Friday, April 20, 2007

Hot Stuff by Leanne Banks and Janet Evanovich

Just a quick reminder, we have FAB week running right now, so scroll down, check out the posts and enter for a chance to win! I will be posting a dee & Dee classic review this afternoon of my FAB pick, R.L. LaFevers book Werewolf Rising, and we have so much more planned so stay tuned! And now, on with the dish...

HOT STUFF by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks

Dear Reader,

Cate Madigan isn't asking for trouble. Her wacky Irish family is constantly playing matchmaker for her with men who leave much to be desired. All she wants is peace and quiet and a nice place to live while she saves her money from tending bar in a lively Boston pub. Okay, so what if her roommate is a cross-dressing lounge singer named Mary Longfellow? In exchange for cheap rent, all she has to do is take care of his plants and collect his mail when he's out of town. And then...Marty disappears. At the same time, a bullmastiff named Beast shows up with instructions from Marty to take care of him. Can Cate handle this 120-pound bundle of joy who wants to devour everything in sight? Ex-cop Kellen McBride has decided to make Cate's bar his nightly hang-out. But is he just there for the beer? Or does he have an ulterior motive for getting close to Cate? When Cate comes home to a ransacked apartment, she realizes Kellen knows more than he's saying. Problem is, he's turning up the heat in her life - in more ways than one. Soon Cate finds herself in deep trouble with mysterious stalkers, a lovesick would-be boyfriend named Patrick Pugg, two friends who are looking for love, and the very sexy, possibly dangerous Kellen McBride. The south side of Boston has never been wilder...

This BCC is classic Evanovich style. Make it sound wacky, include the characters names, but pretty much exaggerate everything else that is in the book. It will be easier to explain if I do it in a point-by-point but not really sort of way. Make sense? Oh good. Cause now I'm confused!

Let's just start at the beginning - Cate's family: Yep, all Irish. Yep, all trying to play matchmaker. In fact, the book starts with family dinner and set-up at Cate's parents. I loved this scene. Cate's family is so endearing. Dinner at the Madigan's is like dinner at my folks, every man for himself. If you don't act fast you don't eat. Period. Be careful putting your hands out for seconds, because if someone beats you to it, you'll end up with tine marks in your hand. The man they are setting Cate up with this time is the Patrick Pugg mentioned in the BCC. Patrick is great. Total bad-ass wanna-be. Refers to himself in Third Person, speaks in short sentences and goes for the Neanderthal attitude. Pugg also has a way of sticking with it, after figuring out that he can wear most women down and into the sack just to get rid of him.

Cate's living arrangement: Yep, Cate lives with Marty Longfellow. Cross dressing lounge singer at the bar Cate tends at. But she isn't living there trying to save money. Cate is living there so she can work her way through college without being under the watchful eye of her family and not have to take out student loans. And Mary is hardly ever there. Perfect for Cate.

Kellen McBride: Total hottie, with a Big Bad Wolf kinda smile. When he shows up at Cate's bar, she knows his type. After all her mom always said, Easy on the eyes, hard on the heart. But Kellen seems to be just as persistent as Pugg, only not nearly as annoying while he does it. But something about him warns Cate he can't be trusted. It just so happens, that when Marty disappears, Cate finds out that Kellen has been investigating Marty. But Kellen may have gone in the bar to get close to Cate so he could get close to Marty, but he knew almost immediately Cate was the type of girl he could never resist.

The Friends: I'm not sure how I missed the looking for love part of these two women, but I did. Sharon, a divorced real estate agent, and Julie, a southern gal working the party trolley who decorates her condo with lawn furniture, are Cate's very best friends. Sharon is obsessed with a mysterious tenant, and Julie loves to watch the world from her window until time to work at night. Sharon's attempts to see the new tenant, and Julie's family stories are quite funny. Yep, Julie and Sharon both find love, but I never saw them as looking for it. More like it found them.

The Mystery and The Dog: When a stranger calls looking for Marty and he refuses to take the call, and then the caller continues to keep calling every hour on the hour, Marty takes off for a private party in Aruba. The next day a breeder shows up with Beast. A huge puppy, that seems to be good natured but not to bright. He eats Cate's thong in the book, but other than that, he really doesn't destroy or devour anything else. So I'm not sure why they tried to make him sound like Bob from the Plum books. Beast comes with a note from Marty that says he is a trained guard dog, and with the strange man calling he wanted Cate to have him close while he was gone. When Cate and Marty's condo keeps getting broken into and Cate starts being threatened by a very wealthy woman, Cate and Kellen have to figure out exactly what it is Marty was up to and what these people want and soon.

I really did enjoy this book. I was nervous. As you know, the Full series of books that Evanovich co-writes with Charlotte Hughes has been leaving me cold (I wasn't even able to force myself to finish the last release in the series) and Evanovich's re-released romances are just OK. But I love Leanne's voice in Romance, and from her series books, I knew that Evanovich was good with Mystery, so it sounded like a match made in Heaven.

It's a short book. Only 281 pages, and for the price that's a bit depressing. There are the typical POV problems I've come to expect from anything JE writes that isn't First. We have some Third Om and some Third Limited, and I had really hoped that Banks being on board would remedy that particular problem with these books. But - no go.

Aside from the length and the POV problems I actually have no complaints. Evanovich and Banks blend nicely. The humor that is all Evanovich comes through, and the great dialogue and realistic characters I've come to expect from Banks definitely shine through. I think the Banks involvement helped to tamp down some of the usual wackiness that is Evanovich, and it was a nice change of pace to see a dog that wasn't all about pooping and eating.

So who else has read this? I want to know what you thought? Could you tell that Banks was a part of this book? Did you think the balance was good? Are you looking forward to more? I know I am. And hopefully, I won't grow tired of them like I did the Full series.

Take Care


Michelle said...

Thanks for the review of this one. I saw that it was out and was very curious about it. But my TBR pile is soooooo long that it may be a while before I get to this one.

Carol said...

I haven't read the book but it does sound like a fun read!

Marg said...

I have it out from the library at the moment, and will get to it in the next week or so!

Louis said...

A very good combination of writers. Delightfully funny book...and the "romance" is excellent.