Tour’s Books Blog

June 13, 2010

Super Short Reviews: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery and Erotic Romance

Wow, I’ve read a lot of books since I last posted, so all I can do is start to provide some really short reviews on some titles I’ve read.

  • Title: Web of Lies
  • Author:  Jennifer Estep
  • Type:  Urban Fantasy
  • Genre:  Retired female assassin helps a family in trouble
  • Sub-genre:  Action thriller with magical setting
  • My Grade: B-  (3.8*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 90,000+ words for $7.99
  • Where Available:  ebook available at at any book store; 4-for-3 program on Amazon
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookstore

The second installment of the Elemental Assassin series Jennifer Estep moves solidly into an action thriller format that’s familiar as the most recent Jack Reacher book by Lee Child.  It lacks the slam-bang beginning of Spider’s Bite, but has a bit more development of Gin Blanco and her interesting supporting cast.  A fast, fun summer read, with a rather predictable ending.

**********************************

  • Title: Reel Murders
  • Author:  Mary Kennedy
  • Type:  Cozy mystery
  • Genre:  Forensic Psychologist/call in radio show host turns amateur sleuth
  • Sub-genre:  Murder on a low budget movie set; #2 in a series
  • My Grade: B-  (3.8*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 90,000+ words for $6.99
  • Where Available:  where books are sold; 4-for3 at Amazon
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookstore

The second installment of the Maggie Walsh series is a decent summer read for a cozy mystery.  No talking to ghosts, no magic, just a good, old fashioned amateur sleuth story.  The clues are there, the killer isn’t too obvious, but I figured it out.  The writing and characters are good fun.  No over the top zany, but enough originality to be worth a chuckle or two.  For a small town, Cypress grove has almost as many murders as Cabot Cove, Maine – and Jessica Fletcher nowhere in sight!  Vera Mae is a bit of a caricature, but Maggie, her actress mother Lola, and romantic interest/hunky cop Rafe (who is barely seen here) work to offset it.  Light mystery reading for a rainy day.

*********************************************

  • Title: Hunted by Others
  • Author:  Jess Haines
  • Type:  Light urban fantasy
  • Genre:  Female PI takes a case she shouldn’t and ends up involved with supernaturals
  • Sub-genre:  Human PI who needs money gets conned into the middle on a magi-vamp war over an artifact of power
  • My Grade: C+  (3.3*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 90,000+ words for $6.99
  • Where Available:  any book seller; 4-for-3 on Amazon
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookseller

Shiarra Waynest and her college friend and business partner find themselves in between the magi and the vamps when Shiarra breaks her own rules and signs a contract with the magi to recover a relic of power from a wealthy vampire.  Not the usual kick-ass, take, names, fierce female lead, but enough of a story to be a slightly above average read.  First of a series and not inspired, but a fast summer read set in NYC after 9-11 when the supernaturals revealed themselves.

********************************************************

  • Title: Beast Behaving Badly
  • Author:  Shelly Laurenston
  • Type:  Paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Shifter; hybrid shifter
  • Sub-genre:  Part of Laurenston’s Pack and Pride series
  • My Grade: C+  (3.5*)
  • Rating: PG-13 to  NC-17
  • Length and price:  Full length+ novel; over 100,000+ words for $14.00 – discounts available
  • Where Available:  any bookseller
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookseller for $10.08

I’m a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston, but this latest in her Pack and Pride series was kind of flat.  It’s the follow-up to much better Mane Squeeze and features Blayne Thorpe, the wolf-dog plumber.  Once again, there is a background of the threat from a secret group stealing hybrids for bloodsport fights initially seen in Mane Squeeze.  That whole issue gets a less than satisfactory wrap here.  Love interest, Bo Novikov, is a lion-polar bear hybrid hockey star who is an OCD shifter really interested in the scatter-brained Blayne Thorpe.  Somehow, the comedy between the über organized bear and the chaotic wolf-dog just doesn’t work all that well.  Not close to Laurenston’s best.  I think Laurenston’s caught in the same trap as many popular authors – trying to write installments on 3 different series, novellas for anthologies and other work has her lowering her creative standards to a far less inspired level.  Try buying it used before investing the $10.

******************************************************

  • Title: Kitty’s House of Horrors
  • Author:  Carrie Vaughn
  • Type:  Urban fantasy/paranormal
  • Genre:  Latest in the Kitty Norville series; shifter
  • Sub-genre:  Reality show featuring various kinds of supernaturals
  • My Grade: B-  (3.8*)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 80,000+ words for $7.99
  • Where Available:  any book seller; 4-for-3 on Amazon
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookseller

I picked this up on the 4-for-3 to give the series a try.  It was a good read, but not a great one.  The premise was solid on several levels and the characters interacted well.  The idea of using a remote cabin accessible only by air to isolate various supernaturals/gifted humans, with a trained psychologist who maintains they’re all delusional, had solid appeal.  There is a decent creepiness factor and the tension of the hidden agenda that Kitty suspects – and its results, make it worth the read.  It’s short for a $7.99 book and fast, easy read, but has enough depth to be worth it.

***************************************************************

  • Title: Coulter’s Lady
  • Author:  Maya Banks
  • Type:  Erotic romance
  • Genre:  The sons of Coulter’s Womanform an unexpected ménage
  • Sub-genre:  Weepy kind of ménage romance
  • My Grade: C  (3.0*)
  • Rating: NC-17 to XX
  • Length and price:  ebook; Full length novel; about 80,000+ words for $5.50
  • Where Available:  Available at Samhain
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s website

OK, I am so not Maya Banks biggest fan.  Her books are too weepy and her ‘heroines’ just annoy the crap out of me.  I can really deal with Kitty Norville, but these women who wallow in various kinds of sad little ‘woe is me’ conditions just make me want to scream.  Lily Weston is homeless in Denver, living on the streets for 3 years.  Seth Coulter is a wounded cop waiting to get back to work and volunteering to serve food at the local kitchen with other cops when he sees her.  The ‘love at first sight’ thing.  Then his two brothers unexpectedly have the same reaction.  Lily has this deep dark secret.  All very sad, yes, but her sudden recovery to ‘normal’ is not especially credible.  The rapid timeline is, as always, a huge stumbling block for me.  Still, I did like this more than Coulter’s Woman.  But really, why are Maya Banks’ heroines always such emotionally fragile wimps waiting to be saved by a man/men?  Worth the money for those who love the tear-jerker style.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: