I started reading the Stephanie Plum series based on the recommendation of a local librarian (God bless 'em!) and got hooked. I enjoyed the series to a point, loved the characters, especially Lula, and the humor. But by now, on Book 15, reading all the reviews that it's just a same old-same old rehash with none of the major story points resolved or moved forward even a micro-millimeter, I am hesitant to read #15.

I'm a Joe Morelli fan and want Stephanie to grow up, learn how to use a gun, stop messing around with Ranger and marry Joe. Evanovich has said in more than one interview that letting Stephanie decide between Ranger and Morelli would kill the series, but I believe the opposite is true...that dragging out the story line and having Steph refuse to make a choice is boring and even angering some readers...and that's what is killing the series. These are after all, mystery novels, not romance novels. The romance thing should get settled pronto so the series can continued in a reinvigorated way. At this point, the mystery is bogged down in the flailing romance and Steph's immaturity.

Gentlemen may ignore the following paragraph.

Any woman who reads the one rather detailed description of Joe with Steph in book Six and compares it to the one rather detailed description of Ranger with Steph in Book Eight would chose Joe in a heartbeat...for obvious reasons. Ranger's a wham, bam, thank-you-ma'am kind of guy, so I don't care how hot Evanovich says he is...Morelli's got him beat.

It also bugs me just how casually Steph cheats on Joe with Ranger, which I think distracts from the mystery aspects of the stories.

Any thoughts?

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Why is it that everyone seems to like Lula?
Very interesting. I don't care who Stephanie finally chooses, or sleeps with in the meantime. Maybe because I'm a guy? I found Evanovich with One for Money, and stuck with her for the fun and laughs until about nine or ten. Then I just got tired of the stories. I needed more tension, badder bad guys, I think. I'm going to try 15 because my wife says it's pretty good.
The mystery/detection part is just a cover for steamy romance stories. Both males are standard romance heroes. The humor was good in the first couple of books, but grandma also is static -- as is everyone else. Hence the same-old same-old.
Static is great word, IJ. Same people. Same jobs. Same bumbling. Same romantic conflict.

I never read them for the romance, though. I liked Stephanie, and she made me laugh. I just wanted to hang out with her for a few hours. Maybe that's one reason for her broad appeal -- the cross-genre thing?
B. R., I think everyone likes Lula because of her self-confidence, which is based in part on self-delusion, and that results in some pretty funny stuff. She's had a tough road, being a former lady of the night. She and Stephanie became friends in a odd way, and cling to each other because they're both totally incompetent. Put them together and they're even worse, but very funny.

And as for the steamy romance stuff, I. J., yes, Books Six and Eight were quite steamy in parts. But since then, Evanovich has not written another really hot romantic scene; she just teases and then draws the curtain. Can't figure out why she changed her style on that one.

Finally, Jack I have to agree with you about the quality of the stories. Twelve was the best for me; before and after haven't come near that standard.
You make me want to try 12 before 15. You are, I think, 100% right about Lula. It's her self-confidence we love, plus it's fun anticipating what she might say and do next.
As funny as Stephanie and her grandma and friends and all are, I started to tire of the series at #4, and finally gave up at #6. Frankly, I don't know how I stuck with it that long. I mean, how many cars can Stephanie blow up? How many times will she forget to load her gun or do whatever stupid thing she does?

The romance stuff is wholly unappealing to me. Sorry, Janet, but if I wanted to read romance novels, I'd read them.

Oh, and despite all that, everyone likes Lula because she's just cool.
I read 15, in part to find out if the triangle ever gets resolved. Not that I didn't laugh my butt off at most of the book, but many of the action sequences have been recycled. Do exploding cars, burning apartments, bounties sneaking out of windows, and Stephanie crashing at Ranger's because someone has taken over her apartment sound familiar? And some of those things are even recycled within the book itself, happening twice in this book.

I have always found the stories a little slim on plot, or at least the plot always seems to take a back seat to Stephanie's antics. I will admit I always read the books as soon as they come out, so Evanovich has hit upon something, but it would be nice to resolve some of Stephanie's issues and have some fresh trouble to deal with.
Holli, this really makes me sad, especially after a friend told me that the car that blows up is Lula's beloved red Firebird. It is all really boring by now. Stephanie's car blowing up has happened in every single book. Enough already! Let Stephanie have a car that lasts for a change.

Evanovich really needs to let Stephanie grow up, become at least minimally competent, stop eating so many donuts and so much birthday cake, and figure out that she loves Joe and needs to dump Ranger. Then Evanovich can move the romance thread to the back of her story line, and pump up the mystery element.

Okay, now here's the real reason why I want the donut/cake thing to stop. You know how Stephanie is always eating TastyKakes Butterscotch Krimpets? Evanovich makes them sound so scrumptious and I really have a thing for butterscotch. But they don't sell them in Texas. So I go online and find you can only order them in wholesale quantities and I sit in front of my computer for almost an hour, staring hynoptically at the huge box that contains 72 double packages of Butterscotch Krimpets, (144 cakes! Yikes!) seriously trying to talk myself into believing that it would be alright if I ordered them.

Somehow I managed to tear myself away from the computer before the deed was done, but it was a close call. I threw a virtual bucket of cold water over myself by reading the ingredients list...UGH! Hydrogenated everything, high fructose corn syrup and a long list of multi-syllabic chemicals.

And yet I still lie awake at night sometimes thinking about them, their near-irresistible siren call beckoning me afresh with each new volume published in the Plum series.

That's the real reason I'm mad at Janet Evanovich, for bringing Butterscotch Krimpets into my life. I probably just need to have a friend who lives in New Jersey send me one package. I'll bet (I hope against hope) that once I've had that one gloppy, chemical-laden cake I will recover from my affliction and never think about Butterscotch Krimpets again.

Yeah, right.
LOL!

And another thing, with all those donuts, cakes and butterscotch krimpets she eats, Stephanie should be big as a house by now. :P
That's such a great observation, Dan. You're absolutely right. In one book, Stephanie eats an entire birthday cake, makes herself sick and goes to bed. Ranger, who's constantly breaking into her apartment (which I think is creepy) comes upon her in her bed, and even though he doesn't eat dessert, he's so overcome by the smell of the birthday cake wafting up from Stephanie's body that he's momentarily tempted to break his own rules and dive in. But as usual, he gets a grip and just slips away, making you wonder why he bothered to break into Steph's apartment in the first place if he didn't have anything definite in mind.

(must stop thinking about Butterscotch Krimpets...even the name is tantalizing...also must stop thinking about Joe Morelli...he isn't real...he isn't real...)
Oh! I want to say something, but won't go there! :)

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