Monday, June 14, 2010

Book 18. Blue Christmas

Mary Kay Andrews, again. This one had the characters that I remembered from her past books. Or kind of remembered. The stories with Weezie Foley, the antiques dealer in Savannah, are always enjoyable. For some reason I get a big thrill out of reading books that are set in the South. In any time period. Is that weird? Yeah, I suppose it is. I chalk it up to being from Iowa and then moving to Georgia, and now Alabama. I call it my tour of the redneck states. Not offense meant. As usual, I digress.

It seems that this may have been one of those “special holiday stories” that some authors will put out with not as a regular installment in a series of books. I don’t know that this was case for sure, but, again, it really seemed that way. Weezie wants to win the downtown holiday window decorating contest and she is facing some stiff completion from her new gay business rivals. Total gay stereotypes all over, but not in an offensive manor. At least they didn’t seem offensive to me but I am not a gay man so I could be totally off the mark. Just take them as light hearted humor and move on. She decides on an Elvis Blue Christmas theme and is determined to win and have the best Christmas ever despite her boyfriend’s hatred of all things Christmas due to bad childhood memories. Wow, that was a sentence. A bad one.

Basically, she runs her store, hangs out with her friend Bebe, feuds with the gays and makes some strange connection with a homeless woman for whom she leaves/receives gifts in her pickup truck. One can figure out just exactly what is going to happen about a quarter of the way through the book. Strange, though I remember figuring it all out, I have no idea how it ends now. This is not heavy thought provoking material here. I think I have her latest on the Kindle but have yet to read it. I have been back on that book hoarding thing I do. Now it is time to stop buying and start reading. I guess I need another long flight or two.

Basically, I keep reading this author because I like the Savannah setting and the stories are light and fluffy and a good way to kill an afternoon. If you like that kind of stuff, check Mary Kay Andrews out, if you don’t, well then, don’t.

Book 17. Finger Lickin Fifteen

Really, have I reviewed any of these Janet Evanovich “numbered bounty hunter books”? Clearly not. When I first got the Kindle I read 14 of these books (just checked my Kindle account) in fairly rapid succession. As in over a month’s time. Is that apostrophe correct? The time belongs to the month right? I mean it is not plural months. Wow that seems odd. Back to my point. I read these things nonstop and maybe that is way they are meant to be consumed. Taking a year off and coming back to a tired story line, and horrific phrases like “he did an eye-roll”, “she did a glare" was not the best idea I have ever had. In fact when I started reading this I was trying to recall what Evanovich was always writing that used to irritate me so much. Sure enough I now have “he did an eye roll” is seared on my brain. Shouldn’t that be he rolled his eyes? I just don’t know. What I do know is I don’t like it. That aside, let’s cover the story, shall we?

This episode of the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter show centers around Lula, Stephanie’s friend/coworker/plus sized woman/ex prostitute. She witnesses a top tv chef (what was it with me and the food books?) get beheaded by a couple of maniacs. Hilarity ensues. Or at least I suppose it is supposed to. The two bumbling hit men try to kill Lula for a good portion of the book, Stephanie has her list of bail jumpees that need to be brought in (usually unsuccessfully if she and Lula are working together), she is on the outs with her boyfriend the cop Morelli and she is helping Ranger figure out who has been breaching his security systems and robbing his clients. That was the part that just didn’t make any sense. She is a bounty hunter, not detective. That and the incessant sexual tension/sexual banter between Stephanie and Ranger just seemed old. I mean do it already, sheesh. Anyway, Lula and Stephanie’s Grandmother decide that they are going to enter a bbq cook-off and that will lead them to the bumbling hit men and the reward money offered to find the killer of the chef/bbq sauce guy. I guess this all made sense as I was reading it. It doesn’t really now.

If I have read all 15 of these so that must say something about the books. I mean they can’t be that bad. But then I did read the Twilight series all the while knowing it was God Awful and all the while flipping the pages as fast as I could. I guess if you need a lot of something easy these are the way to go. The 16th is coming out soon. I know I will read it but I will probably hate myself in the morning. Ok, they really aren’t THAT bad, they just aren’t THAT good. I love Serge A. Storms much more than Stephanie Plum but as I said in the review of Dorsey’s book, it might be time to give these characters a vacation. I guess that could be accomplished by me not reading those books couldn’t it? Fine, they are like crack and I can’t stop, I am just trying to save face over here I guess.

I concede, thumbs up all of for all of ‘em. Read the trashy series if for the only reason to be appalled when “they” screw up the trashiness by adapting it into a feature film. Who was rumoured to play Stephanie? I need the Pajiba archives for that.

Book 16. The Spellmans Strike Again

I have no idea if this is what I read next, but it must not be because it appears as though I purchased it well before Deep Dish. In April. No wonder I am having such a difficult time getting caught up, I am well over 2 months behind. Oh well, soldier on.

This latest from Lisa Lutz follows her main character Izzy Spellman on yet another journey through the streets of SF as a private eye. She works for her parents (fellow PIs) and with her sister (high school aged Rae) though most of the spying the family does seems to be on each other. In this, the fourth book (I think), Izzy is trying to make things work with her bartender boyfriend, trying to solve the mystery of why everyday things such as doorknobs and light fixtures are going missing in her parent’s home/her office, fielding weekly “phone calls from the edge” from her elderly friend Morty, dealing with sanctioned “Lawyer” dates set up by her mother, and getting dragged into her little sister’s pro bono work for her brother’s girlfriend. It sounds a bit hokey as I write it but really, I love this series. Lutz imagines some crazy scenarios to put Izzy in and the level of manipulation, lying and spying that goes on within this family is too much, and too funny. Lutz has a bit of a dry wit and I always appreciate sarcasm mixed with a generous use of footnotes (kind of a pain in the ass on the Kindle). This too, like most things I read in the summer (or I guess it was spring at the time) is light, very light. But I appreciate the writing and great stories Lisa Lutz conjures on a yearly I don’t fear that Izzy will go away too soon, I am sure this is a money making character. From reading Lutz’s website (something I very rarely do with the authors I read) it seems that there must be a lot of Lutz in Izzy which makes me kind of want to be her friend. Which sounds a bit stalkerish but that is totally not the intention.

This series, and unless the future Spellman books take a drastic turn, all get the thumbs up.

Book #15 Deep Dish

Ok, I have been SO slacking that I may not be able to recover… I am going to give it a shot by trying to review some of the books I read what seems like months ago, provided my beer soaked memory can provide me with enough information. Additionally, work, while not seasonal is terribly cyclical. I am in a valley trying to kill 9 hours a day so I should be caught up in no time.

Deep Dish. As I recall I must have been on some type of books with food gig. I remember that is was still cool enough in AL to sit in the sun without the luxury of a swimming pool and read. I think I finished that other food mystery with the poodle on the cover and then was a loss for cheesy brainless sitting in the sun reading. I consulted my room of books and came up with Mary Kay Andrews. Off I went to Amazon in search. I think this was perhaps her most recent and why I purchased it.

The book centers around Gina Foxton, a cable channel chef. She discovers not only that her main advertiser has jumped ship, but that her producer boyfriend was sleeping with the sponsors wife. There is one chance to save the show and that is to have it picked up by a national station. Her cad of boyfriend has arranged an "interview", for lack of a better term, with the head honchos from the Food Network, or whatever it was called in the book. The problem is that she is not the only chef in contention for the coveted Food Network slot. Enter Tate Moody and his dog, pickup truck, and airstream (at least that is how I imagined it) trailer. As Rom-Coms will have it, they hated each other on sight. Opposites repelling and all. Their publicists catch wind of a feud and use their animosity towards each other to boost interest whichever show gets picked up by the network. And we are off and running. Girl meets boy, Girl hates boy, Girl needs to beat boy at his own game, Girl needs boy to help her. I will stop there. I do remember about half way through the book knowing what was going to happen. Though it didn’t play out as quickly as I had imagined, things fell into place just as the Rom-Com formula dictates.

At any rate, this is just one of those lazy afternoon books. Doesn’t really deserve a thumb up or down, it was just there doing what I needed it to – pass the time.