Becky’s Thirty-Seventh Book Review: “Full Blast” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Last night I stayed up late finishing the next book in the series “Full Blast” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes. “Full Blast” once again features Max Holt and Jamie Swift and of course, Max’s computer Muffin. This time the two are in Beaumont, SC when murder occurs—and it seems to be related to the newspaper. Jamie is horrified at the idea that her new idea for a personal section in her newspaper could be inspiration for a killer. There are all sorts of bizarre happenings in town, from aphrodisiac-laced brownies, to a new lingerie shop that ruffles feathers. In addition to all of this, Frankie and Deedee announce that they are expecting a baby. Muffin decides that she is going to help Deedee by finding out all the information that she can on pregnancy, and then she begins to think that she is pregnant. It is kind of ridiculous the way that Muffin acts, I mean she’s a computer!! But her quirky ways do liven up the ‘full’ series.

 

Max and Jamie are determined to solve the murder case before anyone else gets hurt and they are offered help by a new character…a psychic named Destiny who dresses just slightly better than a street-walker and sneezes when she gets a vision. Destiny and Jamie decide that they will go on dates with the murder suspects and try to get a feel for who is guilty. Of course while all the business with murder is going on, Max and Jamie are constantly getting on each other’s nerves and also pushing each other’s buttons—in more ways that one.

 

I really enjoy reading about the electricity between Max and Jamie and I love when murder mysteries are designed to entertain with eccentric attitudes and funny characters. I enjoyed this book and I finished it in about a day. Would I recommend this? Yes.   

Becky’s Thirty-Sixth Book Review: “Full Speed” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Well I cannot seem to get enough of this series. I just finished reading “Full Speed”, the third book in the series. Once again, the story features Max Holt and Jamie Swift, not to mention the ever entertaining ultimate computer, Muffin. This series is in my opinion, getting better as it goes on. I think that Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes are getting more comfortable with writing with each other and finding a better rhythm in their writing techniques.

The book starts with Max and Jamie fighting, the end result being Jamie getting out of the car and Max driving off. The two were planning on going after a corrupt minister and after they have their fight, Jamie decides that she will just make the journey on her own. She procures a beat-up truck that is more rust than not, has a piece of plywood nailed on the floor on the passenger side because the floor has a hole in it and comes with a dog names Fleas whose seen better days. Jamie knows that the minister that they are planning on going after has a weakness for women, so she dresses up in disguise—wig and all—and shows up at his church looking like a complete slut. Then she tells him that she needs help because she is an addict, a sex addict. While at church, Jamie runs into Max who is less than pleased to see her there, especially looking the way that she does.

Jamie and Max decide to team up after all and the two of them, plus Fleas start on another adventure that keeps the pages turning. I am really enjoying this series and I think that it is well worth reading. A great beach read.  

Becky’s Thirty-Fifth Book Review: “Full Tilt” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Yesterday I finished reading “Full House” which is the first book in a series. Today I read the second book entitled “Full Tilt” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes. Now the first book in the series focuses on Billie Pearce and Nick Kaharchek. In “Full House”, Nick has two cousins, Deedee and Max. The second book in this series focuses on Max Holt and Jamie Swift.

The first book introduces Max and I really liked his character. I was pleased to realize that the next book revolved around him. In “Full House” Max is only sixteen years old. Max is much older and extremely successful in “Full Tilt”. Max is a kind of super-genius and another main character (if you can call it that) in the book is Max’s computer named Muffin. Max had NASA scientist design his car to be super-sleek, kind of modeled after a Porsche only bigger. Plus the car is built with titanium steel which makes it nearly invincible. Muffin is programmed to think like a person and a computer, and she has an attitude and the voice of Marilyn Monroe. I was a big fan of Muffin, she brought a lot of entertainment to this book.

Max comes to the small town of Beaumont, SC because his sister’s husband is running for mayor and needs help doing some investigating into missing tax dollars. In this small town, Max has also invested in a newspaper that is owned by Jamie Swift. Max and Jamie team up together to try to investigate the missing money and when bullets start flying they also become interested in finding out who is trying to kill them.

The book was fun and light, a quick read but I’m glad that I read it. I don’t think that this series is up to par with the Stephanie Plum novels, but it is still entertaining enough. I would recommend the series to someone looking for a good beach read or something to do while on a plane. The series is entertaining as I said before, but maybe it is because I so enjoy the love triangle of the Stephanie Plum novels between her, Ranger and Morelli that I couldn’t enjoy this series quite as much.

Becky’s Thirty-Fourth Book Review: “Full House” by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

I just finished reading “Full House” which was written by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes. This book was originally published in 1989 under the name “Steffie Hall”. Once the Stephanie Plum series became so popular, this book was re-released. It is the first book in a series.

After consuming every Stephanie Plum novel that Janet Evanovich has written, I started to look to her other works. I am a big fan of buying “lots” of books off of ebay, and that is how I got some of the books from this series, but I knew that I didn’t have the first one. Luckily, when my birthday rolled around, my parents got me the missing books and now I started the series.

The series is about a woman named Billie Pearce who is a divorced mother of two. She teaches the sixth grade and during the summer, her children go off to visit their father and go to Disneyworld. While the kids are on this trip, Billie decides that she wants to do something for herself, so she takes up polo lessons. This is where the ‘meet cute’ occurs. Billie meets Nick Kaharchek, one of the most eligible bachelors in the area and a known womanizer. Billie is no polo player and Nick, as her instructor realizes this. He is talking with her after the polo lesson about how she should take some riding lessons before she tries polo again and the horse accidentally steps on her foot. Nick feels obligated to bring Billie to the hospital. After she is treated for her foot, Nick brings Billie home and gets her to take some pain pills for her foot. While Billie is pretty out of it, Nick asks if his cousin Deedee can stay at Billie’s home. He does this partly because his cousin is driving him crazy and partly because her younger brother who likes to blow up things is missing and keeps living Nick ‘presents’. This all happens in the first two chapters, and from there Billie’s life is turned upside down. Between having Deedee in her home and Nick inadvertently in her life Billie finds every bit of normalcy that her life had disappeared. 

I don’t want to give much more away, because then I might as well write a summary of the entire book and that is no fun! I found there were some things in the book that reflected how long ago it had been published. For one, Evanovich’s writing was not nearly as good as it has become with her spitting out numerous Stephanie Plum novels. I thought that this book was just going to be a silly romance story, but it evolved and by the end I couldn’t put it down. I am eager to start the next book and see if Evanovich’s writing improves as the series goes along. I am a little unclear as to the timeline for when the rest of the series was released in comparison with the Stephanie Plum novels.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, it was a lot of fun and I have a feeling that the series is going to just get better and better with each book. I think anyone who enjoys the Stephanie Plum novels would enjoy this taste of Evanovich in a different world.

Becky’s Thirty-Third Book Review: “The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Pötzsch

I just finished reading the exciting historical novel by Oliver Pötzsch “The Hangman’s Daughter”. The book was very entertaining and hard to put down. Pötzsch captivates the audience with his tale that is told from a different perspective. Obviously, the book involves executioners. There are a few main characters, the hangman Jakob Kuisl being one of them. His daughter Magdalena is another as is the physician’s son Simon Fronwieser.

After a prologue which features Jakob Kuisl as a child, the book begins thirty-five years later. About five pages into the first chapter a child is found barely alive. This is a catalyst for the events that occur within a matter of days. All of a sudden, there is an all out witch hunt and the only people who believe that the woman accused is innocent is the hangman and the physician’s son. Jakob Kuisl and Simon Fronwieser together rush to solve the crime before the town collapses in on itself. More and more tragedies occur, each more strange than the next. The horrific witch hunt that had occurred in the past where dozens of women lost their lives is threatening to repeat itself.

Oliver Pötzsch tells his story which features the hangman as the ‘good guy’ which is not how one usually thinks of someone who makes their living by taking others lives. The book was really entertaining, a page-turner to the very end. Once the book was over there was a ‘note from the author’ where I learned that the book that I just finished and thought was a fictional work was in fact a historical novel based on the author’s own family. Oliver Pötzsch comes from a long line of executioners and him describing the facts surrounding his family history was just really interesting to me.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, it was a great piece of work and I believe it would appeal to many audiences. There was some violence, but overall it wasn’t too much. Definitely worth reading!

Becky’s Thirty-Second Book Review: “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

SPOILER ALERT: Do Not Read if you haven’t read Sense and Sensibility and are planning on it, there is a large amount of the plot summarized in this review.

I just finished reading Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”. While I found the book to be very entertaining, I would have to say that “Pride and Prejudice” was better. I am glad that I took the time to read it, but it won’t be something that I will reread anytime soon.

