This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
Billy Blade is a hardworking, hard living, razor sharp musical force. Mysterious behind his dark shades, the rough around the edges Texan mesmerizes with his haunting harmonica and tantalizes with his dangerous looks and smooth country charm. His latest album is topping the charts. He's the newly crowned King of the Bacchus Krewe. He's definitely living the rock star dream.
Exotic Creole beauty Thyme Bellerose couldn't be more content. She has it all. An adoring grandmother. A handsome Tulane medical student beau. A satisfying job in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter. Her life is as rich as the ice cream she creates. She's got everything under control.
But control is an illusion. Dreams can turn into nightmares. And now during Mardi Gras, otherworldly powers stand ready to shape their destinies in ways they could never imagine.
Shadow and light.
Magic and mystery.
Reality and myth.
All come together in a place where rules bend and lines blur.
Even those between life and death.
A Magical Read
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s got everything I could want in a novel – characters I love, the struggle between light and dark, themes of integration and discrimination, a great love story with almost-insurmountable obstacles, a ghost, and Greek mythology (which I never thought I’d like, but I love in this!), all set against the magical backdrop of New Orleans. Each chapter begins with either a quote or a stanza from a poem, which sets the stage perfectly. In the audiobook, this is backed by haunting music that reflects the tone of the story.
Rocker romances are my guilty pleasure, but this book is really a paranormal story. The country/rock star aspect is secondary and a fairly minor detail to get Billy to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I discovered Michelle Mankin’s Raging Tempest series a few months ago and fell in love with it. I didn’t think she could top it. But this, this is genius.
This is the first book in a series, not a serial. No cliffhanger here. The couple gets their HEA, or at least an HFN, but there is an overreaching story arc, the struggle to integrate dark and light, that will be continued. The battle may be won, but the war is not over.
Some people may need a trigger warning for one scene. It’s actually glossed over and not graphic at all but gets mentioned again later in the book, again without too many details. There is graphic violence in the first part. If you’re squeamish or easily grossed out, you might want to skim it or skip ahead, but the story is definitely worth reading.
Magical and strange
Strange Magic started out not very magical at all, however, as the story unfolded, magic became strong and ever-present.
Mankin really has a way with words, reading her stories always brings me to a magical realm, and that was even more true with Strange Magic. There is mythology, ghosts, greek gods, mystery, music, and a very strong love. Billy was a lost soul, but in the beginning, I thought he was ‘just another rock-star’ – and know that I love stories with musicians! – but there was much more to him than met the eyes. Thyme was a young girl who felt slightly out of place, but still confident in what she was doing and the people she loved and who loved her back.
Strange Magic is a little strange too, but in a very good way. Billy understands many things when he goes to New Orleans to have a little down-time between his tour and appointments. When he senses a ghost in the apartment he has rented, he’s very wary at first, but soon, he realizes that this specific ghost might be what he needs to feel and act alive once more.
There is quite a bit of mystery in this story, and I will have to remain fairly vague to not spoil anything. What I can share is that there are a lot of characters that will be familiar if you’re interested in Greek mythology, ghosts and magic. Mankin also managed to bring the love of the written word into this one, and I loved that one of the main characters read poetry, while the other wrote lyrics for songs. It was a link between them that I found both sweet and endearing.
Written in dual points of views, from both Thyme and Billy’s perspectives, I got to know both of them very well. Their story was both tragic and beautiful, and it was impossible not to feel their feelings as their story unfolded. The first person, past tense worked very well for this tale that mesmerized me from start to finish.