Posts Tagged: Mystery

May 29

Mini Review * The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Reviews 0 ★★★

Mini Review * The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee GoldbergThe Heist by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Narrated by Scott Brick
Series: Fox and O'Hare #1
Published by Bantam on June 18, 2013
Genres: Adult, Humor, Mystery
Time: 8 Hours 26 Minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Add to: Goodreads
three-stars
FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.

Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.

Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

What I Thought…

  • FUN!
  • Seriously, this was such a fun book to listen to.
  • It’s completely ridiculous at times (ok, most of the time) but who doesn’t need some light and fluffy ridiculousness in their life?
  • Kate and Nick make a good team despite the fact that one is the good guy and one is the bad guy. They are forced to work together and I enjoyed the way they both learned they had to make sacrifices for their partnership to work. I also loved that Nick get Kate to loosen up a bit!
  • They mystery was ok, nothing earth shattering, but good enough that I didn’t guess all the twists and turns.

If you like the Heather Well’s mysteries or the Stephanie Plum series then The Heist is for you!

Kimberly


Mar 03

Review * Going Rogue by Robin Benway

Reviews 1 ★★★★

Review * Going Rogue by Robin BenwayGoing Rogue by Robin Benway
Series: Also Known As #2
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on January 14, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Also in this series: Also Known As
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver. Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux. Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo. Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names. Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her "new team" flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.

The Story

Going Rogue starts off the summer after Also Known As. Maggie has finished her first year of “real” school, is still with Jesse and best friends with Roux. Then she finds out that her parents have been set up and things aren’t looking good for them and she’s the one that has to fix it. Going Rogue is just as much fun as Also Known As. Maggie’s assignment takes her around New York a bit, but also to Paris, which is awesome.

The action in Going Rogue starts right away and doesn’t stop until the end. It’s fast paced and while they aren’t any big twists or turns per se , but Benway keeps you guessing at how things are going to go down.

The Characters

Maggie is just as much fun in Going Rogue as she was in Also Known As, maybe a little more so. Know that she has told Jesse and Roux she feels a bit freer to be herself until she finds out about her parents, then of course she wants to protect Jesse and Roux. I absolutely loved her and Jesse together, they make a great match and complement each other so well.

Jesse is adorable in Going Rogue (though he probably wouldn’t appreciate me saying that). It’s refreshing to have a “good” boy for once and he even though he fits in well with the gang and the spy business he is still the same would-rather-play-it-safe Jesse. He and Maggie have a few tense moments due to Maggie’s situation and their arguing felt so real and they were arguing about something real, rather than the random things or misunderstandings that you often see in books.

Roux is… Roux. I love her because she is different and amazing and a great friend to Maggie. She has quite possibly the worst parents ever and managed to turn out fairly ok. She also gets a love interest in Going Rogue and it’s so sweet! He’s a great guy for her.

We meet quite a few other characters in Going Rogue that help Maggie along the way. They also have unique talents and I loved how they blended together so well and I hope there is more in this series because I would love more from these characters.

The Ending

The ending felt a bit rushed, but it was pretty much what you should expect from a YA spy novel. Hijinks and choas and craziness, with the good guys coming out on top. I loved how things played out with Roux and the end, it was fitting for her and like I said I hope there are more books in this series!

The Verdict

If you like spy thrillers Going Rogue is for you (but you should read Also Known As first)!

Kimberly


Jan 09

Review * Also Known As by Robin Benway

Reviews 1 ★★★★

Review * Also Known As by Robin BenwayAlso Known As by Robin Benway
Series: Also Known As #1
Published by Walker Books for Young Readers on February 26, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 318
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Going Rogue
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Which is more dangerous: being an international spy... or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world's premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it's three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she's attending a private school with hundreds of "mean girl" wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school's elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat... all while trying not to blow her cover.

From the hilarious and poignant author of Audrey, Wait! comes a fast-paced caper that proves that even the world's greatest spies don't have a mission plan for love.

What I Thought…

  • Also Known As is both a thriller and a comedy. There were tense moments and hilarious moments and everything in between. As will all spy novels suspension of belief is required to fully enjoy the novel.
  • Maggie is a teenage spy, a safe cracker since she was little. She has been traveling the world with her parents doing jobs to help save the world from the bad guys. Maggie was a delightful narrator. I loved being inside her head and I loved even more that she “talked” to me, the reader.
  • Given her parents occupation Maggie hasn’t had a normal upbringing and her assignment has her attending school for the first time (along with some other firsts). Maggie’s firsts were so much fun to experience, especially since they were generally a bit awkward!
  • For those that complain about lack of parents (or crappy parents) in YA you need not fear, Maggie’s parents are involved and not crazy. I loved Maggie’s parents. They are spies and have been training their daughter and are not taking her having her first assignment very well (definitely overprotective). They care about what she’s doing and who she’s with. They are also spies for the Collective, working to get rid of the bad in the world.
  • Against her parents wishes she befriends Roux. Roux used to be a mean girl be had an incident and up until Maggie was pretty much friendless. She is a little bit quirky and a lot of fun and her and Maggie make perfect friends.
  • Jesse is Maggie’s mark, which leads her into some trouble when she begins falling for him. I loved all the moments between them. They were cute and awkward (tons of awkwardness lol) and sweet. Jesse is not the bad boy that he appears to be, quite the opposite actually, which I liked a lot. I like the bad boys, but I like the good ones too, and there aren’t enough good ones!
  • Maggie’s Uncle Angelo was one of my favorite characters by far. I loved how he did small and big things for her and they have such a loving and caring relationship. Plus his job at the Collective is pretty badass.
  • As I mentioned above the plot itself requires some suspension of belief. Maggie does things and gets herself into unbelievable situations, all to save the world. It’s a wild ride – one I definitely recommend!

Kimberly


Dec 26

Review * The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reviews 4 ★★★★★

Review * The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Narrated by Amber Faith
Published by Disney Hyperion on November 5, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Time: 7 Hours 28 Minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
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.

What I Thought…

  • I was sucked into The Naturals from the very beginning. The Naturals is similar to a teenage version of Criminal Minds with a dash of the Scooby Doo gang thrown in.
  • The Naturals is a program founded by the FBI to work with teenagers who have certain “abilities” to help solve cold cases and eventually (I’m assuming) solve real cases when they are older and go through the FBI training. All five of the teenagers have special abilities such as being able to read people or being a human lie detector that appeal to the FBI.
  • Cassie was a strong main character, and used her strength to her advantage. Cassie also did not turn into a damsel in distress when things went bad, she remained strong. Cassie was very easy to connect with, she had lots of feelings and emotions, both good and bad, and it was easy to see where she was coming from and you couldn’t help but want good things for her.
  • I loved the whole group of teenagers. They were all different, yet shared enough qualities with others in the group that them working together wasn’t impossible. The boys, Dean and Michael, were total opposites and mostly likeable, though sometimes Michael annoyed me. The other girls, Lia and Sloane, were also quite different. Lia is the least likeable of the bunch, but she’s not all that bad. Sloane is  the outsider of the group but my favorite.
  • There was kind of a love triangle in The Naturals, but not really. Dean and Michael are both interested in Cassie, and there are times where she is interested in one or both of them, but the romance was so far in the background in The Naturals that it barely made a blip on my radar. Though if I must be honest, I do have a preference between the boys.
  • The Naturals weaves you in and out of a current case that the FBI agents are working on and a cold case that connects with Cassie’s past. Even though the teenagers aren’t supposed to be working on a current case you know there is no way they could stay away!
  • The mystery kept me on my toes and had just the right amount of creepy. Cassie and the other Naturals are working on connecting the current case with the cold case of Cassie’s mom’s murder. The mystery has a very criminal minds feel to it, which of course I loved. I listened to the audio and there were quite a few times that I got the chills. There are several “you” chapters (the voice of the killer) and the narrator did them in this low kind of whispery voice that was very creepy.
  • The Naturals is very fast paced and action packed. I had no clue who the killer was, but the reasons behind the killer made sense (in that killer kind of way of course) with the story and the characters.

If you enjoy Criminal Minds, or any other crime shows, and love YA this is the book for you!

Kimberly


Jan 28

Review * Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Reviews 20 ★★★★★

Review * Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Narrated by Julia Whelan, Kirby Heybourne
Published by Crown Publishing on June 5, 2012
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 419
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
Marriage can be a real killer.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

 

This is probably going to be one of the poorest reviews I’ve ever written. See, I have SO MANY things to say, but it is all very SPOILERY and I do not want to give a review filled with spoilers. Plus if I gave away the spoilers it would TOTALLY RUIN the book if you haven’t already read it.

It’s also difficult to write this review because there is no way to talk about this book without using the F word. Seriously, this book is so F’ed up and in so many ways. This was our January book club selection and I can’t remember a time when all of us used the F word so much.

Here is what I can tell you about Gone Girl

  • It’s F’ed up.
  • You think you know, but you do not.
  • The beginning starts off a bit slow… DO NOT GIVE UP. I promise you IT WILL BE WORTH IT.
  • The characters were infuriating, but in a good way.
  • I wasn’t happy with the ending and that almost brought it down to 4 stars but then when I thought about it, the ending kind of made sense (in a very twisted way).

Really, you should just read it and decide for yourself. Cause I just can’t say anything without ruining the book, and I won’t do that to my readers.

 

Kimberly


Dec 17

Review * The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Reviews 7 ★★★

Review * The Body Finder by Kimberly DertingThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #1
Published by Harper Collins Childrens on March 16, 2010
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
three-stars
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

 

What I Thought…

  • I really like the concept of The Body Finder. Violet sees echoes or imprints around dead bodies, and the person who killed them also carries the echo. These echoes were both visual and auditory which was pretty cool. The Body Finder is one of those books that I could see being turned into an excellent TV series, especially if the character is aged a bit. There is just so many places it could go.
  • With that said, I was a bit disappointed in The Body Finder. I was looking forward to a mystery/suspense with a side of romance and I got a romance with a side of mystery/suspense. I like romance as much as the next girl but when you are expecting mystery/suspense and you get romance it’s a bit of a let down. I think if I would have gone into it with maybe a 50/50 split I wouldn’t have been disappointed.
  • I really liked the fact that Violets parents were a part of the book, and they were pretty realistic (except where Jay was concerned). They didn’t want to encourage her to use her abilities but at the same time they couldn’t stand the thought of her not helping.
  • I liked Violet a lot in the first half but that waned as the book went on and her and Jay got together. She did some dumb things, but that was to be pretty much expected. I also liked Jay better in the first half. He changed a lot when he got together with Violet, not in a crazy bad way, but I would have preferred for Jay and Violet to stay the same, but add some kissing here and there.
  • The mystery was good enough, but some of the Violet/Jay connection got in the way a bit.
  • The hardest part of the book for me was the writing. It wasn’t terrible but it felt off. I don’t really have a preference of first person vs third person but this was an awkward third person. I can’t quite put my finger on what was wrong but it kept pulling me out of the story.

Overall it was a good read, but know that it’s not really a mystery/suspense book.

 

Kimberly


Dec 10

Review * Big Boned by Meg Cabot

Reviews 4 ★★★★★

Review * Big Boned by Meg CabotBig Boned by Meg Cabot
Series: Heather Wells #3
Published by William Morrow on November 20, 2007
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Pages: 280
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
Life is reasonably rosy for plus-size ex-pop star turned Assistant Dormitory Director and sometime sleuth Heather Wells. Her freeloading ex-con dad is finally moving out. She still yearns for her hot landlord, Cooper Cartwright, but her relationship with "rebound beau," vigorous vegan math professor Tad Tocco, is more than satisfactory. Best of all, nobody has died lately in "Death Dorm," the aptly nicknamed student residence that Heather assistant-directs. Of course every silver lining ultimately has some black cloud attached. And when the latest murdered corpse to clutter up her jurisdiction turns out to be her exceedingly unlovable boss, Heather finds herself on the shortlist of prime suspects--along with the rabble-rousing boyfriend of her high-strung student assistant and an indecently handsome young campus minister who's been accused of taking liberties with certain girls' choir members.

With fame beckoning her back into show business (as the star of a new kids' show!) it's a really bad time to get wrapped up in another homicide. Plus Tad's been working himself up to ask her a Big Question, which Heather's not sure she has an answer for...

What I Thought…

  • I freaking love this series! I hope it never, ever ends.
  • If there is any book character that I could see myself being friends with in real life, it’s Heather Wells (aside from the former rock star thing anyway). The plot of the book may not be realistic, but Heather is. I’m hard pressed to think of another character in recent books that have been as realistic as her.
  • Heather’s new boyfriend Tad is… interesting. He’s a no-tv-health-food-nut-hippie. There’s nothing wrong with that but clearly he’s not the right match for Heather and that pretty much drove me nuts throughout the book. Especially when he kept insisting that a bean salad would make everything better. (Note: chocolate is actually what makes everything better).
  • Big Boned is funnier (Heather just can’t keep herself out of trouble) and sexier (she’s got a boyfriend now) and my favorite so far.
  • I enjoyed the mystery in Big Boned so much more than the other two books. It seemed a little more well laid out, with a few more twists and even more fun.
  • Cooper is just.. ahh! The sexual tension between him and Heather kills me. Seriously, it’s almost painful sometimes. But in a good way.
  • There was a lot more of Sarah in this one, and while she can be mildly annoying, her antics and hysterics are always funny. There are also a few funny Gavin moments, which are always enjoyable and a not so pleasant surprise from someone else.
  • Not a fan of the title. I wished it fit in with the other books a bit better, but since it was filled with awesomeness I can let this slide.
  • Honestly, I can’t really say anything else besides this book is tons of fun and everyone should read this series!

Notable Quotes

“Also, I think I felt something come loose back there. I’m not trying to overreact or anything but I think it was my uterus. Honest. I think my uterus jiggled free. My uterus is just going to come out between my legs and I’m going to look like I’m walking around with an enormous load in my pants.”

Kimberly


Nov 26

Review * The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Reviews 16 ★★★★

Review * The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinThe Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 23, 2012
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

 

While I don’t like to include spoilers in my review, this is the second book in the series and there may be slight spoilers for the first book, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

What I Thought…

  • One of my favorite things is that the synopsis tells you so little. It makes the books so much more mysterious that way.
  • The Evolution is filled with lots of WTF moments. Every time you think you know what’s going on… bam! You’re wrong! Nothing is as it seems. Just like with The Unbecoming, I’m sure I could read this one again and again and still not be able to figure out what’s really going on.
  • The Evolution takes you further into what’s really going on with Mara, and it’s so much more than you could imagine. The Unbecoming barely scratched the surface of what’s going on. This book is deliciously creepy, mysterious and crazy. It’s also VERY fast paced. There is just so much going on, and I can’t even begin to talk about any of it without giving something away.
  • Mara is even more troubled. Obviously she is dealing with everything she is seeing that no one else is, but she’s also battling with her parents over her sanity. This was one of the hardest things, because we know that Mara isn’t crazy, but with everything that is going on, you can see why her parents feel that she’s a little crazy.
  • I liked Noah a little less in The Evolution. He’s still hot (and British) but his overprotectiveness and secretiveness drove me nuts. He was borderline possessive, but since Mara has like no friends anyway (because of her situation, not Noah) it’s not so bad. I don’t feel like he would prevent her from hanging with other people, but you can’t tell for sure because that’s not even an option.
  • I liked Mara’s brother, Daniel, a lot better in The Evolution. He’s a little less pristine and perfect and a little more normal.  Even though Mara’s parents kept talking like she’s crazy (I mean really, can you blame them?) I liked them better too. They were a little more normal.
  • There are some new characters in this one and a few of them are pretty creepy. I won’t tell you which ones, but one of them gave me the willies so bad.
  • The Ending! Holy Hell! I can’t wait for the next book!

Notable Quotes

“We are far too screwed up for a goddamned love triangle.”

“If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”
“Everyone is a little crazy. The only difference between us and them is that they hide it better.”
“I did something brave, then. Or stupid. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.”

Kimberly


Oct 25

Review * Venom by Fiona Paul

Reviews 23 ★★★★★

Review * Venom by Fiona PaulVenom by Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Published by Philomel on October 30, 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: BEA
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

What I Thought…

  • I almost missed out on this book at BEA and that would have been a tragedy! There is so much good stuff I don’t even know where to begin!
  • I didn’t really know what it was about when I picked it up so I was surprised by how creepy it was. Cass is all wandering around in graveyards and Venice at night, sometimes by herself and it’s definitely creepy. Especially the graveyard scenes.
  • Venom is historical fiction and I don’t read a lot of that. I really liked the way it was written. I know some people might not agree with me on this, but I liked the fact that the language had a modern feel to it. I didn’t catch any obvious slang that didn’t make sense for the time period, but I appreciated that it was written without the nuances of the past.
  • Cass was very naïve, but that’s not really her fault. She lived a very sheltered life. Her parents have died and she lives with her aunt away from the city and is pretty much not allowed to go anywhere or do anything. She’s also already engaged to be married, but is discovering that she (gasp!) might have feelings. Cass’s naivety and trusting gets her into trouble a couple times.
  • Despite (or maybe because of) Cass’s upbringing she did the craziest things! She was constantly sneaking out in the middle of the night to not so great places. She was pretty fearless about it too.
  • Cass’s best friend Madalena was a little annoying at first. She’s fairly self centered, but that is somewhat understandable given her upbringing. She was less annoying towards the end of the book.
  • There are two guys. I know! Another love triangle! You can decide for yourself who you think Cass might end up with, but I am totally team Falco. Falco is the artist Cass runs into in the graveyard. He’s dangerous and mysterious and a little bit funny (and a little bit over the top, but I was ok with that). He’s also a little suspicious as all his activities don’t exactly seem to be on the good side. Luca is Cass’s fiancé. He doesn’t appear until about 3/4 of the way into the book and he is not who you think he is either.
  • There were so many characters and so many secrets! At times it was almost hard to keep them strait. People are hiding all kinds of things, both small and big. It’s a little frustrating cause you can’t just tell who people really are.
  • The killer wasn’t who I thought it would be, but that’s pretty normal for me. It didn’t end at all the way I thought it would and I can’t wait for the next one.
  • Venice was sooo pretty, but I loved how Fiona Paul didn’t gloss over the canals like you find in some books. A lot of books portray the canals of Venice as clean when in fact they are not. I’ve never personally been there, but I know people who have and they say that the canals are dirty and have a smell. I appreciate that Paul acknowledged that in her book.
  • Despite the fact that this is a YA book it was not a very fast read at all. That’s not a bad thing, it just took more time than normal for me to read it.
  • My one complaint about Venom is that in the beginning Cass is kind of an idiot. She’s wandering around in the graveyard, stumbles upon the body and then runs into Falco and she was all “Falco can’t be a murderer. Not with that smile.” Um, actually, yes he can! You just ran into a strange guy that you don’t know in the middle of a graveyard in the middle of the night. He could totally be the killer!
  • Seriously, this is a really, really good book! I hope everyone has the chance to read it!

Notable Quotes

“How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its wings against the sides of its golden prison.”

“The human form, it’s a symphony. Tiny interlocking movements that join together in song.”

* I received a copy of Venom at BEA in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way compensated.

Kimberly


Sep 13

Review * Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Reviews 14 ★★★

Review * Uncommon Criminals by Ally CarterUncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Series: Heist Society #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 21, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 298
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Heist Society
Add to: Goodreads
three-stars
Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

What I Thought…

  • Uncommon Criminals is another fun read by Ally Carter.  I liked this one a smidge more than Heist Society.
  • In the beginning of the book Kat is a bit annoying. She wants to do everything herself.  She kept sneaking off to go and “take care of” things without asking for help or telling others what she was doing.  It was always “I” and never “we”.  Throughout the book though that began to change and she begins to realize that she can’t do everything by herself.
  • Hale and Kat are so darn cute! I love the tension between them, though it would be nice if they would just communicate! Hale is determined to help her no matter what and it takes Kat some time to see that.
  • The same characters from Heist Society return to help Kat.  Gabrielle is still my favorite of Kat’s group. I love how she’s not afraid to get in Kat’s face.
  • I loved the chase of the Cleopatra Emerald more than the painting in Heist Society. There were a couple twists and turns, most of which I saw coming, but that didn’t detract from the story at all. The cons were so fascinating, though I wish they would explain the ones they don’t use.
  • I am still wish Kat was a little older. When I’m reading I keep picturing Kat as 16 or 17 when she is only 15. Not that there is a huge difference between 15 and 16 but I just feel like she should be older.

Overall it was a cute and fun read. Perfect for a lazy afternoon.

Kimberly