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text 2017-02-21 10:00
Blog Tour and Giveaway for Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis
 
 
Title: Blackwell
Author: Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor
Genre: Gothic Romance
Published: January 17, 2017 
 
 
 

Hell has a new master
 
In the late 1800s, handsome, wealthy New Englander, Magnus Blackwell, is the envy of all.
 
When Magnus meets Jacob O’Conner—a Harvard student from the working class—an unlikely friendship is forged. But their close bond is soon challenged by a captivating woman; a woman Magnus wants, but Jacob gets.
 
Devastated, Magnus seeks solace in a trip to New Orleans. After a chance meeting with Oscar Wilde, he becomes immersed in a world of depravity and brutality, inevitably becoming the inspiration for Dorian Gray. Armed with the forbidden magic of voodoo, he sets his sights on winning back the woman Jacob stole from him.
 
Amid the trappings of Victorian society, two men, bent on revenge, will lay the foundation for a curse that will forever alter their destinies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"5 Revenge is a dish best served.....with a side of Voodoo stars!" - The Book Sirens 
“This book was cleverly written. Set in Boston and New Orleans, I was spellbound by the narrative.” - Reader Review 
"Alexandrea Weis pulls the reader into a dark and fated tale of catastrophic jealousy;" - The Reading Cafe
 
 
 
 
Leaving the firelight, he headed toward the water, eager to learn more about the woman. Beyond the glare of the bonfire, his eyes were better able to take in her figure. Her nightdress was torn in places and had dark splotches on it in others. She stood at the water’s edge, her feet hidden below the surface of the bayou. As he drew closer, Magnus got a better view of her exquisite face. Her pale, snowy skin glowed in the darkness, and her features were perfect except for a scar above her right lip. He ached to help her, to guide her from the water and back to the warmth of the fire.​  
 
“Are you all right?”​  
She titled her head to the side as she examined him. Then without saying anything, she held out her hand to him.​  
Magnus could hear a woman’s voice saying, Magnus, come with me, in his head, but her lips never moved. He was entranced, drawn to her, and just as he was raising his hand to take hers, another hand clamped down on his wrist. ​
“Magnus, no, don’t touch her,” Madam Simone called out. ​
The spell was broken, and the woman in the water faded away. ​
Magnus gawked at the water. “What?”​ 
“I told you to stay close to the fire,” she admonished.​
He pointed to the water. “You saw her? Who was that?”​
Madam Simone let go of his arm. “You mean what was that, don’t you?”​
“I don’t understand.”​
She waved her long stick out over the water. “That was a spirit called by the ceremony. She often appears when we perform our rituals on the bayou.”​
“You know her?” The shock was evident in his voice.​
“She’s the spirit of one who sacrificed herself for love many years ago. She was the quadroon mistress of a wealthy white man who spurned her and her unborn child.”
Magnus removed his hat and wiped his hand over his brow, feeling shaky. “So you are telling me I just saw a ghost?”
Madam Simone chuckled at his reaction. “The world is not everything you see, Magnus. Ghosts are as real as you or I. They are the impression left behind by a life ended in misery, pain, or confusion. The spirits trapped or bound to earth are the ones who haunt. The ones who have found peace are the ones who leave.”
“Where do they go?”​
She gave him a sad smile. “That all depends on what you believe. Heaven, hell, paradise—take your pick. We have more names for the world that comes after than we do for the one we currently inhabit. I think that speaks volumes about our capacity for hope.”​
Magnus took an unsteady breath as his eyes returned to the water. “What about her? The girl in the water? Will she ever find peace and move on?”​
“No.” Madam Simone shook her head and, gathering up her skirt, took a step away from the shore. “She has chosen to remain here.”​
“Chosen?” he shouted. “Are you telling me she had a choice?”​
“We all choose in life and in death, Magnus.” She glanced back at him. “That is why we have souls—to make that choice.”
​Magnus could still hear the voice of the spirit calling to him in his head. “I think she spoke to me. She knew my name.”
​ “Spirits often bring messages from the dead. Do you know anyone who has recently died?”
​He shook his head. “No, no one.”
​Madam Simone motioned ahead to the bonfire. “Let’s get back to the fire.”
​Returning his hat to his head, Magnus followed her up the bank. “I’m not sure what I witnessed, Madam Simone, but I no longer think I’m a skeptic.”
​She grinned as they walked along. “Good. Then the ceremony served its purpose.”
“What purpose?”
​Madam Simone kept her eyes focused on the firelight. “To prepare your soul for what is to come.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From New Orleans, Alexandrea Weis was raised in the motion picture industry and began writing stories at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen once again and began her first novel, To My Senses. Since that time she has published many novels. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning books, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. Her work has been critically acclaimed and has been continually growing in popularity. 
Alexandrea Weis is also a certified/permitted wildlife rehaber with the La. Wildlife and Fisheries. When she is not writing, she rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She is married; they live in New Orleans.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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review 2017-02-08 21:38
The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story - Eliza Parsons,Diane Long Hoeveler
The Complete Northanger Horrid Novel Collection (9 Books of Gothic Romance and Horror) - Eliza Parsons,Ann Radcliffe,Ludwig Flammenberg,Marquis de Grosse,Francis Lotham,Regina Maria, Roche,Eleanor Sleath,M. Mataev

Castle of Wolfenbach (1793) by Eliza Parsons: sort of a Nancy Drew opening

I'm cross-posting my own review because eventually I hope to have read the entire horrible book, and I'd like to have all the sub-reviews collected.

  Wow. So it's clear why this didn't remain a popular book for long. All of the creepy gothic stuff takes place at the beginning. Then there's a section of characters acting like normal (aristocratic) people and traveling and having large house parties, and crushing on each other, and oh, if I had read this book before reading Mansfield Park I would never have cast any aspersions upon Fanny. Mathilda is rather unusually perfect in every way, such that everyone who meets her is immediately smitten and keen to support her for the rest of her life; and, yeah, that's not the most unbelievable part. Hard to say what is, though. There's the way two different villains repent of the horrors they have done and are immediately forgiven by the only survivors. Or the way everyone talks in monologues that last for pages of dense paragraphs. Or the pirate who was planning to retire anyway, so he might just as well help Mathilda out...Really, there isn't a single believable bit in the whole book, neither in the story nor in the telling. To sum up: gruesome, and not in a fun way (unless you enjoy reading awful books, which apparently I do, if they're old enough). First of The Complete Northanger Horrid Novel Collection

personal copy.

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review 2017-02-05 02:51
UNDYING VENGEANCE
undying vengeance - K.L. Burnham

Undying Vengeance is the first of a Vampire trilogy that you won't want to miss. It's full of surprises and twists that'll keep you guessing right to the very last page. 

Remember, sometimes darkness is light, at least to some. 

Go to http://www.amazon.com/author/klburnham and order your copy today. 

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url 2017-02-03 07:12
12 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Updates of 19th Century Novels
Heartstone - Elle Katharine White Heartstone - Elle Katharine White
Arguably, 19th century literature is defined by the extravagance of its poetry. (The Vampire Lestat ain’t got nothing on Lord Byron.) But the craft of the novel was percolating in the background, too, undertaken by such undesirables as women, satirists, and social reformers. If you care to, you can find Victorian jeremiads railing against the social rot perpetrated by novels, which read like anti-television tracts from the first decades of that medium. (My take: give any genre long enough, and it’ll become preferable to the newest alternative. I am constantly begging my children to rot their brains with television instead of YouTube. For crying out loud, put on headphones at the very least.)
 

Because early novels were written on the edge of things—not precisely respectable, and new enough for wide experimentation—many bucked the often rigid social structures of the times. In the second edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, which had been subject to much howling by moralists, Oscar Wilde declared, “all art is quite useless.” By which he meant (among other things) that the novel should not be used only as a moral punchline, but should explore the wide variety of the human experience. From Trollope’s intricate family sagas, to the Brontë sisters’ howling family Gothics, to the lurid and/or didactic serials of Conan-Doyle and Dickens, the novels of the era tread a lot of ground.

 

Maybe that’s why they’re such good fodder to update for a contemporary audience: they managed to hit first, and definitively, a swath of the human experience. No, no one has to worry about the entailed estates of the Regency period, but the social burlesque of Pride & Prejudice, the relationship between the sisters, and the sting of betrayal—all still hold true. (Plus, Darcy: rwrrr.)

 

Here are 12 sci-fi and fantasy updates of major 19th century novels. I’ve not included works that already have a science fictional or fantasy twist to them, like Dracula, Frankenstein, or The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; they almost need their own roundup. I haveincluded edge cases like the Gothics, because any supernatural element tends to be ambiguous at best. (Quick: are the ghosts real in The Turn of the Screw?) Come let’s see what’s happening on the manse, in space.

 

I know this is super annoying, but my actual list can be found at B&N SciFi. It was hella fun to write. 

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review 2017-01-29 05:18
A Gothic Tour
The Poe Estate - Polly Shulman

This is an homage to Gothic fiction lovers aimed at younger readers. I loved that about this book. It's metafiction that takes it even deeper. There is story within a story within a story. I read The Wells Bequest first, which is the science fiction volume of this series. I liked it, but I liked this more because I love Gothic/Classic horror. It's apparent that Shulman does as well. I made a note of all the books she alluded to. Many I had read, but I got ideas for others to look up and read.

The overall concept was well done, and some elements were quite serious for a MG level book. This book deals with death in a very matter-of-fact way. Suki's sister died and her ghost is her protector. Except Kitty is getting to be problematic in her protectiveness, leading to Suki's reputation as being weird, and Suki needs to let her go. Her parents have to move in with a great, great-aunt into a house that is part of her family's strange and tragic history. As Suki gets drawn into an adventure related to her ancestor's tie to the house and interacts with employees from the New York Circulating Repository, she learns that it's important to accept her sister's death and try to move on.

I couldn't give this book higher than 3.5 stars because it is written in too lightweight a fashion. Some serious topics are put out there and there are deeper levels that don't get delved into with this book. I feel that there was a longer book inside of this one that didn't get written. I understand that some things had to be pared down due to format, but I would have liked to see that other book that this book shows potential for turned out. On the good side, I love how multicultural it is, and the fact that all families aren't the same, and that hardworking people experience financial difficulties and lose their homes and jobs. Not because they are lazy, but because of things outside their control. Suki is a strong young girl to go through all of this and keep on going. I had mad respect for her and her family. I cried about her sister and some of the tragic events from her family's past.

I love the metafiction concept. I could read about that for days. I could have spent hours more delving into this interest world that Shulman created. I wish I had 100 more pages of this gem. I will always be a cheerleader for middle grade fiction. While I was somewhat disappointed with this book, I would still recommend it to readers who love classic and Gothic horror.

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