Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

Once Upon Stilettos is the second book in the Katie Chandler series by Shanna Swendson. Katie is a nice Texas girl in New York City who discovers that she has a very rare ability – an immunity to magic. This means she can see through enchantment and illusions and she's offered a job at Magic, Spells, and Illusions.

Book 2 continues where book 1 left off – the company is still dealing with the same villian – an underhanded ex-employee bent on sabotage. Katie is tasked to discover the identity of a suspected spy in MDI's midst, while dealing with her own relationship issues.

As with book 1 I found the series charming and light, but I'm beginning to want some more depth to some of the periphery characters other than Katie and a few main players. The villains are cartoonish, and while there are some darker parts to this book, for the most part things are kept fun and light. Which is fine if that's what you are in the mood for. Probably the best part of this book was the developing romance. I think that it was more fully featured here than in the first book. I found the ending satisfying and a good stopping point. While there is a wide opening for the series to continue, we aren't left with a cliffhanger.

(my review of book 1)

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Enchanted, Inc. By Shanna Swendson

Remember that post I made a while ago about this series (I was miffed because I heard they were chopping it off at book 4 instead of the complete 5)? I finally got around to reading book one.

The series is about Katie Chandler, a Texas girl who has relocated to the Big City (NYC) and discovered that she's normal. So normal that she's in fact rare – someone with no magic in her what-so-ever, which means that she is not fooled by enchantments and can see through them. She thinks she's just not jaded enough when no one else blinks at the girl in fairy wings or the gargoyles that aren't always in the same place. Then she finds out other people aren't seeing what she's seeing and she's so unusual she's offered a job.

Excerpt of book 1

In one word – the book was "charming". I think it has a sweet, uncomplicated appeal to it. Nice texan girl comes to New York and makes good using her common sense. I also like the idea of a secret side to the city, and the author does incorporate a lot of New York into the story. There is also a lot of interesting aspects to the magical world that the author included in the story (like how many frogs in Central Park really are princes and the hijinks that ensue when Katie gets talked into going to kiss some with her tipsy female coworkers). I'm having a little trouble categorizing the genre of this book though. The romance is so light I don't even know if I should mention it, but I think it's possibly going to come up more in following books. I think it comes closest to being chick-lit. Except ..I guess I'm used to chick-lit books being more stand-alone and something, than this book feels. Anyway: a pleasant read, I found it hard to put down. I'll be looking for book two.

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Series being chopped off before the ending

*pointing at the subject*. That's a HUGE pet peeve. OK, who doesn't find it annoying – you like a series, you are reading it and eagerly awaiting for years for the ending, when it gets cruelly chopped off and you NEVER KNOW what happens!!! J knows what I'm taking about (L.J. Smith – book 10 of Nightworld).

I found out that the Enchanted Inc series by Shanna Swendson was going to be 5 books, but the 5th one isn't going to be published. I haven't read these books yet but they were on my wishlist because I read an excerpt (I read the first few pages of the 1st book on Amazon) and thought it looked good. Anyone here read these books? That sucks! I feel all miffed on principle. Here is a post about what's going on at Shanna Swendson's blog. If you like her books you should buy them and up the sales. It may help get book 5 out. I'm going to read the first one to see how I like it.

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Unrelated to the Enchanted Inc series, but related to pet peeves – some of my other pet peeves to do with series:

1) Series that go on toooo long and the reader senses milking (I think about 7 books is near the max for me. I will allow more than this if books are from the viewpoint of different characters, or if the author is brilliant enough to pull it off, but after about 10, that. is. IT)!

2) Series that go on way too long because the author refuses to edit and cut things out. I'm thinking of some epic fantasies that are way too involved and could be pared down. This just feels like the author loves their baby and wants to show their world in great, excruciating detail, but the story should be more important, and sometimes less is more. This should be obvious - seeing the surface of the world and knowing it is so much more is better writing than reading about everything the author could possibly jam in. Tanith Lee is a good example of showing the surface and hinting at more.

3) Series that have some love triangle or two friends who you know are going to get together at the end, but the author keeps the reader hanging for 3-5 books or more. I can take this if the characters are young and growing up and the relationship is going to take time to start, or if there is so much more going on in the series than just that, but not if its just ridiculous and obviously a ploy. If much of the book is about the romance and its just going round and round, I get fed up and want to kill all the characters.

4) Books in the middle of the very long series where nothing happens.. not much advances in the plot and it feels like a waste of money.

I guess much of the above have this in common – I don't like being jerked around or feeling like.. someone is just doing this to keep a cash cow going at my expense.

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