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Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter (Heist Society #1)

Friday, October 31, 2014
Goodreads summary:
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled 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 her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. 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 (very crooked) history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Was Heist Society meant to be an exciting mystery? I hoped that was the case yet I didn't get this feeling at all. It lacked seriousness and the characters were too 2D. A bit too cartoon-like.

The main characters (a group of teens) were meant to be top thieves but it was unrealistic to believe this as their actions were sloppy and they relied a great deal on luck. In the teenage team aka the Heist Society, there's Katarina (plain Kat), the good-looking Hale who excels in life by charming his way through (or with his abundant supply of money), Gabrielle the long legged beauty who distracts people with her short skirts, Simon the technology nerd and lastly Hamish and Angus the comedic pair of brothers. Oh I nearly forgot Nick. A really forgettable character. There was not much depth in any of the characters really. They played a role and didn't surprise me by straying away from their script.

The story has a good concept but I think the execution could have been better. The heist society apparently travels the world in their quest to track down some paintings but I never experienced the change in scenery and culture (all I got was a page stating the city and country) or felt there was a significance/beauty to the paintings. Descriptions of the paintings and places would have made it better but they weren't provided so I had to rely on my own limited perception and Google.

The book was by no means boring as I easily finished it. I could hope for some character development in the second book but I'm not in a hurry to pick that up any time soon.

Review: Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser (Thrillogy #1)

Monday, October 27, 2014
Goodreads summary:
The day after anonymous blogger Str-S-d wishes the popular girl would die, Lucy vanishes. The students of Soundview High are scared and worried. Especially frightened and wracked with guilt is Madison Archer, Lucy’s friend and the last person to see her the night she disappeared.
As days pass with no sign of the missing girl, even the attention of Tyler, an attractive new student, is not enough to distract Madison from her growing sense of foreboding. When two more popular students disappear after their names are mentioned on Str-S-d’s blog, the residents of Soundview panic.
Meanwhile, Madison receives anonymous notes warning that she could be next. Desperate to solve the mystery before anyone else disappears, Madison turns to Tyler, but can she trust him when it becomes clear that he knows more than he’s sharing?
The clock is ticking. Madison must uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances . . . before her name appears in Str-S-d’s blog.

The blurb of Wish You Were Dead lured me in right away. I liked how it didn't give everything away though and there was more to the story.

Madison, a popular girl, is the book's narrator. I was glad she was likable; she wasn't a bully (the label which could be applied to some of the popular kids) but was nice to everyone. One night Madison drops her friend Lucy off after a party and the next day Lucy is gone and nowhere to be found. Madison's other friends Adam and Courtney also go missing one by one. What makes it even scarier is that each of them were mentioned in a post written by an anonymous blogger, who wished they were dead.

The chilling atmosphere and the shroud of mystery surrounding the disappearances was well crafted. I was made to suspect each character as the culprit behind the disappearances. It was not very predictable or obvious at all!

I found the book to be well paced but the ending was a bit rushed and and I wished there was more on the aftermath. One loose end was tied sloppily but that was okay since the overall story was quite solid.

Wish You Were Dead is a great read if you're after a suspenseful thriller.

Review: Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh (Dreamcatcher #1)

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Goodreads summary: Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.
Catch Me When I Fall started off intriguing when the premise of Dreamcatchers and Dreamweavers were introduced. It was refreshing to have the book written in a male point of view as well.

The main character Daniel, is a Dreamcatcher who's assigned to protect Kayla from Nightmares. I found it cool how these nightmares were physical creatures Daniel had to fight. In Kayla's case, an unusual amount of nightmares appear and Daniel begins to stay with her day and night.

Whilst watching over Kayla, Daniel starts to develop feelings for Kayla (fast! too fast? In my opinion, yes). I didn't feel like I got to know much about Kayla apart from her backstory of how she came to live in a psych ward hence I couldn't understand why Daniel fell for her (What made her so different from other people he had to protect over his 200 years as a Dreamcatcher?). It was disappointing how Kayla was mostly helpless and required Daniel to save her in numerous situations seeing as there was potential at the start for Kayla to be a strong character!

I lost interest in the story when the run-of-the-mill save-the-girl-in-the-name-of-love mission came about. Kayla is kidnapped and it's up to Daniel and his friends/colleagues to find her.

Overall, Catch Me When I Fall started off unique but lost it about half way. It was still a decent read to pass the time while commuting.

Note: I received an advanced reader's copy from Curiosity Quills Press via NetGalley to review. This review is my honest opinion.