Regularly 3.99 each, this 2-book set is 99c thru September 6th!
Grab this set if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance!
I reviewed both books in June – scroll down to read my 5-star reviews! 🙂
Read the complete series together, with all the deleted content included! A sinister illusionist wants Alice… and he won’t take no for an answer. Alice’s life has always been ordinary. But when her new job comes complete with strange noises, creepy legends, a sexy amateur magician, and an enticingly wicked ghost, all that changes. 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 he doesn’t decide to kill her 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.
Review of Book 1 from June 19, 2020
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.
Review of Book 2 – June 24, 2020
Book 2 of The Impossible Julian Strande picks up right where book 1 left off, so I’ll do the same with my review.
Julian is nuts!
There. It had to be said. But he is so freakin’ adorable at times, I’ll forgive him anything. Almost.
Though Julian comes out of hiding, Alice is still in the dark as she works to solve his puzzle. Enraged when his sexual advances return, she threatens to leave the estate for good, and Julian does the unthinkable. He kidnaps Charles.
Knowing the demented magician has killed before, Alice races against the clock to find his corpse, hoping Charles is still alive. When she learns the truth, Alice’s reaction is explosive but led by her heart, an easy but short-lived peace wins out. When I looked down and saw I was ONLY a third of the way through the book, I knew this would not end well.
Peace and trust are shattered when Julian confesses the truth about Billy. Devastated, Alice tries to leave the estate and learns the true depths of Julian’s depravity. It still creeps me out!
Suspense amps up as Julian rushes to complete his ultimate goal for Alice. But Alice Monroe is having none of it!
The nerdy geek-girl is smarter than she believes and possesses strength she didn’t know was inside her. I was cheering as she worked to beat Julian at his own game. She wrestles with her heart and conscience, but fear is her motivator to win before her captor reaches the point of no return.
Julian is even more Phantom-like in book 2 as he straddles a fine line between true love and madness. Like the Phantom, Julian’s treatment in his early childhood shaped his life and it followed him into the afterlife.
I was ready for a bittersweet ending, but that would have been too easy. The author drops a plot twist I didn’t see coming, but… it made sense and made me smile because the heart wants what the heart wants.
I highly recommend this read, but please read book 1 first! Reading Ghosts & Liars without reading Illusions of Grandeur first would be like eating a hamburger bun without the patty. You might get full, but you’ll know you’re missing something!