Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Tour and Review - Illusions Begin

Happy, happy Tuesday, everyone! Today I bring you another book review. This time it's an author I've read before and loved! When the opportunity to read and review another one of her books came around, I jumped on it like a kangaroo on a boxing ring floor. You can check out my review of Twisted here. In addition, Illusions Begin is part of my Indie Fever 2014 reading challenge. You can join in the fun here. What's Indie Fever? It's a challenge encouraging you to read books by Indies all year and link up with other reviewers who are doing the same! Come join in the fun. For now, sit back, relax, and snag your favorite warm drink because it's still cold outside (where are you, Spring?).

First, a little about the book up for slaughter review today:

Title: Illusions Begin (Mystic Seeker #1)
Author: N. L. Greene
Length (print): 295 pages
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 Paperback $12.95

Synopsis:
Katherine Rebecca has always done exactly what was expected of her. Her prim and proper upbringing taught her the importance of family, sacrifice, and social stature. She has followed in her parent’s footsteps, being trained and groomed daily almost from birth, to take over the family law firm. It was never a question of IF she wanted to but WHEN she would take the reins of the company. She worked rigorously toward that predetermined goal her entire life. She gave up friends, boyfriends, and an exciting social life in order to propel herself through school and college. Katherine Rebecca strived to please her parents. More than anything, she basked in their praise and approval. But now, at 21 years old, she finds herself leading a life that is nothing like the life she imagined for herself.

Becky has always possessed a deep love of magic. Ever since she was a small child she has been fascinated with magicians, illusions, mystery, and the vague hope that there was some sort of real magic in the world. But this is a secret no one knows, or at least that’s what she thought. Until one day Becky finds a mysterious business card in her pocket that leads her to an equally mysterious man. He opens up a whole new world of possibilities to her, one with a tantalizing proposition that she never thought imaginable.

Could magic actually be real?

**Will not appear in review elsewhere** Let me start off by saying how much I love the cover for this book. While I think the author's name needs to be bigger (don't be afraid to shout it out!), I adore the imagery. I feel like it portrays the story on the pages perfectly. A sexy, card wielding maven? Yeah, that's Katherine to a T. If I had one nitpick about the crop, I'd leave more of their faces in. Placement makes me cringe a bit when I think about loss due to bleed cutoff. Anyway, beautifully done and tells a compelling story! On to the review!

I won an ARC of this book in a giveaway on the author's blog and went on to purchase it on Amazon later so I could see how/if the writing improved from soup to nuts. In addition to that, when the opportunity arose to join in on a review tour, I pounced. I've reviewed Ms. Greene's work in the past and found it more than five star worthy. This book had a couple of flaws; but didn't disappoint when it came time to deliver on the story end. I have in no way been compensated for my participation in this tour and all opinions are my own. On to the good stuff.

From a Reader's Perspective:
I didn't like Ms. Hoity Toity Perfect in Every Way Becky at the beginning of the book. She was too prim, too proper, and did too many things just because her parents wanted her to. As the story moves forward, we begin to see all may not be as it first seemed. Little Becky has kept secrets from her mother and father throughout the years. One big one was why Becky had a falling out with her ex-boyfriend, Lance. This is one spot I found an inconsistency in the story though. In chapter eight, Becky talks about her mother setting up dinners between the two families because she was ignorant to what happened with Lance. Later, in chapter eleven, Becky talks about how her mother knew and was okay with what he'd done. As a reader, continuity is something I expect and it did throw me for a loop when I read it.

But, the magical aspects of the story and Becky's well-kept secret helped move the story along. I was fascinated at how she'd kept that aspect of her life hidden for so long and thrilled when she discovered all may not be as it first appeared. I won't go into that because I refuse to give spoilers. You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about.

There are two love interests in the book as well, and I can't wait for book two so I can find out which one wins Becky's heart and why. Neither felt added as an afterthought and both fit into the story perfectly.

From an Editor's Perspective:
Pronouns! These seem to give authors the most trouble. I found no pronoun errors in Ms. Greene's first book, Twisted, and contractions were used well. Illusions Begin could use contractions to make the prose and dialogue flow more easily. There are also many commas missing between statements and names in dialogue. But those are nitpicks most people probably wouldn't pick up on.

Rating:
+1 Star for giving me a truly magical story
+1 Star for showing me Becky's imperfections as the book went on and not letting her remain annoyingly unlikeable
+1 Star for the awesome surprises along the way
+1 Star for the guys in the story
-1 Star for the inconsistency in story and the need for pronoun/contraction/comma oopsie repair
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended for those who love an engaging story with awesome twists.


About the author:
N.L. Greene, who is 1/2 of the author duo Riana Lucas, has decided to venture outside of the Fantasy world that she and her best friend created with Poppy and The Deadly Flowers Series to write a few books on her own. While she loves working with her best friend, writing solo has allowed her to explore interest that had solely been her own. She spends a lot of time reading her favorite authors which range all over the place and in every genre, but spends just as much time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, shopping, and playing video games. Nichole was born in Pennsylvania but grew up in Florida, where she and her high school sweetheart live with their two children.

Facebook  ~  Goodreads  ~  Twitter  ~  Website

In her awesomeness, N. L. Greene is holding a tour-wide giveaway for a Kindle FIRE!! Yay! Enter below to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's the tour announcement page where you can see all the stops and find out what others think about Illusions Begin:
Girls Heart Books Tour Schedule: Illusions Begin

Thanks for stopping by to read this review. If you've read the book, what did you think? If you haven't, do you think you might?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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