**REVIEW** Soul Solution (Beyond Fairytales #1) by Katherine McIntyre

You may have noticed our recent promo post (with an excerpt) of Katherine McIntyre‘s Soul Solution (Beyond Fairytales #1). An adaptation of String of Pearls by Hans Christian Andersen, it was everything I expected and more.

soul solutions

Blurb:

For Erik Anderson, the Copenhagen line is his curse. He takes the train every night en route to collect souls. Like any lovelorn fool, he bargained his own long ago, and now pays the price—a lifetime of loneliness as a grim reaper. Stay distant—that’s been his mantra and what keeps him sane.

Until Mina Castner drops into his life like a whirlwind, one spilled drink leading to staying up until dawn with the woman. He believed one night couldn’t hurt, but he sorely underestimated her determination. Every encounter between them is reprieve from the guilt of reaping souls every night, but it can’t last. Even if she sparks long buried feelings, and even if her sheer presence intoxicates him, he can’t let this continue. For humans, his touch is poison, and if he slips up, it could cost her life.

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

Soul Solution is a dark paranormal romance which provides suspense as the reader longs to find out what will become of Erik and Mina. Will Erik be taken in by her so much that he just can’t help himself? Will he touch her and lose her forever? Or, will he manage to keep his distance in order to keep her safe?

After bargaining his soul long ago, Erik is now a soul collector himself. Riding the train on the Copenhagen line each night, taking souls, and living a life of loneliness is all he knows. He doesn’t enjoy it. It hurts. But, it’s his curse. All he can do is target the people whose whole body glows to him, indicating that their time will soon be up anyway. He can’t get emotionally close to people for fear of touching them and taking their soul too. However, he becomes unstuck when Mina walks into his life.

Mina is desperate to escape a blind date that she really didn’t want to go on. After spilling her drink on Erik, she quickly decides he can help her without realising it. Checking that he is okay, Mina leaves the club with Erik. Taken aback by her beauty and attention, Mina has brought him into a situation he is not comfortable with.

He is ice cold to everyone, keeping his head down most of the time and trying to disguise his beauty, keeping attention away from him.

“Reapers weren’t supposed to attract attention. They were supposed to be forgettable shadows in the night…

… If he was ice, they wouldn’t bother him. And if he was ice, maybe it would hurt a fraction less when he had to take their lives.”

But, after spending time with him, Mina sees much further than anyone has before. She senses that he is a troubled soul, she sees his beauty and his kindness. Mina’s ability to get through to him mentally and emotionally, as well as her beauty, leave him tempted for more. Yet, one touch could take years off her life. It’s an impossible situation; he can’t be with her, yet he finds it difficult to move away.

“After meeting a veritable army’s worth of women, he’d thought he’d encountered every last one. Yet she’d been hiding all along, this odd woman who made him forget his guilt, if just for a moment.”

There is a beautiful atmosphere created by the author, albeit dark. Erik certainly has many regrets and carries the guilt around with him. Mina is the only one who has had such an effect on him, helping him take his mind off collecting souls, which is all he has had to think about for so long. Will he give in to the strong temptation to kiss her, to touch her? Or, can he hold back and walk away?

“The longer he watched her smile, listened to her lilting laugh, the more he knew she was in trouble.”

If you’re looking for a dark, paranormal, suspenseful fairytale-like romance then you will certainly find it in Soul Solution. With an unpredictable, surprising ending I LOVED this novelette, and cannot wait for more from Katherine McIntyre!

An ARC copy was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Soul Solution (Beyond Fairytales #1) is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**REVIEW** By the Sea (novelette) by Katherine McIntyre

By the Sea

A short, light and refreshing romance with fantasy and paranormal elements!

Most kids had imaginary friends, but most weren’t like Megan’s friend Niall. There were rules: only at night and only by the sea. She could’ve sworn he was real, but when someone vanishes without a trace, what else can you believe?

All that was seven years ago, buried in the past until Niall shows up in town with his tight swimmer’s body and easy smile. For Megan, just the sight of him is enough to tear open a scar that never fully healed. However, their reunion only elicits more questions. Niall’s keeping secrets, unbelievable ones, and as Megan delves into the supernatural depths of who he really is, she’s sure he’ll vanish again.

Megan’s not stupid—she knows how bad it’ll hurt if she gets involved. The first time Niall disappeared, she never thought she’d recover. But the moment they lock eyes, it’s too late—because Megan will go to any length to see that boy smile.

REVIEW

By the Sea is a great novelette that reads as a short, fun, contemporary romance from the onset. However, as it opens up and the reader begins to settle into the story, the fantasy paranormal elements emerge.

Megan had been through so much to be rid of the delusions of her imaginary friend, Niall. And yet here is the new boy in town, Mason, with so many likenesses to her long gone friend. Megan wants to lead a normal life and decides not to let Mason in too much. She cannot go down that path and be left hurt and confused again. And yet despite this, her feelings of the past have not disappeared and have re-ignited with Mason.

As well as the romance current running gently throughout the story, later we realise that Niall is also on a mission to seek something that has been taken from him. Not only that but it could also bring a little paranormal trouble to Megan. These scenes I found exciting and left wanting more.

Being a short story doesn’t always allow much build up to prepare the reader, and I found this to be the case, only ever so slightly, with the supernatural element of the story. Once I had accepted the idea of what Niall was I was able to delve further and empathise with Megan’s character – the confusion and re-surfacing of her past feelings.

By the Sea is a nice story with something to offer the contemporary romance reader and the fantasy paranormal fans. I would recommend that it is suitable for Young Adults and over, and there is a coming-of-age feel in regards to the young characters of the book.

A copy of By the Sea was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.

By the Sea by Katherine McIntyre is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker