Tour’s Books Blog

March 31, 2010

Several eBook Short Reviews

Is there a worse time of the year than tax time?  Jeeze.  Every year I come away traumatized yet again, even though, as usual, I overpaid my taxes.  Still, the whole process of taking financial stock of a year is scary.  Even more so for those who are self-employed and struggling in the current economy.  Of course it doesn’t help that I am such a messy record keeper.  Now that the worst is over and I can get back to books.

Well Samhain is back with a whole new look and lots of books offered from other publishers as well as their own.  Thanks to the 20% discount they offered, I bought a number of novellas for a more reasonable price.  As for the site itself, well, the jury is still out.  I’m have very mixed feelings about all those ebooks from other customers, mostly overpriced.  Obviously they sell or they wouldn’t be expanding that relationship.  Between Ellora’s Cave offering short novellas from various anthologies for insanely high prices, and now other epubs raising their prices across the board, the short format books stories are disproportionately expensive.  This is readily apparent when looking at price vs. length.  Alas, the novella is rarely well done, so I am rarely satisfied.  There are some exceptions, but mostly, they fail to impress or satisfy.  At worst, they leave all manner or unanswered questions and dangling story threads.  This week was a perfect example of all of these flaws made all the more obvious because I also read two excellent novels, a fantasy epic first book and a really good urban fantasy that kicks off a new series.  I’ll review them separately.

  • Title: Wolf Flight
  • Author:  Vivian Arend
  • Type:  Paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Werewolf shifters; woman in jeporday; Teenage crush is really mate
  • Sub-genre:  She’s running from a corrupt Alpha to hide her Omega gifts; he needs a first mate to become a wolf
  • My Grade: C (3.2*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price: Novella – about 36,000 words for $3.50 (20% discount for short time)
  • Where Available: ebook available on the Samhain site
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s site (more…)

March 23, 2010

New Samhain Store is Open with 20% Discount!

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 6:22 pm

YEAH! The new and improved Samhain bookstore is open for business!!!!!!  Samhain is celebrating with a 20% discount on ebook orders using the code “shinynew”, so go over and indulge.  You can click through from the main Samhain site, but the old bookmark doesn’t work.  Chick here to check it out!  There are 10 new titles, mostly novellas, available.  Enjoy!!!!!!

March 21, 2010

Assorted Reviews: Erotic Romance eBooks

GAH!!!!!  What is it editing these days?  The NCP Awful Editing Virus is spreading like wildfire.  Siren is completely infected.  Even Samhain has fallen victim.  I’m reading less from Ellora’s Cave, but I’ve seen the beginnings there as well.  Top that off with an ebook that had so many issues and I’m disgusted with the killer combination of higher prices and lower quality!  Just thinking about the prices these books will command in print makes me cringe.

In the last two weeks “…. he raised his hand to touch her check…”, then ” …… her interest was peaked..”, and ” …… lieing on the bed…” – no, I did not just make these up.  And here I thought “….imminently well qualified ….” was bad.  Who knew?  I am flexible on things like blogs, forums, journals, etc.  I mean, who has time to polish these things?  But the authors of these grammatical atrocities are professional writers – and more to point, asking me to PAY to read this stuff.  When I part with my hard earned money, especially in these tighter financial times, I deeply resent the disrespect that publishers and authors are showing readers by allowing such sloppy work to enter the marketplace.  The works read like unedited final drafts.  Messy and unpolished.  I’m left with a distinct sense of the author being too rushed and the publisher completely uncaring. Worse still, these were from established, well regarded, popular, authors.  Are they trading on their names?  I only tolerate that so far and stop buying.  Believe me, there a long list of authors that I no longer buy automatically – ebook and print.

When I’m getting charged increasingly higher prices for shorter and shorter works, bad editing and higher prices become a killer combination.  It’s bad enough that too many stories lack imagination and just regurgitate old themes and characters over and over, now the simple mechanics are being allowed to erode to the point where they actually interfere with the flow of the story?  No, let’s add egregious editing errors into the mix!  They are a tremendous distraction, and very insulting.  If you want top dollar for your product, I expect quality in return.  With prices of ebooks at the small publishers rapidly out pacing mass market paperbacks in escalating cost, while quality is falling short in so many easily correctable areas, the incentive to continue reading them is evaporating.  Seriously, how many ways can you have sex before the whole thing passes from hot to just plain boring – or worse, laughable?  Yes, it’s erotic romance – romantica if you prefer, not great literature, but come on, I deserve better than this!

Like most people who are lifelong readers, I enjoy the flow of words and ideas.  Quality writing is a joy to read.  I have never begrudged the money I’ve spent on books, and I spend thousands each year.  A book is something I can enjoy again and again each time I read it.  Joining PBS has prompted me to buy more books, not less, despite getting plenty of books through them as well.  I’ve found a lot of authors I might otherwise never have tried and read books I’d never heard of before.  My friends on Goodreads have added even more titles for my wish list.  As bad as the quality of print books have gotten, and there is no question that both mechanics and plot/writing are suffering with many popular authors, ebooks are on a steeper downward quality slide.

I always used to say, not all readers write, but all writers read.  We learn to speak and express our ideas through our command of language.  Is there a more important skill than this?  The clarity and definition of ideas and concepts are passed from generation to generation through the written word.  That we should treat this most important method of communicating and preserving our ideas with such cavalier disrespect is little short of criminal.  We are raising a generation unable to communicate.  Language can bring us together or keep us apart and we taking the voice from people and dumbing it down to new lows.  What a sad heritage we’re leaving.  A generation that can text but not write and can’t be bothered to read.  No wonder there’s such frustration.  They have never developed the tools they need to express themselves.  And heaven knows with what passes for quality writing these days, they stand little hope of learning them.

  • Title: The Valkyrie
  • Author:  Mandy M Roth
  • Type:  Urban fantasy
  • Genre:  First person tale of redemption and resurection
  • Sub-genre:  Supernatural loses her memory and but finds her soul
  • My Grade: C+ (3.5)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price: Short Novel, category – about 50,000 words for $4.50 (10% for short time)
  • Where Available: ebook available on the Samhain site
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s site


March 14, 2010

Samhain’s Online Book Store Down At the Moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 12:01 am is down for renovation.  There was no notice about it going down earlier this week and nothing on the Samhain Publishing site about when to expect it back up.  I was redirected from the Samhain page to one where the notice of website rebuilding was located, but the current bookmark to that site comes up with a 404 error.  Just be aware Samhain has not folded up shop, but online sales site is non-function today.

As of March 14th – Site rebuilding location – Samhain

March 12, 2010

Two Short Reviews: Samhain eBooks

As most of you know, I read a lot of Samhain ebooks.  Many of their authors are among my favorites and overall they put out some of the best quality material.  Usually.  Mostly.  OK – this week was a HUGE miss for me.  Granted, not every week do I find something that grabs my interest, but when I do buy, I am rarely so disappointed.  On top of that, Samhain is starting to have the same kind of egregious editing errors for which New Concepts Publishing is so famous – or infamous.  “Peaked” where it should be “piqued”?  Last week it was “check” where the word was “cheek”!  You might think that an aberration, but it’s happened too often of late and mistakes are escalating in number and distracting from the flow of the story.  With the cost of ebooks escalating, my tolerance for such bush league nonsense is rapidly dwindling.

The editing issue was compounded this week by two entries that should have died on an editor’s desk.  One was just a saccharine costume drama in modern dress and the other a sex fest one might expect from Siren Ménage or NCP.  OK, I grant you one novella was by a writer I didn’t know, but the other novella was written by a well establish author that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past, so I was shocked at the awfulness of it!  Here are two titles that can be skipped – completely.

  • Title: Pride and Passion
  • Author:  Jenna Bayley-Burke
  • Type:  Homage to Pride and Predjudice
  • Genre:  Regency virgin miss in modern dress
  • Sub-genre:  Dumb assumptions fed by stupid lack of communication
  • My Grade: F (0*)
  • Rating:  PG
  • Length and price: Short Novel, category – about 50,000 words for $4.50 (10% for short time)
  • Where Available: ebook available on the Samhain site
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s site (more…)

March 8, 2010

Short Review: Sleeping with Anemone by Kate Collins

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 4:02 pm
  • Title: Sleeping with Anemone
  • Author:  Kate Collins
  • Type:  Cozy mystery
  • Genre:  Shopkeeper crosses big corporation at the same time is unintentionally involved in a theft rig
  • Sub-genre:  Series; amateur busybody sleuth with PI boyfriend
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating:  PG
  • Length and price: Full novel – about 100,000 words total
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online book store

Kate Collins write the generally entertaining Flower Shop mysteries.  As is often the case with a series, especially a cozy series, the books become more and more formulaic as the series progresses.  That’s the case here too.  The earlier books had better plots and characters, but Sleeping with Anemone is an improvement over the last book, Evil Incarnations. (more…)

March 6, 2010

Misc. Reviews – Five Paranormal Books: Print and Ebooks

Paranormal romance has been reigning supreme in the romance genre for some time now.  Tough as nails heroines are a blessed relief from the barrage of fan wielding beauties of the Ton that populate Regency Romance.  Yes, I do read Regency, but after awhile, there’s just so much you can do with men in frock coats.  The rage for paranormal has given a lot of talented writers – and an even bigger pool of copycats – a whole new area to explore.  As with any genre, tropes get overworked and some writers are far better at world building.  No, they might not J.R.R Tolkien, Raymond Feist, or Robert Jordan, but then romance readers want different things from their stories than mainstream fantasy readers.  And the best of today’s writers deliver that in spades.  Then, thanks to Paperback Swap, I can get many books in print version that I would not otherwise buy.  Here are some short reviews of a few books I got thru various swaps for erotic paranormal romance as well as some recently released titles that I’ve bought.

  • Title: Hunters: The Beginning
  • Author: Shiloh Walker
  • Type:  Paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Vampire and werewolf enforcers and witches
  • Sub-genre:  menage and sex magic; single author anthology
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating:  XXX
  • Length and price: Category novel and long novella – about 100,000 words total
  • Where Available: Publisher’s website as ebook, in print from publisher, some book stores and used book websites
  • FTC Disclosure: Book from a book swapping site

Shiloh Walker has a pretty loyal following in erotic romance and steamier mainstream.  With erotic romance, many readers are less concerned about the story than they are the steam.  The two book anthology has one of each.  The first story is a category length novel titled Declan and Tori.  It’s one of the better erotic romance paranormals.  The second, Eli and Sarel is more steam than story.


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