Book Review: My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff
My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me
by Shani Petroff
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 31st 2017
Rating: Meh but Christmassy
Times read: 1
Recommended by:

My New Crush Gave to Me is the story of seventeen-year-old Charlie Donovan, a go-getter of the highest order.  The biggest party of the year is coming up, and she needs a date pronto.  But of course, she cannot just take any old guy.  She must have the perfect guy.  Who doesn't really care that she is alive... Cue farcical Christmas themed plot having to do with biggest Secret Santas and the new crushes annoying cousin.  Surely the perfect gift will make him love her.  

 I found Charlie's controlling and obsessive nature unbearable. I should have related to it.  I am a teacher, and like almost all teachers I am a control freak. Alas, I could not.  It just felt as if her rigidity was more about controlling others rather than maintaining the order of all the minutia in her life as a coping mechanism.  

I love that her best friend is Jewish and that her love interest is Latinx, but I do wish that the diversity felt more than skin deep.  His name could change to Smith, and no one would notice.  And Her friend Morgan: I'm not asking for her to jump around yelling, "Look at me I am Jewish!" or that everything about her has to lead back to her Jewishness, but I do demand that she be more than a bland character.  Morgan seems to be in the book as a yesman and for Charlie to have the ultimate teen couple to look up to and envy. Come on; you can do better.

Okay. Hey, J.D., peppermint extract?” Teo called out to him before turning his attention back to me. “You have to try it. With or without alcohol, it makes eggnog like Christmas in a cup.” I already thought of it as a Christmas milkshake. This made it sound even better.

I like that the title makes sense because one of the major plot points of the story involves Secret Santas. In fact, the most significant theme of the book revolves around love revealing itself when someone knows what to get the other as a gift. That and certain people *cough Charlie *cough

All that being said there is a whole lot of cuteness in this book.  It is Christmas activity packed from the first page until the las and I loved that about it.  It reminds me of that scene in Elf, "I planned out our whole day: First, we'll make snow angels for two hours, and then we'll go ice skating, and then we'll eat a whole roll of Toll-House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we'll snuggle." I think that My New Crush Gave to Me is what would happen if you turned that plan into a YA novel. Peppermint extract in hot chocolate, tree decorating, cooking baking, and every other Christmasy thing that you could think of.  I am here for it.

I have asked this question before, but since I called it again, I have to ask.  Was this book REALLY predictable or have I just read so many books that I notice even the smallest of clues? In this case? Pretty sure it was the book's predictability and not me. Maybe I am being too hard on this book.  I mean it is a cute and fluffy Christmas themed teen romance.  Should I expect it to be more than that?  I guess I will just have to bask in its Christmassyness and ignore the actual plot and characters.  

From Goodreads:

Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.

But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.

Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?

The 25 Books of Christmas

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I REALLY love holiday books.  I spend a good portion of December every year reading holiday books, watching holiday movies, and listening to holiday music.  I haven't gone back to the states for Christmas in five years so it is one way to prevent that "the year without Christmas" feeling that can sometimes happen.

This list is very Christmas heavy.  There are some books that are just general winter stories but most holiday books that I have come across are Christmas themed.  And also very very white.  Which is too bad because everyone should be able to get in on the holiday book action.  Do you have any diverse holiday reads?  Please comment and let me know what they are as I would love to read them!


My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me
by Shani Petroff 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 31st 2017
Rating: Full Review of My New Crush Gave to Me
Times read: 1

“Wait. You get a Douglas?! Why? A Fraser fir will last a lot longer, and you can put it up so much earlier.”

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al.

My True Love Gave to Me
by Stephanie Perkins et al.

Goodreads | Amazon| Audible
Published: October 14th 2014
Series: Twelve Stories
Rating: Full Review of My True Love Gave to Me
Times read: 2

“He says presents aren't important, but I think they are - not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say, I understand you.”

Best+Christmas+Pageant+Ever+cover+www.onemorestamp.jpgThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever  by Barbara Robinson

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: The Herdman’s #1
Release date: January 1, 1972
Rating: Full review of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

“Hey! Unto you a child is born!”

Starry, Starry Night By Lurlene McDaniel

Starry, Starry Night
By Lurlene McDaniel

Goodreads | Amazon
Series:  no
Release date: October 10th 2000
Rating: Full Review of Starry, Starry Night
Times read: 1

"The star winked like a tiny jeweled eye, making her think that perhaps it had heard her and would grant her wishes."

 


Let it Snow by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Let it Snow
by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Goodreads | Amazon  
Series: no
Published: October 2nd 2008
Rating: Full review of Let it Snow
Times read: 2

“We just did an awesome job of not dying.” 

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution
by Jennifer Donnelly 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 12th 2010
Rating: Full review of Revolution
Times read: 3

“Life’s all about the revolution, isn’t it? The one inside, I mean. You can’t change history. You can’t change the world. All you can ever change is yourself.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: December 19th 1843
Rating: God bless us, every one
Times read: 7ish

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” 

 


French Kissmas  by Catherine Hapka

French Kissmas
by Catherine Hapka

 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: (Students Across the Seven Seas)
Published: September 1st 2008
Rating: Cute enough
Times read: 1

"And now back to Paris... She shivered, and only partly because of the breeze blowing over the water as the boat chugged on along the murky canal. Suddenly she couldn’t wait to get back."

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas
by John Grisham

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: November 6th 2001)
Rating: I actually like the film better
Times read: 1

“My children know nothing of Christmas. They have so little, and want so little, it makes me feel guilty for the mindless materialism of our culture.” 

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: December 10th 1905
Rating: nostalgiafest
Times read: 4

“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
by Dr. Seuss

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 12th 1957
Rating: You know you are singing the song
Times read: 10 or more

"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason."

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice
by David Sedaris

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: December 1997
Rating: funny stuff
Times read: 1

“But instead I am applying for a job as an elf. Even worse than applying is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn't even find work as an elf. That's when you know you're a failure.” 

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden and Barbara Cooney

The Story of Holly and Ivy
by Rumer Godden and Barbara Cooney

 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series:  no
Published: 1958
Rating: 100% because Barbara Cooney is my favorite illustrator
Times read: 3

"Her name, of course, was Holly. It could not have been anything else, for she was dressed for Christmas in a red dress, and red shoes, though her petticoat and socks were green."


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (The Chronicles of Narnia #1)
Published: October 16th 1950
Rating: magical
Times read: a lot, okay?

"Meanwhile,' said Mr Tumnus, 'it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow."


 


Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

Decked with Holly
by Marni Bates

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series:
Published: September 25th 2012
Rating: festive
Times read: 1

“Most girls don’t get grounded right before Christmas because they slapped Santa in a mall, in front of a mob of little children. Then again, most girls don’t get escorted out of the aforementioned mall by security guards and depend upon their seventy-five-year-old grandfather to bail them out.”

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Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories
by L.M. Montgomery

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series:
Published: September 1st 1995)
Rating: on my TBR for this year
Times read: not yet


Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher

Kissing Snowflakes
by Abby Sher

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: November 1st 2007
Rating: TBR
Times read: ?

“Before last night, the most action I had gotten was from a down pillow.” 

Ex-mas by Kate Brian

Ex-mas
by Kate Brian

Goodreads | Amazon 
Series: no
Published: September 14th 2009
Rating: predictable and kind of lame
Times read: 1

“Better he learns now that if you mess with people, you might get messed with in return.” 

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Letters from Father Christmas
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: 1976
Rating: heartwarming
Times read: 1

"So, my dears, I hope you will be happy this Christmas and not quarrel, and will have some good games with your Railway all together. Don’t forget old Father Christmas, when you light your tree.”

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
by L. Frank Baum

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: 1902)
Rating: wait a minute is this what that stop motion movie is based on?
Times read: TBR this year

“It is possible for any man, by good deeds, to enshrine himself as a Saint in the hearts of the people.” 

A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd

A Christmas Story
by Jean Shepherd

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: January 1st 1983
Rating: You'll shoot your eye out!
Times read: 1

“I had woven a tapestry of obscenity that as far as I know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.” 

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies

Miracle on 34th Street
by Valentine Davies

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: 1947
Rating: Sweet
Times read: 1

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

 Love this cover

Love this cover

What Light
By Jay Asher

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 18th 2016
Rating: Full Review of What Light
Times read: 1

“I don't know how to fully enjoy any of these moments without wondering if it's the last.” 

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares  by Rachel Cohn and  David Levithan

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
 by Rachel Cohn and  David Levithan

Goodreads | Amazon  | Audible
Series: There is a second book OMG
Release date: October 26th 2010
Rating: Full Review of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares
Times read: 3

“The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go in the physical realm, but they are always there in your heart, because they helped form your heart. There's no getting over that.”

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

Goodreads | Amazon  | Audible
Series: Dash and Lily  #2
Release date: October 18th 2016
Rating: Full review of The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily
Times read: 1

“I know in my heart that I can live without him and I know in my heart that I don't want to-that's a good place to start, right?”

Do you have any reccommendations for books I have missed?  Are there non Christmas books that I have overlooked?  Let me know in the comments! I would love to be able to write a more inclusive list someday. I hope that whatever you celebrate that you are having some awesome winter holidays!

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Book Review: Starry, Starry NIght by Lurlene McDaniel

Starry, Starry Night By Lurlene McDaniel
 I actually like this cover.  

I actually like this cover.  

Starry, Starry Night
By Lurlene McDaniel
Goodreads | Amazon
Series:  no
Release date: October 10th 2000(seriously? I thought this was more recent)
Rating: You can do better
Times read: 1

Confession time, here’s what I got (Hamilton references are always appropriate, just go with it) At one point as a middle school student I loved Lurlene McDaniel books.  To the point that I may have written some fanfiction that may still be in my mother’s attic. So as I was looking for holiday books to review and I stumbled across Starry, Starry Night I was struck with a sense of nostalgia and downloaded without reading the blurb.

I was not expecting a holiday book to be this rife with sickness and death.  I really shouldn’t have been surprised.  It isn’t as if I hadn’t read all of her books before.  Did any of them have more to them than being tragically terminally ill?  Now that I am thinking about it I can answer this with, no.

So much melodrama.  And while 12-year-old me was down with that adult me is not.  Or at least I am not when there is no real plot or character development.  The did issue seems to be that this is a book with three separate stories in it.  Maybe 50 pages a story.  There just isn’t time for anything to happen or for the character to do any changing. An extra 200 pages a story might have helped.  Maybe.  Therefore, it reads like an afterschool special.

I was also not impressed with the characterization.  The characters are cardboard cutouts.  All three of the MC could be swapped around and the stories would have been exactly the same.  I would have liked to see some connection between the stories.  Other than being set at Christmas there is very little thematically that links the story.

The star winked like a tiny jeweled eye, making her think that perhaps it had heard her and would grant her wishes.

Christmas Child: A fifteen-year-old girl is about to have a baby sister and is super excited.  But things turn out horribly.  This was the most upsetting story.  I don’t’ want to give spoilers but it left me feeling hopeless and that life is pointless. 

Last Dance: A pretty 15-year-old girl is sort of pressured into becoming friends with a terminally will boy.  Le tragedy.  Probably the best of the lot. I think that the idea could have been decent with more space. I was annoyed by the whole “he likes her from afar because she is pretty thing.” I do think that she managed to end it at the right place in the story which left you feeling sad but in kind of a good way.

Kathy’s Life: My least favorite.  It tried to explore sexual pressure and rape culture and teen pregnancybut was so PG fluffy about it that I was just rubbed wrong.  Also, I pretty much knew the secret immediately which just made me all judgy about the MC because she takes FOREVER to figure it out.  Or at least it felt like it.  When a story is only 50 pages long drag is not something that should be a problem.

Bottom line: This is not a book for adult-me and honestly there are other books that would have been better for twelve-year-old me.

From Goodreads:

The star that led the three wise men could be the same star wished upon by those longing for a wish to come true. In the opening novella, "Christmas Child," 15-year-old Melanie feels cheated when her baby sister, born at Christmastime, lives only a few days. But the brief life of her sister shows Melanie the lasting value of love. Brenda struggles between noble intentions and real desires when she becomes the last chance for happiness for a dying boy in "Last Dance." The final story, "Kathy's Life," describes a girl who appears to have it all. Kathy is beautiful, intelligent, and has the perfect job as a live-in caregiver for a couple's baby boy. But not everything is as perfect as it seems: Should Kathy give up the one person she loves most in the world?