Illusions of Fate: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteAlbion is dank and cold; a dreary, grey thing far removed from Jessamin Olea’s tropical island home of Melei. Even the people of Albion are different with their harsh, staid manners and so many of them obsessed with wealth or status.

With her dark hair and skin, Jessa never stood a chance of blending in here–even if she wanted to do such a thing.

No matter the hardships, Jessa knows moving to Albion will be worthwhile once her fancy Alben education is complete and she can use all of her new knowledge to help Melei and its people.

If Jessa hadn’t tried to walk down an alley on her way home from class, that might have been the end of the story. Instead, after a chance encounter with a strange and charming man named Finn Ackerly, Jessa’s life becomes something very different.

Soon Jessa is drawn into a magical power struggle between Finn and the sinister Lord Downpike. Weeks ago Jessa’s biggest concerns were keeping warm and trying to afford her textbooks while staying at the top of her class. Now, as enemies circle, Jessa will have to decide whether to stay on the path that will bring her home to Melei or bind herself further to Finn in Illusions of Fate (2014) by Kiersten White.

Find it on Bookshop.

White offers a clever and original story here that is a fine historial-esque fantasy set in a well-realized world. With wit and humor aplenty, Illusions of Fate also features a nuanced commentary on what it means to feel and be seen as “other” along with the power that comes from claiming one’s heritage and identity.

Ideas surrounding feminism and imperialism are also handled as thoughtfully as race here. Jessa is a fierce heroine who knows exactly who she is and refuses to compromise that sense of self for anyone. Unapologetic, smart, and more than capable of saving herself, Jessa is sure to appeal to readers of all ages. Finn is her perfect foil as these unlikely allies bring out the best in each other with chemistry that is evident in every banter-filled exchange.

Illusions of Fate is a delightful blend of fantasy and romance with an action-packed plot with more than a few twists. The story builds slowly to reveal a story that is both engaging and thoughtful as Jessa tries to navigate the murky waters of Alben society. Although the ending is rushed in places, readers will finish this book with all of the pieces they need to imagine what other adventures might be in store for this truly wonderful heroine.

Possible Pairings: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Dreamology by Lucy Keating, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, Sabriel by Garth Nix, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye, Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Enchantée by Gita Trelease, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I’m Excited About

Top Ten Tuesdays img by Miss Print

At first I wasn’t sure I had enough books to talk about in this post. Then I started looking at my TBR shelves and realized that was wildly inaccurate. SO here are some sequels I’m psyched about.

  1. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman: I am spoiled rotten and have this in my hands (signed) even though it’s not out until March.
  2. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: Again because I am spoiled rotten, I have read this already. But I am excited for March when I can get a hard copy to match my beautiful copy of The Winner’s Curse.
  3. Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan: This one has been out for a while but I managed to fall behind with the series. Now that Unmade is out and I own both, I really have no excuse to put off finishing the series!
  4. P. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han: Is there anyone who isn’t excited about this one? I can’t wait to see what happens to Lara Jean next! Luckily I have Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy in the interim since it’s a series I missed when it first came out!
  5. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater: File under books I should have read 5 years ago.
  6. Black Heart by Holly Black: See above.
  7. Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier: See number five.
  8. Split Second by Kasie West: There’s real no reason for me to not have read it yet. I guess I’m just worried it won’t live up to the first book.
  9. Dearest by Alethea Kontis: I love the Woodcutter books so this is one 2015 release I’m pretty excited about!
  10. Vengeance by Megan Miranda: Like Split Second, I’ve put this book off because I have concerns. And I don’t want Decker and Delaney’s story to be over.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

(Image made by me.)

Week in Review: November 16

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This week on the blog you can check out:

This post is actually being written on Tuesday and backdated to Sunday because the weekend got away from me even though I had three days off.

Friday I went to the UPS store, the post office and the pharmacy. I sold books at the Strand. I replaced our old cable modem and returned the old one to the Time Warner store. All while walking around in the cold with a giant suitcase of said books to sell.

Saturday I finished putting up Christmas decorations and going through all of our decorations to get them in order. Which was as exhausting as it sounds.

I also finished Blackfin Sky and Love and Other Perishable Items which were both unexpectedly delightful. I spent Sunday crashed out and Monday (since this is backdated :P) was kind of lousy. I keep forgetting that we’re nearing the year mark for Mom’s surgery and then I look at the calendar. Then I realize why I’m feeling lousy. I don’t know if it’s holdover stress or what exactly. I mean my mom is fine and I know that intellectually. She is actually better than she was an at point last year. Which I also know. Yet still, this shapeless anxiety keeps taking hold as I remember. It’s amazing how even when you get distance from a traumatic event, it can still be right there. It can still feel like yesterday.

I did not get this post or Monday Memories done but I promise I’m going to be better with that. See you all next week (for real).

 

Chasing Power Synchronized Reading Roundup

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

This month Nicole and I read Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Here’s a rundown of all the posts I wrote up for the Synchronized Reading:

You can also head over to Nicole’s blog to see her posts:

Chasing Power Synchronized Reading Post #1: Super Powers

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

Our current Synchronized Reading is Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Once we knew that Chasing Power was about a girl with telekinesis and a teleporting boy, Nicole and I knew we wanted to talk about what power we would want for ourselves.

I don’t know if it’s because I am a big fan of fantasy, but I spend a lot of time thinking about which super power I want. Flying is out because I’m afraid of heights. Teleporting could be cool because it would make traveling a lot easier but at the same time I sometimes like the chance to meander or read on my commute (though recently my commute has been getting me down so I have to say this one has become more and more appealing).

But one I come back to more often than most is the ability to control time. I don’t mean time travel because that would be a mess. I don’t really want to stop time on a global scale because that’s just asking for trouble and could lead to being kidnapped by a super villain.

What I really want to do is be able to step out of time. Just leave and be in my own little bubble where I could get stuff done whether that means reading a book or making Christmas gifts or whatever. I’d really like to just take a step back and have time stop for me so no one would notice me missing (and maybe I’d only be gone for a minute or two even if I really step away for a few hours?) so I could get more stuff done.

Thinking about it now I realize this power could lead to problems where I would age prematurely. Perhaps I could just use this power really responsibly? Or maybe as a secondary power I would also not age while stepping out of time?

Obviously there are still a lot things to work if this power ever becomes a reality. For now maybe I should just settle on the power of speed reading?

Actually, forget everything I just said. I recently did a guest post for Andi’s Parallel Time Loop about Pivot Point. And I have to say thinking about Addie’s ability to see how different decisions will change her future, I’m pretty tempted to make that choice. I feel like it could be just as dangerous as controlling time or time travel but I really like the idea of always knowing what’s coming.

What power would you want to have?

Author Interview (#6): Sarah Beth Durst on Chasing Power

Sarah Beth Durst author photoSarah Beth Durst is here today to talk about her latest novel Chasing Power and answer some questions about it. Chasing Power is Sarah’s latest novel for young adults and features a master thief with telekinesis, romance and adventure!

Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for Chasing Power?

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): Telekinesis.

Really, the whole novel started from just that little seed.  I’ve loved telekinesis ever since I was a kid and read The Girl With the Silver Eyes and watched Escape to Witch Mountain.  And the X-Men cartoon on Saturday mornings.  So I wanted to write a story about a girl who could move things with her mind.

My idea for Kayla was that her power would be very, very limited.  She’d only be able to move things as heavy as a piece of paper.  So she’d have to be clever.

MP: How did you decide which places to include in the story?

SBD: I chose places that captured my imagination.  One of the best things about being a writer is that you get to be the ultimate armchair traveler.  I got to explore catacombs and visit the rainforest without ever being far from my refrigerator.

A lot of the places were inspired by National Geographic articles that I’ve read over the years, thus justifying the towering stack of those magazines in the basement.  (They’re just too pretty to throw away!  Okay, yes, I’m a bit of a pack rat…)

MP: You mentioned that the story started with Kayla and her telekinesis. When did you know the story would also include a teleporting boy?

SBD: Pretty early.  Just glanced at my brainstorming notes from when I started working on the novel, and at the end of my first day of brainstorming, there’s a single line: “He’s a teleporter!!!!!!!!!”

Apparently, I brainstorm with lots of punctuation.

MP: Which scene are you especially excited for readers to get to in Chasing Power?

SBD: The whole plot is designed to ramp up.  It starts with a small heist to introduce Kayla and her powers, and then it builds and builds and builds…  Personally, I’m excited for readers to get to Spain.  Had a lot of fun writing that scene.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

SBD: Yes!  I’m working on a middle-grade novel called THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM.  It’s about a girl whose family owns a secret store where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams, but who can’t have any of her own, and the adventure that she and her pet monster go on when someone starts kidnapping dreamers.

It’s coming out from HMH/Clarion Books in fall 2015, and I’m really, really excited about it!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions!

For more information about Sarah and her books you can also visit her website.

You can also check out our previous interviews discussing Sarah’s other novels Enchanted Ivy and Drink, Slay, Love, Vessel and Conjured and The Lost.

If you want to know more about Chasing Power be sure to check out my  review.

Chasing Power: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth DurstKayla had planned to spend her summer lazing about the beach in Santa Barbara with her best friend Selena and occasionally stealing things here and there to keep her mind sharp. After all, a sharp mind is very important when you can use it to move things.

Her plans for the summer are effectively derailed when a boy named Daniel appears out of nowhere. Literally. Because Daniel has a power of his own–the ability to teleport anywhere instantly. Threatened with blackmail, Kayla agrees to help Daniel steal a set of three ancient artifacts to help Daniel rescue his kidnapped mother.

As Daniel and Kayla travel around the world to collect the artifacts, Kayla soon realizes that the secrets she has been keeping, the kidnapping, and the artifacts may all connect back to each other–and to her own family–in a shocking act of betrayal that could change everything in Chasing Power (2014) by Sarah Beth Durst.

Find it on Bookshop.

While Kayla is a willful and often impulsive character, she is also an honest one who is willing to own up to her mistakes. Kayla’s own rash behavior is balanced well by best friend Selena who offers a down-to-earth foil to Kayla’s magical powers. Kayla’s mother is another a great addition to this story with her own charms–both magical and otherwise.

Chasing Power is a streamlined blend of magic, romance and page-turning action. This story is part urban fantasy and part treasure hunt in a satisfying blend of adventure and suspense.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, White Cat by Holly Black, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, Caster by Elsie Chapman, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Rampant by Diana Peterfreund, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

*A copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2014*

Synchronized Reading: Chasing Power

Synchronized Reading is back! This time Nicole and I will be reading Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Be sure to check here this week and also check out Nicole’s blog to get the full reading picture! In addition to posts about the book and review we will also both be interviewing Sarah Beth Durst this week.

Nicole and I were both super excited to chat with Sarah a bit at BEA this year and also to get shiny ARCs of her newest book so of course it was an obvious choice for our next Synchronized Reading.

As is tradition now I also had a manicure to match the cover:

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In summary: Nicole and I will be reading Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst. We will be blogging about it. It will be awesome. You, too, can read Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst as it is now.

Monday Memories: The Birthright Series

Monday Memories is a weekly feature hosted by Miss Print and the Book Bandit. Just take a photo of a book from your personal library (or a library book that’s significant to you, etc.) and talk about why it matters. Is it your first ever signed book? The first book you reviewed on your blog? Whatever it is, write it up in a Monday Memories post and share it. Just please link back if you decide to join!

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Today for Monday Memories I’m talking about three books: All These Things I’ve Done, Because It Is My Blood and In the Age of Love and Chocolate.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle ZevinBecause It Is My Blood by Gabrielle ZevinIn the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

These books are special to me for lots of reasons. I’ve followed these books from the first ARCs were out for book one. I’ve interviewed Gabrielle about all of them. And, amazingly, my reviews have appeared in the paperbacks of books 1 and 2.

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These books also got me through an incredibly hard time not once but twice as I read them while my mom was in the hospital. Which is around the time I received a set of the books from Gabrielle in the mail with this postcard:

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In a really rough period, this one package made my month and reminded me that even when things get awful, there can be bright spots.

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It’s hard to sum up how much love I have to this series and its heroine in words but I really hope you’ll read them (and love them) too.

Week in Review: November 9

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This week on the blog you can check out:

Don’t forget to sign up for the Giving Thanks Box Swap! Sign Ups and Info found here.

This week I staved off a cold through sheer force of will and I’m finally starting to feel like a normal person.

On Monday after work I headed to the Plaza where I had a lovely dinner with Rachel Hartman (author of Seraphina) and Karyn–a librarian I have known since I was working as a shelving page. It’s one of those things that I’ve been filing under weird and wonderful things that have happened to me. It was a very, very long day but the dinner was great with good company and delicious food (ginger chicken tacos, dumplings and eggplant pizza from the Todd English Dining Hall).

Rachel is an author I befriended through Twitter and reaching out for an author interview. And Karyn and I keep in touch largely through Twitter as well. So anyone who says Twitter is useless is just a big fat liar. (This goes the larger idea that I didn’t really know what networking meant until I had already done it and parlayed it into blog experience and job applying but that’s a different story.) Anyway, it was a really, really cool thing. And because I am a hopeless fan sometimes I also now have my arcs of Seraphina and Shadow Scale signed.

Work-wise I have been preparing for Crochet Club which will either be fantastic or horrible. Time will tell. I also made new displays for November that I might blog about soon. A new librarian also started and told me this week that he has been following my blog. This is the first time since I have been blogging that I have met someone who reads my blog in real life so again a weird and wonderful thing. I have also been offering recommendations for BookMatch (virtual reader’s advisory) like nobody’s business.

I also am currently reading The Winner’s Crime thanks to a coworker who came through when I begged her to let me know if an ARC came in :) I’m enjoying it and remembering why I loved the first one with every page BUT things are dark, guys. We are talking seriously gritty in places.

Home-wise I am trying to (finally) finish a very small cross-stitch project. I also started sequining an ornament. Really, all I want to do is crochet things but I don’t have a need for more bookmarks. Also: Christmas decorating is imminent.

How was your week? Are you joining me for Monday Memories this week?