Category Archives: Cozy Mystery

Review in a Tweet | The Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is more Janet Evanovich! I decided to jump into the Lizzy & Diesel series because I’m in such a witchy/magical mood and Halloween/fall seemed like the perfect time to read them! (Yes, I’m already considering it Halloweentime.)

I actually binge-read the first three books in the series (the three that are currently published) but I’ll just post the one tweet and talk about the three of them together!

 

So these books are total brain candy and I love listening to Janet Evanovich books while I’m working. They’re fun, fast, and super easy listening audiobooks! I did like the magic involved here where I didn’t enjoy it when Diesel appeared in the Between the Numbers Stephanie Plum books but so many of Janet’s different series follow the same character patterns and her heroines are really all the same. It’s fun to keep reading them but it doesn’t really differentiate between series and they even use the same catch phrases sometimes.

Either way, I’ll continue to read them because they’re easy and enjoyable! I just know I’m not going to receive anything ground-breaking.

Oh, and I’m so over the monkeys in every series. Why.

Review in a Tweet | Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2) by Janet Evanovich

REVIEW IN A TWEET is a feature that I need from time to time when I don’t have a ton to say in a review. Sometimes even mini-reviews are too long to write when you finished a book months ago and didn’t write a single note down on Goodreads. But the good news is that I started tweeting and saving very, very mini book reviews thanks to a concept that Lindsey at Bring My Books introduced me to! I’ve saved all of my super duper quick reviews to my timeline and under a hashtag (my 2017 books are under #bookadd17) for my own person way to review all of my books read this year at a glance.

Today’s Review in a Tweet is DANGEROUS MINDS by Janet Evanovich. I started and finished this audiobook in a single day while I was making candles and I always love how quick and easy Janet Evanovich’s audiobooks are! I tend to listen to everything of hers on audio now because they’re so fast, easy to listen to while doing other things, and I like the narrator, Lorelai King who seems to be narrating all of her stuff!

I liked this review in a tweet because I noticed for the first time as I was posting about this book on Twitter that Phoef Sutton, who had co-written the first book, was noticeably absent from DANGEROUS MINDS. I wonder what happened there — if it was only meant to be one book that was co-written or if they decided to just let Janet Evanovich take over or if something crazy happened or what! Both books had that Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum feel for me still but this series so far is a little less silly than Stephanie, although there are still some very wacky moments. I wish they felt a little more different but hey, that’s getting into a full review which defeats the purpose of this post!

 

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 23, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts.
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.

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** Mini-review for TURBO TWENTY-THREE… because once you review one Stephanie Plum book, you sort of review them all! ** 

TURBO TWENTY-THREE was another quick, easy, and fun Stephanie Plum novel! I really appreciate that Janet Evanovich has taken these books a little bit back into the realm of the plausible instead of monkeys-acting-like-humans. Of course, they’re still a little wacky because that is the way of Plum but at least it’s on a believable side again!

This book was a lot of fun, actually. I enjoyed the warring ice cream factory concept and it was funny watching Stephanie try to infiltrate each one, learn the feuds behind the two, and the many different ways to get in trouble in an ice cream factory.

We sort of went backwards again with the love triangle and SIGH. I was so excited to see progress in one direction and now it’s back in the middle. It could be worse because there have been worse love triangles in cozy mysteries that still also haven’t resolved and at least I like Ranger and Morelli both… But it’s been twenty-three books! I’m ready for some resolution on the love triangle thing. I’m getting a bit tired of talking about it but such is life and being a reader of this series!

I do like that I’m really rarely guess the answer to the mysteries! I guess I probably could guess a few if I tried but I love listening to these books on audio because they’re so short and fun and easy to listen to while doing other things. I love zoning out and flowing with these books and it’s great to have a lighter audio!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ranger. I’m personally Team Morelli in terms of settling down… but darn it, I do still love Ranger. How did I get hooked in a love triangle?
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. Come onnnn, just choose already!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things aren’t so silly anymore and hey, they may be all kind of the same but I still enjoy them all the time!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TURBO TWENTY-THREE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 20, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 23, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don’t just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don’t do what Tiki tells you to do.
After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.
The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory. . . .

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 10, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 24, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 17, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 28, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

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I’m guessing if you’re this far into the Stephanie Plum series, you’re not really looking for a review of the books. I’ve sort of been lumping the last few books into a series of mini-reviews since my feelings about them tend to generally be the same!

In December, I was looking for a few quick books to read to meet my 2015 reading challenge goal and I knew the Stephanie Plum audio books were quick and also fun! I meant to start with just NINETEEN but ended up bingeing TWENTY and TWENTY-ONE as well because I was just on a roll! NINETEEN and TWENTY were my favorites out of the three. I thought they did a great job with the story line, keeping things moving, and keeping me engaged. I was actually pretty hooked on both of their plots and I also was totally hooked on the romance(s) that were developing even more! This is the one series that I’m not even mad or annoyed has a love triangle because I really feel for both guys and I really love them both in their own ways.

I don’t know if it was me rushing through TWENTY-ONE or just that it wasn’t as engaging but I found myself losing focus when listening to it. The premise didn’t appeal to me as much because I think it felt less personal and I just wasn’t as connected. I wish I had more to say but I really just ended up losing focus on this one and found it harder to concentrate on the audio, but I guess that says something in itself!

It’s weird to be almost caught up on the series now too! I’ve been reading it for about five years (I only started it a few years back when I was looking for more mysteries from the library) and this is definitely the longest series I’ve ever read… aside from like, The Baby-Sitter’s Club. It’s kind of fun to have this fun and easy series to fall back on! Except now that I’m caught up, I’ll have to find another fun, easy series while I’m waiting for new Stephanie!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Long series. I’ve really never read such a long series aside from children’s books when I was younger so it’s fun to really be so involved! It’s so easy to continue too since it’s much lighter and the plots don’t really tie together, aside from Stephanie’s personal life.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoony moments. I’m starting to really get into the romance in these books and I could totally go for a few more swoon-worthy moments!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re a Plum fan, you’re in it this far! They’re fun for quick, easy reads and they’re always a bunch of fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE NOTORIOUS NINETEEN, TAKEDOWN TWENTY, TOP-SECRET TWENTY-ONE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

Mini-Review: Loyalty In Death (In Death #9) – J.D. Robb

Mini-Review: Loyalty In Death (In Death #9) – J.D. RobbTitle: Loyalty In Death (In Death #9) by J.D. Robb
Publishing Info: October 1, 1999 by Penguin
Source: Used bookstore
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 27, 2015
Related Posts: Vengeance in Death (In Death #6), Holiday in Death (In Death #7), Midnight In Death (In Death #7.5), Conspiracy In Death (In Death #8)

An unknown bomber is stalking New York City. He is sending Eve Dallas taunting letters promising to wreak mass terror and destruction among the "corrupt masses." And when his cruel web of deceit and destruction threatens those she cares for most, Even fights back. It's her city...it's her job...and it's hitting too close to home. Now, in a race against a ticking clock, Eve must make the pieces fit—before the city falls.

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It’s been a looong time (literally years) since I had read a new (well, new to me. They’re certainly not new anymore) In Death/J.D. Robb novel. These books, Stephanie Plum, and cozy mysteries were really a big part of how I got back into reading as an adult and with not reading as many adult mysteries anymore, these books still hold a special place in my heart!

I really enjoy how each book has a new mystery. And holy cow there are what… 40+ books by now? It’s incredible how authors are able to write unique, interesting, and heart-pounding mysteries time after time and LOYALTY IN DEATH was no exception.  I love the characters and it’s always great to see Eve and Roarke together and how their relationship constantly evolves. I also had a huge fist-pumping moment regarding Peabody but I won’t spoil what that is! (Though I’m sure you could probably guess if you were in my shoes.)

The book was a super quick read for me (I don’t know if I actually read it fast but it felt like a quick read, as always) and it was a lot of fun to fall back into Eve Dallas’ world. I really love how these books are set in the not-too-distant future (although oops, LOYALTY IN DEATH was written before 2001 and so that mention of of the Twin Towers being there in 2050-something is a bit of a faux pas but who could have predicted that being an issue?) and the slightly advanced technology is always fun to read.

These books are always so much fun to read and it’s really great to keep following this story! Hopefully I can start to catch up a little bit here and there. I’m only thirty books behind, no big deal…

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

loyalty in death goodreads

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Kept Me Hooked On: In Death. Man, I missed this series! I’m so glad I finally made it back!
Left Me Wanting More: Eve and Roarke. They do appear together quite a bit but I love it when they actually work on a case together even more.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I just have so much fun reading this series! But a 40 book commitment… it’s no joke. These books are really easy to breeze through though and so much fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 WHISKEY SOUR    1ST TO DIE

Mini-Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 22, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 23, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)


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—and a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying. Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target. An FBI sketch artist helps Stephanie re-create the person in the photo, but Stephanie’s descriptive skills are lacking. Until she can improve them, she’ll need to watch her back. Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. Vinnie’s temporary HQ has gone up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls for 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.

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I was fairly impressed with EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN! Well, in comparison to previous books. This book really had a lot going on for it as far as Stephanie Plum’s story goes and I was so excited to really add more mystery and plot to the series again! I’ve said it in previous reviews but the lack of real plot and high level of goofiness was really starting to wear on me so I’m so glad to see that things are really picking up in Stephanie’s personal life and in the development of each case.

The book started off with a twist and I was dying to see what it meant and what the details were!! That was so much fun and a great way to hook me from the start which the books don’t usually do. I wished that the mystery had lasted just a bit longer but still, I was very appreciative of it kicking off the beginning of the novel!

Somehow the Ranger-Stephanie-Morelli love triangle is one that I’m okay with. I think because I’ve really grown to appreciate and like each character. I still don’t think that Stephanie should end up with Ranger in the end but sometimes it’s hard not to root for those two to get together… But then I think of Morelli and how much I do  want Stephanie to really start and cement a relationship with him and I think that maybe it’s finally time for the book to seal that deal. As much as I enjoy the sexual tension between Stephanie and Ranger, I think that relationship can be official and still have hijinks and relationship complications enough to keep the readers laughing and interested. Hell, there can even still be sexual tension with Ranger still attracted to Steph even though she’s in a relationship. Lord knows that’s been half the series anyway!

I’m so glad to see the series improving once again! It feels like it’s really getting back on track to be a more solid series and not just a bunch of throw-away stories to keep books pumping out. They’re still on the lighter side and I always appreciate that  but I’m glad there’s a bit more substance.

view_from_goodreads1

I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

explosive eighteen gr updates

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Kept Me Hooked On: Cozy mysteries. I love that this book had a BIT more of a mystery! The plot really got a bit better too. These books will always bring me back.
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. I do enjoy some good sexual tension but I’m ready for Steph and Morelli to commit to each other already! The series can still be good, ya know?

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things are picking up once again and I still have hope for things to get even better along the way!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 29, 2010 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 17, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

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 LUCKVinnie, 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.
GOOD LUCKBeing in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula have an advantage in finding Vinnie.
BAD LUCKFinding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Not even local stoner Walter “Moon Man” Dunphy is up to the task.
GOOD LUCKBetween a bonds office yard sale, 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.
BAD LUCKSaving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep her job as a bounty hunter—and keep hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.
GOOD LUCKBeing a bounty hunter comes with its perks, namely 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?
Sizzling Sixteen…so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!

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Sixteen books into Stephanie Plum and you pretty much know how the story goes so I keep these going as mini-reviews! I guess I have some things to say more so on the series as it’s progressing so far than the actual book.

I love these books for what they are — just fun, easy, light reads… BUT I do think they can still have a bit of substance. The last few books have been increasingly silly and I don’t mind silly but sometimes it’s the way it’s handled. For example, Lula has always been one of the funnier characters and she adds a lot to the humor of the books with her crazy diets, fashion sense, and general no-care attitude when it comes to trouble, but lately I feel like her characters has been getting too — how do I say this without coming across poorly — dumb. The diets don’t even make sense, the reactions to being “wronged” are way over the top for what the situation is and I’m just very sad that Lula and other characters are being “dumbed down” (to be perfectly blunt) for the sake of comedy. The same goes for Stephanie sometimes but she’s more of a solid lead so I don’t see it as much and Grandma Mazur isn’t in the spotlight as much in these past few books so I didn’t notice it with her as much either, but it really holds true for a lot of characters. I don’t mind the silly things like Stephanie’s car getting blown up or destroyed every book but the characters don’t need to be stupider just so the book can be funny. I think Janet’s readers have been with her for sixteen books (more now — I’m only on book 16 so that’s as far as I can comment on right now) and we’re in it for the long haul! I’d love to see characters grown and develop instead of being stagnant or even go backwards.

I also really miss the romantic aspects of the book. Morelli and Ranger have really been on the back burner for the past couple of books to make way for some minor characters who seem to be gaining prominence, but I really miss the boys! The funny, romantic banter between Stephanie and Morelli and this crazy tension between Stephanie and Ranger were some of my favorite parts of this series so I’ve really been feeling that absence. I also think they grounded the book a bit since they both provide Stephanie with a bit of stability each in their own way so I feel like the series has been flying off the handles with all of the goofier things.

