Friday, October 16, 2020

ARC Review: Gothika: Tales of Love and the Supernatural by Eli Easton

Gothika: Tales of Love and the SupernaturalFrom the blurb:

Immerse yourself in four tales of love and gothic horror in this anthology by Eli Easton. Each story is novella length.

"Reparation" On the harsh planet of Kalan, weakness is not tolerated. When young spore farmer Edward suffers a carriage accident that kills his mail-order bride and his factory manager, Edward has little chance of survival, until Knox—an enormous “reconstitute” slave—plucks him from disaster. Recons are part machine, part human remains from executed Federation prisoners. But Knox is different from other recons. He can read and has flashes of brilliance. With no one else to rely on over the bleak winter, Edward forms an alliance with Knox, and against social taboos, they become friends. Edward struggles against his growing lust for the large humanoid, and while Knox thrives in his new life, memories of his past torment him. A twist of fate brought Knox and Edward together, but there will be a price to pay in blood when they learn how deeply their lives truly intersect

“The Bird” Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits?

“Among the Dead” Ever since his accident, Neil Gaven sees dead people. He’s isolated himself, unable to bear the constant barrage of sadness and grief. But a gentle ghost grabs his attention on the bus one day. He seems to understand, to have some secret to impart. Neil works to interpret the ghost’s clues. Then they lead him to Trist, a homeless young man who is also tormented by spirits. Are they two of a kind? Maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead.

"The Black Dog" Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.

Heather's rating: 

Final overall rating, 4 stars. A beautiful set of supernatural stories, even though some had some flaws. A great read for fans of something sweet and spooky at the same time.

Reparation- 3.5 stars
Beautifully written, but the slavery aspect made me extremely uncomfortable. I couldn't get past it, even at the end. I thought the story gave a great sense of atmosphere, and I felt the chilling, barren vibe of the world, but I didn't enjoy the power imbalance. Still, it showcased Eli Easton's writing talents.

The Bird- 4 stars
This is a gorgeous, creepy, powerful story that takes place at a Jamaican planation during British rule. The romance knocked my socks off, but I knocked a full star off of this one due to some racist undertones. Yes, I know that the MC is a plantation owner and he might view his servants certain way due to the time period, but I struggled with a few of the descriptions. Really rubbed me the wrong way, and I know it's just a few words here or there, but I wish the author had just omitted those elements. Aside from that, the story was perfect for the Gothika collection.
Among the Dead- 4 stars
I really enjoyed this magical realism story. Some spooky elements with all of the dead people and a few emotional moments, but it never got into the realm of extremely sad or extremely upsetting. I got very into the story, and I had a hard time putting it down. Truly, just a well done story with some surprises and a lovely, though very quick, romance.

The Black Dog- 4 stars
Another winner to round off the anthology! I really enjoyed this one, and a huge Scottish man with a brogue is never a bad thing. The romance moved a little quickly, which is to be expected in a story of this length, but I loved the cast of characters and the feel of the small, Scottish town. A few twists and turns to keep things exciting. A winner.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Enjoy, everyone!

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