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

Whispers In the Dark by Laurel Hightower

***I received a free copy and am giving an honest review by choice***

Rose McFarland is a trained killer–a Memphis S.W.A.T. sniper with a secret. Her team knows about the burn scars that lurk under her clothes, a legacy of the house fire that killed her father and brother sixteen years before. Her supervisors know that she spent two years in a rehabilitative facility, healing and learning to cope with the emotional trauma of the fire. But no one knows about the visions that drove her there, angry spirits that consumed her childhood, alienated her from her family and made her doubt her own sanity–the Whispers. When Charlie Akers, a half-brother she never knew, ends up on the wrong side of Rose’s rifle, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that puts her family in the middle of increasingly dangerous paranormal visitations. Charlie won’t stay dead, and soon ghosts from Rose’s past are creeping back into her life. People she’s killed in the line of duty, family she thought long buried, every one of them under the influence of Rose’s greatest fear, the Whispers themselves. As the walls between our world and the world of the dead grow thin, Rose will have to face her old nightmares to stop the Whispers from breaking free. If she can’t, it won’t just be Memphis that falls to the dead–there will be no safe place left on earth for the living.

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I liked this supernatural story. At first it read very slow for me, like it was a drama, showing Rose’s relationship with her ex-husband and best friend. I wasn’t scared at all even though the story was labelled suspense and horror. But, the story began picking up at 23% and the action was pretty good. Plus, I was finally starting to get a little scared. Only read during the daytime 🙂

The story was mostly told through Rose’s first person point-of-view. When Zack was taunted by a ghost who ended up not being his brother, the scene had me sitting on the edge of my seat, chills going down my spine. I felt bad for Luke after a very touching scene involving him and Agent Neal.

The plot was interesting. It was cool that Rose’s son could hear the Whispers too. Poor kid. The author did a great job with tension throughout the story. Agent Neal was especially creepy, but I understood his motives.

I’m not sure why Rose kept using character’s full names if the narration was in first person. It kind of made it seem like she had distant relationships even though the scenes clearly showed how close she was to her family and coworkers. I liked Rose, but she infuriated me so many times. She didn’t seem proactive at all in stopping the Whispers. Character after character kept telling her she needed “to close the door.” I’m not sure why she waited and waited and waited before doing any research.

My favorite lines: 1) Zack lingered, watching, waiting. Hoping. 2) A shadow, darker than the rest of the night. It moved, swayed. Waited.

I loved the ending; the story ended on a very high note. Interesting villains throughout the story. Good plot, nice tension.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Protecting Kyleigh by Elizabeth Brooks

When Kyleigh Taylor walks into a restaurant to pick up her last paycheck, about a dozen of her former co-workers are murdered by a gang of drug runners, and Kyleigh is injured. And traumatized. At the hospital, two police detectives are anxious to speak with her. One of them has a soothing voice, and the more he speaks with her, the more comfortable she feels around him. His comfort is exactly what she needs and craves.

From the first moment Detective Jordy Mitchell sees her, he feels a connection, a need to protect her. Sharing an experience of PTSD helps form an instant bond. Jordy knows he should stay away from her—otherwise, he risks the case and his career. Now Jordy has to deal with his angry police captain, Kyleigh’s grudge-holding ex-boyfriend, and a drug-running thug with one thing on his mind: find Kyleigh and kill her. Mitchell knows she’s the perfect woman for him—he just has to keep her alive long enough to prove it to her.

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I really enjoyed this romance suspense story. The opening started with a bang. Kyleigh was heading into her old job to get her last paycheck, and the restaurant was gunned down by thugs. I felt for her when she lost her good friend, died right in front of her eyes. I thought the author did a wonderful job with plot and setting. There wasn’t any boring moments at all; I could picture everything vividly like a Lifetime movie.

I liked Kyleigh and Jordy getting to know each other, but I’m not going to lie, I loved Rodriguez getting to know Kyleigh’s best friend better. Maybe because those two had flaws and were more relatable. Kyleigh was a Mary Sue and Jordy was a Gary Stu. I loved the scenes when the detectives hung out with the ladies, especially at the gym.

Two things that annoyed me: 1) when everyone dismissed Kyleigh’s panic attack at the bar after seeing a guy walk in 2) the detectives being okay with going to a “secret” spot where one of the thugs knew the whereabouts. I felt like the detectives really dropped the ball on providing safety for Kyleigh. If Jordy was thinking like a cop, instead of a boyfriend, then he may have been more responsive of potential dangers. But, if the characters were thinking logically, then the author couldn’t have written an interesting story 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal

***I received an unformatted ARC copy from NetGalley in order to write a review***

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

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I loved this YA horror and suspense novel. The opening scene began with July 4th; Vico, turning 18 soon, was in old San Juan with cocaine in his book bag. It was a chilling scene (in a good way!) when the monster snatched Vico up. I was surprised, thinking he was a main character, but he died within the first few pages. I loved how this tied into next meeting Lupe, who’s 16. It was her first time visiting Puerto Rico without her dad, and she met her uncle who was working on the “murder” case.

The author was great with the setting details. I could picture being in Puerto Rico, even though I’ve never visited. All the scenes were interesting, moving the plot along. When two boys robbed a store, that was a pretty intense scene. I adored Lupe’s feisty nature and thought Javier’s crush on her was cute.

I really liked how the teens teamed up to try and solve the mystery. Since I have an open-mind about monsters and such, like Loch Ness Monster and BigFoot, I loved that they believed in the monster that was haunting Javier and his friends. The teens were relatable, regretting their past. I also liked that the author wasn’t afraid to portray the bad guys, a gang, as awful human beings. I hated that they were trying to hurt Javier (hated them in a good way, that the author did a great job with characterization).

My favorite lines: 1) He loved the way the decaying cement and wooden shacks were painted in bright colors. And the smell: salty ocean with notes of frying plantain, beer, garbage, and urine. Life. 2) “Monsters don’t come unless someone calls them!” 3) “You’ve been watching too many movies. Things just aren’t that interesting in real life.”

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Miscalculated Risks by Maria Riegger

She’s an overachieving law student who’s not looking for love, so why can’t she resist the mysterious newcomer?

Outspoken and abrasive, law student Isabel enjoys arguing with just about everyone, including her friends. Her strained relationship with her mother, less-than-stellar job prospects and frustrations with the conformist culture of Washington, DC have left her resentful and unfulfilled. When she meets Tarek, a new fellow student who dares to challenge her, she is intrigued but skeptical. While Isabel  is risk-averse where her feelings are concerned, she is also becoming increasingly curious. She’s afraid to get close, because being vulnerable always lead to being hurt, doesn’t it?

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I really enjoyed this contemporary romance. I liked that it was written in Isabel’s first person point-of-view. It seemed like she was personally talking to the readers. Being an INTJ, I could relate to some of her mannerisms, especially being misunderstood.

I was really intrigued of how her dad had passed away and why she thought she was responsible. I was hoping to get some answers but didn’t. Hopefully, the mystery is solved in book #2.

I found Tarek quite dreamy. He was patient and understanding, yet he called Isabel out when she was being messy. I shipped them hard. My favorite scenes were when they studied at her apartment for the first time and the dance club scene. When they got tea and talked afterwards was a really cute scene.

By the title of the series, Law School Heretic, I knew I was getting into some law terminology as a reader. Reading books help escape from the negativity of the world sometimes, so I was surprised by all the political conversations. Isabel and Tarek were both conservative, and I didn’t agree with any of their political beliefs. I wish their friends would’ve spoken up more in debates instead of just rolling over. Isabel always called everyone judgmental, but she was the most judgmental out of everyone.

I felt bad for how her mother always pressured her into finding a man. The author did a great job showing the tension when she interacted with her family. I liked seeing Isabel at work too. I wished the boss would have supported her more, but Isabel was a tough cookie who could protect herself. A trait I admired about her.

I loved all the classroom scenes. It was fun seeing her friends pick on Isabel to get her out of her shell. I thought the term ‘smile’ was overused, but it didn’t distract my reading. I appreciated the diversity of characters from the Latin and Middle Eastern community.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby