Monday, 15 December 2014

Book Review - My True Love Gave To Me

My True Love Gave To Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 9th October 2014
Publishers: Macmillin
No. Pages: 355
Source: Gifted
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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 by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author 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 to stay indoors and fall in love.

Collections of stories are without a doubt the most difficult to review and the most difficult to discuss and My True Love Gave To Me is no different. The collection has short stories from a variety of authors, some I have read before, some I've been considering and others I'd never heard of and on reflection, all of them bring something to the table that is different and new, but festive and seasonal and is very unique to themselves, in some ways positively, in others, a little more negatively. I myself, quite enjoyed this collection, but they weren't all to my review particular taste.. For the sake of making things easier, I've attempted some short, but snappy overviews on each story just to give you a quick glimpse of my feelings.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell - I had yet to read anything by Rowell before I read her short story and I recall reading the story when I was offered a preview e-arc including her story inside and let me tell you, it was without a doubt, one of the most adorable stories in this collection. The characters and their highly believable story was just perfect, absolutely perfect, and the humour and smiles this story brought out in me was utterly wonderful. The entire plot line, the jump cuts to each stroke of midnight each year was explored wonderfully and the subtle sense of development and growth between all of the characters was really just beautiful. As the kick-starter of this collection, I could not fault it and it was everything I wanted it to be. I'm seriously pushing Rowell higher on my read-more list. 5 Stars.

The Lady of The Fox by Kelly Link - This story was definitely a, in my opinion, a step down from the previous and really just didn't hit any sort of spot with me whatsoever. The writing was difficult to understand - it was short and snappy and written in a way that I'm not completely comfortable with and I think that the openness of the story, with the characters and the family and the lack of answers, I just wasn't that impressed. Will I look out for more by Link, possibly, but this wasn't the collections best.. 2 Stars.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena - This was quite a nice and enjoyable short story - it was definitely the most diverse of the collection at this point and it delved into the nature of financial backgrounds, pride, self-preservation and the meaning of Christmas and sharing, and I have to admit, I'm pretty partial to a cat and some late night drinking, you do only, after all, live once, but how much the novel was a romance and not a girl trying to avoid dumping her boyfriend, I don't know. The overall feel was enjoyable and entertaining, the humour and banter involved was really quite impressive and relatable.. yes, there could have been more development into the background a little, but overall, it was an enjoyable read. 4 Stars.

Polarios is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han - I like Jenny Han's work, her writing is simply and digestable and really lovely to read, bu the substance of the story was lacking for me. It felt as though there wasn't an actual romance in the novel, like a hidden chapter or two rather than a short story, which is a shame, because the opportunity to write about Santa's adopted daughter is too good of an idea to waste. A great idea, just not executed as I'd have liked sadly.. 3 Stars.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown - Can I start by saying that Perkins knows how to write a swoon worthy romance with guys that seriously interest me? Good, glad I've got that out of the way.. No seriously, this story was just, it picked everything back up, it was well paced, a beautifully written love story over a few hours, involving a tree, organising a flat, some good and diverse religious aspects and some serious tense and steamy moments. I was, without a doubt, entirely smitten with everything about this story, from the characters, to the pacing, to the little details and aspects, to the romance, the romance people, it was so good, I can't fault anything about it. If I had any doubts about Perkins as an author, I seriously don't anymore. 5 Stars.

Your Temporary Santa - David Levithan - I admit, this story really wasn't that bad, but on an enjoyable level, it was difficult to get into. I really did love and enjoy the aspect with being Santa and doing it for the children, how much more magical Christmas is when you have children around, and I commend Levithan throwing in a LGBT romance to the mix, but was it up there in terms of favourites. Definitely not.. 2.5 Stars.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black - Holly Black and I have had an uneasy relationship.. I really enjoyed her Curse Workers series and I put down Tithe, so I was nervous about reading more by her, but I do have to admit, while it was the first of the collection to delve into a more magical realism and fantasy aspect, I did actually quite enjoy the story. It was nice to see a different type of Christmas celebration than was seen in other stories, because of course, some people don't celebrate Christmas like we do, so highlighting this was a wonderful change. The characters were highly enjoyable, the plot and pacing was well executed - the characters could have done with more fleshing out and some more backbone, and understanding of whether they were men or women rather than waiting to find out later in the story. An enjoyable story, but not my personal favourite by Black.4 Stars.

What The Hell Have You Done Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman - The banter, the fluff and the romance was real in this book people, this was the start of a few fantastic stories in this collection. I absolutely loved Sophie and her connection with Russell, I adored their banter and their fluff, I completely loved their relationship and how it blossomed and once again, the different type of holiday that was explored within the story and not only that, but the different aspects too.. This book covered the range, from race, to class systems, to being judged or judgmental to different upbringings and religion and I love a story that can mold these features together and create not only a highly enjoyable read, but a read that many will enjoy. Gayle is a genius and I don't think I expected not to enjoy this. Definitely a winner. 4.5 Stars.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus - Myra McEntire I really thoroughly enjoyed this read, really, I thought it was a wonderful story of class, or being judged and using Christmas as a way of making a fresh start, becoming somebody new and doing something different. The characters were wonderful, the humour was second to none and I cannot and will not find fault with this novel. Everything was perfect from the relationships, connections, plot, pacing, features and the little details of perfection. This was by far one of my favourites of the collection.5 Stars.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White - I was wary of this novel to start with, it was definitely a slow burn read for me and felt like one of the few stories in this collection that were complete and felt finished off. In fact, this story went as far as to finally breake me, rendering me in tears from the absolute adoration for this story. Unlike some of the other stories, this one was about so much more than just romance, there was a sense of growth and development, there were other plot lines throughout the story and other characters you felt for, there was a real sense of relatiblity with some of the characters too, specially between Maria and Rick which really reminded me so much of my relationship with my Step-Dad and I just loved everything about it, even Ben was such a wonderful feature. The whole story felt Christmassy to a level that wasn't overwhelming with jokes, but was there with the humour and the love and the passion and the utter joy that comes with Christmas. This story showed that Christmas is about so much more than just love, it's about friendship, about loyalty, about understanding and support, fresh starts, trust and passion, family and love and if that doesn't scream perfection paired with one damn fine love interest, I seriously don't know what does. Read it and love it people, read it and love it. 5 Stars.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter - I felt a little let down by this novel in comparison to the previous because while I loved Carters writing and you can just notice and reorganise it so easily from others, it just didn't make me feel anything, or much at all. The characters were a little 2D and unexciting, the actual plot and pacing was a little off and I didn't feel the romance sadly. It was an enjoyable, quick and easy read, but on a level of being anywhere near the 4 - 5 star reads in this collection, this was not close.. 3 Stars.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor - Thanks to this story, I now find myself in a wary state of unsurety with Laini Taylor because I just didn't feel this novel whatsoever either. The writing was difficult for me, and the plot line and characters just weren't there for me. It was all lyrical feeling and made me feel like I should have been swaying to the words, but I was just there, reading it, and really felt pretty disappointed by the end of it. That's not to say this is a bad story, just definitely not for me.. 1.5 Stars.

My True Love Gave To Me explored many different directions, the different types of love, the different aspects in our lives we go through and I think, most of all, the different ways in which people celebrate Christmas and how important it is to remember that. Some people won't celebrate it because it's too difficult for them, some people won't because it seems unfair and unjust, other's celebrate other occasions entirely and others celebrate it and go crazy and I think this is what makes My True Love Gave To Me. By all means, some sweet romances are definitely something you can enjoy, but the meaning of Christmas, whether that be love, family, friendship, giving and receiving second chances or the birth of Jesus, you'll find them all in here. Whether you like them all, well that's a different manner, but me personally, there's some stories in this collection I will definitely be re-reading again in the future.


  1. Fantastic review! I really want to read My True Love Gave to Me, as it has such a good selection of authors and it's such a gorgeous book! :)

    1. Thank you hunny! It's definitely a pretty collection to read alongside others like Let It Snow, the authors are wonderful and if you haven't got it yet, do try get it soon :)

  2. I can't wait to read this, I finally got round to ordering it last night so hopefully it comes in time for Christmas. I only really bought it for the Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins stories, but I'm glad to see there are a few other great stories in there.

    1. Oh it'll be worth it, Rowells and Perkins stories are some of my favourites, but there's definitely surprises in there too. I think you'll be pleasantly pleased Rosie :)

  3. AHHHH I WANT THIS SO BAD. Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, Holly Black, David Leviathan, Rainbow Rowell ALL IN THE SAME BOOK?!! *dies of complete excitement* I confess I'm not really a fan of short stories, but I can make exceptions. ;-) Pity the Laini Taylor one kind of sucked though. That is awfully disappointing. *sigh*

    1. Oh it's worth dying over, some of the stories in here were absolute perfection! I do think the Taylor one is preference, I'm not used to her writing and haven't read anything by her previously and I think that's a disadvantage for me, but I promise, if you liked her work previously, you'll probably love it, don't knock it yet Cait ;)

  4. I'm so intrigued! I have a copy out from the library but keep putting it off for some reason, no idea why. I'm sad to see that you didn't love them all, but that's to be expected in a book of short stories by different authors because not everyone will work for you. I am curious to see which ones I love and which ones I don't. Hmmmmm... must find time for this soon.

  5. I'm not generally into anthologies, but I do have this one on my TBR because it contains stories from a lot of great authors and THAT COVER IS JUST BEAUTIFUL. I'm really glad to see that a lot of these stories were very enjoyable for you, Amanda. :) Thanks for a fantastic review!


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