Monday, December 27, 2010

Jane Aiken Hodge: The Master of Penrose

I have run into another novel billed as "A Novel of Gothic Romance" and published in 1967 that is far from gothic romance. It has a nice, creepy cover in blues with an open, lighted window in the castle. The opening pages of the book sucked me in, and I read for about forty pages. Ultimately, though, this novel reads like a historical romance novel, maybe. There are some secrets, but they never get interesting or menacing, and I had figured some of them out quickly.

I put this novel down after fifty pages, figuring life is too short for non-gothic novels. ;)

I'll rate this an unfinished book. Pick it up if you like history of Canada and the U.S. during the early 19th century. Otherwise, I'm not sure it will be your bag with the dearth of suspense and slow developing romance.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Contemporary Gothic Romance Giveaway: Karen White's novels...

Whew! I got all the back logged contest books in the mail today, so several of you should have something to open right after Christmas!

This contest is going to be a 72+ hour one ending on 12/26 at 8am CST. It is for a Karen White novel. White is a novelist who has been writing in the past few years in the gothic romance style; her novels are impressive in terms of page count for the genre, and she would be a new author to try for those of you who have run out of gothic romances to read by your old favorites. I have a new, lovely paperback of hers (it's random) to give away to one blog poster. Just post a comment here if you've read her work (you might mention which one(s), and I can send you one you don't have possibly) or post a comment if you'd like to read her work. Good luck! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holidaze Contest Winner...

Susied is the winner of this contest. Susie, please contact me via email or in a comment in the next 48 hours, and I'll get the pertinent details to send your books on-- in the near future. On that note...

I am sensing that my readers are as busy as I am right now. I do plan to have another contest or two before December ends, but my slow mailing of prizes will continue until then as well. I apologize for that.

I hope you are all having happy holidays. Has anyone had a moment to read anything good? :) I will be posting about a novel billed as gothic romance that I started on but didn't finish in the next day or so.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random Holidaze Contest: Houses in Focus

I am running a bit behind on getting out the last two contest winners' novels. I will get them to you. It just might be slower than usual. :)

The new contest is 72 hours. The winner will receive two gothic novels with houses in the titles in some form: the name of a castle, the ancestral estate, or any abode.

Just make a comment about the importance of the gothic house or interior space in gothic novels (or why you don't think it's important!), and you'll be entered automatically. The contest will end on Dec. 18 at 11pm CST.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Monica Heath: Clerycastle

This novel, published in 1969, is one of Heath's earlier works. I have it in a Signet Double Gothic edition which is pretty neat. This novel is pretty different in quality and sophistication from Calderwood, a later novel I reviewed on this blog. It is obvious that Heath wrote many novels and got better at it over time.  I guess that is the case with most authors if they continue to learn their craft.

In the novel, Starla Shea has come to Ireland to research a biography about her uncle. She is quickly intercepted by the handsome but mysterious Lord McClery who implores her to go with him to Clerycastle and write the family's history. Though he is strangely obsessed with her and insists she is an O'Shea and his wolf ring scares her as do the legends of a woman  killed by a wolf, she goes with him after a scare in a graveyard. From there, mysteries unfold. Is there a wolf prowling the grounds of Clerycastle? Who is Starla's mother? Was she really an O'Shea? And are the intentions of Chavner and his younger twin, Conal McClery, honorable?

Characters: 3/5[ The characters are one dimensional, for the most part. Lord Chavner McClery seemed the most vibrant (and I love that name and Conal McClery as well).]

Plot: 3/5 [I knew pretty early on what was going to happen more or less. That is interesting because Calderwood was the opposite: the ending shocked me. I will say that Heath obviously has a thing for twins. :)]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 3/5 [The wolf thing really worked in the early stages of the novel. Heath can also write a graveyard scene like no other author I know of. Mood and atmosphere were lacking, though, once Starla got to Clerycastle. The novel lacked description of the room she was in (I like to know where the heroine is sleeping!), and that bugged me immediately.]

Literary elements: 2/5 Nah. [This one is pretty fluffy all around.]

Romance: 3/5 [Yeah, I added an element for gothic romance novels; I thought this might be helpful for those of you who choose what to read based on the romance in the book (or more for the romance or equally for romance and gothic elements). This one has some spark in it but it's not that romantic, in my opinion.]

Rating: 2.5+ stars   **.5+

I recommend this one if you like double gothics or wolves. Otherwise, it's pretty weak, but I look forward to reading Return to Clerycastle next.

My daughter is holding the double gothic. Sorry for the blur; I continue to be cheap and not buy another camera phone. ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Josephine Hart: Damage

I am not sure that this novel is a strict Gothic, but Josephine Hart's Damage published in 1991 is dark and tense. I do not recommend it for some of my readers due to sensitive scenes. If you want to know more about that before reading, feel free to email me or comment. The novel is a page turner, and I read it in two days. It is also short at about 195 pages.

I decided to make a list of Gothic elements in the book to see why I might like it and how I could fit it into the blog. I'll eschew a full review in lieu of my list. The novel feels like an urban gothic to me, but it does have country scenes.

secret room/key to it
twisted heroine with secrets and a shameful past
damaged heroine
creepy letter
secret notes
murder/suicide that no one speaks of (or few speak of)
creepy resemblence of a lover to the deceased
strange father/son relationship
family estate in the country (Hartley)
sexual perversion on the part of the heroine and villain

So, this novel does have many Gothic elements, and perhaps that's why I enjoyed it tremendously. I first ran across the story in movie form with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche (two of my favorite actors). If you don't mind graphic details and very dark plots, and you like a book with a high writing style (literary), check the book and the movie out.

Rating: 4 stars  ****

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Raining Men: Tribute Video... warning lots of hot gothic and period piece heroes...

Wow! This video is great and so appropriate for this blog. ;)

Some News to Share

I have some news to share that I'm pretty excited about. I have a gothic romance/romantic suspense novel coming out in April of 2011 in e-book and in September of 2011 in print from Siren Book-Strand.

I credit the Gothicked Blog and all of my readers' and reviewers' comments, reading suggestions, and more for helping me get started on the writing I've always wanted to do. Reading so many of these old favorites and new ones I hadn't read and interacting with all of you helped spur me on in writing. I kept thinking, I've read so many of these, what have I got to lose in trying one myself? The idea only bloomed after blogging here for a a month or so.

I hope you'll take a look at my author site and blog-- in its infancy. I have some information under most of the tabs, and I'll be updating it regularly and keeping my author information over there. Thanks again for reading and joining the conversation. I hope your holidays are very merry and peaceful so far...

My Author Blog

Christmas with the Classics: A Gothicked 48 hour contest

Clark B. won the last contest and will get the two gothics with color coded titles. Clark, please comment here or contact me via email, and I'll send your books along. :)

A new contest starts today and will run through December 8th at 1 a.m. CST. One winner will receive two gothic novels with settings before 1900. If you enjoy older classics or historical gothic romances, this contest is for you.

All you have to do to enter is write a comment on this blog post about why you're a fan of the classics. I can't wait to read your responses!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Colorful Gothics Giveaway...

The first give away will be for two gothic romance novels that have colors in their titles. :) The Whitney novel, Vermillion, is an example of what I mean. The contest will run for 24 hours if you're interested. I will draw a name by 12pm CST tomorrow, 12/3 and contact the winner/post the winner on the blog. Just submit a comment to this blog post, telling me your favorite color to enter the give away!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ghostly Gothics Contest Winner/New Gothic Holidays Random Contests...

The winner of the last contest is Lynn Ward. Lynn, please contact me within 48 hours to claim your prize. :)

For the Christmas/Holiday season, we're going to do something a little different and I hope, fun! From now through Christmas Day, I'll be posting mini contests with a cut off to comment or enter in some fashion. To win, check the blog often (or your RSS feed/facebook, etc) to see what the current contest is. These posts will be random, and the contests might be quick-- say 24-72 hours. Good luck and thanks for reading!
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