Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Random Books

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1)
Author:  Jennifer Echols
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, 336 pages
Publication Date:  May 20, 2014

From Goodreads:
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

I liked Tia, who was a typical teenager but sort of atypical for a YA book, in the sense that she drank, smoked pot occasionally, was smart but didn't really try in school, and hooked up with guys.  That was actually pretty refreshing.  I also liked Will, he was also portrayed realistically, with some faults and he made mistakes.  I loved them together, how they were different but still fit together so well, how they couldn't keep their hands off of each other, constantly flirting.  It felt a little forced, Tia's whole I don't want a boyfriend thing, and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of it, but it created the necessary tension and problems.

Cute, light, and fun, Biggest Flirts is a great summer read!

The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author:  Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion, 304 pages
Publication Date:  November 5, 2014

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.

This book was a fun read.  Cassie and Dean are naturally talented at profiling people, Michael can read people's emotions, Lia can detect if people are lying, and Sloane is a natural with numbers and probabilities.  I loved this premise and the fact that the FBI is training them to help out with cold cases (and that they all live together).  Each teen had a distinct personality and we get bits of information about their history and baggage.  Even though this is a series, the case was wrapped up.  I have to say, the love triangle plot was completely unnecessary (why why why??), but it's not a huge part of the book.

Fast-paced and filled with action, The Naturals is Criminal Minds with a bit of teen angst.  I definitely enjoyed it.

Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers, 410 pages
Publication Date:  September 11, 2012

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

I  really enjoyed this book.  To be honest, it started a bit slow (there's a lot of walking and Neryn is alone quite a bit), but then it picked up and I especially fell in love with Flint, who is strong, courageous, patient, kind, but Neryn doesn't know if she can trust him.  Who is he?  What is he hiding?  Flint is complex and conflicted, and his relationship with Neryn was slow-building (almost painfully so), but so well done. I'm deeply invested in the characters and this lush, rich fantastical world.  This one is definitely worth a read.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. These all sound like books I would enjoy. Great reviews, Pam!

  2. I definitely think I want to read The Naturals as I used to be addicted to Criminal Minds and have heard really good things about the book.

    I've never heard of Shadowfell, but it sounds really interesting! I may have to check it out.

  3. I've read and enjoyed The Naturals, thought that was a quick, fun read. The others sound good but I'm not in a rush to check them out.

  4. I really want to read The Naturals, it sounds like such a good mystery read :)

  5. I think Biggest Flirts will be a cute book to read by the pool this summer. I like that Tia is your atypical YA lead. But I have like 17 books I want to read it July so this one might just get bumped back to a later date. I definitely want to read it though! And I had a lot of fun with The Naturals. I LOVE Criminal Minds. But yes, the romance part was SO BAD. I am looking forward to Killer Instinct that I picked up at BEA! As for Shadowfell, this book has actually been on my radar for a while but I just never got around to reading it. Someday!

  6. I have Biggest Flirts, but haven't read it yet. It sounds like a cute, summer book, but I couldn't get into the first chapter or so and put it aside. I really enjoyed The Naturals. The premise is really fun, and I loved that it was a complete story. I have heard early grumbles that the sequel focuses even more on that stupid love triangle--which blows. I think I'll skip Shadowfell. It doesn't sound like something I would enjoy. Great mini reviews!

  7. Trying to play catch-up on your posts... ;)

    I have the first two to review and am looking forward to them. I've read Shadowfell and really enjoyed it too. The second book is also good, but different. I'm really looking forward to the third book! I think it's going to have quite a climatic ending.