Database Part 2

Full House by Janet Evanovich *Audiobook*

Full House (Full #1)

Single Mother, Billie Pearce, is looking for a little excitement in her life, like Polo, but Nicholas Kaharchek the Polo instructor instead brings chaos.

Title: Full House
Author: Janet Evanovich, Charlotte Hughes
Narrator: Lorelei King
ISBN: 
0312983271 (ISBN13: 9780312983277)

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Humor
Series? Yes; Full (can read as a standalone)

Publisher: St Martins
First Publication Date: 1989 (334 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $8.99
  • Paperback $1.27+
  • Audio CD/Cassette $5+
  • audiobook available through audible

Why I chose this book: 

I was looking for a single narrator audiobook which I felt would be simple enough to listen to while cleaning. I have enjoyed other books by Janet Evanovich, so I thought I’d give this one a try.

Author Interviews:

TIME

Audiofile Magazine

Significance:

Janet Evanovich is a big name in the industry, popular among women looking for books which will make them laugh. This book is one of the first that she wrote.

Awards: N/A

Synopsis: 

Billie Pearce is a single mother to two children and is somewhat recently divorced. This summer her children are off to Disneyland with their father leaving her alone and since she did not sign up to teach during the summer she is left with nothing to do. Wanting to fill the time and do something exciting, Billie signs up for Polo lessons. Not knowing how to actually ride a horse, will not deter her. She is determined to become exciting so her children will think she is cool. 

Nick Kaharcheck is a decently rich man who teaches lessons regarding horses, including Polo. Billie Pearce is trouble on a horse, but instead of being annoyed, he is intrigued and amused. She represents everything he doesn’t want or need in his bachelor-loving life, but he can’t help but feel attraction for Billie. 

A series of events has Billie putting Nick’s cousin Deedee up in her house to stay until Deedee’s wedding day. Nick ends up visiting often as he helps Billie deal with his cousin and her eccentricities. 

What neither of them realize is that this arrangement is not to the liking to a known killer who is hiding in their midst. 

Evaluation: 

  The story itself is quite simple. This book is more romance and less mystery with the main characters not actually needing or trying to solve a mystery until the last bit of the book, but the mystery elements still surround the characters affecting their actions. Therefore this is a book more for a romance reader and not a serious mystery reader. There are silly moments which the reader will either laugh or roll their eyes at. I feel like the romance was not built at a good pace and almost seemed awkward.

The characters stayed pretty stagnant with only enough change to get them together, but even that seemed iffy to me, since I do not believe everything was addressed. The children did not act their age, either seeming too old or way young. Also, the stereotypes were quite horrible. Given that this was written in the 80s I am a bit forgiving about this. 

Those who listen to Janet Evanovich will be familiar with the narrator, Lorelei King, who narrates most of Evanovich’s work.  All her books sound the same to me at the point with the main characters in every book having the same voice. So, if someone has never listened to Lorelei King, this may not bother them and the different voices may be entertaining to them. I thought some characters (within this novel) sounded very similar which could get weird, mainly Billie’s tween daughter and Deedee. That huge age difference does not come across in the voices.  Other than that, I think Lorelei King speaks clearly and at a good speed. 

One point I very much disliked about the audiobook was that music was put into it. Occasionally towards the end of a chapter leading into the beginning of the next chapter  there would be music — supposedly to help the ambiance, for example there is eerie, mysterious music at a moment when an intruder or the mystery aspect is brought up, again at the end of the chapter. This does not happen at every chapter transition either. The music was loud and, I felt, obtrusive, pulling me out of the story. 

Other Reviews:
 From Macmillan Website: “Will greatly please readers with its rapid-fire dialogue, roller-coaster pace, and unconventional characters.” —Booklist (starred review) on Full Bloom

Appeals:

fast-paced, witty banter, single mother with children, quirky, funny, upbeat

This is a book for someone looking for something light, non-serious that may make them chuckle

“Clues for the Future”

Billie Pearce, Nick Kaharcheck, Deedee (Nick’s Cousin), Max Holt (Nick’s Cousin, Deedee’s Brother), Polo – the one on horses, pest control man, rapid wedding

Rating:

  • Quality: 2★
    There may be more that can be done to improve the writing, story, and the characters. No diversity. 
  • Popularity: 4★
    Popular with romance fans and Janet Evanovich fans and the humor may work with a vast reading population.

Read-alikes

Bet Your Bottom Dollar (Bottom Dollar Girls #1)Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)An Affair to Dismember (The Matchmaker, #1)Hard Day's Knight

  • Bet Your Bottom Dollar by Karin Gillespie
    Both books feature a hard-working woman who falls for a rich bachelor, inspiring many laughs with their banter
  • Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
    This is for the readers who enjoyed the comedy and romance of the novel and even the teacher aspect.
  • An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax
    This is a romantic mystery full of humor and crazy characters
  • Hard Day’s Knight by Katie Macalister
    Both books feature unique characters, humor, and a charming romance

Booktalking ideas: 

I would like to highlight the humor with a quote allowing people to figure out if the humor is to their liking or not. Or I may just read the first chapter abridged since it describes everything one needs to know. 

The romance is more important than the mystery so I would talk more about who the characters are. 

Another idea would be to talk from Billie’s POV about how with just this one Polo lesson her life has become complicated and too crazy for her to handle. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What did you think about the mystery and the villain? The villain is the only person of color in this book and he has mental issues, do you think this is a problem or does the age of the book make this acceptable?
  2. What did you think about the romance and the wedding? 
  3. Towards the middle of the book Billie starts ti say how she dislikes change. Do you believe her? Do you think the author added it on for conflict?
  4. Do you think Billie will move into Nick’s home? 
  5. What did you think about Billie’s children? How about Max? Were they written well? Were they important to the story? 

 

Database Part 1

One Hot Summer by Kat French

One Hot SummerAlice McBride is heartbroken and running out of money, so she rents out her house and could never have expected how her life would change.

Title: One Hot Summer
Author: Kat French (also goes by Kitty French)
ISBN: 0007577621 (ISBN13: 9780007577620)

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Comedy
Series? No

Publisher: Avon
First Publication Date: June 2nd, 2016 (352 pages)

Available Formats on Amazon:

  • e-book $5.99
  • paperback $10.19
  • audiobook available through audible

Why I chose this book: 

Women’s fiction is something I tend to stay away from because I don’t connect, but this one seemed to have some humor to it, so I decided to try it.

Author Interviews:

 

Saint Heron

The Sub Club Books

Significance:

This book hosts unique characters in a small village.  The main character is quite resourceful, which I found refreshing and the love interest wasn’t a jerk — how new!

Awards: N/A

Synopsis: 

Being married to a celebrity is not all it is hyped up to be, Alice has learned. Her husband, a famous actor, is having an affair with his co-star and the media is spreading the news of it everywhere. Alice is trying not to let it keep her down, and she is determined not to lose the house, Borne Manor as well. She cannot imagine living anywhere else, but when the bank threatens to take the house from her she knows she must take action.

Alice rents out her house, moves into a small little space on her property, and begins thinking about other ways to make money. She is surprised to learn that her first renter, is none other than country music star Robinson Duff, and that he is famous. He is in England, trying to hide out somewhere quiet.

Neither are in the right position to be starting a romance and either of them wants to be in a relationship quite yet, but the pull between them continues to grow as they can’t help but learn more about each other.

Evaluation:

This is such a sweet and lovable story, full of quirky and interesting characters. I was honestly swept away by the sweetness and read the book without realizing how much time went past.
This book takes place in England but, the main guy love interest is a ‘cowboy’ from the US of A. At first I wasn’t sure how to take that. I might have groaned while thinking of how stereotypical the book was going to get. It didn’t. Well, okay there are a lot of things which were overdone but, they were used as a comedy factor! I didn’t realize I would laugh in this book but, I did! And I loved Robinson’s character. Speaking of comedy, that brings me to the village. Now, this is the part I’m sure people will either love or hate. Personally, I love it. I love goofy, silly characters. Absolutely absurd, at times, which make them seem unrealistic! Yet, I love it.

I thought the romance flowed well and wasn’t instantaneous, it really built up a bit becoming not quite a slow burn, but definitely taking time. The conflict was sad and made me connect to the characters more. I think it was beautifully done. I thought parts were really realistic which I absolutely loved (i.e. when Alice goes to the bank) but there was still a lot of unrealistic events which made the book charming and cute, to me, but might make other reader’s balk at how things were written.

All in all, these are fun characters to read about, written well, and has a gentle plot to bring the reader along with.

Other Reviews: 

*No professional reviews found*
Harlequin Junkie

Snippets shown on Amazon:
‘Laughter and tears, highs and lows of life, love and yes, even death, in a small, quirky English town.’

‘I laughed, sobbed, shouted and sighed all the way to the end.’

‘A hot redhead, a sexy Irishman, scandal, sex, adultery, tragedy, death and arson – there’s not much you won’t find in this fab book.’

Appeals: 

light read, romantic comedy, England village location, celebrity love interest, quirky characters

This is a great summer read for those who do not want to think deeply about things, but want to connect to characters and relax.

“Clues for the Future” 

Alice McBride, Brad McBride (ex), Robinson Duff (love interest), Borne Manor (home for rent), making property multiple rental spots

Rating:

  • Quality: 5★
    Absolutely amazing
  • Popularity: 3★
    Not many people know about this one, no professional reviews, but with some nudging to the right people it will go far.

Read-alikes: 

Midsummer MagicThe Sunshine And Biscotti ClubFull Scoop (Full #6)The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week

  • Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams
    A romantic comedy set during summer.
  • The Sunshine and Biscotti Club  by Jenny Oliver
    A light summery read in Italy (foreign country) that features a cheating husband and how the wife recovers splendidly.
  • Full Scoop by Janet Evanovich & Charlotte Hughes
    A light romantic comedy featuring a horrible ex, but a great new love interest. Does feature a mystery though.
  • The Woman Who Fell in Love for a Week by Fiona Walker
    A romantic comedy and a woman trying to get back on her feet, featuring quirky neighbors.

Booktalking Ideas: 

This is a book which requires a focus on the characters, really bringing out who they are and letting the cast shine. I would describe Alice and her neighbors, cruel Brad, and then Robinson Duff, the renter and famous musician.

I might also bring up the scenery, the calm of it and how it is summer time and pleasant. I really want to create an atmosphere of peace, calm, and people on the verge of change.

Reading some of the banter between Alice and Robinson might be fun and show how the book is also a comedy. This or an interaction between Alice and her neighbors.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Alice has some very quirky neighbors with huge personalities. What did you think of them? Are they realistic or did their behavior make you disbelieve the book?
  2. This is a book set in England, but Robinson actually in American. How well did the author make Robinson seem American against the British characters? Do you think he was full or stereotypes or was written well?
  3. What do you think of Alice’s idea of turning her property into multiple rental sights? Fun? Overwhelming? Plausible?
  4. What do you think of the ending? Is this a realistic happily ever after? Does it matter to you?