Tag Archives: audio book

Uncommon Criminals (Ally Carter) – Review

Uncommon criminalsUncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Age: YA
Genre: Heist / Fiction
Format: Audio CD
Brilliance Audio, 6 discs (6 hours: 47 minutes)
Hyperion, 2011

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Fifteen year old Katerina Bishop and her crew are back in another high stakes heist adventure in this sequel to Heist Society. This time, its Katerina who has been conned into stealing a precious and rare gem, the reputed cursed Cleopatra emerald. Now, it’s up to Kat and her friends follow the Cleopatra gem around the world, and create a new set of rules in order to get the gem back to its rightful owner.

The sequel to the fantastically amusing Heist Society did not disappoint. This book maintained the same level of witty word-play and globe-trotting luxury, in a world where money is no object and high stake risks are a natural part of life. In this book, we see a lot of character development in Kat. The remaining colorful cast of characters are stationary, static in their same personas as the first novel. Its only in Kat where we really see a change of character. Kat is still clueless about boys, more focused on getting the job done, than about comforting friends and family. She is focused, naive, and highly innovative all at the same time. We see her let down her guard and really start to open up to her family and the idea of having a group of friends that she can trust.

I loved the story progression of this novel more than Heist Society. The twists and turns were equally unexpected, but much more intricate in this book. In this world. Kat and her crew got to invent their own rules, while breaking others, in order to get to the Cleopatra emerald. This book takes place not too long after Heist Society ended, so the characters are still the same ages. This series is fun, and witty. I enjoyed listening to it on audio, all because of Angela Dawe’s fantastic narration. Her accents are flawless, the characters are full of life. It really felt like I was listening to a movie in another room.

Again, I would recommend this for a family road trip, its age appropriate for pretty much all members of the family, although there is more development between the romance of Kat and Hale, but I would still give this book a G-rating.

Book 57 of 2011


Books like the Heist Society series:

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  1. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  2. The White Cat by Holly Black
  3. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  4. Black Taxi by James Maloney

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Remarkable Creatures – Review

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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Age: YA/Adult

Remarkable Creatures is a historical fiction piece by Tracy Chevalier, best known for her wildly acclaimed Girl with a Pearl Earring. Remarkable Creatures is the story of two female anthropologists in the early 1800s England. Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot were two of the nation’s most valuable resources and finders of fossil specimens that changed the face of scientific and religious study. Because of their social standing and because they were female, they were hardly given the recognition for their work until after their deaths.

Mary Anning came from a struggling, lower class family in continual debt until she one day finds a “monster” embedded in the cliffs of her hometown. Elizabeth Philpot is a “spinster” living with her two other sisters after her brother’s marriage. Although Elizabeth comes from a family of high social standing, she and Mary Anning form a fast and strong friendship in a beach town of Lyme Regis. Eventually, Elizabeth becomes the voice for Mary Anning in a world of  elite men, who by instinctual default, deny women the right to participate in any scientific study or research. This novel is a story of their friendship.

I listened to this work on audio cd, thus confirming my beliefs that I can only listen to audio books when the narrator has an accent. I really enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring, and Remarkable Creatures was just as well written and researched if not better. Chevalier has a wonderful way of bringing her characters to life and proving the reader with a pure sense of the time. I loved the way she described the characters as leading with their hands, or eyes, or chins. These are subtle but telling ways of a characters personality and idiosyncrasies.

I did a fair amount of research on Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, as my interest in the two women was further encouraged by this story of their struggle for just basic recognition for their magnificent finds. Neither woman was allowed to partake in any of the scientific discussion or analysis of their fossil finds. Usually their name wasn’t even associated with the piece on display. The book was comedic, serious, compassionate and had a very smooth flow. I like the alternating chapters between Elizabeth’s and Mary’s stories. I loved that the chapters did not overlap, or tell the same story through two perspectives. Instead, where one ended, the other picked up, continuing the story.

This is a great read for fans of history, inspiring women and remarkable creatures of eras long past.

Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier
Read by Charlotte Perry and Susan Lyons
Penguin, 2010
ISBN 9780143145301
8 discs, 10 hours


Find this book at your local library

Find the audio cd at your local library