High Five - Janet Evanovich Take Two

Take Five - Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Mass Paperback
Series: Stephanie Plum Series

In her fifth high-octane thriller, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum sets out to find her missing uncle - and along the way smacks slam-bang into: a dead body, a nasty bookie, her stun-gun-toting grandmother, two very sexy men, an angry little man who won't leave her apartment, and a Mafia wedding...

Jersey's favorite bounty hunter has never been better! With high hair, street smarts and plenty of attitude, Steph's sure to nail this case - or risk life and spandex-clad limb trying...
Source: back of book

What can I say? I love these books because Janet Evanovich is awesome. Her writing is not only hilarious, but sexy, suspenseful and fun. I can't keep giving these books the same review over and over again because - it's boring to do that, but in reality these books are all funny and great. The sexual tension is there between Stephanie, Joe and now Ranger. Stephanie is always blowing something up (usually cars), messing her hair up, and tumbling with one criminal or another. The thing is, it's still entertaining. This is why there are so many Stephanie Plum novels out there. Everyone loves to see what antic's and situations are going to pop up next.

From now on, with the Stephanie Plum books - I'll probably put it down with the synopsis and may a line or two as a "review." But this is more just to record that I read or listened to the book than anything. It's obvious I like these book - you all don't need to read about it over and over again.


Queen of Babble Gets Hitched - Meg Cabot

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Genre: Chic-Lit
Form: Audio Book
Series: Queen of Babble

Things are looking up at last for Lizzie Nochols. She has a career she loves in the field of her choice (wedding gown restoration), and the love of her life, Jean-Luc, has finally proposed. Life's become a dizzying whirl of wedding gown fittings - not necessarily her own - as Lizzy prepares for her dream wedding at her fiance's chateau in the south of France.

But the dream soon becomes a nightmare as the best man - whom Lizzie might once have accidentally slept with...no, really, just slept - announces his total lack of support for the couple, a sentiment the maid of honor happens to second; Lizzie's Midwestern family can't understand why she doesn't want to have her wedding in the family backyard; her future, oh-so-proper French in-laws seem to be slowly trying to lure the groom away from medical school and back into investment banking; and Lizzie finds herself wondering if her Prince Charming really is as charming as she once believed.
Source: back of book

Judging for that synopsis, I expected lots of humor, antics and great fun. While the book was good - I did not have any of the laugh-out-loud moments I was expecting. That's okay. This book had me drooling over Chaz as much as Lizzie was - imagine dark hair, piercing blue eyes and a baseball hat. Sounds dreamy, eh?

So what was Lizzie thinking getting engaged with Jean-Luc anyway? That is what I kept thinking through the whole book (and apparently all of her friends). In reality, Lizzie completely sucked at listening to her gut! So much so, that I started to really get annoyed with her. And it just got worse as she actually started sleeping with the hottie best friend of the fiance - but she STILL doesn't want to break it off with him? Even after she realizes she loves someone else?? What - is - her- deal??

Anway, it all ends up good in the end, good enough that I was happy with it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Genre: Adult Mystery
Form: Audio Book
Series: Hannah Swenson Series

Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer.

Who would have the sheer audacity and the motive to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had? Topping the list is the high school football coach. What exactly was his wife doing, making the rounds with the milkman? Could Max Turner, owner of Cozy Cow Dairy, have had a secret he didn’t want to share with his top employee? The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. Why has Lake Eden’s most prominent prodigal son, Benton Woodley, just resurfaced? And what about the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed interested in buying the property next to the dairy, but then disappeared? This is one murder that’s starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah’s mouth. And if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

I bought this book of iTunes because, 1. I didn't have an audiobook to load onto my iPod, and 2. I was trying to find something similar to the Stephanie Plum series that I would enjoy. I was not overly impressed though. I was excited, and I must admit - this book had me constantly hungry for cookies (big surprise there seeing as how Hannah owns a cookie shop and bakes cookies throughout the entire book.)

There were actually a number of things I didn't really care for about this book. The characters just didn't jump out at me. I didn't feel the need to intimately know any one of them - nor did we get the chance to know any of the characters. The interaction between characters was really just not that great. Another thing I didn't like was it just wasn't realistic. Many times people noticed tiny little miniscule details. And I'm not talking CSI agents or anything , I'm talking like mom or sister. It's highly unlikely someone is going to notice a tiny scratch on a ring in a consignment shop that is identical to the scratch on a ring you saw on the hand of Joe-Schmoe you saw in town. I'm sorry..it was just too...much. Also, Hannah was WAYYYY more competitant than Bill, her police officer brother who just achieved a certificat or some kind of credential in detective work. Judging from this book, Bill deserves to be fired, and Hannah is one step down from super women.

Hannah's mom was annoying with her constant husband badgering. Hannah's sister was just off..one minute she is the anti-mom having her daughter calling her by name, the next minute she's trying to get all cuddly and win mom of the year award. (Okay, it wasn't THAT drastic, but it was getting close.)

Did I hate this book? No, not really. I did like the antics with Hannah's cat. Poor cat is probably the fattest in the world though. I just am not excited, impressed or interested enough to continue through the series, despite the promise of a love triangle (which I admit, did intrigue me....just a little.)


High Five - Janet Evanovich Take 1

High Five by Janet Evanovich Take 1

I'm not going to go through the entire process on this book. I listened to it as an audiobook - and let me tell you, it was a GRAND disappointment! Disappointment of the worst kind.

1st - I can only find the abridge version on audio book. Why is that? Every other Stephanie Plum book is on audio in the fullest - with the exception (so far) of the 5th and 6th books. I DO NOT WANT abridged. And I like listening to these at work. Uggh!

2nd - What happened to the narrator?? They changed some lady who had a nice Jersey accent, great voices for the characters, someone who I really enjoyed listening to - for someone who is monotone, and has maybe the slightest accent. She had boring character voices, and even pronounced the names of people (Grandma Mazer) differently than the original. Did she not do any research at all? Shouldn't she have tried to at least do something similar to the original narrator.

So - I am going to just read the book. I already have it on it's way via trade on www.swaptree.com. Actually, book 5 and book 6 are both on their way...so yeah. That should be much better. I'll grace you with a real review after I read it.

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls - Zoey Dean

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Paperback

Yale graduate Megan Smith has big plans for a career in journalism and even bigger debt: $75,000 in college loans. She grabs a job at a trashy tabloid, gets fired (small wonder: nothing can make her care which celebrity just got a nose-job), and then gets an offer she just can't refuse.
Seventeen-year-old identical twins Rose and Sage Baker are Palm Beach heiresses best known for their massive fortunes and penchant for flashing the paparazzi. Their grandmother offers to pay off Megan's loans if she can tutor the girls and get them into Duke. But the twins aren't about to bend their celebutante schedules to learn algebra. Megan quickly discovers that she has to know her Pucci from her Prada to reach these students. If she can look the part, maybe - just maybe - she can teach them something. What Megan could never imagine is what the whole experience is about to teach her...
Source: back of book

This was meant to be a quick and easy, mindless entertaining book for me. And it was. The story line was predictable, yet good. Megan, of course is smart, plain and unfortunately - utterly failing at her job, life, etc. The Baker Twins are compared to the likes of Paris and Nicole, and are thought to be unintelligent, shallow, and easy. As you can guess...Megan is getting ready to morph into someone she's not, and she's going to find out that all her preconceived notions on the Baker twins were not exactly correct.

The book was good - good enough if you're just looking for something to read just for the heck of it. If you like Chic-lit...here. The characters were well played, and likable. I think of everyone, my favorite character was Will, who is sort of important, but not really in the book nearly enough.


Tantalize - Cynthia Leitich Smith

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Form: Paperback book

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to leave her forever. And just as she and her uncle are about to unveil Austin's first vampire-themed restaurant, their chef's brutal murder leaves Quincie scrambling to transform fresh-faced Henry Johnson into a culinary Dark Lord in time for opening night. But there's more than meets the eye to this new hire, and Quincie is about to learn a whole lot about love...and blood.
Source: Back of book

Lately I've been reading a lot of young adult stuff, I know. I think that I actually enjoy the alternative/gothish reading without all the blah. Sometimes it's okay if the characters don't cuss, or rip their cloths off - and still there are werewolves and vampires and...well, other paranormal beings - yah know? It seems like the adult version of these books must include all aspects. Or are more poorly written.

was a book I enjoyed for the most part. It was a quick, easy read and a nicely told story. It even through me for a loop. Most of the time, when I'm reading, I try and figure out the ending. A lot of times it's very easy (i.e. typical romance novels...it's no wonder they are easy for someone to get bored with). And sometimes it really isn't so easy to determine the ending. This book was sort of in between. While I did see some of what was coming - I really missed other parts, and it threw me for a loop.

I hate being so vague, but I want you to read the book for yourself. It's cute. The characters are enjoyable. There's a sort of beauty about the book that I can't explain. I can't say that you'll be super-thrilled about the ending, but after a day or two when you think about it, it also had it's beauty and it's purpose. If you're anything like me, you'll spend a bit of time thinking of your own endings as well, but I think the end of this book is what makes it stand out from other vampire/werewolves/paranormal books.

Oh, one more thing. The cover. Doesn't the cover just make you want to read the book? It's beautiful. I'm not sure who came up with that, and don't care really - but GREAT JOB! Really.


30 Nights with a Highland Husband - Melissa Mayhue

Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband - Melissa Mayhue
Genre: Adult Romance
Form: Mass Paperback Book

Scotland, 1272. Connor MacKiernan, a descendant of the Fae Prince, is a warrior who lives only for honor and duty. Though he's vowed never to marry, that's exactly what he must do to save his sister. Enter a little Faerie magic, and the search for a bride is on.

Denver, 2007. Caitlyn Coryell is having a really bad day-she just discovered her fiance with another woman! Imagine her surprise when she puts on some sexy lingerie and an antique pendant and Connor appears in her bedroom, begging for her help. He offers a simple yet outrageous adventure: travel to his time, marry him, and return home.

But nothing's simple when Cate is trapped in the thirteenth century. The wedding's delayed, someone's trying to kill her, and in the middle of all this, she realizes she's falling in love with a man who can only be her husband for thirty nights.
Source: back of book

Highlanders, time travel, and faeries - oh my! Obviously, judging from my blog and previous reading adventures - all things that I enjoy in a book. But really, this was just a normal romantic adventure. Gets your heart thumping - both at the romance and at the danger. I can't say it was the best or worst book I've ever read. Just entertaining.

I do think Melissa Mayhue has the ability to put an entertaining story together - so let's not downplay that. Her characters were likable and somewhat realistic. I mean - how real can people be who are decedents of Faeries?? So the imagination is needed as well. The only thing that keeps this book from standing out is - I've pretty much read it before in another, or a few other books. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really stand out outside of the fact that I do like to read romance novels, and it fulfilled it's obligation to entertain me in a way that T.V. just does not.


Love Walked In - Marisa de los Santos

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Audio Book

Thirty-one-year-old Cornelia Brown adores classic romantic films. Anything starring Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant will do nicely, especially The Philadelphia Story.Unapologetically idealistic about love, Cornelia appears to catch the break of a lifetime when the dashing Martin Grace, her own personal Cary Grant, comes strolling into her life. But Cormelia's life truly changes on snowy day when she looks up to find troubled 11-year-old Clare Hobbes standing before her.

Source: Back of audio book

A lovely story! Cornelia is a wonderful protagonist, she is a hopeless romantic. When Martin comes into her life - it's as if the world comes alive. She notices everything - from sights to smells, not to mention every slight movement Martin makes. He seems just perfect on the outside...and even on the inside. But the more she gets to know him, the more she notices little things that are starting to bother her; like the way he doesn't really listen to what she is saying, and the things he isn't saying.

She is a little surprised (but not really) when Martin turns out to have a daughter. But the next few weeks has the potential to change Cornelia's life. Clare is very troubled, very hurt and does not easily trust the people around her. With the help of one of her best friends Teo, Cornelia make it her responsibility to find out what has happened, and also to take care of Clare. It isn't long before Cornelia is ready to drop her easy life as coffee house manager to become the mother that Clare so desperately needs.

Beautifully written. I loved the characters and the story line. It was heart-throbbingly enjoyable, despite it's predictability. The only complaint I have about it was in audio version - I was constantly getting Cornelia and Clare's narrators mixed up. Cornelia's narrator sounded younger to me, making me want to fit the voice to Clare.


Four to Score - Janet Evanovich

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Audio Book
Series: Stephanie Plum

A new mission, a new adventure, lots of fun. Stephanie has competition in the form of the women who she caught with her ex-husband, so you know she’s determined to get this no-show. Stephanie again gets to pair up with Lola as well as Grandma Mazer, and another goof to add to the troop – a transvestite who is really straight but “in it for the money,” Sally. They run into all sorts of scenarios and trouble, not the least of which is getting her apartment fire-bombed by a crazy jealous girlfriend, causing her to temporarily move in with Joe Morelli. An agreement that takes no time to turn into more than just “renting a room.”

So now, not only does Stephanie have to deal with her case, her crazy ex-husband’s ex-lover, her own crazy family, but she also gets to add Joe’s crazy family (which actually reminds me of the crazy family on My Big Fat Greek Wedding) to the mix. The only thing missing from this book was the end question of – did Stephanie get pregnant? I am thinking no, but it was left hanging there – no answer. Perhaps High Five will shed some light on the subject.

This book stepped it up in the steaminess area, and maintained it’s normal chaotic Stephanie-isms. Once again – Stephanie messes up her car and her hair – she just can’t seem to catch a break, or get rid of that big blue Buick.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Genre: Youth Fantasy
Form: Audio Book
Series: Harry Potter

The final Harry Potter book. A book so well known, so popular that apparently no one thought it needed a synopsis. There is not one on the book, or the websites. Which is understandable seeing as how it's the same Harry vs. Voldemort, good vs. evil that it has been since the very beginning. Of course this is the end of the evil. Or at least this particular evil.

Harry, Ron and Hermione go off on a mission to find all of the Horcruxes that Voldemort has scatter across the wizarding world - in all the places that held some sort of importance to him. They must try and think like Voldemort and anticipate what he will have in store - which is made easier since Voldemort can't seem to keep hold of his emotions and opens the connection between Harry and himself quite frequently. But this does not keep Harry from danger. No - every other move he makes, Harry, Ron and Hermione find themselves in another crazy, dangerous situation.

In addition to the Horcruxes, the three are left to decipher the strange items that Dumbledore has left them in his will. Upon much research, Dumbledore's clues lead them on another mission - to find, or at least find out about - the Deathly Hallows. A concept that Harry embraces and even becomes consumed with on his journey.

In the end, of course, the books is summed up with who is the better wizard, the better person - Harry or Tom Riddle.

I enjoyed the ending of Harry Potter. Nothing mind-numbingly amazing or anything, pretty much exactly what I expected actually. I'm thankful to be done with the books and over my obsession. I'm still, of course, looking forward to the movies! My husband and I have had fun debating where they are planning on dividing the book to make two movies. It will be interesting to find out.

I love the wall to wall action of this book. But more than that, I loved the much anticipated and built up (OMG FINALLY) Ron/Hermione kiss. Another favorite part is when Ron says to Malfoy - "This is the second time we've saved your life today!" Great stuff!


Three To Get Deadly - Janet Evanovich

Three to get Deadly
by Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Audio Book
Series: Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum’s latest adventure includes the local candy man “nice guy” that everyone likes. She is dreading this pick-up more than any she had done previously because – well, no one wants to give her any information on someone who is such a “good guy.” But the more Stephanie digs into this case, the worse it gets – along the way she happens upon 8 dead bodies, and it seems that some church-going gangster wanna-be’s are out to get her just for doing her job.

I know I keep saying it, but I love these books. I love Janet Evanovich’s humor and ability to tell a good story. Stephanie is, as always, quite funny in a matter of fact sort of way. This time she joins up with ex-prostitute, Lulu and of course gets a lot of help from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and her sexy cop Joe Morelli. Grandma Mazer takes a bit of a break in this book – but Lulu still provides enough laughs to take her place. Stephanie is doing a great job botching everything up from her car, to her case. She even botches up her hair when she decides to get red highlights to earn back the attention she’s been missing from Joe.

That brings me to the other thing I love about these books; Stephanie and Joe Morelli's crazy relationship. It's like they are in love and in hate at the same time. Each finds the other sexy, but cannot help but badger each other and do whatever possible to drive the other up the wall. It makes for great fun and loads of sexual tension. Keeps us reading, that's for sure!


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Genre: Youth Fantasy
Form: Audio Book
Series: Harry Potter

The War Against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses. And yet... As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate-and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
Source: Back of Audio Book

For the first (and probably last) time ever, my husband read/listened to a book spontaneously. We are both preparing for the release of the next Harry Potter movie coming July 17th - and decided to take on the Half-Blood Prince together. It was fun as we discussed the book, and both made predictions as to who the Half-Blood Prince would turn out to be. Both of us were wrong by the way.

These books just keep getting better and better. It's almost sad to realize that this is the 2nd to last book of the series, now that I'm really into it. I enjoyed the obvious aging in this book, the crew are now becoming real teenagers, with all the hormones to go with it. Before all of this, the aging wasn't very obvious, and in my mind I was still seeing the young kids I first envisioned in the beginning (despite having seen the movies). There is quite a bit of fun to be had with the hormones.

I enjoy seeing Harry's compassion come out, especially toward Luna Lovegood. For the huge temper he's got on him, he's also got quite a bit of love and friendship to spare for others as well. But by far, the most interesting parts of this book was Harry's meetings with Dumbledore, as well as his adventure, even if it's ending was not so great. All of this made this book a MILLION times better than all the others in my opinion. Well The Order of the Phoenix was pretty good - but J.K. Rowling's writing has started to soar in Half-Blood Prince for sure.


Ironside - Holly Black

Ironside by Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Form: Hardback Book

In the realm of Faerie the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing-her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie. Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth - that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends aye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?
Source: Flap of book

Once again, Holly Black captivates me in her story telling ability. This was a great part 2 of the story of Kaye and Roiben. The first book, Tithe, really didn't center around the two characters as much as it did Kaye and the shock of finding out she was really a pixie placed in the care of humans, and then outsmarting Silarial, the Seelie Queen. In Ironside Kaye is once again in the midst of Faerie traditions that she really knows nothing about. She's not only struggling with the fact that she flat out told Roiben she loved him only to have him send her on some impossible quest which makes her think he never loved her, but she feels like an outsider no matter which way she turns. She knows nothing about the Faerie courts, yet it's painful and feels like faking to stay on Ironside.

THEN Kaye finds herself, once again, running to the rescue of Roiben. She is again outsmarting the Seelie Queen and proving herself worth of Roiben's consort. That Kaye...she should be queen with how she's always figuring everything out.

I enjoyed many aspects of this book, one of which is how they brought back Luis and Dave from Valiant. I also liked how this book was a bit more tame than Valiant as well. I will say, I like the original covers to these books rather than the people they've put on the newer version. Just an opinion.


Valiant - Holly Black

Valiant by Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Form: Hardback Book

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis's brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistae of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to now him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.
Source: Inside flap of book

Valiant is a very gothic book. It mostly has melancholy mood about it as Val deals with betrayal, fear, new situations and creatures, and drugs. Many times while reading I wasn't sure how I really felt about this book. The story is extremely well written and makes you want to continue reading it, but I felt that material a little bit questionable for young adults. I realize that young adults experience real life daily, that sex and drugs are a regular part of it, but I think this book actually glorifies the drug use too much and the consequences for that usage was not strong enough in my opinion. This really isn't a book that I would let my teenage daughter read if I had a choice.

That being said, I did enjoy reading the book. I like stories about faeries, good and bad alike. The synopsis is right on about Ravus, he is a good and honorable fae who is painted in a bad light. He has had a rough past, but devotes his life to helping others of his kind. When he first appears in the book he is scary and angry, but within reason; he was just tresspassed upon afterall. The overall story was quite captivating, and as I said before, well written. I hope to see more from Holly Black in the future.