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Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Book Review: Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane
Author: Carolyn Crane
Series: Code of Shadows, book 1
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Source: From author for review
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For more information visit Carolyn Crane's website
What's a girl to do when she finds magical software that brings images to life? Alix Gordon decides to bring Sir Kendall, sexy commercial spy and ladies' man who resembles a certain hardass martial arts teacher, into the real world. Paul Reinhardt wishes he never played the part of Sir Kendall because he's a reminder of a terrible past. Drawn to a small town for reasons he can't explain, Paul is shocked and horrified to find Sir Kendall in the flesh with Alix, a woman he's never been able to forget. Working past the pain Sir Kendall causes, Paul attempts to convince Alix the fake spy is dangerous and find a way to send him back before someone gets hurt.
Alix is a very frustrating heroine. She finds occult symbols on a floppy disk and once they're loaded onto her computer, she can make any image appear. So she does what any responsible person would, orders a human from a TV ad that's physically identical to a man that rejected her. Alix has a good heart but makes terrible judgment calls. I feel bad when people look down on her but then she does things that would seem crazy to a normal person, like ordering a man who knows one reality and thinks she can train him to fit in another. I wanted to shake her and yell, "how does that make sense to you?!?" It got old very quickly.
When Alix orders Sir Kendall, Paul, who plays the character, is drawn to her. Three years before, Paul taught Alix martial arts but the two ended on bad terms and he's regretted it ever since. Sir Kendall represents everything horrible that happened to Paul growing up. Playing that character was supposed to be a quick (and secret) way to make money to support his fighting career but it ended up backfiring. To see Sir Kendall with the woman he cares for is like a blow to the stomach.
I liked Paul more and more as the story unfolded. A man who's first described by Alix as being a hardass, turned out to be a man with admirable qualities and a vulnerable side he tries to hide. It's a testament to his strength that he can be around a person that causes so much pain in order to keep Alix safe. By the end I was in love and think he's the best part of this book.
Sir Kendall was more than I expected him to be. For a character in a cheesy TV ad, there's a lot of depth to him. The transformation he makes from a fake spy who believes his current situation is a ploy by his nemeses to...well I won't give the ending away but I was surprised at how much I ended up liking him.
This book is as odd as you'd expect it to be. At times it was almost too much with the bizarre excuses given about who Sir Kendall was and the ideas that popped into his head. What saved it from crossing the line into being too weird to enjoy were the real problems Paul had to overcome and even Alix, when she wasn't grating my nerves, had relatable worries. The ending, as far-fetched as it was, was unexpected and had me glued until the last page. This book was an odd mix of a supernatural spy caper with a twist of drama and romance, mixed with a good dose of humor and hot sex. If you're looking for something different to read, this one may be for you.