Tour’s Books Blog

October 31, 2009

Book Review: Animal Urges by Tawny Taylor

  • Title: Animal Urges
  • Author: Tawny Taylor
  • Type: Erotic Paranormal Romance – single author anthology
  • Genre: Genetically engineered shifter novellas
  • Sub-genre:  were-bear; boink-fest
  • My Grade: D+  (2.3*)
  • Rating: XX
  • Where Available: as ebooks from Ellora’s Cave or in used book stores
  • FTC Disclosure: purchased as a used book

I often find myself wondering why I continue to inflict the pain of empty stories by authors who have a bare nodding acquaintance with plot or character building.  You’d think after reading Ms Taylor’s Island Guardians novellas I’d have learned, but no, I bought this in a pile of used books from a seller on  I need better impulse control and a lot less optimism.  I never thought I was into pain, but I may need to reevaluate that opinion.  There are several authors who show occasional glimmers of talent that they then chuck out the window for sex driven boink fests with minimal story.  Ms Taylor is one. (more…)

October 29, 2009

Book Review: Dark Abyss by Kaitlyn O’Connor

Kaitlyn O’Connor is one of my favorite furturistic erotic romance writers.  Her Cyborg Nation series is funny and brings up a lot of interesting philosophical points and men just dying for sex.  For Dark Abyss, she freely borrows many of the elements in her cyborg series and blends them with catastrophic climate changes on Earth to create the near future world in which Dark Abyss is set.

  • Title: Dark Abyss
  • Author: Kaitlyn O’Connor
  • Type: Futuristic erotic romance
  • Genre: Near future after cataclysmic climate change
  • Sub-genre: Genetically altered humans
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating: NC-17 to X
  • Length: about 78,000 words – full novel
  • Where Available: ebook only at this time from New Concepts (link for convenience only)
  • FTC Disclosure: This ebook was purchased on the publisher’s website

Dark Abyss opens with an act of sabotage against the underwater territory of New Atlantis, the primary supplier of food, water, and power to now devastated US that lost much of its arable land to the rising seas when the polar ice caps melted.  The men who agreed to start the underwater cities were genetically altered so they could live and breath underwater, even though the cities are domed and filled with air so the machinery can function for things like the desalinization plant, and plants can grow in the greenhouses.  These genetically altered people are called ‘mutants’ by those who live on the surface.  They in turn call the surface dwellers ‘air breathers’. (more…)

October 27, 2009

Book Reviews: Two Hot New Paranormals

  • Title: Cat’s Meow
  • Author: Nicole Austin
  • Type:  Contemporary Paranormal
  • Genre: Shifter
  • Sub-genre: Mad scientist creates shifter soldiers a la Breeds
  • My Grade: D+ to C- (2.5*)
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Length: Novella about 35,000 words sold as a short novel at $5.20
  • Where Available: ebook from Ellora’s Cave
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook purchased from publisher

Nicole Austin tries her hand at a variation on the theme created by Lora Leigh in her Breeds books of gene splicing human and animal DNA and .  Cat’s Meow takes us to the start of of genetic manipulation by a scientist with no morals, ethics or humanity – just a burning need to push for the ultimate thrill of highly illegal scientific breakthrough on the thin excuse of creating the ultimate soldier.  The seeds of a really good romantic suspense thriller with a sexy edge were laid here, but never bloomed. (more…)

October 25, 2009

Authors After Dark – In Retrospect

Well, it was quite a weekend.  There were a ton of authors and what a great group they were.  Unfortunately, Bianca D’Arc didn’t make it due to a sudden issue with her mother, which I gather was not good.  Then Jacquelyn Frank went dashing down the hall, caught her foot somehow and took a bad header.  She was taken to the hospital and spent the night there.  When I left around noon today she hadn’t made it back, but they were expecting her to be released.  I skipped all of last night thanks to a horrible headache triggered by the smell of the chemical sanitizer used in the hotel bathroom.  I understand I was not alone in developing a nasty headache, so maybe it was something in the ventilation system. (more…)

Book Review: Big Bad Wolf by Christine Warren

  • Title: Big Bad Wolf
  • Author: Christine Warren
  • Type: Paranormal Romance
  • Genre: Shifter – werewolf; slight re-write of early book
  • Sub-genre: Fantasy Fix book 2 updated to Book 7 The Others series, though in the timeline, it’s still 2
  • My Grade: C+ (3.2*)
  • Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
  • Length: Original was about 62,000 words; this version is about 75,000 words
  • Where Available: any book store
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased through online bookstore

Another of Christine Warren’s early Fantasy Fix books, originally published by Ellora’s Cave as Fur Factor, this book is largely untouched by the author.  Thank heavens for that because her idea of ‘spiffing up’ Fantasy Fix to One Bite with a Stranger did NOT work, not because Fantasy Fix was a great book – it wasn’t, but because it’s entire premise was based on a relationship that just wasn’t meant for mainstream paranormal.  Short of altering the characters completely, there was no changing it.  Here, Ms Warren basically left the whole book alone and just flesh it out here and there, deleting any suggestion of a threesome by Hunter, and doing a better job of laying out the motivation for Curtis’ actions and Graham’s reasons for choosing his path. (more…)

October 23, 2009

Author’s After Dark Weekend Starts Today

Filed under: Editorial,General,Observations and Comments — toursbooks @ 12:38 pm
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Hi all!  This afternoon is the start of the first Authors After Dark Paranormal Weekend hosted by Jacquelyn Frank and Bianca D’Arc.   Joey W. Hill will be there with several other authors I’ve read and many I haven’t.  Though I’m just starting on Ms Frank’s Nightwalker’s series, what I’ve read so far in Noah was interesting.  I’ve read most of Ms D’Arc’s books and some of  Joey W. Hill’s work, and bought Georgia Evans Bloody books because I was tired of waiting for them on Paperback Swap.  I’m pretty sure I’ll come away with more books – just what my To Be Read pile needs – MORE books – by some new to me authors. (more…)

October 21, 2009

Book Review: Too Rich and Too Dead by Cynthia Baxter

  • Title: Too Rich and Too Dead
  • Author: Cynthia Baxter
  • Type: Mystery
  • Genre: Cozy – Amateur Sleuth
  • Sub-genre: Travel Writer
  • My Grade: B- (3.7*)
  • Rating: PG
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure:  Book purchased at an online bookstore

Cynthia Baxter is well know to cozy readers for her Reigning Cats & Dogs mysteries set on Long Island and featuring veterinarian Jessica Popper.  In Too Rich and Too Dead. the second book in the new Murder Packs a Suitcase series, Ms Baxter takes a different route, but sticks with the basic idea of a middle class working woman rubbing shoulders with the rich – and the dead.  Mostly I enjoy Ms Baxter’s books, though like any cozy series – or maybe any series, there are some weak entries.  Hard to say how this one will go since this is just book two. (more…)

October 20, 2009

Book Review: Trinity by Lauren Dane

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 8:06 pm
  • Title: Trinity
  • Author: Lauren Dane
  • Type: Erotic Paranormal Romance
  • Genre: Menage; shifter
  • Sub-genre: Cascadia Wolves meets witches and jaguars
  • My Grade: C+ (3.2*)
  • Rating: xxx
  • Where Available: ebook is available directly from Samhain this week and next week at 10% discount (Hyperlinks are for convenience.  I receive no compensation)
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased ebook on the Samhain site

Just released in ebook, I immediately bought Trinity.  Lauren Dane was one of the authors that really got me interested in erotic paranormal romance.  Enforcer and the shorter Tri-Mates are two of my all time favorite shifter erotic romance books.  I love her Witches Knot series as well.  All were published by Ellora’s Cave.  Dane switched to Samhain and changed her style, focusing less on the plot and more on the relationship.  Books that had started out in the erotic paranormal suspense genre switched to straight erotic paranormal romance with just a hint of suspense.  The stories were 90% about the relationship and maybe 10% about suspense.  That balance shifts over the final 5 books in the Cascadia Wolves series, but it never again achieves the balance that her earlier work had.  As a die hard romantic suspense fan, I was disappointed in this change in focus and continue to be so with her new work in the futuristic series she’s writing, including Undercover and Relentless.  Here’s the problem – as an erotic romantic suspense writer she was better than she is as an erotic romance writer.  Now I know there are those who would disagree, those who want a story that’s about a relationship, and that’s OK, but Dane generally has an underlying suspense element and the combination just comes off as lame.  I just read Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy and it is a classic contemporary romance and, as a true romance, it was an excellent book.  It still told a story with characters that had three dimensions and felt like people you’d want to know.  Dane’s current books have that in-between feeling, like they aren’t sure if they’re romance or romantic suspense. (more…)

October 19, 2009

Book Review: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Well, I’m back from vacation and I’m starting on my reviews while reading some of the new ebooks from Samhain.  The leaves were nice, not great, but I’m spoiled.  Anyway, it was good reading in the evening – and on Sunday with all the rain and SNOW down around Blandford and Lee and Massachusetts.  In a few days I’ll be at Authors After Dark – the paranormal romance authors soiree being held in Suffern, NY.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, let’s get the reviews started.

  • Title: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
  • Author: Janet Evanovich
  • Type: Humorous mystery
  • Genre: Inept female sleuth; series
  • Sub-genre: Stephanie Plum
  • My Grade: D (2*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold, your local library and used bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure: This book was acquired through a free online book swapping service

Back in 1994, romance novelist Janet Evanovich changed the mystery genre by launching Stephanie Plum’s adventures in bond enforcement and amateur sleuthing in Trenton, New Jersey – the world’s least exotic local.  What was to become the trademark humor and zany antics weren’t as stressed there, but the bones were laid and both Morelli and Ranger debuted with Lula, Connie, and Grandma Mauser – all interwoven with a worthwhile mystery.  Through the next 4 books the quality just got better and better and Stephanie Plum would launch an entire genre of inept amateur sleuths still being copied today, from Kate Collins to Victoria Laurie to Kyra Davis, the winning formula has been cloned with varying degrees of success.  After Seven-Up, something happened.  Evanovich lost the mystery and focused on the antics more and more with each successive book.  It didn’t matter to sales, but it matters to the fans.  I struggled through To the Nines, the truly awful Ten Big Ones and Eleven on TopTwelve Sharp and Lean Mean Thirteen partly redeemed the series then Fearless Fourteen was so bad I decided to not buy the next book when it was released.  It was hard, but I stuck to my guns and waited till I could get it through an online book swapping service.  Damn, am I glad I didn’t pay for this book! (more…)

October 13, 2009

On Vacation – Ultra Short Reviews

Everyone gets some time off, even me.  I’ll be gone till next week, but I promise to read a bunch of stuff I bought off the Samhain site.  I already knocked off one and hopefully a second today, so next week I’ll have the reviews up.  In the meantime, here are some books I’ve read and haven’t reviewed and just a line or two on each.

Shoots to Thrill by Nina Bruhns

Romantic suspense with a preposterous premise of a ‘dedicated’ nurse who insists on going on a spec ops mission because her patient needs her and, well, she’s just so damn dedicated.  I’m mean really, can you believe that?  The underlying mystery of who the traitor is was decent, but not enough to redeem the silly story. C- (2.6*) (more…)

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