Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of 12 holiday-themed romance tales brought to you by some of the best young adult authors today, edited by Stephanie Perkins (author of the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy). Two weeks ago my fav bookshop Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA hosted David Levithan and Stephanie Perkins herself. Both authors read from their stories, spoke a bit about their favorite parts of the holidays and signed copies of the novel.

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I was planning on saving this collection until December but I wanted to be prepared for the reading so Christmas came a bit early. It was however a great way to kick on the holiday season! I’m just going to speak a bit about a few of the stories. Overall, the collection was heart warming, a perfect winter read. Levithan’s story titled ‘Your Temporary Santa’ was one of the more serious stories about a teenage boy pretending to be Santa for his boyfriend’s youngest sister. Levithan really knows how to pull together family dynamics in just a few pages.

Stephanie Perkin’s tale ‘It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown’ is easily her best work to date. You read that right, I would go so far as to say that this is my favorite writing by her ever, including the entire Anna trilogy. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. I could read an entire novel about Marigold and North, their 34 page romance made me fall in love right there with them.

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My favorite, surprise surprise, was Midnights by Rainbow Rowell which follows Mags and Noel over the course of multiple New Year’s Eves, their friendship anniversary. Midnights is another short story that I wish was an entire novel. Ahh give me all the stories!!!! This collection introduced me to some new authors, notable Matt De La Pena, Kiersten White, and Ally Carter, all of which I am really eager to read some of their full length novels. There are a few supernatural stories I found enjoyable but overall I did not like them as much as the more traditional realistic holiday romances.

The cover art for this collection is beautiful and features all 12 couples ice skating. Curl up next to the fire with a cup of hot chocolate for this deliciously sweet holiday read (I think I just vomited a little in my mouth typing that). But seriously it’s really great read.

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Buffy Meets Lord of the Rings aka Rat Queens

The comic book train shows no signs of slowing down! I started with Lumberjanes and Saga and am now working on expanding my meager comic book collection. I also began watching ComicBookTube (did I make that up??) and there are a lot of great videos online for new comic book readers!! One of the titles that kept popping up was Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch, marketed as ‘a pack of booze guzzling, death dealing battle maidens-for-hire → sign me up!

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Volume One: Sass and Sorcery covers Issues 1-5 as the four kick ass ladies drink, fight, and screw their way through Middle Earth (not actual Middle Earth mind you but you know what I mean).

The Rat Queens are:

Betty, a hippie miniature elf addicted to magic mushrooms

Dee, a former cult member turned voodoo priestess

Hannah, a rockabilly elf with some serious magical prowess

Violet, a killer sword-wielding hipster dwarf

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Rat Queens is funny, sarcastic, violent and sexy all at the same time. The illustrations are detailed and beautiful – I love the all the characters’ personalities, not to mention wardrobes (and tattoos!). The story is engaging. I have decided to stick with the bound trade books and Rat Queens Volume 2 hits shelves January 27th 2015!768097078227725994

Book Review: When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Lacy Fin is a sixteen year old Gemini equally made up of light and dark magic. For the past three years Lacy has been living in the light with her Dad and stepmom Anna but before that with dyed black hair and thick black eyeliner Lacy was drawn into the dark by her Mom Cheyenne. As a budding botanist, Lacy has worked hard to find the pure healing magic in nature, using the herbs from her garden to make healing teas and tinctures. When her Dad abruptly dies of prostate cancer, Cheyenne regains custody of Lacy sending on her on a downward spiral abusing the laws of nature and casting revenge spells on her cruel classmates. Lacy must overcome outside influences to decided what kind of person she wants to be.

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Wicked is Stirling’s first novel and overall the story is entertaining – it’s fast paced and includes a loving cat named Mr. Murm! I liked that Lacy loved science – botany, biology, and chemistry – the story is peppered with her ‘random herbal facts’. While brainy, Lacy unfortunately suffers from the ‘I’m so plain and ugly’ syndrome when she clearly isn’t. The storyline is a little jumpy as scenes fluctuate between the past and the present but the reader comes to better understand Lacy as you learn about her fractured childhood between her separated parents. The story is incredibly short (less than 200 pages). I think the novel could have easily been twice as long with the story and characters fleshed out a bit more. I especially would have liked to see some of the more crucial scenes lengthened. The ending (like Mr. Fin’s demise) is sudden. I almost thought the book would have a sequel with how few pages there were left but then not so much.

Overall I did enjoy the story and I will be interested to see what the future holds for Ms. Stirling whose descriptive writing was beautiful. I received an ARC of When My Heart was Wicked from the Little Shop of Stories bookstore in Decatur, GA.