Monday, February 8, 2010

QB's January 2010 Quickies, Part I

QB's Quickie icon"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's my Quickie Reviews to answer to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

A Love For All TimeA Love For All Time by Bertrice Small
Sky O'Malley series, book 3
Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)
Flame Height: 6" out of 9"

For years, this 3rd book in The O'Malley Saga (copyright 1986, but I've seen references to a 1981 release date) was unavailable except for expensive used copies. So you might imagine how thrilled I was to FINALLY complete my set with this reprint.

This one is about Skye's youngest brother, Conn, a charming Irishman considered to be "the handsomest man at court" and a particular favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. After he causes one too many scandals, Queen Bess marries him off to one of her wards, the relatively plain-faced heiress Aiden St. Michael.

The story that unfolds is vintage Small (yes, kidnapping and harems are involved). The only reason this one isn't Crème Brûlée like the rest of the series, is because, since the male lead is Skye's brother, we know going into it that he won't meet an unexpected early death. LOL, yeah, sounds bloodthirsty, but one of the myriad reasons I love Ms. Small so much is that I never know which man will be the ultimate survivor who wins the HEA with the heroine.
Piquant Opines:, AAR, allreaders

Dark Magick series, book 1
Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 5" out of 9"

Wicked Enchantment definitely lands solidly in the ROMANCE genre, but its DARK FANTASY elements are what attracted me to it. Back in the 1600's, the fae were decimated by Watt Syndrome, an illness that may or may not have been magically created by a race of druids known as the Phaendir. Taking advantage of the fae's weakened state, the Phaendir teamed up with humans to hunt down and imprison the remaining fae within a magical warding. This warded zone, Piefferburg, is still in existence today; its warding maintained by a sort of collective hive of magic within the Phaendir. Through Phaendir-guarded trade with humans, the high ranking fae are now fairly wealthy, but nonetheless remain prisoners within this area around the North Carolina Outer Banks. On a humorous note, how hilariously appropriate is it that the humans would have a camera crew inside the Seelie court filming a 24 hour a day reality show called FAEMOUS?

That's the basic background of the world building. Apparently the series will delve into a quest to find the elements needed to break the Phaendir's warding of Piefferburg and be a free race again. In this book, one of the pieces had already been found which, as I recently found out, is Bella and Ronan's story, a novella-length prequel in the Hot for the Holidays anthology (I've since bought it but haven't read it yet). During the course of Wicked Enchantment we find out another crucial element has been in the possession of Aislinn, who had no idea what it was.

In addition to a fresh take on fae myths and unique world building, this book centers on Aislinn, who is a high ranking member of the Seelie court, and Gabriel, an important member of the Unseelie court, and his attempts to persuade her over to "the dark side". Lots of twists, turns and surprises made this a very engrossing, fast-paced read.

Having said all that, I personally would have preferred a bit more of an in-depth/extended look into the fae politics, but that's just my personal preference. However, I have to give Bast extra credit for just how much detail and imagination she was able to include within the framework of a romance (as opposed to an urban/dark fantasy).

I would say that if you enjoy Richele Mead's DARK SWAN series, Laurell Hamilton's MERRY GENTRY series, or the later books in Karen Marie Moning's HIGHLANDERS series, then Anya Bast's DARK MAGICK series might just be the new series you've been waiting for.
Piquant Opines: Book Chick City, Literary Escapism, The Book Lush

Conner Grey Book 3

Conner Grey Book 4

See INDEX for previous books.

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 2" out of 9"

Del Franco has really hit his stride with this urban fantasy/dark fantasy series as he delves deeper into Fae politics, mysteries, and intrigue.

Now that I've been listening to the audio books of Jim Butcher's Dresden series, I can say that fans of that series will enjoy the Conner Grey series. They have a similar feel and voice, however Del Franco's stories and world building are unique to Conner Grey's world.

Note that book 4 was a January read, but I read book 3 a while back.

P.S to the author: Mark... Dude, ya need to fix your website. Your Conner Grey links are not only not useful (where's the blurbs?), but some of them are fucked up.
Piquant Opines: Green Man Review, RT, Book Fetish, RT, BotM, Jennifer/Goodreads, Goodreads (all)

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6" out of 9"

It was the beautiful, ethereal cover by Anne Cain that first drew my attention. For that alone, Fireflies was worth the price of a print copy. But Joey and Braeden's story, while not quite as substantial as I would have liked, was a lovely time spent within a charming faery tale.

Have you read any of these books? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!


LVLM said...

Oh crap. You know I hate you. You know that, right? :P

I was going along all innocent, reading a review here and there, and oh how nice for them, they liked that book. But, meh, don't need to get out and buy it now. Maybe someday.

But no, I wasn't going to be allowed to rest in ignorant bliss. Now Ms BevQB is back to mess with my head again, turning me on to reading books that I didn't know or care about before. Damn you!

I'm so screwed. :D

And... so happy You're Baaaaack! *slobbery kisses* mwah!

Bev(QB) said...

*grabs kitchen towel and wipes off the MB slobber; hands MB a towel to wipe my smackers off her own face*

Hee, but I just posted Part II which has a DNF, so that makes up for it right? Then again, OTHER people liked it so maybe I'm still in the doghouse.