Gemma Halliday - Uncover in High Heels

Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Co

ISBN: 978 0 8439 5834 8

My rating: 1 / 5



Secret affairs, hunky gardeners, and housewives desperate enough to bare it all... welcome to Magnolia Lane, TV's hottest new prime time show. A place where L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer should be in fashion heaven. That is until the body of a rising young starlet is found dead on the show's set. Now it's up to Maddie to sift through a leading lady with a secret, an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a sexy cyber scandal, and one tabloid reporter who'll stop at nothing to get the story of the century. Not to mention Maddie's hot-cold relationship with the case's familiar lead detective, Jack Ramirez. In a world where secrets, lies, and deception can earn you an Oscar, Maddie plays the role of a lifetime to catch Hollywood's hottest killer. But if she doesn't watch her step, Maddie's fifteen minutes of fame just may be her last.  (http://www.gemmahalliday.com/)

My thoughts

The thing is: I should have stopped reading after the first ten pages - Maddie's "boyfriend" police cop Ramirez cancelled their date because of other committments. The thought that Ramirez has other committments in a pick-up bar really doesn't sit well with Maddie so she's off to "spy" on him. So far so good - BUT not only does she blow up the undercover work, no she was then on a mission to help out Ramirez, who got demoted to bodyguard to the celebrities, to get back to homicide.

I took me more than a month to get through this book. Admittingly some of the annoying habits Gemma had in the first two books are well and truly under control (the number thing of the motorways and the mention of "for good measure"), but Maddie is just a character I cannot warm to and the story was a drag for me, especially as I had figured out the "whodunnit" half way through.

I still have another two books from this series on my desk, but I'm still arguing with myself to just simply not finish the series ....

My verdict - don't bother !

Ron Knight's Top 50 Facebook Authors

So ... Okay, I wasn't in the top 50, but I did get a mention. Gotta start somewhere, right ? Right!

Anyway, thought it was an interesting blog and I will definately consider having a read of the mentioned books.

Click here to read Ron's complete list.


Thanks, Ron!

Need someone to review your self-published book ?

For anybody out there who has self-published and needs some more exposure for the book, check out this website.



The Self-Publishing Review: How This Is Going To Work:

 If you've self-published or vanity-published your book, and you're confident that it's good enough to compete with the books on the bookshop shelves, then send me a copy. Submission details are in the bar on the right.

I'll read it as I would anything from the slush-pile. As I'm reading I'll count the errors that I see, and once I get to fifteen errors then I'll stop reading. I'll include errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as problems with tense and point-of-view. If I don't spot many errors I'll read it for as long as it holds my attention: once my interest slips (and remember that I am known for reading the back of the milk-carton at breakfast, such is my need for reading matter), I'll persist for another couple of pages.
I'll post the title, author and sundry details of each book that is submitted to me, including the number of pages I got through before putting it aside (I hope the page-counts will end up as a league-table rather than a catalogue of shame).
If I finish your book I'll write a review of it here, and recommend it to my friends. I can't say that it'll lead to fame and fortune for any of the writers that I review: but I hope it will give some encouragement, and a reason to keep writing.

A few Ramblings just before Christmas

Here's the thing ...

With all this Christmas excitement ... who gets to really sit down and read. Okay, I do, but the book is just dreadful, so two pages at the time is the most I can cope with.

So, I'm dealing with other things, having a big dispute with PayPal, trying to find a agent or publisher for my second book (any recommendations or ideas?), buying Christmas presents for my beautiful family .... and checking out some other blogs - it's a wonderful world and it's a shame that my daily life leaves me so little time to read more. You're all doing a great job!

If you're guys find a minute or two, check out these sites:

Tara's having a competition, if you like music (like I do) you should have a look here to win "a 5 page (1250 word) crit" - and don't we all just like to win this prize. Good luck to all who will take part!

Maria's just posted this really, really delicious looking Beef Stew which is on my list "to do" over the holidays. But she has also posted few good tips regarding writing and posts about books and movies.

Can't forget Sigrid! She's an Editor from Canada with really good tips on editing - check it out, it's well worth it.

Perhaps one day I will get myself organised enough to have a competition as well .... who knows.

Have a wonderful Christmas season everyone!


Rachel Gibson - Daisy's back in town

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 978-0060009250

My rating: 5/5

He loves me not
Daisy Lee Monroe thought she'd brushed the dust of Lovett, Texas, off her high-heeled shoes years ago, but she's come back home only to find that little has changed. Her sister is still crazy, and her mom still has pink plastic flamingos in her front yard. And Jackson Lamott Parrish, the bad boy she left behind, is still so sexy it hurts. She’d like nothing better than to avoid this particular man, but she can’t. Daisy has something to say to Jackson, and she’s not going anywhere until he listens.
He loves her not  Jackson learned his lesson about Daisy the hard way, and now the only word he's interested in hearing from Daisy's red lips is good-bye. But she's popping up everywhere, and he doesn't believe in coincidence. It seems the only way to keep her quiet is with his mouth, but kissing Daisy had once been his downfall. Is he strong enough to resister her now? Strong enough to watch her walk out of his life again? Is he strong enough to make her stay?  (http://www.rachelgibson.com/)


My thoughts

I have to say this story surprised me – not at all that I didn’t see Rachel Gibson being able to write something like it, but because she was more known to me as a “chick lit” author! So lets take her out of this drawer and into the ... none at all, she’s obviously an author of many talents.


It was a book hard to put aside, but also hard to read while having a big lump in the throat.

The main plot is about Daisy, Jack and Steven who were very good friends growing up. And even though both boys (and later teenagers) were both in love with Daisy they agreed that she was “off limits” for both – easier said than done. Jack and Daisy started a crazy roller coaster relationship behind their friend’s back. At the tender age of seventeen Daisy finds out she’s pregnant with Jack’s child, who in turn has just lost his parents and needs some space. With a teenage mind, Daisy freaks out, confides in Steven, who in turn offers to marry her and to look after her and the baby. Fifteen years later – Steven has just died of cancer and it is now Daisy’s turn to tell Jack about his son.

Phew! What dilemma and Rachel Gibson has done a wonderful job to stir the readers’ emotions – I went from understanding to anger back to understanding. The dialogues are brilliant and for me were the part where the characters came alive. I think each reader will have a different point of view whether Daisy should have told Jack earlier or not, whether Steven is really the “baddie” in the story by taking advantage of the situation or whether he really helped out of the good of his heart, whether Jack has a right to treat Daisy the way he does or the way he copes with his anger and loss – the loss of the time he had missed out on spending with his son.

I really liked Daisy. I think we can all remember how confusing teenage years can be and I can in a way understand why she moved on with Steven, and in a way I can also understand why the decision to tell Jack had always been delayed to tomorrow – don’t we all do that sometimes with things we feel uncomfortable with. I liked her also the way she understands Jacks anger and accepts his anger and accept the fact that there will be no future for them together if he isn’t able to move forward. I loved Jack – for me the testosterone laden Texan man who is portrayed mainly as a sex-driven male, but over the period of the story becomes such a “man” by dealing with his past which is catching up with him, we feel for him that at an early age he did not only lose his parents, but the love of his life, his best friend and his son.

I believe Rachel Gibson did a convincing job of showing us how that anger can eat at a person.

My favourite quote:

"Mom," Nathan called to her.
Daisy pulled her gaze from the tent and the fleeting glimpse of Jack's bare back, the smooth planes and indent of his spine, the sliver of the white elastic just above the blue waistband of his jeans..."Hmm?"
"What's a faaar ant?" he asked just above a whisper.
"Fire." She chuckled and shook her head. "Fire ant. They have a nasty bite that burns."
Nathan smiled. "Well, why didn't he just say fire?"
"He thinks he did."


I loved the book – it got my emotions going. Kudos to Rachel Gibson! Now where's the next book ....

PS – Rachel’s trademark of lengthy and detailed sex scenes are included as well

HarperCollinsPublishers is looking for a Marketing Manager

Careers, HarperCollinsPublishers


Marketing Manager• Are you looking for the next step in your Marketing career?• Do you want to work with a fun and dynamic team?• Do you want to market a product that is loved?• Start in the New Year!

HarperCollins Publishers are seeking a Marketing Manager to work with the Marketing and Publicity Team. Reporting to the Head of Marketing, you will have qualifications in marketing/communications and experience in marketing, promotions and perhaps the media.
In this role you will be responsible for:• Developing promotional plans• Building strong relationships with our partners • Identifying opportunities to co-promote our books • Budget management • Ensuring brand compliance.
To be successful in this role you should have:• Previous experience creating innovative and eye-catching campaigns• Experience analysing marketing campaigns • Good communication and organisation skills.• Experience in the book publishing industry desirable but not essential.
To apply please forward your resume and cover letter, including salary expectations, to Camilla Sproule, Human Resources Consultant at employment@harpercollins.com.au.

Please note Harper Collins is currently located in Pymble, but will be moving to the CBD mid way through 2011.

ST NICHOLAS DAY TODAY !!!

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December, is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.






I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Pre-Christmas Season

Win a free Edit by CA Marshall

I think this is not only a wonderful but very generous idea. Check out the details on CA Marshall's website.

(copied from her website)

It's that time again! Time for another FREE EDIT contest!
Just like previous contests, I'm giving away a FREE substantial edit! (That's plot, pacing, character development, etc, up to 100k words) to one lucky reader!
It's really easy to enter, just fill out the form linking to something specific you want for christmas, or something you'd give to your favorite writer or reader. ENTER ONCE PER DAY.
To get more than one entry per day, link to this contest. Fill out the form again every time you link or tweet, or whatever. Please include direct links, and if you post somewhere, the post must be about this contest only. Please don't spam your friends. One entry per type of post (one twitter status, one blog post, etc) per day. To fill out the form again, refresh the page.
For 10 bonus entries, post my button anywhere on your blog! If you include the button in your blog post, that post is worth 11 entries! If you use the button, make sure you note that the button is included when you fill out the form. The button and code can be found in my sidebar.
Contest is open worldwide (but has to be in English) as everything is done by email. I can wait up to a month for you to finish your MS if it isn't finished by contest end (midnight December 10th), SO GET WRITING!


Gemma Halliday - Killer in High Heels

 
Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

ISBN: 9780505527127

My rating: 2/5


L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer hasn't seen her father since he reportedly ran off to Las Vegas with a showgirl named Lola. So she's shocked when he leaves a desperate plea for help on her answering machine - ending in a loud bang. Gunshot? Car backfire? Never one to leave her curiosity unsatisfied, Maddie straps on her stilettos and, along with her trigger-happy best friend, makes tracks for Sin City in search of her MIA dad.

Maddie hits the jackpot, all right. She finds not only her dad, but also a handful of aging drag queens, an organized crime ring smuggling fake Prada pumps, and one relentless killer. Plus, it seems the LAPD's sexiest cop is doing a little Vegas moonlighting of his own. In a town where odds are everything, Maddie bets it all on her ability to out-step a vicious murderer. She just hopes her gamble pays off before her own luck runs out. (http://www.gemmahalliday.com/)


My thougths

“Killer in High Heels” is number two in the series with Maddie Springer and as in the first book, this one doesn’t disappoint with clichés and annoying repetitions.

The book starts with the big bang within the first pages as Maddie talks to her “real” dad on the phone when she hears a gun shots (or so we're to believe) in the background before he hangs up .... but then nothing really happens until about hundred pages into the book. It was a drag!

There were a couple of things already in the first book that got onto my nerves , like the constant mention of the numerical road that Maddie’s driving on, yet, that was toned down quite a bit; but the constant eating frenzy was quite tiresome, as well as the “mental eyerolls” and “mental forehead slapping” ... most of all though was the phrase “just for good measure” – one more time I think I would’ve thrown the book into the bin.

As for the sex with Ramirez ... I have no idea, and perhaps I’m a bit naive, but nevertheless, honestly, how many women would stop during a passionate situation because of the possibility of having hairy legs when having a guy like Ramirez nibbling on their earlobe? So she stops and whinges afterwards, that she should have gone the whole way. Annoying!

Got the third book sitting on my desk staring at me to be read – not sure whether I’m ready yet to cope with another story with Maddie ....


Sale - Sweet Dreams, Miss England



In need for another Christmas Present ?


Check out my book ! It'll be on Sale from now until Christmas for only A$9.95 (no postage). Reviews have been really good:

From: http://www.cmashlovestoread.blogspot.com/
 
After finishing and digesting this book, I sit here very torn. I will try to write this review solely on the book and not the interjection of my beliefs. I will, however, say that I do not condone the main character, Nicky's, actions. I found it very hard to relate with the character Nicky because of the story line but once I took a step back and analyzed just "the book", I could see that she did have some good qualities. The author's writing style quite surprised me as a debut author. She wrote this story with a fluid, flowing and detailed account of the plot. The narrative, characters, emotions and descriptions of the settings were written in such a seasoned style that her words were conveyed with the ability to form vivid imagery. The relationships between characters profound and meaningful on many levels . I thought that this would be another typical love story and would know the ending, but, the author delivered an unexpected twist which left me with thought provoking questions. (I will not include spoilers in this review). Overall, a very well written novel from a very talented writer


Contact me on: sweetdreamsmissengland@gmail.com to purchase a copy!

.

Cecelia Ahern - The Book of Tomorrow

Publisher:  Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0007233700

My rating: 4/5

Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she’s ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, and a large four poster bed complete with a luxurious bathroom en-suite. She’s always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow.
But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country to live with Tamara’s Uncle and Aunt. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gate house is a world away from Tamara’s childhood. With her Mother shut away with grief, and her Aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.
When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. She needs a distraction. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. With some help, Tamara finally manages to open the book. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core. (http://www.ceceliaahern.ie/)


My thougths


I like Cecelia Ahern, I really do. Actually one of my favourite books is by Cecelia Ahern. She brings a touch of magic into her books that I love – and she does it so well you sometimes find yourself believing in it. "The Book of Tomorrow" delivers what we expect from Cecelia Ahern.

I’ve had this book for almost two years here on my desk and I feel really awful because I know my very special friend made the effort to not only send it to me, but have it signed by Cecelia as well. Initially it took me at least four or five attempts until I got through the first 100 pages, then I got to the point where Tamara found the book in the mobile Library, she met Sister Ignatius and read the first diary entry - and I was hooked and the story was interesting enough for me to keep reading at every spare minute.

Tamara’s father commits suicide because of financial troubles and she then finds herself living with her aunt and uncle in the Irish countryside. There she is drawn to a mysterious castle and its surrounding land. Bored and lonely, she’s happy to meet Marcus who drives the mobile library – this is where Tamara comes across the large leather bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock.

Even though I did enjoy the book there were still a few things about the book I felt didn’t get answered. We’re never told where magical book actually comes from; Tamara never raises the question why she out of all people found the book or where it came from ... for me there wasn’t enough information, even if it were in line with the magical theme, about the book and its history.

Give it a try, I believe if you like Cecelia Ahern, you’ll like this one as well, even though you need to struggle through the first odd chapters.

Favourite Quote: "I think about books a lot differently now."

Sophie Kinsella Christmas Cards Competition

(from Sophie's Website)

Hi everyone!

It's that festive time again - and I'm feeling especially festive right now because of my special Christmas cover!!! I'm so excited to share with you all the new-look Mini Shopaholic, which is being released in the UK just in time for the holiday season. Isn't it a great idea, a special Christmas edition?! Perfect for a present or just a treat.

The cover is so beautiful and Christmassy that it inspired me with a whole new idea - why not send Christmas cards to my readers? You have sent me so many lovely messages over the past year, I'd really like to give something back to you.

Of course, I'd love to be able to send you ALL a Christmas card. But as that would be impossible, I've decided to send out a hundred cards to my readers around the world, signed personally by me. The card will be based on the Mini Shopaholic cover design and will I hope be a lovely memento.

If you would like a card from me this Christmas, simply enter your details on my special Christmas Card competition page before Sunday 28th November 2010. Then keep a lookout in your mailbox.

Merry Christmas!

Love Sophie xxx

Westlife - Please stay

Everyone listening to my radio program knows that I finish off my two hours with a Westlife song, because it really is their music that inspires me to write - so this is the B-side of their latest single, which was release recently. It's not their best song, but kinda cute :-)


Rachel Gibson - Not another bad date


Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 9780061178047

My rating: 3/5



Adele Harris has never had a problem finding a man—it’s finding a good man that’s damn near impossible

Adele Harris has dated them all-geeks, nerds, liars, losers. Egomaniacs, nymphomaniacs, and just plain maniacs. She's been set up and stood up, and now she's had it up to here with the jerks of the world. It’s enough to make a girl give up dating forever. If only she could find a guy that made her heart flutter like her first love, Zach, the college quarterback who swept her off her feet senior year... before dumping her to marry someone else. Okay, so he wasn't perfect. But when Adele heads back to Cedar Creek, Texas, for a family emergency, she discovers that her hometown heartthrob is still as sexy as ever—and now he’s single.
It could be the end of Adele's streak. After all, forgiving Zach for breaking her heart years ago and learning to trust him again will take everything she's got, but Adele can handle anything... anything but another bad date. (www.rachelgibson.com)


My thoughts

So this one was a  bit confusing.

First of all there was the Devon Epilogue - blame it on English being my second language, but I had no idea what was going on, except that she must've been the reason for "the curse". Then there was "the baby" which was born prematurely (or so I understood it - please correct me if I'm wrong) and in the following chapters the sister was still pregnant with the -same- baby. Odd! Another thing that irritated me was the constant descriptions in short sentences, but also "she looked at his wide shoulders", "she looked past his wide shoulders" .... and after a while I got sick of his wide shoulders!
As for the story ... as I said the Devon part was different, but there were a few things which didn't make sense to me like when Zach comes to Adele's Condo to hand back the "lost item" and she asks Zack to stay and ends up in bed with  although in all the previous chapters she was adamant not to have anything to do with him, and why if Devon was the reason for "the curse" didn't it work on Zach?

Again .... the sex scenes - nice and obviously part of Rachel Gibson's "trademark", but five pages ???

So all in all nice story, not executed all that well, but still a reasonably good read for those Gibson fans.


Janet Evanvovich - Motor Mouth

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780060584054

My rating:  3/5

It's the last race of the season, and the wheels are smoking and the temperature is rising at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Alexandra Barnaby is NASCAR driver Sam Hooker's raceday spotter, his eye-in-the-sky, telling Hooker when to pass and when to get off the gas. From her vantage point high above the grandstand she's also seeing things going on in the infield that will change her life. Things that will lead to a stolen racecar hauler, a kidnapped Saint Bernard, a bizarre murder, some restless nights under the covers with Hooker, and a reunion with super cigar roller Rosa Florez and the queen of wholesale fruit Felicia Ibarra.
From Miami, Florida to Concord, North Carolina and back to Miami this is an action-packed multi-car crash of shady dealings, stolen technology, drive-thru windows and destruction of personal property. Everything you always wanted to know about righteous indignation, stealing an eight-wheeler, stashing a dead body, and sex in the fast lane. (www. evanovich.com)


 
My thoughts
 
I had my hopes up with this series, but .... hmmm .... the second installment didn't really live up to the first one and any of my expectations. It was a good book, great story, great plot, I love Sam Hooker, but it was long and drawn out.

Alex Barnaby and NASCAR guy Sam Hooker are back solving a murder or two within the racing community. All very technical and sometimes way beyond my understanding, but not to the point where I was completely lost. I honestly believe if Janet Evanovich would give this series a little bit more thought and time it could turn out really really well - I like the pair! I like the dialogue and I especially like Hooker's witty verbal come-backs. It's a real treat.

Obviously I have been comparing the books to the Stephanie Plum series, but just because they are from the same author doesn't necessarily mean that we, as readers, should do that - quite the opposite. And as such, I still believe that this series has potential, soI am a bit disappointed that book three is a graphic novel.


Janet Evanovich - Sizzling Sixteen

Publisher: St Martins Press

ISBN: 978-0312383305

My rating: 3/5


Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck....

BAD LUCK:
Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.
GOOD LUCK:
Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.
BAD LUCK:
Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie’s messing up local stoner Walter “Moon Man” Dunphy's vibe and making Stephanie question genetics.
GOOD LUCK:
Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, a plan that makes Mooner’s Hobbit-Con look sane, and Uncle Pip’s mysterious bottle, they just might raise enough money to save Vinnie and the business from ruin.
BAD LUCK:
Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a Turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.
GOOD LUCK:
The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky---the only question is . . . with whom?
 
Sizzling Sixteen . . . so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!Nothing really sizzling about Sixteen! (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts
The plot is slightly more interesting than Fifteen (which wasn’t all that hard to achieve I assume), but still very confusing!

So here the short version: Steph is still on a break with Morelli so we get to have lots of Ranger. That has to be good – right? But for once Steph showed a bit of backbone and I respect her more by not jumping into Ranger’s bed just because she’s on a break with Morelli – though the reasoning was quite odd.

The plot? Not sure. Vinnie gets kidnapped because of gambling debts. Steph, Lula and Connie first try to find him and then to pay the debt.

And finally; what was it with all the hobbits?

Kerstin Gier - Luegen, die von Herzen kommen

Publisher:  Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404162369

My rating: 2/5


Hanna hat keinen Freund. Und sie hat die klassische Eieruhrfigur. Zu beidem steht sie. Trotzdem muss man Letzteres ja nicht gleich in die Cyberwelt hinausposaunen. Prompt lernt sie beim Chatten “Boris” kennen, endlich den Mann, der all das zu haben scheint, was Hanna sich wünscht. Beim Online-Partnerschaftstest erreicht er 397 von 400 Punkten. Einem Real-Date steht nichts mehr im Weg. Wäre da nicht der neue Chef. Der ist nämlich sehr viel charmanter als zunächst vermutet und ein ernsthafter Konkurrent für den 397-Punkte-Mann aus der Chat-Runde … (http://www.kerstingier.com/)


My thougths

This one is now the last book by Kerstin Gier on my desk! So after having read most of her books, I've got to say, I'm glad I've read them but also glad I don't have to struggle through any more.

The story actually surprised me a tad. Hannah, the main protagonist, works for a girls' magazine. Her new boss assigned the subject "chat room love / relationships" to her as her next article - and that's how she gets to "chat" to Boris.

The issues in this story are quite interesting: internet dating and ones weight and I applaud Hannah the way she deals with them with bravour.  But the rest of the story is long and here and there the characters are again stretched in their stereotypes - as the previous books.
Also - everyone keeps telling me it might sound more realistic, I'm not so sure though, but I thought some of the word choices are somewhat inappropriate or even vulgar.


Janet Evanovich - Finger Lickin' Fifteen

Publisher: St Martins Press

ISBN:  9780312383299

My rating: 3/5


UNBUCKLE YOUR BELT AND PULL UP A CHAIR. IT'S THE SPICIEST, SAUCIEST, MOST RIB-STICKING PLUM YET.


Recipe for disaster:
Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head --literally.
Throw in some spice:
Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she’ll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.
Pump up the heat:
Chipotle’s sponsor is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.
Stir the pot:
Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.
Add a secret ingredient:
Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur. Enough said.
Bring to a boil:
Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, A.K.A. Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones?
Warning:
Habanero hot. So good you’ll want seconds (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

Another bad day for Evanovich, but a slight improvement on the previous book

Lula is a witness to a murder. Promising? Well, I thought so, because I love Lula. So with the help from Steph and Grandma Mazur, she tries to figure out the “whodunit”.

The other plot is Steph helping Ranger (Yes, I got to get lots of Ranger in this one!), but this time with his security business. Some clients’ house and businesses have been broken into and Ranger’s reputation is on the line.

Joyce Barnhard is around, too, but honestly I have no idea what is she doing in the story.

And what is it with the farting? Call me old fashioned but I didn't think that was funny, not even a wee bit.

Apart from that I had problems with following the actual "crime" in this plot, I couldn't really understand that someone "like" Ranger couldn't solve the problem that was slowing ruining his company's reputation - I thought he was the "ueber-guy"!

Yes I know Evanovich throws in scenes which are sometimes stretching the imagination, and mostly they have been funny - but the barbeque at the end was simple cheap.

C'mon Janet, we know you can do better!!!!

SALE !!! Sigrid Macdonald - Be Your Own Editor

 Sale !!!

From now until Christmas, Be Your Own Editor, which makes a perfect gift for friends, colleagues and family, is available directly through me for $9.99, not including shipping and handling. Please send an e-mail to sigridmac at rogers.com and put BYOE in the subject title. 

Click this link for Sigrid's website: Be Your Own Editor

Janet Evanovich - Metro Girl

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780060584023

My rating: 4/5



Buckle your seat belts. Number one New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich is moving into the fast lane with Metro Girl, a thrilling, high-octane misadventure with high stakes, hot nights, cold-blooded murder, sunken treasure, a woman with a chassis built for speed, and one very good, very sexy NASCAR driver who's along for the ride.

"Wild" Bill Barnaby's dropped off the face of the earth and big sister Alex heads for Miami, Bill's last known sighting, on a harrowing hunt to save her brother ...and maybe the world. Truth is, Alex has been bailing her brother out of trouble since they were kids. Not that Bill's a bad sort. More that he acts first and thinks later. Unfortunately, this time around "Wild" Bill will be "Dead" Bill if Alex doesn't find him in time.

Alex blasts through the bars of South Beach and points her search south to Key West and Cuba, laying waste to Miami hit men, dodging Palmetto bugs big enough to eat her alive and going pedal to the metal with NASCAR driver Sam Hooker.

Engaged in a deadly race, Wild Bill's "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset ...just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Alex and maybe run into scumbag Bill. And maybe Hooker'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie pie sister. After all, Hooker is NASCAR Guy. And NASCAR Guy is good at revving a woman's engine.

The race to the finish is hot and hard, taking Alex and Hooker into international waters, exposing a plot to grab Cuban gold and a sinister relic of the Cuban missile crises.

Creative cussing and sexual innuendo included. (http://www.evanovich.com/)

 
My thoughts
 
GREAT !
 
I don't really like to admit it, but I almost liked "Metro Girl" better than some of the Stephanie Plum books.The characters are just as unique, but the dialogues are a tad better and wittier, especially Hooker's replies are brilliant at times. The plot is more complex and easier to follow.
 
This first book introduces us to Alex Barnaby, also called Barnie, Sam Hooker, "the NASCAR guy" as well as others like Barnie's brother, Bill who's taken Sam's boat, but that's not the only trouble he got himself into. Now it's up to Barnie to help her brother - with Sam's unwilling help; he just wants his boat back.
 
I reckon if you like the Plum series, you need to take your mind off Steph and try not compare it and take it for what it is I'd say you'll like it too.

My favourite quote was:
"If you're afraid of the elevator, big brave NASCAR Guy would be willing to hold you close and make you feel safe," Hooker said.
"Thanks, but I'm too numb to be afraid."
"Could you pretend?"

Kerstin Gier - In Wahrheit wird viel mehr gelogen

Publisher: Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3785760147

My rating: 2/5

Die Erbmasse verringert sich mit der Masse der Erben … Gerade, als Carolin anfängt sich zu fragen, ob es wirklich eine so gute Idee war, Professor Karl Schütz, den charismatischen Vater ihres eher spießigen Studienfreunds Leo zu heiraten, stirbt Karl − und hinterlässt ihr ein überraschend großes Vermögen. Karls Kinder und seine Exfrau erheben allerdings ebenfalls Anspruch auf das Erbe und sind bereit, mit allen Tricks und Kniffen darum zu kämpfen. Leo, inzwischen Anwalt und verlobt mit der hübschen Tochter seines Chefs, nimmt Carolin offenbar immer noch sehr übel, dass sie ihn vor fünf Jahren wegen seines Vaters verlassen hat. Um Carolin das Erbe streitig zu machen, fährt er schwere Geschütze auf. Aber Carolin weiß sich durchaus zu wehren …  (www.kerstingier.com)


My thoughts

So my mum said 'what you start you've got to finish' ... so here I am with another one of Kerstin Gier's book *sigh*.

Carolin's husband dies suddenly and she's confronted with not only a life without him, but also with his family who is eager to get their hands on the money left behind.

In my opinion, Gier did very well, describing Carolin's emotions after the death, ignoring bureaucracy, having counselling and only hesitantly doing steps forward. But still, the whole book is slow and the characters are stretched within their stereotypes. If you have read a few of the previous books you might find some "old friends" from those stories.

All in all, Kerstin Gier is still not convincing me, so I'd give this one a miss as well.

PS -  What is it with the chemist guy coming to the hospital with all the facial treatment stuff?? Very odd

Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312349516


My rating: 3/5



The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.


The Cousin: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi and Dom's sister Loretta are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all American family.


The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Dom's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.


The Catastrophe: Moonman
Morelli hires Walter "Mooner" Dunphy, stoner and "inventor" turned crime-fighter to protect his house. Morelli can't afford a lot on a cop's salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes.


The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.


The Crisis: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night-work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

The Conclusion:
Only the fearless should read fourteen.  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

Everyone has a bad day once in a while, right? I think Evanovich had one when she wrote Fearless Fourteen.

I'm not really sure where to start – Ranger asks Steph for help; he has to bodyguard Brenda, a famous singer,  and this - as it seems the main plot - is a circus and I don’t know how often I just scanned through the lines in order to just move on.
Okay, then there are all these people in Morelli’s house – that’s right, yes, there was a crime as well, but who knows what it was really all about.

In all the chaos is Lula my favourite with turning into a wedding crazed person on a mission to have a wedding with Tank, who, - and I have no idea where that came from - turned from a tough-guy to a guy who faints at the bare thought of a wedding.

AND ... sorry to say it, there was no way enough Ranger for me!

For the Plum fans out there, you've gotta read it to because you're a fan and you move on to number fifteen - otherwise ... and I hate to say it ..... give it a miss.

PS – If anybody ever finds out whose toes they were, please let me know.

Kerstin Gier - Fuer jede Loesung ein Problem

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404156146

Language: German

My rating: 2.5/5



Gerri schreibt Abschiedsbriefe an alle, die sie kennt, und sie geht nicht gerade zimperlich mit der Wahrheit um. Nur dummerweise klappt es dann nicht mit den Schlaftabletten und dem Wodka – und Gerris Leben wird von einem Tag auf den anderen so richtig spannend. Denn es ist nicht einfach, mit seinen Mitmenschen klarzukommen, wenn sie wissen, was man wirklich von ihnen hält!

Lach-Therapie für alle Schwarzseher – oder wenn das Leben es mal wieder nicht so gut mit einem meint … (kerstingier.com)




My thoughts

So - this is a different kind of genre for Kerstin Gier - suicide!

We get to know Gerri - short for Gerda because she was supposed to be a boy named Gerd. Gerri is in the process in writing her "goodbye-letters" to those she feels she needs to speak her last words: her mother she was never able to make it right for, her very best friend, who indeed was a great friend and Gerri tells her how much she's appreciated this friendship; a letter as well for the new editor at the publishing house she works for as a freelance writer, the one, in Gerri's words, with the sexy derriere,  and so many others letters to those she feels she needs to make peace with. Her suicide is planned and organised to go ahead in a hotel .... but she didn't expect to run into Ole, one of her friends, who is drowning is sorrow in alcohol and ends up in Gerri's hotel room - messing up her plans.

Like in all the other books, I couldn't warm to the story, even though the plot and the story are good, it's again the characters who are so extrem, ie the mother or the sisters. A bit like Cinderella, though it's not a step-mother. Though this was a more serious side to Gier, I find she failed again to develop the characters more and give the actual topic more oompf.

I'd give it a miss, though I suppose it's one of her better ones!

Janet Evanovich - Lean mean Thirteen

Publisher: St Martin's Press

ISBN: 978-0312349493

My rating: 3.5/5




New secrets, old flames, and hidden agendas are about to send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most outrageous adventure yet!


MISTAKE #1
Dickie Orr. Stephanie was married to him for about fifteen minutes before she caught him cheating on her with her arch-nemesis Joyce Barnhardt. Another fifteen minutes after that Stephanie filed for divorce, hoping to never see either one of them again.

MISTAKE #2
Doing favors for super bounty hunter Carlos Manoso (a.k.a. Ranger). Ranger needs her to meet with Dickie and find out if he's doing something shady. Turns out, he is. Turns out, he's also back to doing Joyce Barnhardt. And it turns out Ranger's favors always come with a price...

MISTAKE #3
Going completely nutso while doing the favor for Ranger, and trying to apply bodily injury to Dickie in front of the entire office. Now Dickie has disappeared and Stephanie is the natural suspect in his disappearance. Is Dickie dead? Can he be found? And can Stephanie Plum stay one step ahead in this new, dangerous game? Joe Morelli, the hottest cop in Trenton, NJ is also keeping Stephanie on her toes-and he may know more than he's saying about many things in Stephanie's life. It's a cat-and-mouse game for Stephanie Plum, where the ultimate prize might be her life.

With Janet Evanovich's flair for hilarious situations, breathtaking action, and unforgettable characters, LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN shows why no one can beat Evanovich for blockbuster entertainment. (evanovich.com)


My thoughts

Hmmmm .... not sure about this one!

Ranger asks Steph to bug her ex-husband and a few days later he’s missing – with Steph as the main suspect. But Joyce Barnhart, her arch enemy, is in the picture as well; Steph doesn’t know what to think of that.

There are lots of FTAs for Steph and Lula, but even in Book 13 (and I-don’t-know-how many years later); Steph is still lousy at her job. Getting zapped all the time isn’t the big laugh anymore and neither is Lula accidently burning down a house full of pot.

Steph still can’t decide between the two men in her life, which seems to get boring, but I suppose it’d be even more of a bore if she’d be just with one. I like Morelli, but I go for Ranger!

What else –

Grandma has a smaller part, but still very funny. I love it when she goes out bra shopping with her granddaughter.

Lula ends up in a grave and might even end up with a man!

My favourite Quotes:
"Saved by Joyce Barnhard - go figure"
"One day he just woke up dead"

Rachel Gibson - Truly Madly Yours

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 978-0380801213

My rating: 3/5



WHERE THERE'S A WILL. . .

When pretty hairdresser Delaney Shaw returned home to Truly, Idaho, for the reading of her stepfather's will, she planned on paying her respects and getting out of town. But it seems the will has some unexpected stipulations-like the one that says if Delaney wants her inheritance she needs to stay put and have nothing to so with sexy Nick Allegrezza ... for an entire year!

THERE'S NO WAY
Ten years ago, Nick had swept Delaney off her feet and onto his Harley, and that's when she really let her down her Hair! Back then, he was a love-'em-and-leave-'em man, and Delaney learned the hard way that she was just a fling. But Nick is as irresistible as ever. And when the ladies at Tuesday night Bingo see Nick and Delaney making after-hours whoopee through the window of a local beauty parlor, Delaney knows it's time to decide if Nick I truly, madly the man of her heart. (rachelgibson.com)



My thoughts

I'm a bit torn with this book. I really liked the story of Delany Shaw coming back to a small town in Idaho for her step-father's funeral. She only wanted to stay for a few days, but in order to inherit three million dollars her step-father's will stipulates for her to stay in town for twelve months ... not as easy as it first seems.

It's a romance story with a nice kick. Great characters, nice tension between the two main characters and great dialogues - they were witty and fun to read, which made me sit up late to get through as many chapters as possible. Here and there I felt like scanning through paragraphs because of repetition, but really the only critisism I would add - and that only as a very personal opinion - is that the sex scenes between Delany and (a very hot!) Nick were a tad too detailed for me, but that might just be one of Rachel Gibson's writing style. I might find out if I will read another one - any suggestions ?

All in all - a nice read if you're happy to read about certain details ....

Janet Evanovich - Twelve Sharp

Publisher: St Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780312349486

My rating: 4.5/5


FIRST A STRANGER APPEARS

While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos Stephanie discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her.

THEN, THE STRANGER REVEALS HER SECRETS
The woman dresses in black, carries a 9mm GLOCK, has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso... street name, Ranger.

NEXT, SOMEBODY DIES
The action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer.

SOON, THE CHASE IS ON
Ranger needs Stephanie for more reasons than he can say. And now, the two are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, Vice Cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in.

Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve, or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum... forever. Filled with Janet Evanovich's trademark action, non-stop adventure, and sharp humor.




My thoughts

Bingo! “Twelve Sharp” is for me one of the best if not the best so far of the Stephanie Plum series.


Admittingly the book is not quite as funny as the previous ones, but the plot is brilliant and most of the characters have some unusual depth in this book.

First we have the mysterious Carmen following Steph and then Ranger turns out as a suspect to have kidnapped his own daughter. He becomes a “person” in this book with more background about him and emotions.

Steph proclaims her love to Morelli ... and the other man in her life.

And all this with a new file clerk in the office and Lula attempt to be a rock star.

The story is great and interesting, and even though there are a few FTAs to catch, the reader does not get side tracked from the main plot. A few twists and full of emotions.

My favourite quotes come both from Lula

" I'm wearing my best thong. Just 'cause I used to be a 'ho don't mean I'm cheap. Problem is that little thong stringy gets lost in all my derriere."

"They have enough testosterone between them if testosterone were electricity they could light up NYC for the month of August"

Kerstin Gier - Gegensaetze ziehen sich aus

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag


ISBN: 978-3404154623

Language: German

My rating: 2/5


Was macht Frauen glücklich? Schokolade, die Kraft positiver Gedanken oder schöne Schuhe? ¬- Mit der Boutique Pumps und Pomps kann die MÜTTER-MAFIA, die kreative Gegenbewegung zu allen Super-Muttis, sich bald alle Träume selbst erfüllen. Hier gibt es nicht nur traumhafte Stilettos, wunderschöne Stiefel und köstlichen Cappuccino, sondern auch die besten Tipps in Herzensangelegenheiten. Und die kann Constanze, genannt DIE PATIN, selber gut gebrauchen. Denn die Zukunftspläne ihrer ganz großen Liebe Anton passen leider so gar nicht zu ihren eigenen … Wie groß muss die Liebe sein, um mit anstrengenden Eltern, eifersüchtigen Töchtern und dem Wunsch nach mehr Nähe fertig zu werden? (kerstingier.com)


My thoughts

Number three in the "Constanze the Mothers Mafia" series.

So this one, vaguely translated "opposite attracts", starts where number two finished. I have to say, nope, not much improvement in this one either. We have lots of sex between Constanze and Anton, the "Mutter Mafia" decides to open a shoe shop and Anton meets Constanze's parents - which makes me wonder sometimes about Kerstin Gier's parents, because most of her books have such rotten parents, it's beyond funny and honestly rather sad.

Then we have Constanze to learning how to play golf ... why? I have no idea.

Last, and probably least, what's it with the homepage??

Kerstin Gier - Die Patin

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404154623

Language: German

My rating: 2/5


Wer sagt denn, dass der Pate immer alt, übergewichtig und männlich sein und mit heiserer Stimme sprechen muss? Nichts gegen Marlon Brando, aber warum sollte der Job nicht auch mal von einer Frau gemacht werden? Einer Blondine. Mit langen Beinen. Gestählt durch die Erziehung einer pubertierenden Tochter und eines vierjährigen Sohnes. Und wahnsinnig verliebt in Anton, den bestaussehenden Anwalt der Stadt. Constanze ist „die Patin“ der streng geheimen Mütter-Mafia. Gegen intrigante Super-Mamis, fremdgehende Ehemänner und bösartige Sorgerechtsschmarotzer kommen die Waffen der Frauen zum Einsatz. Ein Angriff auf Ihre Lachmuskulatur. (kerstingier.com)



My thoughts

I read the second one in this series as well ... *sigh*

We start where we finished off with the first book - Constanze and Anton, her lawyer and hopefully soon to be "boy-friend".

I thought this one was much better then the first book - it had a plot and a storyline which I was actually able to follow. The dialogues had improved and the Kerstin Gier had given the characters more depth. Lots of the dialogues were still too far fetched and somewhat similar to book one. (Muetter Mafia)

Because it's been an improvement to the previous book, I will certainly give the last one (at least I think it's the last one) in this series a try as well - after all you've got to finish what you started, right?

Kerstin Gier - Die Muetter Mafia

Publisher: Bastei Luebbe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3404152964

Language: German

My rating: 2/5

Deutschland sucht die Super-Mami! Es gibt sie, die perfekten Mamis und Bilderbuch-Mütter, die sich nur über Kochrezepte, Klavierlehrer und Kinderfrauen austauschen. Doch eigentlich sind sie der Albtraum jeder Vorstadtsiedlung. Dagegen hilft nur eins. Sich zusammenrotten und eine kreative Gegenbewegung gründen: die »Mütter-Mafia«! Ab jetzt müssen sich alle braven Muttertiere warm anziehen (kerstingier.com)


My thoughts

Okay - this is a German book I got from my friend. Literally translated: The Mothers' Mafia.


Not sure about his one. It's about Constanze, whose husband has told her that he doesn't love her anymore and now she's moved into his late mother's house with her two children. That's when it all starts - she gets to know and to like her new neighbour Mimi and Anne, her son's best friend's mother.

All three of them are now taking over Constanze's life, by redecorating the house she's just moved in and organising a lawyer, who ends up as her date as well.

I didn't really like the book. It was flat, the humour was old and the bitching and biting by all of the mums at the kindergarten wasn’t funny, but made me feel odd to say the least that there are people thinking – even though as just a story - this could be funny !

Gemma Halliday - Spying in High Heels

Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

ISBN: 9780843957358

My rating: 2.5/5

L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears - along with $20 million in embezzled funds - and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the LAPD's sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300 pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her... (GemmaHalliday.com)



My thoughts

A friend gave me the book because she knew how much I like the Stephanie Plum series.

So this is more or less the same cliché – female character starts to investigate two murder because the suspect could be the father of her “perhaps” child; add a hunk of a cop, a great friend and voila ...

But, even though a nice story, it just hasn’t got the same touch not to mention the same class as the Plum books. AND I more or less had an idea of who the killer could be half way through the book.

It seemed to me that the main character Maddie was constantly either on some numbered high- or freeway or was eating some take away place, oh, that’s right: or drinking diet coke because she’s “late” late – which in an annoying way everyone seems to emphasise, because she seems to be one of those who are constantly late – as in not on time.

The plot itself is good, though, as I mentioned before, with just too many clichés.

If you haven’t yet read the Plum books, you might enjoy this one for a nice rainy weekend or a light read at the beach.

Janet Evanovich - Eleven on Top

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-93622-2

My rating: 4/5

Stephanie Plum is thinking her career as fugitive apprehension agent has run its course. She's been shot at, spat at, cussed at, fire-bombed, mooned, and attacked by dogs. Time for a change, Stephanie thinks. Time to find the kind of job her mother can tell her friends about without making the sign of the cross. So Stephanie Plum quits. Resigns. No looking back. No changing her mind. She wants something safe and normal. As it turns out, jobs that are safe and normal for most people aren't necessarily safe and normal for Stephanie Plum. Trouble follows her, and the kind of trouble she had at the bail bonds office can't compare to the kind of trouble she finds herself facing now. Her past has come back to haunt her. She's stalked by a maniac returned from the grave for the sole purpose of putting her into a burial plot of her own. He's killed before, and he'll kill again if given the chance. Caught between staying far away from the bounty hunter business and staying alive, Stephanie re-examines her life and the possibility that being a bounty hunter is the solution rather than the problem. After disturbingly brief careers at the button factory, Kan Klean Dry Cleaners, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket, Stephanie takes an office position in security, working for Ranger, the sexiest, baddest, bounty hunter and businessman in two continents. It might not be the job she'll keep for the rest of her life, but for now, it gives her the technical access she needs to find her stalker. Tempers and temperatures rise as competition ratchets up between the two men in her life --her off-again, on-again boyfriend, tough Trenton cop, Joe Morelli, and her bad-ass boss, Ranger. Can Stephanie Plum take the heat? Can you?  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

I’m glad to say “Eleven on Top” is an improvement on the previous ones.


Steph quits her job as a bounty hunter. She wants a normal job with a regular income – and gets lucky almost instantly, though she loses the job just as quickly. After a short-lived job at the dry cleaners she ends up in cluck-in-a-bucket – which burns down after only a few days. No luck for Steph to escape the threats and being shot at; there’s someone out there to settle an old score.

What else?
  • Stephanie’s giving up sugar and the withdrawal symptoms are quite funny.
  • Lula is hilarious as she takes over the bounty hunter job, though with a lot of help from Stephanie (eg when Lula gets cuffed naked and rings Steph for help – go figure)
  • Morelli breaks his leg and isn’t all that happy about Steph working at Ranger.
  • There’s a lot of “Babe” and that always makes me happy.

The ending quite surprised me – so: thumps up for “Eleven on Top”.

Sigrid Macdonald - D'amour Road - Interview

Last week I had the pleasure and priviledge of having Sigrid Macdonald on my radio program via audio clip talking about her book "D'amour Road". Because the mp3-thing doesn't work for me, here is a transcript of what she had to say.

Should you be interested in more information about the book, please check here, or if you want to purchase the book you can do so on amazon.com.

Thanks to Sigrid for making the effort, it's been very much appreciated.



Hi Iris, this is Sigrid. Thanks so much for having me on your show today via audio clip. I understand you’re going to talk about my book “D’amour Road” and I wanted to tell you and your listeners a little bit about it. There are two main topics in “D’amour Road”. The first is missing women and the other is midlife crisis.


In terms of missing women I had a very personal interest in that topic, because in 1995 an acquaintance of mine by the name of Louise Ellis went missing and her partner was suspected of harming her. I had known Louise for two years although we had never met in person. We talked on the phone all the time and I was part of the search team that went looking for her. I was really devastated when she disappeared and I don’t want to tell your listeners the end of that story -- what happened to her -- but several years later it seemed to me as there ... that there was almost an epidemic of missing women and young girls, certainly here in North America. One after another we had people like Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart, women and girls usually – I can’t really remember too many guys -- I ... I think there were one or two, but it was generally a female thing --who were there one minute and gone the next.

And although I knew Louise, we weren’t best friends. So I decided to write, to fictionalise, her story by asking myself what would it have been like if she and I were really close, if she was in my inner circle. How would I have felt then? Because as it ... as it was her disappearance just ... uhm ... haunted me and stayed with me for so many years. But I hypothesized what if it had been my best friend and I created a story between two women who were just about to turn forty, and here’s where we come to the midlife crisis part.

And one of them is named Tara and she’s the protagonist, the story is told from her perspective, and she’s best friends with Lisa, who is kind of Louise Ellis because it’s just ... the story is loosely based on the Louise situation. And I wanted to give Tara some humour, because it could be a dark story to talk about missing women and I didn’t ... I didn’t want that. So I gave her a lot of my own neurosis and my angst and difficulty around turning forty, because when Louise disappeared I was forty-two and I remember reading about her in the newspaper that she was forty-six and I was thinking “Oh, how ancient”. Which, of course, was only a couple of years away from me and now I’m ... I’m long past forty-six.

But when I turned forty I was working at a local university in a women’s collective with all kinds of very, very young women. They were eighteen, nineteen, twenty-one, twenty-two and I adored them, but it made me feel quite ancient and I didn’t want any of them to think of me as their mother, so I pretended to be thirty-nine for three years in a row ... very classic ... ahh ... you know, trouble around the big four-zero – some people have it at forty, other people have it at fifty. I had it very bad at ... at forty.

And so I’ve given Tara an obsession with her hair and there are two reasons for that. One is that she wants, well three actually. One is that she wants to maintain her youthfulness and her attractiveness. Secondly I wanted to, as I said earlier, add a little bit of humour and third, obsessing about her hair, or cutting her hair, or colouring her hair, or whatever she did to her hair was one of the few things she was able to control in her life when other things were spinning out of control.

And that’s pretty much the gist of “D’amour Road”. I hope that your listeners will check it out and thank you again so much for giving me the opportunity to join you on your awesome show. Take care and have a great day.

Sheila O'Flanagan - Someone Special

Publisher: Headline Review

ISBN: 978-0-75533221-2

My rating: 3.5/5


 
Someone Special’s main character is Romy, who is forced to come home from her job as a forensic archaeologist in Australia when her mother, Veronica goes into hospital for a back operation.


Romy is Veronica’s youngest daughter, from her second marriage to Dermot. Veronica also has a son, Darragh, and daughter, Kathryn, from her first marriage to Tom, and she’s recently divorced for the third time (although no children from that one!). Romy and Veronica are very different people. Romy isn’t into glamour and fashion though Veronica loves it – and so does Darragh’s wife, Giselle. Kathryn, Romy’s half-sister, is part of a power-couple and lives and works in New York. She’s very smart and sassy but has problems of her own. Darragh is the managing director of the family company and likes to see himself as a mover and shaker although the company is starting to lose clients.
Romy finds herself caught up in their problems as well as trying to accept her father’s second wife, Larissa and their daughter, Erin, too. Meanwhile she’s missing Australia, her work and her friends, particularly Keith, her best friend, who’s suddenly not as easy to know as he was before! (www.sheilaoflanagan.net


My thougths

Usually when I read a book I already have an idea what to write about half way through the story .... but this time I’m a bit stumped.


My first book by Irish Sheila O’Flanagan is about Romy, an Irish archaeologist currently living in Australia who is suddenly called home by her step brother, Darragh, because their mother is going to have a back operation and will need some help. She has to leave her best friend Keith behind in Sydney and confuses things by kissing him as she says goodbye to him at the airport.

When I finished the book I felt a sense of “not satisfied”. The story in itself was good, the writing was well done with good character descriptions. But it was the characters that I wasn’t able to relate to, though the story would have been very easy for me to do so. At some point Romy said to her sister “I just lost that chip on my shoulder” and I had to re- and re-read the paragraph, but I still don’t understand what had happened or what had been said for her to “lose the chip on her shoulder”.

Also, O’Flanagan has added a lot of backlog, which I believe was necessary so to understand the family members more, but sometimes I felt like flicking through those pages, just to get on with the story.

All in all ... not sure what to say about “Someone special”. Perhaps there’s someone else out there who’s read  the book and would like to add there view of the book ! I'd appreciate it.

Help needed from German immigrants in Australia

Simone Heist from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany is currently in Sydney and writing a thesis about German immigrants in Australia.

If you're happy to help please click here for more information.

Good luck Simone !

Janet Evanovich - Ten big ones

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-93622-2

My rating: 3.5/5

She's accidentally destroyed a dozen cars. She's a target for every psycho and miscreant this side of the Jersey Turnpike. Her mother's convinced she'll end up dead...or worse, without a man. She's Stephanie Plum and she kicks butt for a living (well, she thought it would sound good to put it that way...)

It begins as an innocent trip to the deli-mart, on a quest for nachos. But Stephanie Plum and her partner, Lula, are clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. A robbery leads to an explosion, which leads to the destruction of yet another car. It would be just another day in the life of Stephanie Plum...except that she becomes the target of a gang. And the target of an even scarier, more dangerous force that comes to Trenton. With super bounty hunter Ranger acting more mysteriously than ever (and the tension with vice cop Joe Morelli getting hotter), Stephanie finds herself with a decision to make: how to protect herself and where to hide while on the hunt for a killer known as the Junkman. There's only one safe place, and it has Ranger's name all over it-if she can find it. And if the Junkman doesn't find her first. With Lula riding shotgun and Grandma Mazur on the loose, Stephanie Plum is racing against the clock in her most suspenseful novel yet. Ten Big Ones is page-turning entertainment and Janet Evanovich is the best there is. (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

I have to admit, this one wasn’t one of Evanovich’s best effort!

The story’s not bad – Steph and Lula are at the wrong place at the wrong time and all of a sudden she’s the target of a gang!

I’m not sure where she’s going with the various characters. I like the way Morelli is developed and grows from book to book, though the sex thing is getting a bit boring. Steph is Steph though without her feistiness (I think I already mentioned that in the previous book) and is getting a touch too whiny. Lula – not sure about Lula. She was a great part of every story so far, giving it a down to earth kinda add, but it seems in “Ten” she there, because she’s always been “there”. AND as a big Ranger fan – not sure whether I like to find out all these new details about him.

The ending is well done, though to be really really honest – get this one from the Library.


Vera Bleibtreu - Trauerspiel

Publisher: Knecht Verlag

ISBN: 978-3-7820-0897-6

Language: German

My Rating: 3.5/5


Susanne Hertz, the minister from Mainz, is taken aback when she finds Julia Moll dead in front of her church. What did the 17 year old student want to talk about with Susanne before she was murdered?

Detective Tanja Schmidt comes across quite a few different motives and a few possible suspects - Could there a connection to the a teacher's suicide who used to teach at Julia's school? Did Julia really have an affair with Thorsten Braun, the director at the local theatre? What about Thorsten Braun's jealous wife? What is the deal with the burnt fields of genetic modified corn ? And who anonymously blames Susanne Hertz?

As soon as the detectives figure out who is pulling the strings behind this crime, the minister from Mainz comes up with an idea, which, however, is very daring and dangerous. (translated from http://www.josef-knecht-verlag.de/)


My thoughts

Well - I hope I have grown with my second book as much as Vera did with hers. It was a real pleasure to read "Trauerspiel" (Tradgedy).

Most of the characters have been developed nicely, the plot is a very well thought of idea which is being told smoothly. There's not as much or hardly any backlog like in her firstbook - thus the book gets more "oompf". The writing seems more fluently and thus it's easier to just want to read on.

If you're from the area or want to read something "German" I'd happily recommend this one for a light read. Well done Vera!

Janet Evanovich - To the Nines

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-99146-0

My rating: 3.5/5

Stephanie Plum's got rent to pay, people shooting at her, and psychos wanting her dead every day of the week (much to the dismay of her mother, her family, the men in her life, the guy who slices meat at the deli... oh, the list goes on). An ordinary person would cave under the pressure.

But hey, she's from Jersey.
Stephanie Plum may not the best bounty hunter in beautiful downtown Trenton, but she's pretty darn good at turning bad situations her way... and she always gets her man. In TO THE NINES her cousin Vinnie (who's also her boss) has posted bail on Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant. When the elusive Mr. Singh goes missing, Stephanie is on the case. But what she uncovers is far more sinister than anyone imagines and leads to a group of killers who give new meaning to the word "hunter..."
In a race against time that takes her from the Jersey Turnpike to the Vegas strip, Stephanie Plum is on the chase of her life. The unforgettable characters, non-stop action, high-stakes suspense, and sheer entertainment of TO THE NINES define Janet Evanovich as unique among today's writers. (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thougths

TO THE NINES !

Stephanie is in trouble again.  The main plot is that she has to find Samuel Singh, a temp worker from India and a computer geek. But there's also someone threatening Steph and killing people around her, which puts Ranger into action to bodyguard her. Last but not least, we have Steph’s unmarried sister who is pregnant with Kloughn being the father. For those out there who like Morelli - the two are getting closer again.

It’s one of the good story again with the new characters that had me chuckle most of the time – esp Singh’s mother, but also my all time favourite Lula with her various diets!

It’s another page turner – PS except the Las Vegas trip, which I thought was a bit too drawn out and hence boring.

Janet Evanovich - Hard Eight


Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312983867

My rating: 3/5

Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum has a big problem on her hands: Seven-year-old Annie Soder and her mother, Evelyn, have disappeared.

Evelyn's estranged husband, Steven, a shady owner of a seedy bar, is not at all happy. During the divorce proceedings, he and Evelyn signed a child custody bond, and Steven is demanding the money guaranteed by the bond to find Annie. The money was secured by a mortgage on Evelyn's grandmother's house, and the True Blue Bonds Bail Agency wants to take possession of the house.
Finding a kidnapped child is not an assignment for a bounty hunter. But Evelyn's grandmother lives next door to Stephanie's parents, and Stephanie's mother and grandmother are not about to see their neighbor lose her house because of abduction.
Even though Stephanie's plate is full with miscreants who missed their court dates, including old nemesis and violent drunk Andy Bender and an elusive little old lady accused of grand theft auto, she can't disappoint Grandma Mazur! So she follows the trail left by Annie and Evelyn-- and finds a lot more than she bargained for. Steven is somehow linked with a very scary Eddie Abruzzi. Trenton cop and on-again, off-again fiance Joe Morelli and Stephanie's mentor and tormentor, Ranger, warn Stephanie about Abruzzi, but it's Abruzzi's eyes and mannerisms that frighten Stephanie the most. Stephanie needs Ranger's savvy and expertise, and she's willing to accept his help to find Annie even though it might mean becoming too involved with Ranger.
Stephanie, Ranger, Lula (who's not going to miss riding with Ranger), and Evelyn's lawyer/laundromat manager set out to find Annie. The search turns out to be a race among Stephanie's posse, the True Blue Bonds' agent, a Rangerette known as Jeanne Ellen Burrows, and the Abruzzi crew. Not to mention the fact that there's a killer rabbit on the loose! (http://www.evanovich.com/)



My thoughts

I’m on holidays – so here comes Book number Eight !!!

This one had a slow beginning as well.

It’s a typical Stephanie Plum story ... Mabel Markowitz, Mr & Mrs Plum’s neighbour, asks Steph to find her daughter and grand-daughter who have been missing. Steph, with Lula’s help, starts searching for the two and it doesn’t take long before she encounters Evelyn’s landlord, Eddie Abruzzi – some really creepy crime lord.

We also get introduced to some whacky lawyer called Kloughn, who is probably meant to lighten up the story somewhat, but fails miserably.

We get lots and lots of Ranger which is always good, though I personally found that he’s losing a bit of his mystery characteristic and becoming a touch soft. But you’ve gotta love Ranger !!!!

Overall, the story’s ok, Stephanie is losing her feistiness for which I really liked her. It’s way too often that the joke’s on her, because of her near incompetence and poor choices. Hopefully she’ll find back the “fighting” spirit.