Posts By: Rashika

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble

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The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble
Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Jessica Spotswood, Tessa Sharpe
Genre: Anthology, Magic, YA
Publication date: August 28th, 2018
by Harlequin Teen

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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.
-A copy was provided by Harlequin Teen for review-

It is no secret that YA has been severely lacking with witchy content lately. I miss the delightful witchy pnr/urban fantasy that was so prominent in YA a couple years ago and I hope this anthology signals a comeback. SO. ANYWAY. When I heard about this anthology, I was ready for it. And it delivered. Like with any anthology, there were some stories that didn’t quite hit their potential, but I think I actually liked every single short story?? Which is quite a feat for an anthology.

I think my favorite thing about this anthology is just how much variety there is! It is extremely diverse but also, there is also just a huge variety in the kinds of stories being told. We get witch-y meet cutes, romances, horror, mystical, feminist, historical, EVERYTHING.

Top 3 Stories

Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia

I don’t know if Starsong was objectively the best short in the anthology but it was very memorable to me was because of how well-written and adorable it was. If you’re a fan of the skeptic/believer romance trope and meet-cutes, you’re gonna love this one too.

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord

I am a garbage person who hasn’t read anything by Emery Lord so I was quite excited about finally getting the chance to do so. The Gherin Girls is a slightly dense story dealing with abusive relationships but we also get to see the amazing sisterly bond between the three main characters. 

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May

UGH. EVEN TRYING TO WRITE A MINI-PARA about this short story has resulted in goose bumps because it was so powerful. Elizabeth May was also an author I hadn’t read yet and her short blew me away. In it, we see a group of women who are put in ‘jail’ for accusing men of sexual assault. It is a powerful tale about allowing yourself to be angry but also of sisterhood.

Just so we are clear, these three shorts are accompanied by MANY other wonderful stories and it truly was a pain to have to pick favorites so I could keep this review reasonably short.  Toil & Trouble is the perfect October read but also perfect for any other time of the year.

4.5 Stars
4.5 Hot Espressos

Extremely Soft: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Extremely Soft: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted by on 10/09/2018 • 0 Comments

Tessa Dare is one of those romance authors who slowly wormed her way into my heart. When I first read her back in 2013? 14? I wasn’t really a fan but the Castles Ever After series completely endeared her work to me. The Governess Game follows Alexandra Mountbatten. Alexandra shows up at the Duke of Belvoir’s residence to offer her services as a timekeeper. Somehow she wounds up being the governess to Reynaud’s two wards instead. 

TBH, I feel like a broken record because I say this about a lot of heroines in a lot of books but THERE IS NO AVOIDING IT. Alexandra Mountbatten is a great MC. I adore her. She is bookish, extremely smart and has peculiar interests (such as CLOCKS.) She is also extremely patient, kind and all…

Rashika’s Fall Watchlist

Rashika’s Fall Watchlist

Posted by on 10/04/2018 • 1 Comment

HELLO to the human and bots reading this post!!! Life hasn’t been as great lately which is why I’ve been so absent these past couple months, but I am working on making a comeback. Especially since I have a list of reviews to write (yikesss.) BUT. It is fall, which means a lot of new TV shows premiering and also old favs coming back. So, I’ve gone from rewatching old seasons to having a somewhat unmanageable watchlist. Here is compilation of shows I have my eye on this fall.

Animated Adventure Time

Okay so. A couple years ago, I binged season 1 of Adventure Time but never continued. The show recently came to an end which means, I AM GONNA WATCH ALL THE SEASONS.

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and…

Good to be Reunited With Some Beloved Characters: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Good to be Reunited With Some Beloved Characters: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 08/28/2018 • 2 Comments

Roshani Chokshi has already earned herself a place on my auto-read list so it is unsurprising that even though I am a shit head who hasn’t read A Crown of Wishes, I still needed to read Star-Touched Stories. Chokshi has a distinguished writing style that just calls out to me, I guess.

Short stories set in a favorite world are always fun and I love how Chokshi really does somehow manage to bring the Star-Touched queen world to life even through this short snippets into the lives of beloved characters. WHICH. I know I’ve read Star-Touched Queen so I have some context but its been two years so I really didn’t remember much and yet, THE STORIES WERE SO WELL WRITTEN that I didn’t really need to remember…

The Best Romance You’ll Read this Year: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

The Best Romance You’ll Read this Year: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted by on 08/22/2018 • 1 Comment

Earlier this year, I read and fell head over heels for A Princess in Theory. It was definitely one of my top reads of the year and when I dove into A Duke by Default, I expected to love it but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to love it more than A Princess in Theory.

For someone who has been reviewing for six years, it is quite baffling how easily words can escape me when it comes to a truly good book but you know, there you have it.

A Duke by Default is probably THE romance novel of the year for me. The one that has swept me off my feet and even a month after reading it, I cannot stop thinking…

The Romance Podcast You Have Been Waiting For: One True Pairing

The Romance Podcast You Have Been Waiting For: One True Pairing

Posted by on 08/06/2018 • 1 Comment

Pop culture, juicy romance and hilarious conversations come together in the recently Cosmopolitan featured One True Pairing podcast! Join Erica Martirano and Marissa Sangiacomo as they talk romance and revisit their favorite couples from across TV, movies, books, and pop culture. From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Ross and Rachel, this roller coaster of bad boys, break-ups, and HEAs (Happily Ever Afters) combines love, feminism, sex, and relationships with the gossip you love.

Romance Awareness Month Q&A With the Hosts

Can you introduce yourselves and tell me how you got into romance?

Marissa: I’m Marissa Sangiacomo and I’m a marketing manager at St. Martin’s Press where I work on romance and commercial women’s fiction. I’ve loved romance novels ever since I was young and would share books with my…

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Posted by on 07/19/2018 • 0 Comments

For someone who has had Vikki Wakefield on her tbr for over half a decade, it has taken me a surprisingly long time to finally pick up a book by her. I went in with the expectation that I would at least like it but ended up being surprised in pleasant ways.

OZ YA, in my opinion, tends to be much grittier than US YA so its always refreshing to find myself lost within the pages of an OZ YA. Ballad for a Mad Girl is many things. Its partly a paranormal murder mystery, partly an exploration of mental health and partly a coming of age.

Grace Foley is a bit of a prankster. She takes risks few people are willing to take and has a whole lot of fun…