Posts Tagged: Magic

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

Destined to Become a Classic: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Destined to Become a Classic: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Posted by on 02/24/2017 • 1 Comment

The Castle in the Mist is destined to become a classic. No question about it. It draws a lot of classic children’s literature tropes but somehow managed to create an entirely different narrative about families and the magic of nature. My literary analysis senses are tingling and I must stop myself from word-vomiting a bunch of off-topic stuff but seriously, THIS IS A BOOK I COULD write a 10 page paper about and have a lot of fun doing.

My biggest problem with the book doesn’t lie in the actual writing but in the fact that so many books like The Castle in the Mist exist yet all of them seem to feature only white children? Do not white children not deserve to be featured in gothic-y stories that are magical, mystical…

Reaction Post: This is Shyness by Leanne Hall

Reaction Post: This is Shyness by Leanne Hall

Posted by on 10/23/2016 • 0 Comments

This Is Shyness is one of those wonderful Aussie gems that is available on this side of the ocean and I am so glad it is because it is such a beautiful book. I am not going to do a traditional review for this one but want to experiment a little.

Welcome to Shyness, a place where the sun never rises and the people who live there are anything but normal…

THIS IS SHYNESS is about a boy who can howl and a girl trying to escape. Over the course of the night they go on an adventure, explore shyness and discover some things about themselves. They might or might not fall in love while they are at it 😉

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At first I was like:

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Review: Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Review: Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Posted by on 08/31/2015 • 5 Comments

This book was all sorts of cute, but it didn’t blow me away. I have to be honest, most of the reason I picked it up was because the cover is so adorable. I’m not even a cat person, but seriously, look at it!! Okay, so basically Nory is able to do magic, as are mostly everyone in this book. Her father is even the headmaster or something at the most elite magic school there is. Nory needs to get in. Except, her magic isn’t right. She has it for sure, but it doesn’t really work the way she wants it to. This causes her to fail the test and get put in a different school in the Upside-Down Magic class for those who can’t do their magic right. There…

Review: The Magi by Kevin M. Turner

Posted by on 12/05/2011 • 19 Comments

The MagiKevin M. TurnerReleased October 8th, 2011

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Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He doesn’t know about the secret power they have. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city hidden deep inside the northern forests. Most of all, Elijah is unaware of the dangers hunting him, in search for something he has. After one terrifying night, however, all of that changes!

On a quest to solve the murder of his parents, Elijah stumbles upon the land of the Magi. Learning their secrets and training with their power is the least of his problems. In order to find out why his parents were killed, Elijah learns that he must confront the dangers that are hunting him. What’s more terrifying is learning that…