Monday, February 8, 2010

QB's January 2010 Quickies, Part II

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.

Kitty Norville Book 7

See INDEX for previous books.

Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)
Flame Height: 2" out of 9"

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty agrees to participate in a reality show along with other shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. Filming in an isolated location starts off pretty much as Kitty anticipated, but then things suddenly start to go alarmingly wrong. The participants are being hunted. Some die.

The best Kitty 2.0 story yet (Kitty Takes a Holiday is still my favorite Kitty 1.0, or pre-alpha, story). If you read this without reading the previous Kitty books, you probably won't quite understand why I enjoyed this so much more than many other Urban Fantasies.
Piquant Opines: Fresh Fiction, Nights and Weekends, RT

Magic Knot series Book 1

Magic Knot series Book 2

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: 5.8" out of 9"

This fantasy romance series caught my attention with the recent release of book 2. So being the OCD Reader that I am, I bought book 1, which won the American Title IV contest.

I'm SO glad I did! Set in present day Cornwall with side trips to Ireland and Wales, some of the fae live secretly among humans, while others still live within the faery realms. You know, I'm pretty sure Taylor has even found a way to enchant the ink in these magical stories. There has to be some geis at work because, once the covers are opened, it's impossible to close them until the final page is read. And before I closed the cover on book 1, I was ordering book 2 from Amazon (Yeah for 2-day Prime!).

Just when I was sure I knew what happened next-- because I could see THOSE romance tropes coming from a mile away-- damned if Taylor didn't make a sharp turn nearly every time and gleefully skip away from the expected. (Spoiler hint: not all heroes have magic peens, and troo lurve doesn't always save the day- nor does it keep heroines from admiring other bits of sweet beefcake mancandy!)

This series may end up in my Lava Cake category eventually. There's still a few unanswered questions that kind of puzzled me. Some may be answered when/if Nightshade gets his own book (pretty please?). But I'm afraid that the mystery of how Rose's mother managed to escape with all the things she escaped with (can't say more) will remain unsolved for the reader. And why didn't Michael and Niall's father bother telling either of them the truths about themselves? Of course we may find out more about him someday in HIS own book, too. Oh, and I was disappointed that we never heard from Niall and Rose (from book 1) throughout the entire 2nd book. Considering what they left behind under Michael and Cordelia's care, I just didn't find it plausible that they wouldn't be checking in or rushing back.

But you know what? Set those questions aside for right now. Just sit back and enjoy taking the fun, magical ride that is The Magic Knot series.
Piquant Opines: The Book Smugglers, RT, RT, TRS

The MacInnes Werewolves Trilogy, book 1

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: 5" out of 9"

Contemporary Highland werewolf Gideon MacInnes goes for a walkabout in America before he settles down to become his pack's Alpha. When injured, his wolfie senses lead him to his mate, Carly Silver, an American who owns a Romance bookstore. A light, entertaining read. Kind of fell apart a bit at the end. I'm disappointed that the next books in the series don't pair up Gideon's hound-dawg (har) brother and Carly's spunky best friend. They were both almost more interesting than the lead characters.
Piquant Opines: KristieJ, Ruthie (warning: auto-music), Bitten By Books

The Chronicles, book 1

Category: Coconut Truffles - SO not for me! (D,D-,F)
Flame Height: 1" out of 9"

Most of my DNFs (Did Not Finish) books are the result of setting books down and intending to pick them back up, but losing interest and never getting around to finishing them (unfortunately, there's been a LOT of those lately). Not so with Shadowfae. I literally FORCED myself to give this book a chance since I had been eagerly looking forward to it and had even placed it on my Insatiable Lusts Wish List! The blurb sounded soo good. But by the end of Chapter 8, I honestly said out loud, "Enough of THIS! I've wasted enough of my time on it."

I knew this was going to be a difficult read fairly early in the book. The lead character, Jade, is written in 1st person past tense. Then, for no apparent reason, Hayes writes all the other characters in 3rd person PRESENT tense. Now I'm not a big fan of present tense anyway, but it can be used quite effectively to convey a sense of menace- think of a Linda Howard villian's POV. But all Shadowfae's tense shifting accomplished was jolting me right out of the book.

Add in a whole lot of drooling blood, poison spit swapping, and other gross-outs; then consider the fact that none of the characters or their lives were particularly likeable, and this story was just flat-out not my cuppa. It might work for someone else, but just pushed too many of my "Do Not Want" buttons.
Piquant Opines: KatieBabs, SciFiGuy, NOR, RT,

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!

Grrr, what is wrong with Google Reader? My first searches for Piquant Opines always start there. But for some reason searching ALL subscriptions doesn't always work. For instance, when I searched on "The Magic Knot", there were no review hits (just mentions and contests) within my subscriptions. Yet Helen Scott Taylor's website mentions a review by The Book Smugglers. Sure enough, when I searched ONLY their feed, the review came up, but it SHOULD have hit when I searched ALL FEEDS. So, if I missed linking to someone, please let me know.


Sarah said...

I have two Kitty books waiting in the dusty TBR... must get to them!

Bev(QB) said...

NoNoNo, Kitty books should NEVER collect dust! Unless it's Keeper Shelf dust, of course. ;-p

Aradia said...

Welcome back, Bev! Hope you keep posting.
I finished “Kitty’s house of horrors” a few days ago and loved it.
This series is getting better and better.

Bev(QB) said...

Hi Aradia! I can't wait for the next one now that you-know-who will be part of the action again.