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: Running Home by Lizzie Steel

About the Book:

Running Home by Lizzie Steel

After a last minute decision to accompany her parents as they emigrate, Lady Clara Reynolds arrives in India. So intent on running from her past, she is barely aware of where she is running to. Beautiful and compassionate Lady Clara quickly attracts the attention of Sachin Borah, a local plantation owner, and after he kills a deadly snake to save her life, he has her attention too.

Set in the beautiful hills of Kerala, their mutual fascination quickly blossoms into much more. Surely it’s impossible for two people from such different worlds to have a relationship, but how can they stay apart when feel so strongly connected?

My Thoughts:

A riveting story, it explores emotions to a great depth and how strong the bond of love can be between two people. Love is the major emotion that is described or addressed. The story follows Lady Clara, who accompanies her parents back to India, where her father was from. Her mother spends her time being rather unhappy with the situation and the country at large but Clara and her father share the same love for the place. For Clara, it is love at first sight and the tea plantations and beauty of the place only add to her feelings. Bring in the handsome Sachin Borah into the picture and the author has a wonderful recipe for gossip, love, disaster and family, all thrown into one.

The author has brought out the various emotions of each character and has given such depth to each of them that it is difficult not to fall in love with them. The vivid descriptions of the place and the emotions portrayed will draw the reader right into the story. The author goes on to show that love has no boundaries, portraying the same in a very non cliched manner. The language is crisp and beautiful, as beautiful as the words used to describe the place and emotions. The author also brings into picture, the concept of society and how it thinks. This is portrayed really well and is quite easy to relate to.

I know that I probably sound like a broken tape recorder on repeat, continuously talking about the emotions, but the story will draw you in and once inside, there is no going back. It becomes very difficult to put the book down and one can only stop at the end when there is no more to read. It is difficult to talk about this story without revealing it all and thus I will end my review with these last few lines to summarize. The story will bring tears of happiness and sadness to your eyes but the journey is worth it all. For all the lovers of romance or a good love story, this is the book to pick up.