Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Feline Valentine by Tara Quan
Under magical house arrest in her great-grandmother’s suburban cottage, college graduate and reluctant earth mage Shelley Dupree whiles away most mornings spying on the warlock next door. Though erotic daydreams offer some distraction, she faces long working hours, cash flow problems, and a repeat burglar. On Valentine’s Day, she sets a trap for the mysterious intruder, intent on ending his crime streak once and for all. But her scheming cat familiar foils her best-laid plans, and, with a little help from Madame Eve’s 1-Night Stand service, she discovers a far more dangerous species of magical feline.
After moving in next to a ramshackle building on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., pastry chef Adrien Chatdurois is plagued by repeat sexual fantasies starring the same curvy brunette. In a state of constant arousal, he devotes his early mornings to grueling exercise and spends the rest of his day handcrafting the city’s best chocolates. When his younger brother stirs up trouble on the shop’s busiest day, the frustrated shifter is forced to pay a surprise visit on his reclusive neighbor. He soon learns not all witches are wart-covered hags, and one in particular might prove the most delicious of desserts.
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I was excited to hear that there was a new book out in the Witch's Night Out series as this has been one of my favorite series by Tara Quan. Even though each book only gives us a short glimpse into it, the world that she has built here seems very rich and full of possibilities. Most of them have been pretty sizzling hot too which only adds to the appeal. This one delivers the heat as well, though not quite at the level of previous books I think, and while I did enjoy it I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed as well. Although to be fair it would have been difficult for this one to live up to the intensity and scorching heat present in the earlier books of the series.
We've met Shelley in earlier volumes of the series, though she's never played a very big part in any of them. What we had seen of her had been rather unremarkable in my opinion since she was largely portrayed as a reclusive homebody (or that's my recollection of her at least). We discover pretty quickly in this book that she's been hiding quite a passionate nature beneath that shy, retiring exterior as it opens with her spying on her sexy neighbor while he's doing his daily workout and having very explicit fantasies of what she'd like to do to and with him. Once introduced to her better I found her to be an interesting character and I wish we'd gotten a chance to know her even better either previous to this book or at least before being thrown fully into the action here. As it is, we got enough to make her very likable, but not enough to really get to know her.
Much the same can be said of Adrien for I never felt like we really got to know him very well. We learn that he's a great pastry chef, is a fairly decent guy, and has family issues. We're given just enough information about said family issues to be both intriguing and confusing. He's also a bit of a chameleon it seems, for he can go from being totally laid back and chill about the evening to being full-on domineering alpha male and verging on being almost too forceful in pursing what he wants. Still, for all that we only get a fairly shallow look into his personality I have to admit...I'd do him ;)
As I noted in my intro, I have to admit to being kind of disappointed by this book. Not that it wasn't enjoyable, because it was, and not that it doesn't have interesting characters that engage in all manner of "interesting" activities, because it does, but...it just didn't seem as put together as the previous books in the series were. The romance between Shelley and Adrien felt rather rushed and relied a bit too heavily on the whole intense natural chemistry/attraction thing rather than getting to know one another in more than a carnal sense. Allowances do have to be made of course for the fact that this is just a novella and it likely isn't really intended to be more than the opening sequence to what promises to become a longer romance, but even so it still felt like things happened just a bit too quickly. I also felt like the whole sub-plot about the break-ins could have been left out entirely, for it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story and I found it to be mostly just confusing and distracting, interrupting the rapport that was only just starting to build between Shelley and Adrien for little real purpose. I likewise felt that much of the stuff with Adrien's brother could have been left out though it did tie in better with the main story and I did find him to be an interesting enough character that I wouldn't mind seeing him get a story in the future perhaps.
Despite my negative comments, I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to others, particularly those that have been following this series or who follow Tara Quan in general. Do I think it is her best work? No. But that hardly means it isn't worth reading for she still brings enough of her characteristic humor and heat with a touch of whimsy here and there to make this a truly entertaining read. And I still hold that you really can't go wrong with any of her books. So give this one, and indeed the entire series a try if erotic/paranormal romance is your thing at all. You likely won't be sorry.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.