I really wish this book had a different cover. I also wish it had more action, but I still liked it despite these things. Mostly.
Main character Emily was pretty bland, but she wasn't offensive and she didn't hold back the story. She was just kind of there.
Her romances (plural) were both swoony and I fell along with her, but one of them is so very, very sad. Even though I didn't ever really connect with Emily on a BFF level, her romantic entanglements definitely held my attention and their will-they-won't-they was what really kept me turning the pages.
There's an actual mystery, too, but it took a backseat and was never terribly engaging. I did like all the focus on artwork and forgeries, but I could have done with less focus on the Illiad and the beating me over the head repetitions.
Ultimately good enough to finish, and even good enough for me to want to pick up the sequel (at some point, eventually. Probably). But not good enough for me to push the sequel too high up on my TBR.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Dangerous Deceptions by Sarah Zettel
Last year I reviewed the first book Palace of Spies and thought it was good, but missing something. I hate to say it, but things have not improved in Dangerous Deceptions.
In the broad strokes, everything is pretty promising: interesting historical setting (in the court of George I), a cadre of ladies in waiting, puppies, court intrigue, deception, and spies.
And yet, it all falls flat. Main character Peggy isn't quite dislikable, but she isn't my favorite person in the world (though her attitude toward the dogs was pretty off-putting). Her romantic interest is a dreaded artist (I rarely ever swoon for artists) and he's a pretty bland one at that.
The mystery bored me and I had to try really hard to care about anything (although I liked that card game scene, even if it didn't entirely make sense). Even the moments of peril and big reveals failed to grab my interest.
So why did I read to the end? And why would I read another sequel (because I probably would)? Oh, I don't know! There's something about this series that does interest me. I can't for the life of me identify what it is, but for some reason I actually do like reading these books. Maybe it's the setting or some of the side characters or the easy writing or the general premise. I don't know!
ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5