Review: My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

Genres: Young Adult, Anthology, Holiday

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


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. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
My Thoughts

I'm not usually a fan of short stories but I am a fan of YA and Rainbow Rowell so I was willing to give this anthology a try. Plus, it's been sitting on my bookshelf since its release in 2014. I'd been meaning to read it the past two years and it just never happened. There were some hits and there were some misses... here are my thoughts.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 5/5

I love that the book started with this gem from Rainbow Rowell. Loved this one and would read an entire book about Mags and Noel.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: 2.5/5
I'm not sure what to make of this one. I was enjoying it but then it ended with zero explanation. No explanation of who Fenny was, where he came from, who the Lady was... just nothing. *scratches head*

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena: 3/5
Equal parts sweet and sad.

Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han: 3/5
I was so loving this one. It was so whimsical and magical and I liked Natalie and Flynn. But then that ending. Nope.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 5/5
Loved it. I could have read an entire book about Marigold and North. And now I need to read everything by Stephanie Perkins.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: 2/5
I didn't feel any connection to this one and overall it was pretty boring.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 4/5
Okay, this one was pretty weird but the weirdness worked for me. I found the ending a tiny bit anti-climatic but I would loved to have read more about Joachim.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: 2/5
Unfortunately main character Sophie ruined this one for me. She was so judgmental of those around her. Ironically, she felt judged by everyone in the small rural college she was attending but, hello - pot meet kettle. Instead of making any effort she just stood back and internally mocked those around her for being earnest and sincere. How dare they wear Christmas sweaters and sing carols! Sophie was much too cool for that apparently. My title suggestion: Get over yourself, Sophie Roth.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire - 3.5/5
I enjoyed this story of acceptance and wanting to be seen for more than face value. I could easily see this one developed into a full-length novel.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White - 4/5
There was an odd kinda-sorta magical realism thing going on with the food at the diner but other than that I enjoyed Maria's story. I liked the arc of the characters that White was able to provide in such a short story. 

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter - 4/5
Despite being totally unrealistic, I really fell for Lydia's story. Ethan was perfect, his family was warm and loving, and the total optimist in me loved the happy ending.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - 1/5
Uh... I don't even know what to say. This one was truly strange and didn't even seem to fit. I found myself wanting to start skimming (even though it was short) and after finishing it all I could think was: what did I just read?

Overall, My True Love Gave To Me was a mixed bag. There were a few contemporaries that I loved (thank you Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins!), some that were mostly enjoyable, and a couple that just missed the mark.

Overall rating: 3.5/5
Do you enjoy short stories/anthologies?

2017 Reading Challenges

Last week I posted about the Reading Assignment Challenge I'll be taking part in and I've decided to join in two others as well. 

C O N T E M P O R A R Y  R O M A N C E 
2 0 1 7  R E A D I N G  C H A L L E N G E

This challenge is hosted by Andi at Andi's ABCs and with the spotlight on contemporary romance it seems custom made for me. Adult, new adult and young adult contemporary romance all count toward the yearly goal, in any format (print, ebook, audio), including rereads and crossovers from other challenges. There will also be monthly discussion topics (which are optional). I'm going the Grand Slam level which means reading 21+ contemporary romance books within the year. I think I can manage that. :)

#S H E L F L O V E
2 0 1 7  R E A D I N G  C H A L L E N G E

This will be my second year participating in the #ShelfLove Challenge and I'm excited to take part again! This one is hosted by the ladies at Chapter Break and Terri at Second Run Reviews. As with last year, I'm not particularly concerned with the whole "book budget" or book buying ban" aspect of the challenge. Instead, my focus is on reading all the awesome books already on my bookshelves. I'm sticking with the same level I did this year: reading 31-40 books that I already own. I found this challenge to be a great motivator this year so I'm excited to be taking part again.

So that's three challenges in 2017 (including the Reading Assignment challenge) and the common denominator that drew me to these particular challenges? I get to read what I want. I choose whatever I feel like at the time. No list of dictates about when the book was released, where the author is from, what color is on the cover, how many pages it has. Yes, the contemporary romance challenge narrows it down to a specific genre but since that's the mainstay of my reading anyway... no worries. :)

How about you? Participating in any challenges in 2017? 
Do you enjoy them or do they not work for you? 

The Best of 2016: My 16 Favorite Books of the Year

The end of the year - the time when "best of" lists abound. And I'm a sucker for favorites lists (okay, so I'm a sucker for any list, really). And making my own lists? Love it! But that doesn't mean it's easy. And choosing a handful of favorite books from an entire year of reading? Gah! It can only be described as exquisite torture. :)

I read 92 book in 2016 and my intention was to pick a Top Ten. Bahaha! Yeah, that wasn't happening. But, serendipitously, my list had sixteen books so I decided to go with it. These are kinda-sorta in order but don't hold me to it. Especially when it comes to the top four or five. I basically agonized over it and still came to no conclusion so it was practically a coin toss to decide those top spots. So let's get started...

#16 - The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
I listened to this debut novel back in February and was so surprised at how powerful it was. Eden story was difficult to hear and the changes in her over an almost four year period were sometimes infuriating, sometime heartbreaking. This one stayed with me for a long time.

#15 - The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Armentrout has long been one of my go-to authors and I was excited for this release. JLA didn't disappoint. I was immediately drawn into Mallory's story and her struggle to find her voice, both literally and figuratively. Rider was a sweetheart but had his own demons to face. Great secondary characters as well.

#14 - Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
There's not one, not two, but three by Katie McGarry in this year's list of favorites. McGarry is another go-to author and when it comes to YA contemporary she is always my #1 pick. Her Thunder Road series hooked me from the very start and I can't get enough. Breanna is such a relatable, likable character and Razor brought on all the feels.

#13 - Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
I can't believe this one didn't make it to the top ten but I guess that just shows how many great books I encountered this year. I read an ARC of Swear on This Life back in March and was instantly captivated. This story within a story had me hooked and I loved watching as it played out. I knew I had to read more from Carlino and this isn't the only time she appears on this list.

#12 - Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry
Here's the second entry from Katie McGarry. Breaking the Rules continued Noah and Echo's story from Pushing the Limits (the first book in the Pushing the Limits series). Despite loving all the characters from this amazing series, I've always maintained a soft spot for Noah and Echo. Both characters grow so much in this novel and it wasn't always easy. (At one point I tweeted Katie and asked her why she was putting them through this. LOL)
I cried my way through much of the book... but in a good way. That makes sense, right?

#11 - The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
This was definitely one of my big surprises of 2016. I'm not much of a fantasy reader but the Russian setting was just too good for me to ignore. I loved it all. The characters, the setting, the magic, the plot twists I never saw coming... it made for a fantastic ride.

#10 - Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie
My love for this series knows no bounds and I tend to gush about it. A LOT. Three books from the series made it into my 2016 favorites list. Two of them were actually released in 2015 but I put off reading them because I couldn't bear the thought of this series ending. Goodness knows I strung it out as long as I could. This was the final book that was solely from the perspectives of Rose and Connor and it made me love them even more.

#9 - Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
This first book in Katie's Thunder Road series introduced me to a world that was new to me. A motorcycle club and its members that couldn't be more of a family if they were related by blood. I loved Emily and felt for her in this unfamiliar world she found herself in, Oz was an instant new book boyfriend, and Eli broke my heart. This book introduced an incredible cast of characters that I look forward to revisiting as the series continues.

#8 - Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Jamie and Wes. Do I really need to say any more? Reading this one had me asking the question: why did I wait so long? I adored these characters. Bowen and Kennedy created a story that was impossible not to love, with characters that it was impossible not to pull for. There was wit, there was genuine emotion, and I couldn't stop thinking about Jamie and Wes for a long time after I finished their story.

#7 - Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie
I waited a long time before picking this one up because I couldn't stand being one step closer to the end. Long Way Down is told from Daisy and Ryke's points of view and was even more emotional than I anticipated. They were both faced with such obstacles to overcome and many times I didn't see a happy future (which made for many, many tears). These two daredevils had a hard road and seeing them through it made for a remarkable read.

#6 - Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
My second read by Renee Carlino cemented her as a new favorite author. I fell in love with Matt and Grace as their love story unfolded. Set mainly in the 90's, both the time and the place (NYC) play such a role in this story. My heart soared as Grace and Matt came together and my heart broke as circumstances kept them apart. I was utterly charmed by this book (did Carlino sprinkle magic in the pages?) and it became an instant favorite.

#5 - Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
It kind of breaks my heart that this one is "only" #5 but again... just so many good books. Simon was my biggest surprise of the year. To think I was actually going to pass on this one. Ack! Thank goodness I didn't because I fell in love with Simon right away. I don't know how to talk about this book without full-on gushing because I love everything about it. The honesty, the humor, the friendships, the way it felt so utterly real. I've read this book three times (considering I never reread, this is huge) and I'll never tire of it. So freaking adorable (as Simon would say).

#4 - It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is so consistently amazing that is almost feels redundant to rave about her books. It Ends With Us may be her best yet. It had a different feel from Colleen's previous books - deeper, darker, heavier. It made me think. Often it wasn't enjoyable, but it was always moving. 

#3 - One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid 
2016 was a year of discovering new (to me) authors and Taylor Jenkins Reid is at the top of that list. Reid took a plot that could have been overblown and over-dramatized (a presumed-dead husband is found alive and his widow now has a fiance) and instead kept it tightly focused on one woman's journey. I loved everything about this one. I loved getting the background of Emma and Jesse, I loved the writing, I loved that halfway through I was utterly convinced on how I wanted it to end and I loved that I was perfectly happy when the exact opposite happened. 

#2 - A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Last year ACOTAR was in my top 10 of 2015 and I was certain that any follow-up could not top it. I was so wrong that it took wrongness to a new level. A Court of Mist and Fury was EPIC. A total game changer. Everything I thought I knew was turned upside down and all of a sudden it was a whole new story. The addition of new characters was perfection (hello, #squadgoals) and the direction the story took was inspired. ACOMAF put me through the emotional wringer and I was happy for it. 

#1 - Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie
And here we are at number one. It is absolutely no surprise to me that my #1 pick of the year was penned by the amazing Krista & Becca Ritchie. Seeing the Addicted series come to an end was bittersweet but this epilogue was 727 pages of sheer perfection. Some Kind of Perfect was one long love letter to these incredible characters who I have loved for so long and seen through so much. Spanning 10 years, I was able to be a participant in their lives through so much change. But some things remained constant: the friendships, the love, and their fierce loyalty to one another. By the time I turned the last page I had cried many tears but my heart was full.

Whew! So there they are... the Top 16 of 2016. 
Are any of your favorites listed here? 
What was your favorite read of 2016?

The Sunday Post #38

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

Merry Christmas! It's been a fairly quiet day since our big family gathering is actually on Christmas Eve. I had a wonderful time with my parents, my sisters and their families last night. I'm so thankful we were all together. That means more than any gift. Other than a delicious lunch with parents and one of my sisters today, it's been a quiet day spent at home with Robert. Pretty perfect.♥ Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you had a wonderful day.  

Tuesday, December 20: I had the best time sharing what I wanted Santa to leave under my tree. From advance copies of some highly anticipated books to an unlimited Starbucks card (and even Daemon Black), it was fun to get creative with my wish list. :)

Wednesday, December 21: After a year of participating in the #ShelfLove Challenge it was finally time for the year-end check-in. I was so happy to have met my goal, reading 39 books from my shelves that I already owned (40 if you count the one I'm reading now and will surely finish before the end of the year).   

Thursday, December 22: On Thursday I shared a post about the Reading Assignment Challenge that I'm joining in 2017. I've chosen 12 books that I will read in 2017, one per month, and I'm excited to *finally* read these books!     

Fall With Me (Wait For You #4) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

My True Love Gave To Me - Stephanie Perkins (editor)


Too Late - Colleen Hoover
Shadows - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Opposition - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Obsession - Jennifer L. Armentrout
This Is One Moment - Mila Gray
Leave Me Sweet - Tracey Brogan
Filthy Rich - Raine Miller
The Silent Waters - Brittainy Cherry

Big thanks and big hugs to my friends Brittany and Sarah for This Is One Moment and Obsession. I loved our gift exchange! 

The Fall  - Kate Stewart

Black Box - Cassia Leo

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

#2017HW Reading Assignment Challenge | Sign-Up and Reading List

I'm taking part in the Reading Assignment Challenge in 2017 and it's going to be awesome. This one kicks it old school with a reading assignment... except way cooler. Because you get to assign your own books. Sweet!

This challenge is run by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading. You can get all the details at their sites but here are the basics.

* The challenge runs between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.

* You can only participate for the months *after* you sign up.

* Make a list of specific books you'll read in 2017. Commit to reading 1,2,3 or 4 of those books each month.

* You can ready from any genre or format (must be over 100 pages and published before January 1, 2017).

* Post a quarterly report card and link it up at the host's blog.

I'm easing into this challenge by choosing Reading Level 1 - which means I am committing to reading one book from my reading list per month. Totally doable, right? And here are the 12 books that make up my assigned reading list.

Have you already signed up for any 2017 reading challenges? 
Do you have favorites that you participate in year after year?

December #ShelfLove Challenge: Year-End Check-In

December topic: End of the year check-in post. Look back at your January and June posts and let us know how you did this year. Would you do the challenge again in 2017?
Back in January I posted my bookish mantra for 2016: Read What I Want To Read. I had developed a habit of reading mediocre books while letting the ones I was truly excited about languish on my shelves. So I decided no more mediocre books that I wasn't excited about and no more getting sidetracked by every new release. Instead my focus would be on the books already on my shelves that I really wanted to read. So when I heard about the #ShelfLove Challenge it seemed custom-made for me and I joined right in.

I set a goal back in January of reading 31-40 books that qualified for the challenge. Meaning: nothing that was acquired after January 1, 2016 (and library books didn't count toward the goal).

I'm happy to say that I reached my goal! As of today I have read 39 books that were already on my shelf when the challenge started. (And I'm currently reading #40 which I am sure to finish before the end of the year.)

Will I take part in the #ShelfLove Challenge again? Absolutely! The challenge played a part in reminding me of my goal - to read all the wonderful books already on my shelves - and I had a great time participating. 

Did you take part in any challenges this year? How did you do?

Top Ten Tuesday: Pretty Please, Santa Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about the books (or even non-bookish items) that we wouldn't mind Santa leaving under our tree. And since Santa is magic and can pull off anything I'm asking for some advance copies. He can manage that, right? :)


Yeah, I really need this one now. ACOMAF basically destroyed me so I'm owed some recompense. Make it happen, will ya, Nick?

#2 DAMAGED LIKE US by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Waiting for this one is already trying my patience and there isn't even a publication date yet. Just sometime in 2017. Which could mean next Christmas. Sorry, unacceptable. Santa needs to have this one front and center under the tree.


So I won't be making it to ApollyCon in 2017 which basically kills my soul. And it's practically in my backyard this time (Orlando - a short jaunt away)! But alas, a family obligation is going to be taking me in the opposite direction that weekend. {insert much wailing and dramatic collapsing onto the floor in a heap} So I'm thinking Santa should finagle a last-minute change in the date. Like, oh guess what, ApollyCon is now a week later than planned. OR! Why not just have TWO ApollyCons next year? Genius, right? So if Santa could plant that little seed in someone's ear that would be sweet.

#4 WITHOUT MERIT by Colleen Hoover

CoHo's next release isn't due until August of 2017. Am I seriously supposed to wait that long? Madness, I say! So, Santa, do me a solid and slide me a copy under my tree. Please and thank you.


Yeah, so that sounds kind of greedy. The whole store. But if you're familiar with Evie's work you understand, right? It's all So. Pretty. How am I supposed to pick and choose? The pillows, the art prints, the mugs, the pouches and phone cases... *sigh*


As far as I know, Katie has no plans to continue the Pushing the Limits series. Sorry, but six books are not enough. I love those characters. I need more Echo and Noah in my life. More Isaiah and Rachel. More West and Haley and Abby and Logan. Can you make that happen, Santa?

#7 DAEMON BLACK aka Pepe Toth

Pretty please, can I have him? 

#8  THE CROWN'S FATE by Evelyn Skye

With the way The Crown's Game ended... I need answers. I need to know what's going on. And waiting until May is no good. 

#9 MORE WES AND JAMIE from Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I fell in love with these guys in Him. The love affair continued in Us. And yes I know there is a spin-off series coming and Jamie and Wes are sure to make an appearance but it's not enough. I want more because those two are perfection. Can you make that happen, big guy?


A girl cannnot live on books alone. She needs a tasty drink at her side. An iced chai tea latte when it's warm, a snickerdoodle hot chocolate when it's cold... and get a little something for yourself while you're there, Santa. 

What do you hope Santa will leave under your tree?

The Sunday Post #37

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

Is it just me or is anyone else kind of blown away that next Sunday is Christmas? Tell me it's not just me. I mean, seriously, where did December go?! On the plus side, I *think* I'm done with gift shopping (oh please, no last minute surprises) and I'm almost done with gift wrapping (which I actually enjoy). Now if I could just have some cooler temps... hard to feel all Christmasy when it's supposed to be 83 degrees today. LOL

Last night The Husband and I went to Kuhn Flowers to see the window display. It's a local tradition and they've been doing amazing displays every Christmas for 40 years or more. I remember my parents taking me and my sisters across town to see it every year when we were little girls so it definitely holds a lot of nostalgia for me.


Did you do anything to celebrate the season this week?  

Monday, December 12: I should go back and check how many times I've ended up posting my Sunday Post on a Monday. LOL What can I say, the weekends get away from me. Fingers crossed that this post actually goes live while it's still Sunday... I'm so on it today. :) 

Tuesday, December 13: I loved this week's Top Ten Tuesday. Choosing the books I'm most excited for in the first half of 2017? Yeah, that was super easy. Because there are *so many* that I am crazy excited for coming up soon!  


Sunday's At Tiffany's (Audio Re-Read) - James Patterson

Fall With Me (Wait For You #4) - Jennifer L. Armentrout


The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye

I read this on audio back in August and loved it so much that I wanted a physical copy. I am so ready for The Crown's Fate in May.

The Fall Up - Aly Martinez
The Dark Ones - Rachel Van Dyken

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)