Mother’s Day Gifts for the Book Lover

Some last minute ideas for Mom

Mother’s day is coming up and I just wanted to post some gift ideas she might like.

Books are the obvious choice. You could choose a gift card from a book store that you know she frequents. You could also check out her Goodreads page for a wish list or on Amazon.

If you are married searching for a gift, you could get a book that your partner could read to your little one. If you are an older child or adult, you could choose a book both of you would like for a buddy read.

Besides books there are so many choices. Gift shops and book stores have candles that represent different authors like Hemmingway and Austen.

Tea and coffee are always a good choice. If she has a favorite get that or try out something new. There is a brand of tea called Novelty Tea Tins. You could also add a coffee mug.

Bookmarks are always a good choice. I like to pick up a few every so often. Besides the regular book marks, there are some made specifically to mark special passages in a book. Many readers like those to use while immersed in a good story so they can go back for favorite quotes.

Some readers like book bags and book sleeves. I tend to use my book bags for when I go book shopping.

There are also novelty book socks. I have a pair of Edgar Allen Poe socks I like to drag out in October to help get me in the mood for the season.

There are always the more obvious gifts you can get like flowers, cologne, specialty bath soaps, chocolates, jewelry, or you could take her to lunch.

I hope this gave you some ideas.

I will be cooking out with my kids this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a time I always look forward to sharing with them. Do you have any annual events for your Mother’s Day weekend?

Coming Soon:

I have completed reading a couple of books this past week so will have reviews for both The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson, also The Last Word by Taylor Adams. If you have read either of these, be ready to discuss later this week.

Happy Reading!


After Anne

By Logan Steiner


I am grateful to Goodreads for the chance to read this uncorrected proof of this novel. I looked forward to reading it and prepared myself by reading Anne of Green Gables first.

The novel is well written and it felt like an extension of Lucy M Montgomery’s own work but it wasn’t. The author’s voice seemed similar to her subject’s.

The story starts before Lucy has published her famous Anne of Green Gables. It shows how difficult it was for her to pursue a writing career at that time. Everyone acted as if it was just a hobby and once she was married, she wouldn’t have the need to pursue a career any longer.

It made me feel for Lucy because everyone seemed to be working against her. She does finish the novel and actually put off marrying while she completed her work because she suspected that if she waited, it might not happen. The book highlighted how women of the time were meant to take care of the home and family but not seek doing anything else they might find fulfilling.

The story was told in different time lines and I felt it was easy to get confused as to what year it was, even though each chapter had the dates. I found myself flipping back and forth to make sure I was following the story correctly. The author jumped from the past, when Lucy celebrated a couple of her birthdays with her cousin Frede and the time after when she was married.

Lucy’s journals indicated that Anne of Green Gables was roughly based on Frede, her wild spirit cousin.

While a small child, her mother died and her father abandoned her to be raised by her grandmother. When the story starts, she is an adult who has come back home after college. Her grandmother handles the mail for the area and people come to her home to retrieve it.

The handsome, young minister appears to be the most eligible bachelor in the community and several of the single women are vying for his attention. Even though he obviously is interested in Lucy, she doesn’t appear to have noticed him.

Her grandmother waits until Ewan Macdonald, the minister shows up to get his mail and suddenly has something else to do, leaving Lucy to hand it over to him.

When others tell Lucy that the man is interested in her, she finally takes notice. She decides he is worth pursuing.

Ewan is so shy that it is Lucy who attempts to kiss him first. It still takes them a long time to get serious.

He eventually proposes but Lucy puts him off because she knows if she marries, she will probably not be able to finish her novel.

Their home life seems ideal until Lucy becomes famous and Ewan starts struggling because he is unable to provide for their family as well as his wife.

We eventually learn that Ewan can’t handle that he thinks Lucy cares more about her writing than him.

Ewan suffers serious depression and her publisher pushes her to keep writing more of the series than she had ever planned to right. Lucy struggles. She wants to write about other stuff but because Ewan’s illness is affecting his career, she is pushed even harder to continue the successful series to be able to provide for them financially.

There was also a storyline about another man that Lucy was attracted to while Ewan’s condition continued to get worse. Edwin, the other man, encouraged her with her writing and seemed to be giving signals that he had feelings for Lucy. But when she acknowledged her feelings for him, Edwin exited her life and returned to his own unhappy marriage.

The story follows Lucy until she is an old woman. It shows highlights of the happy and sad moments of her life. We see her two boys grow and have families of their own and we follow her journey to the end of her life.


I think I might have enjoyed this more if I had thought it was non-fiction. The author says she used Lucy’s journals and filled in the gaps. Because it is called a novel, I am not sure what is true and what isn’t.

I do believe it was well written. The author is a skilled writer. It was interesting to find out more about Lucy Montgomery.

I guess I was a little disappointed with where the story went. The author tells you about the end, in the very beginning of the book and it was a shock for me. I would have liked to have read the story in a more linear style and found out at the end what happened to Lucy. I think because of her hardships, I could understand why it happened but I think knowing from the beginning ruined it for me.

I do like this author’s writing style and may look for future books from her, depending on the subject matter. I think she probably did do a great deal of research but I wish she could have written this more as a biography than a novel. Because of that, I gave it 3 stars.

Published: May 30, 2023

Category: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Rating: Goodreads rating is 4 stars

Setting: Prince Edward Island

About the Author:

Logan Steiner is an Assistant United States Attorney in Denver. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Pomona College and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. She says that balancing lawyering, writing, and mothering is not easy but she finds that they complement more than compete. Being a lawyer makes her a clearer writer, being a writer makes her a happier lawyer, and being a mother makes her a more grounded one of each.

I hope you found this review helpful.

Are you a fan of Anne of Green Gables? I tried not to leave spoilers in this review. I hope you do read this book. If you do, come back here and let me know your thoughts.

Have you read something recently you think I might enjoy? Leave a comment to let me know.

May you find yourself lost in a book soon,


What Did I Read in April?

This is going to be a quick message to review what I read in April.


Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich – I gave it 4 stars

Sinister Spring by Agatha Christie – 4 stars

The Shop on Royal Street by Karen White – 3 stars


Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery – 5 stars

Historical Fiction:

After Anne by Logan Steiner – 3 stars


All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot – 4 stars

If you are new to my blog, the reviews for these books can be found under their genre in the menu on the side. All except After Anne – I will be reviewing that one this Friday. Those reviews will summarize the book and explain why I rated each book the way that I did.

For April my visitors came not only from the United States but also, Ireland, Canada, Germany, France, India, Taiwan, China, Philippines, and Japan.

If you are like me, I enjoy a little bit of stats information. So far this year, my most popular post was – What I read in January. It had 107 views.

I appreciate all of my visitors to this site. I currently have 419 subscribers and I would love to see that number explode. If you know anyone else who might be interested in So Many Books, you can direct them to

May you find yourself lost in a book soon,


Independent Bookstore Day!

Here are just a sampling of local independent bookstores in the Des Moines area and there are more.

The top left photo is of Plain Talk Books & Coffee in Downtown Des Moines a shop I need to visit.

Top middle is Walls of Books, a shop I am very familiar with in Ankeny.

Photo bottom left is Beaverdale Books, a shop I have visited often not just for books but they do have monthly author events and book clubs.

Top right is Storybook Pub House – another shop I need to check out.

And the last is Pageturners in Indianola, a shop I have frequented often. I love that they have a mixture of new and old books and their children’s section would be a fun place to take a grandchild. There is a wide variety of books to choose from.

I know there are a few more new shops in the area that I am not familiar with and need to explore. I will in the near future. Of course there are the large chains like Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books but I wanted to focus on Indies with this post.

In future posts I plan to do a more intimate introduction of each of these shops as well as more in surrounding areas. I am thinking possible day trips this summer to small towns so let me know of any in your area.

