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- Rockford, IL, USA
- member since July 19, 2007
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“Cassie learned early on how to read people. Her mother claimed to be a psychic but Cassie's pretty sure she was nothing but a fraud. That doesn't mean that she wasn't gifted with an ability, an ability that she passed on to Cassie and taught her to use. Cassie is what the FBI calls a Natural. She...”
“Cassie learned early on how to read people. Her mother claimed to be a psychic but Cassie's pretty sure she was nothing but a fraud. That doesn't mean that she wasn't gifted with an ability, an ability that she passed on to Cassie and taught her to use. Cassie is what the FBI calls a Natural. She and a handful of other teens have been tapped for a new and elite program with the feds. Here, they're taught to use their gifts with the intent to help solve some of the toughest cold cases. But when a current case shows a marked similarity to Cassie's mother's murder, she finds herself the center of a killer's attentions.
Hello! This is exactly the kind of thriller I wanted when I was a teen. One with teens in a fairly believable setting as the main characters. The only thing that I ever found even close to this all those years ago was Christopher Golden's Body of Evidence series.
Sure, as an adult I might be tempted to try and pick this apart and say the scenario is a stretch. Honestly, I just enjoyed reading the book so much that I didn't even pay that much attention. In the book, the way Barnes has set up Cassie's meet and greet with the feds and the first few days of her training, it honestly does make almost total sense that these teens would be working with the FBI on cold cases. Almost. But I will say this, the pacing of the story left me very little time to really start to over analyze the training situation.
One thing that did get to me a little was the sort of banter-ish/show offy nature of the students. And actually, now that I think about it it's just been so long since I was a teen or around teens that I may have forgotten just how badly teens want to one up each other in showing off their talents. Wait. That's not just teens :) The book was just the right length that it toed the line in getting a bit annoying but only just.
Even as a teen I was a pretty savvy mystery reader and while I had my suspicions about the killer, I had no clue about the ultimately revealed motivation. Didn't see that coming at all! So good one, Jennifer Lynn Barnes!
My opinion, The Naturals is an excellent read for teens craving a great thriller. There's a bit of cross over potential for adults who are ok with diving into a slightly iffy (think teen Criminal Element) scenario and spending time with some believably teen characters. This is a series set up so while Barnes does a good job in her character development, there are some obvious holes to take advantage of in spreading out more story.
“Mary, the overlooked Bennet sister, finally gets her day in the spotlight! With beautiful and witty Jane and Elizabeth ahead of her and loud and boisterous Kitty and Lydia behind her, Mary has always been just Mary: somewhat irksome, somewhat stoic, always essentially overlooked. Certain she'll...”
“Mary, the overlooked Bennet sister, finally gets her day in the spotlight! With beautiful and witty Jane and Elizabeth ahead of her and loud and boisterous Kitty and Lydia behind her, Mary has always been just Mary: somewhat irksome, somewhat stoic, always essentially overlooked. Certain she'll end up a spinster, Mary gets the surprise of her life when one Henry Walsh begins to pay attention to her. Surely he can't actually be interested, though. After all, no one expects Mary to catch a man's eye.
You know, I can't think of a more perfect Bennet sister to get her own spin off. Mary is such a side role in P&P and the attention she does get doesn't paint her in a very good light.
Mingle's Mary is incredibly likable (in my opinion - she's quite feisty and a bit snarky, which I find pretty appropriate for the Mary I imagine a few years post P&P action) and easy to sympathize with. I liked that she gets emotional about her treatment, that she does take the reigns and decide to start making her own decisions in spite of her supposed lot in life. As the story is told from her point of view, Mingle allows the reader to really get to know this new version of Mary all the while staying true to the part she plays in the earlier Bennet timeline (this is post P&P in case I hadn't mentioned).
I was quite pleased with Pamela Mingle's version of the Bennets here. I thought it was a very honest and heartfelt homage to Austen's original. The Pursuit of Mary Bennet was still very much in the spirit of the original - nothing too crazy or out there in comparison to the original. And I rather liked being able to see Mary grow beyond her small parts in P&P.
Considering this was my post Book Thief read and my post Turkey day meal read as well, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet was just what the doctor ordered - a warm and fuzzy feel good read to relax with!”
“Stevie is shocked to hear of the state of the family farm. Her relationship with her father has been rocky ever since she left for London at eighteen, but in the months since her mother's death they've barely talked. It's still a surprise to hear that he's recovering from a stroke and that the...”
“Stevie is shocked to hear of the state of the family farm. Her relationship with her father has been rocky ever since she left for London at eighteen, but in the months since her mother's death they've barely talked. It's still a surprise to hear that he's recovering from a stroke and that the farm is suffering for it. After warnings from the local vet Stevie's father is threatened with losing Nettlebed Farm and worse: possible imprisonment for animal cruelty. Stevie'd planned to help out for a weekend but ultimately decides to leave behind the big city and take up the reigns managing the farm herself. With plans to diversify and hopefully save the family business, Stevie's ruffled more than a few feathers in Talyton St. George. She can count at least one ally on her side, though, the same vet who once vowed to see her father behind bars.
