Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Janet and Me

I'm a voracious reader. I chain-read (like chain-smoking), finishing one book and starting another the same day. Sometimes, I have more than one book going at a time. I like mysteries best but read almost anything except vampire and werewolf tales. (I KNOW they're the "In" thing these days but I just don't like them.)

Janet Evanovich is one of my favorite authors, particularly her Stephanie Plum series. So, I was really excited to score big on Evanovich on my last visit to Half Price Books. She was featured on the dollar rack that week. I bought everything they had of hers that I hadn't read yet. Who knew she was so prolific! I rounded out my collection of the Plum series and loaded up on a bunch of her other stuff.

Since we don't have a Half Price Books store here, I stock pile when I visit. I have a bookcase where I keep all my "books in waiting." This way, I've always got a new book handy. When the big snows hit this month, I was all set.

First up was Evanovich's Full House (the first in another of Janet's "series"). This one definitely falls into the category of romance with just a touch of mystery. Touting only Janet's name on the cover, this book, in her words, is a joint effort with Charlotte Hughes. Set in Virginia horse county, the hero literally rides in on a horse to rescue the damsel in distress. Amid a few explosions (of the home-made bomb type), love grows (quickly) and all do live happily ever after.The plot's a little simplistic for me and doesn't seem to have the same action punch I'm used to from Janet. I'm a little disappointed in the "strong male rides in to save the little woman" theme but it's a light read for a snowy day.

Next in the series is Full Bloom. This one does list Charlotte Hughes as a co-author with Evanovich. The style is quite similar to Full house and there is some character overlap giving a sense of continuity. (They're starting to grow on me.) There is a little mystery and a resident ghost which adds an interesting touch, and, yes, once again the mysterious dark male hero rides in to save the distressed little lady. He does ride in on a mighty fine Harley, though! I do plan to search out the other books in this series. I want to know what else happens to these fine folks.

Last up in this batch was The Grand Finale, not part of the "Full" series. This one is something Janet produced prior to giving birth to Stephanie Plum. (The "Full" series, with Charlotte, have come about mid-Plum, so to speak.) She did 12 romance novels back then and 9 were published between '88 and '99 only to very quickly go out of print. These have now been reissued with a little editing by Janet to give them a little more pizazz. This is one of those early stories.

In The Grand Finale, again the hero swoops in to save the day. This was absolutely the quickest read of them all but cute and very light and bouncy. Oh, yeah, it involves pizza. So I figured it had to be fairly good. (Maybe you should be sure to have one on hand while reading it as it may make your mouth water a little.)

Overall, they all make for a quick, pleasant read. They've all got some Evanovich trademarks like tall, dark and handsome leading men. (Stephanie does have both Joe and Ranger.) The leading ladies all have wild hair that needs to be tamed. Each tale includes a pet of some sort. (Yes, Stephanie has Rex.) Little old ladies attached to our heroines is also a recurrent theme (Stephanie has Grandma Mazur.) although the quirky"old" lady role is replaced with just a young really ditzy relative in Full House. The character serves the same purpose, though, to kind of round out our leading lady's character and to help move the plot along in a little different way. Janet also seems to believe in love afirst sight in these romance novels. Surprisingly, it usually seems to be the guy who melts first!

So, while I do still prefer the Plum tales, I will continue to read all of the Janet Evanovich items I can get my hands on. I'm working on Metro Girl now and just finished Hot Stuff.

Here's hoping y'all have a good read handy!

No comments: