Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Born Of Illusion by Teri Brown + Featured Freebie

Born Of Illusion
Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. 

Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. 

But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

My Rating: 4/5

A lovely book packed with thrills, magic, mystery, secrets, and a sprinkle of romance! Born of Illusion was a lovely read.

First, may I say that the cover for this book is spectacular. It's so gorgeous-it just grabs your attention and keeps it. Let's be honest, despite the whole "never judge a book by its cover" thing, I'm pretty sure that this cover is beautiful enough for most people to pick it up immediately. I just love it.
But, moving on...

The setting for this book was flawless. The atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties was captured perfectly. The glamour, glitz, and obsession with the spectacular. It was perfectly emulated. 

Anna was a realistic character. Her reactions to her situation and to the revelations she faces made her feel very real. In dealing with it all, she showed herself to be strong and very clever. Occasionally, she would do something really stupid that would make me want to shake some sense into her, but not in a bad way. More in the way that made her seem that she was a real person who made mistakes. She was a lovely character.

There is a slight romance in this book and the love interest is Cole-the young man who reveals the organization of gifted magicians. He was wonderful-very sweet. He never interacted with girls very much because he went to an all-boys school in the backwoods of Germany, so he would blush when something remotely romantic would happen and it was adorable. He definitely proved to be a worthy hero with his determination to protect Anna. Their relationship wasn't the main point of the book, but it did play an important role. It was very sweet-they were a lovely couple.

My one issue with the book is that I wish that the magic part of it (real magic, not Houdini illusions and tricks kind of magic)  had been more seamlessly integrated. It felt like that aspect of the book didn't connect completely with the others. And that the whole situation of the organization and how the gifts work was more explained. It wasn't a deal-breaker, but it was a minor issue.

The plot was well-done. It was fast paced and there were thrills all along that kept me on the edge of my seat. The secrets had me hooked and the final reveal of who was behind all the trouble blew me away. The ending was lovely, a perfect wrap-up. Though, I still hope for a sequel just because I want to read more about the characters and the world the author created. No news of that, yet, but one can hope. But, the ending of this book tied up all the loose ends perfectly. 

Born of Illusion was a delightful book that featured brilliant magic, vivid history, shocking secrets, and sweet romance. Lovers of this genre, you should definitely read this book.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray for a copy!
Featured Freebie:
Today, I have another book from one of my favorite Medieval romance authors: The Legend by Kathryn Le Veque. Go forth and get it for free!

The Legend1270 A.D. - An epic story of loss, love and redemption. On the Seventh Crusade, Sir Alec Summerlin makes a horrible mistake that costs him everything.
Once the greatest swordsman in the realm, he lays his weapon down and refuses to ever wield a broadsword again. Surrendering his spurs, he retires to his father's castle in self-imposed exile. His father, however, has other ideas for his greatest son and betroths him to a local ale heiress.

The Lady Peyton de Fluornoy is as resistant to marriage as Alec is, but she gradually begins to warm to the man who has given up on life. Alec comes to know a lady of spirit, beauty and intelligence. Before their marriage can happen, however, Alec's father is blackmailed by a neighbor who wants Peyton for his own son. Now deeply in love, Alec elopes with Peyton and an entirely new world of danger and passion opens up for them both.

As the conflict with the neighbor heats up, deep and horrific secrets are revealed, and Peyton ends up in grave danger. Alec must recant his vow and draw his sword again to save the woman that he loves as The Legend is once again reborn.


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