Tag Archives: Janet Evanovich

Reading with a cold – 2017: R P Evans (new to me) and Janet Evanovich (again!)

Once again, the January cold. I’m pleased to say it was not as severe as last year (see January 4, 2016), when I lost a whole week to coughing and general misery. Judicious use of OTC medications got me back on my feet promptly.

But I did some therapeutic reading, of course! Janet Evanovich came through with her 23rd Stephanie Plum novel. The usual lightweight plot, but, hey, the characters are old friends and Trenton is still Trenton. Keep it up, my friend!

A random grab at the public library yielded up “The Mistletoe Inn” by Richard Paul Evans. A Christmas romance was just the right thing! The setting (a writers conference) was fun but the romancing couple took off to Bethlehem PA, which actually sounded like a European Christmas market. Maybe I need to check out Bethlehem one of these years! (Or Europe in December, for that matter.) Our heroine had suffered a run of selfish sweeties, so it was great to see her find love and marriage with a man who appreciated her. This book is part of a series, so maybe I’ll try another next year.

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Reading with a cold – Janet Evanovich and JK Rowling

For the past week, I have been too sick (the common cold, but it felt like the plague) for even halfway serious reading. I was so sick I resorted rereading. I pulled Harry Potter off the shelf, and raced through the second book, Chamber of Secrets. I’m not sure why that one called out to me, but it hit the spot and kept me happily entertained.

I have lots of good memories related to JK Rowling’s blockbuster Harry Potter series. The first book came out in 1997, when my sons were 7 and 13 years old. I honestly don’t remember our reactions to the first book, nor do I remember if I read it out loud to my younger son. The series continued, and we got hooked. By the fourth book, we were ordering our family copy in advance and then arguing over who got to read it first.

I always found the movies relatively peripheral, at least in terms of plot. I’m beyond astonished that the wonderfully well cast ensemble of child actors held together so well through eight movies!

By the time I read the seventh and final book, I was completely engrossed. To me the conclusion was not only vivid and compelling, but also highly visual. I finished the book late at night, turned out the light and watched the action in my imagination…

The seven hard cover volumes of Harry Potter will always have space on my shelf.

I won’t say quite the same for Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, which now number 22. I only own a few. The rest came from the library or books on tape. But I have a soft spot for Evanovich, who also wrote some holiday novels and the “between the numbers” books. (I’ve reviewed at least four Evanovich offerings in this blog.) I root for Evanovich because she’s a Jersey girl and writes about the poor, benighted city of Trenton. She’s so damn funny, and the characters she has created feel like friends – I want to keep in touch with them. In a critical mood, I can tell you what’s wrong with the Stephanie Plum novels (formulaic, possibly racist, etc.) but I can’t resist them.

Tricky Twenty-two was extra fun for me because the main plot (there are always several) is set at a local university and peopled with academic eccentrics. A lot crazier than MY crowd of academic eccentrics… Loads of fun.

I hope I don’t get another cold before the next Stephanie Plum novel comes out in November of 2016 (according to Amazon).

I wonder if these two writers have ever met?! Probably not. They are both inventive, and might have lots of fun swapping plot ideas. May they both write on and on!

“Plum Lucky” by Janet Evanovich

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and Irish or not, you deserve a treat! So read Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich. Read it even if you never heard of Evanovich. In my reading diet, she is a staple. I’ve got to read something of hers every few months, to keep my sense of humor alive. Anybody who can make a career of writing about Trenton, NJ, is very special. At least to me! Jersey girls have to stick together.

Plum Lucky resides on the “Mystery” shelf at the library, along with all the other Stepanie Plum novels. It’s part of Evanovich’s holiday series, which I discovered when I found a remaindered copy Visions of Sugar Plums, a Christmas story with a supernatural twist.

The holiday novels include Stephanie’s friend Diesel, whose supernatural skills include opening locks, teleportation and magical manipulation of playing cards. Taking these skills to Atlantic City makes it even funnier.

This book includes the usual cast of zany characters (Gramma Mazur gets kidnapped and burns down a house) and Stephanie hides a horse in her apartment. It’s all too silly for words, and it was just what I needed on a rainy weekend. Fans of the Stephanie Plum novels will be happy to learn that three cars exploded and Lula got her chance to fire a rocket launcher.

Go, Janet!

Two holiday novels by Janet Evanovich – “Thanksgiving” and “Visions of Sugar Plums”

Janet Evanovich feels like a friend. She’s not the same kind of Jersey Girl as me, but I’ve lived in this state since age 25. I AM a Jersey Girl, though often I don’t realize it until I get out of state. I have a long, intermittent relationship with Trenton, one of America’s really messed up, suffering cities. And I have been to dinner in Chambersburg, the Trenton neighborhood that is home to Stephanie Plum, Evanovich’s most popular heroine.

I downloaded Thanksgiving to keep me company on my way to and from a family Turkey Day gathering. It’s a fluffy romance, not a Stephanie Plum crime novel. You know from the beginning that the two appealing young protagonists are going to get together, and you can laugh at the mischances and misunderstandings along the way. Thanksgiving is softer and more romantic than most of Evanovich’s books. But if you just want to relax and ignore your surroundings for a little while, this book is perfect.

My family, bless them, was relatively sane over the holiday. I couldn’t believe the tales I heard at the office on Monday!

If you really want to laugh out loud, get Evanovich’s Christmas book, Visions of Sugar Plums, originally published in 2002. I loved it! I re-read it several times, then gave it (as a Christmas gift) to someone who needed a good laugh. It provided my first introduction to Diesel, Stephanie’s third, “slightly” supernatural boyfriend. It is fast paced (like all the Stephanie Plum novels) and hilarious. Pure fun!

Thanks, Janet Evanovich, for keeping me entertained so many times over the past 20 years. Keep writing, and I will keep on reading!

“Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich

Last Friday I ended my work week positively flattened – tired and gloomy. Too many hours in front of the computer, too much data, an important meeting postponed again… My personal black cloud followed me home. 

But guess what? I made a cup of tea and settled on the couch with my bff Janet, and half an hour later, I was laughing. Janet Evanovich can always do it for me! I’ve read all 20 of her Stephanie Plum novels and several from her “between the numbers” series.

OK, so it’s trash, full of stereotypes and tasteless jokes, but sometimes it’s EXACTLY what I want. Stephanie and her now familiar family are eccentric. Her two boyfriends are sexy. Stephanie’s career as a bail bond enforcer brings her up against some very scary villains.

In this 20th Stephanie Plum story, Gramma Mazur (the wildest senior you ever met) is threatened by the evil Uncle Sunny, a relative of one of Stephanie’s boyfriends. Stephanie and her sidekick Lula keep investigating, rescue Gramma and barely escape being buried alive in wet cement. Stephanie survives getting tossed off a bridge into the Delaware River.

Part of the appeal is that all of this takes place in Trenton, NJ. Trenton! I can’t say I “know” Stephanie’s neighborhood (Chambersburg – it’s for real) but I’ve passed through it. I’ve gone to Trenton two or three times a year for (no kidding) thirty years. For work, and once in a while for baseball (the Trenton Thunder, minor league ball at its best).

In terms of the American economy, Trenton is my “indicator city”. If I hear that the economy is improving, I look at Trenton. Does it look different? Is Trenton doing better? No. In all these years, Trenton has not changed. There it is, one step above Camden (I don’t dare go there), two steps above Detroit (glad it’s hundred of miles away).

And there’s Stephanie, setting cars on fire, gobbling pizza, chasing bad guys and taking care of her family. Keep writing, Janet. I need you!