Audio Book Review: Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich

The third installment in Evanovich’s Lizzy & Diesel series, Wicked Charms, is as wickedly charming as the title suggests. This is a review of the third book in the series, so spoilers! If you want to read about the first two books, you can check out my review of Wicked Appetite here and Wicked Business here.

Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel, #3)

First, I must mention I am completely biased to like Evanovich’s work. She remains funny through out the years and series. No matter what bad mood I’m in her heroines antics will always cheer me up, and for that I am grateful and probably a little blind to some of the cliches and some times lack of development of character that tend to happen in some of her series. For me, her books are more about the capers and less about relating to yet another female character who can’t make up her mind if she likes someone or not. So when I saw that this book was available in audio version from the library, and that Lorelei King was the narrator, I downloaded it as fast as my fingers could tap at my screen. It was everything I was hoping for, fun, laughter, interesting plot twist, zany characters, and delicious sounding food.

Summary from GoodReads:

Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.

Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it, and are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil, just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.

It’s a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they are living a charmed life.

I really like how each of these books has had a completely different type of mystery which ties into and relates back to the over all story arch of finding the seven deadly sins stones. (Which means there are four more books planned for this series!) I particularly enjoyed this mystery with the precious gems, treasure map, and a pirate reenactor who can’t stop speaking like a pirate. There was a lot of action with spelunking and boat chases thrown into the mix.

Interestingly enough Lizzie’s career also takes a turn as she gets an offer from a business tycoon to become the face of a brand. Of course I was yelling at Lizzie while driving home one evening to get a lawyer to read the contract before… yeup, signed it. Dammit Lizzie! I know your desperate for a cash influx, but you can spend a small percentage of the upfront money to make sure you aren’t getting screwed over. Bagh.

Not so surprisingly Lizzie and Diesel’s relationship progresses. I’m not too keen on this relationship. It would be one thing is Lizzie seemed like the kind of person who wanted casual relationships, but she doesn’t, she just seems to be going with the flow instead of figuring out what it is she wants from a relationship and going for that. One of my complaints about Evanovich’s characters is that they have a hard time deciding what they want. If Lizzie wanted casual relationships and went for them, kudos to her, I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with indecision become a decision over and over again.

I loved listening to this as an audio book, but then Lorelei King is just perfect for the job. One of the reason’s I was keep to try this as an audio and not just pick it up in paper format like I had for the other two books in the series is that I recognized her as the narrator from another audio book series and enjoyed her acting abilities in that one as well. She has clearly distinct voices for characters without going overboard and pulling me out of the story. What is so amazing is that her incarnations of the characters are so close to the way I already thought of them that I never once wished I had picked this book in another format. Sometimes this happens when I’ve started a series in a different format, but not with Lorelei King.

If you are looking for a funny light read about a pirate treasure, uncertain romance, that includes monkeys a magic 8 ball and cupcakes, check out the Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich.

Audiobook Review: The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

I was looking for something different when I came across The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg and read by Scott Brick. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of young adult fantasy and I thought and adult contemporary novel would be a nice palate cleanser. I was right. The Chase was just what I wanted to read next as I listened for 9 hours, 7 minutes, to Scott Brick tell the adventures of FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and one time con man Nicolas Fox.

Cover of The Chase


Summary from GoodReads:

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox runs daring cons, now teams undercover for FBI with agent who caught him, Kate O’Hare. Together they catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals, next Carter Grove, former White House chief of staff, now ruthless leader of Black Rhino private security for a rare Chinese rooster from the Smithsonian.

Like all Janet Evanovich books, The Chase, which is the second book in the series, was a hilarious romp of various capers and eccentric characters. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was funny, had some clever moments, and was exactly what I expected to read when I chose the book. I didn’t have as many laugh out loud moments as in previous books. This was in part because a couple of Kate’s father’s cronies show up and they were rather reminiscent of various characters in other Evanovich books that I didn’t find their addition to the novel to be all that necessary or new. I will admit there were some tired moments in the book, but over all I found myself enjoying the adventures of Kate and Nicolas.

Part of my discontent with the book was due to listening rather than reading it myself. Maybe I read sarcasm into the characters more than is warranted, but Scott Brick’s choice of no sarcasm in the voice acting characterization of Kate and Nicolas left me a bit baffled. I think it may be because I read the first novel and had my own character voices going that Brick’s skewed slightly away from what I was expecting and that was an internal disappointment others wont experience. I’m not saying he did a bad job, because he did an excellent one, it just wasn’t what my head thought it was going to hear.

While I enjoyed listening to The Chase, if I pick up the third in the series, it will be a paper version that I’ll read quietly laughing to myself.

Wicked Appetite Giveaway

I’m so super excited about the Wicked series by Janet Evanovich that I will be giving away my personal (used) copy of Wicked Appetite to keep the excitement rolling and introduce one lucky winner to this series. The giveaway is international. Please note that this is all coming out of my own pocket, so I will be sending this the cheapest way possible. Which means it may not get to the winner for several weeks. Each person is allowed to enter once, comments will be assigned a number starting at the top in ascending order, I will then use a random number generator to pick the winner.

To enter please answer the following question in the comment box below: If you had an Unmentionable power what would it be?

Just to get the ball rolling, I’ll answer the question also. My Unmentionable power would be attracting crazy people who like to tell me about their new love of broccoli at age 55. (True story)

The Giveaway is open until Tuesday, July 17th at midnight (CT). Good Luck!!!

Book Review: Wicked Business

Wicked Business is the second book in Janet Evanovich’s new Wicked series. If you want to catch up, you can read my review of the first book in the series, Wicked Appetite, here. The Wicked Series follows Lizzy and Diesel (from the Stephanie Plum Series, the in-between-the-novels novellas) as they bumble around trying to save the world from utter destruction before their arch nemesis, Wulf, gathers all the SALGIA stones containing the seven deadly sins and starts a zombie apocalypse. OK, I don’t know if there will be zombies. But hell on earth? Definitely that. With the help of a wanna be wizard and a pet monkey they set about the save the world one possessed broom at a time. I picked up a copy of Wicked Business at the library and set aside every other book I was reading to finish it in two days. Yes, I’m addicted to the unusual and Lost Girl (currently obsession).

**Slight spoilers for the first book in the series, Wicked Appetite.**

Lizzy first met Diesel in Wicked Appetite where he appeared at the bakery where she works making magically delicious cupcakes after inheriting her great aunt’s house and moving to Marblehead. Lizzy leads a safe and uncomplicated existence, except when the plumbing goes, before Diesel shows up windblown and beachhead bum, looking delicious and bringing danger with him. Diesel is an Unmentionable, and not just because he’s hot enough to die for, he has special abilities. Diesel can unlock any door, find anyone he wants to find- usually through a butt cramp- and read women like the back of his hand. He also has a propensity for sleeping in people’s beds even when relegated to the couch.

At the end of Wicked Appetite, Diesel and Lizzy had the first stone and Wulf had the tablet telling where the next stone was located. (Honestly, I almost didn’t’ consider this a spoiler, because if you think Lizzy and Diesel are not going to “win” in the end, then you haven’t read enough tea cozy mysteries.) Now, in Wicked Business new information has arrived regarding the next stone in the form of a dead body and a mysterious key that Carl the Monkey filched from the corpse at a crime scene. Diesel and Lizzy must follow the clues, solve the riddles, and reach the stone before Wulf and his crazing Medievel LARPing minion do.  But then, a new complication arises in the form of the mysterious Anarchy who throws her evil hat into the ring also searching for the stone and determined to create mischief while sending innocent bagels to the floor with her evil powers. Wasted bagels is totally evil!

Wicked Business was just as delightful a read as the first book, and I genuinely enjoyed delving back into Lizzy’s world and discovering more about the fun and crazy characters who surround her. While character background and growth are not as important in these series as the mystery and puzzle solving, and I usually I enjoy a little more character development than what happens in these books, I read Evanovich’s series for the laughs and crazing happenings. Diesel is a fun and consistent character, and I enjoy he is the only one fighting for Lizzy’s affections and no triangle has developed, yet. The fact that if the two of them get together means one of them will loose their Unmentionable powers, is a little cliche for the genre, but that is a hang up I have. Evanovich manages to make that funny and so I forgive the over use of forbidden love, or lust, or fun sexy times.

Broom at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. Public Domain

Broom at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. Public Domain

I really liked the development of Gloria’s character in this book as a side kick who has more to offer than just possessed brooms in trees. I really think she must have some hidden Unmentionable talent and wonder if she wont turn out to be a witch, this is after all near Salem. But that is just a teasing I get from reading way too much into her character. The use of Carl the Monkey went a little overboard, but it was still a fun romp. There was a time where he seemed to have disappeared for a chapter and I wondered where he went in the story line, but he popped back up like an unwanted, feces throwing, two year-old. A comedic tea cozy mystery with a dash of the paranormal and a hot beach bum make Wicked Business the perfect read for a warm summer afternoon reading as the fan dries the sweat on your collar bone and the iced water you just made sweats all over your coffee table.

Stay tuned for a giveaway of Wicked Appetite!

Book Review: Wicked Appetite

I was in my local book store, a magical place with towers of books, reading cubbies, and comfortable chairs. I found a book that I had been wanting to reread, Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich. Wicked Business was sitting in my library holding queue waiting to be processed and then delivered to my branch, but I was hazy on the details from the first book, and so when it magically popped into my hands I decided it was fate and purchased Wicked Appetite after tearing myself from its pages.

Even though I had already devoured it once, Wicked Appetite had me giggling all over again. Lizzy Tucker has just finally gotten her life in order. After graduating from culinary school, where she discovered an unnatural gift in baking cupcakes, Lizzy tried to make life work as a chef in NYC. But when she inherits her great aunt’s house in Marblehead, she decides to move and starts working at a small bakery, loving her life and her new home. Then Diesel shows up.

Diesel is a cross over character from Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series where he shows up in the four holiday novels. Diesel has unnatural supernatural abilities, he is able to find anyone and he can unlock anything. Even bras, stealing them from unsuspecting women. People with unnatural abilities are called Unmentionables. Diesel is on the hunt for supernatural stones, each embodied with one of the seven deadly sins, and he need’s Lizzy’s help. Lizzy is also an Unmentionable, to her surprise. She has the preternatural ability to identify if an object has power, and Diesel needs her help in located the stones. Along with Carl the monkey and a one-eyed cat, Lizzy and Diesel must battle Wulf and his minion (a LARPer of medieval variety who cant distinguish fantasy from fiction) to recover the hidden stone representing Gluttony.

By Rob from Cambridge, MA ( via Wikimedia Commons

My mother was going to get a monkey, until she read that you basically have a two-year old for life.
By Rob from Cambridge, MA ( via Wikimedia Commons

In pure Evanovich form, Lizzy is both likable and funny. Crazy characters, such as her no-nonsense boss who owns the bakery and her co-worker Gloria who is determined to find her latent wizardry abilities, abound in this series rounding out a fun plot with interesting players. I like Lizzy, she is smart and funny, tries to resist Diesel’s charms and puts up with a monkey and a ninja cat. I particularly liked the use of Diesel from the Stephanie Plum series, because I am a huge fan of cross overs. It was fun to read about a new setting and I enjoyed the treasure hunting aspects of the book.

Evanovich books are always a fun, light read with nothing too serious lasting for long. Though Lizzy and Stephanie share some similar characteristics of gullibility and humor, the characters are different enough to keep the Wicked series separate from the Plum series. Evanovich always makes me laugh out loud with each of her books, and I pick them up for the express purpose of a giggle and escapism. She is one of the few authors who remains funny as a series progresses and I appreciate that about her books. I do get tired of will-they or wont-they relationships, but I forgive the author since she makes me laugh so hard.

Read another review here, here, and here.

Summer Reads… Make Me Feel Fine

Charlaine Harris and Janet Evanovich were on MSNBC the Today Show speaking about their favorite summer reads. I have to say, after I saw an interview with Danielle Steel and how she doesn’t read, obstensibly because she doesn’t want to steal other people’s stories accidentally, I was determined never to read her books. I mean, how can you grow as a writer if you never read anything outside of your own work? Say what? Anyway, both Harris and Evanovich have some interesting reading suggestions. Check out the clip here. Apparently, Charlaine Harris and I have similar reading likes, who knew?

Looking to get some good Giveaways? You can follow me on twitter where I tweet and retweet about all the Giveaways I think look worth the time to fill out entries on rafflecopter. Or you can head on over to GoodReads and enter their Giveaways. And while you are there friend me to see what I  am reading and have on my tbr list.

Read this posting about a book lover, the author’s signatures she’s acquired, and what she does with all the book she doesn’t want to move.

Everyone has been talking about Fifty Shades of Grey. I have no desire to read Twilight fan fic with new names, so I’m staying away from it. But I did read this really funny review, full of awesome gifs, of one woman’s unfavorable review of the first book. (Some of the gifs are not real suitable for work, unless you do some creative scrolling). Thanks to JohnMichael for the tip!

A zombie series about a detective alert from Book Chick City. A dead detective, what could be awesomer? Beside, obviously zombies are the new vampires. Let’s get on the bandwagon everyone! 😉 Preorder them from Amazon.

Television Review: Warehouse Wednesdays: The New Guy May be Jinxed

Warehouse 13 is back! My over all impression of the first episode of season three is- Woot! I’m so excited that my summer shows are back on the air. ::biggrin:: I like that this season started off similar to season one, that we have a new character, and that there was no miss-step in artifactyness (ok, so I just made up that word. But you know what I mean). Last season ended with Myka leaving the Warehouse because of her dealings with H. G. Wells. This episode we see how the team deals (or tries to) without her input and knowledge. Agent Jinks finds out about Warehouse 13 and Mrs. Frederic offers him a job to replace her missing agent. His chemistry with the established team works well, and I actually look forward to seeing him in upcoming episodes.

We are also introduced to a female FBI Agent who I suspect may stick around for a few episodes. With the loss of Jaime Murray (Helena Wells) to her own steam punk show (::squee::) I like that they added another female to the mix. Overall this episode whetted my appetite for more. I loved hearing Pete’s jokes again, seeing Claudia tinker with her “toys”, Artie’s attempts to bake enough cookies so everyone gets along, and Jinks’ struggle to stay “Buddha” while working with this high strung team in dangerous situations. I got so into the episode that I forgot to take notes, and had to re-watch the whole thing. <.<_>.> Woe is me. ::giggle:: Full and spoilery review after the jump.

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