Thursday, August 30, 2018

Toil and Trouble by Various Authors

Toil and Trouble by Various Authors
Release Date - August 28, 2018
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Stories about witches have always fascinated me. The Salem Witch Trials were ushered in because of fear. Fear of the power of women and fear of anyone who was different. The stories in Toil and Trouble embrace this reality and presents a collection of stories that offer both a feminist slant and focus on sisterhood among women in general.

The stories contained within the anthology are as diverse the authors included. There are many different representations found within these pages. They range from sexuality, race, social status, and religion. This stood out while I was reading and I honestly feel it made the collection more well rounded as whole. All of the stories combine the themes of witches and women in power. They fluctuate between being lighter in tone to some darker, more thought provoking stories. All of this ensures that the reading experience is varied, and engaging.

I enjoyed most of the stories over all, but like any anthology there were some that left a more lasting impression on me while I was reading. I feel that in a collection this varied that this is subjective. What impacted me will inevitably be different from the next person who reads it.

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord was, unsurprisingly, the story I immediately wished was a full novel. The relationship between this group of sibling witches is the primary focus. This is a story that highlights the bonds between women and the sisterhood that exists between them. It's filled with the undeniable charm that makes an Emery Lord novel shine. I instantly fell in love with all there of the sisters and their stories and the ways in each they were both different but also so similar.

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May was a powerful story of women bonding together and being stronger for it. It advocates helping each other and supporting each other in so many ways. It shouts about how much more powerful we are if we do and the limitless possibilities of what could be accomplished as a result.

Beware Of Girls With Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswoods offers up a darker look sisterhood and the fierceness in which siblings protect each other. It's a story with a darker tone and one that I would have loved to have seen fleshed out more because I fell into the character's and the world Jessica created.

Love Spell was a surprising read that didn't quite take the turn I expected it to. It's a love story that was filled with a little bit of extra magic. It also tackles differences in people and what love is capable of overcoming.

Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia offers a more contemporary feeling story that also hints at the possibilities of new love and the kind of magic that holds. It's a great way to start off the anthology and has piqued my interest in anything else this author writes.

This is ultimately a fun read for the Halloween season. It's a great way to incorporate some themed stories into your fall reading and ensures that there is a little something for everyone. If short story collections are something you enjoy I recommend checking this one out.

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