Tag «Author: Ally Carter»

Series Review: Embassy Row by Ally Carter

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

All Fall Down by Ally Carter | Embassy Row Series


Synopsis for All Fall Down (from Goodreads):

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: Embassy Row Trilogy
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 3 (All Fall Down, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up)

There is a FREE bonus prequel scene available for Kindle called Before the Fall: Arrival

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I am a huge Ally Carter fan–she is probably IS the sole reason why I’ve picked up some of the YA novels that I do. I’m always a sucker for the marketing line “Fans of Ally Carter will love ___” even though time and time again I end up disappointed in these new finds.

My expectations for All Fall Down were simple: I was hoping this new series would be what I wanted Heist Society to be, which is a fast-paced adventure with a strong female lead, but with a great mystery instead of a heist. The Conspiracy of Us is probably the closest novel I have read that came close to meeting these expectations however it fell a little short when all is said and done.

The Concept/Plot:

I have a mixed reaction to All Fall Down. Do I think this is the best Ally Carter book ever written? The simple answer is no. But do I think it could be her best series yet? Absolutely! The potential is definitely there and this book proved it. It is an unfortunate but necessary fact that this book needed to be a bit on the slower side in order to set up the rest of the series. This book was all about building up the world Grace finds herself in and allowing the reader to get comfortable with it. Which I can appreciate from a critical sense but not completely enjoy as a reader.

The Characters:

I think a lot of readers will struggle to like Grace’s character–I know I did. She is very jaded and it is explained early on why she is the way she is. But even knowing that I just didn’t like her as much as a I wanted to. I think reading the short story, Before the Fall: Arrival, before I started the novel would have helped me come to grips with her character much earlier. She has a lot of potential for growth though, so I look forward to seeing her character develop in the next book.


–February 7, 2016– Book #2: See How They Run

This one was a tough one for me to get into. I had high expectations, hoping that the somewhat dull first book did its job of setting up the world and story for some great twists and turns in its sequel. And while the last quarter of the book was definitely intriguing, the first 50% of it was very slow and uneventful.

Grace is her own worst enemy when it comes to her story. As I said before, her jaded personality is hard to get used to and it does her no favours here. Her depressing (albeit understandable) monologue makes her seem melodramatic and overly selfish and I had a hard time not rolling my eyes at her sometimes. What’s worse it that I totally understand why she is acting the way she is–it just didn’t garner any sympathy from me.

Also, this was totally me throughout the whole novel wanting to yell at Grace!

I definitely will be reading the 3rd book. This series is going in a direction I didn’t really expect (which is good, because I found this book to be a little predictable at times), so I’m curious to see how this story continues and wraps up in the last book.

–February 24, 2017– Book #3: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Should have called this one “Woe is Me”.

This was so boring! The plot, while interesting in concept, failed to entice me at all.

It doesn’t help that Gracie is one of the most annoying heroines I’ve ever had to endure. Everything is “me, me, me” and “me against the world”. I get it; she has had a rough go of things but I thought by book 3 we would have had some progression of her character past this point. It’s hard to read from the perspective of a character that is in such a negative headspace all the time.

A big miss for me.

My Rating: 3/5

All Fall Down 3.5/5 | See How They Run 3/5 | Take The Key and Lock Her Up 2/5


This series reminds me a lot of the latter half of the Gallagher Girl Series: meaning it has a more mature and serious vibe to it. It takes a little while to build up, but once it does and the pieces fall together, it really doesn’t stop! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Read if You Like: thrillers, political intrigue, mystery
Avoid if You: want more romance, can’t stand jaded heroines


  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls Series #1)
  • Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglin (Cold Fury Trilogy #1)
  • Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Trust Me Series #1)




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Series Review: Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: A Favourite Young Adult Series
Series: Gallagher Girls Series
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 6

There is a crossover novella with the Heist Society novels called Double Crossed. There are also two other novellas: Classified Material (#4.5) and a Gallagher Wedding (#6.5).

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Espionage, Action, Adventure, Romance, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single


The first thing that capture my attention with this series was the witty titles. I love punny things so I counted that as a sign that I should read these books. I also love stories about kick-ass female heroines and the whole espionage thing was an added bonus. When I really started getting into my reading addiction, this series came up all the time but I didn’t read the first book until 5 years after it had been published (so my first year of university). I was probably a little too old to be reading it but I couldn’t resist.

This series reminds me a lot of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series--but if Georgia and crew were spies. Gallagher Girls definite has more suspense and focuses on the action part of the plot, but the friendship between Cammie and her friends really reminds me of Georgia and her crew which I really liked. It was a lot of fun reading about this group of girls and joining them on all their adventures from finding first love to saving the world.

These books continued to be a lot of fun even when the plot line got to be more serious after book 3, Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover. The first three books have a story arc that starts and concludes within the same novel (for the most part). There are some hints here and there about the eventual over-arching plot line that takes place in the later books but I found they focused mostly on a single plot line. Book 4, Only the Good Spy Young, is where the final story arc of the series begins but I found that the plot never dragged despite spanning 3 books. I think it helps that the characters are all solid in their personalities and by this point in the series you are attached to every single one of them.

I really enjoyed reading these books! They were always what I expected them to be (and a little bit more) and I’m sad to see Cammie and co. go.


A very well executed and written Young Adult series. If you like tough but fun and lovable girls as your YA heroines, this is a great series for you to read. Definitely geared more towards the younger set of readers but older YA fans will no doubt enjoy.

Rating: 4.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes

Similar Reads: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)

Synopsis for I’d Tell You I Love You, But I’d Have to Kill You (from Goodreads):
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

Series Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Heist Society (from 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 traveled 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


SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
# of Books: 3 (Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, Perfect Scoundrels)

There is a novella that is a cross-over with the Gallagher Girl series that takes place before Perfect Scoundrels

Book Order: Chronological (but they could be read in any order)
Complete?: Technically YES, but Carter has expressed interest in writing more in the future
Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Suspense, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: February 2010 – November 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love stories that feature intricate plots that build to a bigger picture. Most of the time, you see it in movies like Ocean’s Eleven or the Italian Job so I was excited to come across it in a Young Adult novel and that was why I decided to pick up Heist Society. (FYI: Heist Society has been optioned for a film which would be really awesome!)

My Review:

I wasn’t disappointed in Heist Society. I will admit I was a little thrown with the third person narration (most of the time young adult novels are first person) and it did confuse me at times, but there really isn’t another way to do this type of story. It has a brilliant setup and execution and I enjoyed reading it very much.

I was let down by Uncommon Criminals. It just wasn’t as exciting as Heist Society and I went in with high expectations considering it had nearly been 2 years and I really enjoyed Heist Society. It was good, but not as good as I was hoping.

Because I didn’t like Uncommon Criminals as much, I lowered my expectations for Perfect Scoundrels and I think that worked in my favour. I enjoyed Perfect Scoundrels a lot more than Uncommon Criminals and I think it’s because there was a bit more character development.

When I was reading Ally Carter’s FAQ on her website, she stated that part of her goal in creating this series was to write a series that has books that can be read in any order (ie has no overarching plot for the entire series). Which is why all of these books can be read independently. While I can understand the goal, I feel like these books lack character development because of this and that harms the series at times. Perfect Scoundrels reveals a bit more about the characters and I hope to see that more in future books (if they get published).

If Perfect Scoundrels was the last book, I think I would be happy with how the series ends but I’m looking forward to reading more about Kat and co. in the future.

Series Rating: 4/5

Heist Society 4/5 | Uncommon Criminals 3/5 | Perfect Scoundrels 4/5


If you are looking for a strong female lead who kicks some serious butt, this is a great series for young adults. It features a great cast of characters, unpredictable twists and crazy hijinks. Overall, very enjoyable for young adult fans and Ally Carter fans!

Read if You Like: heist novels, love suspense, like con artists
Avoid if You: want more character focused stories, want more romance


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