Book Review: Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look Into American Drug Culture By LeRon L. Barton

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

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I enjoyed this 8 chapter book; it was a fast read. The author interviewed several people in hopes of finding out the answer to: “Why are drugs so entrenched in American way of life?” Most of the interviewees were from San Diego, California. When their real life experiences were revealed, it was written in first person as though they were talking directly to readers.

My favorite lines: 1) Be careful with your life, it’s short. 2) When people talk about drugs, two things come to mind: exaggeration and misinformation. 3) I am not going to rely on a supernatural entity to take responsibility for my life. It’s like saying Santa Claus is going to keep me clean.

I’m one of those easygoing readers who don’t mind typos or grammatical errors as long as the story is very interesting; however, the errors in this book got distracting after a while–it seemed like there were typos on every other page.

There were eight sections to the book: discussing drug dealers, users, people who died from their addiction, if marijuana should be legalized, criminals behind bars, teachers dealing with abused students (the most intriguing section for me), people in rehab who recovered from their addiction, and family members dealing with an addict.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: The Story Of Rachel By K.D. McLean

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

Rachel Collins is praying. And not for world peace. Thirty six years old and single, her prayer is self-centered. “Kill me now, Lord,” she pleads during her latest attempt to meet Mr. Right via the internet.

She’s not hoping for a billionaire or even a millionaire, just a guy who can strike a spark to her tinder! Is she asking too much? She’s a great gal! Just ask her parents! She might be a bit naive about some things, but capable enough- she’s a correspondent for a major magazine, after all. So there!

On assignment she meets Michael, 42 years old, also a writer. The attraction is immediate and intense. Rachel, who sees vanilla as only a baking ingredient, enchants him. Michael can whip up some pretty hot delights himself, outside of the kitchen. He introduces a curious Rachel to powerful experiences of sensuality. Her Ladylike sense of propriety engages in a running battle with her now sparked Tinderbox desires.

Michael is an excellent cook and knows how to turn up the heat. Sampling the flavors offered, Rachel experiences humorous hiccups. On a date, Michael ramps up the risqué, resulting in a memorable skirt swirling salsa dance. Rachel’s “What the hell, I ain’t getting any younger” attitude spurs Michael to take her to the exclusive, adults only club Pandora’s. Here, Rachel witnesses even more variations of earthly delights, and begins a lifelong friendship with another guest.

Michael is a realist, convinced that within 90 days, his affair with Rachel will be but another painful memory of loss. He is neither willing nor able to yell ‘Geronimo’ and fall for her. He can’t, and that’s that.

Maybe he should just get a damn dog.

This modern, urban, grown up love story is a recipe –three cups romance and one cup of slapdash humor. Blend in spices of eroticism, and beat until smooth.

17255718I liked this 22 chapter book even though what I expected and what I read were totally different. I was expecting erotica, but Rachel and Michael didn’t hook up until Chapter 6 and there weren’t many sex scenes. I’ve read more sensual details in romance novels.

  • However, I liked the story for what it was. It had a good sense of humor. Rachel was on Plenty of Fish and kept getting duds for dates. As a reporter, she had an assignment to go to an erotic art exhibit where she met Michael (a freelance writer). I enjoyed their back and forth; the sexual tension was pretty hot. My favorite scene OPEN THE DAMN DOOR had me rolling.

My favorite lines: 1) She liked the word ‘craved’; it almost sounded dirty. 2) His face grew dark. In an instant, joy was replaced by stone. 3) “I really don’t get this at all. I think you’re just making it harder on both of us, for no good reason.”

I loved the conflict throughout the story. They finally made love (instead of D/s), then he acted like a jerk, avoiding her at all costs. Rachel was not amused. I especially enjoyed the scenes where Michael met her friend at the bar–he was pretty rude, and when Michael visited Rachel’s parents.

There was excessive headhopping, so there was no chance to feel what the characters experienced. Or to get a chance to really care for them. Plus, it eliminated all the suspense of when they’d get together since readers knew every single angle of the situation all at once.

This was the author’s debut novel. It was pretty charming, causing me to smile a lot. I liked the main characters as well as the supporting ones.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: These Unquiet Bones By Dean Harrison

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

Dean Harrison’s “These Unquiet Bones” takes the reader on a unique and well-crafted roller coaster ride of horror and suspense. You won’t be able to put this one down until you’ve finished it. His characters are as creepy as any I have read in a long time. Keep your eye on this writer; this book is unforgettable.–T.M. Wright

Trying to get behind the truth of her mother’s death, Amy Snow unleashes the skeletons lurking in the dark of her father’s closet, and learns a terrible, twisted truth about her family tree. Meanwhile, a man named Adam is on a mission to restore Paradise to its former glory. To accomplish this, he must find “The Lost One”, a girl he calls Eve, and sacrifice her to the god she betrayed the day a talking serpent slithered into the Garden of Eden.

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I loved this 97 chapter book. It was raw and edgy, touching taboo subjects such as incest, religious cults, psychological disorders, and rape of young girls. I remember once reading in Stephen King’s “On Writing” book that an author shouldn’t write in fear. Dean Harrison definitely didn’t write in fear, which made me cringe whenever the villains appeared. That’s a sign of good storytelling–when you can get an intense reaction from your readers.

My favorite lines: 1) Who brought a gun to a knife fight? 2) Sometimes even the best kept secrets came out of the dark–sometimes with a vengeance.

I loved the mystery aspect of it all. Amy couldn’t remember the guy who killed her mom, like it was a repressed memory. She was on an anti-depressant ever since the tragedy. I had about three suspects, and I’m proud to say that I guessed right the first time. Her father thought he knew who the serial killer was, but the cops were hesitant to believe him since he was a suspect himself. Should they follow their instinct? You’ll have to read to find out.

  • Adam (of course, not his real name–he’s going by Adam because apparently Eve was evil) was the killer, thinking God was telling him to commit the brutal crimes.

Chills ran down my spine a lot while I read this story. Ghosts, who tried to warn Amy, were also featured. After reading about Amy’s childhood and her family dynamics, it boggled my mind how insane people can be. Spooky and absolutely creepy.

My favorite scenes: 1) when Amy confronted her dad about his past 2) when Layne had a crush on Amy, but showed his true colors 3) when the killer kidnapped Amy and her best friend in front of the school 4) when Layne woke up after confronting a jerk who harassed Amy at a party

The only thing I wish: a lot of filter verbs (hear, saw, felt, etc.) were used. I could have gotten really lost in the story if those words were eliminated.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Rejection happens. Shannon A. Thompson’s blog has an encouraging post on how to deal with it. Like she states, “When our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.”

Shannon A Thompson

Quick Update: My author page is now on Facebook. Please support me by clicking here. You’ll get the latest updates, and my current status has a surprise that isn’t on my website yet! I’m REALLY excited, so check it out, and you’ll get an advantage on other readers when I offer an upcoming competition ;]

Rejection is everywhere: we break up, we get fired, we lose friends—and we survive them all—yet, when our art is rejected, many feel completely defeated, and they never get out there again. This saddens me. This is how art dies.

Rejection happens to everyone, and, if it hasn’t already, it will happen to you—but you cannot let criticism get you down.

In terms of the writing industry, many writers, professional or not, already know about the long-hated query letter. My favorite metaphor for writing one is the ballerina having to explain why she can…

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Was In Awe At the Martinsburg Library Today

Lately, I’ve been interested in connecting with other local authors/writers. My writing group hasn’t been shy about asking coffee shops, bookstores, libraries if writing groups meet there. So far no dice, but the owners always end up offering for us to start something there.

Today, I sat at a table, writing (being productive before my work shift started). There were about 4 women and 2 men (late 50’s, early 60’s) who used the table beside mine. They greeted each other and engaged in small talk, so I hardly paid attention. Until…I overheard one of the women boasting about publishing a best seller back in the day. She had wondered if it was still on library shelves or offered as a backlist to order in bookstores.

Then their group meeting started. Apparently, all of them were published (most were fiction writers, one of the men was a nationally acclaimed poet). I was in awe–I hope they didn’t notice me staring and smiling LOL. I was amazed that they still get together to discuss their writing careers and bring stories/poems for each of them to critique.

I wanted to introduce myself–not necessarily to ask for tips nor to let them know I’m a fiction writer. It was more because I wanted to hear more about their back-stories (they had sounded so interesting), especially to get some names. I would love to check out their books. Unfortunately, I chickened out because I didn’t want to disrupt their meeting, and I had to leave within 5 minutes to walk to my office building on time.

