Category bounty hunters

2012: #26 – Explosive Eighteen (Janet Evanovich)

Title: Explosive Eighteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #18
Format: Kindle
Pages:  352 (2012 total – 6,537)
Approx. Word Count: 88,000 (2012 total – 1,814,214)
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Bantam
Categories: humor, romantic adventure
Source: personal copy
Rating: 3 out of 5

Back of the book:

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

My thoughts:

After a string of 4 or 5 lackluster books, I feel like Evanovich has managed to breathe at least a little bit of new life into this stale series. Some things haven’t changed – Stephanie’s still not the greatest bounty hunter, has horrible luck with cars, and can’t make up her mind about either Morelli OR Ranger. Though after her disastrous Hawaiian vacation, she’s not particularly anxious to be face-to-face with either of them.

Stephanie actually does a fairly good job of fending for herself in this one, fighting off fake FBI agents and apartment intruders with no outside help. Unfortunately, this also meant we didn’t see nearly enough of either guy. And I could do with a little bit less Lula. She’s actually managed to become a caricature of herself, all tight clothes and buckets of chicken.

As for the mystery of what’s in the photo, I found that part of the plot more than a little implausible. It felt like Evanovich was making a jump into technology that she really wasn’t prepared for.

I think it’s going to take a lot to get this series back to where it was at its peak, but this one was entertaining enough to keep me reading until the end. But maybe Stephanie can find some personal growth in the next one?

Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | WorldCat

Other reviews:

  • “I am getting off the crazy train. If I want to read cars getting blown up, her sneaky snarkness, and some hot glimpses of two actual men…I’ll read the early plum books.” — Badass Book Reviews
  • “This is the worst Stephanie Plum yet; I’m so disappointed.”Peppermint Ph.D.
  • “If you’re looking for an entertaining read filled with mishaps, explosions/fires, funerals, mysterious people turning up in Stephanie’s apartment and Stephanie stuck between her love for two men this would be your read.”Mrs Q: Book Addict

Past reviews:

2011: Heads You Lose (Lisa Lutz & David Hayward)
2010: What Do We Do Now? (Keith Malley & Chemda)
2009: Soul Catcher (Michael C. White)
2008: Twilight (Stephenie Meyer)
2007: Full House (Janet Evanovich)
2006: Judgement in Death (J.D. Robb)
2005: The Sigma Protocol (Robert Ludlum)

2011: #52 – Smokin' Seventeen (Janet Evanovich)

seventeenBook #52 was Smokin’ Seventeen, the seventeenth book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. The back of the book reads:

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

This had everything you expect from a Stephanie Plum novel: a couple of wacky captures, a destroyed car or two, Grandma terrorizing the funeral home, lots of Lulu, and some hot lovin’ between Stephanie and Morelli (or Ranger) (or both). Unfortunately, I really think it’s time to either shake up the formula a bit or to shut down the series completely.

Stephanie does a few things that are out of character when it comes to her love life, but I’m starting to wonder if the triangle (and I use that term loosely, since it’s mostly all talk no action with Ranger) will ever be resolved.

And while the serial killer storyline was vaguely interesting, it was also as transparent as a window. By the time the second body showed up, I knew who the killer was.

I suppose I’ll continue reading the series, but my excitement for it is waning.

Other reviews:

The Brazen Bookworm: Book Review: Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
Reflections of a Bookaholic: Review: Smokin’ Seventeen
Review: Smokin’ Seventeen {Stephanie Plum #17} by Janet Evanovich
Review: Smokin’ Seventeen « Bermudaonion’s Weblog
Duffbert’s Random Musings :: Book Review – Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Page count: 320 (’11 total: 14,078) | Approximate word count: 80,000 (’11 total: 5,121,870)

2010: Pay Dirt (Rita Mae Brown)
2009: Sunny Chandler’s Return (Sandra Brown)
2008: Sharp Teeth (Toby Barlow)
2007: The Apprentice (Tess Gerritsen)
2006: The Winds of War (Herman Wouk)
2005: Four to Score (Janet Evanovich)

Used in these Challenges: 2011 E-book Reading Challenge; Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2011;

2010: #90 – Sizzling Sixteen (Janet Evanovich)

sixteenBook #90 was Sizzling Sixteen, the sixteenth book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  The back of the book reads:

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. . . .


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.


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.


Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie’s messing up Mooner’s vibe, running up pay-per-view porn charges in Ranger’s apartment, and making Stephanie question genetics.


Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, Mooner’s Hobbit-Con charity event, and Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business, and Vinnie, from ruin.


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.


The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky—the only question is . . . with whom?

Unfortunately, this series is losing its luster with me. Beyond a few laughs, I was kinda bored with this.  It’s really just the same ole, same ole, and I’m ready for Stephanie to grow more as a character.  And while the Stephanie/Morelli/Ranger triangle has the potential to add a little spice to any book, Stephanie and Morelli’s on-again-off-again thing is getting tiresome. Though maybe a little more Morelli and Ranger would have helped this book — they were both missing for large parts of it.  Really, Morelli is hardly in it at all. Things are really up in the air at the end of this book, so maybe my dreams will come true and Stephanie will find a new way to get into trouble.

Other reviews:

A Book Blogger’s Diary: Review – Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Book Series Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich
MariReads: Book Review: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
YABOOKNERD: Mysterious Saturday Review: Sizzling Sixteen
Book Review: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – I’d So Rather Be Reading

Page count: 320 | Approximate word count: 80,000

2009: Jar City (Arnaldur Indridason)
2008: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Joanne Fluke)
2007: Sacred and Profane (Faye Kellerman)
2006: A Certain Justice (John Lescroart)

Used in these Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; E-book Reading Challenge; Pages Read Challenge Season 2;

2010: #31 – White Witch, Black Curse (Kim Harrison)

whitewitch Book #31 was White Witch, Black Curse, the seventh book in Kim Harrison’s fabulous Rachel Morgan series.  The back of the book reads:

Kick-ass bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan has crossed forbidden lines, taken demonic hits, and still stands. But the death of her lover struck her harder than she ever thought possible. She won’t rest until his murder is solved . . . and avenged.

But a new predator is moving to the apex of the Inderlander food chain—and now Rachel’s past is coming back to haunt her.


Oh, Rachel Morgan series, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways:

  1. You are full of rich, conflicted, and complicated characters.  Your good guys are just a little bad, and your bad guys are just a little good, which makes everyone a lovely shade of grey.  A reader can find themselves wondering if a demon or ruthless business man are really all *that* bad.
  2. You are full of rich, conflicted, and complicated relationships.  In real life, there are layers to relationships, and Harrison knows how to show it in her novels. Rachel and Ivy are more than partners.  They’re best friends, and feel a deep loyalty to each other, often without thinking of the consequences to themselves (or thinking of them, and deciding they don’t matter).  Jenks has grown into much more than the spunky pixie side-kick.  He is a father figure packed into four inches of determination and love. Even Rachel’s relationship with the demon Al has many levels, from resentment to respect.
  3. You take place in an incredibly different yet familiar world. Harrison has managed to build an alternate universe of sorts, one which might have been the same as our real world if not for some diseased tomatoes.
  4. You seamlessly move the major series arc ahead while giving us an interesting immediate concern.
  5. You don’t dilly dally with namby pamby background at the beginning of the story — you jump right in to the action! One thing that Harrison is especially gifted at is working the background information into the course of the story without it being overly intrusive.
  6. You build upon current supernatural mythologies without changing too much and without adding cheesy elements. In Harrison’s books, the supernatural often feel more natural than the human.
  7. You never ignore the past.  Events that happened in the first books in the series still have an impact in the last books.

This series is really one of the best paranormal series out there.  If you’re not reading it, YOU SHOULD BE.

