At least he’s honest

MasterBuilder and Ukrainia took off this morning for Traverse City for a few days. I leave tomorrow afternoon for California. This occurred at dinner:

John: I’m going to miss you on Thursday
Amanda: Awww… wait. Aren’t you going to miss me on Wednesday, too?
John: I’ll be too busy enjoying having the house to myself.


Book: Eleven On Top by Janet Evanovich

The latest in my “read the books I borrowed so that I can return them and get them out of the house” quest. I’d been avoiding this one too, but this time I know why– I’d borrowed Ten Big Ones at the same time and was starting to get bored with Stephanie Plum. I understand why series writers try to avoid a lot of character development, since if there’s too much, you change the character so much that it’s no longer the same character and you lose readers. The big attraction to Stephanie Plum is the bumbling bounty hunter who is way out of her league. If you let her learn too much and get better at it… there goes the major attraction. But after a while, I got really tired of the same “jump in without thinking” bullshit, and the same two-dimensional love interest(s).

Which is why I found Eleven On Top to be such a pleasant surprise. Stephanie actually LEARNS something. She does real, honest-to-god investigating instead of stumbling into the answer, though she still manages to find herself in mortal danger and in need of rescuing by the end of the book (well, I did say earlier that you can’t change TOO much without losing the spirit of the character). She still jumps in foolishly, but there’s a small conversation between smart Stephanie and stupid Stephanie beforehand, and you get the feeling that she’s making progress. Joe stops being quite so much of a stereotype, and works a little on anger management. (Actual quote: Stephanie: “You’re pretty calm about all this.” Joe: “I’m a calm kind of guy.” Stephanie: “No, you’re not. You go nuts over this stuff. You always yell when people go after me with a sledgehammer.” [That makes sense in context, honest.] Joe: “Yeah, but in the past, you haven’t liked that.” Go, Joe!)

Grandma Mazur still rocks my world. Stephanie still loses cars at an alarming rate. Ranger is still strong, silent, mysterious, and sexy. Lula is still… well, I’m hoping that in future books the character development will extend to Lula too, though in fairness she did stop and listen to Stephanie and do what she was supposed to do once near the end of the book, so that’s progress as well. I laughed more with this book than I did with any of the prior Stephanie Plum books, and it’s restored my interest in the series.