Format: E-Galley, 290 pages
Release Date: May 1, 2016
Source: Author Jess Haines
Genre: Paranormal Romance
A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she's just like all the other magi.
A dragon who sees through her lies.
Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.
Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she's got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can't afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.
The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.
As an illusionist, she doesn't have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems...
Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight....
The first thing you should now is that I received this E-Galley from author Jess Haines. Jess is the author of the H&W Investigations series featuring Shiarra Waynest. A series I hope continues & soon. Smoke and Mirrors is set in the exact same universe as Shiarra's series. It has the same Others like vampires, werewolves, and Mages. But, it also adds unicorns, Naga's, Dragons, and Wyvern's just to make things even more interesting.
Smoke and Mirrors is centered around a 21-year old woman named Kimberly, not Kim, Wells who is trying hard to graduate from Blackhollow Academy. After discovering that she had magical abilities, Kim received a scholarship to attend the school at 17. Things haven't exactly gone smoothly for Kimberly. Especially since she's poor by other student's standards. But, with her brilliant abilities to use illusion to get her through her classes, she just might survive.
But, if Kimberly doesn't find a way to pass her most difficult and challenging course, she won't graduate. Her dreams of getting out of poverty, of finding a decent job at a coven or any place else, may end up going up in smoke. Segue to the appearance of Cormac Hunter. Cormac is a dragon. A dragon as powerful, dangerous, and protective as they come. A dragon that might be Kimberly's only chance at graduating if she can survive what is coming next.
I am all in on Kimberly's character. I love that she is a bit prideful, but not a prune. I love that she is genuine in not wanting to be another evil sorcerer that binds people against their will. I love Kimberly's mother, Heather, as well. Here are two women who have each other to lean on and support through the good and the not so good. So much so that each of them wouldn't hesitate to pick up odd jobs to pay the bills.
In closing, I dare say that I think that you can read this book without knowing about her H&W series. I do hope that one day that you will join us in waiting for the next installment by the author which we are itching for soon! I don't know where the author goes from here. The ending is almost perfectly wrapped up with little left over. I do know that there is a second novel in this series called Candle and Horn. Will Kimberly still be the protagonist, or will another character step up instead. We shall see.