May 18 2019

Readathon #BookReviews #boutofbooks 25 Growing TBR and Most Read Authors

Bout of Books
Bout of Books 25

Today’s challenge:

Share the love!

Share the books, websites, etc., you’ve discovered this readathon.

I made quite a few new friends on Instagram during the challenge. There might be more, and I don’t know if they’re all BoB fans. But here’s a screenshot from today:
New Instagram followers @JLenniDorner

I looked up a few other books, but some weren’t in Amazon (not in the US, anyway). But here are six that joined the list.

J's Amazon wishlist grew during #boutofbooks 25

#bob25igphoto #boutofbooks Most read author

Day of the challenge: 6
What I read today:
Grumpy Old Gods: Volume 1 – Anthology
Lovers and Liars: Manhattan by Liz Meldon

Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
Grumpy Old Gods: Volume 1 – Anthology
Lovers and Liars: Manhattan by Liz Meldon

My GOALS during Bout of Books 25:

  1. Finish reading 4 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 4 book reviews

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Book Reviews:

Grumpy Old Gods: Volume 1 – Anthology
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

I recommend this book to those who enjoy pondering where the Old Gods are now, what they might be doing since the religions that worshipped them have so greatly declined in followers. A large chunk of this book uses myths from the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Norse mythologies.

I really wish there was an included link list to more information about the referenced deities and myths. I knew most, but still, I think it would be useful. Most of the stories have Gods who were formerly worshipped in parts of Europe (some from Africa or Asia) now retired in the United States. (Coyote was the only Native American omnipotent being I spotted.)

I read the whole book because I’ve read a few of these authors before and looked forward to seeing what they contributed. As a bonus, I found some new-to-me authors to look up and fan-stalk. The title goes very well with the book, as it does describe several of the characters. There are some references to sex, alcohol, and rock-n-roll, but it’s a clean-read overall.

Each of the stories was a page-turner, though I read the book over a week’s time because it was my “I have 20 minutes” book, so I mostly read one story at a time.

The current genres listed are correct for this book.
Greek & Roman Myth & Legend
Greco-Roman Myth & Legend Fantasy eBooks
Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories

Disclaimer: I signed up to host a #bookblast and to read an ARC (April 17, 2019, was the last updated one I received). I am a speculative fiction author who is writing a series where the main characters are omnipotent beings.

Pan by Vanessa Wells – I had never heard barbed wire called bob wire before, so I learned something. The story itself I really liked. It pulled me into the book. Excellent opener. It left me wanting more of the Clair character.

A Low-Key Game Night by Elizabeth Shaffer – I like the hidden joke in the title. I found this quite amusing. Pretty sure fans of the traditional lore will enjoy this far more than fans of the MCU.

For Want of a Feather by Andrew Dunlop – A very interesting concept. It didn’t end exactly as I thought it might, but I was close to guessing. Good philosophical debate opener, especially for atheists.

Out of Luck by Vanessa Finaughty – This one is full of feels by the end. Love the HEA. Very meaningful.

Rule 34 by Avery Vanderlyle – You know, this is kind of realistic fiction because it *could* be true. I mean, it’d be hard to prove one way or other, wouldn’t it? Authors of romance and erotica will probably get the biggest kick out of reading this gem.

I really loved this part:
“You’re a harvest deity, Demeter. You’re only concerned with procreative sex.” Loki leered. “But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A force like sexuality — then you add human imagination -”

Immanent Domain by Wendy Smyer Yu – This was my favorite story. (I’m a Native American. This story used Coyote as a trickster, who is from the lore from some Native American tribes. That makes me happy.) I like that it was more Urban Fantasy, and that the immortal and mortal had real interactions, and that she was able to help him and others in the end.

I don’t know the Scrub Jay mythology. (Or jackrabbit, muskrat, or tule elk.) I’ve heard of Coyote as a trickster in several mythologies/ religions though. I do wish I knew which tribe’s lore was used in this case though.

A part I enjoyed:
She’d never heard of that one and for a moment she was embarrassed that she knew the names of all the current game shows. Yes, she had been a little depressed in the winter and had watched too much television, but her recent resolve to cultivate new interests and find greater fulfillment still held firm.

God of Morning by Elizabeth McCleary – This was a complex story. I enjoyed it. Excellent ending.

There’s a part I really loved:
There was a homeless man on a bench, enjoying the first rays of the sun as they warmed his face. His joy at the morning was earthy, but heartfelt. Mere existence spawned depression in some, but here was one who savored every moment. He treated the day like a brother.

And then there’s a part that I feel a lot of LGBTQIA+ people would appreciate:
“Don’t call me Dawn. I’m not a goddess, I’m a god.” He sounded sulky. This was an old argument. In truth, the gods and goddesses were neither masculine nor feminine—or maybe they were both—but were assigned characteristics by their believers based on their perceptions. But Morrow—Dawn—had never wanted to be a girl.

I really love the ending. It was full of feels. HEA!

Zeus Really Needs to Go by Shawn Klimek – Love the duel meaning of the title. The part about the “me too” movement caught my attention. The setting is intriguing.

There’s a conversation that had me pondering:
“The jury of public opinion, Dad. Media.”
“A fig for the opinion of mortals.”
“Mr. Zeus!”
Mars held up a palm and blocked the chair. “Dad, our power faded when people stopped worshipping us, right? What do you think will happen if they start hating us?”

Breaking the Habit by Ronel Janse von Vuuren – Sneaky “Woody Allen” use in there. I loved the idea of them golfing. I could picture it. Well-done. Good plot-twists. I like the theme of the importance and continued value of the old. My third favorite story in the book.

The New Chief Medical Examiner by Tom Vetter – I ended up liking this far more than expected. My second favorite story in the book. I love the inclusion of Elvis. Very entertaining. The setting made me wonder several things, mostly at the end while SF is in the restroom. I’m curious as to the lore of the story, if it’s more fantasy/myth where people don’t know the place exists, or more like “magical realism” where it’s accepted that the world population would know about the place.

Lines that made me laugh:
“When things get particularly bad, we bring in George Patton or Chuck Norris to slap him back into line.”

“Well, he’s certainly high-functioning, and his intellect is intact. Completely crackers, of course. Totally self-deluded and immersed in this (*SPOILER) identity to the point of having lost his original persona.”

If any readers are highly offended though, please write and send me your valid postal address. I’ll personally apologize and send you a free gift: Medusa’s head in an unmarked box.

Playing Hooky by Juneta Key – I really liked the bartender, even if that’s a minor character. I enjoyed the wider variety of deities. The use of Gameboys made me laugh.

Harbinger of Doom by Katharina Gerlach – This one made me hungry. It was inspirational and entertaining. I like how it turned out.

Whither Athena? by Marshall J. Moore – I liked the twist on the old-school detective story. I loved the scene at The Lincoln Memorial. This story made me laugh and left me pensive. Excellent emotional rollercoaster. A perfect story to end the book.

This conversation cracked me up:
“Ah.” He set the phone down on my desk, steepling his fingers. “Again, my apologies. You can call me Mr. Mercury.”
“A Queen fan, I see.”
A smile cracked his tan face, wide and genuine. His teeth were perfectly white. “Who isn’t?”

And then this hit me like a ton of emotional bricks:
“As you said, wisdom now is needed. Your leadership is corrupted by greed, the populace divided by fear and dissent. In a land of strength and prosperity wealth and power are held by the few, and the many suffer for it. Change is coming, but it rests with the people to determine if it be for good or ill.
“So I will step away, to see if this democracy can weather the storm it finds itself in. To see if the people have learned well the lessons of justice and equality, and can use them to right the course of this ship before it wrecks itself upon the reefs.”

That is the most powerful lesson in the book. It should be quoted and spread all over the Internet. Meme viral wildfire! Ask how candidates feel about it when the elections come. Really, that’s an excellent quote and made me grateful to have read this book.

#Quote Whither Athena? by Marshall J. Moore in Grumpy Old Gods: Volume 1

Lovers and Liars: Manhattan by Liz Meldon 🐦 @lizmeldon2 / 📷 @authorlizmeldon
4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

{ Also known as:
The Maenad of Manhattan (Lovers and Liars) (Volume 1) – September 9, 2014
Manhattan (Lovers and Liars #1) }

#SpecFic #BeatTheBacklist
Author I Haven’t Previously Read, First book in a series

Lovers and Liars by Liz Meldon

Aphrodite is a love columnist and wealthy Manhattan socialite. (Like Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, but with Mr. Big’s bank account.) She hasn’t seen many of the Old Gods in a long time. Then Loki shows up. The amount of humans who remember and worship the Gods has a direct impact on how powerful they are, and if they still exist at all, in this story.

It was good.
It’s interesting within the paranormal romance/ erotica genre because it brings the heat early on (15% in has the first steamy kiss that leads to more), and it keeps up the heat. Aphrodite and Loki are into rough play, but they are immortals and it is consensual.

I would recommend it to those who enjoy reading erotica where the characters are from different pantheons. I don’t read a lot of erotica, but I thought this was well written. I do greatly enjoy paranormal romance as well as urban fantasy. (With slightly different names and backgrounds, this could easily be an Existence novella of my own. And because it reminds me of how my characters feel about and approach certain things, I enjoyed it far more than I might have otherwise.)

Some of my favorite lines include:
“persons working in service positions were the people to flatter if one wished to get anything extra in this world.” The line is thought by Aphrodite, and it explains why she’s so very generous to drivers, bartenders, maids, etc.

“bodacious body” I haven’t heard someone use that adjective, outside of surfer speak, in a long time. It was odd that the action paused for a lengthy description, but perhaps that’s why I noticed the word. If not for passages that paused for description, I would have given this five stars.

“It’s been pleasant to have someone by my side and in my bed who truly understands what I am.” Another Aphrodite quote, which sounds exactly like something my Existence characters would say. Really, if emoji hearts could appear in my eyes, I would have had them at this line.

I also enjoyed the author’s afternote, which suggests I can go have a baked good for being awesome and fantastic. And the quick and dirty guide to the gods mentioned was an extremely thoughtful addition. I appreciate that.

I read the whole book because I was curious about what Aphrodite would do next. It didn’t end as I suspected it would. It did leave me wanting to read more from this author. This is the first book in a series, which seems to be a spin-off of another (non-erotic) series.

It’s a happily-ever-after for the most part, erotic, romantic, controversial if you have feelings about certain pantheons, there was some action, a few plot twists, and it was fun and entertaining to read.

I hadn’t heard of the Maenad before, so I learned about them.

There are several covers. I do like the one with the man (Loki) about to kiss the neck of the woman (Aphrodite), though I don’t know how much it matches the characters.

The theme seems to be independence, knowing how to make your own way. I think Aphrodite was the author’s favorite character, as the erotic scenes focus much more on her and her body.

Obstacles are difficult to write when your main characters are deities. Aphrodite’s main one seems to be that she’s lonely. Loki’s main one seems to be that he was being forgotten, and thus fading. Those are the internal conflicts. The external one is the Maenad.

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