Tag Archives: Amelinda Bérubé

The Perfect Book Tag

I was tagged by the Orangutan Librarian a while back to do the Perfect Book Tag, and as I’m struggling right now with drafting my own book (blerghhhh), what better way to procrastinate than by dreaming of the perfect book I’d like to write, rather than actually writing the damn thing? 😉

The Perfect Genre

pick a book that perfectly represents its genre

I’m going to go ahead and pick horror, because I think it’s a genre that gets passed over a lot of times, and there are so many hidden gems in the genre–like one of my absolute favorite reads last year, Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé!

The Perfect Setting

pick a book that takes place in a perfect place

This one’s easy–the Downside trilogy by S.L. Grey, especially the mall setting in the The Mall, has some of my favorite world-building of all time. Just whimsical horror perfection.

The Perfect Main Character

pick the perfect main character

Gotta be Sookie Stackhouse from the Southern Vampires series–she’s just so smart, down-to-earth, and an overall badass.

The Perfect Best Friend

loyal and supportive, pick a character that you think is the best friend ever

Ooh, this is a hard one. I’m getting the sense that many of my favorite books involve loner main characters? XD I’m going to go with Eliza Tricklebank’s BFFs in The Princess Plan, Caro and Hollis. I adored their friendship, and their close dynamic makes me really excited for the forthcoming books in this series.

The Perfect Love Interest

pick a character you think would be an amazing romantic partner

Has to be King Zachary from the Green Rider series. I’ve wanted him and Karrigan to officially get together for like six years.

The Perfect Villain

pick a character with the most sinister mind

I will forever hate-love Professor Umbridge–she’s my ultimate villain.

The Perfect Family

pick a perfect bookish family

I’m going with all the sisters from Wildwood Dancing. I am such a sucker for sister stories, and I love MCs with big, boisterous families.

The Perfect Animal or Pet

pick a pet or fantastic animal that you need to see on a book

Has to be a dog, and let’s make it the fantastical, magical Disreputable Dog from Lirael.

The Perfect Plot Twist

pick a book with the best plot twist

Not going to give anything away, obviously, but the plot twist in Lock Every Door just floored me.

The Perfect Trope

pick that trope you would add to your own book without thinking

Slooooooow buuuuuuuurn~~~~~~~ See above: Zachary and Karrigan lol.

The Perfect Cover

pick that cover that you would easily put on your own book

If this were truly fantasy land and I could have any cover I want, I’d get a custom illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon. I’ve been a mega-fan of their artwork ever since I was a little kid and read Wise Child by Monica Furlong.

The Perfect Ending

pick a book that has the perfect ending

I’m going with another one of my great loves, Sunshine by Robin McKinley. The ending is desperate, it’s All The Things Go Boom, and the denouement blends the reality of picking up the pieces with an ambiguous ending that promises more. (The best and most achingly difficult part of Sunshine, I’ve always thought, is that there is no sequel.)


All right, so who’s going to write this book then? I’ll be the first one in line to read it. XD

Also, I tag everyone in this post! This is such a fun, unique tag, and I’d like to read everybody’s answers. 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Latte Book Tag

I saw Ren Strange’s take on the Pumpkin Spice Latte book tag and thought it was so cute and fall-ey that I had to do it myself. Normally I’m not a book tag person (not against them, I just don’t think to do them), but this one hit me in just the right way. I think that might be because my reading selection changes a lot in the fall; I feel much more in the mood for spooky and paranormal reads, obviously, as well as fantasy for some reason.

So if you’re looking for a little fall reading inspiration, keep scrolling!

Pumpkin Spice Latte: A book everyone likes to shit on but is delicious

It makes me so sad that this book has poor reviews, which I chalk up to an unlikable MC. This book was a total binge-read, and the atmosphere, writing, and magical ambiguity were right up my alley. I received it as an ARC, but I’ve considered buying a physical copy—that’s how much I liked this.

Fall is My Favorite Season: A cliché you can’t get enough of

Slow burn. Arghhhhh I love this trope so much.

