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Almost a Goddess    by Judi McCoy order for
Almost a Goddess
by Judi McCoy
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Performance reviews are agonizing enough even when your boss isn't the Mighty Zeus. For Kira, Muse of Good Fortune, this performance review is worse than any other. She and her sister Muses have been slacking off over the past century, and their inattentiveness to mortals' needs is about to catch up to them. Furious with their behavior, Zeus gives them an ultimatum: either spend one year on earth and perform their respective tasks to the best of their abilities, or spend the rest of eternity scrubbing, fetching and generally toiling at the whims of the Gods. Electing to spend time on Earth seems like a no-brainer, but it comes with a price. If they fail to inspire mankind, they will remain on Earth, where they'll live and die as mortals. If they succeed, however, they can spend eternity living in splendor on Mount Olympus.

There's no better place for the Muse of Good Fortune to prove her worth than Las Vegas. When Kira finds herself on Earth, she quickly gets a job at the famous Acropolis Casino, where she rapidly moves up the corporate ladder to become the new special events coordinator. It's a perfect job, especially since it allows Kira to freely interact with the Casino's customers and bless them with bouts of good luck. But when professional gambler turned investigator Jake Lennox starts asking questions about the Casino's sudden unexplainable loss of profits, Kira's task becomes a lot more challenging. Because above all, Zeus has made it clear that if the Muses fall in love, the deal's off.

Almost a Goddess is a cleverly plotted novel that offers an entirely new spin on the typical Gods and Goddesses theme. The Mighty Zeus himself has embraced the twenty-first century, even going so far as to turn his chambers into an elegant corporate office, complete with a computer. He's a technology addict, loving his email and solitaire programs. In contrast, the Muses refuse to touch a computer, at least until they find themselves on Earth. Kira's adjustment to the fast-paced Las Vegas lifestyle happens off-stage, which is a little disappointing. When we meet her again after she leaves Mount Olympus, she's fully immersed in her new life as Kira Degodessa, a woman without a past. However, Kira is a wonderfully eccentric heroine, and her peculiar talent lends itself well to the Casino setting.

The romance between Kira and Jake sizzles from their first meeting. A combination of sweet and deliciously sensual, their relationship blooms in a believable manner, and it's the highlight of this off-beat book. Jake himself is a well-developed, sympathetic character, and it's easy to see why Kira finds him so irresistible. Almost a Goddess will appeal to romance readers who enjoy unusual scenarios and a genuinely funny storytelling style.

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