A Cunning Plan

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Jun 2017

Member Reviews

A Cunning Plan was your standard mystery novel while not bad the story, characters and setting are dated and in dire  need of updating.
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Ethan stalks Sloane stalks Kate. 

Sloan is a desperate single mom who is stalking her ex-husband's girlfriend for no apparent reason. 
Ethan, the mysterious US government guy (mind you, this story plays in London, GB) is asking said inept housewife for help spying on a bad guy. He asks her because she is inconspicuous. She got made by only two different people while stalking the girlfriend, but this is probably not a big deal.

Partly this book is written like one of the later Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Novels: inept female doing investigative work while the hot guys fall for her. This is true down to referring to her female parts as “hoohaa” or such. I am saying “later” novels because what worked well for the first books got old with repetition: annoyingly inept protagonist, unlikely coincidences to get her into the thick of the action, and brainless actions of the heroine herself. However. It has its funny moments!
Unfortunately, Astrid Arditi mixes the humorous action with pages (and pages) and pages of family drama.  What Sloan and her precious daughters did today. Sloan musing about how and why to get the cheating ex-husband back. Sloan mending her relationship to her mother. 
So the rating I gave this book is a mix of stars, I just could not put it away with a clean feeling in every way. Some things I really liked, some things I disliked.
Humor: 4 stars
General writing style: 4 stars
Story line “outside home”: 3 stars
Story line “inside home”: 1 stars
Plot: 2 stars
Romance: 2 stars
Annoy factor of the female protagonist: high=0 stars.
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‘A Cunning Plan’ by Astrid Arditi was a great debut novel. This 4 star read was funny and entertaining and kept me engrossed from the start to the finish.

This book was full of fun, laughs, mystery and had me up and down, laughing out loud and frustrated at other parts just as a good read should.

I am not sure how I would react if I was to find out my husband was leaving me for someone else and to be honest I can understand what Sloane does. Sloane decides to stalk the woman her husband left her for. Never in all of this did she imagine that she would then be helping an IRS agent catch out someone for fraud.

Mystery, intrigue, ridiculousness are all some of what this book provides. There are an array of supporting characters that make up the book too and they really helped with the story. This was a surprise at times and not what I had expected, I will definitely be reading more from Astrid Arditi and am looking forward to see what else she writes.
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Quick-paced, cheerful, page-turner... Interesting heroine and funny secondary characters. I enjoyed this breezy read.
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I gave this book a chance and I am so glad I did.  It was very funny and kept moving along easily.  Looking forward to any more by this author.
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This book is hilarious!  The main character does begin as a complete mess.  Her husband has left her and they are now divorced, but she wants him back (can't think why!) and starts to stake out his new girlfriend.  

There are loads of entertaining characters, from the 'housekeeper' to the kung fu trainer/underwear model and I can't wait to see what happens next.  Reminds me of the first Stephanie Plum books

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A great, fun read! Sloane Harper is my kind of heroine. The author's humor is conveyed in every line of this book making it contagious for the reader. I did not think I would like this book based on the synopsis. Boy was I wrong! I loved this book! An entertaining read!
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I heard lots a decent things about this story but it was too flippant for me. Too elementary and had that "Laverne and Shirley" "Lucille Ball" feel to it. I didnt buy the story at all either.
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This was a fun, fast paced read.  I love novels by Lisa Lutz and it reminded me of her humorous writing.
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I am going to come straight out and admit this, I didn’t think I would like A Cunning Plan by what I read in the synopsis . What I didn’t expect was the humor that was in the book. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did.

I actually felt very bad for Sloane in the first few chapters of the book. She was blindsided by her divorce and refused to accept it. She had the mindset that her divorce was only temporary and that her husband will eventually come back and remarry her. I actually wanted to hug her during that part of the book. It was so sad to read. But, once Ethan began his campaign to get her to do his dirty work (get into for Gabriel Varela) for him, the book took off.

Tom, Sloane’s ex, was a huge jerk and I really wanted to punch him. He knew that Sloane wanted him back and he kept stringing her along. To be honest, I couldn’t stand how he treated her. Like she was beneath him. Always laughing at her when she would trip or make a mistake. When Sloane decided to start living her life instead of waiting for him, in other words…dating, he freaked out. Hard core freaked out. I think I said out loud during that point of the book “Can’t have your cake and eat it to sweetpea”.

Ethan Cunning, oh where do I begin with him. I had a love/hate relationship with him, like Sloane. He kinda did creep me out with all the stalking he did. I mean, he showed up everywhere Sloane was and it was freaky. But, in a way, Sloane was getting hers for stalking Tom’s mistress/new girlfriend. I also didn’t like how he could change in a minute. When he called Sloane desperate (all because he was jealous of her dating Gabriel), I wanted to reach through the book and smack him. Hard.

I loved the friendship that Sloane had with Claudia. It was one of the most honest ones in the book and oh boy, did Claudia not hold back. She was brutally honest and did not hold back of her dislike for Tom (which made me love her even more). She truly had Sloane’s best interests at heart and she was truly a best friend to Sloane.

The relationship Sloane had with her mother, Bizzy, was very complicated. To be honest, I did think was very selfish in taking advantage of her mother for 6 months but then again, I didn’t think it was selfish. Bizzy was not a great mother….always putting Sloane down, buddying up to Tom and harping on Claudia. Plus, she was always drinking her “lemonade” and was always half lit. The whole day after a binge with Claudia was hilarious.

What I liked the most about this book was that Sloane cherished her children and Tom was a great father, even if he was a jerk in every other area of his life. They made a united front to co-parent as peacefully as possible for Rose and Poppy. I will say that the highlight of this book was the horse/whore conversation and its after effects. I couldn’t breathe, I was laughing so hard.

The storylines of A Cunning Plan were great. I couldn’t decide if I was Team Ethan or Team Gabriel for most of the book but I can tell you that I was most definitely not Team Tom. I do like that Sloane’s super secret spy mission did get results, even if it did go a little haywire (well, a lot haywire). I do have some questions that needed to be answered (what about Alina and Sloane’s friendship? Will it survive what happened?) but I am sure that it will be answered in the next book.

How many stars will I give A Cunning Plan: 4

Why: A very fast paced mystery that kept you guessing. Also a great look into how a woman blindsided by her divorce got her life and self-worth back.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Language and violence

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**
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Sloane Harper is 32, freshly divorced from Tom and has two daughters, Rose, eight and Poppy, four. She's American but lives in London. She's a full time mother with Claudia, her younger Polish housekeeper slash only friend and Bizzy Harper, her WASP mother who has come to the UK to support her daughter during the divorce. 
Sloane is an idealistic, starry eyed woman who wants one thing in her life; she wants Tom back as her husband. Only problem with that plan is that Tom is firmly in the arms of Katherine, the free spirited nightmare on two lovely long legs. Its in staking out (not stalking!) Kate that Ethan Cunning comes into Sloane's life. Posing as an IRS Agent, Ethan asks Sloane to watch over Gabriel Varela, Kate's boss and apparent flower growing magnate who has been embezzling funds from the government. Of course, there is an unspoken attraction between Sloane and Ethan and even Gabriel which leads to all kinds of situations. 
Sloane is a terrific character. She isn't perfect wither bodily or emotionally. She is still finding herself even when she says she's 'just a mother.' She makes wrong decisions and she is driven by her love for her daughters. 
The story is fun and whilst some may say predictable, I found it entertaining. There was enough 'local knowledge' to make life in fashionable London feel real. There is definite character development and the inner thoughts of Sloane are brilliant - something every wronged woman can relate to. Its not a mystery that you have to work hard at to solve, but there is enough to keep the armchair cosy readers happy.
I loved this book and am eager for the second book to be released in May 2017.
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This was a really fun and funny book. The main character, Sloane, is finding it hard to move on after her divorce. She's clumsy and suffers from a weak self-esteem. But Ethan Cunning, an IRS agent needs her help. Now she has something to do with herself instead of feeling sorry for her situation. I liked how "real" Sloane felt. But she was moody as a toddler. She can throw a good tantrum. So she was a little immature at times, but very fun to read about. I look forward to more of this series.
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A surprisingly good story. It was very predictable but I still loved the details of the characters.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for a honest review.
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thanks you.                       
enjoyed it. 
will get copies for family and friends.
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4.5 STARS!

A fantastic start to a new series by a debut author. I am seriously impressed by this author's wit and finesse with this story. Although there is suspense and some grittier parts, I was smiling throughout 90% of the story. I absolutely loved Sloane and her self-induced "hot mess" of a life. Between trying to get her ex-husband back, her hot and cold feelings for Ethan the "IRS agent," and being romantically pursued by the shady CEO of Varela Global, Sloane's life only gets more messy and incessantly more fun. I was in love with Ethan from the start and could see that he was just as enamored with Sloane and her quirky behavior. That only endeared me to him more. As the story progresses, Sloane may still be a bit of a "hot mess," but her confidence and strength soars. The mystery and light suspense are written well and there are just enough romantic entanglements to keep me invested. I enjoyed how the story ended, but really wanted more of Ethan. I'm very interested in seeing how future books play out, since major players from this book live in England, as well as the U.S. I'm, also, committed to following this continuing series. Or, at least, hope that it continues. Note: this story does not end on a cliffhanger, but instead ends with obvious clues to a continuing series.
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Very convoluted first attempt with simplistic wending.
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