on July 3, 2003
I am a Janet Evanovich fan, having read all of her Plum novels. It was exciting to find that she was reintroducing a new series, as I am also a fan of series books and have enjoyed Evanovich's style of humor and mystery. Of course, knowing the new series was a romantically based plot, I didn't expect mystery, but I did expect realism, interesting characters and unpredictable story lines. Disappointingly, what I got was just the opposite.
If this has been the first Evanovich book I ever read, I never would have picked up "One for the Money" and the others. The plot is not only predictable and unrealistic, it is flat out unbelievable and immature. It could have been written by a starry-eyed teenager, dreaming of her knight-prince to come in on his horse and sweep her off her feet away from all the problems of the world. Come on, this is the real world here.
The female lead, a divorced mother who conveniently has time to spare given that her children are away for the summer, falls into a rapid romance with a rich, good looking, seemingly perfect man (all the stuff we dream of, girls) who pursues her and asks her to marry him after only knowing her for a few days! The children, upon their return, welcome him with open arms, and all ends happily, despite minor tribulations from absurd characters, a seemingly early, albeit poor, attempt at the Plum style of colorful, goofy characters.
(While I know the Plum novels were not entirely realistic either, most of the plot lines were believable and the characters had some depth. None of that here.) Again, I did not expect this to be a Plum novel, and didn't want it to be, but I expected it to be well thought out and believable.
The bottom line: I abandoned this book on the lounge chair in Mexico, only half-read. Maybe someone else picked it up and enjoyed it, but in reality, I hope it was thrown out by the attendant.
on May 30, 2004
I am a BIG fan of the Stephanie Plum novels. They are such fun to read, so I decided to try other books by Ms. Evanovich, starting with Full House.
The first half of the book was rather vanilla, but not intolerably so. There was little plot, the characters were uninteresting, and the viewpoint was a hodge-podge of omniscient and third person subjective which was so confusing at times, I had a hard time separating truth/fact from character opinion. For someone as well-published as Evanovich, this book was very poorly written. It reads like someone's first novel. When I learned it was one of her earlier works, I thought I could cut her some slack, but to find out this is a re-written version of it -- BLECH. She should have known enough about how to tell a story by now. This book should have been allowed to go quietly out of print.
I lost interest half-way through the book, and while I am struggling to force myself through it, I don't think I'm going to make it. The dialog is boring, the characters cardboardy, and the plot has simply died. There's nowhere for them to go. The conflict has just petered out, so it's more like looking in the window of an ordinary person, watching their ordinary daily lives. Yawn. Don't waste your money. Get a Stephanie Plum novel if you want a fun read.
on April 30, 2004
Apparently Janet Evanovich wrote romances in an earlier incarnation and this is one of them. Macho men aren't supposed to read romances but there's only one new Stephanie Plum a year and my addiction is such that I had to scrape the barrel.
As regrards plot it has the one size fits all plot derived from "Pride and Prejudice". Elizabeth Bennett is played by Billy Pearce, a divorced 38 year old mother of two. Darcy is played by Nicholas Kaharchek,a millionaire newspaper owner and polo horse trainer There are some misunderstandings between them but then in the end you'll never guess what happens.
Are there any traces of the brilliance of the One, Two, Three ...Nine series? Occasionally - there's a good scene of buying a wedding dress with a salesperson whose previous job was IRS auditor. The writing is full of cliches. On one page we have"expert hands" "Thoughts into a tailspin""utterly confused""fresh-scrubbed look""simple nature""put on airs" and a man wonders "What was the power she had over him that made him desire her." I've read that romance writers deliberately stick to stereotyped plots and use cliches so maybe it's not all JE's fault. A lot of people like romances and many art forms use conventional formulas. (And Pride and Prejudice is a great novel.}
It's interesting from the point of view of Evanovichian scholarship and I'd love to know what the input of Charlotte Hughes was and to lay my hands on an unaltered early work.
on January 7, 2004
I find Billie Pearce to be annoying beyond belief. Endless thoughts that go over the same ground, over and over and over... when at one point she said something like "I'm such a moron," I thought wow, at last some real self-awareness. She decides she loves Nick based on very little - particularly after she realizes that, while pain medication was affecting her resistance, he took advantage of her to foist off his annoying airhead cousin DeeDee on her, when he could just as easily have parked DeeDee in a hotel - and probably one that has French Provincial furniture, to boot - Loudon County is actually relatively close to DC, and it's not like DeeDee was doing anything in particular in Loudon County while she waited for her wedding day to roll around. There were logic leaps and holes, unbelieveable characters, idiot behavior (Billie deciding to jump out of a cake at a bachelor party because all men are pigs, and if her fiance is going to root with the pigs, then she's going to make sure that she's the truffle), quirky characters who are more like fingernails on a blackboard than endearingly cute... et cetera et cetera... Billie is priggish, selfish, self-absorbed, and completely spineless. She lets herself get backed into marrying Nick because she's trying to keep DeeDee from fixing her up - she's only known DeeDee a day or two, but she apparently can't tell her no. When DeeDee tells Raoul rather pointedly that he's not invited to the double wedding (it's family and politicians only, DeeDee says), even though Billie counts Raoul as a friend she just shrugs and says, basically, sorry you can't come. She says she trusts Nick, but then her actions and endless ruminations show that she doesn't trust him at all. Why they love each other is beyond me - Billie's rather like one of my sisters - the one my other sisters and I enjoy talking about when we get together because of all the annoying and stupid things she does. I don't remember Full Tilt being nearly this irritating, and I enjoy most of the Stephanie Plum novels (there was some serious sagging in the middle of the series), but this book just goes to show how a writer can learn and improve. This novel should give hope to anyone that, with a little bit of luck, they, too, could be published.
on December 1, 2003
This book would have been pretty ok if an unnecessary and ridiculous action sequence wouldn't have been forced in at the end. I didn't find very much humor in this book which was fine because I really enjoyed the characters, felt like they were given much more depth than the characters in the Stephanie Plum novels, and actually missed them when I was finished with the book. I don't really read romances, because I get so tired of innocent conversations between the characters resulting in internal suspicion, doubt, and questions, but if the book would have stuck with romance I probably would have gone with a 7/10 rating.
Maybe if the bad guy would have been developed better he would have worked. He was just too inconsistent. There was new material and new characters added to the original 1980's version of this book? I never read the original, but I believe I know what character and scene was added and unfortunately it didn't get worked into the story well and didn't belong. However, Janet Evanovich remains a gifted writer. 4/10
on November 1, 2003
If you're expecting something along the lines of the Stephanie Plum mysteries, this book is not for you. Full House must be viewed on its own. It's not as action-packed as Evanovich's more recent best sellers, although there's some action and a car does in fact get blown to bits. Full House, originally published in 1989 under the pen name Steffie Hall, is obviously the same author we love so much, but in her earlier days.
Nick Kaharchek has a playboy reputation, owns a newspaper and a stable, teaching polo as a hobby. He typically enjoys the company of elegant, sophisticated, well-breed women. That is, until he meets Billie Pearce, divorced mother of two, 6th grade teacher, who comes for polo lessons as part of her recent get-into-shape program. Although the attraction is unlikely for them both, it is most definitely mutual. Following this romance is dangerously fun.
Full House is witty, with plenty of steamy romance. Although it's a simply story without much depth, it's Janet Evanovich's characters that keep you interested. The characters are extremely vivid, likeable and very memorable. For example, Nick's cousin Deedee, a rich, spoiled, ex-beauty queen, sweet but dim-witted. Nick cons Billie into letting Deedee stay with her for a couple weeks until her wedding to professional wrestler Frankie The Assassin. Also beware of Deedee's 16-year-old brother, Max, a young genius, animal rights activist, who likes to blow things up to get attention. There's also Nick's ex-fiance Sheridan to contend with. And Raoul, the bug-guy who tries to please everyone in the neighborhood, but isn't too good at his job. There's bugs everywhere.
Keep yourself from comparing this to Evanovich's latest mysteries and you should enjoy it like I did.
on September 25, 2003
'Full House' is a sweet romance. I think that you will enjoy this book if you like light-hearted romantic stories. The only comparison to the Stephanie Plum series is a group of quirky minor characters. The mystery involved is light compared to the Plum series, so understand that from the beginning. Something seems off about the story and it's probably due to the re-writing. The story was revamped (which I wasn't aware of until after I read the book) and flow was two-stepping between flowing really well and being jerky.
