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Search tags: gothic-novel
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review 2018-01-14 07:30
Sons of the Wolf
Sons of the Wolf - Barbara Michaels

Pure gothic suspense.

 

Two young heiresses sent to live in a mansion out on the moors of Yorkshire, completely removed from any society, with a mysterious guardian they've never met:  check.

Old abandoned half-ruined monastery:  check.

2 misunderstood sons, one dark and brooding, one sensitive and artistic:  check

Rampant superstition about mythical creatures:  check

One supposedly untameable black stallion: check

Big hounds roaming the moors:  check

Gypsies:  check

 

Sons of the Wolf has it all in spades.  Unfortunately, I didn't really connect with any of the characters enough to make the fantastically insane and relatively dark plot work.  I didn't hate it, but I wasn't at all invested in it, making a lot of small things I probably wouldn't notice if I were neck deep in the story stand out and irk me.

 

I didn't hate it; if someone were in the mood for a gothic story, it might provide a fun afternoon.  But it wasn't one of Michaels best.

 

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review 2018-01-06 02:19
The last story strengthened my resolve to never go on a cruise
Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Dahl, Roald (2012) Paperback - Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories was a must-have for me for 2 reasons: 1. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors and I want to read everything he's ever written and 2. I love ghost stories. I have to admit that going into this one I was very much under the impression that this was going to be a book filled with stories written by Dahl himself. I clearly hadn't read the synopsis or book jacket because that is not what this book is about. This is a collection of some of Dahl's favorite ghost stories written by other people. He compiled this list when he was working on a project for American television and his preparation was extensive. He read 749 tales of the supernatural by different authors and from that large number he whittled it down to 14 of his favorites that he felt were not only excellent examples of writing in this genre but that would make for good television. (He also discovered that women are experts in this field and until the 11th hour he thought they would beat out the men with a hard majority.) Since there are 14 different stories in this collection, I will only talk about 2 that I found particularly chilling (and yes they are written by women). 

 

The first is called 'Harry' and was written by Rosemary Timperley. It bore a striking resemblance to The Imaginary in that its primary focus was on a little girl who had a strong friendship with an imaginary boy. The biggest difference here is that the mom tried very hard to squash this relationship because she had a deep and abiding fear...of the name Harry. Yes, I too found this odd. Nevertheless, while it may seem irrational this fear was quite powerful and instead of ignoring the interactions of her child and her invisible playmate she let it consume her until...well you'll have to read the story.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-31 12:36
Wooden Cut Outs with an Agenda.
The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell

 Now and again I like a good bit of creep but it is so hard to find, the more books you read, the less creepy they are but his story had atmosphere. This is your typical gothic horror novel that has been done to death over the years - it has supernatural elements, a grieving widow, a crumbling mansion, hereditary insanity, villagers that won't go near the big house and a mysterious 200 year old diary written by a witch in the mid 17th century. What puts it above the others for me are the 'Silent Companions' themselves. They remind me strongly of the weeping angels in Doctor Who - take your eyes off them for a minute and you're a gonner.

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review 2017-12-28 20:06
The Beguiled
The Beguiled - Thomas Cullinan

The Beguiled is an atmopheric read and the gothic feel pulled me through this book in no amount of time. And yet this novel is too long and drawn out. My physical copy has 372 pages with a tiny font, which makes this book in reality (and with a normal font-size) a 600+ page novel.

 

So it´s a big novel, told from the perspective of eight different characters (the women in the boarding school) and everyone has their own background story. Unfortunately not every background story is relevant for the overall storyline and some things could easily have been left out of the novel.

 

It doesn´t help either that the climax of the story lies about the halfway mark of the novel and after that the story just peters out. There is a lot of quarreling and tensions arise every now and then, but most of the women/girls behaved so incredibly stupid that I had a hard time believing in the credibility of the story. 

 

Having said that, I really enjoyed reading this book. All the characters are disturbing and by omitting the point of view of the only man in the house, I had ambigious feelings towards him in the end. He is a manipulating, lying, seducing creep, who is only interested in himself. And yet I have my doubts if he deserved what he has got. And did the other characters get what they deserved? No one is clearly good or bad or without sin in this novel.

 

 Book themes for St. Martin’s Day: Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

 

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review 2017-12-25 00:43
The Road to Bittersweet
The Road to Bittersweet - Donna Everhart

By:  Donna Everhart

ISBN:  9781496709493

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date:  12/26/2017

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

Donna Everhart takes readers to Stampers Creek, 1940 North Carolina along the Tuckasegee River with the Stampers family. THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET —a gritty Southern tale of despair, family, and hope. A perfect and fitting title for this coming-of-age journey through life's ups and downs from childhood to womanhood. 

"It takes courage to find your way." 

In the Appalachian mountains, near Cashiers, NC, we meet Wallis Ann. Fourteen-years-old and wise beyond her years. She takes most of the burden caring for her sister, Laci. Her sister is two years older, yet she will never be able to read or write or solve problems. They all wondered what she must be thinking. There was also the younger brother, Seph; only three-years-old. 

Laci is "savant." Gifted. A person affected with a mental disability (such as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music).In this case, music. The family played music, known as The Stamper Family. From the piano, banjo, fiddle, among others. 

There is a devastating flood after the waters broke over the dam. The worst this area had ever seen. Torrential rains. This event scared Wallis more than anything she had ever experienced. They are swept away by the strong currents. 

After losing everything, the Papa takes them to his brother, Hardy in South Carolina. They are on the road trying to survive by singing for money to have enough to eat. 

 



The momma depended on Wallis Ann for so much of Laci's care, and Laci experienced guilt from some of the events happening in the story. Wallis Ann feels somewhat invisible at times due to her sister's disability. 

Along the way, there are more struggles, and challenges striving for survival amid life's storms. Burdens to carry. Hearts broken. Dreams unfulfilled. Guilt-ridden. Betrayal. 

Heartstrings are pulled especially with Wallis Ann. She is brave, and resilient while suffering from hardships, hopelessness, and other situations and emotions she encounters. Deeply emotional a mix of Southern fiction/Gothic, coming-of-age, historical, and literary fiction. 

 


“Windows give you a view. Otherwise you can't see nothing, no matter how hard you try. It ain't much different in how we look at our world from inside ourselves."

I enjoyed the theme of water which is apparent throughout the novel from the river, the flood, the waterfalls and symbolic in many ways to the peaceful trickle of water sliding over the rocks. On a side note: My favorite places in the NC mountains are the Highlands and Cashiers. Beautiful waterfalls and scenic mountains. I miss my log cabin in Big Canoe, GA. 

The characters are well-drawn (as the secondary ones) and the times researched, drawing you into their world of survival and vivid settings. 

"We're going to keep on having hope until there's no possibility of having it anymore. That's all we can do."

Descriptive storytelling, a well-written emotional Southern coming-of-age novel of family, heartbreak, love, loss, and acceptance. 

For fans of Southern historical fiction and authors: Leah Weiss, Kim Michele Richardson, Wiley Cash, Emilie Richards, Diane Chamberlain, and David Joy. 

A special thank you to Kensington for an advanced reading copy and the introduction to this talented North Carolina author. Look forward to reading more.

JDCMustReadBooks

  

About the Author

 

Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, an Amazon Best Book/Debut Spotlight, Indie Next Pick for November 2016 and longlisted for the Southern Book Prize,
(formerly the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize)

 

Her next novel, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, January 2018, is a Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Book for Fall/Winter 2017-2018 and a 2018 Southern
Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Trio pick.

 

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, she has lived close to her hometown for most of her life. For several years she worked for high tech companies, specializing in project management and product introduction. She carries a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She lives in Dunn, North Carolina with her husband, Blaine,
and a tiny, heart-stealing Yorkshire terrier, named Mister.

 

She is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and Women’s
Fiction Writers Association. Read More 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/11/03/The-Road-to-Bittersweet
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