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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) - Horace Walpole,Nick Groom

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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review 2015-08-02 21:41
There are ghosts, and then there are ghosts.
Rawblood - Catriona Ward,Victoria Fox,Peter Kenny

Rawblood  by Catriona Ward

Thanks to Net Galley and Orion for giving me a free early copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Rawblood is a challenging novel (it’s not an easy read) and a novel difficult to define. The story of a ghost, or a haunted house, the Rawblood of the title, has elements of the gothic horror tale. The house itself, the characters, the Victorian era some of the stories are set in, the setting, even the style of writing. But there’s much more than that.

The story is told from many characters points of views, in different styles as pertains to the characters. We have a young girl who narrates the story in the first person, as she grows up. We have the diary of a young man, a doctor, who observes and takes notes of everything as if it was an experiment (and there is something of the mad scientist locked up in the cellar also), there is a woman with magic powers (a witch) who also tells us her story, in a stream-of-consciousness style. There is a sick woman and her companion; they both go to Italy and become embroiled in the story too. There is a young man who’s lost a leg in WWI and is trying to find his bearings. There are not only multiple characters and protagonists, but also different eras. Although the readers senses they must be all related somehow to the family cursed, the Villarcas (if that is what is happening), the connections don’t become clear until the very end. And most of the book we spend wondering who is who and what their role is in the story.

It is a haunting book, not only because of the nature of the story, but because of the beauty and lyricism of the language, and the strong emotions of all the characters who get touched by the ghost (for lack of a better name). The mysterious she of the story has an intense hold on everybody she comes in contact with, no matter how cynical or sceptical they might be to begin with.

The pace of the novel varies depending on the fragment we’re reading, and as I said, so does the style. The language, with many archaic words, is not for easy consumption, and it shows a care an attention to detail not common these days.

Perhaps if I could change anything, I wonder about the ending (not the explanation behind the ghost. I think that’s perfect) and the re-rehearsing of much of what has happened before again from the point of view of the ghost. But then, perhaps that’s right too, as it makes the point stronger.

I wouldn’t say this is a book for everybody, but it is a gem for readers with a taste for the extraordinary, time, patience, and a love of literature. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Catriona Ward.






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