Book Reviews: Magic Burns and No Rest for the Witches

Magic BurnsI read two short books Wednesday and Thursday. The first, Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, was great fun and very well written. It’s book two of her Kate Daniel series, and it certainly left me eager to read book three (which has just been turned in to the publisher, as I understand it).

I think I’m missing something, though. There are references to an ex-almost-boyfriend, Maximillian Crest, in Magic Burns. I just read Magic Bites at the end of March, and I don’t remember Crest at all. I don’t remember Kate having a love interest at all, in fact. Only a fool could miss the sexual tension between Kate and Curran, but that’s unresolved. I don’t remember any prior encounters with a teenage urban shaman, either. So did I just miss some things, or are there stories set between the books that I don’t know about?

I do recommend these books to anyone who enjoys the urban fantasy genre. This one played around with Celtic mythology, which I also enjoy.

No Rest for the WitchesNo Rest for the Witches contains four novellas. MaryJanice Davidson is the headliner, since she’s apparently the best-known of the four authors. I don’t remember how this book ended up in my hold queue at the library, but there it was with the others, so I checked it out.

Davidson’s contribution is “The Majicka,” which might or might not be set in the same world as her Betsy Taylor and Wyndham Werewolves stories (maybe even the mermaid series, although I haven’t read those so I can’t be sure). You really need a good reason to toss a fairy, a vampire, a werewolf, a woman enchanted into a vehicle by her archmage ex-SO, and a dryad into one novella. I didn’t really buy the explanation, honestly. I didn’t find the main character interesting or attractive, nor did I see any reason for the obligatory love interest to find her irresistible. But it’s a romance novella, and one of the absolute necessities seems to be people falling into love at first sight.

The setup of “Voodoo Moon” by Lori Handeland was a bit better, although that main character should turn in her FBI badge and forget having any career in law enforcement. The first guy she meets should have been wearing a red shirt because it was way too obvious that he wouldn’t last long.

Cheyenne McCray’s “Breath of Magic” needs to be relabeled “erotica” instead of “paranormal romance.” Even if the hot guy does whisper sweet nothings to the main character, this novella is about two people bumping fuzzies. There’s an intricate plot setup for absolutely no reason, as it certainly wasn’t necessary for them to get naked together, and there isn’t any resolution to any of the plot threads. The only way the sex scenes could have been more explicit would have involved wiring the two up to measuring devices, as inches and degrees are the only details not given. From the teaser of one of McCray’s books, it seems that the intricate plot is explored more thoroughly in at least one book. I got the feeling that the sex would be similar, as well.

“Any Witch Way She Can” by Christine Warren opens with much grousing by the main character about her spinsterhood. She then proceeds to try a love spell, but does a lot of ingredient substitution and doesn’t follow the instructions properly. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work as expected. Unfortunately, she doesn’t experience any dreadful consequences as a result of toying with things she doesn’t understand, either. And of course, she, like the characters in two of the other novellas, will end up in bed with a guy she meets right after meeting him.

I need to go through my hold queues at both libraries to be sure there aren’t any more romances hiding there, because I obviously have a very bad attitude about them. I know that there’s a formula, and it seems that all of these novellas do follow it. But I don’t like formulaic fiction, and I don’t know that it could be written well enough to really please me.

On to Blindfold Game by Dana Stabenow. That should provide a nice change of pace.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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5 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Magic Burns and No Rest for the Witches

  1. I read Magic Bites the other week, as it happens. Crest was the doctor-guy she meets at the path lab, dapper and straight-laced, who wines her and dines her and woos her, in between all the stuff with Curran. Things go wrong when she ends up suspecting him of being the bad guy, and turns up at his door with Curran and the rest to check him out, which ruins any chances she had. He’s in about half the book, maybe you just forgot the precise name?

  2. I can’t wait for Magic Strikes! I’m so eager 🙂 The first two were great.

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