Book Review: Stay of Execution By Kellie Larsen Murphy

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

Little Springs was just a small college town, the kind of town where everyone knew everyone and violent crime was nonexistent–until a series of rapes and murders at the college. After an outbreak of fear and hysteria, only the arrest and conviction of Leo Spradlin, the “Co-Ed Killer,” could end the terror.

Years later, Spradlin is suddenly cleared based on unshakable DNA evidence, and no one is more surprised than Detective Mike Cancini. As new questions surround the identity of the true “Co-Ed Killer,” Cancini struggles to accept his role in the conviction of an innocent man. Suspicions mount when Spradlin’s release coincides with a fresh waves of rapes and murders at the college, eerily reminiscent of the original crimes. Cancini is drawn back to Little Springs, caught in a race against time to uncover the identity of the latest “Co-Ed Killer” before the next girl dies…

A tension-filled psychological mystery, STAY OF EXECUTION is also a novel about loyalty, deceit, and the darker side of truth.

I loved this mystery novel. It was placed in Washington D.C. and Virginia. I love reading books that are near my area, especially if I can recognize the scenery and public places with the author’s description. 

Detective Cancini was one of the main characters. As a reader, I respected his problem-solving skills, stubborn yet efficient. He reminded me of Gibbs. Leo Spradlin, the townies, and the Mayor were other main characters.

Spradlin was an innocent man on death row. He had been convicted of raping and murdering female students of Blue Hill College. But was he the true “Co-Ed Killer”? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

There were some repetition areas in interior monologue, especially when Cancini found out Spradlin was released from prison. But, I guess it fit because Cancini was obsessed with finding out the truth, never once believing Spradlin was innocent.

Julia, an ambitious reporter determined to get out of the shadows of her husband’s career, was another character I enjoyed. My favorite scenes were of her investigating in the small town and any scene with her and Spradlin.

My favorite lines: 1) He understood his role. 2) “Mike, the evidence says Spradlin’s innocent. Let it go.” 3) Was it really that something didn’t feel right? Was it really about truth and closure, or was it his own bruised ego?

When Julia started reading Spradlin’s morher’s diary entries, I figured out the mystery. It was fun watching the story unfold to see if I was right. The ending was definitely keeping me on the edge of my seat.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Counting Down the Days Until I See Kenneth Postalwait’s Smile Again. Until Then, I’ll Write About His Books

If you follow my blog, then you know I’ve mentioned the author Kenneth Postalwait before. It’s cool that he’s dedicated his creativity to writing Civil War poetry books:

Red Hawk–A Civil War Journal–Battle of Gettysburg (Excerpts from Book III)

This book covers all the different aspects of the Battle of Gettysburg. You can’t sit through a History class without hearing about this popular battle in the Civil War. Everything rhymes, so the pacing has a nice rhythm. 

I have to give a shout out to the illustrator Daniel Paul Murphy. His sketches of nature and buildings really brought Kenneth’s poems and psalms (Book of Revelation and Gospel of John) to life.

My favorite part of the book was the cliff notes at the bottom of the page. They were used to give a brief History lesson, whether about a certain individual, Civil War term, or place. 

Here’s two verses that really caught my attention:

Gittin all we wanted–blues fed it to us–stuffed it down

Mad retreat two blue corps sudden up the ridge scan’t hold the cemetery crown

Piled the dead to stall us thru, ends the day each rebel rues

Shreds and basements searched for fugitives an all for them gosh durn shoes.

* * * *

Gathered to count all the killing

All equal all now in God’s Grace

Reluctants and those who went willing

And those we must leave in this place

Forever Remember their story!

The Thousands and Thousands who’ve died

Whether here to taste unsavored Glory

Or fallen upholding States’ Pride.

———————–

Red Hawk–A Civil War Journal–Book III Born Again Rebel

This lovely written book also contained poems and psalms that rhymed. Some instances covered Valentine’s Day of 1963. I couldn’t even imagine.

This book had poems on:

  • Battle of Chancellorsville
  • Great Sugar Raid
  • Battle of Gettysburg

And, the psalms included:

  • Book of Luke
  • Gospel of John
  • Book of 2 Timothy
  • Book of Revelation
  • Book of Colossians

If you’re intrigued by history or facts on the Civil War, please consider checking out Kenneth Postalwait’s books, especially if you have children or nieces and nephews.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. Kenneth, the next time you stop by The Journal and say hi to Sarah, I’m literally  across the lobby at the other desk :)

Book Review: In the Devil’s Dreams By Troy A. Scott

While visiting his mother at her secluded Waldport cabin, an English teacher is awoken in the night by screams. Something gigantic is heaving itself against the rickety front door, relentlessly pounding and scratching–and shrieking his name. The hideous creature seems to know everything about the man, and takes special interest in his wife’s deteriorating health.

On the other side of the world, a bleary-eyed detective works late, desperate to avoid the recurring dream of his fiancee’s murder. But when a bloodied child stumbles into the Pine Rest Police Department and collapses, the detective finds himself facing off against his worst nightmare.

