Book Review: Stephanie Plum books 7-13 by Janet Evanovich

Guys, I went a little crazy this week. I got sick and I missed four days of school and I picked up the seventh Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich because I wanted something fun to read while I was at home alone, right? And then I finished that one and picked up the next one and that process continued straight through book number thirteen.

So, yeah. This review isn’t really a review. More of a short commentary on the books, the series, the characters, etc. I’m tired and I have a ton of makeup work, so I’m not going to do individual reviews for each book, especially because many would be the same.

4.5/5 stars for all of them

I loved all of these books. They’re funny, sexy, and needless to say, addictive. The characters have grown throughout the series. They aren’t tropes. The relationships between them progress and grow, instead of stagnating.

Stephanie’s character feels honest. She’s real. She’s not perfect; in fact, she’s far from it. She’s blundering her way through life, not sure where she’s going but determined to get there. She struggles with big decisions. Even when she breaks down crying, she is incredibly strong. Evanovich could have easily made her a damsel in distress who flings herself at whatever man who saves her. And while that description on the surface seems true of Stephanie, when you read the series you understand that she is so much more than that. She relies on the men in her life, sure, but she also keeps herself independent. Yeah, that gets her in a lot of trouble, but it also shows her strength of character. She doesn’t lie down and take anything from anyone.

I’d like it to be clear that these books are do not fall prey to the cookie cutter syndrome, AKA they aren’t all the same. Though the books can have similar plot structures, each mystery is unique and compelling. Character development moves forward. Each book is a singular entity that enhances the series. The books are not forgettable, and the only reason they are blurring together in my mind is the insane rate at which I read them, not by any fault on the part of the author.

There isn’t much more I can say without spoilers, or that I haven’t said before. I’d recommend these books to anyone who wants a good laugh, a sexy romance, and a fast-paced adventure. YA readers could totally handle them, as long as they’re comfortable with some pretty serious violence and the occasional sex scene.

Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I picked up this book because it was by Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn trilogy, currently my favorite series I’ve read this year. While this book was completely different from Mistborn, it was still amazing. I’m in love.

5/5 stars

Genre: YA dystopian, science fiction, action

Series: The Reckoners, book one

cover steelheart

 

Amazon description of Steelheart

How far would you go for revenge if someone killed your father?
If someone destroyed your city?
If everything you ever loved was taken from you?
David Charleston will go to any lengths to stop Steelheart. But to exact revenge in Steelheart’s world, David will need the Reckoners—a shadowy group of rebels bent on maintaining justice.
And it turns out that the Reckoners might just need David too.

Wow. I loved this book.

It is not Mistborn, which was almost-high fantasy, really freaking long, emotionally powerful, subtle, complex. A lot of this review will compare the two, but if you don’t know the first series, just ignore the extra bits.

The setting is a dystopia ruled by powerful beings called Epics. The city that he lives in, Newcago, is ruled by totalitarian Epic Steelheart, who murdered David’s father in his ascent to power, leaving David with a serious vendetta against him. It is an interesting dystopia however, because Steelheart’s regime has only been around for ten years. Most of the population has memories of what it was like before, something most dystopian authors cut out.

The story itself is action-oriented, with tons of fight scenes and gunfire. Elements of the world are science-fictiony. I definitely wanted a deeper understanding of how the science-y elements worked, how the technology functioned, but I trust that Sanderson will explain it in a later book (hopefully).

It is a fast, powerful read. As I said, lots of fight scenes, lots of explosions, lots of dodging bullets, but never in a cheesy way. Since they have advanced scientific technology to help them not get killed, it keeps the scenes from being totally unrealistic (AKA Steelheart is not like every episode of “Burn Notice” ever, which the cast totally should not have survived that many seasons of). The plot built quickly; Sanderson paced it well, and kept the reader guessing.

The characters were great. David is a lovable geek, with a seriously vindictive side. He’s impulsive. He’s horrible at metaphors. (More on that later). The Reckoners were characterized well, for me. Each one had a distinct personality and added something different to the book. Cody is by far my favorite, because pretty much everything he said had me laughing out loud. Sanderson created Megan’s character well, keeping her mysterious, keeping her in character. She was an actually strong female in a story that could have used her as a sexy body and nothing else. Her dynamic with David moved the story along without monopolizing it, letting the action be the focus of the plot (a novelty in the hyper-romanticized world of YA). Prof was a powerful character, the classic leader with a mysterious past. Though I saw hints of Mistborn’s Kelsier in him, Sanderson didn’t create a carbon copy, which helped to establish the differences between his series.

The plot twists! So many, so well executed. I can’t say more, cuz duh…spoilers. But seriously, guys, if you like surprising plots–Sanderson is your author.

Ooh! A note on David sucking at creating metaphors. It’s a running joke through the story, that he thinks way too much into his metaphors and they just don’t make sense. While it could have just been a running joke, for me it was more. I’ve spent so many hours in English classes disecting metaphors, analyzing the author’s diction. It was hilarious to read lines that really made me think about metaphors in our language, and why some work and others don’t. It’s kind of English-class-geeky of me, but I loved it.

I need book two, Firefight, to come out. I have to wait until January!!! The horror.

Poetry: Ice Cream

Hey guys. I tried my hand at some poetry. School’s been crazy so I haven’t had much time to write, but this needed to be written.

Don’t read anything into my totally literal poem about ice cream.

Yeah, okay. Hope you like it.

ice cream blue edit
pic credit: Alexandra Penfold (then edited)

Ice Cream

I’ve already scooped myself

A full bowl of the ice cream

And eaten half of it in

Hungry

Desperate bites

Before the flavor hits my tongue

Flashing lights!

Sending a sprinting signal,

Neurons scrambling to tell me:

This doesn’t taste good anymore

 

Teeth and tongue painted blue

Aren’t cute anymore

And I drag my lips tight over them

Hiding them

 

Why does it have to turn my tongue blue?

(Has it always done that?)

Why is it so sickeningly sweet?

(Did I just never notice it?)

And why do the little bits

Have to get stuck in my teeth?

(Does anyone actually enjoy that?)

 

Smaller bites now

My tongue curls

Lips pucker

My brain shouts

I don’t like this

I don’t want this—

This isn’t fun anymore

 

But I can’t throw it away

Not after I filled a whole bowl

Not while I can still remember

What the flavor used to

Taste like

 

On summer days

Everything was simple

And a taste of that ice cream

Made the afternoon right

Our blue tongues to better rattle off the hours with

 

Why can’t I just fall in love

(With a flavor)

And stay that way?

Why do little things

Blue, sweet, sticky things—

Always crowd out

The way it used to make

me feel?

 

The ice cream melts

And I set the bowl down

Decisive

I’m done

But the slurry spills over

Onto my hand

Painted blue

That’s sticky now

 

What’s the point

Of going back to the shop

And tasting all the flavors

And finding a new favorite

And buying enough to fill my freezer

So I’ll never have to go without

(Because this time will be different)

When I know what will happen

Like it happened last time

Like it happened before that time

What will always happen

 

But it’s summer again

Hot afternoons

Unbearable

Without a new taste

To occupy my thoughts

 

Back to the counter then

I guess it’s a good thing

They have thirty-one

I’ll try that one

On the left

In a cone

I point

With my hand still sticky

From the last flavor I ate