I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent Series #1) by Barry Lyga

i_hunt_killers_Fotor

4 our of 5

 ★ ★ ★ ★/ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A true case of nature vs. nurture, although for Jasper “Jazz” Dent both psychological studies would put him in the same category. Can being raised by a serial killer make you one? Or could the bloodline decide it? 

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal’s point of view. And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod. In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

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This was an interesting novel and quite disturbing on some accounts, however it was also immensely entertaining! The beginning started off a tad bit slow for me, but once Mr. Lyga got into a groove I was extremely impressed, hence my four star rating. I do have to heed some reader with the knowledge that this book is on the cusp of not being a YA fiction novel, but borderline adult mystery. There isn’t much steaminess to it, however it does go into graphic detail about murdering people and crime scenes, definitely not for the squeamish. I can say that this book would also not fit the mode for most die hard mystery fans either, because the killer is easy to spot and the dialogue can be sophomoric at times. Basically this novel has a cozy mystery murder plot, but the detail is not cozy and is indeed slightly disturbing.

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My reaction:

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Pros:

  • Originality – Now, some of you might have read YA fiction that has featured a plot like this one but this is a first, and hopefully not the last, for me; this plot was so different from anything I’ve ever even encountered in the YA fiction genre. Now, granted I’ve kept myself in a tight bubble when it came to YA novels, sticking with authors like Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, Susane Colasanti, Laura Ruby, Cory Doctrow, Lauren Barnholdt, Edward Bloor etc. but this was so dark and disturbing that I have to give major props to Barry Lyga (who also wrote The Adventures of a Fanboy and Goth Girl which was good). I mean when’s the last time you read a young adult novel that was napping in murder, rape, and overall brutality?
  • The Murder – Although I figured out who the murderer was quite quickly still doesn’t downplay the entire murder…right? Well, anyway the murder was nicely played out and kind of reminded me of Criminal Minds.  Leaving a fair amount of mystery to each kill, while also supplying the information needed to try and maneuver your way through it was very exciting.
  • Jasper’s Friends – Jasper had amazing friends in Howie and Connie, who is also Jasper’s girlfriend, that the awful illustration of Connie in particular, was forgiven. I loved Howie the way I love Stiles on Teen Wolf – hence the usage of him as Howie in the collage – and he reminded me of him, too. Which also brings us to Connie, who was an awesome female character in this novel that truly balanced out Jasper and Howie. She was fun but reasonable in her dealing’s with Jasper and his dilemma. I also enjoyed the different kind of characters the novel had. Connie being Black and dating Jasper was awesome, because the novel wasn’t about that, similar to David Handler’s The Cold Blue Blood (The Berger and Mitry series)As well as, Howie being a hemophiliac which is a medical condition I’ve never heard a character been given until this novel.
  • POV – I’m a huge fan of male point of views in YA fiction, just because it seems as though it doesn’t occur often. Sometimes the female POV is great, other times I want a different perspective on life and ideas that pass through male characters.
  • Jasper’s Grandmother – Her character was hilarious and extremely psycho. She reminded me of the mother on Pink Flamingo (not Divine, but Edie) just crazier, which says an awful lot.

Cons:

  • Jasper – I feel bad putting Jasper in the Cons section because he really was a wonderful character, however he bitched so much about his inability to feel and how he wasn’t sure if he was a serial killer too, in addition to how many people he could possibly kill if he allowed himself to…blah…blah…blah. At one point i literally remember yelling at the book:

Which I know is probably insensitive.

  • The Pace – Sometimes authors struggle with pace IMO, so for me the pace in this book needed to be a littler faster in some places and slower in others.
  • Writing – This novel is indeed a YA novel. The writing is not altogether complex and can be juvenile, so going into this novel you should be prepared for it to not be too in-depth of a storyline.

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Overall, you should check it out for yourself and enjoy the roller coaster ride that is, I Hunt Killers:

Buy

Metal Love Songs by Shiree McCarver

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Metal Love Songs take you on the journey into a woman’s sexual awaking in the arms of the up and coming Dymond’s front man, Chay Kim, and the already iconic musical genius, Craven Summers.

