When I read the blurb I found the idea that the Greek Gods are living in contemporary London trying to find back to their original splendour highly or...moreWhen I read the blurb I found the idea that the Greek Gods are living in contemporary London trying to find back to their original splendour highly original. Unfortunately my husband burst my bubble when he told me callously that Tom Holt had a similar idea a long time ago, only it’s not a ramshackle building in Hampstead Heath but the Sunnyvoyde Residential Home for Retired Deities (Odds and Gods).
This didn’t dampen my spirit though. I still find the idea fascinating, especially since I know a bit about Greek mythology and found the characterizations of the various Gods extremely amusing and fitting.
Apollo who has to try to make a living as an oracle on a trashy TV show with elderly ladies his only audience, Aphrodite making a little money on the side working on a phone sex line, Dionysos owning a seedy club where he plays the DJ and sells his delicious wine to the hip youngsters, the Gods constantly bickering, it was all too funny. There are so many small, delightful ideas in the story that I found it very entertaining and hilarious.
One point that I found slightly strange was that I couldn’t relate to the romantic couple at all, in fact, I thoroughly disliked them both. For me they stayed faceless and inconspicuous. I wasn’t fond of Alice, an unobtrusive girl with a university degree who works as a cleaner because she likes cleaning (I definitely cannot relate to that) and neither did I find Neil attractive. Not because he didn’t look like the typical romantic hero, but because he just didn’t stand out for me in any way at all. The most remarkable thing about those two was that they were totally unremarkable. I understand that they were meant to be that way, but even unremarkable people have some depth, hidden secrets and whatnot and those two just didn’t, at least I never noticed. Yeah, ok, they loved each other and Neil was willing to go to the underworld for Alice, but I have seen better things than that. Or, if those things were not really better, they were pulled off with more panache. Neil was just too boring. And so was Alice.
I found the last part of the story was kind of slow and anti-climatic. The solution to the Gods’ problem was so obvious and so easily achieved that it was sort of unbelievable.
As for the title, I don’t agree with it. The Gods don’t behave badly at all, at least not more than you would expect them to. They just behave like the ordinary Greek God that you know and like. If their behaviour is supposed to be bad they definitely have to kick it up a notch or two.(less)
**spoiler alert** I liked "Between Us", so when its sequel "Between us two" came out there was no question about reading it right away.
Jason and Matt...more**spoiler alert** I liked "Between Us", so when its sequel "Between us two" came out there was no question about reading it right away.
Jason and Matt were a nice couple, in the first story and they were just as nice here. However, two of my least favourite components were way too prominent in this story for me to really love it. When it comes to children and pets my eyes glaze over and I lose interest pretty quickly.
In the blurb it is mentioned that Matt is in trouble as suspect for a child kidnapping. The kidnapping issue was resolved rather quickly and to everybody’s satisfaction. As far as I was concerned the child related plot could have ended here. Well, it didn’t. Jason had two dogs (I knew that from the previous story) and those two played quite a big part in the story. Really cute, no doubt, but I just am not interested in that sort of thing. The guys were nice, loveable, hot and all, so if you don’t mind pets and kids, this will be for you. It’s a good entertaining story. Just a little too sweet for my taste. (less)
When I read the blurb of “Spoils of War” I immediately decided to read it. I like Greek mythology. All the political agendas as well as the quibbles a...moreWhen I read the blurb of “Spoils of War” I immediately decided to read it. I like Greek mythology. All the political agendas as well as the quibbles among the gods always fascinated me. The fact that one of the main characters is Achilles was a slight drawback for me, however. If I had to choose between him and Hector I’d always go for the latter. I found Achilles’ extremely vindictive and petty behaviour after he killed Hector very disconcerting, but I admit that he was grief-stricken about Patroklos’ death, which brings me back to “Spoils of War”.
The short story starts right after Achilles’ death when his soul is being claimed by two gods, Ares and Hermes. This is an interesting twist, since Ares usually never meddles with the dead. However, he is so interested in seeing Achilles being around longer that he makes an exception for him. Achilles is very tempted to take up Ares’ offer, since it would give him all the means for total revenge on the Trojans. But there is Hermes waiting and he has something to offer which might be even more rewarding.
I have never heard of or read anything by Aleksandr Voinov before but “Spoils of War” made me want to check out his other stories. The way the characters and their motivations are depicted is credible and Achilles change of tune was believable as well. As for the gods, the fact that the one opposes the other and Hermes does things just to spite Ares is typical divine behaviour (at least among the ancient gods) and fun to read. The one sex scene (you can’t call it love scene, not by any stretch of the imagination) is pretty hot and, um, powerful.
If you like Greek mythology this story is a must read. However, if you have no clue about the Trojan War and the involvement of the gods in it, you might want to read up about it first. A little prior knowledge will enhance the reading experience immensely.(less)
I hate anonymous sex scenes. Whenever I come across one I get bored and skip it. Anonymous sex just does not do it for me. This is what I thought anyw...moreI hate anonymous sex scenes. Whenever I come across one I get bored and skip it. Anonymous sex just does not do it for me. This is what I thought anyway. After reading the first few pages of Touch of a Wolf I have to re-consider my last statements though. I was impressed. That scene with two strangers in some dark alley in Philadelphia was more intimate and intense than a lot of “conventional” ones and drew me right into the story.
And then I just couldn’t stop reading. I totally loved Touch of a Wolf. Matt and John (even though he is mostly referred to as Channing) were great characters. The plot just flowed, turning slightly improbable towards the end in my eyes, but that didn’t matter in the least.
The wolf angle was done slightly differently than usual. Not only was it not an issue between the two men, the wolf existence was introduced somehow like in passing as if it was no big deal. There were problems being a wolf, especially being one that’s been around for a while, but nothing a smart computer savvy man couldn’t fix. Which brings me to the only question about this story. How did Matt turn from a researcher who hated tampering with files into such an accomplished forger? Looking at his considerate counterfeiting skills you would think he’s never done anything else. But I didn’t want to let this trifle spoil the overall enjoyment and accepted it in stride. Touch of a Wolf is a love-at-first-sight story, road movie and wolf-man wrapped up in one great package.
One drawback was the editing, however. I noticed punctuation marks at the wrong place, sentences that should have been negative were positive etc. The book deserves better than that.
Even so. This was a great read. Jez Morrow has some more were stories out, I MUST go and check them out. Highly recommended.(less)
From reading the blurb I already figured that I will have to supsend disbelief to a certain extent here. Why assassins who come too late to kill their...moreFrom reading the blurb I already figured that I will have to supsend disbelief to a certain extent here. Why assassins who come too late to kill their victim should change their mind and all of a sudden want to save him I didn’t understand. Also I was slightly annoyed at the way John and Chris were lying to Andrei in the beginning. They told him a half-baked story and Andrei accepted it almost without batting an eyelid. I would imagine someone without any knowledge about himself would – even though he might want to grasp at straws – be a bit suspicious when he was told he was sexually involved with two men carrying guns 24/7. So, yes, the plot was somewhat unrealistic, but once I accepted that, it flowed. John, Chris and Andrei were three hot guys. I didn’t care too much for Chris, the manslut, but John and especially Andrei were extremely likeable. The way those two found a way to merge their budding relationship with John’s and Chris’ sort of “teammates with benefits” affair and turn it into a working menage was nicely done. Aleksandr Voinov said on Goodreads about “Clean Slate” that he cheated a bit and took away the memory and issues from one of the guys to make this easier and he was right. With Andrei’s memory intact the three men certainly would have never hit it off. The story ended perfectly, with a redeemed Chris and everybody happy. This was highly entertaining and made me want to read more of those authors.(less)
I am a sucker for Lord and Squire stories, so when I saw The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov available on Netgalley I picked it up right away.
Of the...moreI am a sucker for Lord and Squire stories, so when I saw The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov available on Netgalley I picked it up right away.
Of the three stories I read so far by Aleksandr I liked this one best. I liked the historical setting, not to mention the two protagonists. William, a wild boy who wants to earn his spurs, and Robert, who recognizes himself as a young man in William. I found William as someone always reacting before thinking unless he forces himself to calm down and count to three very realistic. Robert as the older was the more reasonable and composed one, but still passionate and loving. The two men were absolutely great together.
The plot was solid and believable with some good side characters. Even though Stephen was a real jerk I liked him, well, as much as you can like a drunken priest who is droning on even though the only creature who listens is his dog.
The story was great from start to finish, there are not even minor things I’d like to have seen done differently. Only I would have liked it to be longer than it was. However, it seems this was not all. I read on Aleksandr’s website that two more novellas about William are planned which reconciles me a bit.
If you like a medieval setting, this is a must read.(less)