Posts Tagged pulp

Star Island – Carl Hiaasen

Fun splashing, but same old ocean.

Stars: Three of five.

Review format: Comment plus links.
Summary:   Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. 
Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed”—meaning wasted—to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott.Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über–stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public—and from Cherry herself.

The situation is more complicated than they know. Ann has had a bewitching encounter with Skink—the unhinged former governor of Florida living wild in a mangrove swamp—and now he’s heading for Miami to find her . . .

Will Bang Abbott achieve his fantasy of a lucrative private photo session with Cherry Pye? Will Cherry sober up in time to lip-synch her way through her concert tour? Will Skink track down Ann DeLusia before Cherry’s motley posse does?

All will be revealed in this hilarious spin on life in the celebrity fast lane. (from goodreads)

Provenance: My bookshelf, family purchase… 
Date Read: June 2012 

I needed something new to read, and lookit: a new-to-me Carl Hiassen book sitting in the basement.  It delivers what I have come to expect – protagonists of spunky run-down investigative male and feisty and hot female on a mission; Skink, calls to conserve not pave-over the environment, grotesque bad guys, grisly ends for some bad guys.  A little bit forgettable, but perhaps that’s because I feel like it’s a Hiassen formula.

Many of the supporting characters are standouts from previous books – notably Skink and the bad-guy with the weed-whacker hand.  It’s nice to see them return, but it’s also a short-cut instead of introducing amazing new characters.  The botoxed-scultped-identical fraternal twin sister publicists: they were new and funny.  Cherry’s parents? Reminded me a little too much of Elizabeth Bennett’s parents in Pride and Prejudice, though Pa Bunterman is not quite as cool as Mr. Bennett.

In summary:

  • If you’ve liked other Hiaasen books, then expect some enjoyable but very-slightly-stale more of the same.
  • If you’ve disliked other Hiaasen books, then this is not the book to convince you otherwise.
  • I think Double Whammy is my favourite of his books. Not that I’ll go re-read it right now, but it was more zingy and edgy.

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Wild Thing (and others) – Robin Kaye

Guiltily fun.

Stars: between 2.5 to 3.5 out of five.

Review format: Comment plus links.
Summary:  Well, Robin Kaye writes diverting romantic fiction, and now I have read a bunch of it. Don’t tell anyone. Here’s a summary from the author’s website…Believe it or not, I’ve featured the least-embarrassing cover – of ‘Wild Thing’. To complement the cover, here’s a description of ‘Romeo, Romeo’.  Rosalie Ronaldi doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body … All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch … Nick Romeo is every woman’s fantasy – tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean … He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog … So what’s the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort …  (from the author’s website)
Provenance: e-book from my library
Date Read: April 2012 

I have a confession to make. While on a business trip in April, I read a whole bunch of trashy romance downloaded in e-book form from my local library.

So. Romance. No, I haven’t got a genre category to track it here on my blog. But, now I admit: I have read some. I just tripped over a couple of these again online, so I feel they are due a restrained shout-out.

Robin Kaye writes reliably fun romance stories. The female leads have lively, witty narrative voices; and despite the beefcake covers, the male leads are not as bad as you might fear.

In Wild Thing I liked that our fish-out-of-water heroine took such enjoyment in wearing her offbeat ‘goth’ outfits. The trio of gorgeous brothers was just a little too perfect to be true, but hey it’s romance.  Romeo, Romeo was my favourite of the bunch.  It just felt the freshest, and I had the most fun reading that one.  Plus, it was mostly describing just the one absurdly amazing guy, not a family of them.

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Kitty advances the Plot – Carrie Vaughn

Kitty the Werewolf strikes again, and again, and … I have too many books to catch up on to enumerate these separately.

I’ve enjoyed four additional Kitty stories since last getting caught up on the blog.  I read these sometime in December or January.

We have:

  • Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand – she goes to Vegas with her main squeeze guy, they find some bad weres and vamps, meet a mysterious magician, and get hitched
  • Kitty Raises Hell – a demon, I think.
  • Kitty’s House of Horrors – not quite a plot-advancer, but an interesting locked-in-the-house horror story.  Who’s killing them off, and why?
  • Kitty goes to war – the US military has had a platoon of weres and now needs Kitty’s help to keep them from rampaging now that their leader has died.

So, these were fun overall, but I am not sure that Kitty herself is a strong enough character to hold together a world-spanning conspiracy and battle against evil.  Still, it’s a nice staple read for summertime.

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Werewolf Smackdown – Mario Acevedo

Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo? Think ‘Hard-boiled Vampire Detective’.

Not a keeper, but it doesn’t deserve shredding either.  The title and absurd cover are probably the best part of the book – and if you see the other titles in this particular detective series, those titles are even better ‘pulp’ examples.

The story itself is workmanlike but not elevated by any awesome absurdist or funny moments.  Either Christopher Moore or the Dresden Files are better bets.

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