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

Book Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of StarsTitle: The Chaos of Stars

Author: Kiersten White

Published: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 288

Source: Copy provided by publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!) / Bought from Fully Booked

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

Synopsis:

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

The Chaos of Stars is a great read. It’s my first Kiersten White book and I find her writing style captivating. She writes clearly detailed descriptions that produce strong images in the mind. Kiersten White whipped up an original tale that creatively blends Ancient Egypt with the 21st century. The pacing isn’t too fast or too slow, which, I think, is a good thing because it keeps the attention of readers. Events transpired at their own rhythm and still showed how they are linked to each other in a coherent manner.

Of all the books I read this year, I’d say that The Chaos of Stars is the most family-oriented. Although it has a romance element, it focused more on the issues that the family of Isadora (the main character) is going through. It feels really good to have a break from reading stories that center on romantic relationships. As I read The Chaos of Stars, I realized that it has been a long time since I read a book that revolves around family.

Aside from the main character’s persuasive voice, it was also the mythology that drew me into reading from start to finish. It exceptionally illustrated the rich culture of Egypt and the fascinating history of Egyptian gods. I appreciated Egyptian mythology more with this book.

The characters are well developed. Isadora is a confusing yet likeable character. At first she seemed childish and self-absorbed. She annoyed me big time because of her whining and self-pitying. But as the story moved forward, I understood why she acted that way. Since most in her family are immortal gods, it is a legitimate reason to feel left out, with her being a human. As Isadora sees it, she’s just a “footnote” in her family’s story. In the end, Isadora discovers that she is mistaken. Everything she thought of her family, particularly her mother, was wrong. I won’t discuss about that in this review as I would reveal a lot about the story. Sorry, guys! 🙂

The secondary characters (Isadora’s friends) added color to the story. Tyler’s animated and outgoing personality is so engaging. She’s a good friend to Isadora and I really liked how she made Isadora feel welcome when they met for the first time. Tyler’s boyfriend Scott is also an awesome character. He and Tyler are so funny together! Both of them instilled a light and entertaining tone into the story. Then enters Ry, the gorgeous, charming guy who becomes Isadora’s love interest. His words made me blush and squeal with glee. So sweet and romantic! And did I mention that he writes epic poetry? SWOON. ❤

It was insta-love between Ry and Isadora but it was okay for me. Ry certainly brought out the best in Isadora and I love him for that! He helped Isadora open her heart to love and the possibility of a relationship between them. Isn’t that wonderful? In spite of Isadora’s “anti-love” attitude, Ry did not give up in getting the girl’s heart. Oh Ry, your star shines the brightest in the sky. 🙂 As readers savor the pages of the book, they’ll see instances that justify how perfect Ry and Isadora are for each other.

Laced with magic and mystery, The Chaos of Stars is a unique modern day myth that captures the essence of love, family, and most of all, the chaos that makes life challenging yet worth living.

Rating:

4/5 stars

Favorite quotes: 

“Orion. Forever now, he has replaced my Orion stars in name.”

“But doing what is easy and safe is no way to live, and a life without passion and love is so far beneath what you deserve.”

“Good-enough can always be made better.”

“I guess we’re kind of opposites, because you’ve spent the last few years determined to love no one, and I’ve spent the last few years determined to find you.”

“I didn’t fall in love with you, I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway. And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”

Book Haul: Mythology FTW!

My shiny new books! HOORAY! *throws confetti*

photo (5)

The highlight of my bookstore visit yesterday was picking up these books. Aren’t they both lovely? I’ve been dying to get a copy of The Chaos of Stars since the first time I read about it on blogs. Hello Egyptian mythology! Interesting, right?  *flails* Now I have a copy! *flails again* 🙂

And Antigoddess! I’m currently reading the e-ARC of this one and gosh, the story is sooooo good! GREEK MYTHOLOGY IS L-O-V-E. ❤ I can drown in the book’s awesomeness ALL DAY. Now that the book’s out in the wild, I just have to get myself a finished copy. For after all, that’s what I do every time I read an ARC and fall in love with the story. 🙂 Can’t wait to share with you my thoughts about Antigoddess as soon as I finish reading it!

How about you, dear readers? What books did you get this week?

*Thank you so much to Nikka of Fully Booked Alabang Town Center customer service for facilitating my book reservations. You are the best! 🙂