Book Talk: My True Love Gave To Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins

Book Talk: My True Love Gave To Me Edited by Stephanie PerkinsMy True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
This is a holiday short story collection (12 in all)  from some of the best YA authors out there. I’m not biased AT ALL or anything considering some of my all time favorite authors have stories in this.

a2Should I bust out the Christmas music before Thanksgiving?? I want to now!!

 elf gif

a4This is like my dream team short story collection. A bunch of my favorite authors all in one place? HELL YEAH.  I’m happy to report this short story collection, as a whole, is FANTASTIC. Obviously some were better than others for me reading taste wise but I felt like it was mostly wins for me & the GREAT for me balanced out the ones that maybe weren’t my thing — though none of them were enough to make me skip over them.

I think it is the perfect read for the holidays — not just because the holiday stories will make your heart grow ten sizes — but because, I don’t know about you, but my life is so scattered and busy around this time that being able to read a short story when I’m only able to sit down briefly before going to my next holiday event is THE PERFECT SOLUTION. When I try to read long, more involved books during the holidays it can be frustrating because I can’t get immersed into the way I’d like. Holiday spirit + lots of amazing authors + a book that can hold your attention during the holidays? MUST HAVE.

The only problem with this short story collection? The short stories were SO SO SO good that I wanted full books for pretty much ALL of them. But I think that marks a good short story for me. Satisfying but OH MY GOD I WANT MORE PLEASE.

I’m going to give you my thoughts on each story in a sentence or so (My top 5 faves of the collection have asterisks):

*Rainbow Rowell – Midnights: New Year’s Eve swoons! A classic Rainbow Rowell story with that swoon factor that makes your heart melt.

Kelly Link – The Lady & The Fox: Okay so I kind of didn’t understand this one at all but it WAS interesting and I actually REALLY wanted a full book so I could maybe understand it more. There was a paranormal thing going on here but I didn’t GET it?

*Matt de la Pena – Angels In the Snow: One of my all time favorites in this collection! I am definitely checking out his other books based on this short story. AH MY HEART. Can this PLEASE be a whole book?? The main character in this stole my heart.

Jenny Han — Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me: SANTA!! The North Pole! This one made me really feel for a girl who is so out of place as the only human in the North Pole. Kind of sad though in the way that Elf kind of made me sad sometimes (in between laughing a whole lot re: the movie). Enjoyed it so much!

*Stephanie Perkins – It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown: Definitely my FAVORITE of the collection. Stephanie Perkins reminded me that she doesn’t even NEED a full book to make me fall helplessly and head over heels in love. The swoon factor was high here for me and I absolutely NEED a full book for these two. If I were rich I would commission it from her.

David Levithan — Your Temporary Santa: I got to listen to David read from some of this a couple months ago and I was so happy to finish it! It’s typical David in the humor and in the feels! It honestly made me want to cry a whole lot. And then eat Christmas cookies.

Holly Black – Krumpuslauf: This probably has less to do with the actual story but with what I like as a reader but… this just wasn’t my thing but I think Holly Black is certainly talented! I was definitely amused by it though!

*Gayle Forman – What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?: I LOVED this one. Is anyone surprised by this? Gayle just writes characters that interest me and sprinkles humor I love and can whip up a good love story. Very cute and romantic!

Myra McEntire – Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus: I wasn’t super into this one (I feel so bad saying that) but I liked that it centered around a Christmas pageant! More Lifetime holiday movie this one was. I love my Lifetime holiday movies but just couldn’t get into it.

*Kiersten White – Welcome to Christmas, CA: This one made me SOOOOO hungry. And a little teary at the end. A really touching story that warmed my heart like hot cocoa on a warm day.

Ally Carter – Star Of Bethlehem: I thought this one was okay but wish it was a an actual book because it felt really rushed together at the end once we find out something (a something I didn’t expect when I started it).

Laini Taylor – The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer: I really am so interested in her books after this! Very unique and imaginative!

 

a6
RATING-reallyliked

Re-readability: Yes I would definitely around the holidays read it again!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5People looking for a great holiday story collection (especially a YA one), people looking for a read during the holiday season when they are SUPER busy and might not get time to devote to full work of fiction, readers who want a holiday collection that is heartwarming and not sappy

a8 My True Love Gave To Me was such a delight and made me so excited for the holidays! It’s the perfect holiday read filled with such diverse stories but they all fit nicely together. I got to read amazing stories from some of my favorite authors and discovered new-to-me authors that I HAVE to check out now. I longed for most stories to be a full book…because they were THAT good and got me very into the story and the characters in just a bite sized package. Buy it for yourself to read for the holidays or buy it for your friends and family…it’s a holiday collection not to be missed!

It’s rare that I will like this high percentage of stories in a short story collection!

review-on-post-itMy True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
*Any other holiday novels/collections you can recommend??

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile on August 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Lola and the Boy Next Door, My True Love Gave To Me
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
“From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new
”  <— Yep, I’m not giving much more plot wise than the summary this time because we’ve ALL been waiting so long.

a2*melts* ALSO, WHY IS IT OVER? WHY!

a4It’s been a month since I read Isla and the Happily Ever After and I’ve been existing as a happy, melted puddle on the floor so I was unable to talk to you about this book. I DIED. You know I loved Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door something fierce and I’ve been waiting for YEARS for the final companion novel to arrive in my hands. And it did. And it was SO DAMN GOOD with a side of warm and fuzzies. Stephanie, yet again, delivers that kind of romance that makes your heart melt and leaves you feeling a bit lighter and on cloud nine upon finishing — just pure bliss. They give you hope for your OWN happily ever after story no matter where you are at. As a married lady, it makes me remember falling in love and the accompanying feelings but also makes me realize that I’m living my own happily ever after even if it looks different than my favorite fictional stories…and I have so many more exciting pages to be written.

1. Josh & Isla’s love story made my heart do backflips and feel all ooey-gooey: So, I totally didn’t realize who they were from Anna (shh it was a long time ago that I did a full read) and when I realized who they were I was like OH MY GOD YESSSS! The way their story unfolded was so darn cute to watch and I could definitely FEEL the sparks. And HEY this book was SEXY too. I knew Stephanie Perkins could write the most mesmerizing, adorable romances that can make me swoon (which this totally did) but she also was able to write something with a bit of sexy in it — enough to make me blush a wee bit. I don’t want to tell you anything about their romance because I want you to be as swept off your feet as I was! I also really loved the memories that we get about things that happened in Anna’s book. I barely noticed Isla in that book but I remembered those scenes so well when I was reading them. It was nice to see these nods to that story as we are seeing Isla in a whole new way in her book!

2. As a fan, this book was everything I could want out of a conclusion to a beloved companion series: There was weeping and squealing and I melted into a gigantic puddle of feelings. It was the kind of closure I hoped for from this book but didn’t forgo a solid Isla and Josh story just to give us some great cameos. As a fan, I feel sad that this particular series is over but my heart was soaring. One part made me squeal and I don’t think Will’s hearing will ever recover from that. BUT OH MY HEART. It was like watching a beloved tv series finale and I just wept and felt nostalgic and happy but bittersweetly so because NO…CAN WE JUST FOLLOW THEIR LIVES FOR FOREVER?

3. As a reader, I DID have one SMALL issue (I KNOW I’M SORRY) but it was still perfect as a WHOLE: I feel like I need to be honest that as PERFECT as this book was I didn’t love how the CONFLICT in the relationship was developed. I found myself UNDERSTANDING it but not really feeling like there was any build-up for me to believe it with my whole heart. I HATE having to put a teeny tiny damper on this “OMG I LOVED ISLA” party I’m having here but I just have to be honest. It took me out of their story a little bit and I needed to note that. But you can bet your bottom dollar I was rooting for them and cheering for them to figure it out!

 RATING-beyondloved

a6

factors+ romance & swoons, loved Isla and Josh, an amazing conclusion with cameos by our beloved characters
the basis for which the conflict happened with the romance (not enough buildup for me) but it didn’t really affect my overall rating at all tbh.

Re-readability: YES!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already pre-ordered it!!

a5fans of Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door, people who love adorable and heart-melty type romances (BUT GO READ ANNA AND LOLA FIRST), people who are looking for a happily evers that are super satisfying

a8Stephanie Perkins is the queen of happily ever afters and she delivered in this final books in her beloved companion series. I LOVED Isla and Josh and their story and I was over the moon to see what happened to the beloved characters of the previous two books. It was a smile-inducing read that was worth the very long wait and my my heart soar! It was everything I have come to love about Stephanie Perkins books and I’m excited to see what she does next — BUT PLEASE STILL GIVE US YOUR DELECTABLE ROMANCES BECAUSE THERE IS STILL ROOM IN MY HEART FOR MORE!

 

review-on-post-itIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* DID YOU MELT INTO AN OOEY-GOOEY PUDDLE LIKE I DID AT A CERTAIN PART NEAR THE END?? (seriously, when I realized they would be together all in one room I DIED and then the thing after the pizza place…DEAD DEAD DEAD OMG)
* I’m curious, which was your favorite book? Favorite romance? Girl you related to the most?
* Is there anyone who rivals Stephanie Perkins in the swoon department?? Can you recommend something?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Review: Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

 Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
How I received: My lovely friend Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit let me borrow it!
On Sale: September 2011
Warning: Fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead…..every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can’t with certain books.
 
Let’s just put this out there right now – I was hella excited about Lola and the Boy Next Door but I was a bit scared to actually read it because I loved Anna and the French Kiss something fierce. I kept thinking that, while there is a good chance I’ll really enjoy Lola, I’m never going to feel the same way about it that I did with Anna. It would be like the replacement goldfish that your parents try to convince you is just as great as the one you had to flush down the toilet. It’s not the goldfish’s fault…but it’s just not the same as the one you really loved.
 
The verdict?  I’m going to boldly say that I loved Lola from my head down to my toes….I actually think I liked it even better than Anna. I can’t believe I’m saying it but it’s true.  Stephanie Perkins brought the awesomeness and somehow created a story that could top Anna and the French Kiss for me — the amazing characters, the romance, a compelling storyline, the great setting. It’s all there. While the romantic city of Paris really propelled the story of Anna and St. Clair for me in ATFK, Lola truly is the shining star in Perkin’s second novel.
 
Lola is just one of those unforgettable characters. I instantly connected with her — she’s different and I can appreciate that as someone who has always used clothing as a way to set myself apart…especially in high school. It was something I could control amidst the chaos that was my life. I can’t say my wardrobe was even a fraction like hers but I still understand her mentality. I can truly say I felt like I was reading the character of Lola as a little sister. I was protective of her, I wanted to hug it out with her during both crappy moments and awesome moments and I just wanted to tell her what an amazing girl she was.
 

Ok…I’ll address the big fat elephant on the blog. The Boy! I know…you want to know if the boy is as wonderful and amazing and swoonworthy as St. Clair. Yes, ladies. Eat your heart out. For those of you who loathed St. Clair (yes there are people out there that do — one of my fave ppl of all time and I had a friendly banter about St. Clair at BEA when she revealed this to me), you will be so thrilled about the new crush that Perkins has handed to you on a silver platter. There are seriously not enough “nice guys” in YA lit…but Cricket is leading the army against all those douchenuggets that seem to be in the “in” thing. I want to see more guys that are super nice, but not pushovers, and actually have a personality. He was sweet and sensitive and honestly the type of guy I love and I truly felt as though he complemented Lola so well. The thing I loved most about him (aside from his adoration of Lola) was how he was SUCH a real teen boy to me. Sometimes I find that most of the guys I read are always written so much more eloquently and more mature than teen boys actually are. They always seem to take on these hot, underwear model characteristics and always are suave and dashing. But Cricket was just so real. He’s got quirky hobbies and interests and, hell, he’s got his awkward, stupid boy moments. So refreshing. I love me some Cricket.

 
All of the secondary characters really felt so lively and real to me — Lola’s parents were incredibly supportive and definitely NOT absent. I really liked Max in the beginning and even though my love for him fizzled…he still felt very real. I LOVED how Perkins incorporated Anna and St. Clair into the novel without making them centerstage. PERFECT roles for them and I was ecstatic to see what had become of them.
 
I don’t want to give away ANYTHING about this book but I honestly loved the whole story, the romance, the tension that was present in different threads of the story, and the ending! I felt myself charmed by San Fransisco and swept up in Lola’s life. Anna’s story was somewhat dreamy and escapist for me but Lola’s story felt so realistic to me and I really appreciated that. Lola persevered through a lot in the story and I really believed in her progress and the path that Perkins lead her on. Lola was not overwrought with emotion and drama but perfectly captures the complicated nature of love and relationships with family and friends. It also shows the joys that come with the pain, awkward moments and general confusion of being a teen. I love that about this book — it captures the teen voice in a genuine way with out being too “OMG this is a teen book” that actually doesn’t accomplish the teen voice…like when your mom or dad tries to act really hip and up on the lingo.
 
I typically don’t make bold statements like this but I’m going to because I feel so strongly after reading Lola: Stephanie Perkins is on auto-buy for me now. If she writes it, I’m going to beat down doors to get it. If I were my 13 year old self, I’d be bedazzling shirts proclaiming the awesomeness that is Stephanie Perkins and making a shrine in my room dedicated to her. Um yeah, I totally did that for certain boy bands back in the 90’s.
 
Stephanie Perkins, after two novels, has become my go-to for wonderfully written contemporary YA with swoonworthy romances and unforgettable characters. She infuses so many quirky elements into her books and the little details are so wonderful. Lola is certainly no exception — from an awesome reference to one of my favorite bands (Phoenix!) to having an incredibly cute dog named Heavens to Betsy..I just found myself smiling at the smallest details and it added SO MUCH to my overall enjoyment of the story. Perkins writes the perfect contemporary novel for me. It isn’t so distorted of a reality that it too far-fetched for me but it has just enough drama that keeps you reading….because, let’s be honest, if realistic novels were TOO realistic we’d be bored and feel like we were reading about our own lives. She writes things I felt as a teen and still feel now at 25.  And oh my gosh, PLEASE PLEASE  read the acknowledgments at the end of the book to her husband. SO CUTE. I had to read it out loud to my boyfriend because I just was so moved by it…and then I proceeded to gush about it on Twitter.
Review On A Post-It:
five-stars

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna, a high school senior, is going to have the best senior year ever — prom, making memories with best friends before going off to college and quality time with the guy she is crushing on— until her bestselling author of a father decides to ship her off to a boarding school in Paris so she can have a little culture; or so he can prove that he is something big as Anna postures. Now she will be spending her last semester before college at a school with people she doesn’t know and in a city that speaks a language she can’t speak—with her friendships and crushes put on hold at home. Will the City of Lights provide her with the romance, the friends and those life-molding experiences that she doesn’t realize she needs?

Anna and the French Kiss has that certain “je ne sais quoi”an intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive (thanks Wikipedia!). Or, according to my boyfriend who wooed me in the beginning of our relationship with his advanced French skills from high school, that “somethin’-somethin’ that you just can’t explain.” Anna and the French Kiss sure has got that somethin-somethin I just can’t explain. I secretly judged this book when it was popping up around the blogosphere. I thought, “Please, even a  francophile who lusts over the Eiffel Tower like I do, will not give into this cover or this title. ” I really did. It was horrible of me. But, after hearing great things from those whose opinions I respect and hold highly (I’m looking at YOU Steph Su), I decided to take a chance and at least feel comforted that it was set in  Paris—a city that certainly was more than hospitable and charming to me. Anna was a book that quickly captivated my heart, despite my reservations, and I couldn’t turn back—it was like falling head-over-heels in love without realizing what was happening. It wasn’t love at first sight–it was a softening of the heart, turned sweaty palms and palpitations, turned “Oh my gosh, I think I’m in love.”

I like a good romance in a book. I’ve grown weary of some things I’ve seen in books lately– unrealistic hastiness in falling in love without knowing someone (yes, sometimes it DOES happen but I’m sick of it being in every book), unhealthy relationships, and “he’s sooo perfect” mentality that never is challenged. Yes, I do love reading about Prince Charmings but thinking that a guy is flawless and doesn’t ever act like a moron is setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. Makes it harder to accept a guy in real life if you keep those unrealistic expectations in your head. I like my fictional boys like the rest of ya’ll but I’d like to see somebody real once in a while. Enter St. Clair. Minus the English accent that makes my knees wobbly, he’s your average guy. He’s interesting enough but certainly not Mr. Rennassaince man. He doesn’t know how to handle his feelings for Anna and he acts downright stupidly sometimes and the boy has teenage hormones. He’s normal but oh-so-swoonworthy! I love how Perkins created this romance between he and Anna. It was perfectly executed for my tastes, albeit at sometimes super drama-filled, but there was depth to their feelings for one another and I appreciated that. I liked that friendship was the cornerstone of their relationship despite their attraction to each other.

I loved being in Anna’s head. I though this was one thing Perkins really did brilliantly. She was authentically teenager to me. It wasn’t contrived and she didn’t seem like she was plucked straight from Leave It To Beaver. She was mature, had values, used common sense, a big heart but she was a high school girl– held grudges, got overly emotional sometimes and let a boy turn her into an idiot sometimes. I LOVED ANNA. She rocked. She was a good friend to St. Clair despite her feelings for him and she learned lessons the hard way. I loved seeing Paris through her eyes. Speaking of Paris, I enjoyed living vicariously through Anna and St. Clair. It reminded me of my fascination with the movie Passport to Paris (MK & Ashley Olsen anyone?) when  I was a young girl. It made me giddy and resulted in me dumping out all my pictures from Paris and sigh longingly for another Parisian adventure for myself.

My final thought: Anna was a light, romantic read that will delight readers of contemporary YA. It’s full of unforgettable characters, explores intricacies in romantic, familial and frienship relations, and is filled with a good dose of drama and fun in the City of Lights. Le sigh. If you are typically a reader of adult fiction that rarely steps into the YA territory, I’d caution you that this book does tend to read like a high school girls mind—complete with OMGs and all that jazz but definitely not nearly as annoying. I wouldn’t recommend this for someone looking for a YA read like The Book Thief or other more complex YA novels. But for all you readers of YA—this is a must read! I truly can’t explain what exactly it is about Anna but I can assure you that you will find yourself smitten. It’s that je ne sais quoi.

 

five-stars
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