Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire

Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire
Forever
May 2012
Format: Paperback, 399 pages
Source: Personal copy


When all you hold dear is taken away . . .

When a hurricane roars through Lacey Armstrong's home on the coast of Barefoot Bay, she decides all that remains in the rubble is opportunity. A new hotel is just what Mimosa Key needs, and Lacey and her teenage daughter are due for a fresh start. And nothing, especially not a hot, younger architect, is going to distract Lacey from finally making her dreams a reality.

A second chance is the only thing you have left.

Love has already cost Clay Walker everything. And if he's going to have any chance of picking up the pieces of his life, he needs the job as Lacey Armstrong's architect. What's not in the plans is falling for the headstrong beauty. Her vision of the future is more appealing than anything he could have ever drafted for himself. Will Clay's designs on Lacey's heart be more than she can handle, or will she trust him to build something that will last forever?

My thoughts: This is the first in Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay series and it's been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. I finally had the chance to read it, thanks to our recent vacation, and now I'm quite eager to read the next books in the series. This is the first book by Roxanne St. Claire I've read and I really enjoyed her writing style - it's the perfect summer read and I'm hoping to pick up the next two in the series to read this summer.

Barefoot in the Sand introduces us to Lacey and her friends. After managing to survive a hurricane hiding out in the bathtub of her house with her daughter, Lacey has some serious thinking to do. Everything that she owns is gone and she realizes that now might be the perfect time to build that bed and breakfast she's always dreamed of running. Contacting a well-known architect, she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Clay shows up. Clay, trying to make a name for himself as him and not his father, has big plans for Lacey's little B&B. He just needs to get her onboard and is willing to do just about anything to get to her hire him.

Right from the first meeting between Lacey and Clay, the sparks start and it's a fun ride to watch how everything plays out. Of course, their relationship doesn't go smoothly - partly due to the age difference between the two of them (she's got 10 years on him) and then there's Lacey's daughter Ashely, who still dreams that her father, Fox, will come back and marry her mom and the three of them will live happily-ever-after. Fox showing up definitely adds a twist to things and gives Lacey lots to think about. But there is definitely some strong chemistry between Lacey and Clay - so hot at times, it's scorching! And I loved all the references to the movie Casablanca - despite the fact that I've yet to see it (definitely going on the must-see list!).

We also meet Lacey's tight group of girlfriends - all of who will be featured in their own book in this series. As we meet them all - Zoe, Tessa and Jocelyn - we get glimpses of their backgrounds and what might be resolved when their stories are told. We also meet the townspeople of Mimosa Key. There's some really interesting characters who think they are all that. I loved the town meetings, secret and planned, and the doctored up bylaw book. I'm not sure if the rest of the books take place in Mimosa Key or elsewhere, but I'm rooting for Mimosa Key - those townspeople are just too crazy not to see again!

When beginning a series, do you like it when you are given glimpses of what's to come later in the series or would you rather be surprised?

Books in this series:
  1. Barefoot in the Sand
  2. Barefoot in the Rain
  3. Barefoot in the Sun
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Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (4.29.13)





It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


Vacation was a great - just what we needed! Aruba is one of my favorite places on earth and this was the 3rd time in the 4 years we've been married that we've been there. It really is one happy place! While hubby went out scuba diving, I would just sit at the beach and read - it was so relaxing and I got quite a lot of books read!

I was smart this time in that I took the week after vacation off as well! This allowed me to catch up on emails, the blog, laundry and everything else. We also were able to put the big boat in the water on Saturday - it was the perfect day for a nice boat ride! Summer is definitely just around the corner and I can't wait!!!



Books Completed last 2 weeks:
  • Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown (review book)
  • Bare It All by Lori Foster (review book)
  • Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire (mine)
  • The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright (review e-book)
  • If You Were Mine by Bella Andre (review e-book)
  • Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax (mine)
  • To Have and To Hold by Jane Green (mine) 
  • Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline (review book)
  • The 1st Victim by Tami Hoag (review e-book)
Reading Now: 
  • Taking Eve by Iris Johansen (library book)
  • Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich (library audio book) - car/house
  • Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (library audio book) - ipod
Next:   
  • Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle (review book)
  • Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich (library audio book)
  • Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery (library book)
  • Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter (mine)
 Reviews Completed last 2 weeks:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
  • Wind Chime Point by Sherryl Woods
  • Killer in Crinoline by Duffy Brown
  • Bare It All by Lori Foster
  • Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire
  • The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright
  • If You Were Mine by Bella Andre 
  • Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax
  • To Have and To Hold by Jane Green
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • The 1st Victim by Tami Hoag
Contest information:    
  • More giveaways coming soon!


What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (41) 4.28.13




Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  Here's what I got:


 

For Review:  
 
The 1st Victim (e-book)
by Tami Hoag


This is the first book by Tami Hoag that I will read...I've heard really good things about her books, but just haven't had time to read her. I'm looking forward to this short story and then hopefully will be picking up some more Tami Hoag books soon.
 
 
 
From Library
 
 
Taking Eve
by Iris Johansen

I am so excited that this book came in...I love Iris Johansen and this is the first of her three new Eve books due out this year!!! (I already have the next one on reserve at the library and as soon as the 3rd one gets into the library system, I'll be putting that one on hold, too!)
 
Chasing Perfect
by Susan Mallery

This is the first book in Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series - a series I am hoping to read this year.
 
 

 
  

 

Purchased:
 
The Violets of March (e-book)
by Sarah Jio
I've had this on my tbr list for a while now and was psyched when it showed up as a bargain book on Saturday!

 
 Netgalley Request
 
Time Flies (e-book)
by Claire Cook
 
I love Claire Cook's books and am looking forward to reading this one!
 




What did you get this week?
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs

Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime
March 2013
Format:  ARC Paperback,
Source: Publisher


In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Agony of the Leaves, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning may always be a bridesmaid, never a bride, but this groom is never going to make it to the altar…

Theodosia Browning’s dear friend, Delaine Dish, has asked her to be a bridesmaid for her wedding. But when the big day arrives, everything seems to be going wrong. First, a massive storm is brewing over Charleston. A bad omen? Second, Delaine’s maid of honor is late for the ceremony. And finally, the groom not only has cold feet—his whole body is cold. A murderer has crashed the wedding.

As Theodosia comforts a devastated Delaine, she needs to sort out the suspects on the groom’s side from the suspects on the bride’s side. One thing soon becomes apparent—revenge won’t be the only dish served cold at this wedding. And if Theodosia doesn’t watch her step, a cold-blooded killer may have a rude reception in store for her…



My thoughts: This is the 14th book in Laura Child's Tea Shop Mysteries and I just love this series. Perhaps because the first book in this series, Death by Darjeeling, is the first cozy mystery I ever read, or maybe it's because I just love all things tea, but this series definitely holds a special place in my heart.

In this latest installment, Theo finds herself smack in the middle of yet another murder. On the day that her best friend Delaine is set to be married, the groom is found dead and Delaine becomes a prime suspect. Not willing to rely solely on the  police, Delaine implores her best friend Theo to look into matters. Of course, this doesn't necessarily sit well with detective Tidwell, but at the same time, I think he truly does rely on Theo's perspective when it comes to solving these crimes.

There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book as Theo looks into who would want and benefit from Dougan's death. Also appearing on the scene are two ghost-hunters who try to help Theo by seeing if they can commune with the recently deceased Dougan. I loved how Drayton, the usually uptight, proper gentleman that we love, takes a liking to the two ghost hunters, going so far as to tag along on a ghost hunting expedition. This is quite a change from what we expect of Drayton and adds a new dimension to him.

Having recently visited Charleston, SC for the first time, I found myself paying even more attention to the descriptions of the city in the book than I normally do. I've always loved the descriptions that Laura Childs gives, but this time I could actually picture some of the places. To me, this completely added to my enjoyment of the book. And then, of course, there are the descriptions of all the different types of tea that Theo and Drayton brew for their guests...this just had my mouth watering for a good cuppa tea. I love how there are always recipes and tea tips included in the back of the book. The Summer Tea Sparkler sounds like it will be the perfect drink for reading on the porch this summer!
 
How about you? If the book you're reading is set in a town or city you are familiar with, does that make you pay more attention to the descriptions? What about if you aren't familiar with the city or town? If you go visit there, does it make you think about the book?



Books in this series:
  1. Death by Darjeeling                          8.  Dragonwell Dead
  2. Gunpowder Green                             9.  The Silver Needle Murder
  3. Shades of Earl Grey                         10.  Oolong Dead
  4. English Breakfast Murder              11.  The Teaberry Strangler
  5. The Jasmine Moon Murder           12.  Scones & Bones
  6. Chamomile Mourning                     13.  Agony of the Leaves
  7. Blood Orange Brewing                    14.  Sweet Tea Revenge
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer (audio)

Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer
Read by Kimberly Farr
Random House Audio
2012
Length: 12 hours 11 minutes
Source: Library

From back of the audio case: Morgan O’Keefe feels trapped in a gilded cage. True, the thirty-year-old mother agreed to put her science career on hold to raise her young son while her husband  pursued his high-powered job. But though Morgan loves many things about staying home with her child, she misses the thrill of working with her colleagues in the lab. She’s restless and in dire need of a change.

Fed up with New York City’s hectic pace, Natalie Reynolds takes up her aunt’s offer to move to the Berkshires and house-sit her fabulous lakeside house for a year. But life on Dragonfly Lake is never without surprises, and for a novice swimmer like Natalie, the most welcome surprise proves to be the arms of a handsome neighbor pulling her up from the water for a gulp of air.

When her mother breaks her leg, Bella Barnaby quits her job in Austin and returns home to help out her large, boisterous family. Among her new duties: manning the counter at the family business, an outdated shop sorely in need of a makeover. While attractive architect Aaron has designs on her, Bella harbors long held secret dreams of her own. 

Summer on Dragonfly Lake is ripe for romance, temptation, and self-discovery as the lives of these three women unexpectedly intertwine.


My thoughts: I've listened to quite a few books by Nancy Thayer and find that they are great on audio. They are typically light, carefree books with themes that almost everyone can relate to at one point in their life.

Summer Breeze is primarily the story of three women - Bella, Natalie and Morgan - who seem to be at a cross-road in their lives. They meet by chance, all ending up living as neighbors on Dragonfly Lake and as the summer progresses, they develop friendships that definitely see their fair share of ups and downs. Each of the three are trying to establish who they really are in relationship to their families and their careers. Along the way, there is also the much-needed love stories that add to the plot. 

I loved how the book alternates between each of the women's point of view. This gives us, the reader, the chance to really know each of the three women - understanding what motivates them and what their ultimate dreams are. We also get to know the women's families and their love interests, all of whom play a part in their quest for finding happiness. There are plenty of twists and emotional dilemmas throughout, keeping you hooked to the story.

I am slowly making my way through all of Nancy Thayer's works - and am hoping to get them all on audio. 

Audio Thoughts: This is the first audio I've listened to where Kimberly Farr was the narrator and I quite enjoyed her voice. She was able to create unique characters and employ just the right amount of emotion into her voice when needed. I've listened to quite a few of Nancy Thayer's books on audio and have decided she is the perfect writer for audio - her books seem to come alive in narration. She is definitely one of my audio go-tos.

Do you have an author or even a narrator that you would consider a go-to?


*** Devourer of Books hosts Sound Bytes every Friday - a meme to share the audio books that everyone is listening to. Stop by and you just might find your next audio book!





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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: What She Wants by Sheila Roberts

What She Wants by Sheila Roberts
Harlequin MIRA
March 2013
Format: ARC e-book, 400 pages
Source: Requested from Netgalley

First line: Working in such close quarters with a woman that you could bump knees (thighs, and maybe even other body parts) was probably every man's dream job.

Summary: "What "do" women want?"Jonathan Templar and his poker buddies can't figure it out. Take Jonathan, for instance. He's been in love with Lissa Castle since they were kids but, geek that he is, she's never seen him as her Mr. Perfect. He has one last shot--their high school reunion. Kyle Long is equally discouraged. The pretty receptionist at his office keeps passing him over for other guys who may be taller but are definitely "not" superior. And Adam Edwards might be the most successful of Jonathan's friends, but he isn't having any success on the home front. His wife's kicked him out.

When Jonathan stumbles on a romance novel at the Icicle Falls library sale, he knows he's found the love expert he's been seeking--Vanessa Valentine, top-selling romance author. At first his buddies laugh at him for reading romance novels, but soon they, too, realize that these stories are the world's best textbooks on love. Poker night becomes book club night...and when all is read and done, they're going to be the kind of men women want!


My thoughts: This is the 4th book in Sheila Roberts' Life in Icicle Falls series and I thoroughly enjoyed this latest visit. In a twist to the usual way she tells her stories, this time, Sheila Roberts uses men as the main characters, giving us the male's perspective on just what women want in a man.

Jonathan, Kyle and Adam are all trying to figure out what women want. Jonathan has been in love with a girl since forever and is hoping that with the upcoming reunion, he will finally be able to impress her enough that she notices him not as the boy next door, but as the guy she can be with. Kyle is in love with the office secretary, but it's another instance of him not being noticed. Adam has the girl of his dreams, but she is fed up with him and throws him out. Can these guys figure things out and get the girls they want before they lose them forever? And are they all after the right girls?

It turns out Jonathan thinks he's found the perfect love coach - the romance books that local author Vanessa Valentine has written. He smuggles one of her books out of his sister's house and starts his 'research.' Taking notes as he reads, he comes out with a list that he believes will help him. At first, he keeps this to himself, but Adam soon finds it while he is bunking on the couch after being kicked out of his house. Soon, Jonathan has a bunch of his buddies reading these books and poker night turns into book discussion night.

I loved that this book was told from the male perspective. It was funny, touching and really gave a different perspective on just how difficult that dating world is. Just like girls, guys will go to great lengths to get the girl they want and every once in a while, they realize that the girl they originally wanted is not really who they thought they were. 

This is a fun read, one that had me laughing out loud at times. There are also some really touching moments throughout the book, ones that are not only heartwarming, but at times, heartbreaking. There's also quite a twist thrown in - one that I definitely didn't see coming but think completely adds to the storyline. Have you ever read a book where the twist took you by surprise? Does this add to your enjoyment?

Books in this series: 
  1. Welcome to Icicle Falls
  2. Better Than Chocolate
  3. Merry Ex-Mas
  4. What She Wants

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown

Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown
Berkley
October 2012
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Author

First line: I poured out the last of the pinot and lifted my glass as I gazed around the dining-room table.

From the back cover: There's always something to gossip about in Savannah, Georgia, and Reagan Summerside always seems to be in the middle of it. She's busy enough running her consignment shop, the Prissy Fox, with her vivacious auntie, KiKi, but now the gossip--and the sales--are about to pick up, after a gruesome discovery...

Reagan's messy divorce has left her with nothing but a run-down Victorian and a bunch of designer clothes. Strapped for cash, Reagan makes use of the two things she has left, turning the first floor of her home into a consignment shop and filling it with the remnants of her rich-wife wardrobe.

Thanks to his cunning lawyer, Walker Boone, her ex got everything else, including the Lexus--not to mention a young blonde cupcake. When Reagan finds the blonde dead in the Lexus, she's determined to beat Boone to finding the murderer. As it turns out, the gossip fiends flooding Reagan's shop can give her a lot more than just their unwanted clothes--they have information more precious than a vintage Louis Vuitton...


My thoughts: This is the first in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series and I was contacted by Duffy Brown herself wondering if I would read her upcoming release, Killer in Crinolines, the second in the series. I told her yes, and had mentioned that I had her series on my to-read list, but had yet to get to the first book. She graciously sent me a copy of it - a copy she took the time to sign. 

Iced Chiffon introduces us to Reagan, the sassy and funny main character of the series. Reagan is dealing with the aftermath of her divorce - a divorce that has left her with only an old house that she loves, but with no way to keep it. In an effort to bring in some money, she decides to use the bottom floor of her Victorian mansion as a consignment shop, deciding to sell all the fancy clothes from her former life. Along with her aunt Kiki, who lives across the street, and the UPS driver, Chantilly, and her tweets, the consignment shop takes off. 

Of course, the fact that Reagan and Aunt Kiki find a dead body in the trunk of Reagan's ex-husband's car, seems to help spear people's curiosity and bring them down to the shop in droves. The deceased is none other than Reagan's ex-husband's current girl friend, Cupcake and there is no love lost between Reagan and Cupcake. Who would have killed her and left her in the trunk of a car until she was discovered? Needing to clear her husband's name so that he does not take anything else from her, Reagan starts investigating. Along the way, she keeps bumping heads with Walker Boone, her ex's lawyer. 

I really enjoyed this first installment and am looking forward to seeing what other adventures Reagan finds herself in. I love the Southern charm that is interspersed throughout the book along with the cast of characters we meet. Aunk Kiki is a pip - always quoting her idol, Cher, and Boone has a bit of mystery surrounding him. 

If you read cozy mysteries, do you read them for the mystery or the theme?

Books in this series:
  1. Iced Chiffon
  2. Killer in Crinolines

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Private Berlin by James Patterson

Private Berlin by James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company
January 2013
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Source: Personal copy

First line: At ten o'clock on a moonless September evening, Chris Schneider slipped toward a long-abandoned building on the eastern outskirts of Berlin, his mind whirling with dark images and old vows.

From the inside cover: Private Berlin has the extraordinary pace and international sophistication that has powered The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Patterson's #1 bestseller The Postcard Killers.

IN EUROPE'S MOST DANGEROUS CITY

Chris Schneider is a superstar agent at Private Berlin, Germany headquarters for the world's most powerful investigation firm. He keeps his methods secret as he tackles Private's most high-profile cases-and when Chris suddenly disappears, he becomes Private Berlin's most dangerous investigation yet.

AN INVESTIGATOR IS SEARCHING
Mattie Engel is another top agent at Private Berlin, gorgeous and ruthlessly determined-and she's also Chris's ex. Mattie throws herself headfirst into finding Chris, following leads to the three people Chris was investigating when he vanished: a billionaire suspected of cheating on his wife, a soccer star accused of throwing games, and a nightclub owner with ties to the Russian mob. Any one of them would surely want Chris gone-and one of them is evil enough to want him dead.

AND SHE'S AFTER MORE THAN THE TRUTH
Mattie's chase takes her into Berlin's most guarded, hidden, and treacherous places, revealing secrets from Chris's past that she'd never dreamed of in the time they were lovers. On the brink of a terrifying discovery, Mattie holds on to her belief in Chris-in the face of a horror that could force all of Europe to the edge of destruction and chaos.

James Patterson has taken the European thriller to a masterful new level with Private Berlin, an adrenaline-charged, spectacularly violent and sexy novel with unforgettable characters of dark and complex depths. Private Berlin proves why Patterson is truly the world's #1 bestselling author.


My thoughts: This is the latest in James Patterson's Private series and I love how in this series, we get to go to all different locations around the world. In this case, we meet the Berlin staff of the Private enterprise where they are searching for one of their own.

It seems that Chris has a private past that no one knows about, not even his ex-fiance and current coworker, Maddie. When he goes missing, Maddie is all over it and Jack Morgan, owner of the Private enterprise, heads to Germany to offer his help. As the team starts investigating Chris's disappearance, they look into his current cases, trying to decide if they are related to why he went missing. 

Maddie is the star of this novel, teaming up with bomb specialist Tom Burkhart. They find themselves drawn into a mystery surrounding a serial murderer who uses a slaughterhouse to get rid of bodies, and determine that the answers might just lie with the mysterious past of six orphans. Can Maddie and the team figure out who this Invisible Man is before more victims pile up?

The action in this book is non-stop and the suspense is quite intense. My only complaint about the book is that I am not familiar with Germany at all and had a hard time determining if the places mentioned where nearby or far from each other. That and trying to keep the characters straight kept me paying extra close attention and constantly flipping back to earlier pages. This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, though, and I loved that Jack Morgan was part of the story. It seems that he always makes some type of cameo in all the books, whether they are set in the US, where the main Private office is, or elsewhere in the world.

I can't wait to what office and team we get to know next. I did see that there's a Private Oz book out there that is set in Australia, but I can't seem to find a place to buy it...hopefully it will be available soon somewhere! I think this is like the Private London book that was at first only published in the country where the book was set and then, at a later date, made available everywhere...hoping that's the case!

Books in the Other Private Offices series:
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Monday, April 15, 2013

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (4.15.13)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


Vacation is finally here...we leave tomorrow for Aruba and I cannot wait!!! I have my Kindle loaded up with books, have a few print books to bring along as well and plenty of sunblock. This is the third time we are heading to Aruba and we have a good routine set up - I sit on the beach all day and read while hubby goes off scuba diving. This year, though, I want to try Stand-Up Paddleboarding...it looks fun and I figure the warm, clean water in Aruba is the best place to try it out!


Books Completed last week:
  • What She Wants by Sheila Roberts (netgalley e-book)
  • Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs (review book)
  • Wind Chime Point by Sherryl Woods (review book) 
  • Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer (library audio book)  
  • Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown (review book)

Reading Now: 
  • Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle (review book)
  • Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (library audio book) - ipod

Next:   
  • Bare It All by Lori Foster (review book)
  • Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire (mine)
  • Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax (mine) 
  • If You Were Mine by Bella Andre (review e-book)
 
Reviews Completed last week: 
 
Other posts related to books:

Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich 
  • Private Berlin by James Patterson
  • What She Wants by Sheila Roberts
  • Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
  • Wind Chime Point by Sherryl Woods
  • Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer 
  • Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown

Contest information:  


What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich (audio)

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
Read by Lorelei King
Audio Renaissance
2006
Length: 6 hours, 54 minutes
Source: Library

From the back of the audio case: While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos, Stephanie Plum discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her. This stalker carries a 9mm Glock, has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso...street name, Ranger. When somebody dies, the action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer. Now Ranger and Stephanie are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, vice cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in. Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve, or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum...forever?

My thoughts: Oh...Stephanie Plum - you seem to attract trouble wherever you go. And usually it's coupled with hilarious antics, but this time around, things take on a bit more serious a tone. That's not to say that there's not some comic relief interspersed because of course there is - how could it not with characters like Lula and Grandma Mazur.

In Twelve Sharp, we find out quite a bit about the ever-mysterious Ranger. It seems his daughter has been kidnapped and some man from his past is trying to hunt him down. Stephanie ends up working alongside Ranger to figure out who this guy is and what his next steps will be. Of course, this doesn't bode well for the on-going love triangle Stephanie has found herself in with Ranger and Morelli, but Morelli does offer his help here and there.

And what would a Stephanie Plum book be without a trip to the local funeral home for Grandma Mazur to check out how the person was laid out. Are the new owners of the funeral home ready for all Grandma Mazur's antics? Between that, Lula recruiting Grandma Mazur to be in her band and the bond office having to interview people for a new bounty hunter position, the seriousness and tension of the Ranger plot is well-balanced.

I liked that this installment was a little heavier than the previous ones. After all, this is the 12th book and the books can't all be filled with crazy antics, laugh-out-loud moments and the ever-present love triangle. There's no typical Stephanie Plum book and that's what keeps me plodding on!

Audio Thoughts: Once again, Lorelei King does a good job with the voices and manages to impart the right amount of humor or tension as the scene calls for. I've only listened to her narrate the Stephanie Plum books and if you remember I wasn't all that crazy about having her take on the books at first, as I loved when CJ Critt narrated them. But now, as she continues to grow on me, I would be interested in seeing what else she narrates.


Books in this series:

     1.  One for the Money                         12.  Twelve Sharp
     2.  Two for the Dough                         12.5  Plum Lovin'
     3.  Three to Get Deadly                      13.  Lean Mean Thirteen
     4.  Four to Score                                   13.5  Plum Lucky
     5.  High Five                                           14.  Fearless Fourteen
     6.  Hot Six                                                14.5  Plum Spooky
     7.  Seven Up                                           15.  Finger Lickin' Fifteen
     8.  Hard Eight                                         16.  Sizzling Sixteen
     8.5  Visions of Sugar Plums              17.  Smokin' Seventeen
     9.  To the Nines                                      18.  Explosive Eighteen
    10.  Ten Big Ones                                    19.  Notorious Nineteen
    11.  Eleven on Top
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