Review: Confidence Tricks by Tamara Morgan

Where did you get the book: E-arc from author

Publisher: Samhain

Release Date: Out now

Asprey Charles has always assumed he would one day take his place in the family art appraisal and insurance firm. “His place” meaning he plans to continue to enjoy his playboy lifestyle, lavish money on his Cessna, and shirk every responsibility that dares come his way.But when a life of crime is thrust upon him, he is just as happy to slip on a mask and cape and play a highwayman rogue. After all, life is one big game—and he excels at playing.Poppy Donovan vows that her recent release from jail will be her last—no more crime, no more cons. But when she learns that her grandmother lost her savings to a low-life financial advisor, she’s forced to do just one more job.It’s all going smoothly until the necklace she intends to pawn to fund her con is stolen by a handsome, mocking, white-collar thief. A thief who, it turns out, could take a whole lot more than money. If she’s not careful, this blue blood with no business on her side of the tracks could run off with the last thing she can afford to lose. Her heart.Warning: This book contains masked crusaders, a remorseless con woman, and plans to boost a ten-million-dollar painting. Expect high speeds and fast hands.

Blurb taken from Goodreads

I think I must be on a winning streak lately because the last few books I’ve read have been real gems and have shone for me. Confidence Tricks has continued this streak because it was fun, sassy, sexy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Poppy Donovan has recently just come out of jail after a con went upside down. During her time behind bars, her grandmother was fleeced out of $80,000 by Todd Kennick. Todd has become Poppy’s mark, and she wants to regain that money but she didn’t count on the fact that while on a ‘date’ with Todd where she managed to finagle a necklace out of him, Asprey and Graff Charles manage to steal the jewellery. Despite being cheated out of her own con, Poppy is attracted to Asprey who shares the same feelings, and along with his siblings, Graff and Tiffany, they plan a big con and theft to get back at their respective marks, Todd and Winston (Asprey’s other brother).

I was totally in love with the interactions between Poppy and Asprey which just shined from the moment they met. Their first scene was also full of humour, and their dialogue really helped to set up the tension and the romance between them.

‘ “Who are you?” she added. “Some call us highwaymen. Some call us gentleman thieves,” Asprey said. He turned even more and managed to smile up at her, just inches away from a glimpse at the goods. “But if you move your leg a little bit to the right, you can call me anything you want.”

“Oh, gross,” she muttered, shifting her body just enough to close off his view. “You’re kidding, right?” “I never joke about women’s underwear.” Wait. That didn’t come out right.’

I also loved the fact that Asprey’s siblings were named after jewellery crafters/brand names and it really fit into the premise of the book. This type of humour was peppered throughout the book and felt natural. I really liked how it tied in with the big con and thefts, especially Winston’s stolen Espresso machines which was a running gag and irritant in the book. It kept me giggling because it led to a wonderful first date between Asprey and Poppy which was a challenge for a con or a theft to practice their skills.

I have to say Asprey for me was a delightful hero. He was charming and sweet, and had a fun incorrigible air and I felt Poppy was the perfect woman for him because she kept him on his toes. Poppy was unpredictable, and I really liked the aspect of her character of putting on roles via different costumes. It gave an insight on what kind of character she was by hiding under these disguises. I liked how Asprey would challenge and tease Poppu, helping to break down those walls. I love romances which have a fun tone like this book did. It almost has this old skool feel from the classic moves back in the 30s and 40s.  And this for me was the real joy of the book because their romance sparkled with tension and was filled with snappy and sharp dialogue.

‘ “I propose that we both attempt to get inside the house and extract the espresso machine,” he said. “I’ll use stealth; you’ll use cunning.” “Why are you narrating this in a Morgan Freeman voice?” “Are you going to ask questions, or are you going to accept the challenge?” Poppy scanned the street, getting into the spirit of it. Since it was early evening, there were a few people milling about, a car pulling up across the street and a pair of teenage girls tumbling out. “You’re sure this is what you want to do?” Asprey made the motion of an X over his chest and held up his hand. “Absolutely.” ’

This book is just full of quotes and scenes like this, and I have a hard time just choosing a couple! Nonetheless, there were a couple of issues as well, and that was the pacing and the main plot of the book. I felt the pace leading up to the big con for fleecing Todd, (which was a big card game) and the sub-plot for Asprey’s brother, Winston, felt anticlimactic because so much momentum was being built up. The climax felt rushed and slightly uneven.

But despite this I was truly engaged with the romance because the characterisation and the chemistry they shared was so strong, along with the humour and witty dialogue. Confidence Tricks is truly a fun and sexy ride with an appealing hero and an amusing heroine who knows how to kick ass.


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