The Librarian and the Spy

Susan Mann
The Librarian and the Spy
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Release Date
April 2017
Book 1 of Librarian/Spy Escapade
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

A librarian's journey from the checkout desk to fast cars, stolen treasures, and international intrigue / with an introduction by suave, handsome "insurance" agent James Lockwood.

Adventure-hungry Quinn Ellington's job solving mundane mysteries for library patrons entangles her in a mission to decode the whereabouts of a weapons cache from a priceless work of art before arms dealers beat her to it. Her adventure is filled with twists, turns, and a budding romance.

Transcontinental pursuit, daring rescues, and intense covert flirting follow.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Apr 06, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
231 people found the following review helpful
Also posted at Reading Alley:

I was intrigued by the summary--I mean, a librarian caught up in spy games--and I took a chance, and boy, was I glad I did! THE LIBRARIAN AND THE SPY exceeded my expectations, being a compelling read with original, unforgettable characters.

Susan Mann seamlessly weaved popular culture (Harry Potter, LOTR, etc... the only thing lacking was Game of Thrones) into Quinn's and James's conversation, and their banter and quips were quick and lively and engaging. Quinn is an amazing heroine--refreshing and strong and confident in herself. I love how she totally loved books (kindred spirit there!) and how they need her mad librarian skills to solve the mystery. I also love the way she lived and breathed spy novels--it's in her every pore and pours out in her conversation and actions. I thought she, the untrained civilian, would overshadow James the spy, but I was glad to see James held his own in the end.

The pacing of the story is just right, with a balanced mix of suspense and mystery and romance (closed doors sex but lots of kisses!!), and totally love the twists and turns in the story, even until the end. (Please, do yourself a favor and don't read the ending first!) I love the one scene of Quinn and her family--I hope there's more in the next books! Already, I'm looking forward to the next books in the series. I hope there are lots!
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Book Review by Dawn (reviewer)
Apr 22, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
226 people found the following review helpful
Also posted at Reading Alley:

Quinn is a librarian and she's really good at her job. Finding answers and solving puzzles is her life, just like the characters in her books. But she'd rather be out experiencing the excitement than reading about it. So when James, a handsome stranger, walks into her library and asks for assistance researching mysterious ancient items, she jumps at the chance to help.

While Quinn and James try to track down the origins of the items, they develop more than just a working relationship. Yet, just when their budding romance starts to heat up, a surprise twist throws Quinn for a loop. Her new beau isn't who he says he is and now they're both in danger. Unwilling to give up before the mystery is solved, Quinn travels abroad with James to solve the case once and for all.

This book left me with conflicting thoughts. I'll start with what I liked. I loved Quinn from the moment I met her. She was spunky and quick-witted, ready for a challenge and able to go with the flow. I liked James, as well. He was charming and humorous. I even liked them as a pair. Their chemistry was adorable and I think they were a natural fit together.

When I started the book, I waited on pins and needles for the adventure to begin. While I was happy to see our couple getting closer, I was disappointed at the pacing. We're halfway through the book before anything substantial actually happens. I wasn't tempted to put the book down but did wonder why the story seemed stalled.

And just when the romance begins to pick up, we're thrust into the covert mission and the romance takes a hit and the sparks start to wane. I don't think we get a real moment of passion until at least three-quarters into the book and even that moment is short and left me wanting. It's mostly just clues leading to more clues and Quinn hiding her crush on James. The plot seems to take over and leaves our couple's developing relationship in the dust. This wouldn't be a problem in a mystery or crime novel but since this is a romance, I expected a bit more focus to be on the actual romance. Perhaps, the next book of the series will be more balanced.

Despite my gripes, there was still a lot to like about this book. Quinn was a great female lead with intelligence and courage to spare. She was loyal to James even when the odds were stacked against them. Even though the plot was slow to build, it did eventually pick up and there were a few mild action scenes. The ending was sweet and setup for more adventures in the next book.

In closing...
A light read with likable characters. Four stars!
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Susan is here to talk about her latest book, the scrumptiously delicious action-adventure The Librarian and the Spy, which is now available in stores everywhere!

Q: After reading the blurb, I thought, what a cool story. What's your inspiration for this story?

Thank you! Most people are well-acquainted with librarian stereotype: the dour, bun-sporting humorless scold who wants nothing more than suck the joy out of life. In fact, librarians are just the opposite. They're smart and funny and irreverent and their job is to help people. In writing THE LIBRARIAN AND THE SPY, I wanted to challenge those stereotypes by showcasing a young, attractive, witty, resourceful librarian who is more than willing to race headlong into adventure. I've always loved all things spy, so having Quinn get mixed up with a handsome covert operative was the obvious choice.

Q: Tell us more about Quinn Ellington. What makes her a heroine we would root for?

Quinn is like any of us. She has a normal job, spends time with her family, drives a twenty year-old car, and shares a small apartment with her cat. And despite barely making ends meet, she's grateful for what she has. At the same time, though, she yearns for a little adventure to come her way. I think most of us can relate to that. So when adventure does arrive, wrapped up in a yummy, handsome library patron/spy, we're thrilled for her and right with her, ready to go along for the ride.

Q: What makes them perfect for each other?

They make each other laugh and love the verbal sparring, the fun give and take. They also share a strong sense of duty and are prepared to do what it takes to keep others safe, even if it means putting themselves in peril. And then there's the mutual physical attraction. They're both smitten from the get go.

Q: Please share a fun and intriguing fact or experience during the research of writing this book.

James and Quinn meet when he comes into the library and asks for her to help him find out more about a brooch. During the course of her reference interview, she realizes the brooch in question is Celtic and used to fasten cloaks, not the kind Queen Elizabeth II wears. In my research of Her Majesty's brooches, I learned one of her favorites—one she still often wears—is the Flame Lily brooch. She received it as a twenty-first birthday present when she, her parents, and sister toured southern Africa in 1947. It was the brooch she wore when she returned to England from Kenya when her father died. It makes me wonder if she loves it, not only because of its beauty and simplicity, but because it reminds her of her beloved father and a family trip.

Q: That's fascinating. What's up next for you?

I'm currently getting Quinn and James's next two escapades ready to be released into the world. A COVERT AFFAIR, their second adventure, is coming August 29, 2017. In it, they travel to India, tasked to locate a long lost library. The title of the third is still under wraps. I can say it features a tropical paradise, a former imperial city, and a Mediterranean playground of the rich and famous. Overall, I'd have to say that's a pretty great life for a librarian and her spy.

About the Author

I write contemporary romance novels infused with humor, adventure, and suspense. My first book, The Librarian and the Spy, features, unsurprisingly, a librarian and a spy. Write what you know, they say. So I did. The librarian part, not the spy part.

My writing career didn't begin until I was in my late 40s. Now I'm honored to be one of those odd people who will have their first book published after 50. Seriously, you just never know where life will take you.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in History from UCLA (Go Bruins) and a Master's degree in Library Science from San Jose State University (Go Spartans). I live in Superior, Colorado (where 100 years ago the coal was deemed to be of "superior" quality), with my husband, Ken, our daughter, Sarah (when she's not away at college), and Lucy the Golden Retriever.

When I'm not writing, I read, eat, and watch more sports than is probably healthy. I've been known to do all three at the same time.

I am represented by Rena Rossner, literary agent extraordinaire at The Deborah Harris Agency.

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