In the Devil’s Dreams is the story of three broken people and the boy who links them. The lives and nightmares of the characters are elegantly interwoven, and the story is revealed through multiple points of view.

I enjoyed this book that was based off the author’s nightmares he had when visiting his mother’s home. It left me wondering: how much was imagination, and how much was real-life events? Dun, dun, dun…

It was cool that the book also had illustrations. It helped the suspense come alive. The main character promised his mom he’d never enter the woods alone. Once he reaches her home, he saw a monster named Gorleth, who reminded him of his wife. His depressed, suicidial wife. So he ran away into the woods. A ghostly figure, reminding him of his wife, haunted him. He ended up joining forces with a cabbie, who was running away from something too. It was cool how each character’s journey eventually crossed paths.

My favorite lines: 1) “I feel like we’ve been apart a thousand years,” he said. “But I promise you, I won’t lose you again.” 2) “And it was dark. God help me, it was dark.” 3) “He knew her. The monster knew my wife.” 4) “Approaching the brink of a panic attack, I staggered away from the scene like a drunk.” 5) “I can smell you,” he growled. “You can’t hide.”

I loved the author’s voice. He had a great writing style, but after awhile all the characters’ first person accounts sounded exactly the same, like they all had the same voice. 

My favorite character was the cabbie. He seemed to know some of the answers, regarding the woods. Those woods were spooky! The author did a great job of capturing the characters’ fears. Those monsters and ghosts were relentless!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Books Are Available On Platforms Other Than Amazon!!! Yippie!!!

I had a blast on Amazon’s KDP Program, but it’s time to start thinking long term regarding my books. Right now, I think it’s best to be on as many platforms as possible. I reinstated One By One and Something’s Amiss on B&N and Smashwords. I also added my books to Draft 2 Digital (this site is very easy to distribute to all book sites). Wish me luck! :)

 

  

 

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby 

Book Review: The Diary-Loving a Killer by Julia Derek

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

BOOK ONE OF THE “LOVING A KILLER” SERIAL:

A HAPPY MARRIAGE. TERRIBLE SECRETS.

Happily married Lexi Woods thought losing a child would be the worst thing that could ever happen to her. She was wrong. It turns out that life has more ugly surprises for her. When she is finally through the heavy depression of losing her newborn, she finds her husband’s diary. As she reads it, she learns that he’s been unfaithful to her. He’s not at all the man she thought he was. Unfortunately, that’s not the worst part. Not only has the love of her life gone behind her back–but it also looks like he killed his mistress…What else could he be hiding?

NOTE: LOVING A KILLER is a three-part novella serial. While dark and disturbing at times, it’s a love story at its core. True love is not always easy to read about. It’s intended for mature audiences only and contains strong language.

I enjoyed this book. It was written through Lexi’s first person point-of-view. Her husband, Jason, wanted to become a full-time author. I could relate to the scenes of him sweating bullets over his first draft.

The suspicions of her husband started when Lexi read “I killed her.” in Jason’s diary. But was it his deepest, darkest secrets? Or was it part of his fiction novel? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

I loved that Lexi was proactive in finding out the truth. It made me respect her, as a reader. The author did a wonderful job portraying Lexi and Jason’s pain of losing their baby boy Matthew. I felt very sorry for them.

I wish there would have been more dialogue between the couple, especially when she was hiding her suspicions. When there was conversation in the scenes, it seemed like Jason was toying with her, especially when he claimed everyone has a dark side. I wanted to see that play out more, to give more suspense.

The very last scene gave me chills! The story ended on the perfect cliffhanger.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Red Dog Saloon by R.D. Sherrill

Six conspirators who committed an unspeakable crime two decades ago at a country honkytonk called Red Dog Saloon are being eliminated in grisly fashion. The only clues to their brutal murders are the words Red Dog written at the scenes of their slayings in their own blood. Sheriff Sam Delaney races against time to figure out what has prompted the crimes in his normally quiet county while the conspirators turn on each other, hoping to avoid the judgment they set in motion with the evil deeds of their youth. They find that despite moving on with their lives, there is no redemption for their past deeds.

I enjoyed this book. The Sheriff of Castle County was on a search to figure out the clue–who’s behind the “Red Dog” murders. There was a twist upon the twist of Dark Man’s identity, which left me satisfied and shocked at the ending!

My favorite lines: 1) ” Who waits twenty years for payback?” 2) “For Sam the motive was obvious. It was the remaining targets that were unclear. Were there one or five?” 

As a reader, I couldn’t tell if there was head hopping or if the story was just written in the omniscient point-of-view. A lot of things were explained so some of the suspense wasn’t there for me.

I really respected Sheriff Sam and his Deputy Ben. They were on their A-game and didn’t back down from solving the horrible incident from 20 years ago, even though the retired Sherriff had covered up the inexcusable crime. When I found out what those men did to that young woman in that bar 20 years ago, I rooted for the Dark Man to torture all of them. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. 

