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!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

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”

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

Pick Me Up Monday: Winterwood

Summary

Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2019


Halloween might be over but there will always be room on the shelf for another witchy read! What atmospheric, spine-tingling books have you read this year? Let me know in the comments!

Note: this post contains Amazon Affiliate links