Series: The Scarab Beetle Series #1
Publisher: Arcato Publishing on February 28, 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
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Kayli Winchester is a dirt-poor girl living out of a hotel, forced to be the parent for a drunken father and teenage brother who she’s desperate to keep in school. The only way she scrapes by is to utilize her one skill: pickpocketing. But even though she’s a thief she has a moral code: no kids or old ladies, only targets who can defend themselves. Not that they see her coming…
Thinking she’s been working under the radar, Kayli has no idea The Academy has been watching and taking notice. Now a team that needs her skill has offered her a way out of her predicament and it’s her last chance: work with them, or face jail time. Kayli resists at first, but slowly the boys reveal they can be trusted. With Marc, the straight man, Raven, the bad-boy Russian, Corey and Brandon the twins as different as night and day, and Axel their stoic leader, there’s a lot Kayli can learn from these Academy guys about living on the edge of the law. If only she can stay on the good side instead of the bad.
Especially when the job they offer her is more than any of them bargained for. After it’s done, the hunters have become the hunted and their target is now after Kayli. The Academy boys do their best to keep her hidden, but a thief like Kayli will never sit still for long.
Meet an all-new Academy team in Thief, the beginning of the Scarab Beetle series.
Warning: This is a new adult series. Readers of the other Academy series may need some caution as this series will contain mature sexual and violent situations and themes.
“‘Sometimes you tell yourself a lie so much, you start to believe it. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of shit, you need a lie to keep you sane until you can get out again.’”
“What was it about this group that I simply felt comfortable among them even when my brain told me I shouldn’t be?”
I read the synopsis once I saw this novel on Netgalley, and it reminded me of super spies, and I love spy novels.
This novel was definitely full of action and thrills. Kayli, a poor girl forced to pickpocket to provide for her younger brother, is basically stalked by a group of boys working for the Academy. They need her services, and offer her something too good to resist. So Kayli falls in with this group of boys who take a liking to her, and pick pockets from a guy that they think is bad news. But Kayli gets too close, and suddenly, there’s people after her and she has to go into hiding. But Kayli won’t lay low for too long.
As I mentioned, this novel was thrilling. Between the secret Academy, the possible drug ring, and Kayli being in possible danger, I was never bored. I really like the incorporation of a secret, spy-like association (the Academy) and the boys involved in it. It made it different from the other few spy novels that I’ve read. Kayli was always getting herself into some type of trouble that the boys had to get her out of. I loved reading about all of Kayli’s adventures and mess ups. It made the story interesting to follow, and I can’t wait to see what is next after the cliffhanger of this novel!
“His mismatched eyes zeroed in on me, the smile on his lips smug, satisfied. He’d caught his prey. But I had one more last trick. A dirty girl trick. ‘Rape!’ I screamed at the top of my lungs. The entire group of boys stopped dead, except Corey, who jumped a short step back.”
Kayli was the definition of strong and selfless. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the best life, but she did anything she had to in order to guarantee that her brother had a better life than she did. So she turned to pick-pocketing to pay the bills. And boy was she good at it. But she as also moral about it, which really gave you an idea of the type of person that she was. She didn’t do it because she was greedy–she just had no other choice, and she always felt bad about it. I loved her character a lot. She was quirky, weird, and smart. In addition, she cared for people, even complete strangers. The only thing I didn’t like too much at first was her seeming attraction to all the guys she came across. But after a bit more of reading and entry into her thoughts, I began to understand, ad completely fell for her character. She was playful, yet serious, and determined.I loved reading her.
There wasn’t just one leading male in this novel. Oh no, there were five. Yes, five.
The Academy Boys:
Axel- Axel was the leader of this Academy group. He was stable, stoic, the thinker, and calm almost all of the time. He was the one that you could turn to when in need of direction or guidance. We didn’t get to see as much of him as I would have liked, and I really hope we see more of him in the next novel, because I loved the little tidbit of him that we saw.
“‘Ugh.’ I slapped him hard on the arm, right on one of his rose tattoos. ‘Stop telling me what to do.’ Raven opened his palm and smacked me right back on the arm, no hesitation. This was different than Marc’s, who did it lightly enough. Raven’s strike was just as hard as I did it to him. I gasped at him and raised my arms up defensively. ‘Did you just hit a girl?’ ‘Don’t give me that double standard bullshit.’”
Raven- Raven was the hard yet playful one of the group. He didn’t take crap from Kayli, and would hit her back if she hit him. Yet, he was fierce and protective when needed. He was the one you would want on your side when you’re in a bad situation. But he was also the one that you could wrestle around with all day.
“A palm dropped on the back of my head, nudging. ‘What are you doing? Spacing out?’ ‘Shut up.’ I tried to karate chop him in the arm, but he dodged and then swooped in and popped me on the head. ‘Too slow,’ he said, with a teasing grin on his face. I grunted, hating that he was being cute. It made it difficult to stick to my initial plan to not like him.”
Marc- Marc was one of my top two favorites. He had a past of his own, and didn’t try to be perfect. He was funny and playful, yet serious and determined. He seemed like the best match for Kayli in my opinion. He was a leader in his own way, and looked out for Kayli. He watched out for her, but didn’t hold her back. And he had cool eyes!
“‘Just wait until you see it around Christmas. We’ll take one of those walking tours then.’ He rushed ahead of me a little, claiming a spot on the wide sidewalk that surrounded the lake. He stopped there and turned expectantly toward me, waiting. It was crazy adorable. He didn’t even ask if I would, he simply assumed I’d be around during Christmas and would go with him. His happy nature was infectious, and I felt my own seemingly-constant inner anger ebbing away. I jogged over until I was standing beside him, allowing myself, for the moment, to get swept away.”
Corey- Corey is in the tie for my favorite. He was a ‘nerdling’. He was smart and adorable, and I would love a best friend like him. He was awkward in his own way, yet manly in his own way. I loved seeing his interactions with Kayli. They were like the best of friends and could be playful without being weird. I’d love my own Corey.
“He turned me toward him. Brandon’s bare, strong chest met mine, and my head instinctively found the crook of his neck. I gripped at his shoulders, because I had nothing else to hold on to. His palm met with the small of my back and he drew me into him. His other hand dove into my hair, his fingers twining into the strands as he pressed me against his chest. ‘Kayli,’ he soothed. ‘They aren’t coming for you, sweetie.’”
Brandon- Brandon was Corey’s twin, and completely different. He was more athletic, more ‘cool’, and yet less enjoyable. He was kind of hot and cold, but he had a painful past (or something) that we aren’t exactly privy to. Regardless, he started off as pretty cold. But once he warmed up, he was fine, but I didn’t enjoy him as much as the other boys.
There was another Academy boy. Well, really, we didn’t see much of him, so I don’t include him in the main group. But his name was Kevin. But for the majority of the novel, he wasn’t present. But he wasn’t all bad from what little I saw of him.
Blake was the guy that the Academy boys were keeping an eye on. I don’t exactly know what I thought of Blake. He seemed kind of shady, but at the same time, genuine. He’s someone you’d have to call your own judgement on, because I just don’t know.
“The guys were amazing and I wanted to spend more time with them. I wanted to learn what they knew. I wanted to go with Axe land Raven back to the shooting range. I wanted to play video games with Corey. I wanted to learn how to surf with Brandon. I wanted to know why their apartment smelled like a coffee house. I wanted Marc not to hate me. I didn’t feel so out of place here. I didn’t feel like I had to hide who I was.”
As I mentioned, Kayli gets involved with these boys in what seems like more-than-friendlier terms. She was starving for love, is what I believe. But I have to say, that I am Team Marc…and Axel…and Corey. They were my favorites. Regardless, it seems as through Kayli had feelings for all of the boys and Blake. It was interesting to see what about each of them appealed to Kayli. All the possible almost romances had chemistry, and I really have no idea who she’ll end up picking. And that’s what makes this such a great love heptagon. It’ll be completely unknown, with no real leaning towards any of the guys on her part. I’m too excited to see how this all plays out. Whoever Kayli doesn’t pick, I’ll take the other Academy boys (Except Blake and Kevin).
Thief was one of the better novels that I’ve read. It was intriguing, with one of the best love stories I’ve read. Now, I can’t say I’ve read a love octagon before, but I’m sure it’s the best one out there. I’m headed to read the other Academy series, and I’m hoping it’s amazing as the start to this one is. I can’t wait to see where the next novel goes, and I couldn’t recommend this read more.