I’m still a fan and I will say that SIZZLING SIXTEEN started to get a bit better for me towards the end of the book. It wasn’t bad by any means and I’ll keep reading the series but I’m hoping for a bit more development! I like the series for what it is so I’m not asking for a lot but just the teensiest bit of characters and/or plot growth would really help push the series along instead of me having to pick up a book every few months because I just can’t read them back-to-back!

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

sizzling sixteen gr updates

Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 21, 2011 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 29, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

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 the murderer, Stephanie is also under pressure from family and friends to choose between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom wants her to dump them both for a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, suggests a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Joe’s old-world grandmother gives Stephanie “the eye,” which may mean that it’s time to get out of town.
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.

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Okay, yes! SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN feels like we’re back on track (or at least on track for what I’m looking for in this series). Stephanie is always in bounty hunter mode but I love it when there’s a bit more mystery in the plot and this one had it! Not just finding a bad guy and where he went, figuring out how to catch someone — true mystery that had me guessing! (Okay, I guessed. But I’m okay with being right on a mystery for once!)

The boys also came back in full swing (the “vordo” sure kept things interesting haha) and it was great to see their interactions with Stephanie more and not just popping in and popping right back out. Yes, I’ll still admit that I don’t LOVE that there’s no commitment (I love Ranger, but I’m a Morelli girl) but hey, I have trouble picking too.

The characters and situations felt a lot more realistic in this book too. Sure, they’re still a bit silly but I can handle it when I have things like relationships and mysteries and the like grounding the book. I’m really happy with the way this book turnd out and I actually like that I guessed the mystery! It made the rest of the book seem more obvious and it was kind of fun to watch it turn out like that!

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

smokin seventeen gr updates


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Kept Me Hooked On: Stephanie. I’m really glad that things started to turn a bit towards the end. I always enjoy the books but I need more of the boys and I need a BIT more stability to keep reading the series! I’m really glad SEVENTEEN started to lean back to more cozy mystery instead of just humor.
Left Me Wanting More: Logic. I don’t mind silly but lack of logic really starts to bother me after a while! I can’t stand nonsense so the really silly decisions irked me a lot.

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re a Plum fan, you’re in it this far! They’re fun for quick, easy reads and they always cheer me up a bit. I’m glad SIXTEEN ended up getting a bit more grounded towards the end and SEVENTEEN really started coming back to everything I used to love!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SIZZLING SIXTEEN & SMOKIN’ SEVENTEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED

Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5) – Janet Evanovich

Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: January 8, 2008 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 25, 2012
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

    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! 

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I do have to say that I enjoyed PLUM LUCKY a lot more than the previous “Between the Numbers” books. I always enjoy the Stephanie Plum books regardless of how silly they get, but reading the first two BtN books (PLUM LOVIN’, VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUSM) had more of a paranormal element to them that took it a little outside of the normal fun-loving but (moderately) realistic Stephanie sagas. In each BtN book, we get a glimpse of Diesel, who’s kind of like Ranger only he deals with the fantasy/paranormal worlds and sometimes appears and disappears at will. I think the magical aspect takes away from the normal Stephanie story lines that I always love. PLUM LUCKY dealt with leprechaun luck, but it was much more enjoyable because we just see another zany criminal who thinks he’s a leprechaun and keeps trying to act like one, but really he’s just an average Joe like everyone else.

I’m never a fan of the Stephanie/Diesel interactions — no, scratch that. They’re always decently enjoyable but I always find myself pining for the real stories. Even though it’s been going on for 14 books, I still love the Stephanie/Joe/Ranger love triangle. I still can’t make up my mind how I want that to end (I think I’m on Joe’s side! But Ranger… Oh, Ranger) and I find that to be one of the more enjoyable parts of the Plum books.

Realistically, I like to take these books for what they are: fun fillers. I can’t take them too seriously because clearly they aren’t intended that way! They’re even labeled as “Between the Numbers” and aren’t the meat and potatoes of the series, so I like to take them in their proper context.

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Grandma Mazur: I wanted to see more of Grandma in this story! She was a big part of the plot yet somehow absent all at the same time. I love how the grandmother is one of the most unpredictable characters of this series.
Diesel: Eh, Diesel still really doesn’t do much for me. I find his character a little dull and I think of him as the poor man’s Ranger!

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Library read

The “between the numbers” books aren’t really my favorites but I do always love this series so I’ve committed to reading them all!

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The Deja Vu Review [13]

The Deja Vu Review is a new Sunday feature with mini-reviews from books I’ve read before I began my blog at The Book Addict’s Guide! Since I’ve been reading my whole life and only started my blog back in April of 2012, this is my opportunity to revisit some older books and share some mini-reviews of those that didn’t quite make it into the blog spotlight after the initial read.

This week’s topic is: Your Favorite Mystery


Curse of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #2)
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My Original Goodreads Review
: Another great installment of the Spellman books. I loved the first one and couldn’t put it down, so I picked up this one and read every chance I got. The Spellmans are a delightfully off-beat family as they constantly use their PI skills to not only solve mysteries, but spy on each other. Very funny and good mysteries that keep you wondering throughout the book.
Comments: This is still one of my favorites series, even after five books. This was book two, but I think it’s still my favorite of the series!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Comments: When I first read this one, it was a super enjoyable cozy mystery. I liked how it involved baking (the MC owns a cookie shop) and each mystery in the series ties in the murder with a different baked good. I really enjoyed this series up until a certain point where the love triangle starting driving me nuts because it wasn’t going anywhere. I’m still debating whether or not to continue it at some point in time because the mysteries really were a lot of fun!



Beauty to Die For – Kim Alexis, Mindy Starns Clark

Completed: DNF – gave up on 10/1/12
Source: ARC from Netgalley

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Book Synopsis:  Juliette Taylor walked away from her career as a supermodel twenty-five years ago. Now approaching fifty – an emotionally complex milestone — she co-owns a beauty supply company that makes skincare products for salons and spas. Her niche is pampering Christian women who usually spend more time caring for others than for themselves under the slogan:Isn’t it time someone took care of YOU for a change? When Juliette arrives at the Palm Grotto Spa to host a spiritual retreat, she runs into an old modeling colleague, Raven, who had always been disliked in the industry for many reasons. She isn’t there for the retreat; in fact, her presence at the spa is somewhat mysterious.Not long after Raven makes a cryptic threat to Juliette, the unsympathetic back-then beauty is found dead, poisoned by something in the green clay of a chai soy wrap. The following morning, a banner for the retreat has been unceremoniously altered:It’s your turn to be nurtured, to be restored . . . to be murdered.Suspicion is directed at Juliette who has history with Raven and certainly knows how to use beauty products. But for murder?! Now she must find the real killer before the police really take care of her. (Courtesy of GoodReads.com)

Breaking It Down Further: Juliette walked away from the supermodel life years ago, and she thought with no regrets. When her former nemesis Raven shows up at the Palm Grotto Spa the same weekend Juliette is holding a seminar and winds up supposedly murdered, Juliette feels obligated to look into her untimely death. Even though no one was a fan of Raven’s personality, why would someone murder her? And was she even the intended target?

First off, there had been any mention of this being a somewhat Christian fiction book in the description when I first requested it, I wouldn’t have bothered. No offense whatsoever to Christian fiction – I’m just not religious at all and I hate any form of preaching – no matter the religion it’s regarding – seeping into my books. It’s totally not my style and I just don’t enjoy religious undertones in the books that I read. And this book was WAY too preachy for me. I can appreciate a religious or spiritual character, but it was too prominent in the book and it really, really turned me off from reading what should have been a fun and light mystery.

Now let’s talk about the mystery: I wasn’t interested at all. Hell, Raven was a mean old diva! No one liked her. I don’t know if it was the set up or how the story was unfolding, but I wasn’t interested in the mystery at all. I kept forcing myself to read on but truthfully, I found myself realizing that I didn’t care who the murderer was or how it ended. I was just bored and the book had no draw for me.

As far as the love story goes, I was a little less than halfway through the book and the two main characters hadn’t even met up yet. They had met once long ago (in a cheesy, cheesy backstory) and it was love at first sight. Then we wait for them to finally see each other again…. But halfway through the book we hadn’t even gotten there.

I just got tired of waiting for anything interesting to happen and I really had no desire to pick this one back up again. After four months of reading and three months of no progress, I just decided to finally give up and move on to something I could enjoy.

Juliette: Somewhat drab, clearly religious, and a little boring for a supermodel. She was too nice. Lady detectives have to have some mean in them and some kill instinct (so to speak) to hunt down these killers! Being nice will never catch your bad guy and that’s no fun to read either.

To be frank, it’s been so long that I hardly remember any of the other characters’ names. *shrugs*

AdditionRatingDNF1