Having finished mourning over my one-night read of Janet Evanovich's Smokin' Seventeen, I feel I am ready to offer book club ideas. A near obsessive fan of the Stephanie Plum series, I have read this series three times due to the fact I truly miss the plethora of characters (okay, specifically Morelli and Ranger . . . ooh la la!) when I am not engaged in the series. So, when a fellow author groupie and friend notifies me of the latest release date, sleepless nights ensue until I am able to download the book to my phone. Thus, promptly at midnight June 21st, my phone declares "download complete." Thrilled with the girth of this novel, 39 chapters, I take the plunge.
Without having to attach "spoiler alert" to this blog, I can say with all certainty that "Smokin'" is an apt description for this book's contents. The two main male characters (my two sweeties), Morelli and Ranger, definitely make their presence known in the novel as well as in Stephanie's life. What I do feel is lacking is the more protective side of Morelli, more consistent with previous novels in the series. In addition, a quote spoken by Ranger explaining his interest in Stephanie as entertainment read as near verbatim from a passage in a previous book. However, I do admit that I have most of Ranger's quotes memorized (ask my hub who now sports a black RANGEMAN t-shirt), so others may not even think twice when reading these lines. Perhaps foreshadowing hinting at a change in their relationship in Explosive Eighteen? November, the month of the next book release, will tell. In the meantime, yes, other characters do exist in Smokin' Seventeen, and the plot takes on a familiar, yet unique spin of twists and turns. An entertaining, engaging read which I am sure will be reread at least once before 18's release.
As for book club, dressing as characters from the novel would be an ideal way to set the mood. Think Grandma Mazur, Stephanie, Connie, Morelli, Ranger, Vinnie, Lula, Mooner, Alpha, and Dave. Since Dave offers some mouthwatering dishes in the novel, book club can take his cue and together prepare a meal of salad, scalloped potatoes, and lamb chops (see chapter 29). Lemon meringue pie for dessert would be the feasting finale along with an assortment of doughnuts in honor of Steph and Lula.
If hosting the book club for Smokin' Seventeen and wish to dispense party favors, a grab bag of assorted granny panties from which members may choose would be a memorable giveaway. Or, asking each guest to bring a pair of granny panties of his/her choice for a White Elephant gift exchange and/or competition to guess who brought what may add to the festive nature.