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

 

 

 

Book Review: All the Lovely Children by Andrew Nance

***I received a free copy to give an honest review***

Charly Bloom’s life took a wrong turn that has left her alone and frustrated. When she gets a call from an old flame, she returns to her hometown to investigate the disappearances of four children. The abductions are eerily similar to a set of previous crimes.

Two decades ago, Charly and her two friends decided to play amateur  detectives and help find a girl who was stolen from her home. Then, another girl went missing. Clues overlooked by the inept sheriff left only one child to survive: Charly. She managed to fight back and kill the Snatcher. Or so everyone thought…

Is the Snatcher back, or is there a copycat? Charly must face her past and her own personal demons in a race against time to save the latest victim.

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I really enjoyed this mystery. I loved that Charly, as a kid and as an adult, was badass. She wasn’t afraid to back down to bullies who were guys twice her size. She didn’t need a guy to protect her. She could protect herself.

The story kept going back and forth between the past and present. Since Charly helped catch the Snatcher when she was a kid, she was asked to figure out the killer now. Charly was a private investigator while her ex worked for the police department.

This book was written in Charly’s first person point of view. As a reader, you could see her excitement as she figured out clues, which made her endearing as a character. Her voice, in narration, sounded exactly the same to me whether she was a thirteen year old or a thirty-six year old. I wish the chapters which focused on her past would’ve made her sound more youthful.

The story was pretty intense. The villains were not playing around. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. No one was safe. There were two scenes that gave me the chills (in a good way): when the kids, Charly and Micah Lee, were snooping on Altus May’s property, and when the kids, Charly, Micah Lee and Bobby, went through the tunnel at night. Poor Bobby.

I absolutely, positively loved the twist! I hadn’t seen it coming. The author did an awesome job with all the red herrings. I also loved Charly’s interactions with her two best friends as kids, and how she always outsmarted the bike gang as an adult.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Next Girl to Die by Dea Poirier

***Thanks NetGalley for providing a ARC for me to give an honest review***

Solving the case will avenge her sister–unless the killer finds her first.

It’s been fifteen years since Claire Calderwood’s sister, Rachel, was brutally murdered in their small hometown in Maine. Claire has finally carved out a life for herself as a homicide detective in Detroit, but the past comes calling when the local police back home ask for her help with a murder eerily similar to Rachel’s.

Still haunted by Rachel’s cold case, Claire returns home, hoping to solve the crime and finally put her grief to rest. As she starts investigating, the last thing she needs is tenacious journalist Noah Washington asking questions she’s not ready to answer. But like her, Noah won’t give up until he finds the truth–and Claire reluctantly finds herself relying on him more and more when disturbing new details about Rachel’s death come to light.

When the killer strikes once again, Claire knows he’s not done. Now he’s set his sights on Claire, who will have to find the courage she needs to survive a deadly confrontation years in the making.

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I loved this murder mystery. There were so many red herrings that I didn’t guess the correct serial killer until the very end. The suspense had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The author did great with character’s voice. I felt so bad for Claire losing her older sister that I wanted to give her a hug.

The author was also great with setting and description. I’ve never stepped foot in Maine, but I could picture every spot vividly. The story flowed nicely, and the mystery of who was the killer, taunting Claire and the other detectives had me intrigued.

After awhile, it got old seeing that every character, male and female, were having blonde hair and blue eyes. I think I might of smiled when a brunette male was finally introduced.

Noah and Claire were cute together. There was sexual tension even though she was trying to fight it. My favorite scene was when Noah was taking pictures at Claire’s crime scene. She blew up, rightfully so, because he wasn’t authorized to do so. He could’ve contaminated evidence.

The story had a good ending. It opened the door for another book in the series with a new case to solve.

I recommend this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Orchard View by Deborah J. Miles

Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house. Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace.

“Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision.

But had they?

His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

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I  really enjoyed this contemporary fiction book. I loved that the house, Orchard View, was actually a character. Giving the home human characteristics was interesting.

The story foreshadowed that Etta May know a dark secret about those buried bones. The mystery motivated me to keep reading. Once the suspense built up with that twist…chapter four presented a backstory of Etta’s marriage and their neighbors. Then chapter after chapter showed the different residents of Orchard View. Some took care of her, some took advantage.

Chapter Fourteen brought the suspenseful present back. The circumstances made me wonder who out of Bill and Etta would win. It seemed like every character, especially the neighbors, had a dark secret.

I also wondered why the author stopped the action in chapter three to give all that backstory of Orchard View’s past. I guess because I love suspense and thrillers so much. My favorite part of the book was the ending when multiple characters went buck wild, trying to keep their secrets buried.

I recommend this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Hammond by Jonathan LaPoma

***I received an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) so I could give an honest review***

A group of troubled but charismatic boys in a tough Buffalo, NY neighborhood play basketball at a local park and dream of winning a state high school championship. Driven by raw talent and killer instinct, they dominate the court, but everywhere else, they feel like losers.

Hammond is told through the eyes of James Lombardi, a precocious but mentally ill boy who believes winning a championship will ease his “Evil Thoughts” and save his family, long haunted by generations of substance abuse, uncontrollable rage, and suicide.

A dark but humorous coming-of-age novel, Hammond, offers a poetic and disturbing look inside the complex mind of an adolescent boy as he slowly learns that having the heart of a champion can sometimes be more burden than blessing.

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I really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel. It starts with Jimmy, and his friends Ray, Gerry, and Tony being in the sixth grade. Jimmy had a crush on Julia who ended up breaking his heart. With so much drama and angst packed into this novel, Jimmy never really recovered.

Even though Jimmy was the main character, I felt something more for his older brother Dan. Maybe because he was a mystery. Dan was depressed, and I felt bad for him, wishing someone would help him, at least listen if he wanted to talk. Jimmy had issues too. He was very mean to his little brother and sisters. He was broken inside due to his evil thoughts, and because his dad always took out his anger on him.

My favorite lines: 1) The family machine was in gear, and nothing could slow it down. No time to check on cuts or bruises or shattered egos. 2) It ends in tragedy. It ends in death. Don’t fool yourself for a second, thinking it can happen otherwise. 3) I had no idea I was now both superhero and villain.

I wish there had been more dialogue during some scenes, especially the pretty intense ones. Once I started imagining the story as Jimmy’s journal entries instead of actual scenes happening in the present, it was easier. The story really started to pick up and become more interesting after the time jump when they entered Kirkland High.

I felt so bad for Gerry. I wanted to give all these boys a hug because they all seemed so lost. The author did a great job with characterization and voice. The drama and angst was very well done as well. I prayed for them to win the basketball championship so they could have something good happen in their lives. Did they win? Did they lose? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I RECOMMEND the book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby