Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not so smokin'? REVIEW/rant session: "Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich

Smokin' Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel Why this book?: I love this series, I really do. Or maybe I did. Anyways, this jumped the line because I needed something quick and fun to read to lighten my mood.

Type: Mystery-ish, Series, Bounty Hunter, Love triangle, Stalker, Cooking, Parents don't always know what's best, Digital enhancement.

About the book: 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 evidence proving the killer's identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it's time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie's mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who's just returned to town. Stephanie's sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir "bake-off." And Grandma Bella, Morelli's old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts "the eye" on Stephanie. ( From the book jacket. )

My Review: I think this book had a lot of potential. Yes, I love the Plum series because of the humor, but I like when Stephanie is in real danger, too. I want to see her triumph because of luck, sure, but because she manages to think her way out of something. But for the past couple books, it seems like Stephanie hasn't learned a thing. She's stuck in limbo. You'd think after doing this job for a few years, she would have gotten a little better at it, but she's still awful, and it's to the point where it's not as fun anymore. The killer leaving bodies for Stephanie was a fascinating twist.. except even after re-reading the ending, I don't know why they did. I understand the killing part, that was explained, but why for Stephanie?

There were quite a few times while I was reading that I got a sense of deja vu. And I realized, I had read that exact same sentence before. By all means, the author should keep things fan's love, but to say them again with the exact same wording? This would be okay for new readers, with no prior knowledge of the series, but for those of us that have followed for years, it made me a little sad.

And maybe it's just me, but Lula quickly started grating on my nerves. It seems like Evanovich is trying to hard with Lula's outrageous character. She's a funny creation, for sure, but I think it's being taken too far. But I do agree with Lula when it comes to Stephanie's men - it's time Stephanie chose someone. I vote Morelli... though part of that is because I want to see what Ranger does (if anything) to get Stephanie's attention again. I, too, love both men and think they have their own strengths, but even I'm sick of the love triangle, and want something final.

In the end, I didn't hate this book. It might seem like it, but it was entertaining enough to fill up a few hours before I had to get ready for work. And I look forward to the next book, to see what happens after Stephanie's little epiphany at the end of Smokin' Seventeen. If I had to pick a word that describes this book, I would probably go with "Meh." Meh is something that is.. Not bad, but not great. Stuck in limbo.. much like Stephanie.

Cover Loving: Fits the rest of the series. I like the purple.

Recommendation: Entertaining enough. Definitely pick up the earlier books in the series for some grand fun. The later ones seem to be slipping. And frankly, you could probably pick up this book without reading the rest of the series.

Final Rating: TWO POINT FIVE out of FIVE (2.5/5). Meh. Some good moments, also more of the same.

What about you guys? Agree or disagree with what I've said? Any die-hard Stephanie Plum fans that felt the same way at the end of this book? Tell me why or why not in the comments. I'd love to know what you guys think. And as always, you can get the book from, should you want to purchase it.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whatcha Got Wednesday #32

Welcome to another edition of Whatcha Got Wednesday! WGW is my own little weekly meme where I talk about what I bought or received in the past week. I don't do this to brag, but to spotlight books that I might not get to for a while, or might not review at all - Such is the case with my Romance Review Today books, since I don't review those here.

On to the bookies! I went on a bit of a buying binge this week. Yikes!

"Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich - Still hoping the series will get better.. Also, stickers!
"Ruby Red" by Kerstin Gier - Time travel is my second favorite genre.
"Angel Burn" by L.A. Weatherly - Angels!
"Devil Without a Cause" by Terri Garey - and the author even sent me a match bookmark to go with it!
"The Goddess Test" by Aimee Carter - reviewed this a while ago, loved it so I had to buy myself a copy :)
RT Book Reviews magazine - I really enjoy going through these.. I think I might buy myself a subscription.

"Master and Apprentice" by Sonya Bateman - loved book one!
"Face of Danger" by Roxanne St. Claire (ARC)
"Shiver of Fear by Roxanne St. Claire
"Bone Cold" by Erica Spindler
"Thirteen Years Later" by Jasper Kent

That's it for me this week. What did you get?

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Somewhere good. REVIEW of "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman

Where She Went Why this book?: I read "If I Stay" not long ago, and it was so good, I just had to get the sequel when it was released. Also... it's due back today, so had to read it NOW and return it.

Disclaimer: I do not own this book, nor was I given it in exchange for a review. This book is on loan to me from my local library.

Type: Sequel, Teen Fiction, Crossover to adult fiction, Years Later, Epic loves, Dealing with tragedy

Publisher: Dutton Books.
Pages: 260.

About the book: It's been three years since Adam's love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it... and three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is L.A. tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hears to the future - and each other. (From the bookjacket)

My Review: "Where She Went" is just as emotionally charged as "If I Stay." The first book, from Mia's perspective, followed her journey from the accident to waking up from the coma, and her battle with herself over staying alive or dying with her family. In "Where She Went," Mia is back, but this time we see her through Adam's eyes, and how he dealt with the horror of the crash, and almost losing Mia. After the accident, Mia had Adam and family to help her deal, but Adam had no one to lean on, and when Mia dumped him, he had no one at all. While that may have been good for Adam's music career, since it gave him the passion to write the songs that rocketed his band to stardom, it was so painful for Adam. And the reader really sees how this hurt has changed him. The glimpses of him and Mia in the past, and how he acts in the present, are so blindingly different. My heart broke for Adam in this book. It felt like he was stuck in some hellish limbo.

"Where She Went" is beautifully, almost poetically, written. You really feel Adam's emotions, and I'll admit it, my heart broke for him. There was no epic mistake made by Adam or Mia in the past that tore them apart, it wasn't one person's fault. Something terrible happened, and they were left to deal with the aftermath. Things just fell apart. But when Adam and Mia meet again in this book, it takes them a while, but they find a way to deal with that pain, to get past it, and maybe find a way to really live again.

Cover Loving: I'm not feeling great about this cover. Yes, this book is about Adam AND Mia... but it's from Adam's perspective and Adam's journey.. I think it should be a male on the cover. Or made to look more like the older "If I Stay" covers.

Recommendation: If you need a good, but sad, book, definitely pick up both "If I Stay" and "Where She Went." Maybe you need an epic love story, or you just want a good cry/sniffle.. these books are perfect. I actually think this book would be good for both guys and girls, if the guys can get past the kinda girly cover.

Final Rating: FIVE out of FIVE (5/5). I really loved 'Where She Went." I stayed up way later than I should, glued to the page and to Adam's story. Excellent sequel to an equally good first book. Make sure to pick up both "If I Stay" and "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman!

Have you read "If I Stay" or "Where She Went"?  Do you think the sequel measured up to the first? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Want to pick up a copy? Get it from!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

Monday, June 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Three copies of "Wild" by Naomi Clark!

************ CONTEST CLOSED, THANK YOU ******************

Wild (The Vargulf Trilogy) Hallo everyone! Please help me welcome author Naomi Clark as she drops by as part of her Book Lovin' Bitches ebook tour! Naomi has a great treat for us today - she's giving away THREE copies of her book "Wild!"

Let's learn a little about the book: Lizzie Creighton ran away from her life a year ago, wanting to escape the pressures of university and just party. And that’s exactly what she did.

But now she's sick of the world she's fallen into – the drink, the drugs, the violence – and she's desperate to start again. The chance to do it comes from the last source she could ever imagine. After her deadbeat boyfriend steals her car and abandons her in the dead of night, Lizzie is bitten by a wolf. And suddenly her next fix is her last problem.

Now, caught between Nick Doyle, the outcast werewolf who claims he can save her, and Seth Weaver, the favourite son of the blue-blood werewolf royalty, Lizzie must decide what kind of werewolf she wants to be.
Oooh, sounds like a great one!
About the author (from her Goodreads page):
Naomi Clark lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she's not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once.

She is the author of the acclaimed novel SILVER KISS, first in the Urban Wolf series from Queered Ficion, as well as the Shoregrave series, starting with AFTERLIFE, published by Damnation Books, and has just taken the plunge into indie writing with the novella NIGHT AND CHAOS.

~ Fill out the form below to enter. Comments are lovely but DO NOT count as an entry.
~ Contest ends THURSDAY 6/30 at11:59 PM EST. Winners will be announced FRIDAY 7/1.
~ Open Internationally.
~ You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
~ Disclaimer: Novel Addiction is not responsible for items lost in the mail or authors/publishers failing to deliver prizes.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~