Heist Society ~ Ally Carter

  • Title: Heist Society
  • Author: Ally Carter
  • Series: Hiest Society #1
  • Genre: Mystery, YA
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:  When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Review:   Katarina Bishop’s plan for a normal life falls apart with one audacious school prank that creates a shout out to modern art. No one believed her when she said she’s innocent and that she wasn’t the one to add the headmaster’s Porsche to the top of the fountain in the quad. The real culprit is her friend Hale and returning to Kat’s plan for a normal life is put aside when she finds out that her Dad is in trouble. Someone stole priceless artwork from a mobster and he wants them back or lives will be lost. Daydreams of being normal and attending one of the best private schools in the world are put on a back burner. First, Kat has to save her Dad. Then, she can be boring and have a normal life.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself! It was a great adventure mystery novel with several twists that I didn’t foresee. I still have no idea who Visily Romani is and I wonder what happened to Kat’s Mom. It’s not the last we’ve seen of this particular gang of misfits, and I think there’s much more to the eye than what’s been shown on one Amelia Bennett. I’m not quite convinced that Kat’s Dad or Uncle Eddie didn’t have their hands dipped in the whole convoluted shenanigans that takes place in Heist Societ. Due to the manner of maze-like plots, I have to wonder if the whole thing wasn’t setup to draw Kat back into the family calling. I may never find out but I look forward to reading more of the series! I’m delighted to find another author I’m sure to enjoy reading.

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Night Train to Rigel ~ Timothy Zahn

  • Title: Night Train to Rigel
  • Author: Timothy Zahn
  • Series: Quadrail #1
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Space Opera
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  HUMANITY’S LAST HOPE

It begins when a man delivers a message for former government agent Frank Compton–only to fall dead at his feet. The message is a summons from the Spiders, the exotic and mysterious creatures who run the Quadrail, an incredible transportation system connecting civilizations across the galaxy. The Spiders believe that someone or something is preparing to attack their entire network and the worlds it serves, by smuggling battleships through the Quadrail–something that should be impossible to do. Compton, with the aid of a beautiful but enigmatic agent of the Spiders, is their last hope.

Because nobody else has been able to find the elusive enemy who seeks to enslave the entire galaxy…and Earth is its next target.

Review:  3.5 Stars

Frank Compton used to be an intelligence officer for the Western Alliance Intelligence. He’s become something of a private investigator since he’s left Westali. Just as he’s taken on a new case, Frank finds himself entangled with a mystery involving a dead man he doesn’t know, a Quadrail ticket with his name on it, and a potential enemy working from the shadows. As Frank follows one lead to another, he falls into a rabbit hole and nothing is what it seems to be.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good sci-fi novel. I’m glad to get back into the genre with this book. The story starts with a quick pace and draws a world I want to know more about. Descriptions are simple and yet not overdone. I really like Frank and totally wanted to know how he was going to figure out the case. It wasn’t what I expected and I’m eager to see what else is in store for Frank.

Cast in Shadow ~ Michelle Sagara West

  • Title: Cast in Shadow
  • Author: Michelle Sagara West
  • Series: Elantra Chronicles #1
  • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
  • Format: Large Paperback
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowing that something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging, Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders… and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!

Review:  Read Again: 2013-02-10 – Rating Changed from 4 to 5 Stars

Private Kaylin Neya grew up in poverty and fought to make her place with the Hawks, a branch that police the City of Elantra that helps to keep the peace. Hot tempered, uncouth Kaylin tries to stay out of trouble, to stay one step ahead of the office betting pool, aids in difficult births to safely deliver babies, works hard to keep the city safe, hides her past, and avoids higher ups & politics. Unfortunately, trouble dogs Kaylin’s steps, events center attention on her whether she likes it or not, love is painful & desire is uncomfortable, her marks are an unavoidable annoyance that draws more attention and ALL Kaylin wants to do is kick some ass, eat, sleep and win the latest wager staked in the office betting pool.

Recently, I read Cast in Peril and decided to go back to the beginning of the series. Michelle Sagara has a style of writing that mixes simple writing and subtle layers that speak volumes. I knew I had forgotten pieces of the story and it was fun to go back to rediscover them.

For the longest time, my mental vision of Severn was totally wrong! Due to the crazy adventures that Kaylin and Severn are thrust into, I’ve had this image of Severn being a dark haired, lithely muscular man with dark eyes. Ha! He’s a red head with blue eyes! Boy was that a shocker when I read that! What else do I have wrong? I just had to find out.

I remembered that Kaylin and Severn shared a painful past that caused a rift for a while. I had totally forgotten that Kaylin’s first response to seeing Severn again was to attack with daggers drawn and lethal anger clouding her mind. Finding out the minute details all over again was more powerful now than the first time I read the book.

When I get caught up in a story and really root for the characters, I fly like a storm into the story and zoom to the end! Reading like that has an edge of collecting clear images of the characters and setting but it’s easy to forget exactly how harsh important threads are when they happen because that moment is quickly eclipsed by the next action.

Kaylin’s life isn’t a case of shiny sparkles and roses. Her life is based on one moment of loss that leads to other memories that are better left untouched. Yet, she manages to find a family, a home, and a cause of Justice with the Hawks. Driven by an inner core to protect and heal, Kaylin’s careless exuberance captures the heart of fellow Hawks and they are proud to call her one of their own.

More than seven years have passed since the moment Kaylin’s world was torn apart. The nightmare isn’t over yet. The children are dying again. The deaths are happening faster than before. Will they be able to find out what’s behind the murders? Will Kaylin be able to lay the nightmare to rest?

Admit One ~ Jenna Hilary Sinclair

  • Title: Admit One
  • Author: Jenna Hilary Sinclair
  • Genre: Gay Romance, Erotica
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  When high school teacher Tom Smith meets Kevin Bannerman at a gay club, he violates his own rule: one-night stands only. But when the weekend is over, he walks away, reminding himself that he lives a deeply closeted life for painful, compelling reasons. He keeps his secrets, his heart, and the cause of his crippled arm to himself, but almost immediately he bitterly regrets leaving Kevin. Months later, while Tom serves as reluctant assistant director for his school’s production of Rent, he fears that the show’s same-sex love angle will somehow out him. Protests against the play begin, one of the student actors is harassed, and during a parents’ meeting, Tom encounters Kevin again. This time Tom can’t fight the attraction between them, and he and Kevin begin a tentative relationship. Within Rent’s message of acceptance and support, and as local churches oppose the play, Tom struggles to find the strength to admit one man into his heart.

Review:   It’s a story about accepting yourself and being brave enough to be who are regardless of the strife that may arise. A gay man learns to love again and not to hide who he is. Personally, as long as the sexual preference isn’t harmful to others (ie child molesters), I don’t see why it would matter if a teacher is homosexual or not. That one factor doesn’t determine whether or not you can be a good teacher. I don’t read a lot of contemporary, TV drama like literature. It doesn’t cross my radar very often. I’m always more likely to run to the next Fantasy, Sci-fi or shocking romance. However, my book reading goes all over the place, and I’m happy that this book came into my view. It was different and it was cool to read about a man’s struggles to be who he is. The book isn’t about sex. It’s about being human and scared. It’s about a man who is afraid of himself, let alone love. I liked it! Maybe you will too.

Blaze of Glory ~ Michael Pryor

  • Title: Blaze of Glory
  • Author: Michael Pryor
  • Series: Laws of Magic #1
  • Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Steampunk
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:  Aubrey Fitzwilliam is the son of a prominent ex-prime minister. He’s also brilliant at magic, but he’s stuck at military school. At least he has his best friend, George, there to back him up. George would follow Aubrey anywhere – and with Aubrey’s talent for thinking up impulsive and daring schemes that will get them both in trouble, that’s no easy thing to do.

At a weekend shooting party at Prince Albert’s country estate, the boys find themselves in a hotbed of intrigue and politics. They discover a golem, a magical creature built to perform one task: to kill Prince Albert. Aubrey and George are hailed as heroes for foiling the attempt on the prince’s life – but who sent the golem, and why? Aubrey is far too curious to let the authorities handle this one, and he and George start investigating.

Review:  Whoever heard of a hero named Aubrey? Is it terribly American of me to feel that it’s a girl’s name? Perhaps! I just looked up the origin of the name and Aubrey is a mutation of the name Alberich. The name means Fair Ruler of the Little People. I wonder if the author had that in mind when he picked out the name for the story? Intentional or not, it makes for a good start to an entertaining tale!

Aubrey Fitzwilliam has big shoes to fill. His family is from a titled lineage and both his parents are striking individuals who are one of the best in their careers. In a world of industrialization and magic, Aubrey’s curiosity and zeal for pushing boundaries causes him to fall flat on his face–so to speak.

Aubrey Fitzwilliam hated being dead. It made things much harder than they needed to be.

Yup! That’s the hero! A young man almost done with his studies and ready to venture into college or something else. He has a little problem. He made a tiny flaw in a magical experiment and accidentally died for a bit. Now his soul is haphazardly tied to his body with several magical slap dashes and no one is the wiser about the whole affair. Well, except for George, who is Aubrey’s oldest and best friends.

You would think that would be more than enough for Audrey to deal with but that’s not all. Life wouldn’t be fair or normal without death, espionage, international intrigue, monstrous beasts, spooky atmosphere, blushing babbles, cool magic enhanced machinery, a carefree sidekick, meandering mysteries and a band of heroes to save the day! It all starts and ends with a brain numbing run about the Hummocks. Take a gander at the story! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

I’m delighted to find a new author to enjoy reading. I’m excited to see what else Michael Pryor has created and shared in his writing.

Lean on Me ~ Cherise Sinclair

  • Title: Lean on Me
  • Author: Cherise Sinclair
  • Series: Masters of the Shadowlands #4
  • Genre: Erotica, Romance
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  Andrea wants to submit, but not to just any so-called Dom. He has to be tougher than the slum-bred bullies she grew up with. She’d given up finding a true Dom when her friend finagles her a place as a trainee in an exclusive BDSM club with the powerful Shadowlands Masters. Andrea’s thrilled…and terrified.

Forced to accept an unknown submissive into his carefully run trainee program, Master Cullen is furious. Not only is the young woman new to BDSM, but she’s unsuited to her role–armoured in leather like a Domme, she’s more liable to punch a Dom than kneel. He decides to push her right back out the door. But as he ruthlessly intimidates her, punishes her, then comforts her, his glimpses of the woman inside the emotional armour intrigue him and her utter surrender captures his heart.

Although Master Cullen is famous for his unfettered lifestyle, Andrea believes he might be interested in her, until she discovers he’s not just a bartender–he’s a cop. Maybe he’d overlook her past brush with the law, but when another trainee accuses her of stealing money, Andrea’s sure she’s lost the Master she wanted with all her heart.

Review:  3.5 Stars

=D

It’s a good thing when the stories become more “Awww” responsive right?!?! I’m on a romantic kink kick and there are a bazillion stories out there to fit the bill. This particular book is about Cullen and Andrea. I love their story! Definitely my favorite one of the bunch thus far.

The reason why it’s getting 3.5 stars instead of 4 is due to the mini-plot twist. It didn’t really fit that well into the story for me. I felt like it was forced in and the way Dan responded to the situation seemed very careless and unlike the character. However, Cullen and Andrea fit each other really well and some of their scenes made my eyes go really big. Well, that happens quite often but mostly because while my mind is open, for my actions & choices, I’m a bit old fashioned. Heh.