Book Review: Hollow Heart by Ben Eads

***I received a free copy from Ginger Nuts of Horror and am voluntarily giving an honest review***

Welcome to Shady Hills, Florida, where death is the beginning and pain is the only true Art…

Harold Stoe was a proud Marine until an insurgent’s bullet relegated him to a wheelchair. Now the only things he’s proud of are quitting alcohol and raising his sixteen-year-old son, Dale.

But there is an infernal rhythm, beating like a diseased heart from the hollow behind his home. An aberration known as The Architect has finished his masterpiece: A god which slumbers beneath the hollow, hell-bent on changing the world into its own image.

As the body count rises and the neighborhood residents change into mindless, shambling horrors, Harold and his former lover, Mary, begin their harrowing journey into the world within the hollow. If they fail, the hollow will expand to infinity. Every living being will be stripped of flesh and muscle, their nerves wrapped tightly around ribcages, so The Architect can play his sick music through them loud enough to swallow what gives them life: The last vestiges of a dying star.

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I loved this horror book. The opening sentence “Making deals with the dead had to stop” had me hooked right away. The author did a great job with setting and description at the beginning. I could picture the bad conditions Harold and his neighbors lived in very vividly.

My favorite lines: 1) Pain is just one of my hobbies. A hobby the world will soon know. 2) No one leaves. Never has. Never will. 3) Everything went dark as they descended like an elevator with its wires cut.

I appreciated that the plot was pretty fast paced. There weren’t any dull moments in the book, but I wished the author would have slowed down at certain parts, especially towards the end…

To read the full review, please visit: https://gingernutsofhorror.com/fiction-reviews/book-review-hollow-heart-by-ben-eads

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Getting International Love for Plenty of Fish #WomenInHorror #WIHM

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I got a pleasant surprise this month, which is awesome because it’s Women In Horror Month. My dark suspense short story, Plenty of Fish, got a 4-star review from Deborah J. Miles who lives in the UK. Thank you so much 🙂

This is another well-written, short, dark tale from Ms Hosby, where I found myself holding my breath, expecting the worst, while still hoping to be wrong.”–Deborah J Miles.

Check out her blog (Against the Flow Press) to read the rest of her review.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters

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

One of Refinery29’s and POPSUGAR’s Favorite New Books of December 2019!

A supernatural thriller in the vein of A Head Full of Ghosts about two young girls, a scary story that becomes far too real, and the tragic–and terrifying–consequences that follow one of them into adulthood.

Red Lady, Red Lady, show us your face…

In 1991, Heather Cole and her friends were members of the Dead Girls Club. Obsessed with the macabre, the girls exchanged stories about serial killers and imaginary monsters, like the Red Lady, the spirit of a vengeful witch killed centuries before. Heather knew the stories were just that, until her best friend Becca began insisting the Red Lady was real–and she could prove it.

That belief got Becca killed.

It’s been nearly thirty years, but Heather has never told anyone what really happened that night–that Becca was right and the Red Lady was real. She’s done her best to put that fateful summer, Becca, and the Red Lady, behind her. Until a familiar necklace arrives in the mail, a necklace Heather hasn’t seen since the night Becca died.

The night Heather killed her.

Now, someone else knows what she did…and they’re determined to make Heather pay.

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I really enjoyed this supernatural novel. It was told through Heather’s first person point-of-view.  She was a child psychologist to make up for what happened when she was a kid. I definitely liked the “then” chapters better than the “now;” however, the ending really started to pick up, leaving me engrossed in the story.

My favorite lines: 1) Guess I’ve always been better at keeping secrets. Even from myself. 2) You can’t unopen an envelope. Can’t undo the damage you’ve done. 3) This is a private apocalypse. 4) I refuse to believe the dead can buy postage stamps. 5) An apology lingers on my tongue but it’s bitter and sharp and I keep it to myself.

The beginning was very slow and drawn out, for me as a reader. I started to enjoy the story better when it introduced the “then” sections. As little girls, Heather, Becca, Rachel, and Gia took part in the dead girls club. They talked about serial killers, dark topics, and the Red Lady. I loved the twists at the end. I hadn’t seen any of that coming!

I was hooked the second Heather announced she had killed Becca, and no one had ever found the body. I’m a sucker for a good mystery, so I was excited to see who was behind taunting Heather. The ending did not disappoint.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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