As seen in the title, I had 2 arcs by the same author, and in the same genre, so why not have a double review? Hope this won’t be too long 😂I knew when I finished The Dark Beneath the Ice that Bérubé would be an auto-read author and I’m excited to see what she’s working on next. Bérubé has this keen sense of knowing how to hook readers in and keep them reading far into the night.
Disclaimer: I received these e-arcs through Netgalley, and the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. The featured image is my own. The summaries are taken from Goodreads. All opinions expressed are my own.
Title: The Dark Beneath the Ice
Author: Amelinda Bérubé
Year Published: 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Cover Art/Designer: Photo by Aliza Razell, Cover Design by Elise Lyons
Genre: Young Adult ~ Horror ~ Paranormal ~ LGBTQ+ characters
Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her.
Something is wrong with Marianne.
It’s not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.
But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has–everything it’s convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.
I was instantly drawn by the comps – Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity and immediately wanted to read the book. I wanted to get the same type of psychological horror we see happen to Natalie Portman’s character in Black Swan – that type of dreading we get from having to see the character slowly going down this path where they’re not sure what’s happening to them. With Paranormal Activity¸ I’m a fan of seeing creepy and disturbing things happening to the characters and sometimes those around them who don’t believe them (about the paranormal happenings) at first.
I like Marianne – her personality and her narration. We see enough from her point of view that we root for her from the beginning and like her early on enough. Which is a good thing because I really don’t like reading books where I don’t like the narrator. She’s also an unreliable narrator – though that’s more because she’s experiencing the strange circumstances happening around her rather than her being unreliable due to her personality.
I liked Ron and her relationship with Marianne. She believed Marianne from the beginning and helped her as much as she could. Their friendship easily melded into a sweet relationship and I really enjoyed that transition.
The first half of the book starts creating the atmosphere and showing the reader odd things that are occur around Marianne. Then it starts to escalate and the action happens more – which is exactly what I like in this genre.
Memory plays a big role in the story and Marianne’s understanding of herself and what’s happening. I always enjoy reading books where memory loss occurs. And by enjoy, I mean I like to angst over the memory loss, the character having the memory loss and now having to deal with that. And the book adds the paranormal genre and the love for this book grows.
Most of my experience with the paranormal genre comes from movies, so I did compare the storyline and the timeline of this book to paranormal movies. It worked out well and I’m impressed by how well Bérubé channeled the feeling of a horror movie into a book format. I could easily see this as a movie and I think that’s a big reason why I liked reading this so much – the easily readability of The Dark Beneath the Ice. Everything flowed well together and although it did sometimes feel like it dragged in places, the pace picked up nicely the next chapter.
Read this if you want something for Spooky month. Or if you’re looking for a sweet relationship. Maybe you’re looking for a book that reads like a movie. You’ve got that all here.
Title: Here There Are Monsters
Author: Amelinda Bérubé
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Cover Art/Designer: Nicole Hower
Genre: Young Adult ~ Horror ~ Fantasy ~ Paranormal
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 keep on thinking of this as Here Be Monsters because one of my wips (currently on pause) is titled similar. But that’s definitely where the similarity ends
The cover is absolutely stunning. I’m now more for illustrated people on covers but this model did a really good job in holding up an animal skull in the creepiest way ever (which sounds weird because I don’t think there’s a non-creepy way of doing it 😂).
I love reading books that scare me and this was definitely one of them! I think I said it before – Bérubé writes amazingly – those types of stories that you could easily see yourself rereading and still getting scared every time you read them! Like I want that type of story that I can pick up, not want to read it (because it’s scary), but I can’t seem to put it down. And I definitely got that with this book.
I think this book is just steeped with amazing aesthetics and a rich story and characters you want to root for. Of course, I’d want to go nowhere near whatever was happening in the woods, but I love all of it.
I really felt for Deidre. Sure, Skye as well, but Deidre way more. Skye just completely judged her sister – like, yes, she might be weird but she’s still your sister! You have to be there for her and pay attention to her – especially since she could definitely tell Skye wasn’t interested in her anymore and didn’t want to spend time with her anymore. And that really hurt Deidre, which is probably why she started the odd experiments – she wanted to be noticed, she wanted her parents and sister to pay attention to her and they weren’t!
Also like, her parents kept saying they needed to get help for her but they just dragged their feet in doing so? And also never tried to pay attention to their own daughter to try to see if they could help in some way? Sure, you could use the move as an excuse but at the same time… when you have kids, they’re pretty important. Especially if you know they might be affected by the move or something that would affect them – help them, figure something out!
The plot and the story are both stellar. I would want more of the paranormal and the creatures in it and probably less of Skye but that’s because I didn’t like Skye as much. But the plot coupled with the creepy creatures were definitely the highlight of the book. I loved when they showed up, their descriptions and how Skye felt around them.
Read this if you like stories with sisters in them, if you were the type of kid who liked creepy things. Or if your favourite type of stories are the ones with the quests (mine are).
I’m so glad I’m getting more used to reading horror books as opposed to just watching them. What about you? Have you read either if these books yet? Are you a fan of spooky things happening to you or around a sibling? If so, come and chat down below in the comments!