A highly original, well-illustrated fairy tale/horror story.




In Thomas’ (Fenlick Whiskbur, 2019, etc.) middle-grade series starter, a girl with a strange ability must complete a mission in a twisted and dangerous fantasy realm.

On her 12th birthday, Cricket Kane expects her dad, as always, to give her one gift from him and another that represents her mom, who died the day that Cricket was born. This year, however, he’s oddly reluctant to give her the second gift. It’s a journal that her mother kept from ages 8 to 13, and it contains her mom’s notes about seeing the same kinds of visions that Cricket does: strange trails of colored dust, wafting around people and things. Her mother, however, thought that the dust had “magical properties” and that “tooth fairies” and their leader, “the santa,” knew more about it. This may sound like a somewhat juvenile premise for the book’s middle school target audience, but Thomas provides a fairy-tale twist that’s as audacious as it is inventive—and a mite horrific, to boot. Under the santa’s direction, a spiderlike tooth fairy kidnaps Cricket’s baby brother. Only the girl can see the true appearance of the monstrous “slugwump” that the fairy left in the child’s place; the creature infects people with corrupting black dust, which turns them against Cricket. A catlike “cattawisp” confirms to her that “The santa you think you know is not the santa who is.” To rescue her brother, Cricket must travel to the source of the evil: Aeryland, formerly called “Fairyland.” Along the way, she faces danger, injury, and betrayal as she tries to master her own dust-driven powers. Thomas’ dark fantasyland is a page-turner that’s teeming with unusual creatures such as tooth fairies, aka “gibber snatches”; bloodsucking “hematoads”; ticklish “critterpuffs”; needle-toothed “buttersprites”; giant mountain rabbits; ghastly “gargolems” that turn living things to stone; and the aforementioned slugwumps, which are significant to the plot’s outcome. Debut artist Loeblich offers beautiful black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations, which are set in delicate oval frames on textless pages; Cricket and her dad are shown as dark skinned; her stepmother and best friend appear white. The images also capture the strange landscapes and creepy creatures in intricate detail.

A highly original, well-illustrated fairy tale/horror story.

Pub Date: April 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-951406-06-6

Page Count: 402

Publisher: Ichigo Black Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet