Friday, 31 October 2014

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: 9th October 2014
Pages: 355
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance/Festive
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

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.

First thing's first I'm the realist that cover image does not accurately represent what the book looks like in real life at all. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but let me show you how beautifully shiny it really is. Plus, the edges of the pages are pink, the book has a gold ribbon bookmark, and the chapters have cute little illustrations... *sighs happily*

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve short stories from some of YA's biggest authors, including some of my favourites, Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell. If that's not enough, I should mention that this book is Christmas. As soon as I began reading, I instantly felt excited for the festive season for the first time this year. Reading this was like lighting a cinnamon-scented candle or inhaling the smell of fresh gingerbread. Mmm.

It would take forever to thoroughly review each short story, so instead I'm just going to give you a list of the titles and my rating out of five. Luckily, there was only one story which I really, really disliked, and only a couple which were 'meh', but you'll see what they were in a second.

The wonderful:

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell - 5/5
Favourite quote: "You're a kaleidoscope. You change every time I look away."

Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han - 5/5
Favourite quote: "Elves in motion are otherworldly. They are long and lovely and lean; when they dance they are whirling dervishes that sparkle and gleam like sun shining on snow."

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins - 5/5
Favourite quote: "Fires crackled inside metal drums. Strings of bare bulbs crisscrossed overhead. She loved the husky green scent of the Fraser firs and the crinkle crunch of their shavings underfoot."

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White - 5/5
Favourite quote: "Every surface not reserved for eating is covered in holiday kitsch. As if that weren't freak show enough, from the ledge above the kitchen door, a sinister elf gazes malevolently down, its head cocked at a horror-movie angle. A year ago, I stuck a tiny knife in its hand. No one has noticed."

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman - 4/5
Favourite quote: "Sophie had had to say I'm kidding at least half dozen times, a trend that continued well into the term until Sophie finally realised that sarcasm was like a separate dialect, not one universally understood."

The Lady and The Fox by Kelly Link - 4/5
Favourite quote: "Inside is a scrap of rose damask, the embroidered fox, snarling; the mangled leg, the bloodied trap."

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña - 4/5
Favourite quote: "When we woke up on the morning on the fourth day, it happened. Thick beautiful snowflakes were falling from the sky."

The meh:

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan - 3/5

Krampuslauf by Holly Black - 2/5

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter - 2/5

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire - 1/5

*takes deep breath* *waits for army of fangirls to kill me*

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - 0/5

Yes, I gave 0/5 to the story by Laini Taylor; I was surprised too. I've only ever seen positive reviews of her books and everyone always seems to be praising her writing, so I was really sad when I had to drag myself through her drag of a story. The only other bad thing about this book: it caused me to keep singing "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." I wouldn't stop. It was awful for everyone involved. It was the beginning of October. 

Anyway, it was a shame the book had to end on that note, but the rest of the book, apart from the few stories which I wasn't overly keen on, was beautiful. Not many books can make me happy. They can make me sad, they can make me laugh, and they can make me think, but this book actually put me in a really good mood for the rest of the day. I don't know if it's the same with anyone else, but I hardly ever experience that solely from reading a book. Thanks to this one, and much to the dismay of my parents, I am now fully ready for Christmas. I almost wish I hadn't read this yet so I could have the experience of receiving this and reading it for the first time on Christmas day. I think I'll stop there, because now I'm just making myself sound weird... good books do that to me.

Despite the few stories I wasn't too keen on, I absolutely loved this book as a whole, and it introduced me to some new YA authors. It includes such a good and varied collection of writers, and there really is something for everyone. It's truly gorgeous.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

101 Things I Love

Today I've decided to share a list of 101 things I love. I'm considering turning this into a tag but I don't know if anyone would be interested, or if there's already something like this in the blogging world. Thoughts?

Edit: I've decided to turn this into a tag, and I tag Holly, Rita, Charli, Georgia, Cat, and anyone else who wants to join in. 

Feel free to let me know some things that you love in the comments below!

  1. Macarons.
  2. A sunny sky.
  3. Daydreaming. 
  4. The idea of travelling the world.
  5. Shopping (I actually prefer clothes shopping to book shopping, but shh - it's a secret.)
  6. People who give more than a one-word answer.
  7. Pretty stationery. 
  8. Walkers Worcester Sauce crisps.
  9. Watching YouTubers before I sleep. I didn't mean that to sound as creepy as it does.
  10. Sarcasm.
  11. Using hashtags outside of Twitter. #sorrynotsorry
  12. Lists.
  13. People who say "please" and "thank you." I'm old fashioned, don't judge me.
  14. Pastel colours. It's a new obsession. Am I hipster now?
  15. Telling people from other countries that I don't drink tea. "BuT yOu'Re BrItIsH." K.
  16. Making goals and trying to stick to them.
  17. Twitter.
  18. Emojis. The smirk is my favourite and probably the one I use most.
  19. Pizza. Specifically, a margherita with a tortilla base, and black olives and avocado on top.
  20. Crossing off the last thing on my to-do list.
  21. Taking photos, but I hate taking photos of books. I don't know why.
  22. Doritos and Pringles...together. I invented this a few months ago. YOU'RE WELCOME.
  23. Finding and downloading new fonts. I'm obsessed.
  24. Eastenders and Bad Education. They're the only shows I purposefully watch on TV.
  25. Binders. I don't need any more but I saw an entire wall of them in a shop yesterday and was extremely tempted to buy them all. With my non-existent money. Oh.
  26. Blogger. Wordpress can... go away. I don't know.
  27. Inappropriate jokes, not that I feel I should make them on this blog. Which is probably a good thing, for you.
  28. Hang-gliding on a Dorito.
  29. The sofa.
  30. Shipping objects together...
  31. London.
  32. Cornwall.
  33. Times when I feel completely content.
  34. MY FRIENDS. Although I prefer to call them MA FRANDS. *shrug*
  35. Avocado, preferably mashed and on toast, or on nachos. It's even better on pizza with olives, as I said before. Nomanomnom.
  36. Sketching portraits, although I haven't done this for about a year. Edit: I drew a new portrait and you can see it by clicking here. It's not the best thing in the world but I'm glad I've got back into drawing again. :)
  37. Painting.
  38. When I log into Blogger and see '[random number here] comments awaiting moderation.'
  39. When I discover someone else hates the same person I do. Not exactly positive but whatever. 
  40. Everything to do with music.
  41. Quotes. I have so many funny quotes in my head from TV shows and books. It just sucks that they're not as funny out of context.
  42. When we don't get homework. Rare, but amazing when it happens.
  43. Half terms and summer holidays.
  44. Cats. 
  45. Innocent smoothies.
  46. Driving somewhere awesome with my music at full-volume. 
  47. The fact that Christmas is only a few weeks after my birthday. I've always thought that's the perfect amount of time.
  48. ...and that I never have and never will have school on my birthday. It's in two days, by the way. ;)
  49. When you go into a supermarket expecting it to be really boring but then THERE'S A PERSON GIVING OUT FREE DONUT SAMPLES.
  50. Sleep.
  51. The TimeHop app. It's fascinating, but embarrassing, seeing my tweets/Facebook statuses/Instagram photos from the past five years.
  52. Calendars. What? It means I get to have The Mortal Instruments on my wall.
  53. When people remember something I said ages ago. It means they were listening. Ten friendship points for you.
  54. Forever 21.
  55. Homemade blueberry muffins.
  56. The fact that my school timetable this year pretty much means I have a weekend in the middle of the week in addition to the normal weekend.
  57. When hard work pays off.
  58. The Bookseller. Not that I'm subscribed to it (moneh) but it looks awesome.
  59. Lorde.
  60. Pretty collars on clothes. I accidentally joined the trend. Oops.
  61. Days where absolutely nothing goes wrong. 
  62. My guitars. 
  63. Looking at photos from good times.
  64. Unicorns. Sloths. I appear to have started a trend.
  65. Sims. I'm not overly obsessed (I've only ever played Sims 2 and Sims 3) but when this post goes live I've probably played Sims 4 too. So excited for it to arrive! Edit: IT ARRIVED AND IT IS MAGNIFICENT. 
  66. When someone I know offline stumbles across my blog or Twitter and doesn't say it's lame.
  67. The colour blue. I don't know if it's my favourite colour but sometimes I'll go shopping, come home, and realise everything I bought was blue. This has happened many times. I don't know why it happens.
  68. When I sneak food into the trolley successfully without anyone noticing. 
  69. Fairy lights. Everywhere. When I move out I think my house will look like Santa's grotto. Meh.
  70. Getting book post, or any kind of post really, as long as it's not boring like a bank statement or something. Ew.
  71. Saying "ew."
  72. Ikea. *shrug*
  73. Stickers.
  74. When I randomly meet famous people in person. I once met Gordon Ramsey outside King's Cross. This is one of the highlights of my life.
  75. Making people laugh.
  76. People who can make me laugh.
  77. Funny movies.
  79. Food?
  80. Being ahead of my Goodreads goal. Unfortunately that hasn't happened once this year.
  81. Writing yearly wrap-ups.
  82. VW Campers and Beetles (I can't stand the modern ones, though. Sorry.)
  83. When I haven't spoken to an author since I first started blogging and then they randomly talk to me and REMEMBER ME. This happened recently and it was so cool.
  84. Polaroids.
  85. Finding cute new DIY projects on Pinterest. 
  86. Fandom merch. 
  87. Honesty. I don't care if you're telling me you hate me with a million reasons to go with it. I've always thought honesty is the best policy. 
  88. When it comes up in conversation that I'm vegetarian and the reply isn't, "Do you eat chicken?" Wow, I don't know, what do you think? Vegetarian. VEGetarian. V E G.
  89. When I walk into a book shop and see books I have for review. I don't know why but it's exciting.
  90. When I listen to a song for the first time and instantly know it's my new favourite.
  91. Roadtrips, especially the one to Cornwall, because I get to listen to my epic fourteen-hour playlist. And I get McDonalds. Yay.
  92. When I'm in a book slump for ages and then randomly pick up a book again and get through it in a couple of hours. It's a beautiful moment, I'm sure you'll agree.
  93. When a review book comes with postcards/bookmarks/sweets/other stuff. It's like an extra Christmas every time.
  94. Flipping through art journals.
  95. When you listen to a song and the lyrics seem to perfectly describe your life.
  96. When my eyeliner is symmetrical. WHY AM I SO STEREOTYPICAL. *headdesk*
  97. Getting good news! That's pretty obvious but...meh.
  98. Lindt chocolate. 
  99. When authors I've actually heard of do an event locally, although I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened since Jacqueline Wilson came to town six or seven years ago.
  100. Journalism.
  101. Going into a pen shop and writing a random message on the bit where you can test out the pens. Is that weird? ...You don't have to answer that.
What do you love?

