Thursday, May 31, 2012

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

I have been an Evanovich fan since discovering this series.  I found myself not able to read her books during advisory time at school.  It was too hard to explain why I was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down my face. 

The situations are crazy.  Stephanie Plum is a disaster of a modern day bounty hunger in New Jersey.  Her ugly apartment can't be destroyed, but she goes through cars (on the average 2-3 per book) regularly.  She only nabs the bad guys by dumb luck. 

The characters are unforgettable.  She has the gun toting Grandma in spandex, whose highlight of her days are funeral visitations.  (She's been known to open coffins at closed casket visitations.)  Another is Lulu, the former ho, who squeezes her large self into spandex mini skirts and plunging necklines.  Oh, and there are a couple of hot guys--always, the hot guys.

So, I am either tiring of the series, or it is time for Evanovich to step up her game.  I found Explosive Eighteen to be...ho hum.  Maybe it is time for some new characters without losing the old ones.  It seems like the same situations keep reappearing in each book.  The last time I found myself laughing hysterically was with Book Fifteen and the BBQ cook off.  That was a completely different crime situation and led to a lot of great laughs.  I think there is a lesson to be learned there, Ms. Evanovich.

If you've read the others, you can skip Explosive Eighteen. 

As for the movie that hit the big screen this year: ugh!  I love Katherine Heigel, but her Jersey accent was dreadful.  I almost couldn't enjoy the movie.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

3 Quick Summer Reads On The Nook

Every summer, I find myself "junk" reading for the first few weeks of the summer.  I guess my mind needs a bit of a break.

This year's choices were based entirely on cost.  I haven't been to the library yet, so I bought two of these for probably about $4.00 total and the other was free.  (Big spender, I know.)

Oh, and I have to confess that I had to go back and look at them to remember the character's names--and on one of them, the storyline.  My memory isn't great, so you might take that into consideration.  But, this is your reader beware!

On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves.  I liked this first read of the summer.  A teacher is tutoring a young cancer patient for the summer, when the plane they are in crashes.  (His family had gone ahead to Belize or some exotic location, and they were joining up with them.)  They end up stranded on a deserted island.  Besides the challenge of trying to survive, the teacher also worries the student's cancer will return.  Their survival depends on their intelligence and their ability to physically and psychologically endure.  This will never be one of the great novels of all time, but it interested me enough that I had trouble putting it down.

Pillow Talk by Freya North.  Barnes and Noble has one selection a week that their members can download for free.  This was one.  The story is set in London, where Petra is a sleep walker by night and a jeweler by day. Her sleep walking is extreme and is wrecking her life.  Essentially, the story is Petra's rising career, her love life, and her coming to discover how the sleep walking started to begin with.  Again, another read that I couldn't put down.

One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake.  This was another inexpensive purchase.  I guess I was in the mood for beach stories this summer.  After a painful divorce, Jenny heads back to her hometown and her parent's house on the lake.  She's always been the "perfect" girl.  The community still sees her that way, and then she ends up helping to hide a dying criminal.  This was probably my least favorite of the three, and I still couldn't put it down either.  (Maybe that was because I was on a 22 hour car trip???)

If you are a summer reader, one of these books might be just what you are looking for.  You won't feel more intelligent after reading them, but you might have a few hours of entertainment where you can shut out the world around you.  And for me, that is what the summer "junk" reading is about.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill

My oldest daughter has always been crazy about Jackie Kennedy.  (Well, all things Kennedy for that matter.)  She begged me to buy this book, so I did.

I'm still kind of in limbo about what I thought of it.   

Clint Hill (aided by Lisa McCubbin) wrote his memories of being part of (and eventually the head of) Jackie Kennedy's Secret Service detail during her years as First Lady and for the first year after the assassination. 

He called her Mrs. Kennedy, but that didn't diminish the fact that he seemed totally infatuated with her.  He is always respectful when talking about the President, but seems jealous of the first head of Jackie's Secret Service detail until he takes over that position.Who knew there was such competition between members of the Secret Service detail?  Hill really wanted to be Mrs. Kennedy's numero uno.

I have no doubt that their relationship was professional; however, his descriptions of her reminded me (at times) of a high school boy admiring and longing for the popular girl.  I know Jackie Kennedy had faults.  I'm not sure Clint Hill knew that. Perhaps she was so alluring he chose to overlook them. Or maybe he was trying too hard not to anger Caroline Kennedy with this book.

Hill had a front row seat for an incredible part of our nation's history.  The one part of the book that almost moved me was his description of that day in Dallas.  I don't think he ever recovered from that day.

This whole book was quite matter of fact, almost standoffish.  I felt like part of the Secret Service myself.  I was standing back and watching something incredible that I was never part of.  The Kennedy saga is moving, but I wasn't very moved by this book. 

I learned a lot about our Secret Service people.  They are paid poorly, or they were in those days.  They never spend holidays with their families.  In fact, they spend little time with their families.  Deployments for the military last for a year or so.  The Secret Service "deployment" is more like four to eight years.

Is it any wonder that Hill's marriage ended?  Besides never being home with his wife and young sons, knowing that my husband was so besotted with such a well-known celebrity would probably have done me in, too.

Mainly, I closed the book feeling sorry for Mrs. Hill.

I wanted to like this book. It was OK, but I probably wouldn't pick it up again. 

(K borrowed my Nook to read it.  I will be interested to hear her opinion.)