Based on Cathy Woodman's title list it would seem there's an abundance of vets in Talyton St. George! This is my introduction to her work, though, and I must say it was quite a charming read. It did bring to mind a lot of the city slicker trendy films of the 80s (Diane Keaton's Baby Boom in particular though Stevie isn't quite a fish out of water) and even hints of Doc Martin (without the crazy medical cases and weirdo villagers).
This one was quite fun. First, I never knew that much about cows. Haha! Second, Stevie takes each challenge in stride and is admirable in both her tenacity and her dealings with her father (and the locals). And finally, her relationship with Leo builds nicely - not too quickly or unbelievably.
The town and the story are filled with a number of other characters and Woodman spends a good amount of time fleshing them out as well, giving the reader a chance to sort of feel like they actually are experiencing the real village life: waiting in traffic behind crossing cows, eating one of Jennie's droolworthy cakes, guarding themselves from Bear's teeth... maybe not so much the grueling farm work, though. I don't think anyone can truly understand that unless they've got the sore muscles to go with it.
Woodman now has seven titles set in Talyton St. George. I realized as well that Sweetest Thing is Jennie and Guy's story - they're Stevie's neighbors in Country Loving. It'll be nice to return to the village again in a few days with their tale.”
“I have to start off by saying that I loved this book! I loved the structure (fairly short pieces) and the concept (twenty-eight different authors but all the stories are interconnected) and found that the overall execution was pretty phenomenal. While my fondness for short stories continues to...”
“I have to start off by saying that I loved this book! I loved the structure (fairly short pieces) and the concept (twenty-eight different authors but all the stories are interconnected) and found that the overall execution was pretty phenomenal. While my fondness for short stories continues to grow (and I'm a pretty huge fan of them these days) I still really adore the idea of a themed collection. I think it makes it easier to get into even for folks who don't like shorts since the collection can somewhat be considered a longer piece. It's true, though, that there are a number of different characters and a slew of things going on in RED PHONE BOX so it's still very much a short story collection, just a little... different than usual.
It's amazing that with so many contributors this story cycle - as they call it - (I like that!) doesn't really feel disjointed. Instead, I found each author's piece flowed easily into the next. And with the stories as short as they are I was sucked into this collection much the same as I would be with a full length novel. Don't get me wrong, each contributor does have a very distinctive voice of their own but I think the central connection of the phone box itself really propelled each story into the next. There are also a few recurring characters and stories throughout the collection that gives it an overall momentum as well.
This is definitely one I recommend to anyone willing to try out something a little different - and a little dark. This is, as the cover says, a darkly magical read. There are bits of fantasy and bits of horror and lots of weird!”
“It begins easily enough, a phone on a train and a question: Wanna play a game? Course HP wasn't thinking about games when he found the sleek new cell phone apparently forgotten on the seat next to him. When the text appears again, this time calling him out by name, he finds it hard to resist....”
“It begins easily enough, a phone on a train and a question: Wanna play a game? Course HP wasn't thinking about games when he found the sleek new cell phone apparently forgotten on the seat next to him. When the text appears again, this time calling him out by name, he finds it hard to resist. He's certain it has to be a joke - someone watching nearby, waiting for him to fall for it. The game starts with a stolen umbrella. After successfully completing this task, HP is let in and the points begin to rack up. The tasks escalate but HP doesn't think much of it until his own sister is injured as part of the game. Still he wants to continue in spite of being kicked out. But HP will soon learn that the game isn't a game at all and the consequences are far more dangerous than he could ever anticipate.
This first in a new trilogy by Anders de la Motte initially struck me as being very similar to Ursula Poznanski's teen thriller EREBOS. True, both books do concern a suspicious game that has real life consequences, but ultimately that's where the comparison ends.
GAME divides its time between HP, Henrik Pettersson, and Rebecca Normén, a member of Sweden's Security Police. Much of the beginning of the book is propelled by the story of the game itself and HP's participation. Rebecca's portions in this early part are her work and her development as a character, which makes for a nice set up once her story begins to intersect with that of HP.
GAME is an intriguing premise and I've no doubt that it's one that could really happen. The author has some interesting things to say about his inspiration here - things I agree with on a lot of levels.
Tech meets conspiracy theory all wrapped up in a tense and action packed plot - with more than one twist as well. Game is hard to resist! Since this is the first in a trilogy, it's to be expected that there are still some questions yet to be resolved. The second release, BUZZ, is due out Jan 7, and the final title, BUBBLE, is due out Feb 4.
I should also point out that while this is a translated work, beyond the fact that it's set it Sweden I don't think I would have had a clue that a translator was involved. The narrative flows incredibly easily. Frankly I was kind of amazed.”
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