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: 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

Book Review: Merry Murder by Angel Gelique #WomenInHorrorMonth

It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating Women’s Horror Month last year with blog posts. With a blink of an eye, it’s a year later and February has arrived again! Celebrating Women’s Horror Month, my first blog post is dedicated to one of my favorite horror author’s, Angel Gelique. I was lucky enough to win her book Merry Murder in a Twitter contest. Loving the book so much, I ended up buying it on Amazon too. I’m not lying when I say I’m a strong believer in writers supporting other writers 🙂

Poor Paul McKenna. He just wants to enjoy the holidays. But with an obstinate teen-aged daughter, Heather, and an unreasonable wife who enables her, Paul is anything but jolly. Heather has her heart set on getting the latest cell phone for Christmas. The only problem is Paul can’t find one within the acceptable price range. He simply refuses to fall victim to holiday price-gouging. He has every intention of buying the phone weeks after Christmas when it’s half the price. Surely, Heather will understand…right?

In this tale of vengeance, a well-intentioned father will find that sometimes it’s better to appease an incorrigible teen daughter–no matter the cost–rather than incur her wrath. 

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I loved this pretty intense book! The story was told in Paul’s first person point-of-view. I felt so bad for him. He was surrounded by–excuse my french–straight up bitches. Oh my goodness, I hated Heather and his wife Maeve with a passion. The author did a wonderful job making those two ladies enormous bullies. They were the perfect villains. I was happy for Paul when his son visited for the holidays. Finally a peace of mind, even if short-lived before Heather’s extreme temper tantrum ruined everything.

I loved getting inside Paul’s head. He knew something was wrong, but there was nothing he could really do about it since his wife kept taking their daughter’s side. I wanted to punch Heather in the face; that’s how great Angel Gelique made that character a bad guy. As a reader, I was also quite scared of Heather. She was a narcissist to the core–a psychopath too. Who could have ever thought what would happen because of a cell phone? The story blew my mind (in a good way)!

My favorite line:  Though to be fair, she’s only grown grossly intolerable over the past couple of months since her last cell phone began showing signs of electronic Alzheimer’s. I truly loved the ending. Does Paul’s wife have a change of heart? Does Heather still make your skin crawl? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

***I hope you enjoyed the book review. If you know of anyone who wants to celebrate Women’s Horror Month, please let me know. They can write guest posts for me, and I’d love to reblog from other wonderful writers. Let’s celebrate Women’s Horror Month in style!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

 

Book Review: Not Broken by Meka James

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

Calida Jokobi doesn’t see it that way. Surviving an abusive relationship with a sadistic, manipulative man changed her. She has spent the last two years carefully constructing her new persona with two goals in mind: to keep the remaining pieces of her heart safe and her deepest secrets buried. One man puts it all at risk.

Malcolm has been a part of Calida’s life for as long as she can remember. A friend. Her first teenage crush. Now he’s asking for something she swore she’d never give again: her heart.

Calida must decide if she should risk the fragile facade she’s created and give Malcolm the chance he’s asking for.

They say love can heal all wounds…

Malcolm Frankel wants to prove to Calida it’s true. She survived a hell most people couldn’t fathom. He’s been by her side fulfilling whatever role she needs him to play. All except the one he wants most. It took nearly losing her to make Malcolm realize he couldn’t keep denying his feelings.

He knows no one goes through an ordeal like that and comes out unscathed, but the closer they get, the more he learns just how deep Calida’s wounds go.

She’s the only woman he’s ever loved, and Malcolm is ready to put his own heart at risk for a chance at mending hers.

**This novel is a follow up to my debut book: Fiendish. I have constructed it so that it may work as a standalone for new readers.**

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I loved this romance novel. It switched between Calida’s first person point-of-view and Malcolm’s first person point-of-view. Calida was my favorite character because of her inner-strength. It took a lot out of her pretending she was normal in order to please her family and friends. I loved every scene of Calida opening up to her therapist. As a reader, it gave me relief that she’d make it.

Meka James provided great sexual tension throughout the book. Malcolm was a total gentleman, loving Calida but respecting her boundaries of not liking to be touched. But, oh boy, when Calida felt comfortable around Malcolm toward the middle, those sex scenes were sensual, explosive, and hot, hot, hot!!!

From beginning to end, the book had interesting conflict, inner-struggles, and lots and lots of drama. I shed a tear when Calida was drunk and finally revealed to Malcolm what her abusive husband did to her in the bathroom. I wanted to give Calida a hug throughout every scene.

My favorite lines: 1) This kiss held emotion, it held promise, it held hope. This kiss was a new beginning…Our beginning. 2) I didn’t want to go into the dark and empty place alone, but that was my only choice. 3) With each passing day, he looked more and more like Seth. He haunted me through our son. 4) “Calida, stop shutting me out. Please. I’m not the enemy. I promise you.” 5) How had I lost control? Did I ever really have control?

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Cushion by Tamela Miles

***I received a free copy voluntarily for an honest review***

Natalie Kliebert finally has the perfect life she spent years dreaming of. She’s on the fast track to her fantasy-come-true career as a therapist. If she can help pop star Billy Chambers, it will be her greatest achievement and even sweeter than earning an “A” grade.

The last thing Billy Chambers wants is anyone’s help, especially when he doesn’t see a single thing wrong with his life. When bossy Natalie becomes his court-appointed personal therapist, sparks fly from day one. Annoyance was never so arousing. Hooking up should be easy, but an undercurrent of evil is coming for Natalie, which may force her to reveal her deepest secret.

The problems of their pasts are no match for today’s demons. Natalie and Billy must come together and be the allies they were meant to be in a supernatural fight that may cost them their lives.

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I really enjoyed this supernatural romance novella. Billy and Natalie’s third person point-of-views switched throughout the book. The beginning was pretty intense and grabbed my interest right away. She was pretty bad ass, and I loved every second of it. I’d speak on it more, but I don’t want to give away the plot twist in the middle of the book.

My favorite lines: 1) “Good God, ghosts are real.” His voice was soft with wonder. 2) She couldn’t draw in a breath as she trembled, fighting back bitter tears. 3) She stared blankly into space for long moments, her mind spinning. The scratches on her arm were probably her own doing, but the wall…

The author did a great job with dialogue. I loved Billy and Natalie’s back and forth. Their sexual tension showed in their body language. Plus, there was a STEAMY love making scene to make any reader blush (in a good way).

I wish there would have been more to the scene of Billy and Natalie fighting the bad guy, especially considering who the monster was, but I really liked the drama from the situation once Natalie finally told Billy the truth.

It was cool how the nickname Cushion tied into the title. I loved the main characters as well as the supporting characters, especially Billy’s mom.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Heart of a Hunter by Tamela Miles

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

Life has never been kind to teen, Elle Connor. With a troubled home life, the gritty, violent streets of Los Angeles have become her home. She never questions her superhuman abilities until she encounters, in a fight or die situation, a guardian angel Tagas, who reveals her holy origins as one in a long history of demon hunters. She also has her eye on her attractive classmate, Brandon.

Problems arise when Elle finally realizes that life as a hunter is fraught with tragedies and is deeply lonely. Elle is presented with a choice – follow her calling from God as a hunter or live a “normal” life with love. Can Elle tip the scales in favor of what’s good or will she become just another casualty in the eternal war between good and evil?

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I really enjoyed this paranormal story. The beginning was full of suspense. A mysterious being wanted to kill the main character, Elle, as he watched her across the street. Soon, readers found out that the villain was named Pyro. The story switched between Elle and Pyro’s third-person point of views. There were no chapters, only scene breaks, which fit this short novella.

Elle became a demon hunter with the help of Tagas. The setting was in Los Angeles, which I thought was pretty cool. It was nice to see LA in a different light, instead of being superficial and only about celebrities. I really liked Elle and K.D.’s friendship, and the love scene between Elle and her boyfriend Brandon was cute and very sensual.

My favorite lines were: 1) He held her tightly in comfort for long moments in the darkness, the moon and stars in the clear night sky their only witness. 2) Her lips twisted in a private, cruel smile as her eyes settled on Brandon. 3) Hell would come to fear the name Elle Connor. 4) “Not feeling sorry for myself, just stating the facts.”

There was a lot of telling, which was to be expected because the story was a short novella–only 44 pages. Readers were told how much Elle loved Brandon instead of seeing it play out for awhile. Readers were told about the training Elle was going through instead of really seeing it on the pages. The telling didn’t distract from the story though; it just made the scenes move faster. I appreciated this quick read.

The story was full of conflict and tense moments. The demons Pyro and Cascadia really, really, really hated Elle and Tagas. For some scenes, I jumped out of my seat because Pyro was a very intelligent and worthy opponent. That end of the party scene really touched my heart, and I loved the twist regarding her best friend.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Defenestration by Matthew W. McFarland

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

Defenestration

Noun

the act of throwing a thing, or especially a person out of a window

All it takes is one random deviation from the run of things to send a life spiraling out of control; An underachiever from the retail sector with a degree in geography and a taste for younger women. An attractive pharmacist with addiction issues. An enigmatic taxi driver with a penchant for theology. All three are brought together when Adam is thrown from the twelfth storey of an apartment complex in mysterious circumstances. As he falls towards almost certain death, he contemplates his fate, killer whales, flying cats, and the untapped potential of the human mind.

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I loved this contemporary novella. It was written in Adam’s first person point-of-view, and switched into third person when showing how other characters fit the puzzle. The author did a brilliant job with characterization; every character was given a backstory, a personality, and they shined in whatever scene they were in.  Most importantly, the author did a great job of setting up the reveal of who could have possibly shoved Adam out of the window!

After he was pushed from the window, Adam met Gabriel and Michael. They helped him piece together the mystery of what had happened that night at the party. I really enjoyed reading about the anti-heroes of the story. Life had dealt them a terrible hand. By their own fault or bad luck?  You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Reading this novella reminded me of a Judd Apatow movie. I could picture Seth Rogen and James Franco as starring roles. The sarcasm really made me laugh.

My favorite lines: 1) When a week went by without any contact, she knew his laziness had overcome his libido. 2) “As I was falling, I looked back up, and there were two faces. We found one, so who was the other?”

I REOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby