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.

Janet Evanovich - Seven Up


Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312980140

My rating: 3.5/5


The #1 bestselling , nationwide phenomenon continues with Janet Evanovich's most explosive Stephanie Plum thriller yet -- so get ready for the ride of your life!

Semi-retired mob guy, Eddie DeChooch, is caught trafficking contraband cigarettes through Trenton, New Jersey. When DeChooch fails to show for a court appearance, bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum is assigned the task of finding DeChooch and dragging his decrepit ass back to jail. Not such an easy job, it turns out, since DeChooch has learned a lot of tricks over the years and isn't afraid to use his gun. He's already shot Loretta Ricci and left her for worm food in his shed. He wouldn't mind shooting Stephanie next.
Especially since Steph has discovered that likeable losers (and former high school classmates) Mooner and Dougie have inadvertently become involved with DeChooch. They've gotten sucked into an operation which is much more than simple cigarette smuggling and holds risks far greater than anyone could have imagined.
When Dougie disappears, Steph goes into search mode. When Mooner disappears, she calls in the heavy artillery and asks master bounty hunter Ranger for help. His price for the job? One night with Stephanie, dusk to dawn. Not information she'd want to share with her some-time live in roommate, vice cop Joe Morelli.
A typical dilemma in the world of Plum.
And on the homefront, Stephanie's "perfect" sister Valerie has decided to move back to Trenton, bringing her two kids from hell. Grandma Mazur is asking questions about being a lesbian, and Bob, the bulimic dog, is eating everything in sight -- including the furniture.
Mud wrestling, motorcycles, fast cars, fast food, and fast men. It's SEVEN UP. Absolutely Janet Evanovich at her very best.  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thougths

Whoohoo – here comes “Seven up”!

Janet Evanovich doesn’t disappoint our expectations.

Steph is after Eddie DeChooch, a seventy something years old retired criminal who is more difficult to apprehend than expected not to mention he shoots at her every time she comes close. When Grandma Mazur gets kidnapped, though, Steph turns to Ranger, her mentor, for help – but is she really willing to accept his price? Anything else that can happen to Steph? Yes! Her “perfect” sister Valerie has left her husband and moves in with her parents - including her two daughters. There’s also Mooner and Dougie who go missing AND Steph finds herself engaged to Morelli – or is she?

Not quite as good as the previous books, but still a great Ending - so go and get it! You won't regret it.

Janet Evanovich - Hot Six

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312976275

My rating: 4/5


Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and Trenton vice cop Joe Morelli join forces to find the madman killer who shot and barbecued the youngest son of international black-market arms dealer Alexander Ramos.

Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, is caught on video just minutes before the crime occurs. He's at the scene, he's with the victim, and he's the number one suspect. Manoso is former Special Forces turned soldier of fortune. He has a blue-chip stock portfolio and no known address. He moves in mysterious circles. He's Stephanie's mentor-- the man who taught her everything she knows about fugitive apprehension. And he's more than her friend.
Now he's the hunted and Stephanie's the hunter, and it's time for Stephanie to test her skills against the master. But if she does catch him... what then? Can she bring herself to turn him in?
Plus there are other things keeping Stephanie awake at night. Her maternal grandmother has set up housekeeping in Stephanie's apartment, a homicidal maniac has selected Stephanie as his next victim, her love life is in the toilet, she's adopted a dog with an eating disorder, and she can't button the top snap on her Levis.  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

“Hot Six” starts right off with what we were waiting for – who gets to see the black dress!

It’s another great story with lots of laughter and lots of suspense, romance (in Plum-style of course) and with Grandma Mazur learning to drive a car and moving in with Steph and thus putting Steph and Morelli’s sex life on hold for a while. But in “Hot Six” Steph has to go after the most difficult fugitive in more than just one way: Carlos Manoso aka Ranger; her mentor and teacher, and she has doubts whether she can actually turn him in – even though is wanted for murder.

I loved the plot which introduces some more great characters which adds that special touch we all got to know.

Again – go out and get it!

Marian Keys - Anybody out there?



Publisher: Avon A

ISBN: 978-0061240850

My rating: 4/5

International bestseller Keyes is back with another quirky, heartwarming story of the Walsh sisters (Angels, etc.). Anna Walsh has returned to the bosom of her family in the Dublin suburbs to recuperate from the horrendous car accident that has left her with multiple fractures and a disfiguring scar across her face. Desperate to go back to New York and resume her normal life, she soon packs up her bags and returns to her job in beauty PR for punk cosmetics brand Candy Grrrl. A lonely and debilitated Anna leaves e-mails and phone messages for her mysteriously absent husband, Aidan, pleading for him to reply. [...] Meanwhile, she reminisces about their courtship and marriage while her kooky family (especially her Mum and hyperactive PI sister Helen) tries to buoy her spirits. Keyes's trademark blend of humor, diverse characters and a warm but unsentimental tone strikes gold.


My thoughts

I chose this book purely by looking at the shelf and taking one. Chick lit for a change please, I thought – but boy this one had me in tears, and not because of laughter.

The start is quite slow I thought. We get to know Anna Walsh from Ireland (of course that was a wee factor in my decision, too) recovering from her severe injuries – not only physically, but emotionally as well. We find out about her “best job in the world” and Aidan; Aidan the man in her life, the life she’d been living in New York before her accident.

Yet, it takes about 1/3 into the book until we find out more about Aidan and what happened that left her scarred and broken.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions and I personally think Keys did a great job combining the issues of love, loss and anger wrapped up in a chick-lit-story, though some parts of the book are quite sad and perhaps not necessarily what readers are expecting from a book for a “light-hearted” read.

“Anybody out there” was my first book I’ve read by Marian Keys and probably not the last. If you’re looking for something witty, full of humour, yet thought- and meaningful as the story follow Anna’s journey to find out whether Aidan’s doing okay, you'll definately enjoy this one!

Janet Evanovich - High Five

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312971346

My rating: 4/5


High fives all around! The New York Times bestselling author of FOUR TO SCORE puts Stephanie Plum, America's favorite bounty hunter, back behind the wheel in her fifth high-octane thriller.

What's Stephanie up to now?
  • Her Uncle Fred has disappeared.
  • A body turns up in a garbage bag.  
  • She's got a nasty bookie following her around town.
  • Grandma Mazur has her hands on the stun gun.
  • Stephanie can't keep a car for more than forty-eight hours.
  • Two men are trying to get her into bed.
  • She has nothing to wear to the Mafia wedding.
  • And there's an angry little man (don't call him a dwarf!) who won't leave her apartment.
Bail jumping in Trenton is down to small potatoes. Stephanie's only open case is a small bond for a small violation, committed by a small person who raises Stephanie's frustration level in big ways. So short of money and long on bills, Stephanie comes up with a plan --diversify! Signing on as an intern with entrepreneurial Super Bounty Hunter Ranger, Stephanie ventures into Ranger's mostly morally correct and marginally legal operations.

None of this makes vice cop Joe Morelli a happy man. The cop in him can't help but wonder as to the source of Stephanie's expensive new cars. And the rest of him, the man who's been friend and lover to Stephanie, can't help but wonder if there's more to the partnership than meets the eye.

The internship is downgraded to second priority when Uncle Fred goes missing. Even though Grandma Mazur is sure he was abducted by aliens, Stephanie sets out to look for Fred. He's a perfectly average senior citizen, and he's disappeared without a trace while running errands. He's left his ten-year-old Pontiac station wagon locked up nice and neat in the Grand Union parking lot, the cleaning is carefully arranged on the back seat, and his wife is at home, waiting for him to return with the bread and the milk and the olive loaf bologna. Locked in the top drawer of his desk are photos of a body, dismembered and stuffed into a garbage bag. And locked away in the computer files of a another average citizen are the clues that will lead Stephanie to Fred.
Criminally original and stone brilliant, this Intermediate Bounty Hunting Survival Manual is blockbuster entertainment. (evanovich.com)


My thougths

What can I say ... another page turner! Brilliant.

The principle is more or less the same, though this book has less laughs, yet a more complex story. We have Steph who’s looking for Uncle Fred, but what should be sort of easy, turns out a bit creepy when they find photos of body parts on Fred’s desk. And that’s not all – we have the crazy Ramirez back from book one and she starts working with Ranger which doesn’t please Joe Morelli (her on again /off again boyfriend) at all. We have Grandma Mazur using the stun gun on Steph’s dad – hilarious!

Janet Evanovich knows how to put a nice story into words, with great dialogues and even better characters.

Go out and get this one too! It has a great ending – I wonder who she did put the little black dress on for.

Janet Evanovich - Four to score

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312966970

My rating: 4/5


Janet Evanovich, bestselling author of One for the Money, Two for the Dough, and Three to Get Deadly, scores big with Four to Score, her most thrilling Stephanie Plum adventure yet. Working for her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, Stephanie is hot on the trail of revenge-seeking waitress Maxine Nowicki, whose crimes include bail jumping, theft, and extortion. Someone is terrifying Maxine's friends, and those who have seen her are turning up dead. Also on the hunt for Maxine is Joyce Barnhardt, Stephanie's archenemy and rival bounty hunter. Stephanie's attitude never wavers - even when aided by Grandma Mazur, ex-hooker and wannabe bounty hunter Lula, and transvestite rock musician Sally Sweet - and even when Stephanie makes an enemy whose deadly tactics escalate from threatening messages to firebombs. All of this pales in comparison, though, with an even greater danger Stephanie faces, when, homeless and broke, she and her hamster Rex move in with vice cop Joe Morelli.


RATED PG35 for licentious wit and libidinous cohabitation. (evanovich.com)


My thoughts

What a ripper of a book!

The fourth book of the Plum series doesn’t disappoint – it had me laughing nearly non-stop. It’s a page turner.

Grandma Mazur and Lula (whose quick wit and humour will make you like her even more) are back and we get introduced to Sally Sweet, a transvestite drag-queen musician.

Joe Morelli is back as well and finally gets together with Steph when she has to move in after her apartment was lit on fire – and they do get together, hot and steamy, very graphic and perhaps not for everyone!

And the end has a nice twist indeed. Go out and get it!

Quote of the book: "(I) Got a free beer for a $5 tip"

Sigrid Macdonald - D'amour Road

Publisher: Lulu Enterprises, Inc

ISBN:  978-1411628724


My rating: 4/5


 Tara Richards is approaching 40. The thought fills her with dread. She is unhappy with her job as a rehabilitation nurse and disenchanted with her marriage, but lacks the courage to make a major life change. When her best friend Lisa disappears, Tara's life is thrown into turmoil.


Has Lisa jeopardized her sobriety by going on a drinking binge, or has she been harmed by her partner, who has a history of battering? Tara joins a massive search for her friend in conjunction with the police, her colorful women's collective, and a 24-year-old man, whom she finds particularly captivating.

D'Amour Road explores themes as diverse as women's friendships, male violence, wrongful convictions, addictions, cultural biases against aging, and infidelity. With pathos and humour, social activist Sigrid Macdonald draws us into the world of a quirky and imminently likable Canadian woman, whose life is about to be irrevocably changed  (http://www.amazon.com/)


My thoughts

WOW .... what a powerful book!

The book is loosely based on the story of Louise Ellis who went missing in 1995.

The main character is Tara Richards and we follow her life for two weeks.

Tara is approaching 40 and with that she questions her life and what she's done with it - sounds familiar to probably many of us women! She's not satisfied with her work as a nurse anymore, struggles to find common ground with her son and a look at her husband Mark turns her off instead of on. But Tara's life turns seriously up-side-down when her best friend Lisa Campana dissappears and Tara needs to find the strength to cope with it all - and that without her best friend!

Sigrid has a wonderful writing style, detailing every point, character or scene which makes the reader feel part of the story. However, I find exactly that attention to detail, made the start very slow and it took me a while to get into it. Yet, once Lisa dissappeared it was a rollercoster ride and I wasn't able to put the book down.

It's a great book and a reminder to not take life and friendship for granted.

I would definately categorise D'Amour Road as a must read, yet I'd like to add that as a reader you will need a bit of background knowledge of Canada (politics and hockey of all subjects), nursing and of course "missing people" around the globe.

Janet Evanovich - Three to get deadly

Publisher: St. Martin Press

ISBN: 978-0312-96609-1

My rating: 3.5/5


Stephanie Plum, the brassy babe in the powder blue Buick, is back, and she's having a bad hair day - for the whole month of January.

She's been given the unpopular task of finding Mo Bedemeir, Trenton's most beloved citizen, arrested for carrying concealed, gone no-show for his court appearance.
And to make matters worse, she's got Lula, a former hooker turned file clerk--now a wannabe bounty hunter--at her side, sticking like glue. Lula's big and blonde and black, and itching to get the chance to lock up a crook in the trunk of her car.
Morelli, the New Jersey vice cop with the slow-burning smile that undermines a girl's strongest resolve is being polite. So what does that mean? Has he found a new love? Or is he manipulating Steph, using her in his police investigation, counting on her unmanageable curiosity and competitive Jersey attitude?
Once again, the entire One for the Money crew is in action, including Ranger and Grandma Mazur, searching for Mo, tripping down a trail littered with drug dealers, leading Stephanie to suspect Mo has traded his ice-cream scoop for a vigilante gun.
Cursed with a disastrous new hair color and an increasing sense that it's really time to get a new job, Stephanie spirals and tumbles through Three to Get Deadly with all the wisecracks and pace her fans have come to expect.  (http://www.evanovich.com/)


My thoughts

This third installment of the Stephanie Plum Series is not quite as good as the previous two books, but still a very good laugh.
Initailly it was hard to follow, but like the previous books, as soon as I got the hang of the "who's who" I wasn't able to put the book down again. I love Lula, the hooker turned file clerk, more and more and I think it's great that not only is she now a regular in the stories, but with more voice as well - she cracks me up!
I also really liked one of the secondary plot of Steph not really coping with Morelli's "disinterest" in her - which makes her spy on him with her best friend Mary-Lou. "Mary Lou giggled. And then I giggled. Then we slapped ourselves so we’d stop giggling."  Well I didn't. I kept on giggling.
Did I mention Rangers plans to get Steph fit?

Well worth a read, not only for Plum fans, but everyone who needs a good laugh.