BOOK REVIEW: My True Love Gave To Me – by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: My True Love Gave To Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: December 29th 2015
Pages: 336
Rating 3,5qqq

“He says presents aren’t important, but I think they are – not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say I understand you.”

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Another Christmas read I end up reviewing in January… Although I’m finally starting to catch up with my reviews! Since My True Love Gave To Me is actually a collection of twelve Holiday themed short stories, I’ve decided to to this review slightly different from my normal format and discuss every story separately. As a whole this bundle edited by Stephanie Perkins is without doubt an entertaining read and perfect for the Holiday season, although I did like some stories better than others. If you haven’t read this one yet and like themed reads, put this one on your December 2016 TBR! On to the separate stories…

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell. (4,5/5)
This is such an adorable little story to start the collection with, and also very Rainbow Rowell! Without doubt one of my favorites… Midnights is basically story about what happens between two teenagers on various New Years Eves.  It’s funny, it’s awkward, it’s adorable and very well written as well.

The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link. (2,5/5)
Meh I didn’t particularly like this one. It was without doubt an original story with a touch of magical realism, but I can’t say I was put under its spell. This is one of those stories that might have worked better as a longer novella… Because I felt it lacked proper explanation and character development.

Angels In The Snow by Matt De La Peña. (3/5)
This one was better than the second story, but I can’t say I was a fan of the prose. The story itself is quite funny where the main character is cat sitting and doesn’t have money for food, and the only other person in the building is a girl his age with a broken shower… You get the idea. The story itself sounds interesting, but like I said, I didn’t particularly like how it was told.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. (4/5)
Such a cute little story! I love the idea of a human being ‘rescued’ by Santa and living with the elves. I also like the fact that this story was different from the others and the fact that it took place on the North Pole. Original, interesting and adorable!

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. (4/5)
I enjoyed this story! It was sweet but not too sugary, and that is just how I like my Holiday themed reads. It’s about a girl who wants to ask a favor of a guy who sells Christmas trees and ends up buying a tree she doesn’t have room for… And he offers to help her organize her home.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. (3,5/5)
This story was quite entertaining and I liked the glbt angle. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the prose, but I have had problems with his work in th epast. It’s a cute story though and perfect for the Holiday season; a boy who dresses up as Santa so he can convince his boyfriend’s sister that Santa is real.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black. (3,5/5)
This one was interesting enough, although not amazing. I liked the fantasy element in the story and the prose and descriptions… I have a feeling it would have worked even better as a longer story, because the characters sound interesting.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? By Gayle Forman. (4/5)
Quite an entertaining story! Not the best of the lot, but definitely one of the better stories. I’m seeing a lot of race/religion/sexuality diversity in these short stories and I like it! I wasn’t completely convinced by the main characters, but it did made me crave winter food.

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire. (3/5)
I can’t say this was a great story, but it was not that terrible either. I just wasn’t convinced by the general plot or actions… Although I know others loved this one. Somehow a boy who is in love with the pastor’s daughter and accidentally burns down the church just before Christmas is just a little too cheesy to my taste.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White. (4,5/5)
YESSS! Food AND Spanish?! I’m sold. If this isn’t my favorite story it would come a close second, because I really loved this one. A girl lives in a town called Christmas and works at a diner when a new chef arrives… And he is not only a great chef, but attractive as well. Cute, well written and the perfect Holiday read!

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. (3,5/5)
This was such a sad story! Well written like I would expect of Ally Carter (I loved reading All Fall Down last year) and definitely worth reading, even though it’s not one of my favorites of the bunch.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4/5)
This story confirmed to me that I really have to start the Daughter Of Smoke And Bone series soon, because I loved the prose. Very beautiful and such a creative worldbuilding for a short story. It was a little confusing and strange, but without doubt very interesting.

BOOK REVIEW: I Was Here – by Gayle Forman

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Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: January 27th 2015
Finished reading: September 3rd 2015
Pages: 288
Rating 3,5qqq

“Life can be hard and beautiful and messy, but hopefully, it will be long. If it is, you will see that it’s unpredictable, and that the dark periods comes, but they abate — sometimes with a lot of support — and the tunnel widens, allowing the sun back in. If you’re in the dark, it might feel like you will always be there. Fumbling. Alone. But you won’t — and you’re not.”

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I Was Here was one of my TBR jar picks and it’s also the first time I’ve read anything by Gayle Forman. I know a lot of people love her work, but I have been avoiding her books so far because I was afraid there would be too much romance involved. I’m definitely glad my TBR jar got me to read I Was Here, because I really enjoyed her writing style. It was an interesting read, although I have to admit I’ve read better books with the same suicide theme. That or maybe I’m suffering from a YA contemporary fiction overdose… The main characters are not exactly likeable, but at least they feel real. Meg and her depression, Cody trying to understand why her best friend would do such a thing and Ben who broke Meg’s heart and slowly wins over Cody’s… Each character is without doubt well developed. Not everything about the story is original or completely credible, but overal it’s quite an enjoyable read despite the serious topic. Recommended if you enjoy reading YA contemporary fiction.

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Meg decided she couldn’t stand living any longer and made a plan to end her life; drinking a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room. Her best friend Cody is devastated and simply doesn’t understand why Meg would do such a thing. They were supposed to share everything, but Cody never saw it coming. Where were the warning signs? Meg’s parents ask Cody to travel to her college town to pack up Meg’s things, but when she arrives there Cody discovers something more than just her belongings. Meg had a whole different life in her college town Cody didn’t know anything about, and it looks like Meg was hiding quite a few secrets… What were the real circumstances around Meg’s death?

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I Was Here is without doubt an interesting enough read and I enjoyed Gayle Forman‘s prose. I wasn’t exactly a fan of the main characters, but they help shine a light on a very serious topic: (teen) depression and suicide. Like with Meg, sometimes the signs are not all that clear and forums like the one that visited Meg can push people over the edge. It’s definitely a story that will leave its mark.

WWW Wednesdays #56 – September 9th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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Wait, only one book?! It’s been a while since I haven’t started more than one book at a time… But I really want to enjoy Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas without reading other stories in between. So far I’m loving it!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Six finished books since last week, which is quite a decent number.
The first is a travel memoir; Five Weeks In The Amazon by Sean Michael Hayes. I enjoyed the setting and it was nice to learn more about the Ayahuasca ritual. It was a fast read as well, although I did have some problems with it.
I read I Was Here by Gayle Forman next, which was my previous TBR jar pick. It was an interesting read, although I’ve read better books with the same suicide theme.
I continued with Legend by Marie Lu, a series I have been wanting to read for ages. I really enjoyed reading it and I will probably read both sequels soon as well. Still, I felt something was missing to turn it into something mindblowing.
The next book None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio was just as good as people kept promising me. A very interesting topic and beautifully written; definitely recommended!
I then read End Of Days by Susan Ee. I’m still not sure I have been waiting this long to finish this series! I really enjoyed it, although it wasn’t as good as the first two.
The last book on this list is Breakfast At Cannibal Joe’s by Jay Spencer Green, an ARC that was sent to me last week.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The Kill Order by James Dashner is still high on my list, although I will probably try to read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer first. I was actually going to start it last weekend, but I got my hands on a copy of End Of Days and Queen Of Shadows and I just HAD to read those first. My newest TBR jar pick is The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski; a series I have been looking forward to start, but I’m not sure I will actually be able to read it before I leave…

WWW Wednesdays #55 – September 2nd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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After finally finishing The Goldfinch two days ago, I’ve started two new reads. The first is a travel memoir: Five Weeks In The Amazon by Sean Michael Hayes. I will be reading various travel themed book within the next three weeks to really get in the travel mood for my backpacking trip… This one is interesting because I’ve been in Peru twice myself, although I’ve never actually visited the Amazon. I’ve also started reading Legend by Marie Lu the other day, a series I have been wanting to read for ages now. So far I’m loving it!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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This time I’ve ‘only’ finished three books since my last WWW, mostly because it took me a long time to actually finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’m glad I did though! It sure is a very well written book, but the pace is really slow and it took me ages to finish it. I’ve also read The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton, a very entertaining and fast read even though I had some minor problems with the characters and plot. The last one on the list is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. As I already feared, this one turns out to be yet another overhyped book. It’s not a bad story and I like the fact that it has an unreliable narrator, but like with Gone Girl I’m not sure it’s actually worth the hype.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer and I Was Here by Gayle Forman is still my newest TBR jar pick. I also want to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can complete The Maze Runner series…

WWW Wednesdays #54 – August 26th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins the other day and so far I’m really enjoying it. Fingers crossed that it will live up to the hype! I’ve also decided that I want to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the end of the month, so I will try to dedicate more time to it. Hopefully I will be able to finish it before my next WWW post!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Partly thanks to the Bout Of Books read-a-thon last week I was able to finish no less than NINE books. I guess this month is going to be a new record! I’m seriously behind on my reviews though, so I will have to start writing them soon before I start mixing up the different plots and characters…
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The first one on the list is Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Not as good as the main series, but it was interesting to learn more about how Levana became the person she is in the series. The prose was solid as always.
I continued with My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and it was just as good as I was hoping for. Interesting characters, prose, plot… And the author described depression really well.
I read The Death Cure by James Dashner next and wasn’t impressed. I felt it lacked a proper plot and I wasn’t a fan of the ending… Definitely my least favorite book of the series so far.
Joyland by Stephen King was good: I loved the 1973 carnival setting and the prose was interesting as always. I didn’t see the ending coming for sure!
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith was my TBR jar pick last week and unfortunately not as good as I thought it would be… Some of  the scenes just were too cheesy for me.
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Next up is Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’m still not sure what to think of it; it’s highly original, but I’m not sure the humor didn’t go too far at points or if I actually liked some of the main characters.
I then couldn’t wait any longer and read Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.  This part was even better than the first and unfortunately ended with a big cliffhanger as well.
Anatomy Of A Misfit by Andrea Portes wasn’t that great. I didn’t like most characters or the fact that it has a love triangle and the ending felt forced.
Last up is All Fall Down by Ally Carter, a read I have been looking forward to and even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I ended up really enjoying it! The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel!!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish the series…Hopefully I will like it better than The Death Cure. I have been wanting to read Legend by Marie Lu for ages, so hopefully I will be able to finally start that series… And I have been wanting to read None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio for a long time as well. The last one on this list is my newest TBR jar pick: I Was Here by Gayle Forman. This one was already on my Bout Of Books TBR, so I will probably get to it soon.

Top Ten Tuesday #5 – August 12th: To Read Or Not To Read?

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The Broke And The Bookish presents us every week a new top ten with a different theme. And this Tuesday it’s time to post my Top Ten To Read Or Not To Read! It’s all about those books I thought I would love when I first heard about them, but now I’m not so sure I would like anymore… They are listed below in no particular order and with short descriptions copied from Goodreads:

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  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: “We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret…”
    # There has been quite a hype around this book, and after reading mixed reviews, I’m not so sure anymore if I would enjoy it.
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner: “The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.”
    # Before starting The Maze Runner, I thought I would love the series and got the three books together. Now I’m not sure if I want to continue reading the series after a disappointing first part.
  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu: “In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know. But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.”
    # I’ve read mixed reviews about this book, and The Truth About Alice have moved down my TBR list quite a bit…
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: “Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.”
    # Another hyped book I’m not too sure whether it’s worth reading still.

 

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  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth: “Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.”
    # I loved the first book, was disappointed by the sequel, and now I don’t know whether to read the final part of the Divergent trilogy.
  • Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins: “Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test.”
    # When I first got Sweet Evil, I thought I would love it, but now I’m having doubts.
  • Silence by Michelle Sagara: “For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death.  But tonight was different.  Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery.”
    # Same as with Sweet Evil, I’m not too sure about my choice of Silence anymore.

 

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  • Bumped by Megan McCafferty: “When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. A strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.”
    # I mainly wanted to read this because it sounded similar to Brave New World (Which I loved), but I’m not sure if it’s a book I would enjoy anymore.
  • Utopia by Thomas More: “Through the voice of the mysterious traveler Raphael Hythloday, More describes a pagan, communist city-state governed by reason. Addressing such issues as religious pluralism, women’s rights, state-sponsored education, colonialism, and justified warfare, Utopia seems remarkably contemporary nearly five centuries after it was written.”
    # I got this book as part of my classics haul, but I’m not sure if I’m in the mood to read this classic any time soon.
  • Purity Of Blood by Arturo Perez-Reverte: “The fearless Alatriste is hired to infiltrate a convent and rescue a young girl forced to serve as a powerful priest’s concubine. The girl’s father is barred from legal recourse as the priest threatens to reveal that the man’s family is “not of pure blood” and is, in fact, of Jewish descent—which will all but destroy the family name.”
    # I got this book a long time ago since I’ve enjoyed other books of this author before, but somehow I just cannot get into the story. I’ve actually picked up and abandoned Purity Of Blood twice before already… (I’m reading it in Spanish by the way.)

Friday Finds #2 – June 20th

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Originally featured at Should Be Reading FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered this week and added to my readinglist. I’m an ‘adding junkie’ and my TBR list at Goodreads is already exploding, but I still love to find new potential treasures. Below a selection of my newest finds; what about yours? Any interesting new books you’ve found lately?

My finds:

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