Book Review: The House of Salt and Sorrows


Enter the world of Annaleigh Thaumas, rife with ocean creatures and the ever-present salty tang of sea air. The story starts with a sea burial, where Annaleigh and her family are seeing off yet another sister in death – committing her body to the Salt once more. These are People of the Salt – born from the salt of the sea, and they would be buried in the salt of the sea.

This is the fourth sister to die, all under unpleasant circumstances – everything from the plague to a horrifying plunge from a cliff trail to the rocks below. But the family doesn’t want to grieve anymore. There are eight Thaumas girls remaining and many of them have spent a majority of their lives in drab, dark mourning clothes.

Not anymore. The Thaumas girls are expected to find matches and marry well. But they can’t do that when they continually spend a year or more in mourning for each sister they return to the Salt.

So they prepare a ball. They throw off the gray weight of grief and don sparkling slippers and silky, bright fabrics in the hope of catching the eye of a handsome, eligible bachelor for their own Happily Ever After.

But the ball sputters out. Few, if any, gentlemen approach the Thaumas girls for a dance. Because there’s a rumor going around. The Thaumas household is cursed. That’s why they’ve buried four girls. No one wishes to run the risk of a cursed bride.

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Pick Me Up Monday: The Starless Sea


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.


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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Pick Me Up Monday: The Babysitter’s Coven

the babysitter's coven halloween new releases autumn witches young adult ya fiction teen fiction fantasy paranormal


Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.


Usually, I prefer my magical books to have a full fantasy setting. Sweep me away into another world entirely different from my own.

But modern day mingled with paranormal elements is a joy to read if it’s handled well and The Babysitter’s Coven looks like it won’t disappoint in that department.

Bonus points for girls working together and watching each other’s backs!

Have you read The Babysitter’s Coven? Do you have any witchy recommendations for my obsession? Let me know in the comments!

The Librarian’s Bookshelf: The Witch’s Boy

This book took me a LONG time to read, not because it has a crazy number of pages, but because my feelings about it were all over the place. Did I hate it? Not really. Did I love it? Not really. And the resolution? … I still don’t know how I feel about it.

the witch's boy, kelly barnhill, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, book reviews, book blog, book blogger, book review, fantasy,


The story begins with two brothers, Ned and Tam, who dream of sailing the sea. Ned is the quiet one. Tam is the charismatic one.

An accident leaves Tam drowned. Ned survived. “The wrong boy,” everyone said. “The wrong boy lived.”

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