The Librarian’s Bookshelf: The Bookwanderers

REVIEW

Matilda “Tilly” Pages lives with her grandparents in their bookshop, Pages & Co. (need I say more? That’s all it took for me to sweep this book off the shelf!)

At eleven years old, Tilly doesn’t make friends easily, except the boy from a nearby shop, Oskar. People are just…too confusing. Books are so much better. But when she starts seeing characters from books alive and breathing in Pages & Co., she soon finds out that books are more than just an entertaining way to spend the afternoon – they’re a special brand of magic.

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The Librarian’s Bookshelf: Teeth in the Mist

REVIEW

I’ll say it right up front: this book is not for the faint of heart. I’ve never read something that so aggressively grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page.

In generic horror novels, a few grizzly deaths happen along the way, maybe sprinkled with some restless ghosts and demonic activity.

And then there are books that transcend – in this case, levitate – above the run of general horror. They take your brain, twist it a thousand ways to Sunday, and leave you gibbering in the corner.

Teeth in the Mist will do that to you and you’ll be so utterly entranced, you won’t be able to look away until the very last page. I’ll be hard pressed to write a review about this book because it’s highly experimental in it’s format so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the plot was???

At the same time, that experimental format was both a head scratcher and a refreshing delight (well, as much “delight” that can be found in devil spawn and human sacrifice). If you don’t give this book your complete attention, you WILL get lost very easily. Good luck finding your way after that.

The story is a sprawling cobweb of narratives, following a number of characters as they gravitate around this one house: Mill House, and the dark presence that encompasses it. Mill House sits atop a mountain, swathed in soupy, gray fog and ceaseless, thunderous storms that are unrelenting.

The narrative switches between characters in the 1800s when Mill House is still a private residence, and characters in the modern day, vlogging about the ghost activity reported in the dilapidated, crumbling old mansion. Both past and present figures struggle with their own magical identities as well as the magical identities that seek to destroy them – dark, powerful, and impossible to resist.

This is not happy-go-lucky magic associated with starlight, elves, or your friendly neighborhood witch. This is gritty, screaming, terrifying magic. Each new twist reveals some new horror lurking in the shadow-laced corners of Mill House. And you don’t want to know what lies in the Underneath…

Can a group of teens separated by centuries defeat the evil buried within the very foundations of Mill House? Or were they born to become the evil they seek to destroy?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK

Experimental storytelling

Kurtagich takes an experimental approach to her storytelling. It challenges the traditional book format, adding extra dimension besides just plain text.

When a character falls into a tunnel, the pages go black with tiny pale words scattered over the page, representing the lost, scrambling, searching way the character claws her way through the black until she reaches the white pages again.

Text regularly spills and sprawls down the pages, making it feel as if you’re experiencing the rough-and-tumble adventure alongside the characters.

For those who enjoy visual aids, pictures of the characters are included as the story unfolds, i.e. when an old journal is found, or when the characters have their pictures taken with daguerreotypes.

Setting

From the beginning, we are launched into the world of Mill House. As with most horror novels, haunted houses are, by definition, creepy. They creak and groan, personified into unholy terrors. Mill House is no exception but something about the place sets it apart from the typical run of haunted houses. It’s merciless. Brutal.

Winds howl and scream outside, whipping heather and bracken by. The House sits atop a mountain of gray slate, casting a ghostly pallor over everything. Creatures, gray as the mountain itself, squirm and writhe and crawl through Mill House, indicating something sinister is happening deeper in the tangle of passages.

The setting takes an enormously active part in the story, just as much as any of the characters. It pulls you in alongside the rest of its victims and it doesn’t let you go. You have no choice to be caught up in the otherworldly hellishness of Mill House, where any semblance of normalcy becomes only a cold, faded memory, too far away to ever be yours again.


Overall, Teeth in the Mist is not for everyone. The style requires more than a skimming read. The content certainly won’t appeal to those looking for light-hearted and happy. This book requires dedication and focus to follow what’s going on. But it’s worth it. There aren’t many books that create such an immersive experience as this one manages to pull off.

Rated PG-13 for brief sexual content


What book surprised you with how it challenged the traditional norm? Let me know in the comments!

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Pick Me Up Monday: The Guinevere Deception

SUMMARY

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2019


I’ve seen this gorgeous cover floating around on bookstagram for a few days and I couldn’t wait to add it to my new releases to-read list! Retellings are a hot take in the literature world (for good reason!) and I’m looking forward to seeing where this version takes me!

What November releases are you excited about? Let me know in the comments!

Note: this post contains Amazon Associate links

Book Blogger Confession Tag

I ran across this fun tag game @bookidote! Feel free to jump in and do it yourself! The rules: answer the bookish questions, then tag people (optional) to spread the fun!

When I start a book, I try to finish it. Quitting can become a habit before you know it. But I’ll skip out on a book if it has content that causes me stress. Or if I just try and try and can’t bring myself to keep reading because
it’s
so
dry.
That’s the case with The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.

The Shannara series had been in my peripheral vision for a while, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I tracked down the first book and boy, was it a GREAT cure for insomnia.

It reads almost like a mirror image of Lord of the Rings, but slower. Most of it was telling me what the characters did, “this character said this, asked this question,” without actually letting the action play out.

All in all, this book is still on my to-read list if I ever get around to it again. One day. Maybe. If I’m having trouble sleeping and want to catch a few Z’s.

If a book could hug you like your best friend, it would be Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (no, I won’t shut up about how much I love this book, can’t stop me).

I understand and respect the need for hard-hitting literature, tackling topics that should be addressed.

But there is just as much need for books like this where you read it with a BIG SMILE on your face and you want nothing more than to curl up between the pages. Not to sound “cliche” but it restores your faith in humanity.

It shows diversity as NORMAL, not something that constantly needs to be a source of conflict. It indulges in all those yummy good stuffs that make life wonderful, i.e. pumpkin cheesecake, fudge, crisp autumn air, fuzzy sweaters, and the comfort of your best friend by your side through thick and thin.

Honestly, I won’t shut up Pumpkinheads. It was a much needed dose of hope and light in a slew of literature where character deaths and trauma seem to be the norm now.

Continue reading “Book Blogger Confession Tag”

Pick Me Up Monday: The Starless Sea

SUMMARY

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.

Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2019


This book.

Oh, THIS BOOK.

I was thoroughly enthralled with Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, swept away on a dizzying, swirling, spinning display of carnival magic. How do you follow that? How do you conjure that kaleidoscope of glorious enchantment for Project #2?

Ever since then, I’ve been waiting. Patiently and not-so-patiently in equal measure. Masterpieces cannot be rushed. But at long last!!!! It’s time to be swept away on Morgenstern’s tidal wave of illusions once more, bewitched by her prose and the images she weaves together like brightly colored ribbons.


What whimsical read are you looking forward to for the dreary winter months? Let me know in the comments!

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