Tag Archives: Ally Carter

Review in a Tweet | Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter. I LOVE the Heist Society books and HEIST SOCIETY was one of the first-ever books I listened to on audio so it always holds a special place in my heart. I enjoyed the audiobooks so much that I didn’t even want to read them in print. I read the first two books via audio but… the third one was nowhere to be found! I actually found out that it wasn’t even available as an audiobook and then ONE DAY IT WAS. So I immediately grabbed the audio, started listening, and sort of binged it so therefore, I didn’t end up with a lot of notes as I was reading. Instead of a full or even a mini-review, here’s a review in a tweet!

 

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) – Ally CarterTitle: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: January 20, 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 31, 2016
Related Posts: Heist Society (Heist Society #1), Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

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I’m actually really disappointed that this is a new series opener from Ally Carter. I guess I’ve only read two of her books (Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals) but her early books were SO GOOD and this book just fell so flat. I heard it had a bit of a rough start but truly, the whole book felt rough for me.

ALL FALL DOWN felt super repetitive. The story repeating the same five concepts over and over again with no action to follow them up (until the very end of the book) and literally nothing happened for the first half of the book, in my opinion. I felt like the first 75% could have been crammed into a few action-packed chapters but instead, everything was drawn out. I wouldn’t have minded spending time with these characters in place of action, but the time I did spend with them didn’t feel to developed. They weren’t personalities that jumped off the page and everyone fell a little flat.

There were hints at the snark and sass that I love so much but Grace was too busy falling apart all the time for that to really take shape. I get what the book was going for and I followed it, but it all felt a bit too dramatic for me. The visions and hallucinations were just way too much and they really bothered me — as they do in pretty much any other book unless it’s really important and necessary. I’m all for showcasing a character who is suffering from PTSD and other consequences of going through some serious stuff but for some reason this just didn’t work for me in this book. It all felt forced and cheesy instead of informative and genuine.

After all that, I was waiting for the twist (I heard there was one) and… flat again. There were parts of it that were a bit predictable — I got there and understood what was going on but Grace still didn’t and it irritated me how long it reasonably took for her to catch on. There was something I actually wasn’t expecting because it was so cliche but the cliche happened anyway.

ALL FALL DOWN was an easy read and I do think I’ll continue the series but I might sneak a peek at reviews before I do so. I do love the Heist Society series and from the way this book ended, I am hoping for maybe a little more levity and a lot more intrigue in the second book.view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I’ve been really into international thrillers lately and I loved the mix of worlds in this book! The vibe was also really great.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I just felt so let down by the overall plot here. There wasn’t much development at all and it was a total snooze-fest throughout the beginning. I was just so bummed because I came to hope for a lot from Ally Carter!

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

It’s hard for me to say. I think I’ll continue the series but I can’t outright recommend this one. I think if the series gets better, I’ll have a better feeling about it!

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BOOKS LIKE ALL FALL DOWN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    

Mini-Review: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) – Ally Carter

Mini-Review: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) – Ally CarterTitle: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: June 21, 2011 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Heists/Spies/Espionage
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 9, 2016
Related Posts: Heist Society (Heist Society #1), All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

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.

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Just a mini-review for UNCOMMON CRIMINALS today! It had been almost four years since I had read HEIST SOCIETY (on audio) before I picked up UNCOMMON CRIMINALS but it wasn’t because of disinterest. After four years of waiting, I finally gave up hope that my library was going to get the audiobook because I just really enjoyed Angela Dawe’s performance so much! I knew I had to keep this one going on audio.

UNCOMMON CRIMINALS was just as much fun as I remember HEIST SOCIETY being! I just love heist books because so many of them often times employ a lot of humor or sarcasm, I think mostly because the characters are just so clever. You really have to be able to outsmart everyone when pulling off a heist and I think that extends a lot into a character’s social interactions as well. I feel like UNCOMMON CRIMINALS was a little less humorous and a bit more serious than HEIST SOCIETY since the stakes were raised a bit more, though!

