Bodice Rippers & Erotica Book Reviews: Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum Book Reviews

OurBookClub selected Janet Evanovich and her books as perfect reading material for holidays or when you just want to kick back with a good book. They are entertaining, fast paced and are guaranteed to have you laughing your arse off! Janet Evanovich (aka Steffie Hall) lives in the US, but in a similar vein as Stephanie Plum, she also grew up in New Jersey. Her Stephanie Plum novels have won major crime fiction awards.

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Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum comes from Trenton, New Jersey - The Burg. She is half-Italian and half-Hungarian and is surrounded by family, both immediate and several cousins removed. Having been divorced, had her car repossessed and now lost her job, she does the only thing she can, bribes her cousin Vinnie into giving her a new job. Problem is, this job is as a Fugitive Apprehension Agent aka Bounty Hunter and well, Stephanie has never done this before. She can't even fire a gun and regularly leaves it at home in her cookie jar, although will occasionally take her tazer, cuffs and pepper spray! Of course matters aren't helped when her first felon is none other than Joe Morelli, the gorgeous Italian cop who not only convinced Stephanie to plays "trains and tunnels" when she was 6, but who also took Stephanie's virginity behind the ťclair counter at the Tasty Pastry Bakery when she was 16. Previously known as a womaniser, he has now changed, having spent time in the navy and now working as a Jersey Vice cop. There is plenty of playful banter between them as Joe tries to convince Stephanie he is not that 18 year old who wrote about their bakery experience in the Sub Shop's men's toilets and on the Stadium wall! The tension and attraction between them is huge and although they constantly argue and fight, are on- and off- and on-again, you know they are destined to be together. Trouble is, another bounty hunter - the mysterious Ranger, also seems to fancy Stephanie. And while she knows he is definitely not marriage material, she can't help but wonder.....Between the 2 sexy men fighting for her attention, the felons who constantly thwart her attempts to bring them in and the amazing amount of crime that Stephanie seems to miraculously stumble upon and solve, these books will definitely keep you entertained!

With the recent release of book 17, there appears no end in sight for this series, in fact Janet states that the numbered plums always come out in mid-june and there is a contest to name the next book from 1 May to 31 August and has been contracted through Plum Eighteen (June 2012). So while there are those of us that wish Stephanie and Joe could just shut the hell up and stay together, I am sure the author isn't going to make it that easy. After all, they've been on, been off, been on, been engaged, been supposedly pregnant, been split up, on again, off again, and at last count on again.....well, it's enough to frustrate the hell out of you!

I will say, the books are pretty formulaic and I am not sure how many times I can read about Stephanie botching up an apprehension, have her car blow up again, stumble across a big crime that only she manages to solve or remain completely indecisive about which man is right for her. Her inner dialogue is pretty funny but when she laments the state of her life and relationships and then says nothing about it when given the chance, well it gets kinda frustrating. Come on Janet, there are those of us that would actually like to see Stephanie grow up, pick a man (Joe please) and actually improve at her job - I am sure there are still plenty of funny and crazy things that would happen to her! On top of this it appears that either the author is forgetting what she wrote in her previous books or someone else has started writing them. Heights, ages and random facts regularly change, so if you were reading these one after the other, it starts to show. Still at the end of the day, they are a light-hearted fun ride, but maybe it's time to let her grow up a bit, but then don't you love a story that you know will make you laugh and you can just pick up and read a few pages as needed.

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Smokin' Seventeen by Janet EvanovichBook cover of Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Read by Tracy August 2011

Tracy recommends if you are looking for much the same as the last sixteen books

This is the seventeenth book in the series and by now it was starting to get a tad formulaic, I mean how much bad luck can somebody have in addition to their ongoing inability to do the basics of her job i.e. shoot a gun or even learn basic self defence. In this book Stephanie finds herself yet again on a killerís list and coupled with her family and friends pressuring her to make a decision between Joe Morelli and Ranger or worse, Stephanieís former high school mate. She is soon caught up in shenanigans that make you glad you arenít her, although sometimes a choice of hot men canít be that bad a decision to make and she does a comparison between Joe and Ranger between the sheets in a short space of time. The series is starting to lose itís appeal and maybe it is time Stephanie did make a decision and even retire!

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One for the Money by Janet EvanovichBook cover of One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

The movie rights to One for the Money were sold by Janet in 1993, but it wasn't until earlier 2010 that filming finally started and due for release on 16 February 2012, it is expected this will be the first in a film franchise. Katherine Heigl has been cast to play Stephanie (not bad, she often plays the ditzy lead in rom-coms) (originally Reese Witherspoon was cast), Jason O'Mara has been cast as the gorgeous Joe Morelli and Daniel Sunjata as bad boy Ranger. In addition, they've added Sherri Shepard as Lula, Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur, Patrick Fischler as Vinnie and Ana Reeder as Connie. It is also noted that John Leguizamo has been cast as Jimmy Alpha, Nate Mooney as Eddie Gazarra and Jack Erdie as Flat-Nosed Louis. As Janet sold the movie rights she has no involvement or influence in the making of the movie...casting, directing, the script, editing, etc. To check out the preview, click here.

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Between The Numbers...

To keep us tied over between Stephanie Plum novels, Janet has has started writing "between the numbers" books featuring Stephanie and the gang.

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However, there are no more Between the Numbers booked planned for the foreseeable future as Janet has moved Diesel into his own series (Wicked Appetite being the first of that series). This has been followed up with Wicked Business.

When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences, leaving a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and spontaneous seduction.

Book Cover of Wicked Appetite Book Cover of Wicked Business

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A lot of the books now come in Bundles of 3 or more, so you can purchase all your holiday reading in one go. Book Depository offers these bundles at great prices and with free shipping, what are you waiting for??

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In addition to the Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich has been busy with other several other series:-

Elsie Hawkins: Back to the Bedroom, Smitten, Wife for Hire and The Rocky Road to Romance

Max Holt (written with Charlotte Hughes): Full House, Full Tilt, Full Speed, Full Blast, Full Bloom and Full Scoop

Alexandra Barnaby: Metro Girl, Motor Mouth and Troublemater (with Alex Evanovich and Joelle Jones)

Cate Madigan (with Leanne Banks): Hot Stuff

Diesel: Wicked Appetite. The next diesel book is due out in the fall.

She has written several stand-alone novels including The Grand Finale, Thanksgiving, Manhunt, Ivan Takes a Wife (aka Love Overboard), Naughty Neighbor and even a non-fiction book; How I Write: Secrets of a Serial Fiction Writer.

She certainly doesn't sit around twiddling her thumbs!

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