I have been known to blush easily. I finished Stephanie Julian’s Seduced by Magic last night and my cheeks are still burning.

Holy heck, that’s one saucy novel! Just look at the cover! I’ve read saucy romances before, but this is straight up erotic romance (the publisher calls it Romantica), and it starts with a bang. Of course, the subject of this book is tame compared to some of the video porn you’ll find online, but the romances I’ve read haven’t been so descriptive.

Seduced by Magic also falls into the paranormal genre, which I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would. The story’s about Scarlata, a folletta (a fairy — with wings!) who lives in the woods of Pennsylvania. Justin Johannson is a scientist on assignment holed up in said woods to track migration patterns of birds, but he’s really looking for proof that fairies exist. Scarlata wants to kill him for invading her space and, so she thinks, trying to trap her. He wakes up with Scarlata on top of him.

And it rolls on from there.

I knew what I was getting into since I interviewed Julian earlier in the day. She’s a wonderful woman, and we talked at length about freelance writing, which she also does (albeit under a different name). She’s perfect for my article about how romance writers aren’t cat ladies wearing fanny packs pining for the men they create. Julian is also a skilled fiction writer. Yes, there’s a lot of sex, but the writing is crisp, clear, and the plot moves along at a perfect pace. If only all genre fiction was so well written.

But this is not a book you can read and then try to go back to work. Spicy!

This is also the first ebook I’ve reviewed on the blog (though I did print it out and put it in a binder. Sorry, eco minded friends. I just couldn’t read 122 pages on the screen). It’s not an ebook in the sense that you read it on an electronic reader but that you buy a PDF file that you download right to your computer. You can buy it here. The Smart Bitches addressed ebooks and their role in publishing erotica in Beyond Heaving Bosoms (book 12 of 52 in this series), and I can see the benefits — lower production costs and all. Seduced by Magic only costs $5.20, and it doesn’t take long to read.

In high school and college, I worked at a Walden Bookstore (RIP), and whenever the store ran a “Buy 2 books get the 3rd free” paperback special, women of all ages would come into the store and load up on romance novels. If you’ve got a voracious reading appetite like Julian, who said she’d read a book a day, being able to buy and download right to your desktop can be a big money saver if the price is right, and I think it is. Plus, you don’t have to go to the bookstore and put a book with that sort of cover on the check out counter. I’ve had to do so for bachelorette party gifts, and it’s embarrassing. Same thing about being on the other side of that transaction. But that, and my other adventures at Walden, are a whole other story. Let’s just say trying to track down who kept putting copies of Playboy and Hustler in the children’s section wasn’t fun.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.


  1. Leah Ingram on January 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm


    What do you do when you decide on a book and then decide you don’t like it? I’m glad that I’ve taken to taking books out of the library instead of buying them. Because if I don’t like them, at least I just return them for free and not have to worry about getting my money back or whatever.


  2. Jen A. Miller on January 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I’m lucky in that I rarely have to pay for books because publishers send them to me. If I do buy a book, it’s usually a used copy from half.com where I couldn’t return it.

    But if I really don’t like something, I donate it to the library, or I’ll bundle a bunch of books that I don’t like/can’t use and freecycle them.

    I do, however, keep books in the 52 series just so I can keep them as a set — for now. I’m not sure if that’ll be the case a few years from now.

  3. Unknown on January 20, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Wow, this is an interesting book of the week selection. Saucy, well writen “romatica” plus it’s an eBook? Intriguing …

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