Kismet's Kiss: A Fantasy Romance (Alaia Chronicles)

Rated 4.83/5 based on 8 reviews
"A must-read for all fantasy romance lovers." —The Romance Reviews. "A magical, exhilarating, sensual delight." —Smexy Books. In the desert realm of Kad, a deadly epidemic strikes the palace of Sultan Kuramos. Only a magical healer from an enemy land could save his people. He doesn't realize the healer is a woman.... More

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About Cate Rowan

Cate Rowan has washed laundry in a crocodile-infested African lake, parasailed over Cabo, had monkeys poop in her hair, and swum with dolphins, but her best adventures are her story worlds. Her lush fantasy romances about magic, danger and passion in faraway realms have won more than thirty awards. Her debut novel, Kismet's Kiss, was a two-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist.

Cate credits her favorite childhood authors—a list that includes J.R.R. Tolkien, Guy Gavriel Kay, Anne McCaffrey, Nora Roberts, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Herriot, and C.S. Lewis—for her love of fiction, great characters, and a rich imagination. She also thanks her family for forgiving all those times she brought a novel to dinner.

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Review by: Linda Thum on Sep. 02, 2012 :
Absolutely loved the book! Wonderfully romantic with a lovely story & H/H that had amazing chemistry that I connected with right from the beginning (ok, it took a while to get over the 6 wives). This was a book that I was sorry when I reached the end because I didn't want it to end yet. The writing was quite accomplished & the story flowed beautifully. Interesting side characters including a talking intelligent bird which added a bit of humor. Sexual tension btwn the H/H that kept me reading till 4am. LOVED IT!!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: mish on Sep. 18, 2011 :
Rating: 4 (I Really Liked It)
This story takes place in a lightly magical world that is similar to our world yet different. The imagery was wonderfully descriptive without overdoing it. It transported me to another place and time. What that time was though I am not sure. It felt like a subtle alternate world fantasy in an Arabian Nights style setting. It had scimitars and sherbet (in the desert?), palm fronds and key-hole doorways, falafels and churidars, harems and hammams. These things that are real in our world and so we can relate to them in some way even though they may not all be things we are familiar with, but there are also fydds (horses), jencel-birds (a talking bird character that I loved!), and kyrra (a magical essence within someone). People also seem to live very long as in hundreds of years. These are some things unique to the story that give it an alternate world feel. There were a couple of times a word would sneak into the narrative or dialogue that felt a little too modern and jarred me out of the time and story for a second…but just a second, I got over it. :)

I wasn't sure how much I would like Kuramos as the male lead character in this fantasy romance. He is the Sultan of Kad and has a harem of six wives. He appears a little arrogant when Varene first appears in his palace but you soon see underneath that hard exterior and realize he has many admirable qualities that make him a likable character. He respects his wives and cherishes his children. He is kind to the servants and wants the best for the people of Kad. He is loyal, protective, and willing to make sacrifices, but can be fierce when necessary.

I liked Varene from the start. She is kind, smart, and brave. She stands up to those who would dismiss her worth and healing abilities because she is a woman. She knows what she wants and she soon learns she wants Kuramos. But what of his wives? She isn’t willing to share. How could she ever compromise on that?

Both Kuramos and Varene have painful secrets they are hiding in their past, which are unraveled as the story progresses.

Though I knew this story would have an HEA...a big honking HEA as it turns out...I was still curious how it would play out. How do we go from a harem of six wives to a happily ever after for Kuramos and Varene? At the beginning of the book, Dabir, Kuramos's mentor and father figure, prophesizes that "She will come...Will you bend, or will she? Perhaps neither." and sets up part of the conflict for this romance that stuck in my head for the entire book. Who will bend? Though I sort of guessed how it would be resolved, I wasn't totally right, but I was totally satisfied with the ending.

I have to say a word about Gunjan, the jencel-bird. Jencels are talking birds but not like a parrot. I just loved this character! But then I am a sucker for a talking animal character that doesn’t seem to be channeling a Disney movie.

Rowan has weaved a wonderfully engaging and romantic story set in a magical Arabian Nights style middle-eastern setting that kept me turning the page. The smooth writing style allowed me to easily fall into the story. I was rooting for Kuramos and Varene and was eager to see how it would all be resolved. The Source of Magic, which is the prequel novel, focuses on Alvarr and Jilian, who are the rulers of Teganne, Varene's homeland. We get a brief glimpse of them in this book and I'm already eager to read their story and jump back into this world.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: TheSFReader on July 01, 2011 : (no rating)
While I'm not usually a romance reader, I was pleased to find sufficient backstory, adventure, and action to keep interested in the multiple character's feelings. Nicely balanced. Thank you for the delightfull hours I spent in he book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Annette B on June 15, 2011 :
I enjoyed this book and agree with what previous reviewers have already said. Not a typical romance, in a very good way.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Phyllis Laatsch on June 02, 2011 : (no rating)
Varene is a female magical healer who gets sent to stop the outbreak of disease in the Sultanate of Kad - where sexism and racism (against the country Varene is from) and anti-magic-ism run rampant. She is wildly attracted to Kuramos, the sultan, even though he has five wives (and Varene could only accept exclusivity) and is arrogant. And yet, it's his refusal to kick his wives and children out (and render them illegitimate) that is part and parcel of his noble intentions toward his family and his people. It's a beautiful love story with Arabian Nights overtones.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: ehefkae on Dec. 19, 2010 :
This book is thoroughly engrossing. I literally could not walk away once I started reading it. The characters and world are so well thought out and have such depth that I cannot wait to see more in this series and from this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Disgruntled Bear on Dec. 15, 2010 :
I really enjoyed this book, and in the weeks since I finished it, I've found myself thinking back on it. It's a wonderfully original fantasy romance, and I'm delighted to have stumbled across it.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: bethagain on Oct. 03, 2010 :
I'm not usually a reader of fantasy romance, but a friend recommended this book and I ended up staying awake until 1 am two nights in a row to finish it. This is a lovely story. It's structured like a romance (and it sizzles like one!), but it's not only about romantic love. It's about friendship, family, and loyalty--and all these rich emotions play out against a background of jewels, shimmering silks, and a palace so vividly drawn that I'm ready to move in.

I was also impressed by how well Rowan brought the many characters to life. The book is about far more than just one man and one woman, and each of the secondary characters has an individual personality and a carefully thought out history.

I see the official book description doesn't mention the special twist in this story, so I won't reveal the secret... but I will say that wondering how in the world they would work things out kept me turning pages to the end!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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