ARC Review and Giveaway: Mr. Real (Code of Shadows #1) by Carolyn Crane

Mr. Real (Code of Shadows #1) by Carolyn Crane

*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!


He finds the girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares.

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super-sexy martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is superspy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?


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)

Want more of Carolyn Crane? Check out the badass interview of her here.  Mr. Real is available at Amazon, B&N, and

Rating:  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Enter here to win a copy of Mr. Real!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

© 2012 – 2014, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

Comments 22

  • […] Press (REVIEW) Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane – Expected publication: October 30th 2012 (REVIEW)   ********************************************************************* Out for Blood by […]

  • […]  Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane –AH: What a cool take on the paranormal. What if you could save images onto your computer desktop and poof! they magically appear on your front doorstep the next day? What if you could do the same with that really hot hottie you’ve been eyeing? Oh, the possibilities are endless, the results amusing, and this is one of the most original books I’ve read in a while. –Regina: Oh. My. God.  Where does Carolyn Crane come up with her ideas? This story is amazing, sexy and fun.  I cannot wait for the sequel. […]

  • Looks interesting!

  • I love me a good paranormal book, but I find that the ones I enjoy the most are those that kind of break the boundaries of the genre. Less fantasy and more real world. I think that’s what really sucked me into the Disillusionists series, it was new and it was awesome. I have really been looking forward to reading Carolyn’s newest book!

  • I love mixing it up, both vamps and shifters & others. I love variation in my reading, =)

    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Monday!

  • I love all types of fiction. One of my favorite book series is about vampires. J.R. Ward’s series of Black Dagger Brotherhood was awesome! To see more of my favorites, check out my FB blog at

    I love your blog!
    Pam P

  • I love an element of realism with my paranormal, some mystery and horror.

  • Can’t wait to read Carolyn’s new work! She is a wonderful writer and this sounds so good!

  • With vamps! Oh Eric Northman… *SWOON*

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway! tess_halim(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • I loved this review of this book. I’ve never heard of it until now, but I’m definitely ready to read it, after reading your review! I LOVE your blog!

  • Anxious to read the first book in the new series !

  • I love reading all kinds of paranormal especially if it has shifters.

  • I’m a huge fan of all things paranormal but my all-time favorite is vampires, demons as a close runner-up. 🙂

  • I’d have to say all the above. I like a variety and will read about almost anything paranormal, vamps, weres, fae, demons, elves, dragons, ghosts etc…
    But I adore vampires most though. They are my favorite paranormal creature. 😉

  • I’m almost finished reading this book and I have never read Carolyn Crane before — this book is so much fun to read. The sense of humor, danger, and the touch of paranormal without a single vampire, werewolf, etc. makes this a really different kind of paranormal. Different in a good way.

  • I like to read all kinds of paranormal, but I think I do tend to go more for the shifters 🙂

  • I love paranormal …and I like the variety of vamp, shifters, demons/daaemons, angels. But I gotta say I love shifters…there is just something about shifters…

  • I’m actually experiencing a bit of ennui with the current crop of PNR/UF that’s in rotation.. so anything that looks remotely different or interesting immediately peaks my interest. 😀

  • I love to read all sorts of different paranormal stories. As long as the story is good, I don’t care if the hero is a were-poodle or a vampire with a comb over.