Thursday, March 13, 2014

Audiobook Review. The Naturals

Hi everyone!
It's been unusually quiet around here lately, for which I apologize. I've been sick for little over a month and entirely unable to focus on my blog, or anything else, for that matter. Thanks to all of you who've worried and written to ask where I'd disappeared to. All your nice thoughts and wishes warmed my little heart.

I'll be easing into things these days, and hopefully I'll be back to my usual rhythm in no time at all. I missed blogging so much, and now that I'm able to come back, you'll never get rid of me again. ;)

The NaturalsAuthor: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals, #1
Released: November 12th 2013
Publisher: Listening Library
Lenght: 7hrs and 28 mins
Buy: Audible

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. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. 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.

Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars-Jennifer Lynn-Barnes' The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.
Sometimes it’s nice to start a book knowing exactly what to expect: good parts, bad parts and all. The Naturals is a pretty simple, straightforward book. A single review should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about it, and you should be able to judge right away whether it’s something you’ll enjoy.

It is part murder mystery and part teen love triangle drama, so I think it’s safe to say there’s something in it for everyone. Personally, I can’t stand love triangles at the best of times and I thought this one was particularly badly executed, but I’m certain that the readers who usually enjoy them will feel differently and get very invested in the romance, one way or the other.

For me, the serial killer part was part was what saved this book, a least in part. Nothing could quite make up for the torturous and rather pointless love triangle, but I was completely captivated by the mystery and I failed to guess the identity of the killer until the very end. I don’t usually appreciate chapters from the killer’s point of view, although they are inherent to the murder mystery genre, but in this case, I felt they were done remarkably well.

It’s extremely hard to determine whether The Naturals is a paranormal book or not, and yet, I am inclined to think not. The talents these kids have seem to be precisely that – extraordinary talents, but all within range of realistic human capacity, or just beyond. Instead of being bothered by this uncertainty, I found it refreshing and rather intriguing, especially Leah’s lie detecting abilities.

The narrator, Amber Faith, has one of those soft, indistinct voices that are pleasant enough, I suppose, but don’t really stand out in any way. She struggled a bit with voice characterization, especially for male characters, but overall, she falls somewhere around the middle: nothing about her narration rubbed me the wrong way, but I wouldn’t rush to buy a book narrated by her.

All in all, I don’t regret spending 8 hours listening to this book and I’ll likely even pick up the sequel once it becomes available, but while The Naturals was an entertaining read, spectacular it was not.


  1. Huh. I didn't realize this was the start of a series. I LOVED Barnes' Raised by Wolves series, and I thought Every Other Day was pretty good too, but I thought Nobody was awful. SO even though I got The Naturals when it came out, I haven't read it. Maybe I'll wait to see how book 2 fares . . . Great review!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  2. I have the Kindle copy for this one and I still have to read it. I'm very much drawn to the murder mystery part, even if I dread the love triangle... Great review, Maja!

    I'm glad to hear you are feeling better! I have been away on vacation and mostly away from the internet and when I came back to check and catch up on your blog I saw there were very few posts and was wondering if you were ok!

  3. Welcome back, Maja!:)

    This looks like a promising read despite three stars rating. I love that it's not "obvious" paranormal book - that's a interesting approach to the genre.
    Great review.

  4. I've heard good and bad things about this one. Maybe I'll do what you did and buy the audiobook.
    Bethzaida @ Bookittyblog

  5. I have missed you!! So glad you are finally feeling better and back on your feet. :)

    Great review on this. I am sorry you didn't like it just a little bit more but still really happy overall you enjoyed it.

  6. I really loved Jennifer's wolves series, but since then I haven't had quite as much luck with her stories unfortunately. The love triangle in this one is a huge turn off, I'm getting to the point where I simply can't tolerate them at all, which is a shame because I'm sure there are books out there where they're well-executed but I'm so afraid of being burned that I'll never find out. *sigh*

    Also, SO GLAD YOU'RE BACK!!!! I was worried when you went radio silent, so I'm glad to know you're feeling better:)

  7. Glad you are feeling better, Maja! :)

    Hmm..this one reminds me of the Body Finder series. I'm not all too thrilled with a badly executed love triangle makes me hesitate to pick it up right away. However it would be good pick for a rainy or snowy day read.

  8. Yes, the love triangle was horrid! The mystery though was awesome; I had no clue who the killler was until the end too.

    It's good to see you back, Maja, and I'm glad you're feeling better!

  9. I'm sorry you're sick :( I hope you feel better soon!

    Aside from that, great review! The love triangle sounds pretty bad but I'm glad the serial killer part delivered! I just wish that books would stop with these horrid triangles of love already. *sigh*

  10. I'm definitely curious about the sequel to this. If I had listened to this on audio I might not have enjoyed it as much because I tend to get a annoyed easily if the narrator isn't that great. But anyways, I enjoyed the book and definitely think the mystery was the best part of the story :) Glad to see someone else couldn't figure it out until the end! Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  11. YAY!!! I am SO glad to see that you're back... I wasn't sure what happened to you so yeah :/ I am sorry you were sick but I am glad you're feeling better and I do hope we never get rid of you again! :) (it was kind of sad when I stalked your blog everyday hoping for some sign of life :P)

    I was interested in reading this book but then the reviews started coming in and everyone was talking about the love triangle :/ and I absolutely DESPISE them. I might pick the series up if the sequel looks more promising though because the premise for this one was really interesting.

    I am glad that you enjoyed this one in spite of everything!

    Great review, Maja! :)

  12. I really liked this one, it was a nice one. I'm curious to see how the sequel will be.

    I'm glad you're back, it was sad without you. I hope you're better now.

  13. You really did get it as bad as I was over xmas, sick for weeks and weeks

  14. Welcome back to the land of the living! Sorry you were so sick. That really sucks. We missed you around here!

    As for the book, I wasn't the biggest fan but I didn't hate it. Haven't yet decided if I'm going to read the next one... And, yeah, I agree that it's not really paranormal. Just extraordinary abilities.

  15. I still need to read her wolves series. I am sorry this one didn't wow you, but it still sounds worthy of a try. I still think I'll have a go at the other one first, but I do think I'll try this one later on.

    Glad to "see" you back! :)

  16. Glad you're feeling better! :)

    My allergies might get bad soon so... not excited for that. :p

  17. I'm not thinking this one is for me. But it has it good draws to it. :)

    Glad you are feeling better. It's terrible to be down like that. Take care!

  18. I'm sorry to hear you were ill, Maja! A month is a long time to be sick! I'm happy to hear you're feeling better.

    I love a good mystery/thriller and books with serial killers seem to fascinate me. I'm not sure what that says about me, lol! I don't like love triangles for the most part. There are exceptions, but mostly they stress me out, especially if there's waffling back and forth. Too bad this is of the badly done variety. Lovely review, and glad to hear the narrator didn't take away from the story even though she didn't particularly stand out. :)

  19. HAHA! I super agree with you regarding the love triangle. It was one of the most awkward, random, and pointless I've ever read. It was really handled badly, and I couldn't even see what the two of them saw in our MC as she was totally bland. Doesn't help half the book is teen drama.

    Great review! You rated it way higher than I did :P I think I gave this one a 1 star.

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

  20. I've only seen pretty negative reviews for this so I've had no desire to read it. It might be better as an audiobook but I think I'd skip it.
    So glad you're feeling better and are back! I really had my fingers crossed that we wouldn't lose you!

  21. Not sure the narrator helped this, but like you I enjoyed the serial killer aspect of this, and to be honest months later I cannot remember the triangle, so it neither moved me not bothered me I guess. LOL

  22. Yay, glad to hear you are back and feeling better. Nice to hear this one was enjoyable enough to pick up sequel even with the issues.,

  23. So glad to hear you're feeling better, Maja! As for this one, I think I'll skip because I can't stand love triangles either. It's good it was still entertaining though!


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