Tag Archives: gothic

black forest banner

Book Review: Black Forest, by Laramie Dean

I accepted a review copy of Laramie Dean’s Black Forest for review through Pride Book Tours. And I try really hard to stay on top of any commitment I make. But I owe profuse apologies for this one. I got buried in schoolwork and just had to set the book aside for about two weeks and didn’t get it done in time. It sat on my side table, haunting me in a manner truly worthy of its content.

black forest cover

Nathan has always been haunted by what he calls “deaders,” frightening, disfigured creatures—once human but now hungry and relentless ghosts. After a séance to banish them goes awry, Nathan escapes high school to start over at Waxman University in idyllic Garden City, Montana. But when young men begin to go missing from campus, Nathan finds that the deaders have returned, more frightening and hungrier than ever.

With the help of the mysterious Theo, Nathan seeks to learn the truth behind the disappearances. But something worse than the deaders begins to haunt Nathan . . . something with glowing yellow eyes and giant wings. As reality grows thin, things emerge from the cracks. Is Theo what he seems? Or could he be some kind of monster? Will Nathan learn the truth before he vanishes into the darkness? 

my review

I’m torn about how to feel about this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it. I liked the realness of it and Nathan’s unreliable self-destructiveness. I thought the writing purple as hell, which will probably bother some people, but I enjoy it. But on the other, I felt like (after a strong start) the book flagged, and I got bored.

Plus, the blurb talks about Theo and disappearances, etc. Theo and Nathan don’t truly meet until well PAST THE HALFWAY MARK. So, I have to quibble with that being in the blurb as if it’s the most significant plotline. It’s important, don’t get me wrong. But if I have to read 200+ pages before I get to it, I can’t consider it prime real estate blurb-worthy.

All in all, this is atmospheric and mind-bending (if at times mind-numbing). But I enjoyed more of it than I didn’t. So, I’ll give it a thumbs-up.

Other Reviews:

Black Forest by Laramie Dean _ Book Review


the hollow gods banner

Book Review: The Hollow Gods, by A. J. Vrana

A.J. Vrana‘s The Hollow Gods‘ sequel, The Echoed Realm, was featured on Sadie’s Spotlight a while back. The post included some absolutely gorgeous art for the series and I’ve seen even more since then. (I mean check out the covers of these special edition copies!) Beautiful! So, I borrowed an audio copy of The Hollow Gods through Hoopla to give the series a shot. It was narrated by Eva Kaminsky.

audio cover the hollow gods

Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret.

For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.

When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.

Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?

And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.

A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?

my review

I liked this quite a lot. I’ll admit it wasn’t quite as intense as I’d expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. It was very atmospheric.

I liked the way Kai never truly tried to act human and how Miya accepted him for it all the same. And I liked the way Miya showed vulnerability, but also wasn’t a pushover and Kai appreciated that about her. I understood Mason’s difficulty and obsessive need to find answers. Though I thought his reluctance to believe lasted well past when it should have.

The prose is a little on the purple side. But I have a pretty high tolerance for that, often enjoying writing others complain about being too full of adjectives, similes, and metaphors. The story also wrapped around itself in a pleasant way, coming full circle and concluding nicely. But I never quite grasped The First’s motives, Madrix’s but not The Firsts. (I’m not certain I spelled that name right, since I never saw it in writing.)

All in all, I plan to read the second book too. But I’m not leaping straight in at the moment.

The holllow gods photo

Other Reviews:


The Hollow Gods by A. J. Vrana – Review & Blog Tour



The New Man

Book Review of The New Man, by Jeffrey Welker

I received a copy of The New Man from the author, Jeffrey Welker.

Description from Goodreads:
Found documents in a medieval Polish ruin reveal strange secrets from a past best forgotten. The eternal struggle to transcend the limitations of the human body and the human consciousness is no modern invention. Travel the ancient world with the deeply flawed and deeply curious Duke of Masovia as he perfects his art – the art of science, the art of alchemy, the art of necromancy – whatever it takes to achieve the ultimate goal: The New Man

Slow but enjoyable. It has a definite gothic horror feel. Imagine Victor Frankenstein had never found his moral compass and never saw the arrogance in playing god with the creation of life. Now give him the funds and resources to follow his experiments to their full, bloody conclusions. You will have Duke Siemowit II of Masivia. He is one scary son of gun.

But the diaries on which the book is based are his. So the gruesome tale is told entirely from his calm, collected, dispassionate point of view. He never flinches from his own depravities, in fact doesn’t even see them as problematic. Hundreds died at his hands, but it’s all in the name of ‘science,’ as far as he’s concerned. It’s chilling, his disregard for human life.

The writing is clean and easily readable, for the most part. I got REALLY tired of footnotes, though. They were interesting and definitely gave this work of fiction a more believable mien, but they became disruptive after a while.

All in all, a good read. It was slow, so I wouldn’t call it a page turner. But it’s thought provoking and for those who enjoy the gothic, this is worth picking up.