Thursday, June 28, 2012

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Back in February, The Book Nerds selected One for the Money as our Book to Movie to review.  After reading the book, I decided I would watch this movie on DVD and not in the theater.

Last night, I finally got around to watching the movie.  The storyline followed the book for the most part.  I was surprised to see Stephanie wearing dress clothes and heels while working as a bounty hunter.  It was obvious that she was not a true professional in the book, but I took her for more of the jeans, t-shirt, and sensible shoes type.  I guess they wanted to make sure Katherine Heigl looked good on screen.  She should have taken a few pointers from Ranger on how to dress for the job after he gets shot in the bulletproof vest while bailing her out of a situation.    

Overall, I thought the movie was okay.  It is worth watching if you have read the book, but I was glad I waited to get it from the library.  It was more of a comedy than a police drama, which I am sure was the intent.  Some of the actors, or the way they played their characters, was a bit hokey.  In the book, Stephanie was well aware of the danger she was in, but I didn't really feel that in the movie.  The movie tells the same story, but a lot of the emotion and connection with the characters was lost in the transition to the big screen.  

Here is a copy of my book review for Book Nerds Across America:

I have had these books on my to-be-read list for a LONG time.  This is a VERY lengthy series (18 books as of the time of this post) which has been my number one deterrent.  I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle that many books in addition to all of the other series I started last year and still need to catch up on.  When I saw the movie was released starring Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum, I decided it was finally time to step up to the challenge.

This was a very fast read and highly entertaining.  I enjoyed watching Stephanie struggle to learn the finer points of becoming a bounty hunter.  There were a few situations that she got herself into that caused me to literally laugh out loud.  There were others that were downright frightening and would have had me running to the nearest unemployment office.  (Unemployment would have looked like a far better alternative to chasing down fugitives.) 

Once Stephanie realizes this is a life and death occupation, she begins to take things more seriously.  She seeks out the assistance of Ranger (another bounty hunter) and Eddie Gazarra (a relative who is a cop) to teach her how to shoot and successfully apprehend an FTA...a suspect that "failed to appear" for their court date.  None of her training goes to waste.  She has taken on a VERY dangerous occupation and does surprisingly well at it...given her limited amount of training and experience.  She manages to be in the right place at the right time and has reasonably good investigative instincts.  She isn't going to be working for the secret service anytime soon, but she manages to put food on the table and oil in her car.  (You will see what I mean by that last comment if you read the book.)

Overall...If you are looking for a fluffy, fun, read that doesn't require much thought...this series is for you.  I really liked the hot and cold relationship between Morelli and Plum and look forward to seeing what is in store for them in Two for the Dough.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Dreamless resumes where Starcrossed left off.  Hector is now an outcast and cannot interact with his family without the furies trying to make them kill one another.  Lucas and Helen are still under the false impression that they are cousins and are struggling to suppress their feelings for each other. 

Helen is descending to the underworld each night with hopes of finding the furies and putting an end to the blood debts, which have been plaguing the Scions for ages.  It is even more important to her now that she has seen first hand the impact the furies have had on Hector and the rest of the Delos family. She is determined to fulfill her obligation as the Descender, but it is taking its toll on her physically and mentally.  She is alone in the underworld and wandering aimlessly.  Even though Casandra, the Oracle, is trying her best to research history, they can't quite determine how to bring happiness to the furies. 

One evening, she encounters another person while in the underworld.  She later finds out that Orion was sent by her mother to assist and protect her because he, too, can descend into the underworld.  This is where the love triangle comes into play.  Lucas and Helen are adamant about their need to move Josie has to throw a hot guy, the descendant of Aphrodite, into the mix.  I really enjoyed this new character, but I am still TEAM LUCAS 100%. 

I enjoyed how Josie gave Claire and Matt, Helen's long time BFFs, a larger role in this book.  I am excited to see how their relationships and roles within the Demigod world will continue in Goddess, the final book in this series.  There were a lot of new Gods, Goddesses, and mythological creatures mentioned throughout the book.  I actually found myself at Barnes and Noble one afternoon browsing a National Geographic book on Greek Mythology in order to get a better understanding of all of the characters. Josie did a REMARKABLE job of weaving Greek Mythology throughout the story without overwhelming the reader.  She has set up an explosive conclusion to this series, which is scheduled to be released in May of 2013.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

For those of you who are not familiar with the Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini, I thought I would post a review of the first book in the series prior to posting my review of Dreamless.

I took four years of Latin in high school, so I was familiar with some of the Greek mythology this story is based upon.  This is; however, the first Greek fiction I have ever read.  I LOVED it. 

Helen grew up on Nantucket (a small island in Massachusetts) and was always aware of the fact that she was different, but never understood why.  While Helen and her friends had an interesting dynamic, the story didn't really take off until the Delos family arrived on the island.  I enjoyed discovering Helen's unique abilities along with her and sharing in Lucas and Helen's developing relationship.  From mortal enemies to destined lovers, I couldn't help but root for them.  I was absolutely devastated by some of the twists that took place the last third of the book.  The readers become aware of at least one lie that greatly impacts the characters, but they have yet to discover it.  How many other lies they have been fed has yet to be determined.  Angelini left me completely thirsting for Dreamless, which is scheduled to be released in May 2012. (For those who have read the book, the pun is intended.)  I can only hope that over the course of the next two books the main characters will unravel the lies, Helen and Lucas will conquer the Demigod world together, and the Delos family (including Helen) will live happily ever after. Is this too much to ask for? I don't think so.  It is fiction after all.

The next paragraph contains a mild spoiler. You may want to skip to below the next picture if you want to keep this spoiler free.

The one issue that I had with this book is the same one that I had with the Mortal Instruments series.  Why do authors feel the need to have their characters fall in love and then, in the last few chapters, spring the fact that they are somehow related upon us?  In this case specifically, the Scions are portrayed as having extreme intelligence.  Lucas also has the unique ability to detect when someone is telling a lie.  Why is it then that they cannot determine based upon simple mathematics that Helen's father couldn't possibly be who her mother says he is?  The man in question (who was related to Lucas) died well before the time she was conceived.  Any fan of Jerry Springer could have put two and two together in this case.  Why can't our brilliant Scions figure this out? 

Jacque, Amy Plum, Josie Angelini, and Book Nerd Flo at the RT Book Convention
I was fortunate enough to meet Josie at the RT book convention in Chicago last April.  I was able to discuss the book with her and Amy Plum, who is the author of Die for Me and Until I Die.  While Josie wouldn't give away any spoilers, she did tell us at the speed reading question and answer session that a MAJOR character will die in the third book.  She also said that since this is a Greek tragedy, we should not get our hopes up for a happily ever after type of ending to this series.  What does that mean?  I can only hope that she is not referring to Lucas and Helen when it comes to a tragic ending.  Josie did promise to send Flo and I an advance copy of the final book in the series and Amy was our witness.  Hopefully, we will not have to wait too terribly long to find out how this series will conclude. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Something Blue by Emily Giffin

Something Blue is a continuation of Something Borrowed.  If you haven't read that book, you should read it before Something Blue.  This isn't one of those books that you can pick up, start reading, and fully appreciate without reading the first book in the series.

For those of you who haven't read the first book, I will give you a quick summary of the characters.  Rachel and Darcy have been best friends since they were four years old.  They are now 30 and living in New York City.  Rachel is the smart and sensible attorney who recently stole Darcy's fiance' (Dex).  Ordinarily this would be an unthinkable situation, but I was actually rooting for Rachel and Dex because they seemed perfect for each other. 

Darcy on the other hand is an unlikeable character.  I can not describe her any better than their long time friend Ethan who said...

"You are shallow.  You're utterly selfish and misguided, with totally screwed up values."  She is the attractive, flirty, party girl who thinks she is entitled to anything and anyone she wants, simply because she is beautiful.  She was actually dating one of the groomsmen (Marcus) during her engagement and is expecting his child when she decided to call off the wedding.  Dex was also planning on cancelling the wedding because he was in love with Rachel.  You would think this mutual realization would lead to an amicable split, but not when Darcy is a factor in the equation.

This is where Something Blue starts.  I was a bit leery at first about the change in narrator.  The first book was told from Rachel's perspective, but now we are getting Darcy's side of the story.  Darcy does rehash several situations from Something Borrowed, so we get her point of view on various events that unfolded in book one.  We also learn more about her relationship with Marcus.  It doesn't take Darcy long to alienate herself from all of her friends and family.  I actually enjoyed watching her sense of entitlement get whisked out from under her as her life came crashing down before her pretty little Jimmy Choos.  Before long she was left with only one option.  She decided to move to London to "visit" Ethan for a few weeks, but she had no intentions of returning to New York.  She was on a mission to find herself an attractive and wealthy Englishman who could support her and her unborn child. 

After about 200 pages, and a reality check discussion with Ethan, we FINALLY get to see Darcy's finer side.  She begins to take her pregnancy more seriously and realizes that perhaps SHE is the one with the "issues" and not EVERYONE else.  As she begins to make a complete 180, I actually started to like her character.  By the end, I was on Team Darcy.

While I don't think it was quite as good as the first book in the series, it was well worth the read.  I was very happy with how the story came to a close and would recommend it if you are looking for a light and entertaining book to read.