Randall just wanted to have a fun summer vacation with his family, visiting Grandma at her cabin on a lake in the Wisconsin Northwoods.

Then everything went horribly wrong.

Join fifteen-year-old Randall and his younger brother Josh as they go on the run and fight for their lives on the eve of an elderly undead apocalypse.

GRANDMA? Part 1 by J.A. Konrath and Talon Konrath
She won’t bake you cookies…

18482916I enjoyed this fast-paced book. It was very funny–the back and forth between brothers Randall and Josh. The story was written in Randall’s first person point of view. I laughed all the way to the end because the dialogue was silly (in a good way. I could tell this book was meant as a comedy). Talon Konrath was great with characterization, the story never strayed from a scared little boy. It felt like a screenplay because there were a lot of 1 to 2 sentence paragraphs, usually emphasizing body language or dialogue. I could see it as a R.L. Stine production, which is funny because my mother bought this book, thinking it was a poster for a movie. She hates to read, but when she heard the word ‘zombie’, she had to give the book a shot.

My favorite lines: 1) I thought about the garden. What I saw. And I realized something that made my hands shake. Josh and I weren’t safe. 2) Be Nike. Just do it. 3) The silence mocked me. 4) Einstein sometimes wondered why he married her. Oh yeah. The big boobies.

I really found Randall, Josh, and the Grandma’s interactions entertaining. Josh was naive, thinking she wouldn’t hurt them, but Randall knew better. That’s why I couldn’t really get into the ending–Ralph and Einstein’s section of the book confused me. But overall, I enjoyed the book.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

Chivalry isn’t dead. It just wears a skirt.

Highschoolers Charlie Matthews, his stepbrother Martin, and Sharon Collins win a contest to play an interactive medieval game as the avatars of their favorite characters. Their mission: fight off the monsters, storm the castle, and capture the evil king.

But things go terribly wrong. Charlie is dismayed to discover he is Angella of Avernon, the lead female character in the game. Fortunately, she’s the most powerful avatar around, but he also finds out that he, Martin, and Sharon have been infected with a virus that will kill them outside the game, so they have to stay inside the scenario.

Trapped and beset on all sides, Charlie has to deal with the sexism of the characters circa 1430, his stepbrother’s distaste for his female form, and his feelings about becoming a woman. In addition to fighting off the various monsters within the scenario, Charlie tries to fight his attraction to Sharon…and then realizes Sharon is attracted to him, which makes it all the more confusing.

When the deadly opponents in the game get the upper hand, Charlie must summon all of his love and courage to save the day and rescue Sharon. Will he understand that love is where you find it and that the gender of the one you love doesn’t matter at all?

51KKgfkbzkL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I loved this book that was packed with adventure. Imagine being stuck in a computer game as a gravatar. Not only that–but things aren’t quite as they seem. You thought the same rules applied, but after awhile, you discover there’s a computer virus that changes the game. Upping the stakes! This is what the three main characters Charlie, Martin, and Sharon went through.

They won the Hummel Corporation’s contest. Travianna was a popular computer game, so of course, the teens didn’t hesitate to be a part of the simulation. Their foreheads being taped with wires as their progress was monitored reminded me of The Matrix.

My favorite lines: 1) “Something in his eyes clicked, changed, went dark–and became evil.” 2) “It figured. Martin had the social skills of a donut hole.” 3) “Clearly, she liked me, and…I was a woman now.” 4) “He stopped in his tracks and his face held a mix of regret and acceptance.”

J.S. Frankel had an amazing talent with dialogue and overall tone of the story. Charlie’s first person point-of-view was used. I liked hearing his ups and downs, his fears and concerns as he tried to put on a brave face for his brother Martin and his crush Sharon. He was the only person who blacked out a couple of times in the game and was able to enter the real world. He had to hear the tragic news that the computer virus was making them sick. I couldn’t even imagine…The body language was great in painting the full picture.

The author was also great with description in the scenes. I enjoyed the tension between the teenagers, especially when danger approached. Martin couldn’t quite grasp that his brother was turned into a woman. He always had snarky comments, but later readers found out that he had a crush on Sharon. I enjoyed her feisty attitude. She didn’t take anyone’s bullcrap. I liked how Sharon and Charlie’s friendship developed slowly into something more. He was confused because in his mind he was still the same Charlie, but his physical appearance showed something different.

The ending was bittersweet. I felt for all parties involved. The Hummel’s were being investigated by the police for an accident, the parents were losing their children, and the children were trapped in the game. Can they make it out alive? You’ll have to read to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

***I received this as an ARC gift for winning a Goodreads giveaway, making this book a first-read***

Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?

18351891I enjoyed this book. My favorite lines were: “That man has secrets to hide. Better not push him. You don’t know what he’ll do.” and “It’s a potential homicide, and I’m a person of interest.” The mystery had plenty of red herrings, keeping me guessing until the end. I didn’t pick the right killer LOL. Marla’s catchphrase was funny; I’ve never heard “Bless my bones” before. I liked that she was comfortable in her own skin.

Krabber. Krabber. Krabber. He was the Association’s President who enforced rules while not abiding by the rules himself. After hearing his backstory, I could understand why he was such a jerk. To be honest, I found the suspects more interesting than Marla and Dalton. The daughter was cool though. I liked that the married couple worked together, trying to solve the crimes in the neighborhood. I was impressed with Marla’s sleuthing skills (she could put Sherlock Holmes to shame). But towards the end, I was confused why Dalton hid crucial information when his police squad found a lead. It could have saved a lot of heartache. I sat on the edge of my seat when Marla got hit in the back of the head and almost died by being left in the garage with a car running. But, Marla still did the same ole same ole even when her husband warned her against connecting the dots, meeting people alone. So as a reader, I assumed I guess it wasn’t a big deal.

I was really curious of Krabber’s nephew. I wish he would’ve been introduced more. Overall, it was a really good story. I read the paperback in a day.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

***I received a free book in exchange for a review***

Seventeen-year-old Riley has been fascinated with crime investigation since she discovered CSI on TV. So, when it’s announced a serial killer is loose in the city, hell-bent on killing girls like Riley’s little sister, Riley’s on full alert. Not even Mark, the super hot college boy pursuing her, can get her mind off the case.

A victim found near the research lab where Riley’s friend Alyssa volunteers makes Riley think she’s found a lead: The killer’s signature—sad smileys—appears in the lab, so it seems the killer could be someone working there. Riley alerts Alyssa and the two notify the NYPD. But the police dismiss their claims.

Convinced she’s onto something, Riley embarks on her own investigation together with Alyssa. When another victim is found near the lab, it seems they’re close to finding the killer. Problem is, their prime suspect is a scientist’s younger brother—who happens to be Mark…

21570121I loved this book. The opening sentence “It took four dead girls for the NYPD to admit they had a serial killer on their hands” had me hooked right away. The story was written through Riley’s first person point of view. I admired her relationships with the other characters. She and her little sister, Cass, had a cute and entertaining back and forth dialogue. Even though the serial killer was hunting girls Cass’s age, she still held her ground that she should be able to go anywhere she wanted to go unchaperoned. I enjoyed Riley and Alyssa’s friendship. They were both busy (different priorities in life) but still managed to find time for one another. It took me back to my high school years, when it’s close to graduation and knowing my friends would be going to different colleges than me.

I appreciated that Riley acted like Harriet the Spy (my favorite spy of all time). She didn’t wait for clues to come to her; she actively sought out her own clues and came up with her own conclusions. I thought it was shady how Alyssa kept trying to get her to stop snooping. Was Alyssa sincere? Or up to something? is what I kept thinking throughout the story. The security guard who helped them seemed fun. He was really nice.

I liked the tension of Riley’s crush, Mark, being a suspect. Those scenes had me on the edge of my seat because I thought he could be the killer as well. I had four suspects, so the author did an amazing job of providing red herrings. The girls thought The Smiley Killer worked in Alyssa’s lab.

I wish facial expressions and/or body language would have been used more to emphasize the characters’ dialogue. It would have been cool to see them express their concerns, anger, confusion, sympathy, etc. in that way. I enjoyed the cliffhanger. Maybe there could be  a sequel?

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author and book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

***I received a free copy from the Goodreads group Paranormal and Horror Lovers in exchange for an honest review***

After sustaining years of sexual abuse by the father she had once loved and trusted, Hillary Greyson finally confides in her mother, only to be called a liar. Just when all seems hopeless and Hillary has no one to turn to, she discovers an ally, a voice within her that promises to make everything all better. Relying on her one and only friend–the voice of reason, Hillary puts an end to the sexual abuse and those she deemed blameworthy for her suffering. Fueled by rage, Hillary lashes out against everyone who hurt her until she is apprehended in the woods. For months, Hillary is left alone in an empty room, tied naked to a bed in the home of a man claiming to be her doctor…a man who says that she is there for her own good. Hillary finds a way to escape and discovers that she has been delivered to the doctor by a military man, Lieutenant Alan Langford, for the sole purpose of being used as a test subject in an unauthorized and unethical biomedical research experiment. Hillary knows there’s just one thing left to do. With the voice of reason now silent, she has found her own voice, along with the strength and resolve to find this man-this military lieutenant who prolonged her suffering-and make him pay. Hillary just wants revenge….

