As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

March 30, 2015

ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White, 2014

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. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Valette M.

ILLUSIONS OF FATE is as delicious and delicately woven as its cover. Like all of Kiersten White's books, it features a strong female lead: Jessamine, a young islander now living on the continent that 'civilized' her homeland. (Think the British empire and colonization.) In a land where she is a second class citizen, Jessamine has to fight for every advantage she can get. I love how confident she is: proud and tall in the darkest circumstances. And boy does she go through some doozies! From being tortured to losing those close to her, she puts up a stiff lip and presses forward. She has a particularly snappy take on life. And Finn! Where do I even begin? Jessamine is so well-rounded there are points he seems underdeveloped by contrast. But still he epitomizes the dashing, mysterious, perfect gentleman magician with card tricks, charm spells, and a deep dark back story. I enjoy his flair immensely, but I approve of his utter adoration of Jessamine even more. He gives her his shadow, guys. HIS SHADOW. And it's all so sweet and desperately romantic I haven't been able to stop smiling all day.

Along with the heart-pounding romance comes all manner of political intrigue. Jessamine is suddenly thrown into life on the upper crust and finds it far more disturbing than she imagined. From one intricate thread to the next, the reader is led along a path that delves into the darker motives for expansion and the darker uses for magic, exploring exactly what it means to have a fate. With mystery upon mystery, we get to see Finn's metal tested and Jessamine's courage tried. The story moves fluidly through revelations faster and faster until culminating with a beautiful, shattering finale. I just wish there were more chapters after the climax! It's probably for the best it ended so quickly, or I might have passed out from not breathing.

I have always appreciated Kiersten White's respect for the reader. There are no shortcuts and no dumbing down. She doesn't write just to have more words to her name. Each story piece is tastefully crafted for its own place: no bigger or smaller than it merits. Illusions of Fate is exhilarating, swoon-worthy, and elegant.

Market: Young Adult
Language: Very mild if any
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: None

March 23, 2015


When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Katie Rice - Mama

She just won the Nobel Peace Prize for her life spent in dedication to encouraging education for girls.  She was shot by the Taliban for her efforts.  She survived and her survival has made her a global beacon.  And she's a teenager.  

You may know a little about Malala, but her story will endear you to her family and her people.  Very little in her book seems to be about being shot or victimized by the Taliban.  Much of I AM MALALA seems to be about a girl full of integrity trying to live her life as happily as she can despite her world being turned upside down.  She is forced to think outside of herself at a young age and her conclusions are simple and childlike and profound,  If you want to read a story about the stars aligning for one girl's purpose to shine though this is it.

Market: Nonfiction (adult or YA)
Language: clean
Sensuality: none
Violence: present
Mature Themes: gender inequality, taliban, politics, war

March 11, 2015

Winners!!! Winners!!! Winners!!!

Drumroll, please . . . 

The Winners of our MASSIVE BOOK GIVEAWAY are . . . 

Rosalyn Eves - 1 book
Jaina R - 2 books
Natalie DePalma - 2 books
Angela Holland - 2 books
Emma McAndrew - 2 books
Emily Crook - 3 books
Julie Ropelewski - 3 books
Vallette - 4 books

That's a total of 19 books!! Woohoo!! CONGRATULATIONS to you all!! 

Please email us at with your mailing address and book choice/s so we can send off the books right away.

A big, BIG thank you for everyone who participated!! YOU are all the reason Bookshop Talk is a success!!

And just as a reminder, Bookshop Talk considers reviews from anyone, at any time. So please take a look at our guidelines here, then tell us about a book you love!