The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories - Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton I'll admit it: I'm a Maggie Stiefvater fangirl.

So yes, I was drawn in to The Curiosities by the promise of Stiefvater story-genius, but as soon as I started reading, I found myself falling--and falling hard--for both Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton. All three women contribute beautiful stories and giggle-worthy notations, and when reviewing the entire collection, they all shine equally.

Certain stories seem polished while others feel more raw. And I do not mean raw in the "unedited" sense but rather as more emotional and less bound by any stringent ideas of storytelling. I mean this as the utmost compliment, because these are the stories that get under your skin and make you remember them later.

Some offerings in this collection are flashes of one or two thousand words, epitomizing the "short" in short story, while others are significantly longer. Both styles are equally satisfying, although you've been warned: much of the time, upon reaching the end, there's a rush of frustration that there isn't more. These three writers world build and sketch out characters so well, so deeply, within the space of a few sentences that when one comes to the end of the tale, you find yourself wanting much, much more. Or at least I did. My outbursts of, "Wait, that's it? What the hell!?" were not shouts of offense but desperate cries for more of that story, because there's always more even if the writer never puts it on paper (and I want to read it, damn it!).

Also, because I really, really enjoyed some of these stories and, much like a child trying to get just one more bedtime story, I'm greedy and prone to hissy fits.

The introductions to each story are insightful, giving peeks into how that particular writer developed her story, where it came from and why. And while others may find the annotations in the margins distracting, I loved them. I felt the commentary added an additional depth, sometimes serious in the way of pointing out key thoughts or moments, sometimes amusing additions that give the whole book a warmer feel.

Also, I'm a big fan of snark, and there's quite a bit to be found in those margins. And when some of the stories have such bittersweet or the kind of endings that aren't quite sad but still stick with you long after you've finished, a little humorous snark is always appreciated.

A must read for lovers of short stories, fans of any or all of the three authors, or writers looking for insight into story creation. And while the majority are, in fact, fantasy stories, many others are not, so don't let the genre push you away from picking up The Curiosities.

A Few of My Favorite Curiosities:

The Vampire Box (Gratton)
Date With a Dragon Slayer (Gratton)
Puddles (Gratton)
The Bone-Tender (Yovanoff)
The Last Day of Spring (Stiefvater)
Council of Youth (Stiefvater)
Heart-Shaped Box (Stiefvater)
Berserk (Gratton)