Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren (review)

Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren
Copyright 2009
Tyndale House - Fiction with a little romance, a little mystery, and a Christian theme
352 pages

The strangest thing happened during the reading of this book. I was sailing along, enjoying the book and then . . . wham . . . it suddenly began to bore me. I don't know whether it was fatigue talking, although the scene that lost my interest was definitely a dull one, but I spaced out and put the book aside all day. When I returned to the book, it pretty much flew again, except for the occasional scene that just lost me.

Nothing but Trouble starts a series with PJ Sugar, a fairly recent convert to Christianity who has been dumped by her preacher boyfriend because he doesn't think she'd make a good minister's wife. Just after the breakup, PJ's sister Connie calls and says, "I need you." What Connie needs is someone to babysit her 4-year-old while she honeymoons for 2 weeks. PJ was driven out of her hometown, 10 years ago, and has moved from one state and job to another, insecurity and trouble following her seemingly wherever she goes. She's not so certain she wants to return to face her demons (and her former boyfriend, Boone) but, then again, she has no interest in sticking around Florida, now that she's been dumped.

She packs her possessions and drives home to Minnesota for the wedding, runs into just about everyone she doesn't want to encounter (including Boone), reunites with her old friend Trudi, and then ends up sleuthing when Trudi's husband, Jack, is accused of murder.

The story is very light, fluffy, occasionally slapstick, the mystery lightweight. I thought PJ's sleuthing scenes and the banter between PJ and Jeremy -- a man who claims to be Jack's brother and joins her in her hunt for evidence -- were terrific. PJ and Jeremy have a great rapport and it's those moments when she inadvertantly falls back into trouble that I like PJ best. Jeremy is typically nearby when something goes wrong. I also adore the aunt-nephew relationship. PJ walks in a stranger and eventually becomes "Auntie PJ" to little Davy. Scenes with little Davy are charming and realistic.

There's really a lot to like about the book and I did like it. But, a smattering of dull scenes that made me space out (and the one that led me to set it down for a day) lessened the experience. I think it might have had something to do with Boone -- the ex-boyfriend. Boone just didn't do anything for me, as hunky male characters go.

3.5/5 - Slightly above average. Great characters and breezy writing, but the occasional boring scene threw me out of the groove. I liked Nothing but Trouble enough that I desire to read more by the author. The book has a definite Christian theme, although it just pops up on occasion, almost out of the blue. Maybe that was the problem. I did feel a little lost during the scenes where people were talking about Peter.

Next review: Don't Call Me a Crook by Bob Moore. Oh, boy. That one's a doozy.

Gotta go to bed, though. We'll talk about Bob, tomorrow.


  1. This one sounds interesting. I'll have to see if my library has it. :) I have a book I would like to buy this month. :) Well off to unpacking my small suitcase and laundry! Whoo hoo! LOL

  2. Krista,

    I think you'd love Nothing but Trouble. Susan May Warren is a new author to me, but I hope to read more.

  3. Terrific review. I completely agree. Fun and breezy but nothing stellar. I thought it was perfect for a summer read.

  4. Holly,

    Exactly. It's a perfect summer read, nice and light. :)

  5. Easy read right... something I would like right now :)
    Thanks for a lovely review.... like the book cover too :)

  6. Veens,

    Yes, it's a really light read, great for summer. Thank you! I like the cover, too. :)

  7. I love Susan May Warren and I have to admit that this book, while I really enjoyed it, may be one of my least favorites by her. Which is frustrating because they are really pouring a lot of money into it. Wish they'd done that for some of the others.

    I recommend Taming Rafe..loved it! and her chick lit series about Josey.

  8. Amy,

    That's good to know! I loved her breezy writing style, but sometimes she just lost me with a dull scene. I'll have to look up Taming Rafe and the Josey series, thanks!

  9. I'm new to your blog but linked through, I read this book last week (finally won a book from Goodreads first reads). I haven't read many Christian fiction books (maybe 2) but I thought this was a good beach read - light, cozy type mystery. I ordered Happily Ever After by Warren and hope to get it this week. I want to see what she does with a romance.

    I like your blog!

  10. Mary,

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I agree with you -- definitely a beachy read, nice and light. I haven't ordered any other Susan May Warren books, but the Josey series Amy mentioned (in the comments above) sounds really fun. I definitely like her writing style and want to read more.

    Thank you!!

  11. I love Susan May Warren. I haven't read this book yet. Taming Rafe has been my favorite.


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