One day I was scrolling through my feed, on the bookstagram side of things, when I came across an ad. Now this isn’t totally uncommon because instagram is a free app and it advertises a lot of things. However, this one caught my attention. It was advertising an app called unrd and featuring a story called “Last Seen Online.” The brief clip caught my attention and as I was a little bit bored (August has been a slow reading month for me) I decided to go and download it. I hopped over to the App Store on my phone (because I believe it’s iPhone only at this time) and downloaded it.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of Toil and Trouble for review purposes from NetGalley, so thank you to them and the publishers for that.
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft is a collection of short stories about, you guessed it, women and witchcraft. The collection of stories is edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood and features stories from a variety of different female authors.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi for review purposes through NetGalley, so thank you to them and the publishers.
What They Don’t Know is a story about two sixteen year old girls, Lise and Mellie, who both have a pretty big secret that they’re hiding. Mellie is from a very conservative and religious family. Her father is the mayor of their small town and he’s running for state senate on that pretty typical platform of pro-life, family values, and so on. Mellie is described as the perfect daughter and friend, always toeing the line and doing what she’s supposed to. She wears a purity ring and would have waited until marriage if she had been given a choice. Unfortunately, she wasn’t. At the start of the story, you find out that Mellie was raped and now she’s pregnant. Lise, on the other hand, seems to be Mellie’s opposite. She’s a feminist, organizes a Women’s Fair at her school, and volunteers at the local abortion clinic as an escort. She is deeply caring and loves to help people. She’s also the only person who seems to notice that Mellie is drowning and that she needs help, and Lise does everything she can to try help her.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough is a novel in verse about a female painter named Artemesia Gentileschi. The novel encompasses events from her later teenage years.
Artemesia grew up in Rome in the 1600s. She was the oldest of three siblings, and the only daughter. Her mother passed away when she was young and Artemesia was faced with the choice of becoming a nun, or working as an apprentice for her father, who is a painter. The path she follows is her father’s apprentice. As it turns out, she had more talent than her father and this does not go unnoticed. Her father uses her talent to take him farther in the world of art. He even hires her a tutor to improve her talent, and also to find his way into improving his status as a painter.
“My mother was raised on fairy tales, but I was raised on highways.”
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is the story of Alice Crewe, who is approximately 17 years old. She and her mother, Ella, have never lived in one place for too long, moving all over the continental United States. It seems that whenever they stay in one place for too long, bad things happen to them. They call it bad luck and they move on.
“The Inkless and the Inked” is an audio story. It is written by Brian Gully who kindly reached out to me and asked if I would like early access to the story in return for a review or post. The premise sounded really interesting, so I said yes.