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Review: My True Love Gave To Me

Stephanie Perkins - My True Love Gave To Me

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

I was so excited about this collection of short stories. I mean, have you seen some of the authors? Stephanie Perkins, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Rainbow Rowell… The list goes on. When I finally got my hands on a copy (and my copy is so pretty. It’s a hardback with bright pink pages. I’m in love!), I started it straight away. Generally, I enjoyed the book, although some stories were a lot better than others. I’m going to give you my thoughts on each story, but don’t worry, it’ll just be a sentence or two!

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell

This book got off to a great start. I loved Midnights, and I thought it was a very enjoyable read. Mags and Noel were great characters to read about.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link

This had a very fairytale-ish vibe to it, and it was rather mystical and fantastical. It was really sweet though.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. It wasn’t cute and fluffy enough for my sort of Christmas story. It didn’t click with me.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han

This one was adorable! I wish it had been longer, because I really wanted to know what happened with the characters after that ending.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins

Really, really cute. It was possibly my favourite. This is exactly what I was expecting from a Christmas story.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan

Slightly disappointing after everything I’ve heard about Levithan. It was quite sweet though.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black

Nope! Just nope. Not my kind of story, and especially not at Christmas.

What the hell have you done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman

Another favourite! It was really sweet, and I really connected with this one because Sophie was in her first year of university (like me!)

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire

I really like this one too, and found it so relatable. I loved the fact that it actually showed Christians at Christmas. I definitely need to check out some of her books.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White

Yet another favourite! This one just made me really, really happy. And it was so Christmassy. I think this one probably was my favourite.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter

I was really disappointed by this one, because I love Ally Carter. I just thought this story was very rushed and sudden compared to the others.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Not very Christmassy, but it was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Laini. Very mystical and fantastical, and quite different from the other stories. It sort of reminded me of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races.

So, that’s my opinion on this short story collection. I did enjoy it on the whole, and some stories definitely stood out. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a nice Christmas read!

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One Day More

one-day-more

I’m going home tomorrow!

It’s the end of my first semester of university and tomorrow I’ll be home for three weeks for Christmas. I can’t wait! Seriously, I’m really looking forward to being able to sit on a sofa and just relax and not have to go to lectures all times of the day. It’s going to be so nice. It’s going to be really strange though. For the past twelve weeks I’ve been living with 12 other people, who were all strangers back at the end of September. How do I go from that to living in a house of four?

I’ve had such a great time so far though. Firstly, the course is really good (although I will never come to enjoy programming. The coursework for this term totally destroyed any hope of that). I’ve also met some brilliant people – my housemates are great (even if they do have the occasional party until four in the morning…) and there are some great people on my course. I get on with them so well that I’m living with some of them next year! My friends in the Christian Union have been a huge support too, and I’m not sure I could’ve managed this semester without them.

This semester has been really, really busy. I’ve managed to do so much! Right from freshers, I’ve had things going on most weeks. There’s been events with the orchestra and choir, like the Christmas concerts I was in on Saturday, and a lot of events with the CU – I was part of the choir at their annual Carol Service at the Abbey! I also got the chance to go and watch The Mousetrap, an Agatha Christie murder mystery. It was amazing! I highly recommend that you all go and see it.

All in all, I’ve had an amazing first semester, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my uni life has in store for me. The one thing I’m definitely not looking forward to though are my five exams in January!

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Stacking the Shelves #39

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga, where book lovers get to share what their latest additions to their book shelves are.

Last weekend, I ended up in Waterstones completely by accident and guess what? I bought a couple of books! I really need to work on doing a book buying ban or something because I really don’t need to keep buying new ones.

Bought

Stephanie Perkins - My True Love Gave To Me

My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

As I mentioned in this week’s top ten Tuesday, I’ve already started this one and I really like it. I’ve only read four stories so far, and Rainbow Rowell’s is definitely my favourite.

Michael Grant - Gone

Gone (Gone #1) by Michael Grant

Everybody loves this series, so clearly I had to buy the first book to see what all the fuss was about.

On The Blog

I actually posted a few things this week – it’s easily the most active I’ve been this month.

In Other News

I’m now down to two weeks left of my first term at university, which is insane. I have no idea where the time’s gone! Anyway, because Christmas is coming up, I’m taking part in a couple of Christmas concerts with the orchestra and choir, and I’m also singing with my choir at the Student Carol Service. It’s taking place in the abbey and it’s going to be amazing! My flat have also planned our Christmas meal, and we’ve organised Secret Santa. I have not yet bought any presents, but I’ve got a week. I’ll be fine! And finally, I’m in the middle of organising a murder mystery with my school friends which is going to be so much fun. I’m so excited!

How’s your week been? And how excited are you about Christmas?!?

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Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)

Michelle Hodkin - The Retribution of Mara Dyer

  Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told. There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance. She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

Possible small spoilers for books one and two ahead.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer left readers on the most horrible cliffhanger ever. And I mean, ever. (Well, apart from maybe Mark of Athena). And then, we had to wait for what seemed like years and years for this book to be released. I’m pretty sure its release date got pushed back at least twice! Anyway, it was finally released and it was worth waiting for. I really enjoyed this book. Yes, there were a few things I wasn’t as keen on, but it was such a gripping read.

 One of the things I’ve always loved about this series is the fact that it can get very creepy, and Retribution certainly didn’t disappoint on that side of things. I wasn’t sure it was possible for this book to be creepier than Evolution, but it was. Especially the beginning. Right from the moment I read the first few pages, I was hooked. Michelle Hodkin is brilliant at writing creepy and strange scenes and descriptions – I really like her writing style.

I also really liked Mara. She’s such an interesting and different character, and I love how she’s kind of on the verge of almost being a villain really. I just think that Mara’s perspective is always really interesting. She’s such a well-developed character as well, and it’s so easy to get into her mind and understand her. She’s great! There are, of course, other characters in the series and there are some that I totally adore. Jamie and his banter with Mara added some really nice humour to the book, and I got so excited when Daniel, Mara’s brother, turned up. I also liked getting to know Stella a bit better.

I did mention that I had a couple of problems with the book, and one of those was the ending. The actual conclusion was really good, but then the story was dragged out for a while after that and I think it could’ve ended a lot sooner. I also expected a lot more from Jude in this book. In previous books he was really, really creepy and I hated him, but I just wasn’t as bothered about him this time. However, there were some great plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and there was one that really shocked me.

I thought that The Retribution of Mara Dyer was a good end to the series and definitely worth the wait, and I’d definitely recommend the whole series to anybody who’s interested in it.

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My Winter TBR

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and involves making a lists about a certain topic. And who doesn’t like making lists, right?

It seems I haven’t done a top ten post since over a month ago, which is terrible, but I’ve finally gotten around to participating in this again. This week’s topic is

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Michael Grant - Gone

1. Gone by Michael Grant

I’ve heard so many great things about this series. I NEED to read it as soon as possible.

Veronica Rossi - Into the Still Blue

2. Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

This was on my Autumn TBR but I didn’t get around to it. I definitely plan on reading this soon though.

Rick Yancey - The Infinite Sea

3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Again, this was on my Autumn TBR. I’m so bad at reading things when I plan to!

Robert Jordan - Crossraods of Twilight

4. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan

I’m slowly getting through this series and I’ve finally reached book ten. I’m looking forward to starting this one.

Alison Croggon - The Singing

5. The Singing by Alison Croggon

I really enjoyed the other three books in the series, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Maerad’s story will end.

Jane Eagland - Whisper My Name

6. Whisper My Name by Jane Eagland

I bought this one in the summer from a charity shop – it looks interesting.

Diana Wynne Jones - Power of Three

7. Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones

I read a lot of Diana Wynne Jones when I was younger so I’m really looking forward to this one, it sounds great.

Charlie N. Holmberg - The Paper Magician

8. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

This one’s a review book from NetGalley, and I mainly got it because of the cool cover. It does look interesting though.

Charlie N. Holmberg - The Glass Magician

9. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Again, look at the pretty cover! It’s the second book in the same series. I’m really hoping I like the first one.

Stephanie Perkins - My True Love Gave To Me

10. My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkings

I’ve actually started this one already because it looked way too cute. But it is a Christmas book, so I feel like it should be on this list anyway.

So that’s my Winter TBR. The plan is to read all of those books. Chances are I’ll get distracted and read other things, but I will try to read these ones!

What’s on your winter TBR? And do you think you’ll read all of them?

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Review: Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2)

Elizabeth Wein - Rose Under Fire

Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp, Rose’s story is one of courage in the face of adversity. Code Name Verity is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

It’s been a week since I finished this and I still can’t decide if it broke my heart more than Code Name Verity. It definitely did break my heart though. I got so emotional while I was reading this book, but I found it impossible to put down. I really don’t know how Elizabeth Wein does it! She’s a brilliant author.

Rose Under Fire is a companion novel to Code Name Verity, and it follows the story of Rose, an American ATA pilot. She ends up in a concentration camp for women in Germany, and the story that follows is full of horrific events. Sometimes this book gets really hard to read. However, you should definitely read it.

The main thing I loved about this book was the friendship, which is something that Elizabeth Wein excels at writing about. In Rose Under Fire, Rose forms such tight bonds with the other girls in the concentration camp, like Roza and Irina, Seeing those friendships in the middle of all the horrible things that were going on also made me cry quite a few times.

Rose herself was amazing. She’s so, so brave and courageous and I’m amazed at how she coped with everything that she went through. The book is written in a journal format, and Rose’s words felt so real as she talked about her time in the camp and also about her life before that. I also loved the fact that Rose wasn’t just a “strong female character”. Her main hobby was writing poetry, and I loved seeing that come into the book. Some of her poems almost had me crying at times.

The actual history that the book is based on is horrible, and I think this book did a really good job of showing as much as possible about the camp. Horrible things happened there, and one of the main things that was talked about were “the rabbits”, a group of women who were experimented on by Nazi doctors. They’re left crippled and their stories are so horrible. I think that because everything that’s mentioned in this book is true, it makes for a really gripping story, even if some of the events are horrific.

Rose Under Fire definitely lived up to my expectations, and is just as good as Code Name Verity. You should all definitely go and read it. And just in case you’re still not conviced, Maddie from Code Name Verity is in it! See, you have to read it now!

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Stacking the Shelves #38

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga, where book lovers get to share what their latest additions to their book shelves are.

Look! A post I didn’t schedule weeks and weeks ago! Yay!

Yeah, I’m pretty excited right now because I actually have time to blog properly and so I plan on scheduling quite a few posts. It’s very exciting. I’ve also got a few new books to share – a couple were birthday presents from a few weeks ago and another was an impulse buy.

Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1) by Elizabeth Wein

I’ve already read this one – I listened to it as an audiobook over the summer – but I really wanted a physical copy, so I got it for my birthday! I’m definitely planning on rereading it soon.

Brandon Sanderson - The Well of Ascension

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Another birthday present, and I’m really looking forward to this one. The first book was brilliant!

Michelle Hodkin - The Retribution of Mara Dyer

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin

I finished this one today and loved it a lot. There’ll be a review pretty soon!

In other news, uni’s been going well. I’ve had one test which counts towards one of my modules, and coursework has just been handed out. The course and the societies and stuff is great. What’s not so good is the fact that the sockets in our kitchen lost power yesterday – including the three fridges/freezers. It’s sort of sorted out at the moment, but we our microwaves and kettles etc. still don’t work. Oh well, we’ll manage.

EDIT: Thankfully, everything’s now fixed but maintentance took quite some time to sort it out.

What books did you get this week? And how’s your week been?