Tour’s Books Blog

June 29, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Killing Bridezilla by Laura Levine

  • Title: Killing Bridezilla
  • Author: Laura Levine
  • Type: Chick Lit
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Sub-genre: Amateur sleuth
  • My Grade: C+  (3.5*)
  • Rating: PG
  • Warnings: none

Laura Levine writes the Jaine Austen mystery series featuring writer for hire, Jaine Austen. She does ads, resumes and whatever else comes her way to make ends meet in Hollywood. Levine herself is a former comedy writer and it shows in the timing and style of the humor of her books. Here she gets to mine the humor of the painful high school years when Jaine is called by her personal HS nightmare, Patti Devane, and offered a very badly need $3,000 for writing her wedding vows – a rewrite of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet a la Friends. Re-write Shakespeare? Jaine really wants to say, “Hell NO!”, but the reality of her bank account has her mouth saying, “Of course!”

Jaine is optimistic that class bitch Pattie has become a civilized human being. The maid that answers the door quickly puts that hope to rest by saying, “Another one?” Sure enough, Pattie still has the charm of a pit viper and an uncanny sense for a person’s weak spot. In addition to Jaine, she has 2 classmates as her attendants, Denise and Cheryl (Cheryl gets thrown out for being ‘fat’ and Pattie hires an actress to replace her), another is acting as caterer (Veronica), and she’s marrying yet another classmate, Dickie Potter, whose marriage – to yet another classmate, Normalynne – she broke up when the two got reacquainted at the class reunion. She wants the ‘lamb less lamb-y’, the shrimp ‘less fishy’ and the roses more ‘rose-y’. Pattie is the archetype liposuctioned, bust enhanced, self adsorbed Bel Air bitch. One wonders how she lived so long without someone shoving her off a cliff. (more…)

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June 28, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Every so often I need the equivalent of a palate cleansing course in a meal when it comes to books. I keep a re-read pile for a good reason, it’s there that I find just the perfect ‘flavor’ to clean my taste buds and remind what really good writing is all about. Last month I re-read Lord Perfect. This month I chose another Carsington novel, Mr. Impossible. All I can say is thank heavens for Loretta Chase.

Rupert Carsington is the ne’er do well son of the Earl of Hargate. Charming, brawny, carefree, affable, a man with a strong sense of right and wrong, he’s never been the brains of the family, but he’s not dullard most think. He does have a talent for attracting trouble that borders on genius and has cost his father a small fortune. Hargate cuts Rupert’s allowance off and ships his hide off to Egypt to help the consul general to do something useful for a change. Mr. Salt feels like he’s been given a terrible burden, not help! He’d like nothing more than to ship Rupert back, but then he’d likely land somewhere at the end of the Earth for annoying Lord Hargate, so he’s stuck with paying yet another bribe to get Rupert out of the Pasha’s dungeon. (more…)

June 26, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Relentless by Lauren Dane (erotic romance)

Relentless by Lauren Dane is her second futuristic novel in the Known Universe series and sequel to Undercover. I’d love to say she knocked it out of the park, but once again, the world building, did her in and it’s making me snarky.  Just as I felt like I was more ‘in’ this book, not just watching people on a barely dressed stage as I was with Undercover, Dane would make a continuity or logic slip that would yank me back to the here and now. Here we are in the brave new “Known Universe” and Abbie uses current day slang when she accuses Roman of “blowing me off…”. Then big first sex scene involved Abbie’s suit jacket, skirt, blouse buttons and front hook bra. HUH? Wait a minute, you have space flight and you’re a THOUSAND YEARS IN THE FUTURE AND YOU HAVE BUTTONS AND FRONT HOOK BRAS AND SKIRTS WITH SUIT JACKETS? I found it extremely disconcerting when the book slipped into these scenes that belonged in contemporary books not a furturistic stories. I kept getting jarred right out of the alternate future world setting and wondering if Ms Dane spliced a contemporary novel with a Regency novel and just threw in some spaceships and multiple worlds. It was very frustrating.

The story of Relentless picks up as the shock of the traitorous activities by some members of the Ranked Families is reverberating throughout the ‘Verse. (Undercover) Ranked Family members are about to go on trial in the capital city and center of the Known Universe, Ravena, for their part in the events on Nondal. There is also a scandal about an Associate Ranked family, the Kerrigans, who accused an 80 year old woman who raised their children and grandchildren of theft just after she put in her retirement papers. As an unranked worker, the woman has way to bring charges for illegal dismissal. Abbie Haws, the spokeswoman and leader for the Movement for Representative Democracy is using this tiny leverage and the increasing widespread discontent to get the Governance Council to begin the move to a representative democracy. Abbie is also a barrister and a damn good one. An articulate and thoughtful ‘face’ to the unrest among the unranked, she’s a ‘troublemaker’ to the Ranked and a leader to the unranked. She lives her life filled with the two jobs with a little set aside for her family and the occasional romp with her ex-fiancé who has slowly slipped into the role of friend. (more…)

June 25, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Charmed and Dangerous by Toni McGee Causey

Fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum pay attention, you have another screwball mystery to choose from in Charmed and Dangerous. Originally published in May 2007 as Bobby Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day by St. Martin’s Griffin in trade paperback, it has been re-titled and published in mass market paperback this month. Two additional books will be published later this year.

This is the first book by author Toni McGee Causey, a native of Louisiana and resident of Baton Rouge, who sets her tale in Louisiana bayou country around Lake Charles where tales of Jean Laffite and his buried treasure entice treasure hunters to this day. Bobby Faye grew up on them and dug more than her fair share of holes, but now all she wants is a day without problems. Lake Charles Contraband Day is the hottest event in town and Bobby Faye is the Queen, like her mother was before her, but there’s a hitch in the plan – a bigger one than her flooded trailer. Her useless brother failed to fix the water line to her washer and her trailer is sinking as the pipe fountains gallons out onto her floor. Her niece Stacey, staying with her while her sister Lori Ann is in court ordered rehab for her drinking problem, is more interested in the indoor pool than bailing it out, her electric is off because her check bounced, and the Child Services woman is due before the parade to see if she is a fit temporary guardian for her niece. Then things go really downhill. (more…)

June 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: On the Prowl by Crystal Jordan (erotic romance)

Every so often I make an impulse buy – OK, maybe more than ‘every so often’ – and it turns out well. Other times it’s a solid ‘meh’. Occasionally, it’s DNF. I gave a new, to me at least, author a try with Crystal Jordan. The publisher is Kensington Aphrodisia – who I have reluctantly managed to forgive for the Lords of the Satyr series. Ms Jordan has another book coming out this fall. On the Prowl is a collection of 3 novellas about the Cruz family, hereditary leaders on the North American Black Panthers. In this world, black panthers are not genetic variants on several cats, but a discrete breed of born shapeshifters. There are Prides on all continents, but North and South America have the largest. Antonio Cruz has just returned home from years of ‘fostering’ with the South American Pride to take over the North American Panters on the death of his father. No love was lost between the man and his 4 children. His sister, Andrea, an ex-model, lives in New York and runs her own fashion design company after his father’s behavior forced her to leave the Pride. His twin brothers, a rare event among panthers, Ricardo and Diego, live in the Pride house and act as the Pride’s lawyers and advisors to their brother.

The Cruz family is unusually large. Panthers usually have one off-spring, maybe, if they are very lucky, there are two. Panther cubs are conceived while in cat form, so they cannot mate outside their species nor can they impregnate any female except their mate. Frankly, I’m surprised they’ve survived as a species given the many breeding constraints, small population and limited gene pool. Unlike many shifter books, here each cat gets a life mate, so once mated, no fooling around. Panthers that cannot shift are usually ejected from the Pride, often killed to keep their existence a secret. They all seem to live together at the Pride home in Pacific Heights, though that part is a bit fuzzy. How do you hide that many screaming cats in a city like San Francisco? (more…)

June 21, 2009

Erotic Romance and Ménage

Filed under: Editorial,erotic romance — toursbooks @ 5:00 pm
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Racy Romance Reviews had an interesting post about Polyamory, Ménage, Erotic Romance and Culture. I was one of a few erotic romance readers to respond.  I listed some of my favorite erotic romance to illustrate good writing that includes ménage.   Lauren Dane, author of several of the book on my list, chimed in that she tended to write her ménage in settings other than true contemporary to get away from the hurdle that contemporary has for making the story believable.  That kind of got me thinking about the ménage stories I’ve read and how I reacted to them.

Ignoring the fact that I read Thea Divine and Susan Johnson years ago, I only tried erotic romance by accident last year.  I had several cross-country flights for business and needed books.  One of the books I bought, thinking it romantic suspense à la Suzanne Brockman, was Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh.  I’d never heard of her or her books, but the cover looked like my kind of thing, so what the hell.  On the way out I read The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (a good book for all you espionage/intrigue fans), an impulse buy at the airport bookstore, and finished it just before we hit the ground.  While there I read several mysteries, keeping Dangerous Games for the flight home because it was a long book.  As is my custom I carried extras, but just 1 shorter ‘back-up’ book was left, so Dangerous Games was the designated primary read. (more…)

June 19, 2009

A booklover’s quandry: What do you do with books you hate or just don’t want?

Filed under: Editorial,General — toursbooks @ 4:35 pm
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My whole life I have struggled with a quandary of my own making.  I am a voracious reader but often find I do not like a book or simply have no intention of ever reading it again.  Sometimes, I actively hate a book.  Simple answer, throw it out – put it in the recycling bin.  Well, no.  You see, books are not meant to just be discarded.  Even awful books – books so badly written you wonder how they ever made it to print.  Books whose content leaves you enraged.  Books that are so freaking boring they should come with warning labels.  Books with content utterly unsuitable for any under 21 or with more than 3 operating brain cells.  The pages are too small to wrap trash in them and contrary to The Day After Tomorrow, burning books in a fireplace is no easy thing.  That’s why they have bonfires and use wood!  The pages are too tightly packed together and tend to self extinguish or smolder.  And some books I might not be interested in, but others might, especially non-fiction books. (more…)

June 18, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Sweet Persuasion by Maya Banks (erotic romance)

Once again I find myself confronted with a book that is wonderfully well written that I disliked beyond redemption. I know my personal distaste for certain lifestyles influences this, but I simply cannot get past it. Of all the contemporary romance writers doing erotic stories, Maya Banks seems to be the most talented in creating characters and writing intelligent, highly sensual stories without getting trite or predictable. That said, she also goes places I just do not understand and I find myself so repulsed by certain events that I cannot enjoy the book at all.  Such was the case with Sweet Persuasion.

I have said many times I do not understand or enjoy BDSM. A little goes a long way with me and then I find myself angry at the protagonists. Actually, I was so distressed by one scene that I had trouble sleeping and woke with it praying on my mind. Some would say it speaks well that an author can create characters I felt that deeply about, but I’ve learned it’s because they hit a nerve that’s like a sore tooth I can’t leave alone. Even crappy writers can do this to me. (more…)

June 17, 2009

Some header changes

Filed under: erotic romance,General — toursbooks @ 10:28 pm
Tags:

I’ve noticed that many people are using ‘erotic-romance’ as a search term and reading the reviews of erotic romance books only.  Since my reading tases are rather broad, I decided that identifing erotic romance in the title will flag it ‘Do not read’ for my mystery/thriller/espionage novels and flag them for those who read erotic romance.  Some books seem borderline – paranormals in particular see to have a foot in both worlds, mainstream and erotic.   Regardless, I’ll be flagging erotic romance reviews in the future.  I have gone back and flagged a few of the more recent reviews as well, so have at it erotic romance fans.

BOOK REVIEW: Running Wild by Sarah McCarty (erotic romance)

This book is three separate, sequential intertwined novellas, Donovan, Kelon and Wyatt. Twins Donovan and Kelon McGowan are Protectors of the Carmichael Pack of werewolves, and Wyatt, their cousin and currently sheriff of Haven, is the wayward alpha ascending that Donovan has come to bring back to the Pack. Wyatt’s father is dying and the Pack needs him. All three stories play out over a period of a week or so.

Donovan opens with Wyatt and Donovan sitting in the small town’s only entertainment, a bar, bowling alley, pool hall as a furious Lisa Delaney storms in and heads straight for Buddy, picking up a pool cue on her way. Lisa is mad as hell and has every right to be. Buddy beat the crap out of her sister, Robin. His mother bought off the DA and no charges were brought – but Lisa plans to extract payment and proceeds to beat him with the cue stick. She hasn’t got it in her to kill him, which might be a big mistake. (more…)

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