Book Review: How To Kill Your Friends by Phil Kurthausen

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

Who needs enemies?

There’s something about Meredith…

Meredith is a young underachiever, living in a squalid apartment, struggling to stay one step ahead of her landlord and the law when she meets a man from her past who offers her a way out and a chance to start over.

Having worked her way into the lives of the rich and privileged, Meredith will do just about anything to preserve her new lifestyle.

But just how far is she prepared to go? 

Phil Kurthausen is also the author of the unmissable psychological thriller, Don’t Let Me In. How To Kill Your Friends is a fast-moving psychological thriller which will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s the perfect read for fans of authors like Rachel Abbott, Kerry Wilkinson and Mark Edwards

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I really enjoyed this suspense book even though I thought it’d be more dark, with more suspense, because of the title. The opening sentence: “Meredith couldn’t be sure, but she felt like she was being watched.” had me on the edge of my seat. Who was watching her? The story was written in Meredith’s third person point-of-view. However, the old friends she reconnects with knew her as Nancy. I loved the backstory regarding what happened to her dad.

My favorite lines: 1) Meredith nodded and looked again at the image. It made her stomach twist with excitement and fear. 2) Olivia would be furious and this made Meredith smile.

There was a cute scene when Meredith met Edu at a bar for the first time. I liked that the characters were somewhat unlikable, especially Olivia. It made them seem more relatable. There definitely weren’t any Mary Sues in this book. Amy was a famous fashion vlogger who was quite flaky at times. I probably liked her the most. It seemed like she was more accepting of things than the others in the group.

For the title, I was expecting a bloodbath, but that definitely wasn’t the case. I will say though, the story really picked up for me towards the end. Meredith was in a few nasty predicaments (can’t spoil it for you). And, I loved the ending. I wasn’t expecting that outcome. It was a nice twist.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Tryst (Based on Actual Events) by Aaron Eldritch

Based on real events, this dramatized nonfiction describes the paranormal events experienced by four young men during a transformative period in their lives. What starts as youthful innocence grows darker and more sinister as the question of malicious forces and even trickery emerges. Will the bond of these four withstand the trials of fear and doubt that await them?

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I really enjoyed this book. It got pretty suspenseful towards the end. Maybe I liked it because I’m a believer. The world is too huge to only have humans, I think. So, it was fun to speculate if these paranormal/supernatural events really happened or if the author exaggerated to make his book more interesting. I thought it was cool that the main character had the same exact name as the author; that’s why I’m assuming the book is about his own experience.

My favorite lines: 1) “You’re not crazy, Greg,” Derik insisted. “It’s his house, remember? Not you.” 2) “It seems so…intentional.” 3) “He hoped that Aaron had somehow done it, even if it meant that Aaron was capable of such a cruelty.” 4) “Sometimes you just want so much to be something special…To stand before the unknown, one amongst the lucky few.” 5) “He had never stood before that house alone in such darkness and took this as a sign of grim things to come.”

I didn’t know why the expression “in disgust” was used often. I didn’t really know what the characters were feeling with that description: shock? confusion? anger? Since the omniscience point-of-view was used, readers got a glimpse of the whole picture. Yet, I still want answers (that’s just my INTJ curiosity taking over haha). Was everything caused by aliens? Demons? A supernatural game? I could definitely picture this as a sci-fi movie as I was reading.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: One By One by D.W. Gillespie

***I received a free ARC from NetGalley and am voluntarily giving an honest review***

The Easton family has just moved into their new fixer-upper, a beautiful old house that they bought at a steal, and Alice, the youngest of the family, is excited to explore the strange, new place. Her excitement turns to growing dread as she discovers a picture hidden under the old wallpaper, a child’s drawing of a family just like hers. 

Soon after, members of the family begin to disappear, each victim marked on the child’s drawing with a dark black X. It’s up to her to unlock the grim mystery of the house before she becomes the next victim.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

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I loved this suspense novel. The opening line “I never wanted to come here” hooked me right away. The story was about 10 year old Alice moving into a new home with her parents and 15 year old brother Daniel. The prologue showed a snippet of Mary’s diary. Mary, the little girl who had lived there before them.

I thought the first chapter was pretty long. Maybe because I didn’t care about the family’s walkthrough of the new house with a creepy history. The story really picked up for me when Alice  thought she saw someone staring at her through her bedroom window. I really liked that Alice and her dad had dark thoughts. It made them interesting as characters.

My favorite scene was when Alice found a black painted X across the picture of a dog on the wall. After that, all hell broke loose. Throughout the story, I kept trying to guess if ghosts were haunting the family or something more sinister. You’ll have to read to find out.

I couldn’t tell if the story was written in 3rd person POV or in omniscient because Alice was only 10 but seemed to have a big vocabulary—not when she talked, but when she was narrating the story. Plus, at times she would say her parents’ first names in narration, instead of just saying Mom and Dad.

I really enjoyed the conflict. The stress of the move had all family members on edge. The author did a good job with the mystery of who/what was actually messing with the family. The twist at the end was epic!

My favorite lines: 1) I think a lot about what a smile is, especially when you don’t mean it. It’s a mask. Something that hides the truth. 2) The family that was painted on the wall was covered up too. Buried. 3) Debra turned and managed a tired smile, the stress of the move, the cat, the snow all visible in her mother’s eyes.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: A Predator and A Psychopath by Jay Kerk

***I received a free copy from NetGalley and am voluntarily giving an honest review***

Trigger warning: caution is advised, the book contains graphic content. Do not read this if you are at all weak-stomached or easily sickened / offended. Reader discretion is advised.

After Jason is committed to a mental institution, he begins to uncover things he never knew before or things his mind shut out to protect him. He finds himself questioning what’s real and what’s not. What happened to his wife, Lisa? Where is Lea? Why can’t he remember what happened?

Meanwhile, Jerry is dangerous and unpredictable. He envisions a world where boundaries are broken down and he is free to enforce his narcissistic belief that he has a divine mission.

An explosive ending that is anything but expected, forgive yourself for shuddering throughout and after you close the book.

Drawing inspiration from real cases, and with well-researched, realistic characters, this thriller is not for the soft-hearted.

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I liked this suspense novel. It was very dark and had topics on incest,   stalking, pedophiles. I thought the author did a great job showing how gross Jason and Jerry were. They made me cringe throughout the whole story (in a good way).

I thought the beginning where Jason is talking to a therapist to regain his memory was a little boring. It was repetitive with him not remembering he murdered his wife and had a sexual relationship with his daughter. But, when Jerry’s crazy ass came into the story, things got very interesting.

As a reader, I don’t mind dark books. Sometimes, the darker the better, and I usually look at the villains as just misunderstood. The author has a trigger warning in his book description, but I think if you like horror, suspense, or thrillers, then you’ll be fine reading this.

The book was written in Jason and Jerry’s point-of-views so you get inside their head. I wished some parts slowed down instead of being glossed over. For example, I was interested in Jerry stalking his tenants and conning a drug addict mother. One scene, I wished it would have played out with showing how distraught the mom was of her daughter running away, instead of it just being told to the readers through narrative summary.

Spoiler alert! Don’t read any further if you don’t like being spoiled: The ending was getting juicy. Jason met someone sketchy who may have actually killed his family and framed him. Jason’s son may be alive. Jason was starting to get his memory back and starting to figure out clues. Then, the story ended so abruptly. You will not get any answers in this book.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

***I received a free copy from Netgalley to voluntarily give an honest review***

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

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I loved this murder mystery. It reminded me of a Law & Order: SVU episode arc. Jake’s father was raising him alone. They were practically strangers before his wife had committed suicide. I felt bad for the both of them. In order to try and rebuild life, they moved to Featherbank where strange things started happening.

Meanwhile, detectives were searching for a missing child named Neil, around Jake’s age. The opening sentence gave me chills: The abduction of a child by a stranger is every parent’s worst nightmare.

I would have given this book 5-stars but, in some parts of the book, paragraphs weren’t indented and sometimes quotation marks weren’t used with dialogue when characters were reminiscing about past events. The wonky formatting in some places made me deduct a star.

I loved that readers got a chance to see some characters have first person point of view narration while others had third person point of view. I also really enjoyed all of the red herrings. I guessed correctly who the kidnapper/serial killer was. I loved the interactions with all the characters. A moment with Jake’s father and the detective Pete really touched me. I won’t spoil how they know each other. You’ll have to read the book to figure out all the mysteries involved. The plot played out really well, especially the ending.

My favorite lines: 1) It stemmed from a desire to be seen. To be noticed. To be loved. 2) The whole world seemed to be sleeping peacefully in exactly the way I wasn’t. 3) It felt like our home had started dying when Rebecca did. But then, she had always been the heart of it.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Thunderstruck by Maria Riegger

***I got a free copy and am voluntarily giving an honest review***

Years ago, Monica and Brian had an intense affair, which ended in heartbreak.

Years later, Monica ends up facing Brian in a congressional campaign on the outskirts of Washington, DC. Old sentiments resurface, threatening to derail Monica’s political plans. And when everything becomes public, Monica turns into a woman with nothing to lose. She’s determined to win the election at any cost, despite whatever she may be feeling for her opponent. As Brian deals with his feelings for the only woman who ever really understood him, he is forced to make a decision about revealing information that could help him, but destroy her. As oversized egos and the desire to win an election threaten the bond slowly forming between these two political opponents, they end up discovering that they may have more in common than they originally thought.

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I loved this romance novel. Monica was married to Christian, and they had a fourteen-year-old son named David. I disliked Christian right off the bat (in a good way; he provided a lot of drama and tension in the scenes he was in). He wasn’t supportive AT ALL of Monica running in an election. She was a Republican. Her competition was Brian, who was a charming Democrat.

Plot twist–Monica and Brian used to hook up years ago. I was on the edge of my seat with excitement when Brian’s old roommate went on national tv and said what he said. What can I say–I love juicy gossip lol.

I loved when Brian had texted Monica out of the blue. Their scenes were full of angst and I loved every second of it. Reading a book is my escape from the world that has been full of hatred lately. I was nervous about reading a political romance because of the country division, and I didn’t want that in the back of my mind when I’m supposed to be escaping in the pages of my book. However, the author did a great job of showing the political debates and the candidates’ views on sensitive topics without being overbearing. I was actually surprised of how much I enjoyed Monica.  My favorite line: “Money talks,” Monica said, “and shit walks.”

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: H_NGM_N by JC Gatlin

***I got a free copy, and I’m choosing to give an honest review***

Every murder has a story.

Every story begins at home.

Tampa newscaster Tori Younger is saddened to learn her childhood friend, Brooke Martin, hung herself from the old water tower in their hometown. Tori hasn’t spoken to Brooke in years and doesn’t feel comfortable returning to attend the services. Then cryptic text messages from Brooke’s cellphone change her mind.

Attending the funeral, Tori confronts a past that still haunts her and questions the text messages haunting her now. Her investigation leads to a fact she suspected all along: her old friend didn’t commit suicide but was murdered. There’s no shortage of suspects either: Brooke’s angry husband who instigated a fight the night she died; Brooke’s high school principal who denies rumors they were having an affair; and a town sheriff who shares a stormy past with Tori and is blocking her investigation at every turn. The only witness appears to be Brooke’s five-year-old daughter who hasn’t spoken since the tragedy and continually draws the same graphic picture of the night her mother’s body was discovered hanging from that old water tower.

Tori knows one of them has Brooke’s cellphone and is texting her from it. Others are convinced it’s Brooke reaching out from the Great Beyond. Either way, someone from her past is playing a deadly game of Hangman.

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I loved this murder mystery. The opening scene was very chilling. Brooke is arguing with her drunk husband, yet she’s scared that someone or something’s outside, staring at her through the kitchen window. The author did a great job of providing red herrings. I was shocked by Brooke’s killer!

My favorite lines: 1) The barking stopped. The room turned silent. Dark. 2) “Fate is fate. You can’t escape it.”

I loved the rhythm of how the author’s sentences flowed. I really liked Tori and her cameraman’s friendship. They made a cute duo as they tried to figure out the clues to who was sending Tori cryptic text messages from Brooke’s cell phone. I was confused though why hardly anyone questioned why the young daughter Darla was drawing two silhouettes looking up at her dead mom, instead of just one.

I would have given the book 5 stars, but I deducted a star for formatting issues. Weird indentations between words every other paragraph in my ebook.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby