by Rosanna Leo, fantasy (2012)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-955-6
The Greek god Dionysus is always horny. Currently, he hangs around the bakery of Josie Marino, showing up every morning with his latest conquests in tow. Josie can't deny that he's hot, but she's not interested in dating such an overt womanizer. Or so she'd like to think. However, she may not have much choice in the matter when, without any action on her part, she ends up becoming the only woman to whom Dionysus can muster a chubby for. Yes, you've read that right. And soon, they have to pay Hell a visit in order to settle a dispute, so to speak, between Dionysus and a fellow Greek mythological figure.
Sweet Hell certainly delivers very well in several areas: snappy humor, engaging narrative, likable characters. Josie and Dionysus click well together, much to my surprise as they started out rather one-dimensional. But there is plenty of charming moments between these two, and the often amusing banter and thoughts of these characters only add to the fun. The story is quite silly, but then again, this is a comedic paranormal romp, and the silliness is actually well done.
I just don't believe in the romance, though. Sure, Dionysus can get sweetly protective over Josie, but the fact remains that he only pays attention to her after he can't get it up for anyone else. And this fellow has lived for... what, thousands of years? Am I supposed to buy that a mere mortal can change what is essentially his nature as the god of wine and hedonistic behavior? Okay, maybe I can buy this premise if the way these two hook up weren't due to the fact that he can't shag anyone else. The hero changing his ways overnight after thousands of years of existence is not believable when the heroine comes off as someone he has to settle for.
But a more problematic issue here is how the most exciting parts of the story take place in the middle parts of the story. The last few chapters actually drag the post-Hell drama on for too long, killing the momentum of the story in the process. And I personally feel that those last chapters should focus on Dionysus's feelings, not Josie's. Of course she'd love him. He's the freaking god that drives women into murderous frenzy, duh. It is more important that the author convinces me that Dionysus loves Josie for the long haul, if you ask me.
At any rate, Sweet Hell is a fun read, but it doesn't pack much of an emotional punch for the reasons I've mentioned.
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