Review of The Naturals

Monday, 17 August 2015
Today I've got a review of The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes for you all. You know, the one I mentioned on Twitter? (By the way, you should follow me over there if you don't already. I love Twitter.)


Book: The Naturals

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Hyperion

Genre: Mystery, Murder, YA, Contemporary, Love Triangles

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Summary: 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.


Review: Well I didn't see THAT coming.

And by 'THAT' I mean "WHAT JUST HAPPENED LIKE HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING!!!"

This is a murder mystery, hence the whole 'I didn't see it coming' thing, and I believe that if you do see it coming, you might not enjoy the book as much. However, Jennifer Lynn Barnes does an excellent job of leading you astray. She certainly led me astray quite a few times.

I definitely liked Cassie as our narrator, which is always good when a book is written in first person POV like The Naturals. She was spunky, and her motive to solve the case made sense.

I also liked some of the other Naturals who were side characters like Sloane, the walking encyclopedia and Leah, the human lie detector. Both girls were quirky and added to the story.

However, when it came to the two Naturals who were men, Michael and Dean, I was like eh. The love triangle between the two men and the protagonist drove me nuts. I didn't root for either guy, the triangle itself wasn't that interesting, and it's never resolved by the end, so it will drag out into book two.

The concept itself felt new, even though Cassie could have been a teenage Sherlock Holmes with her ability.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a skilled writer no doubt, and I found The Naturals very easy to get through.

Overall, The Naturals is a fast-paced, action-packed mystery that I believe will appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes, Pretty Little Liars, C.S.I., and Veronica Mars.

See you all soon!

Liran

Review of One

Monday, 10 August 2015
Hello Fellow Book Lovers,

Today I've got my review of One by Sarah Crossan which comes out in September/here's why you should go preorder it. 

Book: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult, Verse, Contemporary 
Cover:












Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.

Review: Oh wow. This book.

This book.

It gave me the feels.

I never knew I could enjoy a book written in verse so much, but here I am giving One by Sarah Crossan five stars.

This book made me cry. This book made me laugh. And then it made me cry again. (Not that making me cry is a bad thing. I'm generally an emotional wreck whenever anything become relatively sad.)

The writing was lyrical and beautiful, and I highly enjoyed Grace's narrative. While I'd never read verse before (and likely wouldn't have read this book had I known it was written in verse), I enjoyed this book immensely.

It was easy to get through, and covered a fair amount of issues not that many books tend to cover. Namely, eating disorders, loss, poverty, family dynamics (seriously though, why does no one in YA have a loving family?), etc. (and I say etcetera because of spoilers).

I know at this point, half of you have been scared off by the word 'verse' and you shouldn't be. Sarah Crossan is incredibly talented and will make you fall in love with it.

Moving onto the characters, this book is about Grace and Tippi who are conjoined twins, and their lives really. (I'd go into more depth, but spoilers.) Both twins are likeable and relatable. The book is told in Grace's POV, and Grace is the twin who is a bit more shy and reserved, so I enjoyed reading from her perspective over Tippi's.

The romance in the novel is barely there, and instead, the friendships take centerstage. At their new school, Tippi and Grace befriend Yasmeen and Jon who don't judge them for who they are, and with whom they share a healthy relationship that doesn't involve competing for Jon or outshining the other person. Each member of the group supports the other members and doesn't try to take away from them.

Additionally, the twins have a younger sister named Dragon whom they love as much as they do each other--a relationship you don't often see in YA novels. Dragon is well developed like the girls' parents, and doesn't leave after the first chapter.

Also, the two parents love all their children and support them throughout the novel no matter what. Neither one turns on any of them or purposely tries to kill one of them. (You laugh, but it's a common thing in YA fantasies and dystopians.)

The diversity in this book is also apparent and is not used to define any character. Meaning, even though Yasmeen has HIV, it is not her defining characteristic the way the twins are not defined by their body.

Overall, One is a phenomenal novel that I adored from start to finish and would highly recommend to anyone looking for a darker contemporary.

I will definitely be checking out Sarah's other novels, and can't wait to see what Sarah writes in the future.

See you all soon!

Liran

Disclaimer: I received an electronic ARC of this book via Edelweiss courtesy of the publisher. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and opinions on this novel.

