Short Reviews - Dough, Shakespeare, and a Guardian (12-14)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso--a suspiciously wealthy, working-class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend--the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli--who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch--only makes the hunt more thrilling...

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move...and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #2
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 10 January 1996
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Copy: bought - mass market paperback

This is the second book in what has so far been an extremely fun series. It's definitely guaranteed to make you laugh. The trouble Stephanie gets into is very entertaining, especially when Grandma Mazur is involved. I love tough ol' Grandma Mazur. Morelli shows his sweet side in this installment. I just wish the story had a little more Ranger in it. Besides the murder mystery, Stephanie is hired to find a bunch of stolen coffins and as a personal bodyguard. The story moves along at a satisfyingly quick pace.

Review breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Character relationships: 5 hearts
Recommend: Absolutely!

From the author of the Aurora Teagarden novels comes a new series set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, a Southern town brimming with charm and a definite touch of noir. When her landlord is murdered, loner Lily Bard looks like the prime suspect. Uncovering the real killer may be the only way to prove her innocence, and Lily soon focuses on the other residents of tiny Shakespeare in her quest to expose the culprit.

Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
Series: Lily Bard Mystery #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: 1 May 1996
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
My Copy: library - mass market paperback

This is the first book in one of Harris's lesser known mystery series. It's kind of dark in places. The story was a little hard to get into at first. Lily is continually hinting about some event in her past without really explaining what it has to do with the present. After awhile, I just found myself frustrated with it. Eventually the reader does learn what happened to Lily, and pieces of the story begin to fall into place. Despite this, I found myself really liking the story by the end. Lily is an extremely strong woman, and I respect her character. I look forward to seeing what happens with Lily and her new friends and clients in the next book.

Memorable quote:
I wasn’t set on gaining some kind of vengeance on all men for what had happened to me. But I certainly wasn’t a trusting person anymore, and I definitely never expected much of people, and I would never be surprised to hear of any perfidy again.

I did not believe in the underlying goodwill of men or the unspoken sisterhood of women.

I did not believe that people everywhere are really the same, or that if you treat people kindly you will get kindness in return.

I did not believe in the sanctity of life.
-pg 79

Rating breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 3 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Character relationships: 4 hearts
Recommend: Yes

Four young Highlanders - Connor, Ian, Alex and Duncan - hurry home from France after hearing news of the disastrous Battle of Flodden against Henry VIII's forces. With his father among the dead, Connor must take his place as chieftain. Before he can lead his clan through the perilous times ahead, however, he must first dislodge the usurper who has taken his family's castle and claimed leadership of the clan.

Connor's cousins and best friend, Ian, Alex and Duncan, will stand shoulder to shoulder with him in every fight. They are willing to give their lives for their clan and their new chieftain. But taking wives to serve the clan's interests is a different matter altogether...

The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Series: Return of the Highlanders #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: 1 May 2011
Genre: Historical Romance - Scotland
My Copy: received for review from NetGalley - ebook (Kindle)

This is the first book by Mallory that I have read, but I've read many historical romances, and most of those were set in Scotland. The synopsis really fits the series better than the book itself. This book focuses on Ian as he returns home to a wife he was forced to marry when he was young, Sileas. A battle has just wiped out a good number of warriors from the clan, and a cruel man has taken control. I finished this book a few days ago, and I'm still not sure what I think of it. I liked nearly all of the characters except Ian. Not liking the main male character makes a romance novel a little harder to enjoy. I kind of felt like he didn't care enough about Sileas in a romantic way to make the novel work. I liked Ian's family though and the other three warriors, especially Alex, and the story line and action were good. I am looking forward to the second book.

Rating breakdown:
Plot: 5 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Characters: 3 hearts
Character relationships: 2 hearts

*Links go to Goodreads*


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