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 teenaged 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 the 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.

Dragon Con, weekend planning, and back to school

I won’t be going to Drag­on Con unless a tick­et (or pass — hey, I’m will­ing to do pan­els, ya know) falls out of the air. Sam will be run­ning games and the girl will be work­ing the con, so they both got passes. 🙂 

I’d hap­pi­ly meet out-of-town­ers for lunch or some­thing, though. Jean­nie, you still coming?

I expect lots of fun pho­tos (with you in them, not just of the crowds!) and sto­ries from y’all next week to make up for not going, of course.

I’m try­ing to plan some self-care so I don’t get too lone­ly and grumpy over the week­end. I’m fig­ur­ing in stitch­ing time, def­i­nite­ly, but could use some sug­ges­tions as to movies to watch while stitch­ing. I nev­er go to the cin­e­ma, so you can safe­ly assume that if it’s been out in the last two years, I haven’t seen it (except Seren­i­ty, of course!). 

Oth­er sug­ges­tions for the weekend? 

My cur­rent “fun” read­ing is Wid­der­shins by de Lint, but I’m not real­ly get­ting into it for some rea­son. I need to see if the library has some­thing fluffy like the “Undead and ____” nov­els. Yeah, they’re eas­i­ly bought, but I read them like lit­er­ary M&Ms, so the high cost of paper­backs just does­n’t seem jus­ti­fied. Dekalb’s library does­n’t suck, but I miss Gwin­net­t’s far bet­ter selec­tion of genre fic­tion, as well as liv­ing close to a branch of the PINES sys­tem as we did in Cobb.

I did some­thing for me today, though: I put things in motion to return to school. If all goes as the school thinks it will, I could actu­al­ly be doing some online class­es next week! That is, if they give me the finan­cial aid pack­age I want. If not, I’ll wait ’til Jan­u­ary. But I’d real­ly like to go back now, as I’m feel­ing extreme­ly emp­ty-nest­ed with Katie gone back to school. I don’t want to do just online class­es, because I real­ly miss the dis­cus­sions of a “real” class and I think it would be good to have some­thing reg­u­lar for which I have to leave the house. 

On the oth­er hand, online class­es take lots less ener­gy, which leaves more for the actu­al aca­d­e­m­ic pur­suit and the rest of my life.

Hap­pi­ly, Katie prefers doing her home­work next to me rather than hol­ing up in her room as I did at that age, so I get a fair amount of time with her when she’s home. That real­ly does push the need for a lap­top, though, as she can’t be online (or just typ­ing) and be in the liv­ing room with me and Sam. When she had one she made real­ly good use of it.

I real­ly like the fact that she’s attend­ing a school with a good loca­tion and com­mu­ni­ty ties. We could­n’t real­ly ask for bet­ter than where she is in that respect. I’m look­ing for­ward to mov­ing clos­er to the school, though.