Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “janet evanovich”

Katie’s #CBR4 Review #50: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Title: One for the Money
Author: Janet Evanovich
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: This book is like junk food for your mind. It’s fun and enjoyable, but it sucks you in with humor and sex appeal rather than good writing.

One for the Money is a surprisingly plausible story about Stephanie Plum,  a pretty average woman who loses her job and ends up becoming a bounty hunter. Sounds crazy, right? What makes it work is that she’s not instantly good at it. Her bumbling mishaps and witty commentary throughout are both hilarious and believable. Her strong personality and sheer stubbornness – enhanced by the fact that one of her targets, Joe Morelli, is a guy who slept with her once and never looked back – gives her the perseverance she needs to make the job work.

Read more on Doing Dewey.

rdoak03’s #CBR4 Review #13: The Rocky Road to Romance by Janet Evanovich

Who did Evanoviach write about before Stepahnie Plum? A grad student, a radio station manager, a heat-packing granny, and a dog named Bob. Read about this light romance novel here.

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #30: Three to Get Deadly By Janet Evanovich

I liked this one a lot, although it got a bit weird at the end, with the porn movies and the drug dealer assassinations. Sometimes these books take way serious things not seriously at all and it’s just a little . . . off-putting?

This time around, Stephanie Plum is tasked with bringing in neighborhood ice cream and candy vendor, Uncle Mo, who is universally beloved. He was caught carrying concealed, but it turns out to be so much more than that, of course. Aforementioned porn films and assassinated drug dealers, dead bodies buried beneath ice cream shops, and neighborhood vigilantes . . . and they don’t want Stephanie to uncover their secrets. While all of this is going on, Stephanie and Joe Morelli grow closer and finally consummate their adult relationship, so that probably means something, although who knows with these two at this point. And Lula is working at Vinnie’s now as a file clerk/bounty hunter in training. Lula is wacky.

Not much to complain about here. Three to Get Deadly was a fun read that doesn’t tax your brain cells or ask too much of you, and it never pretends to be anything more.

[Link to original review here.]

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #29: Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich

This series is silly, silly fluff.

It’s been a while in between reading the book and writing this review, but the basic plot of the second Stephanie Plum novel concerns Stephanie hunting down a goon who shot a buddy of his in the knee (and later in the head), and who also happens to be Joe Morelli’s cousin. This leads to all sorts of hijinks in funeral homes (Grandma Mazur is obsessed with going to viewings), with missing coffins and junk popping up all over the place, and Stephanie laughably being hired to “bodyguard.” And of course somebody threatens Stephanie’s life, and she goes through about five cars a day.

The good? Morelli is still delicious, and Stephanie can’t resist him. Afterwards, she’s disgusted with herself, of course, and at one point she leaves him naked in a cold street and drives away, but he’s a good sport. Their antagonistic sexually charged relationship continues to hold my attention. Two For the Dough is also funny and disturbing. I can’t decide if the part where Stephanie has an honest to god penis mailed to her was wonderful or awful, but either way, it’s entertaining.

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first or third ones. There was too much plot, and the plot was confusing to boot. I wanted more character stuff. Part of the reason I liked the first book so much was Stephanie’s musings on life and her past, and there was basically none of that in Two For the Dough. Just wacky caper after wacky caper. It wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon, but it could have been much better.

Final verdict: 2.5 stars.

[Link to original review here.]

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #07: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

This is all Jason O’Mara’s fault.

I was perfectly content never having touched this series, perfectly content with the righteous indignation* I felt every time I passed the display table at Barnes & Noble with the movie-tie-in editions of this book piled three-high, like some ode to Katherine Heigl’s perfectly formed ass.

*Righteous indignation fueled by I’m not sure what . . . my tastes aren’t exactly Pulitzer grade.

It seems the universe had other plans for me, and those plans involved me watching the trailer (because Goodreads has it playing 24/7 right now in its sidebar ads), realizing that Katherine Heigl movie had Jason O’Mara in it too, and then giving in to my love of Jason O’Mara** by watching the trailer approximately fifteen more times. And then later, when I had stopped by Barnes & Noble to pick up some things, impulse buying the mass market paperback*** and binge reading it in a single day. I am an American consumer.

**Jason O’Mara is hot, but he doesn’t have great luck. Life on Mars was promising and I loved the character he played, but Terra Nova is kind of disaster, and he’s so stuffy in it. But he is dead sexy as Joe Morelli.
***I tried my darndest to get the one without The Heigl on it, but all they had was the $14.99 trade paperback with the original cover, and if I was going to waste money on a splurge, it was going to be the least amount of money possible.

One for the Money follows newly divorced, newly unemployed and broke Stephanie Plum as she navigates the perilous world of bounty hunting for the first time. She had to blackmail her pervert of a cousin in order to get the job, and she’s determined to keep it. That means buying a gun, learning how to use a gun, and learning how to bend the law to her advantage (stealing cars, breaking and entering? not a big deal when you’re a bounty hunter). Her first target? Childhood friend Joe Morelli, a rascally cop who’s wanted for murder. Also, this one time she ran him over with her Buick because he took her virginity behind the pastry counter of the bakery where she worked in high school, and then never called. If she can bring him in, she gets $10,000. What follows is a violent, funny romp through New Jersey as Stephanie gets in over her head and has to find her out of a bunch of crazy, madcap adventures.

This was a quick, fun read. I’ve heard people describe it as “a popcorn book,” and that seems like the perfect description: Light, slightly substantial, full of salty zing — will probably make you sick if you eat too much of it. I liked the voices of the characters; they didn’t feel generic or idealized like characters in most popcorn books. They’re sassy. I liked Stephanie’s commitment to a job that is terrifying, and that she’s not very good at. I liked the inspired lunacy of Lula the hooker, and Stephanie’s overbearing but well-meaning family. And I love rascally Joe Morelli, probably because I read too many romance novels as a teenager, but whatever. I’m not going to analyze it. The relationship between Stephanie and Morelli is fun, because I’m a sucker for antagonistic sexually charged relationships in fiction, and because their relationship isn’t a main focus, and because the way they interact with each other is kind of hilarious, it doesn’t feel nearly as cliched as it could. This is a line from the beginning of the book, when six year old Morelli takes six year old Stephanie into his garage to play “choo-choo,” which is the New Jersey version of playing doctor. What made me buy the book is the attitude dripping from this comment:

“At any rate, it was a one-shot deal and darn disappointing, since I’d only gotten to be the tunnel, and I’d really wanted to be the train.”

There are obvious flaws with the book. Maybe it gets better as the series goes along, but Evanovich’s writing is what I’m going to call grocery store prose (again, see the popcorn thing above). Stephanie also comes off a bit dumb in her insistence at not calling the police on a rapist/stalker because she wants to be seen as just as good as one of the guys. Maybe that’s just a 90s thing . . . I don’t see this as being much of a problem if this book were set in 2012. Which brings me to my final point, that this book is laughably dated. Like literally, it made me laugh out loud. I think some of this stuff may have been dated even in 1994. Stephanie spends most of the book wearing bicycle shorts and t-shirts the way most of us wear jeans (to work! and she thinks she looks good!). She is also frequently caught wearing scrunchy socks and Reeboks, and car phones are a big part of the plot. The best part about this is that she takes great care to describe her fashion choices to us, so you know she’s proud of them. But this isn’t a serious book, and it’s not mean to be taken that way, so really all the dated stuff just kind of adds to its charm. It’s meant to be fun and entertaining, and in that it certainly succeeds.

My only real complaint is that this freaking series has eighteen books in it . . . eighteen! I don’t need this in my life.

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #4: V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

I love it when authors come up with a character that is so successful that it deserves a series of books. I’ve read all 18 of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, all 18 of Ian Rankin’s fantastic Inspector Rebus novels, and now I’ve just finished book 22 of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series featuring private detective Kinsey Millhone.  I like getting to know a character so well that its almost comforting to read about them doing the things they like best (Stephanie Plum likes to eat donuts, Inspector Rebus likes to drink and listen to classic rock, and Kinsey Millhone likes to eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches).

Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone is a twice-divorced, 38 year-old private detective (and former cop) in fictional Santa Teresa, California.  Kinsey lives in a studio apartment, spends a lot of time with her octogenarian landlord, Henry, as well as his older brother William and his wife Rosie, who own the local dive tavern where Kinsey eats and drinks most nights.  She doesn’t care much about how her hair and makeup look, she rarely wears anything other than jeans (she has one single black dress that has appeared in every book), and she drinks wine most nights, eats egg or peanut butter sandwiches, and tries to jog every day.

Read my whole review here.

P.S.: If you’ve never read any of the Inspector Rebus books, I can’t recommend them highly enough.  They are fantastic.

Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #2: Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

After the heaviness of the last book I read, which killed off all women with a terrible plague, I needed something light and girl-powery. Janet Evanovich’s series about Stephanie Plum, inept bounty hunter, fit the bill. Smokin’ Seventeen is a funny, quick read, just like all the rest of the series. The Evanovich novels are like meals on a road trip: you know you stopped and ate something several miles ago, and you probably remember if it was good or bad, but that’s as far as the recollection goes, and the details all blur together.

All 17 books (I imagine all 18, but I haven’t read the latest) follow roughly the same format. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter in New Jersey. She bumbles around and zaps people with her stun gun when they don’t show up for their court dates. She eats a lot of donuts. She takes her wacky grandmother to at least one viewing at the funeral home (Grandma Mazur’s favorite hobby). She takes her wacky sidekick Lula with her on the job. She dithers between the two loves of her life, the dreamy cop Morelli and the dreamier bounty hunter Ranger. She accidentally blows up cars. She usually stumbles on a bigger crime with a bigger villain, and has to extricate herself before the bodies pile up too high. Smokin’ Seventeen is no different, hitting all the familiar notes while remaining funny and engaging. The main story here is the rebuilding of the bail bonds office (which apparently blew up in a previous book – don’t remember!), which is stymied when they keep finding bodies at the construction site. Who done it and why? Stephanie and Lula are on the case.

The Stephanie Plum series is lady porn, but well written and hella fun. Evanovich spends as much time lovingly describing everything Stephanie eats (her mother’s lasagna, coffee cake, fast food chicken, etc.) as she does Ranger (Latin heart-throb) and Joe Morelli (boy next door), with a little bit of shopping thrown in. Everything a girl could want, with the added bonus of tasing dumbasses with impunity.

And yes, I will see the movie. I can’t help it.

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #2: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

If you’ve never read one of the 18 Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, here’s a quick primer. Stephanie is a really bad bounty hunter working for her sleazy cousin Vinny’s bail bonds company in the suburbs of Trenton, NJ. In every book, the following things happen:
Stephanie eats a lot of junk food: donuts, fried chicken, pineapple upside-down cake, meatball subs, and pizza.
Stephanie does very little exercising.
Stephanie’s car blows up.
Stephanie takes her Grandma Mazur to a wake at the local funeral home to try and figure out a mystery she has somehow stumbled across.
Stephanie’s friend Lula (former prostitute, plus-sized, and super confident) shoots someone and there are no repercussions.
Stephanie must try to choose between the two beautiful men in her life: Handsome cop Joe (who wants to settle down and have a family) and mysterious and dangerous Ranger (who wants no strings attached).

Find out what happens to Stephanie in book #18.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #01: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

For those of you who haven’t read the first seventeen novels, I’ll give you a quick overview. First, of note, the first book in the series, One for the Money, has recently been made into a movie opening in January.  Katherine Heigel plays the main character, Stephanie Plum. Please don’t judge the books off this casting – Katherine Heigel is actually kind of perfect to play Stephanie.

So,  Stephanie Plum, after loses her job marketing knock off Victoria’s Secret underwear, divorces her sleazy, cheating husband and goes to work for her uncle as an incompetent bounty hunter.   Each book has one overarching plotline where Stephanie and her cohorts track down a “big bad guy” wrecking havoc in her hometown of Trenton. In between, there’s plenty of comic relief as Stephanie attempts (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to capture local small time criminals who skipped out on bail so she can get paid.

Stephanie’s cohorts, and her over-the-top adventures capturing skips, are what really make the books. The books are downright campy, in a delicious way that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, rather than the over-the-top camp seen in shows like Glee. The supporting players include Lula (Sherri Shepard), Stephanie’s partner, a sassy, “big boned” former hooker who is a terrible shot, loves doughnuts and fried chicken, and helps keep Stephanie’s personal life in line.  My personal favorite, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur (Debbie Reynolds), is a gun toting widow who acts like a teenager, dying her hair cotton candy pink, carrying a gun in her oversized purse, and trolling funerals for eligible men.  Other characters of note include Uncle Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), the incompetent brains behind the bond agency, and Connie (Ana Reeder), the very, very “New Jersey” secretary at the bond agency.

To read more….

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