Monday, July 23, 2018

The Witchy Anthology of My Dreams

Y'ALL. I'M BACK! In case you missed it, I was out for a bit due to furiously writing my book I hope to put in a contest (and still am writing because it's not finished!) and I was out of a good commenting system. But thanks to friends, I have Disqus installed, so you can now comment again! And I'm feeling super great about blogging again! I can't wait to get more posts up before July ends. But in the meantime, here's an early review of one of my most anticipated books of the year!

*****

Title: Toil & Trouble
Authors: edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 28th, 2018!
*eARC kindly provided by Harlequin TEEN via NetGalley*

From Goodreads....
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.

*****

My Review!
Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia was really good! Enchanting writing, pulling me in from the start, with a latina who's trying to find herself and her magic, who just wants to move on from the past and do better for herself, and a barely-there cute exchange with another girl. I gladly would have read more of it, so this makes me even more excited for Tehlor's debut next year! This anthology is off to a strong start. 
Rating: 4 stars


Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer was about a witch trial in 1650, told by a combination of storytelling from the young midwife apprentice, Deliverance, and testimony and interviews that result in the death of an innocent. A complicated birth questions everything, and throws the people into chaos, and it's a stark reminder of the way that women were accused of witchcraft and persecuted. But I really liked that ending! 
Rating: 3.5 stars


The Heart in Her Hands by Tess Sharpe: "I didn't have a choice before. Now, I do." I LOVED this one. It's about girls who spur fate, who take matters into their own hands, to fight for a love worth turning their backs on their teachings and community. But through that, they find so much MORE, and they are strong enough to handle whatever comes their way. I especially loved the way that Bette takes back her choice in the beginning, by burning bonds that would try to sever a power that is hers. So great! 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith was more fantastical than the previous stories, which I really enjoyed. It's hard to get that in such a short amount of pages, but it felt effortless, and not that hard to follow. And I so liked the bit of darkness to it, the way that the MC, Mattie, could sympathize and understand the "villain" but who chose a different path, a better one, even if a lonely one. 
Rating: 4 stars


The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert was a lot less focused on the witchy aspect, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was kind of bored, to tell you the truth. I wasn't hooked on this story. I just wanted it to end so I could start the next one. I'm sad because I loved Brandy's Little & Lion but this one did not work for me. I liked that ending, but that was about it. 
Rating: 2 stars


The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar: "Next summer's just a year away. I've got another play to write." I loved this one so much!! It was dazzling, beautiful, full of magic and sisterhood and even the trial and error of what it means to be a writer. Shalini had to trust in herself, and in her coven, to tell the story right, and she almost didn't. But she had to remember that she had worth, and a powerful friendship at her side, and that theater is a place to lay it all on the line. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley was a little disappointing because it went in a direction I didn't care as much for, than the one I was hoping it would be. But I still really liked this story. I've a particular fondness for curses, and I thought the way that this one was wrapped up in Wendy's present was interesting. 
Rating: 3 stars


The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma was told by a collective of girls; girls who had been wronged, who had been broken. Girls who wanted something they shouldn't: revenge and justice and a safe place to let their anger breathe fire. Girls who protected each other, and those who couldn't protect themselves. This was my first foray into Nova Ren Suma's writing, and I loved it. SUCH a good short story! 
Rating: 4 stars


Divine Are the Stars by Zoraida Cordova was, at its core, about family. Even when family doesn't always mean love and joy, but anger and hate too. It's complicated, and I liked how that was shown here. But I adored the relationship between Marimar and her cousin, Chuy. This seemed much shorter than the previous stories, though, so I didn't feel as pulled in. It had seemed so abrupt, the way that it ended. But I enjoyed it all the same! 
Rating: 3.5 stars


Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff: I was born to bury saints in the yard. I reaaaally liked this one! I wasn't always a fan of the MC's voice, or the way it was written. But it wasn't hard to like the butcher girl and her new friend, witches who just wanted to exact revenge on those who deserved it, who wanted to make the bullies and the assholes feel as small as they make others feel. IT'S MY FAVORITE THING. 
Rating: 3.5 stars


The Well Witch by Kate Hart was a lot lighter on the witchery than I expected, and wanted. It was set in 1875, about a girl living alone while her father's off trading, sparing kindness for strangers who turn on her by the end. It was a bittersweet story, one that focused more on the historical fiction than the paranormal, which saddened me, but I definitely still liked it. It just wasn't as great as I'd hoped. 
Rating: 3 stars


Beware of Girls with Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood: "You cannot survive together. But it's not so easy surviving apart, either." The Campbell curse is AWFUL, and I hate it, and I just wanted the three sisters to be able to have everything they wanted without losing how dear they are to each other. I honestly want a full book of the prophecy Jo had seen, of a new Campbell generation fighting to break the spell, and Jo and her sisters reunited and happy together. I want MORE, damn it! 
Rating: 4 stars


Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore: "If you let fear be your voice, you will never have sure hands." This was one of the stories I had been waiting for, and it did not disappoint me. I will say this every single time I read an Anna-Marie book; her writing is gorgeous, and I settle into the story, sinking into the words and staying there until I'm finished. I loved the MC, Adrian, and their romance. It was soft and sweet, and I'm so glad they found their way to each other. And I adored her relationship with her tia. SO GOOD. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord: In a way, you're related to many women who have suffered for misunderstanding and fear. Gah, I LOVED this one. It's a bit quieter on the witchery, on the gifts that Willa, Nova, and Rosie have. But through everything that happens, the thread of love and protectiveness and warmth that binds them together is a magic all its own. This had the trademark Emery Lord goodness, full of family and strength and feminism, and I loved that it was told in 3 POVs, that we got each of their thoughts and feelings. I could see myself in each of them, these girls who breathe fire and love fiercely. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May: Destroying a girl is one of the easiest things in the world. And: The most terrifying thing in the world is a girl with power. This was an anthem, a war cry. A story to invoke anger at injustice and rape and the pain from those who choose to speak the truth even when it costs them. That ending was bittersweet, but still full of fire and magic. I loved it. 
Rating: 4.5 stars


Overall, I freaking adored this anthology, as I was sure I would. Not only did it have so many of my favorite authors in it, but it was about witchcraft and the way that women are magic and fire and life. This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2018, and it did NOT disappoint. SO, SO FANTASTIC.

Overall Rating:
   

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