Tag: Gothic

Review: Dark Desires by Eve Silver

Posted May 8, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dark Desires by Eve SilverReviewer: Holly
Dark Desires by Eve Silver
Series: Dark Gothic #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 5, 2016
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Gothic, Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

"A dark and delicious gothic. I gobbled it up in a single sitting. Oh, how I have missed books like this!"--New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he's a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances ... and the murders.

With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man ... or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?

..".beguiling gothic tale..."--Bookpage

Dark Desires by Eve Silver is the first book in her Dark Gothic series. It’s currently free for Kindle. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for ages. I love Gothic novels. I was looking for something dark and decided to give it a try.

Darcie Finch is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who lost his fortune. Though she has the manners of a lady, she was betrayed by the person she held most dear and she’s now penniless and alone. Forced to be a maid-of-all-work, she accepts a position with Dr. Damien Cole, despite the dark rumors she’s heard about him. When he discovers her artistic abilities, he makes her his assistant. As she gets to know the doctor she struggles with her doubts and suspicions about him, and his strange comings and goings. The more she comes to care for him, the more she wonders if he’ll be her savior…or the death of her.

Dark Desires had a good creep factor, with the dark doctor doing nefarious things, creepy carriage house and pounding rain storms. There’s even a nod to Jack the Ripper. I wasn’t as fully invested in the characters and I’d hoped to be, and I kept waiting for a big twist that didn’t come. I enjoyed the romance, but I wish the characters had been developed a bit more.

Though this wasn’t a favorite read, I will be continuing on with the series. I’ve heard great things about Silver. I’m sure things only get better from here.

3.25 out of 5

I love these covers.

Dark Gothic

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Dark Lady by Maire Claremont

Posted February 15, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Dark Lady by Maire ClaremontReviewer: Tracy
The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) by Maire Claremont
Series: Mad Passions #1
Also in this series: The Dark Affair
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: January 16th 2013
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 313
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor...

Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

Viscount Ian Blake returns to England after three years in India. He is anxious to return to the home he grew up in as he’s not sure what his welcome will be by his childhood friend Eva. When he gets to the house, however, what he finds is quite shocking. He finds Eva gone, her son dead and her dead husbands brother as the Lord of the Manor. Ian finally gets out of Thomas (the current Lord) that Eva was put into an asylum because she went mad after the deaths of her husband and son in such short succession. Ian is determined to get Eva out of the mad house and goes there acting as if he is Thomas.

Ian manages to get Eva out (and almost get her friend Mary as well but that didn’t work out) and he heads off to try and keep Eva away from the asylum thugs that are looking for her to take her back and to keep her away from the Laudanum that she’s become addicted to.

Eva wants nothing but to forget. She hates herself for killing her son and feels she deserves to be in the mad house. Ian tries to make her see that it’s not her fault but he has guilt aplenty about Eva’s dead husband, Hamilton, who was also Ian’s best friend. Ian sets out with a friend of his to prove that Eva isn’t crazy and that will get her out from under Thomas’s thumb. He tries to hide his love for Eva along the way but can’t quite manage it when she’s in such close proximity at all times.

This book started off really good. I was completely into Ian finding Eva and what he needed to do to get Eva out of the asylum. Even not long after that when they stopped for the night and they had it out about Eva’s Laudanum usage and she almost got herself killed trying to get a fix. Shortly after that the book went downhill for me.

Yes, the book was dark and gothic but the guilt that both Eva and Ian carried with them brought the story down to an almost depressing level. I was unimpressed with the constant inner fighting they both did with themselves and the slow pace that the book took on because of it. During the middle of the book I almost put it down completely but kept reading. I’m not sure I’m happy I did. Yes, everyone was happy in the end and it all worked out for everyone (almost too smoothly) but the getting to that point, for me, wasn’t worth the time spent.

I’m giving this story a slightly higher grade than I normally would just for the first part of the book, Mary’s part (which was small but awesome) and Ian’s friend’s involvement as those parts saved the book for me.  I think this is one that you have to read in order to decide on for yourself.  I looked at Goodreads and apparently, I’m in the minority on my rating so if you read it let me know what you think.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place.

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Mere Mortals by Erastes

Posted September 25, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames’ review of Mere Mortals by Erastes.

Orphaned Crispin Thorne has been taken as ward by Philip Smallwood, a man he’s never met, and is transplanted from his private school to Smallwood’s house on an island on the beautiful but coldly remote, Horsey Mere in Norfolk.

Upon his arrival, he finds that he’s not the only young man given a fresh start. Myles Graham, and Jude Middleton are there before him, and as their benefactor is away, they soon form alliances and friendships, as they speculate on why they’ve been given this new life. Who is Philip Smallwood? Why has he given them such a fabulous new life? What secrets does the house hold-and what is it that the Doctor seems to know?

Mere Mortals was a very interesting gothic tale. Right from the beginning we are immersed in this mysterious, dark, almost foreboding atmosphere.  Told from Crispin’s point of view, I was intrigued with the mystery and loved how the setting (Norfolk countryside) really played a key role in the story.

Crispin is an orphan and has been raised in a boarding school.  When he was caught with another boy, he thought for sure he’d be booted out with nothing to his name.  But such was not the case.  Crispin became the ward of the mysterious Phillip Smallwood and after completing his final year at school, Crispin went to live with his benefactor, a man whom he’d never met.

When he arrives in Bittern’s Reach, Crispin meets two other young men whom Phillip became benefactors to:  Jude Middleton and Myles Graham. And it’s not too long before Crispin realizes both these men prefer the company of other men as well.  And then they meet their mysterious benefactor.  Phillip quickly sets their schedules up-they are to continue schooling, but they will also receive training in other areas, to be young gentleman.  He even decides on their clothing.  Despite this regimented schedule, the men do have a certain freedom on Phillip’s estate.  Unfortunately for them, living in Norfolk, to go anywhere else, they need to travel by boat.  Keeps them isolated.

As the story progresses, the setting and atmosphere really work well together to engender a feeling of quiet menace below the surface of their lives.  There’s something off a bit with the way everything is going down and Crispin isn’t quite sure what.  And the what is a bit of a surprise.  I was so engrossed in Crispin’s tale and since it’s from his point of view we only have the same clues he does to work with.  I thought it all came together in a satisfying way.  I really enjoyed Crispin’s character and thought the other characters were well done too.  But the real star of this novel was the setting.  Erastes did such a good job of placing us in that Norfolk countryside.  That really set the mood for the story, and not in an obvious way.

If you’re in the mood for a gothic historical m/m, I recommend Mere Mortals. 4 out of 5

This book is available from Lethe Press. You can buy it here in e-format.


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Lightning Review: The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan

Posted January 12, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Holly‘s review of The Scarletti Curse by Christine Feehan

Strange, twisted carvings and hideous gargoyles adorned the palazzo of the great Scarletti family. But a still more fearful secret lurked within its storm-tossed turrets. For every bride who entered its forbidding walls was doomed to leave in a casket.

Mystical and unfettered, Nicoletta had no terror of ancient curses and no fear of marriage…until she looked into the dark, mesmerizing eyes of Don Scarletti. She had sworn no man would command her, had thought her gift of healing set her apart, but his was the right to choose a bride from among his people. And he had chosen her.

Compelled by duty, drawn by desire, she gave her body into his keeping, and prayed the powerful, tormented don would be her heart’s destiny, and not her soul’s demise.

I don’t like this book as much as I like Lair of the Lion, but it’s still a good read. I like that Feehan really addresses maidenly modesty here. Too often in historical romance novels the heroines are perfectly comfortable to strip naked for their men – or any discomfort they feel at being naked and wanton is soon forgotten in the glory of the Big O. But that isn’t realistic – a woman’s sense of modestly, especially during historical times, isn’t so easy to overcome. Feehan really showcases the issue here, leaving the heroine with regrets, doubts and many self-recriminations for her sexual behavior. She doesn’t take it overboard, but it inserts just the touch of reality into the story.

I also like the practicality the heroine, Nicoletta, shows. She isn’t given a choice about her marriage, but she does her best to work with what she’s got. I did find myself becoming frustrated with the way the hero, Giovanni, acted, however. His “me man, you woman” routine got old early in the book, as did the way he constantly brushed her aside, ignoring her concerns and fears. He was redeemed in the end, however, because once he opened up and committed himself, he was all in.

This is a dark read, so don’t go into it expecting something light. There are also paranormal elements and things that go bump in the night..all of which make for a fascinating, if at times frustrating, tale.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Leisure Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Lightening Review: Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan

Posted January 11, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Holly‘s review of Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan

Impoverished aristocrat Isabella Vernaducci will defy death itself to rescue her imprisoned brother. She’ll even brave the haunted, accursed lair of the lion–the menacing palazzo of legendary, lethal Don Nicolai DeMarco. Rumor says the powerful don can command the heavens, that the beasts below do his bidding…and that he is doomed to destroy the woman he takes as his wife.

But Isabella meets a man whose growl is velvet, purring heat, whose eyes hold dark, all-consuming desire. And when the don commands her to become his bride, she goes willingly into his muscled arms, praying she’ll save his tortured soul…not sacrifice her life.

I adore this book. Feehan’s writing style is perfectly suited for gothic novels. Although I generally hate how domineering her heroes are vs how limp her heroines are, this book is a huge exception. Right from the beginning they start out on even ground. The heroine is the beauty, strong and caring, with a solid streak of honesty that makes her stand out. The hero is the tortured beast who knows he shouldn’t keep the heroine for himself but can’t seem to walk away from her.

Everything about this novel works for me. The dark and gloomy castle, the strange howling in the night, the ghosts, the beasts, the dark and stormy weather. But mostly it’s the romance I love. I love that Nicolai falls in love with Isabella in spite of his good intentions, and that Isabella brings out the best in him. They way they care for each other is fabulous, and really brings home what romance is all about. All-in-all a great read.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Leisure Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


Tagged: , , , , , ,