Glamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns ab...moreGlamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns about a secret her parents kept from her her whole life. She feels betrayed by what happened, and that they never told her. Then she is offered a chance to go on the Grand Tour of Europe with her new found siblings, who may just hate her for who she is. She goes a little grudgingly, wary of the man who she knows now as her blood father. But she finds as she travels with her siblings, and comes to accept who she is, that she can’t be mad at any of her parents, her mother or her two fathers, because they each gave her a life that helped shape her into the woman that she is, and is becoming.
Cora was a nice protagonist. I didn’t always like being in her head. Not that she was annoying, or stupid, I just couldn’t quite connect with her. It helped that her narrative was broken up by the viewpoints of Will. I did like seeing Cora’s journey, and how she coped with her new, extravagant life, and having to leave the people she loved. She was strong, and didn’t let her siblings dislike of her keep her down. I appreciated her humility, and determination to stand firm, and her accepting herself for who she is, no matter what her past is. People could treat her however they may, but she knew there were people who cared about her, so their disdain couldn’t hurt her. But, I also felt that she was kind of boring. She’s just a normal girl, trying to find where she fits in; which is, you know, cliché. And nothing terribly original or exciting happened to put a twist on that storyline. So maybe that’s partly why I couldn’t connect with her.
The plot also, was kind of boring. It wasn’t bad, or completely disinteresting, but it wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention focused solely on the book, so that I couldn’t bear to be stop reading. I did enjoy learning about the history, and whatnot. I can tell that Bergren did her research well, and cared enough to get the details right. It wasn’t until the ending, where the real excitement began, that I became really interested, and excited, and couldn’t stop reading. Too bad that happened at the end, and not sooner. Don’t get me wrong, not all books have to be exciting and adventurous to be worth reading, or to have deep meaning. I love books that are slow, and contemplative, with lush descriptions and wonderful characters who triumph not by fighting a dragon, but by coming to know their heart and the hearts of others. And Glamorous Illusions did do this. It did have wonderful descriptions of the places the characters visited, and well-rounded characters that the reader comes to understand and like. I just felt that something was missing, for me at least.
I did like the romance, and actually, the biggest reason why I would consider reading the second book would be to see that romance develop. I’m interested to see where it goes, and to see Will and Cora fall in love. Will was a wonderful hero. He was a gentlemen who only wanted to teach his clients history, and to protect them on the tour. He just wasn’t ready to have his heart stolen. And he tries to fight it. Cora is above his station, and he isn’t supposed to get involved with the clients. But he can’t help what he feels. I liked seeing his perspective. Being able to see his side and Cora’s, seeing both of their uncertainties, and wondering if the other could possibly like them, but then telling themselves that it could never work. And then there’s Pierre, a Frenchman who falls for Cora, and she can’t help but be pleased by his attention. So, there’s a little love triangle, which will probably be explored more in the coming novels. But this triangle isn’t angsty or annoying, where the girl flip flops between the guys. It’s done well, and is believable.
So, in the end, I liked Glamorous Illusions well enough. I loved the ending, and would like to see more of Cora and Will. I think fans of the River of Time series will like this novel, and probably history fiction buffs. As for me, I’ll just have to see what the next novel has to offer before I invest in it.
Thank you to David C. Cook and Netgalley for the arc.(less)
Grave Mercy was a surprise book. I probably wouldn’t have read this book if not for Netgalley. But I’m so glad I did read it! It was quite an intrigui...moreGrave Mercy was a surprise book. I probably wouldn’t have read this book if not for Netgalley. But I’m so glad I did read it! It was quite an intriguing story with memorable characters. And honestly, I was a little surprised at how much I liked it. I wasn’t expecting a lot from it, (except for the nun assassins part, which I thought was pretty awesome before I read the book), but then I started reading it, and whoosh! I was sucked into the story, living in the intrigue, feeling the magic.
LaFevers did a good job at concocting up an interesting plot with originality and excitement. I liked the mystery, and how it was executed, slowly built, with little twists to keep you guessing. It kept the level of intrigue high, and kept my interest, and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. There was a lot of court intrigue, and at first was a little too overwhelming. Too many names and little things going on. But as the story went on, it all made more sense, and looking back, I can see it was actually nicely well done.
Part of the plot deals with poison. The protagonist, Ismea, is learned in this art, and even has a special little ability involving poison that becomes a vital part of the story. Fans of Poison Study I think will love this book. While reading it, I was actually reminded a little of Pride and Prejudice. Ismae has an Elizabeth aura, she’s strong and dependent and won’t let men take control of her. Duval is Mr. Darcy, with his good looks and prejudice against Ismae. Ann, Duval’s sister whom he loves and valiantly protects, and who absolutely adores Duval, is Georgiana. Ann’s mother is the Lady Catherine De Bourgh with her less than desirable qualities. Perhaps that’s part of why the novel captured me so, the connection I felt to P&P. Ismae and Duval’s romance starts out similar to Darcy and Lizzie, with dislike and strain at the beginning, but then the individuals slowly coming to realize the good qualities in the other person.
The ending was superb, with its twists and danger and excitement. Kept me turning- er..tapping- the pages in a rush to see the outcome. Upon finishing Grave Mercy, I was deep in love with it, with the characters, and not wanting to part with them. And oh, am I excited for the companion novel!
Grave Mercy is a fantastic murder mystery, historical, magical, romantic story that kicks butt! LaFevers created a wonderful story that many people will love. Thank you for sharing your story! And now, just one more thing to say, MORE PLEASE!!
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for the arc. (less)
I do so love a good clean romance novel. And this book was a perfect example. It was beautiful and romantic, a perfect Christian love story. I really...moreI do so love a good clean romance novel. And this book was a perfect example. It was beautiful and romantic, a perfect Christian love story. I really like books set in medievalish times, and this book was brilliantly researched and written. It was pretty predictable, I knew who Rose was nearly from the beginning, but that didn't take away the joy I had of reading Wilhelm and Rose find this out for themselves. I also liked how it was based loosley on Sleeping Beauty, and the true love's kiss..sigh. So perfect. (less)