Playing the Part by Jen Turano

Playing the part

First thoughts:  This was my first time reading Jen Turano, and it definitely won’t be the last.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially the great dialog.  I love a story that is fun and has depth to it at the same time.  Playing the Part was packed full of great characters, moved along at a nice pace and added enough mystery to keep me intrigued.

Plot:  Actress Lucetta Plum is enjoying her life on the New York stage, until her stepfather shows up and announces he’s given her hand in marriage as a wager in a game of cards.  When her ‘intended’ Silas Ruff comes, Lucetta flees New York with her friend Abigail Hart.  Mrs. Hart takes Lucinda to her grandson’s home.  Bram Haverstein’s house is more like a castle, and appears to be haunted.  It quickly becomes clear to Lucetta that Bram and his staff have secrets and she starts sticking her nose into their business.  Hilarity ensues as one misadventure follows another.

Characters:  I love the unusual names for the characters, which makes them even more memorable.  Lucetta is a smart, independent woman, making her a strong heroine.  Bram is a little quirky and hiding things, but he has his reasons for his unusual behavior.  There were a lot of great secondary characters as well, that just leapt off the pages.  I enjoyed having an unlikely romance blossoming with Mr. Skukman, Lucetta’s bodyguard, and Bram’s sister.  Of course, one of my favorites was Geoffrey the goat.  You’ll have to read the book to see why.

Recommendation:  I’d strongly recommend reading this book if you love witty banter and a fun story.  While it’s the third book of the series, it can stand alone.  I’m looking forward to catching up with the first two books of the series soon.

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Web of Shadows by Susan Sleeman

Web of Shadows

First thoughts:   What I like best about a Susan Sleeman novel is the amount of research she puts into the story so the investigations and FBI side of the story is accurate. Her stories always feel so real to me.  I love how she uses the dialog between characters to share the technical sides of things in everyday terms for the reader.  As always, Web of Shadows is a great blend of romance, danger and page turning suspense.

 Plot:  As a member of the Cyber Crime Unit of the FBI, Nina Brandt knows a thing or two about computers, so when her ex-boyfriend and Navy SEAL Quinn Stone’s brother  gets into trouble, Quinn turns to Nina for help.  The problem is little brother Ty hacked the No-Fly-List, then had his computer stolen.  The computer that contains the steps of how he hacked it.  Having that information out there could be a huge terrorist threat, so they must work quickly to find it.  And if things weren’t complicated enough, Nina has an enemy out there that’s determined to ruin her life just as she ruined his.  Quinn will have to use all his resources to keep his brother and the woman he’s realizing he still loves from going to jail.

 Characters:  The story is told from the perspectives of Nina, Quinn and the man that’s trying to set Nina up for a big fall.  I really enjoy how having the bad guy’s perspective make for a well rounded story.  I always love Sleeman’s heroines, as they are tough woman doing a difficult job who aren’t afraid to show some weakness, too. 

Recommendation:  I’d highly recommend this story to those who enjoy clean romantic suspense.  While it’s a general market story, it’s free of any foul language or inappropriate content. It is the second book of the Agents Under Fire series and will stand alone, but you’ll get a little preview of Nina and Quinn’s relationship in Web of Deceit, so I’d suggest reading both books.  I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series!  

Rating:  4.5/5 stars