Tour’s Books Blog

August 24, 2011

Four Short Reviews: Paranormal and Paranormal Mystery

Well, when you get lots of heat and humidity – though nothing like they’ve had in the mid-west and south – it does encourage loafing around and reading.  I was the mood for mysteries and paranormals and we have some winners and losers and a couple of recommended reads.

  • Title:  Dead in the Family
  • Author:  Charlaine Harris
  • Type:  Paranormal/fantasy
  • Genre:  Sookie Stackhouse #10 – the never ending story
  • Sub-genre:  Fae, vamps, shifter and their coming out of the closet
  • My Grade:  C- (2.7*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Novel – about 100,000+ $15-$17
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  acquired through and online book swap site

OK, I haven’t read a Sookie Stackhouse book in years and now I remember why.  I just got sick of Sookie.   What is it with her and men – or perhaps males would be better?  It’s like she allows herself to be emotionally abused – not to mention physical abuse and misuse.  I know lots of folks follow this ft the ‘love story’ aspect of the novels, but jeeze, if this is ‘love’ with vampires, spare me.

The ‘two natured’, namely were, have come out to the public.  Werewolves, being the largest group, have taken the brunt of the backlash.  Vamps are already out, but the weres seem to worry folks more because they work and live like ordinary humans.  Sookie, a telepath with some fae blood, is not quite unique, but she talents are very rare.  The plot, such as it is, revolves around Sookie and her efforts to to keep her romance with Eric going under difficult circumstances.  Mostly, he’s off the radar for one reason or another for much of the book.  First because of concerns about the new leader for Louisiana, Victor, who is looking for reasons to force Eric out, and second because Eric’s maker, an ancient Roman called Appius, shows up and demands his assistance with his ‘young’ vampire, the last living Romanov.

A ‘child’ of a vampire must do its makers bidding and Eric is drawn from Sookie into trying to control the vicious Alexander Romanov, so looks frail and childlike, but is actually an insane killer.  Sookie is also involved with the Long Tooth Pack of werewolves and the fact that Sam, the owner of the bar where she works and a long time friend, has come out as one of the ‘two natured’.  Despite his family’s long time history and his own military service, he gets a lot of backlash.

The ending is bloody and inevitable, but the plot is weak and lightweight.  The real question is ………….. Is Dead in the Family worth the $15-18 hardcover price or the $9.50 to $11 trade paperback price?  Nope.  Obviously, if you are a dedicated fan, you’ll disagree, but this is a family drama that has run its course and is, thankfully coming to an end soon.  Get it from the library or buy a cheap used used copy.  Nothing original here.

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August 21, 2011

Three Short Reviews: Recent Releases – Thriller, Paranormal UF, Paranormal Cozy

It seems good thrillers are few and far between, so when a decent read does come along, it scores really well with the genre fans.   I’m probably as guilty of that as anyone, but I did enjoy this book.

  • Title:  Buried Secrets
  • Author:  Joseph Finder
  • Type:  Suspense thriller
  • Genre:  Nick Heller Book 2 – finding a kidnapped teen for billionaire family friend
  • Sub-genre:  Fae, vamps, shifter and their coming out of the closet
  • My Grade:  B+ to A- (4.0*)
  • Rating:  PG-13 to NC-17 due to intensity
  • Length and price:  Novel – about 100,000+ $14-$17
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  bought from an online bookstore

Joseph Finder has a keeper with character Nick Heller.  Buried Secrets has the kind of action, tension, and surprising twists that a really good thriller needs.  It was a tough book to put down.  The pacing was steady and fast as the plot unfolds, with twist after twist.

Nick Heller has reason to be grateful to Marshall Markus, an old family fried who was one of the few who helped his mother when Nick’s father went to jail for financial crimes and their country club life disappeared.  When Markus calls, Nick immediately responds.  Alexa, the teenage daughter of the billionaire, has been kidnapped and buried alive.  (Heller really makes it realistically creepy and plays to one near universal fear of being buried alive, with a sadistic sociopath and a tough, badly frightened teen.)  Alexa had been kidnapped before, but this is different, this is beyond a simple kidnapping for ransom.  Markus is adamant in refusing FBI help – and it becomes obvious why, the FBI want his on securities fraud and the SAIC of the investigation will do ANYTHING to make his case, including risking a teenage girl’s life.

Nick quickly learns one thing, everyone is lying, including his client, and Boston’s movers and shakers will do anything to keep their own secrets buried.  From the drug dealing son of a South American diplomat, to Alexa’s step-mother, to her supposed ‘best friend’ – daughter of a lying US senators, to Russian mobsters, no one is willing to tell the truth.  But everyone threatens him.

In classic lone wolf with friends style, Nick Heller calls in favors and technical help, as hunts for the hiding place of Alexa’s grave.  Exciting, slightly improbable, but overall, a great suspense thriller read.  The one part that failed, was Alexa’s reaction after everything was over.  It was a real weak spot for me.  The other issue was a lack of character development with Nick Heller, but Nick was not the focus of the story, so it’s a minor complaint, and boilerplate secondary characters who were kind of predictable and trite.  I just wish Nick was more fleshed out and the other characters a bit fresher.

Is Buried Secrets worth $14-$18 at a discount?  I thought so, but books like these are not reread material, so hardcovers are not good investments.  You might want to borrow it from you library, or wait and buy the paperback.  Highly recommended for all suspense thriller fans.

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August 1, 2011

Three New Paranormals and a Paranormal Cozy

  • Title: Grave Dance
  • Author:  Kalayna Price
  • Type:  Paranormal UF/alternate reality
  • Genre:  A witch who is more than a witch and those who want her – or just want her dead
  • Sub-genre:  Serial killers, witchcraft and Fay queens make for a heady mix
  • My Grade: A(4.8*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Novel – about 100,000+ $7.99
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased from online bookstore

Book 2 of the Alex Craft series was even better than Grave Witch, a real surprise.  All too often, the second book is a bit weak, but here the complex plot and world building just got better.

It’s been a month since the events in Grave Witch where Alex Craft discovered her father was fae and her a faykin (part Fae).  Shehas pretty much recovered from her adventures, and reconciled with the fact that Falin, the ‘man’ she took for a lover, is, in fact, the lover of the winter queen – and Queen’s Knight sworn to her service.  Learning she was more than half Fey, was a shock.  Finding out she can rip holes in the fabric between the planes is a lot scarier.  Death, or the soul collector she thinks of as Death, saves her life yet again, and this strange relationship that started years ago draws her to this man.

The problem with 15 minutes of fame is, it brings out the nuts – including a human who wants Alex to open a portal to the aether so his witches can feed off the energy to make charms – and make him even richer than he already is.   And then there’s the feet.  A lot of them.  And the Fey who lives in the swaps who wants them to be left alone because of the evil associated with them.   And who the hell keeps sending these constructs to attack her – constructs that have the souls of the dead? (more…)

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