Liran On Goodreads

Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Hello Fellow Book Lovers,

I think it's time we talked about it. I never update Goodreads. EVER. Like, unless I want to add a book to my TBR pile, I'm never on there.

Now as much as I enjoy using Goodreads to keep track of my friends' current reads so I can bug them later to tell me whether or not I should read it, I (along with a fair amount people in this world) have specific issues with Goodreads.

1) Why can't I have a shared bookshelf with someone in which both people can add to it? Like, how cool would it be to have a bookshelf of all the 2016 releases that both you and your friend are excited for and instead of having two separate bookshelves (because really, you're probably both excited for the same books), you can just have one bookshelf you can both add to. Also, say you want to have a joined bookshelf with multiple people without creating a group (which requires a decent amount of work when you just want to be able to have a list of books you all want to read). Personally, I prefer to just DM someone on Twitter my thoughts or have a conversation with them via Facebooks, SMS, etc. because it's a bit more instant and I just don't love the Goodreads group format.

2) I don't remember to update my status on Goodreads after I've read a bunch. Generally, if I have thoughts after I read something, I go freak out to someone specific, Twitter, or I don't say anything. On Goodreads, I just feel like no one is reading what I have to say and therefore, I won't end up discussing the book with anyone and my thoughts will forever go unnoticed.

3) As much as I enjoy connecting with people on there, it is a pretty silent social media website. What I mean by that is you see people's updates and they almost all look the same, so I never actually go through my feed and read it. It all feels very generic and boring.

4) Why is there a friend limit? LET ME BE FRIENDS WITH ALL THE AUTHORS.

I think that's generally it. If you want to add me over there, I'm at http://goodreads.com/HeartsAndCrowns. Or you can just check out the last time I updated anything.

See you all soon!

- Liran

ARC August

Monday, 3 August 2015
Hello Fellow Book Lovers,

So it's August. That means 1) Camp NaNoWriMo is over and I can now write for fun without it being a competition (Camp NaNo sort of felt like that) and 2) for the first time EVER, I am participating in ARC August (which is hosted by Octavia and Shelly over at http://www.readsleeprepeat.org)!

Now, on to the books I currently plan to read this month.

1) Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17564519-walk-on-earth-a-stranger

Summary: The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.


2) Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20652088-ash-bramble

Summary: When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story. Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after. Sarah Prineas’s bold fairy tale retelling is a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

3) Newt's Emeralf by Garth Nix

Release Date: October 13, 2015

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24737347-newt-s-emerald

Summary: Lady Truthful will inherit her family’s most valued heirloom on her eighteenth birthday. Until the Newington Emerald is stolen.

Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt” by her boy cousins, discovers that to her horror, the people closest to her have been framed for the theft. But Newt won’t let their reputations be damaged by rumors from a false accusation. Her plan is simple: go to London to recover the missing jewel. Despite her best intentions, a young lady travelling alone is frankly unacceptable behavior. So Newt and her aunt devise another plan…one that entails men’s clothing and a mustache.

While in disguise, Truthful encounters the handsome but shrewd major Harnett, who to her amazement volunteers to help find the missing emerald under the assumption that she is a man, Henri de Vienne. But once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure, Truthful realizes something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

Truthful has far more than romantic complications to worry about. The stolen emerald is no ordinary heirloom-it is the source of the family’s luck and has the power to yield vast magic. It would be completely disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of England depends on Truthful securing the emerald.


This is my CURRENT TBR and is subject to change at my discretion because I don't know if I'll want to read something else/LEGACY OF KINGS COMES OUT IN AUGUST AND I WANT TO READ IT BEFORE SEPTEMBER.

See you all soon!

Liran

I Won Camp NaNoWriMo

Saturday, 1 August 2015
Hello Fellow Book Lovers,

I did it. I won Camp NaNoWriMo.

I wrote twenty-thousand words.

TWENTY. THOUSAND.

And I did it in a month.

(That's a lot of writing.)

What I Learned:

- I am competitive.

- I like a good challenge.

- I have no faith in myself.

- WRITING IS HARD.

Okay. I think that's all. (Sorry for the short post, but I just wanted to tell you all that I won!)

See you all soon!

- Liran