Book review: Heist Society.

Noticing a theme here, are we? ¬†ūüėČ

For the next of my heist research novels, I turned to (what else?) YA. ¬†When writing UTROL earlier in the year, I briefly debated knocking ten years off everyone’s ages, but there’s far too much suspension of disbelief that would need to take place for that to read in any realistic format.

Like The Heist, it took me a sold two efforts to get into the book — as in, I put the book down for over a month — something that really surprised me. ¬†Because really, the hook of any heist should be something of a page turner. ¬†Especially in the YA genre. ¬†In this instance Kat (Katerina Bishop) comes from a family of n’er do wells, who have been conning and running schemes for years (it’s mentioned she was on a job when she was 5, which seems like very poor parenting). ¬†Everyone needs an origin story, but we only get bits and pieces of Kat’s before she leaves the school she’s attending (where she escaped to get away from a life of crime).

Things I liked? ¬†Go big or go home. ¬†Why shouldn’t there be a teen with more or less unlimited wealth? ¬†Why shouldn’t 15 year olds regularly interact with grown men and crime bosses without hesitation? ¬†Why can’t a group of kids knock off a major museum? ¬†Why wouldn’t they visit (what felt like) 17 countries in a week? ¬†Who needs adult supervision? ¬†Ahem. ¬†In reality, there were a few terms and ideas I picked up for UTROL, ¬†and I loved how the group had chemistry, and lots of inside jokes/events that we, as the audience, are never given any further details on. ¬†Character development was a bit meh, but there were plenty of fun moments, even if the pacing at the start was a bit difficult to get into. ¬†Similar to Ocean’s 11, what works is that we know no one will be killed. ¬†This is a heist with high stakes, but not everything on the line. ¬†I have threats in my own manuscript, but as of now (spoiler alert), I’m keeping everyone alive.

Stuff that needs work? ¬†$7.99 feels high for a book that can be read in one or two sittings (even if it took me 9 or 10). ¬†$4.99 feels much more in line. ¬†Within the book itself, the ‘twist’ was one I saw coming a mile away — and was based on a ¬†decision that felt WILDLY out of character for our protagonist. ¬†Also, as mentioned above, there is simply a bit to much suspension of disbelief to really ground the book. ¬†Ms. Carter, I think you could’ve done better. ¬†Given the feedback on Amazon/Goodreads, I seem to be in the minority, with most readers enjoying the novel.

¬†Unfortunately, while there are other books in the series, given their price point, I’m not in any particular hurry to pick them up. ¬†I like Kat as a protagonist, but I’m not really invested in her life. ¬†Damn not having a library.

Have you read the series?  What do you think?

Book review: The Heist.

We’ve already established¬†I wasn’t wild about my first outing with Gabriel Allon. ¬†However, given the reviews for The Heist (another novel in the same series by author Daniel Silva), and writing a manuscript where an art heist is the central activity, I thought, “Okay, why not?”

Wow, past Courtney, great job. /s

Unfortunately, this ‘adventure’ with everyone’s favorite Israeli/painter/spy/assassin/man who knows everyone everywhere, while the first 15% of the novel does actually have to do with a stolen Caravaggio, the book then veers sharply into politics. ¬†The book wasn’t a page turner, in fact, I tried valiantly on three separate occasions to finish the book. ¬†In the end, I skipped SWATHES of novel after Gabriel goes back to Israel (for reasons I don’t remember and really don’t care about). ¬†Although part of a series, which I realize that fans of said series would have some investment in Gabriel, his wife (who is STILL nothing but meaningless arm candy/mother to be/vessel for carrying twins), and Gabriel’s career path, however, as a casual reader, the only thing I cared about was the plot, which was convoluted and certainly not the heist or recovery I expected it to be.

Reading the reviews on Goodreads, it appears I am not alone, and is perhaps my thoughts are best summed up by this account: “And before I knew it, my fun art heist caper was gone, and had been replaced by a dreary political thriller.”

For $9.99, I wildly overpaid for this novel, and it will be my last purchase supporting this author. ¬†Perhaps if I had access to a library, I could check out books and skim through them, however, I’m not about to pay for another.

Did I pick up a few things for my novel?  Yes.  Could I have found these details elsewhere? Also, yes.

I’m also befuddled how this book has a 4.1 on Goodreads and a 4.5 on Amazon. ¬†Perhaps Mr. Silva has his audience and people are willing to show up for the previous 13 BOOKS in this series. ¬†No, thank you.

Send any good heist novel recommendations my way…

Week by numbers.

Wrapping up a few things before heading home!

  • ~750, days since I was last in the United States. ¬†At least that is what I calculated my trips apart as. ¬†Given the current state of the world, this feels about right. ¬†What’s funny is how my internal clock went off approximately 1 week ago, and I’ve been really ready to go ever since. ¬†I don’t imagine I’ll want to stay, as I love my life here in Dubai.
  • 1, second draft sent to my editor of The Queen #3. ¬†In this edit, I did my best to really ‘read’ the book. ¬†I took out as much extra as I could, and stumbled on a scene that needed to be added.
  • 5, Michelin stars in my future next week, and…
  • 4, tasting menus. ¬†I am delight.
  • 30, degree difference between Dubai and London. I am excited to not step outside and immediately regret my decisions.
  • 6,362, words I’m into my next manuscript. ¬†With a dead zone between finishing editing Queen #3 and leaving for vacation, I decided to get a leg up on next year’s book. ¬†My hope is to hit 10K before we leave, but 8K seems a bit more realistic.
  • Moderate, success I’ve had keeping with my intermittent fasting. ¬†Some days are definitely better than others, but I’ve been keeping to a schedule as much as possible. ¬†Even if I don’t hit 13 hours, I do try for 11-12 whenever possible. I think I’ve lost weight, but am not entirely positive.
  • ???, I need to calculate which countries I’ve been to for my customs form, and should probably get this in order before we leave on Tuesday.

We leave on Tuesday, so I’m not sure what, if any regularity I’ll be posting between July 17th – August 3rd.

What have you been up to?