fantasy

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

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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.
(Goodreads)

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé was everything I wanted and more. The dark, unsettling thriller gave my goosebumps goosebumps. The imagery was haunting, the premise was unique, and the execution was boundary-pushing. Out of all the contemporary fantasy releases I've read so far this year, Here There Are Monsters has become my favorite.

Content warnings: animal deaths, self-harm, graphic descriptions of innards

Preorder here.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin Craig

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In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
(Goodreads)


House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin Craig was a lush, spooky, fresh story. The atmospheric storytelling was strong enough to give me chills and descriptive enough that sometimes I’d forget I was reading instead of watching everything unfold. I loved the characters dearly, but I trusted no one. It’s rare that I find a fantasy that’s engaging and unique, but House managed to be both in this world of over-saturated, familiar fantasies. Equal parts beautiful, tragic, gothic story and murder mystery fantasy, it’s hard to explain what it was that made me love this book so much, so I’ll just say it was everything.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin Craig, which I give 5 out of 5 stars, will be published August 6, 2019. Preorder here.