Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Book Review: THE SHELL GAME, by Chris Keniston

The Shell Game, the Aloha series, Book 0.5
By Chris Keniston
Published August 2014

About the Book:
He's High Risk... She's High Stakes.
Tricked into taking a Caribbean cruise, former Navy SEAL Luke "Brooklyn" Chapman is expecting free-flowing booze, bikini-clad women, and an abundance of recreation.
Hardworking Sharla Kramer has her hands full keeping her sticky-fingered grandmother out of trouble. Looking forward to a nice rest while on vacation, the last thing she needs in her life is a high risk Navy SEAL.
Toss in a couple of swindlers, a retired cop, and a few fun-loving ladies in red hats, and a little high seas R&R quickly becomes a lot of high stakes shenanigans!

First I will admit I haven't read any of the other books in Keniston's Aloha series. My opinion after finishing is that its not necessary to read the series to enjoy this prequel. This is a stand alone book, although I guess if you already know and love these characters, it might be really fun to finally get this backstory. Because these are fun characters. The author does a great job introducing both main and secondary players and investing the reader in their stories. The majority of the book takes place on a cruise ship, and having been on a few cruises it all rang so true I had to laugh at points.

Sharla Kramer is a hospital nurse who lost her policeman husband a few years back in an on the job shooting. Now her grandmother has moved in with her, an aging former con artist with a definite twinkle in her eye. Sharla ends up accompanying Nana on a vacation cruise, where her only plans are to keep Nana out of trouble and read through the many books back logged on her Kindle (sounds like a plan to me!) Nana has other ideas, especially after she bumps into one particular hunk who seems to be the only single guy in her granddaughter's age group.

Luke "Brooklyn" Chapman is a former Navy Seal who now works for the CIA taking down the bad guys in a more surreptitious but no less dangerous way. After a close encounter with a knife, his superior sends him on a mandatory vacation cruise to rest and relax. When he and Sharla meet, it feels less like sparks flying and more like he's finally found a home and someone to care about. Which is crazy, since they're in the middle of the ocean and Sharla has sworn off dating men with dangerous jobs. Nana has other plans, and she's a woman who gets what she wants.

They say it takes a crook to know a crook, and Nana spots a con man working the cruise line clientele with a real estate shell game. (Thus the title.) The adventure starts when they all team up to bring the guy down.

This book is a lot of fun, and a fast romp of a read. I recommend it for entertaining easy summer reading, especially if you're headed out on a cruise.

p.s. when I wrote this review, the Kindle edition of this book was on sale for free! Grab a copy today and save it for summer fun!

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