Book Review: The Wastewater Plant By Dodge Winston

When I read the description of this book in the Announcements on Absolute Write Forums, it intrigued me because it sounded like another story I had read. Characters getting stalked by an evil force will never get old for me hee hee, so I decided to give this book a chance. The Wastewater Plant is #27 of my reading challenge. Here’s my thoughts:

Scott’s determined to make it through a record shattering storm for his first day at the wastewater plant. What he thinks his new career will entail and what he finds are polar opposites – an outdated plant full of half-broke equipment and a motley crew of plant operators who can barely tolerate one another. As personal politics explode during the worst storm in centuries, an ancient evil awakens. It’s hungry. It’s intelligent. And it’s focused on the wastewater plant. Will the band of roughnecks wise up enough to work together and survive? Will there be any help from the outside world or will the creature have its way, transforming the plant and the staff’s reality into a cold nightmare? Find out in Dodge Winston’s pulse-pounding, deeply disturbing book, THE WASTEWATER PLANT!

17713942I loved this 34 chapter book. It was cool seeing how Stacks and Agent Stewart set everything up and didn’t care who died as long as they got their research and statistics. It was pretty shady the way they sacrificed those workers (in a good way). My favorite part was the fact that the people at the wastewater plant didn’t have a clue what was going on. That made the events creepy for me as a reader, and it felt like I was in on a secret.

My favorite lines: 1) Fear based habits were hard to break. 2) In Scott’s mind, Jed looked like an unkempt serial killer. The vibe fit. 3) Wastewater is the dirty secret of society. 4) I’m trained as a scientist to be objective and observe things. This was not a daydream. More like a fucking nightmare.

The opening scene was pretty cool. A homeless guy was on the verge of killing himself at the marsh, but a gooey thing killed him instead. The author was great with dialogue and characterization. I loved the group’s dynamic, especially all the teasing.  The group picked on the new employee, Scott. There were also some crazy workers–Jed brought a gun to work. All the characters were very memorable, so as a reader, I cared about them. Since Scott was one of the first character’s introduced, I sort of bonded with him. He ended up being one of my favorite people in the book; I wish there would have been a scene of what happened to Scott instead of hearing about it through another character’s dialogue.

For me, I had chills down my spine because I get scared easily. I kept looking over my shoulders while reading. If you love horror and thrillers with a touch of humor, then I think you’ll enjoy this story.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the book or author:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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How To Write Thriller and Paranormal Fiction

I made another appearance on Aymaran Shadow’s blog, discussing the essential key elements for writing thrillers and paranormal. I often wonder if authors research their genre to get a clear picture of what readers will expect or if they just focus on what they want to write. I love to research, yet I love to think outside the box. So, I guess I’m in the middle.

As a reader, I expect to solve a puzzle if it’s a thriller. I want my emotions heightened–doesn’t matter if I feel hatred, love, fear, or surprise. As long as I’m not bored, I’m good. The bad guys always fascinate me, so I love when a story has a very cunning villain. Don’t get me wrong, I love the good guys too. I like reading about mind games and violence, graphic language doesn’t bother me.

As a reader, I expect to learn something new if it’s paranormal. I imagine the characters’ world is similar as the real world but supernatural beings roam the earth. To be honest, the only paranormal I’ve ever read has been in the romance genre, so I expect a huge build-up of a supernatural falling in love with a human. Violence doesn’t bother me in this genre either.

As a writer, I think there’s certain elements that different genres should have. If you’d like to check out my thoughts:

For all the writers and readers out there, do you agree or disagree?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

When Reality and Fiction Become A Bit Blurry

I would like to welcome my special guest, DJ Swykert, author of Maggie Elizabeth Harrington.

cover1c_-_grey_titleSometimes when writing the lines between reality and fiction become a bit blurry. I began Maggie Elizabeth Harrington intending to write a historical story about a lonely woman who loses her mind after being jilted by her lover. I ended up with a novel about a young woman in a remote northern Michigan mining town trying to save a pack of wolves from a bounty hunter. It wasn’t difficult to figure out how the transition occurred. I had agreed to watch a pair of arctic hybrids for a friend and soon found myself attached to the ten week old hybrid wolf pups and fascinated by their behaviors. My reality became my fiction. Maggie would be someone who would want to protect these beautiful animals from bounty hunters. The story of Maggie Harrington and her wolves unfolded almost as if it were writing itself and the farther it progressed the further my interest in wolves increased.

This led me to do some research on wolves, including the studies by a professor at Michigan Technological University, Rolf Peterson, who has written on the wolves of Isle Royale for thirty years. Here is a brief history of Michigan wolves. There was a time when there were abundant packs. A bounty existed on them in the early 19th century and into the twentieth century, thirty-five dollars for the head of a female, and thirty for a male. The population was decimated and for most of the second half of the twentieth century were non-existent in the state. They became protected in 1974, and the population has increased steadily since. There are about 687 recorded wolves now that live only in the Upper Peninsula, there are still none in the Lower Peninsula.

I saw my first wolf in 1994, two of them roadside near Copper Harbor howling at the Fourth of July fireworks. I have seen perhaps a half dozen since. They have been removed from the endangered species list, and managed hunting is currently allowed once again. The relationship between wolves and human beings is very ancient. We shared similar survival techniques: living in organized societies for protection and hunting in packs. Rather than compete for food sources we simply joined forces. I believe this is the origin of the bond between man and wolf, and now dogs, which are simply domesticated wolves. The gray wolf, canis lupis, and a domesticated dog, canis lupis familiaris, share the same DNA profile. You cannot forensically differentiate one from the other.

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington ultimately became a book with multilayered themes concerning social and environmental issues. I see the book as crossing the genres between Romance and Adventure and landing somewhere in a gray area between YA and Literary. The narrator is thirteen but I believe her ideas are adult enough to engage literary readers.

Since writing the book I have come to three significant conclusions about wolves: They work together, mate for life, and protect their young. They have a loyalty within the pack hierarchy that is beyond ours. There is no divorce in a wolf pack. Only the alpha’s mate, but they mate for life. If one of the pair is killed, the next highest ranking wolf in the pack, a beta, takes its place. They protect their young, whether it’s the alpha parent, a beta, or the omega wolf, which, although relegated to the bottom of the order in the pack, does participate in pack duties, often playing the role of a babysitter while the rest of the pack hunts. If the human race lived as wolves, the earth would be a far different place.

I still cherish the memories of stuffing both of the 150 pound wolf hybrids into my Jeep Wrangler and doing some traveling. From the time I wrote the book until I moved to Kentucky I lived in five different places, and I hauled and lodged those wolves with me at each one. I’m not sure I’d want to do that again, but they are fond memories. And what is life but memories, sweet illusions that move in all directions and linger much longer than reality. Isn’t life but perception and memories of what we are, and were, and is there really any difference?

Links to the book:

About the Author:

Tmp00003DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, the NewerYork, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Death of Anyone and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. You can find him at Magic Master Minds. He is a wolf expert.

Book Review: The Shift By Fiona Dodwell

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

Michael White is a man desperate to escape his past. After tragedy costs him his job and marriage, he finds himself abandoned in a world of depression, loneliness and unemployment – until a new start working at a luxurious care home is offered.

But Hill Wood House isn’t like any other care home. What are the shadowy figures that follow Michael? What do they want? And beyond the paranormal, who is stalking Michael? Who is entering his home at night and leaving disturbing messages across his walls?

Can anyone ever really escape their past? Michael is about to go on a dark journey to uncover the truth behind what is haunting him – a truth that will wreak death and destruction to those Michael cares about.

17905872I loved this 45 chapter book. The opening line in the prologue, He leaned forward pressing his face close to her mouth and listened, waiting for breath that would not come, had me hooked. My other favorite lines: 1) Time isn’t the healer it’s promised to be. 2) “God you’re infuriatingly naive, Michael. I can’t decide whether it’s cute or annoying.” 3) It all looked so…normal, so real. Yet the thoughts of what had happened to him were floating persistently in his mind, vying for his attention.

This story gave me chills from start to finish. It was very creepy and frightening. The author did a wonderful job with dialogue and description. I could definitely see this as a blockbuster hit. My favorite suspense moments occurred when a guy wearing a clown mask stalked Michael. He was haunted by a ghost, no matter if he was at home or work. He worked in Hill Wood House, which was a facility that took care of disabled folks. Even his patients could see the black shadow following him. Spooky!

This suspense thriller was written in Michael’s third person point of view. He’s very protective of his sister, Amber, not getting along with her arrogant boyfriend. After a divorce, he’s feeling in a funk, but decides to start dating Sarah. I loved how the mystery of what happened at his first job was a running theme. This is VERY important. There’s a double twist that I didn’t see coming! It reminded me of my favorite John Cusak movie.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Dead By Teddy Lotson

As everyone probably knows, I have a reading challenge–I find books from authors I find through blogging and Absolute Write Forums. Sometimes I know them, sometimes I don’t. Around a month or two ago, I actively searched for nothing but thrillers and horror. I found Dead in the announcements section of AW and knew I had to give it a chance. I love psychological thrillers. This book is #26 of my reading challenge. Here’s my thoughts:

A brain aneurysm sends Jay into a coma as he begins to write the final paragraph of his dream novel. Now, he witnesses the lives of those around him as they struggle with his sudden illness, and – in one case – seek to profit from it.

He’ll learn the value of personal relationships in the social media age…but will it be too late?

Short, action packed, and dense with allusion and metaphor, you can read Dead in one night, but it will stick with you long after you finish the final word.

51a9+WRVq+L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I loved this 47 chapter book. Poor poor Jay. He’s a writer working on a story. His roommate, Eric, is one too. Not only does Jay have to face the fact that he’s in a coma, but he also sees a huge betrayal. Uli and Lucia are the only friends who visit Jay in the hospital.

My favorite lines: 1) The dull light from the computer screen spread out over my bed like a prison searchlight. Then I noticed the body slumped on the desk in front of my computer. 2) He was a forgotten player on a forgotten team in a forgotten game in a forgotten season.

I was a fan of Teddy Lotson’s writing style; I enjoyed the short, straight to the point sentences. It had a nice fast rhythm that left me wanting to read more–especially to see how the events would work themselves out in the end. Eric’s definitely a creeper. I shuddered (in a good way) how dismissive he was to his hook-up because he needed to finish typing his book.

My favorite characters would have to be Uli and Jay. I felt sorry for Jay, especially when he started to figure out how naive he had been. Plus, it was sort of bittersweet if he’d ever wake up again. I really liked Uli because he didn’t just accept things blindly–he went looking for answers himself. Lucia was cool too; she saw right through Eric’s shadiness. Eric was definitely an entertaining bad guy.

This story was a very fast read, and the ending in the hospital room gave me chills.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby