Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)Title:  Killer Instinct 
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date: November 4th 2014
Pages: 386
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series: The Naturals #2
Source:  Hardcover 

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

I really enjoyed the first book, The Naturals, last year and couldn't wait to continue the series. Unfortunately I had to wait a little longer than I had anticipated but I finally read the book and I LOVED IT. I was able to connect to the characters more in this book and of course the thrills and the chills, the creeps and the crazies were all there in this book and I enjoyed it so much, more than the first one, which I already loved. Great second book to the series.

Cassie and the gang are back to being the normal naturals, cold cases only, no live cases. Everything is oh so boring and it stinks but things seem to pick up when a killing happens and the MO is the same one that Dean's father used. Now the gang is set on finding out who is behind the killings so that they can get this whole entire nightmare out of Dean's life. My question... oh and Cassie's question. Why are these things happening so close to home for the scooby gang. First it was Cassie's mom and not its Deans father. What is going on. 

This book really did rock. I think I enjoyed the mystery, the killings, the secrets, the revels, and the characters more in this book. Not that they weren't already awesome in the first book, but the first book lacked just a tiny tiny bit preventing it from totally wowing me. This book totally wowed me and now I am totally stoked about the next book. 

Things I really liked about this book. The feel was familiar but the crime and the circumstances were really different and I do believe both the crimes in the first book and in this book will somehow work out together in a further plot line. I am not sure about this but I am hoping for it. They books may just be separate from each other, each an individual crime. But like I said, I hope not. 

I also liked the intensity and the emotion more in this book. It seemed a bit more real for me. Now I am not sure why... it could be I am more invested in the characters in this one or it could be the first book I listened to on audio and this one I read. So I may have just had a different take on digesting the story than the narrator gave me in the first book. She was an excellent narrator but it wasn't my own head. 

Cassie became more real for me and so did the rest of the gang. I think in the first book I liked Dean more. This book I am kind of crushing on Michael. Dean shuts out the world, he is the bad boy, he as issues. A rebel, quiet but intense. Michael is some of these things, bad boy yes, issues yes, but he doesn't shut out the world. He invites them in then messes with their heads with charming words and witty remarks. Now... I do think he is sincere. This is what I got from him this book. I felt more Michael. I felt I knew him more and wanted to know more of his story. 

Lia was still Lia, but she is coming around to actually possibly becoming Cassie's friend. Which is good. There is still a rivalry between the two where Michael and Dean are concerned. Its all kinds of muddled but not in a bad way. Sloane is way awesome and definitely one of my favorites and I think she always will be. Geeky, awkward, and just fun. 

The romance isn't quite where I like my romance. It does have a love triangle and although its not horrid and I myself can't decide who I want her with, this is my issue. I like to root for someone. I like it when one is a definite and one is a oh no way. In the situation I am in now, someone I like will get hurt and I can't handle that. There isn't any insta love however. Cassie is attracted to both and cares for both but that's it. No love, not yet. So I do appreciate that. Maybe in the next book I will have a definite and a oh no way. 

The book is creepy and ewe gross. Great mystery and thrills. Whenever i thought I knew who the killer was, I was led to believe I was wrong or I was just plain out wrong. I loved all the red herrings. I thought it was written well and it paced excellent. It was almost a one sitting read. I really didn't want to put it down. I do need the next book asap. 

It was just filled with awesome from first page to the last. 

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.
Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.


  1. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one! I loved her Raised by Wolves series and I love mysteries and thrillers so I'll definitely be checking this out :)

  2. I haven't read the first book and sadly this is the first time I've heard of this series! It sounds pretty good and I love how there are serial killers. Great review! :)

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

  3. YES. LOVED The Naturals too, so couldn't wait to get my hands on Killer Instinct, I was lucky enough to get it a few weeks early, and read it in like three hours, haha. So. Good. I actually liked Dean so much more this time around, since we get to really get to know him and understand why he is the way he is. And I love how it delved more into the psychological aspects of sociopaths and the effect it has on the profiler (and got to say, out of all of the gifts, profiling is definitely the worst) he grew a lot. It surprised me too this time (I knew who it was in The Naturals) so I'm so happy about that, since I usually get it right, haha. SO can't wait for the next, eek!

  4. I enjoyed the second book more than the first too! It's made me really excited to see how it all ends because I really hope they resolve Cassie's personal mystery! I understand what you mean about the love triangle - hopefully the one not picked will find someone, and they won't be too hurt. I really enjoyed reading your review!


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