The much beloved fairy tale of Snow White gets a cold, dark twist in this paranormal reinvention by Lanie Goodell. Many elements of the story remain the same, although the reader experiences a heightened sense of sinister suspense as Snow’s true nature is revealed to the reader.
This is definitely not the Disney or children’s storybook version of the story, harking back to the macabre intensity of the fairy tale’s earliest form while adding additional original twists to the tale.
Comfortably read in under an hour, this story was both interesting and darkly entertaining without being too mentally demanding.
‘The Final Act of Mercy Dove’ is a new release Victorian Gothic Horror novella.
This is the story of Mercy Dove.
This is a story of secrets.They hide in the wainscoting where the paint flakes, they slip behind the silk wallpaper. They whisper to the Mistress under cover of nightfall. She knows little else; they are her comfort and her curse.
This is a story of corruption. Of the mind, and the flesh. It sits thick in the air, gathering in corners, loitering at keyholes. Adhering to all who visit, it leaves with them, trailing from their coattails.
This is a story of scandal. Infamy, seduction, and lust. It hovers like a murder of crows, circling the grounds waiting for the invited; the unwitting.
Take a seat; the curtain is about to rise…Let us begin at the end.
Readers should note that there is mature content in this book, so it is recommended for adult audiences only.
In this sequel to ‘13Ways To Midnight’, Echo’s story continues as she tries to realign her priorities and build her life in Port Royal.
Readers will find Echo to be realistically flawed and conflicted, but also admirable in the way she seeks to maintain her personal ethics and integrity. She is a character who challenges readers to consider right from wrong, and to understand that ones actions, even the ones considered to be minor, can have unexpected consequences that still need to be reconciled.
The story is original and unpredictable, keeping the reader guessing and building a sense of anticipation. The story is very appealing for Young Adult readers, with sufficient complexity and interest to engage wider audiences, too.
’13 Ways to Midnight’ is proving to be an excellent series.
It is a rare thing to find a series of books for Young Adult readers that ticks all your favourite boxes: mystery and magic underscored with macabre and gothic elements, strong female characters, quirky twists, and themes and ideas that are universally compelling and interesting for teen and adult readers alike.
Just as it exists in the world-famous Harry Potter series, it exists in The Network Series by Katie Cross. This first book in The Network Series delivers a well-paced, expertly constructed story that ticks all of those boxes and more.
Make no mistake, though: This is no mere imitation. ‘Miss Mabel’s School For Girls’ is original and unique, and the story is thoroughly engaging. The book ends with sufficient resolution to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion while dangling enough magical carrots to leave the reader wanting to just keep reading.
The writing is excellent, creating an environment and atmosphere that is vivid and almost tangible, and propelling the reader into a story full of mystery, suspense and foreboding.
Readers of all ages will find this book hard to put down, and should expect to be left wanting more. Thankfully, there is an entire nine book series, and another fantasy series featuring dragons by the same author, to look forward to.
This is the first of two books thus far in the ‘Wick and Lovelace’ steampunk/gaslamp fiction series, although both Iago Wick and Dante Lovelace both also appear in ‘Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen’.
Similar to life for a tempter such as Iago Wick, this book is never dull. Mystery, adventure, temptation and danger combine to provide a well paced, very entertaining read that hooks the reader early and proceeds to charm them into feeling far more empathy for a demon than most would be willing to consider wise.
Iago and Dante are delightfully devilish, giving the reader an insight into how demons might go about distracting and tempting humans while at the same time being thoroughly charming and polite.
The writing is fluent and witty, vividly bringing to life the Victorian-esque city of Marlowe, Massachusetts, and the spectrum of characters who live there. This is a story laced with dark humour and keen insight into what makes people tick, making it both very readable and deeply fascinating.
Overall, it’s a fabulously wicked and highly recommended read.
A dark and suspenseful story in which foreboding builds gradually until the truths underlying the story are revealed.
This story is evocatively written in a way that draws the reader into the life and mind of the central character as the innocence and natural curiosity of childhood are discarded and replaced by the bleakness of hindsight and the passion of revenge.
‘The House That Evil Made’ is a 10-15 minute read that can be enjoyed over a coffee break or in a few spare minutes, providing a quick but satisfying escape to the reader’s day.
Dark, sinister and brooding, this is a horror story that unfolds powerfully, despite the resistance of both the reader and the characters. Foreboding and suspense combine to intensify the darkness of the imagery and the anticipation of the next twist.
The story is skilfully crafted, using characters who are relatable in their absolute normality, which heightens the tension by emphasising the understanding that the events of the story could happen to anyone.
This is an outstanding horror mystery story. Read it if you dare.
The third in Kerri Maniscalco’s Victorian macabre mystery series, ‘Escaping from Houdini’ is set on the Etruria, a cruise ship travelling from London to New York in 1899 with Audrey Rose Wadsworth, her beau Thomas Cresswell, and Uncle Jonathan Wadsworth aboard.
A series of gruesome murders present this Victorian forensic science team with a series of challenges and mysteries that must be solved before arriving at their destination.
The story is intricate and complex, dark and dangerous, and completely captivating. Themes of distraction, illusion and deception interweave like a macabre carnival dance. The personal consequences and implications for Audrey Rose, Thomas, and other passengers on the ship are compelling, keeping the audience engaged both mentally and emotionally in the drama as it unfolds.
Nicola Barber’s narration is expressive, fluent and most enjoyable. Barber has a definite gift for characterisation and drama that makes her storytelling lively and most enjoyable.
An excellent audiobook experience, ‘Escapting From Houdini’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
When an image on the first page is so beautifully written that it forces the reader to stop and ponder it, one knows they are in for a literary treat.
‘The Apple Tree Throne’ is one such story: wonderfully evocative and beautifully written, making use of rich images that linger in the mind and invite one’s thoughts back in quiet moments.
The Gothic elements of the story – storms, dreams and apparitions – add another layer of complexity and imagery that provides darker contrast to the often whimsical and sentimental tone of the writing.
This is an often wistful story that immerses the reader into the experiences of Lieutenant Benjamin Braddock, a returned soldier who has a new life thrust upon him while still trying to deal with the remnants of the old one. Therein lies his challenge: he must reconcile himself with the ghosts of the past in order to move ahead.
The fruit of war wounds and indelible memories, Braddock’s emotional and mental state is portrayed with gentleness and empathy, so that the reader gains as much understanding of his complex character and his desire for integrity as they do of his struggle to accept things as they are.
The setting is very English, in an era that, while it feels like the end of the 19th century because electricity is relatively new and wars are still being fought with muskets and swords, is entirely fictional: the monarchy has long been done away with and England has become a republic, although social classes and wealthy people with large estates still exist.
This is a most enjoyable book. Light and dark are very well balanced, and the overall tone is positive. It would suit readers of Clasic literature and poetry, and any who enjoy a thought-provoking story that is both well-crafted and entertaining.
‘The Apple Tree Throne’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.