Emotional betrayal and lost love drives Freedom Rose into becoming the first African American woman to front FreeFall, one of today’s most prolific Symphonic Metal bands.


Freedom, Chay, and Craven have all the trappings that success and money can buy except the lost love they can’t forget. It takes an unforeseen accident to bring them full circle to where they began.


 

*Warning: This review will not be like my others, since this is a New Adult novel, I will have adultish comments about it. For once I’m acting my age :d*

I thought this review would be befitting of Valentine’s Day. Personally I hate it, not because I’m bitter, just because I’m not s very affectionate person and I don’t like chocolate or killing flowers for my own amusement. Anyway, this book has love isn’t the title soooo…

I read this book a long time ago – it’s been sitting in my draft section for months – so please bare with me as I complete this short review.

The best thing about this novel wasn’t the romance, the crazy sex scenes, the colorful ménage à trois, or the characters per say – it was the diversity and the not so stereotypical acts of our characters. This novel wasn’t afraid to be real and different, which I enjoyed, but beyond that I can’t give it any real praise.

The main problem I had with this novel was the length. This book was waaaay too long and lacking the necessary action or importance to fulfill the amount of pages presented. The first half of the book was wonderful – Freedom is this awesome chick with a powerful voice and an awesome attitude, which I appreciate in a Black female lead. Craven is sexy and dirty in the best possible way, he’s a real man and is also a musician (we don’t meet him until later in the novel). Chay is confused and literally all-over the place, but he grows on you – also a musician.

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Try to follow me:

Freedom is black —-> heterosexual

Craven is white —-> bisexual

Chay is Asian —-> has this whole, he’s only gay for Craven thing happening

They’re all involved with each other in a ménage à trois.

Does that make sense? Well, it got confusing for me too. But the breaking of stereotypes was awesome.

Freedom being the lead singer in a heavy metal band, along with Chay is ★

I actually enjoy ménage à trois. It’s one of the only times I enjoy erotica. But I don’t like BDSM, and this novel includes A LOT of that. I mean some very kinky shiitake that I pretty much skipped over, along with a lot of the other sex scenes…the dilemma was that that was about 50% of the book. The other 50% can be split between unnecessary filler at 15% and actual plot contribution 35%. This would have been a solid story if it weren’t for all the sex and stupid nonsense that added nothing to it.

This book was free with 500+ pages when I got it, so ★

I did like the story, it was great, but missing too much and adding too much – if that makes sense.

It did have that whole Their Eyes Were Watching God feel with the sexual awakening of Freedom, however the eloquent perfection of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel remains unsurpassed.

Here’s the picture I had for the book – back when I was still doing that.

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Damaged Souls Series by Twyla Turner

This is the entire Damaged Souls Series by Twyla Turner, which is currently available on Amazon for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Click on the covers to read the reviews I’ve written for each novel and check out the links below to buy each book! Seriously, do it…

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Summary:

The Damaged Souls series follows the tragic lives of Alexis and Sloan. We’re allotted access into the minds and lives of two physically and emotional Damaged Souls, until they can find their way back from Scarred to Healed.

Warning – These novels cover very serious and disturbing subjects such as, domestic violence, PTSD, rape, self-mutilation, and murder. 

Book I:

Alexis Bolden has seen her fair share of tragedy and experienced enough abuse to last a lifetime. Witnessing the double murder-suicide of her parents and dealing with a string of abusive losers, Lexi often found comfort in the brutal ritual of ‘cutting’. And now, narrowly escaping with her life after the last episode of abuse, Lexi finally finds the courage to press charges and start a new life.
Meanwhile, Sloan Stryker, a war veteran suffering from the physical and internal scars of war and bouts of PTSD, has found himself estranged from his disapproving parents, no job and homeless.
Through a chance meeting and dramatic rescue, an unusual friendship develops between these two wounded people. Can they work past their damaged souls to finally come together?

Book II:

Lexi and Sloan are doing everything in their power to fight the demons of their past. They continue to build each other up, while rebuilding Lexi’s home. Their careers are taking off and they’re settling into a nice life they’ve carved out for themselves. But the demons of the past are beginning to catch up to the present. And Lexi must decide between fight or flight. Can their relationship withstand the constant threat? Or will the damage be more than either of them can take?

Book III:

Lexi and Sloan have narrowly escaped one of their demons, only to face another. One that neither of them could’ve ever expected. Their issues continue to threaten their fragile relationship. Pulling them further apart and possibly pushing them into another’s arms. Will Aaron and Victoria finally get what they want? Or will it be Sloan’s parents that rip them apart?

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After reading that, are you interested?

Buy:

Book I (Scarred)

Book II (Open Wounds)

Book III (Healed)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God

5 Solid Stars

★ ★ ★ ★ ★/ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a phenomenal, unprecedented novel that showcases the best of black authors during the Harlem Renaissance. The novel follows Janie – a beautiful girl known for her luxuriously long hair and light brown skin – who has never had control of her life. Her whole life she’s been someone’s daughter, granddaughter or wife, but never the thing she craves most; the freedom to be her own woman. Can she overcome the “need” for a woman to not be her own, in a time period that women were only as good as their connection to another.

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Reading this novel was not an easy task for me. I procrastinated until I finally buckled down, put on my big girl boxers and conquered this feat. Now, don’t get me wrong I loved this novel it was interesting, enthralling and just so real. However, novels like this are hard for me to read because I just, foolishly, believed it was going to be about slavery – and before the people who actually enjoy slavery books jump on my back just understand some of us are still sensitive to the subject, but nevertheless I was misguided in the predetermined theme I had for this novel.

After reading the first three chapters I was completely hooked to the novel. Janie as a character was so strong but naïve and also so easy to feel empathy for. You’ll root for her from beginning until the very end, which was executed very well. But one problem some people may have is with the writing. I actually found it reasonably easy after I got passed the first chapter, but it may be difficult because of its use of old, uneducated southern twang. If you can read Shakespeare you can read this.

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My Reaction:

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Pros:

  • Janie – Janie has to be one of my absolute favorite heroines. She was a woman born before her time, and I like to believe if she were a) real and b) born now she’d literally thrive. Her honesty and innocence were just as prominent and potent as her strength and endurance in all the situations she found herself in.
  • Vernacular – I applaud any author that can accurately capture a settings language, so here it goes: 
  • Growth/progression – I felt like I got to see Janie grow up while reading this novel; pre-sexual awareness and post-sexual awareness was an extremely interesting thing to behold and witness her life unfolding.
  • Racism – I loved the fact that this book was written during a time period that racism and segregation was strong, however the book wasn’t really about it, although it was mentioned. An African-American novel that can be full and complete without race issues being a filler for page length is an A+ for me.
  • Feminism – This was a novel about feminism, and to be even more specific, Black women and feminism. It placed a literary spotlight on the role of black, women during this seldom acknowledged time. Janie was the rare creation born of both tradition and innovation and independence.

Cons:

  • POV – I’m not a huge fan of third-person omniscent point of views because they always seem somehow cold and detached, but then again I guess that’s the point.
  • Tea Cake – His character was just off, and I personally didn’t care for him but mayhap it’s just me.

Basically, just buy it and immerse yourself into the greatness of Ms. Hurston.

Buy

Scarred by Twyla Turner

Scarred

4 ½ out of 5

★ ★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Two lives intertwined and amalgamated in their shared tragedies. With love and trust they assimilate themselves to allow their damaged souls to overcome, and find peace.

 

Alexis Bolden has seen her fair share of tragedy and experienced enough abuse to last a lifetime. Witnessing the double murder-suicide of her parents and dealing with a string of abusive losers, Lexi often found comfort in the brutal ritual of ‘cutting’. And now, narrowly escaping with her life after the last episode of abuse, Lexi finally finds the courage to press charges and start a new life.

 

Sloan Stryker, a war veteran suffering from the physical and internal scars of war and bouts of PTSD, has found himself estranged from his disapproving parents, no job and homeless. Through a chance meeting and dramatic rescue, an unusual friendship develops between these two wounded people. Can they work past their damaged souls to finally come together?

