Book Review: The House of Salt and Sorrows

Review

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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The Librarian’s Bookshelf: Season of the Witch

REVIEW

Sabrina Spellman is caught between two worlds, half mortal, half witch. With her sixteenth birthday fast approaching, her life stands on the cusp of being turned upside down. She’s expected to join the Academy of Unseen Arts where she will learn to come into her full power as a witch.

It’s a bittersweet decision: Sabrina has always felt curious about her darker, magical side and the thought of cultivating it is a tempting one. But she will be forced to sever all ties with the life she lives now. No friends, no boyfriend.

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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.

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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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Librarian’s Bookshelf: Gunslinger Girl

The wide open plains of the desert and a girl with her guns. Gunslinger Girl is a wild romp of an adventure with plenty of western swagger and girls you don’t want to mess with.

REVIEW

Serendipity is on the run. Her father is an angry, violent man and the world affords no mercy either, especially for a female. In a futuristic, apocalyptic West, her hometown is a harsh and unforgiving place. Every capable body is needed to bear children and keep the community running, leaving Serendipity with a target on her back.

So, she makes a break for it, to the den of iniquity known as Cessation. She’s been warned about it all her life, what a hellish place it is. A “good girl” would never set foot there. And that makes it the perfect place for Serendipity to disappear, to cover her tracks in case her father comes after her and decides to drag her back home, wedding her to the first man who glances her way.

When Serendipity reaches Cessation, it’s a bittersweet revelation – she has more freedom and more opportunities, especially with the pretty pair of guns at her hips, but there are some ugly happenings behind the curtain. Maybe her father was right all along. Has she simply traded one hellscape for another?

What I liked about this book:

Girls don’t mess around

A decent portion of the cast is female and none of them pull their punches.

Serendipity is proficient with the six-shooters her mother gave her.

The Big Boss of Cessation, Miss Selene, is notorious for her merciless, no nonsense business manner. She rules Cessation with an iron grip and anyone who wrongs her faces the firing squad. Literally.

These are women who grit their teeth and draw blood. They don’t hesitate to kick, bite, shoot, or kill. Whatever it takes to be the one left standing.

Action, Action, Action

From the first page, the pace stays fairly upbeat and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The shows Serendipity took part in could get a tad long-winded. Otherwise, there were twists and turns that left you wondering who was biding their time to stab you in the back and who was the good guy – if they even exist in this dog-eat-dog world.

Rated: PG-13 for violence and discussions of sex

Are you a fan of westerns? Are you a traditional western fan? Or are you willing to dabble in the spin off genres, i.e. sci-fi? Let me know in the comments!

this post contains Amazon affiliate links