Review: Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane ★★★1/2

Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Code of Shadows #1
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 9781480134690
Page Count: 360
Rating: ★★★1/2
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Janice
Synopsis: The woman 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, the hot 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 super spy 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?

REVIEW


"Mr. Real" is an improbable, yet entertaining read. The idea of converting spells into computer code, and using that code to conjure whatever you want...well, it's far-fetched to say the least, and hat's off to Ms. Crane for writing it so convincingly. In her hands, the unbelievable becomes believable. It's a neat trick and one not every writer can pull off.

The tone of the story is a well-balanced blend of humor and emotion, fluff and intrigue. There are moments that will make you laugh out loud, and others that will tug at your heart strings. The action is pretty limited, though, so if you're looking for a bunch of wild chase or fight scenes, you've picked up the wrong book. That's not to say "Mr. Real" is action-less, it's just the action takes a back seat to the characters.

Main gal Alix suffers from low self-esteem and at times takes things too personally, but at the same time, she's incredibly warm, funny, and forgiving. It's impossible to dislike her. She's just that sort of person.

Paul, on the other hand, didn't do much for me. I don't want to say he was awful, because he wasn't. He was just too "Wounded Warrior" for my taste. I can deal with a certain amount of angst in characters, but in Paul's case, I feel it was overdone. As was his whole "worship the ground Alix walks on" routine. It's sweet at first, but after a while, it gets old. He did redeem himself in the end, though.

For me, the real star of the show was Sir Kendall. He's mysterious, coldly calculating, potentially deadly, and yet he's so smooth, so James Bond-ish....well, YOU try resisting him. I sure couldn't! Of the three main characters, his journey was by far the most interesting, and I sincerely hope he gets his own book in the future. I'd read it in a heartbeat ;)

In the romance department, "Mr. Real" is sure to please. Lots of sizzle and burn. Better still, there's no love triangle! It seems like there will be, at first, but thankfully, we're spared that extra drama. I loved Alix all the more for that.

Overall, this is a good, fun, character-driven book. I'd recommend it.

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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