ARC Review: Double Enchantment by Kathryne Kennedy

double enchantmentFormat Read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Number of Pages: 352 pages
Release Date: March 5, 2013 (paperback originally published August 26, 2008)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Relics of Merlin #2
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Formats Available: ebook, Mass Market Paperback
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK) | Author’s Website | Publisher’s Website | Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Too Much of a Very Good Thing…

High society enjoys their power based on their rank, but Lady Jasmina Karlyle’s magic causes nothing but trouble. Her simple spell has gone horribly wrong, and now she has a twin running around the London social scene wreaking havoc on her reputation. When both she and her twin get intimately involved with gorgeous shape-shifting stallion Sir Sterling Thorn, Jasmina finds herself in the impossible position of being jealous of herself…

Still Isn’t Enough…

Sterling is irresistibly drawn to Jasmina. She seems to have two completely different sides to her personality though, and the confusion is driving him mad. Is love just the other side of lust…or is what he has with Jasmina much, much more than that?

My Thoughts:

enchanting the ladyDouble Enchantment is the second book in Kathryne Kennedy’s Relics of Merlin series, after Enchanting the Lady (reviewed at Reading Reality).

Whether because the second outing didn’t mix in quite as many fairy tale tropes, or because we’d already been here once, Double Enchantment definitely was not doubly enchanting. Maybe three-quarters as enchanting.

The Beauty and the Beast story looks like it’s going to persist through the whole series. The barons in this alternate Victorian-Era fantasy are all shapeshifters. They really do turn into beasts. Unfortunately, the rest of the peerage seem to have rather beastly manners around them. If handsome is as handsome does, the non-shapeshifters frankly aren’t very handsome in this regard. But the Crown Prince finds the shapeshifters invaluable, so watching the nobles lump it can be rather amusing.

The relic in this outing does doppelganger magic. Infinite doppelgangers. And they’re real. Royal magic (and shapeshifter magic) can see through illusions, but relic magic creates real things. A doppelganger army bent on rebellion, that’s trouble.

But that’s not where the story starts. The story starts with a girl, Lady Jasmina. Her mother is a kleptomaniac. And Jasmina has devoted her life to putting back the jewelry her mother steals.

Jaz normally leaves an illusion of herself in bed, while she dresses as a chimney sweep and breaks into people’s houses to return her mother’s thefts. But her mother stole the relic, and her illusion is a doppelganger that takes on a life of its own. It goes off, gets married, and ruins her reputation!

It marries a shapeshifter. Sir Sterling wants his wife back, and discovers that he might not have one. And he has a mission to hunt down the relic.

Lady Jasmina has a rapidly deteriorating reputation, and memories of performing certain salacious acts with Sir Sterling that no well-bred young lady could possibly have any memory of. Even worse for her, she’s scandalously certain she’d like to experience them again. For the first time.

And then there are rumors of disappearing shapeshifters. And an army of rebellion. The relic is still missing. Jasmina is under house arrest. And her mother is still stealing!

Jasmina’s world is spinning further and further out of control, and the only solution seems to be to work with Sir Sterling in secret, in the hopes of locating the relic before too much damage is done. Maybe she convince herself that when the relic is found, her life will go back to the way it was before.

She’ll be the dutiful daughter again, carefully managing her family’s reputation and never having a life of her own. Maybe it’s not to late.

Except that the doppelganger she created, the one that is creating a scandal all over London? Those bold actions, those scandalous deeds? Those are all a real part of her. One she’s not sure she’ll be able to put back.

Verdict: I have mixed feelings about this book. I love this alternate Victorian world. The idea that rank would be chosen by magical ability, and that different powers do different things, this is pretty cool, especially with the Victorian love for frou-frou wrapped around it.

enchanting the beastI think the part that made me go a little spare in this story was Jasmina’s relationship with her family. Sterling’s dysfunctional family made sense (It was nasty, but logical). Her dysfunctional family made none.

Jasmina has been covering up for her mother’s kleptomania and incompetence at running the estate since she was old enough to manage. Okay, what happened before Jasmina reached an age of responsibility? And why the hell doesn’t her dad know that his wife is looney-toons? I understand keeping it all in the family, but Jasmina wasn’t putting mommy’s thefts back when she was 4, so who took care of things then? I was half-expecting one of her parents to be part of the evil, just for the nonsensicalness of this behavior.

I’m hope Sourcebooks is planning to re-release book three, Enchanting the Beast, later this year. And there’s supposed to be a brand new book four, Everlasting Enchantment in December.


I give Double Enchantment by Kathryne Kennedy 3 and 1/2 semi-enchanted stars.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 1-13-13

Does that date look weird to anyone else? I think it’s the 13-13 that threw me for a loop.

Talk about being thrown for a loop…we just moved to Seattle from Atlanta, and, the Seattle Seahawks are playing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC playoffs, today. As I’m writing this, the Seahawks just pulled ahead by one point, and there’s only 25 seconds left in the game. I’m afraid to watch.

Since everyone at work knows I just moved here from Atlanta, I’ve had way too many conversations at work explaining that I’m NOT rooting for the Falcons. No way. Now if the Cincinnati Bengals were still in it, we might have to talk, but it takes a lot longer than 18 months to get a piece of my heart. Which means I also still root for the Chicago Bears. (I lived in Chicago a long, long time)

And oh crap, the Falcons are in Field Goal range. And they made it. Damn it. I don’t think there’s going to be any joy in Mudville tonight. Mighty Casey just struck out. (Yes, I totally mixed my sports metaphors.)

The Seahawks may have just lost their playoff berth, but there was a winner here at Reading Reality. Tin Ong won the $10 Amazon Gift Card in the New Year’s Blog Hop this week!

Besides the last gasp of that New Year’s Blog Hop, what else happened last week?

B Review: Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning
B+ Review: Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion
Interview with Jade Kerrion + Giveaway!
B Review: Immortally Yours by Angie Fox
B+ Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
C- Review: Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning
Stacking the Shelves (30)

There’s a new week coming up, which means new treats for everyone!

On Monday I’ll be reviewing Tiffany Allee’s new superhero romance, Heels & Heroes. Let’s just say that the “Heels” involved in the title are the fashionable kind, but that the “Heroes” in the title are both super and yummy. As part of the tour for this book, Tiffany is giving away 3 copies.

Tuesday I’ll have a guest post from Blair McDowell, as part of her tour for her latest romance/suspense title, Sonata. I always love seeing Blair’s books come up on tour, because I enjoy her work so much, and Sonata was no except. I’ll have a review on Tuesday, and Blair will also have a giveaway.

Wednesday and Thursday I’m reviewing Olivia Cunning’s Double Time and Elisabeth Staab’s King of Darkness. Completist me, both of those reviews (as well as last week’s Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy) were to get ready to review the latest books in those series. On Thursday at Book Lovers Inc. I’ll be reviewing Elisabeth Staab’s Prince of Power, if you want to “collect the set” for yourself.

Friday’s review is a treat for me. I’m reviewing The Killings at Badger’s Drift. It’s the first in  Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby series. I’ve enjoyed Midsomer Murders so much, that I couldn’t resist reading the books. And sharing them.

Last, but very definitely not least, the Happy Endings Blog Hop starts on Saturday, January 19. It will certainly be a Happy Ending for the winners of all the lovely bookish prizes at the hop participants!

And the week after next will be another busy week! I’ll be hosting tours for Waterfall by Lacy Danes, Nobody’s Angel by Stacy Gail and The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy. With giveaways!

Who said cats and water don’t mix?

Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

Format read: ebook borrowed from the library
Formats available: Mass market paperback, ebook
Genre: Fantasy romance
Series: Relics of Merlin #1
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date Released: August 1, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Their magic lives within each one of them…
In a Victorian England with a rigid hierarchy of magic, lion shape-shifter Sir Terence Blackwell is at the bottom rung of society. Only Lady Felicity Seymour, who has no magic, no inheritance, and no prospects, may be willing to judge the man strictly on his own merits…

However deeply it may be hidden…
When family pressures push Lady Felicity into a terrible fate, she has only Sir Terence to turn to. As the two outcasts are propelled by curcumstances beyond their control, they are forced to explore the unseen depths beneath society’s facade. And what they discover about each other is more real and more beautiful than they ever could have imagined…

If you enjoy fantasy romance blended well with lots of storybook tropes, you’ll really love Kathryne Kennedy’s Enchanting the Lady.

I counted at least three classics in this mix: Beauty and the Beast, The Ugly Duckling, and a touch of Cinderella. All the situations were created with a ton of magical interference, well, except maybe the rather handsome beast. Throwing in Merlin’s relics as nasty little matchmakers (yes, you read that right) in an alternate England should have been over the top.

Instead, it turned out to be just right.

Terence is literally the beast. He is a were-lion, and the nobility detests him. Shapeshifters are immune to the magic that the nobles prize as their birthright. He can see through the illusions they weave to conceal their weaknesses and their flaws.

Terence is also the chief royal relic-hunter. Relics are evil magic that Merlin embodied in jewels, and they cause nothing but disaster. Soul-stealers, magic-stealers, dream-thieves, will-stealers. The relics and the ones who use them are sickening and disgusting.

Terence’s brother Thomas died hunting the nefarious relics–because the woman he loved was enthralled by a relic-user. Terence now hunts zealously for the scent of relic-magic.

He finds just a whiff of it clinging to Felicity Seymour when she is presented at court. The touch of it is so faint, he is uncertain whether she is the wielder of the relic, or merely if it has been done in her presence. And he must know.

Because Felicity is the most tempting woman he has ever seen. But what puzzles him almost as much as the elusive air of the relic is that no one else notices Felicity. People sit on her. They step on her. And she has inherited no magic, none, in spite of being the daughter of two of the most powerful nobles the court had seen in generations.

But her parents died when she was a child, and her aunt and uncle have raised her in relative obscurity. While her cousin tormented her with sorcerous nightmares.

Terence senses that all is not as it seems. But he can’t figure out whether the problem lies with Felicity herself, or someone around her. All he knows is that he must find the relic at any cost. He convinces himself that the best method for doing so is to court Felicity.

Felicity’s disgrace after proving that she has no magic gives him the perfect excuse to court her, because her family wouldn’t have allowed it otherwise. The difficulty is that his lion-half doesn’t think he needs any excuse whatsoever. And Felicity is genuinely thrilled by his attentions.

The more often Terence spends time with Felicity, the more attention he wants to pay her. And the more often she is attacked–not in the open where it can be seen–but through illusion and dream. There is a relic involved, but he still can’t find it.

How far will he have to go to find the truth? How far will the relic-user go to maintain control of whatever part Felicity plays in the game? Will there be anything left of anyone when all the secrets are told and all the lies are exposed?

Escape Rating B+: Felicity is just a bit dense about her situation, although if she hadn’t been somewhat willfully blind, she’d probably be dead. She does pull a few too many of the obviously stupid heroine moves, like “don’t go into the house of your enemies alone after you know they are your enemies” kind of thing.

The story should fall of its own weight, it really should. But it absolutely doesn’t. Instead, it’s a whole lot of frothy fantasy romantic fun. “The Perils of Felicity” with magic. I couldn’t wait to see how she’d get herself into, and out of, each scrape.

You will guess who the villain is long before the ending, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 1-6-13

It’s the first Sunday Post of 2013. And away we go!

During this week’s unpacking, we unearthed the box of stuffed animals. I found my Hedgie. Hedgie is a hedgehog. Isn’t she adorable? I got her on a trip to Vancouver a few years ago. She’s been quietly resting a box, along with a bunch of her friends, for several years. Now she’s back on my desk where she belongs.

But the cats didn’t rest much last night. We bought some new inserts for this type of cat scratcher. Basically they’re corrugated cardboard, but, well, anything that saves the furniture is all good. The humans didn’t open the package. The cats went wild during the night. There was a tiny package of catnip wedged between the two scratcher refills. Score!

If you want a more bookish score, there are still a few brief hours left to get in on the New Year’s Blog Hop. The prize here at Reading Reality is a $10 Amazon Gift Card. It might make a dent in your wish list.

What happened last week on the blog? Funny you should ask…

13 for 2013: A Baker’s Dozen of My Most Anticipated Reads
New Year’s Blog Hop
A- Review: The Second Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
B+ Review: Devil in the Making Illustrated Edition by Victoria Vane
B+ Review: Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov, Guest Review by Chryselle
Stacking the Shelves (29)

Now let’s look ahead to this week!

On Tuesday, Jade Kerrion will be here to talk about Double Helix, her science fiction romance series. I’ve already finished book one in the series, Perfection Unleashed, and it’s an absolute thrill ride. So yep, I’ll have a review. And there’s a giveaway as part of the tour.

Rounding out the week I’ll have reviews of Olivia Cunning’s Sinners on Tour series, Angie Fox’s first Monster M*A*S*H, Immortally Yours, and one touch of pure fantasy romance from Kathryne Kennedy’s Enchanting the Lady.

There are two tours on the horizon for the week of January 14: Blair McDowell’s Sonata and Tiffany Allee’s Heels & Heroes. And we’ll end that week with the oh-so-appropriately named Happy Endings Blog Hop.

Stay Tuned!