If you are interested in book shops from all over the United States, I would highly recommend this book.

This was a book I took my time reading. Every day I would pick it up and read about a different book store. It was interesting reading about the book stores that authors recommend.

In the future, I hope to use this book as a reference. While reviewing books, I will see if the author has mentioned their favorite in this book. I am also curious to see how many of these bookstores were affected by Covid and if they are still around.

But that is too sad to dwell on. Today is the day to support your local indies. I know that Beaverdale Books has some fun stuff planned for today. A good reason to maybe do a bookshop hop.

Let me know who your favorite bookstore is and why. Do you have a favorite?

Why Should You Add Classics to Your Book List?

I enjoy classics because they never grow old. They have stories that pull you in and hold onto you until the very last page.

“When you re-read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.” Cliff Fadiman

Someone recommended this book to me many years ago. I did purchase it but it sat on my shelf. I have been trying to dip into the classics and decided this would be a perfect spring read. It was.

First Published: January 1, 1908

Category: Classic, Young Adult, Historic Fiction

Setting: Prince Edward Island

Pages: 384

Goodreads Rating: 4.30


I enjoy classics because they never grow old. They have stories that hold you like a warm hug. They have characters you love and they are written with a passion that can be felt even a hundred years after they were first written.

If you are like me and have never read Anne of Green Gables, it is the story of a little orphan girl who is adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, an older unmarried pair of siblings.

Matthew and Marilla live on a farm on Prince Edward Island. Because they are getting up in age, they decided a young boy would be helpful for Matthew with the farm chores.

Matthew drives to the train station to pick up the little boy and finds Anne sitting there waiting. The station master tells Matthew there is no little boy, only the little girl.

Matthew who is very shy finally approaches Anne and finds out that yes, she was the child sent to them. He doesn’t let her know of his disappointment. He takes her home because he has no choice, he can’t leave her there alone.

On their way home, Anne talks constantly. ( A trait I noticed when raising both a boy and a girl. My daughter, when she was small, was the chatter box. ) Anne talked constantly while Matthew listened. On that ride home, she stole his heart.

Of course Marilla said she had to go back and Matthew had already decided to leave the raising of the child to Marilla but when he had a moment alone, he let her know that he thought maybe she should stay. She could keep Marilla company.

Anne’s heart is broken and she cries all night while Marilla sleeps on it. After Marilla and Anne go to visit the woman who was supposed to bring the boy they find out that there had been a miscommunication.

In the meantime, Marilla learns about the struggles Anne has already had to endure. She’d been loaned out to other families to help raise children and do housework. She’d often been treated like a slave. She learns that Anne has not had a chance to have a childhood.

Marilla’s heart is softened and she decides to give Anne a try. The story then tells of their time together as a family and how they learn to love each other and grow.


There are lots of heartwarming characters within the community and you feel for Anne as she tries to fit in but always seems to make mistakes. Sometimes I too wanted to shake Anne because she kept doing so many things she shouldn’t but I learned to love her despite her over active imagination.

Marilla was chosen to raise the child so sometimes she had to be the bad guy. I loved watching her character evolve as Marilla opened her heart to Anne and her attitude softened.

Loved the inter action between Anne and the other children. Anne was a born leader and half the time they all got into trouble for following.

It felt like a snapshot of the past. You were able to experience how life was then without the hardships.

Montgomery tells the story beautifully making you want to pick up the book and read yet not necessarily want to finish it because you’ve come to love her world.

If you want a read that warms your heart and gives you hope, this would be a good choice. This is a book I would read over and over again. I gave this book 5 stars.

I guess I have always had some connection to Anne.

I felt for Anne who hated her red hair. People often made fun of it. I too am a redhead and though I did go through a phase where some kids at school taunted me by saying – I’d rather be dead than red, I ignored them and grew up thinking my hair was beautiful because it was different.

Anne also always pointed out that her name was spelled with an e. I ran into a similar situation when naming my daughter. Her name is Jennifer Anne and the hospital kept trying to drop the e off the end.

About the Author:

Lucy Maude Montgomery was born at Clifton, Prince Edward Island November 30, 1874. She lived at Leaskdale, after marrying Rev Ewen MacDonald on July 11, 1911. She had three children and wrote almost a dozen books. She died April 24, 1942 and is buried at Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.

Coming Soon:

Another reason I chose to read Anne of Green Gables at this time is because I was gifted an uncorrected arc of a book from Goodreads. That book is After Anne – by Logan Steiner. This is a novel that was written using L M Montgomery’s journals. I will have a full review soon.

A House With Good Bones

Afraid of what might go bump in the night, or crawl, or bite?

By: T Kingfisher

Year Published: March 2023

Genre: Horror

Pages: 247

Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Setting: North Carolina

Maybe you should be afraid of what goes bump in the night, or crawls, or bites.


The book starts off when Samantha Montgomery’s brother tells her that Mom seems off. Samantha is excited to be visiting her mother while on an extended leave from work. She specializes in bugs and a project she was working on is stalled.

She walks in surprised to see her mother’s usually cluttered, brightly painted home, now a sterile white and neat. Her mother’s home isn’t the only thing that seems off. Her mother acts as though she is scared and looks for every opportunity to be gone from the house for a few days. Before she leaves though, Sam overhears her mother say that Sam should be safe.

After a few strange occurrences, Sam decides to dig into what is going on. She soon finds out that some things are better left buried.


I listened to this book on audio book and I had high hopes for it. The author’s voice is very natural. I enjoyed the humor and the odd characters in the community. Loved that mom kept trying to fix Sam up with the handyman and also enjoyed Gayle the neighborhood witch who communicated with vultures. When Sam asked Gayle to help at the climax, I thoroughly enjoyed Gayle’s response that she was an herbal witch and what was she supposed to do?

Everything came together as the story was being told until the very end. I didn’t feel like it was a satisfactory ending. There were hints about the scary characters throughout the book but I couldn’t envision what the author was trying to explain in the climax. I don’t know if this is because I listened to the book instead of physically reading it. So I guess I expected more. I rated this book with three stars. That doesn’t mean I have given up on this author. I have purchased another of her books to read in the future. If you like horror that doesn’t keep you up at night, I would recommend this book.

Author Info:

T Kingfisher is the pen name for Ursula Vernon. She also writes children’s books and comics. She has won several awards including the Hugo, Sequoya, and Ursa Major. T Kingfisher is her pen name for her adult books. Goodreads says that when she is not writing, she is probably in the garden trying to make eye contact with butterflies. Which makes total sense, if you read this book.

This is my twenty-first book read this year and I have so many more to read. So many books, so little time. I am enjoying books again this year and I think setting the Goodreads goal has helped.

Coming soon: I am currently reading Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery. It is a classic that I am reading for the first time. I had seen a couple adaptations, one I really enjoyed was Anne with an E on Netflix. I highly recommend that series. I have re-watched a little bit of that while reading this book. It appears that they followed the book fairly closely in that first season.

I am looking forward to my next read – After Anne – by Logan Steiner. It is an uncorrected arc I won from Goodreads Giveaways. It says it is a novel about the life of the author of Anne of Green Gables – L M Montgomery. I don’t know much more about it and choose to read the book for more information. I also decided I needed to read Anne of Green Gables book first, hoping that may help me sort through the information in After Anne. I look forward to reviewing both books soon.

May you always have a good book handy,


The Shop on Royal Street

By Karen White

Year Published : 2022

Category: Mystery

Pages: 384

“Atmospheric and rich, White’s writing is an indulgent pleasure to read.” – Shelf Awareness


The story takes place in New Orleans. Nola Trenholm a twenty something lyric writer has moved from Charleston and is looking at houses with her Realtor stepmom, Melanie Trenholm. It would be difficult if she only had to worry about Melanie’s little eccentricities. Melanie has a little OCD and a thing about spreadsheets. To make things even more difficult, Melanie sees dead people.

Melanie has agreed to not say anything about anything that she sees to Nola who doesn’t want to know. Considering she grew up in her family home in Charleston that had several resident spirits.

Nola has found a Creole cottage that probably should have been torn down but she believes she can re-build it.

The story shows the reader a little history of New Orleans and that probably most houses are haunted.

Melanie eventually goes back home to Charleston leaving Nola to deal with Beau Ryan, a former love interest of Nola’s who happens to own the property. He tries to discourage Nola from purchasing it but Nola talks him into selling it to her.

There is a little glimpse of a possible romance between Nola and Beau but she doesn’t want to get between him and his current girlfriend.

Nola meets Jolene, who works for Ryan. When she finds out that Jolene needs a place to stay, she invites her to be a room mate and eventually move into the house with her.

Jolene takes on some of the characteristics of Melanie. She is very conscious about her appearance, she tries to make everything perfect in the home, she tries to take care of Nola but the one difference is that Jolene is a really good cook. Jolene also uses southern phrases that her grandmother always says. Jolene is a good source of humor in this story.

If you have read any of Karen White’s other books in The Tradd Street series, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Nola’s house is haunted.

The rest of the book shows how Nola and Ryan make the home habitable in more ways than one.


I do love the Tradd Street series and this is a spin off of that series of books. It has a lot of similarities to that series even though the main characters are different. The one thing I miss in this series was the angst and suffering between Melanie and Jack. They were so much in love but when it all seemed to be working for them something would happen and they would split up, leaving me and them broken hearted.

I saw a little bit of the love interest with Nola and Beau but it didn’t go deep enough to make me really feel sad for them. I plan to read the next one in this series and hope the romance will be as memorable as Melanie and Jack’s.

I enjoyed this book, Karen White’s writing style is easy to read and she always sucks me in. With that said though, this wasn’t my favorite. It was still good but I felt some of the Tradd Street series were better. Because of that, I gave this one 3 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about things that go bump in the night but don’t necessarily leave you too scared to fall asleep.

I would also recommend reading The Tradd Street series first.

This book marks my 20th book read so far this year. I am now half way to my goal of 40 books for Goodreads.

I have been working on my blog to update it. I hope you like the new look. I wanted something a little cleaner and less busy. You can now find my book reviews by category, author interviews, and a few author events, I will have some posts about books stores coming soon. If you also write, I have older posts under uncategorized about the writing process. Just check out the category section on the side bar to navigate through my posts.

May you always have a good book handy,


Six Steps to Moving Your Books

I haven’t had to move in a while but I do remember the last time I had promised to get rid of a lot of books but when it came down to crunch time, I couldn’t. I was working full time, raising two kids and we had to move to an apartment while we built our house. I had to find a kennel for our dog for a couple of months and even though we visited Buddy frequently, I felt guilty.

Because we had to move twice, we had stuff stored in several locations, a storage unit, friends basement, and family member’s basement. By the time we were actually ready to move, I wasn’t sure where anything was at anymore.

When it came down to it, I didn’t have the time to weed through my books like I should have nor the time to sell them, so I hid them from my husband. Sure I got rid of some but I also moved a lot of books.

If I had to do it over again, this is what I would suggest:

  • First do some measurements in your new home. Do you have the book shelf space to hold all of your books? If the space is limited, do you want to fill it with books as soon as you move in, or do you want to allow for some new books later?
  • Weed through your collection. If you really don’t think you will read a book or re-read one, now is the time to either donate, gift it, or sell it.
  • Know that it may take you a while to unpack your books after your move, so pick out how ever many you think you might need to have handy to read until you can get all of them sorted and put on your new shelves. Depending on how fast you read and how long you think it will take you to unpack, I would suggest at least a couple of books.
  • Pack the box less than half full of books otherwise, you will not be able to carry the boxes. Pack some towels or clothing on top of the books. It won’t add that much weight and it might help protect your books during the move.
  • If you know ahead of time that you will need more shelf space, make arrangements to have book cases installed before you unpack.
  • Before you move, decide how you want to display your books. Will you alphabetize by title or author, arrange them by color, stack a series, or separate by genre? Now is the time to figure that out. It will be so much easier to re-shelve them if you have a plan.

I have two floor to ceiling book cases on either side of my fireplace in the family room. I currently have my unread books on one side, not in any order. On the other side I have the books I have read, alphabetized by author. I do have another book case in my office and a credenza for my overflow. I would like to keep only the books that will fit in those spaces. I have not achieved that goal yet but I am working on it.

Bonus Suggestion: If all else fails and you are down to the wire before the move and you told your husband you would get rid of books before the move. Mark the packing boxes Kitchen/Pans. He will understand why they are so heavy and since it says Kitchen, I can promise no one else will unpack that box for you.

I hope you find my suggestions helpful and if you’re moving, I feel for you. It is both the most exciting and exhausting time and it will take a while for that new house to feel like a home. Having your books handy after you have settled in will be a blessing.

If you found this helpful, please share with your friends. I would also love for you to like and subscribe.

I have been working on my website and if you take the time to check out my menu, you will see that my author interviews are in a drop down as well as my book reviews. Going forward you will be able to locate the book reviews by title in that drop down as well. Some of my older posts contain multiple reviews so most of those are under the fiction tab. I hope this makes it easier to navigate. It will take me a little longer to fix a few things but I hope going forward the site will be more user friendly.

Coming Soon: Book Review for Karen White’s – The House on Royal Street

Until Next Time,



Meeting R F Kuang

I attended another AVID (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) Thursday night. This was the second author of seven.

These events are usually held in the Central Library in downtown Des Moines. Most of them fill the room and I have met readers who have driven from out of state to attend. They are free and a great way to connect with favorite and new authors. If you are local, I hope you take advantage of this program.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the first author for 2023 – Sarah Penner, the author of The Lost Apothecary. Thursday, we had Rebecca F Kuang, the author of Babel.

Babel is a fantasy novel, and I don’t usually read fantasy but this one has a lot of good reviews all over BookTube. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the book because I plan to read it and review it later. This one I will be stepping out of my comfort zone but I am willing to read a good read in most genres.

I was chatting with a member of the audience before the talk. I told her I don’t usually read fantasy. She corrected me and said it wasn’t really fantasy but she couldn’t tell me what genre she thought it was. I felt vindicated later when the author described it as fantasy. So, something new for me.

Rebecca F Kuang is an award-winning, #1 New York Times best selling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, one of the year’s most acclaimed novels, and her 2023 book, Yellowface.

Rebecca F Kuang has a master’s degree in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and a master’s in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale.

I didn’t want to know too much about Babel before I read it but from her talk, I believe it has something to do with languages.

Rebecca recommended that all readers read a book in another language and one that has been translated from another language.

I look forward to reading Babel very soon.

I am currently reading a Karen White novel, The Shop on Royal Street – a new series that takes Melanie’s stepdaughter Nola from her Tradd Street series that was set in Charleston to New Orleans. It is another ghost story and I do love those. A review will follow soon.

I also am listening to an audio book by T Kingfisher – A House with Good Bones. Another kind of ghost story told in a humorous way. I will be reviewing this one soon too.

What are you currently reading? Anything you can recommend? Have you been able to attend any bookish events in your area?

Sinister Spring/Explosive Eighteen

I am one of those people who really likes to finish a book before I start another one. I will DNF (Did not finish) a book if I really am not enjoying it or if it feels like too much work. But I do enjoy listening to an audio book once in a while.

This week I finished two books. Sinister Spring by Agatha Christie and Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Both mysteries but that is probably the only thing they had in common. Sinister Spring is a hard cover while Explosive Eighteen is an audio book. In fact it is a re-listen. I love this series. That is my secret but I don’t always finish the audio book the same week I start it. I listen while driving and walking. It is what helps me get out and move.

Sinister Spring is a series of books that are hard covers with short stories. Each book is for a different season. So far, I own Sinister Spring, Midwinter Murders, and Midsummer Mysteries. I plan to buy the Fall edition as soon as it is available.

Sinister Spring was filled with warm cozy stories told by a handful of Christie protagonists. Poirot, Miss Marple, Parker Pyne, and the Tommy and Tuppence stories, I enjoyed most of them. I don’t remember Parker Pyne though I had heard of his character in a recent biography of Christie.

The cover and end pages are beautiful in this edition and were the main reason I wanted them for my collection. The cover has a lot of shiny gold on it. I liked the way the covers looked so much that I bought the Midwinter Murders in hard cover even though I already owned a paperback.

I think my favorite of the stories was Greenshaw’s Folly. Like most of her stories, it was set in a small town. This involved an older woman who lived in a large home. She was the last of her family line. Her will is witnessed and soon she is found dead. Was it her housekeeper, her gardener, her nephew, or a stranger?

As usual, she sprinkles enough clues that I usually guess who the murderer is but she always spins a nice tale explaining everything. All these stories had been published in a multitude of magazines beginning in the twenties, but this is the first time they have been included in a book together. I enjoyed them and do plan to read them again next spring. I gave it 4 stars while Goodreads gave it 3.86.

Explosive Eighteen is a re-read for me. I listened to it in an audio book. If you have not tried audio books, I highly recommend this series. All the voices are different for each of the quirky characters. I love Lulu and Grandma, but I am guessing those are everyone’s favorites.

Stephanie Plum is the main character. She picks up people who were bonded out by her cousin Vinnie. Stephanie lives in New Jersey. She is single but has an on-going relationship with two lovers. Morelli, the cop and Ranger, who hunts the really bad criminals out on bond. He also runs a security company. He often supplies Stephanie with vehicles because she has a bad habit of getting them blown up.

If you ever go to one of Janet Evanovich’s book signings, which I did at a conference in Nashville several years ago, called Killer Nashville. She has pins at her table for you to pick up and vote for either Morelli, or Ranger. Personally, I think Stephanie’s only chance for marriage is with Morelli.

Lulu is her assistant. Lulu is a former Prostitute. She is a larger than life woman who wears her clothes three sizes smaller than she should. She has a Firebird that she drives, and she carries a handgun, not that she really knows what to do with either one of them. Lulu helps get Stephanie into trouble. Again, not that Stephanie needs much help doing that.

Grandma Mazur lives with Stephanie’s parents. Her long-suffering father who tries not to get too involved with anything and her mother who often takes a nip of her cooking sherry.

Most of the people Stephanie gets involved with are so strange and quirky but somehow the author makes you believe it and by the end of the book, you really want more. I haven’t read all of them, but I plan to eventually catch up.

This story involved Stephanie’s return from Hawaii and her left ring finger having a tan line. We don’t learn that much about what that was all about, but I am guessing the next book will tell more. While on her flight back, someone sticks a large envelope into her messenger bag. When she gets home and opens it, it is a picture of a strange man. She tosses the envelope into the garbage.

Immediately she becomes the target of lots of people looking for that envelope. In this story we meet Buggie, a big stupid oaf that Stephanie needs to capture. Before she can get him to the police station, he keeps stealing her car.

Lulu accidentally drinks a supposed love potion and becomes enamored of Buggie. No one understands that but that situation leads to more problems for Stephanie.

These stories are always a great ride, and they are easy to listen to and I often find myself laughing a lot. I gave this one 4 stars while Goodreads gave it 3.96.

With 19 books read so far this year, I am feeling good about my Goodreads yearly goal of 40. Do you use Goodreads and have you ever participated in the yearly challenge?

I have just started reading another Karen White novel but I will tell more about that as soon as I finish reading it. I do love her series so don’t expect any surprises but maybe I will be able to introduce you to a new series.

Happy Reading,


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