“Sense and Sensibility” begins with a death. Mr. Dashwood is about to die and leave behind a wife, their three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) and John, a son from a previous marriage. Mr. Dashwood wants to provide for his family but because of a technicality in the will which left him his fortune, Mr. Dashwood has to leave his legacy to his son almost exclusively. On his deathbed he requests that his son help take care of his step-mom and sisters. John hears his father’s request and decides that he will fulfill his father’s wishes. Then his wife, Fanny steps in and assures him that his father didn’t really mean for him to support his family financially and that Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret would be fine with the small amount of money that was theirs. John for whatever reason, listens to his wife and through this breaks his promise to his father. This is just the beginning of Fanny doing whatever she can to benefit herself and make others suffer.

Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret are forced to move out of their home into a much smaller cottage basically because Fanny is a selfish, cruel woman. The cottage that they move to is rather far away from their previous home and so they have to start life anew. They meet many different characters and love is certainly in the air. Elinor becomes very attached to Edward, whom is Fanny’s brother. Fanny steps in and does her best to separate the two. There is much drama around Marianne’s romantic interests. Margaret plays a very small role in the story.

Elinor and Marianne are invited to stay with a friend in London and while there they meet the “Steel” sisters. One of these women, Lucy is just awful. She is the type of fake friend that everyone knows. Always affectionate with Elinor and Marianne when she was around them but never truly meaning any of what she said. Lucy confessed to Elinor that she was secretly engaged to Edward and had been for the past four years. Elinor was able to keep face around Lucy, but was devastated.

Word leaked on Lucy’s sister’s part and Edward’s mother found out that he was engaged to this woman who not only had no fortune of her own, but did not come from ‘the right kind of family’. Edward’s mother flipped out and since Edward would not break off his engagement to Lucy, his mother disowned him and changed her will so that his younger brother would be left everything. Lucy then turned around, seduced the brother and married him. Meanwhile, she implied to Elinor that she had married Edward. Really cruel.

Marianne fell in love with Willoughby who turns out to be a deceptive creep known for leading on women and getting them in trouble. This romance starts out passionately and then Willoughby all but disappears on Marianne. Then word reaches her that he is to be married. Elinor is told by a friend that Willoughby had gotten a girl pregnant and abandoned her. This just continues to show Elinor what a terrible person Willoughby is. He ends up marrying for money and only shows concern for Marianne when she falls very ill.

Everything ends up working out in the end, all happily ever after style. Jane Austen certainly has an appealing writing style and I enjoyed reading the book. Austen uses language beautifully in her novels and I will certainly continue to read her books. “Sense and Sensibility” is a book that I am glad that I read, but I know that it would not appeal to most of the people that I know just based off of the fact that it does not have explosions and extreme excitement. I think that if you are a person who enjoys reading classics, her novel would appeal to you, but it can be slow at times. 

Becky’s Thirty-First Book Review: “Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë

I have this thing that I do…I find something that I enjoy and I repeat it over and over. For example sometimes I will eat ceaser salads until I’m sick of them. I’ll watch the same television show over and over…listen to the same music. And I do this with books as well. At the moment, I’m on a classics kick. I read “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen and got addicted.

Yesterday I started “Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë. Today I finished it. Granted, it was a short novel but it was very well written and definitely difficult to put down. Anne Brontë is Charlotte Brontë’s youngest sister. There are some very noticeable similarities between Charlotte and Anne’s writing style. One of their other sisters was Emily Brontë who wrote “Wuthering Heights”. This was actually published at the same time as “Agnes Grey” was. Just to give a little background.

“Agnes Grey” follows a woman who decides that she wants to help bring in an income to her family by becoming a governess. The heroine of the tale, Agnes Grey then encounters many different challenges which are said to reflect those that Anne Brontë experienced herself in the short time that she was employed as a governess. Agnes struggles with taming children that are rotten and spoiled and in some cases just plain sadistic. She is also forced to deal with the loneliness that comes along with leaving the comforts of one’s home and venturing out into the real world. The way that Agnes Grey tells her tale is very entertaining. She does actually speak to the reader which is a technique that I enjoy. It creates a much more familiar air between the author and the audience. I don’t want to get too much into the story since it is so short and I would rather not give anything away.

If you like classics, I highly recommend reading “Agnes Grey”. Really, I would recommend reading anything written by any of the Brontë sisters. They were a very talented family.