Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I, Spy?


Book Title: I, Spy?
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-434-2
Genre: Chick Lit
Nymph rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Bramble Nymph

Being a fumbling blonde, Sophie Green never really found the right direction in life. Working dreadful shifts for Ace Airlines at Stansted Airport and swooning after her foreign colleagues seems to be the last stop. Despite being totally inept at everything she does, a bit of quick work gets her hired as spy for a tiny British government agency known as SO17 and she decides to try her hand at it. After all, how hard can it be?

It is Sophie’s story out and out. From her love of TV shows, movies and her rolling hunk of a car, Ted, she has loads of little quirks that make her unique and funny. Not everyone is cut out for spy work and even though Sophie isn't very good at anything she does, she learns fast with Luke Sharpe as her new covert-operations partner. He is the suave British spy who is there whenever Sophie’s world needs saving. It is so much fun to see Sophie making short work of the man who has fooled half of the world. With all their misadventures, their relationship gradually gets better, and I was very excited for them as they finally came together.

Ms. Johnson’s first-person narration highlights her engaging writing style that deftly mixes spies, lies, and romance. Hindered things happen at once but the author brings all the strings together into a tidy package at the end. I never had time to stop and look for loop holes as the tale zoomed forward at a fast pace handling many secondary characters all at once. I really missed out on guessing the culprit and was surprised nicely when everything unfolded. Complete with an interesting ending, I, Spy? is an adventurous first book in the Sophie Green mysteries series.

Even with twists and turns to shame a maze, it helped me relax after a long day at work. I am definitely not going to underestimate the blonde from now onwards. Nice Work!

Still Waters


Book Title: Still Waters
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-944-1
Genre: Chick Lit, Mystery-Suspense
Nymph rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Bramble Nymph

Sophie Green was ecstatic to become a spy. Now, it seems that her happiness is short-lived. With a snap, her job is over and the love of her life is now her ex. It’s a week before Christmas and she is enduring the holiday from hell in Cornwall with everyone she wants to avoid. Now that a dead body has turned up, will Sophie gather her wits and help out to find the murderer while her best friend, Angel is sobbing away after a relationship gone wrong?

Readers who have been following the Sophie Green Mysteries pin down Sophie as a carefree, fumbling blonde who can’t differentiate her left from right but can still come up with answers. Her fans love her quirky sense of humor and her death defying moves. But here is a sad Sophie, who needs comforting as your best friend. Things are all jumbled up for her and Luke Sharpe’s sexiness is missing from her life. One is not left grieving with Sophie but circumstances plunge the readers headlong into an entertaining chase to find the culprit.

I thought the story started out a little slow, but it definitely picked up and had a great ending. Most of the characters that come up are the usual of the series but the new ones are equally entertaining and a whole lot surprising! My jaw dropped down quite a few times during the tale. Still Waters is the best installment of them all as everything makes a lot of sense, even if the book is read as a stand alone. I would love to read more if Ms. Johnson decides to continue the series. With hilarious situation and a bag full of colorful characters, Still Waters is a book after your own heart.

A is for Apple


Book Title: A is for Apple
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-605-1
Genre: Chick Lit, Mystery-Suspense
Nymph rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Bramble Nymph

As a new spy, Sophie Green is thrilled to take some time off her gruesome work and visit the island paradise, Fuerteventura to rest and rejuvenate. She still doesn’t have a clue where she stands with her boyfriend, Luke Sharpe or what to do about her special agent status. Don Shapiro is her next assignment and is sent to New York to track him down. Little does she know that she’ll be ending up posing as a teenager undercover! How is Sophie going to get out of this one?

It is so good to look at the other side of James Bond. Sophie isn’t the regular suave spy we all love to know. She is always falling headlong into troubles and still manages to finagle her way out. Her escapades are full of humor and you can’t help but laugh out loud while feeling sorry for her at times. Luke just seems the right guy for her but both have so much on their plates that they can’t think straight at times.

The plot is quirky enough to raise eyebrows but I was having so much fun that I refuse to nitpick at all. If Sophie thinks that she can pass off as a teenager then who am I to object? I tried to understand the British schooling system as Ms. Johnson explains it and was pleasantly surprised that I got into it as the story progressed. Sophie’s trip to the Big A was as entertaining as her antics and I really enjoyed every minute of it. The author deserves a pat on the back for describing the teenage life through the eyes of person who never liked to be a teenager.

The ending really did me in but I am not sure whether I felt good or bad for the unexpected surprise. The usual secondary cast is there to provide the required bit of interest and you feel like you know the characters like family. Complete with the unexpected twists and turns, A is for Apple is a complete entertainer!

Ugley Business


Book Title: Ugley Business
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com
ISBN: 1-59998-718-X
Genre: Chick Lit
Nymph Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Silver Minx


This is Book 2 of the Sophie Green Series. Sophie Green is a horrible British spy but she is lucky. Somehow she always seems to catch the bad guy, survive car crashes and solve the mystery. Sophie is trying to solve the reasons of her best friend being stalked and to do that, she needs to solve a 15 year old murder.

Her partner Luke is sexy as sin but doesn’t have much in the way of interpersonal skills. Now she also has the complications of a very sexy Irishman named Docherty to add to her problems. Will our heroine solve the mystery and get the guy?

This was a great book. With each chapter that I read, I was caught and wanting to read more. I liked the first person point of view because you really can picture yourself as the character. I did enjoy the antics of a mediocre spy; it made her more realistic to have the normal human traits. James Bond was mentioned a few times and it was fun to picture him doing the things that Sophie did. I do wish the ending had been explained better. I was still a bit confused about what actually happened and why. There were a few references to the first book which did make it difficult at times to understand, so I would recommend that the books be read in order. Overall, this was a good read and I will look for the other books in the series.

Ugley Business


Book Title: Ugley Business
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-470-9
Genre: Chick Lit
Nymph rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Bramble Nymph

Unusual things are bound to happen when an inept blonde becomes a spy but everything blows out of proportion when Sophie Green’s best friend Angel starts getting stalked. Now, not only does Sophie have to reveal her newest secrets to her best friend, she also has to keep her protected from danger. Isn’t this too much to ask from a ditzy blonde?

Sophie Green thinks that she can keep her spy status a secret from everyone in the world. Imagine her shock when her own best friend, Angel becomes her next assignment! It is so good to see Sophie bonding with a human friend instead of just about hunky cars and Buffy. Luke is there to make the mix sexy, delicious and dangerous. I marveled at the way Sophie made sense of the mystery and was into it all along.

Sophie’s cat, Tammy, her parents and her car, Ted are now as dear to me as family. Ms. Johnson’s brand of humor makes the story sparkle with life and energy. This is one British Secret Service I would love to be a part of. Even though, this is just light reading that’ll definitely turn the readers into addicts, who’ll rush to find the other installments as each book leaves you wanting to read more of this inept spy.

All I can say is that I love the Sophie Green Mysteries and hope that Johnson churns out another one as quickly as possible. Ugley Business is an easy read, entertaining its readers to the hilt and not letting them think, even for a second!!

The Twelve Lies of Christmas


Book Title: The Twelve Lies of Christmas
Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-385-0
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Nymph Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Scandalous Minx


Nate Kelly is about to retire his gun and status as a spy. His official retirement date is Christmas, what a wonderful present. Well, it would be, if he knew what his next career path would be. Spending years as a human target for criminals wishing to maintain their freedom has become a wonderful motivating factor to leave his current career. Now, if he can just finish his last assignment and stay alive, Nate can reclaim his life as an ordinary Joe. This assignment comes equipped with a con artist who can make his heart skip a beat.

The Twelve Lies of Christmas takes us on a spy-filled ride during the holiday season. We watch Nate preparing to take down mobsters instead of Christmas shopping. But Santa still decides Nate was less naughty than nice, and delivers something wickedly sensual and satisfying to his bed -Samantha Taylor. Sam has decided the life of a laborer is not her cup of tea, and has her own set of agendas when it comes to making money. Meeting Nate was not on her agenda but the two hit it off perfectly. Sam showed Nate what he has been missing by being alone, and it’s hard to tell exactly what Nate gave Sam, besides a reason to hopefully walk the straight and narrow. Kate Johnson has written a delightful holiday tale that incorporates humor with intrigue.

The Twelve Lies of Christmas


Author: Kate Johnson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/
ISBN: 1-59998-385-0
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Nymph rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs reviewer: Bramble Nymph

Even though it is his last stint as a spy, Nate Kelly is not happy being in Russia where he is trying to nab arms dealer, Anatole Simonov. Once he has enough info he can kiss this life, that is smothering him with blood, guns and dirty lies, goodbye. Deep into his fake Irishman disguise as Anatole’s hired muscle, he is stunned to see a lovely woman trying to con the con-men by posing as a dimwitted Russian. With lies decorating their every move, is there a way he can trust her before it is too late?

Nate and Natalya are both very engaging characters. They realize that they are in a dangerous situation but never fail to bring a smile on the reader’s lips. The loopy quirkiness adds to the fast-paced tale that never lets up despite the short length of the story. It is good to see that we are given enough background knowledge to actually know the characters before enjoying the twists that are essential for any spy fare. Love happens to bloom here in very odd circumstances but it never feels out of place. You’ll find yourself cheering the couple on as you get to know them.

A lengthy secondary characters list makes it impossible to keep track of each individual but since it is a prequel to the Sophie Green mysteries series, I think this will be sorted out in the upcoming stories. I must say I would never complain if I get stranded with the SO17 spies in the future. Ms. Johnson’s clever doses of witty sarcasm and humor give the tale a well-deserved boost and I sort of missed the couple’s spats after the story was over.

Ms. Johnson has indeed started off her series on the right foot and I’ll be looking forward to see more of her interesting characters in her new series. All in all, The Twelve Lies of Christmas turned out to be an adventure of sorts that manages to thrill and promises more wild rides after it!