Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: Carnival of Illusions Series

Yes, I do occasionally talk about writing on this blog. Hold in your collective gasps. Sheesh!

Recently, author Aubrie Dionne contacted me to do a review for her new e-book JESTER'S FOLLY, part of her CARNIVAL OF ILLUSIONS series. Not only was I willing to do so, I was delighted to receive all three short stories in the series. I know she was only expecting the one review. But heck, since she sent me all three, I might as well say something about all three.

Jester's Folly

Blurb: As the most imaginative jester in the Masquerade Carnival, Mina has hidden her true identity for years. No one has seen her without her makeup, and so no one recognizes her from the media frenzy in her past. Her perfect facade is shattered one night when she fails to make a young man laugh during a show. He knows too much about her and is on to her charade. Will Mina be able to hide from her past forever?

My review: We all have something hidden, deep down inside. A secret kept: some forever cherished, others forever unwanted. Mina hides her past behind a painted face and a fearful heart of being discovered for a long-ago tragedy that claimed the life of a friend. Working as a carnival jester, danger now stalks her movements seeking a taste for revenge.

It's a story of sadness, masks, and forgiveness. Well-developed characters and description move the plot along nicely. What I enjoyed about the Carnival of Illusions series are the twist endings. Nothing is expected or is as it seems. This has always been my preference for stories - and can be seen often in my own here - writing the unexpected. Aubrie did a good job of holding my attention and keeping it throughout.

Chameleon's Colors

Blurb: Ever since she stumbled into her father’s lab and drank a cocktail of his experiments, Kaylee has had the ability to change color, blending into her environment like a chameleon. Named a freak at school, she runs away and joins the Masquerade Carnival. Her life takes on a routine and she enjoys performing in the shows until she falls for a young man hired to run the rides. Coincidentally, an old, roving gypsy offers a potion to restore her body to the way it once was to win his heart. Now she must choose between her unique powers or a chance at love.

My review: A new twist on teenage angst, that feeling of wanting to be noticed and accepted by peers and family. Kaylee takes it a step farther in an effort for attention, and is gifted in an unexpected way. Yet this gift comes with consequences, along with an evil that may trick her out of the life she truly craves.

This story speaks to any young adult looking for a bit wonder, magic, and love in their reading list. I must say that I'm not a big fan of teenage plots. Yet this one keeps your attention and the need to further understand the character's feelings. A good read!

Seer's Destiny

Blurb: Vira’s crystal ball only shows bleak and harsh truth. Visions of her own destiny haunt her, an inevitable night where ecstasy and horror are intertwined. In her future, she is reunited with her long lost love and then viciously murdered, her limp form stained in blood. Logic screams at her to flee the carnival and challenge fate, but her heart keeps her on a steady path, longing for a last chance with the man she loves, even if it means her own demise. Can Vira change her fortune?

My review: With the coming of the eclipse, Vira knows her life will change forever. Love and tragedy intermingled, she debates whether she can escape the destiny seen within the oval glass. Yet events hurl her down a path she could have never imagined or predicted. Danger is at every angle, and only courage and sacrifice can save Vira, but at a terrible price.

Out of all three short stories, I enjoyed this one the most. The story line was solid and had me at the edge of my seat. Fast-paced and exciting, the characters left me wanting to read more after the last sentence was finished.

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her short stories have been featured in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Aurora Wolf, and various anthologies. Her fantasy novel, Dreams of Beauty, is available at SynergEbooks. Her two latest novels, Nebula's Music and The Voices of Ire, are available now on Amazon. You can find a collection of her short stories at Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

Her website
Her Blog


  1. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews! Wowee. I'd love to read anything of yours even if it's in the WIP stage. Please send it by in an email if you have something.

  2. I so enjoy Aubrie's writing. Thanks for the reviews, Michelle.

  3. It's usually illegal to conceal your identity except in New Orleans...during Carnival! Are any of these set in the Crescent City?

  4. Wow, Michelle! These sound very intriguing...I will have to check out Aubrie's work now! Thanks for the reviews...and the head's up! Hope your Monday started the week off well...thinking of you! ~Janine XO

  5. I don't often read shorts, but these sound great, especially Chameleon's Colors.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    Whalehead King, based on Michelle's review, it seemed to me that Jester's Folly was set in a fantasy world or a made-up traveling carnival, not the New Orleans carnival season. But I may be wrong. I love stories set in NO, too.

  6. Since I haven't read "Chameleon's Colors", I don't understand why she has to be normal to attract the love. I think it would be kind of cool to date someone who could change colors! I guess I'll have to read it...

  7. Not only do the books sound interesting, but those covers are GORGEOUS!


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