Greeted with Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty by my hub after a business trip with the inscription, “Morelli has nothin’ on me!” I knew I would be occupied for the next 24-48 hours. . . reading, and I have been. Hooked, rather, would more accurately describe my state of being.
The story had me from page one and especially from page seven:
. . . when Ranger walked in. . . . His body is perfect . . . of Latino heritage. . . .He’s sexy, smart, and sometimes scary, and frequently overprotective of me. . . . Ranger smiled ever so slightly and took a step closer to me.
Ooh la la! Intermission break . . .
Other favorite characters make an appearance such as Grandma Mazur, Bella, Morelli, Lula, Connie (and did I mention Morelli?) while others such as Kevin the giraffe lend essential elements to the plot twists as a whole.
For the purposes of book club, one may opt for the cow tongue or whole smoked pig, but I think I would opt for Morelli’s famous wings dipped in his special bleu cheese sauce.
Janet Evanovich’s nineteenth installment of the Stephanie Plum series is definitely notorious. A nostalgic rush of previous savored novels early in the series came back while reading. Hunks Morelli and Ranger played more prominent parts in the storyline instead of cameos. Although still no absolute resolution to the love triangle, an absence of fussing between Morelli and Stephanie was refreshing while a more in-depth relationship between Ranger and Stephanie was alluded to instead of “casual” encounters (if you catch my drift). A favorite character, Randy Briggs, reappears in the series and is crucial to this plot, not merely an afterthought. Bravo!
For the purposes of book club. steering clear of the mashed potatoes might be best (yes, you’ll have to read to find out why). Instead, a Pino’s-like lasagna with meat sauce, extra bread, and tiramisu. For dessert, a cake in the shape of “Tiki” would be a welcome finale.
Perusing the aisles at the quaintest little library (my new favorite), Maryville Community Library
in Maryville, IL, I could not help but peruse the Evanovich titles as I always do. Metro Girl
caught my eye with its brightly-colored book jacket, so I flicked it loose from the shelf with my index finger and scanned the back synopsis. Having continued withdrawals from the early Stephanie Plum series, I decided to give it a try.
Interesting enough, Evanovich’s main characters, Alex and Hooker, are fair-haired, but they do remind the reader of characters, Steph and Morelli (which is not disappointing to say the least). The sexual tension builds throughout this novel as together Alex and Hooker overcome trouble and solve mystery after mystery. Hooker’s protective ways and Alex’s independence mirror scenes read about in Jersey although the setting this time is Miami.
Having finished mourning over my one-night read of Janet Evanovich’s Smokin’ Seventeen, I feel I am ready to offer book club ideas. A near obsessive fan of the Stephanie Plum series, I have read this series three times due to the fact I truly miss the plethora of characters (okay, specifically Morelli and Ranger . . . ooh la la!) when I am not engaged in the series. So, when a fellow author groupie and friend notifies me of the latest release date, sleepless nights ensue until I am able to download the book to my phone. Thus, promptly at midnight June 20st, my phone declares “download complete.” Thrilled with the girth of this novel, 39 chapters, I take the plunge.
Without having to attach “spoiler alert” to this blog, I can say with all certainty that “Smokin'” is an apt description for this book’s contents. The two main male characters (my two sweeties), Morelli and Ranger, definitely make their presence known in the novel as well as in Stephanie’s life. What I do feel is lacking is the more protective side of Morelli, more consistent with previous novels in the series. In addition, a quote spoken by Ranger explaining his interest in Stephanie as entertainment read as near verbatim from a passage in a previous book. However, I do admit that I have most of Ranger’s quotes memorized (ask my hub who now sports a black RANGEMAN t-shirt), so others may not even think twice when reading these lines. Perhaps foreshadowing hinting at a change in their relationship in Explosive Eighteen? November, the month of the next book release, will tell. In the meantime, yes, other characters do exist in Smokin’ Seventeen, and the plot takes on a familiar, yet unique spin of twists and turns. An entertaining, engaging read which I am sure will be reread at least once before 18’s release.
As for book club, dressing as characters from the novel would be an ideal way to set the mood. Think Grandma Mazur, Stephanie, Connie, Morelli, Ranger, Vinnie, Lula, Mooner, Alpha, and Dave. Since Dave offers some mouthwatering dishes in the novel, book club can take his cue and together prepare a meal of salad, scalloped potatoes, and lamb chops (see chapter 29). Lemon meringue pie for dessert would be the feasting finale along with an assortment of doughnuts in honor of Steph and Lula.
If hosting the book club for Smokin’ Seventeen and wish to dispense party favors, a grab bag of assorted granny panties from which members may choose would be a memorable giveaway. Or, asking each guest to bring a pair of granny panties of his/her choice for a White Elephant gift exchange and/or competition to guess who brought what may add to the festive nature.