Uncommon Criminals

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 21, 2011

Pages: 298

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)

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.

(My Opinion)

The story is told from third person and mostly focuses on Kat. There are new characters, adventure, and lots of conning. In very rare cases, a sequel will be better than the first but sadly, this book doesn’t beat out Heist Society. There are too many twists and some of the new characters are stiff and chalky. Even though I love the idea behind this book (Cleopatra is pretty awesome) and the obstacles Kat and her crew faces, it seems like half of the story is stiff while the other half is about family.

There’s a few things that I don’t enjoy about this book because I know that Ally Carter could have done a better job. In the first book, I didn’t mind the repetition of how amazing these kids are but in the second book, I find that it’s just too much and gets annoying really fast. Not only does the repetition bother me, but so does the romance between Kat and Hale. It’s so stiff and boring. Even when Kat freaks out over stupid things, I didn’t feel much. The ending is a bit of a disappointment because it seems a bit disorganized and messy. Nothing is properly put into place so it’s easy to get confused and bored. I think Ally Carter put so much time into making the heist itself perfect that she forgot that her characters are supposed to jump off of the pages.

I still really love her writing style. Like I mentioned before, the heist itself is good, there are a lot of obstacles that keeps you entertained. And the relationship between Kate and Maggie because they are very alike yet very different. I also like that Kat gets her ass handed to her by someone she barely knows.

Fans of Heist Society might be disappointed with this. I still recommend it because this is still an Ally Carter novel. I’m hoping that Perfect Scoundrels, the third book in this series, will be the best book yet.

 3.5 dreamy clouds

Song Of The Day#47-Kaleidescope By fahrenheit43

fahrenheit43 is an Australian Pop/Rock that has been playing together since 2008. Their début album will be out Some time this year.

Kaleidescope is a song about “religion and how people outside the church are constantly feeling judged and neglected by those who call themselves Christians” says the band.

My favourite part is:

I’m scared of what I know

But I’m unbroken

Its easy losing hope

But don’t let go

We need to live outside our own opinions

But we’re getting closer now

We’re getting closer now

You can listen to Kaleidescope here.

Lyrics are here.

 34 Pieces Of You by Carmen Rodrigues

Publisher: Simon&Schuster

Genre: Contemporary and young adult

Release Date: September 4 2012

Pages: 336 (hard cover)

There was something about Ellie… Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along….

(My Opinion)

A story about pain and getting over a big part of your life when all you want to do is let go. In this story, there are three different perspectives—Jake’s, Jess’, and Sarah’s. They are told before and after the incident. Each of them go through different phases on Ellie’s death and how it effected them. I like the idea for this story because it’s simple yet pretty complex. The characters are okay and easy to swallow  some of them are typical and boring while others are so interesting and full of life. Out of the three of them, Jake is my favourite because he plays a very huge role in this book and he’s the only one I feel for. Also, the ending isn’t anything special, it’s typical and I didn’t feel for it at all.

The notes that Carmen Rodrigues puts at the beginning of each chapter is really cool but also really confusing. Instead of making it obvious which character Ellie is talking about, most of the notes could be about more than one and I didn’t know who or what was happening between Ellie or what she felt. I also don’t like that there isn’t a clear line to what had happened to Ellie. I wish that what happened to her was actually put in the story because after finishing the book, I’m still left with unanswered questions. The characters of Jess and Sarah are not very interesting. I don’t like Sarah because she felt like words on paper, not much about her stands out and I didn’t feel sad for her when I probably should have. Jess didn’t feel relevant to the story until somewhere in the middle. Nothing about her told me she belonged when the story first starts. I wish Carmen Rodrigues made Jess stronger from the beginning instead of putting the important parts near the ending.

34 Pieces Of You has really short chapters. I could finish about fifty pages without even realizing it because the chapters are short and easy to swallow. I love the writing style, the words aren’t choppy or awkward. For the most part, they fit and make sense. The cover art is amazing! It really pulls me in. The cover goes well with the description the book gives of Ellie which makes me happy too.

Overall, this book is an okay read. There isn’t very many funny moments because it’s a serious topic, but the chapters are short and the writing is well written. I would recommend this to anyone who likes books about serious topics and getting over the past that are told from different perspectives.
 3.5 Dreamy Clouds

Song Of The Day#46-Love By Daughter

When I first started this meme, Daughter was the second band that I posted about. Even though I enjoy run more than Love, I still really like this song. There is just so much meaning and power behind this and this song makes me think about a party.

Daughter is an indie/folk band from England. They have created songs that are filled with tales of heartbreak and death that are sung in a sweet, soft tune.

Love is one of their most known for songs because it’s about love and heartbreak. About how mean people can truly be with your vulnerable heart. The melody is sweet and haunting.

My favourite part is:

But I don’t want to imagine
Words you spoke to her that night
Make your bodies look like porcelain
You both knew I’d be bleeding inside

Did she make your heart beat faster than I could?
Did she give you what you hoped for?
On nights so loveless, love,
I hope it made you feel good
Knowing how much I adored you

You can listen to love by daughter here.

You can get a FREE and LEGAL download here.

Lyrics are here.

Heist Society By Ally Carter

Publisher: Hyperion Disney

Genre: Adventure and Young Adult

Release Date: February 9, 2010

Pages: 287 (hard cover)

Goodreads

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 travelled 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.

(My Opinion)

An adventurous mission with a lot of twists and surprises and a complicated romance? With a bunch of teens? The reasons why Ally Carter is one of my favourite authors is beautifully shone in this novel. I felt for Kat and her crew throughout. The writing is smooth, enjoyable, and kind of perfect. Heist Society is like a teen version of Ocean’s eleven or Catch That Kid. Only more badass with characters that stick with you long after the book is done. They all feel real, like I was watching this in a movie theatre or quietly watching from a distance while its being told. The ending was not what I was expecting either.

The only thing that I probably didn’t like about this book is how little the relationship between Kat and Nick is. I wish the relationship between them formed a little bit more.

There is a mysterious grace that Kat Bishop has and it makes everyone around feel intimidated. She’s strong, determined, and is as quiet as a cat. I flew through this book because it’s fast paced with so much happening that I couldn’t put it down. Heist Society made me laugh more than once and also pulled on my heart-strings. I love the mystery that surrounds Hale and his family because it kept me guessing throughout the book about how his life was before he met Kat. The many twists and turns was easy for me to follow the ride along with her. I love that Ally Carter decided to write the book in third person too because I get to know the story from some of the other characters’ perspectives.

Even though I only shed a few tears for this book, it is still an amazing read, one that I will never forget. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good heist book that will defiantly keep you entertained and surprise you. I am anxiously awaiting the third book in this series, Perfect Scoundrels which will be out next year February.

 5 Dreamy clouds

Song Of The Day#45-Cherry Tree By Big Jet Plane

This song is just too epic. Gives me the chills every time I listen to it with the beautiful lyrics and slow melody. Cherry Tree sounds like it’s playing in one of those romantic scenes in a movie. Like in “A Cinderella story” or “The Princess Diaries” when the two characters finally kiss.

Big Jet Plane is an indie/pop duo from Bergen County, NJ. Their first EP will be out some time this fall.

Cherry Tree is that romantic song that you hear playing in the background of romantic comedies. It’s a song about going after the one you love and hoping that they’ll meet you at the place that meant the world to the both of you. In this song, that place is a cherry tree.

My favourite part is:

I’m underneath the Cherry Tree
You’re walking down the city streets
But darling when I’m thinking of you are you thinking of me
And all that we used to be?

You can listen to Cherry Tree here.

Song Of The Day#44-Shove By The Feather Sound

The whole point of music is for it to move you. You’re supposed to feel something that gives you goosebumps because you understand the words the singer is singing more than you understand what the fuck is happening with your life. Shove by The Feather Sound moves me and puts a wacky smile on my face. Even though the song is kind of sad, it’s a good sad like Mayday Parade or The Wonder Years. I have very high hopes for The Feather Sound now.

The Feather Sound is a female-fronted pop/rock band from Chicago, Illinois. They formed in 2012. Currently, they have two singles released.

My favourite part is:

I said as you stood with your arms out wide

please, don’t go.

wait, wait, wait,

please don’t go away

wait, wait, wait,

I need you to stay.

You can listen to shove and get a free download here.

Song Of The Day#43-Timebomb By States

I have to admit, I used to think that this band was not worth my time. I thought they were going to let me down because I love Lydia and Copeland was such an amazing band. I was really upset about Mindy White leaving and Copeland breaking up but the second I started listening to this song, I fell in love.

States is a female-fronted rock band from the US that formed in 2010. Two bands breaking up started the formation of States (Lydia and Copeland) which the band puts that they were “blessed with perfect timing.” Currently, the band has one EP and one album out. Timebomb is off of their album, Room To Run.

Timebomb is a song about being who you are because that’s who are are.

My favourite part is:

They said we’ll make you right into a star
Into a star
They said we’ll make you right into a star
‘Cause that’s what you are
I’m like a timebomb rushing around, rushing around
I’m like a timebomb, rushing around
They said, we’ll make you right into a star
‘Cause that’s what you are

You can listen to timebomb here.

Lyrics are here.

Team Human

By: Justine Larabalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: HarperTeen (Harpercollins)

Genre: Fantasy and young adult

Release Date: July 3 2012

Pages: 352

(Summary from Goodreads)

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

(My Opinion)

3.7/5-Team Human is told from the perspective of Mel. We learn a reasonable amount about her life and how much she hates vampires. I have to say that I thought this book was going to turn out completely different from what it actually is. Vampire stories have been popular for quite a while now, so I thought this one was going to be the same as the others. It’s different because instead of Mel liking the vampire, it’s her best friend, Cathy who actually likes him. There was a lot of repetition of how much Mel hates vampires in the story and it got pretty annoying. The characters are funny and easy to read about. I loved Mel’s sense of humour even though I didn’t like her motives of keeping Cathy away from her boyfriend.

Usually, best friend are very supportive of each other and try to help one another. I didn’t like Mel’s intentions in the story because it’s harsh and is sending out a pretty mean message—You can only date people your best friend approves of. I wished the authors chose a different idea because this one agitated me a lot. I also didn’t like that Mel acted like a spoiled brat for most of the book. She’s very hot-headed, angry, and loves to yell.

Team Human is a light-hearted read (for the most part). I finished it in a day because I found both Kit and Mel hilarious. I really enjoyed the writing style for this book because it’s smooth and organized. Also, I liked that Mel is Asian! There aren’t many fantasy stories where the main character doesn’t have, “deathly pale skin.”

Overall, a pretty good read. I would recommend it to people who enjoy vampire books and are looking for an unexpected ending.

Song Of The Day#42-Venice By The Lighthouse And The Whaler

I think all music should sound like this. Listening to Venice by The Lighthouse and The Whaler feels like I’m running through my city with a kite beside someone I love. It’s that easy-going and such a sweet love song that I think will make everyone fall in love with.

The Lighthouse And The Whaler are a indie-pop four-man band from Cleveland, Ohio. Currently, they have released two albums and one EP. Venice is off of their second album, This Is An Adventure.

Venice is a song about love. Falling in love and how amazing it is. Death is certain but love isn’t which, I think, is the beauty about falling in love. The insane rush of the unknown.

My favourite part is:

And death is cold, death is sure
Why don’t we all fall in love?
Oh, whoa, oh oh
Why don’t we fall in love?
Oh, whoa, oh oh
Why don’t we fall in love?

You can listen to Venice and get a free download here.

Lyrics are here.