Category Archives: Blog tour

Tow Away Zone

Book Review: Tow Away Zone, by Chris Towndrow

I accepted a review copy of Chris Towndrow‘s Tow Away Zone from Rachel’s Random Resources.
Tow Away Zone - cover paperback NEWv1

When a travelling salesman with monochromatic vision finds a town that’s not on the map, he must choose between romance and a long-held promise of untold riches.

Beckman Spiers is a grey man in a grey world—and he’s happy with that. After 12 years of routine and grind, he’s again fighting to become Number One Salesman of the Year. Legend has it, Number Ones get so rich, they never work again. With a week to go, Beckman is gaining on his nemesis, smooth-talking Tyler Quittle. When a chance blowout on a deserted Arizona highway leaves Beckman stranded, the mysterious Saul arrives, and tows him to the strange neon-lit town of Sunrise. Here, he meets the glamorous Lolita Milan and his fortunes change. Yet, Sunrise’s small-town charms conceal secrets, and his world becomes one of private investigators and backstabbing business deals. What will he have to do to reach Number One? And what will he do if he wins the race?

my review

I thought this was a fun read with quirky, likeable characters that kept me interested. While the writing was perfectly readable and well edited, it did occasionally slant a little too far toward trying so hard to be witty that it fell flat instead. Such as the times it read like this, for example:

Mercifully, before long, a shape rose from the heat haze. A stationary shape. A building-shaped shape. A gas station-shaped building shape. (pg 15)

Yeah, this is my *blank, un-amused stare.* I see what the author is doing there, but can we not? Similarly, I occasionally didn’t understand what the characters were actually trying to relay in some of their verbal byplay.

But more often than any of that, I chuckled along with the what on earth is going to happen next-ness of the book, appreciated how things wrapped back around on themselves, and I’d happily read another.

Tow away zone photo 1


Other Reviews:

Blog Tour: Tow Away Zone – Chris Towndrow

Tow Away Zone (The Sunrise trilogy Book 1)


Schedule:

Tow Away Zonne Full Tour Banner

HUNTRESS PREY banner

Spotlight & Excerpt: Huntress Prey + Giveaway

I accepted a review copy of Selene Kallan‘s Huntress Prey as part or its blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. However, since I wasn’t able to give the book a good review, I’ve held it until the tour finished (yesterday). The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. You can find author information and the tour’s schedule there.

VALENTINE

After almost three centuries of running from my past, I should be used to loneliness. Being a mythological monster isn’t compatible with relationships. But the craving for company grows stronger every day, turning routine into an endless nightmare and making me wish for an end to my immortality.


The explosive encounter with a beautiful, lethal fae who knows what I am and how to destroy me reminded me of that proverb: be careful what you wish for.

AXEL
I thought fate could not surprise me after almost six hundred years. And then there she is—the echo of the brave young woman I’ve heard legends about. Only she isn’t human anymore, but a vampire, the greatest enemy of my species. After a fight that could have killed us both, and an uneasy truce, I am left with burning curiosity and so is she.

But will curiosity be enough to quench her thirst for my blood and my impulse to kill her before she strikes?

my review

I admit that when I accepted this for review, I did not realize it was 500+ pages long. If I had, I 100% would not have accepted it. Not only because I wasn’t really in a position to want to commit to 500+ pages, but also because 500+ pages is well outside the genre standard for PNR/UF. And, while not without exception, that’s because PNR/UF plots don’t usually support 500+ pages. That’s epic fantasy territory, not PNR/UF. Had I noticed the page count, I would have felt something rotten in the state of Denmark before I even touch a page.

And true to the norm, at 510 pages this book is FAR too long. I’m talking probably twice as long as need be. I’d say it should be split in two, but that infers that there is enough plot here to carry two 250+ page books, and there isn’t. (There’s barely enough for one!) Instead, I’ll say that half—a full 200-250 pages of this book—is chaff. It just plain needs to be cut. The whole excursion to visit Lily serves no purpose to the plot. Valentine making eyes and friends with Maya is extraneous. In fact, every scene with Valentine at work—with or without Maya—could be cut as not pertinent. Far too many side characters are given history, considering they do almost nothing but cook and eat during the course of the book. None of this excess is neutral. It all dilutes the already thin plot until what is left feels random, disconnected, and all but plot-less.

There are also too many references to things that aren’t expanded on. It made it feel certain there must be another book somewhere, though, as far as I know, there isn’t. Too many characters randomly introduced, even very late into the story.

The story has promise and if it had been given to a ruthless content editor with a scalpel, it could have been something worth reading. Instead, it feels like it’s written by a teen. A teen with a firm grasp of grammar and syntax, true, but a teen all the same. (I’m not saying it was. I don’t know anything about Kallan. I’m just saying it feels that way as a descriptor.) It’s in the shallow use of villainy, the frequent use of sexual assault, misogyny, and lasciviousness to signal evil or even just badness, the characters with a single emotional note, the Whedon-esque banter, the unsupportable wealth and technology of the fae had, etc.

Honestly, I would have DNFed it if I hadn’t accepted if for review.

I did appreciate the diversity (racial and sexual) of the cast (including two bi/pan-sexual main characters) and, as I said, the writing itself wasn’t all that bad. There’s some odd use of language, dodgy phrases, and the dialogue gets pretty clunky and stiff at times. Plus, the editing starts to flag in the last half—especially in terms of missing words, and in/on being confused. But the writing itself is readable.

All of the above is obviously just my opinion. Other people have given this book 5 stars. So, I suppose the best thing to do is decide where your own line and tolerance for such things lie and read the book or not.

huntress prey photo


Other Reviews:

Eye Rolling Demigod: Blot Tour Huntress Prey

What’s Beyond Forks: Book Review Huntress Prey


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

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Book Review: The Witch and the Dreamwalker, by Victoria Rogers

I accepted a copy of Victoria Rogers’ The Witch and the Dreamwalker for review, as part of its book tour with Rockstar Book Tours. The book and it’s prequel were also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. Over there you can find author details and the tour schedule.

It’s 1982, and rising star Vivian McKinley is determined to climb the corporate ladder of a growing paranormal security firm. With the help of Xavier Prince, President and CEO of Prince Charms, Vivian uncovers a plot to take over the business. The pair navigate office politics and machinations to prove a psychic vampire’s treachery.

my review
I have several things to say about this book, some good some bad, some fairly neutral. More than I’d expect for something so short.

First, I’m agnostic on the cover, but I will say it has nothing—tone, topic, content, etc—to do with the story inside it. It’s a pretty picture, but it hardly feels like the power suits, big hair, and machismo of 1982! Also neutral is that the magic aspects of the plot are extraneous. They could have been removed and the story and events could have occurred unchanged, just had non-magical explanations.

Second, on the positive front, the writing is perfectly readable, without feeling too cheesy. Even though I read an ARC, I don’t recall many editing mishaps. The early 80s is not a time period you see used in romance/erotic books too often and Rogers incorporated several period specific elements into the story, which was fun. I also appreciated seeing Vivian in boss-mode, taking no prisoners when she stands up for herself against the sexism of the time.

Third, on the negative front. Any impactful-ness Rogers might have built into the story by incorporating the sexism Vivian faced when everyone treated her as if she only got her position by sleeping with the boss was wholly undermined when she immediately started sleeping with the boss. Also, as I said, the magical elements weren’t pertinent enough to the plot to feel necessary, but similarly, the book’s unexpected swerve into Shibari/Kinbaku was sudden and not at all incorporated into the plot.

All in all, this wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either.

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