Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This review was written by: C
Received: Library
Publishing Date of Book: November 2013
Pages: 308
Stars: (5/5)
"This is a game. I hear Dean's voice echoing through my memory. It's always a game. That was what he'd told Michael, and at the time, I'd agreed. To the killer, this was a game-and suddenly, I couldn't help thinking that the good guys might not win this one.
We might lose.
I might lose."

This book was AMAZING! Jennifer Lynn Barnes has been one of the greatest authors that I have come across and she always weaves a tale of intrigue and complexity . "The Naturals" was no exception. The book was full of mystery, action, suspense, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn't put it down!
Here is a short summary of what the book is about:
Cassandra (aka Cassie) is a teenage girl with a strange gift, she's a profiler. This peculiar gift allows her to view a person's appearance and actions and build a profile of their life. She has lived with her father's family ever since her mother was murdered. Cassie wants closure for this gruesome tragedy and is approached by a special program. She soon joins a group of kids labeled as Naturals, individuals that can detect lies, read emotions, and profile individuals, just like Cassie. This group aids the FBI in cold cases, or investigations that were shelved and never solved. A string of murders begins and Cassie believes that the killer was the one responsible for her mother's death. Cassie and her misfit group attempt to aid in the investigation as the killer slowly bids their time, their fixation on Cassie growing more dangerous with each passing day.

Overall, the book was great and fast paced, thus resulting in a very quick read. The only parts of the novel that were a little freaky were the short paragraphs from the serial killer's point of view. Barnes definitely placed herself in the mind of a madman in order to bring to life such a realistic viewpoint.

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The Blood Guard by Carter Roy

This review was written by: B
Received: Library
Publishing Date of Book: March 2014
Pages: 279
Stars: (5/5)

"When something matters enough to you," he promised, "you'll reach a make-or-break point where HEART comes in. THAT'S what pushes you to do the impossible."
-Mr. Entwhistle

Immediately after picking this book up from the library shelf, I fell in love with the idea of the Blood Guard. Evelyn Ronan Truelove was just a normal boy with an amount of extracurricular activities no one his age undoubtedly has had before. However, as Ronan said, "You don't care as much about being an outsider if you're always busy." This young man was swept quickly into the world that his mother has been engaged in since before his birth, the Blood Guard, an organization set up to protect the Pures that roam the earth. The Pures, those who naturally bring out the good in others, are the only things standing in the way of God flooding Earth again. If a sufficient amount of them die before they can be reincarnated quickly after their appointed death, the world plunges into darkness. Ronan is chased by the Bend Sinister, a group driven to capture and take the souls of the Pure so that they cannot live again.

This book was full of action from the first page, sending you into a story that no one could have spectacularly written but Carter Roy. Not only did this book tackle the action aspect that we all crave in books, but it also talked about finding yourself. Ronan is unsure of himself or if he is good enough to save or even protect anyone. He's just a boy after all. However, sometimes we must make our own decisions and believe in ourselves, like Ronan struggles to do. I always read my books wherever I am and found myself smiling while reading this book at the most inopportune times causing people to stare at me and wonder what in the world I'm laughing at. That's how much I loved this story! I believe that any fan of Percy Jackson will fall in love with this piece of work. They both drew me in with their quick wit, self worth, and action packed pages. Ronan Truelove was a fabulous character that I am so excited to read more about! 

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This review was written by: B
Received: Purchased
Publishing Date of Book: November 2007
Pages: 335
Stars: (5/5)

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is the people who think it is.”
-Neal Shusterman, “Unwind”

Sometimes people need to take a step back from life and escape into an unthinkable dimension where their worries are not for themselves, but for others. Reading a book, especially “Unwind, ” a personal favorite of mine, is that solution of illusion that puts you into a possible future in which you leave behind everyday life and ask the question: What if? Neal Shusterman’s “Unwind” spins a story of a believable world after the Second Civil War, better known as the Heartland War, that was fought over the issue of abortion. This bloody conflict ended with the passing of the Bill of Life allowing children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen to be retroactively “aborted” through the transplanting of their organs into different donors so that life does not officially end. This terrifying action, known as unwinding, is about to occur to three very different yet similarly connected people: Connor, Lev, and Risa. Will these individuals make it to adulthood together, or will they be separated, surviving on their own with unwind against unwind, only to be caught and erroneously “murdered”?
Shusterman was able to write a gripping novel that I could not bring myself to put down despite his controversial subject matter. The countless brave individuals, who stood up for what they believed in, consistently fought for themselves and the rights of those whom they never met, yet they felt like they somehow knew. The fictional society, post abortion, was extremely captivating in the terrifying way that civilization played out, with people treating each other with a blind eye and a stone heart. Shusterman had a writing style that naturally intrigued me, with brave debates facing everyday issues in our world. He also elaborated on our human nature where we want to turn our backs on others yet make the hard choice to save them. Honestly, “Unwind” kept my fingers and eyes glued to every single startling page until the very end.
It is my belief that everyone should read this masterpiece. A book such as this, which offers adventure, the honest hardships of friendships, the tribulations that survival entails, and they difficult issues that present day humanity finds itself trying to face, is hard to come by. “Unwind” demonstrates heart wrenching decisions that play off in a domino effect. Everyone is running from something, but Connor, Risa, and Lev have higher stakes bearing down on them. I guarantee that all readers will enjoy this story in one way or another. At the end, you get to choose for yourself if you cannot change laws without first changing human nature, or if you cannot first change human nature without first changing the law.

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SuperGal vs. God by Lori Hynson

This review was written by: B
Received: GoodReads Giveaway
Publishing Date of Book: June 2013
Stars: (5/5)

"When God moves into your house, He rearranges the furniture."

SuperGal vs. God was an amazing read, and I was so excited to find out that I had won it through! (Thank you Lori!) This book is about a strong and successful woman who, despite her intentions, falls in love again. When things seem to be going great, her love, Ben, suddenly falls ill. Everything takes a turn for the worse when Ben is admitted into the hospital. Taking matters into her own hands, SuperGal tries to fix the problems on her own. Little does she know, God has a plan for her, and His plan relies on her faith in Him. Throughout the book you get to see how God can influence just one person's life in such a major way. While Ben and SuperGal ride out the storm, God is planting faith in their lives.

Either I'm gonna trust Him
Or I may as well walk away . . .

This novel truly intrigued me. I was practically praying along side Lori for Ben. I couldn't put this book down until the very end. Not only did you get to hear Lori's side of the story, but I loved how she wrote what God and Satan were doing and thinking as well. It added an element to the story that made it even more interesting.

SuperGal vs. God was a fabulous read. I could not believe the amount of faith and determination that Lori had. Her story showed the love that God holds for all of His children and how we can either except that love or ignore it. This book made me not only amazed but also laugh and root for Ben and Lori. I believe that everyone should read this book. It was extremely well written, and it will touch your heart, while holding a message that will reach the hearts of so many others as well!

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