Asprey Charles has always assumed he would one day take his place in the family art appraisal and insurance firm. “His place” meaning he plans to continue to enjoy his playboy lifestyle, lavish money on his Cessna, and shirk every responsibility that dares come his way.
But when a life of crime is thrust upon him, he is just as happy to slip on a mask and cape and play a highwayman rogue. After all, life is one big game—and he excels at playing.
Poppy Donovan vows that her recent release from jail will be her last—no more crime, no more cons. But when she learns that her grandmother lost her savings to a low-life financial advisor, she’s forced to do just one more job.
It’s all going smoothly until the necklace she intends to pawn to fund her con is stolen by a handsome, mocking, white-collar thief. A thief who, it turns out, could take a whole lot more than money. If she’s not careful, this blue blood with no business on her side of the tracks could run off with the last thing she can afford to lose. Her heart.
Jen: Confidence Tricks starts off right in the middle of the action. Asprey and his brother Graff are in the process of relieving Poppy of her very expensive necklace. Poppy is pretty unhappy with them because this is a mark she has been working on for a long time. From the start it is clear Asprey is going to be fun.
“Who are you?” she added
“Some call us highwaymen. Some call us gentlemen thieves,” Asprey said. He turned eve more and managed to smile up at her, just inches away from a glimpse at the goods. “But if you move your leg a little bit to the right, you can call me anything you want.”
“Oh, gross,” she muttered, shifting her body just enough to close off his view. “Your kidding, right?”
“I never joke about woman’s underwear.” Wait. That didn’t come out right.
Poppy and The Charles family (Asprey, Graff and Tiffany) agree to pool their resources to pull off two heists. Poppy needs revenge for money stolen from her grandmother. She needs some help to pull off the final coupe. The Charles group has some family business they need taken care of but they have hit a wall. Together they all agree to help the other party get what they want.
Angela: Confidence Tricks starts off with a bang. So funny, I was cracking up at the back and forth between Asprey, Poppy and Graff. Asprey doesn’t take anything seriously and has a come back line for everything.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Asprey cried, bending awkwardly to try and reduce the amount of pressure. “Spork! I cry spork!”
She released some of the tension on his arm but didn’t back away. “You cry spork?”
“It’s my safe word,” he managed. “You know — functional yet innovative? I hate to brag, but I’ve been told I’m a little of both.”
Poppy plays off Asprey so well, her seriousness to his playfulness. She’s a tough girl from the streets to his spoiled, rich boy. I just knew they were going to be a fun couple from the start.
Jen: Things started to change in the middle of the book. For me, the tone became more serious and a little heavier. At the beginning of the book the relationship between Graff and Asprey was funny. Graff came off as the condescending yet lovable older brother. Their interaction was funny and it seemed that Asprey did things just to bug Graff.
His brother could talk for hours, driven by the sound of his own voice and the accumulation of spittle at the corners of his mouth.
After a while though it seemed like Graff really was a jerk and he thought Asprey was all fluff. I am not sure what changed but Graff became mean and nasty? Did you feel that way or was it just me?
Angela: I absolutely agree! I enjoyed the dialogue between the brothers at the beginning and then Graff started to seem more like an asshole rather than the stern older brother. Asprey starts out as the flighty one who took nothing serious, while Graff was trying to keep their con and family business together. Then it all changed, and not in a good way for me. I started not to like how Asprey was treated by both his family and Poppy. While I understood why people thought he was flighty, it started to get on my nerves how everyone talked to and treated him.
Jen: The middle of the book was mostly for setting up the two cons that each group would play. The Charles family would help Poppy con Todd and get her grandmother’s money back and Poppy would help them get into the apartment in order to steal the remaining painting. It was also about Poppy and Asprey falling for each other. But even while falling for each other they pushed each other away. And they didn’t push in a nice way. Poppy truly believed that they came from different worlds and those two worlds would never meet.
Angela: I enjoyed the setting up of the cons and watching these characters work together to figure out how to play them. While Asprey can’t seem to stay away from Poppy, and doesn’t really want to, Poppy plays it cool and tries a little too hard to stay detached. I wanted there to be more sexy times between the two of them. It seemed just when they were coming to an understanding Poppy roughly pushes Asprey away. To be honest I didn’t think their relationship issues were ever completely resolved.
Jen: Oh, the end. I have one question. What happened? Things didn’t turn out at all like I thought they would. Suddenly, it wasn’t funny anymore and I almost thought I was reading a different book than the one I started with. The resolution to the conflict was surprising and not what I wanted. It is hard to talk about it without mentioning spoilers so I am not sure what to say?
Angela: I’m still not sure why this book went in the direction it did. As much as I enjoyed the beginning, I disliked the ending. After all the work and effort these four went through, the conclusion came out of left field. It did seem like a different book. Certain characters were taken in directions I didn’t care for and I didn’t enjoy the resolution to either con. It wasn’t the comical, light-hearted read that it was in the beginning. After thinking I knew who Asprey and Poppy were as people, I was surprised at the choices they made in the end.
Angela: I don’t think I would have enjoyed reading Confidence Tricks as much if it weren’t for Asprey. He was the best part and I don’t think I would have liked half as much if it weren’t for his humor and general awesomeness. I can’t tell you how much fun I had reading at the beginning. I just wish the overall feel hadn’t changed halfway through. Final grade- C+
Jen: Overall, I loved Asprey. He was a wonderful, cheeky, funny hero and he provided some serious lol moments for me. I really wish the ending would have been different though. I still enjoyed the book but I had to take the grade down some for how things played out. Final grade- B