Thursday, April 04, 2024

Review Tour & Giveaway: Fox Tale by Karen Hulene Bartell

Karen Hulene Bartell

Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Publication Date: April 8, 2024
Page count: 280 pages



Heights terrify Ava. When a stranger saves her from plunging down a mountain, he diverts her fears with tales of Japanese kitsune—shapeshifting foxes—and she begins a journey into the supernatural.

She’s attracted to Chase, both physically and metaphysically, yet primal instincts urge caution when shadows suggest more than meets the eye.

She’s torn between Chase and Rafe, her ex, when a chance reunion reignites their passion, but she struggles to overcome two years of bitter resentment. Did Rafe jilt her, or were they pawns of a larger conspiracy? Are the ancient legends true of kitsunes twisting time and events?



“Why didn’t you answer my texts?” Still in pajamas, her hair disheveled, Mia was wild eyed. “I can’t find the kitten. How did he get out?”

Though posed as a question, her accusation woke me from my stupor. All sense of peace and wellbeing dispelled, I glanced at the clock. “We spoke less than thirty minutes ago…”

“I’m sorry.” Mia put her hand to her temple. “I’m just so worried about Ichiro.”

“Relax, we’ll find him.” I glanced about the efficiency apartment. A search can’t take more than a few minutes. “I’ll start in the kitchenette.”

And I’ll check my bedroom…for the fourth time.” Mia’s shoulders sagged.

Just as I was about to give up, I noticed a tissue box on the desk. Ichiro wouldn’t be in there…would he?

A tiny mew escaped. Then the kitten’s silky head popped up, and he began mewing loudly.

“You found him?” Mia ran in.

“Yup. The little stinker used the tissue box as a hideaway bed.” I lifted the kitten, cuddling him.

“Thank heavens!” Mia gave a deep sigh. “I didn’t know what to tell Atsuki.”

“Who cares what he thinks?” Her overreaction was getting on my nerves.

“I do.”


“Because Atsuki takes an interest in this little guy. And what Atsuki likes, I like.”

“Since when?”

“I don’t know…recently. Actually, since last night…” Her brow wrinkling, Mia mumbled.


“Something happened, but I can’t quite remember…Atsuki said something about cats…and foxes…I can’t recall.”

Cats and foxes again…My ears perked.


5 stars!

A tale of second-chance romance made magical by drawing on Japanese mythology.

Fox Tale by Karen Hulene Bartell is an absorbing tale of second-chance romance with a love triangle to boot. It is made magical by the infusion of Japanese mythology and a whirlwind tour of some of Japan’s most exciting destinations. With a career-focused leading lady and two enticing yet flawed suitors escorting her to must-see locations, the story is rich with possibilities and choices.

The main character, Ava West, is on her first international assignment as the travel and food writer for the online magazine she’s worked for since graduating. She suffered heartbreak at the hands of Rafe Anderson, who unceremoniously dumped her after dating all through college rather than popping the question she was anticipating. Ava is still quite bitter about her failed relationship as the story opens, and the betrayal feels fresh. I enjoyed her fortuitous meeting with Ichiro “Chance” Sato and their ensuing chemistry that she fought almost every step of the way. However, Chance isn’t exactly what he seems, and his persistent behavior, mercurial mood swings, and enigmatic pronouncements unsettle Ava and me. I wondered what was really going on with this guy from almost the start and, consequently, couldn’t put the book down.

Ava had arranged to stay with a close college friend, Mia, when she got to Tokyo, and this sounded like a fun working vacation for her. However, I was appalled when Mia facilitated Rafe, who happens to be working in Tokyo now, reconnecting with Ava without warning or her consent. His desertion devastated Ava, so what “friend” could possibly do this after that? However, it soon becomes apparent that not everything is good in Mia’s life, and her thinking and behavior become frightening and erratic.

While I initially hoped for a relationship between Ava and Chance (a possible kitsune), his alarmingly stalkerish behavior waved one red flag after another. On the other hand, I couldn’t forgive and forget Rafe’s past treatment of our girl either. Once again, this dilemma and Ava’s upcoming choices wouldn’t let me put this book down until I knew the outcome.

Besides the riveting plot, the vivid descriptions of the sights and food were downright tantalizing. The inclusion of cultural and mythological facts and fiction was fascinating, and I was compelled more than a few times to look up a particular aspect or location out of curiosity.

I recommend FOX TALE to romance readers who enjoy paranormal elements in their stories, especially those interested in Japan and Japanese culture and mythology.


Author of the Trans-Pecos and Sacred Emblem series, Karen is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life, who writes multicultural, offbeat love stories. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved often, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog. Contact Karen at 

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Karen Hulene Bartell will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you so much for reviewing FOX TALE today!

Sheila Kell said...

This sounds intriguing.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thank you, Sheila. I hope you do read and ENJOY Fox Tale! It's available Monday: Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thank you so much for your insightful review of FOX TALE! And I sure appreciate your hosting me today. I have a question for your readers: Why are second-chance romances so compelling?

Marcy Meyer said...

Thanks for sharing. The excerpt sounds good.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thank you, Marcy. If you like the excerpt, I hope you do read and ENJOY Fox Tale! It's available Monday: Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Hitt Siddall said...

For me it’s that the characters get a do-over and a chance to get it right.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Do-over - I like that, Karen. Thanks for stopping by!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

traciem said...

What do you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer?

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thanks, Rita

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Tracie, a basic belief that good will overcome evil. Thanks for stopping by!

Sherry said...

This sounds like an interesting book.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Sherry, I hope you do read and ENJOY Fox Tale! It's available Monday: Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Guatemala Paula, thank you so much for reviewing FOX TALE and interviewing me today!

Karen said...

Karen, Thank YOU for hanging out with the readers of my blog today. I enjoyed KISSING KIN a lot but FOX TALE was really my cup of tea! I look forward to reading more from you and have my eye on WILD ROSE PASS soon. Best wishes! Guatemala Paula (Karen Siddall)

traciem said...

What is your favorite writing environment?