Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Damsel Under Stress and Don't Hex With Texas by Shanna Swendson

To save a little time & space (and also to get to the review of Much Ado About Magic this week), I combined the posts for Damsel & Don't Hex With Texas (Books 3 and 4 of the Enchanted, Inc. Series).   
From Ballantine Books:
To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.

At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ethelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets–and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.

Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.

Damsel Under Stress introduces us to the fairy godmother from hell.  Things are tense at MSI with spies in the mix, a havoc wreaking fairy godmother and more secrets surrounding Owen, Katie once again has her hands full. 

The Bad:
Honestly, I’m not overly fond of the ending of Damsel and when I first read it, I thought Katie was insane. Also, there’s a very slow build to the relationship between Katie and Owen, which feels a little drawn out, but all in all, Damsel is a fun read and a continuation of a fascinating tale.

The Good:

I love the dragons, more hilarious situations from bad dates to a church full of crazy women trying to steal Owen for their daughters and of course, the gargoyles. I know I mentioned the talking gargoyles in my review for Enchanted, Inc., but we get to go for a ride with more gargoyles in Damsel. 
Book 4 -Don't Hex With Texas

SPOILER ALERT! From Ballantine Books:
Everything’s bigger in Texas–including romance, magic, and danger!

Katie Chandler has fled fast-paced Manhattan and returned home to a simpler life, working at her family’s feed-and-seed store in Cobb, Texas. In a painfully selfless gesture, Katie had left the sexy wizard Owen Palmer to battle his demons in the magical realm–after all, Katie just seemed to attract evil, which only made Owen’s job a lot harder. But now it seems that trouble has followed her home: Despite the fact that Merlin, Katie’s old boss at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantment, (magically speaking), Katie begins to notice curious phenomena.

Cobb is being plagued by a series of inexplicable petty crimes and other devilish mischief, and after her experiences in Manhattan, Katie knows“unauthorized magic” when she sees it. As this new darkness strikes deep in the heart of Texas, Owen appears (literally) to investigate. Now Katie’s friends and family must show the bad guys why it’s bad luck to hex with Texas, while Katie and Owen combine their strengths like never before to uncover a sinister plot before evil takes root in the Lone Star State.
I’m not sure I can do this review without spoilers, so if you are like me and hate too much information, STOP READING and I’m sorry! In Book 4, DHWT, Katie has returned home to Texas to live a magic free life. Or so she thought until she sees spots someone using magic in her small town.
The Bad:
I did not like Katie’s retreat to Texas. It seemed out of character for her to walk away, not just from Owen, but from her friends and more importantly from this battle that had become so much of her life. I realize it was to set up the things we learn in DHWT, but I still had a hard time buying it. DHWT is probably the slowest paced of the books, but I’ve still read it about 5 times if that tells you anything.J
The Good:
Katie’s crazy family is present and accounted for in DHWT. There are plenty of funny situations – such as Katie’s grandma and her mother. Plus, we finally get some Katie-Owen alone time. I DO love the ending and was devastated when Shanna announced in 2008 that Ballantine wasn’t going to pursue Book 5. There’s still so much to discover, including all the mystery surrounding Owen and his destiny. Thus my complete joy at discovering that today, August 15, 2012, Shanna is self-publishing Book 5, now known as Much Ado About Magic AND that there will be a Book 6 later this fall! Plus, if you guys love them as much as I do (meaning the books sell), Shanna will publish Book 7!
Continuing our Much Ado About Magic countdown, our next Enchanted, Inc. review will be Much Ado About Magic!!!!


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