Sunday, January 8, 2012

CBR4 Review 2: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

If you've never read one of the 18 Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, here's a quick primer. Stephanie is a really bad bounty hunter working for her sleazy cousin Vinny's bail bonds company in the suburbs of Trenton, NJ. In every book, the following things happen:
Stephanie eats a lot of junk food: donuts, fried chicken, pineapple upside-down cake, meatball subs, and pizza.
Stephanie does very little exercising.
Stephanie's car blows up.
Stephanie takes her Grandma Mazur to a wake at the local funeral home to try and figure out a mystery she has somehow stumbled across.
Stephanie's friend Lula (former prostitute, plus-sized, and super confident) shoots someone and there are no repercussions.
Stephanie must try to choose between the two beautiful men in her life: Handsome cop Joe (who wants to settle down and have a family) and mysterious and dangerous Ranger (who wants no strings attached).

All of these things happen in book 18. In addition, Lula falls under the spell of a love potion gone wrong, Ranger and Joe get into a mysterious brawl in Hawaii, Stephanie's mortal enemy Joyce Barnhardt is presumed dead, and someone (actually, many people) are trying to kill Stephanie because of a strange picture that somehow ended up in her bag on an airplane.

I know these books are formulaic and that the plots repeat themselves over and over again...and yet, I always look forward to reading the next installment. I enjoy peeking into Stephanie's life and seeing what outrageous (and completely implausible) situation she and her friends have gotten themselves into. Evanovich has created a ridiculous little world filled with equally ridiculous characters, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Looking forward to book 19. And no, I won't be seeing the upcoming Katherine Heigl just doesn't look right to me (although kudos for casting Debbie Reynolds as Grandma and Sherri Shephard as Lula). Maybe on Netflix.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bronwyn's CBR4 Review 2: Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume

I just read Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and it was about a girl named Sheila and she is afraid of lots of things. She doesn't want to admit it to her friends, or to herself.

She and her family move to Tarrytown, New York from New York City for the summer and there is a dog who lives at their rented house, and Sheila is definitely afraid of dogs. She has to learn to swim and she doesn't like that either.

My favorite part is when she swam all the way to 12 feet and then fell asleep!

She finally learns how to tell the truth and admit things, thanks to her new friends. Especially her best friend, Mouse.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CBR4 Review 1: American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquereque

As a devoted Stephen King fan, I was happy to stumble upon the Comixology app for my iPad recently, where there was a sale on the first volume of American Vampire books. American Vampire is in fact made up of two stories -- one that takes place in the 1920s in Los Angeles (written by Snyder and illustrated by Albuquereque), and the other in the Old West (written by King and illustrated by Albuquereque) -- with one common character, Skinner Sweet.

Snyder's story is that of Pearl, a young woman in LA trying to be an actress but barely making ends meet. She meets a nice man named Henry and is invited to a Hollywood party...which isn't what it seems. At the party she is brutally attacked by a group of ancient, European vampires and left for dead in the desert covered in blood and bite marks. When she wakes up she finds herself with a man she recognizes -- Skinner Sweet. He tells her that she is now a vampire, but not the kind that attacked her last night. She's a new kind of vampire...more powerful than the old Europeans can imagine.

King's story also tells the tale of Skinner Sweet in the late 1800s. Sweet is an old west outlaw who has a run in with a vampire (one of the very same who attack Pearl) in the desert. Sweet is buried and drowned and yet he still survives -- stronger and more evolved than any vampire before him.

Although I'm a life-long King fan, I preferred the story from Scott Snyder -- Pearl's struggle with what she had become was the real page turner for me.

The books are beautifully drawn and look great on the iPad -- I'm sure I'll be buying additional volumes in the future.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bronwyn's CBR4 Review 1: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, retold by Gaby Goldsack

I read The Wizard of Oz and it was about a girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto. I really like this book! The book came with a ruby slippers necklace, and I like that, too.

Its called The Wizard of Oz because it is about the wizard who lives in Oz and this is how the story goes:

She gets in this little world and meets friends, but plans to see the wicked wizard! How is she going to get home? Her friends are Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion. She gets home by tapping her shoes 3 times and automatically, she is home! The Wicked Witch of the West tries to stop her, but she dies because Dorothy throws some water on her.

The end.

Books, books, books

I really enjoyed the challenge of reading and reviewing 52 books in 2011 (for charity, no less), and am going to attempt the same this year.

As an added treat, my 7 year-old Bronwyn will be reading and reviewing along with me! She is even more excited about it than I am, and mom is very proud.