Wicked Appetite Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 7 CDs (7 hours)
Read by Lorelei King

Janet Evanovich has her tried-and-true formula down cold. Take a bumbling everywoman, throw in a couple of hot guys, a bunch of quirky misfits, and a little bit of danger, and you’ve got yourself a hit. So far, it’s worked for 16 Stephanie Plum novels and a bunch of other romance novels, too. Now, in Wicked Appetite, the first book in Evanovich’s new series, she gives her usual formula a paranormal twist—with the same reliably entertaining results.

Pastry chef Lizzy Tucker is just settling into her new life in Massachusetts when her whole world is turned upside-down. One morning, she’s visited by a dark and creepy guy who’s obviously pure evil. He says something about coming back for her later—and about needing her for something—but she has no idea what he’s talking about. Mostly, she’s just creeped out.

Soon after, she’s visited by a dangerously handsome man named Diesel. Diesel tells her a totally bizarre story about seven mystical stones representing the seven deadly sins. For centuries, they’ve been carefully guarded—and now they’ve all found their way to Salem. Gerwulf Grimoire, the dark, creepy guy, is after them—and Diesel, his cousin, is on a mission to stop him. And that’s where Lizzy comes in.

Diesel explains that Lizzy is an Unmentionable—someone with magical powers. Not only can Lizzy bake really tasty cupcakes, but she can also uncover the stones. First, they’re on the hunt for the gluttony stone—a hunt that finds them caught up in all kinds of strange magic involving baked goods, a cheeky monkey, and a Renaissance fair reject.

Thanks to Evanovich’s tried-and-true formula, anyone who’s read one of her novels knows exactly what they’ll get from Wicked Appetite. The story is light and fun, with amusingly bizarre characters (like Carl the monkey) and plenty of romantic tension. Despite the supernatural undertones, there’s nothing especially new here. And the plot seems a little scattered, as though Evanovich still isn’t entirely sure how she’s going to handle the series—especially where Wulf and his motives are concerned.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with the same old formula—and, once again, it works for Wicked Appetite. It may not be particularly thrilling or unpredictable, but the characters are lovable, the story is entertaining, and while the humor is silly (and often sophomoric), it will still make you laugh out loud.

The book’s greatest problem isn’t the writing; it’s the narration. Lorelei King has successfully narrated Evanovich’s audiobooks for years—but, with Wicked Appetite, she seems to have lost her magic. The narration is so awkward and unnatural, in fact, that it often distracts from the story. King gives Lizzy a strange southern accent, which almost makes sense, after you discover that she’s originally from Virginia. Unfortunately, though, it feels completely out of place—and it seems strange that neither of her parents have such strong southern accents. Glo, meanwhile, has a shrill Valley Girl accent that turns an otherwise lovably bumbling character into an irritating airhead.

Despite the distracting narration, though, Wicked Appetite makes a great choice for your daily commute. It’s light and undemanding, and it’ll make you laugh (or at least smile). And that makes it just what you need both before and after a long day of work.

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