Thursday, March 2, 2017

[ARC Review]: "Stealing Mr. Right"

romance novel covers, contemporary romance, Stealing Mr. Right by Tamara Morgan
Stealing Mr. Right by Tamara Morgan
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 7, 2017)
Series: Penelope Blue, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance


I'm a wanted jewel thief. 
He's FBI.
What's that saying? Keep your friends close...and your husband closer. 

Being married to a federal agent certainly has its perks.

1. I just love the way that man looks in a suit.
2. This way I always know what the enemy is up to.

Spending my days lifting jewels and my nights tracking the Bureau should have been a genius plan. But the closer I get to Grant Emerson, the more dangerous this feels. With two million dollars' worth of diamonds on the line, I can't afford to fall for my own husband.

It turns out that the only thing worse than having a mortal enemy is being married to one. Because in our game of theft and seduction, only one of us will come out on top.

Good thing a cat burglar always lands on her feet.

Penelope Blue: 
Stealing Mr. Right (Book 1)
Saving Mr. Perfect (Book 2)
Seeking Mr. Wrong (Book 3)



Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Morgan's Previous Novels:


Reviews of Morgan's Previous Books:

Love is a Battlefield (#1) -- TBQ
The World is a Stage (#2) -- TBQ

Confidence Tricks -- TBQ



My Review:




He was the professional, but I had street smarts. He held the cards, but I called the game. Damn, but it was going to be fun seeing which of us would eventually come out on top.




Oh, this was a fun read! Stealing Mr. Right kicks off Tamara Morgan's new trilogy, Penelope Blue, which covers Penelope, a jewel thief, and Grant, an FBI agent . . . and her husband. Yep, that's what grabbed my attention when I saw this up on NG a few month ago and it is just as good as you imagine.



First off, it's first POV from Penelope only. To be honest, I wish that we could have had Grant's POV, too, but I understand how keeping it limited to her POV kept the reader guessing during their cat-and-mouse games. Still, I'm greedy and really wanted his POV as well, partly because without it I didn't get a solid enough feel for his character, for why these two worked so well together. As it is, it wasn't a complete bust, by any means, but I wanted more, and I feel like some of his POV sprinkled throughout would have helped.



Second, it alternates between present time and the 18 or so months leading up to that -- basically the time from when the two first met to after they've been married (and the main plot begins). Now, this may sound like it's a recipe for confused disaster on the story flow, but it actually works quite well. Admittedly, it did take me perhaps two chapters or so to get into the flow of it, but I can see why it was done this way; if the story had been told chronologically, it really wouldn't have flowed well and would have been more stop-start because of the gaps in time while Penelope is looking back at what happened. I actually think this past-present combination was done in a smart way and once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed it without question.



Third, while  there is a HEA and this doesn't end in a cliffhanger, it is the first of three planned books covering these two. Obviously there's still more that's going to unfold in the next two books, both for the plot and, I'm sure, for the characters' arcs. While you're not going to reach the end of Stealing Mr. Right and feel like you've been left hanging, you will no doubt be very curious and ready for the next installment. Much like any good book will do. :)



I'll quickly cover the basics of the story, but I won't go into too much detail because I don't wish to ruin it for you. This is as much a light mystery/suspense/action read as it is a light rom-com, and Morgan does a great job at keeping things moving and keeping the reader guessing.



Penelope grew up in the family business -- that is, stealing. Her father was a jewel thief, and after he suddenly disappeared without a trace in her late teens, leaving her with only a stepmother (and fellow thief) a few years older than herself, she took to the streets and began to earnestly follow in his footsteps. She would later find herself part of a small group, who she's still friends with/working with today.



When her father disappeared, he had been trying to steal a particular (and very expensive) necklace. When the book opens, Penelope and her group are in the middle of attempting to steal it themselves, as the owner comes into the jewelry store to pick it up. However, right as Penelope is getting ready to drop out of the vent and snatch it, she realizes who the familiar "bodyguard" is standing by the necklace's owner -- it's her husband. Quickly she aborts the mission, and the rest of the story is her trying to figure out just how much he knows about her and her plans -- and whose side he's on. Like I said, very much a cat-and-mouse game, with all sorts of subtle hints and exchanges between the two, which kept me turning the pages. And I definitely didn't see the twists that came late in the story -- or at least, I didn't fully process all the hints before the reveal.




“I promised myself a lot of things where you’re concerned.” 

The skin-on-skin contact sent a reverberating shock through me. Even though I knew it was ridiculous—and physiologically impossible—I could have sworn our heartbeats synced the moment we touched.

“Oh, yeah? How’s that working out for you?” I asked, breathless as his hand slid up the side of my neck and tilted my face toward his. 

He swore again, but this time, there was a smile on his lips. “Like shit, and you know it.”

 “Good.” 

His lips crashed down on mine, preventing me from goading him further. Not that I wanted to about twenty seconds into the kiss, when it became clear that Grant intended to take things horizontal in the best possible way.




Besides the plot, which was well done and engaging, I really did enjoy Penelope and Grant together (though, as mentioned before, I do still wish we could have had some of his POV). There's really only one sex scene on page and it's barely PG-13, at least compared to much of what I read. I don't feel like the story was lacking because of that, mind you, but if you know me by now, you know I'm all about the heat, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit disappointed by this. Still, I thought the two had a good dynamic going on, and more than a few cute moments, with good sexual tension thrown in. Penelope's a bit hesitant to let her true feelings for him be known, and of the two Grant is much more emotionally open. However, I wasn't quite sure why these two got married, and so quickly, which would explain part of the small disconnect I had from them as a couple here. I'm hoping that in the next two books their relationship will be a bit more fleshed out -- even without Grant's POV (damn it). Update: I hear that book 2 WILL have Grant's POV in it -- yay!




These vows might have me promising to love and cherish, but there’s nothing in there about obeying. Not even a man like Grant could make me do that.




This was truly a fun start to a new series and one that I had a good time reading (and highlighting quotes from -- because, hello, it's me we're talking about!). The one thought I couldn't get out of my head was: this would make a FANTASTIC movie. Seriously, if Hollywood wants to consider this trilogy for a series -- and not fuck it up like Hollywood can often do with book-to-movie scripts -- I would happily hand over all my money. Like, yesterday. Until that happens, I'll be here, waiting for the next book.



4 STARS! 


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Tamara Morgan; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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I can't wait for the rest of the series.

To read all the quotes I tweeted, look through my Twitter feed HERE.



Enjoy!


Until Next Time,


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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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