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The Housewife Assassin's Handbook PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Housewife Assassin's Handbook
Author: Josie Brown
Publisher: Published May 12th 2011 by Signal Press (first published May 11th 2011)
ISBN: null
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Every desperate housewife wants an alias. Donna Stone has one…and it happens to be government-sanctioned. She earned it the hard way: her husband was killed the day she delivered her third child. To avenge his death, she leads a secret life – as an assassin. But espionage makes for strange bedfellows – and brings new meaning to that old adage, "Honey, I’m home…"

30 review for The Housewife Assassin's Handbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Stilletos, bitchdom, sex and espionage - yes. Me me me me me en my perfect self is the heroine. Perfect mommy, perfect kiddies and the right sex drive. Now bite me. Got the t-shirt, it was done. Three hours of my life lost. It was enough.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Walker

    I think this is probably Satire. Or at least tongue in cheek. One part of me says hooray for taking all those cliches and making fun of them, giving a fresh twist with predictability. For playing with all that melodrama in the bedroom. The other part of me just groans. When I was finished, I did some research and found that Ms. Brown is widely accepted as a brilliant writer who, does from time to time, write Satire. If this is Satire, it's beautiful. I just wish I'd known it before I invested in I think this is probably Satire. Or at least tongue in cheek. One part of me says hooray for taking all those cliches and making fun of them, giving a fresh twist with predictability. For playing with all that melodrama in the bedroom. The other part of me just groans. When I was finished, I did some research and found that Ms. Brown is widely accepted as a brilliant writer who, does from time to time, write Satire. If this is Satire, it's beautiful. I just wish I'd known it before I invested in my protagonists. Because protagonist One waffles and sleeps with more than one person (not necessarily bad, but the complete emotional swing kina throws ya). And then she wants to eliminate the other protagonist violently (who I happened to like). Wild uncharacteristic emotional swings mixed with making the main protagonist seem stupid just doesn't do it for me. It was hilarious in places though. And I like that the author's note says she had fun writing it. And she's done her research of suburbia and assassin-world. So part of me wanted to give it a four star rating. Funny. Sexy. Satire-y. The other half beat the star rating with a shoe because, even Satire needs a romance and characters you can count on. Note: It IS satire. (Jumps up and down). And Ms. Brown is delightful. She wrote me a lovely email. I dusted the three star rating off and moved her up to a 4 (cause authors who are cool get more stars).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    My preferred format for reading is paper; and that's the only format I support financially, since the only language Big Publishing understands is dollars and cents. Even for a reader like myself, though, e-books have their uses. Writers can offer particular books for free in that format, and that makes it possible to read them first in order to check the quality before you buy the paper edition. And sometimes that opportunity saves you money that would have been wasted if you'd taken a chance on My preferred format for reading is paper; and that's the only format I support financially, since the only language Big Publishing understands is dollars and cents. Even for a reader like myself, though, e-books have their uses. Writers can offer particular books for free in that format, and that makes it possible to read them first in order to check the quality before you buy the paper edition. And sometimes that opportunity saves you money that would have been wasted if you'd taken a chance on the paper book to begin with! For me, this series opener (which Brown makes available free in e-book format on a permanent basis) was one of those books I was thankful I didn't have to spend money on, which I'd have regretted. The novel's premise is intriguing enough, and the harrowing first chapter grabbed my attention effectively. We're plunged into the action in medias res, with present-day events narrated by protagonist Donna in present tense. At the first opportunity, she drops back into a flashback (in past tense) that gives us an introduction to her childhood and family background --and yes, that's relevant!-- how she met her husband, their few years together, and her discovery, after he was identified as the dead victim of a car wreck on the night she gave birth to their third child, that he had a BIG secret: the corporation he worked for was a front that contracted to do wet work for the CIA, and he was an assassin, most recently assigned to help bring down the Quorum, a shadowy organization of ex-government assassins who've gone rogue and are out for profit. (They planted the bomb in his car.) We also learn how, needing to support her kids and wanting to better protect them (long story!), and wanting vengeance on the kinds of scumbags who made her a widow, she subsequently agreed to go to work for Carl's employer, in his old job. (That's not as big a stretch as it would be for some women --she learned to shoot as a kid, is naturally talented for and very good at it, and met Carl at a firing range.) While I was reading the first few chapters, I expected this to be a four-star read. The body of the novel itself (we'll talk about the italicized chapter beginnings below!) actually is more serious in tone than comedic, although it does have some deadpan humor that arises from the incongruities of Donna's job responsibilities vs. her domestic ones. Her reflections about the ethics of what she does aren't approached flippantly, and she's a well-drawn character who earned my sympathy and respect --a very tough woman, morally and physically, but essentially a good and decent person and a caring mom (who intends to survive and be there for her kids). Brown creates a situation that's fraught with moral and emotional complexity and shades of gray to start with, and then ups the emotional ante exponentially with a new development --followed by some more really compelling twists and turns, the first one of which I didn't see coming. (I did suspect the second one.) None of the other characters are developed as fully as Donna, but they're believable, and the author does conjure a sense of place with the southern California setting (in Orange County). And I liked the depiction of family life, and Donna's relationship with her kids. In fairness, I also need to defend Donna against the complaint of one reviewer, who regards her as a moral pariah because she lies to her kids, at a very serious level. Well, yes, she does (although she doesn't like that situation). But as a reality check, these kids are 12, 10 and 5 years old, with big mouths, limited impulse control, and a child's immaturity and deficient understanding of danger and the complexities of real-world situations. Even if the lies involved are extreme, telling them the truth in a life-and-death situation, where things they do and say could have disastrous consequences, is not a course I'd advocate. Another potential criticism is that Brown's writing includes several episodes of explicit sex --although there's a defensible literary reason for the most disgusting of these-- and revolting sexual situations (in the opening scene, Donna's posing as a prostitute) and some bad language, including the f-word. In Donna's vocabulary, though, the latter is only a verb used in unloving contexts, not an all-purpose adjective/adverb; and I think she probably uses vulgar terms for some body parts because she's honestly never heard the correct ones used in normal speech. Most of the other bad language here is strictly of the d- or h-word sort. These factors weren't what really dragged down my rating. The principal problem I had here was that the plotting is simply not well thought out, and not convincing. One could argue that the essential premise is far-fetched; but I was okay with suspending disbelief that far. (Whether or not black ops organizations would hire a single mom with kids is a matter of speculation, since real life organizations like this don't publicize their personnel policies. :-) ) But even within the premise Brown creates, much of her plotting simply doesn't stand examination. Some of the major actions by the villain(s) are at cross-purposes with some of their other major actions; several events that take place here would involve the police in the story, at a level that couldn't be ignored, but there's no indication of that here; Donna's reasoning for one major decision is weak and unconvincing; and Acme (the company she works for) would be much more actively involved in the decision-making at the end, not passive as it is here. Also, characters could not realistically suddenly just shrug off previously incapacitating wounds (which happens here twice), and there are other significant logical slips that took me out of the story. The author writes prolifically, but she apparently wrote this novel too quickly to take her craftsmanship in plotting seriously, or to put any real thought behind it. (That's a real shame.) Finally, a word is in order about the titular "Handbook" aspect. As a gimmick here (and as nearly as I can tell, in the other 15 books of the series as well, though I haven't read them) Brown prefaces each chapter with short, italicized snippets giving supposed household hints that blend home economics with mayhem. These are unrelated to the story-line (though some may have a passing thematic connection to something in the chapter), don't advance it in any way, and don't reflect any things that Donna might actually do. Instead, they're intended to be humorous (often depending for their humor on exaggerations that are completely over the top). Some readers like these (one reviewer found them to be her favorite aspect of the book!); so as the saying goes, "Your mileage may vary." Personally, though, their humor generally fell flat for me; it typically strains too hard, and comes across as weak (or nonexistent) and forced. I found them an irritating nuisance that the book would have been better off without. Good fiction doesn't need gimmicks to appeal; and if the author had given us a tight, plausible, well-constructed plot, this novel wouldn't have needed any gimmick either. Ultimately, I gave this two stars rather than one, in consideration of its positive elements; and I did finish it (I had to see how it ended!). But I don't plan to continue reading the series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josie Brown

    Dear Readers, Every desperate housewife would love an alias.The heroine of my latest novel, Donna Stone has one, and it's government sanctioned. Oh sure, you need to be ruthless to take on Russian mafia bosses, rogue dictators, and terrorists set on destroying the world. But it takes real killer instincts to survive suburbia. Try juggling the fifth grade phone tree during a shootout with skinhead arms dealers, or driving carpool while being chased by Chinese double agents. Donna's life wasn't alwa Dear Readers, Every desperate housewife would love an alias.The heroine of my latest novel, Donna Stone has one, and it's government sanctioned. Oh sure, you need to be ruthless to take on Russian mafia bosses, rogue dictators, and terrorists set on destroying the world. But it takes real killer instincts to survive suburbia. Try juggling the fifth grade phone tree during a shootout with skinhead arms dealers, or driving carpool while being chased by Chinese double agents. Donna's life wasn't always this complicated. Five years earlier she was just another woman with two preschoolers, a baby bump, and an adoring husband: Carl, with whom she lived happily ever after in a McMansion in the Orange County, California community of Hilldale. But Donna's life was changed forever the night she delivered her baby: Carl's car blew up on the way to the hospital. Turns out Carl was a "hard man"—an assassin—for the black ops organization known as Acme Industries. The hit on Carl was carried out by the Quorum, a terrorist cell he was tracking. The Quorum's motto: "Show me the money." Governments and corporations do as they're told—or suffer bloody consequences. Carl left something behind that the Quorum wants badly. To protect herself and avenge Carl's death, Donna joined Acme. Whereas her hostessing skills rival Martha Stewart's, her marksmanship is second to none. A good thing, too, because the Quorum has planted a sleeper cell in Hilldale. For Donna, that's too close for comfort. Will she be able to save her family before the Quorum blows up Los Angeles? Acme's way of flushing out the Quorum is by "bringing Carl back from the dead." But terrorism makes strange bedfellows--and brings new meaning to that old adage "Honey, I'm home…" Feel free to read an excerpt here: http://tinyurl.com/hahexc Hope you love Donna as much as I loved writing about her!The Housewife Assassin's Handbook Read the excerpt of Chapter One here...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I frequently visit a blog the author is part of and enjoy her posts, so I really wanted to enjoy this book that sounded like it would be light hearted fun read...yeah, with death. I did not like the heroine, I can understand her quest for revenge, but her children should have come first and the hell she puts them through letting them think their dad is alive is unconscionable. That she allows them to think another agent is their father and allow them to get attached to him was over the top. UNAC I frequently visit a blog the author is part of and enjoy her posts, so I really wanted to enjoy this book that sounded like it would be light hearted fun read...yeah, with death. I did not like the heroine, I can understand her quest for revenge, but her children should have come first and the hell she puts them through letting them think their dad is alive is unconscionable. That she allows them to think another agent is their father and allow them to get attached to him was over the top. UNACCEPTABLE. As a single parent they depended on her and her "job" being in the way of her showing up on time and fulfilling the obligations she takes on at their school and that all falls to the wayside for her job. Why didn't she hire a housekeeper? She's strong in one aspect and a complete failure and wimp in others to an extreme that isn't reasonable. Sometimes I can ignore inconsistencies and put outlandish situations aside and just go along with the ride, but not here. Her incredibly poor parenting (yes, I know this is fiction)I couldn't accept and made this a DNF for me. One the positive side, the writing flowed well and I wasn't bothered by any editing issues.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol ꧁꧂

    3.5★ The best part of this book was the "housewifely" tips at the start of each chapter. I've given 4 stars for this, the humour, originality & the breakneck pace that made this book very hard to put down. My new favourite Bookbub author! Edit: Read this book when I was quite new to GR & still working out whether half stars should go up or down. This doesn't compare to my other 4★ so I'm rounding down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate’s Book Spot

    I was lucky enough to win this eBook from a giveaway on Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog, the blurb sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading it. I have to say that this book was even better than I thought it would be – I ended up reading it in just one evening and couldn’t go to sleep until I knew what the outcome would be! It was action-packed and humorous from the start and that continued throughout, Donna appeared to be struggling with her double life as an assassin and a mum but I w I was lucky enough to win this eBook from a giveaway on Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog, the blurb sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading it. I have to say that this book was even better than I thought it would be – I ended up reading it in just one evening and couldn’t go to sleep until I knew what the outcome would be! It was action-packed and humorous from the start and that continued throughout, Donna appeared to be struggling with her double life as an assassin and a mum but I was surprised to find out that she hadn’t told anyone (not even the children) that her husband had died. However, once I had read the explanation for this I understood why. An unexpected visitor in her house created more problems for Donna and, I think, added another entertaining side to the storyline. I really enjoyed the mission details and the many twists and turns that kept me glued to my Kindle screen. Towards the end I did guess where things were heading but that didn’t matter where my enjoyment was concerned because I still couldn’t wait to find out exactly how it would all be revealed. I was pleased to discover that this is the first of a series and look forward to getting my hands on book two so I can see where life takes Donna and her family next! The book contained some sexual scenes so if you are likely to be offended by this then it probably isn’t a book for you. This was an addictive read – gritty but funny at the same time, it definitely hit the mark with me

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katri

    I think I haven't read any chick lit book since high school and I thought I never will..., but obviously :D After first quarter of the book I thought to put it down, but I couldn't since I have to finish what I've started. At times I got really annoyed by author's constant denials on some facts... Why would you say something over and over? In fact finally one doesn't believe it anymore and it ruins all the fun... :( On the other hand it might have been her way to let reader feel like Donna feels.. I think I haven't read any chick lit book since high school and I thought I never will..., but obviously :D After first quarter of the book I thought to put it down, but I couldn't since I have to finish what I've started. At times I got really annoyed by author's constant denials on some facts... Why would you say something over and over? In fact finally one doesn't believe it anymore and it ruins all the fun... :( On the other hand it might have been her way to let reader feel like Donna feels...always second quessing I was surprised that in the middle of the book it got quite interesting and went quick all the way to the end. Although there were some irritating pages it was quite fun read and especially I liked the way she compares houswife's and assasin's job: What works best on those horrid soil and sweat rings around shirt collars? A pre-wash spray is a good start, as is the correct use of detergents, bleach (white shirts), or bluing. Remember: always follow the directions! What causes this problem? Too tight collars are the culprits. This problem is doubly troublesome when the wearer has been hanged first, so ask him to take off his shirt before you string him up, and voila! You've avoided the problem completely...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I recently read The Secrets Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown. I was pleasantly surprised by what a good read it was by an author that I had never heard about before. I was thrilled to discover that she had written other books and I was certainly intrigued by this title. In this story, we find that Donna has lost her husband. Needing to support her three children, she becomes an assassin for a government organization. The book is funny, entertaining, fast moving, and a thriller. You do I recently read The Secrets Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown. I was pleasantly surprised by what a good read it was by an author that I had never heard about before. I was thrilled to discover that she had written other books and I was certainly intrigued by this title. In this story, we find that Donna has lost her husband. Needing to support her three children, she becomes an assassin for a government organization. The book is funny, entertaining, fast moving, and a thriller. You do become invested in the characters and at points like and dislike the same character. Josie has a gift for writing an engaging, truly enjoyable novel. I will be looking for my next one! A new favorite author is always a treat!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    I was suprised by how much I liked this one. I picked it up randomly for a challenge because - you guessed it - it has a red cover. Of all the things! THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK features Donna Stone, widow, mother of 3, assassin. With a lot of wit and a lot of sass. She's me, in another life, basically. Her husband was killed undercover years ago, and she took a job at the same agency to work on avenging him. This book... caught me off guard. The action and characters were believable. The I was suprised by how much I liked this one. I picked it up randomly for a challenge because - you guessed it - it has a red cover. Of all the things! THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK features Donna Stone, widow, mother of 3, assassin. With a lot of wit and a lot of sass. She's me, in another life, basically. Her husband was killed undercover years ago, and she took a job at the same agency to work on avenging him. This book... caught me off guard. The action and characters were believable. The humor made me laugh at multiple points during the story. The twists were a bit predictable, but were still well-executed and thought out. I look forward to reading more of this series in the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    OK I am on a Josie Brown roll now! She has me laughing and sometimes crying, boo hoo, all in all I am intrigued by Carl and then Jack. The suburbs according to Josie are just filled with secret agents and little gadgets. Very good story and plot. Cant say more because I don't want to give away the plot. Trust me it is good!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    This book was a free download, and honestly, I feel like I need to go send some money to the author ... it was excellent and funny and intriguing and different and completely enjoyable. So guess, maybe she will get my money, because I'm going to buy some more of her books! Recommend!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna Peterson

    When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. By the second chapter, I was hooked! I couldn't put the book down. The characters become your friends and you don't want to let them go. If you like romantic mysteries, I highly recommend these books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deraurah B. Wilson

    Great Read It was funny and intense all at the same time. The main character is so relatable. I really enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

  15. 5 out of 5

    paula dear

    Has you gripped This book has just the right amount of everything for a great read. Suspense humour heartbreak and a little bit of lust.. Can't wait to read book two!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary (BookHounds)

    MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT Donna thinks her husband has a normal job that includes a LOT of travel but it affords her the life she has always dreamed of and then Carl is declared dead while she is at the hospital delivering her third child, she finds out exactly what his job entailed as an assassin. When the money runs out from his job, she finds out the strange truth about what Carl actually did and is drawn in a world of espionage and terrorists. I guess being a mother prepares you for coo MY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT Donna thinks her husband has a normal job that includes a LOT of travel but it affords her the life she has always dreamed of and then Carl is declared dead while she is at the hospital delivering her third child, she finds out exactly what his job entailed as an assassin. When the money runs out from his job, she finds out the strange truth about what Carl actually did and is drawn in a world of espionage and terrorists. I guess being a mother prepares you for coordinating attacks and being vicious and you can ask anyone who has ever been involved in the PTA. She is hired by Acme Industries as an operative to help counteract the activities of the Quorum and other slime. So when Donna's "husband" returns to her life, it turns out to be Jack, another Acme operative that wants to use her as a front. She tries to get to the bottom of exactly what happened to her husband. There are more twists and turns in this plot than Mulholland Drive and if you have been in the car with me, just as fast! Her partner in crime is now Jack but Donna can't exactly figure out which side he is on and every time she thinks she has the answer it is wrong. This is a super sexy and fun read that you shouldn't miss! How do I love this book, let me count the ways: 1. A kick ass woman that can literally kick ass as well as cook and clean. Donna gives a whole new meaning to "taking out the trash". 2. The book is set around Los Angeles, mostly in a gated community suspiciously like Coto de Caza, full of housewives that could be 'real" and for the setting alone, a big giant WIN! 3. Super Sarcasm, snarky dialogue and making fun of all that is wrong in the OC, politics, as well as current world affairs.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    There was a lot of potential here, but the story moved too quickly for me. The character development and relationship development was skimmed over, to the point where in one chapter they can't stand each other and in the next they're having sex. Which is fine if it's made clear that they're only PRETENDING to hate each other, but I didn't feel that was the case here. I felt like this book was on par with a lot of new sitcoms--written for the lowest common denominator. Kevin and I have been watch There was a lot of potential here, but the story moved too quickly for me. The character development and relationship development was skimmed over, to the point where in one chapter they can't stand each other and in the next they're having sex. Which is fine if it's made clear that they're only PRETENDING to hate each other, but I didn't feel that was the case here. I felt like this book was on par with a lot of new sitcoms--written for the lowest common denominator. Kevin and I have been watching (well, trying to; I think we've given up on it) "Friends With Better Lives" and this book reminded me a lot of that show, in that the jokes fall flat because they're over-explained and the actors (or in this case, the characters' narrative voices) are mugging (I had an acting teacher who used to get SO. MAD. if any of us made our reactions just the tiniest bit bigger than they would be in real life because "if the audience isn't perceptive enough to get it on their own, they're in the wrong theatre"). I just felt like Brown had a good idea here, but her execution was dumbed-down and poorly copy-edited (at least in the Kindle version) and the whole thing read like she had her best friend do a spell check during a girls' night in, and then self-published. It makes me sad because the concept is cute and I wanted to like Donna and Jack together, but the whole thing just didn't work for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anika

    It was free first for all and I loved it. I have already brought the second book. It was full speed ahead from page 1. Housewife turns assassin when husband dies and she finds out the truth (he's a secret agent). Now she's out for revenge. A mother of three by day and an assassin in between. She has been at it since the birth of her last child which her husband never got back to the hospital to see. It's been five years and when she is finally about to tell her kids the truth. She gets a partner It was free first for all and I loved it. I have already brought the second book. It was full speed ahead from page 1. Housewife turns assassin when husband dies and she finds out the truth (he's a secret agent). Now she's out for revenge. A mother of three by day and an assassin in between. She has been at it since the birth of her last child which her husband never got back to the hospital to see. It's been five years and when she is finally about to tell her kids the truth. She gets a partner Jack who plays the part of husband/daddy return. This mission is to play happy family to get the people who were after her real husband and also now trying an assassin attempt of there own with a bomb that could wipe out a small neighborhood mainly hers. During this field Op, guess who appears?? The real husband Carl, and now Donna is really in a tale spin about the the husband she has missed against the man Jack who she was falling for and could be falling for her too. That's when things go explosive and I thought it could not be anymore action pack and suspenseful. A must read cause you never know what's gonna happen next to Donna.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    The Housewife Assassin's Handbook This was an interesting plot device – take one widowed woman with children whose husband was killed while working at something she knew nothing about-have the widow want to get revenge for her husbands death – have her take over his job- and then throw a sexy man into the mix who is supposed to be her late husband. ( because nobody but the heroine knows her husband is dead, not even her kids!) I loved this book: the feistiness of Donna, the story, the pacing, I The Housewife Assassin's Handbook This was an interesting plot device – take one widowed woman with children whose husband was killed while working at something she knew nothing about-have the widow want to get revenge for her husbands death – have her take over his job- and then throw a sexy man into the mix who is supposed to be her late husband. ( because nobody but the heroine knows her husband is dead, not even her kids!) I loved this book: the feistiness of Donna, the story, the pacing, I loved the mystery --- I HATED the inconsistencies. They were bad enough and often enough to pull me out of the story, and with no apology from the author, nor an updated book. I had a little problem with Donna sleeping with both men near the end of the book,and I REALLY disliked the fact that she kept her husbands' death from her children, family and neighbors but I can understand that she ‘had’ too because of the mission. This could have been a great book but for some minor things; with judicious editing and beta reading I think this author will go far in the ‘silly heroine/slapstick’ genre.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Swiderski

    It looks like I'm a little late discovering this author, but better late than never. I actually bought this book and the second in the series as a two-volume Kindle deal. (Should be finished the second book in no time, and then I guess this devious author has forced my hand. I'm gonna have to buy the rest of her books, dammit. Tricky... verrrry tricky!) When I first started reading this book, I thought, "This is soooo unbelievable." I mean, I can maybe buy a housewife doubling as a ruthless assas It looks like I'm a little late discovering this author, but better late than never. I actually bought this book and the second in the series as a two-volume Kindle deal. (Should be finished the second book in no time, and then I guess this devious author has forced my hand. I'm gonna have to buy the rest of her books, dammit. Tricky... verrrry tricky!) When I first started reading this book, I thought, "This is soooo unbelievable." I mean, I can maybe buy a housewife doubling as a ruthless assassin in between picking up her kids from school and baking cupcakes, because, ya know, she had to do SOMETHING to support her family after her husband disappeared... but have you EVER heard of a newborn baby who sleeps through the night...??? The more I read, the more I smiled. The more I chuckled. The more I laughed out loud. This book is DIFFERENT. It's fun. It's adventurous, and it's even got some romance. Plus the star is a kick-ass housewife. What's not to love? Nothing. I'd easily give this four and a half very fun stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    K.S. Marsden

    Now this is a heroine that I can admire. Donna Stone is a mum, running around trying to keep a tidy house and feed her family; she tries not to be late picking up the kids, and watches them proudly. They all happen to live in a perfect community, in which the Stone family seem to be comparatively normal next to the Desperate Housewives, and equally desperate husbands. But no one knows that she is also an assassin for Acme Industries, and knows a hundred different ways to kill. The two halves of Do Now this is a heroine that I can admire. Donna Stone is a mum, running around trying to keep a tidy house and feed her family; she tries not to be late picking up the kids, and watches them proudly. They all happen to live in a perfect community, in which the Stone family seem to be comparatively normal next to the Desperate Housewives, and equally desperate husbands. But no one knows that she is also an assassin for Acme Industries, and knows a hundred different ways to kill. The two halves of Donna's life make sense. As you follow her story, there's no point where you think of her as "Assassin Donna" vs. "Mummy Donna", her attitude to life is even throughout. As an assassin she is still concerned that the poison might not take effect fast enough for her to be home in time for her son's baseball game; in her daily life she doesn't pretend to be anything less than she is (she just hides the I-Kill-People profession). I really like how well this was done. And as for Jack. I'll have one of those, please.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alcornell

    Aaarghhhh. Meh. Sigh. :-& I am too old for this. Just when you think the humor (or mystery) is going somewhere, the "romance" and (gratuitous) sex steps in to dismantle the whole sequence. By that I mean the plot suffers terribly from lack of development of characters or dimension beyond the level of reality tv. This is no more than a vehicle for nicely packaged, not-fully salacious titillation, which I suppose is (obviously) "to sell books". It does not have the heart of Veronica Mars, or t Aaarghhhh. Meh. Sigh. :-& I am too old for this. Just when you think the humor (or mystery) is going somewhere, the "romance" and (gratuitous) sex steps in to dismantle the whole sequence. By that I mean the plot suffers terribly from lack of development of characters or dimension beyond the level of reality tv. This is no more than a vehicle for nicely packaged, not-fully salacious titillation, which I suppose is (obviously) "to sell books". It does not have the heart of Veronica Mars, or the camp of any of the super-heroes or spies, or the wicked wit in any of the wonderful mystery, romance or humor writers we know and love. If you have read a word of Christopher Moore, Jennie Lawson, Janet Evanovich, or the king of formula writers, James Patterson, (or any of a host of current bloggers) you know there is very entertaining stuff to read 'out there.' This book pretends to those aspirations, but lack of delivery gives it away as a vapid wanna-be, sorry to say. Sorry because the premise was SO promising, and some of the language is really smart and funny.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate Eileen Shannon

    I just finished reading The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (funny mystery) (Book #1 - The Housewife Assassin Series) by Josie Brown. How can you not give five stars to a book that starts with: “Any woman can be both the perfect housewife and an accomplished assassin, because both functions require the same qualities: creativity; a never say die attitude; and an attention to details, no matter how small...” This is so laugh out loud ridiculous, it should be a movie with Goldie Hawn as the star – o I just finished reading The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (funny mystery) (Book #1 - The Housewife Assassin Series) by Josie Brown. How can you not give five stars to a book that starts with: “Any woman can be both the perfect housewife and an accomplished assassin, because both functions require the same qualities: creativity; a never say die attitude; and an attention to details, no matter how small...” This is so laugh out loud ridiculous, it should be a movie with Goldie Hawn as the star – okay, her daughter, what can I say, I’m old. You read it, you chuckle. Housewife/widow turned assassin to make ends meet. Amusing. But you figure you won’t finish it. Then a twist. Experienced reader you are, you know what is going to happen. BUT YOU ARE WRONG. Another twist. I loved it, can’t wait to read all her other books. Only read if you don’t take yourself and your reading too seriously. But if the idea of Lucy and Ethel bringing down the Russians during the cold war or the Desperate Housewives bringing down The Tea Party, appeal to you, then read this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Georgie

    A story told with a lot of energy and humour. The whole point about the book is the contrast between the heroine's Angel of the Household persona and her Angel of Death job. And it's wittily pointed up in the first couple of chapters, and the chapter headings. So, it's unfair of me to accuse the book of being unrealistic - frankly, if you haven't figured that out from the blurb, there isn't much hope for you. While the Assassin bit was OTT, it's set against a realistic family background and the h A story told with a lot of energy and humour. The whole point about the book is the contrast between the heroine's Angel of the Household persona and her Angel of Death job. And it's wittily pointed up in the first couple of chapters, and the chapter headings. So, it's unfair of me to accuse the book of being unrealistic - frankly, if you haven't figured that out from the blurb, there isn't much hope for you. While the Assassin bit was OTT, it's set against a realistic family background and the heroine's moving love for her dead husband. So it grated when (view spoiler)[in the matter of a few pages, the author simply over-turned that emotionally convincing love, and moved the heroine on ruthlessly. I felt a bit cheated because something realistic was brushed aside for the artificial plot. (hide spoiler)] The ending is a bit rushed, and clearly just set up as a lead in to the next book. Still, it saw me through a three course meal by myself in a faraway conference hotel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marley

    As far as I can remember, this is my fist forage into chick lit, although I didn't now that's what I was getting myself in for. If chick let were as good as this book, I might continue to investigate it, but I doubt if I will, since most of the genre isn't about housewives who just happen to be professional assassins for the CIA. The book has a real Desperate Housewives feel to it which is good. I like like the idea of knocking off a WMS runner at the Cheateau Marmont, and then running to pick y As far as I can remember, this is my fist forage into chick lit, although I didn't now that's what I was getting myself in for. If chick let were as good as this book, I might continue to investigate it, but I doubt if I will, since most of the genre isn't about housewives who just happen to be professional assassins for the CIA. The book has a real Desperate Housewives feel to it which is good. I like like the idea of knocking off a WMS runner at the Cheateau Marmont, and then running to pick you kid up from school. The plot is a bit far-fetched, but fun. The author, Josie Brown, is hilarious. I had most of it figured out early, but so what! It's the journey, not the destination. It dragged in a couple places, was silly in some, but great fun. I plan to read the rest of the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    So excited about this series! This book frequently popped up in both my amazon, and goodreads recommendations so I finally decided to download it and im so happy I did! I have read tons of funny mystery romantic stories and they all seem to blend together but this series will be in a league of it's own. Yes the premise seems a bit silly, a mom of three who also doubles as an assassin, but somehow it works and dare I say it becomes somewhat believable? It was refreshing having the female lead not So excited about this series! This book frequently popped up in both my amazon, and goodreads recommendations so I finally decided to download it and im so happy I did! I have read tons of funny mystery romantic stories and they all seem to blend together but this series will be in a league of it's own. Yes the premise seems a bit silly, a mom of three who also doubles as an assassin, but somehow it works and dare I say it becomes somewhat believable? It was refreshing having the female lead not be the usual amateur bumbling detective, constantly making bad decisions. Although our heroine is not perfect and at times a "bad mommy," she redeems herself by being smart, likable and totally bad-ass! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little harder than a typical cozy mystery. It's a great mystery with just enough sex, violence, and humor.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie Valerie

    Josie Brown's accomplished skills as a writer are on display in this exciting suburban mystery. Strong central characters, compelling incident to launch the story, twists at every turn. There's humor, romance, and intrigue in this page-turning tale of a housewife-turned-assassin. While taking on the evil Quorum, Donna struggles to reconcile competing feelings of love for the man she lost and the man she found while also feeling motherly concern for the safety of her children. The whole town's in Josie Brown's accomplished skills as a writer are on display in this exciting suburban mystery. Strong central characters, compelling incident to launch the story, twists at every turn. There's humor, romance, and intrigue in this page-turning tale of a housewife-turned-assassin. While taking on the evil Quorum, Donna struggles to reconcile competing feelings of love for the man she lost and the man she found while also feeling motherly concern for the safety of her children. The whole town's involved in this delightful journey through pies, baseball, carpooling, and yes, assassins, moles, and terrorism. I will be reading/listening to every book that Josie Brown writes. Fabulous job by the Audible narrator. Fabulous!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vered

    Two thumbs up for this original, quirky book, which I suspect will easily make it onto my Top 10 for 2016 list! Imagine your typical desperate housewife in a snooty, upscale residential area, balancing housework, grocery shopping, picking up kids and killing bad guys. Each chapter starts off with pithy advice on how to manage your house (including removing stains from the carpet, or using the carpet to wrap up the body), followed by the antics of our heroine / secret agent / mommy and the crew sh Two thumbs up for this original, quirky book, which I suspect will easily make it onto my Top 10 for 2016 list! Imagine your typical desperate housewife in a snooty, upscale residential area, balancing housework, grocery shopping, picking up kids and killing bad guys. Each chapter starts off with pithy advice on how to manage your house (including removing stains from the carpet, or using the carpet to wrap up the body), followed by the antics of our heroine / secret agent / mommy and the crew she's surrounded with. The humor is slightly dark at times, laugh out loud at other times, and the dialogue and action move along at a good clip. I highly recommend this book. I've already bought the next in the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I love this series. Josie Brown has managed to embroil her character into the life of a government assassin taking on all that is bad in the world, but has been able to keep her humanity intact. She has allowed Donna to focus on being a good Mom and instilling morals and values to her kids. At one point Donna is put into the position of caring for two men. Her decision appears to some reviewers as being morally wrong, but taken into context with her emotional turmoil of not being allowed to grie I love this series. Josie Brown has managed to embroil her character into the life of a government assassin taking on all that is bad in the world, but has been able to keep her humanity intact. She has allowed Donna to focus on being a good Mom and instilling morals and values to her kids. At one point Donna is put into the position of caring for two men. Her decision appears to some reviewers as being morally wrong, but taken into context with her emotional turmoil of not being allowed to grieve the loss of her husband (or even acknowledge his death), and the importance of her current mission, I think the author did a great job of showing how hard Donna tried to make the moral choice. Josie's characters are very believable, and her plot is great. I definitely recommend this series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mimi Barbour

    Donna Stone’s husband was a CIA operative who was killed on the night their youngest daughter is born. Soon the angry, grieving widow takes on freelance assignments for his old company ACME to avenge his death. A good thing she has this alternative. Being broke can drive a mother of three to many extremes. She soon finds out that she’s a better assassin that she is a housewife. It’s like this – arrange Tupperware or plan someone’s murder?? This book is SO good! It’s written in first person, whic Donna Stone’s husband was a CIA operative who was killed on the night their youngest daughter is born. Soon the angry, grieving widow takes on freelance assignments for his old company ACME to avenge his death. A good thing she has this alternative. Being broke can drive a mother of three to many extremes. She soon finds out that she’s a better assassin that she is a housewife. It’s like this – arrange Tupperware or plan someone’s murder?? This book is SO good! It’s written in first person, which drew me into the character very quickly. The writing is great, loved the humor and enjoyed each conflict Donna found herself embroiled into. I’m so glad this is a series!!

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