*advanced review copy provided by author — thank you!*
Rating: 4.5 Stars/Grade A (I loved it!)
I loved this book so much I am giving away two copies of Mr. Real! Want to win a copy of the Mr. Real e-book? Play below!
This book is good. It is really good. I am always worried about a new series by an author that I am already a fan of, particularly when it is a genre switch. But I shouldn’t have been worried. Carolyn Crane wrote an amazing story. Mr. Real is fun from the beginning to the end. It is unique, a completely different take on romance, suspense, spy, mystery and the paranormal. But I feel like I am not capturing the true interesting quality. Let me start with the lead, Alix. When we meet Alix she is contemplating a quick hook up, fixing up an old Victorian, and feeling kind of left behind in life. She is not afraid of her sexuality, she is not an innocent (thank goodness, I hate that storyline ….) but she uses her sexuality to reinforce her self-esteem. Alix is fun, slightly unconventional but sensitive.
The setting of the story is a small town in Minnesota where everyone seems to know everyone else and in an old Victorian formerly inhabited by an alleged witch. Through some crazy but interesting black magic, Alix is able to bring to life anything she wishes by clicking on an image on her bewitched computer. So what does she conjure? Jewelry, clothes … and a commercial character played by a man she used to be interested in.
“Lucky this powerful magic didn’t fall into the hands of somebody who would use it merely for her own self-gratification.”
At first, Alix is thrilled but soon she realizes that she is not in control of everything she has conjured and things begin to spin out of control for her. Beginning with the fictional character come to life having his own plans, the arrival of the actor (her former love interest) who plays the fictional character and some other fun but unexpected stuff. During the unwinding of the tale, Crane slowly builds her characters and develops them for her readers. There are some books that I close and walk away from never to think of the characters again — even if I enjoyed the story. While Mr. Real is a fun and light story, the characters felt real to me. They seem to have a life off of the pages, I can see Alix drinking beer and taking care of her B&B — basically just living her life. That was the gift of this story, the characters.
Another gift of this story is the humor. There are so many quotable and laugh out loud sections. Even if this story didn’t have a unique storyline and memorable characters (which it does), it would be worth reading just because of the humor:
“Apparently a fictional, two-dimensional man makes the ideal party guest.”
“Go for it! Yay! Fuck him! A little voice inside her yelled.”
Mr. Real does not involve a murder mystery or a theft. There are no vamps on the loose or rogue weres to track down. Not that I am knocking that sort of paranormal, but it is really nice to read something new. This is paranormal in a completely new manner. If you have read Crane’s Disillusionist series, then you already know that Crane approaches fantasy from a perspective other authors are not. If you have not read her Disillusionist series, well I am not sure what else to say except - read it!
I cannot wait to read the next installment in this series. (I say this with love and appreciation …… ) Hurry up Ms. Crane!
What does Carolyn Crane have for her readers next?
- Pre-quel to Mr. Real, a novella in an anthology Fire & Frost (late 2012)
- Friar Jack (Code of Shadows #2)
- Derangerous (Code of Shadows #3)
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