Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Prah, Constantine, and Baryeh Review: Her Real-Life Hero (Beyond Fairytales) by Vicki Ballante

Last month, we did something a little different. We held a small event on Facebook where we asked authors to post their books covers and blurbs, based on which we would select one to read for September. We were pretty unanimous with the selection - meaning of the several we all selected, this book was picked by all three of us!

Here's the winning blurb:

Romance Writer in Training…
Joanie wants to get her romances published but can't seem to get things right with her writing. She buys an antique bureau which the shopkeeper says has magic working through it. While using her new bureau, she begins to talk to the hero in her book, asking his advice on writing, all the while thinking it's her own imagination. She promises he can live in her home, eat at her table and sleep in her bed, if he helps her with her writing. She doesn't think he will actually knock on her door and insist she keep her promise.

He’s made a wish…
Theo has also bought a magic chest of drawers that brings him into Joanie's life. He wants to settle down with one woman, tired of shallow relationships, and Joanie seems like the perfect candidate if it weren’t for her insistence on getting rid of him.

Against her will…
The magic keeps on forcing them to live together and Joanie’s not happy. This is her first year alone and she’s been craving time to herself after looking after her younger siblings and an ailing aunt. Theo’s presence in her home, although unwanted, stirs up needs she’s suppressed for years. When they start to discover things about the magic and why it’s bringing them together, will Joanie recognize another type of magic at work? Will she succumb to the charm of Theo or will her need for breathing space pull them apart?

I love magic and fairytales in a real life setting. This is what drew me to this book in the first place (plus, have you seen that cover?!). The author thrusts us right into the story from page one where we witness the heroine, Joanie, buying the magical bureau. She's an interesting mix of innocent and tough, having had to raise her sisters and nurse an aunt. The hero is one of those sweet beta males you can't help but like - confident but unsure of himself in a way that's cute. As different as they seem in the beginning, their values definitely match, making for an endearing romance and a believable HEA.

I liked the fact that the book was set in South Africa, although I think the author could have done more to embed the story in the setting - for the reader to really feel that they are in Durban, South Africa.

What really didn't work for me was the constant use of the words p*$$y and C%@k (sorry, guys, I do have to censor for my audience). This is a sweet romance and reads that way. Every time I came across the P and C words, they yanked me out of the story. Interestingly, the author uses the word derriere when 'butt' would have sufficed. I may be nitpicking, I know, but if I'm reading a fairytale, I want to read a fairtytale (unless we're talking naughty fairytales ;-)).

Overall, it was a pretty fast read, with an interesting plot and most certainly delivers on hot sex!

Don;'t forget to head over to Prah and Constantine for their reviews of the book.

*I bought my copy from Amazon*


  1. Empi, what a wonderful review! Both you and Nana know how deliver a precise review!!!

  2. Awesome review, Empi. As soon as I saw the first P word I knew it was going to be an erotic romance. I love a beta hero, Theo was perfect. And I too admired the setting being in South Africa.