19133636I enjoyed this book. The opening held my interest right away and had me sitting on the edge of my seat. My mind raced with questions. Was Hillary the bad guy? Did Dr. Jake hurt her?

Hillary was considered dead by the public. They thought she was killed while resisting arrest in the woods. However, Dr. Morrison and Dr. Jake held her captive for military testing. When she escaped, Dr. Jake was afraid she would kill and torture his family.

My favorite lines: 1) The blame would be passed down the ranks. Shit always rolled downhill. 2) There they were…two ghosts, together again. 3) “So it’s true then,” she said angrily. “Your whore is on her way over.” 4) But he knew the truth. And the truth would set him free…

There was some headhopping and it almost seemed like every other word was an adverb. But, there was nothing distracting about the story. I will admit–I was a little confused by the ending. Did Hillary torture those people? Was she responsible? Or something else? This was the last book of the series. Maybe the first ones explained more.

Overall, this story had a great plot. I liked that Hillary met Miss Billie because she needed an ally to help escape/hide (Miss Billie had her suspicions but helped anyway). Dr. Jake and Detective Eliza were on the hunt for Hillary–both for different motives. I loved the tension and conflict in the story.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author and book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Today my $50 Amazon gift card and free ebook contest has ended. Congratulations to the lucky winner:

DITTYMONSTER16!!!!!!!!

Please email me at Author.Yawatta.Hosby(AT)aol(DOT)com, giving me your email address, and letting me know what ebook you prefer. If you don’t own a Kindle, then please give me your shipping address so I’ll know to get a paperback.

Congratulations once again!!!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Please welcome my special guest Fran Clark, the author of Holding Paradise. Please enjoy her wonderful interview. If you’re a huge fan of women’s fiction, then please check out her book. She’s having a launch party on April 25th at her blog. Check it out for a chance to win prizes! Here’s the link: Fran Clark’s blog.

HP2_721.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

I would say, don’t be in a rush to take the first deal that comes your way. Make sure the publisher is offering the kind of support you need to get your book as visible as possible. These days a lot of the marketing effort has to come from the author themselves and some publishing houses are better equipped to help than others.

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I had a recollection of a conversation I had with my Dad when I was a little girl. He asked what I wanted to do when I was older and I said I wanted to be a teacher or an author. By the time I left school I’d forgotten that conversation and had no idea what to do with myself. I worked in administration for years until I discovered music and eventually became a professional singer-songwriter. The writing came later still and now I have two passions in life. And, believe it or not I’m considering teaching Creative Writing so maybe I knew all the time what I wanted. It just took the long way to get there.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?

Personally I hate the promotion side as it really isn’t my strong point so although my publisher does a lot less than me on the promotion side, I still feel I have some support. Self-published writers are extremely brave in my opinion. It is a shame that publishers don’t have the same financial clout they used to in such a changing market but we all have to adapt. Both traditionally and self-published writer alike. I am strongly considering self-publishing my short story collection as I’m geared up for promotion–whether I like to do it or not.

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

i write Women’s Fiction. I love the variety in angles and stories that Women’s Fiction can cover. It’s not all love and romance. I hate that people will assume I write Chick Lit, I don’t. My stories are about ordinary people facing extraordinary situations and learning something about themselves as part of their journey. I just happen to choose themes that I believe women would relate to more than men but men enjoy my writing too.

5.  What are your current/next projects?

Well I need to edit my short story collection. I am half way through a second novel which needs lots of research. When the novel is completed I will begin to look for an agent.

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

Well I certainly like to get my writing to at least 2nd or 3rd draft stage before anyone reads it. I think it’s important to get all your own ideas down and a level of confidence about your story so that you know where it’s going. But it is important to listen to criticism. Good criticism (and you have to decide what that is) can make the story stronger and hopefully more marketable.

7.  How do you find time to write?

These days with difficulty. I’m doing a Creative Writing MA and that is very demanding of my time. I find that I have neglected my second novel in favour of completing assignments. I am at my best when I’m organised and giving each task its necessary attention and knowing how much that is can vary depending on what life deals you at the time.

8.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

I was only thinking about this recently. I do start at the beginning and work my way along to the end. I can’t help it. That’s what feels natural to me. I’ve tried writing out of sequence and that was the book I abandoned. (For now).

9.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Not hated so much as didn’t like. Sometimes I’ve felt a story wasn’t going well but continued anyway. When you read some things back they don’t always feel right and you can’t always put your finger on why. But don’t scrap ideas completely. Keep them in a back draw there might be a sentence, idea or character you’ll want to use in another story.

10.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

To be honest I really don’t have an easiest because all writing is as easy or as hard as it to get a story to say what it needs to say. I’ve never written a novella but I have a collection of some very long short stories. I like to think that I give a story what it needs and that could be in 2,000 words or it could be in 90,000. Having said that I do have problem writing Flash Fiction. Maybe my problem with that is that I can’t shut up. Too many ideas to cram in to so few words!

11.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

I never felt like I was one of my characters but some of them have certainly made me cry–and laugh come to that. My characters seem to take on a life of their own. They speak for themselves and I just go with the flow as I write. Hope that doesn’t sound too weird.

12.  How did you come up with the title?

The original title was Hidden Paradise and I was advised by a literary critic to change it as it didn’t fit the tone of my writing. I sat for days trying out new titles and started a poll with a few of my friends. Out of the blue I stumbled on just changing one word. Holding Paradise seemed to hold more promise and everyone else seemed to like it so I went with that.

13.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

Lots of things is my honest answers but if I were to narrow it down I would say it had a lot to do with my Mum. Her stories about life growing up in the Caribbean and what life was like when she first came to London. Holding Paradise isn’t her story as I used imagination to dream up my characters but there may be a little of everyone  I know in the characters in my book.

Holding Paradise’s Blurb:

On a grey and miserable morning in 2008 London businesswoman, Angelica Ford, boards a plane and flies off to the blues and greens of her mother’s island in the Caribbean. Angelica is desperate. She is looking for a way to save her marriage and win back her daughter. A web of lies has torn a hole into her seemingly perfect world and she is convinced that only her mother, Josephine Dennis, can help her turn her life around.

Josephine Dennis arrived in England by ship on a cold winter’s morning as a young mother joining her husband. She weathers a lifetime of secrets and betrayal as she raises her family in 1960s London. A matriarch with strong family values, she told her children colourful stories to guide them through life. It is the wisdom of one of these stories that Angelica seeks. Josephine has one last story to tell–the story that could change both of their lives.

Holding Paradise’s Excerpt

I walked into her room and saw, as usual, piles of clothes on the floor but resisted the urge to pick them up. Instead I dumped her clean clothes on the bed. Just as I did so, I heard her mobile go off. It made me jump. I was used to the ring tone but didn’t expect to hear it. It was impulse that made me grab it and press the little green telephone symbol. Before I could say ‘hello Eva’s phone’ I heard Saffron’s voice.

‘Bitch, what do you mean you’ve been having sex with someone in your family? You can’t send me emails like that and not expect me to call you right away. Who is it?’ I pressed the red telephone symbol straight away and threw Eva’s phone on the bed. I stood there staring at it. A few seconds later it rang again. I picked it up but I was ready. I saw the ‘Saffron calling’ sign as I gathered my thoughts.

‘Hello,’ I said.

‘Who’s that?’ Saffron sounded worried.

‘Oh Saffron. Did you just call? I picked up Eva’s phone but I couldn’t hear anyone so I hung up.’

‘Mrs Ford. You’ve got Eva’s phone?’

‘Yes, she must have forgotten it when she went off to Surrey with Luke. Shall I tell her you called?’

‘Er, yes please. So you didn’t hear me talking when you picked up?’

‘No. I don’t know what happened there. That’s technology for you.’ I laughed. A fake laugh. I hoped Saffron wouldn’t see through it. ‘Any message?’

‘Oh no, that’s okay Mrs Ford. I’ll just try her again this evening. Will she be back then?’

‘Yes, she should be. Bye then Saffron.’

‘Bye.’

I sat heavily on the bed. The piles of clothes I’d just put there slipped garment by garment onto the floor in slow motion until the last few t-shirts flopped quietly onto the jeans in real time. I got up quickly. I still had Eva’s phone in my hand. Why did I answer that call? No. I had to answer that call. The biggest secret that Eva could ever have kept from me, I had discovered by answering that call. But was Saffron serious? Why would she say it if it wasn’t true? My head was spinning. If it were true then who the hell could this family member be?

14.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby