Categories
Book Club Pick

My true love gave to me: Twelve winter romances

Book Club Pick: December 2020

Title: My true love gave to me: Twelve winter romances

Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins (also Editor), Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White.

Series: Stand alone collection of short stories. Although followed by Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories (Edited by Stephanie Perkins, 2016)

Country: United States of America

Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin | Macmillan

First Published: 2014

Pages: 355

Publisher Description:

Long, cold nights are for falling in love…

There’s nothing more romantic than mistletoe kisses, twinkling lights and wrapping up warm in the snow. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, winter solstice or Kwanzaa, this collection of twelve gorgeous short stories will make you swoon with all the magic of the holidays. So curl up by the fireplace and get cosy. You have twelve reasons to stay indoors and fall in love.

Review:

Each of the twelve short stories is a romance that takes place over the winter holiday season covering holidays, such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, and the New Year.

Unlike Let it Snow (Maureen Johnson, John Green, & Lauren Myracle) each story stands alone and is not connected. The advantage of this is that readers can dip in and out of what stories interest them / start with their favourite authors.

Majority of the stories are contemporary but there are a few that are fantasy / magical realism.

The collection is diverse with characters from various racial, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds. For example a gay Jewish boy who dresses up as Santa for his boyfriend’s little sister, and young Latino man apartment-sitting in Brooklyn, New York.

The twelve short stories are:

  • ‘Midnights’ by Rainbow Rowell
  • ‘The Lady and the Fox’ by Kelly Link
  • ‘Angels in the Snow’ by Matt de la Peña
  • ‘Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me’ by Jenny Han
  • ‘It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown’ by Stephanie Perkins
  • ‘Your Temporary Santa’ by David Levithan
  • ‘Krampuslauf’ by Holly Black
  • ‘What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?’ by Gayle Forman
  • ‘Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus’ by Myra McEntire
  • ‘Welcome to Christmas, CA’ by Kiersten White
  • ‘Star of Bethlehem’ by Ally Carter 
  • ‘The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor

If you are interested in another Christmas romance check out my December 2019 book pick Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, which was released as a Netflix series last month.

Other Christmas themed reviews book reviews – Born Scared by Kevin Brooks, What Light by Jay Asher and Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green & Lauren Myracle

Categories
Film & TV Reviews

FILM REVIEW: If I Stay

This post continues on from my series to review the film adaptations of some of my past club picks.

My June 2018 book club pick was Gayle Forman‘s 2009 novel If I StayA film version directed by R.J. Cutler was released in 2014.

Chloë Grace Moretz portrays Mia Hall, a gifted seventeen-year-old cellist with ambitions to study at Julliard School of Music in New York City.

She lives in Oregon with hip parents (Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard), and little brother Teddy (Jakob Davies). She is also in a relationship with Adam (Jamie Blackley), who is older and in a local indie band.

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Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)

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Adam (Jamie Blackley) and Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)

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Teddy (Jakob Davies) and Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)

One snowy day while on the road to visit family friends a truck hits the car she and her family are travelling in. Mia wakes up on the side of the road and sees her unconscious body.

 

The film follows Mia as she wonders the halls of the hospital watching her family and friends interactions with each other, as she is trapped somewhere between life and death.

Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a capable performance as expected, but it is not her best work. A large part of the subplot is the relationship between Mia and Adam, unfortunately there is spark lacking between the two.

It is Stacy Keach who provides the strongest performance as Mia’s grandfather, especially with one particularly tearful monologue.

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Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)

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Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz)

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Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz), Gramps (Stacy Keach), Teddy (Jakob Davies)

As I pointed out in my review of the book the narrative is quite predictable. Viewers that haven’t read the book should be able to pick the direction the film is going on.

 

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Categories
Book Club Pick

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Book Club Pick: June 2018

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Book Details:

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Series: Sequel – Where She Went (2011)

Country: United States of America

Publisher: Dutton Book

First Published: 2009

Pages: 210

Publisher Description:

Life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning
A snowy road…
And suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone.

Except one.

As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Review:

17-year-old Oregon teenager Mia Hall is a gifted cellist, who has ambitions to move to New York City and study at the Juilliard School of Music.

One snowy day while on the road to visit family friends a truck hits the car she and her family are travelling in. Mia’s parents die at the scene, while Mia and her younger brother Teddy are transported to hospital in a critical condition.

Mia has an out-of-body experience, somewhere between life and death, where she watches over her body as the doctor’s perform surgery to save her life.

The chapters alternate between Mia telling the reader what is happening in the hospital and flashbacks to memories of her family life, her friendship with best friend Kim, and her budding romance with guitarist Adam.

Music plays are large part of the novel. The edition I was reading included a Behind the Music section at the end of the book, in which Forman discusses some of the songs referenced in the novel.

At just over 200 pages it is a relatively quick read. Although I felt that narrative is quite predictable it is still a rewarding and heartfelt journey for the reader.

In 2011 Where She Went, a sequel was released. It takes place several years after the conclusion to If I Stay, and is told from Adam’s perspective.

In 2014 a feature film directed by R.J. Cutler and starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia was released.

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Links:

Gayle Forman Official Website

Gayle Forman on Twitter

Gayle Forman on Facebook

Gayle Forman on Instagram

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.