By: Melanie | January 5, 2016 | (50) Comments

Review: My True Love Gave to MeMy True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Kelly Link, Matt de la Pena, David Levithan, Jenny Han, Ally Carter, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Kiersten White, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: October 9th, 2014
Genres: YA, Romance, Anthology
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

A collection of joyful festive stories that will keep you warm during the cold winter months.

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.

Last year in January (2015) I made a plan to read one short story per month from this anthology/collection/book-thingy (seeing as there were 12 stories and I thought that would be cool (it’s really not)) And, like most of my other plans, it totally failed. So here I am in January 2016 reading my way through the last bunch of stories all in one go because damn, this book has been sitting on my bedside table for long enough. Anyway, I ended up loving some of the stories, and downright disliked some too. Here are just my brief thoughts:

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Midnights by Rainbow Rowell | ★★★★★

I DIED OF CUTE. It’s a beautifully told story, with a hint of sadness and a lot of adorable banter, and I absolutely loved the way it unraveled. She managed to create such authentic characters in just a handful of pages – I SHIP MAGS & NOEL

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link | ★

Whelp, that escalated quickly. Probably not the best story to follow right after Rowell’s, tbh. I did love the concept but I soon got confused and ended up skimming the last few pages, unfortunately. 🙁 Was that just me? o.o

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña | ★★★ and a half

This one was really cute! To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance but I love how much the author managed to pack into just a few pages. Definitely will be checking out his other work!

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han | ★★

Soooo definitely not my favourite thing I’ve read by Ms. Han. I loved how creative this one was but the romance didn’t feel real at all, and it was basically an attempted love triangle in the matter of 20-30 pages. Wanted to love this one but just couldn’t.

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

YAAAAAAAAAS!! This is a ‘love story’ that spans over just a couple of hours and well, Perkins pulled it off perfectly that made it seem so natural and non instant-lovey. This little story made me realise how much I’ve missed this author’s books! Perhaps it’s time for a reread of Lola and the Boy Next Door (aka my favourite novel of hers)!

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan | ★★

Meeeeeh… I really wanted to love this one (and yay for LGBTQ characters!) but I just wasn’t invested in the characters. There isn’t much of a romance in there. Sure, a guy dresses up as Santa for his boyfriend’s sister, and it’s cute, but I wanted to see them actually together as well.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black | DNF

I read 3 pages and gave up ._. Maybe I just wasn’t feeling it at the time? I might get back to this one later but I couldn’t get into this one at all.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? | ★★ and a half

Definitely some great themes going on here but I just didn’t feel really invested in the story. The dialogue was a highlight and felt realistic, even though I didn’t really like Sophie initially (I don’t even know why). Ending was a little bit too much on the cheesy side, though.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus | ★★

I feel like I’m a black sheep for this one. I just didn’t get invested in it?

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White | ★★★★ and a half

White’s novels have been a hit or miss with me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely adored this one! The characters are layered and three-dimensional, and I feel like I really got to know them within the couple of pages that this story was.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter | ★★★

I wasn’t really convinced by the storyline that was presented here… but I think that this was just me? Despite that issue, I found this one to be quite enjoyable, and I loved the hanging mystery about exactly who the main character was. A fun read!

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

I’ve only read the first instalment to DoSaB and after all these years I forget how beautiful and magical Taylor’s writing is. This was a great choice to end the collection with – love, love, love.

Despite there being a few stories that I didn’t like all that much, I found My True Love Gave to Me to be a really lovely anthology. This is actually my first anthology of ever, and I must say I wanna try out some more! Do any of you have recs?

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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50 Responses to Review: My True Love Gave to Me

  1. I’m not a big fan of anthologies, so I probs won’t pick this one up. Glad you enjoyed some of the stories though!
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{Bieke Reviews} This is Where it Ends by Marieke NijkampMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, they’re certainly not for everyone! I found this one okay but not too sure how to judge them yet because this is like the only one I’ve read heh

  2. I felt there was a lot of good in this book. I didn’t much like the last story and dnf. and I actually really liked Krampuslauf. Midnight was one of my favorites though. It was a good holiday read. I love the cover to yours.

    • Melanie says:

      I have a friend who adored Krampuslauf as well! I probably will get back to it, then! And thanks, I love the UK cover as well. They have pink versions, too! I’M SO TEMPTED TO BUY IT STOP ME.

  3. Danni Mae says:

    Reading one a month was a good idea, though! Short stories are hard for me, especially Holly Black’s. I just feel like when it comes to fantasy (although I don’t know if the one you read was fantasy, but I’m assuming because it’s HB) you need more time to set up the world building and characters. When it’s a short story, most of it ends up explaining the world and its rules and then the actual plot is very short. I wish a lot of the short stories I’ve read were longer!

  4. Lekeisha says:

    Is it weird that we liked the same stories in this anthology? No? Okay, good. Seriously, I am beyond obsessed with anthologies. I may have a heart attack once I get my hands on it’s companion, Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories. Have you seen the authors contributing to it?!!
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    • Melanie says:

      Haha not at all! Glad to know we have similar tastes 🙂 And yes I just checked out the summer one and it looks incredibly promising! So many big name & fab authors. *squees*

  5. blodeuedd says:

    That first one, I wanna die of cute too
    blodeuedd recently posted…The fire prince – Emily GeeMy Profile

  6. Olivia Roach says:

    It seems like this collection was really a mix in terms of rating and how the book turned out to be for you! It can be hard to get into short stories at first but I did that last year and it really worked for me! I liked Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman as a collection of short stories a lot.
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    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, it really was! I guess some author’s works clicked with me and some just didn’t. I think perhaps an anthology of stories one just ONE author would be better. Thank you for the recommendation – certianly adding this one to the TBR!

  7. Greg says:

    I had similar thoughts to most of the stories here. I really liked Midnights and Christmas, CA as well as Yuletide Miracle (I thought I heard somewhere that those characters will show up again in the enxt anthology due next summer, but not sure), and there were a couple here I didn’t like. All in all I glad I read this tho.

  8. I’ve seen your updates on this book at the beginning of last year. I don’t often pick up anthologies, but this sounds good. Great review, Mel!
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  9. Hmm, I have this on audio, some of them sound really good and others not so much. Some of the authors are new to me. I do love your cover.
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    • Melanie says:

      I love my cover too! I think the US one is nice as well, but the UK version seems to be more unique + stands out more. I do hope you find the book to be enjoyable!

  10. Lola says:

    That’s usually how it goes for me with anthologies, some stories are great and I find some new to me authors to check out, but others are just meh. I am glad to hear this one had some great stories, although there where quite some not so good ones as well.
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  11. I’ve never read an anthology but I have had my eye on this one for a while. I wanted to read it over the holiday season but I never got my hands on it. I may pick this up soon though! Awesome review!

  12. Welcome to Christmas, CA was my absolute FAVOURITE out of all of them. And the Stephanie Perkins one of course <3 <3 There's another anthology coming out edited by her, too – they're summer stories instead of winter and I'm SO excited!
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  13. Hilary says:

    I’m actually surprised how many people liked this book. Especially when there are multiple stories with different writing styles.
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    • Melanie says:

      I guess some people just like short stories! I also know a couple of people who rated the book based on the stories they read (they only read the stories of authors they knew). So maybe that’s why a lot of people liked it? I dunno, lol.

  14. This would be such a good book if you were in the mood for fluffy stuff! The only problem is the stories being hit and miss because it’s an anthology. I don’t think I’ve ever read an anthology by a mix of authors that had me rating story 3+ stars :/

    The anthologies I found I have enjoyed most are when authors compile short stories set in worlds of their series (e.g. Kelley Armstron has a few anthologies made up of stories based in the world of her Otherworld books)
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    • Melanie says:

      Yes, this would certainly be the perfect book for a fluff! Yeah, I guess that’s the bummer about anthologies! I think anthologies that were written by just one author might work better, or like a collection of short stories from a world an author prev. created.

  15. Oh my goodness, I did not realise this had such lovely authors! I’m pretty sure I’ll adore the Laini Taylor one, although I too have only read DoSaB. This might be a good opportunity to read something of Rainbow Rowell’s and Holly Black’s, too. Thanks for the review!
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  16. It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, was my favourite of the short stories and I am so excited that Stephanie’s short story in the Summer Days anthology follows the same couple.
    I also really loved The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer. This short story was the first piece of writing I’d read by Laini Taylor and it made me pick up and fall in love with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy.
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    • Melanie says:

      I just heard about the sequel following the couple and that makes me so excited! Bless Stephanie Perkins. It’s great that this anthology introduced you to authors and made you fall in love with their full length novels!

  17. Kristina says:

    Overall, though, this book seems like a great way to discover new authors.
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  18. I told myself I was going to reread this during winter break … but then I didn’t. Oops. I honestly don’t remember much of the book, but I do remember that I really enjoyed the concept of a YA holiday anthology with such diverse stories. There’s something for everyone! I recall Midnight being my favorite because it was super adorable. I’d like to get a hardcover copy for myself so I can reread it every year 🙂
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    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, it’s not exactly a memorable book. I personally am finding that the stories are already blending into each other, as they’re all romances + most are contemps + they’re all christmassy/wintery.

  19. Oh I do enjoy anthologies and I would say just go with a fave genre and try those. So many out there. This one does sound good and is the usual mixed bag of good and eh. 🙂
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  20. Sadly, I was only able to read Rowell’s and Perkins’ novellas. Sigh.
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  21. We are seriously twinsies for this book! I loved the same stories you did, and did NOT get the same stories that you didn’t like. Midnights was definitely the best story in the book, I could have read a whole book about that! (They probably should have saved it for last since it was so amazing, tbh.)

    This was my first anthology too! I just read another one, I See Reality. I will be reviewing it probably next week or the week after, and I feel similar to this one: some of the stories were amazing, and some were just blah, BUT the best part about it is that you can read a 1 star story in 10 minutes and move on to a 5 star 😉 Great review!!
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  22. Ahhh, an anthology! I so want to read more anthologies. Especially with so many awesome authors. The cover of this book is gorgeous! I’d get this one just for the Laini Taylor story – I love her and her books!

    Lovely reviews, Melanie. 🙂

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
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    • Melanie says:

      Hehe, I basically got this one just for Perkins 😛 I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed with Taylor’s short story! I found it to be one of the hihglights.

      Thanks, Alyssa <33

  23. From what I can remember, your thoughts on these stories are similar to mine. I liked the Laini Taylor story the best, and the Rainbow Rowell one made me curious about some of her full-length novels. I didn’t like the Jenny Han story; I thought it was juvenile and uninteresting. I did sort of like “The Lady and the Fox”, though it was a totally different style from the previous story, and I can see how it might’ve thrown you.

    I tend to find anthologies are a mixed bag, anyway. I don’t know if I’ve ever read one where I liked all the stories… even those anthologies that were written by just one person!

  24. Kirsty-Marie says:

    Haha, but at least you read it now, even if you didn’t keep up with the one a month. 😛 Midnights, YAY. My concern when it comes to anthologies is connection/characters feeling real when they’re new characters (they haven’t been in any of her others have they? (I still haven’t read any of hers)
    Angels in the Snow, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown (Anna’s my favourite, Lola second, though I did love the romance more in Lola, so maybe it’s a tie?) Welcome to Christmas, CA, Star of Bethlehem (I love Ally Carter!), and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer all sound cute, so yaaaaay. The other’s? Not so much. I think I’ve only ever read one anthology, and I can’t even remember what it was, haha.

  25. Tasya says:

    My favorite stories from this book are Midnights and Your Temporary Santa. Midnights is just so cute and Your Temporary Santa made me laugh. I was expecting more from this book, but I think it’s quite fine for now 😀
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