Chicklit Club
 

JANET EVANOVICH

 

Love in a Nutshell (2012)

 

Love in A Nutshell takes us into the world of Kate Appleton who has lost everything - job, husband, home, even her pet dog Stella. With nowhere else to go, Kate heads to the family's summer Lake House in Keene's Harbor, Michigan - also known as "The Nutshell". Here Kate dreams of turning her old family home into a bed and breakfast. But of course with the dreams comes the desperate need for money which lands her at the local microbrewery where she is hired as a undercover PI. Someone is targeting the brewery and owner Matt wants the case solved before they sabotage his business so bad that it will be the end of it. He also hopes to open a new restaurant in the summer and has his eye on Kate's family home. When sparks fly and the truth comes out about Matt's intentions, will Kate - who is wary of guys to begin with - lump him in the same boat as her ex-husband or will he prove to be a different kettle of fish? Find out in this light-hearted humorous mystery/ chick-lit/ romance novel by an amazing duo. (PP)


 

Explosive Eighteen (2011)

 

This is an explosive ride where bounty hunter Stephanie Plum gets involved in an international murder. Stephanie goes to Hawaii on an undercover assignment with Ranger, the very hot Latin lover who gives her hot flashes. In Hawaii they play a married couple because the hotel they are staying in is a getaway for married people only and it is the hotel where the crook they have been tracking is staying. Joe Morelli, Stephanie's Italian lover, could not go to Hawaii with her and he feels so bad about it he decides to surprise her. But when he gets to the hotel room, he gets the biggest surprise when he sees Ranger. Testosterone takes over and both men work out their anger with fists. Meanwhile, Stephanie is on her way back to New Jersey. On the plane ride back home, Stephanie sits next to a man who will cause her more trouble than she bargained for. Her life is in danger when she throws away a picture of the man, who later turns up dead. Thugs, gangsters and even a terrorist come after Stephanie to get the picture back. This hilarious instalment of Janet Evanovich's Plum series will leave you laughing so hard. The main characters are funny; and the story line goes both international and plays out in Stephanie's backyard. (ZP)


 

Smokin' Seventeen (2011)

 

The bail bonds office was bombed so while building a new office, construction workers find a hand sticking out of a shallow grave and the pinky has a ring on it. Crime Scene Techs find another body buried deeper and when a third body turns up, this one has a note addressed to Stephanie. What is the connection? Stephanie, who is a bit on edge, has to still get on with her bounty hunting. When she and Lula set out to find an old man who thinks he is a vampire and another who always answers his door naked, well, you can only imagine how things will turn out. When Stephanie's mum tries to set her up with a high school jock, she has to come up with ways to either juggle having a third man in her life, or find a way to get rid of him. But when he cooks up a storm in her kitchen, she has a hard time deciding what to do. The laughter keeps coming in this 17th instalment of the Stephanie Plum series. (ZP)


 

Lean Mean Thirteen (2007)

 

This is one of those Stephanie Plum tales where you have to sit back and wonder what on earth is going on in Stephanie's mind and how it is she attracts all the guys and danger that she does. In Lean Mean Thirteen, Stephanie becomes entangled in her ex- husband Dickie Orr's business and when he disappears leaving only a stain of blood - the fingers are all pointing at Stephanie as the lead suspect in his "murder". What's worse is that Dickie had been sleeping with Joyce - Stephanie's arch-enemy. With the bad guys on her tail as they believe she has what Dickie stole, Stephanie is camping out at Ranger's and sporting some fabulous Rangeman attire. As Stephanie is spending most of her time with Ranger, will her relationship with Joe take a backseat and what will her family think when it's Ranger who turns up for dinner and not Joe? It seems that Stephanie isn't the only one with a new man on board - Grandma Mazur meets someone who is just as cheeky as her - will they hit it off or will he be another date and dump for her? Find out in Lean Mean Thirteen as Stephanie plunges herself once again into trouble, blows up more cars and stumbles across dead bodies - not to mention the ol' sexual triangle heating up between Ranger, Joe and Stephanie. (PP)


 

Twelve Sharp (2006)

 

Our favourite and fun-lovin' bounty hunter is back in action - and this time if Stephanie Plum's not careful, she might find herself shot and taken by a pair of male and female Ranger lookalikes. Vinnie's Bail Bonds is running out of bounty hunters and is losing out big time in the monetary stakes. Can Connie and Lula find some new bounty hunters and fast - ones who will fit in with their quirky team including newcomer Mervin Pickles? Trouble seems to always follow Stephanie and in Twelve Sharp it is no different as she is being stalked by somebody claming to be Ranger's wife and scarily enough she is dressed just like Ranger. Is Ranger living a double life or is something off about this newcomer Carmen Mancoso? There's also more Grandma Mazur's antics and Sally Sweet's band makes an appearance with Lula as a back-up singer/dancer. (PP)


 

Eleven on Top (2006)

 

Stephanie Plum has had enough with the bounty hunting business, so she tries her hand at several other jobs. But trouble seems to follow Stephanie no matter where she is - she still finds herself shot at and car blown up. With four people dead and a fifth one being searched for, Stephanie seems to be receiving notes from a former disgruntled run-in in the form of funeral director Spiro. What I really enjoyed about this book was the awesome comedy factor between Stephanie, Grandma Mazur and her mum. This has to be one of the funniest books in the series. I had to share it with my friends on our lunch break! (PP)


 

Ten Big Ones (2004)

 

There is an impending marriage, apartment seeking and of course mischief in the 10th Stephanie Plum novel. Stephanie's sister, Valerie, is getting hitched to Albert, the father of her baby. During a bond pick-up our two favourite gals, Lula and Stephanie, re-connect with Sally Sweet - the transvestite from the early books. He is now working during the day as a school bus driver and because he is such a fashionista, Sally takes on the role as Valerie's wedding planner. And of course what's a Stephanie Plum novel without a bit of car blowing up, trouble and the chemistry between Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger. In Ten Big Ones, Stephanie and Lula stumble into the middle of a gang war and Stephanie is able to identify the leader, Red Devil. Now hot on her tail is a contract killer known as The Junkman. Can Morelli keep Stephanie safe? What happens when Stephanie has enough and finds herself staying at one of Ranger's apartments? Will this along with the new car that Stephanie has to borrow from Ranger plunge her even deeper into his debt? And what will happen when Lula and Stephanie take matters into their own hands and end up kidnapping the Red Devil? Will they find themselves out of a job and their employer Vinnie having to bail them out? This is another awesome instalment in the series and the one major thing I love about these books is the chemistry between Joe Morelli and Stephanie/ Ranger and Stephanie and of course the zany friendship between Lula and Stephanie and the characters they meet. The biggest question that remains in Ten Big Ones though is whether Stephanie is pregnant and if so is it Ranger's or Morelli's bun in the oven? (PP)


 

To the Nines (2004)

 

It seems that with the bond enforcement agency, new types of bonds are appearing - from custody bonds to visa bonds. Vinnie's client, illegal immigrant Samuel Singh, has been missing for five days. The agency has been getting a lot of press because it is the first case of its kind and now if they can't produce the client, it could turn things for the worst. Desperate to find him, Vinnie pairs up Ranger and Stephanie in the hopes that one of them will bring him back. It seems that something fishy is going on at the place where Samuel worked and the only way to get information is for Stephanie to go undercover. What happens though when Stephanie starts to attract trouble and is shot with a tranquilliser? Ranger, ever the protector, hires round-the-clock bodyguards for Stephanie but of course when you are paired with Stephanie and her sidekick Lula, anything can happen. (PP)


 

Hard Eight (2002)

 

It seems that there is a new type of bail bonds in New Jersey - Custody Bonds - and Evelyn is in violation of hers. She and her young daughter Annie disappear. It should be an easy task to track her down but Evelyn's estranged husband Steven Soder has several business acquaintances who aren't very friendly with Stephanie, such as Abruzzi, who we met in Book #1 as Benito Ramirez's agent. Bounty hunter Jeanne is also after Evelyn - and she is also Ranger's ex-girlfriend. Can Stephanie find Evelyn before the bad people reach her? Of course, this wouldn't be a Stephanie Plum novel without Stephanie finding herself in the midst of trouble which this time involves snakes and spiders, finding a dead body in her lounge, gaining another new partner-in-crime in lawyer Albert Kloughn and of course the relationship triangle between Ranger, Stephanie and Joe Morelli. Readers will enjoy Hard Eight as we finally get some Ranger and Stephanie action. (PP)


 

Seven Up (2001)

 

Semi-retired mob guy Eddie Gooch has missed his bail date. The old guy is normally not really a threat and he owes Vinnie bail money so the file is given to Stephanie. For Stephanie, this case turns out to be personal as Eddie had a fling recently with her grandmother Mazur and it seems that Eddie did business with some old classmates of hers, Dougie and Mooner. When Eddie is nowhere to be found and Stephanie finds a dead body in his garage, she wonders has he done a runner? As usual Stephanie isn't short of male company as a couple of Eddie's friends want her help in locating him. However it seems that this case isn't exactly going anywhere, so Stephanie does what she always does when she gets in a jam - calls Ranger for help. Ranger is willing to help her, in return of a favour - she is to spend the whole night with him. This would normally not be awkward but it seems wedding plans are circulating about Joe and Stephanie. Meanwhile, her sister Val and her two daughters make a surprise visit to her parents' house. (PP)


 

Hot Six (2000)

 

After a gruesome killing, the big bucks are on former elite soldier Ranger - Stephanie's mentor. And since he is like the bounty hunter God and Stephanie Plum knows there is no way he will turn himself in or let himself be captured, she passes this one on to Joyce, who soon finds herself tied naked to a tree. Stephanie, on the other hand, finds herself with a few easy bounties including her old school classmate Dougie "The Dealer". It seems like Joyce isn't the only one looking for Ranger as hot on the tail is Mitchell and Habib who work for the Rug King and the arms-dealing Ramos family. The big excitement point though in Hot Six is that Grandma Mazur moves out of Stephanie's parents' house and any guesses where she ends up? Plus Stephanie has adopted a troublesome dog. This is another fun and awesome instalment- with the odd car explosion or two. (PP)


 

High Five (2000)

 

Things have been very quiet in the world of bounty hunting. Stephanie is running out of money so she will take whatever case she can, including the capture of a little man called Briggs. But things take a turn for the worst when part of his bail agreement is he must stay with Stephanie - living in her one-bedroom apartment - until his court date. She also seems to be attracting the attention of a lot of men, from Alan Sempskey, the bank manager; to Mr Bunchy, the so-called bookie who has been tailing Stephanie, to Ramirez the boxer from the first book who has been released from prison on parole and wants to clear up some unfinished business. However, it seems that if Ramirez wants his way with Stephanie, he will have to line up behind Joe Morelli and Ranger. I enjoyed this novel as we have seen Stephanie flirt with Joe but now it seems that he may have some competition with Ranger, as Stephanie does some odd jobs for him to earn some extra dough. (PP)


 

Four to Score (1999)

 

In this fourth book in the Stephanie Plum series, the bounty that needs hunting is Maxine - an angry woman who stole her ex-boyfriend Eddie's car. It seems Maxine has a thing for treasure hunts and sends Eddie on a hunt for clues. Enter Stephanie who thinks the only way she can track down Maxine is to help Eddie solve the clues. We are introduced to another character who assumes the role as Stephanie's code-cracker aka Sally Sweet, a straight transvestite. When Stephanie's flat is burned and a couple of her cars blown up, it definitely seems like things are taking a turn for the worst once again as she is forced to move in with none other than - you guessed it - Joe Morelli. When word gets around the neighbourhood, rumours of wedding bells and buns in the oven flourish. As always Janet Evanovich's humour shines through. (PP)


 

Three to Get Deadly (1997)

 

Stephanie Plum seems to be one of the most notorious and infamous bounty hunters around with a knack for getting herself into trouble and sticky situations. She doesn't mean to, it's just that trouble tends to follow her very closely and as we read about her adventures we start to wonder whether her mum is right and that Stephanie should give up her bounty hunting and get a job working in a factory. When Stephanie receives her next assignment she cringes, as the FTA (failed to appear in court) is Uncle Mo, the local candy store owner in Trenton - the suburb where she grew up and her parents live. The second FTA is a teenager called Stuart who sells hot dogs. Meanwhile in matters of the heart, Stephanie's sidekick Lula has a crush on mentor Ranger, her ex-husband Dickie pays a visit and officer Joe Morelli has bought a house and seems less-like his usual self - has he gone and got himself a girlfriend? This third book in the series is filled with candy, condiments and lots of laughs. (PP)


 

Two for the Dough (1995)

 

In this second book of the series, Stephanie Plum has been given a new task - to hunt down Kenny Mancuso - another cousin of the Morelli family, he is suspected of murdering a petrol station owner. While on the case, Stephanie goes along with her funeral-crashing grandma to the victim's funeral. And undertaker Spiro has an under-the-table job for Stephanie - to locate 24 caskets that have gone missing. Stephanie, always one for trouble, starts on the case and guess who shows up - officer Joe Morelli. The pair have a love/hate relationship and a chemistry that works well. As Stephanie gets closer to apprehending Kenny, will she realise she has bitten off more than she can chew when he comes after Granny Plum? (PP)


 

One For The Money (1994)

 

Here's the book that introduces plucky bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Jersey girl Stephanie, dejected about her job search, heads to her mum's house for dinner. Her mum suggests she talks to her cousin, Vinnie the Bounty Hunter, about some work. Vinnie's new secretary gives Stephanie the opportunity of a lifetime - she has to capture and bring in Joe Morelli, a former cop on the run. Stephanie can find Joe no problem but she just can't seem to bring him in. The adventures of trying to get to Joe bring Stephanie closer to a case she had no desire to be involved with. Will Stephanie get her man? You will find yourself cheering on Stephanie and planning to check out the rest of this very successful series. I can so see Katherine Heigl playing the part of Stephanie Plum in the movie. (JG)

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