Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bookanista Review: Uncommon Criminals, by Ally Carter--AND A GIVEAWAY!!!!

This week's Bookanista review is going to be a little different than my usual gush-fests. NOT because I didn't love the book. (you all should know by now that I never feature a book I don't love). But because I really didn't think I would like it. (I really, really did though--just go with me here).

Today I'm reviewing UNCOMMON CRIMINALS, by Ally Carter:


The sequel to her novel HEIST SOCIETY, which came out last year (and I finally read for the first time last week):


Like I said in the beginning, I really, really didn't think I was going to like these books. In fact, I only accepted Disney's offer of a review copy because a friend told me I should give them a chance.

Why was I so against them?

Honestly? It was the covers.

Don't get me wrong--they're gorgeous. But...they made me think the book would be about a group of snotty rich girls trying to spice up their bored, mani-pedi filled days by becoming thieves. I envisioned characters that belonged on some lame reality show about spoiled teenagers or an episode of Gossip Girl--and no offense to fans of that--but...it's just not my thing.

So I ignored HEIST SOCIETY when it came out and I certainly had no intention of picking up UNCOMMON CRIMINALS. And boy would I have missed out. I LOVED them. I read them both in one sitting--and it's killing me how long I'll have to wait for the next one.

Here's how the back of the book describes UNCOMMON CRIMINALS:

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 . . . 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 and 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.


If you're a fan of movies like Oceans 11 or The Italian Job, you will LOVE these books. They have that snappy, heist dialogue down to an art, the plots keep you on your toes trying to figure out who's conning who, and the characters are round, funny, and so incredibly likable. Yes--they're kids (teenagers to be exact) so I know it might seem hard to believe that they could really pull off the heists that they do. But the way it's written convinces you. 

Maybe it's because they're set up as teens who have been running cons since they were in diapers. Or maybe it's because so often being teens gives them the advantage, helps them blend in and seem less suspicious. Whatever it is, it works. My disbelief was sufficiently suspended.

And I have to say, I'm not one to instantly fall for the love interest (it usually takes a while to sell me on the boy) but pretty much the moment I met Hale I was like OMG KISS HER! KISS HER! KISS HER!  Teenage Shannon and Somewhat-Grown-up-Shannon both had their hearts stolen. And that's pretty much how these books work. Yes, they're written for teens. But they're SO MUCH FUN, I have no doubt adults will love them too. And I highly, highly recommend you give the series a chance. If you don't, you're missing out.

UNCOMMON CRIMINALS comes out June 21st--but if you don't want to wait, you can enter to win my hardcover copy right now.

To enter, make sure you follow my blog and leave a comment by 11:59 pm PDT on Saturday, June 18th. (Yes, I know that's quick--but I'm traveling for ALA next week and won't have time to draw a winner. So it just means the winner will get their prize sooner!) I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, June 19th. International entries are welcome.

For more awesome reviews, here's what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to:



Beth Revis interviews Hourglass author Myra McEntire – with giveaway

Christine Fonseca and Rosemary Clement-Moore devour Bad taste in Boys
Myra McEntire invites Possession author Elana Johnson into the Fort
Shana Silver gushes about Bloodlines – with arc giveaway
Jen Hayley is mesmerized by Imaginary Girls
Stasia Ward Kehoe is stunned by Girl, Stolen

56 comments:

  1. I have a thing for heist stories, and the fact that Ally Carter brought them to teen fiction is very cool. I own a copy of Heist Society, although my friend borrowed it before I could read it, and seriously, I'd LOVE to win Uncommon Criminals.

    Thanks, Shannon!

    speak_to_bidisha@yahoo.co.in

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  2. Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors! I'd LOVE to write as well as she does, and I'd LOVE even more to win a copy of Uncommon Criminals.

    Thanks, Shannon!

    laura.ae.hughes@gmail.com

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  3. Totes agree with you on the cover's impression. I only 'read' Heist because I was on a solo road trip and it was the only YA audio book Cracker Barrel had!

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  4. That's funny. I never once thought these stories were about snotty rich girls b/c I knew Ally Carter did not write books like that. I loved Heist Society. What a fun caper. Glad you finally read them!

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  5. I thought it was gonna be about young woman doing something like deceiving men into marriage for money or semething :D I had no idea I would love it so much that right now I would kill for a copy of HS2. Thanks for the giveaway

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  6. I have had the same thoughts about it. But now I have to read it. Thanks for pointing out the good stuff. (and the giveaway)
    Jen k Jovus
    kjovus at gmail dot com

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  7. I'm actually amazed by how much good publicity Carter's new series is getting. I've got a copy of Heist Society (snagged it for $2) so hopefully I'll get to join in. Thanks for the giveaway!

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

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  8. You probably just didn't want to read them because you were worried there wouldn't be enough kissing.

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  9. Mentioning The Italian Job did it for me. Love that movie, and I'm sure I'll love the books too!

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  10. Let me tell you Shannon I am the BIGGEST fan of Heist Society. I listened to it on audio book TWICE. I then read it too because hearing the words wasn't enough, I had to see them with my own eyes. And after I finished reading it all I could think about was how it was like Ocean's 11. And I LOVE the whole Ocean's series. I enjoy that witty, underplayed humor. And I'm with you on the whole Hale needs to kiss Kat thing.

    I can't wait to read Uncommon Criminals!!!

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  11. Loved Heist Society! Loved that she was suppose to be the "bad" girl being a criminal. Don't get to see that too often. Cannot wait to read the second book!

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  12. I loved Heist Society and Ally Carter's books . I can't wait for Uncommon criminals.

    yilingni@yahoo.com

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  13. I loved oceans 11, so I would really like this series.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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  14. Yay for heist society! There's so much to love in that book and i'd love a chance to win your copy of Uncommon.

    sarah.ahiers@gmail.com

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  15. Sounds great

    vidishamun@gmail.com

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  16. SOLD IT! SOLD IT! SOLD IT!

    If it weren't for you and this review, I wouldn't have given these books a second look. Amazing what a cover (and one's preconceptions!) can do.

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  17. Yes, please!!! I LOVED Heist Society! Can't wait for the next one

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  18. Not usually my type of story, but after this, it seems like I have to give them a try! :) Fun review Shannon!

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  19. I hadn't heard of either book, but I LOVED The Italian Job, so I'm in!

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  20. I haven't read Heist Society yet, for pretty much the same reasons you just described. Now I have to read it. You are not good for my TBR pile, #1. :-)

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  21. I really enjoyed the first book - I've already requested this one at the library! (I'd rather have my own copy, though!)

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  22. I love Ally Carter's books, and I'd love to win this one!

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  23. Love love ocean's 11 and heist movies. Sound like some interesting books and a deep character. Would love to have them in my collection.

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  24. You convinced me.

    GIVE ME THE BOOK, PLEASE.

    kthanks.

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  25. I have to agree with your impression--I would never pick up books with covers like those -- and don't think my teen daughter would either. But on your recommendation, the books do actually sound good so I'd like to give them a try.

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  26. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

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  27. I have Heist Society though I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I think I would like this series. Thanks for this opportunity!
    christinabejjani@gmail.com

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  28. I enjoyed the first book of this series. Please enter me!
    probablyreading(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. Thanks Shannon! I do enjoy a good heist story so count me in :)
    follower

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  30. Thanks for the giveaway :) I'm hoping to go see Ally at a book signing at the end of the month, so excited!

    aprilxu2222@gmail.com

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  31. I cannot begin to tell you how overjoyed I am about the sequel to Heist coming out. I saw the book in my local library sitting on a shelf and the girl on the cover reminded me so much of Audrey Hepburn, that I just had to pick it up and give it a try. And I am so glad that I did, it was really a lot of fun.

    Thank you, for sharing your review and also for the generous giveaway, totally count me in for it. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung
    susanhaugland@att.net

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  32. The first one was amazing! Can't wait for #2! Awesome Giveaway and FANTASTIC review!

