Tag Archives: Aleksandr Voinov

lars witches of London

Book Review of Lars (Witches of London #1), by Aleksandr Voinov

I picked up a copy of Aleksandr Voinov‘s Lars: Witches of London at Amazon, in May of 2018.

Description from Goodreads:

After a homophobic pagan group rejected him, Lars Kendall is a solitary heathen on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon. But being on his own sucks. So when he finally meets a mixed group of other queer witches and magick-users, it’s like finding family. If family involved exploring past lives and casting spells.

Rhys Turner quit a stressful job in the City after his high-strung boyfriend of six years walked out. He sold the expensive flat in central London and bought a run-down house out in the suburbs. Never mind that it needs walls knocked down, its garden landscaped, and what the hell is up with that carpet?

With his health failing, Rhys is desperate for a clean slate and a new start. He isn’t ready to fall in love with anybody, least of all the hunky builder who looks like he’s stepped out of a TV show about Vikings—tattoos, long hair, and all. But as strong and loyal as Lars is, he also has a very soft heart, which might be the hardest thing for Rhys to resist.


This is very sweet. The problem is that it’s just very sweet. Even with the secondary theme of Lars’ spiritual journey there is NO TENSION in the book. It ticks along in a nice, mild flow. But that’s about it. The writing is lovely, but I often got the sense that there is a little something off with the tenses. I’ve not read a lot of Voinov, but I get the feeling his writing will be very hit or miss for me. This wasn’t quite a miss, but it wasn’t a hit either.

More bloody novelettes


Some might know that I’m trying to clear the short stories, novelettes and novellas less than 100 pages off my To-Be-Read shelves. I started with the shortest and am working my way up to the longest (99 pages). Below are those between 60 & 69 pages in length.

He Ain’t Lion,  by Celia Kyle: This is basically porn with plot. I mean, 80-85% of it is sex and that’s not even an exaggeration. And it’s chocked full of horrid porny dialogue. I very rarely give more than two stars to this sort of erotica. I dislike the language generally used to describe sex and get then cheesed out. But I appreciate that Maya was given quite a lot of agency, Alex wasn’t just an alpha A-hole and there was quite a lot of genuine humor in it. So, I’ll give it a 2.5 and round up to three.

Like a Fox, by Celia Kyle: Basically just one long sex scene. Better than a lot of erotica, but it is what it is.

Playing with Shadows, by Sasha L. Miller: It felt a little shallow, but not under-developed. Had a pleasantly creepy vibe and was well-written. Had very little romance that I honestly thought was surplus to requirements.

Wicked, by Diana Bocco: Erotic fluff; two people meet, instant attraction, excuse to have lots of sex. Eh. It is what is is, but it’s nothing special.

The Bridge, by Kay Bratt: Very sweet story. The writing was fairly straight forward, bordering on simple and there were a few jarring POV slips, but mostly it was a sweet (if cloying) tale.

Dark Soul Vol. 1, by Aleksandr Voinov: Hot damn, that was a scorcher! I put this off thinking it would be off-puttingly violent/erotic (if you know what I mean), which often feels artificial and gratuitous to me, but I think it tread that edge well. I love how intrigued but confused Stefano is and appreciated his love of his wife. I usually don’t like wives in m/m because I don’t like to see them get cheated on, but this one didn’t raise my heckles (not yet at least). I preferred the first episode to the second and would be well up for reading more. Voinov’s voice is marvelous.

Twice in a Lifetime, by Jennifer Jakes: OK but it wasn’t a real winner for me. I don’t think the logistics of the plot really hung together. I understood the author’s intent, but it wasn’t quite accomplished. Plus, the whole thing seemed like an extreme response to a minor problem.

Delicate, by C.K. Farrell: There were things I appreciated–the over forty, voluptuous sex vixen, the preference for pubes over prepubescent baldness, and such–but I thought the story self-indulgent in its word choice (coincidentally one of the same criticisms the writer in the story receives) and I never really found anything to like in the story itself.

Alabaster Nights, by Elle J. Rossi: Standard vampire meets his mate, insta-love ensues PNR. Not bad, but nothing special. Plus, it’s a prequel to a series so it ends before the actual story really gets going.

Flight Risk, by L.A. Witt: A pleasant enough stand-alone novelette, but I felt like it was all blown out of proportion. The two were talking and acting like they had to make forever decisions after one night together. I also thought it got a bit repetitive toward the end.

Cops, Cakes, and Coffeeby Sara York: OMG, so bad! Rushed, insta-love, insta-relationsip, painfully saccharin and artificially, cloyingly sweet. No development. No build-up. No character development. Even for a novelette it’s no good. I literally made so many gagging noises while reading it that my partner asked if I was ok.

Shepherd, Slave, and Vow, by Lyn Gala: Really quite enjoyable and well written. It did go from enemies to lovers awfully fast and from lovers to life-mates even faster, but a fun read.

Book Review of Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1), by Aleksandr Voinov

ScorpionI bought a copy of Aleksandr Voinov‘s Scorpion.

Description from Goodreads:
Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever had—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed mercenary offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.

But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers, or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, the man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself.

The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue where enemies may be allies and even allies have hidden agendas. But Kendras isn’t only fighting for his lost lover and tribe—he soon realizes that nothing less than the birth of an Empire is at stake.

There is plenty to love about this book—lots hard men, loyal soldiers (one of my favourites), hot sex, PoC MCs (I’ve had a wonderful run of these lately), a twisty-turny plot, a little master/slave, some gentle love, more barely scraping adulthood acolytes/novices/servants/etc gagging for it than you can shake a (your) stick at, atmosphere, wonderfully descriptive writing, good editing, etc. A lot to love. It’s dark and gritty, with an ending that I suspect only seems happy(ish). Yep, lots to love.

I thought the beginning was a little shaky, but it stabilised satisfactorily. And while I know this isn’t meant to be set in the modern west and thus can’t be expected to live by our mores and customs, I did think the pervasive sexual victimisation felt overplayed. It’s not that I have a problem with it in a plot; it was just EVERYWHERE here. Every organisation, from the prisons, to the army, to the church, to the nobility seemed to blithely rape or train for ‘service’ their powerless. Thus, most of the characters had been raped at some point, some to more effect than others and many ritualistically (rape being institutionally scripted before X occurs, etc). It’s one of those books in which there only seem to be predators and prey, no…you know…normalish people and that left it feeling monochromatic as a culture.

But the characters were marvellous and there were a lot of small sparkly moments, like Steel’s odd emotional desperation or Widow’s anomalous love or Kendras’ constant low-level want or Sylvan’s ‘weakness.’ Yeah, not a perfect read for me but certainly not one I’m complaining about having spent an evening with. I think ‘yum’ is the appropriate descriptor