Dark and sad, Paige Dearth brings out a part of life that many don’t see, in her book When Smiles Fade!

About the Book:

When Smiles Fade

Emma’s father’s coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

 My Thoughts:

What would you do if your only option to survive is to do anything? Would you resort to killing the people who hurt you to protect the ones you love? What does it mean to be hated and hurt? How do you live in a family devoid of the basic emotion that connects them, love and trust? How does your upbringing shape who you ultimately become?

These are the kind of questions that this book raises and answers in some ways. There cannot be a right answer, it’s more of a perspective which the author brings out in a gentle manner. This is required when dealing with topics of abuse and hurt. Paige Dearth introduces us to Emma and her younger sister, who are subject to severe abuse from their father, with a mother who turns the other way through all this. To be frank, it is expected that the children will be traumatized, and that is putting it mildly. These experiences can change a person and the author portrays the same through the protagonist, Emma. She is strong-willed and resourceful while at the same time has a pleasing personality. It becomes difficult to dislike her or condemn her actions when she is after all doing her best to survive.

The people the sisters encounter along the way leave profound impacts on their lives. Some help them and end up becoming life long friends while the others end up somewhere in a ditch, and that’s putting it mildly. Everyone craves normalcy and a mundane life at times and the sisters are no different. However, tragedy seems to strike  so many times, it’s a wonder that they still find reasons to smile. In the end, Emma has the last laugh, but it was worth it all.

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The final question of “Will she find redemption and be happy?” is answered and I really enjoyed the way the story ended. It proved that Emma is a survivor and this is an inspiring thought. There is a lot to learn and understand in this book and I strongly recommend the same to all.

Book Review: The Laws of Nature by Ashley Franz Holzmann

About the Book:

Image result for the laws of nature Ashley Franz Holzmann

There is a dark side to human nature that neither can be wished away nor completely mitigated. Ashley Holzmann details just several of these “Laws of Nature” before taking his readers on a journey through the bizarre, the terrifying, and, ultimately, the disturbingly real truths that underlie much of modern American life.

Ashley makes his debut into the horror genre with “The Stump,” a story about an afternoon trot through the woods that quickly becomes a blood bath–and, much as it does for that story’s creature, the scent of fear will only lure veteran horror readers further through the forest. A teenager’s vanity will likely cause his town to be consumed by a roaming swarm of insects that burst forth from his acne-riddled skin in “White Heads;” entire populations vanish into the void of the Alaskan tundra in “Glass Houses;” and superiority takes the form of a murdering, sadistic woman in “Lady Macbeth.”

But Ashley’s best retellings focus less on gore and adrenaline and instead take human psychology as their medium, as demonstrated in “Plastic Glasses,” where readers are brought into a world of disturbing personality and mental disorders. Ashley’s work abounds with stories in this vein, stories which grab a hold of a common failing–such as marital friction in “Hush,” or American male frustration in “Orpheus’s Lot”–and take it to an extreme that is nevertheless not inconceivable for most people.

Coming from the mind of a man who has experienced more than his fair share of humanity, “The Laws of Nature” is, at its finest, a description of universal emotions of loss, nostalgia, anxiety, and soul-penetrating terror. Ashley’s stories elicit empathy from his readers and draw them into worlds where they both acknowledge and cuddle with their fears and which leave them, ultimately, more human.

My Thoughts:

Stemming from real life experiences to stories of fiction, this anthology of short stories explores the human psych and the genre of horror. The stories are diverse and the author focuses on fear as one of the main points of many of his stories. It is difficult to pick up or pin-point any one story as they are all similar and different in many ways. The author writes in an abstract style, sometimes seeming to be impersonal. Many of the stories are in first person and the rest a narration. Murder, hate, suicide, fear, life and finally the human psych are some of the topics explored through the stories.

The author will force the reader to think and experience each of the feelings through the stories and inspire them to think. There is so much food for thought and introspection. As a result of reading this anthology, the reader will come away affected, but much more human, stemming from a realization of sorts. It is difficult to describe this as it will differ from person to person, but it is clear that the reader will experience a vast number of emotions in this collection of stories.

Read this for a rare and interesting experience.

Book Review: Fraternity of Fractures by Mark Pannebecker

About the Book:

Fraternity of Fractures

Justin Sunder and Phoenix are master cat burglars and best friends until Dylan Panicosky enters their circle of hedonism and crime. Set in the blighted city of St. Louis in the ‘80s, Fraternity of Fractures is a love triangle played out in an urban setting full of nocturnal adventures, drugs, sex, and danger, with all the players fractured in their own way.

My Thoughts:

This is a rather dark story that delves into the minds of people and shows us the ways of criminals. The author portrays crime as an art, describing it with great care and attention to detail.

Initially, it took me a while to get into the story as it was a little confusing. The style of writing is very different and the characters themselves, though clear about their lives are confusing. After a while, it became easier to settle into the story and follow the lives of the characters. There are a variety of character types in this story adding more color to the general mix and helping to setup the scenes.

One thing that stuck with me was the way the author played out the love triangle. It was masterfully crafted with a clear direction. The author does not beat around the bush and make it a messy affair. The focus on crime is the basis on which the rest of the plot is built and the turn of events eventually will give the reader the kind of closure that one can come to expect from this author’s style of writing.

An overall interesting experience, this story delivers what it set out to, with a mix of crime, romance and some dark humour thrown into the mix. It is from a rather different perspective having characters who are flawed just like we are, making it easy to relate to them and understand what makes them tick. Once you get used to the writing, and look past all the heavy description, the story is worth the read!

Book Review: Amelia’s Children by Greta Cribbs

About the Book:

Amelia's Children

In 1985 Amelia Davis is brutally murdered in the woods outside of Laurel Hill. Her killer is never caught. Thirty years later, David Jenson comes to town on what he calls “personal business”, though he won’t tell anyone what that business is. Could he have some connection to the town’s most infamous cold case?

Sarah Hathaway has just returned to her hometown in the wake of a failed acting career. When she meets David she is immediately drawn to him, but it is the mystery of what exactly brought him to Laurel Hill that keeps her up at night. Determined to find the answer, she embarks on a journey into the unknown that will change her life forever. Along the way she discovers truths about Amelia’s death that prove more sinister than anyone ever could have imagined.

Find the book on

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26872424-amelia-s-children

Amazon.in: http://amzn.to/2e37WM7

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Amelias-Children-Greta-Cribbs-ebook/dp/B01663954Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1477887054&sr=8-1

My Thoughts:

I am rather hesitant when it comes to reading books in the genre of paranormal fiction. I have read only a few books in this genre since the plots are sometimes rather hard to digest. However, when Greta contacted me regarding reading and reviewing her newly released Primogénito: The Fuentes Legacy I went on Goodreads to check out her page. It was through this that I came to know of her first book. The synopsis of the plot had me hooked.

The story is actually well written and though it  is in the paranormal fiction category, the concept was believable and well laid out. The plot follows David Jenson, who comes to Laurel Hill on “personal business”. He starts asking random questions and meets some people from the town. When he meets Sarah, she is drawn to him and her intrigue causes her to put some of the pieces of the mystery together. Her line of questioning makes David consider his connection to Amelia Davis, a lady who was brutally murdered thirty years ago, and who case was never solved. Throw in some strange occurrences and we have our paranormal part of the plot kick in along with the beginning of what might turn out to be a great romance.

The story is fast-paced, and the plot is rather clear. The author sticks to the same with no unnecessary deviation. There may be a few places where the plot feels slightly cliché, but it is easy to overlook this. However, a small point that stuck with me is that there is some amount of repetition of certain points in different places. It feels as though the author is trying to ensure that the reader has understood quite clearly and sometimes it becomes a little annoying. This doesn’t take away the focus on the story and the reader should just persist on and enjoy the journey. Overall, this is a rather enjoyable read and would be loved by everyone who enjoys this genre.

Darkness – A Poem

Another one of my poems, written some years ago but never shared. Hope you all like it.

x—————————————————–x

The darkness outside,
It beckons,
A midnight stroll.
Oh the peace,
The freedom of the night,
Not everyone sees it that way,
As a means of escape,
When no one can see you,
You are all by yourself,
In the dark,
And no one can know the truth,
Out peeps the moon,
Shining brightly far away,
Casting a pale glow down on earth,
Enough to just light up the path,
For a moonlit stroll,
Left to be alone,
With your thoughts,
A means of escape,
Oh the darkness,
It beckons,
The night we must fear not.