Review of Ghost Machine: A Gothic Steampunk Novel

Miss Ella Rosenfeld has been committed to Auttenberg Asylum for her hallucinations of ghostly apparitions. But even more frightening than the idea of going mad is the possibility that the ghosts are real, and they are warning Ella about the fate that awaits her in the asylum. Ella’s first frightening night at Attenberg sets the scene for the rest of Ghost Machine: A Gothic Steampunk Novel by Kristen Brand. When the author first contacted me to request a review, I knew from the subtitle that this book would be right up my alley. Ghost Machine flawlessly blends various elements of both steampunk and the gothic in everything from the setting to the style and characters. With two genres that are both known for their melodrama and tendency to go over the top, Kristen Brand does a remarkable job of staying grounded and keeping the all too common campiness to a minimum. Ghost Machine is a gem among the many self-published ebooks of Amazon, and I am grateful to the author for bringing this one to my attention! Continue reading Review of Ghost Machine: A Gothic Steampunk Novel

“Upon A Ghostly Yule” Review—Another Victorian Christmas Tale!

Upon a Ghostly YuleTalk about a Ghost of Christmas Past! “Upon a Ghostly Yule” is a festive short story by Amanda DeWees, one of my new favorite authors who writes traditional-style Gothic novels, such as the one I reviewed earlier this year, With This Curse. Last year, she published this yuletide tale which continues in a similar vein. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, “Upon a Ghostly Yule” is a sort of companion story to one of Dewees’s other novels, A Sea of Secrets, though it functions as an entirely independent piece. Much like Leanna Renee Hieber’s “A Christmas Carroll,” this story is the perfect blend of ghosts, romance, and holiday cheer.  Continue reading “Upon A Ghostly Yule” Review—Another Victorian Christmas Tale!

Leanna Renee Hieber’s Heartwarming Holiday Story, “A Christmas Carroll”

A Christmas Carroll coverWho doesn’t love a good Christmas ghost story? Especially when that ghost story is also a love story! And of course, it’s even better when that story is a companion novella to a series you’re (not so) patiently waiting for the next book in. You’ve heard me rave all year about Victorian fantasy author Leanna Renee Hieber and her newly re-released Strangely Beautiful saga. Books one and two have been re-edited and published by Tor in a beautiful single volume, which I reviewed back in April. The next book, a prequel called Perilous Prophecy is slated to be reissued next June. In the meantime, Leanna’s short novella “A Christmas Carroll” is just the thing to tide us over, and it’s appropriately festive for the season! Continue reading Leanna Renee Hieber’s Heartwarming Holiday Story, “A Christmas Carroll”

Ghost Stories to Get You in the “Spirit” for Halloween

Now that summer is officially over, do you know what season it is? It’s Halloween season! I’m a firm believer in beginning my celebrations of the greatest holiday of the year at least a month in advance. You may be mourning the end of summer or feeling distracted by a new school year, but that’s no reason you can’t start getting excited for the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest! To that end, I’ve complied a list of ghost stories below that will help get you into the “spirit” for Halloween. (See what I did there?)

brown_lady

Continue reading Ghost Stories to Get You in the “Spirit” for Halloween

With This Curse Review–An Excellent Victorian Gothic

With This Curse coverWhat could tempt you to reenter a cursed house, where all that you loved had already been taken from you once before? For Clara, only the dismal prospects of being an unmarried Victorian woman without hope of employment could drive her back to Gravesend. This predicament opens the story of With This Curse by Amanda DeWees, a traditional-style Gothic novel which won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award. Amanda’s books were first recommended to me by an author I’ve talked about at length in many posts here, Leanna Renee Hieber. I knew I could trust such glowing praise from one of my favorite authors, and when With This Curse arrived in the mail and I saw its gorgeous and elegant cover, I was even more excited to read it. It took several months to make its way up my to-read list, but when I finally cracked the spine, I was not disappointed. Continue reading With This Curse Review–An Excellent Victorian Gothic

Eterna and Omega Review: Sensitives, Psychics, and Spirits, Oh My!

Eterna and Omega coverOur favorite Victorian paranormal research teams are back this week, with Book 2 of the Eterna Files! Back in January, I posted about how much I loved The Eterna Files, the first book in Leanna Renee Hieber’s latest series. Tomorrow, August 9th, the story continues with the release of Eterna and Omega. I’ll be attending the New York City book launch event this Thursday at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. If you’re going, come say hi! If you’re not in NYC but still want a signed copy, WORD bookstore is offering signed and personalized copies for preorder! You can also find it on Amazon or at your local bookstore starting tomorrow. Continue reading Eterna and Omega Review: Sensitives, Psychics, and Spirits, Oh My!

Strangely Beautiful Review—New Life for a Strangely Beautiful Book

Strangely Beautiful coverAn amazing series is back from the dead—and full of new, vibrant life! You may have noticed by now that I love Leanna Renee Hieber’s gaslamp fantasy novels. I have previously read and reviewed Darker Still and The Eterna Files, the first books in her Magic Most Foul series and Eterna Files series, respectively. My obvious next move was to go back and read her first published series, the Strangely Beautiful saga. The only problem: it’s been out of print since the publisher went out of business several years ago. But we have good news! Leanna is re-releasing the series with her new publisher, Tor! Strangely Beautiful—the updated “author’s preferred edition” of the first two books of the series—comes out April 26th.

Preorder the book now, or pick one up from your local bookstore in just over a week. If you’re in the New York City area, you can also come hang out with me and Leanna for a Strangely Beautiful event at the historic and haunted Morris-Jumel Mansion on Saturday, April 30! Grab a book, get it signed by the lovely Leanna, and stick around for refreshments, storytelling, and sartorial extravaganza. And if that’s not enough Leanna for you, check back with The Gothic Library next week—I’ll be hosting a guest post by the author herself on the varieties of feminine strength as it relates to the protagonist of her Strangely Beautiful series. Continue reading Strangely Beautiful Review—New Life for a Strangely Beautiful Book

Eterna Files Character Questions and Giveaway Winner

First things first, congratulations to Ewan for winning our Eterna Files giveaway! Ewan, who has been notified by email, will be receiving a signed copy of the brand new paperback edition of The Eterna Files directly from the author herself!

The paperback even has new updated cover art--Now with more pink parasol!
The paperback even has new updated cover art–Now with more pink parasol!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, last week I wrote a review of Leanna Renee Hieber’s latest gaslamp fantasy novel The Eterna Files. In brief, The Eterna Files chronicles the efforts of two secret teams established by their respective governments on either side of the Atlantic and tasked with finding answers in the quest for immortality. As always after finishing a good book, I am currently in a state of mourning over no longer being able to live in this fantastical world, especially in this case a world so full of exciting international drama and paranormal intrigue. Luckily for me (and any of you that decide to read this dark Victorian masterpiece), the second book in the series, Eterna and Omega, is coming out in August!

Until then, author Leanna Renee Hieber has graciously decided to help us get through these six long months by answering some questions on behalf of her characters. I asked her a question directed at Clara Templeton—one of the main characters of The Eterna Files and the one inadvertently responsible for sparking the American government’s interest in immortality. Clara is more sensitive to aspects of the paranormal than most people are, particularly to ghosts and apparitions—though it was another power of hers that intrigued me throughout the book: Clara can remember details from her past lives. Continue reading Eterna Files Character Questions and Giveaway Winner

Eterna Files Review and Giveaway—Victorian Paranormal Spy Drama

Eterna Files coverYup, you read that right. The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber is a Victorian paranormal spy drama—and so much more! This book has been sitting at the top of my to-read list for a while, and I’ve mentioned several times how excited I was to read it. Leanna Renee Hieber is one of my absolute favorite authors, largely because her aesthetic tends to line up perfectly with my particular brand of gothic tastes. Well-researched gaslamp fantasy with dark paranormal elements and nuanced feminist characters who kick ass in their fashionable Victorian finery? Count me in! Darker Still, one of Leanna’s previous books, was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog and it still holds the title of my favorite. But The Eterna Files did not fail to live up to my high expectations. Be sure to read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win a signed copy of The Eterna Files for yourself! Also, make sure you tune in next week to see Leanna answer some of my burning questions on behalf of her characters. Continue reading Eterna Files Review and Giveaway—Victorian Paranormal Spy Drama

This Monstrous Thing Review–Steampunk Frankenstein

Also, just look at this gorgeous cover art...
Also, just look at this gorgeous cover art…

When I was at the Brooklyn Book Festival a few months ago, I heard someone say the words “steampunk Frankenstein retelling” and my ears perked up. It turns out that person was Mackenzi Lee, author of This Monstrous Thing, her debut novel. As you may have noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of Frankenstein. So, intrigued by this description, I picked up a signed copy of Lee’s book then and there. Alas, it took me quite a while to get around to reading it, but I’m glad I finally did.

This Monstrous Thing is set in an alternate history, in which early 19th century Europe is hyper-industrialized and clockwork is the basis of new technology, from new modes of transportation to artificial limbs. Surgeon/mechanics called Shadow Boys fashion clockwork parts for wounded citizens. But while this technology gives crippled men and women mobility and hope, the majority of the population considers it an abomination. Clockwork men and women are treated as second class citizens, and the Shadow Boys who build their parts are in constant danger of arrest.  Continue reading This Monstrous Thing Review–Steampunk Frankenstein