Review: Devil's Food at Dusk by M.J. O'Shea & Anna Martin (audiobook)

Joe Fitzgerald hates New Orleans, but he's stuck there until he convinces one stubborn local family to sell Lumière, the crumbling French Quarter restaurant they've owned for generations. The place is a wreck, and it's hemorrhaging money. Joe figures he's their best chance for survival.

Remy Babineaux despises Pineapple Joe's and everything the chain stands for. He refuses to let Lumière become some tacky corporate tourist trap. Theme drinks and plastic beads in his restaurant? Yeah, right. Over his dead, rotting corpse. The last thing Remy wants is a meeting with the restaurant chain's representative, but his father agreed to at least listen to the proposal. There's nothing Remy can do about it.

Remy figures an anonymous hookup is exactly what he needs to decompress. When he ends up across the table from his fling the next morning, real sparks fly. Joe refuses to give up his prime location; Remy refuses to give up his legacy. It's war, and they're both determined to win at any cost. Neither of them counted on falling in love.

Listening Length: 8 hours and 1 minute
Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

This book was my first audiobook experience and I have to admit I was hoping for more. I've read several reviews of audiobooks and was stumped by the notion that the narrator could ruin a book. It's the same book, isn't it? The words didn't change, right? 

Oh ho ho! WRONG.

So wrong, in fact, that I apologize for ever even thinking those words because right from the get go this narrator began the ruination. When I read the words Remy + Cajun this guy popped into my brain...

Proper Cajun!

AND there isn't a lick of Cajun accent to be heard anywhere in this book! As a matter of fact, he turned the younger brother, Andre, who's STILL CAJUN into a California surfer dude! Look, I know it's a common misconception that Southern people talk reeeaaaaaaaallllll slow and while that may be true in some cases by and large we don't! That's why all those Gs get dropped and words get condensed into "gonna", "hafta" and "finnta". There is no way on God's Green Earth that any self-respecting Southerner would ever EVER enunciate bougainvillea into 27 syllables! It ain't happening. We got no time for that. We have iced tea to drink while driving a dooley and car karaoking sad country songs with our cousins on our way to the KFC to pick up the Family Sized bucket o'chicken for dinner all while barefoot, of course. #multitasking

So not even a hint of a Cajun accent and grating enunciation not even speeding up the narration could mitigate left me unenthused. Also, I was thinking there would be more "acting" in the narration. If the character is crying or sighing or whatever then shouldn't the narrator reflect that? Like I said, this is my first rodeo so I'm not sure if that's commonplace or not, but it was all kinds of disappointing.

So, yes, the narration was a HUGE obstacle to my enjoyment not to mention distracting.

When I wasn't cringing the story of Remy and Joe going from enemies to lovers was mostly fluffy with a fair amount of mouthwatering chefing going on. I now need to finagle a trip to The Big Easy so there is that.

Remy is head chef of the family restaurant with his brother Andre serving as his sous chef. Remy is hot tempered, loyal to his family and fighting to keep Lumière afloat. He one night stands with Joe only to discover Joe's the hot shot trying to buy the restaurant the next day. Awkward. He then hatches a plan to win Joe over by demonstrating how much New Orleans and Lumière mean to him. Along the way they fall for each other.

It's cute and fairly predictable with them being at cross purposes, though I felt the secret got stretched to the limit and it wore me down. The sex is nothing to write home about which was disappointing considering I was hoping for some eargasms. It seemed to bog down in the daily minutiae of running a restaurant more often than not. There's only so many trips to the farmers market I can take.

I'm sure reading it would've resulted in a different response and I'm bummed my first audiobook experience was a dud but life's a game of chance.  

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads or Dreamspinner Press.


  1. 8 hours without emotional inflection?! Unacceptable! So many epic narrators out there, who CAN DO accents!!! Don't let this dud put you off audio forever.

  2. Oh no!! I'm so bummed this didn't work for you :/ Don't give up!

  3. I was pretty bummed myself but I'll try another one in the future.

  4. I love this review so much!!! Except now I'm craving KFC and sweet tea.

    Sorry your first audio book was a bust, CC. Don't give up though, some narrators can actually bring a story to life.

    1. Thanks J! It's Valentine's Day! Go ahead & have some sweet tea & KFC! ❤

  5. Just out of curiosity, from one culture that makes up their own shortcodes to another... what is finnta? I can't go another day without knowing this.....

    1. It's a mashup of fixin to which means shortly or about to.