Tour’s Books Blog

August 29, 2009

In Retrospect – Part One: Looking Back at Reviews

Filed under: Asleep at the wheel,Editorial,General,opinion — toursbooks @ 4:05 pm
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Like most people, or maybe unlike, I go back and revisit my ideas to see if they’ve changed.  There’s almost no way to keep personal likes and dislikes out of review.  If something makes you mad, or upset, or just violates your principals, maintaining an emotional distance just doesn’t happen.  In my work I deal with data and form my opinions based on facts, but even there two people can look at the same data and see different things.  If opinions vary when dealing with numbers and facts vary, it’s inevitable that reactions will vary even more widely when forming opinions on books – after all, a book is intended to elicit a reaction from the reader.

So I went back and revisited some of my reviews to see if I still felt the same way – positive or negative – about some of the books I’ve reviewed.  To do this, I looked primarily at those I like the best and the least.  I don’t give many A reviews and even fewer F reviews, so the lists aren’t long, but I did include a few B books that might be deserving of a second look. (more…)

August 28, 2009

Book Review: The Demon King and I by Candice Havens

  • Title: The Demon King and I
  • Author: Candice Havens
  • Type: Paranormal Chick-Lit
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy, Multiple Worlds
  • Sub-genre: Kick-ass Heroine and Enemy Hero
  • My Grade: C+ (3.4*)
  • Rating: PG – 17
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold

The Demon King and I is told in the first person by Gillian Caruthers, one of four Caruthers sister who are the Guardians to the portals between Earth and other worlds where the stuff of myth and nightmares live.  The split personality of Gillian’s life makes it hard to buy the basic premise, a famous, much photographed, rich girl as a sword wielding, demon butt kicking heroine.  In addition, Gillian comes across as a terminally shallow heroine with superhuman strength and world class fighting skills.  The plot itself is somewhat standard – evil magic, end-of-the-world, complete with traitors and kidnapped family member, etc.  If you need a primer on high end designer clothing and shoes, this is your book.  Designer names are dropped faster than red herrings in a mystery.  For some reason Gillian is really obsessed with appearances – to the point where her most burning question of the demon king when he shows up unexpectedly in her office to tell of a serious dark magic infecting the portals, is to ask where he got his suit!  ARGH!!!!!!!!! (more…)

August 27, 2009

Short Review: Shoulda Been A Cowboy – Book 7 of the Rough Riders Series

  • Title:  Shoulda Been A Cowboy
  • Author: Lorelei James
  • Type: Contemporary Romance
  • Genre:  Western, Series,  Book 7 of the Rough Riders Series
  • Sub-genre: Erotic, D/s, wounded hero & heroine
  • My Grade:  B- (3.75*)
  • Rating: X
  • Length: over 95,000 words – Full novel
  • Where Available: Samhain as an ebook

Lorelei James has been doing various stories in her tales of the McKay clan that have proved very popular.  I liked Miss Firecracker released earlier this summer, as well as several of her other books, but this isn’t a must buy series for me.  Shoulda Been a Cowboy is a very different kind of a story and rather touching without wallowing in pathos and tears.  Ms James also gives a far more realistic view of disabled Iraq war vets than did JoAnn Ross in Shattered where the ‘Bionic Man’ prosthesis makes the hero battle ready again.  Here Deputy Cameron McKay is a special ops vet who came home after losing a leg in Iraq.  He is a man used to using his body like a weapon, and now he has to work hard each day to keep himself independent and self-sufficient.  Your basic brooding, wounded hero who, because of his perception of his disability sees himself as less than he was before.  This is especially difficult for Cam because he’s a Dominant.  So many little things he used to take for granted are now no longer possible.  But he can’t help his attraction to Domini Katzinski, a Ukrainian immigrant who runs the local diner. (more…)

August 23, 2009

Book Reviews – Hot New Erotic Ménage Ebooks Part Two

I have 2 consistent complaints about New Concepts Publishing – the editing sucks and the printed book quality is even worse, badly bound, not square, crappy print job.  But the editing just makes me grit my teeth.  Honestly, change the damn electronic file!  What the hell is “imminently well qualified”?  Good grief.  Do your editors know what a dictionary is?  You know – that big book with all the words in alphabetical order over on the dusty shelf?  Just look up “imminently”.  LOOK IT UP! Now go look up the word “eminently”.  See the difference?  And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen “sole” where the correct word was “soul”, so look them up while you’re there.  Damn it, my spirit is not a freaking FISH!  Or worse, the bottom of a shoe!  Shoot your editors now and put them out of their misery – PLEASE.

Take the reviews below as a tribute to my willingness to endure the horrors of NCP’s editing to read two of my favorite authors while suffering the vagaries of their editing in hopes of finding a good story.  Thankfully they were both worth the effort. (more…)

August 22, 2009

Book Reviews – Hot New Erotic Ménage Ebooks Part One

I can go weeks and barely find anything to buy from the usual erotic publisher’s sites.  I check New Concepts, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain and Siren.  First I got Tymber Dalton’s latest installment on the Triple Trouble series, then in the last 14 days I found 4 more, all ménage.  Funny how things come in clumps like that.

All the books in Part One and Part Two of these reviews are technically novels, between 145 and 180 pages, but with typeface and lines per page, Kansas City Shuffle (by all appearances one of the longest based on page count) was actually much shorter.  Rules of Desire was far longer at just under 80,000 words and Wolf and Total Recall longer still – even though they had fewer pages.  (By comparison, Dalton’s Three Dog Night was only 42,000 words.) (more…)

August 21, 2009

Book Review: Hex Marks the Spot by Madelyn Alt

  • Title: Hex Marks the Spot
  • Author: Madelyn Alt
  • Type: Mystery
  • Genre: Paranormal cozy series
  • Sub-genre: Gifted human witch with a talent for crime
  • My Grade:  B- (3.6*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold

Madelyn Alt writes very likable, if rather predictable, cozy mysteries with unusual settings and very limited ‘woo-woo’ factor.  Her Bewitching Mystery series feature Maggie O’Neill, a woman discovering her empathic ‘talent’ with the help of her older friend and mentor, Felicity ‘Liss’ Dow, a witch.  Between them they run a ‘gift sop/antique store/witchy emporium’.  Today Maggie and Liss are off to the first fair of the spring season looking for stock for the store and perhaps something for themselves.  The book is set in Stony Mill, Indiana and the area plays host to both Mennonite and Amish communities.  Lissa buys much of her furniture and other handmade articles from them. (more…)

August 17, 2009

Book Review: Breakpoint by JoAnn Ross

  • Title: Breakpoint
  • Author: JoAnn Ross
  • Type: Romantic Suspense
  • Genre: Faux Military/Secret Gov’t Agency
  • Sub-genre: Old adversaries to lovers
  • My Grade: B- (3.7*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold

JoAnn Ross started off her High Risk series to compete with popular series like Roxanne St Claire’s Bullet Catchers, Tara Janzen’s Steele Street books, and Suzanne Brockmann’s Trouble Shooter’s.  Like other authors of these quasi-military thrillers, she blends the attraction of a Special Ops operative with the freedom of a civilian setting.  This gives a lot of latitude otherwise unavailable.  I liked Freefall and Crossfire (each a C+ for me), didn’t much care for Shattered (a C- for me) and I really like Breakpoint, mostly because the love story was more interesting than most and the action/mystery part was more believable than most books of this ilk.  Ms. Ross has an easy to read style, though here she hangs some meat on her military bones.  It sounds a bit pedantic at times, as if she were quoting information from source material, and I the whole kidnapping thing at the end hard to buy into, but the core love story was very solid. (more…)

August 15, 2009

Book Review: Wolf’s Passion by Elizabeth Lapthorne

  • Title: Wolf’s Passion
  • Author: Elizabeth Lapthorne
  • Type: Paranormal Romance
  • Genre: Shifter – Werewolf
  • Sub-genre: Werewolf brothers – related novellas
  • My Grade: C (3*)
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Where Available: Ellora’s Cave as individual ebooks or in print as

Wolf’s Passion is actually two related novellas brought together in a book for sale.  The Mating Game is the story of Dominic Rutledge, one of the two younger Rutledge brothers.  Older brothers Atremais and William.  Now Dominic and Samuel are surrounded by nieces and nephews, so each has taken a cottage away from the main house for peace and privacy.  Neither feels the intense urge to mate that their older brothers felt, but neither is entirely content either.  They still have the band, though neither Artemais nor William play, they have other wolves in their place.  When Dominic catches a hacker into Rutledge Security in one of his traps he watches as a different hacker extricates the first one with skill and patience.  He traces the second hacker, sure it’s a female and he’s determined to meet her. (more…)

August 14, 2009

The Pecuilar Morality of ‘The One’

You see it time and again in romance novels, ‘The One’, a Heart Mate, ‘Life Mate’, an inescapable destined mate – and more often than not, there can be only one.  Werewolves do it on an almost universal basis.  Dragons do it, especially shifter dragons.  Vampires do it, though it’s less universal.  Even some cats do it, though more often than not cats with just one mate are seen as the family oddball. (Nik Vorislav in Shelly Laurenston’s hysterically funny Here Kitty, Kitty)  But the morality around securing ‘the One’ seems to get a bit flexible.

The idea that a male has one true mate to exclusion of all others and is destined to monogamy with that One is remarkably attractive to women.  That makes it a very attractive trope in paranormal romance.  It might not insure they’re loved for themselves, but it does insure a faithful, caring male.  In the majority of the books I’ve read, the ‘One’ is often the only one capable of acting as breeder as well.  Occasionally, breeding is separate, but it is usually an exclusive right of the One. So now you have a male (on rare occasion a female) with a biological imperative that’s two fold, the need to secure a desirable mate and the need to procreate.  This makes the female irresistible.  It also provides the stability and emotional security for the female – the guarantee he will remain exclusively yours and value you as the prize you are.  A seductive idea with great appeal, but one that often comes at a price.  To reap the benefits, your mate must be a True Mate or Life Mate, as opposed to a mate (lower case), because otherwise it might well go the way of broken marriages in the human world. (more…)

August 13, 2009

Book Review: Three Dog Night by Tymber Dalton

  • Title: Three Dog Night
  • Author: Tymber Dalton
  • Type: Paranormal Erotic Romance
  • Genre: Shifter – Werewolf, Series
  • Sub-genre: Permanent menagé
  • My Grade: B+ (4.3*)
  • Rating: xxx
  • Where Available: ebook from Siren

Three Dog Night is the third installment of Ms Dalton’s Triple Trouble series and it is the best by far of the set, to date.  What was intended to be a trilogy is obviously going ito be more as we are still in the middle of an unfolding drama at the end of the book.

Elain Pardie had a hard won spot on the local news channel when Brody and Cail approached and began the process of making her their mate. At the end of book one it seemed Elain was settled in with them, until Ain makes it clear to his brothers he has no real intent of allowing Elain to go back to work – and she overhears.  Feeling trapped and betrayed, she runs back to her mother – the aunt who raised her, Carla, and was her de facto mother for as long as she can remember.  Brody brings her home where she beings demonstrating signs of being a werewolf alpha, making Ain chase her and dominate her.  At the end of book 2, Ain is starting to look into Elain’s past, afraid she is an unclaimed Alpha female from another pack, a situation that could bring a world of trouble to their clan. (more…)

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