Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane

Mr. Real
(Code of Shadows #1)
Carolyn Crane
Release: October 20, 2012
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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?

If you're like me you read that synopsis and went, "What the hell?" The concept for this book does sound a little crazy and farfetched - and it is. Thank goodness Carolyn Crane is a talented author who can pull off crazy. While this book doesn't come close to reaching the epicness of her Disillusionists Trilogy, I certainly enjoyed myself while reading.  MR. REAL was quirky, sexy, funny, and mysterious.

The idea is that a witch managed to somehow create a magical spell using binary code and could then use said spell to bring images from online to life. Alix, our main character, stumbles upon this software and begins having a good ole time entertaining herself by bringing to life things like necklaces and outfits. I have to say that I didn't love Alix. She is partially what keeps this book from getting a higher rating for me.

Alix is described as being a thicker girl who is average looking but sexy. She is the black sheep of her family, always the screw up, and really wants to prove herself. These are all qualities that should make me sympathize with this character, but instead I just found her annoying at times. Her decisions and the thought processes that led to them were often stupid. I wanted to love her, and I do admit that she grew on me a little as the story went along, but she is not a heroine that I could rally behind.

 For example, after conjuring Sir Kendall and having a romp of a good time with him Alix's continued reasoning for why she doesn't want to send him back to imaginary land is just plain silly. Sir Kendall is not a real man - she just created him from a picture for heaven's sake - but she agonizes over allowing him to live here and try to be real. Then there is all this stress over what will happen when she sends him back to his own world, including what will happen with the "bad guy", Hyko. Umm...nothing will happen. Won't they go back to being pictures? I was so confused by all this talk of Sir Kendall's world. It made it sound like he was instead from an alternate reality, but that is not true.

A character I did love was Paul. He is the real man who played Sir Kendall in a TV commercial and is none too pleased to discover him brought to life. Turns out the character of Sir Kendall has ties to Paul's traumatic childhood and this causes him to hate him more than he should. Despite having this blinding hate toward him, Paul manages to be realistic and level headed about what to do with Sir Kendall and thank goodness for him! Paul is sexy as hell and has feelings for Alix that caused a misunderstanding between them years ago. I loved reading from his perspective occasionally because it just made me love him more.

By the way, Crane gives us a couple of wonderfully sexy scenes that prove she is no newbie to crafting some well-written sex, so consider this one a paranormal romance mystery, with the paranormal element being the magical computer software. Despite some plot points that caused confusion and my issues with the heroine, MR. REAL still managed to be a good read that I enjoyed. The second half of the book far surpassed the first (the faster pacing and the arrival of Paul helped with that) and I found myself getting wrapped up in what was going to happen to Sir Kendall in the end. I will certainly check out the next in this series.

Recommended for fans of: unusual plot concepts, spy books, MMA fighters, books with magic, and dresses with horse heads on them.

This review is based on an advance copy of the book provided by the author.



  1. When I first read the magical computer "I was like "I hope Best Buy has tho for Black Friday," LOL. I didn't like Paul much but I adore his alter ego, Sir Kendall! Can't wait for book 2 and oddly enough, I want to read more of super villain Hyko!

    1. That's funny, I liked Sir Kendall at the beginning but I MUCH preferred Paul! I would be up for a book about Hyko also, is that who the next book is following?

  2. I also loved reading from Paul's perspective. He's such a wonderful character. Definitely my favorite from this book.


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