Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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Oct 20

Review of Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

As soon as I saw that Toil and Trouble had a story by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth May of the Falconer trilogy, I knew I had to have it. Even if the subject matter hadn’t been one of great intrigue and interest to me, I would have bought it for that alone! Then it turned out to also have a story by Zoraida Cordova, which was also awesome.

Review of Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and WitchcraftToil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Tess Sharpe, Jessica Spotswood, Brandy Colbert, Zoraida Córdova, Andrea Cremer, Kate Hart, Emery Lord, Elizabeth May, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Lindsay Smith, Nova Ren Suma, Robin Talley, Shveta Thakrar, Brenna Yovanoff
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 28, 2018
Genres: magical realism, Young Adult
Pages: 405
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreadsfour-stars

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

The fifteen short stories in Toil and Trouble vary widely. They all have a couple common elements, as one might guess from the subtitle – all involve women, most of them amazingly strong, vibrant characters, and all involve “witchcraft” as defined by each particular author. Some I enjoyed more than others, namely the ones by Elizabeth May, Jessica Spotswood, and Emery Lord. I will definitely be finding books by the latter two and reading them, as somehow I had never come across their work before. For a more detailed review individually, check out The Sassy Book Geek’s review. She has an absolutely AMAZING overview of each story in this anthology!

The relationships that many of the stories showcase – and in such a short few pages – are beautiful, and heart-wrenching. There are sisters, lovers, friends, mothers and daughters and grandmothers. Reading these made me realize how much I need to value the female friends and caring family members I have in my life, as well as feel a little jealous of a few of them! The sister trio in Emery Lord’s story really pulled at my heart strings.

“She’d tell her daughters someday: ‘If you don’t feel safe enough to yell back, you’re not safe enough. My babies, that is not love.’” ~ Emery Lord in Toil & Trouble

If you are looking for an atmospheric collection of stories, this is definitely it! If you are looking for horror, this is NOT it. The hair-raising factor in these is due to the “unnatural” powers and magic, not anything particularly grotesque.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review! 

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four-stars

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Apr 08

The Iron King

Book Reviews 1 ★★★½

The Iron KingThe Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1st 2010
Pages: 363
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsthree-half-stars

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Time for a mini-review! I read The Iron King in a couple of hours and it was such a fast, fun book.

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The Iron King is a fun, fluffy read with a little danger, a little romance, and a lot of faeries. Also a little Alice in Wonderland – that part left me a bit flabbergasted…exactly how does the Cheshire cat fit into the faery world of redcaps and chimeras? But ok. It was definitely interesting. The hands down BEST part of this book is all the descriptions of the various fae, the Winter, Summer, and Iron Courts. I haven’t read many books based around the fae, so to me at least the Iron Court construct was entirely new and OMG IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. Holy shit balls batman. Consider me successfully creeped out and a little sad.

The characters…well, the MC is actually not that compelling. I was not a real Meghan fan, but I definitely didn’t hate her. Her motivations I could understand though, and her love for her little brother melted my heart. Her loyalty was also something I could relate to…Meghan is incapable of putting any goal or end result before the people she cares about, even when the result would be the greater good. Now Robbie, I loved. I hope we see a LOT more of him in the next books! Ash was…ooooh, look, tall-dark-handsome-brooding-powerful-hero = instalove. SIGH. He had some cool powers though. The romance was meh. Meghan is very young and naïve and…well, maybe that’s my almost-30-year-old self being jaded but I just wasn’t feeling it AT ALL.

3.5/5 stars overall. I’m looking forward to the next book and can’t wait to see how this Iron Court thing plays out! It wasn’t a true hangover ending but it’s SO wide open for more possibilities…

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I won an e-book of this from a blog giveaway ages ago, and finally got around to reading it! Sadly I don’t remember which blog, but in case THEY remember – thank you!! 😀 This counts for my 75 in 2017 challenge, and the Beat the Backlist 2017 challenge.

three-half-stars

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