June Super Reads | Black + Queer | Let’s Talk About Love

REVIEW

This book left such a MIND-BLOWING impression, not only because it was such an achingly sweet romance, but also for the representation that was so poignant and beautiful.

Alice is black. That’s complicated enough when it comes to dating and the hypersexualization that so many people assume because of her skin color. THEN she happens to fall for a cute Asian boy, Takumi, and that makes dating even MORE complicated with interracial differences to navigate.

She is also asexual. Meaning: she has no interest in sex. But she’s biromantic, meaning: she’s romantically (not sexually) drawn to both males and females. And she CRAVES romance like she needs air to breathe.

To say Alice’s life is fraught with challenges is an understatement.

Continue reading “June Super Reads | Black + Queer | Let’s Talk About Love”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: The House of Salt and Sorrows”

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.

Continue reading “The Librarian’s Bookshelf: Season of the Witch”

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