Summer Days And Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

summer days and summer nights

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Contemporary, Short Stories, YA

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

overall feelings copy

When I first read My True Love Gave To Me a couple years ago, I loved it. It was perfect for the holiday season. When Summer Days and Summer Nights was announced, I had to get my hands on the book as soon as possible. I saw a couple of mixed reviews on Summer Days and Summer Nights, and from what I saw it was not as hyped up like other books. All I have to say is wow…I really didn’t expect to take a month to finish a book. It wasn’t even long. The best way to describe the overall reading experience was meh.

There were a couple of stories that did stand out from the twelve. For example, Leigh Bardugo’s Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail was one of my favorites. It stood out because of the creepy atmosphere, and it was interesting all together. I would have loved for it to be standalone and longer. Another one of the strong stories had to be The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman

There were a couple of weak stories such as Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block…It had no plot whatsoever, and it was one of the depressing one from the bunch. I thought it didn’t fit in the stories format. What I liked from Summer Days and Summer Nights is that most of the stories weren’t contemporary. Cassandra Clare’s Brand New Attraction, had an interesting premise, though what’s up with the almost incest (cousins falling in love with each other). Although I did find myself enjoying a couple of the stories, Summer Days and Summer Nights didn’t have a lasting impression on me. It was enjoyable for only the time being and I don’t feel that I would reconsider rereading it.

  • Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • Magical story that would have been amazing if it weren’t a short story.
  • The End of Love by Nina Lacour ⭐️⭐️
    • It was cute, but definitely felt like it had a lot going to it.
  • Last Stand At the Cinegore by Libba Bray ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • I loved the creepy atmosphere, this one didn’t really have a summer-ish feel to it. It was more of a horror story that would have been perfect if it was in a Halloween anthology.
  • Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block ⭐️
    • Skip this story. Skip. It.
  • In Ninety Minutes Turn North by Stephanie Perkins ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • Though the story was definitely gushy and cute, but somehow this one didn’t have a “effect” on me.
  • Souvenirs by Tim Federle ⭐️⭐️
    • This one was a bit depressing, and the narrator made it hard to like him.
  • Inertia by Veronica Roth ⭐️⭐️
    • One of odd ones from the bunch. The world building was cool, but it was a bit confusing. This one could have been a standalone, and I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters.
  • Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • A bit cheesy, but this one was really cute. It felt like a retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Several pairings, but this one had a definite summer feel.
  • Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • POV characters! Diversity! There is chemistry between the characters, and this one felt one very relatable, though I wish this one were longer.
  • Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare ⭐️⭐️
    • Again, this one had a Halloween feel to it. I’m not a huge fan of the incest, but interesting premise.
  • A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • Loved how the author portrays autism. Cute romance.
  • The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    • Basically like Groundhog Day, and this was my second favorite story from the bunch. I liked the two protagonists and their adventures. It was a bit sad at times.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

The Moth & The Flame | The Crown & The Arrow by Renée Ahdieh

the moth and the flameAuthor: Renée Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, Short Story Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: It started as playful, if barbed, banter before rising to a fateful wager with a most notorious rake—the Captain of the Guard, Jalal al-Khoury—who may have finally met his match in a lovely, if haughty, handmaiden, Despina. But she, too, seems to have met her match in the handsome Jalal. What begins as a tempestuous battle of will and wit in short order becomes a passionate affair spurred on by tragedy of the worst kind.

the crown and the arrow

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, Short Story Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Seventy-one days and seventy-one nights had come and gone since Khalid began killing his brides. This dawn, Khalid would mark the loss of the seventy-second girl, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. Khalid didn’t know how many more of these dawns he could take. And there was something about this latest girl that piqued his interest. Not only had she volunteered to marry him, but at their wedding ceremony, she had seemed not the least bit afraid. In fact, what he had seen in her eyes was nothing short of pure hatred. She was about to lose her life. Why wasn’t she afraid? Why did she hate him so? He had never before gone to his wife’s chambers before her death at dawn. Tonight would be different.

overall feelings copy

I am beyond excited for The Rose and The Dagger which is coming out this month!! Renée Ahdieh has blessed us, the readers, with two short stories.

I’ll start off with The Moth and The Flame.  I really liked Despina in The Wrath and The Dawn, and I was pleased with this novella. The story starts off with Despina’s pov and she has recently been promoted to a handmaiden. Jalal tries to hit on Despina, but she brushes him off. I loved it! When I read the The Wrath and The Dawn, I wanted to know Despina’s history with Jalal. Despina and Jalal are my second favorite pairing. One of my favorite moments is the garden scene.

And for a single moment, they forgot who they both were. The Captain of the Royal Guard. And the queen’s handmaiden. It was she who kissed him first. Without thought. Without warning. Her lips found his.

I can’t wait to read more about Despina and Jalal. Those two forbidden lovers need their happiness. I am crossing my fingers that their love can surpass all odds. Here’s another cute moment between those two:

The Captain of the Royal Guard wants to impress a lowly handmaiden?

A clumsy young man wants to impress a beautiful young woman. The question is, did it work?

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If I had to pick from which two of the short stories to read, I suggest The Moth and The Flame just because the other one is less than ten pages. That’s right, The Crown and The Arrow is less than ten pages. The Crown and The Arrow is told in Khalid’s perspective and it does not satisfy my needs! It didn’t add much to the story overall and it’s so short.

“Do not fear what the setting sun may bring. Where there is a setting sun, there is also a rising one.”

I would have liked more of a backstory for Khalid.  *Sighs*

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

The Tsar Of Love And Techno by Anthony Marra: Book Review

“You remain the hero of your own story even when you become the villain of someone else’s.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.
This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts. In stunning prose, with rich character portraits and a sense of history reverberating into the present, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a captivating work from one of our greatest new talents.

Commentary: I am not the biggest fan of short stories and I normally don’t read them. I really liked the title, it was really catchy. I also liked the synopsis, it was interesting and it got my attention. Another reason why my attention geared towards the book is that I love Russian history, I couldn’t help it! I do recommend at least knowing a bit of Russian communist history, in order to avoid any confusion. I had no idea what the Chechen war was until reading this book. There were many references to the war and censorship. I also liked how most of the characters were unique and had their own stories to tell. ヽ(。ゝω・)ノ☆;:*

What I liked was how each character was flawed, no one was perfect. If I had to chose my favorite one from this collection of stories it has to be Kolya. His story was quite sad. In the story, Granddaughters, the group of friends who looked up to Galina, his ex-fiance, despised him and he was kinda seen as a villain. But, the more Kolya was involved in the other short stories, the more I liked him. He has tragic story. After reading, I felt my heart break knowing the life he had lived. There were many tragic events in his life such as finding out his first love married another man and aborted their baby, losing both parents, and being forced to fight in a war in order to survive. But despite everything that has happened, Kolya finds peace in the end. (っ˘̩╭╮˘̩)っ

One of my favorite stories in this collection of short stories had to be The Leopard. It was about an art censor who was devoted to his country and what it stood for. He would insert images of his brother in every image he was working on. His brother was executed for his religious beliefs and was seen as a traitor. My favorite part of this story had to be when the art censor told his nephew the fairy tale about the tsar being in the background. This was the only story that made me cry. It was really sad to know what happened to the art censor and how he was forced to admit he committed a crime when in fact he was innocent. I loved how the art censor’s legacy (his works) stood the test of time. In a Temporary Exhibition, it is revealed that the art censor’s nephew, Vladimir, was the person responsible for the arrest and execution of his uncle. This story takes place in 2010s when Vladimir is already in his 60s. He is overwhelmed by how technology has advanced, and is curious about the fate of his father and uncle. His son helps locate a exhibition that has his uncle’s works, and it is there that Vladimir learns the truth about the fairy tale his uncle told him several decades ago. He learns that his father was painted in the background of every photographer his uncle worked on. The motivation for framing his uncle was because he believed that his uncle sold out his father, and he wanted revenge. He was only a child when it happened and he only wanted justice, but Vladimir never thought that his uncle was going to die.

What I didn’t like about this book was how each story was not in chronological order. I did get confused at times. It would be set in the present and then it would be set in the past. The reason why my rating is a 3.5 instead of a 4 is because I couldn’t really connect with the characters, and I fell asleep reading this book multiple times. Other than that, I really loved how all the stories connected with each other. For example, all throughout the book Zakharov’s painting is constantly referenced since it helps characters connect with each other.

I’d liked to thank Blogging for Books for receiving this book to review. 

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ 

My True Love Gave To Me (Anthology): Book Review

Long, Cold Nights Are For Falling In Love

I finished my first book of the year which was “My True Love Gave To Me”, an anthology which was edited by Stephanie Perkins.  My mom got me the UK edition for Christmas! I really wanted to finish the book before my holiday vacation ended, but I ended up working for most of my vacation. At least I got to finish it before class started!
In this book, there are 12 stories by several young adult novels and all of the holidays deal with the holidays.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. I really wish this short story would have been longer. I read it three times and had fun with it. The romance was adorable.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link 🌟. I liked the plot, but I did not like the protagonist. The protagonist was a bit of a brat. It was a bit confusing to read.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena 🌟🌟🌟. It was a cute story. I could relate with Shy (the protagonist), but I did find that the romance was a bit rushed.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. I found this story very memorable, and I liked the plot very much. I really wanted this story to be longer, and I found the ending of the story to be a little sad. Oh forbidden love.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. This short story was the one I was looking most forward to reading because I love Stephanie Perkins writing style. I totally ship Marigold and North, they had a cute romance! Again, I wish it were longer.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan 🌟🌟🌟. This story was the quickest read for me, and what the protagonist was doing for his boyfriend was adorable. It was about keeping childlike wonder alive, like believing in Santa Claus.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black 🌟🌟. This one was darker than the other stories. I liked the fantasy element and the protagonist was likable compared to the other characters.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I liked Sophie Roth, she was awkward and funny. I’m glad that both Sophie and Russell had so much chemistry. I really could connect with Sophie’s character such as her feeling like a foreigner in a crowd of people.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire 🌟🌟🌟. Vaughn was able to redeem himself in the end of the story. I was glad that he realized that he was loved and not hated as he thought. This short story was more about second chances, than his relationship with Gracie.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. This story had to be my favorite and I really loved both Maria and Ben. They were the cutest couple, and I liked their chemistry. Ben was adorable while Maria was feisty, they were definitely a good match. This story made me really happy.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter 🌟🌟🌟. The romance was a bit rushed, but this story kinda reminded me of a lifetime movie. I was not expecting her to be famous at all, what a twist. It was heartwarming that Ethan’s family was open to having Lydia in their lives despite what the fact that she lied to them about being Huda (the Icelandic student).

The Girl Who Woke Up The Dreamer by Laini Taylor 🌟. I liked the magical element, but I had the hardest time reading and understanding the story. I felt that it didn’t match well with the holiday theme like the rest of the stories. It was definitely the most unique out of the bunch. I felt that it was more description than dialogue. The priest of the village was creepy, and the protagonist was okay.

Final Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3.5)