Tuesday, November 6, 2007

HOT MAMA by Jennifer Estep

Today marks the release of my first debut graduate, HOT MAMA, by Jennifer Estep! Settling down to read HOT MAMA was like settling down to have a piece of book candy. (I didn't originate this term; I discovered it on Jennifer Estep's Blog.) You know it is going to be a fast read with lively, snappy dialog and laugh-out-loud humor. And HOT MAMA did not disappoint!

It begins with Carmen Cole's wedding to Sam Sloane, the uberdude in Karma Girl. Carmen is happy; her dreams have come true. Therefore, this book is not about her. It's about Fiera (AKA Fiona Fine), Carmen's flame-wielding Fearless Five partner in crimefighting. Fiera is not so happy, for she still misses her murdered sweetheart from the last novel.

It's probably not necessary to read Karma Girl in order to read HOT MAMA. Estep did a great job making this book self-contained. The events in Karma Girl contain necessary backstory, but Estep was quite generous in giving what you need as the story goes along.

Fiona doesn't tug on the heartstrings quite as well as Carmen did. Carmen was so very lovable with her cutesy tee-shirts and scruffy jeans. Fiona is a snappily-dressed opposite. However, her story is sad and she is lonely, so she engages the reader in a very different way. Johnny Bulluci, this novel's uberhunk, is a direct sort of guy, as you will find out in the opening chapters. When he sees something that he wants, he goes for it. And he wants Fiona Fine.

Complicating matters are two ubervillians and a rather ambiguous character named Johnny Angel, who is after revenge for the murder of his father, the previous Johnny Angel. I found the whole idea of generational superheroes quite original. The Fearless Five are out to stop a criminal duo, and the only thing standing in their way is Johnny Angel, who doesn't merely want them stopped; he wants them dead. Why? They are the ones who murdered his father.

Lulu Lo, the genius paraplegic, plays a much greater role in HOT MAMA. The romance between her and Henry is an important subplot and she is involved in all the battles, mostly in a support role.

The sex scenes in HOT MAMA are quite a bit hotter than it was in Karma Girl. In fact, they are way hot. In Karma Girl, the sex scenes were more funny than sexy. Not so, here; although some of the settings were a bit . . . er, unusual.

One thing that always got a chuckle from me was the amount of food that Fiona has to eat to keep up her fiery metabolism. You can almost read the wishful thinking that the author might have felt. If only we could eat like this all the time and stay a size two (or whatever size Fiona is).

In this novel, Estep addresses the fact that it is very easy to guess who all the costumed characters are. I'm interested to see if this gets resolved in future novels. It would make it more suspense-like to make them more of a mystery, but it would also take away some of the fun. I am also interested in Bella Bulluci, who is the subject of the next book, Jinx. I found her character quite appealing.

For some great teasers and a sample chapter, check out Jennifer Estep's website, which is always excellently put together and highly entertaining. I think it is very safe to say that if you enjoyed Karma Girl, you will enjoy HOT MAMA as well, and you will probably look forward to the next book.

Coming up tomorrow, an interview with Jennifer Estep!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Tia. Thanks for the great review! So glad you enjoyed the book. :-)

Katie said...

I'm going to have to get a copy of this one. Sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait to read your interview with her!

Tia Nevitt said...

You're welcome Jennifer! Keep 'em coming! Katie, I'll have that interview up in just a little while.