Marc reviews Aleksandr Voino and Amy Lane’s ‘Country Mouse: The Complete Collection’. (The book was published by Riptide Publishing on December 7th, 2013, 224 pgs).
This box set includes the following novellas:
– Country Mouse
– City Mouse
Why I read this book: Amy Lane is my favorite author and the queen of angst and Aleksandr Voinov writes intense, flawed characters and incredibly well-written erotica. So when I found out that both co-authored a book I just had to bribe Aleks with German candy to get me the paperback 😛
Country mouse meets city cat….
Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he loves his vacation in London, even more so when he meets the sexy and arrogant Malcolm Kavanagh. But eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm much time for meaningful relationships. In his world, everything’s a competition—even sex.
Their vacation romance turns serious, but that’s just the first chapter in their story. Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that happy endings take a lot more work than declaring your feelings.
Malcolm has never been in love, or even in a relationship. Everything is a struggle, from accepting Owen’s low-status job to putting his boyfriend above his personal trainer. Luckily, Owen knows a little more about these things. From the art galleries of Cambridge to the tawdry majesty of the Dominion theatre, Owen adapts to England while Malcolm adapts to the whole human race. Maybe, if Owen is patient enough and Malcolm learns to give, the two of them can make it past Relationship Armageddon to a real happy ending.
Cover: I love the cover. Especially Malcolm, the guy with the glasses. He seems powerful, sexy and mysterious – which works perfectly for the character. Owen looks happy and good-hearted, which fits as well. The UK background creates a nice atmosphere and shows the importance of the city as a character in this story 😉
Title: City Mouse and Country Mouse are memorable titles that describe the initial setup of the story. As you read more of the story it becomes obvious that there is much more to the characters and these labels with the connotations we all know are not a perfect fit. But I think that is the way it was supposed to be. ANd it worked well for me.
Story: For me it is important to read both stories!!! So I will review both together 😉 *HINT: Get the book collection with both novellas!!!*
The (kinky and sexy) Fairytale
Contry Mouse, the first novella in this collection is rather short and takes places during an extended weekend. It is like a dream, a fairytale, removed from every day reality. Owen is on a Euro Trip, visiting London and meets Malcolm in a dingy bar. The other man is not only super sexy, but also super arrogant. A lot of that is just for show (though part of it is and will always remain in his personality), but I loved that Owen doesn’t take any crap and sees right through the facade. There is a lot (incredibly hot and kinky) sex in this story, enough for me to say that it is mostly erotica. However, the sex actually has a purpose in seeing who the characters are. With Owen, a tourist and virtual stranger, Malcolm can let go and doesn’t always have to wear his armor. It is not an easy thing for him, but I had a lot of fun reading their story and it was hot as hell. Even though we don’t really get int relationship things a lot, the way even this one Weekend changes Malcolm was fascinating to behold and the story ends in a wonderfully romantic and hopeful place.
The Reality-Check: Relationship Armageddon
City Mouse, the second novella in the collection is longer and deals with the aftermath of book one. Malcolm can no longer keep his real life from interrupting his new romance. Nor can he hide the more difficult parts of a relationship. This book is divided into weeks, approaching the Relationship Armageddon Owen’s Mom always warned him about. The time in every relationship where we have truly gotten to know the other person with all their quirks and faults. I loved that we got to see the relationship play out, something that would have been missing for me with book one if it had been a stand-alone as was originally planned. Pride, Money, Class, Prejudices and many, many late nights at work try to drive a wedge between the two man. It is easy to understand where they are coming from and heartbreaking to watch them navigate the relationship minefield. ALSO, I think the hot kinky sex has been ramped up a notch (think ice dildo and remote-controlled vibrator in a public setting. The story is even hotter, but also more emotional and it is no longer mere attraction and interest but LOVE.
I think it is important to read both books to get the full story and insight into these characters. The characters are flawed, but deeply sympathetic and their story touched me (as much as their well-written sex scenes made me hot 😛 ). London as setting was fantastic and gave the story some nie European flair. You will want to visit the island after reading these books at I’m sure I’m not the only one to love the atmosphere the city created. For fans of Aleksandr’s Market Garden series, there is also a small cameo in book two ❤
Very Highly recommended, especially as two-novella collection! ❤
EPIC Award winner and Lambda Award finalist Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as a financial editor. His genres range from science fiction and fantasy to thriller, historical, contemporary, thriller, and erotica. His books were/are published by Random House Germany, Samhain Publishing, Riptide Publishing and others.
If he isn’t writing, he studies sports massage, explores historical sites, and meets other writers. He single-handedly sustains three London bookstores with his ever-changing research projects. His current interests include special forces operations during World War II, the history of chess, european magical traditions, and how to destroy the world and plunge it into a nuclear winter without having the benefit of nuclear weapons.
Amy Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.