Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

31450633★★

Opening Hook: Can’t a person just sit in their car anymore without being murdered?

Main Character: She is the Toby to my Michael Scott

Plot Twisty-ness: A predictable anxiety-fest


I’m pretty sure me and B.A. Paris need to break up.

I read and kind of enjoyed Behind Closed Doors, but I was not over the moon about it like most other reviewers were. Even now, when I think back on that reading experience the only things I remember are that 1) the main character was super annoying, and 2) *spoiler alert* it’s totally ridiculous to believe that a high-powered attorney who works 60+ hour weeks on huge cases, would also have enough time to be that on the fucking nose when it came to keeping his wife hostage.

You don’t want the things a reader remembers about your book to be just the illogical, annoying bits.

And I’m afraid The Breakdown is going to be another exercise in this for me.

B.A. Paris seems to have a habit of writing the most annoying female main characters – dumb, slow-on-the-upswing and insecure – who are married to the most obviously untrustworthy men. I can’t be the only one who is seeing the perfect, loving and thoughtful husband routine as completely shady? Maybe it’s because I’m married and 100% woke to the fact that even the most romantic of men are not going to be perfect. If they are, they are trying to bamboozle you, bitch!

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Review: Guess Who by Chris McGeorge

“Today, we are going to be playing a little game of Murder.”

36162116★★★½

Opening Hook: Basically a classic Kesha song

Main Character: If Maury and Robert Stack had a baby, but that baby was drunk all the time

Plot Twisty-ness: Jigsaw would be proud


I went into this novel with every intention of loving it completely. I swear to Thor. But okay, obviously I didn’t completely get there. Story of my life. No one is shocked.

Guess Who started off as a five-star read until I passed the halfway mark and that’s when things fell off the chart. For the first half of the book, it is very much SAW meets Clue, just minus the horror element. But it does create a sinister, frantic pace and tone that definitely had me hooked. It’s a locked-room mystery that feels both extravagant and desperate at first, at that definitely worked for me in a totally non-sexual sexual way.

Morgan Sheppard is a TV star who has made a living doing a Maury meets Unsolved Mysteries-style show called Resident Detective. As a child, he solved the murder of his math teacher and created a very successful career riding (read: exploiting) that wave. Through his fame, he’s turned into an alcoholic, drug addict and womanizer. The only problem is, Sheppard has been full of shit for a very long time. And someone knows it. And someone hates him.

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Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

“A smart girl is nobody’s pushover and nobody’s foe. A smart girl is both sword and smile.” 

35506211★★

Opening Hook: I woke up like this (next to a dead body)

Main Character: Barely sober, mostly stupid

Plot Twisty-ness: Only twisty because she’s drunk and dizzy


Oh, boy this is super disappointing.

The Flight Attendant had been on my radar for a while. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the other reviews on the matter, but my ability to make a snap decision based on a good synopsis has been my downfall once again.

All I saw was “she wakes up next to a dead body,” and I was 100% on board with this. (That was a genuinely subtle plane pun.)

But Omigod, it was not at all what I was hoping it would be. The kick-off has so much promise to be suspenseful and thrilling, but it didn’t end up working for me.

I knew it was a thriller. But no one warned me that this was a spy thriller. Jesus, take the wheel! I don’t think I have ever liked a spy thriller. As Peter Griffin would say, they insist upon themselves.

It is my personal opinion that spy thrillers only work on screen because at least the ridiculousness of the storyline can be matched with action sequences and it all balances out in that over-the-top framework.

Despite the opening of Cassie, The Drunk Flight Attendant, waking up next to a dead body after another one-night stand caught my attention, this novel really devolved after that into a spy thriller format that left little for me to be interested in because I found it all to be cheesy and silly.

“It was just like so many of the other times she had woken up naked and hungover in bed with a guy, with only the slightest idea how she had gotten there – except this time the guy was dead.”

Brace for some mild spoiler-y complaining…

Continue reading “Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian”

Review: Wychwood (Wychwood, #1) by George Mann

Image result for wychwood george mann★★★

Opening Hook: Killer and Killee (?) running through the woods, Jason style.

Main Character: Drinks a shit load of tea

Plot Twisty-ness: Like a half-assed pretzel.


I’m wavering between 2 and 3 stars for this one because on one hand, it’s not a bad book. The writing is good, the characters don’t suck, the setting is kind of spooky and the crimes were unique, not something I’d ever read about before.

But then on the other hand, if I think about it, this book was super formulaic, there was nothing different about the plotting, the villain’s reveal. And although the crimes were in-depth and thought out with great detail, the ending was also pretty predictable (read: typical.)

Nothing about this book was outside the box, which is disappointing because it had every opportunity to be considering it was working with a partly supernatural storyline.

It came across to me like George Mann had read a bunch of mediocre crime fiction and decided those examples are how you plot a mystery, or is how a journalist would get wrapped up in the case. And I’m not even mad about it because I thought all of that for a long time too, so I get why it happens.

It’s kind of like movies scenes that we’ve seen a hundred times, but we know for real that they never happen in real life but we rarely question what we’re watching.

Why does the mother keep preparing a glorious breakfast feast for the kids/father/pets, just for them to only take one bite and then run out the door? Or why do so many people dream of being kissed by a beautiful woman only to wake up and realize it’s the dog licking their face. Or someone calls with terrible news and instead of explaining it, they say “turn on the news!” and when they do it just so happens to be at the very beginning of the event so you get all the pertinent details.

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Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

“Never talk to strangers. If someone ever tries to take you, fight with everything you have. Scream as loud as you can. (He’d never told her what to do if the man was too strong and there was no one to hear her screaming.)”

27276336★★★

Opening Hook: Tediously attention-grabbing

Main Character: I see dead people-ing it

Plot Twisty-ness: How twisty can it be when everyone is a goddamn psychic?


I don’t know why I keep trying books with psychic characters, because I never like them.

Also, apparently this could technically be considered part of series called The Hollows, but I have zero experience with Lisa Unger or that series, so perhaps that’s why I’m not as jazzed about this book as other people have been.

This does read like a standalone for all intents and purposes, though.

Basically what you have here is a twenty-something who is a developing psychic, so she goes to live with her grandmother, who is an experienced psychic, to get her psychic abilities up to snuff. While she’s doing her psychic-training she starts to hear a persistent noise – squeak, clink – and her psychic grandmother is all, “that’s your psychic gift telling you to start doing psychic shit,” so she gets onto the case of a missing child, who has some psychic connections in her own life.

Basically, everyone is a goddamn psychic.

surprised mind reading GIF

And I’m not sure how a town full of psychics hasn’t been able to find the answer to “where’d that kid go?” but they haven’t and everyone is distressed; marriages are falling apart and life is just generally terrible.

Continue reading “Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger”

Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

“The words I’ve heard in the past few days are ones I never expected – new, untried, untested. Casket. Body. Funeral. Viewing. Embalming. Autopsy. Severed. Seven-inch non-corrosive steel blade. Homicide.”

36839879★★★★

Opening Hook: Broken bones, broken dreams

Main Character: Shouldn’t keep blood secrets when your sister works with DNA

Plot Twisty-ness: Are coincidences considered twists?


Okay, okay, OKAY. Y’all know I love me some J.T. Ellison.

It all started with her Taylor Jackson series a damn decade ago (ugh, that makes me feel old) and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since. I love tough women writing tough women, it’s a thing.

Ellison’s move from series writer to standalones started with Lie to Me, which most people loved, except for yours truly.

What can I say? I’m a picky fucking reader.

I had a few issues with the pacing of Lie to Me (the second half sucked the life out of it) and with the ending (“it was all for nothing, just a giant misunderstanding” doesn’t really work for me. that’s not a twist,) but I’m happy to say that I liked Tear Me Apart a lot. I didn’t love it. It’s not the best thing I’ve read this year, but it’s a good read. It’s not a waste of your time, at all.

And we all know how much I hate wasting my reading time.

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Review: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

“What about the house? The pentacle? The empty coffins? The symbols written in blood?!”

32905343★★★

Opening Jinky-Twist: Even the unmasked bad guys get parole, too.

Main Meddling Characters: We couldn’t have come up with anyone less annoying?

Plot Zoinx-y-ness: A dogshit-sized amount of non-stop action


Here’s a fun fact about me: one of my go-to stress relieving past times is getting high as a motherfucking kite and watching Scooby Doo.

I have always had an affinity for mystery-solving kids because I myself wanted to be a mystery-solving kid. But it turns out that I had really boring neighbours growing up, so I had to live vicariously through shows like Ghostwriter, The Secret World of Alex Mack and the Scooby Gang.

I suppose it says something about my love for Scooby Doo that I still watch it in my 30s (not taking into consideration that it’s readily available on Netflix.) It’s just that nowadays I’ve turned it into more of an adult activity.

So kick me in the crotch and spit on my neck if I wasn’t through-the-roof excited to find that someone had taken my Scooby Gang and turned it into an adult caper! Not only that, it’s mixed with a little Lovecraft flare?!

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE, my heart screamed.

Turns out, my heart jumped the gun and it is still firmly in the “cartoons and weed” category.

scooby doo smoke GIF

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Review: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

“On the morning of the exorcism, I stayed home from school.”

31713935★★★★

Opening Hook: Exorcist house field trip

Main Character: Untrustworthy, just the way I like them

Plot Twisty-ness: Don’t eat the pasta


Finding really good, disturbing, well-crafted horror novels is hard for me, even though I love horror. Obviously, this is probably because I’m a picky bitch but I regret nothing.

Paul Tremblay has been on my list of “horror authors to possibly trust” for a long time, but I think I put off reading his work to avoid the letdown.

But now that it’s officially “stick a pumpkin up my ass and spice everything” season, I figured what better time than now to find out if Paul Tremblay is a true horror author I should trust; to find out if I am a fan or not.

And I’ll tell you, I think I am.

I didn’t love this with an unbridled passion, like some other reviewers, but I did like it a lot.

Tremblay does an A+ job of weaving together some of my favourite horror elements. One, the general idea of possession and exorcism. And two, the more abstract idea of what is truly a supernatural event, vs. what is just a mental disorder presenting as a shit-your-pants-scary experience.

In real life, with my feet firmly planted on the ground, I am not religious and I do not believe in magic as an actual thing that actually exists. I suppose, technically, you’d call me an atheist (don’t worry, I’m not here to eat your babies or get all militant about it or whatever – live and let live is my thing,) but I don’t really like the idea of labelling the absence of something. There are no names for people who don’t believe in fairies or don’t accept the existence of leprechauns. So I don’t really use the term atheist very much.

michael scott atheism GIF

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Review: The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith

“Money has an insidious way of making decent human beings behave in a most indecent way.”

Ancient Nine cover★★½

Opening Hook: A 1920s fence hopper

Main Character: Basically the author is just writing himself and it’s weird

Plot Twisty-ness: You have to read a research paper to get to them


You ever read a novel and can immediately tell it’s written by a first-time author because they don’t know how to chill the fuck out with descriptive passages and scenes that don’t further a plot?

Yeah. This book suffers from that in abundance.

The heart of the novel is that of Spenser Collins, a young black man attending Harvard in 1988. After becoming an unlikely candidate to join one of the University’s secret societies, The Delphic, Spenser and his buddy Dalton, stumble upon a fifty-year-old mystery – the disappearance of another young student in the 1920s, who was never heard from again after illegally entering the Delphic’s mansion in search of the answer to the question: Is there really a secret society within the secret society called the Ancient Nine who spend their whole lives guarding an invaluable secret?

I mean, part of me was thinking of the movie The Skulls circa 2000. You know, Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker getting into some deadly adventure after joining a secret society that will do anything to protect its secrets, protect its own, its power and its money? But sadly for me, this book hits a decidedly different tone, while maintaining that “boys club” feel and presenting the objectification of women as a good thing.

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Review: The 17th Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

35959639★★★

Opening Hook: A pretty standard for the genre death scene

Main Characters: TONE IT THE FUCK DOWN

Plot Twisty-ness: B for Beffort.


So, this is the first review I’m posting on my blog of this series, but here’s the sordid background on me and this series:

I have read every single one of the books in this series. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Even the novellas.

You can find all of my reviews of them on Goodreads if you’re so inclined to watch my descent into pure, unadulterated hatred.

Oh, yes, that’s right. Hatred. I am well-versed in the Women’s Murder Club. And I fucking hate-read this series with a fiery, binge-y passion. Truthfully, I hate mostly everything Patterson writes.

Gather around, children and listen to your elder millennial: James Patterson is a fucking awful writer.

AWFUL. Continue reading “Review: The 17th Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro”