatever you want!
In March, I recommended Black by Ted Dekker for Brianna @ For the Love of Books and Brianna recommended Pivot Point by Kasie West to me.

Here is my review of Pivot Point:

Book Title: Pivot Point

Author: Kasie West

Publish Date: February 12, 2013

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction

Series: Pivot Point (#1)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.


I am so glad that I read this book.  The writing style is amazing.  Each chapter alternates between if Addie chose to live with her mom or her dad.  This is so unique and so intense.  This seems as if it would be confusing, but the author wrote this incredibly well and it was not confusing at all. Not only is the point of view unique, but the story is so action packed and enjoyable.  The ending was not at all predictable which was incredibly gratifying. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book in this series. 

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: Any Age

Overall Rating: 5/5


In May, I recommended The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller and Brianna recommended Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.

Here is my review of Jonathan Livingston Seagull:

Book Title: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Author: Richard Bach

Publish Date: February 7, 2006 (First Published in 1970)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  

This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules...people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves...people who know there's more to this living than meets the eye: they'll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.


The messages of this story is great: you can do anything that you set your mind to and it is okay to be different.  The writing was very poetic and beautiful.  Overall, I enjoyed this book but it was a bit confusing.  I did like the illustrations, but I feel that they were repetitive and do not add to the book.  This book is short (93 pages including several full page illustrations), but it is definitely worth the time to read it.

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: Any Age

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

When Brianna posts her reviews of the books that I recommended to her, I will post them here.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: Immersed by Jennifer Stewart Griffith

Immersed tour

Immersed NewImmersed by Jennifer Griffith

Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.
But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.
Until… Erik.
Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.

unnamedFDRE9K6NAuthor Jennifer Griffith

Jennifer Griffith studied French, German, Japanese, and a wee bit of Spanish in her school days. Her grandmother was Norwegian, and Jennifer grew up with lots of Scandinavian traditions floating around, including fabulous cardamom laced cookies called Krumkaker, made on a fancy waffle iron. However, she’d never dream of trying to teach someone any of those languages. And she might botch the cookies. Instead, she writes novels in English, drives her five kids a million places, and laughs with her husband, who came up with the plot for Immersed because he’s just a cool muse like that.




This book was one of my favorites in this novella series.  This is about a woman who believes that she is too pretty for anyone to take her seriously so she does a make-under in which she makes herself uglier, but it seems that Erik is falling in love with her even because she is "ugly".  Although the premise of this book does not seem exciting, this story was really well written.  I read this book in two days.  This whole series has been really great.  I would recommend it to anyone who really enjoys cheesy romance stories.  These books are usually quite predictable, but they are written so well that I did not even care.

Rating: 5/5

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/9/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Tags: Opposites Book Tag

First, I want to say that I am sorry that I have not been active on my blog lately.  College finals are killer.  I am happy to say that that I am excited I will begin to be more active this summer.  Next week is the Bout of Books 10 read-a-thon.  If you haven't signed up yet, you should :)  Check out my previous post here for more information about this read-a-thon.  This will be the first read-a-thon that I have done and I am so excited.

Moving on to this weeks tag which is the Opposites Book Tag.  I found this tag over at Bookables.  Here is the original video.

1. First book in your collection and last book in you bought

 I believe that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first book that I bought that I still own.

Pivot Point by Kasie West was the last book that I purchased.  I have read this book and I loved it.  I read this as part of the Epic Recs program.  Look for a review soon!

 2.  Cheap book and an expensive book

I got this book at Goodwill for less than a dollar.  My review for this book is here.

This is the complete set of the Circle books by Ted Dekker including the prequel, Green.  I spent about $35 on this book because it was on sale. Originally it was $50.


3.  A book with a male protagonist and a book with a female protagonist

I just recently read this book and you can find my review here. The protagonist is Johnis, a young boy who have been chosen to become part of the Forest Guard in this Christian fantasy world.

This is the second book in the rippler series by Cidney Swanson.  The protagonist in this series is Samantha Ruiz, a girl with the ability to become invisible.  My review for this book is here.

4.  A book you read fast and a book that took you too long to read

 This book I read almost in one sitting.  It is so good!  This is a Christian fiction book about a boy that believes that God doesn't love him because he has suffered so much and his discovery that God really cares and loves to speak to us.  You can find my review of this book here.
This book has taken me forever to read.  It is so full of detail that I can only read a little bit at a time.  I keep putting the book down and I have still not been able to finish it.

5. A pretty cover and an ugly cover

This is a completely gorgeous cover!  Purple is my favorite color and I love the dress that she is wearing.  Honestly, I requested this book for review because I loved the cover.  I will most likely buy this book soon!  You can find my review of this book here.


I hate to say that a cover is ugly, but this cover just does not give this book justice.  This is an great fantasy novel, but the cover just does not work for me.  As I was doing this tag, I realized that I have not reviewed this book on my blog.  I will be posting a review very soon.

6. A national book and an international book (I took this to mean a book written by an author from my country and one that was not from my country)

This book was written by Sheila Cragg who is an American.  This is a great Christian Nonfiction book.  Here is my review of this book.

This book was written by C.S. Lewis, who was born in Ireland.  This is part of the Chronicles of Narnia series.  Check out my review of this book here.  

7.  A thick book and a thin book

This is the largest book in the Harry Potter series (and the largest book that I own) at a total of 870 pages.

 This is the shortest book that I own at a total of 188 pages.  This is a great Christian Nonfiction novel.  Here is my review of this book.

8.  A way too romantic book and an action book

This book is part of a clean adult romance novella series.  I wouldn't say it has too much romance, but it is really cheesy.  You can find my review here.

This is a book filled with action and adventure.  It does have some romance in it, but not much.  You can find my review here.

 9.  A book that made you happy and a book that made you sad 

 This book is so cute and sweet.  It is a great summer read that I read last summer and it made me so happy!  Here is my review of this book.


This book made me cry at several points.  It is a great read filled with both happy and sad moments.  Here is my review of this book.

8. A fiction book and a nonfiction book

 Here is a great fiction YA paranormal book.  You can find my review of this book here.

 Here is a great Christian Inspirational Nonfiction book.  You can find my review of this book here.

Book Review and Free Book Offer: The Exile by Eric Buffington

Book Title: The Exile

Author: Eric Buffington

Publish Date:October 11, 2013

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Series Name: Stones of Power (#1)

Plot (from Goodreads):  

In a world where each person is born with a magic ability, the island of Denall is on the verge of an attack from a power hungry sorcerer, Mordyar, as he scours the world in search of the Stones of Power. While the stones are gathering and their power begins to be revealed, four boys leave their village on a rite of passage into adulthood and are swept into an adventure that will make men and heroes of them, if they can survive.

Why I Read this Book: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influenced my review.


I really loved this book.  It is full of action and amazing fantasy elements.  The touch of romance that was included was perfect!

My favorite part was the writing style.  Eric Buffington used the perfect amount of description.  I felt like I was in the story, but I was not bogged down by details.  I was so engrossed in the story that I wanted to read it in all of my free time and I easily lost track of time. 

In this story, everyone is born with a special power.  Some people are born with better hearing and others have increased sight.  There are also other special powers that are introduced throughout the book.  These powers are indicated by special marks that are present at birth.  If your special power is sight, than you will have marks above your eye.  If it is hearing, than you will have marks near your ear.  The Stones of Power, rare stones that enhance a special power, are being sought out by a powerful sorcerer who wants to use them for evil.

The main characters are seeking their rightful place in the world during their rite to manhood.  The rite to manhood for the town that they are from is that you are exiled from the city for a year when they turn a certain age.  During that year, you have to survive on your own.  The characters learn many lessons during their exile and face many hardships.

The elements of survival mixed with fantasy makes this a perfect read for any reader.


Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: 13+ for intense action scenes

Overall Rating: 5/5

Free Book Offer

Eric Buffington is offering free ebook copies of his book The Exile (book 1 in the Stones of Power series) on Smashwords.  All you have to do is follow this link and use the code: sw69s.

Even better is that he is also offering 33% off of ebook copies of the second book of the series, The Invasion.  Follow this link and use the code: uk44j.

His goal is to give away 10,000 free copies of Exile in the month of June.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review: Chosen by Ted Dekker

Book Title: Chosen

Author: Ted Dekker

Publish Date: April 13, 2010

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Christian Fiction

Series Name: Lost Books (#1)

Plot (from Goodreads):

Think with your heart and prepare to die . . . for you have been Chosen.

Thomas Hunter, supreme commander of the Forest Guard, has seen a great evil decimate much of his beautiful world. With a dwindling army and an epic threat, Thomas is forced to supplement his fighters with new recruits ages 16 and 17. From thousands, four will be chosen to lead a special mission.

Unknown to Thomas, the chosen four are redirected to a different endgame. They must find the seven lost Books of History before the Dark One. For these seven books have immense power over the past, present, and future, controlling not only the destiny of their world . . . but that of ours as well.

Why I Read this Book: I love Ted Dekker novels.  This book is a re-read for me.  I have read the first 4 books in this series, but I have not read the last 2 books in the series.  I intend to re-read this first 4 books in order to refresh my memory in preparation for the last two books in the series.


Full of action and adventure, Ted Dekker's books never fail to deliver.  There is a slight minor plot that involves romance, but the major plot is full of adventure, excitement, and fighting.

There is also some comic relief present in the form of the rouch, Michal and Gabil.  I talked about this some in my epic bookish battle royal for the Bout of Books read-a-thon.

I also like the Christian allegories that are present.  Most of the time, these allegories are very subtle.  One of the main allegories is to God through Elyon who is the loving God in this series.  Although there are Christian allegories, I believe that this series would be great for anyone who loves fantasy, action, and/or adventure.
One last comment: the cover.  Have you seen the new covers for this series?  They are gorgeous.  I cannot keep my eyes off of them.  The original covers were not bad, but the new covers are AMAZING.  Here is a peek at the old covers:
The new covers are so pretty and not as plain as the old covers.   I also think that the new covers appeal more to both males and females; whereas, the old covers appeal more to a male audience.

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: 13+ for intense action scenes

Overall Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Children's Book Review Tuesdays: O'Shae the Octopus

Book Title: O'Shae the Octopus

Author:  Brandee Buble

Illustrations: Eliska Liska

Publish Date: May 15, 2014

 Why I Read this Book: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from NetGalley.  This in no way influenced my review.








This is a great book that illustrates that just because we are different than others does not mean that we are not special.  In fact it means that we are more special.  This short book illustrates how bullying is wrong and urges us to accept everyone around us.  The message of the story is not the only great thing about this book; the illustrations are cute and filled with color.

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: Any Age

Overall Rating: 5/5

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: My Name is Chloe by Melody Carlson

Book Title: My Name is Chloe

Author: Melody Carlson

Publish Date: January 10, 2003

Genre: Young Adult Christian Fiction

Series Name: Diary of a Teenage Girl: Chloe (#1)

Plot (from Goodreads): Chloe, Josh Miller's younger sister, is a free spirit with funky clothes and dramatic hair. She struggles with her own identity, classmates, parents, boys, and -- her biggest question -- whether or not God is for real. But this unconventional high school freshman definitely doesn't hold back when she meets Him in a big, personal way. Refusing to change her image to fit into the "stereotypical Christian preppy mold," Chloe expresses God's love and grace through the girl band she forms, Redemption. In her development as a musician and performer, tender-hearted Chloe will learn tough lessons about following God, her heart, and her dreams.

Why I Read this Book: I found this series at my local Goodwill and they looked really interesting.


My favorite part about this book is that I learned more about God while reading it.  Chloe, although a new Christian, has wonderful incites about God and His love.  For more about this, read my post on my other blog, God Speaks Through Everyday Things.

The writing style for this book was very simple and plain.  There were some really slow parts in the book and there did not seem to be a strong central plot.  The book is written as a series of diary entries in which Chloe tells about what is happening in her life.  The plot seemed to be the act of Chloe discovering what it means to be a Christian and to have a relationship with God.  

I do plan on continuing with this series.  I think that it is intended that the reader reads the Diary of a Teenage Girl: Caitlin series before the Chloe series, so I think I will read the first Chloe book next and continue from there.

Final Statements

Recommended Reading Age: 13+ for mature and appropriate discussion about sex

Overall Rating: 3.5/5