Tag Archives: Cozy Mystery

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 // GoodreadsDate 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), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25), Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26)

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 // GoodreadsDate 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), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25), Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26)

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

Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14) – Janet Evanovich

Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 17, 2008 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 1, 2014
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), , 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), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25), Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26)

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

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It’s been a WHILE since I’ve read a Stephanie Plum book — or really and cozy mystery — so when I was looking for a quick read, a palate cleanser, and a fun audio book, I knew just where to turn! I actually hadn’t read any of the Stephanie Plum books via audio before but I’ve heard they were good and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Loreli King was the narrator who I first heard when I listened to First Grave on the Right (I didn’t fall in love with the book, but the narration was great)!

Simply put, Stephanie Plum books are just fun. I think I agree with the masses when I say that they’re good for something light, fun, and definitely not too serious. I really appreciated taking a break from the series for a while and coming back to it… Wow, maybe a year (or more) later? Of course, there are always a lot of hijinks and mishaps going on and sometimes it does get a little silly and unbelievable (even after taking a year break) but I was definitely laughing out loud in my car as I was listening. Janet Evanovich always does a great job of making her books entertaining!

I’m always amazed with after so many books how things are still able to be interesting and new. Stephanie always has a zany new case, and sure, we repeat some of the same jokes, but I’m always in the dark on the mystery that Stephanie needs to solve and somehow I’m never able to come up with the resolution to the mystery first. Maybe because these characters are so off-the-wall that I just can’t possibly predict what will happen next!

I am tiring of some of the characters a little bit. People like Lula and Mooner who have the typical Lula and Mooner things to say and the characters just get a little repetitive and start to get on my nerves. Some of the situations tend to get repetitive as well but that’s also why I was happy to take a break in between books! Once you write fourteen books with the same characters (and I think book #20 just came out), it’s hard to keep things fresh and new while keeping it light at the same time.

One thing I really do have an issue with is the Morelli-Stephanie-Ranger love triangle. Personally? I actually really like both guys. I love Morelli and he seems like the obvious choice, being the bad-boy turned responsible-man, owning a house, and you know, being in love with Stephanie. I always liked Ranger as the dangerous, silent type and having a mysterious quality, but that sort of got ruined when the whole love triangle got ruined when Stephanie ACTUALLY got with Ranger in a previous book. Love triangle explosion. I just can’t stand when characters are essentially more or less legitimately dating more than one person at a time and that crossed the line for me. I took that as cheating and well, with the constant innuendos from Ranger (which I used to enjoy), it just started to feel skeevy.

Will I keep reading this series? You bet. I know not to be blown away by them, but I’ll definitely keep on with Stephanie Plum’s latest adventures when I need a break from heavy reads or my usual YA.

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Stephanie Plum // Character Obsessions: Bounty hunting, Morelli, Ranger, birthday cake.
I always love Stephanie. I feel like we have a lot in common (I LOVE birthday cake) and I’ve always kind of identified with her. I think she makes a lot of silly decisions, but oh hell. I love you anyway, girl.
Joe Morelli // Character Obsessions: Protecting & serving, Stephanie, beer, sweatpants, looking fine.
Morelli grows on me more and more each book… And now I’m starting to feel bad for him! It started out as a sort of taunting almost and I felt bad for Stephanie… Now I feel bad for Joe! He has genuine feelings for Steph and I love their relationship… I actually like Ranger a lot too but this side relationship with Ranger is really starting to bug me!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Cozy mysteries. It’s been so long since I’ve read my beloved cozy mysteries! I still remember when I picked up the first in this series just over three years ago and read it on a snow day so it’s always near and dear to my heart. It also started my obsession with cozies too and it was good to fall back into them.
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. Oh, there’s romance… But I want that sense of REAL romance and a lasting relationship. Haha I’m totally pushing the Joe issue, here.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re  fan of the series, you know what to expect. If you’re STILL a fan of the series, it’s worth the read and the palate cleanse! I always have fun with them.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FEARLESS FOURTEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Bride Wore Size 12    First Grave on the Right

The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5) – Meg Cabot

The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5) – Meg CabotTitle: The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5) by Meg Cabot
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 21, 2013
Related Posts: Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4), The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)

    With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.
    Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

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I’ve been a fan of Meg Cabot for YEARS now and entirely because of the Heather Wells series. This was one of the series that got me back into reading when I was in my reading slump so I owe my sister a big thanks for letting me borrow these books way back in the day! I actually don’t read a lot of adult fiction anymore since I’m busy reading ALL THE YA BOOKS so it was really nice to fall back into some chick lit and a touch of mystery with the latest Heather Wells book.

While I haven’t actually started my wedding planning yet, I felt like I could relate to Heather a little bit with her crazy wedding plans! (This may also be the point I realized that I might actually start to enjoy adult lit more than I used to because I’ve actually been through some LIFE THINGS now haha!) Heather always has a lot on her plate, but I love how much she really cares about the kids in her dorm. When everything else is going wrong, she’s always got their best interests at heart, sometimes even over her own personal issues.

One thing I’ve always loved about Meg Cabot is the amount of humor in her books. Each chapter starts with a funny little collection of song lyrics, written by Heather, and in this book, they’re all about her crazy wedding plans. I think it helps the reader not take the book too seriously because there are darker subjects because hi, it’s a murder mystery — Except you almost don’t feel like classifying it as that because the tone IS so light. I definitely had another good group of laugh out loud moments at both characters and funny situations!

Then of course, there’s Cooper. I am SO HAPPY for Heather Wells! I’ve been reading this series for YEARS so I’m so happy that she gets her dream guy (and he’s dreamy too)! I’ve always loved their romance and their relationship is just so natural. Somehow I forgot how funny Cooper is too! I always felt like he was more serious… Which I guess he is, but he and Heather have some seriously hilarious conversations.

It’s actually kind of hard to review this book because overall, it was just a nice, quick, and easy read. Sure, the plot was exciting and interesting but the Heather Wells series has just become a “fun” read for me and as much as Heather’s personal life changes, it’s the standard go-to mystery. It’s definitely for a light reading kind of mood and if you’re a fan of the series, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

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Heather Wells // Character Obsessions: Wedding planning, taking care of her students, Cooper, music.
I feel like I see Heather mature more and more in each book! It was definitely fun to see her planning her wedding to her dream guy and really, Heather and Cooper are so perfect. I’ve always loved their relationship so I’m just rooting for them all the way! It was great to see how she handles her family as well. She’s never had the best relationship with any of them and she comes to some serious realizations about her own life and how her family fits in it.
Cooper Cartwright // Character Obsessions: Sleuthing (okay, it’s just his job but I like saying “sleuthing”), Heather, being protective, finger sandwiches (HAHA). 
Okay, read the book if you want to know about the finger sandwiches. Honestly the funniest scene I’ve read in a while!! But anyway… I actually wish we could have seen juuuuust a bit more of Cooper. He was MIA for a while except for on the phone, but he was taking care of business himself which all comes full circle.
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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult books! Let’s be honest… I’ve been so deep into YA that I haven’t read a lot of adult books (read: none) in a very long time. Not even all of the mysteries I have sitting on my shelf. I had to go in a totally different direction after finishing CRESS because I was totally having a book hangover so the lightness of Heather Wells was perfect and it was great to slip into a totally different reading mindset again!
Left Me Wanting More: …Something. I’m actually not quite sure what it was missing, but I was just hoping for a liiiittle bit more. I loved the character development and the mystery was good too. Maybe a little more swoony times? It was still so enjoyable but there was JUST a little bit missing that I wanted more of. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on it since it’s a serious that I love and have been reading for such a long time!

Addiction Rating
Buy It!

If you’re a fan of Heather Wells, you should definitely continue the series! The books are just plain fun and from my experience, they’re excellent pallet cleansers after those big book hangovers!

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        45 Pounds (More or Less)   Size 12 and Ready to Rock

The Deja Vu Review [23]: Food Themed Book

DJVR

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: A Book with a Food Theme

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
My Original GR rating: 4 of 5 stars
Comments: Cozy mysteries are always good for a few food themes! The Hannah Swensen books were kind of my gateway to cozies (although I’ve been reading a lot more YA than mysteries lately). Hannah works in a cookie shop (which kind of turns into a general dessert shop) and each book has several recipes throughout the book. Some of them are really good too! It’s a lot of fun (minus the weird love triangle that never gets resolved) and the food is delicious! My only qualm besides the love triangle was that the characters were a little cheesy at times, but then again, it IS a cozy so that’s to be expected!

Which books did you choose this week? Link up below! 


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 // GoodreadsDate 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), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25), Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26)

    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

The Deja Vu Review [3]

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: A book you found by chance/by accident

The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1)The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Read: 2010, I think
Comments: I’m sure a lot of you have seen me recommending this all around! I picked this book up on a whim after seeing it at a thrift store. It’s a little unusual, a little wacky, and a lot of fun! A family of all private detectives can’t help but spy on each other. Eldest daughter (and narrator) Izzy comically struggles to segregate herself from some of the ‘crazy’ (no code names, thank you). Although my original rating was only a 4 for this, with the 4 books that follow, it easily became on of my favorite series! It’s written very unconventionally (testamonies, dialogue, diaries, etc) so if you don’t like straying from the norm, I wouldn’t suggest it for you. If you’re interested in something different, light, and at times plain silly, I think you’ll have a lot of fun with The Spellman Files!

What Looks Like Crazy (A Kate Holly Case, #1)What Looks Like Crazy by Charlotte Hughes
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Read: May 21-23, 2012
Comments: This was a lot better than I expected it to be! It was super cute. I really liked Kate Holly’s character and all the wacky patients she sees (very Stephanie Plum)! Even though she’s going through the divorce with her (soon-to-be-ex) husband Jay Rush, I’m totally for them getting back together! Kate’s worried about his constant run-in with burning buildings (well, he IS a firefighter) and I think Charlotte Hughes wants everyone to root for them – She portrayed Jay as a great husband, someone with a serious connection with Kate, and totally handsome; he just happens to love his very dangerous job. I also really liked Mona’s character – I love her sass and tell-it-like-it-is mentality.
I happened to pick this one up through the Goodreads bookswap back in the day when it was still available. I just grabbed it because I know Charlotte Hughes & Janet Evanovich had written a few books together and I love JE so why not! 🙂

Have any books you’d like to share? Link up to The Deja Vu Review below!



Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4) – Meg Cabot

Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4) – Meg CabotTitle: Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4) by Meg Cabot
Publishing Info: July 10, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 30, 2012
Related Posts: The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells #5), The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries #1)

    Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!
   Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.
Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancé. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

Breaking It Down Further: After the last incident in the “death dorm” (oops, not supposed to use that name) resident director Heather Wells is keeping an eye on a few students spending the summer break at New York College as well. Things start to get dangerous again when her ex-boyfriend Jordan’s new and pregnant wife is shaken up after a random shooting that hits her bodyguard. Heather and new (but secret) fiancé Cooper are on the case, suspecting this was no random shooting, but an attempt on the Tania’s life. When Tania no longer feels safe holding her Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp at a resort in the Catskills, the events move over to the conveniently empty Fisher hall. Now Heather has to catch the crazed fan before he gets Tania or one of her many teen fans!

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Oh, Meg. How I’ve missed you! That stint with INSATIABLE was just so sub-par after my love for Heather Wells, and I’m so thankful you brought her back! Anyone who’s been reading this blog the past few months knows my love for the Heather Wells series and I’m SO GLAD I was not disappointed with the newest addition!

Right off the bat, we get into the playful banter back and forth between Heather and Cooper, which is one of the things I loved to much about the series to start with. Sarcasm, silly jokes, teasing – It sounds silly, but those are my favorite parts of a relationship sometimes! Gotta have some playfulness. Heather and Cooper just make such a great couple and I love that they’re getting married now! And thank goodness we don’t have any cold feet in this book because frankly, I’m a little annoyed with the cold feet storyline! Please don’t take it there in the next one!

I felt like this one wasn’t so much of a mystery as the other books were. We weren’t really taken deep into an investigations until closer to the end of the book, but we did get little secret reveals along the way. I really liked that we got to know more about Tania and Jordan, specifically Tania’s background since this book primarily focuses on her (well, after Heather & Cooper, of course). It was nice to get to know her more as a person instead of the girl with whom Jordan cheated and ended up marrying.

I just really enjoyed it all around. I always enjoy a good Heather Wells book and I’m so glad this one kept it going for me. No complaints here!

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 5/5 stars
Aw hell, it deserves 5 stars. It’s just so dang enjoyable!

QUOTES

  • p 7: “‘It’s Pabst Blue Ribbon,’ Gavin says, looking confused. ‘I thought cool girl singer-songwriters were supposed to love the PBR.'”
  • p 271: “I’ve come to the conclusion that aside from the Nazis, the Taliban, and possibly the honey badger, there’s no one on the planet more merciless than a teenage girl once she’s decided she dislikes you.”
  • p 320: “‘He’s a grown man, Heather,’ Cooper says. ‘Even if he doesn’t look like one in that bathrobe.’    ‘It’s a genuine samurai warrior –‘ Jordan begins to explain…”

Think Meg watches New Girl?? 🙂

The Deja Vu Review [1]

So, after my first self-developed feature didn’t work out (Freaky Friday = fail), I was a little discouraged about coming up with something of my own. After posting review after review of awesome books that I just finished reading, sometimes I get a little wistful that I didn’t have my blog back in the day when I read this book or this book because there are still so many reviews I wish I could share even though I’ve read these books long before a book blog even popped into my head. So I am happy to announce the first Deja Vu Review!

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: A book or series you’d love to recommend

One For The Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)One For The Money by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Read: February 2011
Comments: Ah, the first time I fell in love with Stephanie Plum! I was a little hesitant to start this series because I hadn’t known anyone who had read them yet, but I heard it was fun and somewhat of a mystery series, although not necessarily a murder mystery. After finishing, I loved it and immediately went to go pick up more in the series!
Anecdote: I still remember reading this during the great Chicago blizzard of Feb 2011! We got snowed in and I couldn’t even leave my parking lot all day, so I stayed inside, made coffee & hot chocolate, and read One for the Money!

The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Read: Originally, Spring 2000
Re-Read: April 2011
Comments: I first read this book in grade school for an assignment and I loved it. Re-reading it over 10 years later, it was still a fantastic young adult novel. It was the first-ever dystopian book I read and it’s a topic I still love over 10 years later!

Now, I know Sunday is not a terribly popular day for blog posts, so I thought I’d involve a little reader participation as well! These are quick, easy posts so if you like the idea and you’d like to participate as well, here’s a little linky for you to hook up!
Since WordPress kind of sucks (seriously, WP… Just allow JavaScript. I’m getting really annoyed here…), you’ll have to click the link to add a link. Sorry for the extra step 🙁