FULL BLOOM – by Janet Evanovich with Charlotte Hughes 2005
Annie Fortenberry inherited her mother’s B&B and is planning wedding for friends Jamie Swift and Max Holt which ties this story to the Full line series. When Annie’s husband, who disappeared three years ago, is discovered buried in the back yard, she’s the number one suspect. The story is filled with crazy characters including a psychic who is talking to a ghost of Annie’s ancestor, a drunk gardener, and a fat cat. Wes Bridges arrives on a motorcycle and in the usual Evanovich fashion, Annie hits him over the head with a rolling pin, hauls him to the bathroom, and strips him to his heart-covered boxers. Wes says he’s a photographer but is a PI hired by Annie’s mother-in-law to find Annie’s missing husband. Even though he quits the job, Annie’s temper flares and complicates their romance. The story has several suspects for her husband’s murder, but spends most of the time on her eccentric friends. Evanovich delivers on the steamy sex scenes, and if you’re a fan of her style, you’ll enjoy this story. But this cozy mystery has a tame confrontation between Annie and the killer that may disappoint some.
Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae 2016
My niece loaned me this cozy murder mystery with a setting in Scotland.
The highland bookshop mystery is the first in a series and introduces the reader to Janet Marsh, divorced from her cheating husband and owner of a home in Inversgail, Scotland. Her daughter Tallie Marsh has tired of her corporate lawyer career and has joined her along with friends Christine Robertson, a social worker who is taking care of her elderly parents who live in Inversgail, and Summer Jacobs, divorced newspaper worker. They have joined forces to take over a bookstore and add a tea room and bed and breakfast.
The bookstore owners Kenneth and Pamela help them learn the business and get to know the townsfolk before moving away.
They are staying above the bookstore until the tenants move out of Janet’s house and she can move in.
The story introduces the characters in town including Una Graham, a columnist nobody likes who ends up dead in the shed behind Janet’s home. The motive for the murder is strong but isn’t revealed until late in the book.
The four friends come up with a list of suspects and motives throughout the story but their speculation seems a bit sluggish as they repeat information the reader knows. MacRae uses Scottish terms that put the reader in the highlands. The eccentric characters like Rab McGregor, Ian Atkinson, and Constable Hobbs add to the story and should return in the series.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich 2010
This book is based on characters in one of the holiday books Janet Evanovich wrote and were tied to the Stephanie Plum series. Diesel, who has been in previous Stephanie Plum stories is matched with Lizzy Tucker who has special powers to identify magical Stones tied to the Deadly Seven Sins. Diesel’s cousin Wulf also wants the stones and Lizzy to find them. Enter Diesel to protect her. Lizzy works at a bakery and makes magically delicious cupcakes with her two not-so-normal co-workers. Glo buys a book of spells that go wrong in her hands. (Think Lulu). Lizzy inherited her aunt Ophelia’s house and Glo rescues a weird cat that turns out to have belonged to Ophelia. Add Carl the monkey (from the Plum series), also rescued by Glo and it’s typical Evanovich chaos. The book is better than some of her holiday stories, but still lacks the chemistry the early Plum stories had. It’s disturbing that Diesel climbs into bed naked with Lizzy after just meeting her. In today’s world of perverts and unwelcome touching, his actions made me uncomfortable although Evanovich tries to paint it as normal fun and games.
I think I like the Stephanie Plum series because Stephanie represents the ordinary every girl surrounded by hunks and crazy people, and she deals with them without breaking a sweat. Some characters like Stephanie have a great connection with the reader, and I wish I knew what made the difference.
What makes a character connect with you?
Turbo Twenty-Three 2016
I continue to read this series even though the slapstick is predictable, and Stephanie will never make up her mind about the men in her life. Stephanie is having sex regularly with Morelli but on a trip to Disney World, she spends the night with Ranger. Nobody wants to commit so Stephanie will remain single forever. And the series will go on. Evanovich has plenty of action, and the books are a fast read. Just sit back and go along for the ride.
Stephanie stumbles onto a plot to ruin ice-cream man Bogart when the HR person ends up frozen and covered in chocolate and nuts in the back of a stolen truck driven by one of her skips. Ranger is hired to do security and Stephanie goes undercover. She works the factory line, loads the truck, and works as the clown before the truck is blown up. [Fans know that was coming.] Another skip is an Asian mobster who turns out to have ice cream cups in his office he’s using to ship drugs around the area. He threatens Stephanie, and a clown breaks into her room and almost strangles her. She recognizes the clown when staking out the Asian’s office. They capture her and plan to make a popsicle out of her.
What do you think about Stephanie and the series?
Do you think she should choose between Morelli and Ranger or remain single?
Who is your favorite character?