Book Review: My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins

MTLGTMTitle: My True Love Gave To Me

Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt De La Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White

Publication date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 321

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, Macmillan!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis: 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.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Christmas is my favorite holiday ever and to get in a festive mood early, I read My True Love Gave To Me, an anthology composed of twelve holiday stories written by highly acclaimed authors in the YA world. Dear readers, this book is a sweet Christmas treat as it infuses you with the excitement and joy that the holiday season brings. I haven’t reviewed a short story collection before so I have no idea how to go about it. I thought of breaking down my thoughts into twelve points according to the order of stories for a perceptive review, instead of a general one for the whole book.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: A story that is simple, witty, and filled with love! Reading it was like eating the yummiest Chex mix in the world. Rainbow Rowell writes simple realities with a bang, making little moments big, magical, and ever so swoon-worthy. Infinite hearts for Midnights! 🙂

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: Personally, this one is a bit weird and dragging. I didn’t understand its concept nor identify with the characters. Also, there was a strange paranormal or fantasy thing going on that made the story confusing. It’s unfortunate to say that this story didn’t impress me. I’m sorry!

Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena: Feel-good with a little emotional punch. I like how it talked about family, being brave to face your problems, and being true to yourself. It’s a story that you’d want to read more of.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: An unusual yet amusing story that has a cute concept! Although I found the ending bittersweet, I’d say it is really something that readers would enjoy.

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: This story charmed its way to my heart! It made me feel the extreme happy flutters and the spark that flickers inside you when you’ve made a connection with someone special. I swooned and smiled the whole time I was reading! If this story were a full-length novel, it would definitely receive a 5-star rating from me. 🙂

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: A bit introspective, raw, emotional, and funny at times. Surprisingly, for a David Levithan fan like me, it’s not the type of story that I’d like to read during the holidays because of its melancholic ambience. Nevertheless, it’s an honest tale and the writing is beautiful.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black: I like how this story is about believing in greater things. However, what didn’t work for me was the fantasy element. It’s bizarre to the point that it made the story vague, without clues as to why some events happened. I guess I’m really not that of a huge fantasy reader.  

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: Authentic and really interesting. I love the humor and diversity of characters!

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: I have never read a Myra McEntire book and this story won my interest to check out the author’s novels. I enjoyed this a lot. It’s light, fun, and such a delight to read!

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: Fantastic, touching, and very memorable. This story is full of hope, love, and swoon-worthy moments that are sweeter than candy canes! Kiersten White brilliantly captured the true spirit of Christmas, which is HAPPINESS—the warm, genuine kind that makes you glow from the inside. It’s the happiness you’d want to infect other people with. Welcome To Christmas, CA is a story that you’ll read over and over again until it’s engraved in your memory. 

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: I loved this story! It’s about finding home at a time when things are complicated, finding one’s self, and discovering the true meaning of happiness. Heartwarming and worth reading! 

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor: An enchanting, otherworldly story with remarkable writing and creative execution. Although there are some parts where I got lost and couldn’t understand the story, it still drew me in because of its bewitching and mysterious element.

My True Love Gave To Me is a wonderful holiday anthology! Truly, a must-have on your bookshelf!

 

 Rating:

4/5 stars

P.S. We Love You, Jenny Han!

June 21, 2014, a Saturday filled with smiles, laughter, and delightful moments. When National Book Store announced that New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han is coming to Manila, I was one of those people very excited to meet her in person. I enjoyed reading her latest novel, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and was so keen to learn more about it. I am privileged to have been invited to the bloggers forum (prior to the public signing) where my fellow book bloggers and I asked Jenny Han questions about writing, her books, celebrity crushes, etc. She responded to every question with utmost sincerity and great enthusiasm! All of us present at the forum had so much fun listening to Jenny speak. It was a truly fruitful event!

After the forum was the public signing at National Book Store Glorietta 1 where Jenny Han’s fans waited patiently for her. Their energy buzzed throughout the venue which was so exhilarating to witness! I really felt their love and support for Jenny Han. When it comes to book events like this, Filipino bookworms never fail to amaze me.

Thank you so much to the spectacular National Book Store for bringing Jenny Han to the Philippines! It was such a pleasure meeting her in person! Thank you also to Jenny for visiting our country. We hope to see you again someday! 🙂

Jenny Han

Q & A with Jenny Han at the Bloggers Forum

Audio recording of the Q & A: listen to ‘Jenny Han in Manila’ on Audioboo

For Jenny Han’s message to her Filipino readers, head over to The Lifelong Bookworm’s Facebook page!

Pics with Jenny Han

With the sweet and funny Jenny Han! 🙂

Blogger selfies_JHforum

Selfies with blogger friends!

Bookish events will always be momentous to us. They brought us closer to each other and we’re eternally thankful. 🙂

Group photos from Kate

Photos grabbed from Kate of The Bookaholic Blurbs

Public signing

The crowd at National Book Store Glorietta 1 for the public signing

Signed books

Signed books! *flails*

Did you attend Jenny Han’s book signing? Tell me about your experience in the comment section below!

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All The Boys I've Loved BeforeTitle: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Publication date: April 15, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

As one of my highly anticipated contemporary YA novels this year, I literally snagged a copy of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before as soon as it’s available at our local bookstore. I read the book in three days and that was so far my fastest reading time. Did I like the book? Read my review to find out:

What fascinated me to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is its unique concept. I’m a fan of old-fashioned things like love letters. I appreciate handwritten messages because the emotions feel more truthful. Moreover, things like those exhibit the time and effort a person has put into writing the love letter. The fact that you have in your hands the heart and soul of the person—as embedded on that piece of paper—makes it special.

Although I find the story a bit simple, I still enjoyed reading it. The romance, well, I wouldn’t really call it romance because it’s just “for show”. Lara Jean Song and Peter Kavinsky are a couple for reasons that are somewhat shallow and irksome. But interesting things happen halfway through the book as Lara Jean and Peter get to know each other better. They become comfortable in each other’s company, which is a good start in establishing a connection with someone. There are a few moments in the story where Lara Jean and Peter just have fun being silly and doing random stuff. They are so amusing!

Lara Jean’s sparkling wit and genuineness make her a commendable character. Her pleasant and effervescent aura attracts readers right away. I also liked Lara Jean’s great concern toward her Dad and little sis after big sister Margot leaves for college. I was not smitten with Peter Kavinsky at first. His I’m-cool-and-popular attitude made me expect him to be the kind of guy that regularly falls in the “elitist” category of a high school social hierarchy. But Peter scratched off that notion when he and Lara Jean started to be “together”. The way he relates with Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, is so endearing! He’s a good friend and is like a big brother to her. And the little things he does for Lara Jean such as giving notes, helping her bake cupcakes, and buying her donuts are totally heart melting. Turns out that Peter K’s a sweetheart after all!

An ideal novel for diversity in young adult literature, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before greatly captures a Korean-American family’s lifestyle. As an Asian, reading something like this makes me proud of who I am. The story illustrated nothing but authenticity of the family’s relationship—their closeness, daily routine, and the proper upbringing of the Song girls. Everything’s believable and purely honest.

Jenny Han’s writing is straightforward—nothing fancy, just real. Her words are thoughtful and the sincere tone resounds until the end of the book. The author’s writing style significantly contributed in shaping the personalities of the characters, making them appear natural and easy to connect with.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a light contemporary YA deliciously glazed with charming cleverness and warm fuzzy feels that leave you craving for more.

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

2 Awesome Bookish Events in June and July!

National Book Store’s bringing two YA authors to the Philippines in June and July— JENNY HAN AND STEPHANIE PERKINS! AMAZING, right? I hope to see you guys at both events and let’s fangirl together! 🙂

Poster - Jenny Han

For information on the Jenny Han Book Signing Tour, please click on the links below:

Event Page

FAQs

Poster - Stephanie Perkins

For more information on the Stephanie Perkins Book Signing Tour, please click on the links below:

Event Page 

FAQs