Review: SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS edited by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days GIF.gifPublisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Anthology, Romance, Summer
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

*Unlike my review for My True Love Gave to Me, I won’t be writing about each story separately. I don’t feel like I have enough to say about each one individually. Instead, I’ll talk about the compilation as a whole, and tell you what my favorites were!

When I first heard that Summer Days and Summer Nights (SDSN from now on) was going to be a thing, I was thrilled! I loved Stephanie Perkins’ first anthology, and so naturally, I had to get my hands on the summer version.

SDSN ended up surprising me (in a good way) that I wasn’t completely expecting. Because it was a compilation of stories all set during the summer, I figured that it would be mostly contemporary. But I was SO wrong. This anthology has a story for everyone, probably every genre! There’s magical realism, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and then on top of that diversity and multiple LGBT stories! Add to that the stellar list of authors who contributed and you’re in for a treat!

I will say that while there was such a range of stories, and there were some of my favorite authors included, I didn’t fall in love with SDSN as much as the first anthology. There were just more stories in this one that I felt more “meh” about and less “AWWWW” about. I would have to say my favorites were “Inertia” by Veronica Roth and “A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith. “Inertia” was heartbreak yet beautiful, and “A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong” followed the same route. Coming in close behind were “Love is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron (a funny and unique story), “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by the one and only Stephanie Perkins (you’re typical Stephanie Perkins story that you won’t want to miss), and “Sick Pleasures” by Francesca Lia Block (a darker, more interesting view at love).

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other stories. They were definitely wonderfully written, and great love stories, but the ones I already mentioned held my attention and stayed with me longer than the others. The couples were more “shippable” and brought out more emotion in me, I’ll say.

While I did have favorites, I still think that SDSN is the perfect book to bring with you for a leisurely day at the beach, or spread out reading throughout the summer. I found myself enjoying the stories I let steep for a bit better than the ones I read one after the other. If you’re a romance fan, you definitely should pick up this adorable anthology that pays homage to the summer, and of course, love!

3.5 hearts

xo

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Top [Eight] ALL TIME Favorite Authors

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.


Holy cow, this week’s topic is a bit crazy, but I shall try my best… These eight authors are my auto-buy authors, write works I cherish or that have blown my mind, or that I’ve had the amazing privilege of meeting in person. These are the authors I just can’t get enough of, and whose books will always have a special place in my heart!

These are in absolutely no particular order! I was actually surprised that I couldn’t pick ten, but that just shows just how much I love these authors for them to make my list!

1. Leigh Bardugo

Author of The Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising), Six of Crows

There’s just something about Leigh Bardugo’s books that are just AMAZING. I can’t quite put my finger on whether it’s her characters, her writing, or her plots, but the books are absolutely fantastic and she’s definitely on my auto-buy list!

2. Jenny Han

Author of the Summer series (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer), To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You, and more!

Jenny Han is the author that made me fall in love with YA contemporary books. The Summer I Turned Pretty was the start, and I will now forever read whatever she writes! I had the amazing opportunity to meet her three years ago, and I’ll forever remember the experience!

3. Mindy McGinnis

Author of Not A Drop to Drink & In A Handful of Dust, A Madness So Discreet

I fell in love with Mindy McGinnis’ harsh storytelling and sharp writing with Not A Drop to Drink, and my love continued in In A Handful of Dust. Her next upcoming book is in a different genre of her first two, but I am still so excited because I’m convinced I’ll love whatever she writes!

4. Stephanie Perkins

Author of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door & Isla and the Happily Ever After

I’m sure the lovely Ms. Perkins has made everyone’s list. I simply adore her adorable stories and cute romances. Another contemporary author that has made me fall in love with YA contemporary!

5. J.K. Rowling

Author of the Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy, Cormoran Strike series, and more!

Of course J.K. Rowling had to make my list. I don’t think she needs much of an explanation, really. All I think I really need to say is that the only books I’ve ever re-read for fun have been the Harry Potter series. Period.

6. Marie Rutkoski

Author of The Shadow Society, The Winner’s Trilogy (The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime & The Winner’s Kiss), and more!

I blatantly display my love for this amazing woman on my blog, so you already know that I adore her and her books. When I got the chance to meet her last year I was fangirling so hard on the inside oh my goodness! I actually hadn’t realized that when I was in elementary school I had read and loved her book The Cabinet of Wonders. I only realized it was her book when I read The Winner’s Curse for the first time!

7. Michael Scott

Author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series

He’s an author that I started reading a LONG time ago. Many years before I got into blogging, just at the beginning of when I was transitioning to YA from MG books. I flew through his books, and I would eagerly rush out on the pub date of the next book in his series! I really hope he comes out with another YA book or series soon!

8. Jennifer E. Smith

Author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, You Are Here, This Is What Happy Looks Like, The Geography of You and Me, and more!

Another contemporary author who writes absolutely adorable romances that I just love to pick up when I want something fun and sweet. She writes books that have such unrealistic occurrences, but makes them seem like they could happen to you or me (and wish they did). I had the amazing chance to meet her as well, and I was my fangirly self as usual! Her next book looks amazing and I need it now! *grabby hands*

So that’s it! Those are my eight favorite authors of all time! Who made your list?

xo

Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: October 9th, 2014
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Genre(s): Anthology, Christmas, Contemporary Romance, New Years
Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

my rambles

As this is an anthology with twelve different stories and authors, I’ll be writing a few sentences on each to share my thoughts with you! I’ll give a rating to each story and then an overall rating at the end.


“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell
This was such a great story to start out the book with. Rainbow Rowell’s story was cute, and everything that she is known for. I immediately loved the characters, and I didn’t want this story to end. But when it did, I was left smiling in true Rainbow Rowell fashion.

“The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link
I had never heard of Kelly Link before reading this story, and while I liked it, her writing was a little hard to love. This was a fantasy-romance story stuck amongst a book full of contemporary, so there was something magical and dreamlike about it. Still, I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. But it definitely has a magical Christmas feel to it.

“Angels in the Snow” by Matt de la Peña
I had never read any of Matt de la Peña’s work before, but I did really like this story. It was cute, but a little predictable. There was drama, and things progressed pretty quickly, but I still really enjoyed it!

“Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me” by Jenny Han
I was really disappointed with this story. I love Jenny Han — I’m obsessed with pretty much all of her books. Her story was so short, and while it was cute, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was hoping and expecting a romance that would make me all swoony but I didn’t get that at all with this one, unfortunately. 😦

“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins
While I was really looking forward to Jenny Han’s story, Stephanie Perkins was the one that I was oh so eager to get to. And all I can say is asdfghjkl. This. Story. I would be so happy if it continued on for a full length book because: A. The characters were so awkward and wonderful and NORTH. He was so SWOONY. and B. I liked this story just as I liked Anna & Etienne and Lola & Cricket and Isla & Josh. So I guess this is kind of like me begging Stephanie Perkins to continue writing their story as a full length book? Please, and thank you.

“Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan
After everything I’ve heard about how David Levithan is such an amazing author, I can say I was extremely let down by this story. It was cute, but it didn’t really have a beginning-middle-end thing going on. I didn’t see the progression or point. Cute, but definitely my least favorite so far.

“Krampuslauf” by Holly Black
Another disappointing story, although I wasn’t expecting Holly Black’s writing to be anything like an ordinary holiday romance. This story was strange, but I kind of liked it! Definitely not a story you’d expect to see in a holiday anthology, but it was unique and spiced things up a bit.

“What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Forman
I really enjoyed this one! Having never read Gayle Forman’s writing before I really liked it and her characters. It wasn’t my favorite, but one of the stories from the book that I particularly enjoyed!

“Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by Myra McEntire
This was another really cute story! I love Myra McEntire, but have never read anything of the contemporary genre from her, so this was a pleasant surprise! The characters were cute and it was one of those opposites attract stories that you can’t help but love.

“Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White
This story was really heartwarming and very holiday-ish. That’s all I can really say about it! Very cute.

“Star of Bethlehem” by Ally Carter
I would have to put this story right up there with some of my other favorites from the anthology! And the ending was so hopeful for the holidays, I just couldn’t help but love it! And Ethan = SWOON. I’m definitely eager to check out more of Ally Carter’s books after EVERYONE has been telling me they’re so fun!

“The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Lani Taylor
This one wasn’t a very holiday-ish story either, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very magical and fantastical — could easily be freestanding.

OVERALL:
A wonderful collection of holiday stories from such wonderful authors, that will be sure to entertain and fill your heart with holiday delight!

xo

I found some books under my Christmas tree…

Merry Christmas

I had a lovely day of actually getting up later than normal, a leisurely morning of opening presents with my parents and Clary (it was her first ever Christmas!), and then a fun afternoon and evening spent with family at my grandparent’s house! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and got lots of books of course! I just had to show you the goodies that I found under the Christmas tree this year!


Twas the night before Christmas…

Actually on Christmas Eve I received a package from Scholastic with one of my most anticipated books of next year:
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Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott, the sequel to Fire & Flood!

As you can read in my review (^) I really loved the first book and that ending was amazing! I cannot wait to dive into this one VERY soon (so probably NEXT)!

Christmas Day

From my amazing parents:

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth (signed)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (signed)
Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton (signed)
Harry Potter: The Creature Vault by Jody Revenson
The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

The three signed books were ones I knew about that I got at B&N on Black Friday and I can’t wait to finally have them to read! MTLGTM looks adorable! I normally don’t read anthologies or story collections, but there is something about holiday ones…(I’ve read Let It Snow by John Green & Friends, too). As for the two “keepsake” kind of books, I’m already loving paging through them and just randomly reading pages!

From my wonderful grandparents:

xmashaulpt2

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
The Hogwarts Library Collection by J.K. Rowling

I CAN FINALLY READ MORE GoT! It’s been over a year since I finished ASoS, so it is way past time that I get to reading this one! I also wanted The Ice Dragon because it’s set in the same world as GoT. I can’t get enough… Sanctum and Diamonds in the Rough are both sequels that I’ve been DYING to get my hands on so I’m a very happy camper!


I hope you all had lovely days, and if you still have people to celebrate with like I do — enjoy it!

What did you guys get for Christmas, if you celebrate?

xo

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: August 14th, 2014
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, #3
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

my rambles

I don’t think it’s possible for Stephanie Perkins to write a book that will not make me giggle with happiness and squeal at the adorableness of her stories. I have loved each and every one of her books, starting with Anna and the French Kiss, then Lola and the Boy Next Door, and now most recently Isla and the Happily Ever After. I’ve always been a little late when it comes to reading her books (I think I read Anna almost 2 years after it was released!), but I’m always regretting that I didn’t read them sooner. Isla and the Happily Ever After was no different. Now that I’ve read it I can say “READ IT NOW” to all of you pushing it back on your TBR. Just do it.

Not only does Stephanie Perkins write another couple’s story in the perfect way, but did you read that part of the synopsis where it says cameos from Anna & Etienne and Lola & Cricket? A-Huh. We get a very special ending that really ties all three books together as companions. Definitely worth the wait for the ending. I loved it!

But back to the main storyline: Isla & Josh. Out of all of the books, I found Isla to be the character that was most relatable. She was a lot like me — shy, quiet, likes to read, hopeless romantic. (Yup, that’s me right there ^) So for that reason I really liked her story. I pictured myself in her shoes.

And JOSH. I liked him. But really what I loved was the romance between Isla and Josh. It was kind of unexpected in that it read more like a New Adult romance. It was sexier and grittier than Stephanie Perkins’ other two books. It was something different, and I liked it. Even with the slight difference, it still read like the “classic” Stephanie Perkins that we’ve come to love.

My one nitpicky thing it that the romance between Isla & Josh seemed to intensify really fast for the short amount of time they were together as a couple. I guess that’s just one of things that gave it more of a new adult vibe.

Other than that, I found Isla and the Happily Ever After to be just as the title says for the series: a happy ending that satisfied my love for each of the couples. It was a little more serious, but still had Stephanie Perkins’ trademark cute and sweet storyline and characters! Stephanie Perkins has done it again, and I cannot wait to see what she has plans to write in the future.

xo