From the Sisters of the Salt series , Vol. 2

Steamy, suspenseful, and sensuous.

In an extravagantly gothic follow-up to House of Salt and Sorrows (2019), Verity, 17, is snared in both a romantic dilemma and a hideous research project.

Prompted by a commission to paint the portrait of 19-year-old Alexander, scion of the refined ducal house of Bloem, Verity defiantly escapes the cloistered life forced on her by overprotective big sister Camille—only to find herself caught up in a web of secrets and lies complicated by the tried-and-true conflict of having to choose between kind, gentle, Alexander, who uses a wheelchair, and a dangerous but excitingly hot rival for her interest. Along with providing a lavishly decorated country house stocked with lush floral gardens, secret passages and stairways, and a hidden library of erotica for a setting, Craig lavishes her doorstopper with lurid elements, including references to a curse, madness, and feelings of dread; mysterious screams in the night; and encounters with ghostly apparitions. More disturbing still are eventual revelations that Alexander’s seemingly rational botanist father’s research hasn’t entirely been confined to the greenhouse. Overall, the tale well serves both readers who thrill to bloody, onstage murders and visions of body parts in jars as well as those left breathless by watching relationships heat up. Alexander’s mother has brown skin, and his father is White; Verity reads White.

Steamy, suspenseful, and sensuous. (Gothic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593482544

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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