Poetry Friday ~ BOOK REVIEWS

30 Apr

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I appreciate your visit.

Stephen King (Horror, Dark Fantasy author)

Why do you write horror, dark fantasy, and thriller? 

I’ve been asked this question many times. Since I was a child I’ve always loved dark, suspenseful, and spine-chilling tales. Scary stories taught me that it was okay to be afraid, and that I could use my brain to solve problems, even when frightened or use my natural survival instincts to safely escape from dangerous situations. They also taught me about courage, loyalty, hope, and facing my fears.

Reading these stories gave me a bit of a thrill, an adrenaline rush from being scared, and in some ways, it was fun to read about things that frightened me. We all experience a rush of adrenaline and a release of endorphins and dopamine when scared. The biochemical rush can result in a pleasure-filled, opioid-like sense of euphoria. In the end, there is a catharsis to it. There’s darkness and light in all of us, and as I write my complex, dark tales I purge the gloom and feel sunnier having done so. 

Horror and dark fantasy are extremely popular genres. I believe it’s because these genres revolve around our emotions. These stories evoke in people – emotions that aren’t just abject terror. Many fans of horror, dark fantasy, and thriller are actually seeking “controlled” fear and suspense, knowing we are safe.

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.” ~Stephen King

Today I’d like to share some of the books I’ve read recently and my reviews of them.

SITUATION Z by A.M. Semple

BLURB:

The heat is the least of their worries when the dead begin taking over Phoenix. Out of the ashes of destruction rises Wilson. He begins gathering survivors, helping them escape the city and the dead. Along the way, the challenges multiply and Wilson’s behavior becomes questionable. Is he trustworthy or will they all end up being someone’s next meal?

BOOK REVIEW:

Situation Z is a fascinating story about a zombie apocalypse. This was a fun and thrilling read that kept me turning the pages long into the night.

The protagonist, Wilson, was one of the most intriguing characters I’ve read in a long time. While all the characters were fascinating, some were endearing, and others were annoying and fun to hate.

One thing that did bother me about the story was how overprotective the men seem to be over the women. They were always trying to shield them from what was happening around them. It’s a zombie apocalypse! If the women did not develop a thick skin, they were not going to survive. I did enjoy seeing the emotional growth in the women in the end.

Author A.M. Semple did an amazing job building this horrific world, and I also enjoyed the development of all the characters. Her description of the victims’ turning was done so well. The imagery in this book is fantastic.

If you enjoy a well written zombie story that focuses on the characters and keeps you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end, this book is for you.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

LEECH by Ellie Douglas

BLURB:

Captain John Lancaster’s ship is critically damaged in an asteroid storm, leaving John and his crew stranded. Drifting off course. 

He was returning to earth with supplies and samples from planet Sol. When he and his team discover they are not alone on the ship. 

Something is hiding onboard and is taking the crew members out, one by one.  

Will John make it home to see his wife and child? Can he save his remaining crew? 

BOOK REVIEW:

Leech is a short and enjoyable horror sci-fi. Author Ellie Douglas’s imaginative and descriptive writing style is gripping and easy to follow.

Captain John Lancaster and his crew were on a mission to study and collect samples on an Earth-like planet called Sol. The year was 3010, and mankind traveled through space at warp speed, so they went back and forth, to and from, Earth in only a few days, and the captain had been on many missions to Sol. On one of Captain John’s missions, a meteor crashed on Sol. John picked up a smooth, black stone from the crash site and decided to take it back to Earth with him to gift it to his young daughter as a souvenir.

On the voyage back to Earth the rock fell to the floor and broke in half. John’s friend, Nico, picked up the stone and black goo that was stored inside it got all over his fingers and then was quickly absorbed into his skin. After this incident, all hell breaks loose.

Nico became infected with a parasite that ate him from the inside out, multiplied, and then left his body in search of other hosts. With each host, the parasites grew larger until they would no longer need a host. One by one, the crew became infected until it seemed no one would survive. 

I enjoyed this fascinating short story. The characters were lifelike and the dialogue believable. Lovers of horror and sci-fi would enjoy this book.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

THE BONE WALL by D. Wallace Peach

BLURB:

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world. 

D. Wallace Peach’s fourth novel combines elements of fantasy and science-fiction into a character-driven adventure. The Bone Wall foretells of a dystopian world where a poisoned planet no longer sustains its inhabitants. Who survives when there isn’t enough for all? Who decides? 

The Bone Wall begins three hundred years in a post-apocalyptic future. Precisely controlled communities with forgotten histories thrive beneath protective energy fields…until those fields begin to fail. What happens when the facades crumble and the past’s dark truth is unearthed?

Twins Rimma and Angel share this first person tale of a life unraveling and mending. Both are strong female protagonists who chose opposing paths when thrust in the broken and perilous world. The simplistic lines dividing good and evil blur, and beg the question: Can one survive without the other? What is the secret of their lives that even they can’t comprehend?

If grimdark tales of spiraling destruction and redemption crowd your bookshelf, this fantasy adventure desires a place among them. 

The Bone Wall contains scenes which some readers might find triggering. 

BOOK REVIEW:

The Bone Wall is a post-apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi. I was hooked from the beginning because this story was so unique and creative. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style.  

It’s the future, and mankind has survived a worldwide catastrophe. Rimma and Angel were 16-year-old twins who lived in an environmentally controlled paradise within a dome protected by a mighty force field. Their home was called Heaven, and this domed city shielded them from the broken world. Other domes existed housing similar civilizations. However, there were people living in the harsh conditions of the wrecked outside world. They were called biters and among them were the touched many of which had extraordinary powers, including the ability to create fire or bend light. Time and again, biters attacked and tried to breach the dome. Many would leap into the force field only to be disintegrated into bones that accumulated at the base of the dome, creating a bone wall. 

The twins were taught that they, along with their community, were chosen by God to survive and thrive. They were not allowed contact with the outside world. Rimma questioned the laws of Heaven while Angel was innocent and naïve, accepting the teachings of the elders

One day Rimma noticed that the shield protecting the dome was operating abnormally. It would turn off in certain areas and sparks would fly. She was shocked to find out that the elders knew that there were issues with the force field. She was told to have faith—that the shield would hold. Sometime later, the weakened shield fades. The biters seized the moment, invading Heaven, attacking and killing many, and taking others as slaves. The twins were suddenly thrown into a world of horror, cruelty, and bloodshed. They became molded by the broken world and their experiences within it.

The story is told in first-person point of view from the perspective of the twins. Rimma, the angry one bent on revenge for the lies she was told growing up and for the death of her father, and Angel the eternal optimist who hopes for peace, love, and harmony.

This is an intriguing and complex story. The writing is beautiful and vibrant, but at times, it was a bit flowery, and the story dragged a bit in the middle. I also had questions. What destroyed the world? I assumed it was a nuclear holocaust. Who built the dome? How was it powered? Why did it fail? There was no explanation given for any of this. Also, only one of the twins was visible at a time to most people, which was both creative and bizarre. However, these things did not deter me from enjoying this well written story with its unique world and compelling characters. I highly recommend this book to fans of post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy.

Click on any of the books’ image or title to purchase on Amazon.

To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse

Burlee Vang 

The moon will shine for God
knows how long.
As if it still matters. As if someone

is trying to recall a dream.
Believe the brain is a cage of light
& rage. When it shuts off,

something else switches on.
There’s no better reason than now
to lock the doors, the windows.

Turn off the sprinklers
& porch light. Save the books
for fire. In darkness,

we learn to read
what moves along the horizon,
across the periphery of a gun scope—

the flicker of shadows,
the rustling of trash in the body
of cities long emptied.

Not a soul lives
in this house &
this house & this

house. Go on, stiffen
the heart, quicken
the blood. To live

in a world of flesh
& teeth, you must
learn to kill

what you love,
& love what can die.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your day!

35 Responses to “Poetry Friday ~ BOOK REVIEWS”

  1. Gwen M. Plano April 30, 2021 at 2:57 pm #

    I’m a pansy when it comes to horror, but my youngest son is quite the writer. When he was in high school he and Stephen King exchanged letters. Ever since then, I’ve been impressed by King, because he answered the questions and offered encouragement to an admiring kid. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vashti Q April 30, 2021 at 5:24 pm #

      Wow! Exchanging letters with Stephen King must have been so exciting for your son! King has a book called ‘On Writing’ that I highly recommend for writers of any genre. Reading horror is scary for me too, but I don’t mind. 😉 Thanks for your visit and comment! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • robbiesinspiration May 1, 2021 at 1:56 pm #

      That is great to know about Stephen King, Gwen. I loved his earlier works but have not enjoyed any of his recent books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. coldhandboyack April 30, 2021 at 3:09 pm #

    Wonderful selection. I’m intrigued by a couple of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill Weatherholt April 30, 2021 at 3:31 pm #

    I’m such a chicken, I had to stop reading Stephen King when I moved out of my parent’s house many moons ago. Great selection, Vashti!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q April 30, 2021 at 5:36 pm #

      Hi, Jill! I believe reading horror made me brave. In life you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. Otherwise, nothing worth doing will ever get done because most steps forward require courage. At least that’s what I choose to believe. Have a fabulous weekend, my friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. D.L. Finn, Author April 30, 2021 at 3:49 pm #

    Great reviews, Vashti:) I see one I need to add to my TBR list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annette Rochelle Aben April 30, 2021 at 6:44 pm #

    I’m a bit “Rocky” when it comes to horror! Love you, mean it!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jan Sikes April 30, 2021 at 7:46 pm #

    I don’t read much horror, but these books sound like great reads! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on them, Vashti!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q April 30, 2021 at 8:06 pm #

      I’m happy to do it, Jan. Thank you for stopping by! ❤

      Like

  7. sobrietypoet April 30, 2021 at 8:54 pm #

    I love this poem at the end. It’s so haunting and feels relevant even without a zombie apocalypse. The movement from one line to the next is pure art and admirably concise. Love love love! Hope you have a great weekend. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 11, 2021 at 6:39 pm #

      I love it too! You have a great new week! 😀

      Like

  8. Marje @ Kyrosmagica May 1, 2021 at 3:44 am #

    Particularly intrigued by Diana’s review. Have a lovely weekend. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vashti Q May 1, 2021 at 11:13 am #

      It’s a wonderful book, Marje. The story is fascinating and unique, and the characters are amazing. Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend❣️

      Like

  9. karenringalls May 1, 2021 at 9:19 am #

    I love horror books and movies but have not read many books. I will have to check out these that you have highlighted here. Thank you for suggesting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 1, 2021 at 11:18 am #

      We’re two peas in a pod, Karen!😘 I enjoyed these books, so it’s a pleasure recommending them. Thank you❣️ Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      Like

  10. yvettemcalleiro May 1, 2021 at 9:38 am #

    There was a time when I loved horror stories. My anxiety no longer allows me to enjoy them, but I do understand the thrill of reading those stories. Great reviews, Vashti, and i love the poem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 1, 2021 at 11:24 am #

      I’m sorry to hear about your anxiety, Yvette. Yoga and meditation have alleviated my anxiety significantly. I know it can be debilitating. I hope you can find relief soon. The poem is fantastic! Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!😚💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • yvettemcalleiro May 1, 2021 at 10:46 pm #

        I use a combination of neurofeedback therapy, EFT tapping, mindfulness, meditation, kinesiology, and yoga. It’s been working (thank goodness). Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. robbiesinspiration May 1, 2021 at 1:58 pm #

    Great reviews, Vashti. I really do like the sound of Diana’s book. I love dystopian fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vashti Q May 3, 2021 at 10:39 pm #

      It’s a good book. It’ll suck you in from the beginning. I’m glad you liked the reviews. Thank you❣️

      Like

  12. memadtwo May 2, 2021 at 7:33 am #

    This is not my genre, but I understand the appeal. And that’s a wonderful poem. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Natalie Ducey May 2, 2021 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful reviews and poem, Vashti! Cheers to a fabulous week ahead. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 3, 2021 at 10:45 pm #

      It’s my pleasure, my friend. Thank you. Have a fabulous new week!🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  14. D. Wallace Peach May 4, 2021 at 11:20 am #

    What a wonderful surprise, Vashti. So sorry I’m late to the post, but I’m totally honored that you took the time to read and review The Bone Wall. It was one of my early books that doesn’t get much press. I love dark fantasy and I completely agree with you that it’s the deep emotions that grab me every time. My mom asks me why I write this stuff, and doesn’t understand how it’s a reflection of the real world (to me). Thanks again for including my book with these wonderful reviews. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 7, 2021 at 10:29 am #

      It was my pleasure to read and review your book, Diana. I enjoyed the fascinating and unique story. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. ❤ xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach May 11, 2021 at 10:00 am #

        Thanks so much, Vashti. It was an early write and I’ll probably end up taking a look at it later this year. I’m about 1/2 way through Dracul’s story and will have a review in my May blog post. 🙂 It’s a fascinating story. Happy Reading!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Vashti Q May 11, 2021 at 5:57 pm #

      I’m so happy you’re reading and enjoying Son of the Serpent. Thank you! I believe we writers get better with every book we write. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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