It’s so cool to hear about all these authors from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. It lets me know that I’m capable of success if I work hard at it. They really inspired me today. Hopefully, 30 years from now, I can meet up with Melissa, Pam, and Marc where we reminisce about our successes and failures at our writing careers.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Fanged Princess By Elisabeth Wheatley

I will not let my brother suffer the same loss…

Hadassah’s father, the Vampire King, punished her harshly for her choice to love a human. Now her brother, the only person in the world who still matters to her, has fallen for a human girl. Determined to keep the girl safe, the three of them flee from their home in New England and find themselves cornered with their father’s minions closing in. If they want to escape, their only hope may be to join forces with the mortal enemies of their kind…

Be ensnared in this dark tale of enduring love, revenge, and suspense from teenage author, Elisabeth Wheatley.

16095765I liked this 9 chapter book. It was told through Haddie’s first person point-of-view. She had lost the love of her life, Fletcher, because her dad and uncle killed him. Now, her brother, Damian, is in love with Madelyn, so their dad and uncle is on the hunt to end her life as well.

My favorite lines: 1) The Huntsmen have jobs. That’s strange for some reason. 2) I’m going to die. For a moment, that one thought seems to consume all of me so that I can hardly feel the sharp pain in my face.

The author was good with dialogue. I could picture the tone of voices as the characters interacted with one another. I wish it hadn’t been repeated that Haddie lost Fletcher and the motives for running away since that was established at the beginning. It would’ve helped the story flow better. And it would have been cool to have a build-up to the suspense parts; that way I could’ve been worried about the characters’ lives. It was more like telling instead of showing, but nothing distracted me from this book. In fact, I loved Haddie’s sass.

My favorite part was when they swallowed their pride and asked the Huntsmen family, the Falkners, for help. No one trusted each other, but they needed each other. I enjoyed the conflict and struggle, especially the back and forth between Haddie, James, and Chase.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Paranoid Contracts By Gordon Kenz

The detective agency set up by Cerys encompassed her perception of amoral and legal enquiries taken up on behalf of her clients. However those persons investigated found themselves in situations which involved rather more of a deception than a perception. How moral was the work? How could it be justified to smash personal relationships, to break apart marriages, to destroy careers or to feed the greed of managers at the expense of their colleagues? To what lengths would such investigations go and where would the work of the agency finally end up? When staff started to break the rules of engagement, the whole of the agency began its inevitable collapse. Cerys was no longer in control and methods used were clearly not as she had started. Individual and poorly planned investigations brought an end to her careful planning and outcomes rested on poorer levels of work. This in turn led to a financial downturn in the profitablility of her agency. Where would it all end?

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I enjoyed this 20 chapter book divided into 5 different parts. My favorite lines: 1) Your imagination is often a long way from the truth. 2) Maybe it simply was that Paranoid Contracts were the perfect crimes undertaken. Perfect, of course, because they were not crimes.

The story used a non-linear approach of telling the story–not in chronological order. It was told through magazine clippings, the Paranoid Contracts play-by-play handbook, and through the victims and clients sharing their experiences. It seemed like omniscience point-of-view was used to recount what happened instead of relying on emotions.

  • However, I enjoyed this type of narration because it seemed like I was getting the full picture. I got to see things from the clients, victims, and co-workers’ perspectives. Plus, characters I was interested in had a follow-up instead of things left open-ended.
  • It was cool seeing the way Cerys and her team operated in setting people up (not all of the victims were celebrities). Some ideas came from her husband Jock. He loved to play pranks on people. After a while, Cerys’s conscience started to kick in–they were ruining peoples’ lives after all. An old victim decided to give her a publishing contract, so she could write a tell-all book. Juicy!

My favorite scenes were the ones that the characters finally realized they were duped but it was too late. Those moments seemed more personal to me as a reader. The two cases that stood out for me the most: 1) after Edward got duped, he decided to investigate things for himself. It ended up with someone committing suicide 2) One client was stubborn, never listening to Cerys’s directions, so he left a voicemail message. The guy it was meant to hurt kept repeating the recording and decided it was a fake, so he and his girlfriend (intended victim) got revenge on all parties involved.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby