Have you ever wanted to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in the middle of March?! Never fear, here’s the closest thing you’ll get to do just that!
Note: Faith is the only person who posts a holiday book review in springtime. Feel free to take plenty of screenshots because this is probably an exclusive absurdity that you’ll never see anywhere else.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Seriously, winter is now non-existent and THIS is the kind of book review you’re bringing us? You betcha. (Unless you live in the southern hemisphere in which winter is actually ARRIVING – geography is so weird it makes my brain spin every time I try to think about it… but it’s simultaneously awesome. I just can’t imagine having Christmas while becoming fried into a crisp under the sun!) Welcome to a slightly shameless couple-month-old book review. Let’s go! 😀
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Anthology By Stephanie Perkins (Editor), Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published: October 14th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary romance, holidays, YA fiction
This book breathes holiday vibes. In other words, I felt immersed in the festive spirit. It’s wonderful. This is what all holiday themed books should feel like. I’m not always all about contemporary romance but hey, when’s a better time to read this book than I did over Christmas and New Year? Honestly, you could read this book in the middle of a desert and feel like holidays are right around the corner… maybe.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (5/5)
Midnights describes the gradual progression of friendships and love through each passing New Year’s… and it’s written the way only Rainbow Rowell can. She is such a genius when it comes to cutesy love stories. They’re all just written so well. I bet you could give her the words “popcorn” and “mammoth fetish” to concoct a story with and lo and behold she would still unmistakably produce a wonder of a creation. I think the magic comes in the tiny details that makes all her stories come alive so realistically. Her characters have personality, a bit of cute awkwardness, and wit to spice it all up. So with Midnights, my New Year’s might just have become a tad bit sweeter… if I’m feeling cheesy enough to actually say it.
A thought that crossed my mind while reading this book: Midnights, is the first story in the book and undoubtedly one of my favourite stories in the collection which made all the following stories just seem… less awesome. They were just as magical but the bar was raised; and after seeing other reviews, I think this had resonated with other readers too. Maybe it should’ve been placed more towards the end?
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (2/5)
Admittedly, I wasn’t too intrigued while reading this. The magical holiday element was there, but half of the time, I found myself confused… and bored. My unsophisticated summary: This story is about a guy that randomly appears during the holidays. Sorry?
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña (3.5/5)
Angels in the Snow explores the holiday season under a new light: being all alone in a large city. I really enjoyed the paradox of it all. This story gave off slightly melancholy vibes because with the holidays usually spent with family and friends, two individuals find themselves all alone trapped in the cold.
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han (3/5)
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me unearths the normal in magic. Coming from Jenny Han, this story was pleasantly surprising. The ideas were enchanting and it was definitely a Christmas spin on a contemporary romance story… because what if you were adopted by Santa?
It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins (4/5)
This story was cute and sweet… and it’s about tree-buying. Although the story spans over a few hours, it didn’t really feel like insta-love. Technically if you think about it, it is. But it worked out well. I’ve never read anything by Stephanie Perkins but if I were to make an assumption based on the cover, title, and summaries, I would be lead to believe that the books would be cheesily typical. But since I enjoyed reading this one, maybe I’ll pick up some of her other books one day!
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (1/5)
Feeling: meh. Your Temporary Santa is about a guy who promises his boyfriend to dress up as Santa for his (the boyfriend’s) younger sister, to basically appease her belief in the magic of Christmas. I felt that the story lacked character and plot development. There was a climax but there wasn’t really a resolution to the problem… the characters’ positions stayed the same and there wasn’t really an epiphany. That being said, I unfortunately had to give this quite a low rating, so maybe this one is better left off at Your Temporary Read?
Krampuslauf by Holly Black (1/5)
Krampuslauf tries to bring out the darker, unfamiliar side to Christmas and it did have a bit more of a story development than the last short story but I still wasn’t too into it. I just didn’t feel the connection. But if I ever read anything else by Holly Black, hopefully I’ll enjoy it more!
What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (3/5)
Sophie Roth has gone to college and while everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit, she has brought a bit of Hanukkah with her from home. I liked that this story tried to shine a light on a different culture and it was realistic and relatable to young adults who may have been spending the holidays far from home. So I decided to give this short story a three!
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire (4/5)
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus… this gets you thinking: “What kind of oxymoron is this?” (And you secretly hope it’s not a combination that will come flying past your way any time soon. Or you secretly do, because who isn’t craving some sort of action/drama?) Albeit it’s an unlikely title, it perfectly describes the main characters who are an equally unlikely pair. Or as with YA, they are perhaps the most likely pair in town. (More likely than me finding a matching pair of socks after they’ve been through the washing and drying machines. I’m telling you, they are vicious sock monsters!!)
One, is your typical bad boy, who is constantly searching for the perfect opportunity to strike up some trouble around the neighbourhood. The other, is your classic goody-two-shoes who never forgets her please and thank yous. The odds: the anticipated chances of their lives colliding is highly probable.
The characters were likable and funny; it just expressed an adolescent innocence. It’s a holiday themed story of a bad boy and a good girl – about a wrong that eventually becomes a right.
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (4/5)
This is another cutesy romance. This town, allegedly called Christmas, immediately emits a miserable ambiance once you’re dropped into the story and it’s not only tacked in the middle of nowhere. It’s also nowhere near your ideal vacation. The premise was intriguing and fresh, but I would say that the story’s downfall would come down to the main heroine.
Most days after school, she wearily works away the hours at her parents’ restaurant but luckily, a new and young chef has been hired in the kitchen. Yet, she continues her whining and complaining… Though the guy is nothing but sweet and likes to cook comfort foods to those he feels needs it, just to put a smile on their face. So whether you’re dating, married, engaged, single as a Pringle or “it’s complicated”, who wouldn’t love the guy?
(I kind of wanted to pour a bucket of ice water on her head to get her to wake up and realise her own luck. You have a chance to befriend someone who COOKS YUMMY FOOD. Or maybe this is due to the fact that stoves absolutely despise my soul.)
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter (3/5)
Star of Bethlehem was not the festive action packed short I was expecting from Ally Carter. It’s about a girl (like it always is) who, in the midst of running away from home, finds a family. She also pretends that she’s Icelandic, which she has absolutely no prior knowledge of. (So yeah, that happens.) Random thought: I feel like this story would make for a good holiday TV show special.
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Did not finish)
As you can see, this is the first and only short from My True Love Gave to Me that I didn’t finish. I picked it up 5 different times but I still couldn’t get past the beginning: I just wasn’t too captivated by the plot. There was an element of fantasy, I just thought it was a bit too dull for my taste. (Which was disappointing as this story concluded the anthology.) My apologies, but here’s another meh.
Overall Rating: ⅘
Truthfully, this book is best read in a toasty warm cottage with snow blanketing the pines outside your frosted window. But if you’re still longing for some holiday vibes that you can’t seem to let go from this past winter season, you might just want to pick this one up. It’s never too late for some festive cheer!
How to get into the holiday spirit even in spring:
1) Grab a cup of hot cocoa (They’re always delicious whenever)
2) Find a fuzzy blanket (You know you’ve got/want one!)
3) Get into your comfy clothes (Gotta find those sweats – oh wait, I’m already in them #homeuniforms)
4) Curl up onto your couch/bed/beanbag chair/pet cat with this winter read in hand.
5) (Optional) Put up ten million Christmas lights in your room and then just leave it up until December! Less work & more year-round holiday vibes.
Who knows, you might find this book just as enticing in spring – or else, save it on your Goodreads for next year! Meanwhile, look forward to reading Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (also edited by Stephanie Perkins) which will be released on May 17th, 2016! 🙂 So tell me what some of your favourite holiday songs are! (Mine is Feliz Navidad… it’s just so catchy. :3 )
Happy reading and really belated holidays!