Holy shit! Can you even believe it’s about to be 2019?!
Because seriously, 2018 felt like the longest year on record. Maybe it was all of the racism, xenophobia, misogyny and fake outrage drummed up to make both sides of the political spectrum look insane – but seriously, my mental health took a beating this year.
We had the fucking Olympics this year? Do you even remember that? Does it feel like it happened in a different space and time? Because it fucking didn’t – it happened in 2018!
I’m drained. I’m exhausted. I can’t take any more negativity.
I started this blog at the beginning of 2018 with a post about how much Trump sucks, and how I needed books to get through the crumbling state of the world.
And I’m going to end this year with the same sentiment. Trump sucks. His supporters suck. Their bullshit is seeping over the borders of every other country, with racist, far-right dipshits seeing his successes (if you can call them that) as a sign that it’s finally their time to impose their hateful world-view on the rest of us.
Quite honestly, I don’t know how much more I can take. How hard is it to be kind? How hard is it to just let others live their lives in the way they choose to if it isn’t hurting anyone, even if you don’t understand it? I don’t understand the preoccupation with the benign details and choices that other people make.
GET A LIFE.
That’s my hope for 2019. I hope all you hateful, obsessive motherfuckers can get a fucking life in the new year because I swear, that’s what’s going to fix you. If you had a happy and fulfilled life you wouldn’t be so fucking concerned with everyone else and where they put their body parts, or what colour their body parts are or what body parts they want to have. Just get a fucking life.
And my second hope for 2019, if you can’t get a life, is that you at least find a way to express your sexuality without guilt. A guilt-free orgasm, in exactly the way you want it with another consenting adult, can do wonders for a shitty fucking attitude.
Get A Life. Have An Orgasm. 2019🥂
With that said, my hopes aren’t high for the coming year. It feels like a “everything needs to get worse before it can get better” kind of situation. Books are going to be as important to me in 2019 as they were in 2018, maybe even more so.
So, I want to take a look back on my top five reads of this past year. The books that brought peace to my personal bubble for a just a few hours.
🔪Five. Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
Back of the Book: When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.
My Fucking Thoughts: I would love this to be a series featuring the enigmatic bounty hunter/P.I. Alice Vega. The minute she popped onto the page I knew I was in fictional love. Vega is damaged and snarky and ruthless, smart and cynical, with a short bullshit fuse. She has no problem beating the shit out of her skips, or using her talent of mental warfare to get her way. She’s just a tough-as-nails Queeeeen.
This was well thought-out, well-plotted – Luna knew exactly what she was doing, the story she was telling and how much of the characters she wanted to share. The only thing I was missing was my preferred level of detail. I don’t like bare minimalism and I don’t like over saturated. Somewhere in the middle is my sweet spot. Read my full review here.
🔪Four. Into the Black Nowhere (Unsub, #2) by Meg Gardiner
Back of the Book: Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer
In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theatre. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.
Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.
To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.
My Fucking Thoughts: This book inspired me to start a new religion/cult dedicated to worshipping Meg Gardiner because her books are just SO FUCKING GOOD.
I’m completely blown away by this instalment in the UNSUB series. I think I literally peed my pants over the first one, and it seemed a completely impossible task that an author would deliver an equally pee-pants worthy followup.
But, I’m peeing my pants right now. (Not really. I’m at work. No one would appreciate that.)
Still, this is a completely solid five-star rating, and my only little tiny, itty-bitty teeny issue is a completely personal one that comes from the fact that I know everything about Ted Bundy. He’s my favourite serial killer. Read my full review here.
🔪Three. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Back of the Book: Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
My Fucking Thoughts: I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to love a Riley Sager novel more than I loved Final Girls, but then I read The Last Time I Lied and well, spit on my neck and kick me in the crotch, because this has usurped Final Girls as my favourite Sager read, if not one of my favourite reads ever. Period.
It’s true! I am crazy about this book! It makes me want to go to summer camp and investigate mysteries, but you know, it might look a little bit weird to be 30-something at a sleep-away camp.
Sager is a world-class writer. I do not say that lightly or without conviction, because if you know me or read my reviews, you know I’m a huge judgmental bitch. It’s okay, you can agree.
So, when I say Sager is the SHIT. I mean it. He breezes through the art of storytelling like it is the most effortless, natural thing in the world to him. An automatic bodily function. Read my full review here.
🔪Two. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
Back of the Book: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbours.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
My Fucking Thoughts: I loved Finn’s writing style: his prose construction, his sense of humour, knowledge of his character and his timing with plot details. Not to mention, the simple beauty to how he describes a scene, pulls you in without overwhelming you. I especially swooned for all the black-and-white movie details. How the scene of a movie became parallel background noise to Anna’s actions was both atmospheric and clever. And how the movie dialogue became a second narration that matched perfectly Anna’s circumstance was brilliant.
I feel like this book is a giant love letter to all the classics that inspired the author, and in the process, he’s created something fun and fast-paced that gave me lady-wood. Read my full review here.
🔪One. Any Man by Amber Tamblyn
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (x infinity)
Back of the Book: In her blazingly original and unforgettable debut novel Any Man, Amber Tamblyn brings to startling life a specter of sexual violence in the shadowy form of Maude, a female serial rapist who preys on men.
In this electric and provocative debut novel, Tamblyn blends genres of poetry, prose, and elements of suspense to give shape to the shocking narratives of victims of sexual violence, mapping the destructive ways in which our society perpetuates rape culture.
A violent serial rapist is on the loose, who goes by the name Maude. She hunts for men at bars, online, at home— the place doesn’t matter, neither does the man. Her victims then must live the aftermath of their assault in the form of doubt from the police, feelings of shame alienation from their friends and family and the haunting of a horrible woman who becomes the phantom on which society projects its greatest fears, fascinations and even misogyny. All the while the police are without leads and the media hound the victims, publicly dissecting the details of their attack.
What is extraordinary is how as years pass these men learn to heal, by banding together and finding a space to raise their voices. Told in alternating viewpoints signature to each voice and experience of the victim, these pages crackle with emotion, ranging from horror to breathtaking empathy.
As bold as it is timely, Any Man paints a searing portrait of survival and is a tribute to those who have lived through the nightmare of sexual assault.
My Fucking Thoughts: THIS NOVEL IS SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. It is unlike anything I have ever read, and I am utterly emotionally ruined by it.
Seriously. This book has fucked me up.
It’s about gender equality and gender roles and gender assumptions. It’s about the groups we align ourselves with, the lines in the sand we draw as tribes. The hate we have. The resentment we have. How women feel about our social history and how it doesn’t matter until it happens to a man. It’s about how blind we are to our shared wants and needs. And how if we just worked together we could change things.
It’s also creepy with elements of suspense.
All things combined, it became a work of art that was literally intoxicating. Read my full review here.
There are a couple other books, which I loved this year, that just didn’t make the cut by a half star or so… but they deserve a shout out!
- Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker | ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Check out my reviews for each of these, as well!
There you have it! My favourite books of 2018. Have you read any of these? Did you love them as much as I did?
Here’s to another year of good books! And fingers crossed for less hateful bullshit to deal with, alright? Remember – get a life, have an orgasm! That’s how we’re going to bring about world peace!
Stay safe. Be Kind. But, take no shit.
See you fuckers in 2019! 🥂