Its nice having you hear! I used quick light coals when I first started smoking. When I got exotica coals i'd never go back hehe. that being said I think a little time prepping like cleaning, poking the holes ect... will make a world of a difference.
As far as shisha smelling like it tastes. I think it happens at times but I don't really expect it on every brand or flavor.
Checking out some videos on youtube would be great. The ones from SamB, Sammi, and dmc are very helpful.