Tour’s Books Blog

October 20, 2010

Short Reviews: Paranormal UF and Mysteries

I’ve been reading through a large pile of books for various swaps and the Reading Challenge.  Remind me not to do reading Challenges in the future.  Damn.  It always happens when I get a work surge.

  • Title: Love In the Time of Dragons
  • Author:  Katie MacAlister
  • Type:  Paranormal – Lightening Dragon series #1
  • Genre:  Humorous paranormal involving resurrection and dragons
  • Sub-genre:  Another convoluted tale of the dragon and magic communities
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel 90,000 words for $7.99; discounts available
  • Where Available:  book available at any bookstore
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased from online bookstore (more…)

Book Review: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – A Book to Skip

My fall trip up to New England was lots of fun and pretty colorful, though not as nice good as many years.  The lack of rain this summer caused a lot of trees to just drop their leaves early with little or no color and there were fewer bright reds and oranges than usual, but who can complain about a prime few days in New England?  Took a trip over to Fort Ticonderoga at the foot of Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, and then a drive along the western shore of Lake George on down through the Green Mountains and back into the Berkshires.  Beautiful day and warmer than usual.  Fort Ti closes for the season the third week of October, so we were surprised by the number of visitors for a mid-week stop.  If you find yourself in the area, take the time to go to the top of Fort Defiance for the view just a bit from the entrance of Fort Ti accessed by local roads in the small town of Ticonderoga.  If the hike from the parking area is a bit much, stop at the pull out on the way down.  Amazing views from Lake Champlain in the north, to the Green Mountains in the east, on down Hudson River Valley south to Lake George.

Of course I was busy reading too.  I’ll review those books later with some other paranormals, but I did read a book I knew would require very little in the way of active braincells – Sizzling Sixteen.  The book is part of that reading challenge swap I’m participating in on Paperback Swap.  Janet Evanovich must have slept thru writing this one.

  • Title: Sizzling Sixteen
  • Author:  Janet Evanovich
  • Type:  Mystery series
  • Genre:  Stephanie Plum #16; hapless bounty hunter creates chaos
  • Sub-genre:  Where’s the mystery?
  • My Grade: D (2*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel barely 80,000 words for $27.99 with 40%+ discounts available
  • Where Available:  book available at any bookstore
  • FTC Disclosure:  rec’d book through online book swapping site (more…)

October 9, 2010

New Paranormal Release and a Good Mystery

Somehow, and for reasons known only to my subconscious, I joined a combination swap and reading challenge on PBS.  As if I don’t have enough to do.  I’m already reading for other swaps and sometimes I do need to work for a living.  It’s amazing how humorless American Express and my mortgage bank are about things like paying bills on time.  The two books below are part of the reading challenge.  I selected titles in different genres to humor my taste – which has been described by my family as ‘that weird crap you read’.  Of course, that’s the category reserved for all paranormal, si-fi, fantasy, UF, romance, and erotic romance.  In short, anything but mysteries, thrillers, historical adventure, and non-fiction = crap.  Well, only one of these isn’t dismissed out of hand by the family and that is a mystery that borders on a cozy, so no one would read it but me.  Hence, into the swap it went with a cheery one fingered salute to my beloved, but taste limited, family.

  • Title: Eat, Prey, Love
  • Author:  Kerrylyn Sparks
  • Type:  Paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Shapeshifter finds human mate
  • Sub-genre:  A were-panther that’s part of the vampire household finds a human mate when he needs a panther
  • My Grade: C- (3*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel about 90,000+ words for $7.99
  • Where Available:  book available at any book store
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookseller (more…)

October 6, 2010

One of Life’s Surprises – A Mystery Review That Earned an ‘A’

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 11:59 am

Every once in awhile you stumble across a book that is so totally unexpected you wonder just how the author pulled it off.  Well, The Merry Misogynist is one of those books.  A less likely candidate for  hidden gem would be hard to find.  I rarely give a book and A or A-, but this one was just that good.  Colin Cotterill takes late 1970’s Laos, its poverty, inflexible communist mind set, and subsistence existence, humanizes it with witty characters that have, through decades of struggle, somehow, kept their sense of humor, found love late in life, and managed contentment and happiness.   Alien and yet familiar, the characters project such presence they feel alive.  Even more, they are characters you’d love to meet and have a drink with, people you’d be happy to know.

I joined a swap in the Games section of Paperback Swap for foreign mysteries – books written by foreign authors and set in foreign countries with foreign detectives – excluding England.  The most popular author right now would be Steig Larsson, but Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell are long time, popular, and moderately prolific authors.  But I wanted something a bit more off-beat, so I wandered to a favorite research spot of mysteries, Stop,  You’re Killing Me! This website is an excellent site, if sometimes incomplete and lacking in cross-references, for looking up books a number of ways.  One of the really good features is the ability to hunt up books by location.  I wanted something different for this swap, not set in Europe, so this website became my hunting ground.  Even better, they have hyperlinks to Amazon, so it’s easy to just click through and check on availability and price.  It causes mini-shopping sprees like the one I had for foreign mysteries.  SIGH!  I simply must stop buying books.  I have far too many.  But that’s completely beside the point.  One of the books I bought was The Merry Misogynist.

I admit, I was very hesitant to give Colin Cotterill a try.  Many mysteries set in Southeast Asia are not especially enjoyable for me, either due to the writer’s style, or the story lacking the kind of spark that will engage my interest.  I mean really, a 74 year old medical examiner protagonist in Laos in the late ’70’s is not exactly the kind of trope that spells panting interest to spend my money.  How wrong could I be?  The reviews by readers were so uniformly good, I just had to give one of his book a try and I chose one with an irresistible title, The Merry Misogynist.   It is the discovery of books like this that restores my faith in publishers – and keeps me busy hunting for the next hidden gem.

  • Title: The Merry Misogynist
  • Author:  Colin Cotterill
  • Type:  Classic style mystery
  • Genre: Dr Siri Investigates series; 1970’s setting for Laotian medical examiner and police investigator – modified buddy
  • Sub-genre:  Elderly medical examiner with abiding curiosity hunts a serial killer who then hunts him
  • My Grade: A- (4.8*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel about 90,000+ words for $14.00 with discounts of around 30% available
  • Where Available:  book available at many larger or specialized book stores
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookseller (more…)

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