Review: Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han (My True Love Gave to Me)

It’s day four of my very own “Twelve Days of Christmas”, during which I’m reviewing one story per day from My True Love Gave to Me. So far I’ve reviewed Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights”“The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link, and Matt de la Peña’s “Angels in the Snow”.

Today I’m reviewing Jenny Han’s story, “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me.”

My True Love Gave to MeIMG_20141216_200742

This story is about a human girl named Natalie (or Natty) who is being raised at the North Pole by none other than Santa Claus. She lives and works with the elves, who have a much ruder attitude than you’d probably associate with elves. She’s been crushing on one of the elves for a long time, but she also met a human boy last year while delivering presents with her dad.

The story was cute though I can’t say there was much substance to it. It’s really just a fluffy story. It’s also really short, like 13 pages short. To me, it read more like a first chapter than an entire story with beginning, middle and end, which is how even a short story should read, at least to me.

The main character is a little whiny and spoiled. On the other hand, I did enjoy reading about how she got to live at the North Pole and the festivities that happen there in the lead up to Christmas. Overall, a cute story with a sweet, hopeful ending.

Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing the story I have a feeling I’m going to love the most: Stephanie Perkins’ “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown”, which I’m heading to read right now!

WWW Wednesday [10] – My true love gave to me embarrassing true stories

WWW Wednesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three questions: (As always, all titles are linked to their corresponding Goodreads pages)

  • What are you currently reading?

My True Love Gave to MeI’m currently reading one story a day from My True Love Gave to Me (so far I’ve reviewed Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights”“The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link, and Matt de la Peña’s “Angels in the Snow” and Jenny Han’s “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me”. I’m also starting my reread of Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger today. I tried to do it as an audiobook like I did with Shiver, but the copy I checked out from the library skipped too much. 😦 It’s perfect weather to reread these books.

  • What did you recently finish reading?We Should Hang Out Sometime

Yesterday, I finished We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist. It was pretty funny and very, very honest – to the point where you almost feel as embarrassed as he does. I related to it a lot, in ways that I’ll discuss in my review on Friday.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

The Iron TrialAfter I finish Linger (which should be by Friday), I believe I am going to read The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I have a few others checked out from the library that I’d like to read, and I also got The Winner’s Curse and several other books from my Belles’ Enchanted Book Exchange partner that I want to dig in to, so I’m not 100% sure what I’ll read. I’ll see what jumps off my shelf after I finish Linger.

What about you? What are you reading?

Review: Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña (My True Love Gave to Me)

Today is day three of my very own “Twelve Days of Christmas”, during which I’m reviewing one story per day from My True Love Gave to Me. So far I’ve reviewed Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights” and “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link.

Today’s story is Matt de la Peña’s “Angels in the Snow.”

My True Love Gave to MeIMG_20141216_122842

I’m not sure how I felt about this one. I enjoyed the writing style but it felt a little weird. I liked the story but I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would’ve liked. I thought the romance was cute but the SPOILER cheating really irritated me.

I did enjoy the writing style for the most part. I would be interested in checking out some of Matt’s books. One thing that I’m not sure how I feel about is the fact that you can tell a dude wrote it. I hope this makes sense. Obviously, I read books written by men, but this one was a dude. Probably doesn’t make sense. Moving on…

I didn’t connect with the characters all that much. On the other hand, I connected with some of the things they said. I’ve been giving at least one quote from each book, so here’s today’s:

Sometimes I feel like a shook-up bottle of soda. Like, I have all this passion that wants to explode, but I don’t know where to aim it yet.

That’s me. I feel like that. That’s such a perfect description of what being passionate feels like.

Overall, this one kind of felt like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. Just kind of cheesy and lots of drama and all that jazz. The end was really wonderful though. The last paragraph was really poignant.

Come back tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing Jenny Han’s story “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me”.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases)

This is one of the hardest TTT posts I’ve ever had to do. I read SO MANY good books this year. Because of that, I’m going to list more than ten books. Sorrynotsorry. I’m going to give you a list of books published before 2014 that I read this year and a list of books published during 2014. Hope that’s okay! All of the titles are linked to my reviews.

Published BEFORE 2014

It's Kind of a Funny StoryLola and the Boy Next DoorMaze Runner cover image
The Incredible Book Eating Boy CoverThis Is What Happy Looks LikeThe Day the Crayons Quit Cover

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Every single book I read by Oliver Jeffers (you can find all my reviews under this tag – sorry it has some other stuff in there too)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Published DURING 2014

Since You've Been GoneThe Young ElitesBlue Lily, Lily BlueLet's Get Lost
Love Letters to the DeadRivers by Michael Farris SmithRain Reign

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Rivers by Michael Farris Smith
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Well, look at that. I only went THREE over. I will stop there because I could probably list about 50, but I don’t think you guys would be too happy with that. What are the top books you read this year?

Review: The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (My True Love Gave to Me)

Yesterday I told you that I’ll be reviewing one story a day from My True Love Gave to Me until Christmas, sort of like my own “twelve days of Christmas.” I thought it’d also be fun to review one story a day as well. I reviewed Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights” yesterday.

Today I’m reviewing Kelly Link’s story, “The Lady and the Fox.”

My True Love Gave to Me     IMG_20141214_172749

This one was weird, you guys. Probably two pages in I wrote this note: “Writing style might kill me.” I’ve never read anything by Kelly Link – I don’t think I’d actually heard of her until I saw her name in the book, so I didn’t know what to expect. Let me give you an example of the writing style:

The room is full of adult Honeywells talking about the things that Honeywells always talk about, which is to say everything, horses and houses and God and grouting, tanning salons and – of course – theater. Always theater. Honeywells like to talk. When Honeywells have no lines to speak, they improvise. All the world’s a stage. – page 24

The reason it bothered me is it’s a mix of super long sentences and really, really short ones. It was strange to read and took a while to get used to, but by the end, I didn’t even notice it anymore.

On the other hand, there were some descriptions I really liked, such as “Unnaturally natural” (page 25), which is just really fun to say, and “Snow is predicted, snow falls” (page 27), which is simple and straightforward.

The story is also strange, but in a good way. Miranda is the goddaughter of Elspeth Honeywell, and as her mother is in jail, she spends every Christmas with Elspeth and her son Daniel. The Christmas they are both 11, they see a man standing outside the window, watching. Through the years, Miranda continues to meet with the man – Fenny – but only when it snows and only on Christmas. He never ages, and she finds out that he’s stuck with “the Lady.” I’m sure you can predict what happens – which wasn’t nearly as annoying as you’d think. I enjoyed the story and was as charmed by Fenny as Miranda was.

I wasn’t expecting the fantasy aspect to the story, but I just really loved the magical bits. The scene near the end when everything comes to a head was really cool. So: somewhat annoying writing style but really cool story.

Review: Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (My True Love Gave to Me)

When I bought My True Love Gave to Me (edited by Stephanie Perkins and including short stories by wonderful authors like Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, and Stephanie herself), I knew I wanted to read one of the twelve stories each day until Christmas. You know, have my own “twelve days of Christmas.” 🙂 Then I thought you guys might enjoy mini reviews of each of the stories, instead of one review of the whole book, which might exclude some of the stories. At least, I hope you’ll enjoy that. Because that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m doing. Yeah… I hope you’ll stick around and read all twelve – one a day until Christmas.

My True Love Gave to Me     IMG_20141214_163141

The first story in My True Love Gave to Me is by Rainbow Rowell. It’s called “Midnights” and it documents several New Year’s Eves at “almost midnight” between Mags and Noel – from the beginning in 2014 when Mags is apparently hiding from Noel, back to when the met in 2011, and then through the New Year’s Eve parties for the next two years until we find ourselves back in 2014.

This story is very evidently by Rainbow Rowell. Okay, I’ve only read one book by her (Attachments, which I loved), but the writing was Rowell – hope that makes sense. She’s got wonderful descriptions that I just love, like this one:

He looked like his teeth were too wide for his mouth, and his mouth was too wide for his face. – page 4

Maybe it isn’t super beautiful or anything, but I can just picture Noel perfectly. In my opinion, that’s the mark of a great writer. The story is also funny in Rowell’s somewhat dry and not overly obvious way. An example:

Mags felt it when Noel walked in. (He came in through the back door, and a bunch of cold air came in with him.) – page 13

My only complaint with this story is that it was too short. Because of that, it felt rushed in parts and it was harder to see the growth that occurred in the characters. Mostly, I just really wanted this to be a much longer story – you know, a book. I could’ve read a lot more about these characters.

Check back tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing the second story in the book, Kelly Link’s “The Lady and the Fox.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Top new-to-me authors I read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

I read so many amazing authors in 2014! I had a fun time compiling this list. I can’t believe I just came across these authors this year. It feels like I’ve always loved them. 🙂 All book titles are linked to my reviews.

Stephanie PerkinsStephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss

Morgan MatsonSince You’ve Been Gone

Oliver JeffersThe Incredible Book-Eating Boy

Robert Kirkman – The Walking Dead [volume 1]

Marie LuThe Young ElitesAdi Alsaid

Adi Alsaid Let’s Get Lost

Jennifer E. SmithThis Is What Happy Looks Like

Stacey O’NealeMortal Enchantment

Rainbow RowellAttachments

Lori Rader-DayThe Black Hour

What new-to-you authors did you read in 2014?

December TBR

Yesterday was the start of December. There are 30 days left in 2014. How is this possible? So crazy. Anyway, I decided to try this challenge on Instagram (one of those you post a themed picture every day of the month). I’m really, really bad at them, but I figured I’d try. I always have fun for the 5-10 days I actually post, so why not? 🙂

The post for the 1st of December was your TBR for the month. I thought it’d be fun to see what everyone else was planning to read this month. So here’s mine. Tell me what you plan to read in December in the comments! ALSO, I completely forgot to include My True Love Gave to Me in the picture, and I plan on reading one essay from that a day for the days leading up to Christmas. 🙂 I will probably read more than what’s in this picture, but I don’t want to feel obligated.

Legend by Marie Lu / Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (this is a reread) / Every Day by David Levithan / A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray / The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (which I’ve already started and really like so far)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

My True Love Gave to MeThe Rosie EffectLegendThe 5th WaveShadow and Bone

My True Love Gave to Me, Edited by Stephanie Perkins – I was going to wait until winter to buy this one, but couldn’t wait. However, I think I’m going to read one story a day during my holiday break from work. I think that’d be the perfect time. 🙂

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – Can’t wait for this one. CAN’T. WAIT.

Legend by Marie Lu – I recently read and LOVED Marie Lu’s The Young Elites. I already own Legend (got it for my birthday), so I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but my friend Booknerderie just reviewed it and really liked it, so I’ve got to read it. Already own this one too.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – winter is all about dark books for me – dystopian, fantasy, sad books – and I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. Good thing I already have a copy of this – signed too!

SinnerDaughter of Smoke and BoneShiftDustLet It SnowThe Scorpio Races

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater – I started rereading The Wolves of Mercy Falls series as audiobooks, but Linger was skipping, so I’m going to finish rereading them as physical books. I know I don’t have to reread the series to understand Sinner, but it’s been so long since I’ve read it and the series was due a reread anyway.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – same reason as Shadow and Bone.

Shift and Dust by Hugh Howey – These were on my fall TBR and I wasn’t able to get to them. I need to.

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – I haven’t read this book yet and it is the only John Green book I haven’t read. What better time of year to read it than during winter?

(hopefully) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – I saw hopefully because it’s on my Christmas wishlist. I love Maggie and I need to read everything she’s ever written!

What’s on your winter TBR?

Stacking the Shelves: New YA Library Books!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

I only do this meme sporadically when I have something I’m really excited about, and this week I do. Pretty much all of the YA books I ordered for my library for the month of October came in this past week, and of course, I checked most of them out.

I already read Marie Lu’s The Young Elites (review soon), but these are three more I checked out. I also bought My True Love Gave to Me, which is a collection of holiday themed short stories by some awesome authors (Stephanie Perkins, Jenny Han, David Levithan, etc.). I was going to wait until closer to the holidays, but after seeing some glowing reviews of the stories, I decided that I couldn’t wait, so I headed to Target and bought it. I’m looking forward to starting it soon.

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My True Love Gave to Me by various authors / Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick / Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer / Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

What about you guys? Did you buy any new books this week?