    -Meredith
    mintteaandagoodbook (at) gmail(dot)com

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  33. I love Ally Carter's books, especially the Gallagher Girls series, but Heist Society was brilliant and I can't wait to read Uncommon Criminals!

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  34. I can so relate! I keep seeing and hearing about this books and I was turned off by the covers, too, for the same reason you were. But thanks to your review, I will give the first one a shot! Thanks!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  35. Heist Society was so great and I can't wait to read Uncommon Criminals. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

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  36. I do love the Gallagher Girls books, but Heist Society blew my socks away! I've had my eyes on Uncommon Criminals ever since I finished Heist Society, and by the first chapter, it sure promises! :D
    Please sign me up for the giveaway

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  37. OMG! less than a week until this book is out. I love Ally Carter and Heist Society is one of my favorite books. I have been fangirling over this book for forever and it's almost here! Count me in the contest.

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  38. oh whoops...

    laughingtinkerbell@gmail.com

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  39. I would love to win this! How exciting! Thank you!

    starcrossedlove01 at gmail dot com

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  40. Ahhh! Thanks so much for this giveaway! I'm about half way done with HEIST SOCIETY and love it so far :) I would kill for the chance to read book 2 a bit early! vplease count me in, I'm an old follower.

    Diana @The Lovely Getaway
    lovelygetaway at gmail.com

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  41. Thanks so much for the giveaway! I love these covers!
    GFC follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

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  42. I loved Heist Society so much I went out and got the Gallagher Girls books (also by Ally Carter). I hope Disney makes it a movie!

    muchlangauge (at) gmail (dot) com

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  43. Can't wait to read this one! Please enter me-- thanks for the giveaway!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic
    CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

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  44. I haven't read Heist Society, either--and for the same reason as you. The first thing that came to mind was Gossip Girl. But you've sold me on them!

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  45. I'd love to win!! Thanks for the giveaway. I haven't read Heist Society yet either, but it is on my TBR list. *crosses fingers*

    dbookstrings(at)gmail(dot)com

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  46. I want this book. And honestly, I didn't like the cover either, but loved the book.

    katiebk12@gmail.com

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  47. Great review! I didn't want to read them for the same reason. I am sick of reading stories about spoiled rich girls. But I love Oceans 11 and The Italian Job, so I'm going to have to add this to my TBR now. Thanks Shannon!

    hollyjolly89@gmail.com

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  48. I loved Heist Society & I cannot wait to read Uncommon Criminals! I love all the characters & I love that I could totally picture Heist Society as a movie as I read it!

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    danceislove27(at)gmail(dot)com

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  49. The Heist Society Series is so cool, Ally carter is so much fun and such a cool writer. I really admire her work and Im so excited to read Uncommon Criminals!!! Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

    Lasha
    arudd908(at)gmail(dot)com

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  50. My current thought process?
    OMZOMZOMZOMZOMZOMZ.
    Because Heist Society is like my favoritest book ever. And I'm still really mad because my friend Liz borrowed my copy and "lost" it. But if I win Uncommon Criminals it will all be alright. She's signing quite soon at a mall near us and I would love to get to read the book before then.
    (And yes, I will be very suspicious if Liz brings a hardcover of Heist Society for Ally Carter to sign ...)
    (OMZ stands for Oh my zucchinis)
    (I must be reading your blog a lot, the parentheticals are catching)

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  51. I haven't heard of these books but they sound like a blast. I absolutely love the humor of Ocean's 11 :D

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  52. I loved Heist Society and can't wait for Uncommon Criminals to come out. I wanted Hale to kiss Kat too right away! I hope he does in book 2 ...

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  53. I heard great thing about this book,and now I'm curious :D

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  54. I absolutly Love Ally Carter ( Though I am an adult and not a teen) She has a way of making her teen characters so appealing to large audiences it is great. I have the first Heist Book and would love to win the second one! It looks amazing.
    P.S. Totally agree with you on Hale, even at the end of the first one when they are in the back of the limo I was Screaming "Just Kiss Her Already!"

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3