Tag Archives: Heists

Thieving Weasels – Billy Taylor

Thieving Weasels – Billy TaylorTitle: Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
Publishing Info: August 23, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Heists/Spies/Espionage
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 29, 2016

Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.
“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.
Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing.

bookreview1

THIEVING WEASELS was a bit different than I anticipated but really in a good way. From the cover, I thought it was going to be a lot goofier and really slapstick but it was actually a lot more serious and realistic than I thought! The book was pretty entertaining, even though it wasn’t what I expected and I really appreciated that it was a bit more on the serious side.

It really became quite the complicated thing with the book being more realistic than I thought because I ended up not being able to write off some things for the sake of comedy. For example, I was left wanting just a bit more character development for the tone of the book. Some of the family members kind of blended together (could also have been the narration too since they all had the same accent) but even from main character Skip, I wanted just a bit more emotion or connection. I think if it had been more of a slapstick style, I wouldn’t have minded as much because it would have been a “fluffier” read but just from the overall tone of how everything went, I think I needed just a bit more backstory or a few more anecdotes or digging a little deeper into the main characters.

I really liked the that the story had some twists! It kept me on my feet and it was really interesting to see where the story went. I wasn’t even sure how it would end when it was so close to being over so that was fun! I always really appreciate when I’m not able to guess the ending of a book because as an avid reader, you tend to be able to guess certain things just from reading all the time, so I really appreciated the direction the book took towards the end.

Overall though, it just really didn’t knock me off my feet. I love the surprises and overall feel of a con/heist story. The book was really fun but it just really wasn’t a stick-with-you kind of book. It did keep my attention and was a very quick read (or listen, if you do the audio like I did) but it was kind of middle of the road for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Digital review copy from Listening Library
Narrator: Robbie Daymond
Performance: Decent

The audio for this book was decent but not stellar. This was the first I had heard from Robbie Daymond and while I did like his voice in general, I didn’t feel like he did a very good job with differentiating of the different characters. There were a lot of other male characters and they all had the same type of accent and same tone of voice so that got kind of confusing at times. I probably won’t search out more from him but if he happens to narrate another book I’m interested in, I also wouldn’t say no.

character_breakdown1

Skip // Character obsessions: Honesty, school, his girlfriend.
Skip is the honest one in a family of cons and this was a really fun concept! I wish I did get to know him a little bit more and have him feel like a more rounded character but I did enjoy what I got to know of him. The poor kid gets put in some really tight spots, especially by family members, and I really appreciated how he handled them.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Con stories. Skip’s family is entirely con artists and I just love stories about cons/heists, etc. I felt so bad for him since they put him in a lot of tight places but it was also really fun to see different cons and how that shaped the story!
Left Me Wanting More: Personality. I thought the characters could have really had more personality.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

If you’re a fan of cons, this is an easy and quick read! It was fun and kept me on my toes but it also wasn’t a book that stuck with me. Depends on what kind of read you’re in the mood for!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THIEVING WEASELS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

HEIST SOCIETY    ALSO KNOWN AS

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 // GoodreadsDate 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.

bookreview1

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!
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!

Untitled

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.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE UNCOMMON CRIMINALS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

ALSO KNOWN AS    THE FIXER

Going Rogue (Also Known As #2) – Robin Benway

Going Rogue (Also Known As #2) – Robin BenwayTitle: Going Rogue (Also Known As #2) by Robin Benway
Publishing Info: January 14, 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 19, 2013
Related Posts: Also Known As, Emmy & Oliver, Far From the Tree

    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.

bookreview1

I know that Robin Benway hadn’t always planned on writing a sequel to ALSO KNOWN AS but boy am I glad she did! GOING ROGUE was just a perfect sequel in every way: I got more of the characters I love, more action, more adventure, and thicker plots.

One thing I always fear about sequels is that if it’s been a while since I’ve read book one, I tend to forget some of what happened and even some of the characters, but Robin Benway did such a fantastic job with ALSO KNOWN AS that it was so easy to jump back into the lives of these characters right where we left off. These characters have made a lasting impression on me and reading even more about them in GOING ROGUE just further solidified their place in my heart. I love Maggie, of course, but Robin Benway does such a great job with her supporting characters and we even get a little bit more backstory about Maggie’s parents as well! The characters just feel so real and it made me that much more invested in the story!

GOING ROGUE really stepped it up from ALSO KNOWN AS. I was already in love with AKA, but we see a lot more action and heist and spy terms, we get a little bit more Jason Bourne to go with the already established Ocean’s 11. Spying is a dangerous job and we see a lot more of the perilous side in GOING ROGUE which may have led to some gasping and screaming on my side. Aside from my fear and concerns for the characters, I was so excited to see the level of action that occurs in GOING ROGUE and I’m glad we got to see totally different situations than we had in book one! I really wasn’t expecting it, but in a good way! I was surprised by how different this book was and it definitely keeps up the witty dialogue of ALSO KNOWN AS with an added bonus of more thrills!

I know I’ve already talked about the characters but seriously. Maggie. Roux. Jesse. ANGELO. How much did my love for Angelo grow in this book!? (Spoiler: A lot.) I know everyone loves Roux (and I do too) but Angelo has always been my favorite. I was also really excited to learn more about Maggie’s parents as we dig deeper into the Collective! We get a lot more backstory for both the characters themselves and how that ties into their history with the Collective and the new characters we meet are just as delightful!

Fans of ALSO KNOWN AS will not be disappointed with its sequel. It had made for a wonderful stand alone but I’m so happy its sequel came into existence (Thank you, Robin Benway!!!) and I’m hoping there will be more books in this series because I could honestly gobble them up forever! I guess that means I’ll just have to start onto Robin’s other books (Right? How have I not already??) to hold me over until then!

character_breakdown1

Maggie // Character Obsessions: Cracking safes, working on the impossible lock, protecting her family, taking down the bad guys.
I’ve always love Maggie’s spunk and we get another healthy dose of it in GOING ROGUE! She also starts to mature a lot more — in her relationship with Jesse, in her friendship with Roux, her protectiveness of her family, and her responsibilities to keep everyone safe. Maggie has a lot on her plate and she’s learning how tough it can be to balance everything and still maintain the secrecy of her nature as a spy.
Angelo // Character Obsessions: Secrecy, protecting Maggie’s family & friends, being a total badass.
Angelo is such a badass. He has this quiet calm, always keeping a level head and totally TCBing without anyone even knowing where he is or what he’s doing. I love when the quiet characters totally step into a take-charge role to protect someone and not giving any spoilers away or anything, but Angelo will go to great lengths to protect the ones he loves, no matter what that means. If I were the Grinch, Angelo is the one who makes my heart grow three sizes. I wish I knew him in real life.
addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: All things Robin Benway! I absolutely MUST devour the rest of her books this year! I love her writing, both the contemporary/funny/witty side and the spy/heist/caper side! I know her other books are more strictly contemporary but I’ve heard NUMEROUS great things about them and I seriously need to read them in 2014!
Left Me Wanting More: Of this series. I need more Maggie, more Roux, more Angelo. I need more safe cracking, lock picking, and spying. I need more sticky situations and international espionage. I just adored both ALSO KNOWN AS and GOING ROGUE!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

This one’s a keeper! Buy GOING ROGUE (and if you don’t have it already, pick up ALSO KNOWN AS too!) for your shelves. These books are so much fun and I love everything about this series.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE GOING ROGUE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Heist Society   How to Lead a Life of Crime