Book Review — The House of Salt and Sorrows

 

Title: The House of Salt and Sorrow
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: YA Fairy Tale Retelling
Pages: Hardback 400
ISBN: 978-109848-3192-7
Opening Lines: "Candlelight reflected off the silver anchor etched onto my sister's necklace. It was an ugly piece of jewelry and something Eulalie would never have picked out for herself."


Rating


"Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but the loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is curses by the gods.

"Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sister's deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

"When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next."

~ Jacket copy

In the small seaside city, a "curse" plagues the house of Thaumas—taking the wife and daughters of a lord by the sea. While all of the deaths seems to either be from natural causes such as disease or tragic accident, both the people in the surrounding villages and those on the mainland question whether the lord and his previous wife suffer from a curse. Did he anger a god? Did he anger his patron god, Pontus? Each remaining girl—while extremely beautiful—becomes ineligible on the marriage market due to the rumors. Damned to become spinsters, the girls discover a mysterious door in the family's crypt, which leads to lands where their curse is unknown. And each night, the girls escape the manor house and dance all night long. However, despite the joy of being beautiful—and anonymous—bachelorettes, Annaleigh starts to question her sisters' deaths. When she starts to see the ghosts of her sisters and strange things happen around the manor, she also questions her sanity. In a small town by the seas, audiences meet the new Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Book Review — Mary, Will I Die?


Title: Mary, Will I Die?
Author: Shawn Sarles
Genre: YA horror
Pages: Hardback, 296
ISBN: 978-1-338-67927-4
Opening Lines: "She knew she should have been scaredI."

Rating:

DNF


Only one of them knew about Bloody Mary. If you say her name into the mirror thirteen times, she'll show you your future. Some legends say that she'll reveal your one true love. Others, that she'll show you how you'll die. And thens ome believe that conjuring Bloody Mary will bring her into our world.

When the four of them—Elena, Steph, Calvin, and Grace—play the game, they think it's innocent enough. Elena sees her longtime crush. Steph sees a girl she's never met before. Grace sees Calvin. And Calvin sees her—Bloody Mary. They pretend it's all fake, that they only saw their reflections. But something happens to each of them that will follow them for years to come. A demon is unleashed, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Now, five years later, the four of tem are no longer friends and the mirror is only a distant memory. But they can no linger ignore the yes that have been watching them for years. The air is thicker. Her voice whispering in their heads is louder. Accidents start happening. People get hurt. And Bloody Mary won't stop until she gets what she wants.

~ Jacket copy

Four giggling 9-year-olds gather before an old mirror and summon recite "Bloody Mary" thirteen times. We all know how the story goes, right? Surrounded by candles and your giggling friends, you dare each other to summon Bloody Mary. And, in the end, you get nothing but a good scare. This was not the case for Grace, Steph, Calvin, and Elena. Each of the four friends saw something different in the old mirror. Unfortunately, even though they are now in high school and living their separate lives, Bloody Mary has decided to come back and finish the game they started five years ago. And this time, she's playing for keeps.  

Book Review — Spinning Silve

Title:  Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: YA Retelling/Fantasy
Pages: Hardback, 466
ISBN: 978-0-399-1809-9
Opening Lines: "The real story isn't half as pretty as the one you've heard."


Rating:


Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of money-lenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

But Tsat Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadily choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

~ Jacket copy

In a small town forty minutes away from Vysnia, a young Jewish girl and her family fight for survival. Despite being the daughter of a moneylender—and the granddaughter of a renown moneylender—Miryem knows the bite of cold and the bitter sting of hunger. Unlike her grandfather, Miryem's father's generosity is his downfall. Rather than collecting the debts owed to him, he allows the townspeople to walk all over him and forgives their debts. As the town grows fat, his family goes hungry. When her mother falls ill, Miryem takes up her father's books and starts collecting the debts. Following her in grandfather's footsteps, she is rumored to "spin silver into gold". Unfortunately, the rumors find the ear of the Staryk lord—fey who are known to covet gold—and he sets a challenge for her . . . One that will ultimately mean her life.

Book Review — HorrorStör


Title: HorrorStör
Author: Grady Hendrix
Genre: Horror
Pages: Oversize paperback, 243
ISBN: 978-1-59474-526-3
Opening Lines: "It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end. Later they'd be resurrected by megadoses of Starbucks, but for now they were the barely living dead."

Rating:


Something strange is happening at the Orsk Furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjërring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, secuirty cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-to-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they'll patrol the empty Showroom floor, investiage strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy imagination.

~ Jacket copy

As a subpar employee, Amy is not surprised to find herself called into a meeting with Basil, the store manager. However, upon meeting Ruth Anne—a well-loved and all-star employee—waiting for the same meeting, Amy starts to question Basil's motives. Amy knows sales have been down, but firing Ruth Anne seems like a calloused and stupid move. Basil, however, has another offer for the ladies—work an overnight shift with him, make some extra money, and find the person squatting in the Showroom before the regional managers and risk assessment team arrives in the morning. With the threat of being evicted from her apartment for late rent, Amy begrudgingly accepts the offer.  Besides, what could go wrong? At least that's what she thought before strange graffiti appeared in the women's bathroom, water spots started showing up on the break room ceiling, and a squatter helps them perform a seance to summon the souls of mental institution . . . 

This book . . . First of all, Hendrix does a brilliant job of balancing horror and humor. The names of the furniture, the comments about IKEA, and the slowly building suspense is priceless.  I had a hard time putting this book down to sleep. 

The Good:
-- The ghost hunting TV show
-- Everything surrounding the beehive (it was downright creepy)
-- The setting
-- The characters

The Bad:
-- The ending. While it made sense, it felt as though it fizzled out. It left me wanting more.

If you ever wonder what it would be like to cross an horror movie with an IKEA store, HorrorStör is definitely that book! Grady Hendrix never ceases to entertain!




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"If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.
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