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My reaction:

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There were many things I loved about this novel, however my TOP 4 are:

  1. The flawed characters that Ms. Turner was able to animate with complete and utter delicacy. Sloan and Alexis were both wonderful characters that were so intriguing and engaging that minor characters weren’t even needed for the first installment. The focus being set on our two main characters was a wise decision since there was so much to tell.
  2. The developing love between Sloan and Alexis. I really enjoy a true and honest love story that isn’t surrounded by sex but also not devoid of it. This story had a nice balance between the two and allowed for trust and love to develop before the sex occurred.
  3. I felt as though Sloan deserved his own special numeral because he was just that damn good! His character was vulnerable, strong, enticing, and utterly sexy. Hence, my interpretation of Sloan being, Jason Momoa who managed to conquered all of those feats on The Red Road and Game of Thrones. Sloan was just the embodiment of a good man, and I’m very interested in delving deeper into his past with the second installment, Open Wounds.
  4. The fact that this novel dealt with real-serious issues like, domestic violence, rape, PTSD, depression, and self-mutilation were horrific to read, but was also enlightening. To get into the daily struggle of people who suffer from these disorders, or are in these situations was dark but real.

 

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However, like all good things there’s always bad that happens too. Here are my TOP 3:

  1. Dominique was such an unnecessary nuisance that I really questioned if I wanted to finish the novel when her character was introduced. Her character was stupid and lacked realism, so I was quite ecstatic when she only appeared sporadically throughout the novel.
  2. The dark-skinned, African-American heroine having green eyes. Now, I know a fair amount of black people with green eyes, one of them are even dark-skinned, but the rarity of this is so extreme that it’s amazing how many black heroines have it in interracial romance. I’m just so over this oddity and wish these authors would stop.
  3. The end was severely overdone and quite dramatic. I’m personally not a fan of unnecessary drama just for some conflict resolution, which I felt this book already had enough of. So, what Alexis does is just dumb and made her seem somehow hurtful.

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To conclude, I think you just need to buy the book and read it for yourself! Feel free to tell me what you think.

Buy

Day I

“Every new generation believes its own period to be absolutely superior intellectually – greater than all past cultures yet equal among its modern cultures.”

― Criss Jami

The Fight Within by Tiana Laveen

The Fight Within

4 ½ out of 5

★ ★ ★ ★/★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Sean is a hardworking, garbage man just trying to make ends meet. Treasure is a divorced-single mom, who has her own successful interior designer company. Both broken and hurt looking for a mend. When their lives collide and love is the healing elixir that makes them whole, makes them strong, and allows the mask to fall away. 

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There were many things I loved about this novel, however these are my TOP 7:

  1. Sean and Treasure’s relationship was amazballs! I literally loved their love. It was serious and fun without being sneakily creepy, which tends to occur in certain love stories with that whole “I’d kill you and me before I let you go!” that seems to involuntary come off in love stories with alpha males.
  1. The lack of any real conflict between the couple. I abhor unnecessary drama that would befit a soap opera instead of a realistic scenario. This pleased me extremely because I didn’t have to have that *Bitch Please* eye roll. No, this was basically about soul-searching and mending hearts this included the kids too (and yes, Jackson). No ex’s making a comeback or misinterpreted messages or phone calls, no displays of jealousy that leads to a jail sentence…just good, old-fashioned love.
  1. I have a serious thing for fighters. Ever since I started watching MMA they’ve just been by biggest weakness and my greatest pleasure (maybe before or after ginger’s), so Sean being a fighter made me very happy and excited:
  2. The professions of both character’s were very different and the realness. The characters were so real! I mean Treasure being cheated on, divorced and having two kids and Sean being a trash man and working his way up to the top really made me love them.
  3.  They waited to have sex. I cannot stress how much I hate sex that happens like two seconds after they meet. There is no real relationship built just BOOM!                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. There was no resolution between Treasure and her mom and for me that’s real.
  5. The fact that Sean and Treasure were friends first (without their knowledge) and were still connected after everything that occurred.

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So, overall I freaking loved it! However, there were some iffy moments for me, these are my TOP 3:

  1. Sean was funny but sometimes I questioned his intelligence.
  2. The sex “noises” were freaking hilarious and sometimes less is more.
  3. The amount of times “shit” was used in this novel baffled me. I mean damn there are other swear words (see I used one just then)

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My Reaction:

My opinion is that you should definitely check it out because you won’t be disappointed.

Buy