The story begins with Billie Pearce, a single mom who is enjoying time without her kids. She is a schoolteacher and plans on enjoying her summer. She embarks on a summer of personal improvement by taking Polo lessons. Billie is a strong and caring woman. However, she is not good at Polo. Her ineptitude endears her to Nick Kaharchek. Nick is a good-hearted guy; a newspaper owner, the stable owner, and a true family man. Nick takes care of his nephew, Maximillian 'Max' Holt. Max likes to live outside on his uncle's property. He also likes to make homemade bombs and cause havoc. (He's a genius who is bored). As Nick and Billie become closer, she finds herself getting an unexpected roommate. Nick's cousin, Deedee (Max's sister), is a self-absorbed celebrity. She needs down time and is in a relationship with a professional wrestler, Frankie Fontana. Deedee and Billie form an interesting relationship. Deedee even tries to set Billie up with a friend of Frankie's, who is a professional wrestler. Needless to say, Nick is having none of that!
This book was entertaining for what it was...a campy, romantic, and mildly mysterious romp. I look forward to the next in the series, if only to see if the characters develop in their full potential.
on August 1, 2003
This disappointing, earlier effort by Ms Evanovich is a mismatch of romance, humor, mystery and shallow characters. In her later "Stephanie Plum" stories, she found a balance of these elements that is quite enjoyable. This time out, only her most dedicated fans will be pleased.
At its heart, "Full House" is a romance novel: A Cinderella story of love at first sight. But the simple charm of two people falling in love is overwhelmed by seemingly endless passages directly relating their thoughts, doubts and misunderstandings.
The oddball characters that are so much fun with Stephanie Plum are jarring and distracting here. Their primary literary purpose is -- apparently -- to create gaps between the aforementioned passages about the inner thoughts and feelings of the protaganists.
There is a mystery of sorts, but it's entirely incidental, simplistic and disengaging. And the resolution is not much more than "then they were all run over by a bus".
All the characters are shallow, cardboard cutouts. At no time did their actions reveal a deeper, believable person. This is ironic considering the amount of ink devoted to inner thoughts. In the Plum novels, the shallow characters make the fun, fun. (If we empathized with Lulu or Stephanie, we'd cry when their cars blew up.)
"Full House" was an experiment in mixing romance, screwball characters and a bit of mystery together. It failed. Thankfully, Ms Evanovich learned from her experience and got it right the next time.
on March 4, 2003
Well, well, well...with everyone being so harsh on Ms. Evanovich, figured I'd be nice. I liked this book. It's not one I'd put on the shelf next to classic Faulkner, Hemingway, or Thoreau, but it was definitely a nice "light" read. I call her books "airplane books" because they're typically witty, fun, and can easily be read on a 3-hour flight.
This book was simply put, a romantic mystery. Sure, it was predictable, but Evanovich did throw in some curves to add doubts to your predictions. Billie (the divorced mom of two) and her crazy romance with Nick (the rich man) was highly unrealistic, but hey, the story made me laugh out loud, cry at times, get my anxiety all worked up, feel all icky (spiders...eww), even make me hot and bothered.
Sure, it had some typos and some major editing mistakes (particularly with character names), but hey, I'm sure Evanovich will hire a new editing team for the next book. I'd DEFINITELY RECOMMEND Full House for a fun, "light," afternoon read!
on February 28, 2003
I was really looking forward to reading this novel. I'm a huge Stephanie Plum fan and thought it would be very interesting to see how Janet tackled a non-Plum story. I'm sorry to say it,but it was just awful! I have this bad habit of finishing every book I start so I painstakingly plodded through this one for about 3 weeks. I kept hoping it would improve, but to no avail. All of the things I love about Stephanie's character, and Ms. Evanovich's wonderful, hilarious writing style are missing here. Instead of Stephanie's plucky, funny, tenacious character, the central character in Full House is way too perfect (a beautiful school teacher)and BORING!! Instead of Stephanie's wonderful cadre of outrageous friends and family (Grandma Mazur, Lula, Ranger), in Full House there's a lame ex-girlfriend, a "crazy" nephew, and an eccentric niece. All of the characters are underdeveloped, which is probably OK since I didn't care for any of them anyway. And since Nick and Billie meet and fall in love in the first section of the book, there is absolutely no tension or mystery to pull us along. This one is a big fat yawn! It was a weird mix of totally bland story, forgettable characters, with some x-rated sex scenes thrown in. What's up with that?