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Kat and the team are back in Uncommon Criminals (Disney-Hyperion 2011), the second installment of Ally Carter’s Heist Society series. Now that Kat has established her line of thievery as a noble “Robin Hood” sort, she can’t resist when a kind, elderly lady approaches her, begging Kat to right a decades-old wrong.

Constance Miller beseeches Kat to find and steal back an ancient gem, called the Cleopatra emerald, which Constance claims her parents rightfully discovered as archaeologists, but was stolen by their conniving young assistant. Kat rounds up the team – the handsome, wealthy outsider, W. W. Hale the fifth; her gorgeous and talented cousin, Gabrielle; computer genius Simon, and the notorious Bagshaw brothers, with all their British bulk and banter, to successfully steal the Cleopatra emerald and replace it with their uncle’s forgery. However, this is only where the story begins.

Legend has it, the ancient stone is cursed. And Kat’s willing to believe it when she realizes she’s been conned. The old woman wasn’t the real Constance Miller, but a thief named Margaret, who once knew – and conned – her uncles. Margaret intends to pass off the Cleopatra emerald as its long-lost twin gem, the Antony emerald, and sell it to the highest bidder…but not if Kat has anything to say about it. Despite her wounded ego and the deep-seated fear that she is destined to become like Margaret someday, Kat rounds up her teen team once more to fix her egregious mistake.

This book was even better than the first! The plot was more complex, the new characters more ambiguous and interesting, and I loved the angle of ancient Egyptian artifacts. I am also now beginning to see why Carter wrote this series in third person instead of first, since certain scenes are told by Interpol or the bad guys’ POV, like a Dan Brown novel, which works for this genre. I was also happy with the return of Nick and his mother who works for Interpol; I find them fascinating characters and I like the tension they add to the story.

The only thing I wished – which I learned after finishing Book 1 – was that the paintings and artifacts named in these books were real. I would’ve loved to learn some art history, or if the author could’ve used a real stone, like the Hope Diamond. However, the artists (such as Monet) and historical figures (Antony & Cleopatra) are of course real, and I do love the lore Carter created about the twin emeralds. I was fascinated to begin to see Kat’s seams and weaknesses in this installment. I seriously cannot wait to see what Book 3 holds in store!
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on June 29, 2016
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!
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Hmmmm. I didn't love this one as much as I loved Heist Society. Maybe because there wasn't much plot in my opinion? Until the crew arrives in Monte Carlo there are a few key scenes but most of the time is spent on Kat thinking she has it all cover all by herself and totally secluding her crew + not listening to anyone when they try to give her advice. Of course, she learns and grows throughout the novel, but I really struggled with being 100% supportive of Kat during the whole book.

My favorite character is probably Gabrielle and I adore the friendship the cousins are developing. Kat wasn't a huge fan of Gabrielle in the first book, but she slowly begun to realize that her cousin is in her corner and their relationship in Uncommon Criminals is really endearing. Speaking of relationships, I loooooooove the shippy feels! They're so great! It's not overpowering, but it's constantly there and I am fully on board (͠≖ ͜ʖ͠≖)

OK SO I'M KINDA PISSED BECAUSE I SPENT A GOOD 15 MIN WRITING ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF THIS BOOK AND THAT PART DIDN'T POST UGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

ANYHOW IN SHORT WHAT I SAID WAS:

1. THE VILLAIN WAS ANNOYING. She's only said to be this bad-a thief by EVERYONE but nothing is ever shown. None of her jobs are talked about except that one job with *cough* spoiler *cough* and the other jobs are all like "oh she probably invented that trick" ummmmmmmm ok. So yeah I didn't really get the big bad part and found her more annoying than anything else tbh.

2. The whole Paraguay/Uruguay part was super annoying as well. Kat (and everyone else) is supposed to be this mastermind of all things and now you're telling me that she can't remember whether it's Paraguay or Uruguay? They're two different countries. If I was from one of them I'd be offended because that's probably what happens irl all the time that people just don't care enough to remember and to make it into a running joke that's supposed to be cute and quirky is not that appealing.

3. THERE IS NEXT TO NO INFORMATION STILL ABOUT ANYTHING! For instance ...

*is this a literal or figurative family? because as far as I know -- Simon and the Bagshaws aren't connected to Kat and Gabrielle through blood; also, there are quite a few uncles mentioned and we know pretty much nothing about them except 2.

*if not then how did Simon and the Bagshaws end up with "the family"?

*where are Kat's grandparents if Uncle Eddie is her family but her grandparents aren't anywhere to be seen? From either side of the family. And same about Gabrielle since Eddie isn't her grandfather either.......

*what *exactly' happened to Kat's mom? (this may have been said and I just don't remember)

*don't the other families ever want the same jobs that "our" family wants? do they try to take them? what kind of conflicts does this cause and does "our" family have families they are more close to? have there been any marriages or allegiances between some families? why haven't we seen any of those families?

There were more things but I just don't remember. As a whole I liked it and I laughed out loud quite a few times, but omgggg I have so many questions and none of them are answered. I'm not a huge fan of all these plot holes and lack of information on everything and especially the character backgrounds. I think these books could benefit from 20-30 more pages at least just to give some background and talk about the characters more in depth.
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VINE VOICEon July 5, 2015
Kat Bishop has turned herself into a recovery agent. She has given up stealing from the innocents and begun stealing from the thieves. When she is led to a woman whose parents were robbed of the famous Cleopatra Emerald, she is determined to get it back for her. Others have tried to steal the Cleopatra Emerald including her Uncle Eddie. But he failed and has told the kids that trying to steal it is forbidden.

Kat works with her cousin Gabrielle and her friend W. W. Hale to plan a con that will put the emerald in their hands. Everything works just fine. Except, Kat was conned. The woman she gave the emerald to was not the correct owner.

Now Kat, Gabrielle, Hale and her cousin Simon and her friends Angus and Hamish have to find a way to con a woman who has been running cons since before they were born. Now calling herself Maggie, she is planning to sell the Antony Emerald at auction in Monte Carlo. It takes all of Kat's plotting ability and all of the talents of her friends to con the ultimate con woman.

This was a fun story filled with action
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on November 13, 2014
Just when you think there are no more twists and turns - no possible curveball to be thrown - Ally Carter pitches a fastball STRAIGHT down the middle - and you are knocked upside the head with the sheer brilliance of it all!! In the most simple way possible, she wraps everything up by pulling a con that only a teenager would think of! I ate this book UP! I could've read it in one sitting if I didn't have to take care of a small human! 😄 I was so hoping that Kat, our teenage "Robin Hood" mastermind, was going to come out on top; and, in a way I didn't even think possible, Carter delivers like only she can! This is only the second book of hers that I've read, but now I'm hooked! No going back now!! It makes me wonder where she came up with these heist ideas...hmmm, Miss Carter, are you ALSO a brilliant thief hiding in plain sight???
I would recommend this book to anybody over the age of 12...all the way up to adults! I loved pretty much everything about this book from the plot, to the characters, to its overall message. Good overcomes evil, and even if you're a thief, you can still do honest work. But above all, you can't go through life alone - you need family, and you're friends are just the family you get to choose!!
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on December 27, 2011
After the resounding success of her first major heist, where she led the teenage crew that robbed the most secure museum in the world, Kat Bishop, to the consternation of her family and friends, has transformed herself into a most unusual thief. Instead of stealing because that's the family business, Kat specializes in recovery -- returning priceless art to its original owners or their heirs, righting the wrongs of wars long past. When an old woman approaches her with a tantalizing story -- her parents discovered and were robbed of the fabled Cleopatra Emerald, a priceless gem unseen for over forty years, Kat can't resist the challenge. Against the advice of her friends, and sure she can succeed, Kat stages a brilliant heist and delivers the jewel. High on the con's success, Kat's world is rocked when she discovers that she's been the victim of a carefully staged con, decades in the making. In order to right a terrible wrong Kat must travel halfway around the world and take on the best in the business, and along the way must decide where she fits in her quirky family, and if a girl raised on the con can make herself vulnerable enough to trust those who want to love her most.

To put it simply, Uncommon Criminals rocks. Taking place a mere two months after Heist Society, Carter's second outing featuring Kat & Crew is every bit as fun as the first. Only this time around, the cons are bigger and the stakes are higher, making Uncommon Criminals every bit as entertaining and compulsively readable as its predecessor and then some. Whether sixteen or thirty-one (like yours truly), Kat's glamorous, danger-tinged lifestyle and budding romance with the ever-loyal Hale is sure to appeal to anyone craving a wickedly funny and clever slice of escapist fantasy. Thanks to her rather unorthodox upbringing, Kat has the savvy and smarts of a seasoned pro, but Carter tempers this gloss of maturity with a smattering of realistic teenage angst -- and it is this unlikely combination of jet-setting know-how and winsome, occasionally clueless, good intentions that make Kat such a winning heroine.

One of my favorite aspects of this story is how Carter chose to reveal tantalizing glimpses about Kat's family history, hints that suggest how she became the budding master thief and con artist that she is today. I loved the revelations about the enigmatic and all-knowing Uncle Eddie, and how his past heartbreak and the choices he made as a reaction to that proved to be a powerful illustration of the power of their familial bond. His actions help free Kat to become the best version of herself, allowing her to embrace her history instead of running from it. The supporting cast of characters that make up Kat's "crew" is likewise well-drawn and compelling. Carter continues to flesh out the group dynamic, whose banter and camaraderie are the equal of the best ensembles in heist films, with an energy and verve that makes the novel just plain fun to read. And the budding romance between Kat and Hale -- Oh. My. WORD. Carter masterfully creates a sizzling chemistry between her leads, and frankly Hale rivals the best romantic heroes found in escapist fiction of this ilk -- Hale is a teenage Bond with heart.

I absolutely adored this book -- the only downside to reading it so quickly is that the wait for book three is prolonged. Uncommon Criminals cements Carter's reputation in my view as a go-to author for page-turning, pulse-pounding escapist fiction -- this is the definition of a rollicking good read. I for one can't wait to join Kat on her next heist!
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on January 30, 2017
The second installment of Ally Carter's Heist Society books brought back the characters I had enjoyed following in the first book for another adventure. While it came off as slightly flat and predictable for a teen spy book, it was a fun, quick read none the less. If you have already invested your time in the first book, this is well worth the time to read as it offers another book full of twists and turns even if you could spot a few coming from a mile away. Enjoyable characters always keep me reading, and the trilogy offers a few books to read before you have to think of another.
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on May 30, 2013
Uncommon Criminals is the second book in Ally Walker's Heist Society series. I had a really good time with the first book, so it's no surprise that I enjoyed the second one as well. In the first book, I was exploring new territory, though, and there's not much new territory uncovered in this added volume. There is a surprise concerning Uncle Eddie, which was totally unexpected.

I did have a problem with Kat getting fooled at the beginning of this book. She's a cat burglar, raised by thieves who basically steal from rich bad guys, so that kind of makes it all right for her to pursue the family business. However, she's also supposed to be really sharp and seeing her getting tricked just bothered me. Of course, she gives the bad guys their comeuppance in the end, but I still just don't see Kat as being that vulnerable to subterfuge. The author spends time making sure we know she's not quite on her game, but I still didn't like how things went for a time.

The supporting cast is back in this one. As always, love seeing Hale - Kat's second-in-command and potential significant other - back in action. He's actually one of the coolest characters I've read lately and I like him a lot. He reminds me of a young Hawk or Joe Pike. Also, a caper just wouldn't be complete without the Bagshaws: Angus and Hamish are both back in great form.

Walker gives a nod to the triangle she's developed between Kat, Hale, and Nick - the son of the FBI agent trying to arrest Kat's father, but I'm not biting. Hale and Kat belong together, so in my world nothing is ever going to legitimately challenge that.

The action and pacing is good throughout the novel, and it reminds me a lot of a Donald Westlake Dortmunder caper, which always operates by Murphy's Law: if something can go wrong, it inevitably will.

I had a good time with this one, so I'm looking forward to the third in the series as well as the novella that mixes the characters from Heist Society with the author's other series, The Gallagher Girls.
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2013
When we last left Kat Bishop in Heist Society, by Ally Carter, she had reluctantly returned to the family business to save her father: high-end thieving. They steal what can't be stolen- priceless paintings, one-of-a-kind jewels, and items that have been horded by the rich, famous, and nasty for generations. She and her motley crew of teen masterminds managed to break into the most secure museum in the world and recover stolen paintings. But now Kat has fallen off the wagon. Once she started stealing again, she couldn't stop. The only thing that changed? Her motives for stealing. In Uncommon Criminals, Kat is a new kind of thief.

Kat finds priceless family heirlooms and returns them to their rightful owners. She specializes in art that was stolen during the Holocaust and returning it to the survivors or their families from the war criminals who absconded with them during the war. When a woman approaches her to help return an emerald her family uncovered in Egypt and were scammed out of, Kat can't say no. Even when she finds out the emerald is the famous and cursed Cleopatra Emerald, the jewel that has brought pain, suffering, imprisonment, and death to all those who come near it. Many thieves, including Kat's uncles, have tried stealing the Emerald and failed. But not even the curse can keep Kat and her friends from taking a chance at returning the Emerald to its rightful owner.

Somehow they manage to get the Emerald (no one ever suspects kids!), but after she returns it to the woman, Kat is in for the shock of her life. On the news, Kat sees the picture of the woman whose parents found the Cleopatra Emerald and had it stolen from them- and it isn't the woman Kat gave it to! Now Kat and her friends, who have already achieved the impossible, must find a way to steal the Cleopatra Emerald- again. To make matters worse, it seems the woman who conned Kat into stealing the Emerald is a con artist herself- on of the best! Now Kat and the crew have to con a con artist and find a way to get the Emerald back in one of the biggest jobs the thieves of the world have ever witnessed!

This was a fun sequel in this series that reminds me of a teen version of "Ocean's Eleven". The characters are fun and colorful, and the stealing is for a good reason (usually). I love Kat's crew. They are goofy and add some spice and laughter to the story. When Kat's cousin seems to have been cursed by the Emerald, her usual elegant demeanor is quickly sunken beneath trips, slips, falls, and tumbles. Even the two boys Kat cares about, Hale and Nick, are there to keep the excitement up and moving.

This is a wonderful story for middle school students because it is fun and exciting, but completely clean in language and content. It would also be great for a low-skilled older student, because the story is far from juvenile. I love the versatility of this series; it reaches such a wide range of children, making it a must for libraries and classrooms. My only silly complaint? I wish Carter would stop making her covers so cheesy and "girlie"! This book would appeal to both male and female students, but I doubt I could get an older boy to read it! Maybe I will just toss the dustcover and insist they read it anyway!
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on March 24, 2013
This, was truly amazing. If you have not yet read this, or are still deciding on whether or not you should read this, you definitely should!

The one thing that Uncle Eddie has asked the family not to steal is the Cleopatra Emerald. But when a very desperate "Constance Miller" asks Kat and her crew to help, Kat is in no position to help. Until the same Psuedonima name, Visily Romani is mentioned, yet again. So when the Heist Society pulls off the biggest heist they've ever done since the Henley, the world should return to "normal", right? That couldnt be farther from the truth.

A con within a con. That's what it was. Kat, Hale and Gabrielle have been able to steal the prized gem once. But can they do it again? Not without a few additions to the group. Simon, the Bagshaws, Nick, and Uncle Charlie, make this heist possible. Possible, but definitely not easy.

And then, shall we say, Hale and Kat. The only thing I have to say about this, is that Hale makes Kat realize the most important thing in their world: You don't have to do it alone.

Stealing things alone, makes people stupid. You're only as good as your team. My opinion on what Kat's most important lesson in this novel was.

I hope you read this! And if you haven't read any of Ally Carter's other books, GO! Go, and either buy it, download it on your Kindle, or go borrow some from your public library. You won't regret it;)
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