My name is Salvador Rosas.
Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang — my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer?
Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her… and if I touch her, I might get burned.
I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.
Genre: Urban, Contemporary Fiction
Series: Eastside Brewery #1
Author: Mia Hopkins
I really like this one. It’s the second book I’ve read of Hopkins’, and though it’s mostly set in Sal’s mind, I did enjoy it. It’s actually surprising, because I only like it when there’s dialogue to build the story on. He talks to others, of course, but a lot of the story is about him figuring out how to deal with his hardships and hope for a better life. It’s his struggle between getting away from his past and finding a good future with Vanessa that makes it exciting, but I also enjoyed the other things, like the brewery’s owner he befriends, the rightness he feels with his lady love.
His work and the gang were interesting to follow. I loved how dedicated he was to keeping it clean, and it was also interesting to see him with his gang. You feel bad because here he is, alone and doing it all by himself, and every time he has to deal with his homeboys, it’s like stepping back into the better days when he was safe, wanted and respected. I’m glad he overcame a lot of his problems, and though some things were sad, they happened for a reason. The ending’s sort of a bittersweet moment, but it was also an exciting reveal that makes me want to know what’ll happen next, especially if it gives me more information on his father’s gang.