Sweater Weather in the AM and T-Shirt Weather by the Time You Get Out of Work/School: A book you thought was one thing but was completely different by the end

I was promised aliens by the cover, and this book did not deliver. What it did provide was too many characters and a lot of navel-gazing. Sad pass on this one. 😦

Spoops: Spooky books on your TBR

Um, I feel like half of my TBR is spooky; this girl looooves her horror. So I’ll pick three.

I love Daniel Kraus’s voice (he’s the author of The Shape of Water), and I’m all about aliens at the moment due to my WIP, so I’m super excited for his YA thriller with aliens which releases next year. I’m praying that I’m picked off the ARC list.

I’ve heard a lot about this author, and I love the retro cover. Very excited to dive into this book now that Halloween season is almost upon us.

I still haven’t read anything by Nevill (he wrote the book behind the awesome movie The Ritual), but I am always here for a cult story.

Tarot Reading: A five-star prediction

My Beauty and the Beast research continues, and this retelling just sounds so good, and I’m just so certain it will be great.

Sephora Sage & Crystal Set: A book that means well but missed the mark by a landslide

Like When the Sky Fell on Splendor up above, I desperately wanted to like this book, but clunky sentences, too many characters, and not much plot made for a very rocky read.


What’s on your TBR for fall? Any spooky or autumnal-feeling reads that you recommend?

A Tale of Two Forests: Contrasting The Devouring Gray with Here There Are Monsters (ARC)

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a free advanced reader copy of Here There Are Monsters for an honest review. Here There Are Monsters debuts August 6th. For full disclosure, I requested a review copy of The Devouring Gray and was denied, and then purchased The Devouring Gray with my own money. This in no way affects my opinions of the book.

The Devouring Gray was on my top ten TBR list for 2019, as I’m sure it was for many others. The marketing campaign for this book was pretty intense, and I was fully on the bandwagon. A small town setting with a Stranger Things comp? Sign me up, please.

Can you hear the “but” coming? I’m going to cut to the chase: The Devouring Gray was really disappointing to me. As has been the case with some other YA books I’ve read lately, this book could have done with a lot more page-turning plot and a lot less navel-gazing. Yes, I know that YA by its nature tends toward the introspective, but this book has… not much going on? I showed up for the malevolent presence lurking in the forest, but there’s actually not much forest action. The main character, Violet, is a Mary Sue to the core, and the characters flitting around her are boring. There is so much backstory that it feels like we are constantly playing catch up. Seeding of foreshadowed information and pacing were a further problem in this book, as well as awkward, confusing phrasing.

“Justin didn’t understand how it was possible to be simultaneously proud of May, relieved she’d known what to say, and jealous that he hadn’t. But he was.”

People don’t think it be it like it is, but it do.

So The Devouring Gray is an unfortunate pass for me, and I will not be picking up the second in the series when it releases.

Which leads me to Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé. Whereas The Devouring Gray dragged on and on, this was a total binge-read. As is the case with Gray, this book presents a main character who has lost her sister—here, “lost” is used literally, as the MC’s sister has disappeared somewhere into the sprawling, ominous swampland behind their house. The language is surprisingly lyrical, atmosphere suffuses every scene, and the characterization and dialogue are perfect. What Gray failed to accomplish with its forest setting, Monsters presents in spades.

I want to also touch on the sister dynamic in the book, which is extremely raw and real. The younger sister who’s gone missing, Deirdre, is a girl in her own world, constantly rubbing her older sister, Skye, the wrong way. A fair warning that Skye is very harsh to her younger sister—if you are looking for a likable MC, this is not the book for you. But not everyone is likable, and it is okay to tell their stories. I suspect that it is for the “unlikable MC” reason that this has a lower score on Goodreads (currently 3.43).

I would describe this as a book that pushes the envelope in terms of the sister relationship, one particular plot twist, and the ending. How I’ve longed for good YA horror; thank goodness this author has arrived on the scene.

So if you were at all disappointed by The Devouring Gray, I really recommend giving Here There Are Monsters a try. I will absolutely looking out for future releases from the author, and the story will be staying with me for a long while; I may even pick up a hard copy.

The Devouring Gray

Here There Are Monsters