Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

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Scorn the witch. Fear the witch. Burn the witch.

History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure—and to kill.

A young witch uses social media to connect with her astrology clients—and with a NASA-loving girl as cute as she is skeptical. A priestess of death investigates a ritualized murder. A bruja who cures lovesickness might need the remedy herself when she falls in love with an altar boy. A theater production is turned upside down by a visiting churel. In Reconstruction-era Texas, a water witch uses her magic to survive the soldiers who have invaded her desert oasis. And in the near future, a group of girls accused of witchcraft must find their collective power in order to destroy their captors.

This collection reveals a universal truth: there’s nothing more powerful than a teenage girl who believes in herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488089275
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 59,875
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

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Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
Between the theme of this anthology and the authors who wrote stories, I was all in. I really enjoyed this collection. All of the stories were so varied and the voices were fantastically diverse and different. I especially loved the stories from Tess Sharpe, Jessica Spotswood, and Anna-Marie McLemore. **Huge thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing the arc free of charge**
Sunshine1006 More than 1 year ago
This is an anthology of stories about empowerment . Yes, witchcraft is a part of every story and I loved that they were all very different. Spells of hope, survival and love were cast, not just in the book but upon the reader as well. This is a quote from the story Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May which I loved "magic is not for wickedness, not for the devil, not for those with cruel hearts. It’s for hope. For survival." It is for young adults and adults as well. I was so happy to be able to review this book. I received this book from Net Galley for an honest review.
SummerMondays More than 1 year ago
Like any anthology there are peaks and valleys throughout this book, but I will say that is is much more up than down! In a world which is currently sending messages to girls ad women that their worth is not valued, this collection of short stories stands up and shows the power we possess. There are stories where the evil is leaders, the men, siblings, and power itself but all of the stories prove that we will not go quietly as one story comments. I would recommend this to all women, and to scare some of the less enlightened men ;) but many of them would be wonderful to be read and studied in hs and college English classes,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a digital arc of Toil & Trouble from NetGalley. I have really been feeling the witch vibes this Fall from other books like The Casquette Girls so I was looking forward to a whole mess of witchy tales! Unfortunately, I found the stories more messy than interesting. There were a few standouts that I enjoyed, keep reading to find out which ones! The last item promised in the synopsis are stories of witchcraft that are unique and different. I didn’t really find that to be the case. A lot of these witchy tales proceeded exactly how I expected them to with pretty stereotypical characters and plot lines. It was interesting to read about witches from a lot of different time periods. Sometimes, I had a hard time figuring out exactly when a story took place though. There were some short stories I thought suffered from a severe lack of witchyness as well. The first one was especially grating to me and gave a dramatically oversimplified look at a meaningful discussion of modern witchcraft. Not to dwell on the negatives! The stories I really enjoyed were Death in the Sawtooths, and The one who Stayed. Both of these took a look at established covens of witches and their communication with larger, almost cosmic, forces. It’s hard to say much about any story without giving things away, but if you choose to read just a couple stories from Toil & Trouble, these are the two I would recommend. In general, I think the anthology is good but I really wanted each story to have more depth. Most were superficial for my taste, and especially when talking about witchcraft I did have the expectation of more depth. With such short stories, it’s understandable that there can’t be a ton of character development, but I think the premise for some stories could have been stronger.
Amayaelika More than 1 year ago
This is a brilliant anthology about women. I usually don't reach for anthologies since I would only like at most 2 stories out of a book but I liked the majority of them in this one! This book presents witches which were often women that were educated, unmarried, or didn't follow traditional expectations put in place by society in various eras of humanity. There's some stories in it that I wish would become a standalone book like Lindsay Smith's Death in the Sawtooths and her world in the southern united states. The Heart in Her Hands by Tess Sharpe is another of my favorite in the book. 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. Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer is one that stuck out to me with it being in the 1600s and the story of Deliverance and result of her mentor being accused of witchcraft. This story consists of a traditional witch trial (meaning the woman has absolutely 0 chance of winning). The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley is great too. Wendy, our main character, has always been warned away from the woods (naturally) where a statue of her great + grandmother’s statue remains. The statue is meant to remind the town of a witch who was killed in the town which leads us to the central theme of this story: to always remember the past and in turn not repeat history. The Well Witch by Kate Hart was a bit toned down on the witchiness but it was an ok story set in the 1800s in the western desert. Most of the stories are great and I really like the book.
Cullen18 More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank You NetGalley! Let me start off by saying while they were few stories that didn't quite get me overall there were some beautiful stories in here about the persecution of witches and even the traumatic things that can happen to you that can turn you into a witch in different ways and show you parts of yourself you never knew existed and or help you accept parts of yourself that you weren't willing to before. And while I tended to enjoy the spookier stories, I came to realize that this anthology isn’t just about scary-witchy-things, rather it’s about highlighting powerful women throughout myths and history. I may have not loved all the stories but I believe they each carried significant themes and should be shared. I would definitely put this in the LGBTQ category as more than one of these stories had a girl who was either questioning her sexuality, discovering new parts of her sexuality, finally accepting that part of herself or getting those in her life willing to accept her. A few stories did drag a bit, but I was definitely drawn by each and how the writing kept me guessing. I was never bored; I just wanted to keep reading. Some stories really drive home what it means to be a woman - to be marked as the "other" in a male-dominated society and to be persecuted for not being a "proper" kind of woman. And all the women in this anthology find ways to rebel, to fight fate and expectations or restrictions, to gain what they desire. I would have to say this collection is the absolute definition of feminist, empowering and witchy I loved it. As a whole I walked away knowing this is a book I will recommend and will come back to.
HarmN More than 1 year ago
4/5 stars. This anthology blew me away. I enjoyed the majority of the stories, although there were some that didn't click with me. Several of the stories are OwnVoices, and have some sort of LGBT+ rep, which makes my heart happy. Overall, this anthology was very well put together by some amazing authors, and I can't wait until it comes out so that others can read this magnificent collection.
NNLight More than 1 year ago
There’s been a lot of misconception when it comes to witches. I strongly believe anything that empowers young women to explore their powers and then use these powers to create change is viewed as a threat and therefore must be stopped. I feel just the opposite and I applaud women who are blessed with wicca power. Toil and Trouble is a collection of fifteen stories exploring the mythology of witchcraft, the spectrum of good, bad and a little bit of both magic and how there’s a little bit of witchery in every female. From the healing arts to first kiss to revenge, Toil and Trouble is a must read for all paranormal readers. I was captivated from the first page and didn’t stop reading until I read the last sentence. Powerful, uplifting stories that will open your eyes to the world around us, both what is seen and unseen. A must read! Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Harlequin Teen via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it. Favorite Story: Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May. This story seared my soul and I got very emotional while reading it. Brilliant! This quote is just a sampling of the empowering message in this story: “Here’s how to fulfill a prophecy: you are a woman, you speak the truth, and the world makes you into a liar.” My Rating: 5 stars
jkholmes More than 1 year ago
Toil & Trouble contains fifteen short stories from some of today's best authors in young adult fiction. The variety of approaches the authors take to approaching the subject of women and witchcraft is what makes this book so much fun. The first story, Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia, follows a young astrologer, Luna, who uses social media to connect to the people who are looking for their personalized star charts. However, she soon finds herself at the center of a NASA-obsessed teen who doesn't believe in astrology or magic. What's a girl to do? In Luna's case, she makes a friend who has the potential for more. Another story I loved greatly was Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer. Set in Colonial America, two midwives find themselves under scrutiny after a difficult birth, with one of them being placed on trial for witchcraft. The reason I enjoyed this story so much is that it reminded me that this sort of thing actually happened to women. Not only did they die in childbirth, but those women who attempted to help others often paid a high price for that assistance because of ignorance. The historical details are great, and I especially liked the inclusion of excerpts from the trial. It just proves that multiple people can witness the same event and walk away with very different accounts. I also liked The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert. Queenie descends from a family of witches, but it isn't a subject they discuss with outsiders--or even among themselves! When her long-time best friend and secret crush, Webb, returns from a tour as a professional skateboarder with an unexpected companion, Queenie's world is rocked to the core. Can she find it within herself to believe in her abilities and help Webb when he needs her the most? Not every story includes a romance. Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith deals with how we approach death and shows that how we face our final moments is just as important as how we live our lives. The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar also skips the romance but is a great story about overcoming obstacles and learning to believe in oneself. Each story is unique, and offers a different view of women and witchcraft. The romances range from sweet to nonexistent with pairings that cover the range from heterosexual to homosexual, and all are treated with respect and without stereotypical influences. Heavier social themes are also present such as drug use and domestic violence. Again, these are treated respectfully; however, readers who are sensitive to such issues should be wary. Overall, I found Toil & Trouble a great read and introduction to some authors I had not previously read. Also given the timing of its release, I thought the stories were a perfect way to usher in the first stirring of autumn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to share my thoughts on each story as I read so please excuse the massive amounts of updates and times this shows on your feed. This book doesn't come out until late August but I've been in such a witchy mood that I had to read it ASAP. Right off the bat, guys, these stories are all so diverse and there's a bunch that are own voices. (yay!) Here are my thoughts. 1. Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia - 4 stars This is a great story about a Latinx (own voices) sixteen year old trying to find her way and gain her mother's approval after making some poor life decisions and changing her ways a year ago. Trigger warning for substance and alcohol abuse related to said poor decisions. She's a bruja who is finding her way with magic, art, music, and makeup. A girl after my own heart. She is a bit of a social media star and ends up talking with a doubter, another young teenage girl who puts her faith in magic and their discussion quickly turns to Luna wondering if she's queer and flirting with her. It was frankly, adorable. There was also additional diversity in the reference to clients of Luna's who hired her to paint their polya portrait for their living room. The normalization of a poly relationship was pretty awesome to read. Overall, I really loved Luna, am rooting for her and her new life path and want so much more of her! 2. Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer- 2 stars This is a story set in 1650 New England about a midwife being accused of witchcraft after daring to insinuate that a servent's child was the illegitimate child of the master of the house. Overall, I just didn't connect to the story or the characters but I'm not surprised. I'm not really one for historical fiction. 3. The Heart in Her Hands by Tesse Sharpe-4 stars I really enjoyed this story on a few different all the generational witches, tea lovers, and kitchen/garden witches you could ever want which I LOVE! There are angry deities and rebellious strong women that I adored. It's a story about defying fate, the idea of soul mates being predetermined, following your love and also features a loving and heartwarming f/f love story. I really enjoyed this one! 4. Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith-3 stars This one is probably the darkest of the stories so far. This one follows Mattie who serves Lady Xosia, the Lady of Slumber, or death. There's an entire witch/wizard order to this short story...very Slytherin vs the rest of the houses feel. Mattie is being judged for the actions of prior followers called to serve her patron and suffering judgments for their ill deeds. It's a story of judgment in a small town, overcoming stereotypes, and a bully turned friend-ish. There's some creepier TW for bullying, bloody attempted murder type deals. 5. The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert- 5 stars Okay, so I'm a sucker for the unrequited love storyline but oh man, Queenie and Webb have my heart. We have an all black cast of characters and Queenie who is a witch denying her powers because she believes they went wrong in her youth and hurt a friend. I just loved and connected with so much of this story and I would absolutely read a full-blown novel centered around Queenie. I adore her. 6. The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar- 2 stars This is a story about friendship, learning to push past doubt, and trusting in yourself and those who care for you. It was a sweet story about teenage shapeshifters who take on a churel (demon) who wants to insert themselves into
Bayy2455 More than 1 year ago
I was absolutely floored by this anthology. I don't normally enjoy the majority of the story stories in anthologies but I loved all but two of these stories. I skipped the story written by Tristina Wright because of the scandals surrounding her. I won't support her or her writing. There was another one that just wasn't quite my cup of tea. However, all of the other stories were lovely. They were across all different time periods and different worlds, even those that were made up. I loved the included queer representation. I also really loved the different variations of witches. I loved that there were witches who were aware of their powers and others who were coming into their powers. There were witches whose mother's disapproved of how they were using their powers and others who supported them in their actions. I loved Emery Lord's story and as always Anna-Marie McLemore's. These were delightful. I also loved that I saw old faces, such as Andrea Cremer, who I haven't seen a book from in ages. All of these styles fit together well and I loved the order that these came in. I specifically loved the sentiment of the ending story. It reminded me of the witch doesn't burn in this one by amanda lovelace and I think it fits the political climate of the times. It fits with the #MeToo movement and I think it's just an all around book of female empowerment. *Thank you to Netgalley for this review copy*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ARC provided by Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review. Inside this anthology is 15 stories that will blow you away. They each tell a different story but their premise is rooted in the same garden: Witches & Women. Taking the theme into mind each author exceeded my expectations for this book as they put so much work into making their stories beautiful, heartfelt, and magical. I will admit at first i wasn’t to sure how much i’d like this book. I don’t know much of witchcraft, besides what i have seen in media, so i was not sure what i was getting myself into. I thought maybe i’d be lost and confused and have to google everything i didn’t know. But to my surprise, I happily followed this book, easy as can be. With each story I was taken in to new worlds, each better than the last. The stories were beautifully written and had so much representation that we need to see more of. We have characters who are diverse women who are exploring their sexuality and their identity within that, we have sisters and mothers, we have different cultures and mythology set in the present as well as the past. A couple of my favorites are The Heart In Her Hands by Tess Sharpe, The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert, Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May, and Beware Of Girls With Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood. Toil & Trouble:15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft is a really great place to start if you’re unfamiliar with witchcraft in general. It’s easy to read, relatable and entertaining too. Each of the stories are very different from each other and it goes to show the range of which an anthologies can explore. Plus this is pretty much a book of 15 author recommendations. What's not to love about that? I can honestly say this is one of my favorite anthologies, and i am excited to get more like this in the future. Overall i give this ⅘ stars