This book came from my own shelves, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Visions of Sugar Plums
Series: Stephanie Plum #8.5
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Pros and Cons, Top Secret Twenty-One, The Job, Two for the Dough, Stephanie Plum #3 – #7, Wicked Charms, Love Overboard, Stephanie Plums, Plum Spooky, , Tricky Twenty-Two, The Pursuit, The Scam, Curious Minds, Turbo Twenty-Three.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
First in the Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novels and falling in at 8.5 in the Stephanie Plum romantic suspense series revolving around a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Stephanie Plum books on my website.
I remember the first time I read Visions of Sugar Plums. And it was disconcerting. Very little Joe. No Ranger. But a lot of Diesel. Enigmatic, mysterious, and very cheeky with a good heart.
“‘Diesel is an alien or something,’ I said to Morelli. ‘He appeared in my kitchen this morning.’
‘As long as he didn’t spend the night,’ Morelli said. He reached around me to a cookie tin, removed the lid, and selected a cookie.”
Diesel is a new character (he now has his own series: Lizzy & Diesel) who will catch your interest if only for his forward sense of humor. He’s definitely an alpha male, although more laid back than Ranger or Joe. He also has his own set of special powers. And he likes Stephanie’s family!
Visions of Sugar Plums is, obviously, set during the holiday season. A time of stress and lots of family togetherness. It makes for a good peek in at Stephanie’s totally disorganized background, lol.
“How great is this?’ Grandma said. ‘If you marry Valerie we can celebrate some of those Jewish holidays. … Wait until I tell the girls at the beauty parlor that we might get a Jew in our family. Everyone’s going to be jealous.’
(This is followed by Stephanie’s assessment of what her dad’s thinking…)
Not that he had anything against Jewish guys. It was that chances were slim to nonexistent that Kloughn was Italian.”
Which of course leads to Mom’s reaction:
‘Maybe I need to put more cookies on the plate,’ my mother said, pushing back from the table.
One more cookie run and my mother was going to be passed out on the kitchen floor.”
One review I read of this story bemoaned the lack of forward progress for the characters, that it all stayed the same. It does. This is a series that is good for laughs and its lighthearted approach. I adore how Stephanie’s lower middle class life is celebrated — she’s real as is her family. And Evanovich makes it too, too funny as well even as she hands out nuggets for thought.
“‘But she wants one. She’ll hate me if I don’t get her a pony. It’ll ruin her Christmas.’
Boy, I was really glad I had a hamster. I was planning on giving Rex a raisin for Christmas.”
It’s a different FTA than Stephanie is used to hunting down. This one causes electrical storms and melts plastic Santas.
Stephanie Plum is a bumbling, well-meaning bounty hunter. Rex is her pet hamster. Dad tries to ignore everything around him — especially Grandma Mazur! Ellen is the perfect Burg mom and housewife: meals on the table at 6pm, complete to dessert, always a brownbag (Mom-packed, of course) to go home with her helpless daughter, and a vigilant eye out for Steph’s father lunging for Grandma.
Valerie is her “perfect” sister who had to return home after her hubby absconded with the baby sitter and all their money (see Seven Up, 7). Mary Alice and Angie are her daughters, well, technically anyway. Mary Alice thinks she’s a horse. Albert Kloughn is an ambulance-chasing lawyer for whom Valerie works (and dates).
Diesel is a laidback hunk with “powers” including that of popping in and out and popping locks. We first met the midget, er, I mean, the little person, Randy Briggs, in High Five, 5, when he was an FTA.
Lula is her plus-size sometimes-partner with a big mouth and a blustering approach to life. She will crack you up. Connie Rosolli is the big-busted, mustachioed office manager for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds and the very efficient descendant of a Mob family. Mrs. Bestler is very retired and likes to play elevator operator in Stephanie’s apartment building. Lorraine, Mr. Feinstein, and Mo Kleinschmidt are more elderly neighbors.
Detective Joe Morelli is Stephanie’s on-again boyfriend with brief cameos — he’s on a case. Carl Costanza and Big Dog are two cops Stephanie knows.
Sandy Claws, a.k.a., Sandor Clausen, has retired — hey, he lost his powers, so he might as well quit the game. Now he’s making toys. Elaine Gluck is his cookie-making sister. Lester is Sandy’s production manager. John Ring is also retired and is Sandy’s nemesis. Seems he hasn’t lost all his powers.
The Cover and Title
The cover of my book is bright green with raised gold lettering outlined in red for the author’s name and the title with a tiny, hog-ridin’ Santa ornament in leather jacket and Santa hat dangling from the “o” in Evanovich.
The title is what Stephanie has every Christmas, Visions of Sugar PlumsNow if only she could fulfill those visions…