Mini-Review Dump💩: Bad Blood, Eight Perfect Murders and The 19th Christmas

Funny story (not really) – I was going through my Goodreads READ shelf and found a handful of books I never reviewed in 2020 because of course. Really, I barely kept it together in 2020 at all. It’s really a miracle I got out as many posts as I did.

So, um, yeahhhhh… enjoy (?) these reviews of books I read a year ago because this is not going to be my finest work.

sad homer simpson GIF

Reviews in this post:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1) by Peter Swanson
  • The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, #19) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

🔪Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

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★★★★

Picador | 2018

Filed Under: Her power is contained in the turtlenecks

If you don’t know anything about Elizabeth Holmes and the massive fucking Silicon Valley scam she pulled using her startup Theranos (once valued at $9b without any real product,) then this is the only book you need to read to get yourself up to speed on this totally crazy true story.

I’m pretty sure her trial (spoiler alert) is currently going on, so I guess you could read the news too, but ew, who wants to do that?

Listen, I’m not exactly intelligent enough (or interested enough) in Silicon Valley to understand how it works or why it works or what the fuck is going on with all these rich people throwing money around – everything I know about it I learned from the Tom Middleditch comedy Silicon Valley on HBO.

So, I’m not exactly an expert and I went into this pretty blind. But Carreyrou manages to make the complicated, layered, backstabbing and financial world that is Silicon Valley clear enough that I was able to wrap my weed-addled brain around it.

And SHIT, Elizabeth Holmes is… I don’t even know what to say. I was utterly captivated by this bullshitting, desperate Steve Jobs wannabe. I mean, you have not met a professional LIAR until you’ve met Elizabeth Holmes. The woman is psychotic, but not in a stabby-stabby kind of way. More in a blindly ambitious way that would lead her to burn every bridge around her in pursuit of her goals (which had more to do with appearances than anything else.)

This story is bananas, if a little dense. Not what I would typically read when it comes to true crime, what with lacking dead bodies and all, but it was a hell of a story.

The vibe for this one:

angry soap opera GIF by General Hospital

Synopsis: Goodreads

🔪Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1) by Peter Swanson

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★★

William Morrow | 2020

Filed Under: As fun as oatmeal

Alright, sooooooooo I guess I’m done with Peter Swanson. Every book I’ve read by him (save for The Kind Worth Killing) has been boring AF. This novel is no exception.

His writing style and characterization do not work for me. I am not enthralled. I am not “hooked by the first page!” NO. I was never hooked. I am but a sneaky fish who is just not falling for the fake ass lure or wiggly worm.

The novel starts off with bookstore owner, Malcolm Kershaw, being approached by the FBI because a list he wrote on the store’s blog years ago – a list about eight books that depict perfect murders – is now being used in a series of murders. It seems kind of far-fetched, but also, how fucking crazy would it be if someone started killing people based on my blog posts? Do it. I mean, don’t do it do it. But do it.

I bet it would be a Goodreads Karen (aka Goodreads Donna) who hates people having differing opinions on subjective shit like books. I’m not sure when we forgot that people can like different things, or not like them, and that it’s not a personal offence towards you, but whatever. Goodreads comments are off forever LOL.

Okay, new plan – don’t kill anyone, just turn my idea into a book because I bet it would be better than this one. I only want some credit.

Anyway, this book didn’t work for me. As I find with all Swanson books of late, the MC is unlikable and boring – khaki pants hanging in the closet and plain oatmeal for breakfast kind of boring. There is a serious lack of charm and wit in the writing. Everything is one-dimensional, surface and bland. And the twists aren’t really twisted, but more like tricks because the author purposefully leaves the reader in the dark, making it impossible for us to figure anything else or keep up with the mystery.

Anyway, I did not like this very much *fart noises*

The vibe for this one:

Animated GIF

Synopsis: Goodreads

🔪The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, #19) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

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★★½

Little, Brown and Company | 2019

Filed Under: The entire book is a plot hole

I mean, what is there to even say anymore about these books? I don’t think I’m ever going to write a serious review for Patterson again. I just can’t. And you don’t want me to either, let’s be real.

You guys know I don’t think Patterson is a very good writer, or even the main writer of his own books anymore. If you like him, whatever. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m just speaking my mind. To each their own, but omg I feel like I’m reading a high school student’s creative writing story whenever I pick up a book of his.

The only reason I keep reading this one particular series is that I’ve been reading it since high school. Maybe that’s not a good reason and I should just quit instead of writing more negative reviews and then experiencing the wrath of every Goodreads Karen. But, these are short, mindless, easy books when I want to put another check in my reading challenge column. So whatever.

This book has all the markers of the previous ones – multiple storylines that don’t necessarily intersect and lots of soap-opera-esque personal elements. It’s just that this instalment takes place over Christmas so that’s different.

The writing is simple. It reads like a first draft that was rushed to publication. It’s sparse, it’s corny and super formulaic – following the Patterson recipe to the letter. It’s that’s your thing, have at it. A lot of people really enjoy his work, they know exactly what they’re going to get from him.

I am not one of those people. Maybe I’m just too optimistic (don’t laugh!), just waiting for the day when I actually like one of these novels again.

Me, coming back to read this fucking series once more:

Synopsis: Goodreads

🔪🔪🔪

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