#BookReview “Illusions of Grandeur (The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 1)” by Kathryn Ann Kingsley


Title: Illusions of Grandeur
Series: The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 1
Author: Kathryn Ann Kingsley
Genre: Villain Romance/PNR Ghost Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2020

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5/5 Stars!

Ghosts are real.

At least that’s what Alice Monroe believes long before the end of this read.

But then, I believe it too!

The introverted gamer and geek-girl is happy with her new position as live-in caretaker for the Strande Estate. Once home to illusionist, Julian Strande, the four-story mansion is now a public attraction featuring tours and magic shows.

Alice isn’t put off by the rumors of people disappearing, unexplained accidents, or of the mansion being haunted by Strande himself, but when things not only go bump in the night, they talk… and touch, her fear is outweighed by curiosity and excitement. Julian Strande is haunting his home and he’s a little creepy and a lot pervy. The things he does to her shouldn’t be possible, and… she shouldn’t enjoy it.

However, as she grows closer to the mansion’s current owner, Charles Mensonge, Alice is conflicted. Julian will not be denied, but she’s falling in love with Charles, the arrogant, controlling magician’s great-grandnephew… and the spitting image of him.

When Alice confesses her love for Charles to his uncle, things settle down, but not for long. The mansion, its mazes, and Julian’s mysterious disappearance one hundred years ago become obsessions for her and the pragmatic puzzle-solver doesn’t realize her search takes her closer to Julian and his plans for their future.

Great read that pulled me in from the beginning. The author’s attention to detail made the Strande Mansion a formidable character that had me doodling on a scratch to see the things described.

Alice and Charles are weird… but in a good way. She smoothes his sharp edges and he pulls the withdrawn loner from her comfort zone. They’re a cute couple and have good chemistry even though I knew despite his candid, abrupt personality, Charles wasn’t telling Alice everything.

And then there’s Julian, a one-hundred-fifty-year-old, self-centered ghost with an attitude. Being dead doesn’t stop him from lording over the mansion, dispensing his brand of punishment when people annoy him, much like the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. The author calls this read villain romance and she nailed it as Julian veers off into psycho-land, flipping between a caring, attentive lover and a harsh dominant. A sleeping Alice doesn’t hear the secret he whispers in her ear, but she’s sharp and will figure it out. Right?

You won’t have to suspend belief for this paranormal tale. Julian Strande will convince you it’s real and not an illusion. Trust me.

Enjoy!

Check back next Friday for my review of book 2, Ghosts and Liars. You’re not ready for this! 😀 😀

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Alice has never been much for ordinary, and her new job at the mysterious Strande Mansion comes complete with strange noises, a sinister ghost, creepy legends, and a sexy amateur magician.
Of course, Alice doesn’t actually believe in ghosts, but what she encounters at the Strande Mansion has her questioning a lot of things—including whether or not her gorgeous new boss is as skilled in the bedroom as he is at illusions.
Julian Strande may have died a century ago, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a keen interest in the new caretaker of his estate. It’s been such a long time since he’s had anyone to play with. And he plans to have a great deal of fun with Alice. That is, if she doesn’t run screaming from his home first…
_____
Author’s Note: This book is what I would call “villain romance.” This story is for anyone who always finds the villain more interesting than the hero. That said, they are therefore sometimes not the nicest of male heroes. This story has a HEA, but it may be a tough ride getting there. This story has mature themes and content.

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