If you weren’t mad when you entered the gates, you will be soon enough…. Emilie Autumn tells a complex dual narrative of madness and mental institutions in her semi-autobiographical book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it may be that you know her from her music career. Emilie Autumn has been one of my favorite musicians for over a decade by this point. Her dark lyrics, haunting voice, classically-influenced music, and unusual style appeal strongly to many goths, though Emilie tends to reject that label for herself. One of the recurring themes throughout her music is madness, especially how women struggling with mental illness are perceived and treated by society. In The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, she explores this topic more directly. Continue reading Emilie Autumn’s The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray took on new life this summer in a musical adaptation as part of the New York Musical Festival. NYMF is a three-week annual festival that seeks to shine the spotlight on new works, many of which go on to perform Off-Broadway, and some even make it to the Great White Way! Dorian Gray: The Musical began as a graduate thesis project for playwright Christopher Dayett, with music arranged by Kevin Mucchetti. Last week, the beta musical appeared in three showings at the Acorn Theater. Director Christen Mandracchia invited me to attend a performance and share my opinion on the show. Continue reading Dorian Gray: The Musical, a NYMF Production
To me, a three-day camping trip in the middle of the woods sounds like a nightmare under the best of circumstances. But in One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards, Sera’s senior experience field trip takes a far more sinister turn when she and three of her classmates wake up to find that someone has drugged them, been in their tents, destroyed their things, and left ominous messages written on their skin. Just reading the premise of this book, I knew it was going to be the kind of thing to keep me up at night. Continue reading Review of One Was Lost–YA Survival Horror
Recently, I’ve started playing a game with myself where I pick a book on my Goodreads “Want to Read” list that I don’t remember putting there, find the audiobook, and dive right in without reading any descriptions or summaries. This was how I stumbled upon the book Half Bad by Sally Green. Half Bad is the first book in a trilogy, and from the cover you can kind of get the idea that it’s a YA fantasy with a male protagonist, but that’s about all I knew going in. As it turned out, I think Half Bad may be one of the best books I’ve read so far this year! Continue reading Review of Half Bad–Is He a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?
The re-release of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful Saga continues! Last year, Leanna revived her out-of-print debut series with the launch of Strangely Beautiful, published by Tor. This new, author-preferred edition contains her first two books, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, in a single volume with some new scenes and edits. You can see my review of Strangely Beautiful here. Now she’s back at it with the relaunch of the series’ prequel, Perilous Prophecy, coming out tomorrow, June 20. Formerly called The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the book had only been out a short time before the original publisher went under, so you may have missed it the first time around. But now you’ve got a second chance! If you’re in New York, join me next week for the launch party at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. If you can’t make it out, you can pick up a copy of the book at your local independent bookstore, or buy it online using the IndieBound link at the bottom of this post. Continue reading Review of Perilous Prophecy—A Poignant Prequel
Death—It’s at the center of both Gothic literature (as one of the primal fears driving the atmosphere of dread) and the gothic subculture (as inspiration for its music, art, fashion, and overall aesthetic). But outside of the goth world, death can be a difficult topic to broach. Death and dying are taboo, especially in American society, and no one seems to want to talk about the one fate that awaits us all. That’s why Kimberly Mead created the game Morbid Curiosity to get everyone talking about death.
When I first started writing this blog, I had barely read any Neil Gaiman. Now, I am slowly making my way through his oeuvre. My latest read was Stardust, one of Gaiman’s earlier novels. I had heard about this story before, mostly in terms of the movie adaptation (which I still haven’t seen), but it’s not usually the first book that comes to mind when you think “Neil Gaiman.” I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find how much I enjoyed this book, especially compared to how disappointed I’ve been with some of his more celebrated works. Continue reading Stardust Review–A Neil Gaiman Fairytale
Oriel’s life seems like a fairy tale when she finally escapes her emotionally abusive father to go live with some loving—and wealthy!—long-lost relatives. But when she meets Herron, the dark and brooding young duke, she learns that this paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. Could someone in her new family really be a murderer, as the duke suspects? Find out when you read Sea of Secrets by Amanda DeWees! Last year, I picked up a couple of works by this spectacular self-published author of Victorian Gothic fiction, including her short Christmas tale Upon a Ghostly Yule. As a bit of a spin-off from Sea of Secrets, this short story introduced me to the Reginald family and hinted at their myriad scandals. It was about time, then, that I finally picked up Sea of Secrets itself. Continue reading Sea of Secrets Review—A Gothic Romance Spin on Hamlet
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
I love when two of my favorite things get combined—in this case, murder mysteries and the author of my favorite children’s series! The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first book in the Cormoran Strike series that J. K. Rowling publishes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. If you’re not familiar with Rowling’s adult works, I will warn you: these books are nothing like Harry Potter. Do not approach them expecting magic and child-appropriate language. You can, however, expect the same great quality of writing and complex character development. Continue reading The Cuckoo’s Calling Review