Gothic fiction perfect for my Halloween reads

One Gothic horror story and four Gothics that lean more toward romance

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

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My definition of Gothic fiction leans more toward romance than horror. The last four books which I read as a young adult are in that mode. They have some mystery, secrets, spookiness, romance and a female protagonist who doesn’t know who to trust and worries she may have fallen in love with the wrong person! Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is probably the first book of that type I read.

I read The Stranger Diaries last week and as I read it I thought, “this is my perfect book for Halloween.” It is a Gothic story within a police procedural. That made me think of the Gothic fiction I read when I was a young adult. And that is what the four other books I talk about today all are. But they are good books to read for Halloween if you just want a few chills and don’t want something too scary!

The Stranger Diaries is a police procedural, but the Gothic story “The Stranger” by R.M. Holland is gradually told throughout the book along with the modern murder mystery. That story is more in the Gothic horror genre, but perhaps because I read it gradually it didn’t scare me.

R.M. Holland is central to the book since he lived during the 1800’s in one of the buildings which is now a school where much of the book takes place. One of the characters in the book is an English teacher at the school and is writing a book about Holland.

Rebecca and Jane Eyre are two of the first Gothics I read. They are both considered classics.

I read and enjoyed most of Daphne du Maurier’s books during my teen years.

I read quite a few of Barbara Michaels’s books though I liked her Elizabeth Peters’s books better since they were more mysteries and less Gothic and/or supernatural. I especially enjoyed her Amelia Peabody series with Egyptology and mysteries central to the stories.

However, I remember enjoying The Master of Blacktower quite a bit when I read it!

Mary Stewart was also a great favorite of mine. I loved her adventure stories about young women in places like England, France or some other European country I dreamed of visiting. They had mysteries and danger and some were Gothics, but all were exciting and took me to new worlds.

Nine Coaches Waiting was one of the more Gothic novels of Mary Stewart’s I remember.

I read many of Victoria Holt’s books as a young adult. If I remember correctly most all of her books could be classified as Gothics. They have romance and suspense intertwined with scary looking lonely mansions. The young women in these books are often governesses so they are on their own with the child in a mansion with sometimes hostile servants and the arrogant often secretive and haunted father or guardian.

Do you like Gothic fiction? Do you tend more towards the horror instead of romance (that might turn to horror)? Have you read any of these books or authors?

April 2019 books on my list

books-on-my-list

 

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

March 26

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Series: Teixcalaan #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Mystery

464 pages

Synopsis: Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

March 28 (April 4 for Kindle edition)

Fluffy’s Revolution by Ted Myers

Series: Unknown

Published by Black Rose Writing

Genre: Science Fiction

142 pages

Synopsis: It’s 2135. Fluffy is a super-intelligent GAB (Genetically Altered Brain) cat. Like many dogs, cats, mice, and the occasional pig, her brain is the product of genetic tinkering by humans that started more than a century ago. With their powers of telekinesis, the animals can manipulate physical objects without being able to grasp them. They can speak to each other telepathically without audible voices. Now, people have begun to fear them and to systematically capture and exterminate them. Fluffy leaves the safety of her home to look for her lost brother and joins a band of animal revolutionaries. After a series of brushes with death, Fluffy and her friends find a secret university for GAB animals. There, they work with enlightened humans to save Earth from certain destruction. 

April 2

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Series: Unknown

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Series: Unknown

Published by DAW

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

400 pages

Synopsis: Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly–and inconveniently–invested in the lives of the locals.

April 8

Scot & Soda by Catriona McPherson

Series: Last Ditch Mystery #2

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: Now settled in her little houseboat, moored in the slough at the back of the Last Ditch Motel, Lexy Campbell wants nothing more than to build her counseling business, avoid her mother’s phone calls and–who knows?–meet a nice guy. But when she throws a Halloween party for her motley crew of motel pals, the only single man is too old for her, too wrapped up in the case of beer chilling in the slough, and–oh, yes–too dead.

The sensible choice is to leave it up to the cops to identify the body and catch the killer. So faster than you can say “Tam O’Shanter,” Lexy and her friends jump into the case themselves, delving deep into their town’s past for the roots of a mystifying crime.

April 9

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

Series: Unknown

Published by HQN

Genre: Women’s Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.

Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.

April 16

The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

Series: Unknown

Published by Swoon Books

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult

352 pages

Synopsis: 1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

Winds of Marque by Bennett R. Coles

Series: Blackwood Virtue #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

368 pages

Synopsis: The first novel in an exciting science fiction series—Master and Commander in space—a swashbuckling space adventure in which a crew of misfit individuals in the king’s navy are sent to dismantle a dangerous ring of pirate raiders.

In a dense star cluster, the solar winds blow fiercely. The star sailing ship HMSS Daring is running at full sheet with a letter of marque allowing them to capture enemy vessels involved in illegal trading. Sailing under a false flag to protect the ship and its mission, Daring’s crew must gather intelligence that will lead them to the pirates’ base.

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Series: None

Published by HQ

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

384 pages

Synopsis: For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover – movies and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences…

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted – not even those closest to her. But who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora – and why?

April 23

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

Series: Unknown

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic

384 pages

Synopsis: My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came. There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point? 

 Ragged Alice by Gareth L. Powell

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

208 pages

Synopsis: Orphaned at an early age, DCI Holly Craig grew up in the small Welsh coastal town of Pontyrhudd. As soon as she was old enough, she ran away to London and joined the police. Now, fifteen years later, she’s back in her old hometown to investigate what seems at first to be a simple hit-and-run, but which soon escalates into something far deadlier and unexpectedly personal—something that will take all of her peculiar talents to solve.

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #2

Published by Saga Press

Genre: Urban Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.

April 25

Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #10

Published by Headline

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

480 pages

Synopsis: You can’t change History. History doesn’t like it. There are always consequences.

Max is no stranger to taking matters into her own hands. Especially when she’s had A Brilliant Idea. Yes, it will mean breaking a few rules, but – as Max always says – they’re not her rules.

Seconded to the Time Police to join in the hunt for the renegade Clive Ronan, Max is a long way from St Mary’s. But life in the future does have its plus points – although not for long.

April 30

Staging is Murder by Grace Topping

Series: Laura Bishop Mystery #1

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Cozy Mystery

262 pages

Synopsis: Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, removing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Thread on Arrival by Lea Wait

Series: Mainely Needlepoint #8

Published by Kensington

Genre: Cozy Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he’s fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who’s new in town. Angie’s convinced that young Leo is innocent–but if he didn’t do it, who did? 

 

What books are you excited about this month?

August books on my radar . . .

RadarEach month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and other times by a new author I might try.

I don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read and sometimes these new books have high prices 😦

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books and I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too!

Note: This post is almost a week late. I had it almost complete last week before I traveled to Iowa, but lost the post. 😦

Then we left for the North Woods of Wisconsin for a wonderful long weekend, but we didn’t have internet access plus we were all too busy to spend time on the internet. 🙂

July 29

I thought this book came out in August so I missed it in my July list. However, I’ve already bought the book. Ilona Andrews is an auto-buy author for me and I love this series. I’m saving the book for a few days so I can savor it.

magicbreaksMagic Breaks

by Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels series #7

Published by Ace Hardcover

Genre: Urban Fantasy

381 pages

Synopsis: As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

August 5

This sounds very good. And it’s the first in the series. That’s always nice!

dust-and-lightDust and Light

by Carol Berg

Series: The Sanctuary Duet #1

Published by Roc Trade

Genre: Fantasy

464 pages

Synopsis: How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her….After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.

But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad—and mad sorcerers are very dangerous….

Unlike Dust and Light (see above) this is book 2 of a series I haven’t started yet, but I’ve heard great things. Book 1–Masks–came out last August.

shadows03Shadows

by E. C. Blake

Series: Masks of Aygrima #2

Published by DAW Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy

304 pages

Synopsis: In Masks, Mara Holdfast’s life changed forever. As the daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, she had a clearly defined future: a quiet, ordered life in the capital, making Masks with her father and doing work important to the ruling Autarch. But when her Mask, specially made by her own father, cracked and fell to pieces during her Masking ceremony, Mara was exiled from everything she once knew. Soon, she becomes part of an underground rebellion, rejecting the unjust rules of a Masked society and uncovering a horrifying plot of mind control over the entire population of the empire.

In a moment of crisis, Mara finds herself possessed of a volatile magical power that neither she nor any of her allies can truly control. In Shadow, Mara faces terrifying new challenges and dangers as she struggles to understand her unprecedented ability to use all types of magic—and to tear magic from the living bodies of those around her. With the arrival of Chell, a young man from across the sea, the world beyond the borders of the Autarchy of Aygrima begins to make itself felt. Then an act of brutality tips Mara dangerously close to madness…and in the midst of a desperate and bloody battle, she discovers just how horrifying her power can be….

I enjoy this historical mystery series. It takes place in 1930’s Great Britain. The mysteries are fairly light-hearted and Georgiana is a fun heroine.  However, I’m not up-to-date with this series yet. 😦 So I will wait to read this one until I get caught up!

queen-of-heartsQueen of Hearts

by Rhys Bowen

Series: Royal Spyness #8

Published by Berkley Hardcover

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Lady Georgiana Rannoch, thirty-fifth in line for the British throne, knows how to play the part of an almost royal—but now she’s off to Hollywood, where she must reprise her role as sleuth or risk starring in an all-too-convincing death scene …

My mother, the glamorous and much-married actress, is hearing wedding bells once again—which is why she must hop across the pond for a quickie divorce in Reno. To offer my moral support, and since all expenses are paid by her new hubby-to-be, Max, I agree to make the voyage with her.

Crossing the Atlantic, with adventure in the air and wealthy men aboard, Mother all but forgets about Max and matrimony—especially when movie mogul Cy Goldman insists on casting her in his next picture.

Meanwhile, I find myself caught up in the secret investigation of a suspected jewel thief. Lucky for me, the lead investigator happens to be my dashing beau, Darcy!

Mother’s movie and Darcy’s larceny lead everyone to Cy’s Hollywood home, where the likes of Charlie Chaplin are hanging about and there’s enough romantic intrigue to fill a double feature. But we hardly get a chance to work out the sleeping arrangements before Cy turns up dead—as if there wasn’t enough drama already…

August 12

I bought the first book in this series. It sounds like a good new urban fantasy series and I plan to read Dirty Magic (book one) this month.

cursed-moonCursed Moon

by Jaye Wells

Series: Prospero Wars #2

Published by Orbit

Genre: Urban Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.

August 14

I still need to read book 1–Between the Devil and the Deep Blue. They both sound good and I love the names.

betwwen-the-spark-and-burnBetween the Spark and the Burn

by April Genevieve Tucholke

Series: Between #2

Published by Dial

Genre: Gothic Horror, Romance, Fantasy

320 pages

Synopsis: Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .

August 26

John Scalzi is already one of my favorite authors even though I read my first book by him in 2014. Every book I’ve read by him since then has been great!

lock-inLock In

by John Scalzi

Series: None

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

320 pages

Synopsis: Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn’t seem like a lot. But in the United States, that’s 1.7 million people “locked in”…including the President’s wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse….

This sounds like a good start for a new series.

storm-sirenStorm Siren

by Mary Weber

Series: Storm Siren #1

Published by Thomas Nelson / Harper Collins

Genre: Fantasy

320 pages

Synopsis: “I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

 

The books I plan to buy this month:

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Dust and Light by Carol Berg

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Lock In by John Scalzi

What new releases are you planning to buy this month?