All tagged Gothic

Recommendation Tuesday: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Today's recommendation comes from Sandra, who loved Natalie C. Parker's much-buzzed debut, Beware the Wild.

Beware the swampy places, child,
Beware the dark and wild,
Many a soul has wandered there,
And many a soul has died.

Beware the Wild, southern gothic at its best, makes Natalie C. Parker’s debut novel a standout novel. Even better it satisfies a love of the creepy embedded into a story of love, family and friendship in the small town of Sticks, Louisiana where life moves placidly, slowly and uneventfully.

Or, so it seems to its residents who literally suffer from collective memory loss.

Stream-It Saturday: Rectify

I'm always digging around Netflix looking for shows that my husband and I will enjoy watching together. I know it's hard to believe, but he's really not up for yet another re-watch of Friday Night Lights. (I know, I know...)

One of our recent finds is the unusual and captivating Rectify, a six-episode show on the Sundance Channel, now streaming on Netflix. 

Rectify follows Daniel Holden, who's been released from prison after 19 years on death row, for six days following his return to his Georgia hometown. His conviction was vacated due to DNA evidence--which is a critical distinction from exoneration. His conviction wasn't overturned, instead, it was dismissed, meaning that he could theoretically be tried for rape and murder again.

However, guilt or innocence isn't the focus of Rectify.


Evocative Gothic Horror: Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea

Gothic horror wrapped in mystery, intrigue and the supernatural was just the right blend in April Genevieve’s Tucholke’s Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea. And when I finished the final page, I was left tapping my fingers, thinking,

"Sequel, please. Puh-lease. I am not good at waiting. Patience is not a virute."

Well, I'll be waiting for it until August of 2014.

*taps fingers*


Twin teens, Violet and Luke, live alone in the once decadent mansion their grandmother dubbed “Citizen Kane.” Built by their fabulously rich and influential ancestors, Citizen Kane could comfortably settle into an Edgar Allen Poe story. Its wine cellar holds a chilling atmosphere perfect for The Cask of Amontillado.

Citizen Kane sits aloof atop a ridge overlooking the Atlantic, a crumbling tribute to a glorious past and a cold reminder of the depth of despair that is the present reality. The town of Echo situated near the dying mansion looks upon the twins' abode with scorn taking comfort in the downfall of a once rich and powerful family.

Violet and Luke's artistic parents leave them for months at a time while they pursue their dreams in vibrant oils and acrylics inspired by the art and history found only in Europe. "Here's some money," they would say on their way out the door. "Make it last until we return."

The money always lasted until it didn't.

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

 Kami had never wanted to do anything but these two things: discover truth and change the world.

Until I picked up Team Human for book club last month, I’d never read a Sarah Rees Brennan novel. Clearly this was a grave oversight on my part.

Unspoken is a wonderfully unique gothic young adult novel (that’s also—arg!—the first in a series) centered around Kami Glass and her friends in the English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale as they attempt to unravel the mystery behind the Lynburn family, who has recently return after years abroad.

As long as Kami can remember she’s had an imaginary friend, Jared, who she hears in her head. Except it turns out he’s very real. 

I will admit, I was nervous about the premise behind Unspoken—I’m not a fan of the soulmates/deep, unexplain connection trope, especially in YA.

But Brennan takes that concept, the inexplicable connection, and turns it into something fresh. Jarden and Kami’s connection means that they are intimately a part of one another, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awkward and that awkwardness is heightened when they connect in real life. Jared is also an angry teenage boy. His life has been difficult, so being his friend in real-life isn’t that easy for Kami

In fact, Kami and Jared’s connection, and the challenges in negotiating having one another literally each other’s heads, is the most fascinating aspect of Unspoken. Their relationship is different from anything I’ve read in a YA novel. There’s really not any romance to speak of in this book, despite some of the blurbs that mention it being romantic-slash-swoony. It’s more complex than romance, and oddly closer. Kami, who tries her best to plan and be a smart girl, sees their connection as intrusive, yet at times also comforting. Jared, on the other hand, views Kami’s voice in his head as a lifeline out of his troubled family.

And, the contrast between the two makes this all the more interesting. Jared is a bit of a disaster, sort of emotionally stupid and oddly shy. Then we’ve got Kami, who’s all full of confidence and sass and though she’s not the most emotionally intelligent person, she’s pretty good at keeping it all together as well as a teenage girl who fancies herself a hard-hitting investigative journalist can. 

A serious journalist should probably not make so many jokes, but whenever Kami sat down to the computer it was as if the jokes were already there, hiding behind the keys, waiting to spring out at her. 

Editor’s Note: This is a special guest post from my mom. Sandra is a retired high school English teacher with a lot of opinions and a newfound love of YA literature and urban fantasy—she’s a longtime fan of horror, campy mysteries and police procedurals. As a kid, her goal was to grow up to be Nancy Drew, so much so that she carried around a notebook to report on her neighbors’ potential criminal activities.

In my little Pacific Northwest town of the fifties, women stayed home, took care of the house and centered their lives on their families and husbands. Nancy Drew, the brilliant and virtuous sleuth, gave preteen girls a glimpse of another world, of what could be.

Independent and clever, she drove her blue roadster into mysteries that never quit evolving, into places where atmosphere cloaked young girls in other worlds and thrilling tales.

I loved Nancy.

And, I’ve found a new love.