Sunday, November 14, 2010

BOOKS: Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Is it possible to get sick from a book? I know it's at least possible to be sad-hearted. As evidence, I offer Wicked Appetite, the first of what should not be a series, by Janet Evanovich. Yep, the same author I give my birthday night each year to read the latest Stephanie Plum book. The one who I gave effusive praise to this very year when she broke a two-year slide with a pretty good Sizzling Sixteen. The same author who managed to get me to smile through several Max Holt ROMANCE books.

But with this first Diesel book, she made me sad. Sad to the point where I had to head for bed, for being under the weather. Sick.

Wicked Appetite is a trendy book, as in the paranormal romance type of trendy. My mother might like this book. Dawna won't and I doubt Lucy would even crack the cover. Me, I hated it. It wasn't nearly as magical as I'm sure Evanovich and her editor thought it was.

The heroine is Lizzy Tucker. But just about everything in the book either happens TO her or around her. She's one of the lesser-involved heroines since the early days of MaryJanice Davidson's work. If Evanovich had Davidson's ear for magical patter and puns, that might not be too bad. But she doesn't. Not here, at least. Tucker is a cook with the magical touch. Great muffins (the baked kind, not the naked kind), every time. Which turns out to be her magical power. SERIOUSLY!

This being a book about magic and magical women (oft called witches, methinks), naturally the setting is in Salem, Mass. She works at Dazzle's Bakery, naturally. And the hereditary owner is now Clarinda Dazzle. Of course. And Glo, the counter girl, thinks she looks like Harry Potter, lightning-bolt scar and all. Later in the book, she seems to get all the magic and magical artifacts to come her way and mangles them in ways only muggles would.

Into the lives of these girls comes darkness in the form of Wulf (Gerwulf Grimoire, of course) and lightness in the form of Diesel. They are from the same family and are both tasked with collecting pieces of a real special magical item. Lizzy's apparently a lodestone for those things. But she is not all that good at it.

So, hijinks ensue as Wulf and Diesel, with Lizzy in tow, seek out the pieces in question. There are no endearing other characters. It's all wacky or it doesn't exist. Along the way, Lizzy gains possession of a cat AND a monkey, the latter of which spends all of his time giving people the finger. Wulf counters the zany clan by employing a seriously insane guy named Hatchet.

All the while, Diesel's just moved into Lizzy's house and right into her bed. I WISH it were so easy!! But then again, I don't have the body of a god. Which Evanovich elaborates on, at length. Frequently.

I have spent a lot of money on Evanovich over the years. I even subscribe to her newsletter. But this is one bad book. No more money on this series. Ever. I need to protect my health.

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