Thursday, 23 October 2014


We're getting to that time of year again when tiny vampires, witches, and devils line the streets, laughing and screeching, on a long hunt for sweets. Or maybe you'll just be watching loads of horror movies with the hugest bowl of popcorn ever. Yep, that sounds much better. And if it feels like you've watched all the horror movies ever released to date, don't worry, because there are some pretty awesome ones coming out later this month, and the first one I'm going to feature is based on a book!

The first I've found is Horns, based on the novel by Joe Hill. It stars Daniel Radcliffe (and doing an American accent, too... should be interesting) and Juno Temple, among others. Horns sees Radcliffe's character turn into the devil incarnate, with the ability to drive people to confess their deepest darkest secrets. And it's out the day after my birthday, on October 29th - just in time for Halloween!

Don't worry, though - if you prefer books to movies, like me, I'm giving away three copies of the book Horns is based on! There will be three winners each receiving a copy of the book, and it's only open to those in the UK and Ireland. Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next up is Extraterrestrial, which is also out in cinemas on October 29th. A group of friends decide to stay at their vacation cabin, which is pretty normal except, after a fireball descends from the sky and explodes in the nearby woods, they discover the remnants of a spaceship. Advertised as a 'terrifying teen shocker with out-of-this-world scares and brutal surprises', I'm not going to pretend it's a movie I would usually go for, but it has Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter and Pitch Perfect) in it so I'm sold.

If you like the sound of this, I'm giving away a few pairs of tickets to the exclusive screening, which will take place in London on October 26th, so there isn't much time to enter! This giveaway is happening over on Twitter, so instead of filling in a Rafflecopter you just need to retweet this tweet. Two giveaways in one post... you're welcome. ;)

More details about the event can be found here.