“My True Love Gave To Me:Twelve Holiday Stories”” by Stephanie Perkins – Book Review, Part 1

Okie dokie fellows, I am back once again. As you might have already noticed, my very ambitious goal of daily posts was not, indeed, reached, the same way my holiday TBR is still mostly untouched, a fact I am deeply ashamed by, because I haven’t been reading much lately and that is a truly hurtful thing.

Now, you see, because of my very real shame that hit me like a tsunami last night, when I was peacefully trying to fall asleep after watching a very, very nice movie (“A Good Year”,2006 – check it out, it is funny and really relaxing, if you ask me. Moreover, it is about wine and France and London and it is really culturally attractive.), I decided that I should really do some reading. So I got onto a collection of stories that I have started reading back in October and then left aside because the time was , um , not appropriate. But ’tis the season, dear people.

The time had come for Stephanie Perkins’ story collection “My true love gave to me”. It has a nice cover and a truly wonderful festive atmosphere. Along with a dozen of romantic – at least slightly- stories.

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I only read ( or skimmed through) half of them , out of which I really, really liked – smiling dubiously at the screen of my Kindle, my heart fluttering at the perfectness of the whole thing- half. I’m going to write a super duper short review for each of them and maybe rate them because, duh, I am the one and only judge this world has ever seen. SO, ONTO THE STORIES THEN.

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By the way, I wanted to point out that the cover is not random at all, every pair drawn came from one of the 12 stories. Nice, right?
  1. “MIDNIGHTS” by Rainbow Rowell – This one I read back in October, but it was a delight. With all the discouraged romance, still delightful, still beautifully written, still absorbing, still Rainbow Rowell keeping it simple and making my life miserbale because, hello, the truth always lies somewhere else.

92.75%, let’s say. I am really bad with ratings, so excuse me.

2. “POLARIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME” by Jenny Han – I’ve read     almost all of Jenny Han’s books and the thing I most;y likes in them was the family element. So warm, so nice, so much humanity there.  That has usually kept me reading and reading, the prospect of nearness and tenderness and the idea of home. The familiarity. But, for Santa Claus’s sake, I was annoyed by this story, mainly because it felt so, so juvenile. I get that the narrator is 15 and the only human (???) in Polaris, where elves and Santa live in peace with the short days and the long nights. I kept reading, thinking that, at some point, I would start enjoying it, but I didn’t actually , so. Meh for me. Too… sweet, I suppose. Too…quirky.

73.236% here.

3.”IT’S A YULETIDE MIRACLE, CHARLIE BROWN” by Stephanie Perkins – If anybody ever asks me what the title means , I won’t know to say, funnily enough. I started wrongly, by giving you the idea that I had any type of problem with this story, but I. Did. Not. It was all sorts of wonderful and creative and made me smile a very big and true smile. It was great, like every other thing Stephanie Perkins wrote. Which is really surprising, tacking into account that I have the tendency to avoid romance for it strikes no chord in me. Her work does. This story did. Brilliant.

98.999%, just because.

4. “TEMPORARY SANTA” by David Levithan – Ok, this one had a weird premise, I think. A sorta illegal and stupid one, as far as I understand it. Didn’t like it at all, mainly because I couldn’t find it rational. Weird, weird, weird.

60.33%, I suppose.

5.”KRUMPUSLAUF” by Holly Black – Damn, I’ve just said that David Levithan’s story made no sense in my head? I take it back. Because, as much as I’ve tried, this story was a “no” for me. I get the creepiness, I get the whole idea she had with refusing to write some stereotype Christmas love story, but it was more violent than it needed to be and less logical than anything else. So, um, I didn’t actually get to finish it.

6.”WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, SOPHIE ROTH?” – Gayle Forman – This might have been the less sad, depressing and dramatic work of Gayle Forman’s that I read and it was sooo nice. I really liked it, in a very twisted way, because it talked about peculiarity and not belonging. Alienation. I like those things. Really nice, touching slightly more profound subjects than the other ones. I liked it so very much, it is a 97% to me. And it will forever be.

This was it for today, people of winter. I will ( to be read as “I probably won’t, but hope I will, because that is exactly the level of my devotion”) post smallish reviews for the rest of them as well, when I finish reading them.

Have a nice time dreaming of snow, fellows, I’ll be back. Soon. * dramatic noises in the background*

 

The Very Festive “Christmas Song” Book Tag

You may or may not have noticed that I shamelessly broke my promise. Didn’t write a word yesterday, not even one. And I don’t feel guilty about it, because I painted and it’s fair enough for me.

It’s 7PM right now, but I had a strange day and it feels like 1AM . I want to sleep. And by sleep I don’t mean kindly leave myself into a self sufficiency sweet and powerful enough to get my brain into an”Obliviate” state, but rather sleep-die. Sleep-disconnect. Sleep-act like that guy from “Avatar” when he got out of the blue body. Sleep-shut everything off for a while. Sleep- zoom out and figure things out. Sleep-allow yourself the time to gently and carefully fold your ideas, the way you do with your clothes, arranging them by color and length.

For no particular reason.

I don’t have anything in mind today, anything I can write a decent amount of words about without stumbling and falling into a sleepless state, and I don’t feel sarcasm under my skin either, poking its way through my fingers. That’s what not having any idea how to zoom out make me feel. An almost nice person.

Taking this into account, I am going to write a different type of thing today, one that I am not really accustomed to – I’m going to do a taaaaag. A type of post that is quite informational and cheerful, if you think about it. So, as only three days are left between me and Christmas, I decided ( after really trying not to fit into the pattern and 15 minutes of searching a set of enjoyable questions spring-related) that I would do:

THE CHRISTMAS SONG BOOK TAG

1) “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

*I am already dealing with the “Have I ever read any book…what is this question.. do I know any character at all?” syndrome, so it is going pretty well.*

I could obviously choose Snape or Sebastian a.k.a. Jonathan here, but I’m pretty sure every other person on the planet did it , so me and my unearthly independence of thought shall not allow such a thing as a stereotypical answer, so I am going to go with… Sauron. Neah, just kidding, he is way too purely evil for such a nice person like myself.

My truthful answer shall be the Darkling from the “Grisha” trilogy. I have to be honest here and to admit the fact that I liked every single thing he said, did or destroyed in those books. Because, as much as I would like to deny it, his power- summoning the darkness- , the way his and Alina’s powers fitted so nicely, his very, very, very tumultuous past and his slightly psychotic behavior never, ever bothered me, not even a little. Also, those last words he said to the ever naive Alina, the revelation of his real name and his vulnerability altogether were the only things that made me sob during reading that series, which I both liked and disliked, as always. And by sob, I am talking about shedding some tears at 4AM back in August and some way too shaky breaths muffled by my pillow.

2)”All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree this year?

Whereas I lack the ability to recall things about books I read, I own the very advanced skill to add books to my “Wishlist” on every online library ever. So I know the answer to this one. Really simple, I suppose, but the book I would really love to get this year – and I am perfectly aware that I won’t – is the illustrated copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” – written by the queen herself, J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.  I saw it in flesh when I went to Bucharest last month and..and… let’s avoid inserting words here, because the beauty of that book is not translatable. You have to see it and touch it and hold it to know. Magic.

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Not my picture, obviously, but I am going to leave it here for you to gaze at and admire.
3)”Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.
Well, taking into account the fact that almost every single book I’ve ever read had this component of self growth and learning to believe in yourself, it is really difficult to choose. Celaena Sardothien (whose real name was not used so that innocent people wouldn’t be spoiled) from “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas, Vin from “Mistborn”, Kelsea from “The Queen of the Tearling”, Julliete from “Shatter Me”, Cress from “The Lunar Chronicles”, Heather from “Panic”, Lena from “Delirium”, Inej and Kaz from “Six of Crows”, Alina from “Grisha”, Kat from “Fangirl”, Mare from “The Red Queen”, Violet from “All the Bright Places”, Fire, Bitterblue and Katsa from “Graceling Realm”.
It doesn’t really matter what YA book you open, you will, for sure, find somebody struggling with believing in himself. These are just some examples that came to my mind , characters that aren’t as popular and Katmiss, Tris, Percy and Harry, but overcome the same processes by embracing themselves.
4)”Santa Clause is Coming to Town” – a) Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty list an b) which character do you think is at the top of the nice list?
Okay, this is way too easy. a) – Sauron, obviously. Seriously now, did you really think Voldemort could take his place? Not really, from my point of view. b) – Well, I have no idea. Really, I don’t think all that much about the nice people in books. But I suppose Jem is there, on the top of the nice list. Because…well, because he is Jem.
5)”Frosty the Snowman” – Which book just melts your heart?
None. My soul is made of wind and ice and stone and no book can get to it. Not even the ones about suicide and mental illness or the over-fluffy YAs I had the mischance  to read, forced by no one, this year.
6)”Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own.
Taking into account that absolutely no book, except for the Romanian ones, takes place in Romania, I could pick anything. Because almost everything takes place in America, the UK, all over Europe or in a parallel universe. So…
7)”It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the Christmas joy.
Brace yourselves, here come my personal classics. Everything and anything Harry Potter, even if we are talking about J.K. Rowling’s groceries list –  not really, but Harry Potter tales never fail to bring such a wonderful joy in my stone cold heart. “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman, as well as “The Hobbit” and The “Lord Of The Rings” series. The last three mentions might be influenced by my great love for fantasy and the fact that I read all these books on Christmas break, cup of hot cocoa in my hand, so the atmosphere is still with me. I may also note the fact that I generally associate fantasy, magic and a badass plot to happiness and winter holidays, so these books might not work for everybody.
8)”Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spend the holidays with?
This is a very, very tough question. But I think that I would choose Kell from “A Darker Shade Of Magic” to share my Christmas with. Because I like him very much and I would really love to visit some other particularly interesting wolds that happen to intersect in London.
9)”Baby It’s Cold Outside” – which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?
Look, let’s be clear, I do not and will not sacrifice books in such purposes, but taking into account the fact that I really want to finish these 10 seasonal question, I am going to go with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books of “Fallen” by Lauren Kate. Will not explain.
10)”Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Which book do you think everyone should read?
I really don’t know what to choose here, because, whereas I have many suggestions  – especially YA ones – for everybody, all the time, I don’t know what to recommend to the whole planet. Oh, actually I do. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry . If you click on the name, you will be teleported to his Goodreads page. There, you can mark “The Little Prince” as “To Be Read” or ” currently reading” and thank me later.
Seriously talking, it is one of the best books I’ve ever, ever read. Because it sums up some principles that have the potential to change you. And that is the most wonderful thing.
Yeepee. Finally done with this overly festive tag. Hope you enjoyed my very qualified answers, I will try to return tomorrow with something new to say.