The House of Salt and Sorrow

House of Salt and Sorrows

 

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House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig
It was a fairy tale beginning, mother, father, and 12 beautiful girls filling the grand halls of Highmoor Manor.  After their mother passes away, a curse befalls over the girls, and they begin to die one by one, with each death more tragic than the last.  The remaining sisters stay living a sheltered life at the manor since villagers are convinced that the Gods curse the family.
One of the sisters Annaleigh starts to have a suspicion that her sister’s deaths weren’t a curse at all, but that someone is actually after the sisters.  During her investigation, Annaleigh and her sisters come across a hidden door that the God’s use to travel throughout the lands. The girls use the portal to seek freedom and fun.
Annaleigh has to keep her about her and remember what her primary purpose is as she becomes enamored with a mysterious stranger, her sisters obsessively travel through the portal every night to dance at balls and before the curse takes another sister.
I found it hard to put this book down.  I was always wanting to know what was going to happen next, which led me to read this book in two half days.  I had theories and ideas at what was going on, and I am surprised to say that I was blown away at the end. While this book has mythology and Gods in it, you will not have to be a scholar to understand it, that by far was my favorite part.  Sometimes authors can get a bit overwhelming with their knowledge of mythology, and it tends to lose me, but this was perfect. I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

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The Furies

The Furies: A Novel

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The Furies by Katie Lowe:
In 1998, a 16-year-old girl was found dead.  She’s posed on a swing on her boarding school’s property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death.  Whispers and rumors swirl with no answers. But there are a few who know what happened; there is one girl who will never forget.
I didn’t need to read on past this part of deciding this was a book for me, but I did, and the description only got better.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Violet, a girl who moves to a new school and start fresh after a recent family tragedy.  Concerned that she won’t fit in, she takes the chance to join a club that is headed up by an art teacher named Annabel.
In this club, she meets the other girls, Alex, Grace, and Robin and begins to learn about the history and mythology.  This history included Greek and Celtic legends and even a legend that the original founder of the school was into the occult.   While Annabel does not encourage the girls, they find themselves becoming more drawn to the idea of harnessing magic themselves.
Violet soon realizes that there was a 4th member of the club before her, that looked a lot like her that went missing.  She begins to question why she was brought into the club and who she can trust. Is this a trap, will she be the next victim?
This book was compared to the movie “The Craft,”  which was one of my favorite teen witch movies. Then I read the synopsis and was utterly convinced that this book was going to blow my socks off.  Sadly that was not the case.
I did enjoy the story idea, and what was a miss for me was the execution.  I love history and learning about mythology, but the way it was thrown in here was, in my opinion, nonsensical.  You would be reading about girls taking drugs and getting drunk and raped, and then in the next paragraph, you were reading a page on mythology.  I believe it would have been better if the mythology had been put into the same context as the rest of the book, Annabel could have easily interpreted the mythology to fit the cohesiveness of the book.  Instead, to me, it was like two authors who wrote parts of the book. And for this reason, I am giving it 2.5 out of 5 stars for the story idea.

If you decide to read it let me know your thoughts.

 

 

The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel

Upstate New York, 1982.  Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York.  But something isn’t right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017.  Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Vic, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born.  She decided to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

This book is to be released on February 18th, 2020 so make sure you have it written down on your calendars.  

Thank you to Edelweiss for the ARC
I want to start off by saying I am a huge Simone St. James fan, but will not let my love of her books bias my review.  Having said that this one is another one of her books to add to your reading list.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way it was written.  Moving between two time periods with such ease you never found yourself lost or confused.  And the haunting and scary parts, well lets just say be prepared to read this with the lights on.  It’s a great thriller, mystery, girl detective story wrapped all in one. 4 out of 5 stars for me.

Shadow Frost

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I only have one other Young Adult (YA) fantasy book in my collection.  I never really seem to be able to connect with the characters, so it makes reading a fantasy hard to read.  I had no problem making a connection to the main character in this book.  

Asterin is the Princess of Axaria , who is determined to show her mother that she is formidable and worthy of her praise.  A dark demon monster begins killing villagers surrounding her kingdom and when groups of royal guards do not return from trying to destroy it, this leads Asterin on an epic quest.

I gave this book five stars because it always kept me guessing, just when I thought I had figured it out, boom I was wrong.  I also really appreciated the fact that the end hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s something that can not be explained you just have to experience it by reading the book.

 

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine

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When you pick up this book, the first thing that will stand out to you is the unbelievable illustrations.  Each page is filled with exquisite detail, helping the reader become fully submerged into the story. While the story is about action and adventure, the colors create a subtle calming effect that matches well with the rhyming.

The second thing that will catch you is a fantastic story that is written as a rhyme.  The story is about a boy named Timothy Mean who creates a time machine and travels back in time.  Of course, with his last name being Timothy Mean you can expect him to cause a bit of trouble each place he visits, but it’s nothing too terribly mean.  Who wouldn’t make pirates walk the plank, or pull a dinosaur’s tail if you had the chance?

I am giving this book five stars. I am giving this book such a high rating because I can see this book helping kids begin, and some continue to use their imaginations to go on a limitless journey.  It is rated for kids K-5, however I would probably rate it more for 2nd grade and up. My rationale for this suggestion is due to two reasons; the advanced vocabulary, an example being “turrets” and that Timothy’s behavior is understood as funny for the story, but not appropriate elsewhere.

 

Holly Banks Full of Angst

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Let me start this review by saying this, and I was reading this book late one night in bed while my husband was asleep and started laughing so loud that it woke him up.  The book I am referring to is Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie. Poor, poor Holly. Talk about rooting for the underdog; I just wanted to hop in this book and hug her.
Holly’s husband takes a new job in a new town requiring them to move, but this town isn’t like any town Holly has lived in before.  Welcome to the Village of Primm. The place where the houses are decorated like they are going to be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens and fitting in means having perfectly decorated porch, wearing pink at the PTA meeting, volunteering, baking pies, and being the perfect wife/mother.  With all of this on Holly’s plate, things begin to quickly spiral out of control as she begins to suspect her husband is having an affair, the head of the PTA is trying to make her look like a fool, and her crazy gambling/alcoholic mother decides to visit.
I am giving this book five stars because I thoroughly enjoyed the journey it took me on.  At some points, I was laughing, and at others, I wanted to jump in the book and punch one particular character, but that is what made this book so good for me.  I became emotionally attached to Holly and was hoping by the end of the story, it would all work out. Does it? You’ll be surprised, but I can’t tell you, you have to read it and find out!
Thank you to NetGalley and Julie Valerie for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

She Died Famous

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 Famed actress and singer Kelly Trozzo found dead at her mansion in California.  Inside sources say that there were both bloody finger and footprints at the scene.  Who could have killed this loved leader of the KTroops (fans)? There are a few individuals that have raised eyebrows seen coming out of police headquarters.  Her best friend Lizzy, who took her place on her show when Kelly’s life was in shambles, her assistant Jez, an obsessed fan turned employee and Kaleb Reed. He is the author; she  made famous with a simple tweet and the man she became mixed up within a strange twisted love affair.  The man she paid to write her memoirs and the man who is the number one suspect.


This psychological thriller is so fascinating it keeps you turning the pages long after bedtime.  This story is written in a way that makes you feel like it’s happening in the present time with headlines ripped from today’s magazines, newspapers, blog posts, and even police interviews.  It is a disorienting look into what I believe is probably more fact than fiction in a majority of celebrity’s lives, and it’s not pretty.

Not everything is as it seems on the surface, and as you delve deeper into Kelly’s life, you realize that she will do what she needs to do to survive. 


Guaranteed this book will keep you guessing until the end of “who did it.”  This book is beyond deserving of five stars, and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us next.  Huge thank you to NetGalley and Kyle Rutkin for the free copy in turn for an honest review.

Camp Slaughter

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Camp Slaughter

It begins with a prologue that will have you immediately turning on extra lights on in the house.  Then you are brought into the present day when a group of college kids decide to have a last hurrah before starting life as unexciting adults.  A cabin in some secluded woods with beer, weed, coke and coed mingling is the perfect getaway, or so they thought. What they don’t know at first, is that there is a local legend about a place called Camp Slaughter and it’s not a legend and it’s closer than they know.  They are also unaware that the killer cannibal who gave the name to Camp Slaughter is also close and he is watching them.

This book has made me believe that there is hope for true horror literature in our present and future.  This book is screaming to become a movie, a slasher horror if you please. CAUTION – this book is not meant for those who can not handle extremely well graphically written blood, guts and gore scenes.  Oh and do not make any assumptions on the ending or who lives or dies, Sergio Gomez is a master at throwing curveballs when you least expect it.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 starts, because it was action-packed, I was hooked from the start and let’s be honest it scared me, and I loved that!!!!!!!!!

I’m Swimming in the Toilet…..PLEASE DON’T FLUSH!

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I’m Swimming in the Toilet… PLEASE DON’T FLUSH!

I’m swimming in the toilet…..please don’t flush, written and illustrated by Len Foley, is a  children’s picture book about a frog trying to cool off on a hot day.  After being outside the frog decides he might look for a cool place in the house to hang out and that lands him in none other than the toilet.  While he is swimming around, he does come across a couple of other swimmers, a shoe, a potato, and even a peanut lifeguard. The fun doesn’t last long when someone flushes the toilet.  

It’s a wild ride after that.  What happens to frog and his swimming friends after that?  Does frog learn a lesson about not swimming in the toilet? I recommend that you get this book and find out these answers for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. 

Even though this book is for ages 3-8, I truly enjoyed the following frog on his hilarious mission to get cooled off.  In reality you get two stories in one. The first is the written rhyme of frogs excursion and the second is a cautionary tale told with the authors colorful illustrations.  You follow frog going about his way in the drawings, but in the background is where the other story lies. There you will see bright colored caution tape, warning signs, and even a yelling peanut lifeguard.  That’s when it becomes apparent that the author is trying to teach children about being aware of their surroundings.
I give this book a 4 out of 4 star rating.  This book would be great for a home library or as an addition to an early educators lesson plan.  Although, I must warn the subtle hints of redirection in the story’s rhyme will most likely be caught by some of the young readers and cause a few giggles.