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Trigger Finger by Jackson Spencer Bell

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

When two intruders break into his house one night bent on attacking his family, Kevin Swanson fights back–with deadly consequences. In the aftermath, he rockets from obscure lawyer to local hero overnight–a hero to everyone, that is, except for a strange man who calls in to a local talk radio show when Kevin appears as a guest. The caller, who won’t reveal his name, has a message: Kevin is no hero. And his story about what happened isn’t even close to accurate. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself thrust into the center of one violent crime after another, rising to the occasion and exceeding his wildest expectations each time. Strangely, though, none of his attackers carry any identification. And as his doubts drive him through his own investigation of what really happened that night, his crumbling reality sends him hurtling towards a face-to-face confrontation with the nameless caller-and the horrifying truth that won’t let him hide.

I loved this book! My favorite lines: 1) “He wants to show that I’m a pussy,” I said. “He wants to make me into a bitch.” 2) “No wonder Brandon persisted in delusional thinking. These people spent all day surrounded by absolute bullshit.” 3) “That’s no man, replied a voice in my head. This one didn’t belong to Bobby or Kate or Allie; I recognized this as my own. I think you know that.” 4) “Her voice had lowered to a whisper raspy and dry, like newspaper left in the desert sun.” 5) “…but I had woken up on the couch in the basement with my fully-loaded AK-47 clutched against my chest like some kind of fucked-up teddy bear.”

The author did a brilliant job with the main character’s voice. Kevin sounded like a local hero being harassed by a stalker. When readers get a glimpse into his therapy sessions, they realize there’s definitely something more to Kevin, whether he’s in denial or guilty of something. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

It was interesting that Kevin described his stalker as the Bald Man. Not only that, but he was also convinced that the Bald Man used golems (objects made of clay who come to life) to attack him.

I don’t want to give too much away; however, make sure to pay attention to what the palm reader, Rudy, says about Kevin and his brother Bobby. From the first page, I sat on the edge of my seat, captivated by the suspense and mystery surrounding Kevin’s family. Like him, I started to wonder if his wife and daughter lied about being attacked upstairs, so Kevin wouldn’t lose his sanity from the guilt of not reaching his family in time. 

The story ended with a great twist, and the scene of Kevin confronting Ruby gave me chills.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Into the Deep End By Leesa Freeman

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

Before didn’t exist–not for Luke Stevenson–not anymore.

He once dreamt of winning Olympic gold and escaping his crappy little New Mexico town, but that dream shattered the night a drunk driver took his twin sister and confined him to a wheelchair. Mourning Bethany and struggling to cope with his new paraplegic life, Luke is blind with rage at everyone and everything.

Adriana Toomey, the only other survivor of the crash, can barely crawl out of bed after burying her fiancé, Luke’s best friend. But what haunts her most, she has no memory of that fatal night.

An old friend who manages a camp for special needs kids, strong-arms the broken pair to act as counselors for three weeks. Seeing each other again is painful. Luke reminds Adriana too much of the man she was going to marry. Luke, who secretly loves his best friend’s girl, has no idea how to be the kind of man any woman would want. Disabled and destroyed, what could he possibly have to offer now?

Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.

I loved this heartbreaking novel. I was wiping tears away left and right. The opening sentence: “Before didn’t exist. Not for me. Not anymore.” hooked my interest right away.  And, I thought it was cool that the main character was American Indian. I enjoyed hearing about some of his culture. 

My favorite line was: “You’re always alone. Ever since that night you’ve done nothing but be alone.”  The story was written in Luke’s first person point of view, which really highlighted how much he was broken. As a reader, I cared for Adriana since he loved her so much. I really rooted for them but sometimes you have to let someone you love go and be free.

The story focused on the camp, then Luke’s life afterward. This was a tearjerker, and had many uplifting scenes. I could see the story as a Lifetime movie because the author was able to capture a vivid picture with her descriptions. 

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

What’s The Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned: Words of Wisdom From Our Readers

yhosby:

Here’s a wonderful post that gives some insight into what readers think. Readers are everything in the publishing industry.

Originally posted on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors:

About two weeks ago, Ruth and I asked you to send in your best advice on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing fiction. I am very pleased to say that nearly every day since my inbox has had wonderful messages from our many readers who were glad to send along their knowledge. Below you can see their comments, as well as wonderful pictures of them and their books. On behalf of the folks here at Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, we would like to thank you for your awesome contributions.

Here’s what our readers had to say:

AMZDEBBYCONRAD8 (1)

Write the story you want to write.  Be passionate, follow your heart, and ignore what others are writing.  Just be you.

Debbie Conrad

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Spell check. Spell check, spell check, spell check. After every draft, spell check. After every writing session, spell check. There are going to be things you missed, even if you think you haven’t…

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Inspirational Quotes On Writing

These are my top three inspirational quotes on writing. They keep me from letting fear take over.

“Creativity is an act of defiance.”–Twyla Tharp

“Creativity takes courage.”–Henri Matisse

“Don’t be a writer; be writing.”–William Faulkner

For all the writers out there, are there quotes that touch your heart? Are there quotes that help you keep working even when you’re suffering from self-doubt?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby