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review 2016-10-31 00:00
The Old English Baron: a Gothic Story
The Old English Baron: a Gothic Story - Clara Reeve This is supposedly a rewrite of Castle of Otranto, aimed at making it more plausible, but it doesn't really work as a rewrite, and on its own, it's a little dull.

Basically, Reeve looked at the chaotic lunacy that is Otranto, and said, "you know what bothers me, the peasant boy turning out to be of noble birth. I'm going to write a whole book about how that would work." Possibly unfair, as other elements are mixed in, including the unexplained magic armour, and various family dynamics, but the remix lost the fun of the original, and most of the women too.
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review 2016-10-03 18:27
American Gothic: The Story of America's Legendary Theatrical Family-Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth - Gene Smith

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley, courtesy of Open Road Media.


                Gene Smith’s American Gothic is supposedly a biography of the Booth family.  In some ways, it is this.  Chronicling the founding of the family and the demise of its last major member.  Most of the book, however, is taken up with the infamous John Wilkes Booth and the events surrounding the assassination of Lincoln. 


                Additionally, most of the book focuses on the men of the family, understandably so considering that the women marry into and out of the family.  Yet, I found myself wishing to know about Asia in addition to the fact that her marriage was bad and that she was close John Wilkes Booth.  He also repeats the same stories about the marriage of the Lincolns without really adding or examining anything.  In fact, all women in the history get little attention, not surprising considering the event and the era, but some more about the women would have made the book stand out a bit more.


                Those criticisms aside, the book is written and sourced well.  Smith does offer quite a bit about the other Booth men, and the most touching part of the book has to do with the effect on the acting prospects of the rest of the family.  The is a beautiful passage about the burning John Wilkes Booth’s costumes by Edwin.

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text 2016-02-10 11:03
A Cold-Hearted Phoenix - Episode 2: A Trip to Hell

So, it has been an awfull long time... I have been very busy, making covers for indie authors and preparing new books.


A Cold-Hearted Phoenix - Episode 2: A Trip to Hell is just out! Isn't it cool?


Here is the cover and synopsis:



Parental guidance: 16+

A Cold-Hearted Phoenix is a sweet-and-sour illustrated mini-series in three episodes. It is written in an experimental style, mixing screenwriting with prose.

This book includes 35+ illustrations and a unique layout.

In this second episode: VIKKI, who is out of job and hates summer to the bone, takes a drastic decision to escape the monotony of her life: to go on a trip with Marcus.

Let's watch how VIKKI'S holiday tour becomes a painful and tormented TRIP TO HELL.


You can learn more about it and the first episode here: http://tragicbooks.com/


Source: tragicbooks.com
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text 2015-11-19 21:23
Eleanor's Gift Virtual Blog Tour - starts this Monday, 23rd November!
Eleanor's Gift - Isis Sousa,Isis Sousa,Clare Diston
RBTL (Read Between the Lines) Blog Tours & Tragic Books proudly present:


Eleanor's Gift Virtual Blog Tour

Stay tuned for giveaways, interviews, reviews, guest posts and more on the following awesome Blogs:
BooksChatter Nov 29
My Word Dec 2
Dowie's Place Dec 5 {Red}
Come and join us!
Source: tragicbooks.blogspot.no
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review 2015-10-23 16:38
What The Fuck Did I Just Read?
The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (Oxford World's Classics) - Nick Groom,Horace Walpole

The introduction to my kindle version of The Castle of Otranto contains the following quote:

This novel has been called one of the half-dozen historically most important novels in English. The founder of a school of fiction, the so-called Gothic novel, it served as the direct model for an enormous quantity of novels written up through the first quarter of the nineteenth century; at one or more steps removed, it has inspired imitations and influenced other forms on up to the present.

And this may be true. If it is true, this proves that something may be influential while simultaneously being pretty awful. Because this book was pretty awful.


Last year, for the R.I.P. IX, I read Uncle Silas, which I described as “a heaping platterful of Victorian gothic what-the-fuckery that must be read to be believed.” I think that Uncle Silas would be considered one of those inspired imitations and influenced forms mentioned in the quote. That being the case, this is one of those occasions where what came after far exceeds what came before in quality.


To summarize, The Castle of Otranto is a short book in which the evil Manfred, a cartoon villain and evil usurper:


dastardly villain


Tries to rape-marry a fainting damsel in distress who previously happened to be engaged to his son, who died when a giant helmet somehow fell on top of him, crushing him on his wedding day. No, I am not making this up.


swooning damsel


The writing is crazy bad:

“I desired you once before,” said Manfred, angrily, “not to name that woman: from this hour she must be a stranger to you, as she must be to me; in short, Isabella, since I cannot give you my son, I offer you myself.” “Heavens!” cried Isabella, waking from her delusion, “what do I hear! you, my lord! you! my father-in-law! the father of Conrad! the husband of the virtuous and tender Hippolita!”—“I tell you,” said Manfred, imperiously, “Hippolita is no longer my wife; I divorce her from this hour. Too long has she cursed me by her unfruitfulness. My fate depends on having sons; and this night, I trust, will give a new date to my hopes.” At these words he seized the cold hand of Isabella, who was half dead with fright and horror. She shrieked, and started from him.”

It’s like a parody, but I think it is meant to be taken sort of seriously. Or maybe not, who can tell? If it is intended to be funny, it succeeded, because there were several moments which I think were supposed to be tension filled and dramatic at which I giggled. I’m not sure that is the reaction Walpole was looking for, but this book is simply ridiculous.


If you are interested in the earliest beginnings of the Gothic novel, by all means, give this one a whirl. If not, I’d skip it and go straight to Uncle Silas, by Sheridan LeFanu or Dracula by Bram Stoker, both of which are far superior in terms of genuine tension and Gothic atmosphere.

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