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Showing 1-10 of 214 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on November 22, 2011
Janet Evanovich has given us "Explosive Eighteen" as a second in one year gift. Highly anticipated by her followers, it was hoped to resolve the uncomfortable mess made of the characters in "Smok'in Seventeen". Readers did receive the answer as to who went with Stephanie to Hawaii. But as far as the characters evolving (or in Evanovich's case regressing) into some sort of realistic people; readers were left high and dry again.
True, this series is supposed to be in the "cozy genre" and as such keeps the fluff and humor light and witless. There were so many plots and sub plots in "Eighteen" it was almost advantageous for the reader to keep notes. The use of a truly evil villain showed promise. However that resolution was given almost as an afterthought without Stephanie facing her fear and conquering it.
The love triangle wasn't and shouldn't be resolved. Instead of each of these men encouraging the growth of a more mature and responsible woman; they have been emasculated into supporting her juvenile dependency for sex. The references and (in this reviewer's eyes) demeaning stereotypical depiction of Lula as a 'heavy, black ex-hooker'was over-the-top offensive.
For a reader who doesn't care about character development or intricate plot, this book is a quick, light read. It does have action and many quirky side characters.However for dedicated followers of the series, who have matured through the years, the disappointment and frustration that their beloved characters have not, weighs heavy.
Janet Evanovich cannot please everyone. If she indeed wants to write to a younger crowd, she needs to alert her past followers so that they can be prepared. Or better still branch out and give the interesting characters their own series. Robert Crais did that with the Cole/Pike series quite successfully.
All in all: new readers to the series will probably enjoy "Eighteen" Past followers can see in it that the series is going nowhere. Sadly only 3 stars.
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on November 23, 2011
I've been following Stephanie and her adventures since One for the Money, and while I still enjoy the series, the last several books have been missing something. I expect Grandma to hit every funeral, and for Stephanie to lose a car or two in each book - that's what makes this series unique, but I also expect a PLOT and something to keep me going from one page to the next. As much as I love this series, it's starting to become the same old stuff rehashed over and over again, without anything really happening.
This book had a lot of potential - but I felt like I was reading an outline and not an actual complete novel. I'm not sorry I purchased this book, but there wasn't a single laugh out loud moment, something that is JE's trademark. The last few books have also been SHORT, like one novel was wrote but split into two or three books.
It's a sad sad day when a Stephanie Plum novel is given anything less that a 5 star review...
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on November 24, 2011
It is time to wrap this series up! Before I even read this book I could have told you the following things were going to happen:
* Someone would die.
* Lulu would wear something "poison green"
* Stephanie would be in a bind and call on the men in her life for help.
* Something would blow up.
* Stephanie would not be driving the same car at the beginning and end of the book.
* Grandma Mauzer would go to at least one viewing at the funeral home.
* Stephanie would sleep with both the men in her life.
Well, I was right. This book is chick-lit-lite -- it took one evening to read and while enjoyable there was nothing that knocked my socks off. And it's getting hard to justify spending the money to buy the book instead of waiting to check it out of the library or borrowing it from a friend. In fact, I would recommend either of those options if you have not already purchased the book.
It is time for Stephanie to make a decision and move on. Let this series end at 20 and call it a day.
It's time for Stephanie Plum to grow up, her stupidity is getting tiresome.
Let 19 be the book where she makes a choice and 20 be the wedding. It's time.
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on December 22, 2011
I am too the point where I read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series purely out of obligation (and I'm still waiting to see who she picks.) But let's all be honest here - Stephanie is tired, she is very tired. (And while her world is wonderful, her characters are colorful and we all have an attachment to them. After Eighteen books, they are all the same.)

This book was one disappointment after another, there was hardly any Ranger time. Stephanie is still stupidly afraid of her gun (SERIOUSLY?? It's not cute anymore.) Lula is still like nails on a chalkboard to me. No one blew up Stephanie's car. (Sure, there was some storyline where her car was involved, but no smoke, no flames, nothing.)

Now, before I sound so negative - there were things I enjoyed. The idea of Joyce being compacted in the junkyard was an intriguing one. As was the question of the missing wedding band on Stephanie's hand. It definitely kept me guessing for awhile.

In the end, while I love Stephanie Plum and I really enjoy Janet Evanovich's writing. Unfortunateley, this series has turned into a book version of ER, it has run way beyond it's prime and is feeling very repetitive. All I want at this point is a conclusion - I want to know who Stephanie chooses.
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on November 29, 2011
This would have been a much better book with less Buggy and more of what happened in Hawaii. It could have taken up directly from book 17 with Stephanie's going to Hawaii alone, then seeing the Rug, calling Ranger, etc.

that being said, JE is ruining the Ranger-Stephanie relationship with it just being a hook-up. it does not seem consistent with either character from previous books.
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on January 27, 2012
This is going to be a short review, because everyone has covered all the bases with this book, both pro and con.
I've hung on through all 18. I was quite a bit more hopeful after reading 17 and for a time I thought 18 started out tightly written, with promise. Then somewhere in the middle, it fell apart, the story kind of evaporated, only to pick up again at half steam. Makes me wonder if the theory of ghost writing is true. I can not figure out why JE took a great "hook" like the trip to Hawaii and didn't write part of this tale in Hawaii? Okay, so the big build up after the fact, next best thing,still want to know, right? WRONG. It got explained away in less than 5 pages. There were a few moments I chuckled out loud but we need to tone Lula down again, give her a soul, give them ALL a soul again. No one is slapstick all the time, though I do think thankfully that schtick was toned down a bit in this book.How about making someone confront a real life issue?
I gave this book 3 stars because I am a loyal fan and I still hate to condemn JE because I did think there was improvement. And I'm an optomist stil. I will continue to read JE but I refuse to pay full price for her books, kindle edition or otherwise. It's library borrowing or second hand bookstore/garage sale...At least then I'm not MAD for wasting good money as well as disappointed. And please, cap it at 20,resolve the issues one way or another and be done with it. Thanks for reading!
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on April 3, 2012
There were a few grins in the book, but Explosive Eighteen seemed a lot of the same old same old. The conversational quality was sadly lacking, and the plot was very thin. I am glad that I used the e-library and did not spend money on this story. This story is not Janet Evanovich's best work.
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So we're up to #18 In the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Explosive Eighteen is the latest installment in the love triangle between Plum, Ranger, and Morelli as Plum tries to chase down bail jumpers in Trenton. Of course, with Plum that means that something will burn down, at least one car will be disabled in some way, and confusion will reign supreme. Unfortunately, that seems to be the plot line of the last few stories, and it reinforces my feeling that this series has run its course. It's not that the stories are bad... It's just that they don't go anywhere.

The basic story revolves around an envelope with a photograph that a number of people think Plum has. This includes both good and bad guys, and the bad guys have no qualms about killing Plum in the process of getting what they want. She inadvertently ended up with it while flying back from Hawaii, but threw it away because she didn't know what it was. Morelli is upset with her because of what happened during the Hawaii trip, and has a hard time believing that her and Ranger were "on a case". Of course, Ranger is his cool and collected self, and Plum has a problem saying no to him whenever he gets close... and he's often very close.

I used to look forward to each of the Plum novels. They were funny, the characters were crazy, and you never knew what was going to happen next. Now it seems as if the characters do the same things in each story, the signature situations appear like clockwork, and nothing gets resolved when it comes to choosing between Ranger or Morelli. Something dramatic needs to happen to send this series in a new direction, or it simply needs to wrap itself up. I'll probably continue to read new titles in the series, but I won't be counting the days until I make it to the top of the library hold list. There's just no compelling desire to see what will happen next, as it seems to be the same thing that happened in the last book.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
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on July 26, 2012
When I read One For The Money, I was hooked with the Stephanie Plum Series. I laughed to the point of tears. The characters have charm and Stephanie had attitude. As her novels progressed, some of those endearing qualities of the characters started to become more of a nuisance due to lack of growth. The sexual tension with the Ranger/Morelli/Stephanie triangle has always managed to keep the readers coming back for more. With the interest in Explosive Eighteen and to see what happens in Hawaii, I was a bit disappointed with why Stephanie returns early and alone being barely explained.

What I was hoping for was some growth from Stephanie Plum. She is still bumbling around and getting by on a mixture of dumb luck and the watchful eye of the two men she cannot pick one of. While I see it being difficult to pick just one, she needs to grow a little more as a character. There was at least one part where she managed to show some toughness we loved from her earlier adventures.... Short lived, but it was there.

I think the most frustrating part of this book was how Lula and her grandmother have managed to get more stupid as the stories have progressed. It is like they actually lost IQ points as time went forward. The laughs were less, the formula of the story is getting tired, but at least when you look beyond the repetitive stuff.... there is some redeeming parts to the story. Did I like Explosive Eighteen? Yes. Did I love it like her earlier books? No. Will I read Notorious Nineteen when it comes out? Sure, but will I go the expense of buying it to own? Probably not. I just hope that Ms. Evanovich taps into the magic she had from her earlier novels in the series and raises the IQ of the characters. Slapstick humor is fun for a while, but it does become less funny if you drag the same stuff for too long.
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on November 29, 2011
Okay, I admit it -- I'm a Stephanie Plum sucker! I read Smokin' 17, and until the last chapter of the book, SWORE that I'd no longer be running out to get the hardcover edition another Stephanie Plum book as soon as it was released.

I love Janet Evanovich's writing style, her dialogue is hilarious, the characters are great, and reading the latest installment is like going home to visit with old friends -- well, old friends that NEVER change-- but still a fun read.

I've voiced my complaints in reviews for past Plum novels about the marked lack of forward progress and character development. Well, at the end of Smokin' 17 Evanovich presented herself with the perfect opportunity to go a little outside the box and move the story forward -- Stephanie gets a trip for 2 to Hawaii -- the cliff hanger at the end of the book is -- who's she gonna bring? Ranger or Morelli?? I know, I know, pretty lame for a cliff hanger, (but when it comes to Ranger & Morelli, I'm a cheap date).

So I, (still firmly in "sucker mode"), preorder the book, blurb unread, and anxiously wait for it to arrive only to find (drum roll please)

.....Stephanie coming home from Hawaii & getting off the plane in New Jersey...

Thus missing a fantastic opportunity for Evanovich to get Stephanie outside of her comfort zone, maybe get a little more in-depth with the hottie she brought with her -- no such luck

I. Am. Beyond. Pissed.

This seemed to be the "travel season" for several of my favorite series, most notably Eve & Roarke/In Death (N.Y. to Dallas) series by J.D. Robb & the Mercy Thompson series(River Marked) by Patricia Briggs. While missing the supporting cast of characters in these series, we got much more in depth with the main characters and there was some definite personal growth going on......

Not so with Explosive 18....

Never (it seems) with Stephanie Plum. I guess the same situations /scenarios/car "mishaps"/Grandma Mazur/Lulu eating jokes are going to stay firmly place...and getting a little less funny with each subsequent incarnation.

I was in love with this series. It was one of my favorites. Then, somewhere around Fearless 14, I started getting the feeling that Janet Evanovich was phoning these books in.

Okay, reality check here. Stephanie Plum's a bounty hunter. A really inept bounty hunter. A really inept bounty hunter that someone's always trying to kill, maim, run over or blow up. She has a really close "friendship" with Ranger -- a totally bad-ass bounty hunter with his own security company, who would be MORE than happy to provide weapons & self-defense training (I'm sure).

What does Stephanie do???

Absolutely nothing.

She still keeps her gun in the cookiejar, her stun gun is never charged when she needs it, and her pepper spray is usually empty. She stumbles into situations becomes a "damsel in distress" and then Ranger pulls her ass out of the fire -- yet again. I swear, Rex the Hamster has better honed survival instincts than Stephanie. Her mother has every right to be worried about her; she SHOULD get a job at the button factory.

As for the man issues...just for the record, I'm definitely Team Ranger. Morelli & Stephanie have history, they know everything about each other and they're comfortable. BUT who's always there for her when she needs him with cars, assistance and saving her life? Ranger. (Plus, as an added bonus, he's got that whole dark, hot, mysterious, bad boy thing going on). Actions speak louder than words, after all.....

Will I read 19, 20, 21, etc? Probably -- I'm hooked.

Will I run out and buy it retail (hardcover or paperback)? No way.

I hate to say it, but the Stephanie Plum series has been downgraded to my "Used Bookstore Shopping List"
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