Book Love: Perfect Holiday Book

It’s that time of year. The first day of winter is upon us (today actually) and that usually means ones thing, especially here in Massachusetts, reading inside with tea/ chocolate while the snow falls outside. Although I’m hoping this year is nothing like last year…I’m looking at you 100+ inches of snow within like a month…I do like my reading time.  And if you are like me you love a good winter romance to snuggle up with and that is exactly what I’m telling you about today.

Book Love: Perfect Holiday BookMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published: October 14th 2014
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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 (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

I read this book last year and it just made me smile. It brought a lot of my favorite authors together with 12 short winter/holiday themed stories and gave me a taste of some other authors that were knew to me. It is the perfect gift to get someone for the holidays or to buy for your self when you are sitting at home snuggled under a blanket.

What is even better? Well the fabulous editor of My True Love Gave to Me, Ms. Stephanie Perkins, will be back in just in time for a summer version with another fabulous 12 authors in Summer Days and Summer Nights ( St. Martin’s Griffin, June 2016) available for pre-order now!

Book Love: Perfect Holiday BookSummer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
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Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.


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Review: I Was Here – Gayle Forman

Review: I Was Here – Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by VIKING
Published: January 27th 2015
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Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.


To be honest, it’s rare that I meet a Gayle Forman book that I don’t love. If I Stay? Loved it. Where She went? Broke me. Just One Day? Amazing. Just One Year? A different kind of love. So I had very very high hopes for I Was Here. And I admit I was a little nervous since it is Forman’s first standalone since her debut which I thought was just okay. But after reading I Was Here I was put at ease. The book was excellent and quintessentially Gayle Forman.

I Was Here is about Cody and Meg, inseparable best friends. Well until Meg decides to take her own life and leaves Cody behind to pick up the pieces. Beating herself up over not seeing the signs that her friend was in trouble, Cody goes to Meg’s college apartment and finds out about a life her friend had she knew nothing about. With the help of clues left behind by Meg, her roommates, and the mysterious bad boy Ben McAllister, Cody unravels the facts behind Meg’s suicide and things she never really knew about her best friend.

I guess what I really loved about I Was Here was the fact that the story was more about the friendship between Cody and Meg and how guilty Cody felt after her friend left her behind. It was more about Cody figuring out how to handle her grief and live a life without her friend that was like a crutch to her. Is there romance? Sure. And trust me, I loved that part. But the story really isn’t about that. It’s about how you can never really know someone even when you think you do. It is about dealing with feeling like a failure for your friend and how to have the life you once wanted but was too scared to go after. It’s about life going on.

And can we talk about Ben McAllister for a second?? Wow does Forman know how to write an interesting boy. Honestly I’m not sure I was supposed to love Ben the way I did, but man it is impossible not to. He is arrogant and cocky and has this swagger about him, but he is also sweet and supportive in a strange way. Basically he was sexy as heck and I love him and his banter with Cody. I also liked his background/story we were given. Basically I had no control in liking him. I did have a minor issue with one part of his and Cody’s story, but I loved everything else so much I let it go.

All in all I Was Here was exactly what I have come to know and love from Gayle Forman. It had all the elements I wanted and just a little extra. The story was plotted well and had great characters and I most definitely cried a tear or two. It pulled my heart strings in the best kind of way. Can’t wait to see what is next Ms. Forman.

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Do you want to show how you left your mark somewhere? You can. Go to the website for the book HERE and show your “I Was Here” moment. It is a pretty neat tool to show where you have been and what you may or may not have left behind.

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Review: My True Love Gave to Me – Various Authors

Review: My True Love Gave to Me – Various AuthorsMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published: October 14th 2014
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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. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.


Rating an anthology is hard. That was my first thought when I finished reading all the stories. I mean I really loved some, hated a couple and thought a few were just okay. All together it was a great gathering of different holiday stories, but some hit the mark more than others. So in the long run I thought it would be best for me to rate each individually and then average those stars together at the end. Each review is brief as to not give anything away, but more my initial thoughts on the story.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell – 5 stars
Loved this one! It had such a great Rainbow Rowell vibe to it. It was truthful and had heart and made me feel like I felt reading Fangirl. It had the perfect amount of holiday Magic and was the perfect start to the anthology.

The Lady & the Fox by Kelly Link – 2 stars
I’m still not sure exactly what this story was about. When I was done I thought I was stupid for not understanding what I just read. I was really confused. Basically this story wasn’t for me.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de La Peña – 4.5 stars
This story was one that I wanted a whole book of. I loved first that it was from a guy’s point of view and second that the characters were so different yet similar in some ways. They had amazing chemistry and formed a fast bond. Seriously would not have been opposed to a longer story.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – 4 stars
This story had the magical whimsy you expect from holiday stories and the awesome real ness of a Jenny Han book. I loved the fantasy aspect that is so often attached to Christmas but done in a way that you don’t really think of it as not being real. It was simply an adorable addiction to this book.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – 5 stars
I was scared reading a Perkins story that did not involve an Anna, Lola or Isla in it. I mean really scared. But guys…this was pure Stephanie Perkins! The writing, the characters, the setting. It was EVERYTHING that is perfect about Stephanie and everything I love about her. I’m now convinced girl would write the phone book and I would read it 9000 times! One of my faves in the book.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – 3 stars
I wasn’t crazy about this one. I thought it was okay and I really liked the characters, but I felt like it was too short to get anything done it in. It felt really muddled where it tried to get all the things in to a few short pages. I wasn’t really sure what it was trying to say. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

Krampusluaf by Holly Black – 3 stars
This story was plain weird. It was a mix of contemporary and fantasy and I don’t think I liked the blending of the two. I mean I really enjoyed the contemporary part (why it got 3 stars). That part really worked for me. But then it just got strange and I was really confused on what to think. I think stiking to one or the other would have been a better choice for me. It just wasn’t my kind of story.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman – 5 stars
Gayle Forman at her finest. I just loved this. I loved how it dealt with stereotypes and assumptions. I loved how two people that were different found a random connection and went with it. I love that it all happened in one night. Like I said, Gayle Forman at her finest.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – 4 stars
I liked this one. I had a little more religion in it than some of the others which was fine because it wasn’t preachy. I liked that it was from the town “bad boy” POV. And I loved what he learned just by someone taking a chance on him. It was a cute story that was silly at times, but all in all really enjoyable and well written.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – 5 stars
My fave in the whole anthology. I loved EVERYTHING about this story. The characters, the plot, the setting. It is seriously everything it is so true about Christmas that we all sometimes forget. Sometimes you just need to make people smile. Sometimes you just need to give up on something to see something better. Sometimes you just need to believe in that holiday magic. Another one I wished was longer.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – 3.5 stars
This was cute. Not 100% memorable as I had to read other reviews to jog my memory as to what it was about, but it was definitely cute. I’m not sure it was long enough for it to make the best of an impact, but I know I didn’t hate it and I felt bad for the main character and thought the boy in it was adorable.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 2 stars
I struggled with this one. Like really, really struggled. It was so not my kind of story at all and I was sad it was the last one. The only reason I finished it was because it was the last one. I was just not interested and it was plain weird for my taste. Not the best ender in my opinion, but some may like it if they are into more fantasy than I am.

In totally I enjoyed this anthology and never struggled reading it until the end. It was fun and a great way to ease into the holiday season which is quickly approaching. I would definitely recommend picking it up just for some of the stories I loved. And even for the ones I didn’t. Just because those ones weren’t for me doesn’t mean they may not be for you.



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Review: Where She Went – Gayle Forman

Review: Where She Went – Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by Speak
Published: April 17th 2012
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It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


I first fell in love with Mia and Adam’s stories when I read both If I Stay and Where She Went back in April of 2011. It was my first experience with Gayle Forman’s writing and I was head over heels for it. She wrote a heartbreaking story that made me feel sad and uplifted and broken and emotionally drained and hopeful all in the span of two books. She hit on all the right spots and I just fell in love. And then I saw the If I Stay movie and all of those emotions came back. I left the theater knowing one thing, I had to read Where She Went again. I had to go back to Adam’s story. And the truth is, I had all the same emotions coursing through me as I did the first time I read it, only this time it felt more real, like I knew these characters and I was an actual part of their story.

Where She Went is the second part of the If I Stay duology. It’s been three years since the accident that took away Mia’s family and Adam is off living his dream. He’s won awards, had platinum records, and a tour on the way. But Adam is no longer the same guy he was. His life is the shadow of what it should be and it all traces back to the accident that changed everything he believed in. Now he was a broken guy no longer in love with the music he used to eat, slept and dreamed about. Instead he is a guy just floating by. And then a random, chance encounter changes everything. And the past that Adam thought he was over and had left behind is suddenly right in his face leaving him no choice but to deal with his demons and decide if the past should be left in the past.

So when I read this book the first time I didn’t review it. I had a really hard time putting it into words and I don’t want to spoil either book for anyone. But I just need to get it out there how amazing this follow-up truly is. The truth is if I thought I was demolished by Mia’s story in If I Stay, that was nothing compared to Adam. Where She Went took the feels to a whole other level. My heart just ached for him and everything that had unraveled in his life. How he had to look put together almost all the time when he was just a mess inside. Basically Adam killed me in this book in the kind of way that was a punch to the gut. He just seemed so alone and detached and I hated seeing him that way. But I also understood it. Between the pressure and the guilt and the grief and the heartache he was desperate to not feel so alone which he always did even if he was in a room full of people. Adam was missing one thing and it was his heart which was shattered on a snowy road in Oregon years before. Killed me!

With all that said Where She Went is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and read reread and that is a testament to Forman and the way she writes a book to make it feel real, how you feel a part of the story. I was affected the first time I read this book, but even more the second time. It felt a part of me and it left me feeling like things sometimes had a way of figuring themselves on their own. If you haven’t read either if these books I highly recommend that you do.



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Review: Just One Year – Gayle Forman

Review: Just One Year – Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Speak
Published: September 30, 2014
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The compelling companion title to the much-lauded  Just One Day  follows Willem's transformative journey toward self-discovery and true love, by the author of  If I Stay.

Picking up where  Just One Day  ended, Just One Year  tells Willem's side of the story. After spending an amazing day and night with Allyson in Paris that ends in separation, Willem and Allyson are both searching for one another. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

Let me start by saying how excited I was when a friend got an advanced copy of this and let me borrow it before she even read it. She is totally awesome. I’ve been dying to read this book since I finished Just One Day back in January and it didn’t disappoint…for the most part. Although I didn’t love it as much as Just One Day, I really enjoyed Willem’s story which turned out to be a year of growth and changes.

Just One Year is the companion to Just One Day. I say companion because although it has the exact same characters and revolves around the same circumstances I didn’t find it to be a sequel. It was more a story on its own. It was Willem’s story. When we left our couple in Just One Day we never really got to know what happened to Willem and why he disappeared and what had happened to him. It was all a blank slate and Just One Year clears it all up. We get to see what Willem has been up to in the year since he and “Lulu” had parted. What obstacles he faced, what trials were thrown at him, how much he grew as a person. We find out if he was looking for “Lulu” or if he didn’t care as much. We really get to know him.

You know, I liked Willem a lot in Just One Day. What we knew of him it was good stuff. But it was surface stuff for the most part. Sure we knew his thoughts on love and family, but I didn’t feel we really go to know him. Well that all changed in this book and I liked Willem even more as I watched him truly become a man and not be stuck in that man/boy stage. When we first met him he was kind of a lost soul and “Lulu” grounded him, touched him in a way that would forever change him, and in the year they were apart, he was changed. From the first page to the last Willem changed and I loved being able to clearly see that transformation. We as the reader really got to be a part of it which isn’t always the case.

I know, this review is all very vague, but that’s because I don’t want to give away the wonderfulness of the book. Like I said, to me, it wasn’t as good as the 1st book, and I have my reasons for that that I can’t share without giving away some of the plot, but it really was a great journey. I didn’t want to throw in the towel at any point. I wanted to know everything I could and that is because of Forman’s style of writing which pulls you in. She has a knack for writing character stories whether it is Mia and Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went or Willem and LuLu from the Just One Day Series. You become a part of the journey and that is definitely what happened in Just One Year. I would definitely recommend it. It’s a great period and exclamation point on a great two-part story.


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