Toil & Trouble by Hannah Johnson

Posted May 31, 2019 by Brin in Reviews / 0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Toil & Trouble by Hannah JohnsonToil & Trouble: A Know Not Why Halloween (Mis)adventure by Hannah Johnson
Published by Self-Published on November 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Gay, LGBT, Love & Romance, New Adult
Pages: 124
Format: eBook
Source: I Bought It

It's that Halloweeny time of year, and Howie, Arthur, Kristy, and Cora are on a mission to create the perfect haunted house event at the store in order to win over new customers.

Turns out, it's not as easy as it sounds -- especially when you're trying to charm the town's most popular (and terrifying) arts 'n crafts blogger into writing your store a favorable review. And it just gets worse when that blogger insists that her wild child ten year old son be given creative control over the entire situation.

There's no way around it: October just got stressful. Fortunately, Howie & Co. are super chill and not at all prone toward panicking.

... Yeah, that might be a lie.

The characters from Know Not Why return in this romp full of workplace turmoil, eerie coincidences, sexy mummy costumes, and even more bantery friendship antics than ever before.

Reading Challenges: Beat the Backlist 2019, Monthly Motif 2019


Toil & Trouble is a novella-length story featuring the same wacky group of characters from one of my all-time favourite reads Know Not Why (my review of which went up yesterday – only 6 years too late haha!)

This was released a few years ago now (and believe me, I bought and read it right away!) but again, never got round to reviewing. I am so bad – honestly! Still, better late than not at all! I re-read this yesterday after finishing Know Not Why for the umpteenth time. Although it is a decent dive back into the world of Artie Kraft’s Arts ‘N Crafts (an unbelievably wonderful place to be) it definitely only slightly scratched the itch I had (that sounds so wrong but you know what I mean!)

Ideally, I would have preferred a full-novel length foray back into the lives of characters that have become so very dear to me. Alas, ’twas not meant to be… (but maybe, possibly, hopefully there is still a chance for a full length sequel??)

The title pretty much gives it away that this novella is set around Halloween, around ten months after the events of Know Not Why. Howie and Arthur are still together (and are as adorable as ever – all shacked up!) Kristy is still a sweetheart and Cora… is still very much Cora (and then some!) Amber and Mitch are still circling each other (why they haven’t hooked up yet is beyond me!) and everything is still business as usual at the craft shop.

That is, until a demanding arts and crafts blogger holds the group to ransom (not really) and they have to drum together a Halloween extravaganza for her very precocious 10 year old son’s birthday.

Blood and guts, werewolves, chainsaw-wielding maniacs and one very sad sexy mummy later and the gang have very clearly bitten off more than they can chew (see what I did there?) Luckily, Kristy comes to the rescue (with a little help from Frozen) and all is well again in the world of arts and crafts.

Just about everyone makes an appearance in the novella (except for Dennis and Emily). Even Heather Grimsby (ruiner of teenage Howie’s very existence) makes an appearance. The storyline is nothing to write home about (it does feel a little pointless at times) but I don’t really care. Any chance to spend some time with this incredible cast of characters.

I’m happy to see Howie and Arthur still loved-up (and pretty much getting it on every chance they can get, natch!) I also really enjoyed Cora’s subplot (Cora and Heather – who’d a thunk it? I ship it though!) Kristy is a darling as always and Amber and Mitch – well they need to get their collective heads outta their asses and just get it on already! Okay, rant over haha!

This is a fun little sojourn back into the lives of Howie, Arthur and their friends. Wish it was longer but I’m just happy to get to spend some time with these characters again – I’ve definitely missed them!

“You okay, Artie?”

“I can feel the sugar,” Arthur says, his voice faint and sleepy. “I can feel it dissolving my insides.”

“You had like three Starbursts and a chocolate bar.”

“It was still too much.”

Howie kisses his shoulder. “Aw, you rookie.”

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