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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet


Author: Karen Marie Moning
Originally Published: 2006
Courtney’s Edition: 2010
Publisher: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House
Source: received a free copy at San Diego ComicCon 2010

The Story

After the death of her sister, Mac heads off to Ireland to investigate who – or what – was behind the murder. And what she finds is the last thing that she expects – an ability in herself to see fey and feel the presence of certain magical objects.

The more Mac digs about, the more she learns what kind of world her sister had gotten herself into – where mobsters, vampires and fey are all on the hunt for a very old magical book that, according to Mac’s reactions to it, seems to be nothing but pure evil.

Along the way to discover what happened to her sister, Mac man a man, Barrons, who has decided to both take Mac under his wing (in order to teach her to use her gift) and use her as his secret weapon (in his search for this evil book). And, obviously, although Mac doesn’t know anyone else in Ireland, she doesn’t know if she can trust this man, or if he only needs her for her ability to find the magical objects he desires.

The Response


Okay, the first couple of pages I was extremely skeptical. The author seemed to spend way too much time describing what Mac looked like, what she was wearing, etc etc. And yes this continued through the rest of the book to a point, but! The rest of it was so good that other than a few eye rolls at the fact that every chapter Mac was wearing a different shade of nail polish (“Ice Princess Blush” and the like) it sort of faded into the background.

Because how can you be annoyed at something like that when the rest of the book is filled with SO MUCH AWESOME? It’s got everything I love – dangerous fey, all kinds of unresolved sexual tension, snarky characters, danger, adventure, so much unresolved sexual tension, character growth, and did I mention that the sexual tension between Mac and Barrons is the best part about the book? SWOON.

The only thing that I really really didn’t like about the book was the fact that every so often, Mac would say something along the lines of “I didn’t know it then, but…” and it was, well, extremely distracting. Foreshadowing is all well and great when it’s done subtly but when it’s done in a way like that, it only pulled me out of the story. And looking back, a character knows so much more than what they did going through it – you know, the whole hindsight 20/20 stuffs, right? So her telling the story is going to have some sort of bias to it that didn’t really add anything to the story.

And yes. Barrons may be my newest fictional crush. FYI, yo.

The Bottom Line

Okay. Okay okay okay. People who like urban fantasy. People who like paranormal romance. If you haven’t read this, you need to. NEEEEEEEEED to. Drop everything you are doing and go get this book immediately. It is utterly delicious. And as soon as I’ve made my way through a few other books on my TBR I am going to be hunting down the second one in this series.

Other Reviews

The Story Siren, Beyond Books, Dark Faerie Tales. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 6:13 pm January 25, 2011.
Category: Speculative Fiction
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s): ,

  • Kailana

    I never thought I would go look this book up, but I trust you, so off I go!

  • Cat @ Beyond Books

    I started off not knowing if I would like this book, too. I devoured the 2nd and 3rd though the 4th was a bunch of drivel and am now trying to decide if I want to shill out the $30 for the 5th or just wait until next year for the paperback.

    I like Mac and I love Barrons… but… I just can’t take the sex.

  • Erin

    Oh my goodness. I loved this entire series. SO much. But, back off lady, Barrons is mine.