Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Review

Move over, vampires—it’s time for mummies to take the spotlight! This week, Anne Rice is back with the long-awaited sequel to her 1989 book The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned. Twenty-eight years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but was it worth it? I can’t speak to how the new book lives up to any expectations set up by the original, but as my first foray into mummy romance, I quite enjoyed it. Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra was co-written with her son, Christopher Rice, and comes out tomorrow, November 21. Continue reading Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Review

Review of The Eterna Solution–Conclusion to a Thrilling Paranormal Epic

It’s time for a new release from my favorite author, Leanna Renee Hieber! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that I’ve been following the Eterna Files series almost since its inception when I reviewed The Eterna Files nearly two years ago. I followed that review up with one for the second book, Eterna and Omega, when it came out last August. And now, I’m here again to give you the goods on the third and final installment of the series, The Eterna Solution. The book comes out tomorrow, November 14. As usual, if you’re local to the New York area, you can come celebrate the release at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in upper Manhattan. Join us at 6:30 on Friday, November 17, for a reading and signing by the author, along with a costume contest, an exhibit of elegant accessories by Wormwood & Gall, and some light refreshments. Continue reading Review of The Eterna Solution–Conclusion to a Thrilling Paranormal Epic

Dracula, Performed

Dracula was always meant to be adapted to the stage. At the time that he wrote his most famous novel, Bram Stoker was working as the business manager for the Lyceum Theatre in London, owned by his friend, the renowned actor Henry Irving. Irving’s performances were often dark and dramatic, and he was best known for playing charismatic villains. It’s even been suggested that he partially inspired the appearance and personality of the Count in Stoker’s novel. Thus, it should come as no surprise that when Stoker finished his masterpiece, he envisioned Irving playing the titular character in a stage adaptation. He even drafted a script and ran through a staged reading of Dracula, or The Undead at the Lyceum, afterwards eagerly asking Irving what he thought. Irving’s answer, however, shut down any hopes Stoker had for his stage production: he summed up his opinion in one word: “Dreadful.”

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The History of Horror

Sometimes, we just love to be scared. Especially this time of year, when Halloween has us ready to meet some monsters and explore that flimsy boundary between life and death. But fear is only fun when you’re not in any real danger. That’s why horror fiction is so popular and enduring. But how did this tradition start? Today, I want to take you through the history of the horror genre.

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

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Every Heart a Doorway Review—Macabre Fantasy and Representation

There are many books out there about kids who discover magical worlds and the wonderful adventures they have there. But what happens afterward, when they come back through the rabbit hole and have to return to their normal lives? In Every Heart a Doorway, these children go to a special boarding school where they can share their experiences with those who will understand, readjust to the normal world, and come to terms with the fact that they may not ever return to the land they truly consider home. This novella is the first book in a new series called Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire. I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but it hit almost every sweet spot for me.  Continue reading Every Heart a Doorway Review—Macabre Fantasy and Representation

Review of Haunted Nights—A Halloween Collection

I’ve got another new Halloween book for you! Haunted Nights, a Horror Writers Association anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton just came out two weeks ago, on October 3rd. The anthology collects sixteen never-before-published short stories by major authors including Garth Nix, Seanan McGuire, and Kelly Armstrong all revolving around the central theme of Halloween. Continue reading Review of Haunted Nights—A Halloween Collection

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures Review

A couple of months ago, I started listening to an excellent podcast called Lore, in which Aaron Mahnke tells spooky stories from folklore around the world. Now Mahnke is coming out with an affiliated book called The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures, which hits stores tomorrow, October 10. This beautifully illustrated book collects a variety of folklore stories with a focus on particular types of monstrous creatures. It’s the first in a World of Lore series, and Mahnke plans to follow it up with two more books on Wicked Mortals and Dreadful Places within the next year. Continue reading The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures Review

Review of From Here to Eternity—Death Around the World

If you’re a fan of macabre content on Youtube, you’ve probably already come across Caitlin Doughty and her popular web series “Ask a Mortician.” In her videos, Caitlin combines absurd, witty humor with professional insight to answer viewers’ questions about death. Apart from being a Youtube star, Caitlin has also founded an organization called The Order of the Good Death, which aims to dismantle the cultural taboos we’ve built up around talking about the fate that awaits us all. In 2015, she published her first book—a memoir called Smoke Get in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory. You can read my glowing review of that book here. Now her highly anticipated second book has finally arrived, and it’s every bit as good as the first! From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death hits shelves tomorrow, October 3. You can also check Caitlin’s website to see if she’s doing any signings at the bookstores or cemeteries in your area. Continue reading Review of From Here to Eternity—Death Around the World

Subscription-Based Web Comic: Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales

I love new adaptations of classic works of Gothic literature, especially those that bring the stories into a new medium. Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales does exactly that by adapting short horror stories into webcomic form. The title of this webcomic series takes its name from an Edgar Allan Poe story, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” and will feature stories by Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, W. W. Jacobs, and many more. The project aims to adapt as many classic short stories as possible, posting one new page per week. The scripts are written by Jose Luis Bueno Piña, and each story has a different artist. These days, many webcomic creators are moving to a subscription-based model, and Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales is no different. The only way to get full access to these stories is to support the project on Patreon. Continue reading Subscription-Based Web Comic: Mr. Valdemar and Other Gothic Tales

New York City’s Brand New Oscar Wilde Bar

Oscar Wilde BarYes, it’s every bit as extravagant as Oscar would want it to be.

As you may know, Oscar Wilde was a nineteenth-century writer closely associated with the Aesthetic Movement, which focused on the inherent value of beauty and art for art’s sake. He shocked Victorian society with his decadent lifestyle and morally ambiguous writings, the best known of which are his satirical play, The Importance of Being Ernest, and his Gothic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. And now, a brand new bar has opened in New York City to honor his legacy. Originally slated to debut in June, the bar—simply called Oscar Wilde—finally opened its doors just last month. You may remember over a year ago, I wrote a post on the best gothic literature-themed bars in Manhattan, of which there are a surprising amount. But as soon as I started seeing pictures of this new bar’s interior, I knew it would put them all to shame. I finally got the chance to stop by for a few drinks last week so I could give you all a first-hand review. Continue reading New York City’s Brand New Oscar Wilde Bar