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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Professor Cailleach "Callie" McFay travels to the small, mountain-base town of Fairwick in New York State for a job interview at Fairwick College. Despite the fact that she has her heart set on lecturing at NYU, she soon finds herself mysteriously drawn into buying a Victorian house that used to belong to a reclusive author in the town and accepting a job offer to gives classes within the Folklore Department at the college.

Callie's long term partner - Paul - is currently living in California as he earns his own doctorate, so when she has increasingly realistic erotic dreams she just chalks it up to sexual frustration and the fact that the faceless man in the dreams bears a strong resemblance to the 'shadow man' who haunted her childhood dreams must be a coincidence.

But when Callie uncovers the unedited drafts of the author's novels, it becomes clear that the author was also being visited by the same presence. And Callie realises that her colleagues and the majority of Fairwick's residents aren't quite human, so uh oh - her midnight stalker may not just be a harmless dream.

This is one of those books that I didn't think that I'd like so I didn't bother reading for a few weeks, only to flick through a few pages cautiously and not put down again until I'd finished it.

Normally I wouldn't be a fan of the incubus/succubi angle in fantasy books: it's an excuse for having the hero/heroine jump in out of bed with multiple partners and creating the ever-dreaded 'love triangle' sub-plot, which I hate as most of the series I read tend to use this over-worn plot device. And lets not forget that the human equivalent of a incubus visitation is someone breaking into your house, tying you to the bed, gagging you and having their way which you - not in the slightest bit appealing.

INCUBUS is part Gothic romance, part fantasy and part mystery.

Yes, I know. Thinking about it now, it's creepy as hell - not romantic. But when I'm actually reading the book I get caught up in it and one of my first thoughts was "it's beautiful".

Cassie is a refreshing change from all of the gun-toting, wise cracking, 'sassy' heroines that are constantly thrust upon us in this types of book, as she's 'normal' for the most part. I can't go into to much detail about the rest of the cast without spoiling some of the subplots, but everyone is well developed and they have interesting back stories of their own.

There is one exception; Paul. By the end of the book we still know very little about him. It's not really the author's fault as he is living in a different state to Cassie and we're supposed to feel her detachment from him here. But Cassie is [unintentionally] cheating on him and I don't really feel bad for him, in fact it is very easy to forget that she even has a boyfriend.

The explanation behind the setting of Fairwick itself is obvious to readers before it becomes so to Callie and it gives this series infinite plots and characters for future books, so this series isn't going to repeat itself and become predictable in the foreseeable future.

Any pitfalls? It's only minor, but the way that the author quickly shoved two plot devices for future books into the final chapter was abrupt and happened too close together to be seen as anything else other then as the plot devices that they clearly are.
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This book was recommended to me by my local librarian, so it was a total non heard of for me, the cover is beautiful, so it would have grabbed my attention, the synopsis would have made me read it anyway, I was not sorry.....It was a wonderfully magical gothic fantasy story. Explicit at times, dream love sessions with her Incubus. You do not expect all the magical creatures to appear as they do, I was shocked, it really is a SECRET world living within this town Callie goes to work in.

So beautifully written, I love a descriptive book, i could picture every detail of the house, the setting of it, the landscape, the wood itself, the layout of the town, the college... A wonderful place. All the characters too, the book takes on a movie projector playing in my head, so even now i can see the living room, the attic with the boxes of notes, the beautiful desk (which i want) those cute little mice....everything written to take the reader into the story and not just remain on the outside reading in. Thank goodness there is more books to follow......and other books by Carol Goodman as i have just become a Fan!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 28 June 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was captivated from the word go by this fantasy tale which has very gothic overtones. The author really understands the concept that less can be more so the plot develops at a relatively gentle pace which can never be thought of as frenetic until the final part. However, the scenes are very skillfully set with just enough description to get a real feel for the surroundings and to get a strong atmospheric hint of the supernatural elements at work behind the scenes. The story flows well and keeps moving forward and at no point do you feel that more action would be an improvement. The dream love scenes with the incubus are also relatively understated and are, as a result, far more erotic than the effect which would have been produced by a less subtle and more heavy handed description.

The story is narrated in the first person by Dr Calleach McFay, who is the principle character and who is a college lecturer in supernatural topics at Fairwick which proves to be quite an unusual college. Often the result of writing in this medium can be awkward and the character speaking can seem quite wooden and lacking character. However, this format works really well here and we gradually learn a great deal about Callie, her hopes and fears and what makes her tick. One feels quite a lot of empathy towards her as the plot develops and as she learns much more about herself and her ancestry.

This is a fantasy tale so the appearance of witches, daemons, fey people and other supernatural characters is not unexpected and the author introduces these elements into the story so that they blend in seamlessly as a natural development of the plot. I did feel that at the point that all these exotic entities enter the story a certain amount of momentum is lost for a little while, but happily it picked up again as the narrative continued. The climax seemed a satisfactory conclusion and tied up some loose ends while clearly leaving the way open for one or more sequels.

To summarise I thoroughly enjoyed this supernatural tale which is beautifully written. It is not an expression I have used often in reviews, but personally I thought this book was outstanding. I am really looking forward to the next installment in the Fairwick Chronicles.
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Although 'Incubus' isn't exactly perfect, it's certainly an excellent start to a new supernatural series about the witches and other weird folk of univeristy town Fairwick in New England. Author Carol Goodman has crafted a solid tale with its own beginning, middle and a satisfactory end - unlike many first books in this genre which tend to pause after introducing the characters without resolving any of the plot lines. So you can start reading `Incubus' secure in the knowledge that you're getting a whole, stand-alone story in its own right, as well as the intro to a new alternative world populated by faeries, demons, vampires, shifters and such.
'Incubus' is definitely a book of two halves: the first part is packed full of sensual adventures and frisky bedroom fantasies. These taper away as the heroine becomes aware of the hidden world and its secrets are revealed to her. So if you've found some of the erotic content of, say, Anita Blake's adventures, to be a little hardcore for your tastes then you should be pretty safe with 'Incubus'. It's sexy, but not XXX-rated, and the action diverts towards the supernatural and away from naked entwinement as the book progresses. The narrative also concentrates on the plot and action, and doesn't dally too much with simpering domesticity (which does tend to bore me, after a while). The pace and timescale of the story was a little confusing, however; it took me a while to realise that months were supposed to have passed in what felt like just a couple of pages.
'Incubus' is very easy to read - I galloped through it in one night - and thoroughly entertaining. It comes close to rivalling the early Sookie Stackhouse or Rachel Morgan books; fans of Kelley Armstrong should enjoy it too. And it's good enough that I'll look out for the next instalment and may well try others from the same author.

7/10
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on 14 December 2012
Alison for [...]

Should be noted that I obtained this book from Netgalley under the title of `The Demon Lover' by Juliet Dark, a pen name of Carol Goodman.

Callie lost her parents at a very young age, sent to live with her cold distant Grandmother she finds solace in an `imaginary' prince who tells her folktales at night. Fast forward a number of years, Callie is now a lecturer in folk law, she has an interview with a small university in the back of beyond. She knows the job could spell professional suicide yet she is drawn to the place, and then she finds the old house by the woods.....

Both the covers for this book are quite deceptive with both appearing to be trying to appeal to the YA market. In fact I bought it for the school library and quickly had to move it to the Sixth Form and Staff library. It is definitely a more adult book and is everything that you would expect from a paranormal romance novel.

This is a rare foray into books for adults for me, and despite the above I was aware that this was for adults when I picked it up. It did make a very welcome change and I have gone on to read the second book in the series since. It has everything that I love in a book. Supernatural and gothic themes, setting described so well that you can picture them and very strong believable characters. It was a book that reminded me strongly of `A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness and `The Witching Hour' by Anne Rice and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed these books. Witchcraft, gothic houses and family secrets are all themes that run through each book.

The supernatural has been done to death in recent years. I liked that the mythology of it all was original in this book, something that is hard to do with the proliferation of books lately. I dearly love anything to do with the fey so their inclusion was very welcome.

Callie was a very strong central character, but this wasn't to the expense of other characters in the book. As a reader you got to know them all. This was through Callie, as the book is told from her perspective, but she was on the whole quite perceptive and even when she wasn't the plot strongly pointed out how you should feel about a character. There was a `twist' at the end of the book that I found fairly obvious. But I did get the impression that this was done on purpose by the author; that the reader should know what was likely to happen, even if the main characters didn't. There was also a second twist that I saw coming a mile off which wasn't perhaps meant to be quite so obvious. I have a feeling that it was my hopelessly romantic side that wanted the result, rather than me actually being able to predict.

A very strong feature of this book is the setting. The town, the house, university buildings and the woods nearly become a character all of their own. They are described in such detail that it is almost cinematic. In many way the old house, with it's history and eccentricities becomes a character outside of its description.
Overall I really did want to carry on reading and was quite disappointed when the book finished and quickly moved onto the next book. I can't wait for the third to come out. It has also made me investigate the author further and I will be reading more of her other books. I now have a taste for books for `grown-ups' which will make a nice change.

