Archive | book review RSS feed for this section

Poetry Friday ~ Poet’s Choice

4 Jun

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my blog!

Happy JUNE! It’s the first of the month and you know what that means! Word Crafters can choose their own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. It’s up to us! Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenge!

Today, I will be sharing my review of Colleen Chesebro’s book, ‘Fairies, Myths, & Magic: A Summer Celebration,’ and I will also be sharing a couple of her poems from the book.

The Magical Tree by Colleen Chesebro
In Spring—
the Lady wears a crown of
yellow blossoms
whose sweet scents tease and tantalize
on warmer days soon to be.

By Summer—
her Majesty dons her most
beautiful apparel
with leaves a bright verdant green
shiny with midsummer dreams.

In Autumn—
the Lady shows us her splendor
whose bright orange leaves herald
the darkness of another winter slumber.

In Winter—
her Majesty lays naked
barren leaves shed like tears
awaiting the hope of a new year.
Blooms heavy with dew—
stretch toward the rosy dawn,
spiritual bliss.
Fairy nymphs hover and flit,
spreading their magic for you.

My Review:

This book is a collection of entertaining poems and short stories along with interesting facts about fairies and magic. The author also shares her own beliefs and experiences, which makes this book delightfully unique.

Author and poet Colleen Chesebro includes a varied selection of poetry styles inspired by magic, fays, and the summer solstice. Some of the stories and poems will make you laugh while others will inspire you, enchant, and even haunt you.

Although I enjoyed all the stories and poems in this book, “The Leaving” and “Halloween Havoc” were two of my favorite stories, and “The Magical Tree,” was one of my much-loved poems.

I recommend this book to lovers of fairies, magic, nature, poetry, and engaging stories.

***

Colleen Chesebro has a new book out called Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry Check it out! Colleen is an expert when it comes to writing syllabic poetry, so if you’d like to learn more click on the link and get your copy. I got mine!

Thank you for visiting my blog. Have a fabulous day!

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!

Poetry Friday ~ Whatever It Takes

18 Sep

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.

Today I am featuring the book Whatever It Takes by S. Burke. Suzanne Burke is a talented author of fascinating and thrilling books with a dark edge. I’m a big fan. Visit her awesome blog, Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke. Check out all her books here.

Blurb:

James Kincaid had it all.
He’d made it to the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized winners above all else. Three golden statuettes currently graced the mantle of his Los Angeles mansion. Next year’s Oscars held the sweet promise of more.
Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly. 
He couldn’t move on with his life or the dream without knowing why.
Andi O’Connor is the woman he’d hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.
Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of one besotted human’s insanity?
From Hollywood to New York, the body count continues to rise. Time is not on their side.

Click image to purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Whatever It Takes by S. Burke is an intricate, gripping, and entertaining crime thriller. It’s a smart and thoughtful page-turner that checks off all the boxes for me.

James Kincaid is a Hollywood A-list actor. His wife, Nicole’s sudden death left him unsettled with a plethora of unanswered questions.

He hires ex-NYPD cop Andi O’Connor to look into his wife’s death in order to get the answers he seeks. Soon afterward, a remarkable young actor playing the lead in James’ movie, “No Letters From Home” is found dead. Now he wants Andi to investigate whether the death of his wife is connected to the deaths of two others who died during the filming of this movie.

Andi begins to dig into what should be a routine case but finds far more than she had anticipated. As the horrifying truths uncoil, dark secrets are revealed, a string of murders are uncovered, and all the dots connected to a sadistic serial killer on the loose.

Whatever It Takes (Shadorma poem)

When you love

your love is so wrong

Possessive

Obsessive

You avoid reality

until it’s too late

“Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same.”

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the visit!

Poetry Friday ~ Book Reviews

11 Sep

Hi, everyone!

I love to read. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy fiction most of all, especially the fantasy genre. There’s enough reality around me (24/7), sometimes it’s marvelous to take a breakation from real life and escape to another country, world, dimension. . . . Some people think that a person can’t learn anything from reading fiction but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, and I’ve learned so much from fictional stories about life, love, friendship, duty, different cultures, animals, science, politics, religions, human nature. . . . I could go on and on. There’s a lot of truth in fiction.

I’d like to share a few of my most recent reads with you. Chronicles of the Diasodz is a young adult fantasy series by author, Yvette M. Calleiro. I’ve read the first three books and I look forward to reading the last two books in the series soon.

I wrote a poem (Nonet) for the first book in the series, The One Discovered. I had already posted a review for this book which you can read here.

Between the covers of my new book

a fearless girl takes a journey

what awaits she has no clue

leaving loved ones behind

to become who she

was born to be

the savior

of her

kind

You can read my review for The One Discovered here.

Blurb:

Sofia has lost everything that was important to her: her mother, her boyfriend, and her best friend. Even the belief that humans are the only beings in the world has been stripped away, but she has no time to dwell on her losses because she’s been transported to a new world to become the savior of the Diasodz. Sofia trusted Ar’ch and Angel to be there for her and to guide and protect her, but only Angel has held true to his word. Ar’ch has abandoned her, leaving her to feel tricked and betrayed.

Ar’ch brought Sofia home, fulfilling his mission to bring their savior safely to their world, but it didn’t come without a cost. Rafe, Sofia’s boyfriend, was killed, and Ar’ch believes Sofia blames him for it. Ar’ch’s sole focus becomes doing what is best for Sofia, and in his mind, that does not include him.

As Sofia deals with Ar’ch’s absence, she throws herself into learning about the Diasodz’s history. She grows stronger both emotionally and physically, and begins to accept her role in their world, but not everyone is convinced that she is the one whom the prophecy states will save them.

Beliefs will be challenged. Secrets will be revealed. Relationships will be shattered. And in the aftermath, evil will see its opportunity and strike. Will Sofia be able to handle it all? Or will the savior of the Diasodz lose her will to continue?

My Review:

The One Enlightened is the second book in the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. It picks up where book one left off as Sofia, Ar’ch, and Angel leave Rafe behind to travel via a portal to the world of the Diasodz.

Sofia had a hard time getting over the tragedy of losing a loved one as they escaped into the portal. She also misses her mom, and a few quarrels kept her and Ar’ch apart. However, she and her newly found brother, Angel, created a bond.

She trained with her brother as a Diasodz, and they learned about the history of her people with Nolan who had taken on the role of her father.

Sofia and Ar’ch cleared up their misunderstandings, and a secret romance progressed. Sofia embraced her new life, and she slowly accepted her role as savior of the Diasodz. She grew more confident and stronger both physically and mentally every day. As her relationship with Ar’ch became impassioned, and she rejoiced in their love for one another, an unexpected twist threatened to tear them apart forever.

I liked observing Sofia’s transformation from an innocent teen to a strong, confident young woman. I also enjoyed learning about the culture, faith, and history of the Diasodz. The vivid descriptions and beautiful world building were delightful. The characters continued to grow and develop, which was a lot of fun to witness.

I will be reading the third installment of the Chronicles of the Diasodz series, The One Betrayed. I recommend this series to readers who enjoy young adult fantasy sprinkled with romance and the supernatural.

Blurb:

When Sofia chose to leave Rafe to live with Ar’ch in another world, Rafe’s system shut down and sent him to an early death. But Rafe didn’t die, at least not permanently. Rafe is a Diasodz, and his death simply freed him from his human shell so that he could become the powerful Diasodz that he was meant to be.

He awakened to a completely new reality, a reality in which he was the prince to a kingdom of powerful beings. His parents, Drake and Damiana, were the rulers of the Raizyns, a group of Diasodz who were determined to take their rightful place in the world. And Rafe would be the savior who would lead them on their quest.

Rafe wanted to please his father, especially since he had just met him. To do that, he needed to learn how to fight like a Raizyn and how to master his newfound skill. He needed to become stronger, faster, and more powerful. Rafe needed to become the savior they all expected him to be. That was what was required of him.

But there was one thing that was more important than everything else. One person. Sofia. Rafe was going to find a way to get her back, even if it cost him his life. Again.

My Review:

The One Betrayed is the third installment of the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. It does not pick up where the last one left off, like the previous one. Instead, this book takes us back to the ending of book one and revisits the events of the first two books as told by the enemy, the Raizyns. At first, this was a little jarring because I was so involved in Sofia’s story in books one and two. It didn’t take long for me to get into this story, though. I was excited to see how the events unfolded from the point of view of the “other side.”

The author introduced new characters and gave us more insight into the older ones. I enjoyed the in-depth look into the “enemy” and their world. Rafe, Drake, and Mel were my favorites, but all the characters were well developed, interesting, and relatable in some way.

The world building was impeccable, and I enjoyed escaping into this realm. I also enjoyed the sci-fi elements the author sprinkled throughout the story with teleportation, force fields, hologram technology. . . .

The pacing was a bit slow at times but not enough to take away my enjoyment. Although I missed reading about Sofia, it was fun reading the other side’s point of view and getting to know these characters better. And as each book sets up the next one, I look forward to reading book four.

This week, Annette Rochelle Aben selected the words for Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry (syllables only) Challenge. This week’s words are: HINT & BOLD. I used the synonyms Clue and Fearless in my Nonet.

I hope you liked today’s post. Enjoy the rest of your day! Happy reading!

New Book Reviews: The One Discovered by Yvette Calleiro, Journey to the Rainbow’s End by Forrest Stepnowski, and The Ex Chronicles by Maura Beth Brennan

30 Mar

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy.

“There is no place like home.”

~L. Frank Baum

The best thing we could do right now to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to stay home. Of course, that’s not possible for everyone, but if you can work from home you should. Self isolation has worked well for other countries and in past pandemics. Practice social distancing even if you’re young and healthy because although your chances of dying from COVID– 19 is low you could still spread the disease to people that are vulnerable and could die from it.

I’d like to thank all the people in the medical field, including my brother Ralph, who’s at the front lines every day, and my cousins Lissette, Ray, Miguel, Leo, and Sonya. You’re putting yourselves at risk on a daily basis to help those in need. Thank you.

Changing the subject, I’ve been doing a lot of reading since I sent my manuscript to my editor. Today, I’d like to share three of the books I’ve read so far and my reviews. I posted the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and although they are already showing on Goodreads, Amazon has yet to make all three reviews available.

Book Reviews:

Click on image to purchase on Amazon

The One Discovered by Yvette Calleiro

I don’t read a lot of young-adult fantasy novels, but this one came highly recommended, and the book cover enticed me. This is the first book in the Chronicles Of The Diasodz series.

Sofia is a seventeen-year-old girl in her last year of high school. Up until this point, she’s lived an ordinary life as the daughter of Liana, a single mom and girlfriend to lifelong friend Rafe. One night, she has an extraordinary dream in which she meets a handsome boy named Ar’ch. Her life takes a bizarre turn when she goes to work and comes across Ar’ch in real life.

Sofia learns that she is far more than she ever thought she could be, and that an entire world’s existence depends on her. She has a decision to make, but how can she leave her home and everyone she loves behind?

How does a teenage girl choose between her boyfriend, who’s been her best friend since childhood, and a handsome boy who makes her feel things she’s never felt before?

The story was slow-paced at first, but soon picked up. Overall, it had a good flow and kept me engaged. The characters were well developed and relatable, especially Sofia, Angel, and Rafe. The final chapters are captivating and full of action until the end.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a young-adult fantasy with a love triangle, excellent characters, world building, action, and drama. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, The One Enlightened. 

***

Click on image to purchase on Amazon.

The Ex Chronicles by Maura Beth Brennan

“The Ex Chronicles” is a humorous short story about a couple named Angie and Bryce.

When Angie met Bryce, she thought she had found Mr. Right. She fell madly in love with him, only to find out he was cheating on her.

Believing their relationship was worth fighting for, Angie designs a plan to confront her boyfriend and the other woman. All the while, old black-and-white movies played in her head, and she imagined herself as one of the heroines starring in the movies, so she figured everything would turn out as she planned.

Unfortunately, things did not play out as Angie had hoped, and her antics will have you rolling with laughter.

I enjoyed author Maura Beth Brennan’s sense of humor and writing style. I recommend this quick and fun read to anyone who’s been in a bad relationship and only has a moment to spare.

***

Click on image to purchase on Amazon.

Journey to the Rainbow’s End by Forrest Stepnowski

Journey to the Rainbow’s End begins with a varied collection of freestyle poems, which are both beautiful and heartfelt. About halfway through the book, author Forrest Stepnowski gives us a short, insightful account (fictionalized memoir) of his journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance.

Robert grew up in a religious home where being gay was not an option. He was taught that homosexuality was a sin and punishable by God. From an early age, he struggled with whom he was and hungered for love, acceptance, and compassion—mostly from himself.

In his early teens, Robert felt an attraction to other boys, but he was conflicted and confused due to his homophobic religious teachings. He suffered many terrible experiences in his developmental years, including a suicide attempt and the death of a close friend.

Robert experienced sex, and like a bird released from its cage, he began a reckless way of life with multiple lovers. When he learned that a good friend was diagnosed with AIDS and committed suicide, Robert was forced to change his ways. 

I enjoyed how the author combined his poetry with the narrating of his story because it gave me a better perspective. In the end, despite the difficulties endured by Robert, he managed to find his way to self-acceptance. 

Overall, this book is about learning to accept who you are and adds another dimension to the LGBT story, which is a human story. I was touched by this book because the author bravely bared his soul to inspire others who may be walking the same path.

The story and poems were fabulous, but there were a few poems that stood out for me and moved me in some way.

“I Am Not The One” – I loved this line: “I am worth more than my weight in diamonds and gold.”

“Freeze” – I got goose bumps reading this one, and I loved the ending.

“That’s Gay” – Powerful and relatable, even to straight people.

“The Touch of Your Skin” – HOT

“The Song of Ever Changing Fairytales” – Who wouldn’t relate?

If you enjoy beautiful poetry from the heart and riveting short stories, this book is for you.

reading, book reviews, Vashti Quiroz Vega, Vashti Q, author, books, stay at home, read more

“The ultimate luxury is being able to relax and enjoy your home.”

~Jeff Lincoln

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the visit, and feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

Poetry Friday ~ The Love of Books

6 Dec
Colleen's Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge

The first of the month is ‘Poet’s Choice‘ at Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Prompt Challenge. I chose to share a poem by Julia Donaldson, that’s sure to make you fall in love with books.

I Opened a Book
By Julia Donaldson
I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

I hope you enjoyed the poem. It’s one of my favorite poems about books and reading. I also wanted to share my reviews for a book and two short stories I read recently.

Click on image to buy on Amazon

The Altar Boy is a true to life coming-of-age story. Carl Sanders grew up in the 1960s in a Catholic household. The Catholic Church was revered in those days, and so were its clergymen, but for Carl and his family, a priest brought nothing but pain.

I didn’t like Carl’s mother; she was selfish and hypocritical. His father was not perfect either, but he did try his best to keep the family together and didn’t deserve what happened to him.

Looking at the life of this Catholic family in the 60s through Carl’s eyes as a young boy was both hilarious and heart wrenching. Carl’s mischievous antics made me laugh while his fear, confusion, and unconditional love for his mother chipped away at my heart. Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions.

If you enjoy stories with well-developed characters that make you feel an array of emotions, this book is for you.

Click on image to get your .99¢ eBook on Amazon!

The Author, Rhani D’Chae in Zombie Dawn, brilliantly chronicles the dawn of the zombie apocalypse. The author wasted no time building tension and providing an overall sense of horror from the beginning. I sat at the edge of my seat until the end of the story and then wanted more.

This is the story of a small neighborhood where everyone knows each other. The kind of neighborhood where you can leave your doors and windows open and youngsters can walk the streets at night without fear. That is until an elderly man named Elmer Duncan dies of seemingly natural causes only to open his eerie milky eyes as he was reanimated as a zombie. From this point, the story escalates into a chaotic set of events that’ll have you quaking in your chair. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and read it in one sitting. The story is well written, fascinating, and descriptive. If you’re a fan of zombies or horror, you will enjoy this short story.

This short story is FREE on Amazon Kindle! Click to get your copy.

This short story is a metaphoric expression of the author’s life growing up in an abusive household.

Her mother was a narcissist, and the author did a great job of relating the frustration she underwent dealing with a person who lacked the ability to love and feel empathy for others, including herself. Others were blind to her mother’s abuse because, as a narcissist, she knew how to cover her tracks well. The author’s father and other family members and friends unknowingly defended and enabled her mother, adding to the detriment of the child.

This is an inspiring, powerful, and compelling read that many readers will relate to whether they have suffered abuse at the hands of a narcissist or not. In the end, the daughter escapes her abusive prison.

Connect with these authors on social media!

@psteph55 on Twitter
@ChristinaWinds on Twitter
@rhanidchae on Twitter

Just a quick reminder that all my eBooks are on sale for .99¢ through Sunday! Get your eBooks!

Click on image to go to Amazon and get your .99¢ eBooks!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Let me know what you think in the comment section below. Thank you for a visit, and have a Happy Friday and weekend!

Poetry Friday ~ Books & A Poem

6 Sep

Hi, Everyone!

 

Today I’d like to share my most recent reads along with my poem. This is an Etheree poem written by me for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge.

 

There

are worlds

between the

covers of books

Why fly, ride or walk?

To take us lands away

there is nothing like a book

So spread out your wings untiring

get to a book store or library

good books are fun and thrilling things to own.

 

The first book I’m sharing is called Strange HWY by Beem Weeks.

Beem Weeks-Poetry_Friday-vashti quiroz vega-short stories-anthology-Vashti Q-the writer next door-book reviews

BLURB:

f you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find.
You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man,
•A teen girl’s afternoon, a lifetime of loss.
•A winged man, an angel? Demon—?
•Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
•Danny’s death – stifled secrets.
•Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
•Dead brother, an open confession.
•First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole!
You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.
See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.

 

MY REVIEW:

Strange HWY brings together 18 of Author, Beem Weeks’ strange and wonderful coming of age stories about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth.

This collection of eclectic short stories explores a vast range of topics including, suicide, cancer, prostitution, mental illness and even the paranormal. My favorite stories are Alterations, Constant of the Day, Demons, Songs of the Lost, and Looking for Lucy but to be honest, I was captivated by each well-written story in this book.

Author, Beem Weeks is a talented writer that’s very attuned to detail. His writing style is unique but also fun and easy. He seems to see the world as a reason to create with his straightforward, unusual, traditional stories.

The stories in this book are meant to be read slowly and savored and are filled with lovely and disturbing moments that will stay with you for some time to come. I highly recommend it.

Connect with Author, Beem Weeks on Social Media!

Instagram

Twitter

The Indie Spot! (Blog)

Amazon Author Page

 


The next book I’m sharing is a short story called Open, Shut by Nonnie Jules.

Open Shut-Nonnie Jules-Rave Reviews Book Club-Poetry_Friday-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-book review

BLURB:

Darcy Lynn has a few problems: her sister, Lola, killed by a drunk driver, leaves her with an eerie message right before her death; her parents are atheists; her father drinks a little too much, and her brother, Bud, is just annoying. But, her most pressing issue is that things are mysteriously opening and closing around her and she hasn’t a clue as to why…or how.

In this short “sad but uplifting story with a wonderful message,” as one reader tags it, Author, Nonnie Jules flexes her writing chops once again, by introducing her readers to a normal, everyday family, whose lives are altered, not once, but twice by unexpected and unusual circumstances.

If you came into this story only believing in things seen with your own two eyes, and things heard with your own two ears, you walk away with a new and refreshing added sense…the ability and the courage to change, based on where your heart leads you.

 

MY REVIEW:

Open, Shut by Nonnie Jules is a poignant short story about a seemingly happy and normal family who experience the death of a loved one.

Darcy Lynn’s parents were atheists and prayer and reading the Bible were strictly prohibited in their household.

However, Darcy’s older sister, Lola was curious about Christianity and began secretly studying the Bible. She was caught once by her mother, who had a fit but that didn’t deter her from continuing her secret Bible studies and prayers. Lola also received visits from an angel who seemed to be preparing her for something.

Later, Lola became ill. During the course of her illness, she continued to pray and read her Bible, even in the presence of her mother who no longer made a fuss about it.

On one of Lola’s better days, she walked to school with Darcy and their younger brother Bobby. When she stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street she was struck by a car.

After her sister’s death, Darcy began to feel a presence in her room and strange things began to happen. She would come home to find her bedroom door and windows, closet door and dresser drawers opened when she knew she had shut them prior to leaving for school.

One day Darcy walks into her sister’s bedroom which her mother kept intact and finds Lola’s diary. While reading Lola’s diary, she learns a lot about her sister. Her sister’s words opened her eyes to many things hidden from her and changed her life.

What I enjoyed most about this short story was the author’s writing style which was believable, easy, and captivating.

Overall, Open, Shut is a worthwhile, easy short read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Christian stories.

Author, Nonnie Jules is president of the Rave Reviews Book Club of which I’m a proud member.

Rave Reviews Book Club is a friendly and helpful community of talented writers and avid readers.

Learn more about the club here.

Connect with Author, Nonnie Jules on Social Media!

Instagram

Twitter

Watch Nonnie Write! (Blog)

Amazon Author Page

In the spirit of sharing, I’d like to share a poem by the late Julia Donaldson called

I Opened a Book

Poetry_Friday-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Poetry-book reviews

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

 

 

I Opened a Book
By Julia Donaldson

I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.

I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

Poetry_Friday-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Poetry-book reviews-Rave Reviews Book Club-Nonnie Jules

Photograph by David Lezcano

Vashti Quiroz Vega-the writer next door-Vashti Q-Poetry_Friday-book reviews-poem-author

Celebrating Short Stories!

5 Aug

Hello! I hope everyone’s had a great start to the new week. I’m always grateful for your visit.

Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-author-The Writer Next Door-paranormal-supernatural-thriller-dark fantasy-novels

Today I will share two short stories I read recently. The first, Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide was written by Jan Sikes. The second, Red Eyes in the Darkness was written by D. L. Finn. Both of these authors are extremely talented storytellers, skilled writers, as well as great supporters of the indie community and overall wonderful people. I truly enjoy their work.

 

Jan Sikes-award winnin_author-music-voodoo or destiny you decide-vashti quiroz vega-vashti q-the writer next door

Author Jan Sikes

Bio:

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, weaves stories in a creative and entertaining way. She has been called a magician and wordsmith extraordinaire by her readers and peers.
Jan self-published a series of four Biographical Fiction books with a musical twist. They chronicle the life of Texas musician, Rick Sikes, a pioneer in the Outlaw Music movement before it ever had a name. She also released a music CD of original songs which match the time period of each story.
Her newest self-pub is a unique book of poetry and art, which combines heartfelt poetry with pen-and-ink drawings.
Jan has written songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays, and novels.
She is passionate about her writing projects and is driven to tell a story with the hope that it might touch someone’s heart or life in a positive way. 

 

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-author-short story-voodoo or destiny-Jan Sikes-Amazon

Only 99¢! Click to purchase on Amazon.

My Review of Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide:

Claire’s husband asked for a divorce after confessing he was in love with another woman. Devastated she turned to her friend Jade who remained by her side to console her.

After polishing off two bottles of red wine, Jade, whose grandmother was one of New Orleans Voodoo Queens, convinces Claire to perform a mock Voodoo ritual ceremony. They dressed the part, lit red candles, and Claire even made a Voodoo doll from yarn, fabric from one of her husband’s shirts, spare buttons, and her husband’s blond hair, retrieved from his comb. Then, she stabbed two pushpins right through the doll’s heart.

The next morning Claire received an alarming phone call which made her and her friend rush out of the house. What happens next will surprise you and you’ll have to decide, was it Voodoo or destiny?

I’d recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fun, quick reads.

 

Connect with Jan Sikes on Social Media:

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

BLOG

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE


The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega- Vashti Q-author-dl finn-red eyes in the darkness-short story-amazon

Author D. L. Finn

Bio:

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include children’s books, adult fiction, a unique autobiography, and poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

 

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-author-dl finn-red eyes in the darkness-amazon

Click on image to get your 99¢ copy on Amazon.

My Review of Red Eyes in the Darkness:

This well-written short story hooked me from the beginning and kept me at the edge of my seat with its perfect amount of delectable tension in every page.

Cass and her husband, Will were wrongfully accused and arrested for the murder of her sister. In time, they were released for lack of evidence but the damage had already been done. Family and friends no longer wanted anything to do with them and kept away.

During a visit to Cass and Will’s home, Ronald, Cass’s brother-in-law confessed to having killed her sister and threatened to do the same to them.

Cass and Will immediately called the police and informed them of everything Ronald told them but the police didn’t believe them. Ronald was a well-liked and respected individual and he had already gone to the police to tell them awful lies about the older couple. He was the one who framed them and spread rumors about them to family and friends.

Cass and Will were in a terrible predicament but they were not alone. Someone was helping them and it wasn’t the police.

I recommend this riveting short story to lovers of the supernatural.

Connect with D.L. Finn on Social Media:

TWITTER

BLOG

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

**For more information on the authors click on their pictures or social media site. For more information on their books click on the book image or Amazon Author Page.

 

Enjoy the week, my friends!

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae

29 Jul

Hello, everyone! Welcome!

 

Today, I’m happy to feature on my blog the wonderful and extremely talented author, Rhani D’Chae. Rhani is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club and I recently read her book, Shadow of the Drill: Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge and really enjoyed it. I’m sharing my review of it as well as a little information about Rhani D’Chae.

rave reviews book club-rrbc-rhani d'chae-author-indie author-book_blogger

A little about Rhani:

Rhani D’Chae is a visually disabled writer who was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. Because of her failing eyesight, she no longer reads as much as she used to, but she does enjoy falling into the worlds created by other Indie authors as often as her vision will allow. Shadow of the Drill is her first published novel and is the first in a series that revolves around an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

She enjoys chatting with readers and fellow writers via Social Media sites and loves getting comments and other input from those who have read her work. She is on Facebook and Twitter. Also, if you have the time, please stop by her blog: rhanidchae.wordpress.com.

Ms. D’Chae is currently working on Winter of the Drill and hopes to have it completed soon.

Check out Rhani’s blog to see what she’s up to. She shares a bit about her upcoming novel Winter of the Drill here.

Rhani D'Chae-thriller-author-shadow of the drill-indie

Blurb:

A Gritty and Violent Thriller.

A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine.
For fifteen years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.

On the bloodstained streets of a northwestern city, the enforcer known as the Drill stalks his prey. Judge, Jury, and Executioner; he seeks out those who target the weak, condemning them to the kind of justice that has made him a legend.

Here’s my review (Goodreads & Amazon):

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae is a suspense/thriller aimed at an adult audience. This kind of thriller is different from what I’m used to reading, but I found it just as enjoyable.

The characters are well developed and I enjoyed the friendship between Decker and Rudy. Although it was difficult for me to relate to their lifestyle I could relate to their love for one another and their need for revenge. A couple of scenes dragged a bit, one character’s function in the story was not clear to me, and I caught a few typos, but these issues did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. For the most part, it is a well-written, thrilling, and entertaining book.

As a teen, Decker witnesses the brutal rape of a girl named Maria, the person he loves above all else. He tries to save her while risking his own life, but the three men assaulting her are out of his league and overpower him easily.

Although Maria survives, the violent attack leaves her in a comatose state and unable to function normally. Decker visits her regularly at the hospital, but he is guilt-ridden and seething and swears to take revenge on the men who did this to her.

This experience triggers a change in Decker. He builds his body, gains muscle mass, and learns to fight, ensuring that he will never be helpless again. He becomes the Drill, a fearsome and vicious enforcer who will stop at nothing to get vengeance on the men who ruined Maria’s life—and his. Will Decker get his revenge? Or will this maddening thirst for retaliation consume him and ruin his chances of a happy life with a good woman?

This gritty story is about love, friendship, and revenge. I recommend this book to fans of revenge thrillers, crime drama, and violent/dark fiction.

Rhani D'Chae-indie-author-thriller-Decker-shadow of the drill-book_blogger-RRBC

Visit Rhani D’Chae’s Amazon Author Page and check out all her books.

 

 

Thank you for stopping by today. Have a great week!

 

 

 

Author, Miriam Hurdle | Songs of Heartstrings

18 Mar

Hi, everyone! I hope you’ve had a great start to the new week.

Today I’m happy to introduce a lovely lady who also happens to be a wonderful poet and writer. She has a new release, a poetry book called, Songs of Heartstrings. Please help me welcome, Author, Miriam Hurdle.

miriam hurdle-Poetry-author-vashti quiroz vega-Vashti Q-blog tour-new_book-The Writer Next Door

Author, Miriam Hurdle

About the Author

Miriam Hurdle is an Amazon Best-Selling Author. She writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and memoir. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, Outcast, and More Words.

She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

From the Author

My garden is a sanctuary to me. I love to have my morning coffee in the garden, walking around to appreciate the flowers, plants, butterflies and birds. A baby hummingbird was born in my garden in June 2018. He spent the winter in my garden while the parents flew south for several weeks. My husband and I travel frequently. The moments in nature near and far touch deep in my heart and soul and inspire my thoughts and words.

songs of heartstrings-miriam hurdle-new_book-poetry-the writer next door-vashti quiroz vega-Vashti Q-blog tour

From Amazon

Human beings have the will power to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

 

Songs of Heartstrings plays the melancholy tune of the suffering and transcending to the melody of serenity and peace. It is a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache circumstances and an unpredictable cancer. It also celebrates true love and fulfilling relationships.

 

Hurdle in her poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience. Many poems are illustrated with her photos and watercolor paintings.

 

The poems in this collection are inspiring to the mind, heart and spirit. The readers will echo with these experiences.

 

Poem from Songs of Nature

Hibisbus-poem-flower-Miriam Hurdle-blog tour-new release-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The WriterNext Door-Vashti Q

Hibiscus

 

Hibiscus flowers,

red and yellow.

They bloom today,

wither tomorrow.

Their colors are

cheerfully bright,

velvety petals

thin with energy.

Yet they live

only for one day.

Wrinkles appear on

faces soon to be next.

Sigh! What a pity!

Why not stay?

They have no worry,

nature was made.

When they’re alive,

they live fully.

Give them all,

for Creator’s glory!

Poem from Songs of Inspiration

Solitude-inspiration-Poetry-Miriam Hurdle-blog tour-book-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q

Solitude

Everywhere, I hear noises and voices,

I quickly answer and respond.

Every day, I receive demands and comments,

I rush to comply and improvise.

Every hour, I see needs and pleas,

I passionately lend my ears.

The momentum is like a snowball,

where to stop, no idea at all.

Once in a while, I unplug myself

to be away from the

noises and voices,

demands and comments,

needs and pleas,

and land myself in solitude,

where I could attend my voice and

the voice from above, to

reacquaint my inner self,

refresh my private thoughts,

re-lubricate my soul,

rejuvenate my energy,

reignite my spirit, so to

return to the world, and

be of better service.

My Review:

 

Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle is a lovely collection of freestyle poetry written from the heart.

 

The book is divided into nine sections of songs that cover much of what the author has gone through in life, from getting married and giving birth, to losing a parent and surviving cancer. Reading this book felt very intimate at times, because it seemed the author’s heart and soul went into writing it. At the start of each section the author shares quotes which I liked. I also enjoyed the photographs and drawings that she shared with some of the poems.

 

I had many favorite poems but “Mom and Dad” is at the top of my list. I loved it, because it reminded me so much of my own parents.

 

A wonderful poetry book by Miriam Hurdle.

 

 

Connect with Miriam on Social Media:

Contact the Author:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Website: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1

 

Links to Purchase the Book:

Amazon Universal Link: http://smarturl.it/SongsofHeartstrings

Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9 

Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9 

 

 

Thank you for stopping by and for your support!