Stardust Review–A Neil Gaiman Fairytale

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

Sea of Secrets Review—A Gothic Romance Spin on Hamlet

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

Review of Seven Black Diamonds—A Tale of Faery Terrorists

Faeries and humans are at war in the newest series by young adult fantasy author Melissa Marr. If the author’s name sounds familiar to you, it may be because I’ve been raving about getting to cross swords with Melissa earlier this month at Glimmerdark. It might also be because Melissa Marr’s debut series Wicked Lovely was widely popular, and helped to push the niche genre of faery-based urban fantasy to the forefront. Now, Melissa Marr returns to faeries again, but with some striking differences from her earlier works. Seven Black Diamonds is the story of a fae sleeper cell sent to undermine the humans by hiding among them. Its sequel, One Blood Ruby, comes out later this month. Continue reading Review of Seven Black Diamonds—A Tale of Faery Terrorists

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

The Cuckoo’s Calling Review

the-cuckoos-calling-coverI 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

“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”

Labyrinth Lost Review–A Bruja Bildungsroman

labyrinth-lost-coverAlex hates being a bruja, but after she accidentally banishes her entire extended family to the underworld, learning to control her powers may be her only hope of getting them back. After hearing this premise, I knew that Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova would be just my kind of book. Back in October, I wrote about seeing Zoraida speak at the Boston Teen Author Festival, where she discussed the recent release of Labyrinth Lost and how her cultural upbringing influenced the novel, particularly in her portrayals of magic and death. After getting my copy signed, I added it to the top of my to-read pile and soon found that it more than lived up to my expectations. Continue reading Labyrinth Lost Review–A Bruja Bildungsroman

Review of Hide and Seek by Splatterpunk Author Jack Ketchum

hide-and-seek-coverA couple of months ago, I met author Jack Ketchum at the Morbid Anatomy Museum where he was giving a lecture on his books and film adaptations as part of the American branch of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies lecture series. As Ketchum spoke and showed clips from his films, I realized I’d been missing out on a rather significant aspect of the horror genre. Jack Ketchum has been credited as one of the major influences in bringing elements of slasher horror from film to books, creating a genre that some have referred to as “splatterpunk.” Generally, an excess of gore is not really what I go for in my horror, but the Miskatonic Institute talk had me intrigued. I decided to pick up one of Jack Ketchum’s books. Unfortunately, none of his big-name works—Off Season, The Lost, The Girl Next Door, The Woman—were immediately available from my library. Instead I landed on the audiobook of one Ketchum’s books that has not yet been made into a movie, Hide and Seek. Continue reading Review of Hide and Seek by Splatterpunk Author Jack Ketchum

The Haunting of Hill House Review

haunting-of-hill-house-coverA couple weeks ago, I wrote about a few particularly popular haunted houses in literature in celebration of Halloween. As I was writing that post, I realized that the haunted house genre is a real gap in my reading repertoire. Luckily, the book club at my local bar (yes, the bar has a book club. It’s awesome) was reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House for our October meeting. I quite enjoyed the book, and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you below. Continue reading The Haunting of Hill House Review