One Minute Book Review: Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Note: Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, I have obtained a copy of this book to read in return for an honest review. 

   one minute book review-Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

The Summary:

Lizzy and Diesel are back, and this time in a pirate adventure! They are on the search for the Stone of Avarice, and this time Wulf isn’t their biggest obstacle. . . Can they find it in time, in spite of possible demons, greedy billionaires, and murder?

What I liked:

So after Wicked Business, I will admit, I was a little bit worried. Especially since I had made a personal commitment to reading this book by a certain time. But from page one I knew that the addition of Phoef Sutton had made a huge difference to this series. The writing was tighter, and more succinct. There wasn’t a huge exposition about what had come before – one of my very minor pet peeves about Ms. Evanovich’s Plum series – information was given as needed. Even better, the stakes were raised! There was actual danger involved, which I loved, and people were killed and hurt in the process. I know that seems to be a weird thing to be happy about, but these books are labeled as thrillers (ever notice that on Amazon, and even in library collections?), and to me there’s definitely some danger involved in a thriller. And finally, I was pleased that Lizzy was had emerged from wimp status, to someone who was a little more gutsy. She was definitely still a little unwilling to be involved in these adventures, but she didn’t just wait around for Diesel to save her, although he still did.

What I didn’t like:

Diesel was gone a lot in this book! I really missed him too. My only big problem with this book, and it’s been a problem I’ve had with almost all of the Evanovich books lately, was that it seemed to have a pacing problem. I’ve had a really hard time identifying what it was in the past, but I realized it with this book. The book seemed over, it had seemed to come to its natural conclusion about halfway through. But to fill up space, there seemed to be some bits smushed in the second half of the book, with a very tense ending. And while it’s not enough to make me quit reading, it does cause me this feeling of boredom, where I want to do anything but read the book. This is not bad enough that I would ding it, and usually the last few chapters move at a rapid pace, I’m just not sure that I appreciate this portion of the book like someone else maybe could. Especially not when I’m comparing it with something like One for the Money, which was pretty well written.

Verdict:

Another comfortable read churned out by the Evanovich “factory”, so if you’re looking for a nice, light, beach read, then this is a good choice.

Remember, if you’re wanting to get your hands on this book it is being released tomorrow, June 23, 2015! If you’re getting it at your local library, I would get on the hold list now, though, because you know it’s going to be looooooooooong!

One Minute Book Review: Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Note: You’ll notice this review is earlier than usual! That’s because thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I have managed to obtain a copy of Wicked Charms to read and review for you, and because that particular book has a release date of next Tuesday, I want to have Wicked Charms reviewed for you on Monday, the day before the set release date. However, this will not affect our usual book review date of Wednesdays, and you will still see your customary Wednesday book review. You’ll just have a little extra this week! And now, on to our book review. . . 


 

                                                                                                                   One Minute Book Review-Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

The Summary:

Lizzy Tucker and Diesel are back! This time they’re looking for the Luxuria stone, the Lust stone of the stones that embody the seven deadly sins. And this time they’re facing not only Wulf and his bumbling minion Hatchet, but also the mysterious Anarchy, who are all after the same stone! Can Lizzy and Diesel find the stone first? Can they do it without acting on their own lust?

What I liked:

I always enjoy Carl, and I actually felt like there wasn’t enough Cat in this book! The clues to what they were looking for were well thought out, and the book had a National Treasure vibe I was digging.

What I didn’t like:

Oh boy. . . Okay, with as many books as Ms. Evanovich has written, I was bound to come across one I didn’t like very much, and I’m sorry to say that this was it. And it wasn’t the story, the story was what I expected. But there were inconsistencies and changes in the personality of some of the characters that just didn’t sit well with me. Diesel seemed. . . Unlike himself. He seemed grumpy, and short with Lizzy at times, very unlike who he has been in the past in the Plum books, and even the first book in this series. I didn’t find him very likeable, which was a big issue for me, since I’d always loved Diesel because he was so likable. There were inconsistencies as well, for some reason Diesel’s assistant Gwen was replaced by the idea that he had a revolving door for assistants. . . I preferred Gwen, the idea of the assistant that could get anything done for him. Also, Lizzy magically was able to bake cupcakes again (at the end of Wicked Appetite she seemed unable to bake a cupcake). Wulf was warmer and fuzzier. . . Hatchet was more subservient, even though the previous book had established that he had a big rebellious streak. And I just had such a hard time with the villains in this book. . . every time Ms. Evanovich made a villain feel somewhat menacing, she would pull back and make them look like a cartoon. I feel like there’s a fear Ms. Evanovich has with getting too serious and scary in her books, but I feel like her books would greatly benefit from that, the jokes would land a lot better.

But the worst part was. . . Lizzy Tucker came off looking like a wimp. The reason why Stephanie Plum works is because she in the instigator of her crazy romps. It’s her decision to go after so and so, and she always has this vision of being this big bad bounty hunter, so it winds up kind of funny when she doesn’t succeed. Lizzy Tucker, however, is a very passive character. She’s not being dragged off unwillingly. Diesel shows up, says let’s go, and she follows along like a puppy, gets kicked, falls down, and gets saved. She doesn’t seem to do anything of her own accord. And that feels really disappointing and like a let down to me.

Verdict:

If you’re kind of OCD when it comes to book series, then you’ll probably feel compelled to read this book. Would I honestly recommend it though? No.

One Minute Book Review: Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

One Minute Book Review - Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

The Summary:

Lizzy Tucker’s life is going along swimmingly until sexy and somewhat supernatural Diesel shows up. Suddenly she’s chasing after a stone that causes gluttonous tendencies, she’s adopting both a cat and a monkey, all while still baking killer cupcakes.

What I didn’t like:

So I changed our format around this week, because I wanted to talk about what I didn’t like before I talked about what I did like, because it kind of mattered. So I didn’t like that Stephanie Plum Lizzy Tucker was . . . well, she was indistinguishable from Stephanie Plum. I mean, honestly, I didn’t see too much of a difference, except Lizzy works in a bakery, and has a wannabe goth chick (maybe? I wasn’t sure of this) as her sidekick. Ms. Evanovich tried to get Carl (the monkey) to eat using a fork again (something that happened in a Between The Numbers Plum book), she had Carl flipping people off again, and I felt like Diesel and Wulf were somewhat similar to Morelli and Ranger, back at the beginning of the Plum series. In short, this was a rip off of the Plum series (minus Grandma and Stephanie’s parents, although Lizzy’s father did show up).

What I liked:

Here’s where the reverse in what I did and didn’t like matters. . . Despite the similarities to the Plum series. . . It was just what I was in the mood for. I was jonesing for a Stephanie Plum novel, and didn’t have one available, and saw that Wicked Charms was coming out, so decided that I would go ahead and read Wicked Appetite. And really enjoyed it. I was expecting the similarities, and was indeed looking forward to them, so I liked Carl’s antics, loved Cat, and Diesel was a comfortable character that I knew from the Plum In Between The Numbers books, so. . . It was good.

Look, the truth is, you’re not going to pick up a Janet Evanovich novel because you’re looking for a new and unique story to dive into. You’re picking it up because it’s the literary equivalent of comfort food. . . It’s predictable, and comfortable, and makes you feel good at the end of it.

Verdict:

I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick, comfortable read. I know that sometimes Ms. Evanovich’s books feel overly predictable, but I’m always going to recommend her books as a great comfort read, especially if you’re looking to finish something quickly.

One Minute Book Review: Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery

one minute book review-chasingperfect by susan mallery

The Summary:

Charity has always wanted to live in a small town like Fools’ Gold, but she makes a big mess of her life when she meets local golden boy Josh Golden. Is she going to fall for the wrong guy yet again? And how will she clean up the mess she’s made of her life?

What I liked:

Susan Mallery did a great job writing some steamy sex scenes, and there were a few awesome turns of phrase at the beginning of the book.

What I didn’t like:

Oh man. I wanted to like this one guys, I really did, and I really tried. I almost didn’t finish it, except it’s very rare when I can’t finish a book. But this book dragged on. Here’s a short list of some of the things I didn’t like:

  • I predicted every single twist except one, and even that twist felt very contrived.
  • There was no plot. And I’m not a big plot person, I’m not overly concerned with plot if the writing is tight, and the characters are great. But in this one having a plot, or having some kind of idea where the plot was going would have been great.
  • Every twist felt like something the writer had thrown in to add drama. None of it felt natural, and like it should happen.
  • The writing was very repetitive.
  • The dialog was unnatural and stilted.

I could go on, but I would be going on all day, and then it wouldn’t be my customary one minute book review. At the beginning of the book Ms. Mallery harkened back to The Gilmore Girls (one of my favorite shows of all time), and that’s what I felt this was trying to emulate, in a very pale and insubstantial way. There was a way to make this story work, and make it wonderful, but it was not attacked in this way. I found myself wishing it would just end already.

Verdict:

I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. It just wasn’t good enough to be a book I would recommend, so, no, I don’t think I would recommend this book. It just wasn’t strong enough.

 

One Minute Book Review: Pines by Blake Crouch

Before I start in with this week’s book review I wanted to apologize for the typos of late. I try to write my book review about one day after I read a book, this lets some of the shine wear off if I thought it was fantastic, but before I forget what a book was about. Sometimes in my efforts to get down a reaction as quickly as possible, I can forget to look things over. So I’m sorry if it’s just been bugging you, and I will try to be better. Now, on to our regularly scheduled book review:

One Minute Book Review Pines by Blake Crouch

The Summary:

Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke wakes up by the river. He was sent to Wayward Pines to locate and retrieve two federal agents who disappeared there, but was involved in an accident. He remembers nothing after that, until his mysterious awakening by the river in the small Idaho town. All he knows is that he is missing his ID, his wallet, and his phone. What exactly is Wayward Pines? And why is nothing what it seems?

What I liked:

Oh man! This took off and never slowed down! It built up tension very well, and I thought the use of fragment sentences were effective (although you’ll notice that a lot of people on Goodreads did not like it at all). I really like that this book was reminiscent of Twin Peaks (the nods to TV series really stuck out to me), but that in the end it wasn’t something that tried to emulate Twin Peaks. The book was its own entity with its own twist. Speaking of the twist, it wasn’t as mind-blowing as I’d hoped, because I’d already guessed something similar. But it was interesting enough that I immediately picked up the next book in the series when I was done with the first.

What I didn’t like:

What didn’t I like? You know what, this was one of those reads that was pretty darn satisfying. I think you could read this book as a one-off, and still feel like it was a satisfying ending. So I have no complaints for this one.

Verdict:

This is a book I would really recommend, especially if you enjoy thrillers. In fact, it was one of those books that I immediately recommended to my best friend, and I really had a hard time deciding whether to give it five stars or four stars. The only reason it didn’t get five stars was because at Goodreads five stars means “it was amazing” and while I loved it, I didn’t see myself dying to tell everyone I know about this book, though I thought it was pretty darn good.