Tour’s Books Blog

November 27, 2009

Short Book Review: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Pickings have been lean for me on the usual erotic romance ebook sites, so I have a review of a mystery due to be released in 2010.  I did read a couple of erotic romance and I’ll have those reviews up in a few days.  In the meantime, enjoy the weekend designed for over indulgence in food, shopping and football!

  • Title: Our Lady of Immaculate Deception
  • Author: Nancy Martin
  • Type:  Mystery
  • Genre: Amateur sleuth
  • Sub-genre: Ethically challenged heroine
  • My Grade: B- (3.8*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Length and price: Full novel; to be released Mar 2010 in Hardcover – discount price $16-$17
  • Where Available: All book stores in March 2010
  • FTC Disclosure: ARC acquired through an online book swapping site

Nancy Martin has gained a following for her Blackbird Sisters mysteries set in the upper echelon of Philadelphia’s society’s eccentric denizens with a touch of murder, mayhem and organized crime.  In Our Lady Of Immaculate Deception, Ms Martin starts a new series featuring a lower middle class single mother, architectural salvage business owner, and sometime band singer, Roxy Abruzzo, grand niece of the local mafia don in Pittsburgh.  Roxy might not always be entirely ethical, but she refuses to work for her Uncle Carmine.  Roxy mixes with the upper classes when she takes various pieces from their ruined houses, including Pittsburgh’s local billionaires, the Hyde family.  Julius Hyde calls her to salvage what’s left of the mansion that his infuriated soon to be ex-wife torched. (more…)

November 22, 2009

Short Review – Cowboy Cravings by Morgan Ashbury (Ménage)

  • Title: Cowboy Cravings
  • Author: Morgan Ashbury
  • Type: Contemporary erotic romance
  • Genre: Western; ménage;
  • Sub-genre: Wounded dove from NYC finds cowboy love
  • My Grade: B- (3.7*)
  • Rating: NC-17 to x
  • Length & price: 52,000 words – Short novel for $5.99
  • Where Available: ebook available at Siren
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook bought from publisher’s website

Here’s the thing with this m/f/m ménage, its sold as a Siren Ménage book and listed as ‘sextreme’, but it doesn’t read like their usual ‘sextreme’  book, which undoubtedly will disappoint some.  I thought Cowboy Cravings was well above average for character development, believability, plot, and overall writing quality for a contemporary ménage story, especially one from Siren, where sex scenes usually overwhelms the slight plots.  Others will find the book too mild for the ‘sextreme’ rating that Siren gave it and be disappointed. (more…)

November 20, 2009

Book Review: When He Was Bad by Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden

  • Title: When He Was Bad
  • Author: Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden
  • Type: Paranormal shifter anthology
  • Genre: Pack and Pride series short novel + long novella with vamp and shifter
  • Sub-genre: humorous and suspense
  • My Grade: B+ (4.2*)
  • Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
  • Where Available: Wherever books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure: book purchased at online bookstore

Well, When He Was Bad my re-read book this month.  I just couldn’t seem to get interested in anything lately, so I grabbed this off my keeper shelf and enjoyed it again.  No, it isn’t my favorite, but I actually enjoyed it more on this read through than I did the first time and enjoyed being reacquainted with Nils van Holtz, alpha of the van Holtz wolves,  in Ms Laurenston’s The Main Squeeze.  Van Holtz first showed up first in Go Fetch! with his wife Irene Conridge.  The first story in When He Was Bad goes back in time to when Van and Irene first got together in the early 1980’s. (more…)

November 17, 2009

Book Review: Dragon Storm by Bianca D’Arc

  • Title: Dragon Storm
  • Author: Bianca D’Arc
  • Type: Alternate world paranormal romance
  • Genre: Erotic ménage romance; shifter; series
  • Sub-genre: Dragon Knights series
  • My Grade: C+ (3.2*)
  • Rating: xx
  • Length: about 80,000 words – full novel length for $4.95 introductory to be $5.50
  • Where Available: ebook available at Samhain; not available in print at this time
  • FTC Disclosure: purchased ebook on publisher website

Bianca D’Arc is a favorite writer of mine and when she’s on, she’s excellent, when she isn’t, it’s often average with glimmers of her potential coming through.  Unfortunately, Dragon Storm falls into that second group.  I don’t know if it’s the pressure to write too many books a year or not, but this fluctuation in the depth of character and complexity of story is very noticeable.  The same wide variations can be seen in her Blood Brothers vampire series.  In her Dragon Knights series, it stays mostly above average, but here we go back to shallow, poorly developed characters whose sole purpose seems to be to introduce another set of lead characters.  If you haven’t read her previous Dragon Knights books, you might find some of this confusing. (more…)

November 16, 2009

Book Reviews: Two Menage Romances

Well, I haven’t been much tempted by the recent books at Siren, or elsewhere, but this week I found 2 I thought might be worth it.  All I can say is, MEH!

  • Title: Claiming Their Dream Weaver
  • Author: Cooper McKenzie
  • Type: Erotic contemporary romance
  • Genre: Ménage with a paranormal edge
  • Sub-genre: Fated mates
  • My Grade: C- (2.6*)
  • Rating: xxx
  • Length: Novella at 26,000 words for $4.50
  • Where Available: as an ebook at Siren publishing (link for convenience only)
  • FTC Disclosure: purchased ebook on line

Claiming Their Dream Weaver is rather short novella that’s long on sex and short on substance, but there is a modest storyline to hold it together.  Suz Bowen Black has an unusual heritage, she’s a Dream Weaver, something she never understood or  fully believed, But her great-grandmother Ruth is dying and she’s been called back to New Bern, North Carolina.  Suz left New Bern behind years ago, pregnant and married.  Divorced from an abusive husband who beat her till she lost their child, she went through wild period searching for an orgasm, but never found one. (more…)

November 9, 2009

Short Review: Tempt Not the Cat by J. C. Wilder

  • Title: Tempt Not the Cat
  • Author: J. C. Wilder
  • Type: Paranormal romance
  • Genre: Cat shifter and wounded dove battle evil vampire
  • Sub-genre: Isolated cabin and two adults trapped by the weather
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
  • Length: Short novel about about 65,000 words for $5.50
  • Where Available: ebook available at Samhain (for convenience only)
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook purchased on publisher website

This paranormal romance is part of a series that was published by Ellora’s Cave and is still available there, but you don’t need to read the earlier books to enjoy this one.  I say that from experience because I didn’t read the EC books yet, but I likely will.  Before starting the review, I’d like to just take a moment and point out the ‘value for the money’ difference between Tempt Not the Cat and Night Moves.  Ignoring the respective quality of the writing and plot, let’s just focus on the size of the story.  Night Moves rang in at a super lightweight 34, 000 word estimate (novella sold as a ‘short novel’) while Tempt Not the Cat comes in at a light heavy weight 65,000 word estimate (short novel).  That’s nearly twice the bang for the buck – not to mention all the ancillary costs associated with editing and proofing a longer work.  So for $0.30 more, you get a book that’s twice the length and twice the hours of entertainment.  In ebooks, especially as so many in these categories rarely even go to print, this is about the only comparison you can make. (more…)

November 8, 2009

Short Review: Night Moves by V. J. Devereaux

  • Title: Night Moves
  • Author: V. J. Devereaux
  • Type: Erotic romance
  • Genre: Vampire in the city
  • Sub-genre: Boink-fest ménage
  • My Grade: D+ (2.4*)
  • Rating: XX
  • Length: novella about 34,000 words sold as a short novel for $5.20
  • Where Available: ebook available at Ellora’s Cave
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook purchased on publisher’s website

This well written, but mostly pointless, boink-fest is set in New Orleans and features a police lieutenant who has a strong sex drive and has turned to internet dating to find a suitable man.  Rapheala Carteret, or Rafi, likes what she sees when she walks into the classy bar to meet her ‘date’, Michael Niculescu.  Expensive champagne and a walk around the area and Michael invites her back to his place.  She’s so drawn to him, she agrees.  His ‘place’ is a mansion and there to greet her is his cousin Nicholas.  When she realizes what’s going on, she’s secretly thrilled by the possibility of having her ménage fantasy fulfilled.  Then Michael tells her they’re vampires.  Rafi has been around the city long enough to know there really are vampires and werewolves, but there are far more poseurs than the real thing.  When asked to ‘prove it’ both allow their fangs to drop.  Instead of frightening her, she’s drawn even more to them.  Let the sexfest begin. (more…)

November 6, 2009

Book Review: Hit and Run by Lawrence Block

  • Title: Hit and Run
  • Author: Lawrence Block
  • Type: Action thriller
  • Genre: Assassin/hit man
  • Sub-genre: Keller series
  • My Grade: C (3*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Where Available: Wherever books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure: purchased from and online bookstore

Lawrence Block, a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, is one of the best mystery thriller writers with a wide range of styles.  His dark and often grim Matt Scudder books are some of the best hardboiled PI books out there.  His Bernie Rhodenbarr ‘Burglar”books have a sense of humor involving his thief with a conscience in various mysteries.  He even wrote a government agent series featuring Evan Tanner back in the day.  Less well known than Matt Scudder or Bernie Rhodenbarr is hit man for hire, John Keller, the star of his 4 ‘Hit’ books.  Unfortunately, Hit and Run wasn’t his best work.  An oddly introspective and amoral tale of a hit man who gets setup to take the fall for a political assassination he didn’t commit is a bit Point of Impact, but Keller isn’t as sure, or sly, as Bob Lee Swagger, but he is less moral. (more…)

November 5, 2009

Book Review: The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston

  • Title: The Mane Squeeze
  • Author: Shelly Laurenston
  • Type: Paranormal Romance
  • Genre: Humorous shifter with serious edge
  • Sub-genre: Pack and Pride series
  • My Grade: B+ (4.4*)
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased from online bookseller

After the very disappointing Pack story in Belong to the Night, Shelly Laurenston is pretty much back in form with The Mane Squeeze, her latest entry in the Pack and Pride series.  This story starts at the wedding of Jessie Ann and Bobby Ray on Long Island.  Jessie Ann is good friends with grizzly shifter, Lachlan ‘Lock’ MacRyrie and the bear reluctantly gets dressed up and attends.  Bears aren’t fond of socializing, but for Jessie Ann, he’ll do it. Then he sees something interesting – Gwen O’Neill.  Interrupted in his slow efforts to get to know Gwen by Brandon, whom he just casually tosses about 50 feet away, Lock waits months mentally berating himself for not making more of the opportunity with her. (more…)

November 1, 2009

Book Reviews: Three Short Paranormal/Futuristic Erotic Romance Reviews

After a bit of a drought for me on the new book offerings at various erotic romance publisher sites, I did find three that looked interesting enough to give a whirl.  First let me say that the price of these three novellas is way too high for what you get.  This is not a new complaint of mine, but the escalating cost of ebooks, especially novellas, is getting out of hand.  Proportionally speaking, short stories and novellas are way overpriced and getting worse. It’s also one of the main reasons I’m buying fewer erotic romance ebooks.  Too many disappointments with expensive, poorly developed and executed novellas.  Is it any wonder that there’s a market for used print books?  The swapping of erotic romances is often the only economically viable solution.  So erotic romance publishers – WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.  You’re pricing yourselves out of the market.

  • Title: Unleashed Temptation
  • Author: Savannah Stuart
  • Type: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy erotic romance
  • Genre: werewolf meets mate
  • Sub-genre: over-sexed werewolf lover and nutso immortal
  • My Grade: C- (2.7*)
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Length: 39,000 words for $4.42 (sale price, will be $5.20)
  • Where Available: as an ebook at Ellora’s Cave (discounted at this time; link for convenience only)
  • FTC Disclosure: ebook purchased on the publishers website

OK, I admit it.  I’m a sucker for shape-shifter stories.  Big cats, dragons, wolves – I like the idea of blending certain animal traits with human ones.  It just appeals to me.  The world building often sucks.  The world building here was slim, but given the length of the story, it was about all you could expect. (more…)

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