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/coffee.hot 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: 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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four-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. 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.

Review

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: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Review: Fangirl – Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Macmillan
Published: September 10th 2013
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five-stars

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Ever read a book that you want to read again as soon as you are done? In fact you want to read it again so much you have to physically stop yourself and keep repeating over and over in your head that you have a million other books to read? No, never happened to you? Well then you have not read Fangirl. Because OMG did this book ever give me all the feels! Feels, feels, everywhere.I loved it so much I don’t even know where to begin with the amazingness of Rowell’s imagination and untouchable writing.

Fangirl is the story of Cath, a college freshman with a love of all things Simon Snow, a popular book series she loved as a kid. Cath has been a fan of Simon Snow for so long she really doesn’t know what life would be like without him. She reads the books, has the posters, is completely immersed in the Simon Snow fandom. So immersed she actually even writes fanfiction for the fandom. And through all the Simon Snow ups and downs Cath has had one person by her side and that was her twin sister Wren. But suddenly Wren is pulling away just as they are ready to hit college and Cath needs her around more than ever. Now Cath is on her own at school with a roommate that may or may not like her company and a boy that seems to always be around. Cath has always known where she has fit in with the Simon Snow crowd, has always had her place, but now she is out of her element and she must find out how to stand on her own and how to be herself.

Seriously I don’t think this book could have been better in any possible way. The story was perfect, the setting was perfect and the characters were perfect (in their flawed ways). Everything just flowed so naturally that the book was really hard to put down. Cath was such an interesting character that was stuck between growing up and staying in that weird place between when you aren’t a little girl anymore, but not an adult either. She had had Wren to rely on for so long and then she was no longer there and Cath was, for a lack of better words, lost.  The only thing she could rely on was her love and writing of Simon Snow. She was weighed down with such anxiety about everything she was pretty much paralyzed with fear and truly one of the most remarkable things about Cath was watching her blossom and break out of the shell she had put herself in. With the help of Reagan and Levi, oh Levi!, Cath was no longer Wren’s twin sister or Simon Snow super fan and author, or daughter of a wayward mother and bi-polar father. She was finally just Cath, a girl that has a lot of layers that just needed help in showing them.

Like I said Reagan, Cath’s roommate, and Levi, Reagan’s guy from high school, were hugely instrumental in Cath becoming the amazing person she was by the end of the book. Reagan and Cath couldn’t have been more different. They were night and day. But even with these differences they completely complimented each other and had a really great friendship. And then there was Levi. Sweet, adorable, completely charming in a goofy, sexy way, Levi.  How I heart that boy. He was the absolutely perfect person to counter Cath. He was just so at ease with himself and his life and what he wanted. And the sweet things he did. SWOON! He is now on my list of book boyfriends, right at the top with Etienne St. Clair and Jonah Griggs. That right there says how much I love.

Although there isn’t much about this book I would complain about, there were two things that bugged me. Honestly I thought all the fan fiction was a tad over the top. I completely understood its place in the story and the need for it. It helped Cath be herself and to stop worrying about everything. It let Cath express herself in a way she just couldn’t in real life. But I also found it last a tad too much throughout the book. I wanted more Levi and Cath or Cath and Wren or Cath and Reagan.  And I also hated the way Wren treated Cath sometimes like she was beneath her.  That bugged the heck out of me because it wasn’t really called for. Was Cath clingy when it came to her sister? Sure. But she also was only trying to help her and do the right thing. Wren was way too mean. You could feel the love between them but I just didn’t like her attitude.

But even with those two minor things this book is still 5 stars and I loved it to the moon and back. Rowell is a master story teller. She gets her characters like almost no other authors in YA and she gets it down on paper in a way that is laid back and easy. I’ve read 2 of her books and fell in love with each one a little more. Rainbow Rowell is officially a member of my author auto-buy group. Welcome to the club Ms. Rowell.

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Review: Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Review: Eleanor and Park – Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Macmillan
Published: February 26th 2013
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five-stars

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

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You killed me Rainbow Rowell, completely killed me with this book. It was fun and light hearted and deeply sad and broke my heart and made me laugh. I felt a plethora of emotions and it is completely your fault. The story of Eleanor and Park was magical and real and deeply emotional. Did I cry? No, but I did feel all the feels because really, there is no way you can’t.

Eleanor & Park is a story about 2 teenagers in 1986. Eleanor is the new girl, and everyone makes sure she remembers it when she arrives on the bus to school on her first day. Tormented by the kids on the bus she finds herself sharing a seat with Park, a kid that seems to keep to himself. Angered at first that he has to share his sit with this crazy new girl Park plans to ignore her and go on with his life as a misfit that still manages to fit in. But as the school year draws on, Eleanor and Park can help but lean on each other and become something neither one expected…love.

Gah, it still breaks my heart thinking about these two poor kids. And that right there says something. That says that these are two fantastic characters if I’m still sad about their circumstances and how things played out.  And I think that is why Rowell is getting all the accolades she has been about this book. And honestly, she deserves them. Eleanor and Park are fantastic characters and they are the reason this book is such a success with just about everyone that reads it, if not everyone. Because the thing about these two teens are how real they are. How you feel what they feel. How it brings you back to that feeling of first love, of having a crush, of not knowing how to act or what to say or what to do.  Here you have these two people that are just so opposite of each other in almost every way from their appearances, to their clothing choices, to their home lives, and yet they find each other and something just fits no matter how much they tried to pretend it didn’t. And watching them navigate though not only typical teen problems, but deep problems at home really got to me as a reader.

Rowell managed to pull me in with page one and never let go. I took this journey with these characters and never looked back and I would do it again even knowing how much emotions it touches. For those of you that have heard of this book and are scared to read it because of all the chatter about it, you my friend are missing out.

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