Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda BérubéHere There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 6th August 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets

Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.

In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.

Then Deirdre disappears.

And when something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming she's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

I am so incredibly disappointed by Here There Are Monsters. I was expecting an atmospheric, creepy story about sisterhood, but the book fell short.

I think my main issue was the inability to connect to the writing style. It just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what exactly it was that didn’t click with me, but I think that perhaps the writing was too basic. It was very much “This character did this and then they did this, and then they yelled this at another character”. There wasn’t much to connect me with the characters because there was little emotion.

Additionally, the characters were freakin’ annoying. I wanted a nice story about two sisters, one trying to find the other, but really Skye was just complaining about not wanting to watch Dierdre all the time, and Dierdre was complaining about Skye no longer being interested in her fantasy world. It was dull, annoying, and there was no sisterly love there, which is something that I desperately wanted by the end.

I don’t have much more to say about Here There Are Monsters. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to be bored to tears from watching people bicker for 300 pages.

New Book Releases: December 2019

Every month I like to share my most anticipated new book releases. December is a slightly quieter month compared to the rest of the year (which is probably for the best because I have a lot of catching up to do), but I still have seven books to talk about in this post.

(The links are all affiliate links.)

1. Children of Vice and Virtue by Tomi Adeyemi

Admittedly, I probably won’t be reading this one right away. I didn’t love Children of Blood and Bone (in fact I found it quite boring!) so I’m going to wait for the reviews before I decide whether or not to read this one. Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? Is it an improvement on the first book?

2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives is about a woman whose husband has two other wives. The main character knows this, but one day she finds a note from one of them and tracks her down – probably out of curiosity. It seems as though one of the wives is being abused by the husband, so I’m hoping the wives are going to team up together and become a badass team. It could go in completely the opposite direction, though.

3. A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh’s first adult thriller! I’ve been rereading her Psy-Changeling series and I had forgotten how easy her books are to read. I’m really looking forward to this one now! A Madness of Sunshine is about a woman who returns to New Zealand, to a town that a small detective is basically running himself. A jogger goes missing, and the two of them have to team up to investigate.

4. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A black woman is accused of kidnapping the white toddler that she is babysitting. The mother of the toddler wants to make things right again. I don’t know if this is going to be a small town drama like Little Fires Everywhere, but I’m here for it.

5. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

This seems to be some sort of rom com about an assistant who has to help a screenwriter beat his writers block. If this is going to be cute, I’m here for it, but I’m worried it’s going to have the woman do all of the work for this really important guy then I’m going to be quite disappointed.

6. Reverie by Ryan La Sala

This is being pitched as Inception meets The Magicians. The main character is found half dead in a river, and after that reality seems a bit off. I loooove parallel universe and timey-wimey fiction, so I’m quite excited for this one!

7. The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

This is about Norse mythology and Vikings! The main hcaracter’s sister dies, and the main character makes a deal with Hela, aka the goddess of Death.

Which new releases are you looking forward to getting your hands on in December? Are you also glad that it’s a bit of a quieter month?

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London ShahThe Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
Series:
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 29th October 2019
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

I am soooo disappointed with The Light at the Bottom of the World! I adore apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction, and with the current Climate Crisis, this book should have been exciting and topical and basically just something I would love. Unfortunately, my only take away from this book is that it is SUCH a boring book.

The setting of underwater London had so much potential, and I was very excited to dive in (lol) to this world and see how the country had changed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough description, and the characters just flitted from one place to another without really talking about it. I didn’t get a feel for the setting at all, and to be honest I got a bit confused about exactly where everyone was.

The characters also had ideas that came out of nowhere, with no build up or suspense, and it was as though I, as the reader, was supposed to be following along the whole time. Except I was unable to follow along because the writing was so chaotic and disjointed.

In addition to all of that, nothing really happened, and for some reason the story has been dragged into a duology. I feel like this could have been a strong standalone if the writing had been tightened up, but The Light at the Bottom of the World ended up being a whole lot of missed potential.

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2019

Life Stuff

November was such a fun month! Sure, it was really busy, but in the best way. First of all, Quill and I celebrated our anniversary by going to a spa and staying the night at a hotel. We also ditched our phones for the entire day, and it was lovely and relaxing. I didn’t get much reading done because I spent most of the time snoozing, eating, and trying out all the different facilities they had! We definitely want to go back soon.

My birthday came next, and while we didn’t do much to celebrate that, we did have a couple of friends over to watch the Christmas lights in town be switched on. Quill bought me a new Kindle (<3), so I spent a lot of time reading on that.

For Quill’s birthday, I bought him a gaming chair and the new Spiderman game. I’m excited to give both of those a go! He also had some friends over (which I found a bit stressful), and all in all it was a really nice weekend.

Aside from the birthday and celebratory things, we also had my mum and grandad round for dinner, and later on Quill’s parents visited. Now that everyone has seen the new house, maybe we will have a chance to enjoy it ourselves 😉

Lastly, we went to see The Woman in Black at the theatre, and while at the beginning I was a bit iffy about it, it soon got really good. It wasn’t as scary as I was hoping, but it was quite jumpy!

Books Read

  1. Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris ★★
  2. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett ★★★★
  3. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena ★★★
  4. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson ★★★
  5. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman ★★★★
  6. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen ★★
  7. The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah ★★
  8. Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales ★★★★
  9. The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli ★★★★
  10. Emily Eternal by M. G. Wheaton ★★.5
  11. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager ★★★
  12. Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins ★★★
  13. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson ★★★

As you can see, I had kind of an average reading month in November. I read a lot of books, but most of them were just three star reads or below. I did get a few really good reads in, but I’m hoping for more in December.

On the Blog & In the Blogosphere

November was a slightly better blogging month for me than October was, but I’m still hoping to do better next month. I really want to get back into the swing of blogging again, but at the moment it’s very stop-and-start, even though I have lots of post ideas. I didn’t have a chance to do much blog hopping either! Here’s what I posted in November:

Movies, TV Shows, and Games

I haven’t done much gaming recently, probably because we’ve been so busy! I’m hoping to give Spiderman a go, and we’re also about to pick up the next Gears of War. Quill bought a gaming PC for his birthday, so when that arrives I’m planning on installing The Sims 2 (<3), and trying out Subnautica. I don’t know why I think that’s a good idea since I am terrified of deep water, but it looks so pretty!

We went to see Frozen 2 in the cinema on opening weekend, and I really enjoyed it. It was very empowering (I particularly liked the line “What do you need?” *SQUEE*), and I loved Kristoff’s solo song. LOVED.

We’re still making our way through Supernatural, and we’re currently about a third of the way through season four. We’re probably not going to catch up in time for the finale at this rate, but I’m glad we’re both enjoying the show. We’re also still watching Modern Family, and are currently on season three.

One new-to-us show that we decided to start was The Dragon Prince, which is written by the people who wrote The Last Airbender. I’m not as into it as I thought I would be, but can I just say that the animals in it are ADORABLE.

Looking Ahead

December is, well, December. I’m expecting it to be hectic. Aside from seeing family and friends for the holidays, there’s also our Christmas party, and also a secret surprise birthday thing that I arranged for Quill. Our weekends are pretty booked up, so I’m not sure how much reading I’m going to get in.

What do you have planned for December? Was November a good month for you?

Guest Post: Five Quotes to Live By by Natalie Hibberd

Today I’m kicking off the blog tour for Natalie Hibberd’s debut book, Inside Out! I’m slowly getting back into dystopian books after wearing myself out on them (possibly due to the current political climate), so when I was contacted about this book I was intrigued, and also a little excited. The blog tour will be running all week, so be sure to check out the other hosts later on in the week.

For this kick off post, Natalie has written a guest post about five inspirational quotes, aka five quotes to live by. You can read about these below the divider, and hopefully they’ll provide some inspiration for you! Continue scrolling after the quotes to read more about Inside Out and the author. – Amber

Like many writers I know, I have always had a fondness for inspirational quotes. My room is plastered with them and I read at least one every day. They may not be able to magic away the hard times in our lives, but I have found that they sometimes provide just that tiny bit of extra strength needed to gather your energies and confront any challenges in your way.

I hope some of these may inspire you, as they did me.

“You Can Steer Yourself In Any Direction You Choose” – Dr Seuss

This tiny extract from Oh The Places You’ll Go has been a motivation to me for as long as I can remember. As a young, disabled woman whose greatest desire is to write for a living, I have been bombarded with people telling me ‘you can’t do that.’ I’ve proved to myself that I can make my own dreams come true. Believe that you can too!

“Of Course It Is Happening Inside Your Head… But Why On Earth Should That Mean That It Is Not Real?” – J. K. Rowling

This one might sound crazy, but I know that my fellow writers (and book, TV and film superfans everywhere) will understand its power. The way in which fictional characters can influence real people’s lives never fails to amaze me. Imagination matters. It can change the world.

“No One Ever Made A Difference By Being Like Everyone Else” – The Greatest Showman

Rather self-explanatory, this gem from one of my all-time favourite films means so much to me I dissolved into tears right there in the cinema when I first heard it. Being different is hard – but never once has anything been achieved by extinguishing your own spark just to blend in with everyone else. Whatever you do, do it your way. If you do that, anything can happen.

“No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

There are bullies in every walk of life and the scars they leave can do so much damage to your self-esteem. At my lowest, I viewed myself solely in the light of other people’s negative opinions. Self-confidence is something I continue to work on, and these words really spur me on. They also take on a new poignancy in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, as they remind me every day that we must fight to make sure these words remain true for everyone.

“When Things Get Tough… Make Good Art” – Neil Gaiman

I have been telling stories since I was two years old but during my most severe bouts of depression, I found that I couldn’t do it anymore, which broke my heart. This quote (and the whole Make Good Art speech) was the first lifeline I found to claw my way back to my art and – by extension – myself. The things you love are precious, fight for them.

About Natalie

Natalie Hibberd was born in Portsmouth and has wanted to be an author since she was two years old. She is publishing her debut novel Inside Out, independently with Matador, aged 21. Natalie was born with cerebral palsy. When she isn’t writing and reading, she enjoys singing, amateur dramatics
and listening to podcasts. Natalie lives in Petersfield, Hampshire, with her parents and her assistance dog, Chloe. You can follow Natalie on Twitter.

About Inside Out

Guest Post: Five Quotes to Live By by Natalie HibberdInside Out Genre: Dystopia
Release Date: 30th November 2019
Publisher: Matador Publishing

In a divisive world of mistrust and murder, there’s only one thing that matters growing up: you’re either in The Inside or The Outside.

While the Insiders appear pampered and privileged, the Outsiders know only harsh realities. Believing themselves to be deprived of everything the Insiders have, the younger generation channel their rage into a terrorist group called The Freedom Fighters. Their
intent: overthrow the Inside at any cost.

Now the Insiders must watch as the world they love collapses around them while the government resort to increasingly desperate tactics to try and contain the Outside threat. When the latest initiative catapults one of the youngest into the heart of the war, everything is pushed to breaking point.