BOOK REVIEW: My True Love Gave To Me *Twelve Holiday Stories*

Today’s the second day of 2015 and hey… helllllloooooooo readers, have I got a holiday hangover chaser for you! Need to hold onto the spirit of giving for a little longer before facing the harsh realities of winter again?! My True Love Gave To Me *Twelve Holiday Stories* includes the twelve days of Christmas with all the schmaltz, tinsel and bubbling disbelief you expect from romance, but brings you all the bleeding heart liberal doses of humanity that makes every day transform from hardened, gray and ordinary into magic, into minor miracles that while seem nothing special touches lives and offers hope where there might not otherwise be any.

That’s the beauty of Christmas! (Even when you don't call it Christmas or prefer science over religion or celebrate the many other religious holidays that come during the winter holidays.)

It shows up in every single story contained within My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins (who also contributed). If you’re worried that these cannot be read alone, as singular stories to enjoy and allow you to put this book down and come back as need be… don’t! None of the stories are connected except for the delightful way each short makes known just which day of Christmas from the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, it drew inspiration from.

  • TITLE: My True Love Gave To Me *Twelve Holiday Stories*
  • AUTHOR(S): See above gif but edited by Stephanie Perkins
  • PUB INFO: St. Martin's Press on 10/14/14
  • ACQUIRED HOW? Purchased Kindle Edition
  • BOOK RATING: Peachy Keen
As the first book of 2015 I have read completely through... I have the energy to tackle each story by itself even though there are TWELVE!!! I did have favorites but they changed even after reading the book and now I cannot decide which I like best. That should be a testament for how utterly delightful each and every one of these stories capture the holiday spirit and just ooze with character.

  Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: An utterly precious story of pining and pretenses that wraps up on a New Year’s Eve that will change forever how Mags and Noel spend it. That’s okay because spending the evening hiding outside at midnight is the last place Mags should be, because doesn’t she know this night is the night she must save Noel’s life yet again. A bit more heroically than the past New Year’s Eves that they’ve spent together since meeting on New Year’s Eve and even as you read this as if they’ve spent lifetimes of New Year’s Eves together… you’d be missing the point. Rainbow as always makes the most meaningful of things out of what is going on off-screen and the potential of what these two finally on the same page will make of future New Year’s Eve.

  The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: A grim fairy tale initially, with prose, dearth and atmospheric cold spinning its enchanted spell so that when the reveal comes you have almost lost faith in the heat of two hearts beating as one. However, Miranda hasn’t neither has her benefactress Elspeth Honeywell. Together they face off against the Snow Queen who dares enter the fantastical realm of reality Miranda has locked her Fenny boy into. Gorgeously woven short with a hint of the joviality and dynamism of the Roaring 20’s to gild its suspension of disbelief.

  Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña: Truth finds a way to seep into fiction, ground it and worm its way into a romance in the littlest of ways. Shy and Haley refuse to accept the truths worming their way into their hearts this festive season and as they run from their fears, their cares, and their lies… the snow conspires against them and brings them together for a holiday season where running away doesn’t mean being so alone.

  Polaris is Where You Will Find Me by Jenny Han: This isn’t another Elf story… and yet Natalie can hope and wish that Flynn even though he isn’t human might fall in love with Santa’s adopted daughter, a human girl tired of never fitting in and surrounded by an entire population filled with pity for her. She’d like just for once to be special, to have gifts, to be something more than the girl who lives in the most magical place of all – the North Pole and yet gravitational forces and the unknown wreak havoc with the most fixed point in the universe, what makes her think she might be any different?

  It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: Oy… but boy oh boy is North the one for Marigold! Chemistry blossoms between these two in a shared love of the Peanuts special tree they lug to an unwelcoming apartment cluttered and ridiculously stuffed already. As they navigate each other, stereotypes, a mean-spirited nosy neighbor and unanswered questions – these two find a connection that feels like more than just a holiday romance.

  Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: A bittersweet treat, undertones of heartbreak and yet filled with the loveliest of impassioned need that drives humans to want… WANT in all caps for love. The things we will do… to love and be loved in return. And what if we are all imposters?! What then? The game never changes does it? And the lessons are all the same. Hold on tight. Just hold on tight to whomever makes you feel like you belong.

  Krampuslauf  by Holly Black: The oddity of the holidays is that it is about the only time humanity comes together in a unified belief that anything’s possible. So when you throw in three best friends who don’t know the power of three that they are, what’s a New Year's party going to turn into?! A magical evening where everyone wishes and those wishes come true. Quite a brilliantly woven modern tale for the ages without guile or poeticism unless you count the poetic justice it brings to the bully.

  What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: Everyone has a way of dealing with those moments, times in your life where you have no freaking idea how to wiggle your way gracefully out of the awkwardness that is ensuing around you. Chaos would be welcome to the blankness or judgment in the stares around you. Yeah… Sophie Roth knows all about those. So when she willingly subjects herself to an “Oh Ned Flanders of it all” Christmas concert, running into another deluded, fed-up with the Midwestern pastoral grace of their college seemed kismet. Only she’s the one seeing Russell as she imagines he should be and not as who he is and if fate’s going to bring these two lonely hearts together, they’re going to have to really look at each other without the blinders their peers have so callously used on them.

  Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: Getting a bunch a birds to shit on your nemesis’s mini-cooper seems a bit excess but Vaughn has a gift for making trouble and when the whole church burns down when his grand scheme goes up in a billowing mass of flames, only the preacher, Pastor Robinson, is the reason Vaughn isn’t hauled off to jail. Thank heavens though that Gracie Robinson has no inkling of the crush Vaughn harbors for her or for that matter the pastor or he might’ve not been as kind or let Vaughn perform his community service in such close proximity to Gracie. You know what they say about PK’s (Preacher’s Kids)?! With reputations at stake as well as the annual Christmas pageant, Vaughn learns just how useful his overactive imagination can be in times of crisis. If that earns him points with the lady, he’ll take that too.

  Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: Sweetest little town you’ll ever not visit, but Christmas, CA cannot even claim city status. A “census-designated place” where as far as Maria is concerned sucks its inhabitants in and builds some invisible force field to keep them from ever leaving. You don’t know you’re a prisoner of the place until you’re bitter, dried-up and a husk of your former loving-life self. She has seen it happen too many times to count and she’s getting out! No good-looking, sweet-talking amazing chef with crack gingerbread cookies is going to convince her otherwise. She’ll just have to take him with her that’s what… of course, gotta convince him to come first too.

  Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: Cutest play on words that title is! The heartbreak in this story is real, too close for comfort I think for a lot of us during the holidays and yet when we meet Lydia she’s determined not to give into her sob story. It’s no wonder though that as she finally opens up to allow her real self inside show and faces the tragedies of her life, that a whole town backs her up in a battle of where she truly belongs.

  The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: There are no words to express how old world Laini Taylor can make even the shortest of stories feel. As we follow Neve and learn of her fate, we too dream and wish along with her for the greatness she feels contained within herself. Courage, determination and the wonderment of what if and as she sends out her longing onto the wind it finds a presence who has needed such fierceness of character to awake it. Gods cannot be made but they can be enticed, enchanted, enraged. Neve weaves her humanity in a way that grows her into something magnificent and beyond the scope of her human body, so that when she finally meets the Dreamer – her god and savior – she steps up to him as an equal and a goddess without measure.

QUOTE ME: Every single one of these stories contain a beauty to them… a knowledge of real people who feel for the circumstances they’re imprisoned in. A diverse group of characters where I found much relatable content, even if I were not of the same ethnicity or orientation. No one likes outside forces telling them what to do, what to become, who to be, what they should be, how they should act or refusing them the simple luxury of just being… existing in the struggle of becoming who they think they want to become. In these twelve stories of struggle, growth, magic and mayhem, and yes… realism – there comes a sense of hope so pervasive that even though there’s not always a happily ever after or true love conquers all ending – there is a broad smile on my face just thinking of where these characters might be right now if they had jumped off the pages and come to life.

 Oh yeah, life is good. You just have to believe it. ☺

 | cross-posted to Fangirlish under Beth


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