Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: PJ Sugar Series by Susan May Warren

Hello Readers,

I read Susan May Warren's PJ Sugar series back-to-back and so I'm just going to write my review of all three in one post. So here we go. 

Series Pre-reading Thoughts: I had heard fantastic things about this series for forever. I had even played around with the idea of buying this series. So when I saw that my library had all three. I immediately checked all three out. These books had been pitched as wholesome Stephanie Plum books, so I was excited to give them a go. 

Nothing but Trouble
(PJ Sugar, #1)
by Susan May Warren
Adult Christian Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 16, 2009
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.90
Pages: 341

Before I get into my review, here's the summary available on Goodreads:

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. 

She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Susan started the novel in media res (in the middle of things). It started with PJ being told by her boyfriend that she just wasn't "pastor wife material" and then her sister calling and telling her she needs to come home. Home to Kellogg—the town she hasn't set foot in for ten years. Sugar comes home and her high school friend Trudi's husband is accused of murder. Sugar believes he's innocent and sets out to clear his name.

Sugar was nicknamed Nothing But Trouble and has a hard time believing otherwise. Trouble just seems to follow her everywhere. She's just not sure she fits in or if she is worth all the trouble.

Boone, Sugar's old flame, believes that Trudi's husband is guilty and that puts him on the opposite side of Sugar. And yet, he wants to rekindle their romance. Sugar's not sure she wants to. 

Sugar does find trouble though and she finds a savior in the name of Jeremy. He wants to clear his cousin (Trudi's husband) from the crime too. I loved Jeremy's character. I couldn't get enough of him and I wondered what would happen between Sugar and Jeremey and Boone. It felt like a love triangle in the making and I couldn't wait to see how it played out. 

This novel was hilarious, brilliantly written, and had wonderful characters who kept me interested in the story the whole time.
In Summary:  Susan May Warren has been suggested to me so many times. I'm so glad I finally cracked down and read this one. It was incredibly beautifully written and I'm so glad I read it.

Double Trouble
(PJ Sugar, #2)
by Susan May Warren
Adult Christian Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 25,2010
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.04
Pages: 335

Before I get into my review, here's the summary available on Goodreads:

With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI's "assistant" until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ's seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case--house-sitting for a witness in protective custody--Jeremy assures her there's no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they're after PJ, too.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Susan May Warren started in media res again. Now PJ is dating Boone and Boone has asked her to marry him. PJ hasn't given him an answer; she doesn't know how to answer. She's always loved him and has always envisioned herself with him. But she doesn't know if he loves her the current PJ or her the PJ of the past.

And then there's Jeremy who is making everything so confusing. What does she feel about being his assistant? She keeps picturing Jeremy when she should be thinking of Boone. 

Boone hates her job and wants her to quit. PJ is furious. She feels like it's her chance to finally prove herself. When Jeremy asks her to pretend to be Dally (a woman who's going to testify against a drug dealer), PJ is thrilled at the chance to prove herself. But it's beginning to look like somebody wants Dally dead and now PJ too. 

This novel was my favorite in the series. I loved watching PJ grow and become a more secure person. She finally began standing on her own two feet. And I loved getting to know Jeremy better. The fact that he loved black-and-white movies definitely endeared him to me.

The mystery was intriguing, the romance was fun, and the characters quirky. I love quirky characters like PJ. 

This book is Christian romantic suspense at its best. I loved the comedy of this novel and definitely recommend it. 
In Summary:  Susan May Warren's sequel didn't fall into the trap of being a bridge novel. It moved the story forward in beautiful ways. I absolutely loved this story. I love quirky characters and the characters in this novel definitely fit that bill. If you like a wholesome, cute, funny, and romantic mystery novel, than this one is for you.

Licensed for Trouble
(PJ Sugar, #3)
by Susan May Warren
Adult Christian Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 16,2010
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.19
Pages: 375

Warning: Certain things happened in the second book that will be spoiled if you read this synopsis and my review of the third novel. So if you don't want the series ruined, go read the first two books and then come back and read this review. AKA in the third book, you'll find out which guy she chooses at the end of the second novel. If you don't care to have that spoiled, then keep reading. 

Before I get into my review, here's the summary available on Goodreads:

PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she's inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect--PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister's house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ's investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max's case without dropping the ball?
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: YES! I was so glad that she chose Jeremy at the end of the previous novel. I just have to get this out of the way first. It's not that I didn't like Boone. I just didn't feel like he was right for PJ. He didn't see who she really was or who she could become. Jeremy did. Jeremy just seemed like such a better guy and honestly I liked him so much better. So yeah for PJ, I'm glad she chose him.

Anyway, PJ is stunned to learn that she has inherited the Kellogg fortune. Her, PJ, nothing but trouble has inherited that fortune. She can't believe it. The house is a disaster, but she wants to keep it. Her sister sends Max a handyman her way, and he agrees to help her fix it up if she'll help him figure out who he is. He has amnesia and can't remember a thing.

PJ agrees to the deal, but as she starts digging into both Max's past and her own past, it becomes clear that somebody wants her dead if not both of them dead. PJ'S on a quest to solve both cases, keep her romance with Jermy, and keep everybody safe. It's no small feat.

I've always loved Warren's characters and this novel just solidified it. Susan May Warren masterfully blends romance, mystery, and faith into one great novel. 

This novel had the most developed mystery. It read more like the more serious romantic suspense novels, but managed to keep it's light, quirky feel at the same time. 

Combining humor, suspense, and romance is no easy feat, but Warren makes it look effortless. Definitely a great concluding novel and one that I recommend.
In Summary:  This novel has a compelling mystery, quirky characters, and brilliant writing. This is a must-read for all fans of clean romances and mysteries. Warren is a masterful writer who I definitely will be looking into again. 

Series Wrap-up
The Wrap-Up: I loved this series. It was pitched as a wholesome Stephanie Plum series and I can see why it's pitched that way. The characters in Warren's novel are just as quirky, the novels have the same humor, and both blend the same amount of mystery and romance. 

I loved watching PJ grow throughout these novels. She grew a lot in the series and I loved that. None of the characters in this series were stagnant. They all changed and I loved that. Definitely a series that I'm glad I read. 
Danica Page

Up Next: Underworld by Meg Cabot

1 comment:

  1. These have been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years now. Ack! I need to dust them off and give them a go :) My daughters read them and loved them. Great reviews!


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