Notorious Nineteen- Janet Evanovich

This is the brand new release in the Stephanie Plum series, and as such is not a cheap offering, but if you’re a fan, maybe money’s no object. Cheaper paperback versions are due in June next year. I haven’t reviewed books 2 to 18 before jumping to this one (although I’ve read them), but thought it best to get this review done while the book’s brand new. Similar to the usual fun happenings, Stephanie’s broke, criminals need to be bounty-hunted, she exasperates her semi-serious cop/boyfriend Morelli with her risk-taking, many attempts are made on Stephanie’s life, and her cars have tragically short lifespans- as do those she borrows. This time the man on the loose is the embezzling manager of a care home for the elderly, who skipped bail while recovering from an appendectomy. Complicating matters is a lucrative side job with occasional colleague and lover Ranger, helping him guard a soon-to-be-wed couple from a crazed ex-special forces comrade.

Kooks for your Kindle?– All the old favourites are here, crackpot Granny Mazur still demonstrating where Stephanie got her nerve from, assistant Lula the retired hooker still ploughing through the junk food, and Randy the grumpy dwarf makes a reappearance. The bad guys are suitably creepy, albeit elusive, and the author does well to come up with new, varied baddies after so many episodes.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Although Stephanie is not as skilled or smooth as Ranger, she usually has the reactions and common sense to get herself out of trouble. Ranger does his share of rescuing, thankfully, but she’s not entirely helpless. As usual she’s down on her luck financially, but muddles on without letting it get her down.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– New Jersey seems to be as much of a cesspit of criminal activity as ever (please let me know in the comments if it’s really that bad!), and the ‘Burg’ neighbourhood as much of a catholic, food, and family oriented area as ever.

Nookie for your Nook?– Evanovich still manages to string out the tension between Stephanie and her two great loves, although it now looks like one of them is considering a commitment. I can safely say i would still struggle to choose.

Evaluation of your eBook?– In grand Plum tradition, it was read in a day (OK- hours), and much enjoyed. It’s not one of the stand-outs of the series, but pretty solid. It would be nice to see Stephanie’s situation reflect her improvement as a bounty hunter; now that she’s bringing in the big guys she could be a little less broke. On the other hand she does get through an awful lot of cars… There were some minor plot points that didn’t quite add up- hard to explain without giving away the ending, but the reason for the bail-skipper disappearing from the hospital seemed odd if he had bail riding on him. Correct me if i’m wrong! On the whole, an enjoyable, fun, light read, which is what we like here.

Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:
UK: Amazon for £9.99 kindle version now, or paperback for £6.99 when it’s released. Also at WHSmith and Waterstones for £9.99.

US: Amazon for $13.99 and Kobobooks for $17.39.
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One For The Money- Janet Evanovich

An oldie but goodie. Ironically I didn’t read any of hers for the longest time because I found the covers a little too frothy, but this proved to be well worth a read! Stephanie Plum has lost her job as a lingerie buyer and is in dire financial straits. However family connections and a little harmless blackmail land her a job as a bounty hunter, where she soon finds that her first potential catch is an old flame. Who she hasn’t spoken to since she intentionally ran him over and broke his leg. It’s essentially a crime/mystery story, and the narrative occasionally has the punchy feel of a 70s detective novel, but it’s undoubtedly aimed at women.

Nookie for your Nook?– Not too steamy at all, but it’s foreshadowed for future books.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Most of the characters are larger than life, some hugely so (Granny Mazur!). They would seem over the top in real life, but they work well here and there is a large variety.

The Bella-Swan-Pitifully-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Pleasantly absent here, the heroine is strong, resourceful, brave and optimistic. Even in desperate situations she is able to pick herself up and make the best of it, without being annoyingly chirpy. While Stephanie does require some rescuing when she first begins, she relies on the men less as she progresses and soon finds her calling.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– A vivid image of New Jersey is skillfully conveyed, by someone who clearly loves the area despite its industrial, polluted environment.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s classed as absolute froth here, certainly well written and unputdownable froth. A thoroughly enjoyable easy read and quite short. We already know it’s the beginning of a series, the crime story is wrapped up within this book, but the personal stories promise to roll along. I’ll get to the sequels soon!

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

UK: Ebook available at WHSmith for £5.39. Currently not available in Kindle form at Amazon (only hard copies), also at Waterstones on paperback for £5.59

US: For $8.99 at both Amazon.com and eBooks.com.  Also Kobobooks US or Kobo Canada for $17.39.