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A Small Fortune

(Celia Hagen #1)

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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  170 reviews
When Celia Donnelly’s husband, Jonathon, surprises her with a family vacation to Mexico, the harried book editor couldn't be happier. She is overworked and exhausted, a situation that has taken a toll on her eighteen-year marriage, not to mention her relationship with her teenaged son. Escaping the perpetually rainy Pacific Northwest for the sugary sands of Mexico could be ...more
256 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by amazonencore (first published March 9th 2010)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,265 ratings  ·  170 reviews


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Kerry Greco
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a friend that knows I am avid reader. I actually haven't read a book for fun in over two years (life happens). I sat in my yard at 1:00 on a Saturday and proceeded to get sunburned from head to toe because I read the book cover to cover in 5 hours. No food, no dinner for the kids, just straight up me time with this book. I didn't want to inhale the book the way I did. I wanted you savor every page! The writing style is so easy and relatable. I could not anticip ...more
LORI CASWELL
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to tell you about this book!!!


Celia Donnelly is overworked and downright exhausted, her marriage to her husband Jonathan, a bank president, has started to suffer, as has her relationship with teenage son. She is thrilled when Jonathan comes home and tells her they are taking a family vacation to Mexico. Getting out of the dreary weather of the Pacific Northwest to wonderful sunny Mexico is just what this family needs.

Celia enjoying her vacation decides to go for a run along the beac
...more
Jennifer
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was good as a thriller, it definitely kept me turning pages - but when I stop to think about the story, it just doesn't hold up

***minor spoilers ahead***

I found the characters really hard to swallow. Celia was annoying - she spent her entire life with her head in the sand and had no issues jumping in bed with a random guy who may or may not be involved with her kidnapping. Jonathon was a caricature of an "evil person" and the fact that Celia didn't even agonize about the fact that the
...more
Robert Kroese
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This isn't the sort of book I ordinarily read but I read it because I was going to be on a panel about genre writing with the author (Deborah Reed; "Audrey Braun" is a pen name).

I thoroughly enjoyed A Small Fortune. Sure, it's a little ridiculous at points, but the ridiculousness is clearly intentional. The fact that Deborah/Audrey pulls off this absurd adventure story while playing it completely straight is a tribute to her ability as an author. She isn't afraid to be a little silly if that's w
...more
Rick
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Competent thriller...a good solid read, but nothing really special stood out. The characters were likable yet bland, the villains were horrible with no gray areas, the suspense and mystery grew in intensity and the ending was a satisfying conclusion. Yet, for some reason, the book remains rather forgettable in my mind.
Ian
Jul 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'd probably give this 1.5 stars if I had the option. I normally only give one star to books that are too bad to finish, but I did finish this one because I had an inexplicable compulsion to find out what happened. The plot was absurd and the characters were not very sympathetic. I bought it for $2.99 for the Kindle and still don't think I got my money's worth...
Karen
Nov 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
I enjoyed the opening chapters of this book, but then it turned into a trite romance instead of a thriller. I rarely stop reading a book, but I just couldn't bring myself to even finish this. It could be because romance is not my favorite genre, but I think it is because the plot is so weak.
Sue
Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
A fun summer book. Adventure, intrigue, love. . . all worked into an interesting framework, and the story moves along quite nicely. The ending is solid and satisfying, but a few ends are dangling so it's not a sappy, perfectly unbelievable tie-up. All in all, a decent read.
Shivani
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
A small fortune was a nice read with continuous twists and turns and an easy read. The characters were likeable, and like other mystery novels kept the key of doubt to everyone.
The main protagonist is Celia whose life has been same routine around as book editor with a marriage of 18 years with a Bank President - Jonathan and a regular teenage boy - Oliver - who is usually lost in his life. Celia's life changes when after so many years Jonathan suggests a family vacation to Mexico only to leave
...more
Mel
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.8***
Celia heads out to Mexico on a vacation with her teen son Oliver and her husband Jonathon, but her world is thrown wildly out of its norm and she has to fall back on all her previously developed inner strength to survive the series of events that unfolds and to try to unravel the deep conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm her.
Dixie Niemietz
A Small Fortune

I gave the book a three star rating, because I though the book was disjointed. I think is is an exciting read at times. Parts of the book seem very unlikely. Especially her relationship with Benicio.
kathy nashif
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting not a bit unbelievable but very entertaining.
LORI CASWELL
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to tell you about this book!!!


Celia Donnelly is overworked and downright exhausted, her marriage to her husband Jonathan, a bank president, has started to suffer, as has her relationship with teenage son. She is thrilled when Jonathan comes home and tells her they are taking a family vacation to Mexico. Getting out of the dreary weather of the Pacific Northwest to wonderful sunny Mexico is just what this family needs.

Celia enjoying her vacation decides to go for a run along the beac
...more
Jessica (BlogEared Books)
This book kept popping up as an Amazon suggestion- I ignored it and ignored it, and then saw that the author was endorsed by Amazon and coming to speak at a bookstore in Seattle. Now I am an author groupie- in fact, my husband has accused me of stalking authors in the past. Nothing scary- I just want to absorb their energy, their motivation- no tying them to the bed and forcing them to write a la Misery.

So, I couldn’t go see her when she was speaking :( but I did finally click the link to read h
...more
Two Bibliomaniacs
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
We’ve had our fair share of tropical vacations over the years and while some turned out less than memorable we’re quite sure the main character’s experience in A Small Fortune has us beat. And that’s definitely a good thing...

Celia Donnelly is about to undertake a much deserved beach vacation with her husband and teenage son. Between the stress of her job and less than perfect home life, she’s very much looking forward to the tropical retreat. However, almost as soon as she arrives at the resor
...more
AllAmerican IndianGirl
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you’re not normally a reader of thrillers, but are interested in an engaging summer read…Audrey Braun’s debut novel will be right up your alley. Unlike your typical thriller, A Small Fortune doesn’t open with a violent scene; rather, it takes its time luring readers into the mind of the protagonist, sketching the scene, layering the tension, and orienting the reader. It may have been Braun’s intention to heighten the pace gradually, steadily (which she does consistently throughout the book), ...more
Cheryl
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Celia’s husband, Jonathon suggests that she, him and their sixteen year old son, Oliver go to Mexico for a family vacation. It has been a long time since they have been on a vacation. When Ceia arrives in Mexico, it does not take her long to get into vacation mode. While out by the swimming pool, Celia meets Benico. He seems like a nice man. Celia and Benico talk until Jonathon arrives and than Benico leaves.

The next day, Celia goes for a morning jog. Afterwards, Celia goes for a swim, It is wh
...more
Marc
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A Small Fortune, well, is a misleading title. Turns out it was a rather large fortune, but I digress. It wasn't the book I thought it'd be. It was part-thriller, part-chick-lit that worked quite well.

The book was a quick read. I thought it was going to take me longer, but it could have been because of the pacing. At first, I thought the plot was very similar to Man on Fire, but then there were these twists, which kind of took away from the story as it became something else.

The 1st person story t
...more
Wendy Hines
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Celia Donnelly is hit a time in her life where she's on auto-pilot. Her husband of eighteen years, Jonathon, is a president of a bank. Her son, Oliver, is sixteen years old and quite surly. I have one of those, so I quite understand. Her marriage? ho-hum. It's routine.

When her husband surprises her and Oliver with a vacation to Mexico, Celia is excited. This is just what they need - time to relax and time together. However, her vacation is short-lived when she is kidnapped while running on the b
...more
Michelle
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Small Fortune begins a lot like a cheesy romance novel, which isn’t a surprise as the main character is an editor of said books. Believe me it does have dashes of romance here and there, but the overall concept and writing of the book is phenomenal! Braun has written herself a masterpiece and I did not expect that of a novel with palm trees and a ‘+’ sign on the cover. Our main woman Celia is a mother of one and seemingly boring wife; not without her share of affair though. Celia’s husband dec ...more
Karen Jones
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gilion Williams leaves her daughter, Celia, a family legacy. But at the time of Gilion’s death, Celia doesn’t pay much attention to the paperwork and the legacy goes unnoticed for years. But someone notices. And they will do anything to get their hands on it. An impromptu vacation to Mexico proves to be just the first step in an unexpected and dangerous scheme. Celia’s only hope is to figure out her tormentor’s plan and discover who she can truly trust. But she has to keep her son, Oliver, safe. ...more
KimeyDiann
Jun 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, romance
This book had a great premise and could have been a terrific book except for one major fault... the love story.

(view spoiler)
...more
Abby Lyn
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a fast paced adventure story of a Mexican vacation gone very very bad, with a feminist bent - an easy summer read. I would rate this book about 3.5 - a 3 for the slow pace in the novel's first chapters, and a 4 for the second half with the surprisingly emotional ending. I would have loved to see more character development, particularly in the beginning of the novel when the kidnapping first takes place; without that initial investment in the main character, I found Cee's subsequent acti ...more
Lois Bouchard
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced

I liked the book very much. It was action packed from page 1. I agree with another reviewer though that the sex scenes could have been more detailed. Only took me a couple of days to read.
Nicole
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yeah-right
Really 3.5 stars.

A lot happened in this book, but not all of it made sense. It was unexpectedly funny, and I admired Celia for being able to find humor in what was a series of totally messed up situations. Celia luckily, or miraculously, met people who were kind to her when they had no reason to be, and helped her in ways that most of us wouldn't expect even of our lifelong friends. This woman was seriously lucky. I'd actually be interested in reading more about Celia, set maybe a year or two i
...more
Gayle
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I realize that the number of stars one gives a book is their own personal opinion and if your number differs from mine, that doesn't mean either of us is wrong. It just means we like different things.

So, with that in mind, I give A SMALL FORTUNE five stars. This is one of the most enjoyable suspense novels I've read. The suspense is enough that it kept me turning the pages. Add to this just a smattering of plain old good S-E-X.

Cecelia is abducted while in Mexico on a vacation with her husband an
...more
Becky Johnson
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I don’t want to give away too many details of this fast-paced thriller, because I don’t want to spoil the story for any potential readers. I will say that this was an enjoyable page turner. I don’t generally read a lot of mystery-type books, because I often find them too predictable, but that was definitely not the case with this book. It is full of drama and surprises.

Sometimes the drama is a little too high, and the storyline is a bit unbelievable, but that didn’t really take away from my enjo
...more
Laura
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: grown-up-books
Part thriller, part romance, part marriage drama, A Small Fortune is an entertaining, quick read. Celia thinks that she's getting a break from her tired life when her husband Jonathan surprises her with a family vacation to a Mexican resort, but there's a lot more in store for her than lounging by the pool. In the midst of a kidnapping plot, Celia can trust no one as she tries first to survive and second to understand the caper of a mystery surrounding her. It's a page turner and, despite some s ...more
PG
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Good enough, I think. Plenty of plot holes, but the author seems to be cheeky about the whole thing. She puts in a few I-so-silly asides that makes you take it in the way you would a Bond movie. The novel is slim enough to get through pretty quickly, too. I read this over several hours staggered over several days on my iPhone 3GS with the Kindle app. That's probably how I will devour the second in the trilogy. I saw the Fortune's Deadly Descent for $1 on Amazon and was reminded that I didn't sna ...more
Maria's Book Blog
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. There was nonstop action from beginning to end. While there was a teeny bit of romance in there, it was mostly mystery-thriller-action type stuff...if that makes sense. I was super pissed with the mega douche that is Celia's husband, and just the simple fact of exactly how long he had been putting his little plan into action put me over the edge. I wished for his death MANY times. I believe this may the 1st book of a series so I'll have to see what's going on with the 2nd boo ...more
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Audrey Braun is the pen name of the author Deborah Reed. She has lived all over the United States and in Europe. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family of boys and dogs. A SMALL FORTUNE is her first suspense novel. Fortune's Deadly Descent is her follow-up and the second of a trilogy.

Other books in the series

Celia Hagen (2 books)
  • Fortune's Deadly Descent
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