Tour’s Books Blog

July 27, 2009

Book Review: The Sword by Jean Johnson

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 12:00 pm
  • Title: The Sword
  • Author: Jean Johnson
  • Type: Romance
  • Genre: Alternate world
  • Sub-genre: Magic using brothers with prophesy
  • My Grade: C+(3.25*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold

This predictable, easy to read alternate magic world is a Regency Romance in disguise.  Eight brothers, 4 sets of fraternal twins, fulfill a prophesy and the fearful the people of Katan banish them to Nightfall Island.  For 3 years now they’ve undergone magical attacks by someone who fears them greatly, and fears their finding their destined mates even more.  The eldest brother, Saber, makes swords enchanted – that means he not a metalsmith and doesn’t work the weapon, he just enchants the blade.  Each brother has a specific talent and two are shifters, including Saber’s twin, Wolver.  It is the youngest son that is the most powerful mage, Morganan.  Any woman found on, or trying to reach, the island will be killed because each brother has a predestined mate that will trigger his fate.
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July 26, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Kiss of the Wolf by Morgan Hawke

  • Title: Kiss of the Wolf
  • Author: Morgan Hawke
  • Type: Adventure Romance
  • Genre: Historical Paranormal
  • Sub-genre: Fangs and Fur Urban Fantasy
  • My Grade: B  (4*)
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Where Available: Any bookstore

This very unusual book is sold as a romance, and in many ways that’s what it is, but in all fairness to most romance readers Kiss of the Wolf reads more like action adventure with romance than true romance.  It also carries a ‘Sexually Explicit’ warning and yes, there is some, but not a lot and certainly no more explicit that you’d find in a steamy historical.  Probably less.  I think this is one of the reasons it gets such mixed reviews.  Expectations are not met.  I have to admit I was frankly puzzled by it myself, but it was engrossing enough that I read on.  In many ways it reminded me of the old TV series, Wild, Wild West – just without the humor, mixed with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a dash of Jules Verne, and a some Thea Devine steam.  It has elements of traditional fantasy adventure, historical urban fantasy, and romantic suspense. (more…)

July 22, 2009

Book Reviews: Two Mysteries by Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets writes several cozy mystery series including The Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and the Dead End Job series.  Neither has been stellar in their plots or stories, but that have been good reads – till now.

  • Title: Murder With All the Trimmings
  • Author: Elaine Viets
  • Type: Mystery
  • Genre: Cozy
  • Sub-genre: Josie Marcus Series
  • My Grade: D+ (2.5*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Amazon, BN, local bookstore (more…)

July 19, 2009

Mental Meanderings

Filed under: Asleep at the wheel,Editorial,opinion — toursbooks @ 1:54 pm
Tags: , ,

I regularly cruise blogs and forums on books and recently joined GoodReads.  It’s interesting to see how differently people view a book.  I made a HUGE exception to my ‘No Silhouettes Desire’ and got The Tycoon’s Rebel Bride from PaperBack Swap.  Why?  How could I be suckered in like that?  Simple – Maya Banks.  I can now plainly state that even in the able hands of one of the better writers out there this series is trite, formulaic, and unoriginal – in short, exactly what Silhouette and the Desire line readers wants.  On Good Reads it had anywhere from 5* to DNF.  I gave it 3*, mostly for the quality of the writing, not the plot or the characters.  I’m sure Ms Banks is being well paid for her trilogy, of which this is the middle book – and she should be.  Like many popular authors of full length novels, she has a living to make and these short books are perfect.  The story lines are constrained by the publisher so little innovation is possible, or welcome by readers, so they are far easier to write, yet sell well – if briefly.  Desire is and has been a hugely popular Silhouettes line for exactly that reason, so they’ve found a niche and authors and audience alike get to enjoy it.  Except for some of us who sit and wonder how anyone can read more than one of these a decade.  Naturally, the folks who DO read Silhouettes Desire line wonder how the hell I can slog my way through hundreds of pages of murder and mayhem, so to each their own I guess. (more…)

July 17, 2009

Short Review: Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

  • Title: Don’t Tempt Me
  • Author: Loretta Chase
  • Type: Romance
  • Genre: Regency
  • Sub-genre: Spunky girl overcomes odds marries duke
  • My Grade: C+ (3.25*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Dear Author did a superb summary of the thin plot of Don’t Tempt Me that can be read here.  Zoe and Lucien were interesting characters, but shallow compared with the bulk of Chase’s work.  Your Scandalous Ways was a far better book with more original characters and a great plot and wonderfully over-the-top villian.  It was a story with layers and depth and worthy of the A- that Dear Author gave it.  Having re-read Lord Perfect and Mr. Impossible in the last couple of months then Your Scandalous Ways, then Julia Quinn’s overrated fluff, What Happens in London, just 10 days before Don’t Tempt Me, really put this book in context for quality.  Zoe is ‘spunky’ and Lucian is ‘closed off emotionally’.  That’s it.  Oh, there is a moderately threatening fraudster.  There is more plot, character depth and wit than Quinn’s What Happens in London, but just barely.  Zoe’s harpy sister’s, Lucian’s feckless ways, the usual shallow ton – all standard issue. Like Quinn’s book, the villian was more eye-rollingly contrived than believable and frankly added nothing really except an excuse for Lucian to indulge in long overdue self-assassment of his chosen life style.  As epiphanies go, it was trite.  I love Loretta Chase and many of her books are on my keeper shelf,  but this book left me underwhelmed and goes to Paperback Swap.

July 16, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: White Wolf by Jianne Carlo

  • Title: White Wolf
  • Author: Jianne Carlo
  • Type: Romantic Suspense
  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Sub-genre: non-shifter wolf
  • My Grade: B- (3.8*)
  • Rating: PG-17
  • Where Available: Loose Id

White Wolf was a full length romantic suspense novel and not at all the usual ‘werewolf’ trope, though it had some of those elements.  White wolves had deliberately  cross bred to remove their shifting ability.  The young males were unable to control it and as they became known and feared by other Native Americans and white settlers alike they were killed.  To protect them, they needed to keep many of the wolf senses, but stop shifting.  Another group of wolves chose not to make alteration – the Black wolves.  They became a cult and practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism. Gray White’s grandfather annihilated the Black wolves years ago – but now there are deaths that are following the same frightening pattern. (more…)

July 15, 2009

Two Romance Anthologies and Two Short Reviews – Erotic Romance

I read through two anthologies this week, one from a PBS swap.  Here we go!

  • Title: Shifters
  • Author: Various
  • Type: Romance Anthology
  • Genre: Paranormal and Futuristic
  • Sub-genre: Shape-shifter
  • My Grade: B- (3.8*)
  • Rating: PG-17
  • Where Available: Amazon

Mad Dog Love by Angela Knight

This futuristic romance was one of the two best in the book.   Mad Dog Love was very tightly plotted and written, intelligent and clever. It had amazing depth for a story just 65 pages long. The cast is surprisingly large, but centers around Rance Conlan and runaway Empress Zarifa Lorezo.  Rance Conlan is a nano-enhanced shifter from the Freeworlds captured by a sadistic slaver who names him Mad Dog.  The collar around his throat and a control device insure his compliance or his own nanos turn on him.  There are not many shifter slaves, so the slaver Casus gets a high price from am Aristo courier, Lady Selan.  But is Lady Selan is actually runaway Empress Zarifa. Rance supports the man called the Bastard, the illegitimate son of the Zarifa’s uncle, her father’s older brother, who supposedly died without legitimate issue. She’s on the run to find him and deliver proof of his claim, while the Regent and his son, the same ones responsible for Rance’s capture, want her stopped – but there are spies in the Bastard’s camp that want them stopped at all cost. On it’s own, this was an A- story on all levels. (more…)

July 13, 2009

Short Reviews – More Romance and Erotic Romance

Here we go with a bunch more reviews, mostly ebooks – novellas, short novels, and full novels.

  • Title:  The Joy of Ex
  • Author: Brit Ryan
  • Type: Romantic Suspense
  • Genre: Murder Mystery
  • Sub-genre: First Book Lily MacInnes series
  • My Grade: C- (2.8*)
  • Rating: PG:17
  • Where Available: Samhain

This romantic mystery by new author Brit Ryan had a terrific start and initially I liked Lily MacInnes.  Unfortunately, the story got choppy and nearly unintelligible at points and Lily behaved like an idiot in a ‘too-stupid-too-live’ chick-lit book.  The worst was when they suspected she’d been slipped a ‘roofie’ and her new police superintendent boyfriend, Paul Mascara, insisted on a blood test and she threw a tantrum that would have annoyed me in an eight year old.  On top of that, the moron who drugged her may end up partner in her (more…)

July 10, 2009

Short Reviews – Assorted Romance

I’ve read several shorter books or books that were reviewed elsewhere and I have little or nothing to add, so I’ve grouped them here in short reviews.

  • Title: Make Me Yours
  • Author: Betina Krahn
  • Type: Romance
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Sub-genre: Harlequin Blaze
  • My Grade: B
  • Rating: PG-17 (more…)

PaperbackSwap.com – Review to Date

Filed under: Editorial,Online Book Swapping,opinion — toursbooks @ 3:40 pm
Tags: ,

If nothing else, I can be tenacious as a tick.  I prefer to think of it as determination, though others might account it closer to Missouri Mule stubborn.  After a really bad start and a less awful second portion I have now swapped over 100 books and I still don’t know it all.  PaperBack Swap is actually a bit more complicated than it appears at first blush.

I first wrote about PBS back in March and then did an update in April thinking I knew the site by then.  HA!  I’m still learning some of the things and frankly I do not get other bits at all.

At it’s most basic, you list books and swap them for 1 point per completed transaction and then request new books with your points.  See, very simple.  But a lot of the books swapped are well worn, so you then use ‘Requestor Conditions’ to limit this, as well as add things like, ‘currently in a smoke free home’.  Then you can swap with your buddies – those who have similar interests to your own.  But wait, there’s more!  (I’ve always wanted to say this while selling vegetable peelers that can shave shoes at 2AM in an infomercial.) (more…)

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