Cover Image: As You Look

As You Look

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Member Reviews

Yolanda Avila, a former LAPD cop-turned private investigator, blames herself for her mother’s death in a road rage accident. It was her fault. The perpetrator was a suspect she’d pursued in an unrelated case, someone she should’ve caught by tracking down a license plate number. Any good detective would’ve done that. But she got cocky, thought she’d catch him by following clues from a stupid dream instead. The only salve against the guilt eating at her now is Yolanda’s vow to reject that juju crap.

But when her godson Joey is kidnapped, his parents are suspected of murder, and a stalker threatens her wife Sydney to warn Yolanda off the case, she must deal with more than just the facts. She must confront the juju to overcome her guilt and deal with pent-up grief—or risk losing yet another loved one.
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Really entertaining crime book, with an ex cop turned private investigator who receives messages from the spirit world. Yolanda fights this until she realises that it helped more than it hinders. I really liked the existing supportive relationship between her and her wife Sydney. I also really enjoyed being able to focus on the crime and the intricacies of the case without distraction. 

With thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It's great that more mystery and thrillers with a diverse cast are being published, and I keep finding wonderful new authors and characters to follow.  Yolanda Avila, a LA PI, as written by Veronica Gutierrez is one.  Yolanda is still laboring with the guilt she feels over her mother's recent death and is reluctant to see the bad dreams she has as anything but dreams when her godson is kidnapped.  A former LAPD officer, forced to quit the force, she can ask questions and go places that the cops can't go, and they're not very happy that she seems to get the answers before them!

Great characterization and insight into the world of labor and unions in LA, I look forward to more stories starring Yolanda.

Thanks to Bella Books for access to a digital ARC via NetGalley.
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My first read by Veronica Gutierrez. While I did enjoy ‘As you look’, it wasn't one of the better crime  stories I've read. The story is okay, but it didn't seem to ‘hook’ me in.

I've given ‘As you look’ a 3/5
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3.25 stars. I always look forward to reading debut books, not having any idea what to expect is exciting and this is a crime book which made my anticipation even higher. In the end, it turned out that I was anticipating something else. This book was not a very good match for my personal reading preferences as it turned out.

First of all, let me say I’m starting to notice a pattern with crime procedurals. This was the third book this month that I read that has a main character who is shunned or hated by her colleagues in blue for blowing the whistle on a dirty partner. I know the police force is under heavy scrutiny and I applaud the fact that authors also show the other side of the force that is meant to protect us. That said, this particular storyline is getting old fast, of course I won’t hold that against this specific book, but three times in a month (of the 4 crime books I read) was just too much for me, so this might have affected my reading pleasure.

Yolanda is a private investigator who just started her own business. When her nephew has been kidnapped she won’t let go until he’s safe again. This is an investigative storyline, but strangely it didn’t feel as if the investigation was the most important part of this book. Yolanda has a gift called juju. Nightmares or feelings let her know something is about to happen, but she is reluctant to believe in it and flat out refuses to listen to it. This book is all about her acceptance of her juju. I’m very skeptical about premonitions and accompanying feelings and I prefer paranormal gifts in books to be a bit more out there. However, it was not even so much the juju I had problems with, I can accept that in a book, but it was the enormous fuss about it. Believe in it, accept it, trust it …. or not, back and forth. It completely took over the storyline. Perhaps this is a me thing though and others might enjoy this much better.

There were two things happening in the investigation storyline and the first one took a bit of a backseat in the first half of the book. It was rather quickly and easily resolved, the second one held my interest better, but I had some trouble with the pacing of the story and it took me longer than normal to finish this book.

There is no romance arc in this book, but Yolanda is in an established relationship with Sydney who’s an ex-army doc and now works as an attending at the ER. I really liked Sydney, she’s grounded, understanding and tough at the same time and I liked them as a couple. 

This is the first book in a series and while this book wasn’t the best match for my tastes. There were parts that made me curious about what the future will bring, but I hope there will be less focus on the juju.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Ex-cop Yolanda Avila has recently transitioned to being a private investigator. When her five-year-old godson goes missing, his parents ask her to help the police find the boy. The only thing she has to go on is he may have been abducted by a person in a white van. Her brother gives her clues gained by his visions, but she ignores them as nothing more than juju until one of them turns out to be spot on. When the boy manages to call 911, a cop calls her about the call. She rushes to the boy’s rescue, subdues the perpetrator, and makes the news. When she has a nightmare that her wife may be in danger, she begins to believe in the family’s gifts.

The author has a potentially solid character in Yolanda but squanders her by lecturing her readers on Union politics, having a five-year-old make a phone call on his kidnapper’s phone without the man noticing even though he’s in the front seat and the boy is entrapped in ropes and seatbelts in the back seat. Instead of having developed that story much deeper, the author starts an entirely new book with her wife being in danger. Perhaps if she had chosen one or the other storylines to focus her talents on, this would have been a better book. 

The author’s characters are not as well developed as one would have wished, and readers may not get into the book and might even set the book aside to go to the next book on their to-be-read lists. Since this book is the first in a series featuring Yolanda, the author might have wanted to put more time into developing Yolanda’s and the other on-going characters. 

If you like reading the first book in a series, this is a book you’ll want to read. If you’re looking for a character-driven book with well-developed characters, this isn’t that.

My thanks to Bella Books and NetGalley for an eARC.
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As You Look by Veronica Gutierrez is an intrigue novel that I really enjoyed. It’s the first novel I’ve read by this author, and I’m definitely going to be looking for more.

The story revolves around Yolanda Avila, an ex LAPD cop who has started a private investigation firm. Her business is doing well, but she has other issues from her past that keep intruding in her life. Her exit from the LAPD was not a happy one, and there are hard feelings on both sides. She also feels partly responsible for her mother’s death which involves what Yolanda calls juju, a paranormal ability that seems to run in her family…an ability Yolanda tries to reject in herself. Then Yolanda’s godson is kidnapped, and she becomes involved in a mystery that has more twists, turns, and possible bad guys than you can shake a stick at. 
This is a very complex novel set in Boyle Heights, a real life neighborhood in East Los Angeles. The author knows this area intimately since she grew up there, so the setting is well described. We see most of the book through Yolanda’s eyes, but there are a few chapters where we get to see what the godson, Joey, is experiencing. Those chapters were actually kind of scary for me. I wanted to cover my eyes and read at the same time. There is also a fairly large cast of secondary characters, from Yolanda’s wife Sydney, her best friends and family, and the multiple folks who could be the villains of the tale. Because of the complex plot, you should take your time reading this novel. If you try to skim or read quickly, you may miss parts of the story you need to really understand what is happening.

The book is a true whodunit, not a romance. Yolanda and Sydney are happily married from the beginning of the tale, and although we do get to see some of their life together, the focus of the book is on the mystery.
I’m happy to see that this is the beginning of what may end up a series of “Yolanda Avila Mysteries”. I will be looking forward to seeing more from this author and these characters.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bella Books for an honest review.
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This is a mystery thriller. I loved the characters and enjoyed the story a lot.  I recommend 3.5 stars.

Thank you, Bella Books, and NetGalley for this ARC.
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Ok, my last review I complained a little about the cover not being right and the blurb being slightly misleading. About this one I am more positive, the cover is really nice and the blurb teases enough, but is also made me think the story would play out differently, more on that later.

Yolanda is a former cop turned PI. I think she was a cop in LA and now works in Pasadena, this is just a little unclear to me. Yolie is married to Sydney, a doctor and a veteran. Sydney believes that Yolie's prophetic dreams hold meaning and shouldn't be disregarded. Yolie feels differently about that because of her mom's death. Nothing good comes from chasing the "juju". Yolanda's godson is kidnapped and she is assisting in solving the case, with or without her and her brother's "juju". After the kidnapping, which is resolved rather quickly there is a murder case and stalking of our couple. Yolie needs to find a way to solve the case- and come to terms with her "juju". Once she accepts her "juju" as strong gut feelings she is able to see things clearly and let go of her past.

My Spanish is ok enough conversationally, reading is slightly harder to do especially when there are words I am unfamiliar with and can't make out in context. And when they turn out to be "slang" it is super hard to find as well. It was a learning experience for me.
So for me, the whole "juju" thing is something I don't believe in, much like Yolanda at first. I do believe some people have better instincts than others. I could have easily enjoyed this book if Yolanda would have just accepted her prophetic dreams and not be so against it and fighting it and everyone who does believe in them. For a non-believer in such things I am able to enjoy them in fictional things like books and shows, but not how it was written in this book. Too much focus on it, that just doesn't work for me. By the end Yolanda accepted it, to great relief of her loved ones, and it made for better reading. The ending is why I would pick up another one and give this PI and the writer another chance.
In this book there is just too much going on, basically 3 cases, the "juju" thing and getting to know the characters, and there are many, it's just too much.
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Yolanda Avila is a private detective and ex LAPD police officer.  She usually gets one of her special dreams if something bad is going to happen.  After one such dream her godson is kidnapped.  Yolanda doesn’t want to trust in her second sight or premonitions because it ties back to guilt she feels for her mothers death.  Instead she thinks about who benefits from the missing boy.  The case quickly ties in with two others, a murdered man and eventually threats directed at her own family.  

I like the characters.  Yolanda is a good procedural investigator.  She follows clues and uses contacts that include union organizers, real estate developers and even another investigator.  She’s burnt bridges with the LAPD but has a detective there she can work with as well.  I like that she doesn’t do everything on her own and will share information with the police.  Yolanda’s wife Sydney, an attending physician, is a good counter balance.  She enjoys yoga and sees Yolanda’s gift as healing.  She is also ex-military and doesn’t shy away when things get tough.  I think this has the basics for the beginning of a good new series.  This is a mystery thriller without focus on romantic heat between the couple.  Thank you to NetGalley and Bella Books for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.  3.5 stars.
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I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.

Yolanda use to be a cop but she now is a private investigator. Yolanda blames herself for her mother death because of the gifts she has she believes if she following her instincts instead of her dreams she could’ve prevent her mother death. She starts to realize her gifts maybe the key in finding her godson who been kidnapped but she afraid if she doesn’t do this right everything she holds dears will be lost. This was good read the first in this series as we get to know Yolanda and what makes her who she is.
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Three mysteries converge in As You Look which ex police officer turned private investigator Yolanda Ávila must solve to keep her family safe. Her godson is kidnapped on his way to school one morning. One of the kidnappers is then murdered and lastly what is up with her dreams, weird feelings and premonitions. 
The advent of the premonitions and Yolanda’s guilt in not listening to them to prevent her mother’s death is overpowering the other two mysteries. At one point late in the story I just wanted Yolanda to accept her gift and stop complaining. Insensitive perhaps, but I understood her views on it and did not require the constant reinforcement of her issues. 
The two remaining mysteries were satisfactory in their build up and their resolution. 
This is the first book of the upcoming series and the groundwork has been laid. It will be interesting to see where Gutiérrez takes her characters. 

I received an advance review copy  from Bella Books and NetGalley.  I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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