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 ~!~


Chris said...

This series needed to end a while ago. JE is just forking in the money at this point, drawing it out. Seriously, Joe and Ranger should ditch Stephanie and run away together. The end.

I stopped reading at 15.

Amanda from Novel Addiction said...

LOL Chris! Agreed. I think Morelli and Ranger would make a very good couple.. Think of all the fun relationship dynamics.

I'm done too. At least done spending my money on them. Good thing I work in a library =)

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

Hmmm ... maybe I oughta pick this one up at the library instead of forking out my hard-earned book-buying dollars!

Amanda from Novel Addiction said...

I suggest that, Julie! And not just because the book is "meh".. but because I work in a library and I'm all for using it ;)