Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

A few years ago I ran a feature on my blog titled Women in Horror. One of the writers I featured was Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. Her contribution included some great poems, which I’m sure were very personal and exposed many emotions. Now, two years later, I have the pleasure of reading her collected poems along with some short stories. They explore the dark places we all fear and we try to keep buried deep inside. With poetry it’s fun to look for themes or topics that are meaningful to the writer, and I discovered many of them. Erin poured her heart and soul into her book and showed us some of her deepest fears. People on the outside looking in, individuals with cold and unforgiving souls, and the unknowns that lurks in the dark. Also feelings of unraveling from the inside out and struggling to get out of bed to start another day. Lastly, the moments of panic that take over our day and the pain and damage thrust upon us from society.

I really enjoyed many of the short stories, my favorite being the Valhalla Lane shorts. These are three stories that stand alone but are connected within a larger theme. The first is Tea Party for One which is a tight and concise short piece of writing. I love the full circle the character lives in just a few pages as she works to become her former self. The second is Raincheck for Lunch, and I think it’s excellent in every way including character development and plot. The last, Relaxing with a Book, gives us another strong female character. Although these women are in the worst spot of their lives their strength is fully visible. At the conclusion we get a quick glimpse from the neighbor’s point of view of the domestic violence that was addressed too late. The writing is damn good and spot on but hard to read because this reality happens too often. The story Life-Giver of the Nile was good but felt out of place with the other stories here. The last story, Dandelion Yellow is really cool where in a strange world a girl can’t find any yellow crayons.

Book Info

Length: 116 pages

Publisher: Unnerving

Release date: October 9, 2017

To Purchase Breathe. Breathe. Click Here

Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.
With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.

 

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Biography-

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, a publicist, and an editor among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations.

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor. She also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor. Her third pursuit is writing her own works for publication. She volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her Marketing Morsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.
Breathe. Breathe., published by Unnerving, is her debut collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories. She will also be featured in the upcoming anthology from Unnerving called Hardened Hearts coming in at the end of 2017. Many other works in various genres are in progress as well.

You can e-mail her at hookofabook (at) hotmail (dot) com and find her easily at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.

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