Other reviews: Review – “White Witch, Black Curse” by Kim Harrison
Darque Reviews: Review – White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison : Book Review
Alpha Heroes: White Witch, Black Curse – Kim Harrison – Review
Beyond Books » Blog Archive » White Witch, Black Curse

Audiobook length: 18 hrs 33 min | Approximate word count: 144,000

2009: Breath of Scandal (Sandra Brown)
2008: Seduction in Death (J.D. Robb)
2007: Exile (Richard North Patterson)
2006: The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (Elizabeth Peters)
2005: H is for Homicide (Sue Grafton)

Used in these Challenges: Four Month Challenge; 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Audiobook Challenge;

2009: #72 – Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Janet Evanovich)

fifteen Book #72 was Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, the fifteenth book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  The back of the book reads:

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’s Grandma Mazur. Enough said.

Bring to a boil: 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.

I have to admit, I was a little surprised to find Stephanie and Morelli on the outs when this novel begins, since they’d been getting pretty cozy in the last couple of books.  However, you won’t find me complaining, because less Morelli meant more Ranger, and I’m a Ranger girl through and through.  I thought this was the best out of the last few Plum novels.  It wasn’t quite as zany as some (after all, there are no monkeys in this one), but Stephanie still manages to destroy several vehicles, get shot at a few times, have her apartment firebombed, and give Joyce Barnhardt food poisoning. Sure, she doesn’t learn much from her mistakes, but isn’t that why we like her so much?

I can’t help it, I still love this series.

Audiobook length: 6hrs 18min | Approximate word count: 77,490

2008: The Finishing School (Michele Martinez)
2007: Lean Mean Thirteen (Janet Evanovich)
2006: The Sky is Falling (Sidney Sheldon)
2005: Jacob’s Ladder (Donald McCaig)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; The 999 Challenge; What’s in a Name Challenge;

2009: #68 – Skin Trade (Laurell K. Hamilton)

skintrade Book #68 was Skin Trade, the 17th book in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.  The back of the book reads:

When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City’s local authorities what they’re dealing with. Only it’s worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain—paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where’s she’s joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It’s a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses “tiger” too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher.

I had such high hopes for this book! Anita was back to being an executioner! She’s on the road, so her stable of men will be smaller! Maybe there will be less of the metaphysical stuff!

And then I was so, so disappointed. If there was ever a book in need of an editor with a sharp red pen, it was this one.

The worst part of the book?  The talking, talking, and more talking. Everyone had to discuss every little freakin’ thing, at the most inopportune times, and ad nauseum. How many times do we need to revisit the “other people think Anita’s a slut cuz she has so many boyfriends” point? Or the “Olaf the serial killer/U.S. Marshall wants Anita and he makes her really uncomfortable” point? And in the middle of a supposedly fast-paced search for a serial killer?  There is just a ridiculous amount of discussion and pissing contests, for lack of a better term.  The sex is toned down quite a bit in this one, with the wildest scene actually only alluded to, but even that wasn’t enough to save this book.  I did enjoy the final confrontation, but it should have been about 200 pages sooner than it was. I’ve stuck through this series for 17 books, but I’m not sure I’ll bother with #18.

Audiobook length: 18hrs 52min | Approximate word count: 203,453

2008: Dead Witness (Joylene Nowell Butler)
2007: Plum Island (Nelson DeMille)
2006: Letters From An Age of Reason (Nora Hague)
2005: Therapy (Jonathan Kellerman)

Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009;

2009: #14 – A Fistful of Charms (Kim Harrison)

fistfulcharms Book #14 was A Fistful of Charms, the fourth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series.  The back of the book reads:

The evil night things that prowl Cincinnati despise witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Her new reputation for the dark arts is turning human and undead heads alike with the intent to possess, bed, and kill her—not necessarily in that order.

Now a mortal lover who abandoned Rachel has returned, haunted by his secret past. And there are those who covet what Nick possesses—savage beasts willing to destroy the Hollows and everyone in it if necessary.

Forced to keep a low profile or eternally suffer the wrath of a vengeful demon, Rachel must nevertheless act quickly. For the pack is gathering for the first time in millennia to ravage and rule. And suddenly more than Rachel’s soul is at stake.

I love, love, love this series! It is easily in my top two that I’ve read in the last couple of years.  There’s tons of action, a little bit of romance, and more witches, vamps, weres, and pixies than you can handle. Harrison has created some surprisingly complex characters that grow, change, and adapt in book after book. Especially Rachel, who continues to find out that some people aren’t what they seem, and that it’s hard to live your life in black and white — sometimes those shades of gray are necessary.  Jenks takes a pretty (ahem) big part in this one as he searches for his wayward son, something that could have been really gimmicky but instead worked seamlessly.  There’s so much packed into this book, it’s hard to believe it only takes place over the course of a week.  I have a feeling I’ll be listening to the next book sooner rather than later.

Audiobook length: 17 hrs 5 min | Approximate word count: 170,054

2008: Sick Puppy (Carl Hiaasen)
2007: Judge & Jury (James Patterson)
2006: The Killing Dance (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2005: Rosemary’s Baby (Ira Levin)

Used in these Challenges: The Countdown Challenge; 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; 2009 Audiobook Challenge; The 999 Challenge;

2009: #7 – Plum Spooky (Janet Evanovich)

plumspooky Book #7 was Plum Spooky, a “Between-the-Numbers” book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  The back of the book reads:

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground. Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.  Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs. Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.

This was the first full-length Between-the-Numbers book, and I think it was by far the best.  Unlike the usual Plum novels, here you have the addition of Diesel and his strange abilities, which makes for a different sort of adventure for Stephanie.  However, along the way are all your favorites — Morelli, Ranger (though it could have used more Ranger), Lula, Grandma, stubborn bail jumpers, and wrecked vehicles.  Oh, and Elmer the fire farter. I’ll say no more about him.  And let’s not forget about Carl the monkey, who was a much more pleasant addition than I expected. The scientific plot here is a little more confusing than the usual Plum mystery, but I really enjoyed this listen.

Audiobook Length: 6hr 28m | Approximate word count: 77,490

2008: Gone (Lisa Gardner)
2007: The Dark Tower (Stephen King)
2006: Whiteout (Ken Follett)
2005: Twisted (Jonathan Kellerman)

Used in these Challenges: The Naming Conventions Challenge; The Countdown Challenge; 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; 2009 Audiobook Challenge; 2009 Pub Challenge;  The 999 Challenge; A-Z 2009 Challenge;

2008: #85 – Every Which Way But Dead (Kim Harrison)

dead Book #85 was Every Which Way But Dead, the third book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series.  The back of the book reads:

There’s no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who’s already put her love life and soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between “runs,” she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor.

Rachel must also take a stand in the war that’s raging in the city’s underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin—and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark “master” is coming to collect his due.

I really like this series.  In this entry, there’s a *little* less danger for Rachel and a little more romance. Along the way, there’s a lot she’s learning about herself, even if she sometimes doesn’t like what she learns.  There’s less Ivy and Jenks in this book, and I kinda missed Jenks, but at least Rachel wasn’t fending off Ivy every other chapter. There’s also a new character introduced into Rachel’s life, and I’m curious about what sort of role David the Were will play in the future.

Page count: 501 | Word count: 162,224

2007: Raise the Titanic! (Clive Cussler)
2006: Glory in Death (J.D. Robb)

2008: #57 – Fearless Fourteen (Janet Evanovich)

26679113 Book #57 was Fearless Fourteen, the fourteenth book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  The back of the book reads:

Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet.

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.

Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.

I think this is the best installment in the series out since it hit 10 or so. Really solid and entertaining. The cast of secondary characters in this one is exceptional, from Brenda to Moonman. Lula is in stellar form as she plans for a wedding. Grandma Mazur gets a new hobby. And Stephanie and Morelli seem to be moving further down Commitment Road — poor Ranger! Overall, I loved it. Also, this is the first of the numbered books I’ve listened to on audio, and I believe that will be my preferred method of "reading" these in the future… great audio production!

Page count: 320 | Approximate word count: 77,490

2007: Windmills of the Gods (Sidney Sheldon)
2006: The Weatherman (Steve Thayer)
2005: To the Nines (Janet Evanovich)

2008: #54 – Plum Lucky (Janet Evanovich)

24460506 Book #54 was Plum Lucky, a Between-the-Numbers book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  The back of the book reads:

Looking to get lucky?

Stephanie Plum is back between-the-numbers and she’s looking to get lucky in an Atlantic City hotel room, in a Winnebago, and with a brown-eyed stud who has stolen her heart.

Stephanie Plum has a way of attracting danger, lunatics, oddballs, bad luck . . . and mystery men. And no one is more mysterious than the unmentionable Diesel. He’s back and hot on the trail of a little man in green pants who’s lost a giant bag of money. Problem is, the money isn’t exactly lost.

Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur has found it, and like any good Jersey senior citizen, she’s hightailed it in a Winnebago to Atlantic City and hit the slots. With Lula and Connie in tow, Stephanie attempts to bring Grandma home, but the luck of the Irish is rubbing off on everyone: Lula’s found a job modeling plus-size lingerie. Connie’s found a guy. Diesel’s found Stephanie. And Stephanie has found herself in over her head with a caper involving thrice-stolen money, a racehorse, a car chase, and a bad case of hives.

Plum Lucky is an all-you-can-eat buffet of thrills, chills, shrimp cocktail, plus-size underwear, and scorching hot men. It’s a between-the-numbers treat no Evanovich fan will want to miss!

It was time to pick up this book (or rather, load it on to my mp3 player) because I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fearless Fourteen and didn’t want to skip a book! In this “Between the Numbers” book, Grandma Mazur manages to get herself kidnapped and Stephanie needs to get her back with the help of Diesel, Lula, Connie, and a few more of Trenton’s wacky characters. Oh, and Doug the horse.

What I like most about these books is the blatant absurdity. Everything is just a touch over-the-top, and that’s what really makes this series. Stephanie just can’t help the crazy things that happen to her, and as time goes on she accepts it just a little bit more. It could have used a little more Ranger, but couldn’t *every* book use a little more Ranger? It’s no great work of literature, but I was thoroughly entertained, and that’s all that matters.

Page count: 176 | Approximate word count: 44,000

2007: Grave Peril (Jim Butcher)
2006: Twelve Sharp (Janet Evanovich)
2005: Hot Six (Janet Evanovich)

2006: #53 – Biting the Moon (Martha Grimes); #54 – Twelve Sharp (Janet Evanovich); #55 – Proof (Dick Francis); #56 – Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald); #57 – The Weatherman (Steve Thayer)

moon.gifBook #53 was Biting the Moon, by Martha Grimes. The back of the book reads:

She does not know who she is, where she’s from, how she got here. She wakes one morning in a bed-and-breakfast alone. She is told by the owner she came in “dead asleep” with her father. But she knows the man is not her father. She takes her backpack, bedroll, and the wad of money she finds in his jacket and heads for the mountains, seeing in their bleak and towering landscape some kind of safety. Months later, she walks down from the mountains and into the life of fourteen-year-old Mary Dark Hope. Bound by their lack of family, their murky pasts, their affinity for animals, they set out to find the man who abducted her. Whitewater rafting, canned hunts, molestation, and murder – all move toward an inevitable and harrowing confrontation.

I recently joined a book group online, and this was June’s book of the month. I was decidedly underwhelmed. Much of the events just didn’t make any sense, and when a main character leaves the story, the things that happen afterwards don’t seem to fit in the story. This is the first Martha Grimes book I’ve read, and I’m not inclined to pick up another.

Book count: 53
Pages in book: 301
Page count: 21,190
Words in book: 100,400

Word count: 6,143,458

twelve.gifBook #54 was Twelve Sharp, the 12th book in Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum series. The back of the book reads:

America’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, is back in her twelfth bestseller and sure to win more fans than ever before. Trenton, New Jersey’s premier troublemaker is once again struggling with her tangled love life, her chaotic family, and her gift for destroying every car she drives. Not to mention her attempts to bring in the sometimes scary bail jumpers of Trenton, and the sudden appearance of a mysterious female stalker—who turns out to have a close connection to Ranger. Twelve Sharp has twists that will drive readers wild and prove that once again, for sheer reading entertainment, no one tops Janet Evanovich.

I was anxious to read this. After realizing that it was going to be several weeks before I could get even the audio version from the library, I broke down and made a special trip to Kroger to buy it (40% off!) before we left for Nashville. It did not disappoint. The tension between Stephanie, Joe, and Ranger is better than ever. Now I can’t wait till the next one!

Book count: 54
Pages in book: 320
Page count: 21,510
Words in book: 77,490

Word count: 6,220,948

proof.gifBook #55 was Proof, by Dick Francis. The back of the book reads:

Wine merchant Tony Beach has expertly catered his latest society soiree, but the fun’s over when a team of hit men crash the party…literally. The event leaves Tony with a bitter aftertaste of suspicion—and sets off a mystery that’s an intoxicating blend of deception, intrigue, and murder.

Another paperback I inherited from my dad. I’d never read Dick Francis before — this was pretty good. I’d read more. It’s part of the “Horseracing Mystery Series”, but it really didn’t have much to do with horseracing.

Book count: 55
Pages in book: 368
Page count: 21,878
Words in book: 101,054

Word count: 6,322,002

knees.gifBook #56 was Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald. The back of the book reads:

Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth century, Fall on Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battlefields of World War I, to the emerging jazz scene in New York City, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters. The mythically charged family—James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition; Materia, his Lebanese child-bride; and their daughters: Kathleen, the eldest, a beautiful talent preparing for a career as an opera diva; Frances, incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption—is supported by a richly textured cast of characters. Fall on Your Knees is a story of inescapable family bonds, of terrible secrets, of miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love.

This was a very interesting story about a very odd family. It was a little disjointed sometimes, mostly because it would jump around in the timeline from time to time, but you could usually pick up what was happening pretty quickly. The description of the characters in the “back of the book” doesn’t really do them justice. I found myself rereading parts because something important would happen very quickly, and you wouldn’t realize the importance until later.

Book count: 56
Pages in book: 508
Page count: 22,386
Words in book: 167,184

Word count: 6,489,186

weatherman.gifBook #57 was The Weatherman, by Steve Thayer. The back of the book reads:

A serial killer is on the loose in Minnesota, snapping young women’s necks with each change of the seasons. Within twenty four hours of the first murder, TV weatherman Dixon Bell, a hulking eccentric, warns his viewers that a tornado is about to strike. The National Weather Service hasn’t called it, but Dixon Bell does because he sees it coming in his mind. Among all the complex and original characters in this astonishing novel, the shifting weather and landscape of Minnesota stand out – demonic, majestic, bizarre, magical. Dixon Bell is not the only eccentric on Channel 7’s Sky High News. His alter ego is an investigative news producer named Rick Beanblossom, a Vietnam vet and Pulitzer Prize winner, who hides his napalmed face, and his feelings, behind a mask. Guided along the way by an unnamed police source. Rick is on the track of the serial killer. Then he is assigned an unlikely partner, Andrea Labore, a lovely and ambitious ex-cop turned TV reporter. The newsman and the weatherman start out as bitter rivals for this gifted woman. But an ambivalent friendship grows between them when Dixon Bell becomes a suspect in the weather-related killings and Rick Beanblossom sets out to prove him innocent.

I borrowed this from my dad since I blew through the last of the 4 books I took to Nashville on the day before we left. It was pretty good! You know me, I’m a sucker for a serial killer story. I’ll have to keep my eyes out for more Thayer books in the future.

Book count: 57
Pages in book: 464
Page count: 22,850
Words in book: 108,856

Word count: 6,598,042

1,000,000 words surpassed — 2/2/06
2,000,000 words surpassed — 2/14/06
10,000 pages surpassed — 3/10/06
3,000,000 words surpassed — 3/16/06
4,000,000 words surpassed — 4/3/06
5,000,000 words surpassed — 5/30/06
50 books surpassed – 6/12/06
20,000 pages surpassed — 6/29/06
6,000,000 words surpassed — 6/29/06

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