I really enjoyed how the characters’ relationships started to go a bit deeper as well. There’s always a certain level of trust in a friendship — especially when it involves deception and thievery — but Kat really starts to amp things up with Hale, whether she intended to or not, and both friendships and familial relationships are really put into the spotlight in this book.

UNCOMMON CRIMINALS is an easy read but still full of so many important moments that any teen (or adult) can relate to. I love the balance of humor along with the severity of a heist and all of the experiences that come along with it. These books are so enjoyable and I’m hoping to finish up the series soon! Although now I’m hearing book three is not the last book like I thought it was… so more adventures for me, I guess!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Purchased from Audible
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Performance: Fun, sturdy, and comfortable yet light

HEIST SOCIETY was one of the first audiobooks I ever listened to (actually, I think THE first audio I ever listened to) so I have a soft spot for Angela Dawe! I really loved her performance then and I still do now. I like how her voice is mature but still appropriate for a teen main character and her voicing of everyone is really good throughout! She does some really fun accents and some are more believable than others but the book was just fun from start to finish and I’m still seeking out more audiobooks that she narrates!
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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Addiction Rating
Read it!

These books are a lot of fun and if you like books/movies/TV shows about heists or espionage, this series is for you! It was totally Leverage meets Ocean’s 11.

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BOOKS LIKE UNCOMMON CRIMINALS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

ALSO KNOWN AS    THE FIXER

Heist Society (Heist Society #1) – Ally Carter

Heist Society (Heist Society #1) – Ally CarterTitle: Heist Society (Heist Society #1) by Ally Carter
Publishing Info: February 9, 2010 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 8, 2012
Related Posts: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2), All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

    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.

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Total thumbs up for HEIST SOCIETY! I think the best way to put it is a teenage Ocean’s 11 (which is still one of my favorite movies). I love a little bit of espionage and for some reason any story with thieves always has a lot of snark and some cocky sarcasm, which I happen to adore. All thieves need to be a little bit cocky or else they wouldn’t have the confidence to do their jobs!

I guess all heist teams have the same general players in one way or another… Let’s say Kat’s the Danny Ocean, Hale is Rusty, Simon’s our Livingston, and the Bagshaw brothers are the Malloy twins. Gabrielle I guess is more of the Tess in the story except she’s actually involved in the heist as the beauty and some brains.

I loved the character interaction and the semi-unsure relationship between Kat and Hale. They’ve known each other a very long time and now that they’re teenagers it’s like the romantic inklings are just starting to bubble to the surface. It seems like a great best friend turned boyfriend story (or the potential for it) and I can’t wait to see how that develops! I definitely look forward to more heists and more shenanigans as the series continues.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I picked this one up as an audiobook and so much more enjoyable than the last audiobook I picked up! The narrator, Angela Dawe, was great! Her narrator’s voice was different than Kat’s voice (since the book was in the third person, I really liked that) and she had not the greatest accents, but decent enough! Every character had a distinct voice and it was so easy to listen to. I’d definitely recommend it on audio if you’re interested!

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Kat: Kat was an excellent main character.  As opposed to a lot of YA books that usually feature 17 or 18-year-olds, I like that we meet Kat at only 15. You can see she’s already extremely mature (I’m sure she had to grow up fast with a father as a thief and con man) but there’s so much more room to see her grown and develop some romances (hopefully a good one with Hale) since she’s only 15. I thought she was really easy to relate to and developed really was as our main character.
Hale: Loved Hale! He seemed a little cold in the very beginning (for me as a reader, not to Kat), but as the book warms up, so does Hale. I loved his quiet confidence and how you can tell his feelings for Kat are just slowly seeping out and making for a nice slow burn teenage romance.
Gabrielle: I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up liking Gabrielle! She and Kat start out not the best of friends and working together brings them together again. I really look forward to seeing their friendship grow in later books! I really hope it does.

QUOTES

“She’d absolutely adored the library – an entire building where anyone could take things they didn’t own and feel no remorse about it.”

“It was so rare to find someone who was both so young and so wise, both so fresh and so jaded.”

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BUY IT!

This book was SO much fun! I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HEIST SOCIETY