Verdict: Wonderful characters, amazing setting and great mythology. A really enjoyable read.
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2012
This breathtaking piece of fiction is a rare gem. An erotic feast for the senses, the narrative is rich, powerful and poignant. Like sleeping beauty, the main character Callie McFay gradually awakens to the realization that her childhood dreams about a nocturnal prince may be significantly more than just fantasies.

This visitor was someone Callie used to dream about when she was a child. In her dreams he read her stories, but never showed his face. He and her deceased parents inspired her love of myth and folklore. When Callie became older, as a teen, he inspired more sensual dreams, dreams that at the time seemed disturbingly real.

Now as a college tutor, her understanding about who she is and what she understands about the world are given a resounding turnaround. Nothing is as it seems, not the other tutors, the small town she works in, and certainly not the quaint, atmospheric house that seems to be waiting just for her.

The author deftly weaves creeping tension and dark eroticism into the prose. I read it in one sitting, because I almost literally couldn't tear myself away. I found this book to be endlessly fascinating, with wonderfully taut moments of suspense, which had me questioning the motives of every character. You don't have to have a love or appreciation for gothic romance in order to enjoy this novel, but if you do, and you're a fan of the late Victoria Holt's novels, this will knock your socks off. The author is one to look out for. Talent like this will soon become an open secret.

I'm almost afraid of reading anything else by this author in case it doesn't match up to this standard. But losing out on the chance for more of this level of brilliance isn't an option.
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on 9 October 2011
After reading previous reviews, I was wondering if I had made a mistake buying this book...but it turned out to be AMAZING!! Yes it does straddle a few genres (i.e. urban fantasy, gothic, romance etc) and doesn't fit neatly into one type - but guess what - so does life, and this is about the goings-on in Callie's life.

The book follows Callie as she takes on a new job in the strange town of Fairwick at a university. Like layers of an onion the author (Carol Goodman) draws the reader deeper and deeper into the unexpected and unknown elements of the magical Fairwick. Callie is so likable because she isn't perfect, doesn't always get everything right, but tries to get through the best she can with what she knows at the time.

The other characters are well described and brought to life brilliantly throughout the book as Carol Goodman adds depth and background to the Fairwick folk. There are lots of references to modern culture (Charlaine Harris etc), but even if you have never read the books or films mentioned in this book, you would still be able to thoroughly enjoy it. My only gripe is Callie's apparently long distance 'wishy-washy' and unrealistic relationship with her boyfriend. I found myself persevering through the pages where these two characters interacted just so I could get back to the more gripping events.

Finally, the most brilliant thing about the book is the suspense. Every page had me clamouring to read the next. Even in the final chapters of the book - what I had presumed was going on was turned on it's head. Very clever plot twists! Anyway, as explained in the first pages of the book, this book is the start of the Fairwick Chronicles series. So I look forward to future events in the magical town of Fairwick.
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Although `Incubus' isn't exactly perfect, it's certainly an excellent start to a new supernatural series about the witches and other weird folk of univeristy town Fairwick in New England. Author Carol Goodman has crafted a solid tale with its own beginning, middle and a satisfactory end - unlike many first books in this genre which tend to pause after introducing the characters without resolving any of the plot lines. So you can start reading `Incubus' secure in the knowledge that you're getting a whole, stand-alone story in its own right, as well as the intro to a new alternative world populated by faeries, demons, vampires, shifters and such.
'Incubus' is definitely a book of two halves: the first part is packed full of sensual adventures and frisky bedroom fantasies. These taper away as the heroine becomes aware of the hidden world and its secrets are revealed to her. So if you've found some of the erotic content of, say, Anita Blake's adventures, to be a little hardcore for your tastes then you should be pretty safe with 'Incubus'. It's sexy, but not XXX-rated, and the action diverts towards the supernatural and away from naked entwinement as the book progresses. The narrative also concentrates on the plot and action, and doesn't dally too much with simpering domesticity (which does tend to bore me, after a while). The pace and timescale of the story was a little confusing, however; it took me a while to realise that months were supposed to have passed in what felt like just a couple of pages.
'Incubus' is very easy to read - I galloped through it in one night - and thoroughly entertaining. It comes close to rivalling the early Sookie Stackhouse or Rachel Morgan books; fans of Kelley Armstrong should enjoy it too. And it's good enough that I'll look out for the next instalment and may well try others from the same author.

7/10
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on 25 January 2012
Cailleach McFay is a teacher whose speciality is folklore. And she is good, her book, Sex Lives of the Demon Lover (an adaptation from her thesis) had become a best-seller. And this combined with her Ph.D had brought her offers from New York University and other small colleges like the one in Fairwick where she is right now.
But she is not ready to accept a job there, far from it, her whole life was supposed to be in NYC, finally together with her boyfriend of eight years, Paul. Both had decided that their careers were first and agreed that their goal would be to move to New York together. So now she had to find a way to delay her answer to the .

And she was perfectly happy until she set her eyes upon Honeysuckle House, a marvelous victorian house that compelled her to live there... to buy it and make it hers... to give up her future with Paul and begin a life in Fairwick.
And so she did. She bought the house and discovered that not only it had been the house of Dahlia LaMotte, a novelist whose books had been about young girls with no parents that ended up in the hands of Byronic heroes who threatened their virginity, but that the house came with unpublished novels and a secret that changer her world: there was a succubus in that house, one that somehow, had visited her when she was little after losing her parents and told her fairytales to help her sleep.
But now his visits where far from innocents... and Cailli finds herself torn between the decision of making him go away with the help of her new supernatural friends or keeping him with her and continue their sex live together knowing that it might kill her soon...

In a small town where everything seems normal and peaceful Callie is about to discover that supernatural creatures are real, that she might be one of them, that her students are beginning to look sick and weak and that her love life is about to get really complicated.
Thanks goodness there is massive magic library below the New York city library and she has access to it now.

Personal opinion:
For me it's been the first time I've read about succubus or incubus and it was by mistake, I thought The Demon Lover was a YA book but I blame the cover xD
Saying that I have to say that I enjoyed it. I had a little information about incubus thanks to TV series and this book offered a lot of light into the succubus mythology.

The book combined the perfect quantity of tension, fairytales and mystery that it needed. I mean, who wouldn't want to study in a campus where maybe vampires, witches, succubus, faeries and other creatures are the teachers or students? I think that this is what I liked the most: a supernatural college inside a common college.

The plot itself is, maybe, a little obvious once you reach a certain part of the story but that won't stop you from continuing, far from it, you will wonder how is it going to happen and if everyone will be okay at the end.

The ending was bittersweet but it makes sense since there's going to be a next book so I'm not to worried about it. Will I be reading the next book? You bet. I can't wait to know how is the author going to continue Calli's journey.
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on 26 July 2011
Combining elements of gothic romance with the current trend for supernatural fiction, Goodman creates a unique blend of mythology and popular culture, appealing to both our fascination with darkness, and our hunger for lust and fear combined.

Incubus follows Calleach (Callie) McFay, a college professor who -- despite reservations -- accepts a job at second-rate Fairwick College to teach a course in gothic literature and fairy tales. The reason she accepts the job? She falls in love with a Victorian house. But the moment she moves in, the dreams begin, and quickly Callie realises that there may be truth to fairy tales after all.
As Callie discovers the supernatural world, she is quickly thrown into the power play between the residents, struggling to slip into the role she is expected to take.

This is a character-driven romance, focused on exploring Callie's new and peculiar neighbours. The initial creepiness and tension before Callie discovers the supernatural world is almost immediately addictive, although the plot loses momentum once the supernatural becomes commonplace. Thankfully, the elements of dark mystery are picked up again later on.

Callie is the typical supernatural fiction heroine: a strong-minded woman with family problems, a nice-but-not-satisfying-boyfriend, and a lifestyle in gross need of change. She's easy prey for the incubus haunting her house, who brings excitement back into her life. The scenes between them are fairly steamy but well-written; there is a good balance between plot and smut.

A couple of things niggled, however. Firstly, Callie does not show the tiniest hint of surprise when she finally discovers the supernatural world. Secondly, the novel contains far too many references to popular culture (Buffy, Charlaine Harris, Stephanie Meyer, etc). These references are a personal pet peeve: I won't like your book more simply because your character reads the same novels I do. It also strikes me as a fairly insecure tactic -- Incubus does not need to force these comparisons, because it is a solid gothic fantasy tale worthy of its own merit.

However, two things set Incubus apart from others in the genre. Firstly is it's original use of the supernatural, with nods towards ancient mythology like satyrs, stretching beyond the normal remit of witches and vampires (although these still dominate). Secondly, and while the prose is a little overwritten, it's a breath of fresh air to see more verbose, descriptive writing which moves away from the simplistic, accessible style of other big hits.

Overall, this is an original novel which combines elements of gothic romance with the current trend for supernatural fiction. It's certainly a guilty pleasure read, but despite misgivings I read all 466 pages in one sitting. What could be a better recommendation than that?
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