Author: Kiersten White

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book Review

Posted December 30, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors | Book ReviewMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by St Martin's Press on October 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

My True Love Gave to Me was one of the most anticipated holiday reads of mine this season, and I was so excited to dive in and be enchanted. While I liked a few of the stories, I did not like this book as a whole as much as I expected. These are amazing authors, but sadly some of the stories did not wow me. My True Love Gave to Me is a mixed bag of stories ranging from contemporary to fantasy, with a little something for everyone. I don’t want to give too much away since each story is roughly 30 pages, so I’m just going to post my Goodreads status updates for each story. I will note that I might have enjoyed this book more if I had just read a story here and there, rather than trying to binge the whole thing over a few days.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow’s story just massacred my feels! So swoony and perfect and the kind of story hopeless romantics dream of. This was my favorite story of the collection.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
Kelly Link’s story is odd and weird and magical, yet slightly creepy. My curiosity kept me going, and I ended up utterly captivated.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña’s story was a tad boring, and I could have done without all the swear words and the cheating.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
Jenny Han’s story is whimsical, and I enjoyed that it took place in Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, but there’s no resolution. It was too short.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins’s story was really cute. Love the idea of falling in love over Christmas trees and sexy voices.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Didn’t like David Levithan’s story at all. I liked that we got to see Santa come to life for a little girl, but it was mostly boring.

Krampsuslaf by Holly Black
I did not finish Holly Black’s story. A couple pages into it, and I knew it was not the Christmas story for me. Demons, horns, and scrambling “Santa” to get “Satan” do not mean Christmas to me!

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman’s story had me excited because I’ve never read a Hanukkah story before, but I found myself bored. There were a few lovely moments, and some sweet quotes… But overall I felt meh and wanted to move on.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McIntyre
Myra McIntyre’s story was whimsical, but took a little while to get into. I didn’t love it, but it was fun. I’m kind of a sucker for awkward romance as well. :)

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Loved kiersten White’s story! It’s magical and sweet and completely heartwarming. And I loved the focus on yummy comfort foods and cheesy Christmas decorations.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I liked the idea of Ally Carter’s story, but it should not have been a short story. We needed more character development, more back story, and more believability. The resolution was way too far fetched and unlikely. If the story were longer, the author might have been able to pull it off.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I LOVED Laini Taylor’s story. It started out a little slow, but I loved the world and the pure magic. I also loved the beautiful descriptions and the writing style. Laini is super talented, and I would love an entire book devoted to the Dreamer. I wanted more.


Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book Review

Posted October 6, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Book ReviewIllusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTEEN on September 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

I had not heard much about Illusions of Fate, but I thought it sounded like something right up my alley. I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and that cover is amazing. Then I heard from Jamie that Stephanie Perkins highly recommends it, and I pushed it right to the top! I loved the idea of magic being a huge story element, so I was excited to begin. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love this place called Albion. It seems to be kind of a conglomeration of the Regency era in England and historic New York City. There were times I felt like I was sitting in Central Park, and there were times when I felt like I was sitting in an Austen-esque sitting room with lavish couches and tea on the table.

2. The nobility are the ones who hold magical powers! I felt like part of this exclusive club that I was let in on this secret, along with Jessamin. Different people hold and develop different powers, so no two nobles are the same. I liked that.

3. Jessamin is a very exotic-looking girl from the island of Melei, who comes to Albion to study at a prestigious school. Think Oxford. People from her island are not well-liked, so she is a bit of an outsider. She sure does catch the eye of Finn, aka Lord Ackerly. Something extremely romantic and rare happens between the two of him, and he is immediately captivated by her. His arch nemesis, Lord Downpike, has finally found Finn’s weakness. It’s Jessamin. She’s very spunky and not the kind of girl who sits back and lets people protect her, much to Finn’s chagrin.

4. Finn is super swoony. He’s 19, but not. And he’s so proper and romantic. And chivalrous. With these proper mannerisms and personality traits, though, he was not incredibly open with his feelings, which was a bit disappointing. He reminded me a tiny bit of Mr. Darcy. But just a tiny bit. He’s broody and opinionated and stubborn. But not as romantic.

5. I simply adored Jessamin’s friend, Eleanor. I could not get enough of her! She’s hysterical, and so much fun. I would love it if she would get her own book.

6. I think my favorite part of the story is the beginning. Everything is super mysterious and intriguing. Books are hawks as well. Who is Lord Ackerly? What is Lord Downpike hiding? Why does Finn’s house have so many doors that lead to random places? And the feeling of the book was just a bit eery and unsettling.

7. As the book moved forward, mysteries were solved very quickly, and information was kind of dumped on us. I began to get a little bored also, when things quit happening. The beginning was exciting, and there were all these ominous feelings going on. But then the excitement stopped for a while and I felt like I kept reading the same scenes over and over again.

6. I think the book was too short for the story it had to tell. I would have loved a more developed Albion, more depth to the characters (Finn has lived a LOT), and less of an easy and predictable ending. I think this might be one of the very few situations where I actually wanted a sequel. It was all just too formulaic, which was disappointing because the idea was super unique and could have been played with a lot more.

All in all, Illusions of Fate was a fun read. While it could not hold a candle to some of my favorite fantasies, it does have some unique elements that made it a worthwhile read. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy, with a little mystery and romance I would have no problems recommending Illusions of Fate. While it lacks strong world building, there is a character named Sir Bird that I’m sure you’ll be fond of.

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