Book Review: The Diary-Loving a Killer by Julia Derek

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

BOOK ONE OF THE “LOVING A KILLER” SERIAL:

A HAPPY MARRIAGE. TERRIBLE SECRETS.

Happily married Lexi Woods thought losing a child would be the worst thing that could ever happen to her. She was wrong. It turns out that life has more ugly surprises for her. When she is finally through the heavy depression of losing her newborn, she finds her husband’s diary. As she reads it, she learns that he’s been unfaithful to her. He’s not at all the man she thought he was. Unfortunately, that’s not the worst part. Not only has the love of her life gone behind her back–but it also looks like he killed his mistress…What else could he be hiding?

NOTE: LOVING A KILLER is a three-part novella serial. While dark and disturbing at times, it’s a love story at its core. True love is not always easy to read about. It’s intended for mature audiences only and contains strong language.

I enjoyed this book. It was written through Lexi’s first person point-of-view. Her husband, Jason, wanted to become a full-time author. I could relate to the scenes of him sweating bullets over his first draft.

The suspicions of her husband started when Lexi read “I killed her.” in Jason’s diary. But was it his deepest, darkest secrets? Or was it part of his fiction novel? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

I loved that Lexi was proactive in finding out the truth. It made me respect her, as a reader. The author did a wonderful job portraying Lexi and Jason’s pain of losing their baby boy Matthew. I felt very sorry for them.

I wish there would have been more dialogue between the couple, especially when she was hiding her suspicions. When there was conversation in the scenes, it seemed like Jason was toying with her, especially when he claimed everyone has a dark side. I wanted to see that play out more, to give more suspense.

The very last scene gave me chills! The story ended on the perfect cliffhanger.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Forever In Hollywood By Jovana Rodolakis

23981002

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review from the Making Connections group on Goodreads***

Fresh out of college, Marissa Pearson is ready to take on the world. That is, as long as the world isn’t confrontational. She never learned to deal with opposition, instead she runs from it. She ran from a violent boyfriend, a cheating husband, and now she’s on the run from Andrew Reed. He’s the sexy Hollywood playboy intent on nailing her down in more ways than one.

Long days on a movie set can bring people together. Soon Marissa finds herself falling for the wrong guy–again. When Marissa’s past catches up with her, in the form of a vengeful ex, she learns the price of running. But Andrew channels the heroes he plays on screen in order to give Marissa the strength to do the right thing.

Only when Marissa learns to face challenges thrown at her, will she also learn Andrew was the right guy all along.

I loved this book. It was written in Marissa’s first person point-of-view, so readers really get inside of her head to see what she’s thinking. I liked that she stuck up for her friend who was in an abusive relationship. Even though Marissa had a hard time standing up for herself, she remained strong for her friend.

Marissa was having problems with Dan, her cop husband. She didn’t trust him after he cheated, and he hated that she was planning on spending some time in Hollywood to work on a Revolutionary War movie. He was a prick and a coward! I hated him. She was new to the Hollywood scene but was able to make friends with the celebrities on set. I really liked her co-stars Billy (one of my favorite characters) and Andrew (he was so sweet).

My favorite lines: 1) “Pampers commercials don’t count.” I grumbled. 2) “How could two people who were once so right for each other, be so wrong together now?” 3) “So, I did what any respectable actress would do in my position, I lied.”

The author had a brilliant talent with dialogue and character’s voice. Every line sounded like a new actress, recently scorned, trying to adjust to her new life, while dealing with a creepy stalker–you’ll have to read the book to see this part because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. I loved the sense of humor, as well as the suspense towards the end. Andrew can be my hero any day!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Unspoken Bonds By Michelle Grey

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

Being summoned to the emergency room to interpret for deaf patients is nothing new for Rachel Mansfield. But finding herself interpreting for a scared, abandoned little girl with nothing but a note pinned to her shirt? Well, that’s a first.

An instant bond forms between them, and Rachel’s protective instincts kick into high gear as Lily’s mysterious past meets an uncertain future. As hours turn into days, Rachel’s biggest worry is that they won’t find Lily’s family. Until she meets Lily’s uncle, Garrett. Then he becomes her biggest worry.

Betrayed by his family, Garrett Staker knows his path. He’s plotted every step. And as he closes in on his most important business goal, one thing is certain–his plan doesn’t include assuming responsibility for a niece who was presumed dead after his sister’s murder.

Despite the undercurrent of attraction, Rachel and Garrett are at odds over Lily’s future. But as Garrett’s business comes under attack from within, and the questions about Lily’s past loom larger, they must find a way to work together. Their lives, and Lily’s, depend on it.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]I loved this book. My favorite lines: 1) She might not be sure of his motives, but there was something real, and painful, behind his decision. 2) “I’m a businessman, Ms. Mansfield. My life isn’t designed to include a child.” 3) She was officially in creeper territory now, but at two in the morning her objectivity was long gone. 4) Funny thing about logic, though. Sometimes it lacked conviction. 5) Principle and discipline be damned; he was tired of cold showers.

Rachel and Garrett were strangers who were forced to meet once Lily came into the picture. Lily was a cute little girl who was deaf. She was abandoned, so Rachel had to help her until she could find a home. Garrett was her uncle. I felt for all parties involved. Garrett and his mom had thought Lily had died alongside her mother. He led a busy life and didn’t have time for a child. I respected his decision, but at the same time, it would’ve been heartache if Lily was abandoned again. Rachel and Lily bonded, so Rachel agreed to move in with Garrett to a different state to help him raise Lily until he could get back on his feet.

Even though Garrett was selfish, I still liked him as a character. I thought his and Rachel’s back and forth was cute. The sarcasm was entertaining. I loved the suspense. There was something not quite right about Andy, a stranger from the park. Plus, who took photos of Rachel and Lily? Who had murdered Lily’s mom, Garrett’s sister?

The author had a brilliant talent with setting. I could touch, smell, hear, and feel everything as though I was there with the characters. The story had a very cute ending.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the book or author:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Interview With Sharon C. Cooper, Author of Still the Best Woman for the Job…And As An Extra Bonus, Here’s An Excerpt

I would love to welcome my special guest Sharon C. Cooper, a successful writer in contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Please enjoy her insightful interview as well as a book spotlight of her new Jenkins Family Series, Still the Best Woman for the Job.

stillthebestwoman_-_200x3001.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

Don’t give up! Unlike some authors, I didn’t send off a lot of query letters to traditional publishers–instead, I self-published. In doing that, not only do I have complete control of my work, but I have also been noticed by a traditional publisher (Harlequin). I’m living proof that there is more than one way to get a contract with a traditional publisher. If you want to see your work published, and have tried to connect with traditional publishers, consider self-publishing first. Some traditional publishers are taking a different approach in finding authors to work with. Here’s a link to a blog post I (and a couple of my critique partners) did, sharing my experiences in how I hooked up with Harlequin: Breaking News: New Harlequin Kimani Romance Authors.

My other advice for writers trying to get published–keep writing. Whether you decide to self-publish or go the traditional route, it is always better to have more than one story ready to publish. Think about it. What do you do after you read a great book by an author? You look to see what else they’ve published and if you find another book by them, chances are you buy it or you at least add it to your TBR list. The same goes for you as an author. When your reader enjoys your work, they are going to look to see what else you’ve published–so keep writing!

2.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

I write contemporary romance as well as romantic suspense.

3.  What are your current/next projects?

I’m currently working on a romantic suspense–Truth or Consequences, book 3 of the Reunited Series (Malik and Natasha’s story).

4.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

Writing can be very lonely, even if you’re an introvert. I treasure my critique partners as well as my beta readers. My critique partners are wonderful for brainstorming, bouncing ideas off of and telling me when a scene doesn’t work (and they don’t hold back–Lol)! I can’t imagine publishing anything without at least one critique partner reading the story first.

5.  How do you find time to write?

I treat writing as a priority…like a part-time job. I’m a believer that you always find time to do the things you really want to do. I usually carry a notepad wherever I go and I squeeze in writing every chance I get.

6.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

I prefer to start at the beginning and write straight through, but there are times when I’ve been stuck on a particular scene and have worked on other scenes. Usually that helps get my creative juices back on track.

7.  Which is easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

Good question. Right now it seems that writing novels come easier for me than novellas and short stories. I’m not totally sure why…but I know I have a hard time tapering my ideas down into just a few words…pages.

8.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

I was a sheet metal worker for ten years (MANY years ago). I also grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Last year I thought it might be neat to combine the two experiences in a book series about a family of female construction workers. Below is the blurb and an excerpt for Still the Best Woman for the Job, book 1 of the Jenkins Family Series.

Blurb

Joint heir to the largest construction company in the state of Ohio, master plumber, Toni (TJ) Jenkins has been groomed to behave in a way that is befitting of the respected Jenkins’ family name. But after she breaks up with the only man she’s ever loved, to protect a secret she holds close to her heart, poor decisions lead her down a path of destruction that risks ruining the reputation of the company her family has worked hard to build.

Cincinnati police officer, Craig Logan, knows Toni is the woman for him. They’ve been apart for months, but when they run into each other at a party, the passion between them sizzles stronger than ever. She says she can’t handle dating a cop, but he senses that something else keeps her from rushing back into his arms. Craig wants her to be his wife, and he’ll do whatever it takes to prove no matter what she’s hiding, she’s still the best woman for the job.

Excerpt

Toni leaned back and narrowed her eyes. “What?”

“You heard me.” Craig readjusted Ronald against the wall, ignoring her date’s mumbling. “If you want me to help you get this bum home–to his house,” he emphasized, “then you have to agree to have dinner with me Friday night.”

Toni hesitated. Intense hazel eyes sprinkled with specks of green and laced with a light brown stared at her, awaiting her response. She would love to have dinner with him, heck, she’d love to spend the rest of her life with him, but there lay the problem. Craig already had the big house and the white picket fence, but he wanted the wife and the three-point-five kids to complete the fairytale. The problem in a nutshell was that he wanted her to be a part of that dream, and she couldn’t give him what he wanted.

“I can’t believe you.” She glanced back at the bathroom door and then closed it. Returning her attention to Craig she said, “After all we’ve been through, has it really come to this? You’re going to blackmail me into having dinner with you?”

“Hey, if it means spending time with you, I’m not ashamed to do whatever I have to do. Besides, I don’t see it as blackmail. I see my request as being nothing more than a man, who is still in love with you, asking you out to dinner.” He shrugged. “But you can call it whatever you want. I do know one thing though. If you don’t make up your mind in the next five seconds, your drunk boyfriend here is going to find his ass back on the cold marble tile. So what’s it going to be, sweetheart?”

*

Want to see what happens next? Get your copy today!

Buy Link

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Jenkins-Family-Series-ebook/dp/B00FCDZN5C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1380030860&sr=8-2&keywords=still+the+best+woman+for+the+job+sharon+cooper

About the Author

Bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, lives in Atlanta with her husband and enjoys reading, writing, and rainy days. She writes sweet and contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense. Sharon is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), board member and member of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and a member of the Page a Day Writers Group. To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net.

Find Sharon on the Internet

Book Review: Colton Manor By Francene Carroll

Art student Ursula St Clare is not happy when she is forced to spend her summer break alone in a chilly, isolated mansion perched on the edge of a cliff. When a neighbour warns her that Colton Manor is haunted, Ursula decides to sublet a room in the hope that some human company will help keep the ghosts at bay.

Scientist Damien Knight is self-proclaimed sceptic when it comes to all things supernatural. He needs somewhere to stay while his home is being renovated, and Ursula is instantly attracted to the sexy older man. She entertains thoughts of a summer fling with her new housemate, but it isn’t long before Damien starts acting very strangely and Ursula begins to fear for her safety.

Has she let a dangerous, unstable man into the house, or is it Colton Manor and its evil legacy which is causing him to behave so bizarrely?

Colton Manor is a 37,000 word novella.

16282923I loved this 10 chapter book. In the past, Edward terrorized his wives because he was jealous, sadistic, and paranoid. The opening was pretty intense because his wife ran and jumped off a cliff in order to escape him. From there, I knew he was an evil person. Present day, Ursula moved into Colton Manor during her vacation. It was spooky the way creepy things kept happening around the estate, especially at night. My favorite lines: 1) “Blame isn’t going to help us now.” 2) For a few moments she had known what it felt like to fly, and it was exhilaration, not fear, that filled her heart even as she plummeted towards her death. At last she was free.

I really liked that Ursula and her neighbor, Bonnie, were proactive in solving the mystery of the estate. They were heroines who took it upon themselves to protect each other; they didn’t wait for a man to help them. I liked that they were strong women, especially Ursula. It was impressive since she was in her early 20’s.

The tension between Ursula and Damien was really interesting. He moved in because his place was being fixed. Their discussions and arguments were entertaining. The age difference didn’t bother me–he was in his early to mid-thirties. They kept going back and forth about if ghosts exist. She believed in it, but he didn’t. Opposites truly attract; I loved their sexual tension.

The ending made me feel bad for Edward, which was a nice surprise. I was definitely shocked.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the book or author:

  • Twitter @francenecarroll
  • Blog
  • Email: francenecarroll (AT)y7mail(DOT)com

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: House of Cards By Terri Molina

“I think he’s going to kill me.”

A frantic phone call from her estranged sister sends Jesse Pena rushing home to Brownsville, Texas, only to find that Alicia–seven months pregnant–has vanished. Jesse is convinced her brother-in-law, Marcus Vega, is a killer but getting the police to listen isn’t easy, especially when Marcus announces that Jesse and her sister are borderline schizophrenic.

Detective Michael Cisneros is reluctant to believe Jesse’s allegation. After all, Marcus Vega is a prominent citizen with a tight alibi, and this isn’t the first time she’s charged him with murder. When Michael is accused of allowing a personal relationship with her to cloud his judgment, he is forced to accept what Jesse can not–Marcus Vega is innocent. Jesse’s refusal to give up will risk more than her life, it will test her sanity as well.

! enjoyed this 23 chapter book. It went back and forth between Jesse and Detective Michael’s third person point-of-view. How would you feel if you knew a crime was committed but you couldn’t prove it? I’d go crazy. I admired that Jesse didn’t give up trying to search for her sister Alicia. And that she didn’t give up believing that her parents were murdered. I liked that the main character was strong and took matters into her own hands when the police force wanted to stick a cold case label on the alleged crime.

I liked the backstory that Jesse and Michael knew of each other when they were younger. I always like to see how people’s relationships develop after rekindling. It offered good inner conflict scenes for Michael. Following protocol, he couldn’t do whatever he wanted without evidence. He had a precinct he had to answer to. However, he didn’t want to let Jesse down.

Marcus was Alicia’s husband, and let me tell ya, he was a true villain. He made my skin crawl (in a good way). He had the right charisma and good boy image to get away with crimes. I thought the scenes where he terrorized Jesse by playing mind games with her was very interesting. From the beginning, I got a sense of how the story was going to go, so it wasn’t really a mystery for me. Instead, it was suspenseful (as in trying to determine when the characters will wise up so they can protect themselves).

The author had a brilliant talent with dialogue. The conversations were really realistic and her dialogue beats helped enhance the vision of how the characters interacted with each other. There were a lot of disagreements that I loved. I really felt bad for Jesse because she’d been dealing with trauma for 12 years, without anyone listening to her.  I could picture this novel as a Lifetime movie.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Secret Rendezvous By Sharon C. Cooper

Former Navy SEAL, Quinn Hamilton, is a special operative for the US government and has been secretly dating CIA counter-intelligence officer, Alandra Pargas, for eight months. She’s brilliant, excited by danger, and the sexiest woman he’s ever known. Together they are a force to be reckoned with–inside and outside of the bedroom. But while Alandra is on assignment in Guerrero, Mexico, she’s captured by the country’s most dangerous drug cartel, and Quinn sets out on a black op of his own to save the woman he can’t live without.

Secret Rendezvous is the short story prequel to Rendezvous with Danger. Join me as we visit an old friend, Quinn Hamilton (first introduced in Blue Roses) and meet his love interest Alandra Pargas.

This is a short story.

I loved this 4 chapter book. It caught my attention with the first scene by having Alandra in danger. With the danger and action throughout the story, it reminded me of Burn Notice where you’re just hooked to everything, hoping the main characters make it out alive.

It was refreshing to see that Alandra was a strong woman. Even though she was afraid, her survival instincts kicked in. She never gave up. Quinn was hot the way he took charge and wouldn’t let anything or anyone get in the way of rescuing his woman.

The criminals weren’t cookie-cutter. They had motive for what they did, and readers got a chance to see how powerful they really are. Quite scary. I couldn’t even imagine being stuck in a different country, let alone kidnapped while others look the other way. As a reader, I got a sense of fear, not knowing if Alandra, Quinn, or his team would make it out alive. I definitely loved the twist at the end.

The author is great with characterization. Even in this short story, she was able to make the people in her story three-dimensional as though it was a novel. It made me invested in her characters. I also loved the pacing–the suspenseful moments had more impact that way.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby