471 of 511 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Having read the vast majority of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, I was more than a little excited about the latest installment in the series. I pre-ordered it for my Kindle and began reading it on the subway ride the morning it was released. That alone should tell you how eager I was about the release of this book. Unfortunately, not only did it fall short of my expectations (I also found a downside to the Kindle, you can't chuck it across the room when you're ticked-off like a regular book), but left me incredibly frustrated.
While I'm used to the madcap adventures of Stephanie, Lula, and Grandma Mauzer I was more than a little put off with the pure insanity of this book. First off there was this lucky bottle, which is made out of glass that Stephanie carries around in her handbag throughout most of the story. I'm still trying to figure out how it never broke, especially considering she was chased by an alligator at one point (don't ask!) and ran off a collapsing fire escape.
Also not to mention the fact that Ranger willing gave her two cars (which of course end up destroyed). I'm certain he likes her a whole lot, but I don't think anyone could like someone so much so that they would let them destroy two vehicles and not make her pay for them. Odd. What was also odd was how she was saved when she was in a terrible pickle, Hobbits anyone?
My other biggest issue was the sheer amount of Lula I had to endure. Don't get me wrong Lula is a fun character, but in moderation. I felt like she was in every scene, spewing bad grammar at every turn. At some point it grated on my nerves and I almost wished the alligator would've eaten her! Mean I know, but there's only so much tight pink spandex and Cluck-in-a-Bucket a girl can take.
The most glaring problem is the continuous flip-flopping Stephanie does when it comes to her love life. Nothing developed on this front at all. No choice has been made. She moons for Ranger when she sees him and then longs for Joe when she's in his presence. I don't know how either man tolerates her inability to commit to one of them for more than a week. It's getting a bit played out.
Janet, it's time Stephanie grew up. She grumbles constantly about how much she hates bounty hunting, well get another job and/or settle down! She can't bring herself to decide who she wants as a permanent fixture in her life. She needs to stop stringing two guys along like a sixteen year old who can't decide if she wants to take the cool motorcycle bad boy or the star quarterback to the prom. I understand that if she does one or both of these things the series is over, but maybe it's for the best. It's been a fun, wacky ride and I've enjoyed every minute until this installment. The next book should be called Sayonara Seventeen.
209 of 224 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I love this series but I completely agree with other reviewers. There was no sizzle at all. Yes, it had very funny moments that reminded me of Plum books past, but the redundancy of said humor, action sequences and even style of writing made this book almost tedious. In fact, the comedy and action is starting to play like a sitcom...and I don't want to read a book that plays like a tv show.
The men 'in' her life were hardly 'in' her life, as we didn't see much of them in this one. Please, PLEASE make a decision about your love life Stephanie. It's gotten very old and extremely stale.
I know I keep coming back because I want to see some movement, some resolution, in her love life and her professional life, and its just not happening.
152 of 162 people found the following review helpful
I have been a Janet Evanovich-junkie from the very beginning. Maybe it's because I'm from New Jersey and live less than 20 miles from The Burg. Maybe it's because Evanovich's bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum is funny, irreverent, outrageous and unpredictable. Even the books that weren't as good as her first efforts were still entertaining, with at least a few great belly-laughs. Well, I'm sorry to say that her latest, Sizzling Sixteen, could be called Stone-Cold Sixteen instead. This book is barely entertaining--and mostly stupid. I hate to admit this, but it's the truth.
Stephanie works for a bonding agency run by her cousin Vinnie. Unfortunately, Vinnie has run up gambling debts with his bookie. The bookie has him kidnapped with the threat to kill if the money isn't forthcoming by Friday. Worried about losing their jobs, Stephanie, Lula and Connie decide that they must act. Their first goal is to find Vinnie. Afterward, they'll try to come up with the money. This plot is pretty lame, and if that isn't enough, it's filled with cows running through the streets of Trenton, a 6 foot alligator that guards drug money in a private home and a hobbit convention. There are enough donut and chicken stops to swear you off grease for the rest of your life.
Some of the best parts of Sizzling Sixteen are Evanovich's descriptions. As for Trenton, The Burg "is a neighborhood of hardworking second-generation Americans. Families are extended and proudly dysfunctional. Although dysfunction in Jersey might be hard to measure." As for Plum's relationship issues with Joe Morelli and Ranger, "I was in a state because I had two men in my life, and I had no clue what to do with them....I was too traditional and Catholic to just enjoy them. How sick is that? I wasn't a practicing Catholic, but I had guilt." Unfortunately, Evanovich's characters have become stale, the antics are boring and the plots are dumb.
It's definitely time for her to get back to her old-self or else, marry off Stephanie and end this series. I always look forward to a new Evanovich, but I'm sorry that I spent the money for this one.
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2010
I have faithfully read every book, stuck thru Books 13 - 15 thinking that she just needed some time and she would get back on track with the series, but hearing about the 2 new series she is working on and reading 16 it is obvious that Ms. Evanovich has abandoned this series. The book is 308 pages of which the first 6 pages is nothing but the sames 6 pages of the last 15 books. I think by now we all know the Stephanie is a bounty hunter. Take out all the 1/2 pages, extra wide margins and the unusually large print and you might have 225 pages of prose that seems to be cut and pasted from the last 15 books connected by the occasional original sentence. If I had to guess, I would say that Ms. Evanovich gave someone a plot outline and left it to them to write.
Stephanie is still making the same mistakes without the ability that even a 2 year old has to learn from them. Stephanie has become that relative that you remember liking 12 years ago but when you saw them recently you thought "what happened to them...they are so annoying". There isn't much in the way of Ranger or Joe and just a little too much Lula. If you have read the earlier books then you have read this book. Same destroyed cars, Ranger still handing them out like they are candy, Lula is on another diet, Steph still stumbling around and getting lucky.
Ms. Evanovich, PLEASE, set your other projects aside and at least respect your fans enough to close out the series with a book that you actually put yourself into. Maybe knowing that it is the final book of the series will allow you to give us book like the ones that hooked us. I have to say, any future books will be bought used from the half price book store.
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2010
Like a programmed autobot, I bought this book because I already own the other 15 in the series, which I used to love. After I read the first chapter, I was already bored with the same old, same old, Same Old! At least I could throw it across the room & vent my frustration; I feel for the Kindle-owner who posted that she wanted to do that but couldn't damage her Kindle.
There is nothing new here - no character development, in fact, the characters are devolving. The juvenile humor (no offense to juveniles) is groan-inducing. Actually, some of the juvenile humor I've seen on YouTube is genuinely funny. You won't find funny here. Annoying and boring, yes, but forget funny. As for suspense, there is none. Plot - it's beyond tired, it's moribund.
I feel like an enabler, buying these sub-par books that read like they've been cut & pasted by a ghostwriter who flunked creative writing in high school. With no editing, of course. The reviewer who posted that the next book should end the series and be called Sayanora Seventeen said it all.
I am pledging not to buy any more Stephanie Plum books, and if I buy the next one next year, I'm going to join a support group because I'll clearly need help.
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
After reading this book I decided to voice my opinion directly to the contact page of Evanovich.com
I am a HUGE Evanovich fan and have been for years. I look forward to her newest "Plum" book and always know that a few weeks before my birthday (6/23) it is due to hit the shelves. I have a question. My question is what has changed? It seems like the last two or three books have not been true to the series. It seems like they were rushed or something. I was talking with a lady at my local bookstore and we decided that the series seems to be suffering. If Ms Evanovich is stretched too thin with all of her other series maybe she needs to consider wrapping up the plum series before too much damage has been done. I will give the series one more year and after that I will make my decision on future issues.
I received this back:
Ken here, Alex's assistant. I'm helping with email.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Janet has no plans to end the Plum series. Smokin' Seventeen will be out next June.
Wow really? That is probably the most unprofessional response from an assistant I have ever read. If he has ever read the book reviews here on Amazon he would see maybe some different key "strokes" should be made before they lose more DEVOTED fans like I was! You see I am a small business owner and I am also an avid reader and book collector. I was going to " give the series one more year and after that I will make my decision on future issues" but, after Ken's "heartfelt" response they don't have to worry about two things:
1. I will NEVER spend another penny to support any Evanovich Books. In fact I will be taking all of my books written by Ms. Evanovich to a used book store to purge my collection of ALL 37 Evanovich books I have collected over the years.
2. I will NEVER recommend any Evanovich Books to any of my friends or customers. After I read a good book (past or present) I generally talk about it with my customers and recommend different books for consideration.
Look at the data I have provided directly from Amazon and see if you notice a trend!
Sizzling Sixteen: Average 2.5 Stars (247 out of 453 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
Finger Licking Fifteen: Average 3 Stars ( 233 out of 526 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
Fearless Fourteen: Average 3 Stars (192 out of 537 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
Lean Mean Thirteen: Average 4 Stars (51 out of 389 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
Twelve Sharp: Average 4 Stars (45 out of 413 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
Eleven On Top: Average 4 Stars (47 out of 369 gave it either a 1 or 2 Star)
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
This is the first Stephanie Plum I struggled to finish. It was flat. Heck, it was boring! I was so disenchanted I went back to "One For the Money" to get a needed Plum-fix, and was astonished at the direction in which the series has evolved -- and not in a good way. The introductory Stephanie was smart, proactive, self-reliant, and very, very real. The Sizzling-Sixteen Stephanie is infantile, incompetent, shallow, indecisive -- well, I could go on but you get the picture. Where has Stephanie's (and Janet Evanovich's) trade-mark inventiveness gone? Her only solution for getting herself out of a sticky situation is to wait around for Ranger to rescue her! May I suggest to Janet Evanovich that she go back and read "One For the Money" and get reacquainted with her own character? Because the current Stephanie is cardboard-thin, and so is "Sizzling Sixteen's" plot. The series is out of steam.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
If you're a Plum fan, there's a lot to like about this book. The writing isn't JE's best, but it's better than the last three installments. Ranger has ample page time, and boy is he hot. And I only counted five farts and zero monkeys, so at least she's showing improvement in that area.
Unfortunately, there's a lot to hate about this book, too. It's slow-going, filled with pointless scenes that could have been and should have been cut. Morelli's tantrums, Lula's diet, and Grandma's black boot added nothing to the story and nothing to the plot. They were the commercials people skip out on, not the show they sit down to watch. The plot never fully develops, rearing its mediocre head only in the last thirty pages, by which time I'd already given up on the book twice. Once again, the bad guy isn't bad, or if he is, we don't hear about it. Evanovich has always kept most of the violence offscreen, but this time it's so off the page it's out of the book. Hardly conducive to getting a reader's ticker going. As for the slapstick, Evanovich has made a lateral move, from farting to stink bombs, from midgets to hobbits, from monkeys to alligators. She used to be so good at changing up the formula while still leaving it familiar, but now she can't seem to be bothered with trying.
And then there's the love triangle. That stupid, boring, inane love triangle that hasn't moved an inch since Twelve Sharp, except to make everyone involved look more and more stupid. We may never know if Stephanie and Ranger will be compatible as a couple, but I think Evanovich has proven unequivocally that Stephanie and Morelli most definitely are NOT meant for each other. It's gotten depressing watching Morelli beat Stephanie down because she's not what he wants her to be, only to have Stephanie beat herself down even more for not being able to conform to what he wants her to be. Their relationship has officially become unhappy, resentful, and mutually abusive, at least mentally if not physically, and both Stephanie's and Morelli's behavior in this book is that of someone trapped in a volatile relationship for no reason other than they're too co-dependent, lazy, and insecure to leave. At the end of the book, we're at the same place we were on page one. It could have gone somewhere, but it didn't.
Bottom line: with a really good editor and a couple of rounds of revisions, this 2-star book could have been a 4-star book. But neither Evanovich nor her publisher give a flying dog turd about the quality of her books anymore, and that's too bad. Sizzling Sixteen is better than 14, 15, and any of the Diesel books, but it's still not up to par.
64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2010
Janet E is definitely on a downward spiral; books, 13,14,and 15 were all lack luster and 16 continued to disappoint. This time I didn't order the hard bound book or even the audio book - I used an audible credit to download the unabridged book. Less than six hours of less than enjoyable listening later - I'm wondering why I even bothered. Basic review - lacks plot, lacks character development, lacks humor, lacks substance. Hardly worth the wait of a year for a new novel in a series. I hate to cross a female mystery writer off my must read list - but then these days her offerings aren't even worthy of the mystery genre classification. Goodbye Stephanie Plum, it used to be nice to know you. This book is the like ordering a four course meal and getting an energy bar - totally lacking in taste and with hardly enough substance to substance life.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Vincent Plum's Bail Bond business is in trouble and it is all Vinnie's fault. His gambling has him in debt to a 'break your legs' lender and he has embezzled from the business which is now owned by a large corporation. Vinnie has been caught on Stark Street literally with his pants down. His wife has kicked him out and threatened to sic her father on him. Plus the loan shark has now kidnapped Vinnie and it is up to Stephanie, Lulu, and Connie to find a way to raise 1.3 million dollars to save his worthless hide.
If you are reading Sizzling Sixteen you are probably familiar with the slapstick humor, characters and recurring themes. Yes, this book contains the requisite car blowing up, the diet of the day for Lulu, jokes about Vinnie's sexual preferences and the dithering Stephanie as she tries to figure out what she wants to do with life and who she wants to do with it.
The series has definitely lost the zip that made it laugh-out-loud funny. I listened to the audio version and found myself spacing in and out of the story. It has been about seventeen years since Stephanie Plum's antics captivated her audience. In that time we have seen very little growth in her maturity levels and we've seen the series stagnate and become mired in the what was once fresh humor and is now stale as the bread Morelli wants for breakfast (Steph and Joe's last fight was over toast).
As the series continues and we get deeper glances at Ranger I find myself wondering what he sees in Stephanie. She seems more like a pesky younger sister than a potential lover for him. Ranger is well traveled, some what cultured, hard working, and seems to have a variety of interests. We find out more about him as the series continues. On the other hand, Stephanie never seems to grow out of the laid off lingerie buyer now I hate to be a bounty hunter character. She doesn't seem to travel except to find donuts. Does she read? Go to movies? The theater? Museums? Do anything other than go to Cluck in a Bucket and funerals? We have also learned more about Joe Morelli and who he is. Yet it seems as tho all the women remain one dimensional caught up in the diet of the book, eating donuts, shooting things, etc.
There were some funny scenes in the book, but over all it just missed the mark that once made Janet Evanovich's Plum series a must read the day the book comes out for so many of us. It makes me feel a bit sad, kind of like realizing an old friendship has run its course and now we are just acquaintances and instead of being engaged in that friend's life--we are now at the polite exchange of pleasantries as we pass on the playing field that is life. However, as with any old friend sometimes the friendship can be rekindled to the depth it once had--hopefully Evanovich will read some of the reviews of her book and take a long hard look at the series and either revamp a bit so that Stephanie remains in our hearts as one of our best friends or she puts us and Stephanie out of our miseries and does a Final Seventeen!